Arctic Sea Ice : Forum

AGW in general => Consequences => Topic started by: Anonymouse on May 17, 2013, 05:59:28 AM

Title: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Anonymouse on May 17, 2013, 05:59:28 AM
EDIT: The ocean is also important to food for us, hence, the change in the header.

EDIT:  Various threads seem to be moving onto the subject of agriculture and its connection to the future of FOOD.  For humans, anyway.  Let us go there.

**************


Jeff Masters recently published a new article on his blog at Wunderground detailing some extreme temperature variations in the U.S. midwest.  I do not live there, so cannot comment personally, but one specific example keeps coming back to me.  In Iowa, two weeks ago, there was record snowfall.  This week temperatures hit up to 106F. 
By no stretch of my imagination can I imagine this can be good for agriculture or local ecological processes in general.  While I do not have any links, I do recall reading somewhere a while ago that the timing of, for example, baby bird births and their food sources are starting to fall out of sync. i wonder if these new extreme swings in temperature might upset microbial processes in the soil?  Kill new springtime plant life necessary for birds, bees, worms, or other creatures so essential to our current understanding of how the world works? The bee thing especially worries me, as colony collapse was pretty bad last year.
Just hoping anybody might have some knowledge or insights.  Here is the link to Dr. Masters' article :  http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2407&page=2 (http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2407&page=2)

EDIT:  There has been some discussion about this topic on Fishmahboi's 'When and how bad" thread, which I find to be very helpful and engaging.  I am thinking a narrower discussion about the immediate impacts on soil, etc. might be interesting, though.
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on May 17, 2013, 07:40:55 AM
I'm not an expert, or anywhere near being one - but I think you'll find mismatch in the timings of insects and birds (and all sorts of other things - such as when flowers bloom and so on) has been with us for quite some time now (decades?). This in my view has been the real canary in the coal mine - the Arctic is somehow described as that, but it would seem more apt to describe it as the igniting firedamp that the canaries already died warning us about.

Extreme fluctuations have plenty of scope to damage yield, note the near 100% losses in fruit in some parts of Michigan and other northern states last year - an anomalously hot and early spring gave way to a late frost that wiped out fragile buds almost totally (certainly to the point where attempting harvest was not economically viable - and in fact - almost totally).

I think it would also be relevant to consider insect pests. Insect populations that usually would be kept in check by natural forces (winter) or predators can become a problem very rapidly indeed. For a slower example - I'd point at the pine beetles busy turning extensive swathes of forest into carbon dioxide again. I recall outbreaks of army worms last year in the US - but am unsure how common that is there. Locusts are another example of a hazard that could surprise us by shifting their range - and in situations of social instability (as created by the war in Libya - this disrupted locust spraying in nearby regions causing knock on consequences) the ability of societies to respond can be eroded.

I can't help but feel that there are any number of unpleasant surprises waiting for us in this arena, many of which we won't even suspect until they happen (and the GM pesticide tolerant crops have locked those relying on them into an arms race as the pests are gaining resistances rapidly - as well as apparently placing a critical straw on the back of various pollinators - bees especially).
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: John Batteen on May 21, 2013, 12:04:20 AM
I live in Minnesota, and experienced the bizarre weather of which you speak.  When we get these very tall waves in the jet stream, the temperature contrast from one side of the wave to the other is stark.  There was frost the one morning, and 99 degrees the next day.  36 hour temperature changes of 40-50 degrees are fairly frequent in Minnesota, but this one was something else.

The soil itself has a lot of thermal mass and a relatively stable temperature.  Not to say it couldn't happen, but it wouldn't be the first place I'd look for disruptions caused by this kind of weather.

Depending on the jet stream's preferred configuration in any given season, there can be up to two months of leeway either way as to when the warm temperatures arrive and depart from the mid-latitudes such as Minnesota.  Some things are faster to respond to the temperatures than others.  Insects usually arrive with the temperatures, whether early or late, but if the Spring arrives early, the plants will wait as they know a late-season frost could come.  So what I'm trying to say is, the timings of various things relative to each other fluctuates a little bit year to year anyway.  I think there is some play in how things interact, as they are used to the minor variations.  Certainly, as things get wilder and wilder as time goes on, we could (and probably will) see serious disruptions to these systems.  But so far, I haven't see any here in Minnesota.  Any year could be the year.  Fingers crossed it's not this one.
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: wili on May 21, 2013, 04:11:16 AM
Some pretty bad 'whiplash' going on in OK:

Vast Oklahoma Tornado Kills at Least 51

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/us/tornado-oklahoma.html (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/us/tornado-oklahoma.html)
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: Shared Humanity on May 25, 2013, 03:25:20 PM
Drought conditions are improving across the US.

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/ (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/)
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: ggelsrinc on May 25, 2013, 11:07:41 PM
Jeff Masters recently published a new article on his blog at Wunderground detailing some extreme temperature variations in the U.S. midwest.  I do not live there, so cannot comment personally, but one specific example keeps coming back to me.  In Iowa, two weeks ago, there was record snowfall.  This week temperatures hit up to 106F. 
By no stretch of my imagination can I imagine this can be good for agriculture or local ecological processes in general.  While I do not have any links, I do recall reading somewhere a while ago that the timing of, for example, baby bird births and their food sources are starting to fall out of sync. i wonder if these new extreme swings in temperature might upset microbial processes in the soil?  Kill new springtime plant life necessary for birds, bees, worms, or other creatures so essential to our current understanding of how the world works? The bee thing especially worries me, as colony collapse was pretty bad last year.
Just hoping anybody might have some knowledge or insights.  Here is the link to Dr. Masters' article :  http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2407&page=2 (http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2407&page=2)

EDIT:  There has been some discussion about this topic on Fishmahboi's 'When and how bad" thread, which I find to be very helpful and engaging.  I am thinking a narrower discussion about the immediate impacts on soil, etc. might be interesting, though.

I have no idea what microbial processes in soil you are concerned about.

Areas have agricultural records and analysis based on the year's weather conditions. I'm not aware of an attempt to look for climate change patterns, but I know there are details covering just about anything weather related in those reports. Obviously plants need water, but many plants are sensitive to frost during germination and reproduction. The most damaging extreme that I am aware of involves warm weather encouraging growth too early in the season that can be frost damaged. On the other end, many plants will continue reproduction until frost stops it at the season's end, so an early frost can kill that production. If a farmer has nice days in February, he isn't going to rush and plant his crops, because he knows the chances are frost will kill those crops.

Besides the obvious damage from droughts and floods to crops, modern agriculture using heavy equipment has always had problems with rain preventing planting and harvesting. A farmer can miss the window to plant corn because the fields are too wet to plant. Some grains other than corn only have a short period to be harvested or the grain will fall to the ground. If exceptional weather brought repeated wet weather to such an area during harvest, it would reduce crops like wheat yields and it could prevent planting in the spring of any crop requiring heavy equipment. Certain types of fungus can be encouraged by wet weather and completely destroy crops.

I don't see short term temperature extremes affecting the soil, because the soil doesn't change temperature according to surface temperature, therefore it's temperature is buffered against short term extremes. Soil temperature is monitored for a variety of reasons, such as when insects will emerge. In the battles of insects verses plants and insects verses insect, longer term temperature variations, like warm and cold winters have an agricultural and environmental impact. The trend I've seen lately is mild winters not reducing pests enough to keep summer damage to good levels. These types of connections are well established and they predict which pests will become a problem, based on how the past weather played out and what the present weather will encourage. 
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on May 25, 2013, 11:24:26 PM
I have no idea what microbial processes in soil you are concerned about.
Probably this sort of question, if I were guessing:

http://www.metla.fi/tiedotteet/2010/2010-02-08-soil-climate.htm (http://www.metla.fi/tiedotteet/2010/2010-02-08-soil-climate.htm)

The soil itself is a potential major source of additional carbon dioxide into the system, depending on how it is affected by climate change. I really don't know much about it though, beyond vaguely being aware of the possibility.
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: ggelsrinc on May 25, 2013, 11:40:36 PM
I have no idea what microbial processes in soil you are concerned about.
Probably this sort of question, if I were guessing:

http://www.metla.fi/tiedotteet/2010/2010-02-08-soil-climate.htm (http://www.metla.fi/tiedotteet/2010/2010-02-08-soil-climate.htm)

The soil itself is a potential major source of additional carbon dioxide into the system, depending on how it is affected by climate change. I really don't know much about it though, beyond vaguely being aware of the possibility.

Increased warming will definitely increase microbial activity in permafrost or where cold limits it, but the thread is about agriculture.
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on May 26, 2013, 01:19:58 AM
Increased warming will definitely increase microbial activity in permafrost or where cold limits it, but the thread is about agriculture.
It doesn't just apply to soil carbon in permafrost or cold limited regions that climate change may have an impact on the soil microbes and related ecology. Everywhere that conditions change there is a possibility that changes will occur in the soil. Why would you suppose that the soil would be exempted from changes in temperature or moisture or any number of other things that affect the behaviour of that portion of the ecosystem?

By implication I find it a rather strange idea that soil changes don't relate to agriculture.

Here is another link I dug up easily - nothing at all about permafrost and cold places:

http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/soil/climate/soil-and-climate-change (http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/soil/climate/soil-and-climate-change)

It's hardly reassuring that we don't really know much about the impact climate change will have on the soil carbon budget.
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: John Batteen on May 26, 2013, 07:19:09 AM
During drought, soil dries up and is hard as a rock.  You can't plant it, nor will anything grow in it anyway.  During floods, it gets goopy and you can't plant or harvest, and it can destroy crops if it happens at the wrong time.  If the soil temperature is too cool, you can't plant yet, you have to wait for it to warm up.  Within rational limits of what the climate is capable of, nothing bad can happen to plants from having a soil that's really warm, as long as it's adequately moist.  Anything that can be grown in the north can be grown at the equator in much warmer soil, unless it needs a long day or a winter dormancy as part of its life cycle.  As mentioned by ggelsrinc, soil temperatures staying warm over the winter can encourage development of insect pests.  That's the extent of soil temperature's effects on agriculture.

Microbial activity doesn't have much to do with it.  Modern chemical farming has greatly altered the soil ecosystem and the plants don't care because they're getting the nutrients they need added.  Plants can grow in rocks with no organic matter whatsoever, if the rocks have enough of everything they need.  You see this a lot in deserts and mountains, and around the Canadian Shield.  The irrigated farmland around the Phoenix metro area and the rest of southern Arizona is incredibly fertile and productive.  The microbes in that soil are vastly different than the soil here in Minnesota, but they grow some of the same crops.  Tomatoes and strawberries are two that come to mind right away, and they grow just as well in either location, at least as far as the soil is concerned.

As average soil temperature increases, it may indeed contribute more carbon to the atmosphere.  I'm sure the soil microbe balance will shift.  But that has little or nothing to do with agriculture.
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: ggelsrinc on May 26, 2013, 07:44:08 AM
Increased warming will definitely increase microbial activity in permafrost or where cold limits it, but the thread is about agriculture.
It doesn't just apply to soil carbon in permafrost or cold limited regions that climate change may have an impact on the soil microbes and related ecology. Everywhere that conditions change there is a possibility that changes will occur in the soil. Why would you suppose that the soil would be exempted from changes in temperature or moisture or any number of other things that affect the behaviour of that portion of the ecosystem?

By implication I find it a rather strange idea that soil changes don't relate to agriculture.

Here is another link I dug up easily - nothing at all about permafrost and cold places:

http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/soil/climate/soil-and-climate-change (http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/soil/climate/soil-and-climate-change)

It's hardly reassuring that we don't really know much about the impact climate change will have on the soil carbon budget.

This thread is entitled "Weather "whiplash" and agriculture", so microbial activity where there is no agriculture is off topic, unless it's done to compare. When Neven asked what he should do in his "How to resuscitate a dead field" thread, I suggested planting annual ryegrass instead of clover or clover/alfalfa mix. The logic is why worry about adding nitrogen to soil that lacks the humus to retain the nitrogen? Agricultural land doesn't have the humus for microbes to consume, like a forest does.

If you have ever seen a soil profile of ryegrass, you would understand why smart farmers use it for a winter cover crop and ryegrass is a normal lawn grass in many areas. I've seen soil profiles showing thick roots two feet deep. Farmers cut and bale the ryegrass for hay, but when they plow it, it cuts the plant in half and adds volumes of humus to the soil. It aerates the soil and that humus keeps the nutrients, like nitrogen, from being washed away.

Grasses are analogous to trees in many ways being masters of their domain (regardless of size), but the analogy here is to how they store organics in the soil that microbes can use. If you examine the areas of the world where agriculture has been applied, the amount of carbon in the soil has been reduced. Microbes can't make CO2 from carbon that isn't there. In the old days, agriculture cut and slashed and moved on when carbon was depleted. It isn't easy to replace carbon in the soil over large areas or a farmer would do so.

Let's expand the concept of agriculture to include forestry! If I wanted to rapidly grow trees in areas once covered by glaciers or experienced periods of permafrost, I'd know that such conditions rob the soil of calcium and potassium and the same logic is applied to forestry. The northern areas that impress me as having much carbon to release back into the atmosphere are areas that grew peat and have slowed decomposition before equilibrium. Those areas could release a lot of carbon before conditions exist to become a carbon sink. Growing evergreens just doesn't sink much carbon, so an area that was once taiga and became tundra can't have much carbon due to recent geological time cooling. The Eeemian would have flushed carbon away much faster than it can the HTM. Since we are near the HTM and Eemian, I don't expect much terrestrial carbon to exist, but any carbon to the atmosphere is more. That doesn't mean warming northern areas will be releasing much more carbon than it can sequester by encouraged growth. The carbon will come from mankind and we can't blame the Earth for it.
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on May 26, 2013, 04:21:06 PM
As average soil temperature increases, it may indeed contribute more carbon to the atmosphere.  I'm sure the soil microbe balance will shift.  But that has little or nothing to do with agriculture.
Well, everyone seems to agree that microbial activity has no relevant bearing on agriculture, so I'll leave it at this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizobacteria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizobacteria)

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00900.x/pdf (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00900.x/pdf)

From the paper above:
Quote
Virtually all land plant taxa investigated have well-established symbioses with a large variety of microorganisms
(Nicolson, 1967; Brundrett, 2009)
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: John Batteen on May 26, 2013, 06:30:19 PM
The bacteria help the plant get the nutrients it needs faster when they're locked up in more complex molecules, or in the case of rhizobacteria, in the atmosphere, but if those nutrients are already being supplied by an outside source, the bacteria aren't necessary.  We dump nitrogen on corn fields because nitrogen-fixing bacteria don't fix it fast enough.  In hydroponics, a sterile nutrient solution is often used.  At this point, the soil is just a medium to hold the roots in place so the plants don't blow away.  Most if not all of the nutrients are supplied as fertilizer.  The symbiotic relationship with bacteria has been replaced by a symbiotic relationship with humans.  :)
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: ivica on May 26, 2013, 07:10:11 PM
...Well, everyone seems to agree that microbial activity has no relevant bearing on agriculture, so I'll leave it at this:...
...has no relevant bearing on current agriculture practice, OK. One more quote from article given by ccg (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00900.x/pdf):
Quote
It is well known that beneficial plant-associated microorganisms may stimulate
plant growth and enhance resistance to disease and abiotic stresses.
I like that, remainds me on  our 'new' organ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJM6H4OP95Y&list=PL2D685A98470D37BC) (more in Café (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,179.msg2872.html#msg2872)) and fits well with my view of Nature (everything is connected).
Perhaps AG practice will be changed in future.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Anonymouse on June 03, 2013, 09:41:00 PM
Austin area peach crop ruined by weird weather.

http://austinist.com/2013/05/20/terrible_weather_has_ruined_this_ye.php (http://austinist.com/2013/05/20/terrible_weather_has_ruined_this_ye.php)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent on June 13, 2013, 03:38:31 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/12/farmers-fail-weather-wheat-crop (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/12/farmers-fail-weather-wheat-crop)

Farmers fail to feed UK after extreme weather hits wheat crop.
"Normally we export around 2.5m tonnes of wheat but this year we expect to have to import 2.5m tonnes," said Charlotte Garbutt
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Anne on June 13, 2013, 05:17:31 PM
Long cold winter in UK following a cold summer has badly affected bee colonies too. Overall losses estimated at 33.8%, the worst yet recorded (although it should be stressed that figures have been kept only for the last six years). Losses in Devon estimated at 50%. This has implications not only for honey (which we could manage without) but for insect-pollinated plants.

I confess I don't know enough about bees to know what would be a "normal" loss from a hive over winter, but over a recent mild winter (2010/2011) it was only 13.6%.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22861651 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22861651)

British Beekeepers Association press release (http://www.bbka.org.uk/files/pressreleases/bbka_release_winter_survival_survey_13_june_2013_1371062171.pdf) (pdf)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: fishmahboi on June 13, 2013, 06:17:29 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/12/farmers-fail-weather-wheat-crop (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/12/farmers-fail-weather-wheat-crop)

Farmers fail to feed UK after extreme weather hits wheat crop.
"Normally we export around 2.5m tonnes of wheat but this year we expect to have to import 2.5m tonnes," said Charlotte Garbutt

That's quite grave, but at least with the improved summer outlook for Ireland and Britain, perhaps crop yields in these two areas might improve.

http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/cgi-app/reports?LANG=en&MENU=seasonaloutlook&DAY=20130519 (http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/cgi-app/reports?LANG=en&MENU=seasonaloutlook&DAY=20130519)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter on June 13, 2013, 06:39:12 PM
I'll add this little bomb.

Quote
A new report says that the world will need to more than double food production over the next 40 years to feed an expanding global population. But as the world's food needs are rapidly increasing, the planet's capacity to produce food confronts increasing constraints from overlapping crises that, if left unchecked, could lead to billions facing hunger.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jun/07/peak-soil-industrial-civilisation-eating-itself#start-of-comments (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jun/07/peak-soil-industrial-civilisation-eating-itself#start-of-comments)

Too bad we are going in the wrong direction with ag production the last few years.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on June 13, 2013, 09:27:22 PM
Re the Guardian piece above implying that British farmers are not going to feed their population this year.  If I am not mistaken the UK imports about 50% of the food they consume (just from memory..I did not look it up).  So the real story is the wheat harvest is going to be down.

ritter
your statement implies that global harvest have been going down the last few years.  Global production has been going up not down. 

I checked the report referred to in your link and the guardian article is not doing a good job of reporting what it said.  It is much more nuanced.  If population goes to 9.3 billion from our current 7.1 then population increases 31%.  So all things being equal (which they are not of course) it takes 31% more food production to keep up with population.  The report comes up with higher numbers required because it assumes that we are going to eliminate malnutrition (fat chance) and that a very large number of consumers are going to move up to the middle class and their dietary requirements are going to change.  Thus they come up with the requirement to double food production.  I am skeptical that their assumption will come about.  Considering all the factors impacting civilization over the next 40 years I have many doubts about this vast rising middle class existing then, malnutrition and starvation are likely to be much more prevalent rather than less.  IMHO just increasing global food production by the 31 to say 40% needed for the added population will be a real challenge.   As I have stated earlier I think that the industrial food system will be at the breaking point in about 40 years so I don't see how they get there from here.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Anne on June 13, 2013, 09:58:52 PM
I'm inclined to agree, Jim. It's not simply a question of increased food production (as if it were simple) but the whole business of distribution and social and political inequality. Even now we have farmers exporting to Europe from countries where people struggle to feed themselves.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter on June 13, 2013, 10:30:57 PM
ritter
your statement implies that global harvest have been going down the last few years.  Global production has been going up not down. 

Jim,

Sorry, I did not mean to be misleading and am no expert in agriculture. There have been reports of major producers experiencing crop reductions based on drought/flood conditions the past few years. Worldwide, what are we, a 1% increase or so?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on June 13, 2013, 11:26:21 PM
Slight increases in total food production only give you a small bit of the picture. How sustainable are those gains? What are they based on? How much more do they cost those who have little to spend?

Aquifers around the world are being drawn down, some at rather fantastic rates, mostly for agriculture. Once those are gone, they're gone for good (at least on human time scales).

Overuse of marginal lands is also a short-term, ill-conceived strategy.

The 2 billion or so poorest people who live on ~$2/day and who generally spent about half that on food before 2009 are generally having a hard time with prices about 50% higher:

http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/wfs-home/foodpricesindex/en/ (http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/wfs-home/foodpricesindex/en/)

And of course increased meat eating among the global elite means that there is less food of the total left for the poor and it is more expensive.

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/business/07-Jun-2013/food-prices-to-stay-high-un (http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/business/07-Jun-2013/food-prices-to-stay-high-un)

For a cheerier view (short term, at least):

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45167&Cr=food+security&Cr1=#.Ubo5n7ahBdk (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45167&Cr=food+security&Cr1=#.Ubo5n7ahBdk)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on June 14, 2013, 07:52:13 PM
ritter,  no worries.  Most people get the impression from the daily news that overall food production is decreasing.  But the news focuses on the ag 'weather' so to speak.  A crop shortfall gets a lot of attention but the overall trend in production does not.  It is sort of like looking at weather and climate.  I ran a couple of number for you.  The usual metric for measuring global food production is to look at global grain production (not many people actually  try and measure the production of vegetables).  I took the last 10 years of global grain production and averaged the first five and then the next five to show the trend.

2003-2007  average was 2,001 million metric tons
2008-2012 average was 2,249 million metric tons

2008-2012 averaged 2.4% higher than 03-07.  So your estimate of 1% was not bad.

Maintaining this increase is going to be very hard in light of our problems.  We should be able to keep pace with population growth for some time, but eventually we will fall short.

And Willi is dead right.  We are burning the candle from both ends so to speak.  There is nothing sustainable about the industrial food system and what we are doing now is going to bite our descendants in the rear big time.  But the industrial method is all we have as sustainable practices cannot feed 7.1 billion.  Carrying capacity numbers usually top out at under 2 billion and go as low as 500 million. 

 
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter on June 14, 2013, 08:14:28 PM
2003-2007  average was 2,001 million metric tons
2008-2012 average was 2,249 million metric tons

2008-2012 averaged 2.4% higher than 03-07. 
Thanks for the number crunching.

And Willi is dead right.  We are burning the candle from both ends so to speak.  There is nothing sustainable about the industrial food system and what we are doing now is going to bite our descendants in the rear big time.  But the industrial method is all we have as sustainable practices cannot feed 7.1 billion.  Carrying capacity numbers usually top out at under 2 billion and go as low as 500 million. 
 

Yes, farming GMOs with fossil water and totally reliant on chemical inputs and fossil fuels is, well... What could possibly go wrong?! When you combine new crazy weather patterns and peak oil, I think you will see the wheels fall off of industrial ag sooner than your 2040-50 prediction. But then again, I'm a bit of a pessimist!  :)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: TerryM on June 14, 2013, 10:06:55 PM
Jim


Didn't the article you posted by the intelligence service state that in 7 out of the last 8 years we produced less food than we used? It sounded as though we're already digging into food stores on a regular basis.


Terry
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on June 14, 2013, 11:01:01 PM
Terry,

As usual there is more to the story.  I don't have time to actually rerun the numbers right now so I will shoot from memory.

The big wrench in the gears of agriculture production is bio-fuels.  If we just look at what the US mandated ethanol in fuel program has done to global grain supplies it will demonstrate the point.  If my memory is correct the amount of corn used in the US each year to make ethanol fuel is the equivalent of 20 days of global grain supply.  As we have all been seeing in the news the last few years the subject of the global grain reserve comes up every time there is a harvest shortfall (whether wheat, corn, rice, etc).  Recent global grain reserve numbers are somewhere around 60 days.  Which is very low by historical norms and puts supplies in danger of being insufficient if there is a total harvest failure in a major region (very rare). 

But where would we be with global supplies if the US ethanol program did not exist?  Probably near 120 days reserve and no one would even be talking about it.  What they would be talking about would be the financial crises in the agriculture industry due to low commodity prices.  The primary purpose of the US ethanol program was to create artificial demand for corn and cause the price to rise.  This dramatically improved the financials of industrial farmers, Monsanto, ADM and a host of other agriculture related businesses.  It was in essence a government welfare program for the agriculture industry dreamed up and promoted by the lobbyists paid for by the taxpayers via subsidies and lower mpg fuel.  It was a great sell politically and it will be fiendishly hard to ever kill.

I have no idea of the scale of using food crops for bio-fuel production on a global scale, but I can imagine that it is substantial and would add another significant margin to global supplies if eliminated.  Or it would reduce environmental destruction (palm plantations for instance).

So what I am saying is that, yes we have been eating into our global reserves, but  it's not because we are eating more than we are producing rather that we are burning it for fuel.  It's a choice I guess (sarc).
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on June 15, 2013, 06:49:16 PM
I have no idea of the scale of using food crops for bio-fuel production on a global scale, but I can imagine that it is substantial and would add another significant margin to global supplies if eliminated.  Or it would reduce environmental destruction (palm plantations for instance).

I think bio-fuel is a major part of the current pressure on food production, but I wonder if there isn't some reason why it is continuing despite the obvious stupidity. Is it possible that it is helping offset peak oil slightly? If oil supply was insufficient prices will soar there - which still makes food (and a lot of other things) cost more.

With respect to food I think people fail to realise that just because food production is still tending to increase doesn't mean we don't have a problem. The bottom line is that demand for food is rising every year. If the growth of production is less than the demand growth, a problem is accumulating and therefore one can grow production and yet still fall backwards in food security.

In any case I don't see how the changes in the weather due to the ongoing loss of the Arctic are not going to harm global food production. We are nowhere near the end of this process yet!
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Apocalypse4Real on June 19, 2013, 03:34:31 PM
Given the conversation on weather and climate impacts on agriculture and food production, the following conference provides a number of excellent papers on food production, food security, agro-economic impacts, modeling, etc.

On May 27-30, 2013, the International Conference on Climate Change Effects occurred in Potsdam.

There are approximately 100 science based papers that are linked on the website that cover everything from agriculture to hydrology - globally and regionally. There are alot of papers on climate impacts on Europe, Africa and Asia. There are more on modeling and use of modeling to predict future impacts, policy issues, climate change action - to prepare for impacts. It is a treasure trove!

Here is the link: http://climate-impacts-2013.org/index.php?article_id=27 (http://climate-impacts-2013.org/index.php?article_id=27)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on June 27, 2013, 07:26:24 PM
Very interesting article about recent research on crop yields that compares non-GM and GM crops in Europe and North America.

Quote
Heinemann’s group found that between 1985 and 2010, Western Europe has experienced yield gains at a faster rate than North America for all three crops measured. That means that the U.S., which grows mostly GE corn, and Canada, which grows mostly GE canola, are not doing as well as Europe, which grows non-GE corn and canola. The increases in corn yields in the U.S. have remained relatively consistent both before and after the introduction of GE corn. Furthermore, Western Europe is experiencing faster yield gains than America for non-GE wheat

http://www.alternet.org/food/why-monsanto-wrong-about-gm-crop-promises?page=0%2C1 (http://www.alternet.org/food/why-monsanto-wrong-about-gm-crop-promises?page=0%2C1)

The evidence indicates that GM crops do not result in higher yields as many think.

Quote
. In addition to increasing crop yields faster, European nations have also reduced pesticides more than we have.  “The US and US industry have been crowing about the reduction in chemical insecticide use with the introduction of Bt crops [GE crops that produce their own pesticide],” says Heinemann. “And at face value, that's true. They've gone to about 85 percent of the levels that they used in the pre-GE era. But what they don't tell you is that France went down to 12 percent of its previous levels. France is the fourth biggest exporter of corn in the world, one of the biggest exporters of wheat, and it's only 11 percent of the size of the U.S.

Another surprise to many.

Of course Monsanto is aware of all this.  The word evil comes to mind. 
Title: Re: Weather "whiplash" and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on June 28, 2013, 07:04:18 PM
Well, everyone seems to agree that microbial activity has no relevant bearing on agriculture, so I'll leave it at this:

I was being just a little sarcastic with the above statement, rather than agreeing that bacterial activity isn't important to agriculture (particularly when you consider not all agriculture is western style agribusiness).

Anyway, this looks interesting - as well as putting the lie to assumptions of desert magically turning into prime farmland...

http://www.livescience.com/37805-climate-change-alters-desert-biocrusts.html (http://www.livescience.com/37805-climate-change-alters-desert-biocrusts.html)

As the article says, we really don't know enough about the bacterial role within the soil to say anything for sure.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on July 04, 2013, 12:42:39 AM
The link is to published research on the trend in major crop yields and the impact on future food production.  It indicates that around 2050, if we cannot change the current trends, the agriculture system will no longer be producing sufficient food to feed everyone.

Naturally I like this article because I have been arguing that around 2050 the agriculture system will break down  ;D

But it is good detailed reading on what is going on in agriculture.  It is pretty long.

EDIT:  I forgot to mention that the authors did NOT take AGW into account.  So they are probably being conservative (or optimistic might be a better word).

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0066428 (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0066428)

This link is article about the above research paper so it is redundant in most respects but it does have a slide show on about 19 crops which will largely disappear if we lose the honey bees.  Most of the major fruits in your nearby store.

http://www.kitchendaily.com/read/sustainable-crops-future?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl26%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D339333 (http://www.kitchendaily.com/read/sustainable-crops-future?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl26%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D339333)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on July 04, 2013, 05:39:25 AM
The link is to published research on the trend in major crop yields and the impact on future food production.  It indicates that around 2050, if we cannot change the current trends, the agriculture system will no longer be producing sufficient food to feed everyone.

Naturally I like this article because I have been arguing that around 2050 the agriculture system will break down  ;D

But it is good detailed reading on what is going on in agriculture.  It is pretty long.

EDIT:  I forgot to mention that the authors did NOT take AGW into account.  So they are probably being conservative (or optimistic might be a better word).

At the current rate of climate change and escalation of effects - that seems a rather large omission? My feeling is a lot of people are going with 40 or so years before breakdown on the basis of the Limits to Growth type stuff - but that overlooks that Limits to Growth isn't making concrete predictions, more stating probabilities based on assumptions. One of which is that abrupt climate change is incapable of rapidly moving us into increasing agricultural difficulties...
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on July 04, 2013, 05:15:03 PM
ccg,

I think the primary reason that AGW effects are not included in peer reviewed research like the above paper, and similar works  like the Limits to Growth books, is that there is no  rigorous way to quantify AGW.  The above paper does a really competent job with hard data and comes up with some pretty stark conclusions.  Unfortunately there is not equivalent data on AGW to use nor for agriculture specialists do they really have the expertise to include the physics of climate science in their work.

What I would really like to see is an interdisciplinary set of research reports that included authors who were top level climate scientists, agricultural experts, energy experts and maybe (choke!!) an economist.  But these types of efforts just never seem to happen.  It is left to amateurs like our selves to try and integrate all the parts and come to conclusions that encompass all factors.  It takes the experts out of their comfort zones and they also do not get professional recognition for working with experts in other fields.

And us amateurs make lots of mistakes and poor assumptions (but then again so do experts).  For instance when I opine that agriculture will collapse circa 2050 I think I am taking AGW into account.  My opinion on how bad AGW effects are going to be over the next 35 years lead me to the conclusion that the agriculture industry will be able to mitigate and compensate for the changes which AGW will cause for quite some time.  I do not believe that the system is as fragile (in the short-term) as many others think it is.  So I end up at 2050.  But I am not a multi-disciplinary expert and my opinion may just be junk.  But the same applies to everyone else that I have seen write on the subject.  You can be a PhD in physics and be at a complete loss on other important subjects as we see all the time.  For example I read Joe Romm's Climate Progress  all the time.  Lots of good stuff there, but it would be hard to find a  man who thinks he knows more about everything  than he does, yet he is completely clueless about all kinds things and worse than that he has no idea he does not know.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on July 07, 2013, 06:20:37 AM
Look at minute 17 and following in this informative lecture by Alley:

http://climatestate.com/2013/07/06/state-of-the-climate-system-2013-by-richard-alley/ (http://climatestate.com/2013/07/06/state-of-the-climate-system-2013-by-richard-alley/)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Shared Humanity on July 07, 2013, 12:36:15 PM
Look at minute 17 and following in this informative lecture by Alley:

http://climatestate.com/2013/07/06/state-of-the-climate-system-2013-by-richard-alley/ (http://climatestate.com/2013/07/06/state-of-the-climate-system-2013-by-richard-alley/)

Excellent lecture. If the science is sound and it certainly seems to be, we should expect serious problems in 2050 and the primary reason is AGW. It is likely that I will see most, if not all of this. I am 57.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Anne on July 07, 2013, 12:51:15 PM
And of course, there are other pressures on agriculture, such as increasing water shortage (http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jul/06/water-supplies-shrinking-threat-to-food). Plenty will fall from the sky, but not in the right places.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on July 07, 2013, 05:33:57 PM
I actually still think 2050 is pretty optimistic.

We are already seeing stalled highs that cause catastrophic drought and heatwaves (some of the most dramatic being Western Europe '03 ~35,000 dead & Eastern Europe/Russia '10 ~50,000 dead...), and stuck lows bringing endless rains, as in Britain the last few years, and of course Pakistan in '10, but also many others.

Both droughts and flooding are devastating to crops. There is no longer much of a grain reserve.

As these extremes accelerate--becoming both more frequent and much more severe--in the coming years and decades in major crop-producing areas, the price of food is likely to rise far beyond what the poorest can pay for.

When you
--add in increasingly expensive/declining energy, water, and other essential resources,

--add to that the on-going population boom,

--multiply that with increasing meat eating by a rising global middle and upper class,

--throw in a dash or two of insane and corrupt global markets

--the just a pinch or two of the utter lunacy corn-based ethanol

and, well, there you have a nice little recipe for greater and greater global food shortages happening in more and more years in the coming decades.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on July 07, 2013, 08:08:01 PM
As these extremes accelerate--becoming both more frequent and much more severe--in the coming years and decades in major crop-producing areas, the price of food is likely to rise far beyond what the poorest can pay for.

When you
--add in increasingly expensive/declining energy, water, and other essential resources,

--add to that the on-going population boom,

--multiply that with increasing meat eating by a rising global middle and upper class,

--throw in a dash or two of insane and corrupt global markets

--the just a pinch or two of the utter lunacy corn-based ethanol

and, well, there you have a nice little recipe for greater and greater global food shortages happening in more and more years in the coming decades.

Let's not forget the adverse impacts on agriculture as a result of conflict - which itself is triggered by persistently high food prices. This is a positive feedback dynamic...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/05/syrian-food-aid-war (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/05/syrian-food-aid-war)

http://gulfnews.com/in-focus/syria/syria-on-brink-of-food-crisis-1.1205701 (http://gulfnews.com/in-focus/syria/syria-on-brink-of-food-crisis-1.1205701)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/05/us-syria-food-idUSBRE96406B20130705 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/05/us-syria-food-idUSBRE96406B20130705)

I also think 2050 is exceedingly optimistic - but either way - I get stuck with the consequences (if it's inevitable, I'd rather it was sooner than later). I think conflict and mass migration (internal and external) could play a far bigger role than most people think - for some reason a lot of people seem to ignore the human factor in collapse, concentrating instead of everything else.

As population climbs and resource availability diminishes (and this includes geopolitical access to the resources, not just the physical presence on the planet) the stage is set for an almighty crunch.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on July 07, 2013, 09:23:47 PM
Thanks for that important added ingredient. I certainly didn't mean to imply that my list was exhaustive!

Around 1200 BC people of somewhat mysterious origin started showing up in masses on the shores of Egypt and other areas of the East Mediterranean. They were known as "The Sea Peoples" and they seem to have been fleeing famine. (Archeology indicates that at least as many migrated by land as by sea, but those sailing arrived first, so the name stuck.)

This massive influx of immigrants/raiders is generally credited (along with some other factors) with bringing down the great empires (or at least their current dynasties) of that part of the world at about that time: The Egyptians (19th dynasty), the Hittites, Mycenaeans and Mitanni.

This time it may be the Egyptians themselves, along with many of their MENA neighbors (Yemen anyone?), will be the ones moving over land and sea to find places with enough arable land and water to support them.

(Of course, the poor folks from the Solomon, Marshal and other low-lying Pacific islands are already pretty much in this boat, so to speak. http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=238658 (http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=238658) )
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Apocalypse4Real on July 07, 2013, 09:48:21 PM
The US intelligence community is expecting significant problems before 2050. See the national Intelligence Council 2030 report:

Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds (http://www.scribd.com/doc/115962650/Global-Trends-2030-Alternative-Worlds#)

Drought and Flood are two key causes of social instability, and one primary impact of both is on agricultural production.

In reality we are already experiencing these impacts, drought caused agricultural production shortfalls, and the resulting food inflation has been a major stressor in countries experiencing conflict. While agriculture seems to be on the mend compared to last year, that does not seem the case in any countries where the final crop production numbers are not meeting expectation for key crops.

The latest World Economic Forum rated food insecurity as one of the greatest and most likely risks of the next decade. The report is here:

http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-risks-2013-eighth-edition (http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-risks-2013-eighth-edition)

Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent on July 07, 2013, 10:14:29 PM
I would had to the recipe some very important ingredients :

- Agriculture depends totally on oil concumption, if by any chance, there is AGW then this farmer would have to reduce dramatically CO2 emissions (I am thinking stopping and even more start to store CO2) !

- The increase pressure of copyrights  on seeds, disallow many people to grow there own seeds, thus they depend increasingly on the market. Secondly the seeds do not anymore adapt themself to the land bringing for sure some bad omen for the futur (at a moment when they need to adapt most)!

- The governements by law tend to forbid the little agriculture in order to ease their industrial friends wich is not good for self resilience.

- The subsidies of agriculture will stop abruptly when the real financial crisis will be there and so the capacity of the farmers to cope with weird natural events.

Me also I do think this will happen earlier than 2015 !
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Anne on July 07, 2013, 10:20:16 PM
The US intelligence community is expecting significant problems before 2050. See the national Intelligence Council 2030 report:

Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds (http://www.scribd.com/doc/115962650/Global-Trends-2030-Alternative-Worlds#)

Drought and Flood are two key causes of social instability, and one primary impact of both is on agricultural production.

In reality we are already experiencing these impacts, drought caused agricultural production shortfalls, and the resulting food inflation has been a major stressor in countries experiencing conflict. While agriculture seems to be on the mend compared to last year, that does not seem the case in any countries where the final crop production numbers are not meeting expectation for key crops.

The latest World Economic Forum rated food insecurity as one of the greatest and most likely risks of the next decade. The report is here:

http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-risks-2013-eighth-edition (http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-risks-2013-eighth-edition)
This recent article in the Graun (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jun/14/climate-change-energy-shocks-nsa-prism) touches on these issues and may have been cited before on one of these threads. At this point I think again about the formation of NorthCom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Northern_Command) and want to reach for my tinfoil hat.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter on July 08, 2013, 06:35:22 PM
This recent article in the Graun (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jun/14/climate-change-energy-shocks-nsa-prism) touches on these issues and may have been cited before on one of these threads. At this point I think again about the formation of NorthCom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Northern_Command) and want to reach for my tinfoil hat.

Not so sure you need a tinfoil hat, Anne. This is the reality we now live in. Best to recognize it as openly as possible.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on July 08, 2013, 11:03:53 PM
This recent article in the Graun (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jun/14/climate-change-energy-shocks-nsa-prism) touches on these issues and may have been cited before on one of these threads. At this point I think again about the formation of NorthCom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Northern_Command) and want to reach for my tinfoil hat.

Not so sure you need a tinfoil hat, Anne. This is the reality we now live in. Best to recognize it as openly as possible.

The sad thing is, having historically maintained rather a lot of skepticism about a lot of the conspiracy theory stuff - I now have a rather awkward thought process to deal with...

1. "That's completely insane. Ridiculous. Wacky."
2. "No, wait... isn't that what people said about the idea the government was spying on everything?"
3. S**t, what's the truth? It's theoretically possible, isn't it?

I mean, damn it, where do you draw the line now in identifying things you write off as half baked conspiracy theory - and things that have enough truth to them to take seriously?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter on July 09, 2013, 12:20:56 AM
The sad thing is, having historically maintained rather a lot of skepticism about a lot of the conspiracy theory stuff - I now have a rather awkward thought process to deal with...

1. "That's completely insane. Ridiculous. Wacky."
2. "No, wait... isn't that what people said about the idea the government was spying on everything?"
3. S**t, what's the truth? It's theoretically possible, isn't it?

I mean, damn it, where do you draw the line now in identifying things you write off as half baked conspiracy theory - and things that have enough truth to them to take seriously?

I couldn't agree more.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on July 09, 2013, 12:30:39 AM
Hey, just 'cause you're paranoid, it doesn't mean that they aren't really out to get you! :)

http://climatestate.com/magazine/2013/07/does-sea-ice-loss-create-the-condition-for-an-emerging-permanent-el-nino-state/ (http://climatestate.com/magazine/2013/07/does-sea-ice-loss-create-the-condition-for-an-emerging-permanent-el-nino-state/)

Does Sea Ice loss create the condition for an emerging permanent El Nino state?

Quote
the main northern hemispheric pressure gradient (Ref 1) – the polar vortex collapses (Ref 2), maybe even persistent, in regards to the sea ice state.

This in turn changes the major air oscillation, the jet stream(Ref 2). Which basically means less air flow and/or different air flow – hence profound changes with ripple effects(due to extreme weather events) through out the affected earth systems. A new “mode” based on a different atmospheric regime is established, which primary characteristic seems to be persistence of conditions(Ref 3).

This new mode hints especially to a interconnection with the IPO index(Ref 4), which suggests that ocean circulation will be affected. The loss of sea ice and following rapid changes in atmospheric regime could change ocean wave generation which promotes a permanent El Nino configuration. When heat is just hanging in the upper surface of ocean waters(Ref 4), hence ocean dead zones will spread(Ref 5). Though, for the time wave generation seems to promote deep sea warmth(Ref 6).

Further implications arise with problems associated with grain production.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on July 09, 2013, 10:00:21 PM
I was reading the old Battisti and Naylor 2009 paper in Science and was struck by one of their charts as it brings home one of the reasons why I have stated earlier that I think agriculture can hold out till mid century.  The Battisti paper discusses rising temperatures and what the models indicate will happen in various parts of the world.  They specifically focus on what the 'average' temperatures will be in 2050 and 2090 as compared to the 'hottest' recorded at the time of the paper.  It is striking and informative.  The key consideration is that we are talking about temperatures which will be sufficiently high that yields of the major grain crops will collapse.  The point they made that I wanted to bring to your attention are the charts showing the temperature distribution.  see this image

http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/images/2009/01/07/futuresummers.jpg (http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/images/2009/01/07/futuresummers.jpg)

note that the US Midwest and all other main grain growing regions of the globe will likely be not have drifted into critical territory by 2050 even though many other parts of the world will be getting there.  Then note the chart for 2090.  Catastrophe on a global scale.

Full article is here and is free with registration.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/323/5911/240.full (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/323/5911/240.full)

I ended up at this link through a video link found here

http://climatestate.com/2013/07/06/state-of-the-climate-system-2013-by-richard-alley/ (http://climatestate.com/2013/07/06/state-of-the-climate-system-2013-by-richard-alley/)

This long presentation is well worth watching as well.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on July 10, 2013, 12:20:24 AM
note that the US Midwest and all other main grain growing regions of the globe will likely be not have drifted into critical territory by 2050 even though many other parts of the world will be getting there.  Then note the chart for 2090.  Catastrophe on a global scale.

What is your definition of critical territory?

To me it seems pretty damning that by 2050 large areas of the planet will on average exceed the highest temperatures recorded to date with at least a probability of 50%. That suggests to me that by 2050 there will already be very serious agricultural impacts in a system very poorly placed to weather them even today.

It would've been nice to have seen more nuance to the charts - for example to see how the situation progresses decade by decade (eg what about 2020, 2030, 2040?), and also to see how the distribution of extremes changes (Hansen has shown this is already happening with extreme heat events).

The reason I emphasise the latter is that you can get stonking great heat waves from blocking jet streams patterns one year - fairly cool (or even exceptionally wet) conditions the next year - and how does that look as a long term average? It suggests nothing changed when in fact lots has changed - and yield could be seriously impacted (averaged out over the planet).

When there is a 50% chance of hotter conditions than ever experienced before - that seems pretty big a chance? And that by 2050? (according to IPCC models not known for pessimistic, or even realistic, predictions)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on July 10, 2013, 06:41:28 PM
ccg,

I defined critical territory at the point when there charts hit 50%.  From the chart for 2050 ALL of the major grain growing regions are still below 50%.  Even taking into account that there are going to be increasingly bad years popping up in the different growing regions, on average, we will be able to maintain a very large agricultural production for a long time.  Of course, as we approach the 2050 date it gets harder and harder.  But that is to be expected.  We are not going to go from great surpluses to great shortages in one season.  It will be gradual and we will see it coming from a long way off. 

You seem outraged in some way by what Battisti and Naylor presented.  I think that they did a pretty good job though I would like to see an update taking into account the last 4 years of data to see if their charts changed much. It is not like they are wild optimists or anything like that as their projections indicate eventual catastrophe.

One of the things about global food production which needs to be kept in mind is that our recent years food shortages in various countries which precipitated problems (Tunisia, Egypt, etc.) are NOT due to a shortage of food production.  The crises were caused by two main factors.  1.  Affordability.  In other words there was plenty of grain but some could not afford to buy it.  2.  Food to fuel programs.  The price of the grain was artificially high due to grain to fuel conversion programs designed to pad the pockets of the agriculture industry.  In other words welfare politics is disrupting the market. 

The US corn to ethanol program consumes about 20 days global grain supplies per year.  For no energy benefit what-so-ever.  That is a very big number.   And it is not just the US that has food to fuel programs.  Eliminate all of those programs and global grain supplies will skyrocket and farmers will end up cutting back on production because commodity prices will plummet and many of them will be in financial trouble due to an over supply of grains.  It has happened before.

There is a lot of slack in the industrial ag system still and that is the kind of thing I try and point out.  There are certainly a lot of things to dislike about that system but one does have to concede that it is very robust (as long as we are not talking about it in a long-term sustainable sense).  It will break eventually, but it will take some time for that to happen.

One of the dire implications of the 2050 chart is that major drops in yields in the tropics (they ARE in critical territory by then) will have set in by 2050 so there is going to be some starvation in Africa and other locations before then.  At first due to affordability and then due to shortages.  For them collapse will come sooner than to us.  But it always was going to work out that way.  So maybe by your way of counting this means that collapse comes a little sooner than 2050?  I admittedly count differently.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on July 10, 2013, 09:00:56 PM
You seem outraged in some way by what Battisti and Naylor presented.  I think that they did a pretty good job though I would like to see an update taking into account the last 4 years of data to see if their charts changed much. It is not like they are wild optimists or anything like that as their projections indicate eventual catastrophe.

Hmm, I'm not sure what I said that sounded outraged - not at all - I think it's a useful contribution, just I'd have liked to see a bit more nuance and detail especially in the lead in to 2050. That - and I'm not sure how convincing the benchmark of "hotter than ever before" is in the sense that that allows for plenty of temperatures that aren't quite as hot as all time records but are still damaging to output.

Nonetheless, those are damning long term projections for agricultural output and the lag with which the climatic system responds means that immediate action would be required to affect them.

One of the things about global food production which needs to be kept in mind is that our recent years food shortages in various countries which precipitated problems (Tunisia, Egypt, etc.) are NOT due to a shortage of food production.  The crises were caused by two main factors.  1.  Affordability.  In other words there was plenty of grain but some could not afford to buy it.  2.  Food to fuel programs.  The price of the grain was artificially high due to grain to fuel conversion programs designed to pad the pockets of the agriculture industry.  In other words welfare politics is disrupting the market. 

I agree entirely - there is plenty of slack if biofuels are cut out, wastage reduced, the effects of affluence on diet mitigated (ie people don't consume so much meat) and purchasing power better distributed so all people could at least afford food.

My problem is - I'm not convinced those things are going to be resolved, however logical and rational it would be to do so.

One of the dire implications of the 2050 chart is that major drops in yields in the tropics (they ARE in critical territory by then) will have set in by 2050 so there is going to be some starvation in Africa and other locations before then.  At first due to affordability and then due to shortages.  For them collapse will come sooner than to us.  But it always was going to work out that way.  So maybe by your way of counting this means that collapse comes a little sooner than 2050?  I admittedly count differently.

I think we broadly agree on the implications of collapse. Certainly, when I use the term I am talking about more than economic or financial collapse as occurred in Russia and Argentina during respective debt defaults (as was accompanied by some decay in social cohesion, but was ultimately recoverable).

My definition requires widespread conflict, general disintegration of social cohesion, followed or accompanied by widespread famine and a high mortality rate (and a greatly reduced and technologically limited final population level). Clearly for global collapse that must have reached virtually everywhere (as opposed to just a few societies as is pretty much normal historically).

I don't think we really disagree about the input factors? I may be ascribing different weights to some of them - or I might be tossing in a larger precautionary fudge factor for "unknown unknowns". I also don't think it's only about agriculture - but also about the behaviour of large angry populations.

Perhaps I could cite Syria as an example illustrating my thinking? They experienced adverse agricultural conditions via drought (quite likely influenced a bit by climate change) and a food price shock. They proceeded into what I think it's fair to call a civil war, which has now greatly further reduced their agricultural output. If you look at climatic factors and agriculture alone - I don't think you would predict their current agricultural output accurately? Clearly, right now they should still be able to grow a significant amount of food - just - they're too busy fighting...

I ascribe quite a high weight to the synergistic interplay of related factors in their ability to rapidly worsen and accelerate the situation - you may think the overall system is more resilient in this respect.

Another example of my thinking - how secure long term do you think Morocco is? They supply, unless I'm mistaken, the majority of the agricultural phosphates used by Europe. That's another factor I weigh fairly heavily - reliance upon less stable regions for key resources (which get a lot more expensive if you need to fight wars for them). I grant that right now, Morocco doesn't seem immediately precarious (and is just a convenient example of a critical resource dependency with implications far beyond the local region) - but if you're looking ahead further?

I digress from the direct impacts of weather upon agriculture though, I appreciate.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on July 10, 2013, 10:02:10 PM
    European capacity to grow food is plateauing, scientist warns

    Countries may not be able to increase food production because many staple crops are close to their physiological growing limits




 
Quote
   Britain and other countries may not be able to increase the amount of food they grow because many staple crops are close to their physiological growing limits, one of the world's leading food analysts has warned.

    "In France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, the three leading wheat producers in western Europe, there has been little rise in yields for over 10 years. Other countries will soon be hitting their limits for grain yields. Agriculturally advanced countries are hitting natural limits that were not widely anticipated," said Lester Brown, president of the Earth Institute in Washington and a former US government plant scientist.

