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Author Topic: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD  (Read 424976 times)

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #150 on: September 23, 2013, 07:20:33 PM »
I toured D-Acres in central New Hampshire (USA) last November enduring strong winds and bitting sleet. (A friend volunteers there.)  Their 'house' herbal tea afterwards made it all worthwhile!  I'll let them speak for themselves:
http://www.dacres.org/aboutdacres/long-story/longstory.html
Quote
D Acres was founded in 1997. The Mission of the organization is to function as an educational center that researches, applies and teaches skills of sustainable living and small-scale organic farming. Striving to improve the human relationship to the environment, the center functions as a demonstration farm to role model exemplars of healthy living. Sharing a communal living situation, individuals come to respect and share values of interdependence and love of nature. In addition, the organization supports educational activities directed toward improving the quality of life of residents and the larger community. ...
Much more information on their website.
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

JimD

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #151 on: September 24, 2013, 05:10:05 PM »
A Climate Progress article on ocean fishing off Oregon and inadvertent huge catches of jellyfish.

The article talks about changing ocean ph and hypoxic zones.

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“Sometimes we’ll catch 4,000 or 5,000 pounds of jellyfish. They spray all around. We get stung,” fisherman Ryan Rogers told the Register-Guard. “It makes it difficult to bring your net in. You have to let it go and lose the salmon that are in your net.”...

..... An increase in jellyfish could seriously damage the marine food chain, since the gelatinous creatures eat large quantities of plankton, a key food source of many fish and whales.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/09/24/2665951/climate-change-fishermen-oceans/
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #152 on: September 25, 2013, 01:50:27 AM »
A Climate Progress article on ocean fishing off Oregon and inadvertent huge catches of jellyfish.

The article talks about changing ocean ph and hypoxic zones.

Quote
“Sometimes we’ll catch 4,000 or 5,000 pounds of jellyfish. They spray all around. We get stung,” fisherman Ryan Rogers told the Register-Guard. “It makes it difficult to bring your net in. You have to let it go and lose the salmon that are in your net.”...

..... An increase in jellyfish could seriously damage the marine food chain, since the gelatinous creatures eat large quantities of plankton, a key food source of many fish and whales.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/09/24/2665951/climate-change-fishermen-oceans/

It doesn't really seem to address the question of what proportion of the change in jellyfish population is related to extreme overharvesting of their natural predators (some fish eat smaller jellyfish) and to what extent climate change might be favouring jellyfish. I'd imagine the two factors are rather hard to tease apart although either way gross damage is being done to the oceans as they are unsustainably strip mined and acidified at the expense of people in the future.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #153 on: September 25, 2013, 03:51:01 AM »
Ccg, I think the only net fishery in Oregon catching salmon is in the Columbia river. I don't know if catching jellies is unusual in the Columbia River gill net fishery. A good part of the gill netting in the Columbia is native American although that isn't really relevant to your overfishing speculation. There is currently no overfishing on west coast ocean fish stocks.( Calif. oregon, washington )There are some rockfish stocks in rebuilding plans because they were overfished a couple decades ago. Jellies are prey for Mola-Mola and maybe young swordfish, Mola-Mola isn't fished and Pacific swordfish stocks are O.K. 
 Acidification may advantage plankton that jellies prefer but to draw any cause and effect of any particular jelly bloom is more speculation. There are plenty of negative effects of acidification and in the long run jellies may be one of them but at this point it isn't very well documented or monitored.   

Bruce Steele

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #154 on: September 25, 2013, 06:46:46 PM »
Ccg, I read the climate progress piece again. There is a link in that piece to the original
Register-Guard article. In that article the fisherman catching jellies in his net is fishing a purse-seine boat in Alaska.    My mistake.   I posted a link to mesocosm studies that show nano and pico phytoplankton benefit from acidification. When they bloom in large enough numbers they remove nutrients necessary for the growth of larger plankton. The larger plankton feed many creatures in higher trophic levels and their calcium shells ballast and transport carbon into the ocean depths.
Nano and pico phytoplankton do provide food for jellies however.
 The problems occurring here on the west coast of North America are advanced from other world oceans largely due to ocean circulation patterns ( the ocean conveyer ) that result in very old water upwelling along our coast. Deep older waters have had a longer time to build up dissolved Co2 due to biological transport of surface supplied Co2 into the depths. Overfishing is not as much of an issue here as it is in many of the worlds oceans. I worry that people will simply assume that resolving the overfishing issues will absolve them of changing the terrestrially supplied Co2 time bomb .
 I have said before I have issues with the environmental community and associated NGO's that love to find a scapegoat ( bad fishermen ) and use it to drum up more funding. My term for this mindset is neo-puritan . Create  a monster and deflect all efforts at some enemy while perpetuating a much larger problem. I have seen enough of fancy hotels $75 valet parking and meeting rooms filled with well dressed NGO's who fly in for the one day affair.  Enough. Time for people to look within themselves for a better view of the monster.

ritter

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #155 on: September 25, 2013, 08:51:40 PM »
Mexico storms:

Quote
The agriculture ministry declared 613,000 hectares (1.5 million acres) of planted land "completely lost" as a result of the storms, or about 3 percent of the country's total farmland.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/24/us-mexico-floods-idUSBRE98K0DJ20130924

JimD

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #156 on: September 25, 2013, 09:59:08 PM »
We are just now getting hard numbers in on the US corn crop for this year.

Despite the nasty bouts of weather things are looking very good.  Harvest has just gotten underway in in the more southern states and is at about 7% so far.  But the good news is that yields are up this year and are averaging in the 150 bu/acre range so far and we have not hit the central Midwest yet where the really high yields occur so this number should rise quite a bit.  Weather could still adversely impact the harvest but time is running out on that possibility at this point so the numbers should hold pretty strongly.

We may see a record harvest since we planted 97.4 million acres of corn (most since 1936) and with the yields looking at somewhere near 160 bu/acre in the end we could see production as high as the 380 million metric ton levels.  A beast of a harvest. Corn prices are falling as we speak.

When you think about the above and the post from ritter on the Mexican floods it means that a lot of the poor Mexican farmers are going to be run out of business.  Their crops get wiped and the US, due to NAFTA, can come  in and sell corn for far less than they can grow it for.  They make no money this year and how do they buy seed and start over again next year when the US will once again under sell them.

http://www.agweb.com/article/less_than_half_of_corn_crop_mature_7_harvested/

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/corn-falls-outlook-bumper-crop-20362283

http://www.nass.usda.gov/Newsroom/2013/06_28_2013.asp   
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JackTaylor

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #157 on: September 30, 2013, 08:25:58 PM »
With an interactive map.
Some crops migrate north with warmer temperatures
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/17/climate-change-agriculture-crops/2784561/

With some interesting comments.
A Kansas Farmer, - shifting from corn to sorghum, a feed crop that's drought- and heat-tolerant. He's also bought land in Nebraska for his cattle.
"I call it climate change, yes I do," he says. "I can't talk about it in the coffee shop and I can't talk about it in the beer joint. But I call it climate change."

Charles Rice, - a professor of soil science at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., thinks it's the phrase that's the problem. "If you talk to farmers they'll say, 'Well, my ponds are drying up, my animals have more heat stress, and I'm planting two weeks earlier.' " They're saying all the right things, but they can't spit out 'climate change' because it's been politically tainted."

How about that for peer pressure - emotional well being.



