Interesting graph – Fraction of the Globe in Drought: 1982-2012

sdata20141-f5[1]Unless my eyes deceive me, it looks like there is no net change in global drought area for 30 years.

The graph shows the proportion of the planet in drought, by intensity, 1982-2012. The graph comes from a paper in a new Nature publication called Scientific Data and is open access.

sdata20141-f5[1]

Color scheme: D0 (yellow) = abnormally dry; D1 (orange) = moderate drought, D4 (red) is extreme drought.

h/t to Marc Morano and source: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2014/05/fraction-of-globe-in-drought-1982-2012.html

The open access drought graph paper: http://www.nature.com/articles/sdata20141

Global integrated drought monitoring and prediction system

Scientific Data (2014) doi:10.1038/sdata.2014.1

Abstract

Drought is by far the most costly natural disaster that can lead to widespread impacts, including water and food crises. Here we present data sets available from the Global integrated drought monitoring and prediction system (GIDMaPS), which provides drought information based on multiple drought indicators. The system provides meteorological and agricultural drought information based on multiple satellite-, and model-based precipitation and soil moisture data sets. GIDMaPS includes a near real-time monitoring component and a seasonal probabilistic prediction module. The data sets include historical drought severity data from the monitoring component, and probabilistic seasonal forecasts from the prediction module. The probabilistic forecasts provide essential information for early warning, taking preventive measures, and planning mitigation strategies. GIDMaPS data sets are a significant extension to current capabilities and data sets for global drought assessment and early warning. The presented data sets would be instrumental in reducing drought impacts especially in developing countries. Our results indicate that GIDMaPS data sets reliably captured several major droughts from across the globe.

 

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65 thoughts on “Interesting graph – Fraction of the Globe in Drought: 1982-2012

  1. Nice graphic.
    El Nino fingerprint? Looks to be a bit downhill as well; I Wonder what the previous 30 years shows?

  2. Well, this agrees with AR5. There you have it, I guess. There’s been no increase in global drought.

  3. “Piltdown” Mann will shortly begin savagely attacking these researchers.

  4. The droughts are in the pipeline. They’ve been pining for the fjords, but are ready to bust out any time.

  5. The downward trend seems to be mainly visible in the two least severe categories with the most severe being fairly steady.

    In other words, it seems like the total area between regions that are drought free and regions in exceptional drought are tightening up. There’s been some ideas about CO2 being a major driver in the trend by enhancing rainfall (and the biosphere), though we would need data that goes further back than this.

  6. If the planet gets cold from lack of adequate oceanic recharge, those droughts will come back.

  7. So, no increase in droughts, floods, hurricanes, cyclones, famines, plagues, etc, etc, etc…

    Isn’t it revealing that we are getting so much real (ie not simulated) data that shows there is basically no discernible trend in our climate whatsoever, and yet the alarmists are squealing like stuck pigs that we’re all going to die by 2050, or sometime in the indeterminate future?

    Observation trumps models at every juncture.

  8. I wonder if Pinatubo in 1991, even though it cooled the Earth, also caused an increase in drought.

  9. Anthony, a correction: D0 (yellow) = abnormally dry; D1 (orange) = moderate drought

    [fixed mod]

  10. Question:

    Wouldn’t that be the 1998 La Nina that’s standing out, not the 1997 El Nino ??

    Otherwise what happened to the theory of La Nina’s causing less rainfall ??

  11. Go HOme says:
    “My guess is they would say, the droughts are hidden in the deep oceans.”

    Well, people have died of thirst while lost at sea…

  12. Well nothing new there. The incidence of droughts of all intensities is going down, which is exactly what one would expect in a warming world.

    Nothing to see here (but this new information) so move along now.

  13. “Unless my eyes deceive me, it looks like there is no net change in global drought area for 30 years.”

    Actually, It looks to me like there is a very slight decline.

  14. “Unless my eyes deceive me, it looks like there is no net change in global drought area for 30 years.”

    Hey, you have not been paying attention. You just don’t know how to correctly interpret the “science”. Let’s try :

    Even extreme drought areas are experiencing increasing precipitation. This is consistent with projections of future climate as the world warms. It’s the new normal.

    Children in future generations just won’t know what a desert is.

