The latest weekly Drought Monitor update set another grim record. The brutal U.S. drought expanded to 65.45% of the contiguous U.S. — the highest ever in the Monitor’s 12-year history. The previous record was 64.8% — set just last week.

In the third quarter alone, crop production dropped $12 billion “due to this summer’s severe heat and drought.”  The drop in farm inventories was so sharp in the last quarter that it wiped 0.2% off of U.S. GDP in the latest revision.

In Texas, the drought has killed more than 300 million trees. Nearly 98% of Nebraska is in extreme to exceptional drought — 3 months ago, none of it was!

Climate Central explains:

The drought is the worst to strike the U.S. since the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s and lengthy droughts of the 1950s. It came on suddenly and largely without warning, and although the main trigger was most likely the pattern of water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the drought was exacerbated by extremely hot temperatures during the spring and summer. Climate studies have shown that the odds of severe heat waves are increasing due to manmade climate change.

As I wrote in July, “We’re Already Topping Dust Bowl Temperatures — Imagine What’ll Happen If We Fail To Stop 10°F Warming.” The WashPost reported in August:

The United States will suffer a series of severe droughts in the next two decades, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Moreover, global warming will play an increasingly important role in their abundance and severity, claims Aiguo Dai, the study’s author.

His findings bolster conclusions from climate models used by researchers around the globe that have predicted severe and widespread droughts in coming decades over many land areas…

“We can now be more confident that the models are correct,” Dai said, “but unfortunately, their predictions are dire.”

For more on what the models have been saying, see “James Hansen Is Correct About Catastrophic Projections For U.S. Drought If We Don’t Act Now.” I’ll do a post on Dai’s latest work in October.