JimD

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #158 on: September 30, 2013, 09:59:41 PM »
Jack

I have had identical experiences with farmers I know.   Phrasing is key in any conversation as almost all farmers watch Fox and think what they are hearing is factual and objective.  But they ALL know that everything is changing also.

Here in AZ this weekend when I was working with the Forest Service we crossed some National Forest land on the way into the wilderness we were going to work in.  There were lots of cattle about and we got to talking about grazing permits and such.  The allotment we were on was over 20,000 acres and the limit was 300 head of livestock. Much of it was overgrazed even then.  The problem is that the allotment can barely handle the 300 head but to do so the cattle have to be forcibly moved around it to evenly eat the grass (this is what cowboys used to be used for).  Since it is too expensive to hire the number of cowboys needed the cattle will just congregate around the few water sources and end up damaging the grazing land.  Back when this country had more water the practice of just letting them go half wild and rounding them up once or twice a year worked as the grass grew thicker and there were more natural water sources.   Now we are heading towards a situation where eventually the land will not support much grazing at all.  As it is now almost none of the ranches are profitable.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #159 on: October 01, 2013, 09:35:18 PM »
To go along with my little post on the US corn crop above I thought to check on the global wheat, corn and rice harvests for this season (it is not calendar oriented and crosses into 2014).  Very good news in a BAU industrial farming sense.

From the below report we get this:

Quote
Global 2013/14 wheat supplies are raised 3.0 million tons with increased production more than offsetting lower beginning stocks. World wheat production is projected at a record 708.9 million tons, up 3.5 million this month. Higher production in Canada, the European Union (EU), and the FSU-12 more than offsets reductions for Iran and Paraguay. Production is raised 2.0 million tons for Canada as cool July weather supported flowering and reproduction, and abundant soil moisture and favorably warm, dry weather in August aided grain fill and maturity across the Prairie Provinces. EU production is raised 1.5 million tons as harvest results confirm increases from the United Kingdom and Germany in the west to Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria in the east. Small increases are also made this month for Poland and the Czech Republic, both in the EU, and for non-member Serbia. FSU-12 production is raised 1.0 million tons as harvest results boost production 0.5 million tons for Ukraine and smaller increases are reported for Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Production is lowered 1.0 million tons for Iran and 0.4 million tons for Paraguay.

Quote
Global rice production is projected at a record 476.8 million tons....

Given global stockpiles being low this is big news.  It looks now like the global corn supply will be almost identical to last year and the wheat and rice harvests are looking at records.  This will pad the global supply a little bit but there will not be a dramatic change in stockpiles.  Rice stocks are expected to rise about 0.5%, corn will rise 1.3 million metric tons which is essential 0%, and wheat will rise about 0.3 %.  So it helps but only a little.  I would project that the only way to ever bring global grain stocks back to what was once considered the appropriate level would require the shutting down of the corn to ethanol program in the US. Any takers on that bet?

Global oilseed stocks (soybeans, etc) will rise about 0.4% on record production so good news there also.

Quote
Global oilseed production for 2013/14 is projected at 495.1 million tons, up 2 million from last month. Gains in foreign production more than offset lower forecasts for the United States. Global soybean production is projected almost unchanged at a record 281.7 million tons as larger crop forecasts for Brazil and Paraguay mostly offset reductions for the United States, Canada, China, and Russia. Soybean production for Brazil is forecast at a record 88 million tons, up 3 million on increased area.
   

http://www.thecropsite.com/reports/?id=2751&country=US
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ritter

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #160 on: October 01, 2013, 10:26:20 PM »
Given global stockpiles being low this is big news.  It looks now like the global corn supply will be almost identical to last year and the wheat and rice harvests are looking at records.  This will pad the global supply a little bit but there will not be a dramatic change in stockpiles.  Rice stocks are expected to rise about 0.5%, corn will rise 1.3 million metric tons which is essential 0%, and wheat will rise about 0.3 %.  So it helps but only a little.

So, record harvests and reserves bump up less than 0.5%. Am I reading this right? If so, we're going to have to do a lot better.

JimD

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #161 on: October 02, 2013, 06:05:30 PM »
Ritter

Yes it is very difficult to achieve large increases in global production.  This is the case for a number of reasons.

1.  The Green Revolution (dramatically rising yields) has been largely over for some time.  Minor increases in yield still occur but we are past the point where those techniques can be leveraged much further.. Unless, of course, GM crops achieve a big breakthrough which is what we are hanging a lot of equity on.  Big risk there.

2.  There are no large acreages of prime fertile land left to exploit.  Just small pockets here and there.  Land that is being converted from rain forest, other forests and grassland to crop land is marginal for that use so it will not achieve high yields and taking that land out of its natural production entails negative feedbacks in many ways.  Extra carbon emissions for one, loss of habitat for other species, effects normal rainfall, etc.  For instance the eastern US used to be farmed extensively 150-200 years ago but due to depleting soils and access to the Ohio River valley becoming open, plus further areas west of there, crop farming died way back and millions of acres were reforested.  Most agriculture in Virginia now relates to cattle production.  That could be reversed, but at great cost.

3. The current scale of global production is so large that it takes an enormous amount of new production to affect totals significantly.  Global grain production in 2012 was 2241 million metric tons.  To increase that by 5% would require an additional 112 million metric tons of production.  To give you an idea of the scale of this task we will convert this number to wheat production.  Wheat is the most commonly grown grain worldwide and it is much more suitable to being grown on marginal lands so it is probably the best grain to use for this calculation.  In the real world it would be a mixture of all grains of course.  World average wheat yields are 3.1 tonnes per hectare or 1.255 tonnes per acre.  Divide your 112 million tonnes requirement by the yield and we get 89.2 million acres of new ground needed minimum.  In actuality the acres needed would be higher as we are moving on to less productive land.   Let's round to 100 million acres.  That is an area of land that would be in between the size of Montana and California or three times the size of Greece.   Think of the amount of farm equipment alone that is required to work this amount of land, the support infrastructure, water supplies, fuel, fertilizer, housing, shipping vehicles, roads, etc. Lots of resources.

These kinds of numbers show why adding 2 billion more people by 2050 is going to be a strain on agriculture production.  We are just begging for disaster.  That number of extra people would require an additional minimum amount of land, equal in quality to todays average land, of about 450 million acres; an area the size of Alaska.  In the meantime the changing climate and other problems are taking land out of at a significant rate.  Scary.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ritter

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #162 on: October 02, 2013, 07:39:52 PM »
These kinds of numbers show why adding 2 billion more people by 2050 is going to be a strain on agriculture production.  We are just begging for disaster.  That number of extra people would require an additional minimum amount of land, equal in quality to todays average land, of about 450 million acres; an area the size of Alaska.  In the meantime the changing climate and other problems are taking land out of at a significant rate.  Scary.

Yes, this was my roundabout point! No way can we support an additional 2 billion. (at least not in any equitable way under current lifestyle modes)

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #163 on: October 04, 2013, 03:26:59 AM »
Given global stockpiles being low this is big news.  It looks now like the global corn supply will be almost identical to last year and the wheat and rice harvests are looking at records.  This will pad the global supply a little bit but there will not be a dramatic change in stockpiles.  Rice stocks are expected to rise about 0.5%, corn will rise 1.3 million metric tons which is essential 0%, and wheat will rise about 0.3 %.  So it helps but only a little.

So, record harvests and reserves bump up less than 0.5%. Am I reading this right? If so, we're going to have to do a lot better.

