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I'm not a climatologist, i'm adequate at reading a weather map, but, it strikes me that
Kansas, Oklahoma, and chunks of Nebraska, Texas and New Mexico are in a full bore
drought and Dust Bowl.

I made a kind of off the cuff comment about Kansas in a dustbowl and a comment
followup included this video

and all i could think was

I had seen some news blips that some fellas farm had blown some 200 miles east
and that farmers in TX and Oklahoma were slaughtering cattle because they
couldn't afford to feed them.

but what hit my radar was dozens of cars getting wrecked in a dust storm.

April showers?

Not in Kansas this year.

In fact, there has been precious little precipitation of any kind in Wichita in 2014. Just one year – 1936 – has had a drier opening four months since such record keeping began in 1889.

The 1.99 inches of precipitation recorded in 2014 was “topped” only by the 1.54 inches recorded in 1936, which turned out to be the heart of the Dust Bowl.

Several incidents from recent weeks around Kansas have resembled scenes from the Dust Bowl era:

• A 30-year-old Great Bend man was killed on April 28 when his Cadillac Escalade ran into the back of a semi that had stopped on U.S. 56 in Barton County west of Great Bend after several accidents were triggered by blowing dust and near-zero visibility.

• Vehicles in the ditch along U.S. 56 appeared stranded in drifts in late April – but they were drifts of fine dirt, not snow.

• Highways in northwest Kansas also were shut down in late April due to poor visibility caused by blowing dust.

Read more here:

Let me get this right,  Kansas is a half inch above the heart of the dust bowl?

That means reduced wheat, reduced Corn, reduced soy, expensive beef,  

and the water levels are so low in wichita falls they are going to be recycling
toilet water to drink.

That's not going to be cheap.

Originally posted to patbahn on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kansas & Missouri Kossacks.


will a dust bowl cause people to believe in climate change?

22%20 votes
60%54 votes
16%15 votes

| 89 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you for the report. (11+ / 0-)

    According to what I've seen and read (PBS documentary on the Dust Bowl, Joe Romm at Climate Progress), the Dust Bowl was caused partly by lack of precipitation, but also by destructive farming and grazing methods that exposed the topsoil too much.  Those, we have improved.  

    And of course there's irrigation now.

    But in terms of precipitation parts of the Southwest are drier than they were during the Dust Bowl.  And California is a) fully populated, and b) also in drought.  If we have another Dust Bowl, there's no California to escape to.

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:30:48 AM PDT

    •  P.S. -- From the linked article: (10+ / 0-)
      Now human-caused climate change is kicking in, heating up and drying out the region. I’ve written many times about how temperature increase, even without a precipitation decrease, will lead to more drought. That is because it dries up the soil, and reduces the late spring snowpack that many Western states need as a water reservoir during the summer dry season. And remember, the Earth has warmed only a bit more than 1°F since the catastrophic Dust Bowl — and we are poised to warm perhaps 10 times that this century if we stay anywhere near our current greenhouse gas emissions path.
      Has it really sunk in with people that we're on course for a 10 degree Farenheit increase in temperature this century?  I don't think so.

      This David Roberts talk is a good primer (and scary):

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:42:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Our current chemical dependent agrochemical (9+ / 0-)

      model is wrecking the soil. Real soil which is enriched by time honored methods of organic amendments and cover cropping has a mini-herd of tiny organisms which are the heart of nutritious food and fertility.

      The current agrochemical industry grows commodities not food. The UN has published reports on the unsustainability of this biotech monoculture sssault on our soil and predicting famine at the eventual collapse.

      The corporations will continue to spoil our resources for their short-term profits because all they care about is their money.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:44:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's what I found interesting (12+ / 0-)

      Part of the "solution" to the Dust Bowl was to pump up an ancient aquifer and start using if for irrigation.  At the time that the show was made (around 2004), they had "twenty years" left.  

      My calculations suggest the aquifer will be dry within ten years.

      One farmer expressed his concerns about how his children and grandchildren will look back on what was done, and say, "They used our DRINKING WATER to grow corn for CATTLE?"?  

      •  In Santa Fe, New Mexico (6+ / 0-)

        water from the Rio Grande is used for umpteen golf course. That of course deprives farmers and towns down the river of water that they really NEED. And these golf course are used by the 1%.

