June 5, 2010 |
Studies of oyster shells taken from an abandoned well confirm that English colonists who settled on Jamestown Island in 1607 unknowingly picked the worst possible time for their endeavor, arriving in the midst of a drought nearly unprecedented in local history. Research on tree rings had already shown that the colonists' arrival in Virginia coincided with the beginning of the driest seven-year period in 800 years, and their written records — albeit scanty — confirmed that they encountered near-horrific privation.
October 8, 2011 |
The cowboys rose well before dawn, stars still high in the West Texas sky. They strapped on spurs and leather chaps and climbed into their saddles for one last roundup. They didn't have to do much to rustle the cattle from the dusty flats about 220 miles west of Dallas. Hundreds of hungry black Angus and Herefords, tired of foraging for scarce, drought-dry grass, came running — drawn by the hope of feed. The cowboys herded the youngest, thinnest and weakest animals into a separate pen, some with ribs and hipbones jutting after weeks without a decent meal.
July 18, 2012 |
For many people, a trip to the supermarket has become a perilous journey of navigating aisles of expensive goods and even more expensive goods. And now, it might seem, a villain has been found - weather that has prompted drought conditions and damaged crops in much of the United States. But today's higher prices at the grocery store can't be blamed on current drought conditions. In fact, although the drought could push prices up for consumers on a variety of products, the impact won't be felt for months or even a year.
October 25, 2009 |
For centuries, Adam Abdi Ibrahim's ancestors herded cattle and goats across an unforgiving landscape in southern Somalia where few others were hearty enough to survive. This year, Ibrahim became the first in his clan to throw in the towel, abandoning his land and walking for a week to bring his family to this overcrowded refugee camp in Kenya. He's not fleeing warlords, Islamist insurgents or Somalia's 18-year civil war. He's fleeing the weather. "I give up," said the father of five as he stood in line recently to register at the camp.
September 1, 2012 |
LAKE PROVIDENCE, La. - Eight grim-faced men sit in a cramped, impromptu war room in the shadow of a levee on the Mississippi River. With laptops opened to Web pages of the National Weather Service and the Army Corps of Engineers, the group of farmers, grain brokers and barge operators is engaged in what humans have grappled with for more than 200 years in the Mississippi Delta: puzzling out the latest blow from a stubborn river that refuses every...
February 21, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Much of the West continues to struggle with unusually dry conditions, raising the prospect of another year of wildfires, stunted crops and unnavigable stretches of river in various parts of the country, according to a federal assessment. More than two-thirds of the country is under abnormally dry to exceptional drought conditions, "which, although serious, is a slight improvement since fall 2012," said the National Drought Early Warning Outlook. While the report said the drought was over in most of the nation east of the Mississippi River, the portion of the country still facing drought - most of the West and Florida - should expect it "to persist or intensify.
August 14, 2012 |
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in a bid to help drought-stricken farmers, announced it would buy up to $170 million worth of meat from affected livestock producers. The prolonged Midwest drought has driven up feed costs for livestock farmers in affected areas, and the purchase of pork, lamb, chicken and catfish will provide some relief, the USDA said in a statement. Many farmers had been selling livestock as they struggled to feed their herds and flocks, creating a temporary surplus of meat and lowering prices.
August 2, 2011 |
The people mass outside the gates hundreds deep and eerily still, many squatting in the red dirt holding emaciated children. They wait for water and medicine. But most of all, they wait for an open spot at the world's largest refugee complex. The worst drought in decades has blistered large parts of the Horn of Africa, turning it into a hellscape of deserted villages and dead rivers. The United Nations says 12 million people need emergency aid. Those hardest to reach are in Somalia, where a quarter of the country's 7.5 million people are on the move.
March 31, 2010 |
A prolonged drought punctuated by intense monsoons that partially destroyed the city's water-preservation infrastructure led to the 15th century collapse of the ancient city of Angkor, capital of the Khmer Empire, U.S. and Asian researchers reported. Researchers had suspected that water scarcity played a role in the city's demise, and the first tree-ring chronology in Asia provides strong support for that speculation. It shows that the drought persisted for decades, which would have severely strained the city's ability to survive.
July 23, 2011 |
Nurture matters — in plants as well as people. Cloned trees raised in different places and environments react differently to drought conditions even though they're genetically identical, scientists have found. "Turns out the trees have a memory, and they are adapted to the environment in which they're grown," said Richard Meilan, a Purdue University molecular tree physiologist who was not involved in the study. Researchers have long been interested in how much genes, versus environment, contribute to a creature's biology and behavior; the many "twin studies" performed with humans attest to that fascination.