“2012 Drought Rivals Dust Bowl”

Climate change skeptics ought to take a look at the Weather Channel story accompanying the above headline:

This year’s drought ranks among the 10 largest drought areas of the past century, the National Climatic Data Center is expected to announce today.

Preliminary data computed from the Palmer Drought Severity Index shows that 54.6 percent of the contiguous 48 states was in drought at the end of June, the highest percentage since December 1956, and the sixth-highest peak percentage on record.

Monday’s State of the Climate drought report from NCDC is expected to show that since 1895, only the extraordinary droughts of the 1930s and 1950s have covered more land area than the current drought.

And by a slight margin, the current drought actually covers more area than the famous 1936 drought, though other droughts in the Dust Bowl years – particularly the extreme drought of 1934 – still rank higher….

[W]ith July typically being the hottest month of the year, the drought may yet worsen. Note that among the top ten largest “severe” droughts on record, five of them peaked in the months of July and August.

As the Daily Beast noted in its headline blurbing this story: “Yikes.”

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.