Letter: Drought in Western Retreat Areas


Has the recent drought in the western United States caused you to change any
of your “Recommended Retreat Areas”? – T.I.A.

JWR Responds: No, it hasn’t. There is an old saying: “Climate is what you expect, and weather is what you get.”

I do not believe that the current drought in the northwest is any evidence of any long term climate change. We are simply in an El Niño weather pattern that most likely will last only another year or two. The El Niño weather pattern has temporarily shifted the jet stream, disrupting seasonal rains, particularly in California, where the the drought has been quite severe and protracted.

Letter: Drought

Dear James,

The biggest current threat to the U.S. food supply is the extraordinary drought that has had a relentless grip on the western half of the country. If you check out the U.S. Drought Monitor, you can see that drought conditions currently stretch from California all the way to the heart of Texas. In fact, the worst drought in the history of the state of California is happening right now. And considering the fact that the rest of the nation is extremely dependent on produce grown in California and cattle raised in the western half of the U.S., this should be of great concern to all of us.

According to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. interior west is now the driest that it has been in 500 years. Snowpack in the Sierra’s is 15% of normal.

California already lost 40% of the citrus crop … Continue reading

Letter Re: Declining Aquifers

Hello Mr. Rawles,
I am a great fan of your work and I eagerly anticipate the release of your new novel.   I live in rural Northeastern Colorado, where both sides of my family settled in the 1870s.  The mid-sized ranch, 1,900 acres, that I live on has been owned by my family for 104 years.  I raise cattle, goats, horses and hay along with my dad, my wife and kids.  I also have a “government job” in local emergency services to help make ends meet. 
I read the recent article by Denise Chow of Live Science, titled Water Woes: Vast US Aquifer Is Being Tapped Out about the Ogallala Aquifer and thought you might be interested in it.  I can vouch that the water table is indeed dropping, from personal experience.  We are on the edge of the Ogallala Aquifer and we have always … Continue reading

Letter Re: Global Warming, Global Cooling, or Just Climate Weirding?

If climate change people would improve their arguments, it’s not so much global warming as it is climate chaos, or Climate Weirding.
As a Peak Oiler in the Portland area, I’ve also sat through my share of lectures, given by peer-reviewed scientists, on the subject. When you artificially add more CO2 and methane to the atmosphere, you don’t just necessarily get record warmer temperatures (although we’ve definitely seen this, within the last decade in particular). What you get is more unpredictable weather, along with dry areas getting drier (Texas, for example), and wetter areas getting wetter (We had a wetter than usual winter season last year in the Northwest). Cheers, – Jerry O.

Two Letters Re: Icelandic Volcanic Ash

As a geologist (masters degree) I have written for 30 years on issues of geologic hazards for numerous publications and made presentations to governmental entities regarding same. I preach preparedness for disaster as a way of mitigation for the inevitable. This is my heads up for your readers.

The unpronounceable Icelandic volcano (Eyjafjallajokull) that is currently erupting and disrupting air traffic mostly over Europe is becoming quite a demonstration of natures ability to mess with our technology. A much bigger worry is a nearby volcano called Katla which is also located under a huge ice cap on iceland. Katla is one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the island and in the northern hemisphere. There seems to be a historic connection between the eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull and Katla which is potentially a very bad thing. These volcanoes are of a scale significant enough to literally cool the climate … Continue reading

Here Comes Winter!, by Peter H.

My brother wrote me recently to ask what we do to prepare for our winters here in the inland Pacific Northwest. He lives in a warmer climate but has been reading about the global cooling underway. For the last two years our area has been colder longer and this last winter we had the most snow in over 100 years.

Remembering that Boy Scout slogan, “Be prepared,” prudent people are already looking ahead for the winter soon to come. Here are my odds and ends to get your thinking processes going:

Dress to Save Your Life
Our heaviest coats are rarely used, unless the temps get below about 20. Important that they shed snow (slick, synthetic outside layer). Whether its actually snowing, or snow falls on you from the trees, or you get snow on you from scraping the car or the roof of your house you’re going to … Continue reading

Letter Re: Some Observations on Finland from a Finnish SurvivalBlog Reader

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I’m a long-time lurker of SurvivalBlog, but thought I’d pass on some links of interest. For the record, I’ve read your novel [“Patriots“], and I am coming from a “Peaknik” viewpoint. But still have my original copy of “Life After Doomsday“. Currently I’m living in Finland, which has its pros and cons. “Russian bombers over your home” is not a theoretical concept to Finns and they don’t grow enough food for themselves [for a self-sufficient economy.]. A Nordic socialist government with high taxes and cost of living might not be of interest to many SurvivalBlog readers, but at least I see where my money goes and feel safer for my family should something happen to me. We won’t talk about gun control and no legal right to self-defense. However, the country is the third most heavily armed civilian population in the world. Excluding the … Continue reading

Letter Re: U.S. Climate Data Available Online

I’m not sure if this has been covered here before, but here are a few links to Government climate data and maps in the US. Microclimate data are represented as well, to a degree limited by the number of stations:

Climate Maps of the United States – Lookup Page

Monthly Station Climate Summaries – By Station

U.S. Climate Normals

For those interested in wind speeds and patterns across the USA for whatever reason, the map link above can be supplemented with the data for the major population centers.

