May 1956 Texas Drought Was Much More Extensive Than The Present One

http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html

http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/drought/historical-palmers/195605-pmdi.gif

About stevengoddard

Just having fun
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17 Responses to May 1956 Texas Drought Was Much More Extensive Than The Present One

  1. glacierman says:

    Yes, but how did it stack up on a day to day, hour by hour basis? Dr. K.H.?

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Is it a fair comparison?

    It looks to me as if, in Texas, 2011 is at least as bad, if not worse.

  3. Ed Darrell says:

    I wondered about the map. You suggested the 1956 drought was worse than the current, 11-year drought — but you offered a map that shows fewer counties in Texas affected than now, and fewer counties affected with as serious a drought.

    So, with the current drought affecting more counties in Texas, for much longer than the 1956 drought, and noting that the actual maps from the same source indicate a worse drought in Texas now than then, I wondered why you considered 1956 worse for Texas.

    Still wondering.

    • Scott says:

      You’re equivocating “worse” and “extensive”. They aren’t the same thing. Nowhere does this posting say “worse”.

      -Scott

      • Ed Darrell says:

        What do you think “extensive” in the headline means? Don’t accuse me of equivocating with a switch in definitions.

        My questions would be valid in any case. How is the drought “more extensive?”

      • Ed Darrell says:

        Current maps show the Texas drought more extensive than in 1956. I politely wondered why you said otherwise.

        You could explain, if you can. An explanation might be enlightening.

      • Scott says:

        Ed Darrell says:
        May 30, 2011 at 5:18 am

        What do you think “extensive” in the headline means? Don’t accuse me of equivocating with a switch in definitions.

        I think “extensive” means how much area it covers. My “accusation” stands because you did change definitions, which seems to be a common logical fallacy. The word “extensive” has a pretty objective definition, whereas “worse” is more subjective. A typical scientist/engineer would attempt to define worse by using a figure of merit, which is of course a bit subjective. A good starting figure of merit would be something like an integration of extent*severity. One might also use extent*severity^2 or extent*severity^0.5. One can use absolute severity or percentages.

        Steve stated the drought was more extensive, shows maps to support his statement…I don’t see what’s wrong with that. You want him to have said it was worse, but he didn’t. For someone who has said that others are incapable of reading comprehension, you seem to lack it yourself.

        I’ll give you some help though…about the only saving grace you might be able to manage is if you hold up your “in Texas” as your redeemer. Yes, it looks like the recent drought was slightly more extensive in TX than the 1956 one because of the small section in far south TX that wasn’t in drought in 1956. Just keep in mind that the “Texas drought” doesn’t have to be confined to Texas, but if you think that’s what Steve is addressing, I can at least understand that.

        My questions would be valid in any case. How is the drought “more extensive?”

        Simple, it covers more area. Do a latitude-adjusted pixel count to confirm this. If you want to work with the word “worse”, then assign a figure of merit and try running those numbers. I wish you good luck in showing how parts of LA/MS/AL/GA have more land area than parts or all of NE/IA/MO/MN/SD/UT.

        -Scott

      • Ed Darrell says:

        Here Scott:

        This map from Steve’s source shows the drought covering more land area of Texas, with greater severity in almost all cases, and it’s gone on longer than the drought in the 1950s.

        I’d accuse Steve of cherry-picking, but that would have involved some thought. He plucked a map that differed from one I cited at my blog, and he posed a one-month reading against it, claiming that all of the 1950s drought was “more extensive.” (If you don’t understand the meaning of “extensive,” and you think it somehow meaning “better” in this case, you could get a dictionary — but were you careful with your language, you couldn’t accuse me of anything, could you. We see your game.)

        Steve poses one month against a longer term note, and Steve says his one month shows the drought in Texas “less extensive.”

        He’s wrong. His map doesn’t show that, and if you compare it to a nearer month — I used April 2011 to compare with his May 1956 since May 2011 isn’t available yet — from Steve’s source, you find that the current drought in Texas is “more extensive” in every respect.

        That means it’s a worse drought, but then you’re not concerned with the ranchers, farmers and other people actually harmed by it, are you.

      • Scott says:

        Okay, so you propose that this map:

        Should be compared to Steve’s same-source map:

        How in the world do you get that 2011 is worse (your words)? 2011 is more extensive IN TEXAS (because of the lack of drought in 2011 in the far south), which I never argued against. But 1956 is clearly more extensive overall, which was the point of my post…do you need to reread it?

        But clearly you have no idea of what you’re comparing…you seem to think Steve is comparing apples and oranges…which might be right. But you know what? You’re comparing apples and oranges to well….pomegranates! Do you even know why? Go back and look at what you tried to compare with Steve…they’re different indices! Do you know the differences in the indices? Palmer-Z is short term. Palmer Modified is the operational version of the Palmer Drought Severity Index, which tries for a more long-term cumulative measure.

