Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD  (Read 609226 times)

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #250 on: December 05, 2013, 04:40:13 PM »
This is a sad article because it indicate how short term interests screw up long term needs.

It's also a potential tiny taste of abrupt change - a system moving from one state (harvestable resources) to another state (forget it, it's gone) rapidly and irreversibly. The recent pathogen stuff you mentioned also potentially can act that way. In this case one can't be sure the fishery is finished until the shrimp are all gone? (as theoretically juveniles could reappear at the last minute)

ritter

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 558
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 10
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #251 on: December 05, 2013, 06:47:51 PM »
There seem to be an awful lot of articles in the past six months or so of significant decline/disease/etc. in marine species. I hope we haven't hit the tipping point.

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #252 on: December 05, 2013, 07:15:13 PM »
There seem to be an awful lot of articles in the past six months or so of significant decline/disease/etc. in marine species. I hope we haven't hit the tipping point.

I guess it depends on ones perspective.  Tipping points would seem to normally apply to individual species and in that sense for some of them we are past that point and others we are on the doorstep. 

If the question being asked is "Is there an overall tipping point for ocean life in general?:" I guess the answer has to be yes, but I expect we are far from that point.  In a less macro sense though the ocean acidity issue has potential to be the tipping point for a large number of species though it would not wipe out ocean life overall.  Maybe jelly fish are tasty? 
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

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 558
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 10
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #253 on: December 05, 2013, 07:29:54 PM »
There seem to be an awful lot of articles in the past six months or so of significant decline/disease/etc. in marine species. I hope we haven't hit the tipping point.

I guess it depends on ones perspective.  Tipping points would seem to normally apply to individual species and in that sense for some of them we are past that point and others we are on the doorstep. 

If the question being asked is "Is there an overall tipping point for ocean life in general?:" I guess the answer has to be yes, but I expect we are far from that point.  In a less macro sense though the ocean acidity issue has potential to be the tipping point for a large number of species though it would not wipe out ocean life overall.  Maybe jelly fish are tasty?

I suppose what is most worrisome to me is the reduction in zoo and phytoplankton and the apparent disappearance of some species (Maine shrimp, sardines), the starving seabirds, anecdotal stories of the silent ocean, melting starfish, diseased/dying shrimp/dolphins/whales.... It seems that the food web is having some problems and the records of disease in various species would indicate a general decline in vitality. We're not at collapse yet, but as with everything else, it draws ever closer.  :'(

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #254 on: December 05, 2013, 07:44:44 PM »
True.  I suppose in a geologic sense the difference between extinction events even a 100 years apart is the same as at the same instant, but to a human they seem far apart even though one causes the other.

Therein lies much of the dilemma in getting people to act on climate change.  2100 seems so far away and effecting the climate for thousands is beyond comprehension to most.
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

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #255 on: December 05, 2013, 08:52:46 PM »
We're not at collapse yet, but as with everything else, it draws ever closer.  :'(

I drive a car into a brick wall at 90mph. At what instant has the vehicle collapsed? (lost structural integrity).

The structures at the front will deform first elastically, then plastically as progressive structural areas fail - the bumper, the crumple zone - and then the crash box. Even in an event we perceive to be virtually instantaneous I think it's really rather difficult to precisely say when the crash - or collapse - occurs?

Only by picking a specific point in the system can one identify that moment - for the overall system it's a progressive series of events - many of which don't exactly impinge directly on the rest of the system at all.

Taking this view, I would argue the collapse of modern civilisation is definitely past the elastic limits from which recovery could occur with minimal damage. We are on a trajectory to at least destroy the crumple zone and quite probably also the crash box (a total wreck).

ritter

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 558
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 10
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #256 on: December 05, 2013, 09:00:04 PM »
We're not at collapse yet, but as with everything else, it draws ever closer.  :'(

I drive a car into a brick wall at 90mph. At what instant has the vehicle collapsed? (lost structural integrity).

The structures at the front will deform first elastically, then plastically as progressive structural areas fail - the bumper, the crumple zone - and then the crash box. Even in an event we perceive to be virtually instantaneous I think it's really rather difficult to precisely say when the crash - or collapse - occurs?

Only by picking a specific point in the system can one identify that moment - for the overall system it's a progressive series of events - many of which don't exactly impinge directly on the rest of the system at all.

Taking this view, I would argue the collapse of modern civilisation is definitely past the elastic limits from which recovery could occur with minimal damage. We are on a trajectory to at least destroy the crumple zone and quite probably also the crash box (a total wreck).

Gosh. What an uplifting yet on-point post!  :o

I fear you very well may be correct. 7 billion down to ~1 billion will certainly impact the crash box.

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #257 on: December 05, 2013, 09:40:31 PM »
As always, everyone here provides  me information that I would otherwise not have. Thank you.

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #258 on: December 08, 2013, 06:25:23 PM »
Hog processing in America.  Ah...industrial agriculture at its best.

Don't read this if you have a weak stomach.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-05/food-safety-risk-as-pork-processors-face-fewer-usda-meat-inspectors#p1
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

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #259 on: December 09, 2013, 02:40:14 AM »
Hog processing in America.  Ah...industrial agriculture at its best.

Don't read this if you have a weak stomach.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-05/food-safety-risk-as-pork-processors-face-fewer-usda-meat-inspectors#p1

Nadia and I have nearly stopped eating meat. When we do, it is very small portions and always organic.

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #260 on: December 09, 2013, 05:43:29 AM »
SH

I was reading the below and thought of your post. 

It does not sound too appetizing, but if it works we can adapt I suppose.  I do like eggs though and, as a general rule, I am not fond of Bill either.

