15th July - Today's News: Are Soybeans Responsible for US Drought?

La Nina blamed for African drought. So it's not climate change after all!

But as drought in central US deepens - and widens, is southwestern U.S. headed for a 'perpetual drought'? If so, then this could well be climate change. And I'm reminded of a NASA study from 2005 that found tropical deforestation affects rainfall in the US and around the globe. In particular, the suggestion that:
Specifically, deforestation of Amazonia was found to severely reduce rainfall in the Gulf of Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico during the spring and summer seasons when water is crucial for agricultural productivity. Deforestation of Central Africa has a similar effect, causing a significant precipitation decrease in the lower U.S Midwest during the spring and summer and in the upper U.S. Midwest in winter and spring. Deforestation in Southeast Asia alters rainfall in China and the Balkan Peninsula most significantly.
Given the continuing drought problems in China as well (I'm not sure about the Balkans) one has to wonder. Meanwhile, link found between increased crops and deforestation in Amazon. So, ultimately, are soybeans responsible for the US drought?

And hot weather continues in the US, with another 'massive heatwave' on way; Oklahomans urged to pray while several states see record heat in June as well. Meanwhile, wildfires place several states under siege.

Woman dies, ambassador collapses as heatwave hits eastern Europe

Another heatwave scorches NW China's Xinjiang province

There are also signs that Russia could be heading for another heatwave similar to last years. Already, forest fire situation in Arkangelsk region close to critical.

Conversely, in northern Australia it's official: Territory chill sets record for books

In Colorado, hail, torrential rain strikes DIA stranding 1,000 travelers

And elsewhere in America, a new study says climate change alters Great Lakes national parks as well.

Whether this is a sign of global warming, or just coincidence, I'm not sure. But hot on the heels of shutting down a British nuclear plant, another jellyfish scourge threatens Israeli swimmers - and electricity.

Fast-shrinking Greenland glacier experienced rapid growth during cooler times. Easy come, easy go?

It was St Swithins Day yesterday, and in a strangely contradictory headline, UK rain 'could last a month' forecasters warn. Yesterday was warm and dry across most of Britain ......

Or maybe we'll have 40 days of tremors? Because also yesterday an earthquake hits English Channel. No tsunami warning issued.

Indonesians flee volcano eruption on Sulawesi

Lost landscape discovered off Scotland - could this be Atlantis? Er, no, it's 55 million years too early. Could be a small flood basalt province formed during the creation of the Atlantic though. Much closer to our time, there's speculation that stone age relics may be hidden in Western Isles seas. Not sure what the Lewis chessmen are doing there though, they are even more recent!

Just what is Manhattanhenge? And is it prove that new York was built 10,000 years ago by space aliens??????

Germany to fund new coal plants with climate change cash. Of course, coal is much safer for the publiuc than nuclear. Or is it? For example, this Chinese study concludes "The public health risk of ionising radiation released from the coal-fired energy chain ..... is about 18 times that of the nuclear energy chain." whilst in the US, the EPA failed to disclose coal ash-related health risks and a 2010 WVU-Va Tech study links water quality and cancer deaths in West Virginia coalfields. Also, this study concludes that "between roughly 6000 and 10,700 annual deaths from heart ailments, respiratory disease and lung cancer can be attributed to the 88 coalfired power plants and companies receiving public international financing." And there are, of course, a very great many more coal plants around the world.....

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