Given how near I personally think we might be to realising the downward slope on collapse, I view the agricultural figures this year as rather good news. I can't help but wonder if there is a correlation with the relatively good melt season in the Arctic - though obviously it isn't really safe to assume on that at this point. Anyway, it feels like we rolled good numbers this year - globally speaking.

Laurent

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #164 on: October 04, 2013, 10:57:52 AM »
There is a problem with usda !
Quote
USDA.gov
Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available.
After funding has been restored, please allow some time for this website to
become available again.
For information about available government services, visit usa.gov
To view U.S. Department of Agriculture Agency Contingency plans, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/contingency-plans
Message from the President to U.S. Government Employees
though the crops are good strangely the stocks are down (if I understand well)
USDA Grain Stocks: Corn, Soybeans Both Down 17% from 2012
http://agfax.com/2013/09/30/usda-grain-stocks-corn-soybeans-both-down-17-from-2012/

JimD

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Re: Weather and agriculture
« Reply #165 on: October 04, 2013, 04:58:35 PM »
Laurent

The word "stocks" refers to what is in storage.  The very large harvest will restore basically all of those totals (that is that 0.5% global rise we were taking about above).  Stocks rise and fall due to demand factors as well as harvest totals.  It is global stocks which are critical.  If a region has a shortfall then stocks are drawn down in one location and shipped to another.

A caveat though.  Some years from now when there is no longer excess stock to ship around to make up for shortfalls then we will have a big problem.  But for now we are ok.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Anonymouse

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #166 on: October 14, 2013, 05:35:24 AM »
Does anyone have any research on phytoplankton? (sic)  My understanding is that those creatures are the underpinning of well, a lot.  Acidification is a big concern of mine, but I know next to nothing about it...

Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #167 on: October 14, 2013, 06:10:06 AM »
I linked this paper back on Sept.6 . It gives results for how a variety of phytoplankton interact when exposed to increased Co2. 
http://www.biogeosciences.net/10/5619/2013/bg-10-5619-2013.pdf



Skeptical science did a good ocean acidification overview called" OA is not OK "
« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 06:15:54 AM by Bruce Steele »

idunno

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #168 on: October 14, 2013, 10:38:12 AM »

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #169 on: October 16, 2013, 09:17:28 PM »
Extreme weather can be the 'most important cause of poverty'

Quote
The report has been compiled by the Overseas Development Institute.

It examines the relationship between disasters and poverty over the next 20 years, using population projections, climate models and estimations of how governments can cope with extreme events.

The report suggests that up to a third of a billion people could be living in the 49 countries most exposed to the full range of natural hazards and climate extremes in 2030.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24538078
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #170 on: October 17, 2013, 06:09:40 PM »
As mentioned by SH over on the Weird Weather thread there was recently a gigantic 3 ft snowstorm in the high plains of the US (primarily in western South Dakota).  While big snowstorms and blizzards are hardly unheard of in the country (I grew up just south and west of where this occurred and have experienced similar storms) it occurred at an extremely unusual time of year.  Giant snowstorms in this region are historically confined to the spring and occasionally the winter. Never in the fall.

This impact of this kind of storm under normal circumstances can be financially catastrophic due to high death rates of livestock.  For example in the winter of 1886-87 a gigantic blizzard hit the high plains and the resulting loss of livestock (50% across a wide area and 90% in some locations) bankrupted about 50% of the original ranching operations in Wyoming, Western Nebraska and parts of South Dakota and Colorado.  And this was before the range was fenced.  Fences kill livestock in storms because they do not allow the cattle to continue to walk downwind which is how they survive.  If they pile up and stand they die.

So, South Dakota this month.

This time of year the cattle are still on the summer pastures and have not been moved down to the winter locations which are more protected from weather and which are located where there is ready access to emergency feed.  Worse yet they have not yet grown their winter coats which are essential to survive harsh weather.  So what happens?  They die.

Quote
...beef cattle don't live in climate controlled barns. Beef cows and calves spend the majority of their lives out on pasture. They graze the grass in the spring, summer and fall and eat baled hay in the winter.

In winter these cows and calves grow fuzzy jackets that keep them warm and protect them from the snow and cold. The cows and calves live in special pastures in the winter. These pastures are smaller and closer to the ranch, and they have windbreaks for the cows to hide behind. They have worked for cows for hundred of years.

So what's the big deal about this blizzard?

It's not really winter yet.

The cows don't have their warm jackets on. The cows are still out eating grass in the big pastures. Atlas wasn't just a snowstorm, it was the kind of storm that can destroy the ranchers that have been caring for these cattle for hundreds of years.

Last weekend Atlas hit. It started with rain. The rain soaked the cows and chilled them to the bone. Inches and inches of rain fell. The rain made horrible mud. Then the winds started – 80mph winds, hurricane force. When the wind started, the rain changed to snow. A lot of snow. The cows were wet, muddy and they didn't have their winter jackets when the wind and snow came. Wet snow. Heavy snow.

The cows tried to protect themselves. They hid in low spots away from the wind. The low spots where the rain had turned the ground to thick mud. Some got stuck in the mud. Some laid down to get away from the wind, to rest a little, they were tired from trying to get away from the weather when they were already so cold.

The snow came down so heavy and so fast the the low spots that the cattle were laying in filled with snow. Not a few inches of snow, not a foot of snow. Enough snow that the cows and their calves were covered in snow.

The cows and calves suffocated or froze to death.

I have read that estimates are that 100,000 cattle died.

Quote
This wasn't just a few cows. Tens of thousands of cows are gone. Some ranchers lost their entire herds. All of their cows, gone.

In the fall, a cattle rancher sells their calves to someone who specializes in raising them for market. It's how a ranch generates income. Calves are the lifeblood of a cattle ranch. Most ranchers had not yet sold their calves when Atlas hit. Their calves are gone. The cows that made those calves were pregnant with with next year's calves. Those cows are gone, those calves are gone.

Almost no one is going to be insured as insuring cattle in the west is cost prohibitive due to the small profit margins of ranching.  There are going to be lots of bankruptcies.  Check the CBS video out in link 3 and the photo starting link 4.

Weird weather indeed.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/14/south-dakota-cattle-rancher-losses

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/15725398-south-dakota-blizzard-leaves-around-20000-cattle-dead-photos

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57607472/100000-cattle-feared-dead-after-early-south-dakota-snowstorm/

http://news.yahoo.com/south-dakota-ranchers-reeling-cattle-losses-182945993.html
http://news.yahoo.com/south-dakota-ranchers-reeling-cattle-losses-182945993.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Neven

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #171 on: October 17, 2013, 10:16:09 PM »
Wow, amazing. I believe a similar thing happened last year in Wales and England with sheep.
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #172 on: October 18, 2013, 07:04:39 PM »
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

"More than 500 million people might face increasing water scarcity"

(Very excellent and detailed paper- close to being fully readable even)

The paper covers much more than water issues.

(Bold mine)
Quote
We managed to quantify a number of crucial impacts of climate change on the global land area," says Dieter Gerten, lead-author of one of the studies. Mean global warming of 2 degrees, the target set by the international community, is projected to expose an additional 8 percent of humankind to new or increased water scarcity. 3.5 degrees – likely to occur if national emissions reductions remain at currently pledged levels – would affect 11 percent of the world population. 5 degrees could raise this even further to 13 percent.

