I was going to write a piece today on the stupidity of trying to maintain our addiction to liquid fuels that are not sustainable like ethanol. But then it suddenly dawned on me, if the corn can’t get to the processing plant then there is really nothing to write about. Yup the barges are stacking up in a river that is, in some places down to one lane and in an 11 mile stretch it is closed. They also point out that after the flooding last year they did no dredging cause the rich people won’t pay their taxes. Oh sorry.
This Year’s Drought Is So Severe, You Can See Its Toll on the Mississippi River From Space
Aug 22 2012, 9:42 AM ET
Last year, the Mississippi River flooded. Major storms combined with melting snow brought the waterway more than 56 feet above river stage in May. The Army Corps of Engineers lifted the floodgates of the Morganza Spillway, deliberately inundating some 3,000 square miles of rural Louisiana to spare worse damage in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. In August of last year, NASA’s Landsat 5 satellite took a picture of the swollen river. Here’s what it saw:
(note: I know longer post pictures on this blog for the most part. They take to much time and effort to post.)
This year it’s an entirely different story. At the end of last month, more than 60 percent of the lower 48 states were in drought, and the might Mississippi was running low. An 11-mile stretch of river has been closed on and off since August 11, and earlier this week nearly 100 boats lined up near Greenville, Mississippi, waiting to pass. Water levels near Memphis are ranging from 2.4 to 8.3 below river stage, compared with 11.7 feet above at this time last year. To make matters worse, the floods of last year deposited huge amounts of sediment on the river bed, reconfiguring the existing channels.
Again NASA was there to capture the view from space, this time with Landsat 7. Here’s that image:
Go there and see the startlingly different pictures and read. More tomorrow.