5th August - Today's News: Drought in Vale of Evesham Worse Than 1976?

2.6mm of rain fell in Evesham yesterday, as the Evesham Journal reported anecdotal evidence that the water table in the Vale is now lower than in 1976, making this, in practical terms, the worst drought in living memory. The story doesn't seem to be available online but under the headline "Severe drought is worrying growers" Billy Byrd, from Bretforton is quoted as saying the well he uses for irrigation is the lowest it has been since it was dug 52 years ago. An unnamed relative of Mr Bryd is also reported as saying that the river level was lower than he could ever recall. However, across much of Britain there's been plenty of rain of late. On Wednesday, thunderstorms led to Yorkshire flash floods: clear-up operation underway whilst up to 5,000 lightning bolts strike eastern England in summer storms. Not even had a rumble of thunder here since mid June and the last proper storm was back in April .... !

And this year produced a record breaking spring due to warm weather

Heatwave sizzles states across southern US and worse news as Texas drought might persist in 2012, forecasters say.

Tropical Storm Emily breaks up over Haiti whilst out in the far east, Typhoon Muifa lashes Okinawa, approached China.

Floods, drought hit south central China

In Australia, the current warm spell has snow resorts sweating on fresh falls

Arctic 'tipping point' may not be reached according to a new Danish study, which also reaffirms evidence - based on beach ridges indicating where waves hit the shore - for significant parts of the Arctic Ocean being largely ice free up until maybe 5,000 years ago. I would question their reported comment that "driftwood cannot float across the water, it has to be ferried across the ocean on ice" though since very obviously driftwood can float across water. Although there may be unreported reasons for concluding that it was carried by sea ice. As far as a 'point of no return' goes when that's stating the obvious. If temperatures fall again then obviously the ice can return, however much may melt in the meantime. Nice to see at the end admission that polar bears survived in the past when there was much less sea ice than today. Even the so-called sceptics will like that!

Edit: subsequent to the above comments, I found a more comprehensive article on Science daily which answer some of my points: polar ice much less stable than previously thought.

Meanwhile, back to the present and Arctic ice melt near record, clears ship route to Asia, Russian agency says

New studies from KNMI and the Met Office mean pause in upper ocean warming explained

Another new study suggests that we can start slowing climate change by targetting gases other than carbon dioxide - which I certainly agree with. And maybe a reason not to target CO2 so much is the suggestion that rising carbon dioxide could reverse drying effects of higher temperature on rangelands

Interactive map of US shows how climate change will affect health

La Nina's distant effects in East Africa: droughts and floods are remote-controlled climate effects.

There is water flowing on Mars, NASA spacecraft data suggests

Did the Earth once have two moons? 'Big splat' may explain the Moon's mountainous far side

And finally, happy birthday Katy :-)


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