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The Great Drought of 2011-2012

China – Drought Shrinks Nation’s Largest Freshwater Lake 

Poyang Lake, China

China’s largest freshwater lake has shrunk to its smallest size in years due to drought, state media and officials said Thursday, endangering the ecology in the area and fishermen’s livelihoods. After a dry spell of more than a decade, Poyang Lake in east China’s Jiangxi province is drying up fast as scant rainfall has sent water levels in the Gan River — which feeds the lake — to record lows, the Xinhua news agency said. The lake’s area was 183 square kilometres (73 square miles) Thursday, an official at the local hydrological bureau told AFP — nearly half the average of 344 square kilometres recorded each year on this day since 1951.

“This year’s level is very low,” the official said, asking not to be named, adding there had been 65 percent less rainfall in the area since December compared to the average recorded at the same period over the past 60 years.

…(Terra Daily)

Texas – Worst Drought On Record

Record-setting heat and little rain in 2011 has left North Texas in a severe drought. The water level at Lake Lavon is down 12 feet. “It is a challenging time, especially to bring awareness to our consumers and businesses how critical our drought has impacted our reservoirs,” said Denise Hickey, spokesperson for the North Texas Municipal Water District. “As we’re planning to move through this drought period, we’re also planning and initiating additional strategies to bring additional sources online.”

The diminished water supply forced many counties to put residents under water restrictions indefinitely.

The Texas Forest Service says the drought may have killed as much as 10 percent of the state’s trees. That’s 500 million trees.

…(MSNBC)

Argentina – Drought May Be The Worst In 70 Years

Dry weather that’s hurting soybean and corn crops in Argentina may cause more damage than the 2008-2009 drought that was the worst in 70 years, a farming group said today, disputing a government statement. The current spell of hot, dry weather covers more area and started earlier in the season than the previous drought, the Argentine Association of Regional Consortia for Agricultural Experimentation said in an e-mailed statement today. Corn and soybean crops are suffering after weeks of low rainfall in Argentina and souther Brazil because of the La Nina weather pattern. Argentina’s soybean output plunged by almost a third to 32 million tons in the 2008-2009 season from 46.2 million tons a year earlier.

The situation is “critical” for corn in parts of Buenos Aires because of the lack of rain and lack of soil moisture, the Agriculture Ministry said in its weekly crop report today. The corn crop is 88 percent planted, soybeans are 89 percent planted and wheat is 91 percent harvested, according to the report. Argentina is the world’s second-biggest corn exporter.

…(Bloomberg)

Mexico – Severe Drought Leaves 2.6 Million Without Water

Mexico’s social development secretary says an estimated 600,000 households suffered property damage or crop losses due to an unusual combination of floods, drought and freezing weather in 2011. Heriberto Felix Guerra says the drought has been so bad that about 2.6 million people in about 1,650 villages and towns in northern Mexico do not even have drinking water. Felix Guerra’s agency has helped truck in water to those communities.

He said that hundreds of other communities in the country’s southeast had suffered persistent flooding. He said in a statement Sunday that the extreme weather appeared to be caused by climate change, and predicted that such natural disasters will become worse in coming years.

…(Associated Press)

Israel – Facing Official Drought for Year 8 

Israel is being hit with another official drought for the eighth year in a row, according to the country’s Water Authority. Figures released Monday by the government’s executive branch in charge of Israel’s water economy classified this year as “arid.” At present, Israel’s water supply stands at roughly 2 billion cubic meters.

The winter season, which normally should be filled with rain, has measured up to only 72 percent of the multi-year average rainfall thus far, state-run Voice of Israel radio reported.

…(Israel National)

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January 9, 2012 - Posted by | Climate | , , , , , , ,

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