Southeast Drought: Caused By Global Warming?

Remember all the talk of Atlanta running out of water? Turns out the culprit is too many people using too much water.   Check out this NY Times article about the 2005-2007 drought in the Southeast.  

Turns out it was a fairly typical drought– but more people using water overwhelmed the ability of area reservoirs to provide it.

When I get asked my thoughts on climate change or global warming, I redirect the discussion to land use instead.   

I think population growth and development are more of an immediate threat to our society than climate change is.   As we build more roads and houses, using more water,  we’ll see the magnified effects of weather events. 

Less “natural” area means less ability of soil to absorb excess rainwater in times of flood and release it in times of drought.  Plus, pavement and buildings artificially raise the temperature of an area, causing bigger spikes in high temperatures during heat waves. 

My opinion:  The challenge of the next 20 years will be how to keep the economic engine of this country going while at the same time developing in a way that lessens the impact on the environment. 

Your thoughts?

-Posted By Andrew Freiden


12 Responses to Southeast Drought: Caused By Global Warming?

  1. Blog Focus on health…

    […]Southeast Drought: Caused By Global Warming? « NBC12 Weather Blog[…]…

  2. Mighty Dyckerson says:

    New material please.

  3. Jim says:

    I’m disgusted by the fact that we as a nation have created a totally new economy based on the fear that a naturallly occurring gas is taxing the earth beyond repair. Its actually borderline egocentric to think that humans have that kind of power. Volcanoes will continue to erupt and do more harm than humans could ever do. In an average year with no major eruptions volcanoes release 130,000,000 tons of CO2 into the air. Imagine their effects when an eruption like Vesuvius occurs. Al Gore is making MILLIONS selling carbon offsets to himself and his celebrity cronies but he lives in a house that uses 30 times the energy of a normal home. But aint that America.

  4. Jack says:

    Perhaps better use of the space would be more beneficial. Smart growth with more green space. Why not tear down the unoccupied residences in the city and plant treas? Require 1 acre of green space for every acre of developed land.

  5. Good assessment, however weather has cycles and there will always be droughts and floods somewhere. Atlanta went from drought 2 years ago to normal last year and record rainfall this year. There are multiple great ideas to conserve water or be more eco-friendly without killing our economy like the global warming alarmists would have us believe. For example permeable pavers, underground water storage tanks and rain barrels, rain gardens and more efficient irrigation systems and many more ideas can make a difference.

  6. SCS says:

    I would love to have the opportunity to “unplug” from Dominion Power, but alternative energy is still way too expensive. I have looked into solar b/c our house is situated perfectly without shade trees interfering, but 30k-40k?! I don’t want to have to live in a 12×12 box that costs 500k just to lower my “carbon footprint”. Grey water recycling for the landscape also isn’t a cheap system to install. I do have a rain barrel on one of my downspouts. Its not much, but it is a small effort on my part.

  7. Bryan says:

    I totally agree with your blog. Im from Richmond and currently live in Fairbanks Alaska. Fairbanks has been growing very fast over the past 5 years and the black pavement being laid down sometimes causes the frozen ground underneath (permafrost)to collapse… The more buildings there are here the more heat that builds up. Global warming isnt such a bad idea in temperature for Alaskans, but it surely is changing the landscape when its amplified by human developments. We really need to work on living in co-habitation and at the end of the day all the numbers should be close to a balance not a loss or gain. Solar panels and wind power??? Why arent these more in use! I could go on, but Ill stop the rant there

  8. Lou says:

    Neuter people like they do animals to cut down on population growth?

  9. Jane Ingles says:

    Well, duh!

  10. Mighty Dyckerson says:

    I think we should start digging a complex system of underground caves in which to live and work. Then take all the displaced dirt and dump it in the Grand Canyon.

  11. Phil Riggan says:

    Great topic, and I’m glad to see that people are likely to be the blame, not Mother Nature. I hope we do move toward conservation, reduce>reuse>recycle, better building practices and respect the earth. Overdevelopment is one of the most destructive forces people are forcing onto the world.

  12. Amy says:

    Well, considered. I appreciate your analysis!

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