Bill Gates-Funded Startup Hampton Creek Foods Aims To Replace Eggs

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/08/hampton-creek-foods_n_4408710.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

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #261 on: December 09, 2013, 05:35:31 PM »
JimD.....I could never be a vegan. I like dairy products too much....cheeses,  yogurt etc.

ccgwebmaster

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #262 on: December 09, 2013, 06:37:28 PM »
It does not sound too appetizing, but if it works we can adapt I suppose.  I do like eggs though and, as a general rule, I am not fond of Bill either.

I suspect Bill would be a little chewy at his age now... maybe as a stew?

ritter

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 558
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 10
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #263 on: December 09, 2013, 06:58:57 PM »
It does not sound too appetizing, but if it works we can adapt I suppose.  I do like eggs though and, as a general rule, I am not fond of Bill either.

I suspect Bill would be a little chewy at his age now... maybe as a stew?

Yuck!  :o

Bruce Steele

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1906
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 504
  • Likes Given: 26
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #264 on: December 09, 2013, 08:06:53 PM »
JimD, The 5+ degreesF is going to have effects on a population at the southern end of it's range( in the northern hemisphere) .In some fisheries , west coast sardines as an example, a temperature trigger is included in fisheries management plans. For sardines it's a cold water trigger. There is a meeting this week that is going to readjust the temperature baseline from Scripps pier to an average of a larger area for the sardine management plan. I know more about west coast fisheries.
 If the Northern Shrimp stock simply shifts it's range further north then Maine fisheries may decline while Greenland and Iceland fisheries improve but I am just guessing.
 I have seen some articles at climate progress that I consider biased anti-fishing hype. Every time I here Borris Worms work ( woldwide phtoplankton crash)dredged up I am reminded of their bias. A one year crash in zooplankton may be an anomaly , a multi-year decline is certainly troubling but I would need to know much more about long term Atlantic data-sets to be much help. The base of the food chain is a good place to start looking.
 I agree with you JimD that last year was the year to respond and waiting probably will delay any recovery. I hope stocks further north can restock their southern ranges should better water conditions return.
 Overfishing is defined as fishing on a stock that is below25% of virgin biomass. Overfishing status demands rebuilding models that require harsh management regimes and rebuilding to  I believe 60% before reopening. The rebuilding plans are reason enough to avoid overfishing and last year shrimp managers gambled and lost.
 Here on the west coast our local  rock shrimp ( ridgeback)respond positively at the end of el niño events. They have extra detritus delivered from the el niño and do well for a few years post hot water, or river runoff , I don't know the cause of the extra detritus.
   

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #265 on: December 17, 2013, 04:48:07 PM »
I believe these kinds of problems are popping up by the hundreds, perhaps thousands, across the planet in our oceans, lakes, rivers and on land. It is the rare incident that actually makes the mainstream press and then it gets the usual 10 minute treatment, only to recede.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/16/banana-fungus-threatens-plantations-fruit-supply_n_4453573.html

Our food supply is under assault with AGW as one major cause. Are there others? Sure, but AGW figures into most of these as they weaken our food chain, making individual crops more susceptible to existing pathogens.

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #266 on: December 17, 2013, 06:10:04 PM »
I just returned from taking a load of tools to my sons new (small) farm near Sacramento.

It was interesting to note while traveling up I5 through the Central Valley that the long term drought has resulted in 10's of thousands of acres being cut off from irrigation water.  The desert has taken over large amounts of former fields and orchards.  Entire orchards have died and been bulldozed.  Former orchards and fields are over grown with tumbleweeds and scrub vegetation.  Many other orchards are showing severe water stress.  The tops of hundreds of thousands of trees are dead or dying.  Water restrictions for some of these farms started in 2008.  For some this year the cuts from the peak are at 60%. 

This visual image really brings home the message about what it would mean if the drought projections for the southwestern US come to pass.  My father traveled the Central Valley before there were the vast irrigation systems.  He said most of it was just a  vast desert and was essentially empty. 

My son told me that a relatively new problem is occurring (it is actually a recurring one) for the irrigation systems in the valley.  Land subsidence due to the pumping of the aquifers under the valley floor.  This creates dips in the irrigation canals (which are all built with a very gradual slope to move the water), roads, pipelines, bridges, etc.  This problem has occurred often over the decades that water has been pumped from beneath the valley but in some areas like the San Joaquin Valley the subsidence is becoming acute. 11 inches a year!  One irrigation dam is sinking at 6 inches a year.

New wells that cost 200,000 to 300,000 are being destroyed by subsidence after just 3-4 years.  Subsidence is permanent and also makes the danger of extreme flooding much higher.  What happens if AGW decides to park one of its biblical deluges over the Central Valley in the next few years.  Now you have a bunch of temporary lakes.


To give an idea of how long this has been happening.  In 1970 over half of the San Joaquin had already dropped over 1 foot, some 5200 square miles.  The maximum at that time was 28 FT!!  Ground water pumping was somewhat curtailed at that time and land subsidence slowed or stopped.  But since the drought and water restrictions kicked in in 2008 the farmers are trying o keep their land in production and are once again pumping like crazy.  And it will cost billions to fix the damage.  The reason subsidence is so bad in the valley is that there is no bedrock underneath it.  It is just a giant sand filled ditch up to several thousand feet deep.  All most all of the subsidence is due to ground water pumping and some is also from oil/gas production as well as tectonic plate movement.  Mankind's use of the valley and its water prevents proper recharging of the aquifers.  Once the water is used on crops it does not end up filling the aquifers as almost all of it is transpired to the atmosphere by the plants or it evaporates.  By 1960 in some areas the water table was dropping at 10 ft a year (and we think China and India are out of control!).  Land subsidence,  once it is triggered by drawing water out, works a lot like raising global temperatures via carbon emissions.  It will be centuries before the land stops subsiding after one stops drawing the water out.  If one stops.  Each time one draws the water table down it reduces the total aquifer storage as the land which subsides does not come back up even if the aquifer level rises to original levels.  It just has less water in it than before.

This story will not end well.