    If the current trend continues there will be no drought areas left by the end of the 21st century.
    Certain species that are adapted to dry and drought conditions will be pushed to extinction. Biodiversity will suffer.

    We must act NOW.

  15. @ SIGINT EX says:
    May 22, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Interesting & depressing link but a great insight into the psyche of the alarmist

    Also so ironic… the people who refuse to look at data calling those who do look at data anti-science. What could be more anti-science than that? Their ability for introspection is zero.

  16. philincalifornia says:
    Wouldn’t that be the 1998 La Nina that’s standing out, not the 1997 El Nino ??
    Otherwise what happened to the theory of La Nina’s causing less rainfall ??

    It depends where you live,Phil. It may surprise you to find out that what applies to californian weather does not automatically apply to the wholes world’s climate.

  17. I added some Horizontal lines to the graph:

    I’d guess the D0 and D1 rankings have diminished 25% over the thirty years. The D2 and D3 diminished to a smaller degree, but appear to certainly be less.

  18. noaaprogrammer says: The El Nino of 1997 stands out.

    Also a peak matching Mt Pinatubo eruption. Volcanoes cause drought , that’s a new one.

  19. Do these data have the NASA seal of approval? If the graph didn’t come from modeled data or hasn’t been properly adjusted to correct for inconsistencies with model forecasts, then it is not to be trusted. Please disregard! /sarc

  20. Steve Keohane says:
    I added some Horizontal lines to the graph:

    Good idea. Definitely looks like 90’s was a dry decade.

    Periods of slightly higher drought seem to run for about 18mo each time.

    What’s the archiving policy of this new journal? It’s called “Science data” it’s open access, I don’t see any data.

  21. Pamela Gray says:
    May 22, 2014 at 7:23 pm
    If the planet gets cold from lack of adequate oceanic recharge, those droughts will come back.
    ++++++
    I’m with you Pamela: And I think the data correlates well… in the drought follows the temperature… which makes sense.

  22. The 1982 start date may be the best for a “planet” wide presentation. There are many regional studies that reach back further. For example, near Charlottesville:

    http://www.cvillepedia.org/mediawiki/index.php/Worst_drought_of_record

    Mention is made at the above of a drought in 1976-77. The drought impacted the northwest part of the US also. The Washington State North Cascade Highway – usually closed in winter – did not close that winter. Lack of snow was blamed on the drought.

    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Passes/NorthCascades/closurehistory.htm

    The link’s FAQ page – see Q.#5 – mentions the drought.

  23. Everybody know that they hide deep in the sea. But they’ll come out with a vengeance \sarc

  24. Good Point above:
    Louis says:
    May 22, 2014 at 8:40 pm
    ……
    Well, people have died of thirst while lost at sea…

    Nature is complicated enough for humans not to understand that we only are humans and not God

  25. The trend is small but distinct: a declining trend for global drought overall, from ’82 to present.
    At the same time, atmospheric CO2 (plant food) has increased about 50 – 60 ppm, aiding the greening of desert, arid high plains, and all flora world wide. More CO2 helps plants grow, even if available moisture doesn’t increase.

    It is additional anecdotal evidence that more atmospheric CO2 is a good thing for planet earth and all its denizens!

  26. Greg says:
    May 22, 2014 at 9:04 pm
    philincalifornia says:
    Wouldn’t that be the 1998 La Nina that’s standing out, not the 1997 El Nino ??
    Otherwise what happened to the theory of La Nina’s causing less rainfall ??

    It depends where you live,Phil. It may surprise you to find out that what applies to californian weather does not automatically apply to the wholes world’s climate.
    ===========================

    No, I’m a real scientist. I wasn’t going by the “looking out of my window” method. I was thinking globally – as is generally thought to be the case with El Ninos and La Ninas, as I understand it.

  27. Yes but drought is hidding in the deep ocean! It will bubble up causing the Earth to dry. We need to spend a few billion to model it now!

  28. Your eyes do deceive you. The trend is clearly downwards. Small …. but definitely downwards.

  29. Basic Clausius–Clapeyron equation for water vapor in a typical atmospheric condition:
    warmer is wetter, colder is drier.

    Thus one on the whole, it’s better warm, than cold. Things grow better with water and warmth.

    I love my malt and barley products: Ale Smith IPA (San Diego), and Deschutes Black Butte Porter(Bend, OR). That is all a man needs. (besides a warm, non-nagging woman.)

