The Sooner State is not Drying Up

Over at Mother Jones, an article claims that "the Sooner State in [sic] drying up, but its leaders are trying to block climate science education." Perhaps some spelling education is needed. I would guess the piece intended to claim that the Sooner State (a.k.a., Oklahoma) is drying up due to catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

According to Mother Jones, "Oklahoma is known for its indigenous climate denial," because "as much as any state in the US, Oklahoma is a victim of climate change." Sounds tragic.

Interesting claim that Oklahoma is "drying up" because it "is a victim of climate change." Here is some news. The Sooner State has a statistically significant increasing -- not decreasing -- trend in annual precipitation since records begin in 1895. That would be the complete opposite of "drying up." There is absolutely no trend in precipitation since 1970.

There are no negative trends in annual precipitation for any of Oklahoma's nine climate sub-regions, either, over the past 120 years. None.

There are no declining trends in summertime precipitation for the state as a whole, nor in any of its climate sub-regions, since 1895. None.

You may also be interested to know that there are also no significant trends in Oklahoma's statewide average annual or summertime temperatures since 1895.

What about the drought indices? Perhaps they are trending towards more drought conditions in Oklahoma over time? No. There are no trends towards declining Palmer Drought Severity Indices (PDSIs) for the state as a whole, or any of its climate sub-regions, since 1895 on 12-month, 24-month, 36-month, 48-month, or 60-month bases.

If Oklahoma was truly "drying up," we would expect to see a significant negative trend towards more extreme drought conditions in the long-term (60-month) PDSI. Here is the data.

Green and positive values represent wetter non-drought conditions. Yellow and negative values indicate dryer drought-like conditions. The trend is highly significant and positive. In other words, Oklahoma is most certainly not "drying up." Indeed, the period during the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s was the wettest, most anti-drought time-frame in the Sooner State's recorded history.

Looks like Senator James Inhofe and others from Oklahoma have good reason to be skeptical about the climate apocalypse some portend for their state.