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2013/11/22/usgs-study-1200-square-miles-of-central-valley-land-is-sinking/
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

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3327
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 611
  • Likes Given: 400
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #267 on: December 17, 2013, 07:53:15 PM »
Thanks for that perspective.

It seems like we need a new "LOOK" magazine that is devoted to looking at the various faces of the ongoing collapse--images, along with explanation and reflection as your provided.

Did you take any pictures along the way?
"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."

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #268 on: December 17, 2013, 08:32:09 PM »
Quote
Did you take any pictures along the way?

Sorry, no.  I almost never take pictures.  I realized when I was about 30 that of the thousands of pictures I had taken so far in my life I had almost never looked at any of them and decided it made no sense for me.  I just figure I will remember what impresses me most.
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

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3327
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 611
  • Likes Given: 400
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #269 on: December 17, 2013, 08:38:07 PM »
Me too.

I hope you don't mind that I shared your thoughts over at POForums, and Pops, one of the more reflective of the posters there, noted:

"With subsidence, the valley will not drain to the delta and those chemicals will toxify the entire region making it basically just one big alkali flat like any number in the Great Basin."
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 08:49:17 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."

Bruce Steele

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1906
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 504
  • Likes Given: 26
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #270 on: December 17, 2013, 09:09:34 PM »
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jim Costa (D-16) on Dec. 9 sent a joint letter to Gov. Jerry Brown asking him to declare a statewide drought emergency that would activate the state’s emergency plan and permit some relaxation of state regulations concerning water.

The letter cited the recent announcement by officials with the Department of Water Resources (DWR) that they expect in 2014 to deliver the historically lowest initial allocation of water from the State Water Project – 5%. The letter references the initial allocation estimate as evidence that the state needs to take emergency action regarding water.

“While it is early in the 2014 water year and therefore projections on allocations are conservative,” the letter reads, “what is clear is that we have had two years of dry conditions that have depleted our reservoirs and depleted carryover storage to historically low levels not seen since 1977.

“Without this carryover storage, the flexibility built into the system to respond to hydraulic conditions and regulatory constraints is critically diminished, with severe impacts to many Californians. This is going to be a very challenging water year for California and a potentially catastrophic year for the Central Valley in particular,” the letter continues.

http://www.acwa.com/news/water-shortages/feinstein-and-costa-urge-gov-brown-declare-state-drought-emergency

I have been changing hand lines on my cover crop just to get it germinated. I would like to plant some cover on some land I have that isn't irrigated but we have only had ~ .5 inch of rain in the last 10 months.
  I traveled through some of the abandon land in the central valley last summer. The wind was whipping up alkaline dust( and pesticide residues ). My eyes teared  up and made driving very  difficult.  There were political billboards everywhere complaining about water restrictions but if State Water supplies are reduced to 5% this will be a historic year for pumping groundwater. There is plenty of land that can't pump up more alkaline groundwater so without state water the land goes out of production. The water conservation practices like drip tape were not being utilized and there was still plenty of flood irrigation taking place, partly I suppose in an attempt to drive down alkalinity.
 

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #271 on: December 18, 2013, 04:06:20 PM »
Bruce according to my farming magazines some of the Central Valley farms witched back to center pivot and other water intensive irrigation methods due to the shortage of workers.  The intense anti-immigrant fervor sweeping the US has resulted in a huge shortage of farm workers.  Using drip irrigation just takes more workers so they had to abandon it.  And once you invest in center pivots you have to stick with them until they are paid for.  Assuming you can get water of course.

wili, Pops has a good point.  The long-term effect of the subsidence is certainly negative to the ecosystem not just farming.
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

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3327
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 611
  • Likes Given: 400
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #272 on: December 19, 2013, 03:41:02 AM »
Pops is a farmer. Very...grounded.

Meanwhile, there's this, from a John Kirwan at the open thread at RC, which seems particularly apt here:

Quote
Smart enough as individuals, we are collectively no smarter than bacteria. And those willing to curtail children will simply remove those genes from the pool, leaving only those genes which select for more births than fewer.

In 1944 the US Coast Guard introduced 29 reindeer onto the remote St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea, in order to serve as the backup food source for the 19 men stationed there. When World War II ended, the base closed and the men left. David Kline, a biologist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visited St. Matthew in 1957 and found a thriving population of an estimated 1350 reindeer. They were feeding on a 4″ thick mat of lichen that covered the 332 km² island. (There were no predators.) In 1963, he found 6000. And then, in 1966, he discovered an island strewn with reindeer skeletons and very little lichen. 42 reindeer survived: 41 females and 1 male in poor health. No fawns. The remaining reindeer all died by 1980.

We must come to grips with the idea of finding out how to run civilizations that have stable populations. It’s never been done before on a regional, let alone global, scale.

All currently successful societies depend upon age distributions distorted by an exponential growth curve. No one really knows how to run one over the long term that has zero or negative growth. There are countries, like Italy for example, that experience periods of negative growth for periods of time but even then they import youth labor or else experience difficulties.

The world’s population has almost tripled in my short life. The sheer mass of humans and their domesticated animals is perhaps now some 99% of all land vertebrates. We are consuming renewable resources substantially faster than rate at which earth replaces them. Add fossil fuels to that.

It simply cannot continue. We will either figure a way to handle it intelligently and more gradually or else the problem will seek it’s own solution precipitously.

Worse, we can’t discuss the subject on a scientific basis. There are some who want to “purify” their race. We can’t even open the door to a discussion. Even if that door were open, how does one decide that a gene or trait is “bad?” Is sickle cell anemia bad? It depends. So how do we research or otherwise find the necessary knowledge required to make informed choices about limiting our own populations, even assuming there we could enter into a rational discussion about the whole idea?

In the meantime, the resources will be exponentially tapped and species die-off will continue on a geometrically driven decline, as we “climb on their backs” to survive. Destroying all the more rapidly the very diversity that otherwise might help protect us from environmental changes we are also making, or support us more generally.