    "Rice yields in Japan have not increased for 17 years. In both Japan and South Korea, yields have plateaued at just under five tons per hectare. China's rice yields are now closely approaching those of Japan and may also soon plateau," he said.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/08/european-capacity-grow-food-scientist (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/08/european-capacity-grow-food-scientist)

(Thanks to Graeme at POForums and ritter at Malthusia for drawing my attention to this link.)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on July 10, 2013, 10:28:02 PM
ccg,

I guess I misunderstood you a bit.  Sorry bout that,

On Syria I am not sure we could claim that high food prices precipitated the civil war.  A factor maybe, but there have been lots of efforts for many years to destabilize the Syrian regime.  Unfortunately now we have to deal with it and many of those who wanted it to happen are now in the dilemma of what to do about it.  Asad is an ugly man but in terms of having a stable geopolitical situation in the middle east we are better off with him than the likely alternative (that being an Al Quada based group.  Thus the US has painted itself in a corner as we promised to help the rebels (why I don't know) if Asad went to far in trying to defeat them.  Now we can't help them because the prime rebel group turned out to be the Al Quada one.  Best to have stayed out of it entirely.

But Syrian type flare ups will be very common as we go forward.  Wait until the Iraqi's try and get control of the Kurds again.  Or what happens when the Taliban controls Afghanistan again.  Not to mention that Pakistan is on borrowed time.  And a dozen others.  Got popcorn.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 01, 2013, 05:21:36 PM
Compared to the dry western half of the US, the southeast (and northeast) are suffering this summer from billions of dollars worth of crops that have been destroyed by heavy rain.   3-minute video
 http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/52625864/ (http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/52625864/)

Quote
Last year the UK suffered the wettest autumn on record, followed by the coldest spring for more than 50 years, reducing wheat yields by around one third and forcing food manufacturers to import 2.5 million tonnes of wheat – transforming Britain from a wheat exporter to importer.
...
The UK’s Committee on Climate Change warns that drier summers over the next few years could expose farmers to water shortages of up to 50% by 2020, increasing Britain’s reliance on global food imports.

The article also says, “The UK is already importing 40% of its overall food supply.”
http://tcktcktck.org/2013/07/global-warming-stuffs-farming-says-british-farmers-union/55357 (http://tcktcktck.org/2013/07/global-warming-stuffs-farming-says-british-farmers-union/55357)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 01, 2013, 05:35:32 PM

“Peak Water”
Lester Brown, head of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, claims that 18 countries, together containing half the world's people, are now overpumping their underground water tables to the point – known as "peak water" – where they are not replenishing and where harvests are getting smaller each year.  His list includes the US, China, and much of the Middle East.
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/jul/06/food-supply-threat-water-wells-dry-up (http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/jul/06/food-supply-threat-water-wells-dry-up)


A report from the UK’s Committee on Climate Change says drought could devastate food production in England by the 2020s.  The report also warns that the retreat from coastlines as sea level rises must be speeded up five-fold or risk serious flooding.
 http://tcktcktck.org/2013/07/climate-change-could-hit-food-production-in-england-by-2020s-warns-report/54699 (http://tcktcktck.org/2013/07/climate-change-could-hit-food-production-in-england-by-2020s-warns-report/54699)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 01, 2013, 10:25:26 PM
Hey!  I coined the phrase Peak Water years ago.  Copyright infringement!

Water is on a timeframe that is very close to that of AGW as to its effects on reaching the point where industrial agriculture can no longer feed the global population.

If one looks at drawdown rates in the prime growing regions of China, India and the US it gets a little scary.  Across wide areas of the Punjab and the North China Plain they are seeing the water table drop in excess of a meter a year and in some local areas more than that.  There are places in India they are pumping from more than 1 kilometer deep.  This can only be done because their government does not charge farmers for electricity to pump water. So you have a non-profitable enterprise being subsidized by the government to strip the resource as fast as possible.  Brilliant solution.

I have seen projections for India and China that show aquifer depletions skyrocketing in about 20-30 years.  In the US the giant Ogallala aquifer already has areas around the southern and western periphery where land has had to be returned to dry land farming as there is no more water under it.  This will spread, especially in Texas, over the years and real trouble will slowly creep into the system. 

Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 02, 2013, 04:04:23 PM
I’m waiting for the day when oil & gas pipelines are switched over to carrying water....
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 02, 2013, 06:48:45 PM
Article details the extinction of 2 butterfly species in Florida.  Butterflies are one of eh big pollinators after bees.


http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0801-holmgren-butterfly-extinction-florida.html (http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0801-holmgren-butterfly-extinction-florida.html)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 02, 2013, 07:49:52 PM
Article describes the extinction of a valuable tree in Malaysia due to clearing rainforest for palm oil plantations.

http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0730-keruing-paya-extinction-palm-oil.html (http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0730-keruing-paya-extinction-palm-oil.html)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 07, 2013, 07:04:16 PM
Here is a great example of how current economic stress results in stupid behavior and certain long-term adverse consequences.

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-08-06/drought-stricken-new-mexico-farmers-drain-aquifer-to-sell-water-for-fracking (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-08-06/drought-stricken-new-mexico-farmers-drain-aquifer-to-sell-water-for-fracking)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Ned W on August 07, 2013, 07:58:20 PM
Here is a great example of how current economic stress results in stupid behavior and certain long-term adverse consequences.

Thanks for the link.  What an awful story. 

With the shift in US population growth from the north to the south and west, and these kinds of severe droughts coming up with regularity, and demand for water increasing all the time ...
... one wonders how long it will be before people in other states start pressing for the US to abrogate the rules about Great Lakes water. 

I could easily imagine a campaign demanding the construction of pipelines so we can put all that clean Great Lakes water to productive use in Texas/Oklahoma/New Mexico instead of letting it all flow out the St Laurence to the ocean.  The Great Lakes states would object, but if a drought got severe enough, would a southern and western dominated Congress be able to resist the temptation to raid the lakes?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 08, 2013, 03:04:20 AM
Here is a great example of how current economic stress results in stupid behavior and certain long-term adverse consequences.

Thanks for the link.  What an awful story. 

With the shift in US population growth from the north to the south and west, and these kinds of severe droughts coming up with regularity, and demand for water increasing all the time ...
... one wonders how long it will be before people in other states start pressing for the US to abrogate the rules about Great Lakes water.

I could easily imagine a campaign demanding the construction of pipelines so we can put all that clean Great Lakes water to productive use in Texas/Oklahoma/New Mexico instead of letting it all flow out the St Laurence to the ocean.  The Great Lakes states would object, but if a drought got severe enough, would a southern and western dominated Congress be able to resist the temptation to raid the lakes?

Use of Great Lakes water for anything outside of the Great Lakes watershed is governed by international treaty with Canada. We cannot ship the water to the Southwest.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Ned W on August 08, 2013, 03:47:05 AM
Quote from: Shared Humanity
Use of Great Lakes water for anything outside of the Great Lakes watershed is governed by international treaty with Canada. We cannot ship the water to the Southwest.

Believe me, I know all about that.  But my comment was raising the question of whether at some point there'd be pressure from drought-stricken states elsewhere in the US to abrogate the treaty and start stealing Great Lakes water. 

It's not like the US doesn't have a history of breaking treaties.  And the party in power in many southern and western states has a particular aversion to international treaties.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JackTaylor on August 08, 2013, 04:46:19 PM
" -- comment was raising the question of whether at some point there'd be pressure from drought-stricken states elsewhere in the US to abrogate the treaty and start stealing Great Lakes water.  --"

Six months to year old articles:

Not until the Missouri River "pipe-dream" fails
http://gasconade.countynewslive.com/content/2013/jan/02/diverting-some-missouri-river-water-southwest-towing-icebergs-west-coast-water-c (http://gasconade.countynewslive.com/content/2013/jan/02/diverting-some-missouri-river-water-southwest-towing-icebergs-west-coast-water-c)
and
http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/in-an-arid-land-managing-our-thirst/article_26f14799-c793-5bfa-910f-d3d49585c992.html (http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/in-an-arid-land-managing-our-thirst/article_26f14799-c793-5bfa-910f-d3d49585c992.html)
and
http://www.denverpost.com/ci_22126112/missouri-river-pipeline-mulled-ease-front-ranges-water (http://www.denverpost.com/ci_22126112/missouri-river-pipeline-mulled-ease-front-ranges-water)

Great Lakes to Southwest pipeline ? Not happen because Southwest would expect Great Lake states to pay for it. Not enough profit until water sells for more than oil. But, I expect it to be on the agenda of various govt-state-muni planning groups.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 12, 2013, 01:08:37 AM
Just to demonstrate that the vagaries of climate juiced weather do not always work to destroy food production we have the example this year from India.  Note that just a few weeks ago there were all kinds of items in the news related to severe flooding in the mountainous regions of India and Nepal due to very heavy monsoon rains.  But this rain is not as destructive in the lowland primary agriculture regions and we are seeing positive results there. 

Quote
Monsoon-sown grain production in India may climb to a record this year as the best start to the rainy season since 1994 spurs rice and corn planting, potentially easing inflation in Asia’s third-largest economy.

The production of crops from corn to rice and barley may exceed the all-time high of 131.3 million metric tons in the 2011-2012 season and last year’s 128.2 million tons, Tariq Anwar, junior agriculture minister, told reporters in New Delhi today. Farmers planted rice, oilseeds, cotton and sugar cane in 74.8 million hectares (184.8 million acres) as of July 26, about 18 percent more than the same period a year earlier, according to data from the Agriculture Ministry......

Quote
.....Rains were 17 percent more than a 50-year average at 506.7 millimeters (19.95 inches) between June 1 and July 29, according to the India Meteorological Department. That’s the most since at least 1994, according to data from the bureau. The country received 32 percent more rains than the average in June.....

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-30/food-grain-harvest-in-india-seen-at-record-on-monsoon-rainfall.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-30/food-grain-harvest-in-india-seen-at-record-on-monsoon-rainfall.html)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 12, 2013, 01:30:30 AM
And then we have what is going on in the US gain production regions and other locations around the world.

A few weeks ago we had this in the US...

Quote
Record domestic corn output of 14.005 billion bushels this year will more than double inventories before the harvest in 2014, and soybean production will be 3.39 billion bushels, the most ever, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. While drought damage late last year will reduce the 2013 U.S. wheat harvest, global output will rise 6.1 percent.

Quote
U.S. corn inventories before the 2014 harvest will total 1.949 billion bushels, up from 769 million this year, the lowest since 1996, the USDA said. The average estimate of 30 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 1.829 billion. The government said production in 2013 will be higher than the average estimate of 13.82 billion, based on a separate Bloomberg survey of 28 analysts. Farmers collected 10.78 billion in 2012.

World corn inventories on Oct. 1, 2014, will total 151.83 million metric tons, up from 124.31 million this year, the USDA said. Analysts expected 151.21 million tons, the average of 16 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.

U.S. wheat stockpiles on June 1, 2014, were forecast by the USDA at 659 million bushels, more than the 655 million expected by analysts and down from 670 million projected in May. Production in Kansas, the biggest U.S. producer, was pegged at 307.8 million bushels, up 2.7 percent from a May forecast, as precipitation in May boosted prospects for late-blooming plants.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-12/grain-prices-tumble-as-u-s-sees-bigger-corn-supply-wheat-crops.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-12/grain-prices-tumble-as-u-s-sees-bigger-corn-supply-wheat-crops.html)

But in the meantime we have had a lot of cool weather in the mid-west and oceans of rain.  Could result in a lowering of projections.  But, all in all, global grain supplies do not look to be taking a beating this year and are headed towards a few percent increase over last year.

Global rice production is expected to come in about 2% higher than last year.

Quote
Strong anticipated gains in rice production in almost all regions except Europe and North America will help boost global rice production to reach around 500 million tons (milled equivalent) in 2013, up almost 2% from an estimated 490.5 million tons produced in 2012, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

http://oryza.com/content/global-rice-production-could-touch-500-million-tons-2013-says-fao (http://oryza.com/content/global-rice-production-could-touch-500-million-tons-2013-says-fao)

For reference:

China's wheat production looks to be down just slightly (1-2%) this year.
European grain production looks to be up about 1% this year (1% in Europe of total grain production is equal to 3% wheat production in China).
Australian wheat production is expected to rise a few percent.
Argentina wheat production is expected to fall about as much as Australia is rising.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 12, 2013, 04:52:17 AM
Just to demonstrate that the vagaries of climate juiced weather do not always work to destroy food production we have the example this year from India.  Note that just a few weeks ago there were all kinds of items in the news related to severe flooding in the mountainous regions of India and Nepal due to very heavy monsoon rains.  But this rain is not as destructive in the lowland primary agriculture regions and we are seeing positive results there. 

The tendency to run food reserves as low as recently is the big issue here - it's an interesting point that sometimes climatic variability may boost production in some seasons. Without large reserves - that causes major issues if we get a bad year and the odds fall against agricultural production seriously enough in that production cycle.

If reserves were built up and maintained at sensible levels - it might be possible to operate things longer - using the reserves to buffer the bad years.

It would be perfectly possible to start building up major reserves, using all the slack identified in the system - biofuels and wastage, to pick but two. The political and economic willpower just isn't there - nor likely to be, since global reserves are of no concern to any nation - only national reserves, if anything is a concern at all.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 12, 2013, 07:40:01 PM
NASA projection of increases in evaporation over North America out to 2100.

Interesting implications for many of our prime growing regions.  Note that by 2050 only SW Colorado and Ohio/Indiana have hit the highest level.  By 2100 it is pretty scary.

Potential Evaporation in North America Through 2100 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWga0LFRZCQ#ws)

http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2013/08/video-projected-increase-in-potential.html (http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2013/08/video-projected-increase-in-potential.html)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 12, 2013, 08:15:25 PM
New World Bank report on the risks of climate change to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and South Asia.

Quote
Sub-Saharan Africa is a rapidly developing region of over 800 million people, with 49 countries, and great ecological, climatic and cultural diversity. Its population for 2050 is projected to approach 1.5 billion people. The region is confronted with a range of climate risks that could have far-reaching repercussions for Sub-Saharan Africa´s societies and economies in future. Even if warming is limited below 2°C, there are very substantial risks and projected damages, and as warming increases these are only expected to grow further. Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly dependent on agriculture for food, income, and employment, almost all of it rain-fed. Under 2°C warming, large regional risks to food production emerge; these risks would become stronger if adaptation measures are inadequate and the CO2 fertilization effect is weak. Unprecedented heat extremes are projected over an increasing percentage of land area as warming goes from 2 to 4°C, resulting in significant changes in vegetative cover and species at risk of extinction. Heat and drought would also result in severe losses of livestock and associated impacts on rural communities.

Quote
In southern Africa, annual precipitation is projected to decrease by up to 30 percent under 4°C warming, and parts of southern and west Africa may see decreases in groundwater recharge rates of 50–70 percent. This is projected to lead to an overall increase in the risk of drought in southern Africa. t Strong warming and an ambiguous precipitation signal over central Africa is projected to increase drought risk there. t In the Horn of Africa and northern part of east Africa substantial disagreements exists between high-resolution regional and global climate models. Rainfall is projected by many global climate models to increase in the Horn of Africa and the northern part of east Africa, making these areas somewhat less dry. The increases are pro- jected to occur during higher intensity rainfall periods, rather than evenly during the year, which increases the risk of floods. In contrast, high-resolution regional climate models project an increasing tendency towards drier conditions. Recent research showed that the 2011 Horn of Africa drought, particularly severe in Kenya and Somalia, is consistent with an increased probability of long-rains failure under the influence of anthropogenic climate change.

Quote
Heat extremes: The South East Asian region is projected to see a strong increase in the near term in monthly heat extremes. Under 2°C global warming, heat extremes that are virtually absent at present will cover nearly 60–70 percent of total land area in summer, and unprecedented heat extremes up to 30–40 percent of land area in northern-hemisphere summer. With 4°C global warming, summer months that in today´s climate would be termed unprecedented, would be the new normal, affecting nearly 90 percent of the land area during the northern-hemisphere summer months.

Quote
In South Asia, climate change shocks to food production and seasonal water availability appear likely to confront populations with ongoing and multiple challenges to secure access to safe drinking water, sufficient water for irrigation and hydropower production, and adequate cooling capacity for thermal power production. Potential impact hotspots such as Bangladesh are projected to be confronted by increasing challenges from extreme river floods, more intense tropical cyclones, rising sea-level and very high temperatures. While the vulnerability of South Asia’s large and poor populations can be expected to be reduced in the future by economic development and growth, climate projections indicate that high levels of local vulnerability are likely to remain and persist.

Lots of interesting items in there.

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2013/06/17862361/turn-down-heat-climate-extremes-regional-impacts-case-resilience-full-report (http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2013/06/17862361/turn-down-heat-climate-extremes-regional-impacts-case-resilience-full-report)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 18, 2013, 10:29:03 PM
Drought in Namibia is worst in 30 years.

Quote
The Kunene region in the north has had no rain for two years, and families have been forced to sell livestock and migrate to cities in search of work.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/aug/14/namibia-drought-malnutrition-state-emergency (http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/aug/14/namibia-drought-malnutrition-state-emergency)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 22, 2013, 12:43:41 AM
Drought in Austria and Hungary threatens to wipe out harvests.  Aug 2013.

“For farmers in Austria and across the border in Hungary this is just the latest bout of extreme weather to ravage their fields. In March, temperatures dropped to record lows. This was followed in May and June by some of the worst flooding the region has seen in recent history. Now, high temperatures and poor rainfall threaten to wipe out what is left of this year's harvest.”

tcktcktck.org/2013/08/central-european-drought-threatens-to-wipeout-harvests/56268  (http://tcktcktck.org/2013/08/central-european-drought-threatens-to-wipeout-harvests/56268)

http://www.dw.de/drought-shrivels-harvest-in-central-europe/a-17024436 (http://www.dw.de/drought-shrivels-harvest-in-central-europe/a-17024436)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 27, 2013, 05:59:45 PM
New report on the United States' High Plains Aquifer, also called the Ogallala Aquifer, which stretches through eight states and supplies 30% of the US irrigated groundwater:

Quote
Using current trends in water usage as a guide, the researchers estimate that 3 percent of the aquifer's water was used up by 1960; 30 percent of the aquifer's water was drained by 2010; and a whopping 69 percent of the reservoir will likely be tapped by 2060. It would take an average of 500 to 1,300 years to completely refill the High Plains Aquifer, Steward added.

But, if reducing water use becomes an immediate priority, it may be possible to make use of the aquifer's resources and increase net agricultural production through the year 2110, the researchers said.

"The main idea is that if we're able to save water today, it will result in a substantial increase in the number of years that we will have irrigated agriculture in Kansas," Steward said.
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/huge-aquifer-runs-through-8-states-quickly-being-tapped-out-8C11009320 (http://www.nbcnews.com/science/huge-aquifer-runs-through-8-states-quickly-being-tapped-out-8C11009320)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter on August 27, 2013, 06:07:13 PM
Quote
But, if reducing water use becomes an immediate priority, it may be possible to make use of the aquifer's resources and increase net agricultural production through the year 2110, the researchers said.

Oh great! We're saved! Plenty of water for another 100 years if we throttle back now.

Anybody else see a problem with that? Assuming, of course, we're not extinct by then.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 27, 2013, 06:16:20 PM
So, best case, we have 100 years to learn how to prepare a tasty recipe for... dirt? 
Or insects:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/07/17/203001025/these-pictures-might-tempt-you-to-eat-bugs (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/07/17/203001025/these-pictures-might-tempt-you-to-eat-bugs)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter on August 27, 2013, 07:00:43 PM
So, best case, we have 100 years to learn how to prepare a tasty recipe for... dirt? 

Geophagy already occurs in food insecure areas. It doesn't keep you or your children from dying, just helps satisfy that empty gnawing feeling.

I'll take the bugs, thanks.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 27, 2013, 07:17:03 PM
New report on the United States' High Plains Aquifer, also called the Ogallala Aquifer, which stretches through eight states and supplies 30% of the US irrigated groundwater:

Quote
Using current trends in water usage as a guide, the researchers estimate that 3 percent of the aquifer's water was used up by 1960; 30 percent of the aquifer's water was drained by 2010; and a whopping 69 percent of the reservoir will likely be tapped by 2060. It would take an average of 500 to 1,300 years to completely refill the High Plains Aquifer, Steward added.

But, if reducing water use becomes an immediate priority, it may be possible to make use of the aquifer's resources and increase net agricultural production through the year 2110, the researchers said.

"The main idea is that if we're able to save water today, it will result in a substantial increase in the number of years that we will have irrigated agriculture in Kansas," Steward said.
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/huge-aquifer-runs-through-8-states-quickly-being-tapped-out-8C11009320 (http://www.nbcnews.com/science/huge-aquifer-runs-through-8-states-quickly-being-tapped-out-8C11009320)

Interesting premise about it being capable of being recharged in 500-1300 years - my understanding is that often when you deplete ground water heavily the ground tends to subside, presumably as the material above can compress the voids where the water used to be.

That means one probably typically does permanent damage to large aquifers as you deplete them, meaning they will never recharge - at least not to their original capacity.

Furthermore, unless I'm mistake water is usually removed from the top - forcing ever deeper drilling to reach the water. Post civilisational collapse, that water is hence potentially removed from the pool of options for anyone trying to inhabit the region if they can't drill so deep.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Ned W on August 27, 2013, 07:36:29 PM
As I think I said in another recent thread, when push comes to shove the US will probably just break its treaties with Canada and start pumping water out of the Great Lakes. 

Fresh water is going to be increasingly valuable.  Over the course of this century, we'll probably end up moving a lot more water around on the landscape, and where there aren't any good sources of fresh water within reasonable distance, relying on desalinization plants powered by nuclear power. 

Of course there's also room for a lot of improvement in the efficiency with which we use water.  Ideally you'd first rely on conservation to reduce demand as much as possible, then save the large engineering projects for whatever additional water management is needed beyond that.  But most politicians, regardless of country, prefer to be seen boldly signing off on the plans for new dams or canals or whatever, rather than promoting conservation. 
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 27, 2013, 07:53:55 PM
Another thing about the Ogallala is that like a lot of other things location is everything.

Since it is just like a lake the topography matters if you want to pump out of it.  As it is drained areas around the periphery end up with no water.  This has already happened in Texas and Nebraska where there is no longer any water under some farms and they have had to return to dry land farming techniques.  The Ogallala is shallowest in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas and the deeper parts are in general in Nebraska.  So over the next 20 years many millions of acres in Texas and other areas where the aquifer is shallow will lose access to the water.  Wiki has a great map of what its shape and depth is. 

So even though there may be water for some for the next 100 years that does not apply to many. And it gets worse every day.

Interesting number about the recharge rate.  I had thought it took much longer. But the Wiki page indicates that the recharge rate varies by location

Quote
Recharge in the aquifer ranges from 0.024 inches (0.61 mm) per year in parts of Texas and New Mexico to up to 6 inches (150 mm) per year in south-central Kansas

and mentions that much of this depends on the type of soil over it as some is very dense and water does not percolate through to the aquifer.

27% of the land irrigated in the US is from the Ogallala.  What could go wrong?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter on August 27, 2013, 08:09:06 PM
27% of the land irrigated in the US is from the Ogallala.  What could go wrong?
Indeed.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 27, 2013, 08:13:09 PM
JimD....

I want to thank you for your thoughtful posts on agriculture. I've learned a great deal in the past couple of months.

With Texas losing access to the aquifer earlier, can dry land farming work in an increasingly drier Texas?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 27, 2013, 09:41:41 PM
SH,

Thanks.

That is a much more complicated question than it sounds like.   Any answer will have lots of maybe's and 'it depends' in it. I doubt I can do a good job on it.

The area of Texas which has the most problems with losing access to the aquifer right now is mostly used to grow cotton.   So no loss in food production but no cotton either.  I believe that most of the places down there which have completely lost access to water have returned to scrub grazing land as it is just too hot and dry for anything else.  If you still have some water but not enough for cotton you can switch to a less profitable crop which requires less water.  And it may be a food crop so food production actually rises in that area.

But the long term trend is all downhill.  As it gets hotter and dryer and there is less water the dynamics just keep pushing the farmers ability to adapt by switching crops and land use practices until there is no place to go.  Eventually you reach a point where all that is left is grazing uses.  For each specific location you will get a different answer.  Since the aquifer is shaped just like a lake two properties right next to each other can have different results for a time.  One might be over deeper water than the other and can survive much longer.  But when the water is gone and you have to depend on rain everyone will be in the same boat.

In Nebraska the places I am familiar with which have had to shut off some of the irrigation were mostly growing hay/alfalfa for cattle or horse feed.  Some of those places can plant winter wheat or it can be used for grazing land.  Strip farming becomes common.

But there are economic issues that have to be taken into account.  Just because the land can still be farmed in some different fashion it does not mean that it can be done profitably.   If you take a property which was farmed at functionally 100%  capacity each year with a valuable crop and have to switch to strip farming where 50% of the land is in crop each year and the other 50% lies fallow to allow soil moisture to build up you have a very different financial profile.   The entire structure of farming could have to change as well. In many of these places before there was access to underground water the types of operations present were like those in the western movies.   Ranches of 100,000  thousand acres were common and big properties ran several times that large.  When we end up with large tracts of land which are only good for grazing again how do you put that infrastructure back together.  Another big problem we might face here is the fracking issue.  When your water supplies may only be good for a few more years and are worth far more to you by selling the water to fracking operations then using them to grow crops what do you do?  Or if the local municipality needs the water and will pay more for it than the crops are worth.  Or they go to court and take the water away from you.

I have an acquaintance who owns territorial water rights (date to the 1880's) in Wyoming on 4000 acres next to the Green River.  These are the best water rights in existence on the whole Colorado River drainage.  I mentioned to him that rather than irrigating to grow alfalfa in the summer (the ranch only breaks even) and grazing cattle on it, he should lock in a lease with Los Angeles and sell them the water (build in an inflation clause and use a 99 year lease).  He can make far more money that way (not have to work) and no one is likely to take his water away from him.  LA, Phoenix and Las Vegas are going to control the fight for the Colorado River drainage and eventually they are going to take most of the water away from the ranchers and farmers out here.  So sell it to them and put them on your side?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on August 27, 2013, 10:04:17 PM
Are there profitable food crops that require less water than cotton?

Meanwhile, it seems to me that we are likely facing a very sharp agricultural/food crisis. If, as many think here, the Arctic is on the verge of being essentially free of sea ice, it seems likely (and many on neven's threads seem to agree) that the basic structure of the climate of the Northern Hemisphere (at least) will be profoundly disrupted, probably switching from three to one (or two?) Hadley cells.

It seems highly unlikely to me that such a radical shift would not fundamentally disrupt patterns of rainfall that the basic bread baskets of the NoHem depend on for their production.

If (as seems likely in this imminent) the monsoons don't come to India and the rain patterns in Russian/Ukraine, China and North American bread baskets are similarly disrupted, most of the world will suddenly have to go without food. (Last I checked, world grain reserves were at or near record lows.)

And this is almost guaranteed to happen within the next very few years.

Is anyone else...concerned about this?

Am I missing something? (I hope so.)



Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 27, 2013, 10:19:49 PM
Meanwhile, it seems to me that we are likely facing a very sharp agricultural/food crisis. If, as many think here, the Arctic is on the verge of being essentially free of sea ice, it seems likely (and many on neven's threads seem to agree) that the basic structure of the climate of the Northern Hemisphere (at least) will be profoundly disrupted, probably switching from three to one (or two?) Hadley cells.

It seems highly unlikely to me that such a radical shift would not fundamentally disrupt patterns of rainfall that the basic bread baskets of the NoHem depend on for their production.

...

And this is almost guaranteed to happen within the next very few years.

While I also think we are on the edge of a profound and accelerating food production crisis - is there any evidence (at all) supporting the contention that we should expect the number of cells in the atmospheric circulation system to change in the next few years? While I think it pays to be open minded as to the possibilities, as far as I can see it's somewhat of an outside probability right now, and not necessary for analysis given that increasingly extreme weather is already starting to play a stronger role.

With respect to the Arctic, it's confounded expectations this year - the question naturally has to be if that is just variation in the decline, a last blip on the way down - or if there are other more structural processes going on that may slow loss a little. Only another year or two will answer that, I think.

It does raise the interesting prospect that potentially we might not see a continuous run of ice free summers even after the first one occurs - if weather variability is still large enough to let some ice withstand the melt season for some years (at first at least).

Anyway, about any evidence for switching of the atmosphere to other cell circulation structures - I'd be very interested to know what there is on that score?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on August 27, 2013, 10:51:36 PM
The shift in atmospheric circulations mostly happened over at the Blog, especially here:

http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/07/second-storm/comments/page/1/#comments (http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/07/second-storm/comments/page/1/#comments)

IIRC, the basic idea is that the polar cell depends for it's basic pattern on a reliably cold north pole. If you have mostly open ocean there during the summer, and that water is absorbing solar energy 24/7 for much of the summer, your are going to get a much less cold air mass there, with likely mostly rising rather than falling air right over the North Pole. That destroys or radically alters the polar cell. So then the question is can the system just go on with two cells, or does it collapse immediately into one (a question I don't pretend to be able to address, but you get the idea--things get very quickly very much out of whack.)

Here's perhaps the most relevant post on that thread:

Quote

I have been reading reports lately that indicate a complete absence of Arctic sea ice in early summer could be the trigger to flip the northern hemisphere into the hothouse mode just as it was when last the Earth had 400 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere. Several researchers have been modeling the effect of an ice free Arctic ocean and the majority of runs show that the Ferrel cell of atmospheric circulation would grow from its current Equator to 30 north range and encompass the entire northern hemisphere.

See
http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/10-11/biomathstat/Langford_W.pdf (http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/10-11/biomathstat/Langford_W.pdf)

and

http://www.seas.harvard.edu/climate/eli/research/equable/hadley.html (http://www.seas.harvard.edu/climate/eli/research/equable/hadley.html)

The studies don't say how long the Arctic has to be ice free, it could take a decade or more for the transition to happen once we are there, but at the rate we are going now I don't think it is nearly as far off in the future as we have been lead to believe by the IPCC.

Posted by: Allen W. McDonnell | July 26, 2013 at 22:15
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 28, 2013, 04:20:45 PM
Armed robbers have resorted to targeting trucks hauling tons of onions after unrelenting monsoon rains damaged this year’s crop and a drought affected production last year, sending prices for the popular food skyrocketing in India.  India has a 19 percent share of global onion production, second only to China.
Quote
“It is not usual to target food or vegetables,” said Ram Kishore, a police officer from the northern district of Shahpura where the truck carrying 40 tons of onions was seized last Wednesday. “Thieves do hijack loaded trucks, but it is usually for something more valuable.”
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/28/20228605-enough-to-make-you-cry-big-spike-in-onion-prices-sparks-fury-armed-robbery-in-india?lite (http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/28/20228605-enough-to-make-you-cry-big-spike-in-onion-prices-sparks-fury-armed-robbery-in-india?lite)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 29, 2013, 06:45:27 PM
Here is an interesting article from Climate Progress regarding the effect that cover crops and no-till agricultural practices have on the ability of crop land soil to withstand the effect of extreme weather.

In light of the extensive flooding we have seen in the mid-west this season and the drought the previous 2 years researchers have learned some interesting figures.

Quote
Cover cropping increases the amount of organic matter and moisture in the soil and helps prevent erosion, so it’s helpful in both drought and heavy rains, and no-till farming has similar benefits.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/08/28/2505511/drought-billions-crop-insurance/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/08/28/2505511/drought-billions-crop-insurance/)

Note that most industrial grain farmers do not cover crop.  In fairness, depending on where the farm is located, cover cropping is not always possible.  Following the corn harvest is when the cover crop would need to be planted.  As corn harvesting in many locations is not performed until well after the fall frosts have set in this greatly restricts being able to successfully cover crop.

For example for corn in
Illinois planting runs from Apr 22 to May 28 and harvest from Sept 24 to Nov 19
North Dakota runs from    May 3 to June 5   and harvest from Sept 29 to Nov 9
Many places, due to soil conditions, do not harvest until the ground is frozen hard enough to drive on.

Any cover crop needs warm enough soils to germinate the seeds and then grow enough to set down a good amount of roots before hard winter sets in.  If you plant too late this does not happen and you have wasted your money.   Successful cover cropping can add very large amounts of organic matter depending on what kind of cover crop is used.   But how that cover crop grows in the spring is critical as well.  You cannot plant into a vigorously growing crop; you have to have the cover crop dead before planting.  Unless you use a cover crop that winter kills (the winter weather kills it) in the spring you will have to kill that crop before you plant.  The old way of doing that was to plow and then disk the fields before planting the corn (obviously we are trying to avoid that now).  The vast majority of corn farmers today spray the fields with Roundup (a herbicide) a few weeks before planting the corn (which is genetically modified to not die from the roundup) so that the corn will not have other plants to compete with.  This is not an option if you want to use organic techniques (at least until the industrial farm lobby gets Roundup certified for organic use - yes they are trying).  So we end up with a complicated situation where some farmers can execute the cover cropping technique and others cannot.  Or you can cover crop but then you have to plow if you do not want to use Roundup.  I know some farmers who have been executing the no-till practices for some years and who have told me that they are going to do the old-fashioned plowing and disking every few years again as the weeds are adapting to the Roundup and it is not controlling them sufficiently.  Since we have learned that this does not reduce the soil carbon content this is probably a sound idea as long as one takes into account that springs weather conditions. 

One correction to the above article is that it implies that no-till techniques (not plowing and planting directly into the old crop rubble or the cover crop) increase soil carbon content.  This is not correct.  No-till was assumed, by its advocates, for a long time to result in higher carbon content in the soil (after all, it seems to be common sense) but subsequent research has shown that it makes no difference as all plowing does is change the depth of the soil carbon distribution and not the total amount.  It is surprising that this mistake is in the article as the first place I read about this research was on Climate Progress.

One of the things that no-till helps with in heavy rain conditions is that the soil is much harder than it is after plowing and excess water will tend to run off of it rather than soak into the ground.  Thus you can get heavy farm equipment out on the ground much sooner than if the ground was p[lowed.  This is a big advantage to the farmer.  Plowing in the spring in low rain conditions can actually help the farmer however as the soil is much softer and more readily absorbs the limited rain thus resulting in a greater increase in soil moisture than if the ground was in a no-till situation.  Another thing about plowing is that, when performed at the right time, it helps to conserve soil moisture.  If you are farming in an arid climate and it has been very dry and then you get a moderate rain.  If you have time to roll that soil over and bury the wet dirt you will end up with higher soil moisture content.  This is a common practice when dry land farming or dry land gardening.  It used to be common to disk the aisle ways between crop rows to conserve limited moisture and control weeds also (my mother who grew up on a dry land farm homestead in Wyoming told me that from the age of 5 on she was required at day break to hand hoe 1/4 acre of the garden every day to turn the nights dew into the ground).  But it is a dangerous practice as it is easy to end up with very loose drier soil and thus a dramatic increase in erosion from wind (Dust Bowl anyone?).   Many farmers today primarily use roundup and other means to control weeds in between crop rows during the growing season.   I used to plant very short cover crops between the rows to smother out weeds if I did not want to take the effort to till the aisle ways.  But you lose productivity that way as those cover crops take some of the nutrients away from your commercial crop.  You can balance that loss sometimes by planting a legume that puts nitrogen in the soil for your commercial crop. 

Crop rotations are another big factor.  The generally accepted best industrial practice is to rotate corn/corn/soybeans or corn/soybeans.  This is where the greatest profits are found when using industrial methods.  These methods were developed primarily to support the vast scale of CAFO operations around the world.

Quote
The implication of all of this is that only with this type of system will agriculture be able to meet the food demands of a rapidly growing population. Sustaining this model of agricultural production involves the heavy use of herbicides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers, all of which have significant environmental impacts. The system is also heavily dependent upon the use of fossil-based energy to produce the synthetic fertilizers that are crucial to the system  and the fuel that is needed to cultivate fields, plant the crops, harvest them, and transport the corn and beans to feed mills that prepare the rations used in the various meat production systems.

A 4 crop rotation which includes grains has a much better long-term result in soil health and environmental results.  But you do not make as much money as the volume of high value crops is much less.  An advantage of crop rotations and tilling (plowing) is that they are the two most effective means of controlling pests and weeds if one is trying to avoid using and paying for  herbicides and pesticides.  Crop rotation also cuts the amount of fertilizer needed as well if you include legumes in the rotation (an interesting aside - to me anyway- is that crop rotation techniques were invented by two Quaker farmers who farmed only 5 miles from my farm in Virginia in about 1790-1800.  Tomas Jefferson was so impressed by this development that he sent the information to Europe and helped revitalize farming there.).

Here is an example of the thought process in these decisions:
Quote
....Now, go to the other extreme, a straightforward corn-soybean rotation with 50% of acres in each crop. Per-acre profits are slightly better here. "Given a stable cropping rotation over time, corn-soybeans has an average return of $484 per acre, the average of $578 for corn-after-soybeans and $390 for soybeans after corn ($578 + $390 / 2)," Schnitkey says.

Finally, take that rotation that's 2/3 corn and 1/3 soybeans where each field's in corn 2 years followed by 1 year of soybeans. This shows the most profit potential, Schnitkey says, at about $504 per acre.

There are a few other variables that can sway these numbers; for example, additional corn tillage narrows the gap between corn-soybean (484/acre) and corn-corn-soybean rotations ($499/acre). "The budgets assume that there are no additional tillage passes for more corn-after-corn and continuous corn rotations," Schnitkey says, noting each additional tillage pass amounts to about $15/acre more in cost. "Reliance on more tillage to continue with corn-heavy rotations will reduce the return advantages or more intensive corn rotations."

Then, factor in how the land is paid for. If you're cash-renting and unsure about the length of your future on that ground, the higher corn profit potential in the first year of a rotation may warrant a more corn-heavy rotation.

"It has been noted that cash rent arrangements that are short-term may encourage more corn production," Schnitkey says. "If a farmer believes that they will only be able to rent a farm for one year, there is an incentive to plant all corn so as to maximize profits in one year."

Recent very high prices for corn have resulted in a higher percentage of land being planted repeatedly just in corn and no rotations which require much higher levels of chemical inputs.  Another side effect of our corn to ethanol welfare program for Monsanto, ADM and the industrial farming industry.

Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on August 29, 2013, 11:00:00 PM
Thanks for the info.

I asked an organic farmer about how they got around having to use round up with no till. He claimed they just used roles to knock down the cover crop (I think it was rye) and that killed it enough to plant right into it. Does that make any sense to you (I may have some crucial details wrong, being a farmer only in my sweetest dreams  :)).

I haven't talked with him in a while to ask follow up questions, but surely there must be a large number of organic farmers using no till that have found ways not to use roundup? Do you know of any?

Also, are you at all familiar with the researches of Wes Jackson and The Land Institute?

http://www.landinstitute.org/ (http://www.landinstitute.org/)

Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 29, 2013, 11:47:40 PM
Wili,

Yes that is right.  That is one of the methods.

But it depends on what your farmer friend was planning to plant after the rye.  Rye is usually planted in the fall after your main crop is harvested and there is no time left for another cash crop and it is still early enough to get the rye established.  The trouble with rye, and the reason you have to know what you are going to plant in that field the next season, is that rye does not winter kill.  It takes off growing in the spring and eventually produces seeds for harvest.  But when used as cover crop you cannot kill it by crimping until it has formed the seed heads.  Then when you crimp or cut it it dies.  This restricts your options for spring planting until the rye has grown enough to form seeds.  A common mistake that beginning farmers often make is to plant the cover crop rye and not realize that what they want to plant there in the spring needs to go in the ground a month ahead of the rye's seed formation dates.  Then you have no choice but to grind the rye down to the ground and plow and disk it.  Sometimes you might have to till the soil several times to kill it sufficiently.  This is very bad for the soil.

Re the Roundup and organic farming.  By definition organic farmers are NOT using Roundup.  It is illegal still (and hopefully for ever - but I fear otherwise).   If we are still talking about organic grain farming then you have exceeded my knowledge as I no direct knowledge of no-till organic grain farming.  All my knowledge of how to do that involves plowing and tilling.  All my direct experience was growing vegetables so using no-till was not possible and I know no one personally who is doing no-till organic grain farming. 

I do know that there are efforts to develop perennial vice annual grasses like wheat so that any soil manipulation can be avoided.  This would result in lower production but much more sustainable operations.  For corn I am pretty sure you could do no till organic operations by using a heavy fall cover crop which winter kills.  Then as soon as possible in the spring you drill the  corn seeds right through the crop rubble.  The corn should be able to outgrow the weeds in that circumstance. 

I googled this subject and came up with some info on no-till organic grain farming.  Experiments were initiated in different areas about 5-15 years ago.  For soybeans they are using winter rye which is crimped in the spring and then the soybeans are planted through the rye rubble.  They are using high residue cultivators, and pre and post emergent herbicides (organically certified it says - I must admit that I did not know that there were any organically certified herbicides) to control the weeds (I am not sure I like the sound of that).

For corn they are doing exactly what I described above.  For sorghum they are using field peas as the cover crop.  I did not find instances of winter wheat being done via no-till but that does not mean it isn't of course.  Here are some guidelines (note item 4):
Quote
In order to implement an organic no-till cropping rotation the following guidelines may be helpful in a successful start:
1. First start the rotation with weed free fields, especially of perennial weeds.
2. Have target-planting dates in mind and then plant timely and with precise seed placement.
3. Anticipate 25-30% stand mortality due to seedling decay and insect damage, therefore, increase seeding rates accordingly.
4. Keep the soil disturbance to a minimum, and covered at all times if possible.  If tillage becomes necessary, do so in the late fall or early spring when the growth of weeds may be kept to a minimum.
5. Apply manure and organic fertilizers after the establishment of the crop, to minimize nitrogen losses, and enhance the availability of nutrients during the grain fill period.  This will also reduce weed competitiveness.
 

So they are using no-till as much as possible but reserving the use of tillage if the weeds get out of control. Also to start with weed free fields (#1) you are going to have to till if growing organically.
 
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 30, 2013, 12:05:13 AM
Here is something I have never heard of before.  There is an invasive crab species in the waters off Maine.  The Green Crab.  It arrived there in the mid-1800's in the ballast in sailing ships, but has never been a big problem until recently.

The link is to an article which indicates that "warming waters" are starting to result in the crab populations growing out of control.

It turns out that they are likely to eliminate the soft shell clam industry (Maine's 3rd largest seafood crop) if the waters don't turn cold again. 

There are no commercial uses for them yet...
Quote
While there is currently no viable commercial market for green crabs, efforts are underway in the private sector to pursue a value-added process that converts green crab protein into a sustainable aquaculture feed for use in Maine and possibly for export. There are also attempts to augment commercial compost with green crabs to produce a valuable commodity. Research has been conducted at the University of Maine to produce a food additive paste made from green crabs, and there have been efforts to develop a bait market from green crabs.

Yuck!  I wonder what that will be called on the ingredients list?   I also wonder what they will call the jellyfish when they start grinding them up and feeding them to us.

http://www.kjonline.com/news/Survey-to-gauge-Maines-green-crab-population-.html (http://www.kjonline.com/news/Survey-to-gauge-Maines-green-crab-population-.html) 

http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rm/invasives/GreenCrabs.htm (http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rm/invasives/GreenCrabs.htm)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on August 30, 2013, 02:10:43 AM
Thanks for the info.

The problems with using cover crops with corn sound like another set of reasons to back away from our hyper-corn culture.

As for renaming disgusting creatures to make them more palatable to us, I have no doubt about the ingeniousness of the marketers.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Bruce Steele on August 30, 2013, 02:32:50 AM
I farm without roundup and put in a cover crop every year. Peas, fava beans and oats. We get our rains in the winter so with a little luck and typical rains I don't need to irrigate the cover crop. Come spring about a month before summer crops go in i till it in. I get by with very little extra fertilizer and make 2500 to 3000 per acre. Screw GMOCorn and corn subsidies.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Vergent on August 30, 2013, 04:34:45 AM
Yuck!  I wonder what that will be called on the ingredients list?   I also wonder what they will call the jellyfish when they start grinding them up and feeding them to us.

Jim,

I've had jellyfish in the orient. It was surprisingly unjellylike in texture, it was crunchy. Very noisy to eat. The taste was rather bland.

Vergent
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent on August 30, 2013, 10:10:24 AM
Bruce,

How do you get the seeds to replant the cover crop ?
Do you extract it before crunching it ?

Laurent
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Bruce Steele on August 30, 2013, 04:56:22 PM
Laurent, I buy my cover crop seed. Cover crops provide a lot of organic material along with nitrogen but to get best results it requires tilling in while it is still blooming,so I don't get seeds. You don't want the oats to seed or they regerminate and require additional tillage-cultivation during your growing season. They can also draw in rodents.  A green cover will break down much quicker than a dry one and a lot of dry material makes my seed beds difficult to work, the seeder doesn't work as well because it gets bound up with detritus.  If I were to grow a cover crop and let it go to seed I would also need to thrash it . Each seed is a different size and thrashing works best on one size seed at a time. There are screens and the amount of air you blow over the small seed is less than a big heavy seed requires. I would love to have a trashing machine but they are big machines, I have pictures on the wall of my families trashing machine being pulled with horses and using a stationary steam engine to run it.  All my families land and equipment was gone before I started ( had to buy ) my little farm. When I was young the thrashing machine and the harnesses for the horses were still in grandpa barn but before I grew up it was all gone.   
I have a rototiller that I use to incorporate the cover crop. Smashing it down first makes the rototiller work harder so I go though it while it's still standing. Cover crop seed costs about a dollar a pound and I use about 200lbs. an acre.
Small equipment for the scale of farming I do isn't manufactured in the U.S. these days. Some antique equipment can still be found and I believe China and India still make small farm machinery because they haven't completely switched to corporate farming yet. If anything like collapse happens anytime soon Americans will have to go bad to a shovel and a hoe, hand thrash their grains, and hand winnow out the chaff. There simply is nothing between that and the mega tractor equipment typically in use around here.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent on August 30, 2013, 05:13:22 PM
Don't you know a cover crop that could be harvested without problems?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 30, 2013, 05:42:56 PM
I farm without roundup and put in a cover crop every year. Peas, fava beans and oats. We get our rains in the winter so with a little luck and typical rains I don't need to irrigate the cover crop. Come spring about a month before summer crops go in i till it in. I get by with very little extra fertilizer and make 2500 to 3000 per acre. Screw GMOCorn and corn subsidies.

Bruce,

My favorite cover crop mix was field peas and oats also.  Never used fava beans though.  What crop mix are you growing during the season?  Your $ per acre indicate you are growing on larger acreages and likely selling wholesale??

I grew exclusively organic vegetables for sale at farmers markets in the Washington DC area.  My gross was about $30,000 per acre.  A couple of the younger (more energy than I had) and very skilled farmers near me hit $40,000 per acre but they were selling about 11 months a year while I limited myself to 7 months.  The markets are very busy there and the prices are very good as well, plus a big demand for organics.

Where are you located?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 30, 2013, 05:55:44 PM
Don't you know a cover crop that could be harvested without problems?

Laurent,  if a crop is harvested by definition it is not a cover crop.

The purpose of cover crops are several.  They are used primarily to hold soil in place and to build up the soil by adding nutrients and organic matter.  They also are used to control weeds (I would plant buckwheat between different cash crops in the summer to control weeds and add a little organic matter).  If you really need to build the soil up you can plant a 2 year clover as a cover crop and on the 2nd year you flail it and then incorporate it into the soil by tilling.  The clover in this circumstance has sent roots down many feet and helped break up the soil and it will have incorporated large amounts of  nitrogen for later crops to feed upon.   One uses different mixes of cover crops depending on what the following crop needs for nutrients as well.  Some farmers grow a cover crop that grows 6-7 feet high and then cut the grass with a flail mower into a bin (like a giant lawn mower with a bag to catch the grass) and then incorporate that cut cover crop into a large compost pile for later use as fertilizer.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 30, 2013, 06:12:43 PM
Laurent it just occurred to me that you might have had a different type of question in mind than I answered above.

I think you might be thinking of the concept of crop rotations.  When I was farming I grew about 40 different vegetables.  When you break these vegetables down into different plant genus's  you end up with groups of vegetables which require similar sets of nutrients for ideal growth.  Each type of plant when it is growing consumes certain sets of nutrients and leaves behind others.  As the different types of plants are planted in the right order in the same field both during a single season and over the course of several years the farmer gets much higher production and less soil amendments like fertilizer and micro-nutrients are required to be added to the soil.  This is called crop rotation.  In a sense the famer is using the cash crops to provide some of the same benefits a cover crops provide.  This type of crop rotation was invented on a farm about 5 miles from mine in about 1790-1800. 

The above crop rotation knowledge eventually led to the concept of perma-culture farming where one plants a mix of different kinds of plants which work together to help feed each other.  I won't go into perma-culture farming as the subject would need its own topic if posters wanted to discuss it (it tends to get very emotional at times as there is a lot of controversy about it).
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Neven on August 30, 2013, 06:34:40 PM
Talking about permaculture and no-tilling, I'm sure you guys have heard of Masanobu Fukuoka (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanobu_Fukuoka) and his One Straw Revolution (http://www.onestrawrevolution.net/One_Straw_Revolution/One-Straw_Revolution.html).
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Bruce Steele on August 30, 2013, 07:37:30 PM
One straw was no-till or as I recall sheet composting. Everyplace you farm you deal with different problems but lots of organics laying around can bring with it rodents like rabbits, squirrels, or worse rats. Snails also like someplace to hide that is dark and moist. I don't till deep and sometimes a deeprooted plant like safflower can get organics deeper into the ground( dead roots ) and break up hardpan. We are having lots of food safety rules , mostly to trace origin and transport channels.
  JimD, I usually farm half the year and fish the other half. I also sell locally rather than drive to the big money farmers markets in L.A.  I don't get much more than SafeWay or Albertsons prices but sometimes even with fairly low prices it's a struggle to unload abundant yields.  I also farm solo so planting, weeding, packing and selling gets kinda tough even if I did have more markets.  I think my goal to get away from fossil fuels costs me on the profit side but if I were willing to trade petroleum for production I should probably fish more and ignore the problems we all see coming. I think it is possible to get closer to my goal but the profit part eludes me. In a long term view on things we need to get very close to zero ff and money may also become less important even in the good ol' USA.  I hope for some sort of agrarian movement, I hope someone will try for profit vegetable farming with a calories in calories out goal that puts some decent numbers on sustainability. I would also like to add soil carbon in the process.  Back to the raspberry patch.  P.s.  JimD  It's pinion pine season right now so if you haven't gone out to collect pinions it's one of the pleasures of living in the high desert.     
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 30, 2013, 08:52:36 PM
Bruce,  Thanks I will have to try that.  I guess that would qualify as survival food.

Ah, near LA.  Harder to make money out there as there are just so many farming operations.  My son lives north of Sacramento and what he pays for vegetables at the markets is about 50% of DC prices.

I also started out farming just by myself and kept very good records of hours put in, costs, fuel consumed, and revenues so that I could analyze what I was doing.

My expenses the first year were about 3 times revenues. The 2nd year costs were about 2 times revenues.  The 3rd year I broke even. 