These are 'additional' numbers.  Currently there are some 1 billion people already living under water stress conditions.

Quote
....For the green cover of our planet, even greater changes are in store. "The area at risk of ecosystem transformation is expected to double between global warming of about 3 and 4 degrees...
...The regions at risk under unabated global warming include the grasslands of Eastern India, shrublands of the Tibetan Plateau, the forests of Northern Canada, the savannas of Ethiopia and Somalia, and the Amazonian rainforest. Many of these are regions of rich and unique biodiversity.

Quote
Abstract

This modelling study demonstrates at what level of global mean temperature rise (ΔTg) regions will be exposed to significant decreases of freshwater availability and changes to terrestrial ecosystems. Projections are based on a new, consistent set of 152 climate scenarios (eight ΔTg trajectories reaching 1.5–5 ° C above pre-industrial levels by 2100, each scaled with spatial patterns from 19 general circulation models). The results suggest that already at a ΔTg of 2 ° C and mainly in the subtropics, higher water scarcity would occur in >50% out of the 19 climate scenarios. Substantial biogeochemical and vegetation structural changes would also occur at 2 ° C, but mainly in subpolar and semiarid ecosystems. Other regions would be affected at higher ΔTg levels, with lower intensity or with lower confidence. In total, mean global warming levels of 2 ° C, 3.5 ° C and 5 ° C are simulated to expose an additional 8%, 11% and 13% of the world population to new or aggravated water scarcity, respectively, with >50% confidence (while ~1.3 billion people already live in water-scarce regions). Concurrently, substantial habitat transformations would occur in biogeographic regions that contain 1% (in zones affected at 2 ° C), 10% (3.5 ° C) and 74% (5 ° C) of present endemism-weighted vascular plant species, respectively. The results suggest nonlinear growth of impacts along with ΔTg and highlight regional disparities in impact magnitudes and critical ΔTg levels.

Quote
5. Conclusions

Our comprehensive simulations show that both freshwater availability and ecosystem properties will change significantly in the future if no efforts were made to abate global warming. The impacts seem to accrue in nonlinear ways, though the shape of impact functions differs among the considered variables. Even if global warming was limited to 1.5–2 ° C above pre-industrial level in accordance with current negotiations, almost 500 million people might be affected by an aggravation of existing water scarcity or be newly exposed to water scarcity. Concurrent population growth would further increase this number to up to around 5 billion people.
......

Especially interesting are the graphs in section 3 of the paper.  For the folks in OZ this must be depressing - looks like most of the inland areas are headed towards sand dunes.

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/3/034032/article

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/pifc-mt5100713.php
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

dlen

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #173 on: October 19, 2013, 06:43:11 PM »
A somewhat hearsay source: http://www.straight.com/news/358181/gwynne-dyer-why-chinese-government-wants-carbon-tax on food risks in China:

Quote
The main impact of climate change on human welfare in the short- and medium-term will be on the food supply. The rule of thumb the experts use is that total world food production will drop by 10 percent for every degree Celsius of warming, but the percentage losses will vary widely from one country to another.

The director told me the amount of food his own country would lose, which was bad enough—and then mentioned that China, according to the report on that country, would lose a terrifying 38 percent of its food production at plus 2 ° C.

OTH agricultural techiques are developing too.

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #174 on: October 22, 2013, 01:32:17 AM »
Some good news on GMO agriculture.

Quote
It hasn't been a good week for Monsanto and the rest of the biotech industry.

Just three days ago, Mexico banned genetically engineered corn. Citing the risk of imminent harm to the environment, a Mexican judge ruled that, effective immediately, no genetically engineered corn can be planted in the country. This means that companies like Monsanto will no longer be allowed to plant or sell their corn within the country's borders.

At the same time, the County Council for the island of Kauai passed a law that mandates farms to disclose pesticide use and the presence of genetically modified crops. The bill also requires a 500-foot buffer zone near medical facilities, schools and homes -- among other locations.

And the big island of Hawaii County Council gave preliminary approval to a bill that prohibits open air cultivation, propagation, development or testing of genetically engineered crops or plants. The bill, which still needs further confirmation to become law, would also prohibit biotech companies from operating on the Big Island.

But perhaps the biggest bombshell of all is now unfolding in Washington state. The mail-in ballot state's voters are already weighing in on Initiative 522, which would mandate the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)......
..

Maybe we will get lucky and the Evil Empire (i.e. Monsanto and allies) won't be able to brainwash the public in Washington by spending ungodly amounts of money to defeat the initiative. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/huge-gmo-news_b_4129311.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ritter

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #175 on: October 22, 2013, 05:49:14 PM »
Maybe we will get lucky and the Evil Empire (i.e. Monsanto and allies) won't be able to brainwash the public in Washington by spending ungodly amounts of money to defeat the initiative. 
Oh, I'm sure any such silly law created by the people would be found unconstitutionally restrictive to corporate rights and stuck down. Progress, you know.  >:(

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #176 on: October 22, 2013, 08:59:56 PM »
The Amazons dry season is getting much longer and in the southern regions the tipping point where rain forest gives way due to lack of sufficient moisture may be approaching.  New study out in PNAS.

Quote
Significance

Whether the dry-season length will increase is a central question in determining the fate of the rainforests over Amazonia and the future global atmospheric CO2 concentration. We show observationally that the dry-season length over southern Amazonia has increased significantly since 1979. We do not know what has caused this change, although it resembles the effects of anthropogenic climate change. The global climate models that were presented in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report seem to substantially underestimate the variability of the dry-season length. Such a bias implies that the future change of the dry-season length, and hence the risk of rainforest die-back, may be underestimated by the projections of these models.

Quote
Abstract

We have observed that the dry-season length (DSL) has increased over southern Amazonia since 1979, primarily owing to a delay of its ending dates (dry-season end, DSE), and is accompanied by a prolonged fire season. A poleward shift of the subtropical jet over South America and an increase of local convective inhibition energy in austral winter (June–August) seem to cause the delay of the DSE in austral spring (September–November). These changes cannot be simply linked to the variability of the tropical Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Although they show some resemblance to the effects of anthropogenic forcings reported in the literature, we cannot attribute them to this cause because of inadequate representation of these processes in the global climate models that were presented in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report. These models significantly underestimate the variability of the DSE and DSL and their controlling processes. Such biases imply that the future change of the DSE and DSL may be underestimated by the climate projections provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report models. Although it is not clear whether the observed increase of the DSL will continue in the future, were it to continue at half the rate of that observed, the long DSL and fire season that contributed to the 2005 drought would become the new norm by the late 21st century. The large uncertainty shown in this study highlights the need for a focused effort to better understand and simulate these changes over southern Amazonia.

Full text pdf at the below link.

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/10/15/1302584110.abstract

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/22/amazon-rain-forest-drying-out_n_4142882.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ritter

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #177 on: October 22, 2013, 10:27:26 PM »
It boggles the mind we could destroy something so large and complex as the Amazon. Or the Arctic. Or the oceans. Or the Earth. But it surely does seem that it is so.

Shared Humanity

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #178 on: October 23, 2013, 04:46:30 PM »
Another vivid example of the impact of AGW on food prices.


http://qz.com/138384/climate-change-cost-you-the-mcdonalds-dollar-menu/


Perhaps the average American will now sit up and take notice.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 09:23:41 PM by Shared Humanity »

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #179 on: October 23, 2013, 05:31:53 PM »
Comments are frequently made about including the full cost of production (both external and internal costs) in various industries to more properly gage the full impact of any activity on the general public and the environment.

