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Storms on US Plains stir memories of the 'Dust Bowl' - U.S. News

Residents of the Great Plains over the last year or so have experienced storms reminiscent of the 1930s Dust Bowl. Experts say the new storms have been brought on by a combination of historic drought, a dwindling Ogallala Aquifer underground water supply, climate change and government farm programs. 

Nearly 62 percent of the United States was gripped by drought, as of Dec. 25, and "exceptional" drought enveloped parts of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 

There is no relief in sight for the Great Plains at least through the winter, according to Drought Monitor forecasts, which could portend more dust clouds. 

A wave of dust storms during the 1930s crippled agriculture over a vast area of the Great Plains and led to an exodus of people, many to California, dramatized in John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath." 

While few people believe it could get that bad again, the new storms have some experts worried that similar conditions -- if not the catastrophic environmental disaster of the 1930s -- are returning to parts of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado. 

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2013 at 03:22:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Storms on US Plains stir memories of the 'Dust Bowl' - U.S. News

Farming practices have vastly improved since the 1930s. Farmers now leave plant remnants on the top of the soil and less soil is exposed, to preserve moisture and prevent erosion. 

Oh, really. That's OK then.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 02:59:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Short grass prairie should never have been plowed.  Precipitation is too low to support cropping.  With depopulation, dwindling economy, depletion of the Oglalla Aquifer and initial affects of Global Warming the region is starting to enter terminal decline as an field crop agriculturally productive area.  

Alternative land use policies have been suggested, the Buffalo Commons being the best known.  It has also been pointed out the region is would be a good place for establishing renewable energy production.  (No cite.)  Although attitudes are slowly changing, to date the inhabitants are too set in their ways to make a change.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 12:49:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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