And then I was fine and actually making a poverty level wage.  The main thing I learned was that with a very low level of machinery it is easily possible to feed yourself and a small number of others.  It is not possible to make enough money to justify full time farming.  Each year I analyzed what piece of machinery or other improvement seemed to have the most potential to make me more profitable and then added that in the mix.  I talked to a lot of other farmers and read huge amounts of literature on farming practices.  Bottom line for where I lived (very high land costs and property taxes) was that one could not make enough money to live on unless they were large enough to hire no less than 3 full time workers and had a least 1 reasonably sized tractor (I had a 45hp 4wd and an 11hp diesel BCS 853 2-wheeled) and a fairly extensive set of implements.  There is just so much bang for the buck when you add in equipment that it more then pays for itself (not counting in all the climate change issues of course - just talking making a profit).  The workers are a huge pain in the arse but also essential as if you can make even $1-2 per hours off them it makes for a much higher income.   I used to tell my workers that they should not complain about the low wages as they made more per hour than I did (which was true mostly but I worked about 3300 hours a year also).  I did not know of any farmer selling in the farmers markets exclusively who was making even $15/hr after expenses.  To be fair I was feeding my wife and I mostly out of what we grew and not counting that as an expense and the farm paid for my pickup and lots of other benefits.  I think to really build up a profitable farming operation takes at least a generation and you must have a wife and kids (to exploit). Ideally you turn the operation over to one of your kids when they are capable of doing more work than you and know the business.  Then you work for them and  provide advise.  Rinse and repeat.  Family farming.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Neven on August 30, 2013, 09:22:29 PM
I take my hat off to you guys. Although I have my qualms with agriculture, I believe farmers aren't rewarded enough. Especially the ones like you who really think about what they're doing, and how they're doing it.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 30, 2013, 09:38:47 PM
Talking about permaculture and no-tilling, I'm sure you guys have heard of Masanobu Fukuoka (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanobu_Fukuoka) and his One Straw Revolution (http://www.onestrawrevolution.net/One_Straw_Revolution/One-Straw_Revolution.html).

Neven

There are a number of different farming approaches out there who are being used by folks who are oriented towards organic/sustainable farming/gardening operations.  Some have similarities to the Fukuoka method.  Many of these approaches also drift into areas that are not directly farming techniques and meld them into a method.  Some are philosophical based, some use astrology, religion and what can only be described as pseudo-science. 

You have Fukuoka (philosophy/pseudo-science), Rudolf Steiner (biodynamic farming - astrology/philosophy/mystic farming techniques), permaculture, John Jevons (bio-intensive - science based), Rodale (organic techniques - science based), EM (effective Microorganisms - pseudo-science and marketing?).

Fukuoka has its adherents but I know of no one who thinks it is a viable method of tying to make a living.  His techniques are a combination of science and philosophy and very difficult to even follow.  I suppose one could garden this way but it would be a poor choice to other methods.

I have known farmers who were following Steiner's bio-dynamic farming techniques.  One would only choose this method for philosophical/mystic reasons and it is not based upon science - though it does contain many elements of 1900 level farming common sense and knowledge).

I have known one (extremely skilled) farmer who became enamored with the EM farming concepts and converted his entire operation over to those techniques.  He was still running an incredible operation and grew phenomenal quality vegetables.  But then he did that before he used the techniques.  We had discussions about the lack of science supporting the EM techniques, but he was sold on the idea.  After about 4 years he went back to regular organic farming because he said that the EM stuff made no difference.  I personally think it is a clever way for the people who run the program to make money.  It does no harm but it makes no difference  either.

Permaculture can partially be explained by the root of the word.  Culture.  And not in the sense of culturing a plant, but in the sense of a cult (this comment make start a fight btw).  When this subject comes up in farming/gardening discussions I always say that it may turn out to be a great future sustainable subsistence gardening technique post collapse and the big die-off. But I am pretty certain that near 100% of anyone who tried to use this as a to make a living farming technique is going bankrupt in short order.  In an ideal location one might be able to feed a family consistently using these techniques but it would probably be a full time job.

I used combination of standard organic farming techniques (Rodale) with a very heavy emphasis on the work of John Jevons (bio-intensive). These techniques are backed up by a lot of science and data and work very well.  Jevons work was largely done with an eye towards intensive gardening and how much food could be grown in a small space.  By combining standard organics and the use of machinery with the techniques of very dense gardening type plantings (Jevons) I managed to produce a much higher than average amount on the land I was using.  I actually think this approach has a lot more to offer the small farmer, whether he be a subsistence farmer or a for profit farmer, than the permaculture type techniques.   And the closer you take Jevons approach to gardening the better it works.

 
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Neven on August 30, 2013, 10:02:52 PM

Permaculture can partially be explained by the root of the word.  Culture.  And not in the sense of culturing a plant, but in the sense of a cult (this comment make start a fight btw).

I feel kind of attracted to the philosophy behind permaculture (as espoused by Mollison and Holmgren), but have no real hands-on experience, so I don't yet know if it's just a cult, or if it makes sense. Bearing in mind, of course, that I do not intend to make a living from my garden, just aim to lower costs and live/eat more healthily.

Quote
When this subject comes up in farming/gardening discussions I always say that it may turn out to be a great future sustainable subsistence gardening technique post collapse and the big die-off. But I am pretty certain that near 100% of anyone who tried to use this as a to make a living farming technique is going bankrupt in short order.  In an ideal location one might be able to feed a family consistently using these techniques but it would probably be a full time job.

I can see how permaculture won't work when applied to the current agriculture business model. Then again, I think that it's agriculture that led to the predicament we're in now, and horticulture might be a way out for some. At least a way out of the system that forces you to be culprit and victim at the same time. But again, that's all theory. In about 5 years from now I'll know the practical side of things a bit better, and will adjust my views accordingly.

Quote
I used combination of standard organic farming techniques (Rodale) with a very heavy emphasis on the work of John Jevons (bio-intensive). These techniques are backed up by a lot of science and data and work very well.  Jevons work was largely done with an eye towards intensive gardening and how much food could be grown in a small space.  By combining standard organics and the use of machinery with the techniques of very dense gardening type plantings (Jevons) I managed to produce a much higher than average amount on the land I was using.  I actually think this approach has a lot more to offer the small farmer, whether he be a subsistence farmer or a for profit farmer, than the permaculture type techniques.   And the closer you take Jevons approach to gardening the better it works.

I have some of his books on my Amazon wish list, and buy all kinds of books. There's something useful in everything.

BTW, I have a friend who is a hardcore Steiner adept. We've helped around on his farm quite a bit, and he put an amazing amount of work into doing everything the Steiner way, which made things even more work than they already are, and very inefficient. But he seemed to enjoy the ascetic part of it. Unfortunately I'm not so good at believing.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Bruce Steele on August 30, 2013, 11:45:43 PM
Ah L.A. It is an easy climate to farm in but land prices make farming a quixotic experience. We have some spectacularly good Mexican / American farmers around here, you have to compete for market price with local competition.
  I don't sell my zero carbon quest. My farm stand customers come in cars and jamming them with zero carbon might backfire. After ten years my customers are friends and I know them by name so sometimes I will tell them about my efforts but I need to be upbeat around the clientele , which means keeping my mouth shut sometimes. How your produce tastes, keeping up with food trends, good heirloom selection, communications ... Those things sell your produce.   
 Neven, I did know a very good small farmer in Santa Barbara who used sheet composting to good effect with his subtropical trees. He would only add a little bit of clippings for each layer and never cultivated or tilled. You don't need to worry about all those pest problems with trees that I was talking about with vegetables. I grow fruit trees but you need a good variety or everything comes on at once.  I said I needed to try some composting in my orchards but damn there is a lot I need to do. It's well above 90F today but I still have some picking to do. Raspberries two flats, 50 lb. HeirloomTomatoes,   8 lb. shishito peppers, 15 lb. Anaheim peppers , 10 lb. Chioga beets, 15 lb eggplant, 40 lb red onion and a couple flats of heirlooms to hustle some more markets.   
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent on August 31, 2013, 10:30:36 AM
The clover is a good cover crop, I will try it with my wheat !

Farmers have to change, first they have to understand it is not the plants that they must grow...but the soil ! If you don't take care of the soil, you won't have good plants at least not for long.

Farmers are a bit screwed because there is competition between farmers, if one is using more oil than an other, he is more likely to gain more then to win the competition.

Second point, as you say Bruce, your customers are coming with their cars, we have to look our entire activity beyond our selfs. It is good to produce bio and 0 carbon but if your customers, use lot of oil to get the stuff that's no good and the trick won't last long, the earth will call us back on track (I am not pointing at you, the problem is the same everywhere). The other point related to this one, is that we have cut the carbon cycle, the stuff that we sell does not ever come back...well it should if we want to make an ecologic cycle.

I found that site, it may be of interest to you :
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/ (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent on August 31, 2013, 11:56:17 AM
Some people see meat products as a mineral stuff, it's not true...really ?
(There is no speech on the video)
http://vimeo.com/57126054# (http://vimeo.com/57126054#)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Bruce Steele on August 31, 2013, 05:27:49 PM
Laurent, I know only one family with an electric car and enough solar panels to keep it charged. In a zero ff society transportation wouldn't be so damn petroleum intense but it is currently technologically possible to have an solar electric car and house here in Calif.  I am working on making it possible for someone to buy food without a big carbon footprint but it very much is a work in progress. Farming is a low wage job at best and to add in a zero ff goal it is even more difficult and less profitable. I don't know anyone nor have I read about anyone who commercially farms vegetables without  ff ,making a profit or not. In an ideal society both farmers and city people will need to change.
I try to avoid making claims before I have a working system so it's a work in progress. Selling my boat and leaving the ocean is a very sad thing for me but a good wind machine that will run my water pumps is about $ 30,000. Electric tillers and a nice electric car to transport vegetables is more$.If city people made that sort of financial commitment the fossil fuel industry wouldn't be so fat and happy. If there is even a remote possibility I can help create an alternative then I will risk poverty to pull it off. I am almost 60, I have no health insurance, I have spent my life doing risky things( like 40 years commercial diving) Lloyds cancelled me. If I crash financially I am pretty sure I can work as a farm hand and feed myself and my wife. Time is running out for all of us . I love the ocean , I love the land , and although I consider it a character flaw I like 90% of the people I meet.  It is worth a lot more sacrifice than we( collectively ) are making.  To the fields, it's Saturday and the farm stand needs to be stocked.       
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 31, 2013, 06:29:49 PM
INDIA  Comprehensive update on the just finished growing season in India.  Season there runs July to June so this is for Jul 2012 to Jun 2013.

Overall India had a very good year.  Some ups and downs as usual depending on the specific crop.
 
Total grain production was 255.4 MMT just under the 259MMT record.
Corn and other coarse grains a record
Pulses (beans lentils and such) a record
Wheat down about 10%
Rice just below record but with a record high yield



http://www.thebioenergysite.com/reports/?id=2546 (http://www.thebioenergysite.com/reports/?id=2546)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 31, 2013, 06:48:03 PM
Russia

Russia is estimating that wheat production will be 90 MMT down from an earlier estimate of 95MMT.  Attributed to both the heavy rains/flooding this season in some areas and drought in others.  But no crop failure in the cards.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on August 31, 2013, 07:41:47 PM
World Wheat Supply and  Demand Situation August 2013

This is about a 60 page pdf in slide format.  If you are interested in global food production there is a lot of very good information in it.  Every global region is in the report.

Highlights

2013/14 global wheat production projected at 705MMT up 8% over previous year

2013/14 global supply estimate at 872MMT up 17MMT from previous year

2013/14 global consumption estimated at 707MMT up 4% from previous year

global consumption is expected to exceed production by 2MMT

Global ending stocks to fall 1% in 13/14  (China holds 33% of global stocks - stockpiling!)

I recommend that interested readers download the pdf and go to slide 31 (I tried to copy it and failed) as it shows world wheat imports from 1984 to the present.  This chart really brings home the impact of rising population in the countries which are not capable of growing their own supplies.  I have argued that this slowly worsening situation will eventually result in famine in some locations due to the inability to afford the grain.  This slide really brings home the trend on imports and why I think this is inevitable sometime in the future.  Look back in the late 80's when the FSU had a series of crop failures and had to go to the import market.  Think what would happen today if they took that many MMT's.  There would undoubtedly be a number of poorer importers who would have to do without.  If I were Putin I would be stockpiling just like the Chinese are as periodic crop failures in Russia are inevitable due to its location.  Better safe than sorry as the Chinese say.

It is a pain but I don't know how to link directly to a pdf from a Google search (if someone knows let me know how) the only way I could get to this report via this post is by going to this link:

http://www.uswheat.org (http://www.uswheat.org)

Then selecting "Reports" (top of 3rd column)
Then selecting "Supply and Demand"  (half way down left side)
Then selecting "August 12, 2013" report in the middle of the page
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent on September 01, 2013, 10:01:47 AM
Let me try :

http://www.uswheat.org/USWPublicDocs.nsf/3b386cf3d8d8d19c85257626004dd84d/382173b4871598e885257bc700653652/$FILE/S&D%20130812.pdf (http://www.uswheat.org/USWPublicDocs.nsf/3b386cf3d8d8d19c85257626004dd84d/382173b4871598e885257bc700653652/$FILE/S&D%20130812.pdf)

I did it by selecting the button "hyperlink" in the tool bar and you add the link of your pdf taken from the link bar of your bowser.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 01, 2013, 03:48:44 PM
Laurent

Thanks.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Glenn Tamblyn on September 01, 2013, 04:00:08 PM
And food prices have been suggested as a significant factor in the trigger for the Arab Spring. Obviously the underlying pressures need to be there but that may have been the match.

With recent interest in the Polar Jet Stream and increased blocking events, it is easy to forget that a blocking event was the cause of the huge Russian forest fires of 2010. And the same year Russia wheat harvest was hit so hard the government suspended wheat exports.

Stockpiling might be good for Russia, but not for the countries that need to buy from them.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Glenn Tamblyn on September 01, 2013, 04:17:49 PM
I actually live around a kilometer away from where David Holmgren lives on a modest permaculture property on the edge of our country town in Australia.

Permaculture certainly isn't a basis for a commercial form of agriculture except perhaps at a local community level. I see it, overlapping with a range of other approaches, as an attempt at a smarter, engineered, more thought out version of traditional subsistence farming practices.

Many people in the west who are drawn to Permaculture think of it in the 'how can I feed myself on my piece of land' sense. Still retaining the western notions of individual control of land and individual production for oneself.

But the real potential of Permaculture thinking is when it is applied at a whole of community level. Thought out agricultural practices where a local community plans all the agricultural activities on individual properties so they harmonize together, using the local characteristics top maximum advantage. This still permits some level of small scale commercial agriculture by individuals, growing food for their local community that is exchanged for cash, but all within a community level coordiantion based on Permaculture principles.

This is obviously the complete opposite of modern, broad-acre commercial farming and is also significantly different from 'I want to use Permaculture on my block of land' thinking of individuals in the West. This is perhaps why Permaculture has been more successful in developing nations where community level coordination of farming is not that different to their current culture.

For us in the West it would be a huge change of 'culture'. But also a cultural change that would bring real resilience benefits as well. Turning food production into a commercial scale operation may make money, but it is very unresilient as a system. In a warming world, resilience is a survival tool.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Neven on September 01, 2013, 06:34:44 PM
Quote
For us in the West it would be a huge change of 'culture'.

Yes, a change from agri-culture to horti-culture. Permaculture author Toby Hemenway has some nice presentations about that:

Redesigning Civilization with Permaculture - Toby Hemenway (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y_MleU8iNQ#)

Wrong thread, I know. Sorry. But Glenn is bringing up resilience, and I also have a hard time envisioning large-scale agriculture to become resilient to weather weirdness. I think small-scale horticulture would do better there.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent on September 01, 2013, 07:37:18 PM
Gobekli Tepe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiQVR3TllI8 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiQVR3TllI8)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 01, 2013, 07:44:20 PM
Quote
Wrong thread,

Tsk,tsk!  Boy are you in trouble.

Here is the future of farming!  :o

http://modernfarmer.com/2013/04/this-tractor-drives-itself/ (http://modernfarmer.com/2013/04/this-tractor-drives-itself/)

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-09/robotractor (http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-09/robotractor)

http://harvestpublicmedia.org/article/840/robot-tractors-take-farmers-out-driver%E2%80%99s-seat/5 (http://harvestpublicmedia.org/article/840/robot-tractors-take-farmers-out-driver%E2%80%99s-seat/5)

This is the direction industrial farming is heading.  Fully automated operations as much as possible.  The heck with those pesky workers.  In a few years we will see one man operation grain farmers operating acreages on the order of 2-3000 acres by themselves.

There is one organic farm I know of in Calif that specializes in cut greens (4 million lbs/week - no joke) that is so automated that no human ever touches the produce from planting all the way through the process of harvesting, cleaning and packing.  The product is refrigerated from the moment it is harvested (yes in the field it is refrigerated) until you put it in your cart at the grocery store.

I used to know a farmer in Australia who had an automated farming system based upon the center pivot concept used in irrigation.  He had it computer controlled and arms which reached down to the ground and he attached implements to them.  Then he would turn it on and leave and the system would plow, till, cultivate, fertilize and water.  Pretty nifty.  He was trying to get a company going but I think he ended up retiring.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on September 01, 2013, 08:07:41 PM
I hesitate to contribute anything with my very limited experience, but since resilience was mentioned, I was wondering if people had heard of hugelkultur, if they had any experience with it, and if they think it has promise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sso4UWObxXg# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sso4UWObxXg#)

The up-front effort to construct the beds seems too intense to do on a very large scale, probably. But it does seem like this system would be resistant to the problems of both drought and flood.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent on September 01, 2013, 08:36:17 PM
Sepp Holzer is involved !
Personally I don't like the bed system, because it is completely manual very hard work, no chance to use a bit of mechanic or even automatize anything.
I have a raised bed in my garden, it is flat and 1 meter above the ground, that's because my neighbor has got an hedge that take all the light.
A few days ago, I stored the logs that I did cut this winter, I hope for 2 years storage and with the rest I started a little patch where I did bury them under 5 to 10 cm of earth and an other one where i put them spaced on the earth, I will try to plant between the logs next year. Fungus will colonize the logs and moisture will remain !
This next video is an other type of farming that you probably have never seen. I know it is in French but you will understand the point !
Maraîchage bio sous les arbres - Denis Flores (Hérault) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG3GAlE3dgM#ws)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 01, 2013, 09:15:27 PM
Wili

Very interesting.  Never heard of it before.  As I was watching it I was thinking it is just like they are building a compost windrow and just adding in a lot of extra large wood.  I googled the hugelkultur name and sure enough it is a form of composting that uses large pieces of wood.

From Wiki
Quote
Hügelkultur[edit source]

The practice of making raised garden beds filled with rotting wood.[18][19] It is in effect creating a Nurse log, however, covered with dirt.

Benefits of hügelkultur garden beds include water retention and warming of soil.[18][20] Buried wood becomes like a sponge as it decomposes, able to capture water and store it for later use by crops planted on top of the hugelkultur bed.[18][21]

The buried decomposing wood will also give off heat, as all compost does, for several years. These effects have been used by Sepp Holzer for one to allow fruit trees to survive at otherwise inhospitable temperatures and altitudes.[

A few thoughts.  Building large compost piles is energy intensive as one could see in the video.  One thing about this practice that will impact them in a few years.  They are going to eventually run out of all that extra energy they buried in the compost pile.  All the produce they plant there is taking nutrients out (so we can eat them) and the fuel tank will run dry eventually.  So either they build a new pile every 3-4 years or they have to start fertilizing the piles.  Also after a few years the benefits of the extra heat generated by the composting going on in the  pile will go away (the composting will finish) and then the plants will not grow as well in the spring and fall.  I would suspect an operation like the one in the video to be humanuring as well.  If you are only feeding yourself it is essential to keep those nutrients in play and not bury them.

I actually know a farmer who did something similar to this in that he had a very large pile of horse manure and wood shavings from horse barns.  He used his tractor to make raised beds of it (3ft wide and about 15 inches high) and then planted in them for several years.  Eventually he had to start adding fertilizers to keep production up.   BTW almost all of the commercial mushrooms in the US are grown in the horse poop from the thoroughbred horse barns in the Eastern US.  They buy it by the hundreds of tractor-trailer loads.   

Farmers who do composting on a large scale, like the giant organic operations, have to have specialized equipment and spend a lot of money building and turning them (to manufacture good compost the piles have to be monitored for internal temperature and rolled over many times while they cook).  It requires some training to be really good at it.  I know a 20 acre operation in Virginia that makes about 270 tons of compost a year this way.   This farm has been growing vegetables intensively for over 50 years on the same ground and it is quite profitable.  To turn the piles you need at least a 100 hp tractor and a turning machine (about $75K).  Plus a backhoe to move dirt and wood products.  One of the items that small farmers often get caught up on is finding enough compost to replace the nutrients they are moving off farm (vegetables to the farmers market).  It is very hard to generate this compost yourself (finding time to do the work and the ingredients for the compost pile).

I used to make about 2 dump truck loads myself and bought the rest I needed.  I also bought about 4 tons of phosphate rock a year, limed every other year, put down a mix of micronutrients (calcium, manganese, boron, magnesium, etc) as needed (soil tests determine this) and then about 5 tons of organic fertilizer (made from chicken poop).  Oh, and also about a half barrel of liquid fish emulsion (for the tomatoes).  And I was only growing on about 4 acres of crop land.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 01, 2013, 09:33:15 PM
Laurent, I am with you, I want some help from machines. I do not believe automated farms offer any answer to controlling energy inputs but one needs to keep an open mind. JimD opened another thread on global limits and the nitrogen cycle is the most disrupted. I couldn't understand the French dialog in the video but the green background is beautiful . Could you tell me if the forest culture/vegetable farm uses manures or legumes to add nitrogen. Even legumes are a bit of a human manipulation and add to increased atmospheric nitrogen when tilled but compared to the huge fossil fuel driven increase in nitrogen I think legumes offer a much more sustainable option. Like I said in an earlier post I buy cover crop seed ( legumes ). How would one produce cover crop seed in a Forrest setting? Isn't mildew an issue when you need to dry seeds?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent on September 01, 2013, 10:29:05 PM
They are in there second year of production !
This year they have tilled the soil but they expect to use non tilled technique next year.
They have done a cover crop that they did bury this spring and used a bit of  Castor-oil plant cake to fertilize and repulse ground insects.
They did not use any insecticed !
He says that there is some fertilization from the trees with the leafs and as much with the annual dying roots. He says that all the plants grow if you let them the time be use of the shadow.
They are leaving in the south of France, I don't think they have a lot mildew !
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 01, 2013, 11:46:39 PM
 Laurent,There are leguminous  trees so I was wondering if the trees produced fruit or nuts or if they used leguminous   trees for soil fertility? A more direct question would be what variety of trees do they utilize for the canopy?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on September 02, 2013, 02:27:42 AM
JimD wrote: "All the produce they plant there is taking nutrients out (so we can eat them) and the fuel tank will run dry eventually."

This is of course true of all agriculture. True sustainability would involve all human wastes and bodies returning to the soil.

But, yes, the technique requires building new mounds every 3-4 years, as you say.

L, I couldn't follow all the French, but it sounds like it might be a bit like this approach:

http://www.chelseagreen.com/content/designing-a-forest-garden-the-seven-story-garden/ (http://www.chelseagreen.com/content/designing-a-forest-garden-the-seven-story-garden/)

Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent on September 02, 2013, 10:01:54 AM
He does not say what type of tree is used, because they did not choose them, they bought the field with the trees. He says that there is some wheat under some poplars but does not say witch type are above the legumes.
It is not a forest garden there is no more than two layers (3 with the roots legumes).
May be the fungus can help bringing nitrogen with some trees that would not otherwise ?
http://rootgrow.co.uk/mycorrhizal-fungi.html (http://rootgrow.co.uk/mycorrhizal-fungi.html)
For some informations on what type of trees will bring you nitrogen, you may buy :
Creating a forest garden
Martin Crawford
ISBN : 978 1 900322 62 1
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 02, 2013, 06:55:49 PM
Here is an interesting article on phosphorus use in or related to US agriculture.  It really brings home the point often made that US (or anyone for that matter) meat consumption based upon the CAFO industrial model is non-sustainable.

Globally 140 MMT of rock phosphate are mined each year.  These deposits are a critical resource to maintaining the ability to feed 7-9 billion people.  We better get over the idea of using all kinds of manure (human too) in order to get the phosphorous needed by our crops.

Abstract:
Quote
Agricultural phosphorus (P) use is intricately linked to food security and water quality. Globalization of agricultural systems and changing diets clearly alter these relationships, yet their specific influence on non-renewable P reserves is less certain. We assessed P fertilizer used for production of food crops, livestock and biofuels in the US agricultural system, explicitly comparing the domestic P use required for US food consumption to the P use embodied in the production of US food imports and exports. By far the largest demand for P fertilizer throughout the US agricultural system was for feed and livestock production (56% of total P fertilizer use, including that for traded commodities). As little as 8% of the total mineral P inputs to US domestic agriculture in 2007 (1905 Gg P) was consumed in US diets in the same year, while larger fractions may have been retained in agricultural soils (28%), associated with different post-harvest losses (40%) or with biofuel refining (10%). One quarter of all P fertilizer used in the US was linked to export production, primarily crops, driving a large net P flux out of the country (338 Gg P). However, US meat consumption relied considerably on P fertilizer use in other countries to produce red meat imports. Changes in domestic farm management and consumer waste could together reduce the P fertilizer required for US food consumption by half, which is comparable to the P fertilizer reduction attainable by cutting domestic meat consumption (44%). US export-oriented agriculture, domestic post-harvest P losses and global demand for meat may ultimately have an important influence on the lifespan of US phosphate rock reserves.

Embodied phosphorus and the global connections of United States agriculture
Graham K MacDonald et al 2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7 044024

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/4/044024/article (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/4/044024/article)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 04, 2013, 08:21:16 PM
The Real Reason Kansas Is Running Out of Water

Article about how Kansas corn/cattle operations are depleting the Ogallala aquifer. 

Quote
.... The researchers found that 30 percent of the region's groundwater has been tapped out, and if present trends continue, another 39 percent will be gone within 50 years......
...One major culprit has been a shift in what farms grow—from a rotation featuring corn, wheat, and sorghum to a narrow focus on a single crop that flourishes under heavy irrigation and has been in high demand lately: corn.


 A shift to growing corn, a much thirstier crop than most, has only worsened matters. Driven by demand, speculation and a government mandate to produce biofuels, the price of corn has tripled since 2002, and Kansas farmers have responded by increasing the acreage of irrigated cornfields by nearly a fifth. At an average 14 inches per acre in a growing season, a corn crop soaks up groundwater like a sponge—in 2010, the State Agriculture Department said, enough to fill a space a mile square and nearly 2,100 feet high.

I doubt that Americans will ever willingly cut meat consumption by large percentages, but when the Ogallala becomes seriously depleted there will not be any choice.

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/09/corn-and-beef-sucking-high-plains-dry (http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/09/corn-and-beef-sucking-high-plains-dry)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 06, 2013, 07:16:45 PM
This fits in perfect with my last post about Kansas.

Wheat Research Indicates Rise in Mean Temperature Would Cut Yields

Below link describes a study by Kansas State which determined that a 1 C rise in temperature will cut Kansas wheat yields by 21%.  Interesting note is that wheat yields have risen by 26% over the last 26 years.  So the warming climate will require that wheat yields continue to improve at historical rates (highly unlikely) just to keep pace with yield losses due to a warmer climate.

And then we have the water issues in the post above.  And additional disease issue which are coming.  Hmmm...I say.

http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/story/wheat_research090313.aspx (http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/story/wheat_research090313.aspx)

http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/SB665.pdf (http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/SB665.pdf)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on September 06, 2013, 08:18:06 PM
Looks like the ability/speed of attribution of extreme weather events to climate change is improving. This article suggests half of the extreme weather last year (2012) could be attributed to climate change.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/05/climate-change-partially-caused-extreme-weather-2012 (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/05/climate-change-partially-caused-extreme-weather-2012)

That's pretty substantial, considering it's still early days. What I'd like to see is an attempt to relate the incidence of extreme weather occurs to impacts on agriculture - as this would help derive a starting point to make predictions about how much worsening in the weather we could get before it would start to cause serious (and ultimately potentially critical) issues.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter on September 06, 2013, 10:06:29 PM
What I'd like to see is an attempt to relate the incidence of extreme weather occurs to impacts on agriculture - as this would help derive a starting point to make predictions about how much worsening in the weather we could get before it would start to cause serious (and ultimately potentially critical) issues.

Anybody have any good figures on the agricultural damage caused this summer by flooding in Russia, China and India?

My guess is that weather extremes don't need to get much worse. The population growth curve and the ag decline curve will meet in the not too distant future regardless. Climate change will simple increase the speed of the meeting.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on September 07, 2013, 09:01:50 PM
I don't have figures for those countries, but globally there must be an anticipation that supply is going to more than meet demand, since overall food prices are still dropping:

http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/2013/09/global-food-prices-continue-to-drop-fao/ (http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/2013/09/global-food-prices-continue-to-drop-fao/)

They say that it is especially because of good corn harvests this year. The drought didn't hit the American corn belt very hard this year (though the upper midwest is starting to dry out again now in the last few weeks). Presumably a few other major corn growing regions are doing well, too.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 07, 2013, 09:50:28 PM
Wili

If you look up thread to posts #108, 110 I laid out some of the reason for this.  It is just as you surmised.  Global grain harvests and projections overall are for several percent above consumption.  But it is also just a matter of time before years with shortfalls become more frequent than surplus years. 
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on September 08, 2013, 04:02:57 AM
jim, agreed.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on September 08, 2013, 06:08:37 AM
Wili

If you look up thread to posts #108, 110 I laid out some of the reason for this.  It is just as you surmised.  Global grain harvests and projections overall are for several percent above consumption.  But it is also just a matter of time before years with shortfalls become more frequent than surplus years.

As food overall is a relatively inelastic commodity, you can expect fairly large price swings with relatively modest changes in output - especially given how closely supply and demand tend to be matched in recent years (ie no globally large stockpiles of most food crops around).

I think my concern would be that in the worse years we can expect to see large scale Arab spring type shocks - magnitude depending on just how bad the dice roll for a given bad year is agriculturally speaking. Furthermore, I suspect the dice are being increasingly heavily weighted in an unhelpful direction as things advance (on a timescale of years) - that isn't to say we won't have years where there is a useful agricultural surplus - just that those years will become less and less and bad years worse and more frequent (particularly with population and affluence also driving consumption relentlessly upwards - this isn't a static target we're chasing).
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: wili on September 08, 2013, 01:17:53 PM
I should have hastened to add that, even though global average food prices are falling slightly right now, they are doing so from historic highs, and prices are still the third highest that they have ever been for this time of year.

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

World food stocks are in slightly better shape than I had thought, though, and predicted to be getting better; so that may help a bit with the 'inelastic price' problem.

http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/csdb/en/ (http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/csdb/en/)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 08, 2013, 04:05:56 PM
As always global grain supplies will fluctuate due to weather and planting percentages between the various crops.  But there are good reasons that the global supply will never again reach the high surplus amounts which were common 40 years ago.

The biggest reason is profits.  Large farming concerns require a significant profit percentage to justify the investments in land, equipment and infrastructure.  The industrial farm lobby will work hard on the political side to obtain policies and laws favoring their needs.  Lobbyists!

A corollary to the first reason is that if you grow too much the price falls and you make no money.  Industrial farming works hard to figure out how to grow just the right amount.  Sort of like OPEC and oil production set to keep prices high.

It is not possible to dramatically increase global reserves as long as there are large scale programs to convert food into ethanol.

A fast rising population puts us in a situation that is similar to the Red Queen in that it requires us to grow more each year just to stay in the same place.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 08, 2013, 06:54:57 PM
As long as I am being cheerful today (it is raining again in AZ) I figured a dose of reality was in order.

A Warmer World Will Mean More Pests and Pathogens for Crops

Quote
They found that crop pests have been spreading north and south a little less than 2 miles (3.2 km) a year since 1960, though there’s a lot of variety within individual species.

Quote
As a result, the mountain pine beetle is now at epidemic levels throughout the American West. The rice blast fungus, present in scores of countries, has migrated to wheat, and has become a scourge of farmers in Brazil.

Quote
If crop pests continue to march polewards as the earth warms, the combined effects of a growing world population and the increased loss of crops to pests will pose a serious threat to global food security.

The truly scary possibility is that a new or re-emerging plant disease could decimate one of the few crops — rice, wheat, corn — that the global diet is based on. We’ve already had a few close calls. Wheat rust, which is caused by a fungus, devastated wheat crops in Africa, and is poised to spread to other major wheat-producing countries. It doesn’t help that over the years farmers have narrowed the genetic diversity of commodity crops, which limits our ability to respond if a new pest or disease takes hold

http://science.time.com/2013/09/02/a-warmer-world-will-mean-more-pests-and-pathogens-for-crops/ (http://science.time.com/2013/09/02/a-warmer-world-will-mean-more-pests-and-pathogens-for-crops/)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on September 08, 2013, 06:57:43 PM
A corollary to the first reason is that if you grow too much the price falls and you make no money.  Industrial farming works hard to figure out how to grow just the right amount.  Sort of like OPEC and oil production set to keep prices high.

In short, the incentives are in favour of risky behaviour. Where - taking a "for the good of humanity" perspective, it would seem to make sense to start building up larger stocks to try to buffer the increasingly inevitable extreme weather shocks - it actually makes sense for people to regulate supply to keep prices as high as the market will bear (which for food and fuel is pretty damn high...).

That suggests a tendency for ongoing price pressure, increasing threat to social stability in more marginal societies (if not in most societies at this point) - and a much larger chance to get caught seriously on the hop every time we roll bad numbers on the annual weather dice.

I'd allow some nations will stockpile more in the interests of national security (China seems to have its wits together in this respect at least) but so far there is little evidence of either individuals or nations taking the extent of the threats seriously? (and even if they do stockpile, whether or not the stocks are used wisely is a second question)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 08, 2013, 09:38:53 PM
Quote
In short, the incentives are in favour of risky behaviour. Where - taking a "for the good of humanity" perspective, it would seem to make sense to start building up larger stocks to try to buffer the increasingly inevitable extreme weather shocks - it actually makes sense for people to regulate supply to keep prices as high as the market will bear (which for food and fuel is pretty damn high...).

Indeed. But it is less risky for the farmer who has to make a profit to continue to exist.  If he grew his crops for the good of humanity he would go broke and then he could migrate to one of the cities and live in a slum (so to speak).  This is what free trade agreements do to poor farmers in the 3rd world.  It allows the US to sell industrially grown crops far under the cost of growing for a small farmer in Mexico for instance. He goes broke and moves to the city or emigrates to the US.  The industrial farmer is happy because he has more export markets and then grows more corn the next year.

There is a big component of agricultural analysis whose job is to determine global demand each year and advise the giant farming operations on how much of what to grow to maximize profits. 

The best system money can buy.  sarc

If we wanted to stockpile gains on a global basis (a pretty smart plan from a humanitarian perspective) then we would subsidize growing grain for that purpose.  We could contract for buying any excess grain at a set price to guarantee commodity prices stayed at the profitable level.  The downside is that food prices would not come down in this scenario, but we would have that useful cushion of additional supplies.  The long-term effects of this would not be so good as it would promote gains in population which we cannot afford.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on September 09, 2013, 02:40:18 AM
Indeed. But it is less risky for the farmer who has to make a profit to continue to exist.  If he grew his crops for the good of humanity he would go broke and then he could migrate to one of the cities and live in a slum (so to speak).  This is what free trade agreements do to poor farmers in the 3rd world.  It allows the US to sell industrially grown crops far under the cost of growing for a small farmer in Mexico for instance. He goes broke and moves to the city or emigrates to the US.  The industrial farmer is happy because he has more export markets and then grows more corn the next year.

My impression is that the first world farming operations also benefit substantially from government subsidies - far more than the smaller less technologically intensive operations poorer farmers operate in third world countries. The playing field isn't level in any fashion. Even in first world nations small farmers go bankrupt and get pushed to the wall and consumed by the giant agricultural corporations. Lots and lots wrong with modern farming from a sustainability or resilience perspective.

If we wanted to stockpile gains on a global basis (a pretty smart plan from a humanitarian perspective) then we would subsidize growing grain for that purpose.  We could contract for buying any excess grain at a set price to guarantee commodity prices stayed at the profitable level.  The downside is that food prices would not come down in this scenario, but we would have that useful cushion of additional supplies.  The long-term effects of this would not be so good as it would promote gains in population which we cannot afford.

I wonder if the trade in non existent agricultural commodities (futures) were stopped - and all trading had to deal in actual physical items that really existed - if it would provide incentives to build up of stocks of these things. Right now the market can buy and sell crops that don't even exist - there isn't really an incentive to sit on a physical stockpile of goods.

With respect to lower food prices (on one side of the coin) or promoting gains in population (which I argue lower food prices would also do!) - I think that's a sticky subject. My ideal scenario here isn't one of humanitarian needs though - but rather of buffering supply shocks - building up supplies in good years and consuming them in bad years. Dumping food stocks into population growth only builds up a larger problem later.

If you want to see population down - the only credible route I can see is collapse. Early faster collapse is then a sensible policy choice. High food prices and food shortages and the associated conflicts and so on are then secondary effects to starting to correct population.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 09, 2013, 06:40:56 PM
My impression is that the first world farming operations also benefit substantially from government subsidies - far more than the smaller less technologically intensive operations poorer farmers operate in third world countries. The playing field isn't level in any fashion. Even in first world nations small farmers go bankrupt and get pushed to the wall and consumed by the giant agricultural corporations. Lots and lots wrong with modern farming from a sustainability or resilience perspective.

Yes, all the wealthy countries subsidize the agricultural industry (if I understand it correctly the Europeans exceed US levels).  Regarding industrial farming it is more efficient than sustainable methods any where not just in the US for instance.  Costs are even cheaper in the 3rd world if you can set up an operation there.  A personal example:  I grew up knowing a family who had parlayed a large ranching operation and its mineral rights (oil & gas) into a significant amount of wealth.  Fifty years later they run (besides a bunch of businesses) one of the 10 largest ranching operations in the world.  They have the majority of their properties in places like Brazil, Argentina, Mexico in addition to the US, Australia and who knows where else. Millions of acres.

I wonder if the trade in non existent agricultural commodities (futures) were stopped - and all trading had to deal in actual physical items that really existed - if it would provide incentives to build up of stocks of these things. Right now the market can buy and sell crops that don't even exist - there isn't really an incentive to sit on a physical stockpile of goods.

With respect to lower food prices (on one side of the coin) or promoting gains in population (which I argue lower food prices would also do!) - I think that's a sticky subject. My ideal scenario here isn't one of humanitarian needs though - but rather of buffering supply shocks - building up supplies in good years and consuming them in bad years. Dumping food stocks into population growth only builds up a larger problem later.

If you want to see population down - the only credible route I can see is collapse. Early faster collapse is then a sensible policy choice. High food prices and food shortages and the associated conflicts and so on are then secondary effects to starting to correct population.

Hedging of agricultural futures was originally implemented in order to lessen the risk of financial ruin to farmers.  By hedging you could buy a price which guaranteed a profit but you then gave up the opportunity to sell that crop for more if the market went up.  If the market went down you avoided a big loss.  The purpose was to even out the good and bad years and thus avoid the bad years which could put you out of business.  I think eliminating this market function would make growing the global grain supply much more difficult.

While I agree that, in a long-term sense, quick collapse is better than a collapse that happens a hundred years from now I don't see that there can be any way to implement it as "a sensible policy choice" as it would by almost definition be a genocidal policy.  That might make rational sense, but not moral sense.

Of course, if you are arguing for quick collapse then also arguing for an increase in global grain reserves is contradictory in a certain sense.   Collapse will come quicker if we continue to eat lots of meat and burn corn in our cars after all.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster on September 10, 2013, 11:42:23 AM
Regarding industrial farming it is more efficient than sustainable methods any where not just in the US for instance.  Costs are even cheaper in the 3rd world if you can set up an operation there.

The costs being cheaper - yes, that stands to reason (although many key agricultural commodities are sourced globally, so I'm guessing mostly one means labour?).

Whether or not industrial farming is more efficient I think is more subject to debate - as it isn't sustainable - so how can it be more efficient long term? My understanding is the highest productivity can be realised by individuals micro-managing a piece of land - albeit that's a very labour intensive way to produce food. Computer controlled administration of irrigation and similar technologies may start to close that gap by tailoring intervention as precisely as possible to the very local conditions, rather than blanket application of moisture, fertiliser, pesticides etc.

That last area might also help manage with a lower level of fossil fuel inputs - though I think the problem is twofold, firstly a seriously heavy dependence on agro-chemicals to maintain higher yields, and a short term consumerist attitude where we don't really place any long term value on the land - it's simply another resource to exploit and consume. If it will be depleted in a century, who cares? (a small farmer in a family farming for many generations might, but a large corporation that thinks it can just buy more land might not).

Hedging of agricultural futures was originally implemented in order to lessen the risk of financial ruin to farmers.  By hedging you could buy a price which guaranteed a profit but you then gave up the opportunity to sell that crop for more if the market went up.  If the market went down you avoided a big loss.  The purpose was to even out the good and bad years and thus avoid the bad years which could put you out of business.  I think eliminating this market function would make growing the global grain supply much more difficult.

I'm going to have to go away and give that a bit of thought. The question I suppose is - when food prices soar - where is all the extra money being made? Farmers - or investment bankers?

We've got a financial class of parasites sitting at the top of the socioeconomic ladder, exerting undue influence upon the course of global affairs - notwithstanding that they don't produce a damn thing and can hardly be said to render a meaningful service either (beyond self enrichment and empowerment).

While I agree that, in a long-term sense, quick collapse is better than a collapse that happens a hundred years from now I don't see that there can be any way to implement it as "a sensible policy choice" as it would by almost definition be a genocidal policy.  That might make rational sense, but not moral sense.

I'm not going to argue for the merits of a genocidal policy - but history teaches us such policies are perfectly likely to arise as the strong empowered populations try to survive at the expense of any or all others. They won't be doing so necessarily in terms of responding to climate change, more as a competition for resources which require power and influence to try to retain. In other words - the conflicts will look like business as usual (just the driving pressures will gradually become ever stronger).

Of course, if you are arguing for quick collapse then also arguing for an increase in global grain reserves is contradictory in a certain sense.   Collapse will come quicker if we continue to eat lots of meat and burn corn in our cars after all.

I think we will continue to eat lots of meat and burn corn in cars - for the most part. Certainly we've managed to keep doing both in the face of common sense and plenty of evidence that the high resulting food prices are causing substantial social harm to others. To that extent my assessment of human behaviour lends to my expectation of relatively rapid and early collapse rather than being a policy hope.

If we were going to try a rational strategy for the species on a large scale, in my view we would fortify areas well within carrying capacity containing populations that had some notion of how to live sustainably and stockpile resources in those areas. The rest, we would let wither - while trying to achieve a softer landing and higher collapse floor in the more promising areas/peoples.

Question is - is that a genocidal policy, to the extent one permits suffering one in theory could try to alleviate? (I don't think it will happen either way - I think it's business as usual all the way to majority oblivion)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 10, 2013, 04:28:13 PM
ccg

Quote
Whether or not industrial farming is more efficient I think is more subject to debate - as it isn't sustainable - so how can it be more efficient long term?

I agree with your comment, but I was speaking in the sense of the typical short-term profit outlook of large businesses.  As to sustainable practices almost none of the farming performed anywhere in the world at any scale fits within a fairly moderately constrained sustainable criteria.  This is one of the problems with the sustainable concept.  It is very hard to actually do. 

Yes, labor is one factor but it is also less environmental regulation, corrupt officials, easier to exploit competition small farmers, no worker safety concerns, less to no taxes.

On the hedging issue I tried to describe how it started.  Today of course you have traders buying and selling commodity contracts just to make profits, not just farmers hedging to avoid crippling loses.  Big difference as you say.  Makes it much harder on the farmers too.

Quote
I'm not going to argue for the merits of a genocidal policy - but history teaches us such policies are perfectly likely to arise as the strong empowered populations try to survive at the expense of any or all others. They won't be doing so necessarily in terms of responding to climate change, more as a competition for resources which require power and influence to try to retain. In other words - the conflicts will look like business as usual (just the driving pressures will gradually become ever stronger).

Now you sound just like me.

Quote
If we were going to try a rational strategy for the species on a large scale, in my view we would fortify areas well within carrying capacity containing populations that had some notion of how to live sustainably and stockpile resources in those areas. The rest, we would let wither - while trying to achieve a softer landing and higher collapse floor in the more promising areas/peoples.

Question is - is that a genocidal policy, to the extent one permits suffering one in theory could try to alleviate? (I don't think it will happen either way - I think it's business as usual all the way to majority oblivion)

We'll be able to jointly author a book pretty soon (not that anyone would read it).
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Jmo on September 11, 2013, 02:36:36 AM
A few observations from downunder, just from the last week, and all on the one weather site:

"Wine grape growers on the NSW southern tablelands say the earliest bud burst in 40 years leaves their fruit more vulnerable to frosts in October. "

"Hot and dry weather devastating for wheat crops"

"Farmers on the southern tablelands of New South Wales are having to shoot their cattle because conditions have been so dry."

"Sydneysiders have been spoilt for warmth in their warmest start to spring on record."

I know this is only weather, but the long-term trends across the globe seem to speak for themselves.

Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 20, 2013, 06:59:51 PM
Now on a personal level I am not convinced that oysters are actually food (slimy things), but AGW in the form of ocean acidification is starting to cause serious problems for those farming them.

Quote
HILO, Hawaii — It appears at the end of a palm tree-lined drive, not far from piles of hardened black lava: the newest addition to the Northwest’s famed oyster industry.

Half an ocean from Seattle, on a green patch of island below a tropical volcano, a Washington state oyster family built a 20,000-square-foot shellfish hatchery.

Oyster operations in the Pacific Northwest are struggling due to acidification.  So at least one operation has relocated to Hawaii.  But this is the type of agriculture which really has limited places to run.

http://apps.seattletimes.com/reports/sea-change/2013/sep/11/oysters-hit-hard/ (http://apps.seattletimes.com/reports/sea-change/2013/sep/11/oysters-hit-hard/)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 21, 2013, 03:28:08 AM
JimD, The Craig Welch series is a very good bit of newspaper work. Acidification and it's effects on various shellfish are caused by a combination of decreased pH and local alkalinity conditions. Part of the reason for the surface ocean reaching aragonite undersaturation in the Pacific Northwest  is upwelling of old deep low pH (intermediate) waters but fresh water ( low alkalinity ) input from the Columbia River also plays a role.
 Pacific Oyster larva get all of their energy from a yolk sac the first few days of their lives. Acidification causes increased energy demands on the young larva that exceed the energy available in their yolk. They die at a point  called D-hinge stage about 4 days into development. At this stage of development they utilize aragonite for building shell but later in life they form calcite shell. So after the oyster grows to a size where it is utilizing calcite in it's shell it is much more resistant to the effects of acidification.
The oyster industry will pull through the acid test for the time being because in an aquaculture setting you can manipulate the variables( to a point). We in the wild fisheries will suffer a different fate. At this point Alaska Red King Crab looks to be the first wild fishery that will succumb to acidification. Because fishery managers will be forced to reduce quotas as the king crab larva suffer higher and higher mortality the fishery will close before the last crab disappears.The economics of chasing less and less crab in Bering Sea conditions will also come into play.  Maybe they will walk across the arctic ocean to the Atlantic and find better conditions but for Alaska the King Crab fishery may be terminal.
The conditions that drive the King Crab fishery into history will take about three decades to play out so there may be other species more vulnerable we haven't run adequate lab work ( stress tests ) on yet. Acidification is getting more press but Co2 emissions continue to rise unabated. I have been watching since 2004.
 I have a hard time getting people to understand why I think zero fossil fuel farming is an important pursuit. If we don't fix the problems on land there will be no rules , size limits , seasons , quotas or area closures that can preserve our fishing traditions. No sanctuary. You'd think a few more fishermen might stand up. Waiting       
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 21, 2013, 04:38:42 PM
sBruce,

Thanks, I learned a from that.  Though I still am not sure oysters are food I do like crabs and clams  :)  When I lived in Alaska for a time when I was young we used to go clamming on the Kenai peninsula.

I find it very interesting that you estimate that the crab industry only has about 30 years left in it.  This fits in very nicely with my estimates posted on the Forum that significant systemic collapse will be precipitated by the collapse of the industrial food system circa 2050.  Ocean fishing and aquaculture techniques are definitely industrial in nature and need to be taken into account.

Do you have any other estimates of collapse points for other major ocean fish stocks or sub-industries of fishing that will be impactful on global food supplies?
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 21, 2013, 06:12:25 PM
JimD, here is a link to the dissertation paper that I paraphrased. Check out the graphs pages 60,61 and 62 of the paper. I don't know other fisheries with quite that short a timeline.
https://digital.lib.washington.edu/researchworks/bitstream/handle/1773/22815/Poljak_washington_0250O_11591.pdf?sequence=1


Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD on September 23, 2013, 05:09:47 PM
I just came across a climate/environmental potential disaster in the making in the Argentine Patagonia.

This is a giant grassland about 4 times the size of California (400 million acres).  It has been used extensively for grazing, primarily sheep, for a long time.  As any one familiar with grazing operations they almost always end up overgrazing and damaging the land. Grazing lands are normally arid to semi-arid and cool to cold and holding moisture in the soil is difficult if the grass is eaten down to the ground all the time.  The American west is a good example of this kind of problem.

In Patagonia the overgrazing has been extensive and long-term.  This has promoted drought conditions all by itself and now with climate change kicking in it is worsening the droughty conditions and there are areas of the grassland (or former grassland I should say) which are near dust bowl conditions.  About 15 million acres are essentially sand dunes at this point.  This region which has average weather conditions which most of us would find challenging (cold and very high almost constant winds) is also now starting to experienced a drilling boom for natural gas (sounds kind of familiar doesn't it).  To give an example of the winds the yearly constant average in some locations is 22km/hr with frequent gusts over 100km/hr.  Mean temperatures in the south are as low as 5.4 C with yearly lows as low as -20 C.

Patagonia clothing and the Nature Conservancy are working there with farmers organizations to work towards restoration projects.  Hundreds of farming operations have gone bust over the last few years.  The climate change drought projections for 2030-2039 for this region look ugly in light of their current problems (Last link).

http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/southamerica/argentina/howwework/index.htm (http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/southamerica/argentina/howwework/index.htm)

http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/y8344e/y8344e09.htm (http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/y8344e/y8344e09.htm)

http://www.appropedia.org/The_Patagonian_Grassland_Conservation_Project (http://www.appropedia.org/The_Patagonian_Grassland_Conservation_Project)

http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2010/10/terrifying-drought-projections.html (http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2010/10/terrifying-drought-projections.html)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Tor Bejnar 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 (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.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD 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.

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/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/09/24/2665951/climate-change-fishermen-oceans/)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster 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/ (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.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Bruce Steele 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.   
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Bruce Steele 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.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter 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 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/24/us-mexico-floods-idUSBRE98K0DJ20130924)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD 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://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://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/corn-falls-outlook-bumper-crop-20362283)

http://www.nass.usda.gov/Newsroom/2013/06_28_2013.asp (http://www.nass.usda.gov/Newsroom/2013/06_28_2013.asp)   
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JackTaylor 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/ (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.


Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD 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 (http://www.thecropsite.com/reports/?id=2751&country=US)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter 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.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ritter 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)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: ccgwebmaster 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.
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: Laurent 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 (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/ (http://agfax.com/2013/09/30/usda-grain-stocks-corn-soybeans-both-down-17-from-2012/)
Title: Re: Weather and agriculture
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Anonymouse 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...
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele 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 (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 "
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: idunno on October 14, 2013, 10:38:12 AM
Article on ASI, the ocean, agriculture and FOOD:

http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.fr/2013/07/david-spratt-arctic-melt-hits-food.html (http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.fr/2013/07/david-spratt-arctic-melt-hits-food.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24538078)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.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.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://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)
http://news.yahoo.com/south-dakota-ranchers-reeling-cattle-losses-182945993.html (http://news.yahoo.com/south-dakota-ranchers-reeling-cattle-losses-182945993.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Neven on October 17, 2013, 10:16:09 PM
Wow, amazing. I believe a similar thing happened last year in Wales and England with sheep.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/3/034032/article)

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/pifc-mt5100713.php (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/pifc-mt5100713.php)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: dlen 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 (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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/huge-gmo-news_b_4129311.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter 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.  >:(
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.pnas.org/content/early/2013/10/15/1302584110.abstract)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/22/amazon-rain-forest-drying-out_n_4142882.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/22/amazon-rain-forest-drying-out_n_4142882.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity 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/ (http://qz.com/138384/climate-change-cost-you-the-mcdonalds-dollar-menu/)


Perhaps the average American will now sit up and take notice.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent 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/ (http://oceanacidification.noaa.gov/)

Laurent

Laurent
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/10/31/2864751/california-reservoirs-parched-water/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter 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
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Neven 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. :)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.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/ (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/31/win-shortage-morgan-stanley/3323451/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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& (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&)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc 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! 

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KumLH9kOpOI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KumLH9kOpOI)

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. 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc 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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KumLH9kOpOI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KumLH9kOpOI)

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?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.

 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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/ (http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/11/what-happens-when-the-world-dries-out/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele 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.   
   
   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc 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 (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.   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc 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 (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://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewTaxonomy.do?taxonomyID=3)

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

World maps on the major crops have already been posted.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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 (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/ (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/ (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 (http://www.iatp.org/files/2012_07_13_IATP_GrainReservesReader.pdf)

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 04, 2013, 07:39:30 AM
THE COMPLETE LIST OF CHINESE FOREIGN INVASIONS

0.

1.*

*Future battle based on the most recent translation of Sun Tzu's The Art of War, Chapter 1, Laying Plans.

Comment: A human wave attack carrying bamboo straws over 2525 years in development to date. Our Great Lakes don't stand a chance!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on November 04, 2013, 07:55:17 AM
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'd be inclined to agree with what I think JimD said - about countries tending to start to hoard (look at India and China right now?) and export bans. I'd agree with you that a society will not care about the suffering of others outside of that society - strangers can always go hang in times of social stress, but the powers that be cannot tolerate excessively large levels of hunger and want within those societies internally.

You can use the security apparatus only so far before you have your Arab spring event and the populace starts to rise up against you - in most cases (some nations like North Korea seem to manage to make the whole police state thing work long term without any uprising even as millions starve - I suspect the key to doing so is to move slowly and gradually with total ruthlessness).

It is therefore a priority for nations to contain social unrest and you can't typically do that solely through force, you need the bread and circuses (even North Korea needs some, I daresay).

There will be winners and losers, naturally - based on a combination of productivity and economic and military power. China is not well placed for food in the sense that it is so close to the margins even now for being able to feed itself (rising demand and climate change are rapidly shifting it towards net import in a big way) but it can use economic and military might to obtain and retain it's agricultural supplies (and the elites there assuredly make proper plans for these things, China must surely be a major logistical challenge to govern).

America should enjoy a position of relative privilege due to good production and economic and military strength, even if they are forced to relinquish their strangehold over a large chunk of the planet as they retreat before expanding Chinese influence.

Countries such as the UK though? A major net importer of food, likely to cling on for longer than most only due to political ties to the US (presuming the US can hold it together).

Egypt? Syria? Libya? Yemen? Somalia?

They fold first, but the nations that let them do so may underestimate the difficulties that it will bring. Suppose Africa collapses into chaos - Europe potentially later has a major phosphate problem as they mostly import from Morocco. Can they militarily control Morocco strongly enough to secure supplies? If that can be done for phospates can it be done for other key commodities?

Oil is another key commodity of great relevance to agriculture. The US is busy trying to ramp up domestic production to reduce it's reliance upon the Middle East. China is moving into Africa and I could see it offering military support to the Middle East nations if the US withdraws as it increases domestic supply (and the Middle East becomes increasingly volatile).

Again - what happens to Europe then? Where do they find their oil? Any remaining suppliers could practically dictate terms - and that means Russia, presuming they retain separate interests to China which seems reasonable.

Nations will try to withdraw into their own self interests and in doing so what few benefits globalisation and massive international trade bring will evaporate. How long it takes the house of cards to come tumbling down though, who knows - things haven't moved as quickly over the last couple of years as I expected them to in terms of the processes driving collapse (the trends are still very clear though).

I would argue Europe is deceptively vulnerable, largely on the basis of external resource dependencies and insufficient military power.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 04, 2013, 12:18:59 PM
I think war changed it's taste many years ago when warriors stopped being true warriors and total war became the reality of it's day. In the US, it happened during our Civil War, but it happened before those times in many places around our world. Surrender or be tortured and die, became surrender and some of you will be tortured and die was a reality of our ancient past, when men lost honour.

Let's try simple logic for a change! It's real easy to blame America for everything, but I have a simple question about global warming or so-called climate change. Considering the fact that global warming was known in the Reagan/Thatcher conservative days and Thatcher was a chemist calling it a greatest threat to mankind, it's ever faced, why didn't the US and the UK just remove the problem of people on our planet and most of the problem with a button at their control?

It's not hard to start a war and blame it on someone else. Why wasn't it done?

This may not seem like much to deal with this subject, but getting rid of enough people to decrease consumption and make more resources available to the people left is directly involved in the title of this thread. Just think about it and ask why wasn't it done! We could have had a Doomsday Parade.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on November 04, 2013, 01:10:25 PM
ccg, many good points. And you might be right about Europe, but I suspect they may be more resilient than we give them credit for.

As to hoarding, it is kind of in the eyes of the beholder--when is it hoarding and when is it 'prudent build of food stocks in the anticipation of coming shortages'?

It seems to me that if most countries had a reliable back-up supply of grains and some other relatively non-perishable food stuffs, that would make it less likely that there would be local and regional food shocks.

"America should enjoy a position of relative privilege"

Again, privileged Americans should enjoy a position of relative privilege. Most of the rest of us are a few paychecks from homelessness and food insecurity (if we aren't already there as are about 50 million so far). And, perhaps you haven't noticed, but we've become much more of a police state since 9/11. All urban police forces have been greatly militarized, especially with training in crowd control/suppression of varying levels of brutality. ('oogle 'food insecurity' and 'militarization' for more info on these subjects than you'll know what to do with.)

But yes, between having a military larger than the next ten largest militaries combined (at least by expense), and having some of the world's most productive crop lands, we have some advantages. But these are also more and more undermined by enormous debt, political incompetence, and failures on a number of other fronts.

(I honestly can't parse sentences like: "Surrender or be tortured and die, became surrender and some of you will be tortured and die was a reality of our ancient past, when men lost honour." If others think they can, they are more than welcome to address whatever point was trying to be made there.)

On the China thing, I obviously was not talking about military invasion, but that there was concern that they were planning to buy up rights to basic water supplies in the midwest. As the US and other western colonial powers have long learned, you don't always have to use direct military force to take over a country's resources--economic 'force' will often do just fine.

But as to their history of non-invasion, the Tibetans, Uyghurs and a number of other historically non-Han nationalities might disagree with that math. Of course, once you've been invaded and redefined as part of China, the Chinese are eager to have you and everyone else forget that you didn't join the empire completely willingly. But perhaps a tour of 3000+ years of Chinese history would take us a bit far afield from the main topic of the thread?

Mostly, China has done an amazing job of feeding about 20% of the world's population on about 9% of the world's arable land mostly without importing massive quantities of food (as my bro points out in one of the articles in the last source I cited--didn't even notice he had something in there till after I posted the link).

But a couple bad years there (in India, in Russia...) and they will be out buying up as much food on the global market as they can, and they have a lot of US $$$ to buy it with.

To circle back and connect all this to "CC, the ocean, ag, and food," one predicted outcome of even one degree of GW (or less) is the destabilization of the Nebraska (and other) Sand Hills. During the thermal optimum earlier in the Holocene, these were Sahara like dunes that blew around the great plains making unimpeded. Over the last few millennia, they have been mostly stabilized by deep rooted grasses that wetter, cooler conditions have allowed to thrive there. But the long drought that still has its grip on that region will eventually be too much even for those hearty grasses to endure, and enormous hills of sand will again start to migrate across some of the most productive land in the world, turning fields into deserts. Some of the conservation measures that were put in place since the dust bowl days will doubtless help slow some of that. But even those tree breaks won't be much of a match for hills of sand. And of course many of those tree breaks have been bulldozed or are succumbing themselves to the area's perma-drought.

And then we still have the collapse of the Hadley Cell system due to the opening of the Arctic Ocean (see I got ocean in there, too  :) ). Does anyone really think that a major re-distribution of where rain falls when and how much, in the Northern Hemisphere will not cause a major...disruption of world agriculture and fundamentally challenge humanity's ability to feed itself?

These are among the kinds of 'discontinuities' that make it unlikely that we will merely see a gradual decrease of 2, 4 or any other consistent percentage.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on November 04, 2013, 04:36:06 PM
Wili/ccg  good points.

As noted above the shear number of factors which impact food production make it almost impossible to predict long term yields in a comprehensively degrading system.  There are just too many interactions to model or quantify.  All significant trends are negative but a few and those others are flat.  The flattening of the yield curves is very troubling. None are rising at significant rates.  The general trend situation for literally hundreds of other less significant factors are also almost universally downward.  We may not be able to determine to an exact date where there will be a big drop off in production but we can conclude it is coming.  The old adage of "If it can't continue this way, it won't." is applicable.

Quote
These are among the kinds of 'discontinuities' that make it unlikely that we will merely see a gradual decrease of 2, 4 or any other consistent percentage.

Those numbers are most likely an average over time and they do not mean them to be taken literally on a year by year basis.  Noise (weather and other fluctuating factors) would prevent that.  One would also expect that the percentage would increase over time as many of the factors effecting production will slowly worsen over the same period - especially climate factors.  And, as you point out, catastrophic failure is possible as well, but I do not think we know the possibility of that.  But failure comes when the production and demand curves cross and that is coming one way or the other.

One item that can quickly provide a cushion with supplies are the various food to ethanol programs around the world and especially in the US.  The US ethanol program uses about 40% of the US corn crop.  As I have pointed out before that is about 20 days of global food consumption equivalent (over 5%).  The prime purpose of this program was not to provide fuel (a complete failure in EROEI terms) but rather as a form of corporate welfare.  By dramatically increasing the demand for corn it jumped grain prices globally and made a lot of money for industrial agriculture.   But as we approach the date of real food shortages (instead of distribution/affordability issues) the prices for grain are going to be permanently high and there will no longer be a need to run prices up by turning corn into ethanol.  I hope/expect that this will happen, but not for many years yet.  But, if lobbyists and corporate greed prevent the eventual cancelling of  such programs it just will result in moving the inevitable forward in time. 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on November 04, 2013, 09:31:49 PM
I largely agree with your assessment of corn ethanol. It is my impression that a number of otherwise pretty smart environmentalists really did think that this could be (or could be a necessary step toward a transitions to) a way to get the world of fossil fuels and support farmers at the same time. Early on, it looked to me that these (I have to assume well meaning) folks had made a deal with the devil, given eco-cover for a scheme that was, from the beginning, only really intended to further load down the corporate coffers of the major agri-business monstrosities.

On discontinuities, I guess I just meant that the world will likely mostly experience the future, not as a slow decline or as a sudden total catastrophe, but rather as a series of more or less sudden global crises, each of which is a major step down the ladder, but not all the way to the 'bottom.'

In between each down step, there will be some kind of effort to stabilize the system at the new, lower level.

To the extent these efforts at stabilization are successful, they will always be hailed as proof that the downturn is over, that the good times are on the way, and that we are about to take off to the Heavenly Mandated (but really God Damned) eternal ascent through limitless growth to consumerist paradise that is our inevitable and well deserved destiny. Obviously, such hopes will be continuously dashed, but the main populace (and even more, the press that tries to influence them) will constantly come back to that rapidly vanishing hope of for-ever expansion.

But who knows?

Maybe it will gradually deflate like yesterday's birthday balloon drifting ghostlike through empty rooms till drags against the floor slowly withers there to nothingness.

Or it might

just

go

POP!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on November 04, 2013, 10:11:39 PM
ccg, many good points. And you might be right about Europe, but I suspect they may be more resilient than we give them credit for.

Europe is hard to call. There are some very well governed nations in Europe, especially as you head north - and a collection of basket cases to the south, with the UK stuck on as a lump nobody can work out whether to scrape off or not.

In Europe's favour it does currently have significant agricultural production as a whole (not sure if it feeds itself offhand) and it seems to generally avoid pointless and expensive wars. Counting against it are major resource dependencies on other regions. So the question in my mind and where I think Europe will have major issues - is whether or not it can maintain access to those external resources given that they are required for agricultural production. Oil is less problematic than phosphates inasmuch as European nations typically have proper public transport (unlike the USA) and if the cost of private vehicles and air travel rises they are alternatives, leaving fossil fuels for food production and distribution. Phosphates are an issue period - but Europe would seem to be especially vulnerable - Russia, the US and China all produce roughly similar amounts to those they consume.

Again, privileged Americans should enjoy a position of relative privilege. Most of the rest of us are a few paychecks from homelessness and food insecurity (if we aren't already there as are about 50 million so far). And, perhaps you haven't noticed, but we've become much more of a police state since 9/11. All urban police forces have been greatly militarized, especially with training in crowd control/suppression of varying levels of brutality. ('oogle 'food insecurity' and 'militarization' for more info on these subjects than you'll know what to do with.)

I'm more up to speed with America than ideally I want to be. I know people there are poorer than the illusion presented to the world - but - they still enjoy a position of relative privilege. America still has the resources and even now - a poor American isn't that badly off compared to some countries. Only in the well governed northern European nations would I think it's a clear cut improvement not to be in America (and in certain specific cases in other European nations, particularly when it comes to if you need healthcare).

On the China thing, I obviously was not talking about military invasion, but that there was concern that they were planning to buy up rights to basic water supplies in the midwest. As the US and other western colonial powers have long learned, you don't always have to use direct military force to take over a country's resources--economic 'force' will often do just fine.

China is starting to flex it's military muscle increasingly. Furthermore both China and Russia are rapidly modernising and upgrading their armed forces - they clearly perceive some need to do so in the impending future. I suspect China will favour soft power - diplomacy and currency - and resort to military power only when they are attacked or when they think it absolutely necessary. That said - I wouldn't be surprised to see a rise in Chinese nationalism - as a new superpower is born - just as we see American nationalism so strong in recent history.

But a couple bad years there (in India, in Russia...) and they will be out buying up as much food on the global market as they can, and they have a lot of US $$$ to buy it with.

Not Russia - they are a substantial agricultural exporter with plenty of slack - and also a major fossil fuel exporter. I think Russia is actually sitting very pretty for the future - even better than the US potentially, if they can keep out of expensive wars and keep the Chinese looking at the rest of the world (should be doable, given how many warheads Russia has). Their main long term risk is a large land border that cannot be realistically secured.

India runs risks but my understanding is they are actively stockpiling. That isn't to say they are letting poor people get to the food... India is arguably even worse than the US when it comes to their attitudes towards the poor.

I might have strayed off topic for this thread into geopolitics too much - but it's all interconnected in the end. Climate change - extreme weather events - abrupt climatic shifts - it all feeds back into food in the end, and from there into resources and social stresses and collapse. A complex tangle of positive feedbacks of all sorts (in different "systems") slowed mostly at this stage only by human ingenuity and willpower (which paradoxically also drives us to this state).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on November 05, 2013, 02:31:57 AM
Yes, southern Europe will be in increasing trouble. Not only are their economies and politics something of a mess, they also are at the cutting edge of the shift north of the Sahara essentially into Europe--things are already hotter and drier in most of the Mediterranean countries than during historic norms and that is likely to just keep getting worse. And they are also likely to be the first places people from MENA go (if they can) as things get even more unlivable in most of those countries.

When I mentioned Russia parenthetically, I had the 2010 drought in mind. That time they just stopped exporting wheat (with arguably major political ramifications abroad--Arab Spring and all that...). The strongest heat waves are not going to be getting less intense going forward. The next time they may not only stop exporting but also start importing. But, yes, they do have a lot of gas and oil to trade. Good for them. But the effect on the price of food globally and so on the stability of many countries and regions if/when Russia turns from a grain exporter to importer for even a year could be extreme.

On India--what can one say. Yes, they have grain stores on the books, but according to some sources I've seen there is lots of corruption and incompetence associated. A lot of it goes to waste (it's hard to keep things from rotting in the tropic, and there are always lots of hungry rats...). Last I heard, they were using up their main northern Aquifer so fast it was falling at a rate of about 40 feet a year and was down some hundreds of feet or more already (though I haven't checked on those stats recently. When they can no longer pump water from that source, it has been estimated that about a hundred million people will die. And then the monsoons are likely to be shifting as the NoHem weather systems gets kicked to sh!t by the climatic effect of having a new ocean at the top of the world. Northern India is also one of the heavily populated places on the planet that is closest to hitting lethal wbts of 35 C (they get up in the 30s already, iirc). So it doesn't take much of an increase to make any productive work essentially impossible.

They are also next to Pakistan and Bangladesh. Need I say more?

But as you say so eloquently at the end of your post, it's a tangled, complicated mess, and any number of events or decisions could improve or deteriorate the national, regional and global conditions we're talking about.

Meanwhile, here's another treatment from CP on the report referenced up-thread:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/11/04/2882901/leaked-ipcc-report/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/11/04/2882901/leaked-ipcc-report/)

Eating More With Less: Leaked IPCC Report Confirms Climate Change Will Shrink World’s Food Supply

Quote
climate change could exacerbate poverty, strain water supplies, make extreme weather more common and increase conflict around the world. Cities are most vulnerable to climate change’s effects, according to the report, along with the world’s most impoverished communities.

I bet if their conclusion was that somehow the worlds riches people would be the most severely and immediately threatened, suddenly we would start seeing all sorts of effective action to deal with CC. But predictions that the poorest are going to suffer yet more will be greeted by most with barely a shrug.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on November 05, 2013, 03:07:18 PM
Wili,

Just for accuracy I wanted to point out that your 40 feet above should be 4 feet.  Just over a meter a year in the worst locations in India (maybe 5 ft in a few places).  Which is catastrophic.  Part of the cause is a political pork barrel choice to provide free electricity to farmers pumping deep water for irrigation (they are pumping water from 3000 ft (1 km) in some places - that is expensive).  It promotes unrestrained use of the aquifer as electricity costs don't count in trying to make a profit.  Stupid.  There are also areas of the north China plain (their equivalent of the US mid-west) where aquifers are dropping a meter a year.  And we all know about the Ogallala in the US.  Very big problems coming in all three places.  20-30 years it gets ugly.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on November 05, 2013, 04:06:11 PM
Bruce

I saw the below comment on your Carbon thread and did not want to disrupt it so I moved it over here.

Quote
Mea culpa, you can see my boat on the video( linked in the article ) 
 I burn lots of fuel and as a result doing what I do for a living causes me a certain amount of guilt. I try to farm and put resources into perfecting low carbon farming technics but the only way I have figured to reduce my fuel consumption as a fisherman is to fish less. Fishing pays about 10 to 1 compared to farming. After twenty  days diving I will put the boat on the trailer and not use it for another year.
 The farm has 4 listed species, most of the land is undisturbed riparian southern cottonwood forest..and willows. I have never deep tilled and as a result the reptiles , owls, and critters dependent on small rodents do very well. This year badgers showed up. There are beaver and endanger steelhead in the river on the back of the property.
 It is very difficult to balance the good with the bad.  Every farmer and most fishermen think about what kind of shape the world we leave behind will be in. Most don't feel guilt over burning fuel, most don't study the carbon cycle. I have to do better, I know it , I hope more people begin to understand how many of the little birds, reptiles, fish are headed over the brink. I have to do better     

Your comment about your boat sitting 11+ months of the year made me think of the below.

When I was farming at the end of the year a couple of times I made an attempt to calculate how many btu's of energy were consumed in the production and distribution of the vegetables I grew.  My farm was small and I sold at farmers markets and through a small CSA.  I, like you, was trying to farm in as sustainable a fashion as possible.  So the idea was how efficient I could be in terms of fossil fuel use.

In comparison it is certainly true that a human/animal powered subsistence farmer can, most of the time, feed himself and his family (with their labor included) and occasionally produce excess he can trade for other goods.  But not much more than that is possible.  And it is a hard life.

When you start adding in machinery, whether animal powered or not, you also have to start including the embedded energy of that equipment.  Fossil fuels in some form are needed for the manufacturer of that equipment.  When that equipment evolved into steam powered threshing and such there was another big jump in the embedded energy.  And so on right up to todays behemoth equipment.  The same equipment progression above occurred in the commercial fishing industry.

Obviously the modern farming/fishing equipment used for production and distribution cannot be made and used in a strictly sustainable sense.  But how does it stack up against the modern organic semi-sustainable farming operation?

Better than I would have ever expected.  If, for arguments sake, we temporarily set aside the climate change issue of carbon emissions and over use of critical items like phosphate and just look at btu's one finds that the industrial system of farming/distribution is pretty damned efficient.  If our only concern is cheaply feeding large numbers of people.

I was not able to come even close.  I have seen articles written by university ag depts. which seem to indicate that the giant farms in Calif can grow vegetables and ship them to the east coast and sell them in Cosco and use less energy doing it than I did farming in Virginia.  The more equipment (tractors especially) I added to my farm the more efficient I got. But I could never approach a big industrial farming operation.

One can certainly question the source of the figures and how well they calculated the embedded energy but it shows how efficient big machinery is (with the exceptions mentioned above kept in the back of our minds).  And then there is the energy used by the consumer coming to get the produce.  One of the things which struck me was all the big SUV's coming to the farmers markets for $10-20 of vegetables.  Not efficient.  And CSA's are a terrible waste of fuel.  One of our neighboring farms had a 350 member CSA where the members drove to the farm to pick up their produce each week.  Some drove more than 70 miles round trip - this is really a form of tourism!  Grocery stores are much more efficient.  If you are going to use vehicles to get to your shopping locations it is best to have everything you need in one place and not far away.

I think one can make an argument (and I don't like to make it much) that as long as we have our current huge population there is no point that the arguments of sustainability and climate change (at least until it is much worse) can make which can overcome this critical issue.  It is just not possible to grow/harvest enough food in an efficient fashion to feed everyone except by industrial methods.  It is politically unacceptable to do anything else as to change course is to condemn untold numbers of people to death.   Now the Reality is such that we do not really have this choice to make that we think we do.  We do not have a choice of continuing BAU to infinity.  We can choose to avoid a lot of pain associated with adapting now but that means we actually are choosing to let the next generation or the one after suffer many times the pain we would now.  I am confident our lack of courage will have us choose the later.

Don't let me depress you however.  Keep up the good work as the knowledge you gain will benefit someone at some point in the future.  Trying to do the right thing is always the right thing to do.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on November 05, 2013, 05:20:24 PM
Jim, I wish you had been my next door neighbor while you farmed, I am sure I would have learned much. I also wish I was computer literate while you were posting on "the oil drum" campfire.
 I understand the efficiency issue somewhat but it is based on scale. Big tractors demand large landholdings. I watched my grandfather try his damnedest to keep up. Even at a thousand acres and a equipment yard of over an acre he eventually went under. My strong desire to farm has a strong emotional part due to the pain I witnessed as the family farm went down. It took me thirty years of hard work and no small amount of luck to finally get some acreage to give it a try myself.
 I have no illusions about feeding large numbers of people with the low carbon technics I am working with. But from what I have learned about the carbon cycle we have to reduce fossil fuel emission to near zero within 40-50 years. Many many people will not make it  ( they will starve ) but unless much more effort is placed on zero carbon food production technics now while we can afford to experiment
there will be no leveling out in the human population once we begin our inevitable decline.
 The boat is a bit of a security blanket for me, it is very much a part of  who I am and what I have done with my life. My stature in the harbor drops quickly if I don't , at least on occasion , put my wetsuit back on. My ability to carry the acidification message is dependent on me being able to call myself a fisherman. I am far better read than many people in academia re. acidification but my ability to address the political process is dependent on my stature as a fisheries representative . It takes many many years to be able to stand up and say I represent fishermen, my peers can be rather ruthless to anyone without a lot of years under their belt ( weightbelt ).Diving is probably the single most dangerous job in the U.S., I have lost dozens of friends, 40 years qualifies me as both tough and kinda crazy. I will spend my remaining years trying to do something about the impending disaster for the oceans I love. The crazy part will serve me well. 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on November 05, 2013, 07:57:09 PM
Thanks for the correction, Jim. I must have seen something about decadal rates of water table loss in India and got that in my head. This article mentions a drop of 1.5 meters per year over the last decade in China, though I see that is now a decade old. http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/WORMKA/ (http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/WORMKA/)

I agree that it is hard to see how alternative methods could be geared up and efficient enough to provide food for all. But part of what has to be done, I would say, is both change some of where food is produced (more urban farms, fruit and nut trees in yards...) and where people live relative to where the food is (see Astyk's "50 Million Farmers" about getting more people on the land). But certainly none of this is easy. I think you also have to balance various measures of efficiency with considerations of resilience.

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 05, 2013, 08:52:04 PM
Farms are just like any other possessions a person can own, or perhaps trappings is a better term. A person can own their possessions or their possessions can own them. I value my freedom more than any bobble.

Been there and done that is all I need to know about farming and fishing. I'm too old and wise to repeat my past mistakes. Besides being hard work, the slaughter involved in the process is too much for my sensitive heart to bear. There is nothing wrong with just wanting to smell the flowers and enjoying our Earth. That doesn't destroy anything.

I remember a pollution project growing oysters being axed in New Jersey, because they were afraid people would gather and eat the polluted oysters. The concept of using oysters to clean up past pollution is simple enough, but what is so complicated about locating the source of present pollution and stopping it? Is it really that complicated to inform people to not eat those oysters? I understand the human greed concept, but can't they simply hire a human watchdog in that area to prevent a scoundrel harvesting and selling tainted oysters to the public? I just shake my head!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on November 05, 2013, 11:29:09 PM
Troll
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 06, 2013, 08:53:25 PM
This body only has four cheeks on it, so there will not be another turned.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on November 11, 2013, 05:58:26 PM
Bruce  I think you will find this very interesting.

The Devolution of the Seas
 
The Consequences of Oceanic Destruction

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140164/alan-b-sielen/the-devolution-of-the-seas (http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140164/alan-b-sielen/the-devolution-of-the-seas)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on November 12, 2013, 05:21:47 PM
Stumbled over this - apologies if it came up on the forum already:

http://www.telegram.com/article/20131102/NEWS/311029802/1052 (http://www.telegram.com/article/20131102/NEWS/311029802/1052)

I thought one key part makes the problem clear:

Quote
On the food supply, the new report finds that benefits from global warming may be seen in some areas, like northern lands that are now marginal for food production. But it adds that overall, global warming could reduce agricultural production by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century.

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, according to the United Nations, and many of those people in developing countries acquire the money to eat richer diets.

So let's cut supply by 2% per decade and boost demand 14% per decade and see how long that lasts...? That's nearly 2% more pressure per year on average - and notwithstanding scope in the system to buffer this (theoretically, if more affluent peoples cared about less affluent ones) - I don't see how you can get more than a decade or two out of things?

And that assuming no sudden shocks or abrupt transitions in the system, which I assume to be at least possible if not likely as a result of changes in the Arctic.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 12, 2013, 06:14:52 PM
Stumbled over this - apologies if it came up on the forum already:

http://www.telegram.com/article/20131102/NEWS/311029802/1052 (http://www.telegram.com/article/20131102/NEWS/311029802/1052)

I thought one key part makes the problem clear:

Quote
On the food supply, the new report finds that benefits from global warming may be seen in some areas, like northern lands that are now marginal for food production. But it adds that overall, global warming could reduce agricultural production by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century.

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, according to the United Nations, and many of those people in developing countries acquire the money to eat richer diets.

So let's cut supply by 2% per decade and boost demand 14% per decade and see how long that lasts...? That's nearly 2% more pressure per year on average - and notwithstanding scope in the system to buffer this (theoretically, if more affluent peoples cared about less affluent ones) - I don't see how you can get more than a decade or two out of things?

And that assuming no sudden shocks or abrupt transitions in the system, which I assume to be at least possible if not likely as a result of changes in the Arctic.

Economics, like many things, is something someone has to study to understand. The assumption that farming is near capacity is bogus. I proved it with data on a thread when someone mentioned the UK and showed with details that production increased twice your decadal amount in the year following a policy to stop paying farmers not to grow crops. Farmers are paid about a fifth of what they produce in food value prices and the industry of feeding people is not going away. The people making that 80% will work out any problems of supply. Those breadbasket areas of our Earth are the result of cooling and not warming. As the Earth warms, those areas will migrate to higher latitudes. That doesn't mean warming is a good thing, it just means some pick the wrong bogeyman, worrying about nothing, when there are real problems ahead of us. Our world has the resources and technology to make many times the food we presently do. We can even make our oceans and waters more productive, if we stopped and reversed our destruction.   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on November 12, 2013, 08:14:53 PM
Ccg, the 2% decline and 14% increase was up thread post # 188 by JimD. I said the same sort of numbers would draw alarms if they described a fish population.
JimD, I tried your devolution article but it's to big a file for me and the I-pad dumps the file. I googled it and I got dumped so it isn't an error in the link you provided.
ggelsrinc, you caught me at a weak moment when you described my farm as "trappings" "a bobble" and as such some manifestation of my ego. Ergo, I took it personal. I could have ignored you but I was at the heart doctors office at  the time , got angry ,didn't and haven't really gotten over it.  After 3 days my heart went back into rhythm and I will try to ignore future insults or at least not return them. You sure as shit didn't send me into A-fib but brother you sure didn't help.     
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Theta on November 13, 2013, 02:42:40 PM
Stumbled over this - apologies if it came up on the forum already:

http://www.telegram.com/article/20131102/NEWS/311029802/1052 (http://www.telegram.com/article/20131102/NEWS/311029802/1052)

I thought one key part makes the problem clear:

Quote
On the food supply, the new report finds that benefits from global warming may be seen in some areas, like northern lands that are now marginal for food production. But it adds that overall, global warming could reduce agricultural production by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century.

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, according to the United Nations, and many of those people in developing countries acquire the money to eat richer diets.

So let's cut supply by 2% per decade and boost demand 14% per decade and see how long that lasts...? That's nearly 2% more pressure per year on average - and notwithstanding scope in the system to buffer this (theoretically, if more affluent peoples cared about less affluent ones) - I don't see how you can get more than a decade or two out of things?

And that assuming no sudden shocks or abrupt transitions in the system, which I assume to be at least possible if not likely as a result of changes in the Arctic.

I am confident that there will still be some marginal areas on earth that will remain undamaged, or perhaps benefit, from a rapid transition to a new climate, with rapid CH4 release probably acting as an exception to this rule, and any areas that are affected badly might see some recovery if natural variation is in our favor, like it was this year with the Arctic Ice. However I hope that there are no rapid occurrences with the climate, although hoping for a slow transition to a new climate state may be meaningless because the ending is the same.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: TerryM on November 13, 2013, 04:30:29 PM
Theta
I think that rather than rapid or gradual climate change we have to consider a chaotic period before things settle into a new pattern. In my opinion this may be more difficult to adapt to than anything short of full blown runaway global warming.
It seems to me as though we're experiencing this now and I expect it to worsen going forward.
Terry
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on November 14, 2013, 12:05:19 AM
Theta
I think that rather than rapid or gradual climate change we have to consider a chaotic period before things settle into a new pattern. In my opinion this may be more difficult to adapt to than anything short of full blown runaway global warming.
It seems to me as though we're experiencing this now and I expect it to worsen going forward.
Terry

I think one ought to keep in mind we should probably expect chaotic operation and shocks to the system for quite a while in human terms. There are multiple tipping points and thresholds operating on different timescales with different processes driving them. I don't think we're going to be so fortunate as to just need to weather the sort of one off climatic shocks that wiped out ancient civilisations given how much we have perturbed the system relative to those episodes.

My gut feeling is that we can expect most of the rest of this century to be defined by substantial shocks and instability in the earth system - with perhaps a few outliers in the next century or two and beyond. That said - the perception of the changes will diminish massively as modern civilisation collapses and people only perceive their immediate locality.

@Bruce Steele - thanks for drawing my attention to those numbers having already been brought up, apologies to all for the duplication (pretty busy atm, so not participating fully and maybe shouldn't at all for a while).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on November 14, 2013, 05:10:07 AM
Another data point on future problems in food production.

Just to review for those who may have forgotten or not been aware of it.  The common view, in the US at least, is that the American mid-west is the most fertile large growing region in the world.  This is actually not accurate in a critical sense.  While the American mid-west is farmed in a way that results in massive production we are doing so in a very unsustainable fashion as most are aware.  One critical future problem in our mid-west (absent any consideration of climate change) is the amount of top soil left.  As many of your are aware this top soil issue will become critical in some areas in the next few decades.

If we jump over to the North China plain we find the greatest accumulation of prime top soil in the world.  A yellow silt-loam which gives the great Yellow River its name.  This top soil is in places over 1000 ft thick (that is not a misprint - The best in the US mid-west was about 100 ft when farmers first arrived).  As some have noted this area of China has been farmed for a good 4 thousand years in what could up to fairly recent decades have been described as a sustainable fashion.  A bit of an exaggeration perhaps, but a fair point.   Properly taken care of this critical resource could be expected to remain a key production area for the duration of human civilization.  But will it?

Quote
....Four-fifths of China’s water is in the south, notably the Yangzi river basin. Half the people and two-thirds of the farmland are in the north, including the Yellow River basin. Beijing has the sort of water scarcity usually associated with Saudi Arabia: just 100 cubic metres per person a year. The water table under the capital has dropped by 300 metres (nearly 1,000 feet) since the 1970s.

China is using up water at an unsustainable rate. Thanks to overuse, rivers simply disappear. The number of rivers with significant catchment areas has fallen from more than 50,000 in the 1950s to 23,000 now. As if that were not bad enough, China is polluting what little water it has left. The Yellow River is often called the cradle of Chinese civilisation. In 2007 the Yellow River Conservancy Commission, a government agency, surveyed 13,000 kilometres (8,000 miles) of the river and its tributaries and concluded that a third of the water is unfit even for agriculture. Four thousand petrochemical plants are built on its banks.

The water available for use is thus atrocious. Song Lanhe, chief engineer for urban water-quality monitoring at the housing ministry, says only half the water sources in cities are safe to drink. More than half the groundwater in the north China plain, according to the land ministry, cannot be used for industry, while seven-tenths is unfit for human contact, ie, even for washing. In late 2012 the Chinese media claimed that 300 corpses were found floating in the Yellow River near Lanzhou, the latest of roughly 10,000 victims—most of them (according to the local police) suicides—whose bodies have been washing downstream since the 1960s.

Quote
...China is hoping to follow America into a shale-gas revolution. But each shale-gas well needs 15,000 tonnes of water a year to run. China is also planning to build around 450 new coal-fired power stations, burning 1.2 billion tonnes of coal a year. The stations have to be cooled by water and the coal has to be washed. The grand total is 9 billion tonnes of water. China does not have that much available.....

Not enough water for drinking and washing, not enough for growing food, not enough for fracking, not enough for industry, and not enough for the coal plants. Do I dare mention what climate change is  going to  do to the amount of water coming out of the Himalaya's which fills all the rivers of Asia?

Chinese actions attempting to manage this crises will certainly create significant problems with neighboring countries.  See the below article for more.

http://www.economist.com/news/china/21587813-northern-china-running-out-water-governments-remedies-are-potentially-disastrous-all (http://www.economist.com/news/china/21587813-northern-china-running-out-water-governments-remedies-are-potentially-disastrous-all)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on November 14, 2013, 03:05:45 PM
If you haven't yet, please do read the article Jim linked to. Here's the passage that got my attention:

Quote
The water table under the capital has dropped by 300 metres (nearly 1,000 feet) since the 1970s.

And when they start turning to the Brahmaputra and the Mekong, conflict (to put it mildly) is sure to ensue.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor on November 14, 2013, 09:19:18 PM
And when they start turning to the Brahmaputra and the Mekong, conflict (to put it mildly) is sure to ensue.
https://www.chinadialogue.net/blog/5678-China-gives-green-light-to-new-era-of-mega-dams/en (https://www.chinadialogue.net/blog/5678-China-gives-green-light-to-new-era-of-mega-dams/en)
"Notable is the lack of mention of the more contentious dam slated for the “great bend” in China, before the Yarlung Zangbo in Tibet (Brahmaputra in India) swings round into India and through the world’s deepest canyon. Here, a massive 48,000-megawatt dam (over twice the size of the Three Gorges dam) is under active consideration but is likely to be built only after related infrastructure and ultra-high voltage power transmission lines are complete."
Motuo Dam and it may not be built ??

The Zangmu Dam on the Brahmaputra (Yarlung Zangbo) started in 2009 due for completion 2015.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zangmu_Dam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zangmu_Dam)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on November 17, 2013, 02:09:09 AM
We have talked a number of times about overpopulation and the projected increases in population by 2050 and further about how difficult it is going to be to feed all those people.  Africa is expected to experience huge population increases over the next 40 years and food production there will have to increase dramatically if the continent is not to experience massive famines.

One of the thoughts many have had about farming in Africa is that currently the amount of arable land there that is being irrigated is only 5%.  This implies that there is huge upward potential just by introducing large scale irrigation as is practiced in many other areas of the world.  But can it be done?

A new research report has been published which contains the first continent wide quantitative analysis of the amount of aquifer storage and potential borehole yields.  Africa is not suitable for large numbers of dams to store water for irrigation and much of the continent does not have large numbers of free flowing rivers.  Thus water for drinking and other human consumption as well as farming must come from the same groundwater.  The analysis shows ..

Quote
..Groundwater resources are unevenly distributed: the largest groundwater volumes are found in the large sedimentary aquifers in the North African countries Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Sudan...


Thus the majority of the ground water is located in the most inhospitable part of the continent and far from where the majority of the people live and where population growth is going to be greatest. 

A crushing fact is that analysis shows that for most areas the groundwater sources are only suitable for hand pumping (0.1 to 0.3 liters per second) and are not suitable for pumped irrigation.

Quote
Nevertheless, for many African countries appropriately sited and constructed boreholes can support handpump abstraction (yields of 0.1–0.3 l s−1), and contain sufficient storage to sustain abstraction through inter-annual variations in recharge. The maps show further that the potential for higher yielding boreholes ( > 5 l s−1) is much more limited. Therefore, strategies for increasing irrigation or supplying water to rapidly urbanizing cities that are predicated on the widespread drilling of high yielding boreholes are likely to be unsuccessful.


So not only is providing water for the increasing population going to be very difficult but pumping large amounts of water at high pressure for crops seems to be a non-starter.  This situation does not bode well for large increases in food production in Africa.     

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/2/024009/article (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/2/024009/article)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on November 17, 2013, 03:02:01 AM
While we're on the water kick, I found this a little amusing - while also actually rather serious in implication:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/17/jubilee-deluge-saved-us-from-drought (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/17/jubilee-deluge-saved-us-from-drought)

I think it serves to highlight why most regions will experience problems - it isn't the absolute forces at work that are the problem, more that all the existing infrastructure and behaviour patterns are built around the predictable climate that historically could be relied upon. That is to say that the UK could in principle store enough water to handle these droughts but never having needed to there is no infrastructure to do so, nor signs of any haste to remedy that.

The same principle applies in reverse with the capability of a nation to withstand severe flooding. In the UK, the government actually cut on flood defences despite a pretty cast iron economic case in their favour (much cheaper to protect than to rebuild, at least for now).

In theory in general, I would note that low energy desalination processes (someone brought up graphene in this context some months ago) could theoretically alter the ground water situation over the next couple of decades if it were the only force at work and the only problem the world faced - it would in principle be soluble.

In practice, I don't expect to see the existing infrastructure changing much - the construction timescales of large projects combined with the inability of the mainstream community to perceive and assess the scale of the risk suggest to me that human response to climate change in terms of threat to infrastructure is going to prove to be somewhere between almost entirely lacking and woefully inadequate.

That - and the fact that a myriad of other problems will be besieging nations. Even if nations truly wanted to configure their infrastructure into a format capable of meeting the needs of the coming century - it likely won't be an option due to other constraints.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on November 17, 2013, 06:30:31 AM
"somewhere between almost entirely lacking and woefully inadequate."

Nicely put. I feel inadequate to judge the viability of these technologies at this point. Someone somewhere (sorry for the vagueness) at some point proposed that some such highly efficient desalination plants be use, along with pumping stations, to created vast new forests, lakes and grasslands in the dry interiors of continents such as Australia and Asia to both combat  SLR and biologically sequester carbon. I'm generally suspicious of such grand schemes, but there is little we should rule out at this point, I suppose.

Meanwhile, here's another cheery piece from McPherson:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDdhL3hLP-M&feature=youtu.be (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDdhL3hLP-M&feature=youtu.be)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on November 17, 2013, 03:14:22 PM
ccg

I was just reading yesterday that Northern Europe and especially the UK have seen a string of 6 consecutive years with above average precipitation (possibly due to the shrinking Arctic sea ice).  For the UK this is the longest streak of above average since records have been kept.  If you can't get efforts for flood control in those circumstances?

Wili, I have read that there is significant ground water under large parts of the Outback in Australia but it is un-useable due to its very high salt content..  There must not be any efficient way to desalinate and pump it up or someone would have done it since they need water so badly.  Where I was raised in Wyoming there are areas where the groundwater is also to salty to bring to the surface.  I imagine there are many places in the world with that issue.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Anonymouse on November 24, 2013, 06:41:54 PM
Hi ccg,
i just wanted to say that I agree with you and others that geopolitics are very much intertwined with the future of food.  As climate becomes more unstable, causing shortages and price increases, there is liklihood of conflict and political instability, which can cause famines, as seen in various African countries, during the Holomodor, etc.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on November 25, 2013, 04:29:45 PM
Bruce you will love the pics in this link about crabs in Australia

http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20131118-australias-sea-of-crimson-claws (http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20131118-australias-sea-of-crimson-claws)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 25, 2013, 05:15:59 PM
Infested!- Insane Mouse Plague! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOwinLWrEIw#ws)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: domen_ on November 26, 2013, 12:54:35 AM
Meanwhile, here's another cheery piece from McPherson:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDdhL3hLP-M&feature=youtu.be (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDdhL3hLP-M&feature=youtu.be)
I think McPherson doesn't have good evidence for what he claims. He says we're heading towards extinction, but there's no good evidence for that.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 26, 2013, 01:44:51 AM
Meanwhile, here's another cheery piece from McPherson:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDdhL3hLP-M&feature=youtu.be (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDdhL3hLP-M&feature=youtu.be)
I think McPherson doesn't have good evidence for what he claims. He says we're heading towards extinction, but there's no good evidence for that.

McPherson lied throughout his presentation and is a nutcase, IMHO. The general point is correct that our world faces real problems, but his presentation is so bad the enemy could easily shoot holes through it. We have real problems on planet Earth and we don't need people inventing more problems just by thinking they are doing good. Sometimes we have to separate the wheat from the chaff and I say kick their asses back to doomsday. They aren't my friends and that should be obvious. I want results and people like that are as bad as Denialistas, trying to invent reality.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on November 26, 2013, 02:24:18 AM
domen, some of his evidence is better than others. But a lot of it is straight out of peer reviewed materials. It is more valuable to pick out a point that you think is particularly good (or bad) than to just sweep his whole presentation under the rug because you don't like where it leads (if that is your reason for rejecting it).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Neven on November 26, 2013, 08:10:07 AM
Sorry for removing the nonsense, but it's getting tiresome.

I'm under the impression that ggelsrinc is here mostly to pick fights and vent frustration, which is why it's important to not give him a stick, especially not out of nowhere. Just ignore each other, or go find an echo chamber that's better suited to your tastes.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 26, 2013, 08:14:37 AM
Sorry for removing the nonsense, but it's getting tiresome.

I'm under the impression that ggelsrinc is here mostly to pick fights and vent frustration, which is why it's important to not give him a stick, especially not out of nowhere. Just ignore each other, or go find an echo chamber that's better suited to your tastes.

Try removing more nonsense! Isn't there a way to PM people on this site?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on November 28, 2013, 04:27:37 PM
Back on the specific topics of CC, oceans, food...

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/11/26/2999611/plankton-ocean-food-web/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/11/26/2999611/plankton-ocean-food-web/)

[size=150]Rapid Plankton Decline Puts The Ocean’s Food Web In Peril[/size]

Quote
The dramatic decline happened in the North Atlantic in first half of this year, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told the AP. It also coincided with sea surface temperatures from the mid-Atlantic to the Gulf of Maine that were the third-warmest on record, after an all-time high in 2012. Further south in the Atlantic there was more cooling, but overall warming throughout the oceans remains on a steady upward trend.

The result is earlier warming events in the oceans over the past few years and NOAA scientists suspect the changes are affecting plant and animal reproduction.
“The first six months of 2013 can be characterized by new extremes in the physical and biological environment
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on November 28, 2013, 07:47:36 PM
You may want to sign this petition ! Anyway it is worth to have a look very interesting and artistic !

http://www.penelope-jolicoeur.com/2013/11/take-5-minutes-and-sign-this.html (http://www.penelope-jolicoeur.com/2013/11/take-5-minutes-and-sign-this.html)
http://www.bloomassociation.org/en/ (http://www.bloomassociation.org/en/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on November 29, 2013, 06:51:49 PM
Neven has posted an exceptionally well delivered lecture in ASIB that would help inform this discussion. I would encourage everyone to read it here....

http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/11/in-memoriam-albert-a-bartlett.html#comments (http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/11/in-memoriam-albert-a-bartlett.html#comments)

Simply put, most of the ways that we see our problems and possible solutions avoid the real issue facing human civilization. We are rapidly approaching a crisis and we need to immediately begin addressing it.

Anyone, and I mean anyone, who disagrees with the fundamental premise of this lecture is simply not worth listening to.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on December 02, 2013, 04:43:10 PM
Well the US corn crop is almost 100% harvested now and we blew the doors off so to speak.  A new record.

900 million bushels over the last record.  14 BILLION bushels   that is a lot of corn

Now the rest of the story is that corn futures are dropping like a rock  -  down 40%.  A common result of this is that next year the amount of land planted to corn will drop significantly and cause a smaller harvest next year.

http://news.yahoo.com/usda-2013-corn-harvest-record-13-9b-bushels-173505758--finance.html (http://news.yahoo.com/usda-2013-corn-harvest-record-13-9b-bushels-173505758--finance.html)

Drought pushed down the Chinese harvest this year thus preventing an even bigger surge in the corn harvest.  Chinese imports will have to climb and this should have been good for US exporters but a recent shipment to China upon testing contained banned varieties of corn and this is causing some issues.

The global corn harvest this year will be some 26 million tonnes above consumption thus adding a bit to global grain stocks.  Converted that is 1 billion bushels or 7% of US production.  Or approximately 4 days of global food consumption equivalent.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-06/floods-to-drought-curbing-china-corn-harvest-commodities.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-06/floods-to-drought-curbing-china-corn-harvest-commodities.html)

Bigger news from the global perspective is that total grain production is projected for 2013 at 2498 million tonnes.  This is also a record and some 8% higher than 2012.  This rise is mostly attributable to the US corn harvest ands the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent Countries) wheat harvest.  Rice production was pretty flat.  Global grain stocks will get some padding this year.  Global stocks will have risen some 4.6% since the all time low of 2007/2008.

A side impact of the big rise in stocks and much lower prices is that CAFO operations will be much more profitable as feed prices are key to those operations and this will boost meat consumption globally.

http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/csdb/en/ (http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/csdb/en/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on December 03, 2013, 02:00:35 AM
Well, that's good news, especially for replenishing of stock--should help reduce the likelihood of widespread famine, and perhaps of major destabilizations of countries, for the next few years.

Interesting (though not surprising on a moment's thought) effect on futures and future land planted in corn. Maybe some other crops will have a chance, then??

...
And this may be premature, but I can't resist. Smeagol is free!

Smeagol is free!!!.mp4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQC5g4z_Dvs#ws)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on December 03, 2013, 04:15:18 AM
Well, that's good news, especially for replenishing of stock--should help reduce the likelihood of widespread famine, and perhaps of major destabilizations of countries, for the next few years.

Good news for the upcoming year at least - and in practice a bit beyond as getting to the next harvest assures at least some portion of a year with enough food even if the next harvest is very bad (it will still yield something...).

I don't think you can assume on much for even a few years - we live essentially from year to year in terms of global food supply, a shortfall would transmit shocks rapidly into both markets and societies - and every year the bar of how high we must jump just to remain standing in one place is raised.

By that same token even a shortfall no worse than historic ones could cause new effects as the necessary goal has shifted that much more year on year since the last such shortfall. Medium term risks still strongly to the downside, I feel, notwithstanding the good news in the shorter term.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on December 03, 2013, 04:56:51 AM
Quote
Interesting (though not surprising on a moment's thought) effect on futures and future land planted in corn. Maybe some other crops will have a chance, then??
Sure, but the some other crops will probably be an increase in soybeans and maybe wheat out on the periphery of the corn regions.  And there may be some land rotated to alfalfa or fallow.  Not likely to be an increase in vegetable crops or anything like that.  The famers who plant corn on a large scale are not going to be interested much in high labor crops as they are not configured for it. 

The seeds of a future shortfall are in this bumper crop as bumper crops are the ones where commodity prices fall, cut into profits and result in less being planted.  Combine that effect with a b ad harvest year and you run short again, prices jump, profits go up.

But this is just the equivalent of weather as ccg indicated.  The long term climate equivalent trend is that there are going to be more bad years, rising demand, decreasing water supplies, changing climate, etc.  The cliff so to speak.  It is a matter of when not if.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on December 03, 2013, 06:08:11 PM
This years harvest is absolutely good  news. I actually believe we could continue to have these kinds of harvests periodically for a number of years.

I am not, however, optimistic about whether we can avoid humanitarian disasters and societal disruption in the short term. We need to look at global harvests, not in isolation but as part of a larger system (I know, I sound like a broken record.) and JD has done this with his evaluation of the grain markets. The markets will, in fact, fail to operate in a way to help us avoid mass starvation and societal collapse. In fact these markets are already failing in that many countries are no longer able to purchase enough food to feed their people.  They rely on aid from wealthier nations.

When you factor in the inputs of agriculture, particularly energy, then the approaching disaster is more apparent. We are having to mine increasingly expensive sources of fossil fuel (tar sands, shale oil, deep sea drilling etc.) to provide for our needs. As the price of fuel, fertilizers and pesticides inevitably rise at an accelerated rate, more nations will be effectively priced out of the food markets. Where nations are still able to grow enough food, more citizens of these nations will be unable to afford to feed themselves. This is already happening in the wealthiest nations in the world. This is the normal functioning of efficient markets.

Public policy, outside of the markets, will determine how this emerging crisis will be addressed. In the U.S., we are responding to the domestic poverty crisis by cutting food stamps while continuing to provide agricultural price supports and pay farmers not to grow food.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on December 03, 2013, 06:17:00 PM
To put it bluntly, the system of capitalism is failing. This is already clear in markets as basic as food. It will become increasingly clear in all kinds of markets over the next decade. Energy for heating, transportation, manufacturing etc. will become increasingly expensive and distort the smooth functioning of these critical pieces of global capitalism. As these failures become more serious, actions outside of the markets will increasingly be required. Hopefully, these will take the form of decisions that result in the more equitable distribution of items needed to survive. Given our history of wars for resources, I am not optimistic this will be our response.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on December 03, 2013, 07:33:14 PM
http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3903815.htm (http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3903815.htm)

[size=150]Report paints terrifying picture of global warming future[/size]

Quote
Professor Christoff, what do you say to those who say it's simply alarmist to be talking about four degrees of global warming, twice the level that world leaders have identified as dangerous, and are working to keep below.

PETER CHRISTOFF: Well, two years ago or four years ago, it would have been regarded as science fiction to think about a world heading in that direction. But frankly, given the pace of negotiations and the projections that are being made on current levels of emissions and also projected changes to those emissions, four degrees is pretty much about the centre figure that is being projected by the IPCC, the scientific body looking at climate change.

So four degrees unfortunately is now a very realistic prospect by the end of this century.


Conservative estimates are that you lose about 10% of global crop production for every degree C of GW. So the mid-range estimation (again, conservative, in my view) of probably GW by the end of the century means about half the current production.

Given feedbacks already kicking in that are generally excluded from these calculations, I'd put that more like at mid-century if not before--right about when standard estimates say global population will be peaking at 9-12 billion. (I'd be happy to be corrected on any of these as they are all from my famously foggy memory and there are updates all the time.)

I ghink things will get really bad long before this, but it's hard at this point to paint anything other than a very grim picture, grimmer with every decade going forward.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on December 03, 2013, 08:13:49 PM
SH & Wili

I am certainly in tune with your last few posts on this.  While I have guestimated, as best I can, that real collapse will occur circa 2050 it surely does not mean that things will not be getting progressively worse as time goes on.  That is a certainty.

All we are talking about in essence is where the actual break point is and that can change as conditions change.  If one evaluates the ten most significant factors which are degrading and will eventually precipitate the crash and comes to an estimated date it is the best one can do at the time.  But there can be unforeseen events which change that calculation.  A 10% probability negative change in one factor can be enough to push the date forward due to that factors importance in the calculation.  Crop pathogens are one of these types of changes.  The chance of one proving to be critical is not high but also not insignificant.  Such pathogens come and go and the odds of one hitting a critical commodity are not high on a yearly basis.  But mono-cropping increases that risk and we are increasing our vulnerability along those lines every year.  Or a bio-terrorist comes along and creates one which destroys half the US corn or wheat.  There are dozens of other possibilities.  The financial system grinds to a halt even earlier than we expect for example.

When one sees the internal rot that is taking place in the US it is tempting to move forward ones estimated date, but I am holding off for now and thinking about it a lot.  The pace of global deterioration does seem to be increasing but there are cycles in everything and we may hit some lulls along the way.

 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Theta on December 03, 2013, 09:59:46 PM
SH & Wili

I am certainly in tune with your last few posts on this.  While I have guestimated, as best I can, that real collapse will occur circa 2050 it surely does not mean that things will not be getting progressively worse as time goes on.  That is a certainty.

All we are talking about in essence is where the actual break point is and that can change as conditions change.  If one evaluates the ten most significant factors which are degrading and will eventually precipitate the crash and comes to an estimated date it is the best one can do at the time.  But there can be unforeseen events which change that calculation.  A 10% probability negative change in one factor can be enough to push the date forward due to that factors importance in the calculation.  Crop pathogens are one of these types of changes.  The chance of one proving to be critical is not high but also not insignificant.  Such pathogens come and go and the odds of one hitting a critical commodity are not high on a yearly basis.  But mono-cropping increases that risk and we are increasing our vulnerability along those lines every year.  Or a bio-terrorist comes along and creates one which destroys half the US corn or wheat.  There are dozens of other possibilities.  The financial system grinds to a halt even earlier than we expect for example.

When one sees the internal rot that is taking place in the US it is tempting to move forward ones estimated date, but I am holding off for now and thinking about it a lot.  The pace of global deterioration does seem to be increasing but there are cycles in everything and we may hit some lulls along the way.

I am confident that when we do begin to hit a point where we start to experience food shortages or certain pathogens begin to really affect society as a whole (especially if the pathogens become a pandemic that infects the general populace, although this might not apply everywhere as various areas have different population densities, although if pathogens were to simply affect the crops needed for food production...), then we may be dangerously close to or at the breaking point, but as the Crux of Climate Change thread shows, it is possible that a quick collapse can hold some advantages.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on December 05, 2013, 04:05:55 PM
This is worrying.

Maine's shrimp season has been cancelled.

This is a sad article because it indicate how short term interests screw up long term needs.

Quote
....The annual shrimp survey in 2012 revealed the lowest abundance of adults ever recorded in the survey’s thirty-year history.

“I think everyone was startled by what we saw in 2012, and there was a lot of pressure to close down the fishery for the 2013 season,” said John Annala, Chief Scientific Officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. “The survey this summer found just 20 percent of the 2012 record low, so it has fallen off incredibly sharply.”

Perhaps most worrying is the fact that juvenile shrimp have not been picked up in a survey since 2010. Northern shrimp live about five years, so the lack of younger shrimp for three years straight may mean empty nets for years to come.
....

Bruce should hop in here and give us some more info but it sure sounds like the warning signs were there and they should have pulled back a couple of years ago not just last year.  If there have been no b aby shrimp since 2010 this population is likely toast.

And it may be climate change.

Quote
....“During the last ten years the water temperature in the Gulf of Maine has been running about 2.5 degrees Celsius or about 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the previous one hundred year average,” Annala said. “We don’t know what the thermal threshold of this species is, but the Gulf of Maine has always been the southernmost extreme of their range, so we probably don’t have much wiggle room.”

Even if Northern shrimp prove themselves to be more heat tolerant than scientists predict, the warmer waters in the Gulf of Maine are proving deadly to the shrimp’s food supply, tiny zooplankton. Last spring, the usual surge in plankton never happened. Many species of plankton are also at the southernmost end of their thermal tolerance. Warmer waters are also making the Gulf more hospitable to shrimp predators like dogfish and red hake.
....


http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/04/3021451/maine-shrimp-season-closed/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/04/3021451/maine-shrimp-season-closed/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster 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)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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? 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter 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.  :'(
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster 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).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on December 05, 2013, 09:40:31 PM
As always, everyone here provides  me information that I would otherwise not have. Thank you.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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 (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-05/food-safety-risk-as-pork-processors-face-fewer-usda-meat-inspectors#p1)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity 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 (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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/08/hampton-creek-foods_n_4408710.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on December 09, 2013, 05:35:31 PM
JimD.....I could never be a vegan. I like dairy products too much....cheeses,  yogurt etc.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster 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?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter 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
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele 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.
   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity 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 (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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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/ (http://www.capradio.org/articles/2013/11/22/usgs-study-1200-square-miles-of-central-valley-land-is-sinking/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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."
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele 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 (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.
 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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/ (http://www.salon.com/2013/12/17/the_great_dying_redux_shocking_parallels_between_ancient_mass_extinction_and_climate_change_partner/)

Happy Holidays!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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/ (http://www.aol.com/article/2013/12/20/mafia-toxic-waste-dumping-poisons-italy-farmlands/20792762/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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 (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)

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Di%26amp%3Brct%3Dj%26amp%3Bq%3D%26amp%3Besrc%3Ds%26amp%3Bsource%3Dimages%26amp%3Bcd%3D%26amp%3Bdocid%3DgCLZ8RJQkt7YXM%26amp%3Btbnid%3D4EM8p5WliC7AbM%3A%26amp%3Bved%3D0CAUQjRw%26amp%3Burl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcornucopia.cornubot.se%252F2012%252F09%252Fforsiktighetsprincipen.html%26amp%3Bei%3DpWa4UpzSIMnayAHO-oGoDQ%26amp%3Bbvm%3Dbv.58187178%2Cd.aWc%26amp%3Bpsig%3DAFQjCNFFDMg7vP4_zCGAYs-J79niISWfgQ%26amp%3Bust%3D1387903013114450&hash=e73b3a27a260bb63066311fe47d667b9)

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity 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 (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)

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Di%26amp%3Brct%3Dj%26amp%3Bq%3D%26amp%3Besrc%3Ds%26amp%3Bsource%3Dimages%26amp%3Bcd%3D%26amp%3Bdocid%3DgCLZ8RJQkt7YXM%26amp%3Btbnid%3D4EM8p5WliC7AbM%3A%26amp%3Bved%3D0CAUQjRw%26amp%3Burl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fcornucopia.cornubot.se%252F2012%252F09%252Fforsiktighetsprincipen.html%26amp%3Bei%3DpWa4UpzSIMnayAHO-oGoDQ%26amp%3Bbvm%3Dbv.58187178%2Cd.aWc%26amp%3Bpsig%3DAFQjCNFFDMg7vP4_zCGAYs-J79niISWfgQ%26amp%3Bust%3D1387903013114450&hash=e73b3a27a260bb63066311fe47d667b9)

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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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/ (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/ (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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/ (http://www.water.ca.gov/waterconditions/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: TerryM 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
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity 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?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor 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 (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 (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 (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).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.

 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow 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/ (http://qz.com/161935/california-faces-a-catastrophic-drought-next-year/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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 (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/us/for-maine-shrimpers-a-frightening-calculus.html?_r=0)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili 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?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor 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?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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?).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor 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 (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 (http://[size=8pt) )."
----------
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.

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD 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.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor on January 04, 2014, 06:10:58 PM
But 'plant based foods' might include wheat and corn.  I was just thinking vegetables.
O.K. - Vegetables I agree. Without California woe is me.

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.
Is there any other choice?  To eat people will change. It may be much more expensive and not as desirable at first, but we're adaptable.  Just think of all the new jobs.  Will it make the folks in Alabama appreciate immigrant (migrant) labor?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 04, 2014, 07:09:12 PM

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.

I agree. Americans vote their pocket books as well. The pressure on politicians to do something will become intense if Americans are able to make the connection between the cost of food and AGW. We are facing dramatic increases in the price of beef as ranchers had to slaughter cows over the last several years due to the drought.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on January 04, 2014, 11:51:13 PM
Of course, there is no guarantee that many people will interpret even very extreme events in the way we would want them to. When Oklahoma and TX were going through really extreme heatwaves and droughts, the stories in the local papers didn't mention GW, as far as I could see. And the letters were mostly about praying to Jesus for rain, with the occasional suggestion that maybe this was punishment for allowing gays to live or abortions to happen.

And those terrible events certainly have not changed the politics in that area very much, as far as I can see.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 05, 2014, 07:43:47 AM
Of course, there is no guarantee that many people will interpret even very extreme events in the way we would want them to. When Oklahoma and TX were going through really extreme heatwaves and droughts, the stories in the local papers didn't mention GW, as far as I could see. And the letters were mostly about praying to Jesus for rain, with the occasional suggestion that maybe this was punishment for allowing gays to live or abortions to happen.

And those terrible events certainly have not changed the politics in that area very much, as far as I can see.

That's really the problem - most people will interpret events through their existing preconceptions and find other explanations than climate change. If "natural variability" or "it's just weather" runs out of legs - then it'll be "the end times" or "the second coming" and to be celebrated...
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor on January 06, 2014, 02:14:48 PM
Quote
wili:
there is no guarantee that many people will interpret even very extreme events in the way we would want them to
Yes there will be some (many) who refuse.  But, is the percentage of of the Judeo-Christian world population increasing or decreasing?  Is 51% a sufficient majority to get action?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote
ccgwebmaster:
then it'll be "the end times" or "the second coming" and to be celebrated
"purified by fire" - a belief we cannot beat - let's keep chipping away until a substantial majority overrules the minority.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 06, 2014, 05:00:51 PM
Yes there will be some (many) who refuse.  But, is the percentage of of the Judeo-Christian world population increasing or decreasing?  Is 51% a sufficient majority to get action?

Big problem - it isn't just about a majority, but about the percentage backing a particular action.

To get a majority who will acknowledge "yes there is a problem" is only a first step to starting a debate.

Quite different from a majority who will agree "this is the minimum necessary plan of action and it will actually work" - to agree a plan that will actually work, given the perceived negatives it is going to bring to many.

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on January 06, 2014, 05:38:51 PM
And considering how effective a really small minority in the US manages to have almost all policy and tax decisions go their way I am not sure it is even that simple.  If you don't have the people with the money and influence and control of Congress on your side maybe you need 75% of the public  agreeing with you.  Or more.  And that just ain't happening.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on January 06, 2014, 08:38:07 PM
A good animation about soils.
Let's Talk About Soil - English on Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/53618201)
Available in French, Spanish, German, Arabic (at the end)
http://globalsoilweek.org/media-publications/videos/ (http://globalsoilweek.org/media-publications/videos/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 06, 2014, 09:41:13 PM
And considering how effective a really small minority in the US manages to have almost all policy and tax decisions go their way I am not sure it is even that simple.  If you don't have the people with the money and influence and control of Congress on your side maybe you need 75% of the public  agreeing with you.  Or more.  And that just ain't happening.

Obviously, you are correct.

We need to make an effective case that global warming is "bad for business". This should become easier and easier to do because global warming is bad for business.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 06, 2014, 10:56:40 PM
And considering how effective a really small minority in the US manages to have almost all policy and tax decisions go their way I am not sure it is even that simple.  If you don't have the people with the money and influence and control of Congress on your side maybe you need 75% of the public  agreeing with you.  Or more.  And that just ain't happening.

Obviously, you are correct.

We need to make an effective case that global warming is "bad for business". This should become easier and easier to do because global warming is bad for business.

That's no easier a strategy as businesses all share the same playing field. The question for a business is the same as for an individual - what will benefit me, and not the competition? Some businesses will see opportunities, some will see a need to alter their strategy - few would rally behind a cry to oppose the whole thing, being that they are both tied firmly into the way the modern world works (and have a lot to lose) and that their energies must be expended selfishly as shareholder domination dictates (and again those who own them are the 1% who mistakenly think they can weather this storm by sacrificing those who are poorer to give them ground to stand upon as the tide rises).

The alternative to having a massive portion of the populace weakly supporting change and the right policies is to have a much smaller portion supporting it far more aggressively (and potentially violently). Revolutions are not typically fought by the majority, who mostly sit on the sidelines mildly favouring one side or another. However in the context of the US (and the world), I think climate change is a long way down a list of factors for triggering a literal revolution - and none of them very likely given the dominance of the current socioeconomic elites.

It doesn't help that if a small group were to start to act aggressively (and yes, potentially violently) they would be condemned from all sides including their own. There is no consensus even amongst those who do take the problem seriously as to how bad the problem is or what measures and urgency are required to attempt to address it.

We are therefore as a species still in the very early days of grappling with the issues and the gap between our ability to address them and the severity of the issues needing addressed is now not only growing but arguably accelerating and ever widening the gap. Mathematically that's a game over proposition, at least as I see it now.

In this context perhaps the prognosis for grand solutions of any significant scale is very poor and small scale solutions have the best prospects?

Besides as individuals and people with little power in the modern world, is it not a lot easier for us to act on a smaller scale? If we attempt to act on the big scale and make that our sole focus - we run the risk of never acting as we never perceive a means to do so. Yet if enough little actions were started there is a real prospect some of them could grow into much bigger ones?

The only caveat being that little actions must be realistic, switching to energy efficient light bulbs and recycling some rubbish/trash is insufficient (while laudable). To my mind that means meaningful actions must be predicated upon failure of the current system. While such actions might not avoid failure (nor mass mortality etc) at least the theoretical scope would remain to greatly improve our resilience as a species and to elevate the floor down to which we will crash in collapse?

A strategy that both provides an opportunity to build a future upon sustainable foundations and that implies the decks are cleared of the current system (which will necessarily fail).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 07, 2014, 01:43:21 AM
The agrarian ascetic still has a draw. Show people how small communities currently address the issues of self sustaining systems in combination with an  effective means of addressing climate change. Third world villages with solar and wind energy probably already fit the bill. The promotion of agrarian alternatives currently working is a start, making those working examples look attractive and affordable for people wanting to change is second, and somehow getting enough people access to land is probably the third and largest challenge. Compared to the huge challenges facing life on this earth, access to land isn't a show stopper.
 There may be events that start more and more people looking for alternatives, climate change refugees, and the blunt reality of rapid climate change in all it's manifestations will cause people to re-evaluate their lives. What people want drives markets, change their desires and markets will follow.
 On a personal note , family , friends and farm stand devotees love to come by the farm. There is still a very strong desire to " live on a farm "(in spite of 50+ years of corporate brainwashing)  Utilization of the agrarian ascetic , and the strong desire for change must certainly provide an opportunity for proving up on different future. Now
 
   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 08, 2014, 03:29:25 AM
I am sure there are many examples of solar technology supplementing existing agrarian systems. This example from Africa probably has similar solar water pumping examples from China and India.  Lighting, communications, and  refrigeration for medications are also off the shelf technology . Third world applications should  provide examples of how communities can utilize renewable energy and improve their long term chances at survival. The notion that renewables can power current western lifestyles or the notion that our lifestyles are something the third world should emulate are both fantasies fueled by our endless hubris.

    http://energyblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/03/13/growing-a-solar-solution-in-west-africa/ (http://energyblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/03/13/growing-a-solar-solution-in-west-africa/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 08, 2014, 04:08:30 AM
I am sure there are many examples of solar technology supplementing existing agrarian systems. This example from Africa probably has similar solar water pumping examples from China and India.  Lighting, communications, and  refrigeration for medications are also off the shelf technology . Third world applications should  provide examples of how communities can utilize renewable energy and improve their long term chances at survival. The notion that renewables can power current western lifestyles or the notion that our lifestyles are something the third world should emulate are both fantasies fueled by our endless hubris.

    http://energyblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/03/13/growing-a-solar-solution-in-west-africa/ (http://energyblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/03/13/growing-a-solar-solution-in-west-africa/)

That's interesting but the obvious question in that example is over the sustainability of the ground water being pumped. If one were able to enclose the plants being grown without cooking them - such that the water released from transpiration could be recycled back to them, that might be more sustainable water wise? (while introducing a host of other complications - as well as the enclosing one would need to consider how the plants in question are normally pollinated).

If I remember right you were exploring using solar power to operate simple cultivation equipment? How feasible does that look as a way of reducing the labour burden on people that would otherwise be subsistence farmers? How scalable is it and what resource pressures would it run into? Could you use small scale concentrating solar thermal as a source of energy capture and storage instead of panels? (much less need for exotic materials and manufacturing processes). Could you derive a low technology version of the ideas and what would the technological floor be? (ie one assumes one would need basic metallurgy at least)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 08, 2014, 06:26:46 AM
Ccg,Starting with a  population that doesn't have electricity and adding solar results hopefully in a society that is still relatively  fossil fuel free. How far those applications can be pushed without again reaching resource limits is a valid question, water tables or soil health, but those answers will be different depending on both good farming practices  as well as good water management.
 Humans have used hand tools to prepare gardens for a very long time and a good spading shovel can prepare a pretty good sized garden. Once the heavy work is done whether by hand or with a tractor the garden still needs weeding and it will need weeding multiple times. My electric tillers are primarily cultivating tools, that is they help me do the weeding. As a choice between hoeing a 2500' row or running my little tillie it is an easy choice for me. I don't think I could even hoe that much in a day but with the electric tiller it takes one charge and about an hour of cultivating. I still have to follow up with a hand hoe and some hand weeding but the tiller saves many hours of labor. If I were to cultivate with my little kubota and cultivating blades I could cover much larger areas but I would still need to follow up with hoes and hand weeding. I am the limiting factor in my little operation but I am a sixty year old man. If I had my tillie for all the years of I have pulled weeds in my life my knees might hold out a few more years, who knows? I think the African women in the Benin co-op would use the tillers if they had them and they could keep larger gardens as a result.
 I really need to work these new tools for a whole season to give you a good review . So far I like them and I am planning to devote as large an area as I can maintain with them this season, without tractors or ff tillers. I am fairly certain I can produce two tons of tomatoes without any fossil fuel equipment this year. I will work on my best money crops for obvious reasons but in self sufficient systems one would have to focus on calories and storage potential not money.
 Btw, my well pulls from a riparian flow and percolates back into the same minus evaporation loss.Drip minimizes evaporation.   
 
         
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on January 08, 2014, 03:56:08 PM
Bruce

Reading the above about your tools it got me to wondering if you have stirrup hoes for your cultivating.  A stirrup hoe is a tool in between a regular hand hoe and a motorized tiller.

They are very efficient and once you know how to use them very fast.  There are also manufacturers out there that make wheeled stirrup hoes with various width blades.  The one I had was made in CA.  Depending on your soil type and the moisture levels in the soil you can walk without stopping while pushing one of these and cultivate between rows much faster than a tiller can.

We had multiple hand stirrup hoes mostly with 5 inch wide blades and a wheeled one with an 8 inch blade.  You can get them with at least 12 inch blades maybe 18 inch for about $320.  With a little practice you can often go at a fair walking pace using it.  With the hand hoes you can even set them in a bed between individual crop rows and sort of drag them while walking and cultivate very quickly.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 08, 2014, 04:56:22 PM
JimD, I have two electric tools, one is a small rototiller and one is a wheel hoe . It is a hula hoe and you use power to push it and manually pull it back. It is still a bit of work but the advantage for me is it doesn't kick up dirt so I can get in close to lettuce without getting dirt all over it. Hope you get a small garden in this year.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 08, 2014, 05:10:56 PM
We had multiple hand stirrup hoes mostly with 5 inch wide blades and a wheeled one with an 8 inch blade.  You can get them with at least 12 inch blades maybe 18 inch for about $320.  With a little practice you can often go at a fair walking pace using it.  With the hand hoes you can even set them in a bed between individual crop rows and sort of drag them while walking and cultivate very quickly.

I'm also curious about the need for weeding as much as people do. When I was growing some things manually - albeit on a much smaller scale - I tolerated a certain amount of weeds provided they didn't seem to be on track to compete for light. I figured that some weed cover might help protect the soil (eg prevent the wind from blowing it away, or the rain from washing it away) and that even deep rooted weeds do serve some purpose (by bringing up nutrients from lower down - though that didn't stop me attacking clusters of thistles if they threatened the potatoes, and if they were numerous before they got anywhere near that big as they are very deep rooted later and I think can return from the taproot).

If one is making sure the plants get sunlight (and much of the stuff I was growing in bulk grew tall - potatoes 12-18 inches, broad beans 3-4 feet, corn 3-4 feet, jerusalem artichokes 6-10 feet) can one argue the nutrient drain of the weeds isn't really a big issue provided that you keep those nutrients in the closed loop? Which is to say they must remain with the soil (if you kill the weeds nothing wrong with composting them in the interim).

For the most part I didn't think I was getting problems from that strategy - most things that had problems were not weed related problems (eg failure to germinate, pest attacks, etc). The only thing I recall where weeds were a definite issue was peas - the peas and the weeds got all tangled up and that made life rather difficult not only to manage the weeds but to find the peas to pick later. I think my leeks might have suffered from weeds too one year - but I wasn't applying my strategy well enough and they spent a period of time being outcompeted for light.

So while I know conventional wisdom is that weeds compete for nutrients and sunlight - can one make a valid argument that one can live with them (to some extent) as validly as without them? That's assuming you start from a clean sheet - broken soil essentially without weeds - which will always be easier to remove weeds from later, even if they got established. In practice many of my lower growing plants had sufficient density of foliage to choke out many nearby weeds once they got a head start (potatoes, lettuces, courgettes, for instance).

It just strikes me it's a lot of labour for uncertain returns if you go too far into fighting them? My mother would weed her raised beds to the point of being virtually spotless...
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on January 08, 2014, 10:41:11 PM
Bruce wrote:
Quote
Starting with a  population that doesn't have electricity and adding solar results hopefully in a society that is still relatively  fossil fuel free.

Unfortunately, the common experience is that the earliest use of electricity in a society that hasn't had one is to run TVs. A friend of mine lived in a South Pacific Island when the first generator was used. It was owned by the chief/mayor. He used the electricity to leave a TV going 24/7 in one of his windows facing out so all the villagers could spend their spare time gawking at all the things they should buy to be 'modern.'

There is very little that is benign about our modern industrial/commercial/consumerist culture.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 09, 2014, 01:21:56 AM
Wili, I am just trying to say we should look somewhere for working examples of happy people going about their business without crushing ecosystems and climate systems. That we westerners would like life somehow easier than living in a dirt floored house growing manioc is maybe a fatal flaw. To be honest I am in that group and along with you we like our comforts. I acknowledge the fact that we have introduced our mindset on many cultures resulting in their ruination but there are holdouts and learning from  "the survivors" seems to me  useful. If I can have it both ways , a ff free lifestyle and a few tools powered without ff seems reasonable. We need radical change , we have plenty of examples that aren't working, what does and why? Can we as groups of people work towards a better future?
We need to look up to people we have always looked down upon. Why have they succeeded where we have failed?
 I should probably stick to talking about agriculture, it will be spring soon enough and I always have big hopes this time of year.  There is a nasty drought, but I am planting anyhow.   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on January 09, 2014, 05:06:45 AM
ccg

I think you might be misunderstanding Bruce and I about how much cultivating one does and why.  For the most part you are correct on the primary need being to keep the weeds down until the crop can out compete the weeds for light.  Understanding of course that some crops are incapable of out competing weeds at any time and you just have to kill the weeds for those crops.  Anything in the onion family cannot compete with weeds.  There is also the nutrient issue of having the weeds steal food from the food crop.  This can be prevented somewhat if one wants to cut down on weeding by planting the food crop very densely so that weeds cannot get started.  But one only weeds as much as they have to as weeding costs money.

An additional issue is what does a farmer do about the aisle ways in between the crop rows.  The standard practice is to run some form of cultivator down the aisle and turn the dirt a few times a crop season to keep it weed free.  Since one is doing this it is easy to have your cultivating bar set with teeth to also drag the ground in between the crop rows in the bed you are driving the tractor over.  This takes care of most of the weeds.  Now Bruce is working at a smaller scale than that to keep his energy costs down.  I have done it both the way Bruce is and with a tractor with a cultivator attached.  If one is not making the effort to minimize fuel consumption, as Bruce is, it is far more efficient and profitable (in todays world and by the current way of accounting) to use the tractor.

Many gardeners plant dwarf white clover between their beds and run a mower down the aisle.  This works fine and I have done that also, but do not let it go to seed.  An additional benefit of this method is that the clover draws in bees.

One big reason to keep weeds down and not let them drop seed is that if you do your weed problem will grow with time and become a real issue.

Almost all commercial vegetable farms, whether industrial mode or organic mode, use plastic covers on their beds to eliminate weeding almost entirely. They use gargantuan amounts of this plastic.  And it is not recycled.   Additionally big operations almost never reuse their drip irrigation tape.  Both of those actions save huge amounts of labor costs.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 09, 2014, 11:17:50 AM
JimD and Ccg, There is a recycled paper product called weedguard that does the same thing as plastic mulch. I used it last season and it worked well but like plastic you need a good fence because deer feet poke holes in it for the weeds to grow through. It bothers me that " organic " production allows so much plastic. I use drip tape and like Jim says most of it goes to a recycling bin because calcium carbonate plugs up the emitter holes. I can use aluminum pipe hand lines( sprinklers ) but you use a lot more water. Wish I could figure how to keep my drip tape from plugging up.
 You need to pick your battles with weeds, some of them are much bigger threats than others. Some of them require constant vigilance while others are more benign. Some of them like morning glory, crabgrass and devil grass ( kakuya sp?)are real problems. Others are eatables that there just isn't a market for like pigweed or purslane. Some weeds make seeds the little birds really like so I allow a certain amount of messy gardening. Birds are usually my only company and plowing their habitat should require some concessions . Maybe I will plant some wheat around my parameters to keep them happy.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on January 09, 2014, 04:49:56 PM
Bruce I know a really accomplished organic grower who a few years ago did a side by side trial between the biodegradable mulch and the plastic mulch.  His results were that the same crop in side by side beds grew better with the plastic.  His issue with it was not that it degraded too soon, which is an issue many have complained about, but that the plants just looked different and he thought they tasted different.  He said he tried to find out what the biodegradable mulch was made out of from the manufacturer and they would not tell him. 

He said he would not use it again as he did not feel he could trust them.  I have read on blogs that others have the same concern about what is in the biodegradable mulch.  What chemicals are in the material they are using.  Some I think are corn based and one wonders about any GM issues or RoundUp residues.  For recycled paper it is going to have residues from inks at the very least I think. 

On your drip tape issue I do not know of a solution.  We tired all kinds of drip tape fro the cheapest with the thinnest walls to the thickest which is supposed to last a few years, and, fo course, different makes with differently designed drip holes.  Our biggest problem was not mineral buildup (softer water I guess at our farm) but that in our climate gunk grows in the tubing and that algae plugged the holes.  We lived in an area which was very warm and humid and we used filtered pond water.  We had to  flush our filter at least every two days.  Maybe it was food for the plants?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 09, 2014, 05:05:57 PM
For small gardens, instead of using drip irrigation, you may want to consider  a French Drain system. While commonly used to drain water away  from structures to prevent damage, they are, in fact, systems that move water fro one area where it is not desired to another where it is.

http://www.ndspro.com/drainage-systems/french-drains/ezflow-french-drain (http://www.ndspro.com/drainage-systems/french-drains/ezflow-french-drain)

I have installed these under my raised gardens with amazing results. The water from my downspouts fill the underground system and it migrates out through flow wells to surrounding soils as these soils dry out.

What are the advantages? All irrigation is delivered below ground, minimizing evaporation and encouraging deep root growth.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on January 09, 2014, 06:06:36 PM
SH

Nice.  Did you build it yourself?  If so how long did it take to plan out and all that.  I assume you use pvc pipe with holes in it?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 09, 2014, 06:45:22 PM
SH

Nice.  Did you build it yourself?  If so how long did it take to plan out and all that.  I assume you use pvc pipe with holes in it?

I did build it myself. It took my son and I a weekend to install the system for a single bed. I actually purchased everything I needed from the linked company. I have a single flow well in the middle of each 12' square raised bed. The piping from the downspouts are solid as I only want the water to disperse into the garden. It was amazingly easy to install, some planning, a little trenching and digging the hole for the flow well and connecting the various components of the system.

Caution: The system will only work if the soil adjacent to the flow wells have a decent percolation rate so that the water moves through the soil under the garden well. Fortunately, I live in a subdivision in Chicago that was built in the early 1900's, before they developed the neat trick of stripping all of the topsoil off before building and then selling you 1 inch of it back for a ridiculous profit. The dark topsoil is at least 3 feet deep. You will begin to hit some orange clay after that. This is another  reason why you want to construct a raised garden bed as you can insure better percolation. I did not bother measuring the percolation rate because of the quality of the topsoil.

Having clay under the system is not a bad thing either as it encourages the water to move horizontally through the garden bed.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 09, 2014, 06:51:05 PM
JimD, I wouldn't write the weedguard off so easily. I had very good yields with tomatoes grown using their product last year. Although the manufacture claims you can till it in I rolled it up at the end of the season. I used cardboard sheets to make paths so maybe that prolonged it's utility along with preventing me from poking holes where i walked.As to GMO residuals I would guess a bag of Frito's ( corn chips)is worse. People have no idea what percentage of their junk food is GMO. Would it change their buying habits if they knew? Your info on viral gene's should make them think twice but it may not hit mainline news till something or  someone uses the weak link to infect their food supply
 SH, good idea in areas you don't plan on digging up again like raised beds or orchards. It would be nice to have a smaller diameter version available. A very slow rate biodegradable version would be even better IMO.  My goal is to reduce ff use in farm equipment first but ff plastic will also need replacing. Cornstarch greenhouse covers are possible I suppose but for now they are ff,   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 09, 2014, 07:25:54 PM
You need to pick your battles with weeds, some of them are much bigger threats than others. Some of them require constant vigilance while others are more benign. Some of them like morning glory, crabgrass and devil grass ( kakuya sp?)are real problems. Others are eatables that there just isn't a market for like pigweed or purslane. Some weeds make seeds the little birds really like so I allow a certain amount of messy gardening. Birds are usually my only company and plowing their habitat should require some concessions . Maybe I will plant some wheat around my parameters to keep them happy.

Some are also important habitats for endangered or increasingly less common species. I left plenty of stinging nettles for the benefit of a butterfly in the UK. My consideration did not extend to whatever nasty little caterpillar swarmed over my broccoli - I destroyed many (hundreds at least) of those caterpillars by hand. Had I had chickens though, perhaps they could've been used too...

We need to learn to live with and respect our environment and that to me means even weeds have a place - we just have to figure out where to set the boundaries and how to remain in balance (our responsibility as soon as we start to use technology to augment our natural capabilities).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 09, 2014, 07:43:23 PM
SH, good idea in areas you don't plan on digging up again like raised beds or orchards. It would be nice to have a smaller diameter version available. A very slow rate biodegradable version would be even better IMO.  My goal is to reduce ff use in farm equipment first but ff plastic will also need replacing. Cornstarch greenhouse covers are possible I suppose but for now they are ff,

Bruce...the original French drain systems consisted of drain tiles and trenches filled with gravel. It is even necessary to fill the trench with different size gravel, the outer part should be very fine gravel which discourages soil infiltration and water escaping prior to reaching its desired destination. The core of the gravel is course so it can move the water faster. I toyed with the idea of using this approach but the thought of hauling thousands of pounds of gravel and the labor involved convinced me to use this off the shelf product.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on January 09, 2014, 08:25:55 PM
Bruce my info on the biodegradable mulch is just anecdotal.  There was some concern at one point with one Canadian manufacturer that the product was just a form of plastic that broke down into very small pieces.  They would not give info out of their product.  If that was the case I would never use the stuff.  But I have no familiarity with the Weedguard.  It is a good sounding idea if it can be made to work as the plastic mulch is certainly not ecologically sound.

SH  I have seen construction holes dug west of Chicago that were 10 feet deep and still in the black top soil.  Buildings there now.  Stupid we are.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Neven on January 09, 2014, 09:41:45 PM
I really enjoy reading your backandforths, but maybe these things should be discussed in a central place? Which is why I opened this Gardening thread (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,715.0.html) in the Walking the Walk section, adding my tidbit to the discussion on watering techniques.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on January 09, 2014, 11:41:54 PM
Not sure exactly where to put this, but it relates to food and might be general interest (probably isn't relevant to the gardening thread unless you're discussing how to grow plants in contaminated soil).

http://farmlandforecast.colvin-co.com/2014/01/09/millions-of-acres-of-chinese-farmland-too-polluted-to-grow-food-highlighting-growing-threat.aspx (http://farmlandforecast.colvin-co.com/2014/01/09/millions-of-acres-of-chinese-farmland-too-polluted-to-grow-food-highlighting-growing-threat.aspx)

Just another source of pressure on food production. It affects us all, not just China - as globalisation means they will go to the same markets the rest of us to in order to make up a shortfall (or to avoid domestic produce that isn't trusted or safe).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 09, 2014, 11:44:14 PM
I understand why you posted here but I think it is useful on each thread.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on January 10, 2014, 04:08:35 AM
Digging up the northern prairie is already underway.  As the need to crop further and further north grows this problem will only get worse.

Quote
....Here in the northern reaches of America’s Great Plains, vast areas of grasslands have in recent years been converted to the production of corn and soybeans, a dramatic change that is eating away at our carbon storage reserves. Driven by rising prices that reflect increased worldwide demand for food and energy crops, as well as federal farm policies and new crop technology that has allowed the corn belt to march west into more arid country, farmers and ranchers in the northern Great Plains have undertaken one of the great land conversions in recent U.S. history.

“We are looking at rates of conversion that exceed the rates of [tropical] rain forest loss at their peak,” said Joe Fargione, science director for the North American region of The Nature Conservancy. “It is a globally significant hot spot of habitat loss.”

A study published early this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that 1.3 million acres of grassland had been converted to corn and soybeans between 2006 and 2011 in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa. Native prairie — whose plants have deep and extensive root systems — is a very effective carbon sink if not cultivated, but plowing and converting that land to annual row crops leads to the emission of 20 to 75 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per acre....

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/08/3072791/americas-grasslands-saved/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/08/3072791/americas-grasslands-saved/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 13, 2014, 03:33:05 AM
Peak water is here.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/12/1267774/-Peak-water-is-here# (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/12/1267774/-Peak-water-is-here#)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 15, 2014, 06:07:55 PM
Bogotá study: small farmers selling at local markets are much more adaptable to CC than farmers selling through an intermediary.

Quote
Abstract
Small farmers who supply the city of Bogotá with food are facing many challenges that are jeopardizing their livelihoods and by extension, the food security of Colombia’s capital. We expect future changes in climatic conditions to exacerbate the plight of the small farmers and this is expected to compromise Bogota’s food security even further. This paper specifically seeks to assess the impact of climate change (CC) on the livelihoods of smallholders who supply Bogota with most of its food. In our multidisciplinary methodology, we translated the exposure to CC into direct impact on crops and assessed sensitivity and adaptive capacity using the sustainable rural livelihoods framework. The results show that rainfall (by average of 100 mm) and temperature (by average of 2.1 °C) will increase over the study area, while the future climate suitability of the most important crops such as mango (Mangifera indica), papaya (Carica papaya), corn (Zea mays) and plantain (Musa balbisiana) shows a decrease of 19 % to 47 % climate suitability by the year 2050. The assessment of sensitivity and adaptive capacity demonstrates that farmers participating in a farmers’ market, initiated by several local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are less vulnerable to CC than farmers who sell through intermediaries. Those farmers selling directly to consumers in the farmers’ market have a higher adaptive capacity (3 on a scale of 3) in social and financial capital than those selling to intermediaries with less adaptive capacity (1 on a scale of 3). In light of the reduction in overall climatic suitability of some of the major crops and the change of geographic location of suitability for others, there are likely to be serious threats for Bogotá’s food security, the ecological landscape around the city, and farmers’ livelihoods. We further conclude that unless proper adaptation measures are implemented, the geographical shift in climate suitability may also force farmers to shift their crops to higher elevations including remaining forests and páramos (the Colombian alpine tundra ecosystems), which may be threatened in the near future.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11027-012-9432-0 (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11027-012-9432-0)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on January 15, 2014, 08:17:00 PM
Hey Bruce here is one for you.

Offshore oil drilling in the Santa Barbara channel has been using fracking techniques for 20 years.  And they have just been dumping the used fracking fluid in the ocean as they have no requirement in those circumstances not to.  Apparently this is standard practice off shore.

Quote
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a rule on January 9, 2014 requiring oil and gas companies using hydraulic fracturing off the coast of California to disclose the chemicals they discharge into the ocean. Oil and gas companies have been fracking offshore California for perhaps as long as two decades, but they largely flew under the radar until recently....

...However, offshore drillers often simply dump the waste water into the ocean – although the industry claims the water is treated before entering the marine environment....

http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/1/13/offshore-fracking-and-dumping-chemicals-into-coastal-waters.html (http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/1/13/offshore-fracking-and-dumping-chemicals-into-coastal-waters.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 16, 2014, 08:18:26 AM
JimD, I can remember sitting through at least one very long day of EPA hearings on produced waters and drilling muds. There are plans to remove some old rigs in the SB Channel and there are shell mounds with metal , shells of mussels and barnacles that were scraped regularly from the rig legs .There are also heavy metals and old drilling muds in the "shell mounds " left behind after removal. There are also plenty of people lining up for cash payouts and litigation over how much gets left behind and who ends up holding the bag. All sorts of characters end up at the trough groveling for oil monies.
 Oil operations have good boat operators and always listen to the radio, when someone is in a fix they will go out of their way to help. I do believe oil operations collects it's old drilling mud these days but the produced waters are pumped about halfway down in the water column and released. I think the EPA made some excuses about dilution and toxicity being reduced "quickly".It gets kinda hard for fishermen to fight big oil when the environmentalists milking the oil payout machine use it to litigate against our local fisheries. Politics demands alliances , doesn't work out to well for us usually. And ya healthy fish resources are the goal and sticking to that focus makes the choices somewhat easier but doesn't necessarily result in more allies. It's not really where the money is .         
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on January 23, 2014, 05:31:28 PM
Michael Pollan explains what’s wrong with the paleo diet

http://grist.org/food/michael-pollan-explains-whats-wrong-with-the-paleo-diet/ (http://grist.org/food/michael-pollan-explains-whats-wrong-with-the-paleo-diet/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on January 27, 2014, 05:55:15 PM
It is war, an arms race and we're losing.

Genetic Engineering Companies Promised Reduced Pesticide Use … But GE Crops Have Led to a 25% Increase In Herbicide Use

Quote
Genetic Engineering Companies Promised Reduced Pesticide Use … But GE Crops Have Led to a 25% Increase In Herbicide Use....
...Contrary to often-repeated claims that today’s genetically-engineered crops have, and are reducing pesticide use, the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds in herbicide-resistant weed management systems has brought about substantial increases in the number and volume of herbicides applied. If new genetically engineered forms of corn and soybeans tolerant of 2,4-D are approved, the volume of 2,4-D sprayed [background] could drive herbicide usage upward by another approximate 50%.

Quote
Herbicide-tolerant crops worked extremely well in the first few years of use, but over-reliance led to shifts in weed communities and the emergence of resistant weeds that have, together, forced farmers to incrementally –
◾Increase herbicide application rates (especially glyphosate),
◾Spray more often, and
◾Add new herbicides that work through an alternate mode-of-action into their spray programs.

Each of these responses has, and will continue to contribute to the steady rise in the volume of herbicides applied per acre of HT corn, cotton, and soybeans.

HT crops have increased herbicide use by 527 million pounds over the 16-year period (1996-2011). The incremental increase per year has grown steadily from 1.5 million pounds in 1999, to 18 million five years later in 2003, and 79 million pounds in 2009. In 2011, about 90 million more pounds of herbicides were applied than likely in the absence of HT, or about 24% of total herbicide use on the three crops in 2011.

We are slowly poisoning ourselves.  Premise 1 - Civilization is not sustainable

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/01/genetically-engineered-crops-responsible-increase-383-million-pounds-herbicide-use-u-s-first-13-years-commercial-use.html (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/01/genetically-engineered-crops-responsible-increase-383-million-pounds-herbicide-use-u-s-first-13-years-commercial-use.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 02, 2014, 02:34:17 PM
Disturbing details about the overfishing of menhaden, a fish at the heart of the food system on both land and sea.

Quote
Millions of pounds of menhaden are fished from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico by a single company based in Houston, Texas, with a benign-sounding name: Omega Protein. The company’s profits derive largely from a process called “reduction,” which involves cooking, grinding, and chemically separating menhaden’s fat from its protein and micronutrients. These component parts become chemical inputs in aquaculture, industrial livestock, and vegetable growing. The oil- and protein-rich meal becomes animal feed. The micronutrients become crop fertilizer.
...
Omega Protein’s “blue chip” customer base for animal feed and human supplements includes Whole Foods, Nestlé Purina, Iams, Land O’Lakes, ADM, Swanson Health Products, Cargill, Del Monte, Science Diet, Smart Balance, and the Vitamin Shoppe.
...
The menhaden population has declined nearly 90 percent from the time when humans first began harvesting menhaden from Atlantic coastal and estuarine waters.
...
In 2012, a panel of marine experts known as the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force estimated that the value of leaving forage fish in the ocean as a food source for predators was $11 billion: twice as much as the $5.6 billion generated by removing species like menhaden from the ocean and pressing them into fish meal pellets (Pikitch et al, 2012).

http://limn.it/the-fish-at-the-heart-of-the-food-system (http://limn.it/the-fish-at-the-heart-of-the-food-system)/
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 06, 2014, 07:01:56 PM
World Food Costs Drop to 19-Month Low as Sugar to Corn Fall

Quote
World food prices fell in January to a 19-month low, as costs for everything from sugar to grains slid amid ample global supplies, the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-06/world-food-prices-drop-to-19-month-low-as-sugar-to-grains-slide.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-06/world-food-prices-drop-to-19-month-low-as-sugar-to-grains-slide.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 06, 2014, 07:21:48 PM
World Food Costs Drop to 19-Month Low as Sugar to Corn Fall

A 19 month low is still pretty damn expensive though, according to the FAO index. A little below conflict triggering levels, but not by that much. A bad year this year can easily wipe out all the extra from last year and then some.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 06, 2014, 07:59:12 PM
Absolutely.

There will very probably never again be a time when global food stocks are robust.  There will always be fluctuations from year to year but the long term trend is for supply and demand to approach each other and eventually to cross.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 06, 2014, 08:20:47 PM
Absolutely.

There will very probably never again be a time when global food stocks are robust.  There will always be fluctuations from year to year but the long term trend is for supply and demand to approach each other and eventually to cross.

Somewhere (and I can't remember where offhand) I saw a projection for when food prices would have permanently crossed the conflict triggering threshold. It's downhill all the way from there...

It wasn't that far ahead into the future either, if memory serves. Actually, I suspect that point might also represent peak population...
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 07, 2014, 05:01:26 PM
Somewhere (and I can't remember where offhand) I saw a projection for when food prices would have permanently crossed the conflict triggering threshold. It's downhill all the way from there...

It wasn't that far ahead into the future either, if memory serves. Actually, I suspect that point might also represent peak population...

That would be a tough calculation.  Predicting real prices as the trigger is far harder than working to try and figure out when per capita food production crosses the 2000 cal day going south.  Naturally the price signal will be spotty as it will hit specific locals which are in untenable positions first (Arab Spring type events).  We can probably guess some of those places pretty easily though.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 13, 2014, 05:44:34 PM
I wanted to point out something that is relevant here and also relates to my last post in the Renewables topic.

Birds.

Many may not be aware of it but the populations of birds in the world are a pretty small fraction of what they used to be 200 years ago. Especially here in North America.  This human caused population decline has huge repercussions in terms of trying to have sustainable agriculture in the future.  Why?

Bird poop.  Or lack thereof.  When Nature was running along minding its own business before humans screwed it up the single most important natural fertilizing mechanism for the land was not the handy deposits of poop from walking around land animals is was from birds.  There was a sufficient number of birds that they were the species which deposited the greatest volume of manure on the ground to fertilize the plants.  And they spread it pretty evenly too due to the randomness of flight.

Natural soil fertility today is thus diminished over ancient times and results in a circumstance which makes true sustainable agriculture more difficult than it used to be.  This will have an impact as we are forced to move away from industrial agriculture as the years pass.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 13, 2014, 08:32:55 PM
Bird poop.  Or lack thereof.  When Nature was running along minding its own business before humans screwed it up the single most important natural fertilizing mechanism for the land was not the handy deposits of poop from walking around land animals is was from birds.  There was a sufficient number of birds that they were the species which deposited the greatest volume of manure on the ground to fertilize the plants.  And they spread it pretty evenly too due to the randomness of flight.

Natural soil fertility today is thus diminished over ancient times and results in a circumstance which makes true sustainable agriculture more difficult than it used to be.  This will have an impact as we are forced to move away from industrial agriculture as the years pass.

Same note for whale poop in the oceans, if nobody mentioned it before. We wipe out all the whales - and turns out we cut the cycling of bioavailable iron and this reduce total productivity in the ecosystem.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter on February 13, 2014, 08:46:00 PM
Bird poop.  Or lack thereof.  When Nature was running along minding its own business before humans screwed it up the single most important natural fertilizing mechanism for the land was not the handy deposits of poop from walking around land animals is was from birds.  There was a sufficient number of birds that they were the species which deposited the greatest volume of manure on the ground to fertilize the plants.  And they spread it pretty evenly too due to the randomness of flight.

Natural soil fertility today is thus diminished over ancient times and results in a circumstance which makes true sustainable agriculture more difficult than it used to be.  This will have an impact as we are forced to move away from industrial agriculture as the years pass.

Same note for whale poop in the oceans, if nobody mentioned it before. We wipe out all the whales - and turns out we cut the cycling of bioavailable iron and this reduce total productivity in the ecosystem.

And anadromous fish. We've made a very thorough mess of it.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on February 14, 2014, 03:42:21 PM
"We've made a very thorough mess of it." It looks like Michael Klare would agree with that assessment.

http://www.juancole.com/2014/02/carbons-scorching-triumph.html (http://www.juancole.com/2014/02/carbons-scorching-triumph.html)

Game Over for Earth: Big Carbon’s Fatal, Scorching Triumph over Greens

Quote
Listening to President Obama’s State of the Union address, it would have been easy to conclude that we were slowly but surely gaining in the war on climate change.  “Our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet,” the president said.  “Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth.”  Indeed, it’s true that in recent years, largely thanks to the dampening effects of the Great Recession, U.S. carbon emissions were in decline (though they grew by 2% in 2013).  Still, whatever the president may claim, we’re not heading toward a “cleaner, safer planet.”  If anything, we’re heading toward a dirtier, more dangerous world.

A series of recent developments highlight the way we are losing ground in the epic struggle to slow global warming.  This has not been for lack of effort.  Around the world, dedicated organizations, communities, and citizens have been working day by day to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the use of renewable sources of energy.  The struggle to prevent construction of the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline is a case in point.  As noted in a recent New York Times article, the campaign against that pipeline has galvanized the environmental movement around the country and attracted thousands of activists to Washington, D.C., for protests and civil disobedience at the White House.  But efforts like these, heroic as they may be, are being overtaken by a more powerful force: the gravitational pull of cheap, accessible carbon-based fuels, notably oil, coal, and natural gas.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor on February 15, 2014, 02:02:16 PM
Bird poop.  Or lack thereof.  When Nature was running along minding its own business before humans screwed it up the single most important natural fertilizing mechanism for the land was not the handy deposits of poop from walking around land animals is was from birds.  There was a sufficient number of birds that they were the species which deposited the greatest volume of manure on the ground to fertilize the plants.  And they spread it pretty evenly too due to the randomness of flight.

How many wars (skirmishes) have been fought over bird poop?

How much geographical land areas (islands) claimed as sovereign territory because of bird poop?

The "guano trade" before synthetic fertilizer manufacturing - somewhat interesting.
Ship High In Transit
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 15, 2014, 05:15:02 PM
The "guano trade" before synthetic fertilizer manufacturing - somewhat interesting.
Ship High In Transit

I read that was an urban myth?

Regardless I think some wild animals - whatever wild animals are capable of surviving in the post climate change regime - are going to repopulate fairly fast. That's the typical progression:
- mass extinction happens, most things die
- "disaster taxa", resilient generalist species, rapidly colonise all the empty space
- over a very long time evolution diversifies species into niches (takes around a million years)

So whatever counts as disaster taxa (might include humans) will lay first claim to the remaining habitat once the more fragile species are gone.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor on February 16, 2014, 03:26:36 AM
The "guano trade" before synthetic fertilizer manufacturing - somewhat interesting.
Ship High In Transit

I read that was an urban myth?

Regardless I think some wild animals - whatever wild animals are capable of surviving in the post climate change regime - are going to repopulate fairly fast. That's the typical progression:
- mass extinction happens, most things die
- "disaster taxa", resilient generalist species, rapidly colonise all the empty space
- over a very long time evolution diversifies species into niches (takes around a million years)

So whatever counts as disaster taxa (might include humans) will lay first claim to the remaining habitat once the more fragile species are gone.
Have no doubt you read about "Ship High In Transit" in/on an urban myth web site.  BTW, the original spelling is not shit and then google "guano wars."
Beyond those did the USA seize island(s) because of bird poop?

You seem to write, "might be" NO Humans in a post climate change regime for re-population If that is what it comes too.

So, do you expect the human species is totally doomed?  Complete Extinction.
Zero breathing souls - nada - nobody?

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on February 16, 2014, 05:16:42 AM
So, do you expect the human species is totally doomed?  Complete Extinction.
Zero breathing souls - nada - nobody?

Personally? No, I think the odds of human survival are pretty decent. We're widely distributed globally, adaptable, omnivorous and with a proven track record of adapting to different environments. On our minus side we have fairly large bodies to support and aren't quite as omnivorous or fast breeding as, say, rats (which I also think have a good chance of making it).

Many people seem to conflate the loss of civilisation with extinction. I personally think civilisation is seriously threatened and likely to be largely lost (and point at history to show many examples of a loss of civilisation) - but that's an entirely different matter from going extinct (which cannot be ruled out entirely of course, just seems a lot less likely).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor on February 17, 2014, 03:39:35 PM
So, do you expect the human species is totally doomed?  Complete Extinction.
Zero breathing souls - nada - nobody?

Personally? No, I think the odds of human survival are pretty decent. We're widely distributed globally, adaptable, omnivorous and with a proven track record of adapting to different environments. On our minus side we have fairly large bodies to support and aren't quite as omnivorous or fast breeding as, say, rats (which I also think have a good chance of making it).

Many people seem to conflate the loss of civilisation with extinction. I personally think civilisation is seriously threatened and likely to be largely lost (and point at history to show many examples of a loss of civilisation) - but that's an entirely different matter from going extinct (which cannot be ruled out entirely of course, just seems a lot less likely).

Agree, I think human survival odds are very probable.

I do not agree civilization is threatened in my concept of what is civilization.
While some western (classical) civilizations fell and new world civilizations were decimated and I realize the preservation of knowledge could be a challenge (information storage and the weakness of current popular methods), but how far back into the "dark ages" would we regress and no longer print or re-print books?

What good would it be, such as a gold disc on Voyager, if technology regresses to where the disc could not be "played/understood?"  Was Sagan expecting discovering aliens to be much more advanced than us and be able to figure out anything and everything?

Loss of our use and love of modern conveniences I think could be mentally/morally debilitating to first or second generations, perhaps 3rd - 4th,  but a return to a quality of "quote" civilized life should not take a similar period of such as "early dark ages" to "middle or end of renaissance" if climatic conditions permit the smallest of strongholds to exist.
 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 17, 2014, 05:03:41 PM
Interesting quote from the head of the National Laboratory for Ag and Environment.


Quote
This warming trend and the shifting jet stream will have a dire impact on agriculture, especially in the farm-rich middle-latitudes in the United States.

"We are going to see changes in patterns of precipitation, of temperatures that might be linked to what is going on in the far north," said Serreze.

Jerry Hatfield, head of the National Laboratory for Agriculture and Environment in the midwestern state of Iowa, warned that this is not a phenomenon that affects only the United States.

"Look around the world -- we produce the bulk of our crops around this mid-latitude area," he said.

The main impact on agriculture and livestock will not come from small temperature changes, but rather from temperature extremes and the weather patterns that hold them in place for longer periods of time.

Droughts and freezes are already having "a major impact on animal productivity, it influences meat production, milk and eggs production," he said.

http://www.afp.com/en/news/topstories/jet-stream-shift-could-prompt-harsher-winters-scientists (http://www.afp.com/en/news/topstories/jet-stream-shift-could-prompt-harsher-winters-scientists)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on February 18, 2014, 02:14:04 AM
Most positions claiming the likely survival of humans assume that we retain something like our current intellectual abilities. This may not be the case.

http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim (http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim)

A species of autistic, adhd dyslexics are not likely to be really good at preserving culture and writing, much less themselves.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor on February 18, 2014, 02:57:58 PM
Most positions claiming the likely survival of humans assume that we retain something like our current intellectual abilities. This may not be the case.

http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim (http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim)

A species of autistic, adhd dyslexics are not likely to be really good at preserving culture and writing, much less themselves.

Wili,
Hel-ov-a-life we have.

Some people claim lead poisoning from water pipes was a significant contributor to the Fall of the Roman Empire.  Perhaps we're all going to fiddle while the world burns.

I think we have solid evidence since "Silent Spring" and recovery among raptors (egg shells) that chemicals in our environment kill animals (indirectly ? directly).  Humans are animals IMO.

Will non-GMO and Organic become the standard for feeding the world's population?
Not IMO.

Any where you've picked-up on how long it will/might take for a super-majority ( >68.2% ) to become functionally incapable due to chemical poisoning ?

 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 19, 2014, 08:23:13 PM
Climate Change, Winter Storms, and the Future of European Wine

Quote
A cover story in Science News offers an in-depth look at how by 2050 climate change will render big parts of Italy, France, and Spain—the world’s three biggest wine producers—less suitable for growing wine grapes.

Wines such as sauvignon blanc and merlot will still be made, just in new parts of the world. “Some wine producers in Champagne or Bordeaux are already moving north and setting up vineyards in southern England,” which has similarly chalky soil,

From what I have heard the vineyards are on the move in the US also.  What will Australia do?  Where can they go?

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-02-13/climate-change-winter-storms-and-the-future-of-european-wine (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-02-13/climate-change-winter-storms-and-the-future-of-european-wine)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: TerryM on February 19, 2014, 08:52:30 PM
Canadian vineyards keep marching northward & we've palm shaded beaches in Ontario & BC now. Hope the ones near by made it through this winter - brutally cold here which makes it damn near impossible to get most people interested in Global Warming. The coming melt season in the Arctic may reawaken interest.
Terry
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor on February 20, 2014, 01:36:23 AM
Canadian vineyards keep marching northward & we've palm shaded beaches in Ontario & BC now. Hope the ones near by made it through this winter - brutally cold here which makes it damn near impossible to get most people interested in Global Warming. The coming melt season in the Arctic may reawaken interest.
Terry
Terry,
I was in two different supermarkets (food stores) last week and could not find New Hampshire USA Maple Syrup, all was labeled as Product of Canada.

If we quit making molasses in Dixie, it will be a major wake-up call for "conservative deniers."

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor on February 21, 2014, 03:50:57 PM
Most positions claiming the likely survival of humans assume that we retain something like our current intellectual abilities. This may not be the case.

http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim (http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim)

A species of autistic, adhd dyslexics are not likely to be really good at preserving culture and writing, much less themselves.

wili,
Another one for you.  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
Way above average number of Birth Defects ( parts of Brain and Skull Missing  anencephaly )
in  central Washington, near Yakima
www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6235a5.htm (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6235a5.htm)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC )

Also, NBC News
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/bizarre-cluster-severe-birth-defects-haunts-health-experts-n24986 (http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/bizarre-cluster-severe-birth-defects-haunts-health-experts-n24986)

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on February 21, 2014, 05:10:10 PM
Most positions claiming the likely survival of humans assume that we retain something like our current intellectual abilities. This may not be the case.

http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim (http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim)

A species of autistic, adhd dyslexics are not likely to be really good at preserving culture and writing, much less themselves.

wili,
Another one for you.  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
Way above average number of Birth Defects ( parts of Brain and Skull Missing  anencephaly )
in  central Washington, near Yakima
www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6235a5.htm (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6235a5.htm)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC )

Also, NBC News
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/bizarre-cluster-severe-birth-defects-haunts-health-experts-n24986 (http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/bizarre-cluster-severe-birth-defects-haunts-health-experts-n24986)

Whenever hot spots like this show up, after intense studies, the medical community will usually be very cautious in attributing these to any specific environmental factor. This is not very different than climate scientists being cautious when attributing bad weather to climate change. It makes sense that they do this. Absent solid evidence, a scientist would be operating outside the realm of science. Having said this, I think all of the hotspots are clear evidence of environmental factors. We just cannot identify the causes.

I do not think these suggest, in any way, problems with the human species surviving. It is only in wealthy societies that these are even noticed and studied. As human civilization is battered by global warming, we will simply retreat to past practices. These kinds of infants will simply be abandoned. Only the strong will survive. You could argue that AGW will have the effect of strengthening the gene pool as we are culled by increasingly difficult habitats.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on February 21, 2014, 05:38:23 PM
But the "gene pool" will be and is under assault from all quarters--endless persistent toxic chemicals, myriad wide-spread heavy metals, and more and more radioactive isotopes as more and more nukes go fuku.

And as the scavenger society really gets underway and the knowledge of what materials are most dangerous goes away, more and more people will be engaged in handling more and more nasty stuff.

As for "we will simply retreat to past practices"--there was nothing 'simple' about most of those past practices. They relied on a knowledge base and an infrastructure that mostly isn't there any more.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on February 21, 2014, 09:03:13 PM
But the "gene pool" will be and is under assault from all quarters--endless persistent toxic chemicals, myriad wide-spread heavy metals, and more and more radioactive isotopes as more and more nukes go fuku.

And as the scavenger society really gets underway and the knowledge of what materials are most dangerous goes away, more and more people will be engaged in handling more and more nasty stuff.

As for "we will simply retreat to past practices"--there was nothing 'simple' about most of those past practices. They relied on a knowledge base and an infrastructure that mostly isn't there any more.

It will be pretty easy to decide which weak infants and aging adults to dispose of.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 04, 2014, 04:50:14 PM
Crop diversity decline 'threatens food security'

Quote
"Over the past 50 years, we are seeing that diets around the world are changing and they are becoming more similar - what we call the 'globalised diet'," co-author Colin Khoury, a scientist from the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture, explained.

Vegetable stall, India (Image: BBC) Other crops provide the supplementary nutrients to diets that the major staple foods cannot deliver
"This diet is composed of big, major cops such as wheat, rice, potatoes and sugar.

"It also includes crops that were not important 50 years ago but have become very important now, particularly oil crops like soybean," he told BBC News.

While wheat has long been a staple crop, it is now a key food in more than 97% of countries listed in UN data, the study showed.

And from relative obscurity, soybean had become "significant" in the diets of almost three-quarters of nations
.....

....They added that estimates from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggested that "the diversity of cultivated crops declined by 75% during the 20th Century and a third of of today's diversity could disappear by 2050".

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26382067 (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26382067)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 13, 2014, 07:57:36 PM
Quote
The prospect of meat as it is produced in the modern farming system, however, is not so appealing. In Farmageddon, Philip Lymbery – chief executive of the charity Compassion in World Farming – suggests that mass market meat is leading to ‘the death of our countryside … and billions starving’. For two years Lymbery and Isabel Oakeshott, political editor of the Sunday Times, travelled the world to investigate ‘factory farming’. The horrors they witness will come as little surprise to anyone who has read Peter Singer, Michael Pollan, Felicity Lawrence, Eric Schlosser or any of the previous exposés of factory-farmed meat, but they make grim and startling reading even so.

Quote
If you can get beyond the title, the great virtues of Farmageddon are its global reach and eyewitness accounts of the many grotesque landscapes – seabeds without oxygen, fields without wildlife, chickens without beaks – generated by our love of meat....

In Taiwan, Lymbery and Oakeshott see half-dead chickens being scooped into rubbish bags; in Argentina, they meet tribespeople forced off their land to make way for soya farms growing animal feed; in India, they track the wave of suicides among peasants no longer able to make a living; in California, they hear of children who have asthma because they live near a ‘mega-dairy’ housing around 10,000 cows; in China, they see a village where there is no clean water because of the excess of pig effluent from a nearby farm, run by a company producing a million pigs a year. Near the farm, they notice some strange poplar trees, whose trunks are bare and leaves and branches wilting. ‘We scrambled along the edge of a maize field, and then up a steep bank, and there we saw the source of the problem: a huge lagoon of putrid watery muck.’ This farm, ‘ironically’, had received accreditation from the UN ‘on the basis of its environmental record’.

Quote
Fishmeal is one of the filthiest secrets of the factory-farming industry, an environmental catastrophe that involves sucking millions of tonnes of small fish out of the sea and crushing them into fish oil and dry feed for farmed fish, pigs and chickens. The process deprives millions of larger wild fish, birds and marine mammals of their natural prey, drastically depleting stocks of important species. It also pumps vile fatty waste into ocean bays, creating ‘dead zones’; pollutes the atmosphere around processing plants, causing widespread human health problems; and diverts what could be a highly valuable source of nutrition for people to industrially farmed animals.

Quote
Global meat production creates a bloated demand for grain, which exacerbates the effects of inflation when harvests are hit, as they were in 2010-11 thanks to hot dry conditions across Europe, Africa, America and Australia. It is the poor who live with the direct consequences of industrial meat production: they are the ones whose homes are on the banks of pig lagoons, whose babies suffer respiratory disease from pesticide spraying. In Argentina, Lymbery and Oakeshott see what happens when a field with a picturesque duck pond and a fig tree is replaced with a cattle feedlot consisting of thousands of cattle in a sea of mud. ‘Around us was GM soy, interspersed by a lot of weeds and more mosquitoes than any of us had ever seen in one place.’

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n06/bee-wilson/how-much-meat-is-too-much (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n06/bee-wilson/how-much-meat-is-too-much)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 14, 2014, 04:38:52 PM
JimD, I am a fisherman and a farmer. Cruel treatment, an understatement, of animals is a very sad statement about our general inhumanity as well as a disconnect from our farming roots. Factory farms are a result of  markets driving moral standards and peoples willingness to bury their heads and ignore their own responsibilities in where food comes from. I noticed you didn't comment and I am a little gun shy because I got jumped the last time I did but as they say " only fools march in". I can't understand why some posters on this forum apparently support energy and commodity price supports as both of those things facilitate the horrors described in your farmageddon article. Diving into our moral shortcomings without acknowledging the market drivers of our corporate food system is neither effective at changing it or honest about our culpability. Cheap grains are a product of subsidies and factory farms are a direct result.
   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 14, 2014, 05:51:08 PM
Bruce

You and I are on the same page I think.  Sometimes I just toss stuff out there for people to see and also to see if anyone finds it interesting enough to respond.

If we had mandatory trips for all high school students to one each of a CAFO operation for producing eggs, chicken meat, beef, pork and milk I am pretty sure that the number of vegetarians would go up by a factor of at least 1-2 orders of magnitude.  LOL

I must admit that I still eat meat from the grocery store, but I long ago quit eating ocean fish due to my concerns about overfishing and how things like mercury get concentrated in fish (this resulted from my wife who ate lots of fish getting low level mercury poisoning some years ago).

People often support things they would be against because they have swallowed the propaganda fed to them by the media and do not know what is actually going on.  Witness our former poster who wanted to fight me all day over whether the US was an empire.  He had swallowed the propaganda that our country is a force for good in the world and our troops are protecting our freedoms.  Complete ignorance.  When only about 1% of the population are farmers god knows how their knowledge of how food is produced is going to be skewed.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Anne on March 15, 2014, 10:38:11 AM
If we had mandatory trips for all high school students to one each of a CAFO operation for producing eggs, chicken meat, beef, pork and milk I am pretty sure that the number of vegetarians would go up by a factor of at least 1-2 orders of magnitude. 
I'm not a vegetarian either, but have cut down on meat a lot and try to eat it only from ethical sources. This clip from Samsara is fairly well known but still packs a punch. I can't post a link directly on the board for some reason, but if you put http colon slash slash in front of this, you should get it:
vimeo.com/73234721
or else Google "Samsara food sequence". Powerful stuff, and all done without speech.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 15, 2014, 04:15:34 PM
Corporate ownership of farm land. The trend leading to us all becoming sharecroppers.

Quote
That may be on the verge of changing. A recent report by the Oakland Institute documents a fledgling, little-studied trend: Corporations are starting to buy up US farmland, especially in areas dominated by industrial-scale agriculture, like Iowa and California's Central Valley. But the land-grabbing companies aren't agribusinesses like Monsanto and Cargill. Instead, they're financial firms: investment arms of insurance companies, banks, pension funds, and the like. In short, Wall Street spies gold in those fields of greens and grains.
.
Why are they plowing cash into such an inherently risky business with such seemingly low profit potential? For Wall Street, farmland represents a "reassuringly tangible commodity" with the potential for "solid, if not excellent, returns," the Oakland Institute notes—something clients are hungry for after being recently burned not long ago by credit-default swaps and securities backed by trashy mortgages. As the saying goes, you can't make more land; and as the Oakland Institute notes, "over the last 50 years, the amount of global arable land per capita shrank by roughly 45 percent, and it is expected to continue declining, albeit more moderately, going toward 2050."

And this shows you how the corporate folks take care of their land as well.

Quote
Of course, one advantage of owning farmland in California's is its Wild West water-pumping regulations. California's Central Valley, now parched by its worst drought in 500 years, is the site of much of that booming nut production. Almonds and pistachios are thirsty crops, as my colleagues Alex Park and Julia Lurie recently showed, yet acreage devoted to almonds rose by more than 25 percent between 2006 and 2013, while pistachio acres jumped 50 percent over a similar time frame.

For about a decade, Central Valley farmers there have been pumping groundwater much faster than it can naturally be replenished, to make up for reduced irrigation flows from the state's rivers and streams, researchers at the University of California Center for Hydrologic Modeling recently found. The trend has dramatically increased since the current drought's onset in 2011, the team says. The overpumping has gotten so bad that 1,200 square mile swath of the Central Valley—a landmass more than twice as large as Los Angeles—has been sinking by an average of 11 inches per year, a 2013 US Geological Survey study found. And here's the kicker: USGS hydrologist Michelle Sneed, who worked on the study, tells me that it's not on land owned by family farms that most of the water sucking in the part of the Central Valley is occurring; rather, she said, it's on land owned by large finance firms.

She added that the switch from row crops like broccoli to tree crops like nuts have worsened the situation, because crop growers can fallow fields during a drought, while nut growers have to keep their trees watered or risk losing them altogether. The pumping frenzy is made possible by a regulatory free-for-all—Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, a leading think thank on water issues, says California has no statewide limits on how landowners can exploit the water under their land—a state of affairs he calls a "recipe for disaster."

Texas lets someone pump all they want as well.  Stupid beyond belief.

BTW this has  been going on for years and is not a new phenomenon.  They will be buying up the excellent farmland in Ukraine soon.

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/03/land-grabs-not-just-africa-anymore (http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/03/land-grabs-not-just-africa-anymore)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on March 17, 2014, 01:54:22 AM
Climate impacts to hit crop yields from 2030s

   
Quote
Predictions that climate change will deliver sizeable benefits for the economy through much of this century will be challenged once again this week with the publication of new research showing that crop yields could be hit from the 2030s onwards.

    Research by a team from University of Leeds published today in Nature Climate Change predicts that climate change will lead to reduced crop yields earlier than previous models have shown. Scientists have long warned that climate impacts such as droughts and floods will damage crop yields, particularly in tropical regions. But it had been thought that any reduction in yields in some geographies would be compensated by longer growing seasons in other regions as a result of higher temperatures and concentrations of carbon dioxide.

    However, the new paper, entitled 'A meta-analysis of crop yield under climate change and adaptation,' predicts that just 2C of warming will be "detrimental" to crops in both temperate and tropical regions from the 2030s onwards.

    "Our research shows that crop yields will be negatively affected by climate change much earlier than expected," said Professor Andy Challinor of the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds and lead author of the study, in a statement. "Furthermore, the impact of climate change on crops will vary both from year-to-year and from place-to-place - with the variability becoming greater as the weather becomes increasingly erratic."

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2334385/study-climate-impacts-to-hit-crop-yields-from-2030s? (http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2334385/study-climate-impacts-to-hit-crop-yields-from-2030s?)

Thanks to Graeme at POForums for this link and quote.

Does this change your 2050 time frame, JimD?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 17, 2014, 03:33:42 AM
wili

Well that is certainly interesting.  I can't find a way to read the actual article nor can I get the graphs to display well enough that I can read them. 

It will be interesting to see how this paper is received and I want to read it first, but yeah it sounds like the research is indicating lower yields than previous studies.  But I am always cautious until I see the actual paper as reporters are very unreliable.  The phrase in the link which says this concerns me:

Quote
Predictions that climate change will deliver sizeable benefits for the economy through much of this century will be challenged once again this week with the publication of new research showing that crop yields could be hit from the 2030s onwards.

What does this mean?  Did the authors give a range, is that the worst case number and the median number is what?  Reporters often go awry on the details like that.

If the new median number on all the yields going south is much earlier than the roughly 2050 timeframe then that would require some research to see if an earlier date was warranted.

When is the median date estimate of when we hit +2C right now?  The article indicates the research said at +2C the yields go negative everywhere.  Was 2030 picked as that is the earliest we could hit +2C?

Do you have any links which can be read?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 17, 2014, 03:41:18 AM
wili

The below is the most recent large scale work on crop yields before your link.  It was done by collaboration at the Potsdam Institute.  Their numbers indicated at +2C the grain yields in the high latitudes were still positive.

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,714.0.html
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on March 17, 2014, 04:17:33 AM
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2153.html (http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2153.html)

A meta-analysis of crop yield under climate change and adaptation

    A. J. Challinor, J. Watson, D. B. Lobell, S. M. Howden, D. R. Smith & N. Chhetri

    Nature Climate Change (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2153

Abstract:

Quote
Feeding a growing global population in a changing climate presents a significant challenge to society1, 2. The projected yields of crops under a range of agricultural and climatic scenarios are needed to assess food security prospects. Previous meta-analyses3 have summarized climate change impacts and adaptive potential as a function of temperature, but have not examined uncertainty, the timing of impacts, or the quantitative effectiveness of adaptation. Here we develop a new data set of more than 1,700 published simulations to evaluate yield impacts of climate change and adaptation. Without adaptation, losses in aggregate production are expected for wheat, rice and maize in both temperate and tropical regions by 2 °C of local warming. Crop-level adaptations increase simulated yields by an average of 7–15%, with adaptations more effective for wheat and rice than maize.

 Yield losses are greater in magnitude for the second half of the century than for the first.

Consensus on yield decreases in the second half of the century is stronger in tropical than temperate regions, yet even moderate warming may reduce temperate crop yields in many locations. Although less is known about interannual variability than mean yields, the available data indicate that increases in yield variability are likely.

Well, the sentence I bolded, at least, certainly would seem to support your theory. Yeah, it's hard to pin down who is making the assumptions about when these temperature thresholds might be reached. And I can't get the graphs to load.

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nature.com%2Fnclimate%2Fjournal%2Fvaop%2Fncurrent%2Ffig_tab%2Fnclimate2153_F1.html&hash=56aff1588836134f0d3494780bbcfe77)

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nature.com%2Fnclimate%2Fjournal%2Fvaop%2Fncurrent%2Ffig_tab%2Fnclimate2153_F3.html&hash=08e3a60f986093de3b5e0a1776d346dc)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 17, 2014, 07:05:16 AM
I have mentioned  before a book by Walter Haugen" The Laws of Physics Are On My Side"
In it he documents K/cal out for a garden he maintains with a rototiller and he also documents
K/cal in of gas consumed with his tiller. His total are 2,106,593 K/cal in vegetables produced from a mixed variety of crops( no grains) and 667,375 K/cal in fuel consumed for an EROEI of 3.16
If those K/cal figures can be reduced further with a solar charged electric tiller to say 210,000 Kcal the EROEI can be increased to ~ 10.  I understand the tiller , solar panels and battery need to be accounted for in these energy calculations but they can be amortized over several seasons. So would the EROEI of the solar panels increase since they are contributing to producing food calories?
These figures are for about an acre of land and Walter claims this production results in $ 22,139.50 of gross income.
 An acre is most certainly maintainable by one man and K/cal numbers would change depending on crops grown. Energy costs for water are another issue that would also be variable depending on rain verses pumping costs but I am wondering if achieving an energy return of ~ 10 and providing enough food calories for several people from one mans work is a game changer?
 I am trying to run my two tillers long enough to answer some questions. First is ,do the tillers hold up to use ? The more years they work the more fixed costs can be reduced. Solar panels last many years so they can outlast the tiller and batteries . The other question for me is how many acres can be maintained with a few extra tricks like biodegradable paper mulch, trellising ,and crop selection.
I have had people say these questions might be of interest to an agriculture college like Cal-Poly ...  a local college.
  I would be interested to hear from anyone on this forum with advice or criticism . I will push forward because I am rather obsessed and I already have all the tools paid for with the exception of solar panels but that will happen soon. Should I go off grid with a relatively small number of panels or take the plunge and buy enough to run my well pumps also? An electric car for deliveries isn't out of the question and everything sells within three miles but first things first. 
 It is exciting to watch things begin to grow this season. I am loath to make promises and I am not going to make any claims until I have good numbers to quote but it is exciting to be farming in a very different way this season. 
   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 17, 2014, 04:40:19 PM
Bruce

He has some interesting claims.  I have a lot of doubts about his numbers.  I performed this very type of analysis on my farm a couple of times.  His numbers, to me, do not sound credible.

My guess is that he has failed by a large amount in taking account of all of the energy/cost inputs.

His $22K gross income from an acre is not all that high and indicates he is toward the low technology end of the spectrum.  I was over $30k per acre and knew of some who hit $40K acre.  But we all used a lot of machinery.

Your quote indicated he figured his EROEI on just fuel use.  There are a "lot" more energy inputs and costs which need to be taken into account to come up with a realistic number.

As you mentioned there are the inputs related to watering.  Is he using pumps, drip tape, piping, sprinklers, buckets, just rain, what.  Since he sold his produce and was not just growing for his own uses what were his transportation costs, does he have a truck he uses, just from a farm stand, what.  Does he preserve any of the produce for himself, canning jars, energy for the stove. etc?  You mentioned amortizing the tiller, but one also has to amortize all tools and equipment used in the farming.  Did he have to build deer fencing?  Electric fences?  Does he have a refrigeration unit to help preserve the produce?  What about a washing station to clean the produce?  How does he package his produce for sale?  Does he have a greenhouse?  Do his numbers on calories produced include crop wastage and loss or is that the amount he actually sold?

The point I am getting to is that his real EROEI is highly unlikely to be anywhere near as high as 3.16.  It is most certainly well below 1.0.  As soon as one introduces anything beyond hand tools and just human labor the embedded energy in all the items I mentioned above guarantee a number very low.  The reason what we used to do was called subsistence farming is that with just hand tools and human labor it was a struggle to achieve an EROEI much above 1.0.  I just do not believe what he is claiming.

I think we have to accept that we cannot live sustainably in a strict sense as soon as we start utilizing technology more advanced than hand tools.  Getting energy inputs as low as possible is very important as we cannot live without farming and that means some level of carbon emissions.  But  if we lower population sufficiently and let the natural world regrow we can possibly achieve balance and still not be a zero carbon emissions while growing food and maintaining some level of civilization. And maybe not.

 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 17, 2014, 05:34:14 PM
JimD, Thanks for the comeback. I look around and see all those things you noted. Even buying used fencing, used equipment, and minimizing inputs as best I can makes me wonder if I am just blowing blue smoke. The fact remains however that when I speak of the horrors I see with my acidification issue it makes a great deal of impact to my audience to explain how I am trying to react. My boat uses more fuel in a day that my farm for a year and refrigeration , airfreight, trucking, etc. drives the footprint of producing some seafood even higher. I take no pleasure in scaring the shit out of people but I am a scary dude. I look this monster in the eye every day and most people either throw their hands in the air or mentally block the pain and as a consequence live out a life of fantasy.
 I agree completely that seed to table energy calculations are necessary to make claims but you would have to admit in a relative way there are ways to make those food / energy numbers closer to the hoe and shovel minimums than buying T.V. dinners and cheetos. As it turns out wealthy people are willing to pay more for specialty foods, organics and heritage meats and they for the most part aren't spending any time behind a shovel. Poor people who never got much land and never left the farm may be doing better than I do on these energy questions already but they aren't pushing the climate
message . I traveled the eastern block before I decided to forgo the pleasures of plane flight and I know survival and minimalism share common roots. I could walk away and live that life and maybe be a bit less a hypocrite but I haven't. I am surrounded by vast wealth but those are the people we need to change. Complicated problems, conflicted, and still smiling. To the fields 
 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Neven on March 17, 2014, 05:50:14 PM
I have mentioned  before a book by Walter Haugen" The Laws of Physics Are On My Side"
In it he documents K/cal out for a garden he maintains with a rototiller and he also documents
K/cal in of gas consumed with his tiller. His total are 2,106,593 K/cal in vegetables produced from a mixed variety of crops( no grains) and 667,375 K/cal in fuel consumed for an EROEI of 3.16
If those K/cal figures can be reduced further with a solar charged electric tiller to say 210,000 Kcal the EROEI can be increased to ~ 10.  I understand the tiller , solar panels and battery need to be accounted for in these energy calculations but they can be amortized over several seasons. So would the EROEI of the solar panels increase since they are contributing to producing food calories?
These figures are for about an acre of land and Walter claims this production results in $ 22,139.50 of gross income.
 An acre is most certainly maintainable by one man and K/cal numbers would change depending on crops grown. Energy costs for water are another issue that would also be variable depending on rain verses pumping costs but I am wondering if achieving an energy return of ~ 10 and providing enough food calories for several people from one mans work is a game changer?
 I am trying to run my two tillers long enough to answer some questions. First is ,do the tillers hold up to use ? The more years they work the more fixed costs can be reduced. Solar panels last many years so they can outlast the tiller and batteries . The other question for me is how many acres can be maintained with a few extra tricks like biodegradable paper mulch, trellising ,and crop selection.
I have had people say these questions might be of interest to an agriculture college like Cal-Poly ...  a local college.
  I would be interested to hear from anyone on this forum with advice or criticism . I will push forward because I am rather obsessed and I already have all the tools paid for with the exception of solar panels but that will happen soon. Should I go off grid with a relatively small number of panels or take the plunge and buy enough to run my well pumps also? An electric car for deliveries isn't out of the question and everything sells within three miles but first things first. 
 It is exciting to watch things begin to grow this season. I am loath to make promises and I am not going to make any claims until I have good numbers to quote but it is exciting to be farming in a very different way this season.

I think this would deserve a thread of its own.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 17, 2014, 07:36:32 PM
Neven, I will take up that challenge this evening. Good thing about blogging is it is a nice break from farm labors but gotta get back out there right now.
 Briefly, I think the best way to get good numbers is defining a parameter  and keep it small for starters.
To really get EROEI numbers up one needs to do as much as possible by hand with the solar, batteries and tiller as an assist. Removing complications of markets and planting high calorie crops will also increase those numbers.Crops that can resist pests without worrying about food safety issues ,as I must for commercial sales, will make this easier. Potatoes for example.
 Start small, keep it simple, have patience.
I do appreciate JimD as an honest critic and I know I have people in support( that includes JimD) as well as locals. 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 17, 2014, 09:07:08 PM
Bruce

I am just playing devil's advocate and mostly for the purpose of enlightening those readers who are not familiar with what goes into farming (I know you are).  It is easy for them to misunderstand a snippet of information and think an easy solution is right around the corner.  So I pick at things a bit.

The type of thing that used to bother me a lot was the energy expended by my customers in coming to the farm or markets to buy my food.  As you indicated many of them were quite well off and had no consideration of what they were doing.  Hop in the 6000lb SUV and drive a round trip that was often worth a couple of gallons of gas just to buy $30 worth of vegetables.  From an EROEI standpoint we are far better off if people buy at the grocery store on their regular trips.  An approximation of sustainable farming would mandate that regular vegetables only be marketed within walking/bicycling distance from where they are grown.  Only modern civilization could consider shipping vegetables great distances.  Thus the explanation for why pretty much almost all of what was shipped prior to recent times was bulk grain.   Survival food.  What we really need people to do is grow their own vegetables in their gardens (seasonal produce only) and only have grains (including potatoes) and meats shipped any significant distances.  And don't even get me started on shipping water all over the world disguised as fruit and wine!  If they can't raise orchards and vineyards near where you live you will just have to make do with local berries and whiskey!

But to be more serious the time is coming when we will have to adapt and stop a lot of the ways of growing food we do now and return to older methods.  We are going to pull out all stops to save Central Valley agriculture to little point.  A great amount of their problems are self inflicted; planting vast acreage there in orchards was stupid.  Plant only annuals and adapt to  the water variabilities by taking land out of production when it is dry and adding in on the wet years and they would be much more secure. Grow only the vegetables they can consume on that side of the country and let everyone else grow their own.  Put the rest in grain.  The US east of the Mississippi can easily grow all the vegetables needed on that side of the country.  Things like that.

Best of luck on any more rain this spring.  At my house in AZ we have had about 1/10th inch since the 1st week of Dec.  We are almost to the dry season.   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on March 18, 2014, 06:50:52 PM
DD picked up the 'meta-analysis' article and has a clearer version of some of the graphs:

http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/03/climate-change-will-reduce-crop-yields.html (http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/03/climate-change-will-reduce-crop-yields.html)

Wheat and corn in the tropics show the greatest declines, corn starting soon, wheat at about 2 degrees.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 18, 2014, 11:28:42 PM
wili

Thanks.  The graphs actually are very similar to the ones from the big study I mentioned earlier.  I think what it boils down to is when the temperatures reach the 2C level and how much more variable the weather becomes making everything more unpredictable.

It sure does look like the tropics are in for it first no matter what happens.  As we have all sort of expected.  Collapse will come there the fastest and hardest I expect.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 19, 2014, 12:39:23 AM
DD picked up the 'meta-analysis' article and has a clearer version of some of the graphs:

http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/03/climate-change-will-reduce-crop-yields.html (http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/03/climate-change-will-reduce-crop-yields.html)

Wheat and corn in the tropics show the greatest declines, corn starting soon, wheat at about 2 degrees.

If this is the recent paper that I watched a video presentation by someone explaining - there are still multiple significant factors (all negative...) that aren't included in the modelling they're doing to make these predictions - suggesting to me that they still haven't captured the probable rate and severity of agricultural output decline we should expect.

Increasingly extreme weather, resource constraints (particularly phosphate but also oil), and conflict were three I'm sure weren't in. I'm wondering if water (as a resource) was now that I think about it...

So we're still going to end up saying "worse and faster than predicted", though I appreciate it isn't the job of the scientists to speculate and ask those sort of "what if" questions (even where they're pretty obvious - they must be quantified and treated scientifically to produce a paper or solid prediction). That doesn't mean policymakers (and us) shouldn't do so though... provide we're clear what is science and what is speculation.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 19, 2014, 03:29:16 PM
ccg

The other big meta study I have quoted before did have a paper that included water issues in relation to future yields.

There is some info on it in this topic

Science / ISI-MIP (Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project)

Until we get our hands on the full study we can't compare apples to apples, but it does not appear that there is a significant difference between these two large scale efforts.  It looks like median estimates for yields falling significantly in the high latitudes start to occur around +2C and earlier for the low latitudes.  When +2C happens seems to be the key.

It is really hard to have an idea what is going to happen give or take a decade when we are talking about 45 years out.  I think that they are doing a pretty good job.  One thing that will likely help a lot for future projections is if we get our strong El Nino later in this year.  After a period of a flatter rise in surface temps getting a spike would go a long way towards helping see how the rise is going to effect growing conditions in many places.  We're toast for sure we just don't know when.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 19, 2014, 04:41:29 PM
wili

Thanks.  The graphs actually are very similar to the ones from the big study I mentioned earlier.  I think what it boils down to is when the temperatures reach the 2C level and how much more variable the weather becomes making everything more unpredictable.

It sure does look like the tropics are in for it first no matter what happens.  As we have all sort of expected.  Collapse will come there the fastest and hardest I expect.

I am not certain this is the case. The subtropics may suffer far more. This has been linked to here before but I thought I would link it again. As the Hadley cell expands, the tropics will see generally more rain while the sub-tropics will receive less. This suggests that the droughts we are seeing occur in the southwestern and southeastern U.S. may intensify.

http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/10-11/biomathstat/Langford_W.pdf (http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/10-11/biomathstat/Langford_W.pdf)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 19, 2014, 05:10:16 PM
SH

I think that the determining factors which make the low latitudes see significant declines in yields before the high latitudes are primarily two; temperatures and water supplies.

The average temperatures in many of the low latitude areas which are locations for large scale grain production are already near or at the level which result in drops in yields.  All crops are evolved to be viable in a range of temperatures.  There is both a low and high limit.  And an optimum temperature for germination, growth and producing seeds.  Thus heat waves can cause real problems as well as average temperatures.  When averages rise there is also a natural increase in the ill effects of heat waves which occur on top of the average temperatures.  This situation will occur in the low latitudes on average before it does at the high latitudes.  Local conditions at a specific location can run counter to this of course.

Water comes both in the form of rain and via groundwater for agriculture.  One of the big issues everywhere is the future ability to obtain ground water for irrigation.  The situation in many of the low latitude regions is actually worse than it is in the high latitude ones thus that is one point making the low latitudes worse.  Another is that AGW is going to change precipitation patterns but it is also believed that arid areas will see drier conditions and when they get rainfall it will be more intense, while the opposite will occur in wet areas. Thus the water situation is not advantageous to the low latitudes either.

I am not trying to say that agriculture in the southwest is going to  be fine.  Just the opposite, it is going to shrink significantly over time.  The southeast will however remain very viable for some time due to the high average rainfall it is starting from.  Temperatures there will likely cause the greatest problems I think.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 19, 2014, 05:27:10 PM
wili

Your post over in the other topic is relevant here.

Quote
Re: AVOIDing dangerous climate change. Can Global Warming be Limited to Two Degrees?

« Reply #49 on: Today at 07:47:27 AM »


If the world continues to burn fossil fuels at the current rate, global warming will rise 2 degrees Celsius by 2036, crossing a threshold that many scientists think will hurt all aspects of human civilization: food, water, health, energy, economy and national security.


--M. Mann

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mann-why-global-warming-will-cross-a-dangerous-threshold-in-2036/ (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mann-why-global-warming-will-cross-a-dangerous-threshold-in-2036/)

So at current rates we hit +2C in 2036.  As I do not expect we will change that metric much this does indeed imply consequential shortfalls in food production starting soon after that date excepting extraordinary efforts being made (possible but who knows) in places like the US to change what we grow to increase global food supply. 

It does look like the data is leaning towards earlier dates.  It will be interesting to see how the numbers will change assuming we have the strong El Nino.  Will folks start to panic and make some intelligent changes or do we even more double down on BAU?  Or are things so far gone as to be fubar'ed.   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 20, 2014, 05:05:27 AM
So at current rates we hit +2C in 2036.  As I do not expect we will change that metric much this does indeed imply consequential shortfalls in food production starting soon after that date excepting extraordinary efforts being made (possible but who knows) in places like the US to
change what we grow to increase global food supply. 

Subject to the previous caveats, of course.

The flip side of course is increasing demand - if memory serves the leaked IPCC stuff (suspect it's on the forum somewhere) was something like +14% demand per decade vs -2% production.

So even if this were accurate, if absolute yields were to be dropping around 2036 (for sake of argument), demand would have shot up well ahead of that (indeed, around about now...). So food availability peaks and falls before production does due to increasing demand (part of which is of course population, the rest is consumption driven).

Hence it's really hard to see how the world avoids shortfalls in food production long before this date - and being a pretty inelastic commodity - that has important ramifications for food prices and social stability. High energy costs are another factor stimulating food prices of course (which I think will become increasingly relevant, as will resource depletion in terms of phosphate in the sort of timeframes you're talking about).

It does look like the data is leaning towards earlier dates.  It will be interesting to see how the numbers will change assuming we have the strong El Nino.  Will folks start to panic and make some intelligent changes or do we even more double down on BAU?  Or are things so far gone as to be fubar'ed.   

Intelligent changes? Looking at the level of politics being played out between the US and Russia over the last few years - I can't say there's much sign of that happening...

In general I've concluded that anyone hoping any single event (however catastrophic) will lead to changes in behaviour (especially productive changes) is placing their hope in a pretty unlikely place. Years of watching catastrophic events unfold, watching the little ripples that (sometimes) get into the media wash over people and then fade away into the oblivion of forgetfulness leads me to this conclusion.

Bad news is normal news. What's new? And then of course, defeatism and apathy rear their disgraceful heads...
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 20, 2014, 04:30:05 PM
ccg

One thing that wili often brings up is that by converting a large part of US production (and the same could be done in other parts of the world as well) from animal feed to human crops would have a huge impact on the date of when we run short of food.  Even taking into account the increase in demand of population growth.  I have opined that this will not happen to a huge extent due to the lack of concern by rich people and the demand for meat by those of rising influence.  But the possibility does exist to extend the date significantly via this means.  It and other such factors can and some will impact the actual date.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 20, 2014, 10:20:15 PM
One thing that wili often brings up is that by converting a large part of US production (and the same could be done in other parts of the world as well) from animal feed to human crops would have a huge impact on the date of when we run short of food.  Even taking into account the increase in demand of population growth.  I have opined that this will not happen to a huge extent due to the lack of concern by rich people and the demand for meat by those of rising influence.  But the possibility does exist to extend the date significantly via this means.  It and other such factors can and some will impact the actual date.

While I would grant that beef production in the US is dwindling (presumably due to a combination of adverse weather in producing regions and diminishing purchase power amongst the population), it is not happening as an intelligent response to the greater problems faced - but as a forced reduction that punishes the poor disproportionately compared to the rich (ie they can afford protein less and less while the rich can still eat as they wish).

I don't think such things will have a lot of impact on the date therefore?

If I thought the world would pull together and deploy collectively intelligent responses like rationing meat (and cutting back overall production) and ceasing diversion of food crops to biofuels, and providing baseline support for the poorest to retain social stability - I would push my timeline for collapse much further back (potentially 1-3 decades).

If I thought people would peacefully fade away as the carrying capacity diminished instead of fighting over the remaining resource base - I would postpone collapse almost indefinitely, as we would just gracefully degrade and maintain a high enough technology base that I wouldn't consider it to be a collapse (except perhaps in terms of raw population). In any event, with enough collective intelligence applied we would also be able to start reducing the population with more pleasant methods...

Unfortunately my life experience (relatively limited as it may be compared to many of the older commentators around) suggests it is unrealistic of me to harbour such hopes.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 21, 2014, 06:08:15 PM
ccg

I just had a Pulitzer Prize winning post all done up in response and inadvertently deleted it.  Now you will have to put up with my regular writing.

I sincerely hope you turn out to be right on an early collapse and that I am not right on a medium term collapse.  I am certainly not against nor have I lost hope or I would not be here.  But hope and magical thinking are not the same thing and many have lost sight of that.  We need to keep dragging each other back to reality when someone drifts off into dreamland. 

I know we have somewhat different definitions of collapse and maybe somewhat definitions of what civilization is.  I go by the encyclopedia definition of civilization (i.e big cities, large scale agriculture, very complex structures, state rule, mining, trade, religious institutions) and consider collapse to be manifested when there are large population decreases and big drops in the complexity of civilization.

Having been a follower of environmental issues since 1970 and having spent my professional career gaining a broad range of experience in analysis of risk-benefits and executing plans based upon that analysis which put peoples lives on the line I feel I have relevant expertise  to make contributions to these rather important discussions.  I am pretty emotionless about the results of the analysis -it just is what it is.  I have gotten pretty good at looking at things objectively and leaving out the fluff.  My salary, religion, mental/physical world does not depend on my not understanding what the data and logic says.  An insurmountable problem for the majority of people (I am not including you in that statement).   That leads me to think that it will take longer than many others think but it also makes me certain there is no avoiding it.

Collapse is certain if one just looks at the numbers and the causes of those numbers.  There is no technology which does not result in  significant carbon emissions and thus there is none that can prevent collapse.  Renewables have somewhat less emissions than fossil based power sources, but no where near zero.  9 billion people living like the average African would have carbon emissions near 10 gtonnes.  An unacceptable number.

It all boils down to population numbers. 

Our population exists because of access to very high EROEI fossil energy sources.  They also were the  prime factor in us being able to build this very complex civilization.  They are also the main cause of AGW along with shear population numbers.  We no longer have access to very high fossil energy and that alone will eventually result in drops in population and  civilizational complexity.  When the EROEI numbers drop below approximately 12 it will no longer be possible to maintain population and current complexity.  We are very close to that number.  We are way above carrying capacity and heading higher all the time.  AGW is quickly spinning out of control due to high carbon emissions and current emissions will eventually result in large population reductions and complexity reductions.  Continuing high carbon emissions guarantee to result in AGW conditions which will be devastating to the climate and have potential to result in population and complexity reductions continuing for centuries.  In this situation there is no point in deploying vast new technologies to replace the fossil technologies that are still significant carbon emitters.  It does not get you anywhere you want to be.  Green-BAU technologies like  vast wind/solar installations and electric cars will result in carbon emissions several times higher than the African average of today and there is no prospect for anything much lower than that.  This is not acceptable if we want to leave a world for our descendants.

We have to make conscious decisions on a global  basis to dramatically reduce population (a human impossibility in my opinion - please prove me wrong) or we need to find a way to get to collapse as quick as possible.  I am in favor of nothing that extends the current paradigm in any way as it clearly leads to the worst possible disaster.

 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 22, 2014, 02:55:29 AM
I'm sticking this in here just because it seems to me an interesting point that there is significant lawn area available for theoretical cultivation...

http://healthylandethic.com/2013/11/17/why-prairies-matter-and-lawns-dont/ (http://healthylandethic.com/2013/11/17/why-prairies-matter-and-lawns-dont/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 22, 2014, 03:08:01 AM
I just had a Pulitzer Prize winning post all done up in response and inadvertently deleted it.  Now you will have to put up with my regular writing.

Not to worry, I seem to have inadvertently left the Pulitzer with your name on it somewhere...

I sincerely hope you turn out to be right on an early collapse and that I am not right on a medium term collapse.  I am certainly not against nor have I lost hope or I would not be here.  But hope and magical thinking are not the same thing and many have lost sight of that.  We need to keep dragging each other back to reality when someone drifts off into dreamland. 

People (including you if memory serves, albeit with incomplete confidence on that point) do note that the longer you spend looking at these issues the more the collapse timeframe tends to widen out. Inasmuch as I have only really focused on them for slightly over 6 years, I don't yet have the width of perspective you would. So far I think events are proceeding slower than I would have thought they would - although I can also note large and fundamental changes that have occurred in those years.

It's reasonable to suspect I'll fall into the same category as many people who initially expect failure faster and sooner, by that token - and perhaps reality will be somewhere in the middle of where we're pitching views. That said, I'm withholding major adjustment of my views until 1. It becomes clearer if the more aggressive PIOMAS extrapolations are valid and 2. I get to see if the impacts on agriculture are as dire as I think they will be. The next few years should answer those points (or at least the first one).

I'm pretty confident we will see another iteration of collapse (similar to the Arab spring, but larger) soon - but what I have no grasp of is how many total iterations of collapse we should expect. It seems unreasonable to expect everything to go with the next one, even though I do think positive feedback effects ultimately apply.

My hopes for earlier collapse are similar to you in reasons - but I'm also hoping for a fairly rapid collapse (as I expect) as it's increasingly clear that gaining the capability to try to implement plans over a longer timeframe is likely to be difficult to say the least.

We have to make conscious decisions on a global  basis to dramatically reduce population (a human impossibility in my opinion - please prove me wrong) or we need to find a way to get to collapse as quick as possible.  I am in favor of nothing that extends the current paradigm in any way as it clearly leads to the worst possible disaster.

I actually personally think the key priority should be to raise the collapse floor and try to put in truly long term planning for a sustainable and ultimately civilised outcome.

The main reason I think that is that the population adjustment pretty much comes for free. We don't need to trigger it or cause it - nature will do it for us.

Long range planning for our species not only does not come for free, but virtually nobody thinks it worthwhile or will do it in the context of immediate and pressing major problems (people necessarily focus onto the short term in these situations). To me it is therefore the area of work more ultimately necessary?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on March 22, 2014, 09:45:30 AM
ccg, thanks for that link about lawns vs prairie. I've long known and loved the graphic:

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fhealthylandethic.files.wordpress.com%2F2013%2F10%2Fprairierootsystems.jpg&hash=119f9debf5ba92a43a98ecfa73d7fe06)

It's why one of the first things I did when I got a house with a yard was to kill most of the lawn grass and replace it with various native graminoids and forbs. Many have now spread to untended pockets of other yards in the neighborhood, I noticed. I may have to cut back a bit on some of those native areas to expand my vegetable garden this year, though.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 22, 2014, 03:45:30 PM
Quote
I may have to cut back a bit on some of those native areas to expand my vegetable garden this year, though.

A mini dustbowl?

ccg

Quote
I actually personally think the key priority should be to raise the collapse floor and try to put in truly long term planning for a sustainable and ultimately civilised outcome.

....Long range planning for our species not only does not come for free, but virtually nobody thinks it worthwhile or will do it in the context of immediate and pressing major problems (people necessarily focus onto the short term in these situations). To me it is therefore the area of work more ultimately necessary?


I would love it if we got heavy into that.  It makes a lot more sense than most of the changes people grab onto.  Sort of in the same class as the Bugout Kit or the Earthquake Kit on a larger scale.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 23, 2014, 01:37:44 AM
I would love it if we got heavy into that.  It makes a lot more sense than most of the changes people grab onto.  Sort of in the same class as the Bugout Kit or the Earthquake Kit on a larger scale.

I've tried to steer topics that way (or even added them) a few times but interest still seems rather limited. Too many techno-optimists and people in varying degrees of denial floating around, at least once you're into the collapse-y stuff (not to mention too many of the "it's all hopeless so I give up" crowd).

While I think the topic generally relevant - and somewhat complex as it depends on what degree of collapse you want to predicate your views upon (obviously I am looking at virtually complete collapse) - I'm biased in favour of ideas and things that can be done by individuals of limited resources.

