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Water/Droughts/Heat/Fires/Floods

June 10, 2011

Water Issue

From NPR

Thinning Snows In Rockies Tied To Global Warming

by Richard Harris

The snowpack in the Rocky Mountains has been gradually thinning over much of
the past century, and a new study attributes much of that to global warming.

This year is a notable exception — unusually heavy snowfall throughout the
Rockies this winter has caused a lot of flooding and water-management headaches
downstream. But taking the long view, the trend is toward less and less
snow.

And snowpack in the Rockies isn’t simply of interest to skiers and
snowmobilers. “Over 70 million people are dependent on this water,” says Greg
Pederson of the U.S. Geological Survey in Bozeman, Mont. “This water feeds the
Columbia River, the Missouri and the upper Colorado, as well as the Rio Grande.”

From NPR

Droughts

From Reuters

Special report – Scientists race to avoid climate change harvest

By David Fogarty

Charlie Bragg gazes across his lush fields where fat lambs are grazing, his
reservoirs filled with water, and issues a sigh of relief. Things are normal
this year and that’s a bit unusual of late.

His 7,000-acre farm near the Australian town of Cootamundra is testament to
the plight facing farmers around the globe: increasingly wilder weather is
making food production more unpredictable. It’s the new normal they must prepare
for.

Bragg’s farm in New South Wales state has been in the family for generations
and has weather records for the area stretching back 110 years. After seven
years of costly drought, the weather switched last year to unseasonably wet with
flooding rains.

<snip>

Across the globe, rising temperatures and more intense droughts, floods and
storms are forcing a rethink in how to grow food, from breeding hardier crop
varieties and changing planting times to complete genetic overhauls of
plants.

From Reuters

Heat

From Yahoo News

Half the country wilts under unrelenting heat

By STEPHEN SINGER

The persistent heat and resulting storms has been blamed for at least eight deaths from the Plains to the East Coast, where authorities prepared emergency rooms and encouraged neighbors to check on the elderly as temperatures soared above 100 in spots.

Detroit officials intentionally cut power to city hall and a convention center Thursday to prevent the municipal power system from crashing from high energy demand — even though temperatures had tapered to the 70s after two days above 90. Equipment failures knocked out power to several other government buildings and traffic lights in parts of the downtown.

From Yahoo News

Fires

From USA Today

Wildfires and drought plague portions of the southern USA.

By Doyle Rice

While tornadoes and floods have made most of the national weather headlines over
the past several weeks, raging wildfires and blistering drought also have
continued to plague huge portions of the southern tier of the USA.

Wildfires have scorched nearly 4 million acres this year,
according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. The center reports
this is more than double the average to this date and represents the highest
total acres burned in the past decade.

Most of the fires have been in bone-dry Texas, New
Mexico
and Arizona. The Wallow Fire, the second-largest in Arizona’s
history, continued to blaze with only 5% containment Thursday.

From USA Today

Floods

From Yahoo News

More rain could worsen flooding along Missouri River

By Michael Avok

Unwelcome waves of thunderstorms dumped rain and hail in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa on Thursday and heavy rain fell in Montana this week that could make historic Missouri River flooding worse.

At Omaha, Nebraska, the Missouri River reached 30.4 feet overnight, the second highest level behind the historic 1952 flood, and federal officials said a levee near Hamburg, Iowa, sustained a third partial breach on Thursday morning.

Iowa officials said they were preparing to close parts of Interstate 29 from Sioux City to Council Bluffs by late Friday, including a section that runs by Missouri Valley, Iowa.

 From Yahoo News

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