It can’t continue, yet it will. Ultimately, we are no more intelligent than deer or bacteria in a petri dish. Indistinguishable results, anyway.

That said, inaction is unacceptable. The only option is significant and rapid action and even then there are no promises. Just hope.

I do have children and grandchildren, though.
"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."

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #273 on: December 19, 2013, 03:16:51 PM »
Yes, I have read almost identical posts to Kirwan's several times over the years.  I have probably wrote one just like it too.  Will we break that cycle?

On my days when I refuse to sugarcoat my thoughts I figure that there are a few graduate level or above virologists out there working on a solution to this very problem in their basements.  They might be our best hope.
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

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3327
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 611
  • Likes Given: 400
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #274 on: December 20, 2013, 12:38:36 PM »
As the year moves toward its close, those who have a mind to might consider pausing at some point for a moment or two of silence for the passing of a great one. Yes, remember Nelson Mandela, but I'm thinking of the passing of one even greater: the loss of the chance for a habitable earth, the loss of a future for the community of complex life.

This was the year when essentially every major relevant research body and top researcher concluded that we are toast, explicitly or implicitly.

--Hansen, the top US climatologist, the now-former head of climate research at NASA, writing that we have to immediately start immediately reducing emissions by at least 6% per year and start massive untested sequestration efforts, thing that he knows and we know will not happen;

--Anderson, the top UK climatologist, head of Tyndall Centre for the CC Research, saying that industrialized countries must start immediately reducing emissions by 10% to have even a chance of avoiding the too-high-anyway 2 degree C mark;

--International Energy Agency, concluding that the fossil-death-fuel projects that are planned and/or in the works commit us to about 6 degrees C by about 2100;

--PriceCooperWaterhouse, pretty much the same thing;

--Potsdam Institute, ditto

--et cetera, et cetera...

Even the mealy-mouthed IPCC concluded that unproven and likely disastrous massive geoengineering processes now are a necessary major part of any viable strategy going forward, that is, that the impossible was now necessary in order to avoid the unthinkable.

So the doom that has been our specialty of some of us on these fora is now basic to the published sober judgment of the folks that spend most of their time looking at the big picture and have the expertise to truly make that call. Those who prefer delusion will continue to delude themselves. But they can no longer point to the people who know the most in the relevant areas to back up their fantasies.

Those of us who prefer our glasses un-rose-tinted have to decide what to do with these facts. I prefer to continue to try to not be a major contributor to the sh!t storm, to fight where I can against the worst of the perpetrators, and to continue to let people know the nature of our predicament. Others here and elsewhere maychoose whatever path seems suitable to them.

But perhaps it is also appropriate to take a silent moment now, a reflective pause in the season's hubbub, to acknowledge the passing of a great planet. We cannot know if there will ever be another such.

ETA:

Another cheery note:

Quote
“There is nothing that can be agreed in 2015 that would be consistent with the 2 degrees,” says Yvo de Boer, who was executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2009, when attempts to reach a deal at a summit in Copenhagen crumbled.

The only way that a 2015 agreement can achieve a 2-degree goal is to shut down the whole global economy.”

Quote
“Some scientists are indicating we should make plans to adapt to a 4C world,” Leifer comments. “While prudent, one wonders what portion of the living population now could adapt to such a world, and my view is that it’s just a few thousand people [seeking refuge] in the Arctic or Antarctica.”

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/17/the_great_dying_redux_shocking_parallels_between_ancient_mass_extinction_and_climate_change_partner/

Happy Holidays!
« Last Edit: December 20, 2013, 02:38:31 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."

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #275 on: December 20, 2013, 04:52:43 PM »
wili

You are all dark today too.  Must be the snow and clouds.

re:

Quote
...Even the mealy-mouthed IPCC concluded that unproven and likely disastrous massive geoengineering processes now are a necessary major part of any viable strategy going forward, that is, that the impossible was now necessary in order to avoid the unthinkable.
...

I did not see that!  Do you have a link.  They are not endorsing such things are they? I figure we are going to have to disappear a few of the geoengineering folks at some point to keep that craziness in check.
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

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #276 on: December 20, 2013, 05:34:02 PM »

This was the year when essentially every major relevant research body and top researcher concluded that we are toast, explicitly or implicitly.

But perhaps it is also appropriate to take a silent moment now, a reflective pause in the season's hubbub, to acknowledge the passing of a great planet. We cannot know if there will ever be another such.

I am still very confident, almost certain, the planet will be fine in the long run. It may take 100,000 years, maybe 1,000,000, maybe 10,000,000, maybe 100,000,000 but for her this is a trifle. This belief keeps me hopeful.

We, on the other hand, are toast and the planet will not mourn our passing. If there is a tragedy  in this little morality play, it is that we are going to be killing most of the beautiful flora and  fauna currently in existence. They do not deserve such a fate. Life will rebound and one can hope mother earth will not repeat her mistakes and avoid creating such a species as us, swollen by hubris and  possessing just enough  intelligence to really fuck things up.

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #277 on: December 20, 2013, 05:57:15 PM »
Quote
.... Life will rebound and one can hope mother earth will not repeat her mistakes and avoid creating such a species as us, swollen by hubris and  possessing just enough  intelligence to really fuck things up.

My bet is on....Cockroaches?  And Jellyfish.  Yumm!
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

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3327
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 611
  • Likes Given: 400
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #278 on: December 20, 2013, 06:17:23 PM »
SH, I hope you're right.

Keep in mind, though, that, by most accounts, we were already well into a mass extinction event before GW really go going. Now we are hitting complex life with

--the fastest heating it has probably ever experienced;
--the fastest acidification of the ocean in 200 million years;
(And, when it comes to extinction, speed is everything--the difference between a gentle nudge and a bullet straight to the brain.)
--a stew of persistent toxic chemicals never experienced by the living system;
--a slew of radioactive isotopes many of which do not occur in nature;
--on-going introduction of invasive species
--ongoing direct destruction of many of the most diverse ecological areas in the world
...

Note also that, if things go down the way Archer and others imagine, permafrost and methane hydrates will be gradually releasing for millennia (at least) after we are gone, keeping temperatures high or raising them beyond what we leave them at when we depart.

In other words, we are essentially hitting the world with multiple extinction events--like multiple dinosaur-annihilating asteroid hits.

What does all this do to recovery time? Most mass extinctions require millions to tens of millions of years for full recovery. Does our multiple whammy event increase that by an order of magnitude or two? If so, you are now starting to push into the period when the sun becomes too hot for complex life (or eventually any life) to exist on the planet. And of course, there may be any number of other 'natural' extinctions along the way to interrupt or set back recovery.

I'm not saying that I know for sure that this is how it is going to go down. Just that I don't think we can comfort ourselves too much with any kind of certainty of any kind of full recovery any time soon. Carlin was a smart guy and a great entertainer, but he didn't necessarily know everything there was to know about biology to predict that "The Earth will be fine."

Sorry.
"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."

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #279 on: December 21, 2013, 03:14:14 PM »
When I read stories like this I just don't know what to think.

Mafia toxic waste dumping poisons Italy farmlands

Quote
CAIVANO, Italy (AP) - On Ciro Fusco's farm in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, police swooped down one recent day and planted a warning sign in his broccoli fields, prohibiting any one from harvesting or even setting foot on the plot. Dozens of other fields in the area were sequestered in the same way. Decades of toxic waste dumping by the Camorra crime syndicate that dominates the Naples area poisoned wells, authorities have found in recent months, tainting the water that irrigates crops with high levels of lead, arsenic and the industrial solvent tetrachloride.

The warning came too late: Fusco had already sold some of his broccoli at nearby markets.

The farmlands around Naples, authorities say, are contaminated from the Mafia's multibillion-dollar racket in disposing toxic waste, mainly from industries in the wealthy north that ask no questions about where the garbage goes as long as it's taken off their hands - for a fraction of the cost of legal disposal. The poisoning is triggering widespread fear and outrage in the Naples area, and tens of thousands of people marched through the city's chaotic streets last month demanding to know whether they have been eating tainted vegetables for years.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the head of the Naples environmental police force rattled off a list of substances in higher than permissible levels contaminating 13 irrigation wells on farmlands: arsenic, cadmium, tin, beryllium and other metals; tetrachloride and tolulene among other chemicals used as industrial solvents.....

...Officials estimate that waste seepage from one of the more notorious sites, a hill-like dump in the nearby farm town of Giugliano, a short drive away, will keep poisoning the water for half a century....

...According to a nationwide environmentalist group, Legambiente, Camorra mobsters since 1991 have systematically dumped, burned or buried nearly 10 million tons of waste, almost all of it coming from factories that either don't seek to know where the waste ends up or are complicit in the crimes. According to evidence used in trials, the waste contained PCBs, asbestos, industrial sludge and metal drums filled with dangerous solvents used to make paint.....

http://www.aol.com/article/2013/12/20/mafia-toxic-waste-dumping-poisons-italy-farmlands/20792762/
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

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3327
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 611
  • Likes Given: 400
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #280 on: December 23, 2013, 05:37:16 PM »
More of this will happen with collapse. Toxic waste will be everywhere. When Dennis Meadows (of Limits to Growth fame) gave a talk recently, he started by pointing out that toxic chemicals, while not in the news recently as much as GW (which should be in the new even more), still pose unknown but likely catastrophic long-term risks to life.

I can't remember if this graph has been posted before, but it somewhat supplement my list of calamities above:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Terrestrial+Ecosystem+Loss+and+Biosphere+Collapse+glen+barry&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=t2a3UsypO4TMyQHYrYDIBA&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1300&bih=641#facrc=_&imgdii=4EM8p5WliC7AbM%3A%3Bp_wXIzTprt0r6M%3B4EM8p5WliC7AbM%3A&imgrc=4EM8p5WliC7AbM%3A%3BgCLZ8RJQkt7YXM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fforests.org%252Fblog%252Fblog%252Fimg%252FRockstrom_Planetary_Boundary.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fforests.org%252Fblog%252F2013%252F06%252Fterrestrial-ecosystem-biosphere-collapse.asp%3B1067%3B939



"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."

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #281 on: December 23, 2013, 06:33:15 PM »
More of this will happen with collapse. Toxic waste will be everywhere. When Dennis Meadows (of Limits to Growth fame) gave a talk recently, he started by pointing out that toxic chemicals, while not in the news recently as much as GW (which should be in the new even more), still pose unknown but likely catastrophic long-term risks to life.

I can't remember if this graph has been posted before, but it somewhat supplement my list of calamities above:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Terrestrial+Ecosystem+Loss+and+Biosphere+Collapse+glen+barry&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=t2a3UsypO4TMyQHYrYDIBA&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1300&bih=641#facrc=_&imgdii=4EM8p5WliC7AbM%3A%3Bp_wXIzTprt0r6M%3B4EM8p5WliC7AbM%3A&imgrc=4EM8p5WliC7AbM%3A%3BgCLZ8RJQkt7YXM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fforests.org%252Fblog%252Fblog%252Fimg%252FRockstrom_Planetary_Boundary.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fforests.org%252Fblog%252F2013%252F06%252Fterrestrial-ecosystem-biosphere-collapse.asp%3B1067%3B939



And when trends like toxic waste and AGW smash into each other, our stupidity becomes unbearable to view.

As temperatures rise we will need to  implement a variety of adaptation strategies. Many post here on the need  to adapt to changing growing seasons and precipitation patterns. In general, it would seem that agriculture and grazing will shift north.

It is the height of stupidity to be turning  some  of the richest farming and grazing  land in northern North America into this in order to get our fossil fuel fix.