Thanks again for your hard work, – The DFer

JWR Replies: Thanks for sending those links. They are very useful for both assessing the “livability” of various locales. Along with prevailing wind maps (which are useful for radioactive fallout prediction), I consider maps an essential planning tool. I strongly recommend that … Continue reading

Letter Re: Climate Change Myth and Reality

Regarding the recent Odd ‘n Sods link to the article about “The Prophet of Climate Change”: This planet on which we live has been “globally warmed” before, during that episode of time sometimes referred-to as the “Medieval Warm Period”. This warming (which is acknowledged to have been even warmer than our present-day) occurred without benefit of (the) Industrial Revolution, or even of a large human population. It (the Warming) waxed into being beginning around 750-850 A.D., waned, and then moved into the next bit of planetary-cycle, often thought of as (the) “Little Ice Age”.

This globe on which we all reside has seen these warm/cold cycles wax & wane for long before humans became the (supposedly; insects are said to be more widespread) dominant species. As I indicated above, the cycles have come and gone with little or no previous influence from humanity. Hysteria (and, making an “time … Continue reading

Poll Results: Why are You Preparing to Survive?

Here is the first round of responses to this question: Those who are well educated enough to see a societal collapse of some sort or another in the making fall into two groups, the merrymakers and the preparers. The merrymakers don’t see life worth living post-SHTF, so they live it up now. We on SurvivalBlog are the preparers and have chosen to survive, but why? Our children? To rebuild civilization? Because the collapse will only be temporary? Because we can and we’re stubborn with a stronger than normal will to survive? The following is just the first batch of responses. I plan to post at least one more batch. Please send your responses (one paragraph or less) via e-mail, and I will post them anonymously.

The survivalist is an optimist — not merely because he/she thinks he’ll make it through the crisis, but because of the (possibly … Continue reading

Letter Re: Unexpected Climate Change

Dear Jim and Family,
The movie The Day After Tomorrow was on FX (cable TV channel) tonight. The first hour is entertaining weather disasters and fun science building up, the second hour was a travesty which insulted intelligent people and scientists everywhere. But it was pretty, and it’s just a movie. It’s okay for it to be half cr*p as long as its entertaining.

The reality of climate change is much more interesting, and considerably slower paced. This week I found a web site with a drought map which is updated weekly. US Drought Monitor. It is pretty darned interesting.

Another little reality is the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) has its entire climate based on the Longshore Drift, which is powered by the North Wind from Alaska. This wind causes upwelling of nutrient rich cold water along the coastline to several hundred miles out on the … Continue reading

Two Letters Re: Pondering Some Personal Consequences of Global Climate Change

Dear Jim and Family,
Wow, people sure are getting worked up and personal about climate change aren’t they? I agree that as survivalists we should do our best to plan for reasonable emergencies. Cold weather gear in Central America? Probably not. A larger cistern system than you think you need in the desert or great plains? A good idea. Why? Climate change, whether caused by man or not, makes for changing rainfall patterns. Maybe heavier so your soil gets waterlogged and you get unexpected floods. In Hawaii this may mean more hurricanes. Or maybe Hawaii turns into a desert island with little rainfall and ends up collapsing like Easter Island did. If the rain gets more brief and falls less often, aqueducts, which keep your well full, could fail and you’re suddenly out of water. Drought has a very long history in North America in particular, topping several advanced … Continue reading

Letter Re: Pondering Some Personal Consequences of Global Climate Change

The subject of Global Warming is one that creates an intense reaction in people who have a political investment in opposition to it. As you can see by the letters my comment generated, it made the writers so angry that it actually interfered with their ability to read! We, as survivalists, need to be acutely aware of when this happens to us, as the ability to react to any information coolly and logically is a cultivated adaptation that will give us a leg-up in stressful situations.
In reply to M.W.A., I should probably expand on something about CO2 that I only touched on for brevity’s sake. Contrary to how it might seem to us laymen, not all CO2 is the same, which is why I talked about man-made CO2’s “distinct isotopic signature”. The Carbon component of Carbon Dioxide is composed of three different isotopes (C14, C13, C12) … Continue reading

Three Letters Re: Pondering Some Personal Consequences of Global Climate Change

Both M.W.A. and Michael Williamson bring some sanity and reason to the subject of climate change. Thanks for publishing their letters. Weather/climate is probably the most complex system on earth. For anyone to say they can tell with any kind of certainty what the climate on earth was like millions of years ago is ridiculous and what is the point. On a very basic level, the one universal truth about the weather/climate is change, unending change. You could even make the case that change is a universal physical law. The writers are correct to question the motives of the climate change promoters. I believe most are socialists, trying to get more control over our lives thru the politics of climate change. As in the past, humans will have to adapt to any changes in the weather/climate. Think about it, has the weather/climate ever been unchanging, with or without … Continue reading

Two Letters Re: Pondering Some Personal Consequences of Global Climate Change

I have been reluctant to comment on the climate change hysteria, but the recent letter by Hawaiian K was too much. There are several important facts to remember on this topic: 1) We don’t have enough data to determine whether we are in a long-term warming trend, or in a counter-cyclical move in a long term cooling trend. Lot’s of people have ‘data’ but no ‘facts’ have been established. Remember in the 1970’s how the next ice age was right around the corner? 2) Even if we do happen to be in a warming trend at the moment, there is no causal connection between the activities of man, and the warming itself. Lots of circumstantial ‘evidence’, but no causal connection. The earth is warming, and there is more CO2 in the air. Which causes which? Maybe there is a third factor, or fourth, or a hundredth!!! There may … Continue reading