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A Dry Mississippi?

It is common knowledge now the United States is experiencing the worst drought in half a century, causing the agricultural and transportation industries major headaches, aside from the negative impacts on the environment.

Due to the drought, the water levels in the Mississippi River are close to historic lows, which could shut down all shipping in a matter of weeks.

In a strange turn of events, the river has performed a complete 180° shift in the past 18 months—flooding in the spring of 2011 forced thousands to flee their homes, and now the river is dry.

Without rain, the drought can create situations where transportation will experience dangerous travels, such as the low-water choke point south of St. Louis, near the town of Thebes, where pinnacles of rock extend upward from the river bottom, which can tear into ship bottoms.

The climate change problem is unlikely to change anytime soon, given the NOAA announcement that 2012 was “likely” to be the warmest year on record in the 48 states, based on temperatures through November. Could a warm December push the nation to the point where 2012 will be the warmest year ever recorded? Climate Central did the math, and the results are in: There is a 99.99999999 chance that 2012 will be the hottest year ever recorded in the continental 48 states, based on their analysis of 118 years of temperature records through December 10, 2012.

Without significant action taken by the U.S. government, specifically the Obama administration, the drought, the extreme weather, and the heat waves, to name a few consequences of increased climate change, will only become worse.

Obviously, no government can control the weather, so the drought, hurricanes, and wildfires cannot be stopped by federal policy. However, the government can implement policy to combat climate change, and attempt to mitigate the negative impacts.

This is what the country needs, and nothing will get better unless action is taken.

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