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On the severity and frequency of droughts

September 10, 2012

2012 was one hot July, one of the hottest (if not the hottest) on record.  The heat has led many to claim that this is another example of the type of “extreme weather events” that we can expect due to climate change.  However, the historical record remains mixed.  Below is a chart from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the frequency and severity of droughts in the contiguous United States since 1896 (drought years are in yellow, the deeper into negative territory, the more severe the drought).  The fact of the matter is that droughts have been both less frequent and less severe in recent years.

This does not say anything about other “extreme weather events,” such as floods, tornadoes or hurricanes, but it does provide some perspective for at least one claim of climate alarmism.

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