Severe dryness causes food and water crisis in Marshall Islands, shutdowns in Panama
Marshall Islands Ambassador Amatlain Kabua said yesterday that her country faces severe water shortages and possible food scarcity because of a devastating drought that has parched the islands for months. Meanwhile, a record drought in Panama, which depends heavily on hydroelectric power, has closed schools, limited business hours and cut back air conditioning to avoid blackouts.
Do we need a better yardstick to measure severe droughts?
After more than a decade, the U.S. Drought Monitor might be due for a tuneup. As Illinois' State Climatologist Jim Angel puts it, it's like the scene in the 1984 parody of hard rock documentaries "This Is Spinal Tap" in which heavy metal guitarist Nigel Tufnel shows off his amplifiers with volume knobs that go up to 11. Tufnel's amplifiers, he brags to the filmmaker in the spoof, give his guitars that ear-splitting "extra push off the cliff" compared with traditional amps that only reach 10. After a long, widespread U.S. drought, do the makers of the Drought Monitor need to crank up the magnitude of the worst-hit spots from D4 -- the current designation for exceptional drought -- and create a D5?
Record snow, fires and drought replace May flowers for much of the U.S.
Many Americans look forward to May as a pleasant period between the winter chill and summer heat, but the simultaneous occurrence of frigid snowstorms and scorching wildfires late last week has already made this month one for the record books.