        "Just when you think you've lost everything, you find out you can lose a little more." Bob Dylan

        by weezilgirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:48:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  until the 99% come up rioting (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BusyinCA, G2geek

          yeah,  the 1% better realize that a zeriscape golf course
          is the answer to starring in a riot.

          •  The people who are suffering (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            indubitably, G2geek

            are Spanish. I lived out there for 10 years and participated in the village life. I learned how to garden at 6k altitude and watered my garden and orchard from the acequia that came down from the mountains.

            I don't know if an effort would succeed there. The rich people are totally entrenched in the area. They control the real estate. They have bought restaurants, homes, etc. in Santa only to tear them down and build their idea of a Spanish type home. Then lease these out to more 1%ers. It is a real mess for the people who settled there. They've lost their homes that has been passed down for 100 years.

            Taos is affected by the same kind of people that have devoured Santa Fe. I lived 17 miles from Taos and watched how much it changed.

            From being there I don't know if a rebellion would work. The city officials are in the pockets of the 1%ers. I wish I could be more positive about it, but I can't.

            "Just when you think you've lost everything, you find out you can lose a little more." Bob Dylan

            by weezilgirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:27:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  But There's Nowhere Near the Population of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      farmers is there? Certainly not percentages, compared to the 1930's. 98% of Americans aren't farmers now.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:14:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Destructive farming and grazing practices were primary causes of the Dust Bowl.

      In addition, Oklahoma isn't fully engulfed in record drought. Instead, the drought is affecting areas which are semi-arid and have been semi-arid for generations, even though the wheat farmers and cattle ranchers have always refused to acknowledge that.

      Those areas most affected border New Mexico, Colorado and West Texas.

      I'm in the east, pretty far east, and while our rainfall is somewhat down, we are still getting plenty of rain. We just had 2? weeks straight of rain, in fact, and if clouds are any indication, we'll get some more anyway. Our climate has always been drastically different from the western part of the state.

      This isn't to deny the effects of climate change, but that seems to be affecting us more in terms of the jet stream which, afaict, has moved north, meaning we have far fewer tornadoes and severe thunderstorms than we used to have.

      It is to say those wheat farmers, cattle ranchers, etc., have always been fools to deny that part of the state is semi-arid and, in some cases, downright desert, and that lack of precipitation has always been a problem there.

      •  I live in southeastern Oklahoma (5+ / 0-)

        where we got enough rain to sustain our cattle, our farms and our hay crops. We don't have that rain anymore. So it isn't just the "arid" deserts as you say. It is beginning to affect more of Oklahoma every day.

        "Just when you think you've lost everything, you find out you can lose a little more." Bob Dylan

        by weezilgirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:53:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I live relatively close to you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          We've had 2 weeks of rain---good rain, everything from pouring rain to gentle rains interspersed with calm periods. My gardens are looking fabulous.

          And there are periods of drought, yes, but nothing like the western parts of the state, which are suffering catastrophic drought.

          Our climate is definitely changing. I'm not convinced we can yet predict what that change will mean for our area, however. The only thing I'm convinced of at this point is that the jet stream is not behaving the same.

          •  My gauge (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            indubitably, patbahn, blueoasis, G2geek

            is our ponds. They go dry so much quicker than they did when I was a child. I've been gone 50 years and was appalled when I   looked at the ponds here on the ranch.

            I'm lucky enough to have a very deep and very consistent well so I water from it. I don't depend on the rain but a lot of people here do. They worry about how much their electricty bill will increase if they run their pumps as much as they need to. Drought affects more than farmers and ranchers. I didn't think much about it until I moved back.

            "Just when you think you've lost everything, you find out you can lose a little more." Bob Dylan

            by weezilgirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:18:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I lived in Norman in the late 90's (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              freerad, patbahn, G2geek

              One year, we had a horrible drought---actually, afaic, it was drought the entire time I was there---and record breaking heat. Foundations were crumbling everywhere because the ground was shrinking. Great cavernous gulleys were opening in front yards, etc. Air conditioning simply didn't work because the buildings and ground were so hot that there was simply no way to cool them.

              No one would go out in the day because it was so hot and dry, but once the sun set, everyone poured out of their houses to go to the grocery, do errands, even mow yards.

              I was fortunate that I didn't have gardens because there were so many restrictions on water use and no rain. Several years before, I'd had the unwitting smarts to plant a perennial hibiscus under my only air conditioner, and that plant thrived! Bloomed all summer---the only living plant for miles around.

