Environment

New Drought Study Is Huge. Media Yawns. Why?

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorNov 16, 2012 2:53 AM

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Pretty much anything you can think of is being worsened by global warming. We know this because there are studies about such things that get well reported in the media. That's how I know that climate change is affecting football, chocolate,wine, allergies, food prices, summer, wildfires, storms, and drought. (Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list.) That last one--drought--has received a lot of press, and as regular readers know, is a long-timeinterestof mine. So it's no surprise that I find this new study in Nature fascinating. As reported in Science News, the researchers seem to have discovered that "the standard method of assessing drought has exaggerated drying trends over the past 60 years." What is a surprise (to me, anyway) is that mainstream media has thus far ignored this major study. That's perplexing, especially since there is a global warming context (see RPJ's post). As science journalist John Fleck tweeted:

I wonder how much news coverage we'd see of a paper saying global drought trends were *worse* than we thought: http://bit.ly/UpVfte 

Indeed, other than a few other science outlets, such as the websites of Science magazine and New Scientist, there's hardly any coverage--and none by the wire services, which is really surprising. Perhaps they and others will catch up. Meanwhile, I think Fleck has it right at his blog:

Some Good News Today on Climate Change: Less Drought than we thought

Come to think of it, maybe that's why no environmental reporters have picked up on the story.

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