Eighty Years Ago, Eighty Percent Of The US Was In Drought

People who say that droughts are getting worse, have absolutely no clue what they are talking about.



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19 Responses to Eighty Years Ago, Eighty Percent Of The US Was In Drought

  1. philjourdan says:

    Figures DC would not be. That is why they do not remember.

    • Gail Combs says:

      ….In the late 1920s, rural America was in the midst of an economic depression.

      Grain prices had plunged and farmers tried to stay afloat by growing more wheat. [Sound familiar?]

      Then came the drought and wind.

      A series of dust storms that hit the Great Plains over the next decade gave the era the nickname The Dirty Thirties. The worst of the storms fell on April 14, 1935, Palm Sunday, known as Black Sunday.

      The survivors — now in their 80s and 90s — talk about dust so thick and fine it would find its way inside houses, despite wet sheets and towels hung around closed doors and windows.

      Dust so intense it would collect on rafters in attics, causing roofs to collapse.

      Dust that drifted like snow, filling ditches, covering farm implements and threatening the very lives of those who breathed it in.

      Lucian Doll remembers being 14 and living on his family farm six miles north of Ellinwood when the storm hit.

      He was in a field working with a team of horses.

      “I had four horses pulling a harrow and I can see the horizon was black,” said Doll, now 89 and living in Wichita. “When I get to the end of the row, I turned around to face it. It must have been a half mile from me — just a boiling wall of dirt coming at me.”

      He unhooked the horses and ran the animals a quarter mile back to the barn.

      “By the time I put the horses in the stable and stepped out of the barn, I could not see the house 50 yards a way.”

      The swirling clouds of red dust — topsoil from thousands of farms from Oklahoma, Texas, eastern Colorado and western Kansas — blocked the sun, stalled vehicles and uprooted rural Americans by the thousands.

      But Doll especially remembers the aftermath, when he walked his family’s stubble fields and saw all the wild animals that had died in the storm and dead cattle standing upright, surrounded by the drifts of sand and dirt, their lungs filled with dirt.….

      The Black Sunday storm carried dust from the Plains states to New York and Washington, D.C., allowing politicians to see first-hand how the farmers in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas had been living.

      One of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s advisers, Hugh Hammond Bennett, was speaking before Congress about the need for soil conservation legislation when the dust settled in Washington, D.C.

      “This, gentlemen, is what I have been talking about,” Hammond told the legislators.

      On April 27, 1935, Congress passed the Soil Conservation Act, prompting conservation practices such as crop rotations, terraces, waterways, windbreaks, wetlands, no-till farming, buffers, watershed dams, rangeland management, ponds and nutrient and pest management….

      Now those measures are a dim memory as farmers cut down trees and plowing up grass filter strips to plant biofuel corn from road edge to road edge. Meanwhile the idiot Econuts are crowing about all the dams they are tearing out…

      • John Burns says:

        Although my grandparents were not farmers in Central Nebraska they did own farms and would go out at night and pump water for the live stock. It was not a good time. My grandmother used to worry about children going to bed hungry. In 1936 the temperature in my town must have gotten up around 118 degrees.

  2. dms says:

    It is interesting how that one sector of Iowa and Wisconsin are in the “mid-range” category. I doubt it, especially for Iowa.

  3. EW3 says:

    Suspicious that the extreme southwest corner of Utah is showing very moist.

    Must be using estimated data 😉

  4. Shanna M says:

    I was recently trying to find a historical graph of the Palmer Draught Index that I could quickly link to as evidence that we are not having worse draught. I found monthly maps like the above, but that would be greeted with “cherry picking” from the people that need to see it the most. Has anyone found a simple graph that averages the Draught Index and presents that average over time?

  5. Luke A. says:

    I love this line of thinking. We have a single data point similar to today’s, so there is no trend. I’m sure the standard of living in the US isn’t higher today than in the past, because Andrew Carnegie was really rich in the 19th century. I’m sure life expectancy globally isn’t longer than in previous decades because Martha Graham was 114 years old in 1959.