              A lot of trees died that summer. It was sad.

              •  I am bout 4 hours from Norman. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I remember the drought. I was in New Mexico and my friends would relate  the horror stories when they called.

                I bet that hibiscus did thrive.

                "Just when you think you've lost everything, you find out you can lose a little more." Bob Dylan

                by weezilgirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:28:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It was crazy. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  patbahn, G2geek

                  Within a year of the first giant tornado.

                  That was when I first began understanding what all the global warming hooha was about.

                  •  I was driving on I=35 (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    indubitably, patbahn, G2geek

                    going to New Mexico the afternoon of the tornado. I got on I-40 and the traffic was unreal. I found myself driving 90 next to tractor trailers. We could see the entire thing building and getting blacker by the second.I had my radio on CBS and I could hear Gary England telling people to get below the ground. Now that scared me! We all ended up in Clinton and I made it on to my house in New Mexico the next day. Of course I watched the t.v. most of the night.

                    I was scared but not as scared as I was when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw 3 tornadoes behind me. We outran them because they turned left towards the airport. Had they not turned north, I don't know what I would have done.

                    If people do not believe in global  warning now, will they ever?

                    "Just when you think you've lost everything, you find out you can lose a little more." Bob Dylan

                    by weezilgirl on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 02:56:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  i lived in norman in the zero's (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I used to tell people the water wars would be worse
                then the oil wars.

                We put in 9 rain barrels and made the yard a
                green paradise.  

                Sold the house and the new owners tore them all out.

  •  Drought in that area (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, indubitably, weezilgirl

    is very common, and has repeated many times.

    Two things will prevent the scenes witnessed in the 30s.

    Firstly, the agricultural practises are completely different now. It was the removal of the grasslands and introduction of a poorly understood wheat mono-culture that was the main cause of the problems of soil erosion. That has changed substantially.

    Also, the farmers in that area have learned how to extract water from the aquifer. So while there might be little rain, agriculture will not stop ... the land will not be left bare to blow away.

    The aquifer has problems of its own, but hasn't run dry yet.

    Despite all of that, prolonged drought will cause problems for the residents and farmers in those areas, but not a repeat of the Dust Bowl.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:37:11 AM PDT

    •  Twigg, I must disagree (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, twigg, jasan, mollyd, patbahn, G2geek

      Modern man has not the problems of nature. It is hubris to think so but we continue to do that.

      Please see my above comment about the health of the soil and monoculture.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:45:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think there is a word "mastered" missing (5+ / 0-)

        from your comment, but I get the drift.

        I was answering the simple question of whether or not the current drought will see a repeat of the Dust Bowl.

        The answer, quite simply, is that it will not.

        That is not to suggest that the growing effects of climate change will not necessitate radical changes in the agriculture of the region.

        It was not the "mono-culture" per se that caused the problems in the 30s, but the agricultural methods, combined with high winds and a lack of rain.

        Mono-culture could be seen as undesirable from a number of other well-considered viewpoints, most of which I would have no argument with, but the present situation is not equivalent to the 30s.

        Where I agree 100% is with the statement that Man's hubris could very easily prevent quality solutions being found in a timely manner. Indeed, we are fast running out of time.

        "Yes, the Earth was destroyed, but for a moment there we created massive shareholder value"

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:15:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  twigg, Excellent comment! (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          twigg, patbahn, BusyinCA, G2geek
          "Yes, the Earth was destroyed, but for a moment there we created massive shareholder value"
          The thing is we do not know what is going to happen. We've had models of the effects of climate change; however, we are still getting surpised by effects we had not anticipated.

          We may not call it a Dust Bowl, but the collapse of agrochemical agriculture is being predicted by the UN. Likely it will earn a name all its own.

          Thanks for excusing my missed word! Master is an excellent choice!

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:42:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The thing is (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            occupystephanie, G2geek

            that I usually agree with all of these environmental Diaries.

            The problem I have is that we need to be so very careful of the terminology we use because that is how we will all speak the same language, and formulate solutions.

            So in this case, the current drought is just the weather, because it is a single data point. If it can be shown to be part of a trend, and it possibly can, then it could be attributed to other influences.

