The 2011-2012 Texas Drought: Short-Term Extremes and Long-Term Context

2,120 views

Published on

David P. Brown, Ph.D.
Regional Climate Services Director
NOAA Southern Region
March 9, 2012

Presented at the Texas Water Conservation Association annual conference.

Published in: News & Politics, Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
2,120
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
750
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
8
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The 2011-2012 Texas Drought: Short-Term Extremes and Long-Term Context

  1. U N ITE D STATE S D E PARTM E NT O F C OM M E R C E NATI O NAL O C EAN I C AN DATM O S PH E R I C AD M I N I STRATI O NThe 2011-2012 Texas Drought: Short-Term Extremes and Long-Term Context David P. Brown, Ph.D.Regional Climate Services Director NOAA Southern Region March 9, 2012 1
  2. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Overview• What has the 2011-2012 drought looked like?• Why did the drought happen?• Was it a climate change event?• (Some) recent good news
  3. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Overview• What has the 2011-2012 drought looked like?• Why did the drought happen?• Was it a climate change event?• (Some) recent good news
  4. In addition to record dryness, there was also record heat
  5. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N What has the drought looked like?• Driest 12-month period ever – October 1, 2010 thru September 30, 2011 – 2011 was driest calendar year ever (in 117 years)• Hottest summer ever (in 117 years) – June-July-August all hottest ever (in 117 years)• Agricultural losses ~ $6 billion• Acres burned due to wildfire ~ 4 million• Mandatory/voluntary water restrictions ~ 1000
  6. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Overview• What has the 2011-2012 drought looked like?• Why did the drought happen?• Was it a climate change event?• (Some) recent good news
  7. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Why did the drought happen?1. Winter season La Niña
  8. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Why did the drought happen?1. Winter season La NiñaAs John Nielsen-Gammon likes to say:El Nino = EL = Extra LiquidLa Nina = LA = Less Aguafor the Southern U.S.
  9. Strong El Nino Weak or Neutral Strong La NinaFigure courtesy of NOAA/ESRL
  10. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Why did the drought happen?1. Winter season La Niña2. “Missed” spring storms
  11. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Why did the drought happen?1. Winter season La Niña2. “Missed” spring rainfall3. Summer heat
  12. Figure courtesy of Texas A&M
  13. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Why did the drought happen?• How 2011 summer heat affected the drought – Dry soil due to low winter/spring precipitation – Very little evaporation – Fewer thunderstorms – Drier soil• And – Very little evaporation  less atmospheric cooling  hotter temperatures  more evaporation of what little water is left  greater water stress/demand• Dryness added ± 4-6 degrees F to summer heat
  14. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Why did the drought happen?1. Winter season La Niña2. “Missed” spring rainfall3. Summer heat4. Lack of tropical activity
  15. Figure courtesy of Weather Underground
  16. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Overview• What has the 2011-2012 drought looked like?• Why did the drought happen?• Was it a climate change event?• (Some) recent good news
  17. Figure courtesy of SCIPP
  18. Figure courtesy of Texas A&M
  19. Figure courtesy of SCIPP
  20. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Was it a climate change event?• Temperatures going up (since mid-1970s)• Precipitation changes uncertain• Easier to “cross the threshold” into drought – Higher temperatures  more evaporation• Future droughts likely hotter and drier
  21. NATI O NAL O CEAN I C AN D ATM O S PH ER I C ADM I NI STRATI O N Overview• What has the 2011-2012 drought looked like?• Why did the drought happen?• Was it a climate change event?• (Some) recent good news
  22. Some improvement, but much more relief still needed
  23. U N ITE D STATE S D E PARTM E NT O F C OM M E R C E NATI O NAL O C EAN I C AN D ATM O S PH E R I C AD M I N I STRATI O N Acknowledgements:John Nielsen-Gammon (Texas A&M) Victor Murphy (NOAA NWS) David P. Brown david.p.brown@noaa.gov 53

×