What's the Latest Development?
Drought conditions in the US are worsening to the point where research meteorologist Martin Hoerling compares it to "the blob in the old Steve McQueen movie." Sixty-one percent of the country is experiencing drought, and that number climbs to 79 percent when including areas that are seen as being "abnormally dry." Although recent storms have brought a measure of relief, experts say that the "blob" will expand deeper into northern and eastern states through the end of October.
What's the Big Idea?
The continent has experienced drought conditions before, so this particular drought can't entirely be blamed on human-created climate change. However, across the planet, subtropical areas are drying out, and the drying is slowly spreading north and south, which is consistent with existing climate change models. A drought that affected the western US earlier this century fit the pattern, and was the worst seen in that region in 800 years. However, given current projections, researcher Christopher Williams says that what's coming "could make that drought look positively moist."
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