The response by NOAA’s Martin Hoerling to James Hansen’s recent op-ed does not reflect the scientific literature.
I’m traveling, so let me focus first on Hoerling’s incorrect statements — posted on this blog and DotEarth — about drought. As readers know, the journal Nature asked me to write a Comment piece on the threat posed by drought after they read one of my posts examining the latest science on prolonged drought and “Dust-Bowlification.”
The research I did for that article — along with the comments of the expert reviewers I sent it to — is why I know Hoerling is quite wrong. Hoerling begins by quoting Hansen’s recent New York Times Op-Ed piece:
“Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices ...