The Times West Virginian

Life

August 14, 2012

Record heat, drought point to longer-term climate issues

(Continued)

OTTUMWA, Iowa —

The well was dry. The water table in the area had sunk to new lows, and like other homeowners in Parr, Ind., they were without water. When they sought out a well-driller to try to find water, they found that drillers across the state were booked for a week.

Six of 35 observation wells in the state have hit historic lows, said Mark Basch, chief of the state water rights department.

The Lakins, with two kids, have gone almost two weeks without water.

"I think you could say it's been a trying summer," she said. "Everybody was looking for water."

In 1895, the first year of such records for the nation, the average July temperature in the contiguous states was 72.1 degrees.

Since then, average temperatures have been rising, if slowly, according to U.S. records, climbing at the rate of 1.24 degrees per century.

This year, average temperatures spiked to 77.6 — even above the long-term trends, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported last week.

At the same time that temperatures have spiked, setting records in places as far-flung as Lansing, Mich., and Greenville, S.C., the country has been hit with a spreading drought. In early August, 62 percent of the contiguous United States was under moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The heat and drought feed on each other, worsening conditions, scientists said. When the ground is wet, the water absorbs the sun's heat and expends it in evaporation; when the earth is dry in a drought, the ground simply warms up.

The rising temperatures and spreading drought this year are consistent with what can be expected with the warming of the climate, said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with NOAA.

"Any given year in the future could be above or below that rising trend," Crouch said. "But if the current trend continues, the chances of years like this become greater."

Text Only
Life
  • An alternative diagnosis to ADHD: Schoolchildren need more time to move

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that in recent years, there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2011.

    July 18, 2014

  • Why it's basically impossible to delete those naked selfies you text

    If you're selling an old Android smartphone on an online auction site, you could be giving away rather more than you intend to, according to a recent investigation by anti-malware company Avast.

    July 18, 2014

  • wheat1.jpg Backlash has begun against gluten-free dieters

    The swelling ranks of Americans adopting gluten-free diets have given rise to another hot trend: people calling the whole thing a bunch of baloney.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can plants hear? Study finds that vibrations prompt some to boost their defenses

    They have no specialized structure to perceive sound as we do, but a new study has found that plants can discern the sound of predators through tiny vibrations of their leaves - and beef up their defenses in response.

    July 8, 2014

  • "A Hard Day's Night" getting better all the time

    The Beatles' classic film, "A Hard Day's Night," is getting a fab makeover for its 50th anniversary.

    July 6, 2014

  • The science of shyness

    Shy people have quite a bit to contend with - not least the word itself. 
    It has a number of different meanings, none of which are flattering. To "shy away" from something implies avoidance; to "shy" can also mean to move suddenly in fright; to "be shy of" something can mean to come up short, or be insufficient.

    June 27, 2014

  • breaking-up.jpg Thinking about breaking up? Flip a coin

    In their latest book, 'Think Like a Freak," Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner suggest that, contrary to what many people have told you in life, you should quit. That is, when things get tough, you shouldn't always tough them out and stick with it. Instead, you should quit and do so sooner rather than later.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • baby-generic.jpg For millennials, out-of-wedlock childbirth is the norm

    This month brings us yet another reminder that, for young Americans, having children outside of marriage is very much "the new normal," as The New York Times once put it.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Each glass of bubbly has at least a million reasons to drink it anytime

    So don't wait for a special occasion. Make one: a lousy day, a minor victory at the office, a tough commute home. That chilling bottle of bubbly might be just what's needed.

    June 24, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 4.52.16 PM.png Don't download these: 3 totally unnecessary apps

    There are apps to help you manage your time, your money and your health. If you have problems waking up or going to sleep, there's an app for that. But there are a few apps that absolutely no one needs.

    April 28, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Featured Ads