            The other danger is that there will likely NOT be another Dust Bowl, and the antis will point to what happened in the 30s and say "See, it's not that bad", when in fact it is really a great deal worse.

            So I'm not fighting you, I agree with you, but I get a bit "picky" about the terms :)

            I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
            but I fear we will remain Democrats.

            Who is twigg?

            by twigg on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:46:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Not yet, but Joe Romm states that we may face (8+ / 0-)

      permanent Dust-Bowlification if we persist on our current course.

      Precipitation patterns are expected to shift, expanding the dry subtropics. What precipitation there is will probably come in extreme deluges, resulting in runoff rather than drought alleviation. Warming causes greater evaporation and, once the ground is dry, the Sun’s energy goes into baking the soil, leading to a further increase in air temp- erature. That is why, for instance, so many temperature records were set for the United States in the 1930s Dust Bowl; and why, in 2011, drought-stricken Texas saw the hottest summer ever recorded for a US state. Finally, many regions are expected to see earlier snowmelt, so less water will be stored on mountain tops for the summer dry season. Added to natural climatic variation, such as the El Niño–La Niña cycle, these factors will intensify seasonal or decade-long droughts. Although the models don’t all agree on the specifics, the overall drying trends are clear.


      According to a 2009 report of the US Global Change Research Program, warming over mid-latitude land masses, such as the continental United States, is predicted to be higher than the forecast average global warming: much of the inland United States faces a rise of between 5 °C and 6 °C on the current emissions path (that is, ‘business as usual’) by the century’s end, with a substantial fraction of that warming occurring by mid-century.

      A 2007 analysis of 19 climate projections estimated that levels of aridity comparable to those in the Dust Bowl could stretch from Kansas to California by mid-century.

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:52:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  they tore up all the hedgerows. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg, G2geek

      pretty bad idea now.

  •  Chemicals, Fracking, Global Warming, etc. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In the end, a big part of this is that we have set up so many contributing factors for what is going on.

    We over-chemical the soil and we end up with topsoil that isn't as rich as prior... we talk about the loss of bees, but the loss of other micro-ant life is starting to wreck havoc.

    We've started widespread fracking, putting pressure on the underground water supplies, as well as putting more heat pressure through equipment killing off the 'weed' plant life in rural areas that holds together untended ground.

    Global Warming, through heat and less rainfall is also causing real pressure.

    There are tons of other factors.   But the biggest factor is easy: us.   If we decide to do something we can get real on this in a hurry and there are ways to do that... but we aren't close to doing that at the moment

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:23:12 AM PDT

  •  I would disagree with you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and call you an expert.  It does not take a brilliant scientist (they have already weighed in) to tell us that we are screwing with the health of our planet and of our own health by burning fossil fuels like there is no tomorrow.  There is in fact a tomorrow and if we want to try to improve it, we need to get rid of all the dumbasses that claim otherwise.  Your diary is spot on and current with your first hand reporting.  All of the corporate news media has long sold out to the fossil fuel industry and whoever else they are whoring for so we won't hear much if anything from them.  We need more folks like yourself that are the experts in seeing reality to keep reporting, thanks.

    •  what amazes me is the lack of discussion (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BusyinCA, laurak, G2geek

      50 diaries blaming men for Elliott Rodgers.

      100 Diaries telling men to STFU

      200 Diaries saying "You STFU with your STFU"

      1000 Diaries praising HRC.

      2000 Diaries condemning Donald Sterling.

      me, i was just kind of commenting on how the
      Kansas budget is being affected by the drought
      and it got traction.

      So I figured i would write about it.

      •  red meat vs. emergencies. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Don't worry, there'll be hundreds of diaries about the climate catastrophe as the various weather events it spawns keep coming in.  Tornadoes, hurricanes, dust bowls, straight-line winds, etc.  

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 01:59:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In answer to your poll. (0+ / 0-)


    I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    by Words In Action on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 02:03:58 PM PDT

  •  This kind of event happens frequently in the (0+ / 0-)

    spring time during plowing of fields and subsequent soil dryout and simultaneous occurrence of high wind conditions.

    The winds on 04/28/2014 at Wichata, KS were at 24 MPH with gusts to 30 mph...

    While it is true there are serious drought conditions out on the plains....

    .....The situation is not a new "dust bust" and should not be identified as such.   Dust activity of this nature happens every year around this time because of patterns in established agriculture in states like KS and OK.

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