I wonder a bit about what a McDonalds hamburger would actually cost if all production costs were taken into account and the workers paid a living wage.  Bet sales would drop off a bit.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #180 on: October 23, 2013, 08:55:11 PM »
I wonder a bit about what a McDonalds hamburger would actually cost if all production costs were taken into account and the workers paid a living wage.  Bet sales would drop off a bit.

Theoretically maybe people would be able to afford a slightly more expensive burger if they didn't have to pay the taxation to support the Mcdonalds worker via public subsidy of the private corporation?

That's the thing - we all pay in the end anyway, that's the bottom line. The sick thing about the modern world is that it takes the benefits today and makes children pay the bill later, while not even assuring them of the benefits.

Laurent

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #181 on: October 27, 2013, 09:27:56 PM »
A video about acidification on west coast of USA.
On youtube add this code (can't add the link?"The message body was left empty. ")
/watch?v=x7MpI9dZIjk#t=79

A special web site (if not already posted) by NOAA

http://oceanacidification.noaa.gov/

Laurent

Laurent
« Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 09:38:15 PM by Laurent »

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #182 on: October 31, 2013, 08:01:01 PM »
If this winter is dry in the Sierra's California is going to have a very rough summer in 2014 in the agricultural sector. 

Quote
California is known for its massive water infrastructure in which northern reservoirs, which fill up from the Sierra Nevada snowpack, supply the populous southern and coastal regions of the state. However going into a third year of dry winter conditions, many of these northern man-made oases are at precariously low levels, hovering between one-third and one-half capacity, far less than the average for October. ...

...Pete Lucero of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, owner of the Central Valley Project, told the Fresno Bee that January through May 2013 were California’s driest in about 90 years of recordkeeping.

Currently the San Luis Reservoir, which gets water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, is only 22 percent of its historical average for this time of year.

The fat lady is humming.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/10/31/2864751/california-reservoirs-parched-water/
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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ritter

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #183 on: October 31, 2013, 09:20:19 PM »
If this winter is dry in the Sierra's California is going to have a very rough summer in 2014 in the agricultural sector. 

Yes, we need rain/snow badly this year. If not, LA and San Diego may just have to stop watering their lawns.  :o

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #184 on: November 01, 2013, 04:26:27 PM »
My next door neighbor here in AZ installed a lawn last week.  He was all excited that he did not have a dirt yard anymore.  I didn't know what to say to him.  I actually like not having grass to mow.

I am turning the hot tub built into the deck of the house we bought into a greenhouse (its a big hot tub).  Going to be interesting looking.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #185 on: November 01, 2013, 05:58:18 PM »
If you have time, post some pics in the interesting building projects thread, Jim.  I'm building a greenhouse next year. :)
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #186 on: November 01, 2013, 08:37:57 PM »
I am in the design stage now, but I will try and do that down the road a bit.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #187 on: November 02, 2013, 03:23:43 PM »
Not only is this very sad news it may be certain proof that civilization has limited time left considering how essential this crop is to its maintenance.

Wine shortage.

Quote
Global demand exceeded supply by 300 million cases in 2012, and the future could be bleaker, a Morgan Stanley Research report says. The study blames the shortfall on increased demand — everyone will drink to that, apparently — bad weather and fewer vineyards.

Quote
Americans drink about 12% of the world's wine, and per-capita consumption is booming. China, the world's fifth largest importer, has quadrupled its consumption in the past five years.

Scary.  What happens if we can't keep the Americans and Chinese medicated?

Quote
... global wine consumption has been rising since 1996 (except a drop in 2008-09), and presently stands at about 3bn cases per year.

At the same time, there are currently more than one million wine producers worldwide, making some 2.8bn cases each year.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/29/global-wine-shortage_n_4173846.html


http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/31/win-shortage-morgan-stanley/3323451/
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #188 on: November 02, 2013, 04:13:29 PM »
NYT comments on the draft AR5.  Discusses threats to global food supply by climate change and increasing population. 

Climate Change Seen Posing Risk to Food Supplies

Quote
Climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades, potentially undermining crop production and driving up prices at a time when the demand for food is expected to soar, scientists have found. ...

... the scientists concluded that rising temperatures will have some beneficial effects on crops in some places, but that globally they will make it harder for crops to thrive — perhaps reducing production over all by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century, compared with what it would be without climate change.

During that period, demand is expected to rise as much as 14 percent each decade, the report found, as the world population is projected to grow to 9.6 billion in 2050, from 7.2 billion today

So.  Production down 2% per decade and demand up 14% per decade. 

Quote
...If the report proves to be correct about the effect on crops from climate change, global food demand might have to be met — if it can be met — by putting new land into production. That could entail chopping down large areas of forest, an action that would only accelerate climate change by sending substantial amounts of carbon dioxide into the air from the destruction of trees....

This report confirms our previous discussions on the eventual collision between food supply and demand.  It would appear that even an all stops removed push by the industrial food system will be unable to keep these two curves from crossing in a few decades.   But when? 

Elimination of the food to fuel programs (ethanol) would result in about a 5% increase in supply.  Eliminating grain fed CAFO operations would free up another large, but undetermined, supply of food.  Perhaps as much as 20%.  But, eliminating CAFO operations is highly unlikely to happen until massive shortfalls in global supply have resulted in mass starvation.  So best not plan on that.  We will certainly increase the amount of land in production - with all the bad consequences that comes with.   

No matter how optimistic you are the numbers get really ugly in 30-40 years.  Add in the global  fishing industries woes (which I do not believe are fully accounted for in the above numbers) and we are in even more trouble.  That year 2050 number I keep coming back to comes to mind again as a good guess on an upper bound.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/02/science/earth/science-panel-warns-of-risks-to-food-supply-from-climate-change.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20131102&_r=1&
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ggelsrinc

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #189 on: November 03, 2013, 09:38:48 AM »
Can anyone post evidence of the world ever losing 2% of it's food production in the recent past or any time in one year and unless the facts are for the whole world, don't waste your the time? Did the world lose food production during years of mass starvation, I had to live with? What happens to the way people think, when they are old and have heard about the population explosion causing food shortages and mass starvation that never happened? Isn't there a difference between the science of wolves exist and crying wolf constantly?

I understand you are thinking you are doing the world a favor preaching to your choir, but science needs evidence of global warming to convince people and not preaching fear. I've been to Denialista sites, have you? Harping of the dangers in your imagination about global warming is a waste of human effort on a site dedicated to science. There are suspicions, but no scientific evidence presently available to make that doomsday case. Why waste your time on Earth?

Science says as the world warms, there is more rain, CO2 and many factors that are a net plus for agriculture and cooler conditions before AGW were heading in the opposite direction, even discounting scientific advances, which are so easily discounted by people only looking at one side of a balance sheet. That doesn't mean warming is a good thing, but there is plenty of time to prevent the negative effects already in the pipeline IMO, but that's a belief based on science as we know it.

I appreciate your concerns that I share, but the issue is time. Fanatics never help a cause, because they spend all their time reinforcing their fanaticism with each other and never communicate in ways to convince the undecided, nor do they ever listen to reason. You are wasting your time on Earth believing what you believe, because there is absolutely no way your position is convincing nor can it be properly supported by evidence. We have great leaders in climate science from many disciplines who are warning our world, but they don't consider their suspicions or concerns as absolute truth. I appreciate the great batters of our times, like Hansen, Mann and Alley, but they qualify what they say in a scientific and logical way. It's an art and everybody isn't an artist.

