The Stream, May 31, 2019: IS Militants Scorch Flourishing Crops Fields In Syria, Iraq

The Global Rundown

Islamic State militants torch fields in Syria and Iraq just as crops began to thrive after a long-awaited wet winter. Zimbabwe announces plans to suspend its largest hydroelectric plant if water levels continue to subside. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology predicts hot, dry weather for the next three months. A new study finds that thinned forests and prescribed burns may make trees more resistant to drought. Unprecedented flooding in Oklahoma cuts residents off from their homes.

“It’s crazy to see that much water coming through the dam. People have accepted that this area is devastated and they aren’t going to get back in quickly.” –Kevin Hern, an Oklahoma Congressman, in reference to unprecedented rainfall in the state. Meteorologists predict that flooding along the Arkansas River will be the worst-ever in Oklahoma’s history. The region is under flood warnings until Friday afternoon. USA Today

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By The Numbers

74,000 acres Cropland that has been burned recently in Syria by Islamic State militants. After decades of drought, conditions in Syria and Iraq have been wetter-than-average, and farmers were anticipating high yields of wheat, barley, and other crops. In many areas, however, fields are being ravaged by the intentional fires. Associated Press

14 weeks Length of time until Zimbabwe will be forced to suspend operations at Kariba Dam, its largest hydroelectric plant, if water levels continue to drop. The country is already in the midst of its worst power cuts in three years. Reuters

Science, Studies, and Reports

Thinning forests and implementing prescribed burns helped to minimize overall tree death during a 2012-2016 drought and bark beetle epidemic in the Sierra Nevada, a new study by the University of California-Davis found. Researchers say that this information could help boost forest sustainability in the future, as climate change raises the frequency and intensity of drought. Science Daily

On the Radar

Australia’s sweltering, dry weather is expected to continue for at least three more months, according to the country’s Bureau of Meteorology. The department predicts just a 30 percent chance that the country’s east coast will receive normal rains between now and August 30, and at least a 70 percent chance that the country will be hit with above-average temperatures over the next three months. Reuters

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