        So why don’t we compare apples to apples then? Here is the PMDI for April 2011:

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/drought/historical-palmers.php?index=pmdi&month%5B%5D=4&beg_year=2011&end_year=2011&submitted=Submit

        Here is the PMDI for May 2011:

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/drought/historical-palmers.php?index=pmdi&month%5B%5D=5&beg_year=1956&end_year=1956&submitted=Submit

        It’s funny, defining drought as “moderate drought” or worse, then the drought is slightly more extensive in Texas in 2011 (and I’ll remind you that I never said otherwise), but by defining it as “severe drought” or worse or even just “extreme drought” and 1956 has a definite edge. Going outside of TX, we can see 1956 blows away 2011.

        Oh, but what about the month difference you address? Try this out:

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/drought/historical-palmers.php?index=pmdi&month%5B%5D=4&beg_year=1956&end_year=1956&submitted=Submit

        That’s April 1956…again, 2011 is only more extensive for the very small subset of: only TX when considering “moderate drought” or worse as your drought definition.

        I think that clearly shows that 1956 was more serious, especially country-wide, than 2011. But you seem to like the short-term index, so lets take a look at that…Palmer Z for April 1956:

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/drought/historical-palmers.php?index=zndx&month%5B%5D=4&beg_year=1956&end_year=1956&submitted=Submit

        Palmer Z for May 1956:

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/drought/historical-palmers.php?index=zndx&month%5B%5D=5&beg_year=1956&end_year=1956&submitted=Submit

        Palmer Z for April 2011:

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/drought/historical-palmers.php?index=zndx&month%5B%5D=4&beg_year=2011&end_year=2011&submitted=Submit

        I now understand why you like Palmer Z (or should I assume you didn’t know the difference in the metrics instead of cherry picked Palmer Z?). The short-term measurement has April 1956 much less extensive than April 2011. May 1956 paints a different story, with the drought being more extensive overall than in April 2011, but not for TX (or LA).

        So lets take a little more in-depth look at your response:

        This map from Steve’s source shows the drought covering more land area of Texas, with greater severity in almost all cases, and it’s gone on longer than the drought in the 1950s.

        Land area in TX, yes…which again I never contested, greater severity, no. See the above comparisons.

        (If you don’t understand the meaning of “extensive,” and you think it somehow meaning “better” in this case, you could get a dictionary — but were you careful with your language, you couldn’t accuse me of anything, could you. We see your game.)

        This is a pretty cryptic response. Are you more than one person? As for the definition of extensive, what I stated above seems right on:
        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/extensive
        And yes, I can still “accuse” you of things…as shown above you either cherry-picked your Palmer Z plot because it’s a short-term index or you were ignorant of the data you were presenting. That’s all that needs to be said about that.

        He’s wrong. His map doesn’t show that, and if you compare it to a nearer month — I used April 2011 to compare with his May 1956 since May 2011 isn’t available yet — from Steve’s source, you find that the current drought in Texas is “more extensive” in every respect.

        Absolutely wrong. As shown above, it’s “more extensive” only when talking about Texas and including “moderate drought” and higher. Using any other drought level as the minimum OR including other states makes May 1956 more extensive and worse than April 2011. You messed it up a bit trying to pass of a short-term graph compared to a more longer one.

        That means it’s a worse drought, but then you’re not concerned with the ranchers, farmers and other people actually harmed by it, are you.

        No, that means it’s NOT a worse drought. You botched it by comparing a short-term graph to a longer-term one. What I’d like to see is an analysis of TX done with the PMDI using the figure of merit drought severity*pixel count (you can suggest other figures of merit if you’d like…though I have a suggestion…lets do TX and all its surrounding states). Visually, I see no way that 2011 is worse…only the subset of TX AND “moderate drought” or worse can manage it.

        And the second half of your last sentence shows your motivations. You have no idea where I grew up, what I do/did for a living, or where my loved ones reside. Yet you have the gall to make such a disgusting ad hominem attack. I don’t know what I’m thinking…we should expect that from you by now. And you’ve clearly shown you don’t understand the graphs you present either.

        -Scott

      • Ed Darrell says:

        Thank you, Scott, for working to be enlightening. Cutting through the snark, there are some good bits of information there.

        This isn’t one:

        Going outside of TX, we can see 1956 blows away 2011.

        No one contends that. Inside Texas, we’re in dire shape — 1956 was a waltz, farmers who lived through 1956 say. Actual measures may differ — but not on the map Goddard offered.

        In any case, the drought this year is pretty bad. Snowpack in the Rockies doesn’t extend to the Rockies in Texas, and it won’t break the drought for most of the west.

        Do you know more about Palmer indices than I? No doubt.

        You could use some study of Emily Post and Robert Baden-Powell, though.

  4. Mike Davis says:

    West Texas is like some other regions in the world that knows four weather conditions, Hot, Cold, Drought, Flood. Buying property in West Texas makes as much sense as buying property in a Floodway or in the middle of a swamp. They would have been better off buying property in Death Valley, California.

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