People with scientific training are required to prove what they think and people without scientific training can choose what they think. The word think can become confused with believe, but it isn't the same. There is nothing wrong with believing in something, but when my mind crosses the threshold of considering what I believe as fact and therefore knowledge, I'm a fool. A good scientist struggles to separate their minds to know what they know and what they don't know, amongst many other things, like what they believe. The accumulation of knowledge on any subject is science and anything that mixes knowledge with belief or so-called knowledge of something accepted by a fool doesn't exist, it's pseudoscience. Knowledge requires a test to prove itself to be true and only then it becomes science.

I appreciate any recruit for the battle to save our planet, but I don't appreciate someone saying the battle is lost before it's started. We need warriors, so go back and change your underwear so you can step in line to become a warrior! 

« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 02:34:31 PM by ggelsrinc »

wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #190 on: November 03, 2013, 03:34:59 PM »
gge, show me a climate scientist who says that global warming will be a net benefit to agriculture? The Brits have not found that 'increased rain' inundating their fields for the last six summers has improved their agricultural output. IIRC, more crops are lost every year due to excess rain than drought. But of course GW can increase both drought and flooding, neither of which are particularly good for crops. Just because we haven't had sustained losses of 2% or more over many decades in the recent past is absolutely no kind of evidence that it will not happen in the near future. We live on a very different planet than we did just a few years ago, and the rate of change is picking up. If you hadn't noticed, the Arctic ice cap is in the the process of vanishing.

You keep harping on what 'science' says, and warn against making absolute statements, then you come out with these utterly idiotic, unscientific statement (that you presumably got from your tours of anti-science denialist sites), and proclaim them as absolute truths. It really makes it hard to take anything you say seriously. Sorry, but you should know what kind of impression you are making with this kind of rant.

The impression I get is someone too emotionally fragile to face the hard cold facts and solidly based projections that the science is now presenting us. I can understand the unwillingness to accept the science since it is pointing to such dire results, but denying that science and then claiming to be the great defender of said science goes rather beyond what I, at least, can stomach.

And why do you assume that your audience have not been 'warriors' on the lines of the environmental and GW lines already for many years? How many people have you introduced to the concept of global warming and resource limits...For me it now runs in the thousands. How much have you challenged yourself, your immediate and larger family, your schools, places of employment, religious groups, neighborhood, city, state, nation, world to change to more sustainable practices, and at what personal expense to you? Most of us don't much like bragging on ourselves, but I have been struggling at all these levels for decades now with some pretty negative consequences to relationships and career.

But I also agree with Hansen, Anderson (Tyndall Centre on CC Research) and many other scientists, scientific organizations, and other major institutions that have carefully researched the situation that we are now in a world of trouble pretty much whatever we do. That doesn't mean give up the fight. But it is important not to lie to ourselves about where we are while trying to improve, however marginally, our and our children's survivability.

Two degrees looks pretty much inevitable, by most assessments now. Recall that this was the international agreed upon guard rail in most talks beyond which everyone agreed we should not go, even though the science for a long time has been clear that very bad things start happening long before you get to two degrees. Many organizations and research programs see us hitting four degrees within this century, a level that has been called incompatible with an organized global community, that is, pretty much with modern civilization. And of course many other groups have concluded that we are pretty much locked into about six degrees by about the end of the century. I recommend to you the book "Six Degrees" by Mark Lynas if you don't know what that would mean for humans and for life on the planet. Here's a short presentation by Anderson (mentioned above) that goes over some of the basic implications for the planet and the economy, if you're actually interested.



Two more things: "prevent the negative effects" Can you explain what you mean here? Do you mean moving hundreds of millions of people away from the coasts? Do you mean moving agricultural production north hundred of miles to poorer soils and shorter growing seasons? Do you mean somehow preventing the Arctic from going ice free, the GIS from collapsing, the permafrost from becoming permathaw...? Just wondering.

And it should also be pointed out that the Green Revolution that squeaked us past the last food bottle neck:

1) Has run its course
2) Is not going to provide further great benefits
3) Does not seem to have a cousin waiting in the wings to save us (and please don't start on GMOs)
4) Helped bring about our current situation where we have even more massive numbers of mouths to feed and the need to 'just in time' provide the massive amounts of grain necessary to feed them. One year of major global crop failure will be utterly catastrophic, and that just means a Russian 2010 heatwave event happening in a couple more of the worlds major breadbaskets. 
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 03:56:23 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

ggelsrinc

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #191 on: November 03, 2013, 04:23:52 PM »
gge, show me a climate scientist who says that global warming will be a net benefit to agriculture? The Brits have not found that 'increased rain' inundating their fields for the last six summers has improved their agricultural output. IIRC, more crops are lost every year due to excess rain than drought. But of course GW can increase both drought and flooding, neither of which are particularly good for crops. Just because we haven't had sustained losses of 2% or more over many decades in the recent past is absolutely no kind of evidence that it will not happen in the near future. We live on a very different planet than we did just a few years ago, and the rate of change is picking up. If you hadn't noticed, the Arctic ice cap is in the the process of vanishing.

You keep harping on what 'science' says, and warn against making absolute statements, then you come out with these utterly idiotic, unscientific statement (that you presumably got from your tours of anti-science denialist sites), and proclaim them as absolute truths. It really makes it hard to take anything you say seriously. Sorry, but you should know what kind of impression you are making with this kind of rant.

The impression I get is someone too emotionally fragile to face the hard cold facts and solidly based projections that the science is now presenting us. I can understand the unwillingness to accept the science since it is pointing to such dire results, but denying that science and then claiming to be the great defender of said science goes rather beyond what I, at least, can stomach.

And why do you assume that your audience have not been 'warriors' on the lines of the environmental and GW lines already for many years? How many people have you introduced to the concept of global warming and resource limits...For me it now runs in the thousands. How much have you challenged yourself, your immediate and larger family, your schools, places of employment, religious groups, neighborhood, city, state, nation, world to change to more sustainable practices, and at what personal expense to you? Most of us don't much like bragging on ourselves, but I have been struggling at all these levels for decades now with some pretty negative consequences to relationships and career.

But I also agree with Hansen, Anderson (Tyndall Centre on CC Research) and many other scientists, scientific organizations, and other major institutions that have carefully researched the situation that we are now in a world of trouble pretty much whatever we do. That doesn't mean give up the fight. But it is important not to lie to ourselves about where we are while trying to improve, however marginally, our and our children's survivability.

Two degrees looks pretty much inevitable, by most assessments now. Recall that this was the international agreed upon guard rail in most talks beyond which everyone agreed we should not go, even though the science for a long time has been clear that very bad things start happening long before you get to two degrees. Many organizations and research programs see us hitting four degrees within this century, a level that has been called incompatible with an organized global community, that is, pretty much with modern civilization. And of course many other groups have concluded that we are pretty much locked into about six degrees by about the end of the century. I recommend to you the book "Six Degrees" by Mark Lynas if you don't know what that would mean for humans and for life on the planet. Here's a short presentation by Anderson (mentioned above) that goes over some of the basic implications for the planet and the economy, if you're actually interested.