    • That is probably the stupidest comment of the day so far. The US is less than 30% drought now, compared to 80% in 1934. The droughts in the 1930s were much worse than any recent droughts.

    • Gail Combs says:

      And you just proved you are a low information poster who never bothered to read Steinbeck or any USA history. The drought started in 1931 and lasted nine years. It was a “Mini-drought” compared to the Mega droughts that lasted for decades to centuries.


      Photos from the 1930s

      If you want a Peer-reviewed paper:

      Multidecadal to multicentury scale collapses of Northern Hemisphere monsoons [aka DROUGHTS] over the past millennium
      Yemane Asmeroma, Victor J. Polyaka, Jessica B. T. Rasmussenb, Stephen J. Burnsc, and Matthew Lachnietd

      Edited by Zhiming Kuang, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and accepted by the Editorial Board April 25, 2013 (received for review August 29, 2012)


      Late Holocene climate in western North America was punctuated by periods of extended aridity called megadroughts. These droughts have been linked to cool eastern tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs). Here, we show both short-term and long-term climate variability over the last 1,500 y from annual band thickness and stable isotope speleothem data. Several megadroughts are evident, including a multicentury one, AD 1350–1650, herein referred to as Super Drought, which corresponds to the coldest period of the Little Ice Age. Synchronicity between southwestern North American, Chinese, and West African monsoon precipitation suggests the megadroughts were hemispheric in scale. Northern Hemisphere monsoon strength over the last millennium is positively correlated with Northern Hemisphere temperature and North Atlantic SST. The megadroughts are associated with cooler than average SST and Northern Hemisphere temperatures. Furthermore, the megadroughts, including the Super Drought, coincide with solar insolation minima, suggesting that solar forcing of sea surface and atmospheric temperatures may generate variations in the strength of Northern Hemisphere monsoons.….

  6. Andy DC says:

    1934 was worst corn crop in US history, worse that 1936. The Missouri crop was almost a total wipeout.

    • Brian G Valentine says:

      If it happened now deniers would be in Gulags and everybody else would be without electricity.

      • Gail Combs says:

        “Deniers” wouldn’t be in Gulags, we would probably be the ones who managed to survive the “Urban Wars” that would wipe out a good 50% or more of the US population. The Democrats racial rabble rousing will guarantee division not cooperation

        What do you think will happen when grocery store shelves go bare and the price of what is left sky rockets? The 1970s Oil shortage will be nothing in comparison. Expect inner cities to make the 1992 Los Angeles Riots look like a boy scout jamboree. Why do you think Homeland Security is stockpiling enough Ammo for a 20 year hot war within the USA?

        Remember Clinton in his infinite wisdom signed the “Freedom to Fail Farm Bill” of 1996 that wiped out the US Strategic Grain Storage System and by 2008 the USDA reported “The cupboard is bare” just in time for the 2008 food crisis. SEE: Want Food security? Bring Back a National Grain Reserve

        The study I linked to above suggest the Mega-droughts are not one year and not local which does not bode well for our Just-in-Time modern food system. (China is stock piling grain and buying farmland all over the world, no fools they.)

        Joan Feynman et al’s work on the Nile River records turned up an 88 year and a 200 year cycle linked to the Sun. NASA Finds Sun-Climate Connection in Old Nile Records

        1931 + 88 = 2019 about the time the weak Solar Cycle 24 will be winding down.

        Another study by Feynman predicted the recent down turn in solar activity all the way back in 1997 at the start of cycle 23. (Solar cycle 23 – May 1996 to January 2008)

        Solar variability and climate change: Geomagnetic aa index and global surface temperature
        …In this view the absence of pronounced 11-year temperature fluctuations (related to the unshaded area under the aa curve in Figure 3), is attributed to the damping effect of the thermal inertia of the oceans. Wigley and Raper [1990] have shown that such damping can reduce the impact of even a relatively strong solar cycle with ~0.1% peal-to-peak irrafiancevariation [Willson and hudson, 1991] to a barely detectable temperature signal (~0.02C). Thus it is the slow variation of the underlying solar signal, as revealed by the aa min time history, rather than the 11-year cycle in either aa or sunspots that shows up most strongly in the temperature record.