The main reason being that I think actual actions are considerably more important than idle discussions and talking. Doesn't mean the stuff that is more hypothetical and requires more powerful resources and engagement isn't interesting and worth discussing - just limits the immediate value of such.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: RaenorShine on March 27, 2014, 03:31:46 PM
Dr Challinore appears on this week's Radio Ecoshock discussing the recent paper mentioned above.

http://www.ecoshock.info/2014/03/the-center-sees-edge-methane-science.html (http://www.ecoshock.info/2014/03/the-center-sees-edge-methane-science.html)

Quote
CLIMATE THREAT TO WORLD FOOD PRODUCTION - DR. A.J. CHALLINORE

We've all got the sinking feeling. Climate change could mean food shortages in the coming decades. But we don't really know how, or how much. An international team of scientists has plowed through vast numbers of studies, trying to add up what we know. They've published a first look at their findings in the journal Nature Climate Change. the Nature Climate Change letter titled "A meta-analysis of crop yield under climate change and adaptation" was published online on March 16, 2014.

This is the third item in the show but the others are worth a listen as usual!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor on March 30, 2014, 05:52:10 PM
ccg, thanks for that link about lawns vs prairie. I've long known and loved the graphic:

It's why one of the first things I did when I got a house with a yard was to kill most of the lawn grass and replace it with various native graminoids and forbs. Many have now spread to untended pockets of other yards in the neighborhood, I noticed. I may have to cut back a bit on some of those native areas to expand my vegetable garden this year, though.

wili,

Nice to see again the graphic you shared, repeated at following Nature link. 

More 'talk' on the rhizosphere (root zone as called by us less educated) highly recommend
http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-rhizosphere-roots-soil-and-67500617 (http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-rhizosphere-roots-soil-and-67500617)
also
https://www.google.com/#q=rhizosphere (https://www.google.com/#q=rhizosphere)

Vlad Jovanovic @
http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/group/fish-less-systems/forum/topics/dual-root-zone-possible-for-ap (http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/group/fish-less-systems/forum/topics/dual-root-zone-possible-for-ap)
sums it up nicely
Quote
"Research shows that plants in nature tend to specialize the function of their roots.
To make a long story short, we’ll divide the rhizosphere into two categories:
upper roots, and lower roots.
The upper roots tend to spread throughout the top soil specializing in seeking and up-taking nutrients,
while the lower roots go downward seeking out moisture, specializing in water up-take."
When it's hot and dry, that's why "pretty green lawns" with short roots, usually need extra watering (irrigation) to stay Pretty and Green.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 31, 2014, 04:09:16 AM
Looks like more support is growing for the view that climate change is already impacting food supplies?

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/31/climate-change-food-supply-un?commentpage=1 (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/31/climate-change-food-supply-un?commentpage=1)

It was a rather contentious debate even here a year or two ago if memory serves.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Apocalypse4Real on March 31, 2014, 06:02:41 AM
The article draws on the IPCC WDII now available on the IPCC website.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 31, 2014, 06:19:18 PM
The operative IPCC chart.  Some yields will increase, but many more will decrease.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Apocalypse4Real on April 06, 2014, 11:04:59 PM
Something else that will have an impact in the short and long term is global drought.

Jim Kim of the World Bank, in an April 3 interview, stated that climate change impacts on water will translate into food shortages in this coming decade.

"The water issue is critically related to climate change. People say that carbon is the currency of climate change. Water is the teeth. Fights over water and food are going to be the most significant direct impacts of climate change in the next five to 10 years. There's just no question about it."

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/03/climate-change-battle-food-head-world-bank (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/03/climate-change-battle-food-head-world-bank)

I have posted on the drought severity for the past year in today's blog post.

http://a4rglobalmethanetracking.blogspot.com/ (http://a4rglobalmethanetracking.blogspot.com/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: RaenorShine on April 07, 2014, 09:52:04 AM
UN FAO Food price index up to 212.8 for March 2014. Increase of 4.8 points (2.3%) blamed on unfavorable weather conditions (including the upcoming el Nino) and Crimea.

http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/foodpricesindex/en/ (http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/foodpricesindex/en/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: BornFromTheVoid on April 07, 2014, 10:07:20 AM
Field study shows why food quality will suffer with rising carbon dioxide

For the first time, a field test has demonstrated that elevated levels of carbon dioxide inhibit plants' assimilation of nitrate into proteins, indicating that the nutritional quality of food crops is at risk as climate change intensifies.
Findings from this wheat field-test study, led by a UC Davis plant scientist, will be reported online April 6 in the journal Nature Climate Change.
"Food quality is declining under the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide that we are experiencing," said lead author Arnold Bloom, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences.
"Several explanations for this decline have been put forward, but this is the first study to demonstrate that elevated carbon dioxide inhibits the conversion of nitrate into protein in a field-grown crop," he said.
The assimilation, or processing, of nitrogen plays a key role in the plant's growth and productivity. In food crops, it is especially important because plants use nitrogen to produce the proteins that are vital for human nutrition. Wheat, in particular, provides nearly one-fourth of all protein in the global human diet.



More here http://phys.org/news/2014-04-field-food-quality-carbon-dioxide.html (http://phys.org/news/2014-04-field-food-quality-carbon-dioxide.html)

The paper itself
Nitrate assimilation is inhibited by elevated CO2 in field-grown wheat
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2183.html (http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2183.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 07, 2014, 02:29:19 PM
"Even with recent snowfall in the mountains, California’s agricultural industry has recently increased its prediction of crop losses and their economic impact. The California Farm Water Coalition estimated in mid-March that the state’s farmers will idle 800,000 acres this year, up from 500,000 acres, and that that will mean an economic loss to the state of about $7.5 billion, a 50 percent increase from previous forecasts."

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/02/3421978/california-drought-wildfires/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/02/3421978/california-drought-wildfires/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 07, 2014, 05:18:23 PM
Food prices are on a roll

Quote
.....A separate foodstuffs index tracked by the American Farm Bureau Federation showed a 3.5 percent year-over-year increase in March, largely thanks to double-digit increases in the price of bacon and ground chuck while basics such as bread, milk and eggs also posted gains in the high single-digits.

According to the Department of Agriculture, food prices here in the U.S. are expected to increase by between 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent this year.  If they do break the 3 percent mark, it will likely be the largest increase since 2011 and more than double last year’s 1.4 percent rise.

The rising cost of food isn’t an isolated U.S. problem. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s global food price index showed a big 2.3 percent year-over-year swing in March, hitting the highest level in nearly a year. If you drill down, the price of grains alone soared 5.2 percent to their highest cost since August. Sugar posted the largest increase of 7.9 percent with dairy prices being the only one to show a decrease in the month....

Now if we get a few crop failures this season and next due to the budding El Nino we might have an interesting situation develop.

http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/4/5/inflation-watch-global-food-disruptions-commodity-prices-soa.html (http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/4/5/inflation-watch-global-food-disruptions-commodity-prices-soa.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 09, 2014, 06:19:56 PM
I have read for what seems a long time that the percentage of food wasted in the US was about 40%.  Many others have quoted this figure as a likely target to improving food security.  As a former farmer I have pointed out that much of this loss is unavoidable and while there is obviously room for improvement that the potential is much less than it looks like.

New figures from the USDA now indicate that the percentage in the US is down to 31%.  That is a significant improvement (providing the 40% number was right.

The link shows an interesting chart of where the food losses occur.  Improving this is not going to be easy at all.

http://usfoodpolicy.blogspot.com/2014/02/usda-estimates-that-31-of-food-supply.html (http://usfoodpolicy.blogspot.com/2014/02/usda-estimates-that-31-of-food-supply.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on April 09, 2014, 07:34:31 PM
"The link shows an interesting chart of where the food losses occur.  Improving this is not going to be easy at all."

Yes and no. The chart shows that nearly half of the waste is in meat, dairy and sweetener, none of which are necessary for a healthy diet (and all of which tend to lead to bad health outcomes). Eliminate or vastly reduce these, and you have also cut waste by nearly half.

See, easy. ;D

It does seem to me that the measure should not just be weight but total calories, in which case, these segments of the pie would surely be much more than half, since they are all much more calorie dense than vegetables, fruits and grains.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 10, 2014, 04:10:39 AM
LOL. Eating meat is right up there with the 2nd amendment. In a way they go together.

Vegetables, fruit and dairy are in general much harder not to lose to spoilage though.  Especially vegetables.  When I went to the market with say 200 bags of cut greens and came home with 50 I had a great day.  25% wastage right there as those 50 bags go in the compost pile.  Not counting the waste in harvest, cleaning and packaging, nor what the customer wastes when they get home.  Probably the best overall you can do with that crop is 50% ever. 

There are so many problems with cutting food wastage dramatically.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on April 10, 2014, 08:30:56 PM
Good points. But would it have been impossible to drop those off at a food shelter before heading home? Perhaps there wasn't one in the are? Or are there legal restrictions on that sort of thing in your area. IIRC, Second Harvest regularly comes in as the charity that gets the largest # of donations just because there is so much food out there that can fairly easily be 're-purposed' in enough time to be useful, and I'm pretty sure they are just scratching the surface. Lots of other wastes can go to pig feed, so they are still going toward ultimate food (though I guess you could essentially say the same thing about composting the stuff). But then we're back to meat eating again, and not even kosher meat eating! :)

It does seem to me that the vegetable waste issue is another argument for having lots of home/victory gardens, especially if people coordinate some with neighbors so everyone isn't planting zucchini at once so there's no on to give the (sometime vast) excess away to.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 10, 2014, 09:32:48 PM
In retail numbers we probably gave about $200/wk to the various food banks. 

But many farmers don't contribute much as they determine that what is best for the farming operation is that produce which does not bring in revenues is better off in the compost pile where it eventually gets recycled into another crop which can be sold.  There is good and bad with either direction.

In an ideal world all the spoiled or wasted food would end up in compost and be recycled.  Most ends up in landfills. 

Everyone should have gardens who can grow one.  In the not too distant future I am sure that will be the case.  Growing and shipping regular vegetables makes is crazy in a sustainable sense.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on April 11, 2014, 02:23:13 AM
"Most ends up in landfills." That there is the real tragedy. Doubly so since it is not just an utter waste, but the product of that decomposition is much more likely to be methane, a much stronger ghg than the (mostly) CO2 that compost produces a bit of.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: adelady on April 11, 2014, 08:03:57 AM
Adding insult to the injury of declining crop yields and food wastage, it looks like nutritional quality of food will also be adversely affected. 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140406162420.htm (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140406162420.htm)   

Wheat, rice, barley, potatoes.  Considering how many people in the world rely very heavily on one of these crops for a very large part of their diet, this is unhappy news.   


Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 11, 2014, 03:29:09 PM
I like this model:  Colorado Springs Food Rescue

"Not only do volunteers collect donations of day-old bread and blemished produce from local bakeries and stores such as Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, they also salvage uneaten cooked food from the school cafeteria and deliver it, primarily by bicycle, to agencies that feed the poor."

http://gazette.com/support-growing-for-colorado-college-students-efforts-to-rescue-food-waste/article/1515030#AvS8GeCIqEIZ1xXi.99 (http://gazette.com/support-growing-for-colorado-college-students-efforts-to-rescue-food-waste/article/1515030#AvS8GeCIqEIZ1xXi.99)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 11, 2014, 05:00:49 PM
Another little item to consider in salvaging food as mentioned above is the means used to perform that function.

Depending on the resources used (vehicles and such) the expenditure of energy can impact the EROEI of the produced food in a very negative manner.   One food bank that I was familiar with ran around in a big box truck picking up an amount of produce which would have easily fit into a van.   But conversely one outfit had an industrial bicycle and a aluminum trailer about 8 feet long it pulled.  Pretty effective in the city.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on April 11, 2014, 11:34:23 PM
http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/04/fao-food-price-index-rose-sharply-for.html (http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/04/fao-food-price-index-rose-sharply-for.html)

FAO Food Price Index rose sharply for a second consecutive month

Quote
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 212.8 points in March 2014, up 4.8 points, or 2.3 percent, from February and the highest level since May 2013.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 12, 2014, 03:54:40 PM
Scooped you wili!  Post 405.  lol
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: RaenorShine on April 12, 2014, 04:12:39 PM
Scooped you as well Jim! Post 402 ;p
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 12, 2014, 09:07:25 PM
lol Well at least we are all paying somewhat to attention!

Quote
Beef Prices Hit Highest Level Since 1987

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners — and relief isn't likely anytime soon.

A dwindling number of cattle and growing export demand from countries such as China and Japan have caused the average retail cost of fresh beef to climb to $5.28 a pound in February, up almost a quarter from January and the highest price since 1987.

Everything that's produced is being consumed, said Kevin Good, an analyst at CattleFax, a Colorado-based information group. And prices likely will stay high for a couple of years as cattle producers start to rebuild their herds amid big questions about whether the Southwest and parts of the Midwest will see enough rain to replenish pastures....

High demand and tight supply.  Should promote growth.

I wonder if the big ranching operations are expanding fast in places like Brazil again.  A family whose kids I went to JH & HS with own one of the 10 largest ranching operations in the world.  Ranches all over the US, Australia and South America.  I can only imagine the mess of responsibilities that should be weighing them down.  But as their basic wealth is in oil/gas I doubt they lose any sleep.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on April 12, 2014, 10:30:35 PM
Doubly scooped! :-[
As Jim said, at least we're paying attention...just not to what each other is saying. ;D

It would be interesting to see how many families, even if they haven't not totally vegetarian, have gone back to what used to be the norm for most people: meat consumption largely restricted to a weekly meal--chicken on Sunday--or to holidays and other special occasions.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 13, 2014, 03:52:27 AM
It would be interesting to see how many families, even if they haven't not totally vegetarian, have gone back to what used to be the norm for most people: meat consumption largely restricted to a weekly meal--chicken on Sunday--or to holidays and other special occasions.

Where in the US was this the norm?  I highly doubt that such a diet was practiced by anyone who was not so poor that they could not afford meat.  There was/is no culture which eats that way that I am aware of in the Western world.  It is certain that no rural/farming family ever ate that way as a general rule.  Everyone who could afford to ate meat.

As I have mentioned before I was raised eating meat at every meal.  Not to have any kind of meat at a meal would have only occurred at lunch when I wanted only peanut butter and jelly.  And usually my mother put a meat sandwich in the bag anyway.  And in our family chicken and fish (which we did eat also) did not count as meat.  I don't think I met a vegetarian until I was 15 and I remember having them explain why they were against eating meat about 5 times before I decided that they had no idea what they were talking about.

I know lots now of course and my son and his wife are both vegetarians (for political reasons like AGW and being anti-CAFO, but not because they think it is more healthy).   

I don't think there is any real prospect for a massive conversion of the population to not eating meat.  As people get poorer and cannot afford it they will naturally cut back of course. But it is part of most cultures, we evolved eating meat so our bodies are designed for it, and it certainly tastes good.  Getting people to cut back will be very difficult.

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 16, 2014, 05:08:29 PM
The has US winter wheat problems due to the unusual cold weather.

Quote
....This late-season cold blast is hitting the nation’s winter wheat crop at just the wrong time, as winter wheat that is jointing is extremely susceptible to frost damage.

On April 13, 80% of Oklahoma’s wheat was jointing, along with 31% in Kansas and 6% in Colorado. In Texas, 16% of the wheat is headed. This morning’s temperatures dipped to 32°F or below throughout Oklahoma and western Texas, with numerous readings below 25°F.

Overall, 5% of the nation’s winter wheat crop is headed. Winter wheat conditions are pretty dismal, as only 5% of the crop is rated excellent and 30% rated good. The majority, 34%, is rated fair, while 20% came in at poor and 12% at very poor.

It might be an interesting season.

http://www.agweb.com/article/winter_wheat_hit_hard_by_widespread_cold_snap_NAA_Sara_Schafer/ (http://www.agweb.com/article/winter_wheat_hit_hard_by_widespread_cold_snap_NAA_Sara_Schafer/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter on April 16, 2014, 05:37:23 PM
[snark] But Jim, we'll just move ag production north... [/snark]

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 16, 2014, 06:53:33 PM
[snark] But Jim, we'll just move ag production north... [/snark]

Exactly!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: carmiac on April 16, 2014, 08:00:18 PM
It would be interesting to see how many families, even if they haven't not totally vegetarian, have gone back to what used to be the norm for most people: meat consumption largely restricted to a weekly meal--chicken on Sunday--or to holidays and other special occasions.

Where in the US was this the norm?  I highly doubt that such a diet was practiced by anyone who was not so poor that they could not afford meat.  There was/is no culture which eats that way that I am aware of in the Western world.  It is certain that no rural/farming family ever ate that way as a general rule.  Everyone who could afford to ate meat.


wili is right, actually, if you go back far enough. My great grandparents were fairly well off cattle ranchers, and even they ate mostly vegetarian meals much of the year. There was a pot of vegetable and grain stew plus wild berries and greens for most meals during the year. They added whatever meat they shot when they found it, but the cattle they were raising were far too valuable for them to just eat. Sunday dinner was a big deal, because it was always a meal with meat, usually a roast of some sort, and everyone would travel to the neighboring ranches so that each family shared the costs.

If you go back even farther into say, the 14th century (a particular hobby of mine), you find the same thing, except that weekday meat is even more rare (except for the 1%) and Sunday dinner is of even bigger importance.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 16, 2014, 08:56:23 PM
carmiac

I think you sort of prove my point about meat eating being more related to affluence rather than cultural habits.

My mother grew up on a homestead in the center of ranching country in Wyoming.  She said she never had beef at home until she moved to Michigan after high school.  However, they had meat all the time as they hunted and fished extensively.  They killed multiple elk, deer and antelope every year and would catch large numbers of fish and dry and salt them.  Plus they raised chickens and an occasional hog.  She said they even had rattlesnake several times a year.  So meat most meals and definitely every day.  But growing vegetables was difficult in that climate (it had not warmed yet) and depending on meat was essential.

I have a book which consists of the diaries of a Quaker boy from 1790 to the early 1800's, who grew up about 5 miles from where my farm was located in Virginia.   It has very good descriptions about how they lived and what they ate.  Lots of meat.  Just not fresh very often.  Any animal they slaughtered had to be mostly preserved due to lack of refrigeration.  Lots of dried meat and fish, sausage, bacon.   The typical farm in the old days in our area had a smoke house just for preserving meat (our old stone one still existed).

Did not in the middle ages the nobility own all of the wild game and the peasants were largely prohibited from harvesting any?  I know this was the case in Great Britain and think it was so on the Continent.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on April 17, 2014, 01:41:35 AM
I agree that in most cases meat eating corresponds and corresponded to affluence.

But looking at data, I do think I was extrapolating from what I had heard about the history of poultry consumption. Eating chicken had been restricted to special occasions--"chicken every Sunday." Since it has always been a relatively cheap meat, I had assumed that other meats were even rarer. But that proves not to be the case in the US. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/06/27/155527365/visualizing-a-nation-of-meat-eaters (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/06/27/155527365/visualizing-a-nation-of-meat-eaters)

But since most people most places through most of history were relatively poor, I still think a mostly vegetarian diet was and still is the norm in most places. Meat is a treat.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter on April 17, 2014, 01:58:07 AM
But since most people most places through most of history were relatively poor, I still think a mostly vegetarian diet was and still is the norm in most places. Meat is a treat.

I think we're oversimplifying this. In modern(ish) times, I'd agree that affluence impacts diet. At one point in the US, salmon was the cheap meat and was as ubiquitous as tuna was 10 years ago (stuff's getting expensive now!).

However, in times gone by in the Pacific Northwest, native people at a lot of meat (deer, birds and salmon). Many nomadic tribes in other, less hospitable parts of the world ate goats (only thing they could get to grow!), ate milk, blood, etc. Far northern peoples depended far more on protein than they did on plants for caloric intake. Island people ate fish extensively. All this to say, eating meat isn't necessarily bad. The mass manufacture of meat is bad. Now what was my point.....  ???
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 18, 2014, 07:20:03 PM
Australia tabulates agricultural damage due to the summer heat waves.

"Summer is officially over but local horticulturalists are still reeling from the consequences of January and February heatwaves. Citrus, avocado, apple and fig crops were particularly affected, with reports of lower yields, delayed or absent fruit set, smaller produce and defoliation."

"Avocadoes were also badly affected at nearby Binderee Grove, on the Murray Valley Highway. “We usually produce around 600 avocadoes, but they cooked on the trees and we lost not only the fruit due to be picked over summer but also that set for October. Sadly we won’t get a crop for 18 months,” said orchardist Glenda Minty. Their 50 apple trees were also compromised. “Our main problem was that apples were half their usual size, but different varieties were affected in different ways, young Jonathons fell off, older Jonathons didn’t grow properly, English varieties went brown on the tree and others scorched.” Mrs Minty also reported problems with grapes that fried on vines, figs that were delayed and down in volume and South African bulbs that are later than usual."

http://watch.id.au/2014/04/02/media-release-impacts-of-heatwaves-on-border-region-24-3-14/ (http://watch.id.au/2014/04/02/media-release-impacts-of-heatwaves-on-border-region-24-3-14/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on April 19, 2014, 03:25:03 PM
Ritter, note that I said 'for most people.' Eskimos survive on an almost exclusively meat diet, iirc, but they hardly qualify as 'most people.'

In any case, here's a reminder of where we are headed:

Quote
We conclude that a global-mean warming of roughly 7°C would create small zones where metabolic heat dissipation would for the first time become impossible, calling into question their suitability for human habitation.

A warming of 11–12 °C would expand these zones to encompass most of today’s human population.

http://web.science.unsw.edu.au/~stevensherwood/PNAS-2010-Sherwood-0913352107.pdf (http://web.science.unsw.edu.au/~stevensherwood/PNAS-2010-Sherwood-0913352107.pdf)

(Thanks to Rob Honeycutt at SkS for reminding me  of this important paper.)

ETA: More specifically to the stated topics of this thread:


Rising CO2 Levels Threaten Entire Marine Food Chain

Quote
Escalating carbon dioxide emissions will cause fish to lose their fear of predators, potentially damaging the entire marine food chain, joint Australian and U.S. research has found.

A study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University and the Georgia Institute of Technology found the behavior of fish would be “seriously affected” by greater exposure to CO2.

Researchers studied the behavior of coral reef fish at naturally occurring CO2 vents in Milne Bay, in eastern Papua New Guinea.

They found that fish living near the vents, where bubbles of CO2 seeped into the water, “were attracted to predator odor, did not distinguish between odors of different habitats, and exhibited bolder behavior than fish from control reefs.”

The gung-ho nature of CO2-affected fish means that more of them are picked off by predators than is normally the case, raising potentially worrying possibilities in a scenario of rising carbon emissions.

More than 90 percent of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere is soaked up by the oceans. When CO2 is dissolved in water, it causes ocean acidification, which slightly lowers the pH of the water and changes its chemistry. Crustaceans can find it hard to form shells in highly acidic water, while corals risk episodes of bleaching.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JackTaylor on April 20, 2014, 10:16:53 AM
Rising CO2 Levels Threaten Entire Marine Food Chain
NPR Article by Robert Krulwich on Anthropogenic Impact of Fish Size (http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2014/02/05/257046530/big-fish-stories-getting-littler)
not actually about CO2 destruction - just another example of us doing bad to make it worse, (especially sport fishing).

With a nice summation in a PDF of quoting Professor Daniel Pauly at the University of British Columbia  "shifting baseline syndrome"  (http://www.seaaroundus.org/researcher/dpauly/PDF/1995/JournalArticles/Anecdotes%26ShiftingBaselineSyndromeFisheries.pdf) - because these changes happen slowly, over a human lifetime, they never startle. They just tiptoe silently along, helping us all adjust to a smaller, shrunken world.

We are eating bait instead of asking "are you going to cut bait or go fishing?"
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 21, 2014, 01:58:24 AM
"Scientists are warning that wheat is facing a serious threat from a fungal disease that could wipe out the world’s crop if not quickly contained. Wheat rust, a devastating disease known as the “polio of agriculture”, has spread from Africa to South and Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe, with calamitous losses for the world’s second most important grain crop, after rice. There is mounting concern at the dangers posed to global food security."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/wheat-rust-the-fungal-disease-that-threatens-to-destroy-the-world-crop-9271485.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/wheat-rust-the-fungal-disease-that-threatens-to-destroy-the-world-crop-9271485.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 21, 2014, 05:11:56 PM
Offshore fish farming, done carefully, could increase food supply and decrease its carbon footprint.

“We spend 130 million dollars a year on air freight for the 300,000 metric tons of salmon that get flown into the U.S. from Chile. Think of the carbon footprint associated with that,” he says. “There’s absolutely no reason why that brazino shouldn’t be a white sea bass grown three miles off the coast. And then imagine the carbon footprint that’s saved in doing that.”

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/21/3422486/big-ag-takes-to-the-ocean/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/21/3422486/big-ag-takes-to-the-ocean/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter on April 21, 2014, 05:51:34 PM
Ritter, note that I said 'for most people.'

Noted. I was just being a pill!  ;D
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on April 22, 2014, 06:12:01 PM
Reduced snow cover threatens species.

http://m.jsonline.com/206681191.htm (http://m.jsonline.com/206681191.htm)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 24, 2014, 01:28:16 AM
A humorous look at trying to eat healthy and sustainably based on information from the internet.  Hope you like kale...    ;)

http://read.feedly.com/html?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nwedible.com%2F2012%2F08%2Ftragedy-healthy-eater.html&theme=black&size=medium (http://read.feedly.com/html?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nwedible.com%2F2012%2F08%2Ftragedy-healthy-eater.html&theme=black&size=medium)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 24, 2014, 01:29:55 PM
I fear we will be seeing many more articles like this in the coming months.

Price of a Carton of Milk Hits $4
http://247wallst.com/consumer-products/2014/04/24/price-of-a-carton-of-milk-hits-4/#ixzz2znnjjIEz (http://247wallst.com/consumer-products/2014/04/24/price-of-a-carton-of-milk-hits-4/#ixzz2znnjjIEz)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on April 24, 2014, 03:33:31 PM
Due to persistent drought in the U.S., cattle herds are at a 63 year low as ranchers bring to market undersized cattle due to the high price of feed. This had the initial effect of lowering the price of beef but we are now going to see rising prices for years. Until the drought eases, it will be very difficult to increase the herd size.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-31/u-s-cattle-herd-shrinking-to-63-year-low-means-record-beef-cost.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-31/u-s-cattle-herd-shrinking-to-63-year-low-means-record-beef-cost.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: RaenorShine on April 26, 2014, 07:25:11 PM
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/26/3431215/coffee-apocalypse-drought/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/26/3431215/coffee-apocalypse-drought/)

Quote
The Coffee Apocalypse Is Nigh: Brutal Brazilian Drought Forces Starbucks To Pause Purchases
The worst drought Brazil has seen in fifty years is pushing coffee bean prices to new heights. As a result, Starbucks, the largest coffee company in the world, has halted coffee purchases over the past few weeks, the Wall Street Journal reports.

They are waiting for the price to come down, but with the El Nino approaching they may not be that lucky....
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 26, 2014, 07:59:18 PM
Chinese farmers, energy firms, and individuals are urged to buy climate change insurance.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/millions-of-chinas-farmers-now-buy-climate-change-insurance/ (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/millions-of-chinas-farmers-now-buy-climate-change-insurance/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on May 07, 2014, 01:04:35 PM
Some interesting stats on US agriculture here.  Besides the expected:
Quote
Large farms with over $1 million in sales account for only 4 percent of all farms, but 66 percent of all sales.
There's these:
Quote
Sales of organically farmed food have increased 82 percent since 2007, to $3.1 billion in 2012.

The census also said animal agriculture accounts for 45 percent of all industry sales. Grains, oilseeds, beans and peas make up a third, while fruits and vegetables account for 11 percent of sales.
...
Fresno County [California] was No. 1 in the U.S., with nearly $5 billion in sales in 2012 — which is bigger by itself than the sales of 23 individual states.
...
Both sales and production expenses reached record highs in 2012. U.S. producers sold $394.6 billion worth of agricultural products, and it cost them $328.9 billion to produce those products.
...
But there's one census statistic that stands out above all that's a true positive sign for the industry, said Middle Tennessee State's Gardner — farms with Internet access rose to 69.6 percent in 2012 from 56.5 percent in 2007.
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/eroding-middle-puts-farming-fewer-hands-n98426 (http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/eroding-middle-puts-farming-fewer-hands-n98426)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on May 07, 2014, 05:40:10 PM
Sig

As a former farmer (and I think our current farmer Bruce might agree with this) I long for the day when the consolidation of farming into larger and larger operations ends and we start growing the number of farmers again.  It would be so very healthy for the world.

As it goes today the opposite is happening.  Check the below link out on farm statistics.  It is easy to see that the vast majority of what are counted as farms are not in any way real farms.  A very large number are actually pet horse operations which has been set up to fit into ag laws.

The farms which have sales less than 10,000 make up almost as many farms as all the rest put together.  For reference I was intensively working 4 acres of ground before I retired and was generating 100K in sales and mostly feeding myself and my workers. And not making a living wage either.  I fell into the 3rd largest farm category.

BTW on the organic number.  It is always wise to remember that almost all of the organic produce grown in the US is from industrial farming operations.  Not little organic farms like mine.  If you drove by one of the big organic farms it would be almost impossible to tell it from a standard industrial farm.

The average age of a farmer in the US is right at 60 years old.  A scary number.

http://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/Farms_and_Land_in_Farms/fncht2.asp (http://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/Farms_and_Land_in_Farms/fncht2.asp) 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on May 07, 2014, 08:24:53 PM
I find my situation fairly typical. Average age and farm income and less than what JimD was grossing but I work alone. I think the billion $ 394.6 gross income verses $ 328.9 invested also tells a story.
Farming can be a large tax write-off. Because large commodity operations have government price supports small operators like me are forced into the margins. Selling perishables that make transport difficult or direct sales to markets that pay a price premium are a couple ways around the scale issues that favor large farms. To be honest we small farmers are also less energy efficient so there are probably extra fossil fuel costs in those specialty crops and products. Very much energy is tied up in transport of small loads of food. 
 I was reading a risk analysis paper this morning( human risk from acidification) that maybe JimD would find interesting. Risk is based on several factors but adaptability seems to be a factor that elevates developed countries and puts uneducated, underdeveloped countries at greater risk. The one thing I didn't see was how those same analysis would perform if the fossil fuel that powers western societies were to become expensive or hard to afford. We make the assumption it seems that the effects of cheap energy are constant rather than a huge variable.
 Small farms will again rule the commodity sector when cheap transport and refrigeration are fairly priced with the damage from excess Co2 emissions factored in. Small farms will somehow have to avoid current Co2 transport costs but that also assumes there is adequate farmland and water resources near markets. I don't think we designed our population centers that way but in third world situations maybe they have? By chance if not design.

Here is the acidification risk paper.. It's 68 pages
   http://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/8477/Doherty_MP_220414.pdf?sequence=1 (http://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/8477/Doherty_MP_220414.pdf?sequence=1)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on May 07, 2014, 09:35:00 PM
Quote
Small farms will somehow have to avoid current Co2 transport costs but that also assumes there is adequate farmland and water resources near markets.  I don't think we designed our population centers that way but in third world situations maybe they have? By chance if not design.

The above bolded part points to one of the many issues I have with advocates of permaculture, hydroponics, home/balcony gardening, and other ways of growing food in cities, as solutions to replacing industrial agriculture. 

Take into account that there are approximately 500 cities in the world today which have populations which exceed 1 million people.  More than 30 of those cities exceed 10 million people, 13 top 20 million and 2 or 3 top 30 million.  Tokyo has the same population as California!  Take further into account where many of those cities are located - Phoenix and Riyadh are good examples.  Then try and imagine a low-to-no carbon, sustainable, non-industrial farming way of feeding them.

It is just not going to happen.

Whether people agree or not with my point that industrial civilization cannot be sustainable I think we can all agree that there is no way that places of this scale can be made to work that way. 

I have never seen an argument that I thought made sense which contradicted the conclusion that our vast population was the result of access to vast quantities of high EROEI fossil fuels and their application in industrial agriculture.  It is simply not possible to grow enough food in a sustainable fashion to feed as many people as we have today.  There are simply too many of them to move to where we could operate sustainable farming and food delivery systems.  There is not that much good land in the world to feed that many people.

In a sustainable world Bruce's produce would be bought or traded for by people who walked over to his place to pick it up.  That means we live in villages for the most part - not cities.     
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Neven on May 07, 2014, 09:48:12 PM
Now that we have Internet, there is no more need for cities, right?  :o
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: GeoffBeacon on May 08, 2014, 12:19:33 AM
Quote
In Ireland before the famine, potatoes, with some milk and pigs could support a population density approaching 10 people per hectare (1).

The world now has about 0.5 people per hectare.

That’s about 5% of the population density of pre-famine Ireland.

So the problem is not food (calories, protein & etc.) per. se.
http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/food-whos-right-scientists-or-amateurs/ (http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/food-whos-right-scientists-or-amateurs/)

And it's the poor that starve

http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/its-the-poor-that-starve/ (http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/its-the-poor-that-starve/)

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: jai mitchell on May 08, 2014, 12:37:37 AM
Conversion of current municipal water and land uses from golf courses to high-intensity permaculture farms would produce a significant proportion of the food needs of local regions.

combining this with urban gardening, solar-powered electric rail transport and greywater capture/recycle and you will be approaching sustainability for most urban areas simply by using the food grown in the suburbs.  Granted, in the most high-density cities, they would have to import tons of food from further regions.

most cities grew up near waterways, a small fleet of electric powered barges would be very successful in transporting food from nearby regions with near zero carbon footprint (if they were charged by solar or wind (nuclear?)  power.

Otherwise, an electric powered light rail system would transport the food very effectively from lower population density regions. 

but really, in a fully decarbonized economy, who would want to live in a big city anyways?





Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on May 08, 2014, 03:34:34 AM
"but really, in a fully decarbonized economy, who would want to live in a big city anyways?"

I like many things about urban living. But from any kind of longer historical perspective, large cities are quite the exception. Before about 1800, there were only a handful of cities with over a million people in the world and throughout history, and those were generally the centers of vast empires or very major trading centers.

I rather doubt a post-carbon world can be sustained with over half the global population living in cities.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on May 08, 2014, 06:51:58 AM
Jai, I think you are correct about water transport and low carbon options. There are still plenty of cities benefiting from optimized placement at water transport hubs. The future may benefit those population centers that can still use water transport for both trade and supplying food for it's citizens.
Cutting off the highway infrastructure that connects those water transport hubs to the hinterland isn't in the planning however. So suburbia is going to need to think about plan B and walking over to the local farmer, winemaker,baker then home. Those will be your neighbors. Doesn't sound so bad from a comfortable distance.
 I think Sigmetnow's post that says the top 4% of farms are producing > 1 million in revenue and account for 66% of production is an indication of where we really stand. As with so many trends we are still consolidating farm acreage , wrong direction, no plans to change.   
 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: RaenorShine on May 08, 2014, 10:32:18 AM
the UN FAO Food Price Index fell in April....

Quote
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 209.3 points in April 2014, down 3.5 points, or 1.6 percent, from March and 7.6 points, or 3.5 percent, below April 2013. Last month’s decline was mostly caused by a sharp drop of dairy prices, although sugar and vegetable oil also fell. By contrast, cereals and meat prices firmed slightly. 
http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/foodpricesindex/en/ (http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/foodpricesindex/en/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on May 08, 2014, 01:01:31 PM
More carbon dioxide might be "great for plants" -- but for those eating the plants, perhaps not so much.  Plants grow faster, but have less nutrients.

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/how-global-warming-may-starve-us-more-carbon-less-nutrition-n99481 (http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/how-global-warming-may-starve-us-more-carbon-less-nutrition-n99481)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on May 10, 2014, 12:00:37 PM
Michigan Fails Food Growers
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-kotting/michigan-fails-food-growe_b_5297100.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-kotting/michigan-fails-food-growe_b_5297100.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: solartim27 on May 11, 2014, 03:06:33 AM
Dr. Eric Prince discusses the Atlantic Ocean dead zone on the radio show Splendid Table
http://www.splendidtable.org/story/biologist-dead-zones-in-the-ocean-are-threatening-our-most-important-food-fish (http://www.splendidtable.org/story/biologist-dead-zones-in-the-ocean-are-threatening-our-most-important-food-fish)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on May 13, 2014, 11:47:16 PM
Getting Beyond Just Wheat, Corn and Rice
Some uncommon grains have environmental advantages that could be beneficial in a changing world. But making the uncommon common can be difficult.


http://ensia.com/features/getting-beyond-just-wheat-corn-and-rice/ (http://ensia.com/features/getting-beyond-just-wheat-corn-and-rice/)

Quote
What was the last grain you ate? Chances are very good it was wheat, corn or rice, the grain triad that directly contributes more than half of all calories consumed by humans worldwide. Early on humans recognized food that was relatively easy to process, with high yields (and therefore high calories) and good taste. Each grain traveled far from its origins long before agricultural industrialization. Already familiar to most people, and aided by modern practices, the triad was in the perfect position to dominate the modern food grain market. But, today’s changing world brings with it questions around these dominant grains.

“Diversity is good for the human gut,” says Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies with the nonprofit Whole Grains Council, an advocacy group that educates the public about health benefits of whole grains, including uncommon ones. And it’s good for the land, too, she adds, pointing to modern-day “problems with monoculture,” such as vulnerability to pests, disease and severe weather.

As we face a world with a changing climate and unpredictable weather patterns, a concentrated food crop portfolio could be a risky thing. Diversifying the food system with uncommon grains could be a good step toward resiliency, but getting people to welcome something new into their diets is a tall task, and our current food system is geared against them — they’re uncommon, unknown and underappreciated.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on May 21, 2014, 11:23:08 AM

Quote
A new Stanford study finds that due to an average 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming expected by 2040, yields of wheat and barley across Europe will drop more than 20 percent. …”The results clearly showed that modest amounts of climate change can have a big impact on yields of several crops in Europe,” said Stanford doctoral student Frances Moore, who conducted the research with David Lobell, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science.

Moore, a student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, described the results as somewhat surprising because Europe is fairly cool. “So you might think it would benefit from moderate amounts of warming,” she said. “Our next step was to actually measure the potential of European farmers to adapt to these impacts.”

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/may/climate-europe-farming-052014.html (http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/may/climate-europe-farming-052014.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: RaenorShine on May 22, 2014, 12:34:17 PM
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/22/west-antarctic-ice-collapse-middle-east-asia-crops (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/22/west-antarctic-ice-collapse-middle-east-asia-crops)

Quote
West Antarctic ice collapse 'could drown Middle East and Asia crops'

The collapse underway of a large part of the Antarctica ice sheet could devastate global food supply, drowning vast areas of crop lands across the Middle East and Asia, according to new research.

The report, Advancing Global Food Supply in the Face of a Changing Climatehttp://www.thechicagocouncil.org/UserFiles/File/EMBARGO_ClimateChangeFoodSecurity.pdf (http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/UserFiles/File/EMBARGO_ClimateChangeFoodSecurity.pdf), urges the Obama Administration to step up research funding– especially in developing countries – to help make up a projected gap in future food supply.

There is also a full day conference on this being broadcast on Youtube (and archived there if their previous conferences are anything to go by).

http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/files/Global_Agricultural_Development_Initiative/files/Global_Agriculture/Initiative_Events/Global_Food_Security_Symposium_2014.aspx (http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/files/Global_Agricultural_Development_Initiative/files/Global_Agriculture/Initiative_Events/Global_Food_Security_Symposium_2014.aspx)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on May 31, 2014, 07:29:23 PM
Coffee Rust Reaches New Heights In Central America
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/31/coffee-rust-central-america_n_5423770.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/31/coffee-rust-central-america_n_5423770.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on May 31, 2014, 08:29:12 PM
Fascinating photos of people around the world posing with their usual daily diet, annotated with total calories.
http://www.dose.com/lists/2715/23-Photos-Of-People-From-All-Over-The-World-Next-To-How-Much-Food-They-Eat-Per-Day (http://www.dose.com/lists/2715/23-Photos-Of-People-From-All-Over-The-World-Next-To-How-Much-Food-They-Eat-Per-Day)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: RaenorShine on June 05, 2014, 11:41:59 AM
Food price index down for the second month in a row.....

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

Quote
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 207.8 points in May 2014, down 2.5 points (or 1.2 percent) from April and nearly 7 points, or 3.2 percent, below May 2013. After rising to a ten-month high of 213 points in March, the Index fell in April and again in May, pressured by lower dairy, cereal and vegetable oil prices. However, sugar made strong gains in May, while meat remained firm.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 07, 2014, 01:52:46 PM
Quote
Across the U.S., some food banks and rescue groups have moved beyond handing out meals to the needy. In recent years, they’ve started growing the food themselves, turning to full-scale farming to secure fresh vegetables for their food pantry clients.
http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/in-plain-sight/field-fork-food-banks-start-farming-feed-needy-n117471 (http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/in-plain-sight/field-fork-food-banks-start-farming-feed-needy-n117471)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 18, 2014, 05:53:35 PM
Quote
The world's top food and drink companies announced a raft of measures on Wednesday to try to improve the industry's image, including stopping advertising junk food to children by 2018, harmonizing nutritional labeling and fighting deforestation.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101769846 (http://www.cnbc.com/id/101769846)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 20, 2014, 01:00:36 AM
"Climate change is putting 95 percent of the fresh produce sold by British food giant Asda at risk, according to a new study from the company."

http://tcktcktck.org/2014/06/asda-says-95-percent-produce-threatened-climate-change/62718 (http://tcktcktck.org/2014/06/asda-says-95-percent-produce-threatened-climate-change/62718)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 20, 2014, 12:58:45 PM
Quote
A Coca-Cola bottling plant has been ordered to close in northern India after local farmers blamed it for using too much water, creating fresh headaches for the world's biggest soft-drinks maker in one of its most important markets.

Authorities withdrew consent for the Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages plant in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where ground-water levels have been critical for more than a decade, according to the government.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101775300 (http://www.cnbc.com/id/101775300)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 21, 2014, 04:20:50 PM
"Oregon may be California’s agricultural future"
Last in "The Thirsty West" series by Eric Holthaus

Quote
The world needs much more than just ethanol and cheap grain for livestock feed. To get there, we’ll need massive changes in the way we do agriculture in this country. These misplaced priorities are helping to overwhelmingly subsidize meat, dairy, and grains, while leaving vegetables, nuts, and fruit to increase in relative price and making it hard for small farmers to compete.
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/06/thirsty_west_oregon_may_be_california_s_agricultural_future.1.html (http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/06/thirsty_west_oregon_may_be_california_s_agricultural_future.1.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on June 21, 2014, 04:41:04 PM
"Oregon may be California’s agricultural future"
Last in "The Thirsty West" series by Eric Holthaus

Quote
The world needs much more than just ethanol and cheap grain for livestock feed. To get there, we’ll need massive changes in the way we do agriculture in this country. These misplaced priorities are helping to overwhelmingly subsidize meat, dairy, and grains, while leaving vegetables, nuts, and fruit to increase in relative price and making it hard for small farmers to compete.
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/06/thirsty_west_oregon_may_be_california_s_agricultural_future.1.html (http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/06/thirsty_west_oregon_may_be_california_s_agricultural_future.1.html)

I absolutely agree. Here are the stats for corn production in the U.S. Such a waste.

http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/grains__oilseeds/corn_grain/ (http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/grains__oilseeds/corn_grain/)

"In 2011, 319 million acres of cropland were planted to principal crops in the United States. Of these, about one-third was planted to feed grains (102.6 million acres). Corn is the most widely produced U.S. feed grain with almost 92 million acres planted in 2011.

About 6 million acres of corn are harvested as silage annually with the remainder being harvested as grain. Corn production totaled 12.36 billion bushels in 2011, which was slightly below the 2010 level of 12.45 billion bushels. In 2009, a record crop of 13.1 billion bushels was produced.

The rest of the world produced nearly 22.16 billion bushels of corn. Hence, a total of 34.52 billion bushels of corn was produced throughout the world in 2011. U.S. production represents about 36 percent of world corn production.  (WASDE)

U.S. corn production is used for livestock feed (37%), food products (11%) and ethanol production (40%). Use as livestock feed totaled 4.6 billion bushels in 2011, while 5 billion bushels were used to produce ethanol. However, one of the by-products of ethanol production is distillers grains, which are subsequently used as livestock feed. In 2011, just over 33 million tons of distillers grains were produced, which is about 25 percent (by weight) of the 5 billion bushels used to produce ethanol. About 1.4 billion bushels of corn were used to produce food products, the majority of which are one of several variants of high-fructose corn syrup. Starch, corn oil and various other food products are also produced from corn. The remaining uses of corn include seed production, other industrial uses and exports."
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 22, 2014, 01:00:50 PM
Almonds in California as a financial investment, mostly due to exports.
(Recent article, but the embedded flood/drought videos I saw were weeks or months old.)
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/markets/thats-nuts-almond-boom-strains-california-water-supply-n130586 (http://www.nbcnews.com/business/markets/thats-nuts-almond-boom-strains-california-water-supply-n130586)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on June 22, 2014, 10:46:45 PM
Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v510/n7503/full/nature13179.html (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v510/n7503/full/nature13179.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: LRC1962 on June 24, 2014, 09:18:33 PM
Not sure if this is good spot or not or if it already has been mentioned.
Global warming will open Arctic to invasive species, Smithsonian scientists say (http://smithsonianscience.org/2014/05/global-warming-opening-arctic-large-wave-invasive-species/)
This is actually been know for a long time but it is good to be reminded of it. Invasive species always effect our food sources as we know it. As humans go though we are very adaptable and change out diet. That is until we kill off all our food sources.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on June 30, 2014, 11:10:53 AM
What Will The World Look Like 50 Years From Now? (LIVESTREAM)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/29/climate-change_n_5541895.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/29/climate-change_n_5541895.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: TerryM on July 03, 2014, 10:11:52 PM
With the Canadian wheat belt under water & Ukrainian grain exports down over 22% eating bread may become a luxury only the wealthy can afford.
Terry
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Neven on July 03, 2014, 10:19:05 PM
With the Canadian wheat belt under water & Ukrainian grain exports down over 22% eating bread may become a luxury only the wealthy can afford.
Terry

Poor grains. It will become increasingly difficult for them to reign over us.  ;D
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on July 06, 2014, 10:28:45 PM
Maine's Shrimp Fishery May Face New Restrictions
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/06/maine-shrimp-fishery_n_5561733.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/06/maine-shrimp-fishery_n_5561733.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on July 06, 2014, 10:54:29 PM
Hotter and larger tropics more vulnerable to climate change
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/lifestyle/hotter-and-larger-tropics/1219108.html (http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/lifestyle/hotter-and-larger-tropics/1219108.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on July 06, 2014, 10:56:20 PM
Liberia caterpillar plague causes mass evacuation and crop destruction
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/25/liberia-caterpillar-plague-causes-mass-evacuation-crop-destruction (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/25/liberia-caterpillar-plague-causes-mass-evacuation-crop-destruction)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 07, 2014, 06:12:47 PM
Clearing forests for agriculture may not solve the problem of "hidden hunger."

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/why-clearing-forests-for-farming-may-not-solve-hidden#ixzz36Jwc5oFg (http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/why-clearing-forests-for-farming-may-not-solve-hidden#ixzz36Jwc5oFg)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 08, 2014, 02:19:10 PM
Future Food: How Scientists And Startups Are Changing The Way We Eat
6 minute video.

http://www.businessinsider.com/scientists-and-startups-changing-how-we-eat-2014-7 (http://www.businessinsider.com/scientists-and-startups-changing-how-we-eat-2014-7)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: RaenorShine on July 10, 2014, 12:44:29 PM
FAO food index down again in June ....

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

Quote
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 206.0 points in June 2014, down 3.8 points (1.8 percent) from May and nearly 6 points (2.8 percent), below June 2013. Last month’s decline, which was the third in succession, was largely the result of a marked drop in cereal and vegetable oil prices, following further improvements in global production prospects.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Lynn Shwadchuck on July 10, 2014, 03:42:45 PM
From the Game Changers video:

10 years till there's commercially available in vitro meat

Marketing insect flour as a 'super food' like kale and quinoa

Beats the heck out of Soylent Green.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 11, 2014, 03:01:10 AM
Indoor farming could become a thing:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/09/3442719/weird-wonderful-indoor-farming/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/09/3442719/weird-wonderful-indoor-farming/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter on July 11, 2014, 05:29:55 PM
Indoor farming could become a thing:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/09/3442719/weird-wonderful-indoor-farming/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/09/3442719/weird-wonderful-indoor-farming/)

We'll just need a bit more energy production!  ;D
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 11, 2014, 08:25:57 PM
It's the cows! 
Satellite data from 2004 show that livestock emitted 70% more methane than the oil and gas industry at that time. 

http://news.discovery.com/earth/global-warming/gassy-cows-emit-more-methane-than-oil-industry-140710.htm (http://news.discovery.com/earth/global-warming/gassy-cows-emit-more-methane-than-oil-industry-140710.htm)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on July 14, 2014, 06:42:42 PM
8 charts that show how climate change is making the world more dangerous
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2014/jul/14/8-charts-climate-change-world-more-dangerous (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2014/jul/14/8-charts-climate-change-world-more-dangerous)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on July 16, 2014, 11:31:07 PM
Six Surprises About the State of the American Farm
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/onearth/six-surprises-about-the-s_b_5592353.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/onearth/six-surprises-about-the-s_b_5592353.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 19, 2014, 03:03:27 AM
"Drought conditions that continued through spring, followed by a late freeze in April and untimely rains in June have produced the poorest Oklahoma wheat crop in nearly a half century, Oklahoma agriculture officials said."

http://newsok.com/article/5005482 (http://newsok.com/article/5005482)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on July 22, 2014, 08:09:03 PM
I figure once the cognitive dissonance begins to wane heavy drinking may ensue. To keep the alcohol from driving you stark raving mad try eating more oily fish while you binge.

http://www.newswise.com/articles/fish-oil-may-benefit-alcohol-abusers (http://www.newswise.com/articles/fish-oil-may-benefit-alcohol-abusers)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 24, 2014, 01:56:47 PM
Grand plans to improve poor diets by introducing soy failed.  In addition to the adverse climate, people just didn't like the taste.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/why-did-u-s-spend-millions-make-afghans-eat-soybeans-n163186 (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/why-did-u-s-spend-millions-make-afghans-eat-soybeans-n163186)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: AbruptSLR on July 29, 2014, 04:25:10 PM
The linked reference (and associate extracts) indicates that the previously unrecognized fact that global warming will increase ozone air pollution, which will in-turn reduce food by over 10% by 2050; while global demand for food is expected to increase by over 50% by 2050:

Amos P. K. Tai, Maria Val Martin & Colette L. Heald, (2014), "Threat to future global food security from climate change and ozone air pollution", Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2317

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2317.html (http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2317.html)

Abstract: "Future food production is highly vulnerable to both climate change and air pollution with implications for global food security. Climate change adaptation and ozone regulation have been identified as important strategies to safeguard food production, but little is known about how climate and ozone pollution interact to affect agriculture, nor the relative effectiveness of these two strategies for different crops and regions. Here we present an integrated analysis of the individual and combined effects of 2000–2050 climate change and ozone trends on the production of four major crops (wheat, rice, maize and soybean) worldwide based on historical observations and model projections, specifically accounting for ozone–temperature co-variation. The projections exclude the effect of rising CO2, which has complex and potentially offsetting impacts on global food supply. We show that warming reduces global crop production by >10% by 2050 with a potential to substantially worsen global malnutrition in all scenarios considered. Ozone trends either exacerbate or offset a substantial fraction of climate impacts depending on the scenario, suggesting the importance of air quality management in agricultural planning. Furthermore, we find that depending on region some crops are primarily sensitive to either ozone (for example, wheat) or heat (for example, maize) alone, providing a measure of relative benefits of climate adaptation versus ozone regulation for food security in different regions."

http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/climate-change-air-pollution-will-combine-curb-food-supplies-0727 (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/climate-change-air-pollution-will-combine-curb-food-supplies-0727)

Extract: "Overall, with all other factors being equal, warming may reduce crop yields globally by about 10 percent by 2050, the study found. But the effects of ozone pollution are more complex — some crops are more strongly affected by it than others — which suggests that pollution-control measures could play a major role in determining outcomes.
Ozone pollution can also be tricky to identify, Heald says, because its damage can resemble other plant illnesses, producing flecks on leaves and discoloration.

