Tuesday, July 03, 2012
We Need Rain.
High temperatures and drought conditions have made for an interesting mix of color throughout southern Wisconsin this summer. In some areas prairies are green and colorful with lush wildflowers, but at other places the grass has turned brown and the landscape resembles a drier southwestern climate. We could sure use some rain, but every predicted chance for precipitation the past few weeks has fizzled out. They're calling for storms this weekend, but right now we're under excessive heat warnings for the rest of the week and expecting a high of 102 today. Considering the exceptionally mild winter and early spring, this is some of the craziest prolonged weather I've experienced as a lifelong resident of Wisconsin.
At least the birds and critters of Pheasant Branch Conservancy have access to ample sources of water. There are several natural springs, the creek corridor, and many ponds and marshes. But droughts like the one we're experiencing do cause mortality rates to increase in other areas. For example, during the severe drought in the northern Great Plains in 1988, total grassland bird density declined 61%. Clay-colored Sparrows have gone missing at Pheasant Branch sometime in early June, but I don't know why. They were present during the middle of May, but just abruptly vanished. There's a first for everything, I suppose. Curiously, there are a lot of weather, habitat, and critter "firsts" taking place this year.
2012 Drought - June 26th.
It seems most people accept that something peculiar is going on with the climate (because the climate has always been changing?), but whether or not the cause is anthropogenic remains fiercely contested largely as a political issue instead of a scientific one; non-experts claim to know better than experts. It's fascinating to me when science is perceived as getting it right when a particular field isn't politically controversial or contentious, like cosmology, quantum mechanics for computing, how antibiotics work, or geophysics, etc. But the moment you mix discoveries of science with something that ties financially with rigid political ideologies or with fixed religious dogmas, all of a sudden scientists don't have a clue what they're talking about and consensus is dismissed. All of us benefit from advancements made by science and even if climatologists are wrong about anthropogenic climate change, I still contend it's prudent and in our best long-term interests to find better and cleaner ways of doing things.
Link: US Drought Monitor
Link: Global Warming Hoax
Kingbird & Savanna © 2012 Mike McDowell