  30. Clearly a very significant downtrend. By eyeometry(no numeric data available) there will be zero drought in about 180 years. This is huge.

  31. But, But, But …
    When it rains, it comes in deluges and does not soak into the ground. Even though it is raining, it just runs off and the Earth is actually getting dryer. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming will not be denied. Skeptics just do not understand THE SCIENCE.

    /sarc

  32. Jer0me says: May 22, 2014 at 7:27 pm
    So, no increase in droughts, floods, hurricanes, cyclones, famines, plagues, etc, etc, etc…

    Isn’t it revealing that we are getting so much real (ie not simulated) data that shows there is basically no discernible trend in our climate whatsoever, and yet the alarmists are squealing like stuck pigs that we’re all going to die by 2050, or sometime in the indeterminate future?
    =====================================================================
    Indeed! A simple but overwhelming fact.

    Also, If there was (and there is not) a reduction in precipitation, it would have to be substantial to be noticed as the world’s vegetation at 400 ppm CO2 is just as robust and green with about 12 to 15% less water, then it would be at 280ppm.

    Once again the basic observation is that CO2 is net beneficial, by a large margin.

  33. Unless my eyes deceive me, it looks like there is no net change in global drought area for 30 years.

    I think your eyes are fine.

    The fact is that the period covered by the above paper almost exactly matches the recent global warming and the “HOTTEST DECADE EVAAAAAH”. Is this not real experimentation V observations? Our co2 out, global droughts not getting worse? If this is correct then is this not a fail (so far)?

    Here are some more results.

    Letter To Nature – 11 September 2012
    Justin Sheffield et al
    Little change in global drought over the past 60 years
    …….Previous assessments of historic changes in drought over the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries indicate that this may already be happening globally. In particular, calculations of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) show a decrease in moisture globally since the 1970s with a commensurate increase in the area in drought that is attributed, in part, to global warming4, 5……..Here we show that the previously reported increase in global drought is overestimated because the PDSI uses a simplified model of potential evaporation7 that responds only to changes in temperature and thus responds incorrectly to global warming in recent decades. More realistic calculations, based on the underlying physical principles8 that take into account changes in available energy, humidity and wind speed, suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years. The results have implications for how we interpret the impact of global warming on the hydrological cycle and its extremes, and may help to explain why palaeoclimate drought reconstructions based on tree-ring data diverge from the PDSI-based drought record in recent years9, 10.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7424/full/nature11575.html

    —————

    Abstract – 16 October 2012
    Changes in the variability of global land precipitation
    Fubao Sun et al
    [1] In our warming climate there is a general expectation that the variability of precipitation (P) will increase at daily, monthly and inter-annual timescales. Here we analyse observations of monthlyP (1940–2009) over the global land surface using a new theoretical framework that can distinguish changes in global Pvariance between space and time. We report a near-zero temporal trend in global meanP. Unexpectedly we found a reduction in global land P variance over space and time that was due to a redistribution, where, on average, the dry became wetter while wet became drier. Changes in the P variance were not related to variations in temperature. Instead, the largest changes in P variance were generally found in regions having the largest aerosol emissions. Our results combined with recent modelling studies lead us to speculate that aerosol loading has played a key role in changing the variability of P.
    Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 39, Issue 19
    DOI: 10.1029/2012GL053369

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL053369/abstract

  34. The abnormally dry and moderate drought appear slight downward trend: this is good. These areas are likely to produce food . Areas of extreme drought probably produce little or no food , so any increase or decrease is probably irrelevant. Increase in Co2 and decrease in abnormally dry and moderate drought is likely to increase food production in poor areas where poor nutrition is a problem and is likely to produce massive benefits.

  35. Greg says:
    May 22, 2014 at 8:59 pm
    “Children in future generations just won’t know what a desert is.”
    ——————————————-
    Think of the rattle-snakes, and the little baby scorpions….

  36. We MUST do something to save our deserts from CO2 induced climate change. Future farming will certainly change it’s delicate ecosystem. Enormous rain shades will have to be constructed to preserve desert habitat and wildlife. It would be easier to just stop producing CO2. /sarc off. GK

  37. To SIGINT EX, Jeff L:

    Paul Farrell is one of the most obvious Marxists at the
    Marketwatch Web site. IMHO, he is only exceeded in
    his Marxist tendencies at that site by Rex Nutting, whose
    name seems to say it all.

  38. “Drought is by far the most costly natural disaster that can lead to widespread impacts”???
    Where is the proof for this statement. Sure agriculture will be affected locally but food for the masses can be imported. Sure the lawn browns when most of the available water is diverted to ag and environmental reasons but I’m pretty sure cold and snow have a much greater deleterious effect on economy/GDP, if “cost” is the basis for the argument. Just look at CNBC and everyone still blames the bad winter for failure of the jobs/housing/retail/restaurants/economy to bounce back from the recession of 5 years ago.

  39. SIGINT EX,

    LOL

    >>… Environmental economist Bill McKibben wrote in Foreign Policy, it may “already be too late” to stop the impact of our climate change.

    McKibben an economist? Really? I thought he wrote the “Talk Of The Town” column for The New Yorker? Economists everywhere should wonder why they had to sweat blood to earn their titles.

  40. Obviously the data in this graph needs some adjusting. Like the temperature record, these data don’t understand the nuance.
    That is, the nuance embodied in the HHCMs.
    (High Holy Climate Models)

  41. Unless my eyes deceive me, it looks like there is no net change in global drought area for 30 years.

    =====================================================================
    To my (admittedly) untrained eyes it looks like droughts have been trending down.
    Do they have a graph that includes media coverage and Alarmist hype?
    I’m sure that’s gone up.

  42. Abstract

    Drought is by far the most costly natural disaster that can lead to widespread impacts, including water and food crises.

    =======================================================================
    WOW! Just think how much worse it would be with Man-made Carbon Pollution!

  43. norah4you says:
    May 22, 2014 at 10:55 pm
    ” we only are humans and not God”

    Speak for yourself !!

  44. philjourdan says:
    May 23, 2014 at 3:52 am
    @Mario Lento
    Less worse? Sounds like more better. If nothing else, Climate science has given us all sorts of new expressions. ;-)
    ++++++
    As soon as I hit send, even though, I was being sardonic, I regretted that my post was imprecise. It just sounded so good to me –and it was the first time I posted first –and the post ended up staying first.
    So you’re correct.

    PS – I tend to think that a warm climate tends to be more moist, and drought tend to be fewer. The data seems to indicate that correlation. The alarmist crowd who blame drought (and anything else that is not good) on global warming just don’t understand their shrill blathering.

  45. When the true agenda is increasing State power and redistributing wealth, trying to apply logic and rigor to the warmista’s “science” is a waste of valuable energy, and plays into their hands, actually.

  46. No sign that the ‘infamous’ Australian so-called Millenium Drought which started in 2001 and lasted to at least 2006 in most areas was anything out of the ordinary globally (despite the area involved) . Funny, I could have sworn many Australian climate scientists (and professional climate alarmists like Tim Flannery) were saying publicly that it was the worst (= most widespread/intense) drought since 1900 and that it could easily last for decades (which of course it didn’t). The now disbanded Federal Department of the Environment was printing glossy reports to that effect. Of course Flim Flannery has not had the decency to apologize, he’s too busy doing a travelogue series in China for the ABC.

  47. “””””…..brians356 says:

    May 23, 2014 at 10:28 am

    SIGINT EX,

    LOL

    >>… Environmental economist Bill McKibben wrote in Foreign Policy, it may “already be too late” to stop the impact of our climate change. …..”””””

    Well that is either a tautology; or an oxymoron ; your choice.

    It is ALWAYS too late to stop the impact of our climate change.

    Impact happens NOW, in the present.

    Future impact will happen in the FUTURE and be a consequence of the climate changes between now and then; but by then, it will be too late to stop.

  48. Extra droughty and dry
    Is the nervous cough
    From those who traffic
    In pure bollocks…
    When the rain falls not
    Or comes in sheets
    Either way it’s a crime
    To the bleats of sheep…

  49. “My guess is they would say, the droughts are hidden in the deep oceans.”
    Explains why sea level rise has decreased while oceans have absorbed so many atomic bombs worth of energy.
    Beat Trenberth to the next fantasy.

  50. We see a gradually decreasing total land area that is in drought. The alarmists see that (as a percentage of the total) the drought area that is classified as “Extreme” is increasing.

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