NOAA asks: What caused the 2012 Central Great Plains Drought?
NOAA’s answer: The central Great Plains drought during May-August of 2012 resulted mostly from natural variations in weather.
• Moist Gulf of Mexico air failed to stream northward in late spring as cyclone and frontal activity were shunted unusually northward.
• Summertime thunderstorms were infrequent and when they did occur produced little rainfall.
• Neither ocean states nor human-induced climate change, factors that can provide long-lead predictability, appeared to play significant roles in causing severe rainfall deficits over the major corn producing regions of central Great Plains.
Click here for more information about the report, the Drought Task Force, or the Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program
UPDATE: here’s Seth’s latest: (h/t Sam)
By SETH BORENSTEIN | Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Last year’s huge drought was a freak of nature that wasn’t caused by man-made global warming, a new federal science study finds.
Scientists say the lack of moisture usually pushed up from the Gulf of Mexico was the main reason for the drought in the nation’s midsection.
Thursday’s report by dozens of scientists from five different federal agencies looked into why forecasters didn’t see the drought coming. The researchers concluded that it was so unusual and unpredictable that it couldn’t have been forecast.
“This is one of those events that comes along once every couple hundreds of years,” said lead author Martin Hoerling, a research meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Climate change was not a significant part, if any, of the event.”