July 23, 2009

New Dust Bowl seen in western Canada prairies

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The Economist has a brief but illuminating article on how drought in western Canada’s prairies is causing farmers to say a new Dust Bowl is upon them. Rainfall is at 40 percent of normal. Around Saskatoon, hundreds of farmers already have plowed their crops under and applied for insurance.

Perhaps most chilling: As in the American West, tree-ring data and other indicators seem to suggest that the West was traditionally much drier than in recent decades, i.e., the 20th Century was anomolously wet. A return to more-normal dry conditions comes as the climate is warming in general.

Readers, if you know of other data on the West’s paleoclimate, please e-mail me at rmcclure (at) invw.org

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