Two more things: "prevent the negative effects" Can you explain what you mean here? Do you mean moving hundreds of millions of people away from the coasts? Do you mean moving agricultural production north hundred of miles to poorer soils and shorter growing seasons? Do you mean somehow preventing the Arctic from going ice free, the GIS from collapsing, the permafrost from becoming permathaw...? Just wondering.

And it should also be pointed out that the Green Revolution that squeaked us past the last food bottle neck:

1) Has run its course
2) Is not going to provide further great benefits
3) Does not seem to have a cousin waiting in the wings to save us (and please don't start on GMOs)
4) Helped bring about our current situation where we have even more massive numbers of mouths to feed and the need to 'just in time' provide the massive amounts of grain necessary to feed them. One year of major global crop failure will be utterly catastrophic, and that just means a Russian 2010 heatwave event happening in a couple more of the worlds major breadbaskets.

Are you admitting we have never lost 2% of the world's agricultural production in the past? I arrived in Missouri from the east coast before you, so you show me!

Which has more deserts, the Earth in a glacial maximum or in a thermal maximum?

If you think that isn't a scientific question, easy to properly answer, then you don't know science. Can you explain how a warmer world will not have more water vapor in the atmosphere this time, than a cooler world? I'm talking about the whole world and not someone's backyard.

If you can't get along with people who believe in global warming, but don't believe the world is about to end, what makes you think you can ever convince anyone who doesn't already think exactly the way you think?

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #192 on: November 03, 2013, 05:17:53 PM »
Wili.  Don't feed the trolls.  You can't argue with someone who can't write a coherent sentence because it is not possible to know what he is trying to say.  And considering the drivel spouted he probably does not know himself what he is trying to say anyway.  Lots of emotion, little thought.

 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #193 on: November 03, 2013, 05:28:07 PM »
Back to more interesting stuff.

What happens when the world dries out

Quote
....Higher temperatures will do more than evaporate the soil moisture: they will alter the natural soil chemistry as well.

Quote
...Drylands matter: they account for more than 40% of the planet’s land surface and they support more than 38% of its population. Drylands add up, in the dusty language of science, to the largest “terrestrial biome” of all.

And even though on average more warmth will mean more evaporation, and therefore more water vapour in the atmosphere and more precipitation in some of those zones that already have ample rainfall, the pattern could be different in the arid lands.

All the calculations so far indicate that these drylands will increase in area, and become drier with time....

...What keeps soils alive, and productive, is the compost or humus of leaf litter, animal dung, withered roots and other decaying vegetation in the first metre or so of topsoil: this in turn feeds an invisible army of tiny creatures that recycle the nutrient elements for the next generation of plant life.

But these microbes also need water to thrive.  The consortium of researchers predicted that as the soils got drier, biological activity would decrease, but geochemical processes would accelerate. That is, nutrients that depended on little living things in the soil would drain away, but other elements – phosphorus among them – would increase, because they would be winnowed from the rock by mechanical weathering or erosion....

...And as predicted, they revealed an increasing imbalance: more phosphorus, less carbon and nitrogen as they became drier. Such a trend would actually feed back into global warming: ideally, more vigorous plant growth would absorb more carbon dioxide.

But if vegetation wilts, and soils turn to dust over large areas of already parched land, then the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will increase even more...

Climate change will bring decreasing soil productivity in the areas drying out. In areas which see a significant rise in torrential downpours there will also be an adverse impact on crop yields as excessive rain and flooding always drop yields.

http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/11/what-happens-when-the-world-dries-out/
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #194 on: November 03, 2013, 05:42:32 PM »
"can't write a coherent sentence"

Good point. It's hard to know what to address when so many of the sentences are nearly incomprehensible gibberish. I'll just point out that Peter Ward, who has more knowledge about paleo-climate in the tip of his little finger than all of us dweebs posting here will ever have in our addled brains, points out that the earth supports more species when coolish than when much warmer than conditions today. I'll let anyone who wants to dispute the claim take it up with him.

Now I will attempt to desist from providing troll fodder.

Jim, what is your take on the likelihood of one or more of the northern hemisphere Hadley Cells disappearing at least some of the year with an ever increasingly open Arctic Ocean? What effect do you think this would have on global crop production. This looks like one of those 'discontinuities' or tipping points that can fairly and suddenly alter the seemingly steady (but still very bad) projections of 2% loss per decade.

Another point relevant to the US situation is that China is going to be importing more and more grain from here on, afaics, and one of the main places they will be looking for it is the US. We cannot very well refuse them, since they are essentially our banker, owning some trillion or so $ in US treasuries, last I heard. It seems as if this is likely to be a near-term pressure at least on grain prices if not availability (although high enough prices do make them unavailable for more and more of the poorest especially with food stamps being cut).

Thoughts?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #195 on: November 03, 2013, 06:43:51 PM »
Jim, The 14% increase in demand and 2% decrease in supply would surely leave us all in bad shape far before 2050. In fisheries management it would set off alarms . The prices paid for the declining catch would probably increase as the supply dwindled. The fishermen would still make a living even as they had to work harder by going further, with faster better boats, with more gear, to catch dwindling stocks. Managers could probably handle the decline issue if they acted early enough to the stock decline issue but the concurrent 14% increase in demand is a real big problem. Price increases would likely spike causing huge effort increases. For fishermen as well as farmers this translates into more fuel consumed, as long as the price of the commodity keeps going up... But weather, stock collapse, falling water tables, and chaos in general will exact it's revenge. This can happen even with managers doing their best. For fisheries it requires a strong leadership to stand up to the temptation that good money posses.     For water district managers the same.   For politicians re. Climate Change it's just like telling fishermen by regulation to catch less, for farmers to get by with less water.... A damn tough job.   
 Years after catastrophe is averted you might get a compliment or two but in the thick of it you are lucky to have one strong ally , 3,4, or 5 even better but it feels lonely, and not a bit good to tell your fellow fishermen, or farmers less money is coming in next year. It is important to keep your objective clear( healthy fish stocks ) because money isn't going to bring the fish back if you screw it up.
 This is all relevant to the climate issue, so long as it's jobs, jobs, drill, drill, and growth we are just whores to the money . Until someone can figure out how to say , no it's the CO2 , it's CO2 and you will all have to figure out how to make a living while we eliminate all fossil fuels. When did you ever hear a politician say that? 
 We in the fishing industry have seen the results of failure, many times, but we also know success on occasion. We know success and failure.  For the planet, the oceans and the atmosphere no one seems to know failure. Failure, collapse, death, we can't even imagine. But there it is ,that is what some brave soul has to carry( a politician ) and a few dollars here or there is piss.   
   
   

ggelsrinc

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #196 on: November 03, 2013, 07:11:15 PM »
If someone isn't a Doomsdayer, they are a troll?

wili, you brought up the Brits, so can you explain this?

Global warming has certainly been happening for many years, but the Brits increased crop production by 27% in 2008 from the previous year. I think it was because of this, but what do you think and was it climate related?

Quote
Set-Aside
 
Set-aside is a term for land that farmers are not allowed to use for any agricultural purpose. It was introduced by the EEC in 1992 as part of a package of reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy to prevent over production. It applies only to farmers growing crops.

In the first year of the scheme farmers had to set-aside a minimum of 15% of their cropped farmland for the harvest year of 1993. By the year 2000 the figure had dropped to 10%. In 2007, following significant rises in grain prices across Europe, the EU decided that for harvest 2008, the set-aside rate would be zero. It is currently unclear how long the zero rate will remain.