        The fact that the aa index at solar minimum retains a value proportional to its flanking sunspot maxima, rather than falling to near zero values like the sunspot number, is thought to be a reflection of the interchange of poloidal and toroidal (sunspot) magnetic fields via the solar dynamo… The point we wish to make here is that the aa index provides evidence for a long-term (low-frequency) component of solar variability that persists through sunspot minimum and may therefore affect Earth’s climate.

        Our study suggest that solar variability has contributed significantly to the long-term change of earth’s climate during the past 350 years…

        While acknowledging the importance and threat of such anthropogenic forcing, we are reminded that there is evidence, albeit mixed…, for temperatures comparable to present day values during the interval 900-1250 A.D., well before the industrial age. The later part (1100-1250 A.D.) of this so-called Medieval Warm Period had inferred solar activity comparable to present levels….

        As of this writing it appears that the average aa value of 1997 will be even lower (~16 nT) than that of 1996. Such leveling off or decline of the long-term solar component of climate change will help to disentangle its effects from that of anthropogenic greenhouse warming.

        Feynman et al are not the only ones who have found an 88 year cycle:

        Cycles and trends in solar irradiance and climate
        Judith L. Lean
        How—indeed whether—the Sun’s variable energy outputs influence Earth’s
        climate has engaged scientific curiosity for more than a century. Early evidence
        accrued from correlations of assorted solar and climate indices, and from
        recognition that cycles near 11, 88 and 205 years are common in both the Sun and
        climate.1,2 But until recently, an influence of solar variability on climate, whether
        through cycles or trends, was usually dismissed because climate simulations with
        (primarily) simple energy balance models indicated that responses to the decadal
        solar cycle would be so small as to be undetectable in observations.3 However,
        in the past decade modeling studies have found both resonant responses and
        positive feedbacks in the ocean-atmosphere system that may amplify the response
        to solar irradiance variations.4,5 Today, solar cycles and trends are recognized as
        important components of natural climate variability on decadal to centennial time

        …..There is a prominent cycle near 205 years in many paleoclimate indictors and also in solar activity. Correlations between solar activity and climate, often arising from this common cycle, are ubiquitous in the past 10,000 years, especially in drought and rainfall.45–48 …Sun–climate associations with the contemporary response pattern of surface temperature to the solar irradiance cycle. Areas vulnerable to the hydrological cycle—monsoons, rainfall, drought—appear especially sensitive to solar-driven climate change, which is implicated in the cultural histories of the Mayans, precolonial societies in East African and Chinese Dynasties…..

        • John Burns says:

          You might want to read the Chilling Stars. Cosmic rays and their effect on cloud formation. High versus low clouds. The role the solar wind plays in fending off cosmic rays which play a part in the formation of clouds. Etc.

  7. John Burns says:

    I am truly amazed to find Nebraska’s hottest year listed as 2012. I grew up there and remember very hot summers in the 1950’s, especially 1956. In 1936 (before my time) a town just 50 miles south registered 118 degrees for the state’s hottest ever temperature. Lincoln was 117 on July 4th that year. In 2012 Lincoln’s hottest temperature in July was 105. And yet it is stated that 2012 was the hottest year ever for Nebraska and USA. I realize we are not talking highs but overall heat. Still my intuition tells me your work is accurate and the other is propaganda. After reading the Chilling Stars I gave up on the mainstream hysteria. Also the bigger cities mean more energy usage and energy typically means heat output. Consider all the air conditioners in Phoenix! I would argue for more rural temperature stations and fewer urban ones.
    Another fine book is the Virtue Of Heresy: Confessions of a dissident astronomer. Steven Goddard is clearly a weather/climate heretic. As with religion heresy interferes with the flow of power and money in higher places. Some might even consider that what the President affirms can not possibly be true. But that is induction. And he might accidentally say something true.

  8. Climatism says:

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    We celebrate Earth Hour so that the United States can never experience 80% drought ever again.
    Act on climate. Now.
    Your money and zeal matters, even if only to posthumously relieve your great grandparents of their 1938 climate sins.

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