Drought in U.S. is terrible news for the whole wide world
Time for another episode of The drought is destroying America and now is the time to panic, our non-award-winning series about how the drought is destroying America and how now is the time to panic.
We are not alone in our assessments of the drought, though we are almost certainly the only ones to have wisely named our coverage DroughtDrought (trademark pending). Let us cite the reporting of others in our incitement to panic.
The New York Times, in its article “Widespread Drought Is Likely to Worsen“:
What is particularly striking about this dry spell is its breadth. Fifty-five percent of the continental United States — from California to Arkansas, Texas to North Dakota — is under moderate to extreme drought, according to the government, the largest such area since December 1956. An analysis released on Thursday by the United States Drought Monitor showed that 88 percent of corn and 87 percent of soybean crops in the country were in drought-stricken regions, a 10 percent jump from a week before. Corn and soybean prices reached record highs on Thursday, with corn closing just over $8.07 a bushel and soybeans trading as high as $17.49.
The Guardian notes the international impact, in “US drought could trigger repeat of global food crisis, experts warn“:
America’s drought threatens a recurrence of the 2008 global food crisis, when soaring prices set off riots and unrest to parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, food experts warn.
“What happens to the US supply has an immense impact around the world. If the price of corn rises high enough, it also pulls up the price of wheat,” he said.
He went on: “I think we are in for a very serious situation worldwide.”
Some analysts are predicting a repetition of the 2008 protests that swept across Africa and the Middle East, including countries like Egypt, because of food prices.
Well, it had been a while since we’d seen protests in that region.
National Journal has a visual guide to the drought with a number of photos (some of which we’ve shown before) depicting the impact.
How bad has the rainfall been in the center of the country? The Department of Commerce has a daily collection of weather maps. We extracted the rainfall totals for the past 90 days and animated it. Keep your eyes on the center of the country, which largely remains white. And note that green areas mark any rainfall, however light.
There is some good news: Worry not for the American entrepreneur. From that Times story:
[O]ne Indianapolis painter is making the best of the situation, according to The Indianapolis Star, by starting a new arm of his business: painting brown lawns green.
The drought is destroying America and now is the time to panic — but there’s always a buck to be made.
Get Grist in your inbox