In 2006 there were approximately 500,000 hectares of land in set-aside. This represents an area of countryside about 70km by 70km, about twice the size of the area enclosed by the M25 around London. In exchange for not planting crops on set-aside land, farmers are compensated for the loss of income that results from not being able to utilise the land productively.

Source: http://www.ukagriculture.com/crops/setaside.cfm

That set aside record for 2006 equals about 1,235,500 acres of crop land in the UK where farmers were paid to not grow crops.

The title of this thread is Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD. I disagree with climate change and call it global warming. There are definite threats at humanity's door, if they continue BAU, but there is no convincing scientific evidence it will cause the agriculture and food crisis some people like to harp about and claim will cause civilization to collapse.

I say the trolls are the people calling other people names, like calling them trolls, and being insulting to those who don't believe exactly as they do about an issue. Doomsdayer is descriptive and not calling someone a name or insulting them. Not everybody who believes in global warming believes the world is about to end. Plenty believe we still have time to fix what we screwed up.

If you have any proof to support your ideas of a pending food or agricultural crisis, post it! Cherry picking some article isn't proof and anyone of age knows there were articles about the population explosion that was suppose to be a worldwide disaster many years ago and it never happened. It's a fact those articles are older than they are.

Just post it and it's obvious to me, there is no sense in discussing this issue with me! Some people can only discuss issues with people they agree with.   
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 09:16:27 PM by ggelsrinc »

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #197 on: November 03, 2013, 09:10:33 PM »
Wili & Bruce

Quote
Jim, what is your take on the likelihood of one or more of the northern hemisphere Hadley Cells disappearing at least some of the year with an ever increasingly open Arctic Ocean? What effect do you think this would have on global crop production. This looks like one of those 'discontinuities' or tipping points that can fairly and suddenly alter the seemingly steady (but still very bad) projections of 2% loss per decade.

Another point relevant to the US situation is that China is going to be importing more and more grain from here on, afaics, and one of the main places they will be looking for it is the US. We cannot very well refuse them, since they are essentially our banker, owning some trillion or so $ in US treasuries, last I heard. It seems as if this is likely to be a near-term pressure at least on grain prices if not availability (although high enough prices do make them unavailable for more and more of the poorest especially with food stamps being cut).

While I have a fairly good scientific education I try not to speculate on things like the Hadley Cells breaking down.  I wait for research to tell me what the data and experts conclude.  If it happens, whether periodically or on a semi-permanent basis there is clearly potential for disaster as a result of such change.  It is like what Bruce was talking about in his post.  When you take into account the rising population, all the declining metrics related to food production not related to climate change, the likely impacts from climate change to all those metrics related to food production, the conclusion is that a breakdown in the industrial food system is almost certain (barring a technological or religious miracle).  Bruce alludes to the likelihood that this collapse comes much sooner than I have been projecting and he clearly has sound points.  There is just no way to gauge this event with scientific accuracy.  If one models the system assuming a steady progression of factors one can certainly come up with fairly precise numbers.  This is what the Limits to Growth studies did and they have fairly consistently showed major breakdowns happening around mid-century.  The kicker, of course, is that we have the randomness factors which play off of each other in all those metrics related to food production. 

For example:  It is entirely possible in any given year (and probable over any reasonable span of time) that multiple factors will positively interact and cause a one-off drop in global food production.  Say your Hadley Cell dissolves for a season and it has a very negative impact on US/West European crop yields, during the same season the ENSO/PDO oscillations combine and result in a failure of the Asian monsoon (Or the opposite as either one can result in dramatically lower yields), the ENSO/PDO also results in much lower catches in the Pacific fisheries, crop disease problems, etc.  Or some other similar combination of factors.  Depending on what global grain stocks, population levels, the state of global finances, and such are that year we end up with a substantial shortfall in food production which far exceeds stored supplies.  The result is going to be a big famine.  Depending on the severity of the famine and the specific locations most impacted you could have just a really bad year or the beginning of real breakdown.  This is going to happen at some point. Eventually we will reach the point where production is almost always below demand and famine exists somewhere all the time.  It is a long spiral down from that point before we stabilize again.

Humans are very creative and determined and I am sure we are going to expend serious effort in the attempt to prevent just such a disaster.  After all for many there are good profits in the effort.  And everyone wants to avoid starvation. If we did nothing to try and avoid this fate I would fully agree with Bruce and others who think the collapse will come sooner than my guestimate.  We can get more efficient, open additional lands to production, increase our use of chemical additives, cut meat consumption, and other things.  I think we will actually do some or all of them to some extent at some point.  We are past the point where we can avoid collapse but there is still time enough to move the likely date further into the future.  But the climate change projections when combined with population projections basically guarantee we cannot maintain the system out too far into the future.  Once the first yearly breakdown occurs then the system will degrade faster due to natural human reactions to 'really' start looking out for one's own I also believe. 

Re: grain prices.  To date and until we approach the point of actual shortfalls grain is fungible and just another commodity.  But, as we saw when Russia stopped exports due to wheat production shortfalls, hoarding is a first reaction and dramatic price rises happen quickly.   It is a sure bet that the rich and powerful countries are going to take care of themselves first in that situation and those who do not produce enough and have nothing to trade for the rest are going to suffer.  China and the US are not in any immediate danger along those lines.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ggelsrinc

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #198 on: November 03, 2013, 09:49:44 PM »
12 years of monthly reports from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service on World Agricultural Production.

http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1860

Information from the above link and others leads to information like this:

http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewTaxonomy.do?taxonomyID=3

http://www.fas.usda.gov/wap/current/default.asp

World maps on the major crops have already been posted.

wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #199 on: November 04, 2013, 06:15:03 AM »
Jim, your mention of the Limits to Growth study reminded me that I just watched a video of Dennis Meadows on how we now have to plan for resilience, and that it is too late for 'sustainable development' (a term that, as he pointed out, means so many different things to so many people, it has essentially become meaningless, anyway). In any case, at one point he projected their famous graph of various peaks in resources, food, population, pollution, etc, and he said that it is important to remember that once any one of these peaks comes to pass, they are likely to alter the timing and intensity of other peaks in unpredictable ways, iirc.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Looking-Back-on-the-Limits-of-Growth.html

As for famine, about a billion people are already experiencing chronic food shortage, and not too many people in better-fed countries gives much of a rat's @$$ about it, afaics. So I'm not so sure that humans will move heaven and earth if another billion or two fall below basic levels of food security.

I think part of the hubris of the US is the assumption that we will not be treated as essentially a colony to be exploited. There was some concern about China taking fresh water from the Great Lakes a while back. But more fundamentally, they may just start taking as much food from our bread baskets as they want. They can afford it, after all, and we, more and more, can't. Recall that Ireland was exporting beeves to England all throughout the Great Potato Famine even as a million or so people starved to death and another left their country forever. That's what happens when you no longer have control of your own countries purse strings.

And let's not forget that many are already food insecure in the US.

Since we're swapping graphs, note that all this year so far prices have been at the second or third highest levels, far above their long-term averages.

http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/foodpricesindex/en/

And then there's:

Global Grain Reserves Are Low

http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2013/world/global-grain-reserves-are-low-legacy-of-u-s-drought/

And here's a recent set of studies that some might find interesting. (Warnging: large-ish pdf file)

http://www.iatp.org/files/2012_07_13_IATP_GrainReservesReader.pdf

« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 06:41:28 AM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."