Gov. Perry Listens to Dad

And that’s why he’s not worried.
“As my dad says, it’ll rain,” declared the governor in reassuring tones, after touring devastated Texas farms last week.  “It always does.”
Now it’s a good thing to listen to your dad, especially in areas where he’s an expert.  Perry’s father was a west Texas rancher.  We assume that means he is an expert at ranching.  But we were unable to find any record of expertise in climate science. 
 
Cookies and biscuits baking on a car seat in Texas
Texas, however, is positively crowded with expert climatologists.  For starters, we’ve got the U.S. Drought Monitor, which tells us that 99.7% of Texas today is in drought, and 98% is in the grip of either “severe, extreme or exceptional drought.”  The state is on track to break the annual record for most days above 100 degrees.  Local TV stations regularly shoot footage of steaks broiling or cookies baking on car dashboards.
You won’t find much argument: Texas is extraordinarily hot and dry.
94% of Texas rangeland is now classified by the Monitor in “poor to very poor condition.” Farmers have lost 30 percent or more of their crops in 2011. The loss led the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare a natural disaster in 213 Texas counties.  Texas farm losses now exceed $5.2 billion, according to Texas A&M.
Yacht on Austin’s Lake Travis appears stranded on the prairie
But Texas’s atmospheric scientists have much worse news:  Droughts are already becoming the new normal for Texas, and Dust Bowl conditions will only get worse in the next few decades.  And it is in large part due to increased carbon emissions, a fact that oil-rich Texas will have a hard time confronting.
“Texas is going to get hotter and drier,” said Malcolm Cleaveland, a professor at the University of Arkansas who led a research team in 2007 looking into climate trends for Texas. Indeed, rainfall modeling shows that rising temperatures and more arid conditions over the last few decades are likely to increase in the next four decades.
Texas’ own climate scientists from Texas A&M, University of Texas, Rice and Texas Tech (see the list below) have warned that by 2050, Texas will likely have become a desert, largely as a result of unchecked greenhouse gas emissions.
98% of Texas in severe, extreme or exceptional drought
The governor’s response?  “It’s all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight.”
So do I have this right? The man who wants to be president is listening to dad, the rancher, for his climate science advice?
In case you have a few minutes… 
…Here’s a partial list of Texans who Gov. Perry’s not listening to:
Jay Banner, professor, Jackson School of Geosciences and director, Environmental Science Institute, The University of Texas at Austin
Donald Blankenship, senior research scientist, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin
Kenneth Bowman, atmospheric sciences department head, Texas A&M University
Sarah D. Brooks, associate professor of atmospheric sciences, Texas A&M University
Ginny Catania, assistant professor, Earth Surface and Hydrologic Processes, The University of Texas at Austin
Ping Chang, professor of atmospheric sciences and oceanography, Texas A&M University, and director, Texas Center for Climate Studies
Don Collins, professor and director of environmental programs in geosciences, Texas A&M University
Don Conlee, instructional associate professor of atmospheric sciences, Texas A&M University
Kerry Cook, professor, Climate Systems Science, The University of Texas at Austin
Andrew Dessler, professor of atmospheric sciences, Texas A&M University
Robert Dickinson, professor of geological sciences, The University of Texas at Austin
André Droxler, professor of earth science and director of the Center for the Study of Environment and Society, Rice University
Robert Duce, distinguished professor emeritus, Departments of Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University
Craig Epifanio, associate professor of atmospheric sciences, Texas A&M University
Rong Fu, professor, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin
Charles Jackson, research scientist, Institute for Geophysics, The University of Texas at Austin
Rob Korty, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences, Texas A&M University
Katharine Hayhoe, associate professor and director, Climate Science Center, The University of Texas at Austin
Mark Lemmon, professor of planetary sciences, Texas A&M University
Shaima L. Nasiri, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences, Texas A&M University
John Nielsen-Gammon, professor, Texas A&M University and Texas State Climatologist
Gerald North, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography, Texas A&M University
Richard Orville, professor and director, Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies, Texas A&M University
R. Lee Panetta, professor of atmospheric sciences and mathematics, Texas A&M University
Jud Partin, postdoctoral fellow, Institute for Geophysics, The University of Texas at Austin
Terry Quinn, research professor and Director, Institute for Geophysics, The University of Texas at Austin
R. Saravanan, professor, Texas A&M University
Gunnar W. Schade, assistant professor, Texas A&M University
Courtney Schumacher, associate professor, Texas A&M University
Russ Schumacher, assistant professor, Texas A&M University
Istvan Szunyogh, associate professor, Texas A&M University
Fred Taylor, senior research scientist, Institute for Geophysics, The University of Texas at Austin
Michael Tobis, research science associate, Institute for Geophysics, The University of Texas at Austin
Ned Vizy, research science associate, Institute for Geophysics, The University of Texas at Austin
Thomas Wilheit, research professor, Texas A&M University
Ping Yang, professor and holder of the David Bullock Harris Chair in Geosciences, Texas A&M University
Renyi Zhang, Professor, director of the Center for Atmospheric Chemistry and the Environment, and Holder of the Harold J. Haynes Chair in Geosciences, Texas A&M University
Dad must be a really persuasive guy!
Thanks for reading, and may God bless you.
J. Elwood
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

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