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Thursday, 19 July 2012


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The BBC are saying the Jet stream has shifted south and that is responsible for the UK's poor weather, it is supposed to shift back again soon http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18868494

How many times have we recited that little ditty:
"Rain, rain go away,
Come again another day."

Well, now would be a good time...

Glad to see you got some rain. Out here in western Iowa we are not as bad off as our friends on the eastern end of the state but we are getting pretty dry.
I live on a farm and last night I went out in the field and picked an ear of corn.
For what it's worth the germination looks good but the ear is still pretty short. If we don't get rain in the next ten days this crop is going to be severly damaged. It looks to my uneducated eye that we will get some kind of crop but for it to be good we will need a couple of fairly good rains.
So much for the TOP farm report.

Actually those of us in Southeast Alaska would gladly export our record cold and wet summer to you, at least some of it. Seems the hotter the mainland U.S. gets, the cooler and rainier we get. Even the berries don't grow very well. When you guys cool off, we finally get decent weather. It does sound awful down there, listening to some quite good NPR reports, terrible for farmers. Not looking forward to disaster-induced food inflation in the coming months.

Expect to see your grocery bill spike. Corn, wheat, soybeans, and even the meats that are grain-fed. Ethanol fuels are going up too.

It's happy times though for Futures traders who speculated that this drought would persevere. A zero sum game.

Mike, you are more than welcome to some of our rain here in the UK. Our famers are losing their crops to flooding.

"Not only is global weather becoming much more extreme, it is becoming even more extreme than anyone expected......It seems that our weather is getting wilder - more variable as well as steadily hotter. The big question is why. Is this just a blip, or are we in for even more freakish weather as global warming accelerates over the coming decades?"


Interesting article but you might have to be a subscriber to read that, not sure.

Strangely enough here in London they have only just rescinded a drought order. Most of our water comes from an underground aquifer that is only recharged by winter rain. Following two very dry winters the local boreholes were at record low levels so as spring moved into summer they imposed a drought order as they did not expect the underground reservoir to begin recharging until October. The ink was barely dry when the heavens opened and after 3 months of unprecedented rainfall the aquifer has done something that according to their records (since 1945) it has never done before: recharge in the summer. The levels are now close to average for the time of year.
Enjoy your rain.
By the way our summer is evidently coming this weekend, the temperature may creep above 68 degrees Fahrenheit and there no flood or rain warnings in the forecast - let the barbecues commence.

Crazy that we take ten calories of plant food and turn them into one calorie of meat by feeding them to animals trapped in gruesome torture factories. We must end the factory farming of animals. It is terribly cruel, and awfully wasteful. It is no longer merely unsustainable, it is a crisis. For the defenseless animal victims, it has always been a crisis.

Being a color photographer seems futile in Chicago this summer.

Mike, we in Europe may be more aware of your plight than you think. The drought in the US was among the top news items this morning on both German and Swiss radio news.

Our situation is not entirely dissimilar, only not yet quite as dramatic: northern Europe is drenched, southern Europe is parched. Same pattern, and a potential crisis if protracted as in America.

One reader mentions climate change as a possible factor.
The inference of climate from weather is iffy, and the prediction of weather from climate very complex, to say the least. But the statistical probability for ever more extreme deviations has been consistently increasing.

I became aware of climate change models circa 1980, when I started working with dendrochronology. To understand the underlying long-term signal, I needed to look at climate reconstructions. Then I realised that the stolid physics prof exuding the charisma of a certified accountant whose soporific lectures we, as physics minors, had been compelled to attend, was one of the world pioneers in ice-core climatology. He co-pioneered the study of Greenland ice cores and was among the first who identified Ice Age rapid climate fluctuations. He later was also a Lead Author of the First Assessment Report of the IPCC. A memorable quote of his: “The worst for me would be, if there were serious changes in the next 5 to 10 years and we scientists are helpless and did not have the courage to point at these dangerous developments early.” Well, it's been more than thirty years of studies and data and more studies and more data. Most climate parameters measured now are in the upper band of pessimistic prognoses I have seen over the past decades. Change is faster and more massive than early models predicted. And yet nothing happens against it.

Zillions are being spent on armament, need it or not, (mostly not), because "you need to prepare for the enemy's capabilities, not for his intentions." And yet the same principle of precaution is wantonly ignored where climate is concerned. Faced with a clear and present global threat, action is deferred or denied. You and I, Mike, and those of our age may live through this. I shudder thinking what your son and his children may be facing.

