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Drought and food

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Drought and food

Postby kurt_w » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:27 pm

This is looking like a pretty disastrous year for drought, especially in some of the major wheat-growing regions (China, Russia, Ukraine, southwest Australia, Canada, and parts of the US Great Plains).

China's having its worst drought in 50 years. So is Russia. Nearly half of the US winter wheat crop is in poor condition.

Fortunately, China's a lot richer than it was 30 years ago. They can buy wheat. But poorer countries elsewhere are going to be finding food very expensive this year.

Here's a link to the online maps from the Global Drought Monitor

And the US Drought Monitor:
Image
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Re: Drought and food

Postby Remember_Me » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:41 pm

Uhhh, Kurt.

We're Americans.

It's not only our job to not care about the rest of the world... it's our responsibility as Americans.

Ya wanna get with the program??
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Re: Drought and food

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:47 pm

Can we jack up the price of our food exports and get some of our economy back from China?
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Re: Drought and food

Postby HamsterArmageddon » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:49 pm

Kurt is so concerned about the world's poor he posts about it on the internet.
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Re: Drought and food

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:19 pm

Buy wheat futures to hedge against the falling dollar.
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Re: Drought and food

Postby kurt_w » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:06 pm

green union terrace chair wrote:Buy wheat futures to hedge against the falling dollar.


Interesting suggestion.

Many people will probably be surprised to learn that China is the world's largest wheat producer (or second-largest, if you lump together all the EU countries). I know I was surprised at how far down the list Canada is.

The drought in the southern plains is reaching record-breaking proportions. The past eight months are the driest such period in Texas's history. One county just announced a ban on outdoor barbecues that will extend through the 4th of July weekend. Several counties are considering banning fireworks. Over the 4th of July? In Texas?

:shock:
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Re: Drought and food

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:16 pm

kurt_w wrote:One county just announced a ban on outdoor barbecues that will extend through the 4th of July weekend. Several counties are considering banning fireworks. Over the 4th of July? In Texas?

:shock:

In 1776 we revolted over less.
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Re: Drought and food

Postby kurt_w » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:28 am

Huh. I noticed in one of the news stories about Texas that they had bad droughts two years ago. One thing that spring 2011 and spring 2009 have in common is that both were coming out of a La Nina period.

So just out of curiosity, I grabbed the drought severity data for Texas from here, and historical El Nino/La Nina data here.

It looks like La Nina years tend to correlate with droughts in Texas, especially over the past couple of decades. (Statistically, the ENSO index explains about half of the variability in the Dec-May drought index in Texas over the past 20 years).

Since La Nina is ending, there might be some relief from the drought later this summer.
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Re: Drought and food

Postby rabble » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:09 pm

Those alarmists looking for government funding are entitled to their junk science opinion. Now let's get back to talking about Weiners.
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Re: Drought and food

Postby snoqueen » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:08 pm

And the US Drought Monitor:
Image

Looks like Texas is almost entirely in the drought area. I wonder if they'll be yakking so much about secession, small government, no more government aid, and the rest of that drivel when their ag sector is pretty much dried up.

Corn production (further north) looks better for now, but most of that goes to animal feed (in Texas, another big industry) which also relies heavily on water.

Environmental things like this, same as snowstorms up north, have turned elections.
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Re: Drought and food

Postby Dust Mite Rodeo » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:07 pm

Even Propane Barbeques?
Uhhhhhh!

Image
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Re: Drought and food

Postby Shorty » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:58 pm

Bad news for the oceans, too.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110621/sc_nm/us_oceans
Ocean life on the brink of mass extinctions: study

"Life in the oceans is at imminent risk of the worst spate of extinctions in millions of years due to threats such as climate change and over-fishing, a study showed on Tuesday. Time was running short to counter hazards such as a collapse of coral reefs or a spread of low-oxygen "dead zones," according to the study led by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO). "We now face losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation," according to the study by 27 experts to be presented to the United Nations. "Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean," it said".
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Re: Drought and food

Postby kurt_w » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:45 am

From the NY Times this weekend:

August 13, 2011
As Texas Dries Out, Life Falters and Fades
By RICHARD PARKER

THE drought that grips Texas is a natural disaster in slow motion. [...] Folks around here say this is unlike any drought Texas has ever seen. In a way that’s right; it’s the worst single drought year on record. But, as scientists now tell us, historically droughts here can last decades. Worse, when the rain does fall, it evaporates faster and faster as the American Southwest become drier, threatening to turn Texas into desert. As bad as this year’s drought is, the long view tells us that things could get much worse. [...]

Up in Austin, Gov. Rick Perry is moving toward a run for the presidency. But he has had precious little to say about the drought that is devastating his state. He did organize a prayer for rain back in April. Looking at that blazing hot, clear blue sky up there, it seems heaven isn’t listening.
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Re: Drought and food

Postby Ned Flanders » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:08 am

AL Gore is showing due concern from one or more of the following locations:

(a) His 6,500 sq ft. Montecito, CA mansion
(b) His 10,000 sq. ft. Nashville mansion
(c) A private jet
(d) An SUV/Limo convoy
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