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It might be a little premature to declare a primary tenet of global warming theory "invalidated" ...

Analysis of rainfall and surface moisture trends have led to a number of studies investigating whether the Earth has been undergoing drying, or whether drying is reversing.

Fellow DailyTech blogger Michael Asher recently reported on one study that analyzed historical rainfall data between 1900 to 2000, and using wavelet analysis concluded that droughts were decreasing, and that major drought events were decreasing as well.

Another study, released just days before by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), analyzed the data on rainfall and concluded that worldwide the Earth is undergoing significant drying effects.  In particular, much of the Mediterranean area, North Africa and the Middle East are rapidly becoming drier. 

The study goes on to use this data to predict current weather patterns.

This study continues a long chain of research which supports a unanimous conclusion that the Earth is experiencing significant drying.

In 2006, the British government funded a climate study carried out by the Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. 

Its conclusion: global drought increased 25 percent in the 1990s.

It also modeled possible future weather scenarios and found that indicated that extreme drought could affect 30 percent of the world's land surface, up from the current span of 3 percent.  Severe drought (the next worse) would rise from 8% land area to 40%, and mild drought would rise from 25% to 50%.

In 2005, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), a U.S. government funded research center, released a study that the percentage of Earth's land area stricken by serious drought more than doubled from the 1970s to the early 2000s.

It also found that drought had increased and surface moisture had decreased, on average, worldwide.

Along the lines of the study mentioned in the other Dailytech article, it found that water vapor in the air and global precipitation have increased over the past few decades--however, warming caused the moisture to evaporate at a faster rate, and land moisture levels have been dropping, leading to droughts.

To examine how soil moisture has evolved over the last few decades, the NCAR researchers produced a unique global-scale analysis using the Palmer index, which for decades has been the most widely used yardstick of U.S. drought. The Palmer index is a measure of near-surface moisture conditions and is correlated with soil moisture content.

Interestingly, the study indicated that the U.S. has become wetter over the past 50 years, while most of the rest of the Northern Hemisphere has dried.

While rainfall has increased worldwide, the study found that it has decreased in Africa's Sahel and East Asia, leading to further expansion of dry soils.

The conclusions of these studies: the U.S. may be getting wetter, and rainfall may not be decreasing, but land moisture is definitely decreasing, due to increasing temperatures.  Decreased land moisture will lead to more droughts, and more extreme droughts, as the soil experiences further decrease in moisture.

While this is only one element of global warming and climate change theory, it certainly seems premature to declare it "invalidated," as some critics are inclined to proclaim.

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RE: Not correct
By JasonMick on 9/12/2007 3:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
NASA had issued a press release (not the study) days before, so I agree you are right correct the first point, but I think you are nitpicking for points against me.

didn't analyze rainfall,

The study did analyze rainfall data which it cited in the study. It used this data to test its model and draw conclusions.

For example, from the article

"Reductions in monsoon rainfall may have contributed to
cultural events in Asia such as the collapse of Angkor early
in the Little Ice Age."

made no statement about present conditions

From the study:
"We also performed transient climate simulations
using the same setup as the solar runs without chemistry.
These experiments ran from 1880 to 2003 using observed

They did examine current scenarios via simulation.

Again, I would prefer if you would specifically refute the scientific theories or data used within the papers I mentioned as opposed to picking out small points where you don't think I stated something precisely correct.

While you can obviously do the latter, I feel you would make a stronger case if you based your arguments on the former.

RE: Not correct
By masher2 on 9/12/2007 3:16:20 PM , Rating: 2
> "The study did analyze rainfall data which it cited in the study...For example.."

You're even further off base here. A single remark that rainfall reductions "may" have contributed to a civilization collapse several hundred years ago is not an analysis of rainfall data. The study did not examine any rainfall records, nor did it use rainfall data to draw any conclusions. It simply made an offhand remark to demonstrate the potential impact of drought on mankind.

> "From the study: "We also performed transient climate simulations...These experiments ran from 1880 to 2003..."

You're still dodging the point. The study didn't conclude anything about current conditions. It didn't try to claim droughts have gotten worse. It only attempted to model future conditions. Clearly, your summary of the paper was incorrect.

Now, I don't blame you for misinterpreting it, as the GISS press release was (as usual for them) written in a very misleading manner. But let's be honest. There is research out there that supports your position. But this paper isn't one of them.

RE: Not correct
By sxr7171 on 9/13/2007 12:24:25 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah basically I could come up with a study where my model takes historical data and applies a predictive model to it where 100% of the earth will be covered by extreme drought in 10 years. Wow, if we believed my new study our only solution would be to kill ourselves before we get embroiled in some sort of Malthusian tragedy. So yeah, everyone just drink some of my special Kool-Aid and you will be just fine.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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