We had a hundred+ days in a row of triple digit heat and no rain last Summer here in central Texas. It sucked. I'm sorry to hear it moved north. We've been wetter this Summer. I hope you see more rain soon. Really soon. No fun playing "dustbowl."

As John Lennon said:

sdaeh rieht edih dna nur yeht semoc niar eht fI.




[Adapted from lyrics at http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Rain-lyrics-The-Beatles]

Hi Mike,

Just south of you, we got about 3.5 inches of rain during a prolonged period (started around 8:30 pm). We really needed it too---we had missed out on some of the other rain that had come by earlier in the week.

Keep your fingers crossed for more...


Huge difference here in Austin between last summer and now. We went from record drought and heat to a decent amount of rain and more normal temps. (weekend is suppose to be a scorcher though).

Last year's drought was so bad that the lakes are still critically low.

Kirk Tuck ... Can you confirm that central Texas had over one hundred days in a row of temperatures 100 degrees or higher? KXAN reports 27 consecutive days at Austin Mabry and 12 consecutive days at San Antonio in 2011.

NOAA reports ...

Trouble is, a lot of the rain became storm sewer runoff because so much came down so fast. The 70mph winds we saw in Mt. Horeb didn't help either...it was raining sideways and there were branches all over. And I had to drive into Madison in that mess! We got another round of rain later last night which seemed to soak in a little better. Not complaining, mind you...we'll take what we can get here in Cheesecurdistan*. Most of the corn around here is shot, far as I can tell. (*A popular food up here is deep-fried battered cheese curds. They're addicting and very bad for you. We love 'em. (-; )

The US drought and crop failure was featured here in Australia yesterday. Our national broadcaster aired a quite lengthy piece that included interviews with corn farmers demonstrating withering plants and tiny cobs. One or two interviews were set against a sudden downburst of rain (yours, Mike?); one farmer said that it lifted the mood but that many more would be required to replenish the soil's moisture content.

"who might be only vaguely aware that 60 to 80% of our fair land is suffering under moderate to severe drought right now."

No, I didn't know, sorry. Yes, the weather IS changing, and I do believe in man made global warming.

Yet, the Hebrides, off the coast of Scotland, right next to the Isle of Skye where I was in 2008, are experiencing warm, dry weather good enough to go beach roaming and camping for 11 days straight, according to The Guardian. Makes me want to hop on a plane. Beautiful.

Australian friends are going to be keen to sell the wheat that is just starting to grow.

I just checked the Chicago Board of Trade and yesterday corn topped eight bucks a bushel and soybeans were over seventeen.
I have seen corn as low as $1.60 and soybeans around $3.00 so these are really high prices.
That does not mean a pork chop will cost twice as much as it did last year. Things are a lot more complicated than that but we are having a pretty strange year.
Later in the year when we all get a better idea of what the harvest will actually be these numbers could change radically.
One thing to remember is that modern hybrids have much better drought resistance than they had even five years ago. That will be little comfort to farmers in the eastern corn belt who are literally burned out but is may be better news for those on the edge of the the drought.
Also unless crude oil prices spike the ethanol industry will start to self ration it's use of corn as prices rise and this could effect the market. How's that for OT?

As I understand it there's a considerable buffer of ethanol surplus, so no need for Congress to suspend the E requirements just yet. They could do so if feed corn supplies get critical, though.

According to "USA Today" yesterday, the ripples will be felt first in the dairy case--high feed cost counts there two, but added to that is that cows don't produce well when it's hot, and the farmers need to spend money to keep them adequately cool with things like misters and fans. So there's a triple whammy when it comes to milk and cheese.


Strange weather indeed .... parts of Western Canada have had more rain this spring/early summer than we normally have in an entire year.

There is a simple solution for this one... move south.

Mike, it's been somewhat similar in Romania, although not that harsh. We had 5 months without rain from September '11 to February when it snowed a lot in certain areas. Now almost two months without rain again and temperatures exceeding 33*C. I'm afraid that's what global warming really means: extremes. Extended periods of drought followed by floods or snow storms, extreme temperatures.

The thing is that you live close to a Great Lake and this should make extremes less extreme?

I'm reading The World Without Us by Alan Weisman right now. Recommended reading if you really want to understand what humans have caused on Earth.

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