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3327
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 611
  • Likes Given: 400
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #282 on: December 27, 2013, 09:41:56 PM »
Good points, SH. Remember that much of northern Canada has bedrock under a very thin layer of soil--most of it got scraped clean by the advancing glaciers during the last glaciation. So, even without the obscenity of tar sands strip mining, we would be moving into land that is less and less viable farming as we move north.

Back stateside:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/27/3104861/california-driest-year/

[size=150]California Gripped By Driest Year Ever — With No Relief In Sight[/size]

Quote
As California enters its third consecutive dry winter, with no sign of moisture on the horizon, fears are growing over increased wildfire activity, agricultural losses, and additional stress placed on already strained water supplies.

The city of Los Angeles has received only 3.6 inches of rain this year — far below its average of 14.91 inches, USA Today reported. And San Francisco is experiencing its driest year since recordkeeping began in 1849. As of November, the city had only received 3.95 inches of rain since the year began.

The state is enduring its driest year on record...

The portion of the state currently hit hardest by drought includes the Central Valley, a prime agricultural area, and “a lack of rain and snow this winter could bring catastrophic losses to California agriculture, as water allotments are slashed by state agencies,” USA Today reported.

The lack of precipitation is also extending what’s been a devastating wildfire season in California... wildfire risk remains high. Mid-December’s Big Sur Fire scorched through more than 900 acres and destroyed dozens of homes before it was contained...the rare December inferno is a manifestation of an exceedingly dry year...Big Sur has received just half an inch of rain since the seasonal calendar began in July...The area normally receives nearly eight inches by this time.”

The prolonged drought also poses a serious risk to the state’s water supply...continued dry conditions will not build the snowpack critically needed for this year’s water supplies...

Citing the the abnormal late fire season activity and very low soil moisture, the agency said Gov. Jerry Brown had formed an Interagency Drought Task Force to assess conditions, allocations, and whether a declaration of statewide drought was needed. In recent weeks, several state and federal lawmakers have written to Gov. Brown and President Obama asking them to declare a drought emergency and federal disaster in the state. “This is going to be a very challenging water year for California and a potentially catastrophic year for the Central Valley in particular,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jim Costa wrote.

Meanwhile, Long-Term Drought persists through much of the rest of the West, and large areas of Short-To-Long-Term Drought have popped up in the Upper MidWest and in the coastal NorthEast.

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/
"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."

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #283 on: December 28, 2013, 05:43:24 PM »
Here in Prescott, AZ we are finishing up our 15th consecutive year of drought.  The average rainfall over the last 15 years (which is getting pretty close to the new average as weather variations are turning into climate averages at this point) is right at 25% below the historical average from 1890 to 1998.  14 inches compared to 19 inches. 

This change is being manifest in many ways.  The grass on the range land is not growing much anymore and all of the range land is badly overgrazed.  Forest Service personnel have told me that politics keeps them from invoking provisions in the Federal Grazing permits which would result in closing the land to cattle grazing.  This would put almost all of the ranching operations out of business.  Around Prescott most of the range land grass never greened up at any time in 2013; not in the spring nor after the monsoons.  If that happens next year is there no more grass?  There are still cattle out there scuffing at the dirt too.  In the creek beds little water flows any longer and many trees are visibly stressed and some have died (pumping groundwater for residential use and watering livestock drops the water table and springs and creeks dry up and riparian areas turn to desert).  There is still a lot of housing being built and local governments are very focused on development. 

Serious water conservation does not yet have enough political support to be implemented on any scale in AZ.  One of my wives friends just moved into a 6000 sq ft house with both indoor and outdoor pools. And they are a retired couple.  There is an 8 million dollar, 10,000 sq ft house with an indoor pool just a 1/4 miles from us.  It appears to be a vacation home as no one lives there most of the time!  When the end of the world comes I figure the local warlord will use it as his doomstead  ;D

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

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #284 on: December 28, 2013, 07:38:35 PM »
To further reinforce Willi's post on CA water issues check out the following chart at the below link (I can't figure out a way to copy it here).  Those numbers imply real trouble if they do not get a heavy late winter in the mountains.

 http://www.water.ca.gov/waterconditions/
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

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3327
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 611
  • Likes Given: 400
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #285 on: December 28, 2013, 09:24:00 PM »
Those are bad numbers. Not only are they well below the old records, they are all half or much less of the average rainfall--Santa Cruz about a sixth of average!
"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."

TerryM

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 6002
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 899
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #286 on: December 28, 2013, 10:17:05 PM »
I wonder if any of the agronomists could comment on the long term destruction that short term drought can wreak on crop yields?
Terry

Shared Humanity

  • Guest
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #287 on: December 29, 2013, 01:00:29 AM »
I wonder if any of the agronomists could comment on the long term destruction that short term drought can wreak on crop yields?
Terry

I never even considered  this. I always thought if rain returned so would crop yields but healthy soil involves far more than water. Could prolonged drought effect the microbiology you find in healthy soils?

JackTaylor

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 209
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #288 on: December 29, 2013, 02:52:45 PM »
I always thought if rain returned so would crop yields but healthy soil involves far more than water. Could prolonged drought effect the microbiology you find in healthy soils?

Excerpt frpm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycorrhizal_fungi_and_soil_carbon_storage

Soil carbon storage is an important function of terrestrial ecosystems. Soil contains more carbon than plants and the atmosphere combined.[1] Understanding what maintains the soil carbon pool is important to understand the current distribution of carbon on Earth, and how it will respond to environmental change. While much research has been done on how plants, free-living microbial decomposers, and soil minerals affect this pool of carbon, it is recently coming to light that mycorrhizal fungi - symbiotic fungi that associate with roots of almost all living plants - may play an important role in maintaining this pool as well.

Excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycorrhiza

Disease and drought resistance and its correlation to Mycorrhizae
Mycorrhizal plants are often more resistant to diseases, such as those caused by microbial soil-borne pathogens. Prof. Dr. Anton Muhibuddin from University of Brawijaya (UB) - Indonesia found that AMF (Arbuscular Mycorrhizae Fungi) was significantly correlated with soil water content and soil chemical fertility variable such as, organic carbon, total phosphorus and CEC, however it was not significantly correlated with pH. AMF was also significantly correlated with soil biological fertility variable such as, soil fungi and soil bacteria, including soil disease. Furthermore, AMF was significantly correlated with soil physical variable, but only with water level and not with aggregate stability.,[14][15] and are also more resistant to the effects of drought.[16][17][18]
Colonization of barren soil
Plants grown in sterile soils and growth media often perform poorly without the addition of spores or hyphae of mycorrhizal fungi to colonise the plant roots and aid in the uptake of soil mineral nutrients.[19] The absence of mycorrhizal fungi can also slow plant growth in early succession or on degraded landscapes.[20] The introduction of alien mycorrhizal plants to nutrient-deficient ecosystems puts indigenous non-mycorrhizal plants at a competitive disadvantage.[21]

Also, may be of interest http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azospirillum_brasilense

Have tried both on my back-yard vegetable garden - and - wholeheartedly endorse.
(Where the top-soil was removed during grading for building houses.)

BTW, last year I posted "daffodils were budding" in my yard at the end of December (dry year).
This year they've not emerged from the ground (wet year).

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #289 on: December 29, 2013, 04:48:45 PM »
SH

A complex question.  As Jack pointed out, and he is talking from an organic growers perspective, there can be all sorts of ill effects of long-term drought. If your drought has lasted long enough to eliminate much of the micro organisms you will have to reintroduce them (this is doable) and you can use soil tests to determine what your micronutrient levels are and use amendments to rebalance their levels.  But your fertility will be lower until the system is back to optimum.  Depending on where you started from it can take a number of years to get to full productivity.  And if the drought and heat just keep coming?

In the case of taking an old pasture and turning it into a productive vegetable field along organic lines (we are assuming that no herbicides or pesticides have been put on it in 5 or more years) it will take about 5 years of careful management to get to full productivity.  Assuming that weather conditions in the meantime have not been continually degrading your efforts (think what AGW means to that statement).

Now if we are talking about industrial agriculture we get a different answer as they are not in general concerned what-so-ever with soil microorganisms as in their fields they have pretty much eliminated this type of life already.  If you take a place like the American mid-west where they are growing corn and look at say 2011 when there was severe drought and some locations had crop failures.  What they do for the next year is perform soil tests to determine what level of potassium and phosphorous remain from the previous year so that they know the correct amounts needed for the new year (with a crop failure the amounts of P & K remaining cannot be accurately predicted so you have to test) and then you add in the amount of nitrogen needed or the new crop.

In the industrial approach you can take pure sand and have reasonable crops growing in it in a year just by adding the proper mix of fertilizers and being prepared to use various herbicides and pesticides. IF you have water.  For organic growing it is very difficult to get to fertile land starting with sand.

 
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

Sigmetnow

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 18572
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 838
  • Likes Given: 323
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #290 on: December 29, 2013, 09:26:42 PM »
More on the California drought:

Quote
In the run-up to the holidays, few noticed a rather horrifying number California water managers released last week: 5%.

That’s the percentage of requested water the California State Water Project (SWP), the largest manmade distribution system in the US, expects to deliver in 2014. The SWP supplies water to two-thirds of the state’s 38 million residents and 750,000 acres of farmland.


http://qz.com/161935/california-faces-a-catastrophic-drought-next-year/
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #291 on: December 30, 2013, 04:33:56 PM »
My relatives in Wyoming told us this weekend that it was in the news there that Los Angeles requested that Wyoming let them take part of Wyoming's water allotment from the Colorado River drainage.  As we know they need it and are taking the maximum that they are legally allowed to take already.  Wyoming turned them down.

In the past Wyoming has often not used their full allotment and the left over was used by LA and others downstream.  But for a number of years the allotments in Wyoming have not always been able to be filled due to the droughts.  One year a friend of mine who owns a ranch south of Jackson Hole who has Territorial water rights (predates statehood in 1890) was going to be the next one on the list to be cut off from water.  Everyone with rights later than 1890 had been cut off.  That year the Green River was ankle deep near his ranch.

I have suggested to him a number of times that he sign a long-term lease for his water with LA as he would make more money than he does running cattle.  The ranch is only 4000 acres (used to be 35,000) now and it is not possible to make a full income off of it so he actually lives and works on the east coast.  He leases the pastures to other ranchers and they irrigate them ahead of the cattle and just move them from field to field from spring to fall and then truck them back to Utah.   The place sits empty the rest of the year.  He won't do it because he thinks that once you do that you will never be able to not renew the lease.

But my opinion is that we are only a year or two more of bad drought and all the states like CA and AZ downstream with big populations will demand that the Colorado River Compact signed in 1922 which regulates water use on the Colorado River drainage be reallocated as it makes no sense in todays world.  It doesn't and the river is badly over allocated as there is no where near as much water as was allocated.  Plus it makes no sense at all to be watering cattle on the high desert when there are water shortages coming to very large numbers of people.  Wyoming with 600,000 people is going to be fighting with states with populations surpassing 40-45 million.  It is a no win situation.  He is going to have those water rights taken away from him so he may as well sign a good lease and collect the money.

Water wars.

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

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #292 on: January 02, 2014, 03:01:41 AM »
Water wars.

On the flipside, it will start to reduce meat consumption as the price of meat increases in the context of the south western US. Insufficient to fundamentally change anything but nonetheless a sliver of a silver lining.

