Dry and Drier in West Texas

Texas rancher Clay Igo sums it up: “It seems like it is doin’ nothing but getting hotter, and drier, and less rain, yearly.” Clay and his father Kevin have watched as many of their neighbors around Plainview have lost their herds, the local meatpacking plant closed, and the tax base shrank. As Kevin puts it, “these communities are drying up.”

Scientists can put some numbers behind the Igos’ experience. In 2011, many places in Texas and Oklahoma recorded more than 100 days over 100 degrees. Heat and drought contributed to more than $10 billion in agricultural losses alone. According to the National Climate Assessment, “communities that are already vulnerable to weather and climate extremes will be stressed even further by more frequent extreme events.”

To explore the 2014 National Climate Assessment, go to NCA2014.globalchange.gov

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