Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let's Agree: Texas Wildfires caused by Electrical Issues

I was happy to see that President Obama mentioned climate change in a recent speech, even if it was just a one-liner. As an illustration of how the Republican party is out of touch, he jabbed at Texas Governor Rick Perry with the line that “You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.”

201106-201108 The President’s remark made me wonder just how hot and dry of a summer Texas ended up having. I found two graphics that tell the story well.  In the top graphic, a rank of 1 represents the coldest period, and a rank of 117 indicates the warmest period, in the 117-year record between 1895  and 2011. As you see, Texas and several neighboring states had their warmest summers in 117 years. Only the Pacific Northwest states had cooler than normal summers. (Here in San Diego it was sunny and 70, as always.)

Drmon In this second graphic, we see that Texas is in the grip of an Exceptional Drought.  As apparent from the time-elapsed version available here, the exceptional drought has been ongoing since June.

A few days ago,Texas officials deemed the cause of the state’s devastating Bastrup Blaze that began on Labor Day weekend to be "electrical in nature.”  Yes, that seems right.  Electricity generation accounts for about 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps we can all agree that electrical issues are to blame. 

- Lesley McAllister


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