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #293 on: January 02, 2014, 06:24:56 PM »
Daunting Calculus for Maine Shrimpers as Entire Season Is Lost

Quote
...The fishery is among the last in Maine to be open-access, meaning licenses are not limited as they are elsewhere. As a result, some fishermen say, the supply is vulnerable to overfishing when prices are high. It had a peak in the late 1960s and the ’70s before the supply collapsed and regulators imposed the last complete closing, in 1978. In 2011, regulators estimate, about 350 boats — mostly in Maine, with some in Massachusetts and New Hampshire — caught $10.6 million worth of shrimp; last season, about 200 boats caught an estimated $1.2 million worth.

In 2013 researchers towing nets to assess the size of the stock counted an average of 27 shrimp per tow, compared with a historical average of 1,400 per tow.
...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/us/for-maine-shrimpers-a-frightening-calculus.html?_r=0
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

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3327
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 611
  • Likes Given: 400
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #294 on: January 03, 2014, 10:19:03 AM »
Sig quoted:
Quote
In the run-up to the holidays, few noticed a rather horrifying number California water managers released last week: 5%.

That’s the percentage of requested water the California State Water Project (SWP), the largest manmade distribution system in the US, expects to deliver in 2014. The SWP supplies water to two-thirds of the state’s 38 million residents and 750,000 acres of farmland.

How are 38 million residents, not to mention nearly a million acres of farmland, going to get by on just 5% of the water they say they need?

Are we about to see rioting? Mass migration? Deaths from lack of water? Are they going to start building de-salination plants?
"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."

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #295 on: January 03, 2014, 04:53:52 PM »
As much as they are able to the farmers are going to resort to pumping ground water.  In large volumes.  This will further deplete them and result in more rapid subsidence in the Central Valley (see items above for a bunch of detail on that problem).  But they do that in the hope that the drought will pass.  And it will fluctuate.  But the trend rides with the climate, so they are in trouble in the long run.  Best mid term fix for the Central Valley agriculture is going to really hurt.  They need to stop growing perennial crops; in other words orchards of fruit, nuts and grapes as these crops need way more water than annual row crops.  Perennials need water all year around.  They should not be planted in the desert. Of course the farmers do it because they make larger profits.

The human need is going to have to drive the rewriting of the Colorado River Compact which determines who gets the water.  Agricultural interests in the west are going to have to be cut off eventually.  Big BIG fight coming over this water.  You can't give the water to cows and for growing alfalfa when people do not have water.

And the cities are going to have to get much tougher on water conservation.
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

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 209
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #296 on: January 03, 2014, 08:02:08 PM »
Quote
JimD:
"do it because they make larger profits"
Like a head of cauliflower price increase of from $2.49 to $3.79 in one day at a local "mom-n-pop" type vegetable market - retail based solely on wholesale.  Hope this is not typical or average for the next year.

Over a 50% cost increase for certain food items by virtue of only 5% of requested irrigation water.

Food costs (soaring) may change the discussion among AGW skeptics (high-consumers)!!

It's amazing the amount of fresh produce from the California Central Valley that we in the USA have gotten used to having & consuming.  A big "hue-n-cry" coming?

Can Central and South America add capacity fast enough?

JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #297 on: January 03, 2014, 08:56:00 PM »
Jack

If my memory is accurate about 50% of the US vegetable crop comes from California.  That should scare people.

Part of the problem with other places picking up the slack is that they are pretty maxed already and they are facing climate impacts also.  But people will try.  Brazil is expanding crop land very fast, but mostly for biofuels.

In the US we have a lot of fairly productive land which is not being used anymore even though it used to be farmed.  Look east of the Mississippi.  There is far more forest there now than 100 years ago.  We could always cut it down and go back to farming it.  And then we could eat all of the pet horses back east and use their pastures to grow food (a win win situation?).
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

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 209
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #298 on: January 04, 2014, 05:30:13 PM »
Most folks know this - but how will it affect us.
----
"What Would We Eat if It Weren't for California?"
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/explainer/2013/07/california_grows_all_of_our_fruits_and_vegetables_what_would_we_eat_without.html
" California produces a sizable majority of many American fruits, vegetables, and nuts: 99 percent of artichokes, 99 percent of walnuts, 97 percent of kiwis, 97 percent of plums, 95 percent of celery, 95 percent of garlic, 89 percent of cauliflower, 71 percent of spinach, and 69 percent of carrots (and the list goes on an on http://www.motherjones.com/files/2agovstat10_web-1.pdf[/size]]http://www.motherjones.com/files/2agovstat10_web-1.pdf )."
----------
IIRC, as I heard, California produces less than one-third of overall "plant based" foods consumed in the USA.  But, winter-time fresh vegetables is, or was maybe closer to, 2/3 - 3/4.  Exactness on these figures doesn't matter as much as the food from there.

Also, the percentage of land East of the Mississippi no longer used "food production" is truly staggering compared to my youth.  Thousands upon thousands of acres in my boyhood community are in forests or housing units.  Much good land fenced for pastures could be quickly be converted back to vegetable growth versus cows and horses - but at considerable start-up expense. Most of of it does not lend itself for highly mechanized production due to roads -streams - terrain,,, etc... (A lot of manual labor)
----
I am of the opinion that perhaps a large increase of food prices could be a conversation changer about AGW because it "hits close to home" for the overwhelming majority of the USA. The every day - weekly - "wallet/pocketbook" issues.

California Water (all southwest agriculture) is a definite attention getter for me.

It takes EVENTS to wake up a lot of people.


JimD

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 3
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #299 on: January 04, 2014, 05:47:19 PM »
But 'plant based foods' might include wheat and corn.  I was just thinking vegetables.

When I farmed in Virginia I used to get a rise out of various rich folks once in awhile when I said that the only people who should get agricultural tax rates were those that grew food for people only. 

They also did not like my comments about pet horses.  In the county I lived in about 2/3 of what was counted as agriculture was pet horse farms which produced no food.

The area near and east of the Mississippi could easily replace all the farming in California if we converted it back to farms.  I expect that will happen in a few decades as they run out of water and climate change really kicks in.
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