Potential reductions in crop yields are worrisome: The world is expected to need about 50 percent more food by 2050, the authors say, due to population growth and changing dietary trends in the developing world. So any yield reductions come against a backdrop of an overall need to increase production significantly through improved crop selections and farming methods, as well as expansion of farmland.

While heat and ozone can each damage plants independently, the factors also interact. For example, warmer temperatures significantly increase production of ozone from the reactions, in sunlight, of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. Because of these interactions, the team found that 46 percent of damage to soybean crops that had previously been attributed to heat is actually caused by increased ozone.

Under some scenarios, the researchers found that pollution-control measures could make a major dent in the expected crop reductions following climate change. For example, while global food production was projected to fall by 15 percent under one scenario, larger emissions decreases projected in an alternate scenario reduce that drop to 9 percent.
Air pollution is even more decisive in shaping undernourishment in the developing world, the researchers found: Under the more pessimistic air-quality scenario, rates of malnourishment might increase from 18 to 27 percent by 2050 — about a 50 percent jump; under the more optimistic scenario, the rate would still increase, but that increase would almost be cut in half, they found."
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 06, 2014, 04:13:53 PM
Supermarket in France finds novel ways to sell imperfect fruits and vegetables which would otherwise be discarded, and opens customers' minds to the problem of food waste.

http://elitedaily.com/envision/food/supermarket-keep-food-going-waste-video/672280 (http://elitedaily.com/envision/food/supermarket-keep-food-going-waste-video/672280)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: RaenorShine on August 07, 2014, 02:39:48 PM
FAO Food price index down again, will the latest sanctions by Russia add further downward pressure on this in the months to come .....

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

Quote
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 203.9 points in July 2014, down 4.4 points (2.1 percent) from a revised value in June and 3.5 points (1.7 percent) below July 2013. While meat prices rose for the fifth consecutive month and sugar remained firm, sharp declines in grains, oilseeds and dairy quotations pushed down the FAO Food Price Index to its lowest level since January 2014.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 09, 2014, 09:40:09 PM
A severe drought in China's major crop-producing regions threatens to end 11 consecutive years of annual growth in the country's harvest.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2014-08/09/content_18277760.htm (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2014-08/09/content_18277760.htm)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on August 12, 2014, 02:45:01 PM
Quote
Despite its own admission that it will cause an up to seven-fold increase in chemical pesticide use, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is poised to approve a new type of genetically engineered seed built to resist one of the most toxic weedkillers on the market.

Now, total approval hinges on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If that federal body approves the new genetically modified organism (GMO), farmers will be free to plant corn and soy seeds genetically manipulated to live through sprayings of Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide, a chemical cocktail containing both glyphosate and the antiquated, toxic chemical 2,4-D. Ironically, in the ’90s, chemical companies said the development of GMOs would eliminate the need to use older, more dangerous chemicals like 2,4-D. But as GMO use ramped up over the last few decades, chemical use increased, and many weeds are no longer responding to glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, and the current chemical of choice for GMO farmers. This has created a “superweed” crisis, creating millions of acres of U.S. fields infested with hard-to-kill weeds.

http://www.nationofchange.org/new-wave-gmo-crops-poised-approval-despite-public-outcry-1407680841 (http://www.nationofchange.org/new-wave-gmo-crops-poised-approval-despite-public-outcry-1407680841)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 14, 2014, 02:45:48 AM
"In a portion of the plain, in Jilin province, 10 major grain producing counties are facing the lowest rainfall since 1951, and many corn fields are facing “zero harvest,” according to report by the state-run Xinhua New Agency, citing Jilin’s provincial weather bureau."

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/worst-drought-in-half-a-century-hits-chinas-bread-basket-2014-08-13?link=sfmw (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/worst-drought-in-half-a-century-hits-chinas-bread-basket-2014-08-13?link=sfmw)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 17, 2014, 03:59:02 PM
Artificial cold has reduced food waste and disease. But what about the cost to the environment?

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/magazine/what-do-chinese-dumplings-have-to-do-with-global-warming.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1 (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/magazine/what-do-chinese-dumplings-have-to-do-with-global-warming.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 17, 2014, 04:16:26 PM
Quote
Despite its own admission that it will cause an up to seven-fold increase in chemical pesticide use, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is poised to approve a new type of genetically engineered seed built to resist one of the most toxic weedkillers on the market.

Now, total approval hinges on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If that federal body approves the new genetically modified organism (GMO), farmers will be free to plant corn and soy seeds genetically manipulated to live through sprayings of Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide, a chemical cocktail containing both glyphosate and the antiquated, toxic chemical 2,4-D. Ironically, in the ’90s, chemical companies said the development of GMOs would eliminate the need to use older, more dangerous chemicals like 2,4-D. But as GMO use ramped up over the last few decades, chemical use increased, and many weeds are no longer responding to glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, and the current chemical of choice for GMO farmers. This has created a “superweed” crisis, creating millions of acres of U.S. fields infested with hard-to-kill weeds.

http://www.nationofchange.org/new-wave-gmo-crops-poised-approval-despite-public-outcry-1407680841 (http://www.nationofchange.org/new-wave-gmo-crops-poised-approval-despite-public-outcry-1407680841)

It would appear these weeds believe in evolution. Who would have thought that a garden variety weed would be smarter than 40% of the American population.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on August 22, 2014, 07:48:31 PM
Increasing CO2 may threaten human nutrition
http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/05/increasing-co2-may-threaten-human-nutrition/ (http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/05/increasing-co2-may-threaten-human-nutrition/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on August 23, 2014, 07:16:36 PM
Marine Economy Takes a Dive as Ocean Acidity Rises
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/marine-economy-takes-a-dive-as-ocean-acidity-rises-17878 (http://www.climatecentral.org/news/marine-economy-takes-a-dive-as-ocean-acidity-rises-17878)

I do think the connection between the Atlantic and the pacific is not here yet, but on his way to be activated. It will happened in winter somewhere around the ESS. We already can see the moves with the salinity maps of Hycom. Of course there is atmospheric connection but that is just plain normal. what we are seeing is a disruption between this 2 not yet a connection. We will see the end of the Arctic ocean very soon (when ? 10 years more ?), the winner will be the Atlantic but how the pacific and the Atlantic will interact remains to be seen.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on August 24, 2014, 07:27:41 PM
Florida Citrus Growers Wage 'War' To Try And Stop Deadly Greening Disease
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/24/citrus-greening_n_5704579.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/24/citrus-greening_n_5704579.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 26, 2014, 05:29:49 PM
In North Dakota, railroads are shipping oil while food harvests lie waiting.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/08/26/3475661/crops-sidelined-oil-rail/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/08/26/3475661/crops-sidelined-oil-rail/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on September 01, 2014, 10:08:15 PM
Quote
A new study, published today in Nature Climate Change, suggests that -- if current trends continue -- food production alone will reach, if not exceed, the global targets for total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2050.

...As populations rise and global tastes shift towards meat-heavy Western diets, increasing agricultural yields will not meet projected food demands of what is expected to be 9.6 billion people -- making it necessary to bring more land into cultivation.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140831150209.htm (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140831150209.htm)

Given the recent toll on livestock caused by increasing heat, drought, and extreme winters around the globe, I expect cattle stocks will only decrease as climate change intensifies.  Rather than expecting the world to go vegetarian, I should think the need for protein, and for more efficient agriculture, is an important part of the argument for (increasing) the development of "artificial meat."

http://www.popsci.com/article/science/can-artificial-meat-save-world (http://www.popsci.com/article/science/can-artificial-meat-save-world)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on September 05, 2014, 09:39:41 AM
Climate Change To Undermine Every Corner Of Global Oceans By 2100
http://www.hngn.com/articles/15007/20131016/climate-change-undermine-corner-global-oceans-2100.htm?utm_source=zergnet.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=zergnet_102949 (http://www.hngn.com/articles/15007/20131016/climate-change-undermine-corner-global-oceans-2100.htm?utm_source=zergnet.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=zergnet_102949)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on September 12, 2014, 01:30:37 PM
Difficulties in California organic dairy industry:
Quote
...Central Valley might not be geographically sustainable for organic milk production anymore. “That’s the trend that without a doubt is happening,” he says. “It’s not just about organic dairy, it’s about livestock and agriculture, especially as the valley gets more orientated toward tree foods and vegetables. There’s a tremendous pressure on those farmers.”
http://grist.org/food/the-drought-is-destroying-californias-organic-dairy-farms/ (http://grist.org/food/the-drought-is-destroying-californias-organic-dairy-farms/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: AbruptSLR on September 25, 2014, 07:47:00 PM
The linked article in Wired indicates just how complicated our food situation is becoming, not only due to global warming, but also due to superweeds and GMOs:

http://www.wired.com/2014/09/new-gm-crops/ (http://www.wired.com/2014/09/new-gm-crops/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: AbruptSLR on September 27, 2014, 01:28:53 AM
The attached map comes from Germany’s Ludwig Maximilian University, which recently competed a study above the influence of climate change on the projected changes in land suitability for agriculture and one of their finding was that the amount of land "highly suited" for agriculture will drop by about 15% by 2100.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on September 27, 2014, 05:54:40 PM
Quote
Irish teenagers Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow, all 16, have won the Google Science Fair 2014. Their project, Combating the Global Food Crisis, aims to provide a solution to low crop yields by pairing a nitrogen-fixing bacteria that naturally occurs in the soil with cereal crops it does not normally associate with, such as barley and oats.
http://m.inhabitat.com/all/16-year-old-irish-girls-win-google-science-fair-2014-with-world-changing-crop-yield-breakthrough#1 (http://m.inhabitat.com/all/16-year-old-irish-girls-win-google-science-fair-2014-with-world-changing-crop-yield-breakthrough#1)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on September 30, 2014, 02:19:25 PM
Feeding hundreds of people with quality food rescued from dumpsters behind grocery stores across the US:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-greenfield/the-food-waste-fiasco_b_5896154.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-greenfield/the-food-waste-fiasco_b_5896154.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on October 06, 2014, 10:21:44 AM
Fish failing to adapt to rising carbon dioxide levels in ocean
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/06/fish-failing-to-adapt-to-rising-carbon-dioxide-levels-in-ocean (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/06/fish-failing-to-adapt-to-rising-carbon-dioxide-levels-in-ocean)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on October 07, 2014, 10:36:51 AM
Rising Sea Temps Cause Severe Coral Bleaching In Hawaii
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/07/coral-bleaching-hawaii_n_5943426.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/07/coral-bleaching-hawaii_n_5943426.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on October 09, 2014, 10:48:25 AM
Quote
An important point to note is the timescale for the saturation state for calcite to “recover” to previous levels. Following the PETM, this took ~100,000 years, and it is projected to take a similar length of time following projected anthro-pogenic carbon emissions.

An updated synthesis of the impacts on ocean acidification on marine biodiversity.
http://www.cbd.int/doc/publications/cbd-ts-75-en.pdf (http://www.cbd.int/doc/publications/cbd-ts-75-en.pdf)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on October 09, 2014, 03:06:13 PM
5-minute Ted talk on insects (crickets) as a great food solution, given population, nutritional and environmental factors.
http://sfist.com/2014/08/05/paleo_and_gluten-free_craze_hits_pe.php#. (http://sfist.com/2014/08/05/paleo_and_gluten-free_craze_hits_pe.php#.)

The demand for crickets for human consumption has doubled every year since 2010.  More and bigger cricket farms are needed.
http://chicagoist.com/2014/10/07/we_need_more_cricket_farmers_the_pr.php#. (http://chicagoist.com/2014/10/07/we_need_more_cricket_farmers_the_pr.php#.)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on October 21, 2014, 11:29:59 AM
‘The Other CO2 Problem’: How Acidic Oceans Will Cost Our Economy Billions
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/09/3577544/ocean-acidification-cost/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/09/3577544/ocean-acidification-cost/)
“We can see that ocean acidification is not a short-lived problem,” the report reads, “and [it] could take many thousands of years to return to pre-industrial levels even if carbon emissions are curbed.”
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on October 23, 2014, 09:30:49 PM
Russian grains in ‘even worse’ condition than 2009

Quote
Russia’s autumn-sown grains crops are heading into winter “even worse” condition than five years ago, when losses from cold weather, and summer drought, sent wheat production tumbling, SovEcon warned.

Dry weather has allowed for speedy plantings, with farmers having planted 16.2m hectares of grains already, only 300,000 hectares short of the government target, and roughly 3m hectares ahead of last year.

Some parts of Russia, and western Ukraine, have received less than 20% of normal rainfall over the past 45 days, according to MDA.


http://www.agrimoney.com/news/russian-grains-in-even-worse-condition-than-2009--7632.html (http://www.agrimoney.com/news/russian-grains-in-even-worse-condition-than-2009--7632.html)

Will this lead to price spikes that lead to more 'Arab Springs'?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on October 24, 2014, 10:05:42 AM
Science chief warns on acid oceans
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-29746880#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-29746880#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa)

Quote
But researchers in Exeter have found that other creatures will also be affected because as acidity increases it creates conditions for animals to take up more coastal pollutants like copper.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: GeoffBeacon on October 24, 2014, 01:06:57 PM
On a lighter (but hopefully still serious) note, I'm arranging a small "Green grub and red vino" event as a moving party.

We will provide food with carbon footprints attached.

The party will be at a local vegetarian restaurant (possibly vegan) so we will have to make do with pictures of beefburgers. I avoid beef anyway (http://nobeef.org.uk (http://nobeef.org.uk)).

Any bright ideas?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on October 28, 2014, 09:07:11 AM
Farm salt poisoning costs $27 billion annually
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26462-farm-salt-poisoning-costs-27-billion-annually.html?cmpid=RSS (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26462-farm-salt-poisoning-costs-27-billion-annually.html?cmpid=RSS)|NSNS|2012-GLOBAL|environment#.VE9NpVHWTlc
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on October 28, 2014, 04:32:37 PM
Geoff, I have prepared meals with all / most dinner menu items sourced from the farm. The low carbon bit was of topic but it came off more like a family day at the farm. I had invited families I knew who had invested in renewables, solar homes and vehicles. Making food part of the energy discussion is difficult.
 For a moving event different menus could stress the energy point by intentionally putting together one menu with  ingredients flown in and shipped  from various places around the world. Here in Calif. that might include (French) endive , hothouse sweet peppers from Belgium, Italian truffles, Chilean fruit compote, and a bottle of Shiraz from Australia.
 Another might source as many seasonally available  items as possible from one or two local farms. A third might try to source products that can be shipped by rail transport (,bulk commodities like grains and potatoes ) . The third menu might even beat out the local one  energy wise . Both menu two and three should stand in sharp contrast to the air transport of food .
 Scale also can decrease food energy costs and it is an important part of the discussion sometimes overlooked in the eat local food message.   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on October 28, 2014, 11:14:53 PM
"Wormballs", cricket protein bars, and... croutons?
Men's Health magazine looks at food made from insects.

http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/crickets-perfect-protein (http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/crickets-perfect-protein)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 03, 2014, 12:33:27 AM
Maine's shrimp harvest plummeting due to the warming ocean.
Quote
Temperatures in the Gulf of Maine are rising faster than in 99 percent of the Earth’s oceans, increasing half a degree Fahrenheit annually, scientists from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute found. That’s eight times faster than the global rate. In the process, Maine’s Northern shrimp haul has plummeted from 12 million pounds in 2010 to 563,313 pounds last year, as warmer temperatures cause their food supply to decline and their number of predators to increase and ocean acidification impacts their development.
http://ecowatch.com/2014/10/31/global-warming-shrimp/ (http://ecowatch.com/2014/10/31/global-warming-shrimp/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on November 11, 2014, 12:21:29 PM
https://www.skepticalscience.com/IPCC-AR5-synthesis-risk-management.html (https://www.skepticalscience.com/IPCC-AR5-synthesis-risk-management.html)

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fstatic.guim.co.uk%2Fsys-images%2FGuardian%2FPix%2Fpictures%2F2014%2F11%2F8%2F1415471136443%2F63d1396e-0e16-46fb-a996-3ef5823f7ab8-620x269.png&hash=219da2971b19ca310bf90467eafc91d3)

Quote
Summary of projected changes in crop yields, due to climate change over the 21st century. Yellow indicates studies that project crop yield decreases, blue indicates studies projecting increases. Illustration: IPCC AR5

I'm a bit surprised that negative consequences on ag don't outstrip positive ones till after 2030. Does anyone have any idea why that would be? Is it short-term benefits of CO2 fertilization? Or benefits of slightly warmer, moister conditions?

Basically, though, if I'm reading this right, in fifteen years or so, things turn generally pretty awful. By the end of the century, things become basically impossible, wrt ag. And this is based apparently on AR5, not on the worst-case-scenario AR8 (the path we seem to be determined to take).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 13, 2014, 01:08:25 AM
I'm a bit surprised that negative consequences on ag don't outstrip positive ones till after 2030. Does anyone have any idea why that would be? Is it short-term benefits of CO2 fertilization? Or benefits of slightly warmer, moister conditions?

Basically, though, if I'm reading this right, in fifteen years or so, things turn generally pretty awful. By the end of the century, things become basically impossible, wrt ag. And this is based apparently on AR5, not on the worst-case-scenario AR8 (the path we seem to be determined to take).

I'm not sure you can say "negative consequences on ag don't outstrip positive ones till after 2030" from this graph, which appears to compare the number of positive versus negative *studies* for each 20-year period, not the degree of consequences.  Just over half of the studies say ag yields will decrease between 2020 to 2039 -- and for later years, the percentage of pessimistic studies crushes the optimistic ones.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 15, 2014, 03:33:45 PM
Article on why Sir Paul McCartney argues for Meatless Mondays.

Quote
More than 70 per cent of the world’s farmland is used to graze livestock, while 40 per cent of the wheat, rye, oats and corn grown globally each year, plus 250 million tons of soya beans and other oil seeds, go to feed cattle, effectively causing cows to compete with people for food. Nearly a quarter of the planet’s available freshwater goes the same way, according to the blue-chip Worldwatch Institute, a Washington DC think tank.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/globalwarming/11231472/Sir-Paul-McCartney-why-I-have-a-beef-with-meat-eating.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/globalwarming/11231472/Sir-Paul-McCartney-why-I-have-a-beef-with-meat-eating.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 16, 2014, 08:45:02 PM
We're running out of chocolate! :o

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/15/the-worlds-biggest-chocolate-maker-says-were-running-out-of-chocolate/ (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/15/the-worlds-biggest-chocolate-maker-says-were-running-out-of-chocolate/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on November 17, 2014, 04:03:52 PM
Article on why Sir Paul McCartney argues for Meatless Mondays.

Quote
More than 70 per cent of the world’s farmland is used to graze livestock, while 40 per cent of the wheat, rye, oats and corn grown globally each year, plus 250 million tons of soya beans and other oil seeds, go to feed cattle, effectively causing cows to compete with people for food. Nearly a quarter of the planet’s available freshwater goes the same way, according to the blue-chip Worldwatch Institute, a Washington DC think tank.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/globalwarming/11231472/Sir-Paul-McCartney-why-I-have-a-beef-with-meat-eating.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/globalwarming/11231472/Sir-Paul-McCartney-why-I-have-a-beef-with-meat-eating.html)

Over the past 3 years, I have eliminated most of the meat (all types) from my diet.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 22, 2014, 07:53:35 PM
About those record high temps in the usually cold North Pacific.

Quote
The North Pacific Ocean is setting record high temperatures this year and raising concerns about the potential impact on cold water marine species along the B.C. coast, including salmon.

Ocean surface temperatures around the world this year reached the highest temperature ever recorded, due in large part to the normally chilly North Pacific, which was three to four degrees above average — far beyond any recorded value.

Pacific record temperatures
Dr Richard Dewey with Ocean Networks Canada says scientists are still trying to figure out what's going on. (CBC)


​Bill Peterson, an oceanographer with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the warmth along the North Pacific coast is very unusual.
"We've never seen this before. It's beyond anyone's experience and this is why it's puzzling," he said.

To further complicate the picture, Peterson says an El Niño warm water ocean current should arrive in about a month.

"We'll have what we call a double whammy," he said. "It's already very warm up north, up here. If we get an extra push of super warm water from the tropics, we could possibly have a big disaster on our hands, ecologically speaking."
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/record-north-pacific-temperatures-threatening-b-c-marine-species-1.2845662 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/record-north-pacific-temperatures-threatening-b-c-marine-species-1.2845662)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 22, 2014, 08:33:37 PM
Over the past 3 years, I have eliminated most of the meat (all types) from my diet.

I'm headed on that direction, although more slowly.  I stopped choosing beef and processed meats (bacon/sausage/jerky, etc.) ages ago. Now-days I go meatless some days, and on others I eat less chicken or seafood by dividing it into smaller portions over more days. 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 25, 2014, 02:22:19 PM
Good that it is not wasted.  But I still cry for the "misshapen or expired chocolate that would otherwise be discarded."   :'(

http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/nestle-is-using-chocolate-to-power-a-factory-20141124 (http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/nestle-is-using-chocolate-to-power-a-factory-20141124)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: GeoffBeacon on November 25, 2014, 03:26:22 PM
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,317.msg40097.html#msg40097 (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,317.msg40097.html#msg40097)

Quote
Article on why Sir Paul McCartney argues for Meatless Mondays.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/globalwarming/11231472/Sir-Paul-McCartney-why-I-have-a-beef-with-meat-eating.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/globalwarming/11231472/Sir-Paul-McCartney-why-I-have-a-beef-with-meat-eating.html)

I failed at getting the Carbon Footprint of Beef into Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Carbon_footprint#Carbon_footprint_of_Beef (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Carbon_footprint#Carbon_footprint_of_Beef)

I hope someone with more skill with Wikipedia bureaucracy will do better one day.

I know Wikipedia has a hard time with all the pressures and I do make modest donations but is Wikipedia too credentialist?  http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/is-wikipedia-too-credentialist/ (http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/is-wikipedia-too-credentialist/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on November 25, 2014, 07:51:26 PM
Goce gravity map traces ocean circulation
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30191584 (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30191584)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 02, 2014, 12:22:09 PM
The One-Two Punch of Climate Change - #ReefReels Short Film Competition
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=d6_Aze-q4Q0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=d6_Aze-q4Q0)

40 Years of Scratching Reveals Ocean Acidification Data
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/ocean-acidification-new-baseline-18351 (http://www.climatecentral.org/news/ocean-acidification-new-baseline-18351)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 03, 2014, 02:07:51 PM
Growing appetite for meat 'risks climate targets'
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30294981 (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30294981)

Quote
"That's a problem because what we also discovered in the survey was that the willingness of consumers to take action and reduce their emissions was very closely linked to their level of awareness of a particular issue.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 04, 2014, 10:07:53 AM
Amid Bugs, Hail, Floods and Bacteria, Italian Olives Take a Beating
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/04/world/europe/amid-bugs-hail-floods-and-bacteria-italian-olives-take-a-beating.html?partner=rss&emc=rss (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/04/world/europe/amid-bugs-hail-floods-and-bacteria-italian-olives-take-a-beating.html?partner=rss&emc=rss)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 04, 2014, 06:42:50 PM
Sounds painful.   ;)
Quote
“The industry is retaining cows, and as a result, there’s even less beef to go around.”
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-04/steak-lovers-squeezed-with-record-beef-premium-chart-of-the-day.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-04/steak-lovers-squeezed-with-record-beef-premium-chart-of-the-day.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 04, 2014, 06:46:15 PM
Quote
There are 28 urban areas worldwide with at least 10 million people. By 2030, 12 more are expected to enter the ranks of the planet's megacities.
http://www.bloomberg.com/infographics/2014-09-09/global-megacities-by-2030.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/infographics/2014-09-09/global-megacities-by-2030.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 06, 2014, 05:11:47 PM
Bloomberg:  Can cinnamon-infused crickets save the US Rust Belt?
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-05/can-cinnamon-infused-crickets-save-the-rust-belt-.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-05/can-cinnamon-infused-crickets-save-the-rust-belt-.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 07, 2014, 02:43:59 AM
Quote
You probably know [more] vegetarians than you used to. You may even know some vegans—people who eat no animal products, including eggs, butter, milk and cheese. But did you know that their dietary habits may be essential to save the planet? A new research paper from UK think tank Chatham House, Livestock—Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector, explains why it may be necessary for a lot more people to go vegetarian or at least dial down their consumption of meat and dairy products, and how to get them to do that.
http://ecowatch.com/2014/12/05/eat-less-meat-dairy-curb-climate-change/ (http://ecowatch.com/2014/12/05/eat-less-meat-dairy-curb-climate-change/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 08, 2014, 05:58:37 PM
Alaska must lead in addressing ocean acidification, and fast
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alaskadispatchcom/alaska-must-lead-in-addre_b_6288122.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alaskadispatchcom/alaska-must-lead-in-addre_b_6288122.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 14, 2014, 08:59:28 PM
Would you pay more for chocolate now, to better ensure a sufficient supply?
http://www.cnbc.com/id/102264355 (http://www.cnbc.com/id/102264355)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 15, 2014, 10:21:43 AM
Waters Warm, and Cod Catch Ebbs in Maine
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/us/waters-warm-in-gulf-of-maine-and-cod-catch-ebbs.html?partner=rss&emc=rss (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/us/waters-warm-in-gulf-of-maine-and-cod-catch-ebbs.html?partner=rss&emc=rss)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on December 16, 2014, 08:18:15 PM
Bruce (if you are still hanging around here)  thought you would find this article of the New England fishing industry very interesting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/us/waters-warm-in-gulf-of-maine-and-cod-catch-ebbs.html?smid=tw-nytimes (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/us/waters-warm-in-gulf-of-maine-and-cod-catch-ebbs.html?smid=tw-nytimes)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on December 16, 2014, 09:05:46 PM
JimD, I am here still, glad to see you hanging around still.
The article says the increase in the  lobster catch is partly due to a decrease in predators. One of those predators is the vanishing cod.  It also says we fishermen don't trust the science however our management is science based. Some of us both follow the science and to a degree participate in data collection to make good science possible. We critique the science and ultimately help pay for it, or a portion of it anyway. We send support letters to agencies pleading to maintain decent long term data-sets ( not an easy thing in a 3 year grant cycle ) and try to maintain a good buoy network. And any fisherman knocking the science most certainly watches the weather satellites. That is they choose which science they prefer and since they prefer not to die they do watch the weather.   
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 17, 2014, 04:00:29 AM
Low oil price -> ruble collapse -> low domestic price for Russian wheat -> more wheat exported for higher price.  Russia increases wheat price to keep supplies in country.  "“The government needs to offer a price to be able compete with exporters."
Quote
Russia’s food inflation accelerated to 12.6 percent in November with the economy teetering on the brink of a recession. The ruble tumbled to a record low today versus the dollar as panic swept across the country’s financial markets after a surprise interest-rate increase failed to stem the run on the currency.
"Russia starts to boost wheat stockpiles after foreign buyers take advantage of weakening currency"
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-16/russia-planning-to-boost-wheat-stockpiles-as-food-costs-soar.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-16/russia-planning-to-boost-wheat-stockpiles-as-food-costs-soar.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 17, 2014, 09:44:26 AM
Obama Indefinitely Bans Drilling in Alaskan Bay
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/17/us/obama-indefinitely-bans-drilling-in-alaskan-bay.html?partner=rss&emc=rss (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/17/us/obama-indefinitely-bans-drilling-in-alaskan-bay.html?partner=rss&emc=rss)

See it is possible to ban oil extraction to protect a food supply...should be possible to ban coal, oil and gaz everywhere to protect our food supply also...
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on December 18, 2014, 03:23:53 PM
More on the non-organic found in large scale organic agriculture.  ugly

Many pictures - this is what organic looks like in Cosco, WalMart and all of your other big retailers.  Organic done like this is not meaningfully different than any other CAFO operation.  You may as well save your money.  As a former organic farmer I can verify that almost all of what you see marketed as 'organic' would fail to meet any reasonable definition put forth by advocates for sustainable farming practices.  It is almost all fully industrial.  True organic is sustainable farming and cannot support many more people than those doing the farming themselves.

http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-factory-farm-investigation/ (http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-factory-farm-investigation/)

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 18, 2014, 05:42:53 PM
Eat The Enemy: As Jellyfish Bloom, So Do Appetites Overseas
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/18/jellyballs-cannonball-jellyfish_n_6343454.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/18/jellyballs-cannonball-jellyfish_n_6343454.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 19, 2014, 10:08:36 PM
Major coral bleaching in Pacific may become worst die-off in 20 years, say experts
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/19/major-coral-bleaching-pacific-may-worst-20-years (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/19/major-coral-bleaching-pacific-may-worst-20-years)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 22, 2014, 08:55:54 PM
Climate change will leave a sour taste in our mouths - literally: Study shows ocean acidification affects the flavour of shellfish
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2883879/Climate-change-leave-prawns-tasting-sour-ocean-acidification-gives-shrimps-bad-flavour.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2883879/Climate-change-leave-prawns-tasting-sour-ocean-acidification-gives-shrimps-bad-flavour.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 22, 2014, 08:58:48 PM
Plankton Pee May Alter Ocean's Chemistry
http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/plankton-pee-may-alter-ocean-s-chemistry/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+energy-and-sustainability+%28Topic%3A+Energy+%26+Sustainability%29 (http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/plankton-pee-may-alter-ocean-s-chemistry/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+energy-and-sustainability+%28Topic%3A+Energy+%26+Sustainability%29)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 23, 2014, 12:46:06 PM
Global warming will cut wheat yields, research shows
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/23/global-warming-cut-wheat-yields-research-shows (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/23/global-warming-cut-wheat-yields-research-shows)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 23, 2014, 05:20:51 PM
Are you going to eat that?
Cities increase recyclables, including leftover food, and see garbage decrease.  Also: biochar.
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/are-you-gonna-eat-future-recycling-n273771 (http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/are-you-gonna-eat-future-recycling-n273771)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 24, 2014, 03:28:00 AM
California demanding better conditions for chickens.  Less industrial?
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-23/california-s-humane-chicken-act-complicates-u-s-farm-law.html (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-23/california-s-humane-chicken-act-complicates-u-s-farm-law.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on December 24, 2014, 10:27:32 AM
Supertrawlers to be banned permanently from Australian waters
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/24/supertrawlers-to-be-banned-permanently-from-australian-waters (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/24/supertrawlers-to-be-banned-permanently-from-australian-waters)

Increasingly acidic oceans threaten world's mussel populations
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/24/acidic-oceans-threaten-worlds-mussel-populations-climate-change (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/24/acidic-oceans-threaten-worlds-mussel-populations-climate-change)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 25, 2014, 12:23:49 AM
Indoor farming has advantages over field farming:

Indoor farming project near Chicago, using red and blue LED lights in the frequencies plants need.  Compared with field farming, the indoor farm is not weather dependent, grows 10 or more levels of plants (not just one) in a clean, non-soil medium, feeds the roots of the plants so the water never touches the leaves, uses 95% less water and no pesticides.  The LED lights are energy efficient and cool enough that they can be placed very close to the plants, which mature days faster than field plants.  The location near the city means Chicago gets fresh, local food.

Some of the above info is from the recent Aljazeera TV "TechKnow" episode, which is not, to my knowledge, currently available online. But here's a related article:

http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/techknow/articles/2014/11/10/indoor-farms-a-freshoasisinanurbandesert.html (http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/techknow/articles/2014/11/10/indoor-farms-a-freshoasisinanurbandesert.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Neven on December 25, 2014, 09:15:08 AM
That's very interesting, especially with regards to energy savings. On the other hand, at the end of the article:

Quote
Not too long after we shot this story, my husband surprised me with a lovely bouquet fresh from a farmer’s market – a bouquet of Thai basil.   He was thinking of making eggplant Parmesan, but I wanted this herb to be the star of the show and that meant pesto! Before he could say, “we don’t have pine nuts,” I was out the door, racing to the grocery store to pick up the missing ingredients.

 ;D
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 25, 2014, 03:38:52 PM
Nuts!   ::)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 26, 2014, 09:25:02 PM
Shrimp raised in climate-changed waters taste bad.  And what about the fish we eat that eat them?
http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-badtasting-shrimp-20141222-column.html (http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-badtasting-shrimp-20141222-column.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 27, 2014, 12:53:23 AM
Shrimp raised in climate-changed waters taste bad.  And what about the fish we eat that eat them?
http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-badtasting-shrimp-20141222-column.html (http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-badtasting-shrimp-20141222-column.html)
Imagine... if seafood becoming "inedible" becomes one driver toward more "artificial" or 3-D printed food substitutes.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on January 02, 2015, 05:25:47 PM
Another rousingly good idea.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/02/business/energy-environment/a-gray-area-in-regulation-of-genetically-modified-crops.html (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/02/business/energy-environment/a-gray-area-in-regulation-of-genetically-modified-crops.html)

Quote
...Scotts and several other companies are developing genetically modified crops using techniques that either are outside the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Department or use new methods — like “genome editing” — that were not envisioned when the regulations were created.

The department has said, for example, that it has no authority over a new herbicide-resistant canola, a corn that would create less pollution from livestock waste, switch grass tailored for biofuel production, and even an ornamental plant that glows in the dark...
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 02, 2015, 07:36:07 PM
A very  interesting idea.

http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4520430/halophyte-counteroffensive (http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4520430/halophyte-counteroffensive)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on January 04, 2015, 02:35:05 PM
Could 'salt potatoes' create a food revolution?
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30670988 (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30670988)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on January 04, 2015, 08:40:09 PM
Where Have All the Cod Gone?
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/02/opinion/where-have-all-the-cod-gone.html (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/02/opinion/where-have-all-the-cod-gone.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 06, 2015, 02:48:38 AM
U.S. government may recommend eating less meat, for personal health as well as environmental reasons.
Quote
When the federal government releases its guidelines for healthy eating at the end of the month, the updated version may reflect not only what’s best for human health but the health of the environment, as well. The dietary guidelines are issued every five years and as the new recommendations are being drafted, “an advisory panel to the Agriculture and Health and Human Services Departments has been discussing the idea of sustainability in public meetings, indicating that its recommendations, expected this month, may address the environment,” the Associated Press reported.

Once they are finalized, the new guidelines will be reflected in the USDA’s MyPlate icon, which replaced the famous food pyramid in 2011.

As study after study has shown, meat production takes a heavy toll on the environment and reducing their meat consumption may be one of the most impactful steps an individual can take to live more sustainably. Research published earlier this year in the journal Climactic Change found that global greenhouse gas emissions from livestock increased 51 percent from 1961 to 2010. Another study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identified beef production in particular as having a significant impact on the environment: Beef requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken and 11 times more water, and its production results in five times more greenhouse gas emissions per calorie.
Quote
A draft recommendation for the U.S. government’s new dietary guidelines circulated last month reflects both of those potential benefits, according to the AP report. Consuming more plant-based foods and less animal-based foods is “more health promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact than is the current average U.S. diet,” the draft stated.
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/04/3607719/new-dietary-guidelines-environment/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/04/3607719/new-dietary-guidelines-environment/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 07, 2015, 09:26:52 PM
A rich agricultural area in Poland is threatened by the opening of a huge opencast lignite coal mine.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/31/polish-farmers-threaten-uprising-over-opencast-coalmine (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/31/polish-farmers-threaten-uprising-over-opencast-coalmine)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 08, 2015, 02:33:53 AM
Plastic-eating mushrooms create edible waste.
Quote
It all started back in 2012, when Yale researchers found a rare mushroom in the Amazon (Pestalotiopsis microspora) that was capable of breaking down polyurethane, the main ingredient in modern plastics. That led to a lot of scientists trying to figure out how to use the fungi to deal with the world’s very real plastic waste problem. Unger, who was previously known for creating a kitchen appliance that incubated fly eggs into larva for the purposes of human consumption, took the idea one step further and resolved to figure out how to use fungi to recycle waste into food. Together with Julia Kaisinger and Utrecht University, she created the Fungi Mutarium, which turns mushrooms into an edible product.
http://modernfarmer.com/2015/01/plastic-eating-mushrooms-save-world/ (http://modernfarmer.com/2015/01/plastic-eating-mushrooms-save-world/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 08, 2015, 05:05:56 PM
Adverse health effects of climate change.
Quote
WASHINGTON -– American medical professionals specializing in respiratory conditions and critical care are concerned about what climate change may mean for patient health, a new survey finds.

A survey of members of the American Thoracic Society, which represents 15,000 physicians and other medical professionals who work in the fields of respiratory disease, critical care and sleep disorder, finds that the majority of respondents said they were already seeing health effects in their patients that they believe are linked to climate change. Seventy-seven percent said they have seen an increase in chronic diseases related to air pollution, and 58 percent said they'd seen increased allergic reactions from plants or mold. Fifty-seven percent of participants said they'd also seen injuries related to severe weather.

An overwhelming majority -- 89 percent -- agreed that climate change is happening, and 65 percent said they thought climate change was relevant to direct patient care. Forty-four percent said they thought climate change was already affecting the health of their patients a "great deal" or a "moderate amount." Strong majorities of respondents also said that heat, vector-borne infections, air pollution and allergies would likely affect patients in the next 10 to 20 years.

Numerous scientific studies have found links between climate change and a variety of health problems.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/07/doctors-climate-change-he_n_6432914.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/07/doctors-climate-change-he_n_6432914.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter on January 08, 2015, 06:20:16 PM
Makes sense. If Dr. Francis is right and the loss of Arctic sea ice leads to stuck weather patterns, we get cities that get to dwell in their emissions for longer periods of time. For example, we've had a solid week of "spare the air" days here in the Bay Area with the recent stuck weather. We've had 12 since November. These are days with unhealthy levels of particulates (PM2.5).
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 09, 2015, 09:40:15 PM
Australia is so hot even the grapes wear sunscreen
http://grist.org/news/australia-is-so-hot-even-the-grapes-need-sunscreen-now/ (http://grist.org/news/australia-is-so-hot-even-the-grapes-need-sunscreen-now/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 10, 2015, 11:22:04 AM
Neil deGrasse Tyson on Genetically Modified Foods.  (Spoiler: almost all our food already is.)
http://www.upworthy.com/his-way-of-looking-at-genetically-modified-food-will-make-you-go-wtf-at-first-and-then-whoa (http://www.upworthy.com/his-way-of-looking-at-genetically-modified-food-will-make-you-go-wtf-at-first-and-then-whoa)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on January 10, 2015, 11:24:31 AM
Warming oceans speeding up climate change cycle
http://www.rtcc.org/2015/01/09/warming-oceans-speeding-up-climate-change-cycle/ (http://www.rtcc.org/2015/01/09/warming-oceans-speeding-up-climate-change-cycle/)

We already know that but that it is something that must be repeated !
It is not only atmosphere/ocean we have to add the sediments...
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on January 10, 2015, 02:35:28 PM
Just saying, the Tyson piece is extremely misleading.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 11, 2015, 02:48:00 PM
Climate Change is Messing with Mother Nature’s Timetable
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/climate-change-nature-schedule-18525 (http://www.climatecentral.org/news/climate-change-nature-schedule-18525)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 11, 2015, 04:01:40 PM
Much higher than usual number of UK flower species in bloom, due to warm weather.
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30754443 (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30754443)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on January 11, 2015, 04:34:26 PM
Climate Change is Messing with Mother Nature’s Timetable
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/climate-change-nature-schedule-18525 (http://www.climatecentral.org/news/climate-change-nature-schedule-18525)

"Scientists call this occurrence a “phenological mismatch,” but you could simply think of it as bad timing."

Coitus Interruptus?   ;D
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter on January 12, 2015, 07:57:37 PM

Coitus Interruptus?   ;D
Bingo!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 12, 2015, 09:37:10 PM
Here's something to ruminate on.   ;)
Real milk proteins, used to make cheese -- which have never been inside an animal.  (Yeast, in a closed system, has been genetically modified to create it.)

One possible answer to keeping the world supplied with cheese and ice cream, but without all the drawbacks of the dairy industry.

https://realvegancheese.org/#science
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on January 13, 2015, 01:09:54 AM
http://phys.org/news/2015-01-global-wheat-production-markedly.html (http://phys.org/news/2015-01-global-wheat-production-markedly.html)

Global warming reduces wheat production markedly

   
Quote
The researchers found that in response to global temperature increases, grain yield declines are predicted for most regions in the world. Considering present global production of 701 million tons of wheat in 2012, this means a possible reduction of 42 million tons per one degree Celsius of temperature increase.

    "To put this in perspective, the amount is equal to a quarter of global wheat trade, which reached 147 million tons in 2013.

In addition, wheat yield declines due to climate change are likely to be larger than previously thought and should be expected earlier, starting even with small increases in temperature," says Prof. Dr. Reimund Rötter from Natural Resources Institute Finland.

    "Therefore, it is essential to understand how different climate factors interact and impact food production when reaching decisions on how to adapt to the effects of climate change."

    ... "Increased yield variability is critical economically as it could weaken regional and global stability in wheat grain supply and food security, amplifying market and price fluctuations, as experienced during recent years," says Professor Rötter.

Sig: Or should that stuff be called "Franken-Cheese"??
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 13, 2015, 10:26:30 PM
Sig: Or should that stuff be called "Franken-Cheese"??
As you wish.  :o
But I believe agriculture will move progressively away from traditional "farming" and over to "artificial" and "indoor" methods than can produce more output, with less energy and less dependence on a stable climate and water supply, and with less harm to the environment.
Quote
Greenhouse gas emissions from growing crops and raising livestock are now higher than from deforestation and land use change, a new study finds.

http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/01/farming-overtakes-deforestation-and-land-use-as-a-driver-of-climate-change/ (http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/01/farming-overtakes-deforestation-and-land-use-as-a-driver-of-climate-change/)

Quote
The plants have better nutrients, better growing conditions, and actually we can tweak the taste with lighting and with nutrients, with temperatures, with turning lights on and off at certain times of the day and with humidity. We have conducted a lot of blind tests with the best chefs in Chicago and we found our products to be a winner.”

Another sensual pleasure is that you can pop something in your mouth right from the grow bed – without worrying about washing off pesticides. That’s because plants are protected from pests by walls rather than chemicals.

http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/techknow/articles/2014/11/10/indoor-farms-a-freshoasisinanurbandesert.html (http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/techknow/articles/2014/11/10/indoor-farms-a-freshoasisinanurbandesert.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on January 13, 2015, 10:34:52 PM
" agriculture will move progressively away from traditional "farming" and over to "artificial" and "indoor" methods"

Hmmm, I'm not going to collect the stats and do the math for you, but I would invite you to reflect on the vast expanse of land and ocean now used to support the 7.2+ billion people.

Now compare those vast expanses with the amount of total area that is currently 'indoors' that is not already being used (or that really should be used to house the homeless, etc.).

I would wager that the ration involves many orders of magnitude.

Ah (you say), but you can build the vast expanses of greenhouses, etc, necessary to feed the world!

---But there goes your "less energy" argument, since massive amount of energy and materials would be needed to build such infrastructure, especially if it is to withstand the ever more intense and severe onslaught of the angry, panicked beast we have formed our climate into.

By all means, grow some mushrooms in your basement and greens on your window sill. But they will never supply the world with even a tiny fraction of the nutrients needed to feed a hungry planet.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 13, 2015, 10:44:44 PM
Quote
Ah (you say), but you can build the vast expanses of greenhouses, etc, necessary to feed the world!

---But there goes your "less energy" argument, since massive amount of energy and materials would be needed to build such infrastructure, especially if it is to withstand the ever more intense and severe onslaught of the angry, panicked beast we have formed our climate into.

Perhaps.  But consider all the energy required with traditional farming: machinery, irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides -- and the energy required to build warehouses doesn't seem untoward.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 13, 2015, 10:51:14 PM
Note: indoor farming can have multiple layers of crops, using LED lighting mounted efficiently close to the plants, which increases production.  I'm not talking about simply covering a field with a room.
(See the Aljazeera link above, and my comment #550.)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on January 14, 2015, 01:35:42 PM
"LED lighting mounted efficiently close to the plants"

Yet more energy to build, install, maintain, and operate all those lights. There is nothing more 'efficient' than the sun just hitting the plants directly in the sun.

We may well have to do more and more stuff in doors. But it is not at all easy to do on the scale to actually feed the planet, particularly in an energy constrained world. Right now we put something like 10 times the amount of energy into ag for every 1 unit we get out. That is insane and not sustainable. I fear most indoor schemes will show even worse EROEI numbers.

But of course, things are not looking good for the future of 'outdoor' ag, either:


High nighttime temps affecting crops


http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2015/01/13/california-drought-isnt-farmers-only-worry-it-hasnt-been-cold-enough-either/ (http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2015/01/13/california-drought-isnt-farmers-only-worry-it-hasnt-been-cold-enough-either/)

Quote
“All we can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And trying everything we can to make it work along the way,” said almond farmer Joe Waltz.

The drought has been one of the bigger challenges for the family in the fields in recent years. Lately though, the concern has been temperatures, and how relatively warm they’ve been at night.

“I mean great to work in but not for the crops,” he said.

Crops like prunes, apricots and almonds in his fields need a deep sleep in cold weather before they start to produce a nut. They need chilling hours between 45 and 32 degrees.

But the pleasant weather lately has meant fewer chilling hours this winter. The fewer the hours, the weaker the tree.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 15, 2015, 12:01:34 AM
Wili said:
Quote
"LED lighting mounted efficiently close to the plants"

Yet more energy to build, install, maintain, and operate all those lights. There is nothing more 'efficient' than the sun just hitting the plants directly in the sun.

Well, actually, you can be more efficient than the sun:  by using solar energy to power red and blue LED lights in the specific frequencies (and timing!) each type of plant prefers.  With battery backup, the LEDs can shine even when the sun doesn't.  The plants mature faster, and produce more food.  The indoor farm in the article is not weather dependent, grows 10 or more levels of plants (not just one) in a clean, non-soil medium, feeds the roots of the plants so the water never touches the leaves, using 95% less water and no organicides.

Quote
“The plants have better nutrients, better growing conditions, and actually we can tweak the taste with lighting and with nutrients, with temperatures, with turning lights on and off at certain times of the day and with humidity. We have conducted a lot of blind tests with the best chefs in Chicago and we found our products to be a winner.”

With a one-time building cost, we could be growing more than 10 times the food grown in a field, or use 1/10 the land area, use 95% less water, and 100% less organicides and fossil fuels.  I think the logistics would compare favorably, particularly for large operations.  Time will tell.   :)

Edit: also, indoor farms can be built where the location, soil, weather, water or other factors makes outdoor farming impossible or impractical.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on January 15, 2015, 01:02:52 AM
"With battery backup"

More energy requirements.

Really, I'm not going to do all the maths for you.

But please at least consider the possibility that planning, mining, processing and transporting all the necessary materials, then building and maintaining all of that infrastructure--buildings, lights, wiring, batteries...might just possibly involve more energy than just planting them in the ground.

Am I the only one on these threads who is at least a bit dubious of the claims that we can move all (or even a significant portion) of our ag indoors without problems with EROEI of the embodied energy of the infrastructure?

....

"indoor farms can be built where the location, soil, weather, water or other factors makes outdoor farming impossible or impractical"

Good point. But is it just possible that something else might already be using such 'useless' spaces? Just how much more of non-human-centered life do we have to displace?
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 15, 2015, 01:49:21 AM
So once again, it's "newfangled tech" versus "the way we've always done it."
I wish the video about the Chicago installation was available online.
Anyway, I guess we will see what we will see.  :)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 15, 2015, 01:56:08 AM
Potatoes with less bruising and less cancer-causing acrylamide.  But it's a GMO, so... many people won't touch them.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/01/13/376184710/gmo-potatoes-have-arrived-but-will-anyone-buy-them (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/01/13/376184710/gmo-potatoes-have-arrived-but-will-anyone-buy-them)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 15, 2015, 03:00:33 AM
More Than 100 Businesses Call On White House To Protect Bees From Pesticides
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/14/3611620/businesses-bereft-of-bees/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/14/3611620/businesses-bereft-of-bees/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 15, 2015, 04:04:01 AM
For anyone who is interested, here's the website of the "vertical farm" in the article:  http://greensensefarms.com (http://greensensefarms.com)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 16, 2015, 01:09:41 PM
Japan is facing a butter shortage.
Quote
For a start, some are blaming climate change. The northern island of Hokkaido, a major dairy producing region, saw a baking hot summer in 2014 that left cows too tired to meet their milk quotas.

And without milk, that means no butter.

There are also fewer dairy farmers today than in the past. Thanks to Japan's shrinking population, dairy farmers have downsized on production, in response to declining demand for milk. Even though the demand for milk has decreased, the demand for butter has remained steady for years.
...
Those figures are likely to keep falling as ageing farmers struggle to find heirs to take over their farms, and a weaker yen drives up the cost of imported feed, deterring them from increasing production.
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/150115/japanese-bakers-have-aprons-twist-butter-shortage-co (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/150115/japanese-bakers-have-aprons-twist-butter-shortage-co)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 16, 2015, 10:16:11 PM
Each dairy cow contributes about as much to heating the planet each year as a midsize car.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/01/15/forget_the_oil_industry_s_methane_obama_should_crack_down_on_cows.html (http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/01/15/forget_the_oil_industry_s_methane_obama_should_crack_down_on_cows.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on January 16, 2015, 10:34:45 PM
Sitting on a Cliff Vs. Falling Off a Cliff
http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/16/sitting-on-a-cliff-versus-falling-off-a-cliff/ (http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/16/sitting-on-a-cliff-versus-falling-off-a-cliff/)
Quote
When we’re contending with our effects on the planet, it may be tempting to go limp and say we’re all doomed, or to wave it off as some huge delusion. But the reality of the oceans calls for a different response altogether.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 17, 2015, 09:06:53 PM
Food without DNA is probably more dangerous.   ;)

Quote
@erikbryn: 80% of consumers want mandatory labels on any food containing DNA. http://t.co/p4xLkL0kJa (http://t.co/p4xLkL0kJa) http://t.co/D6ppXGrEhj (http://t.co/D6ppXGrEhj)
HT @JaysonLusk
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 23, 2015, 10:23:38 PM
New report on climate future for U.S. midwest.  Food is involved.
Quote
Perhaps most strikingly, the report also includes a finding that by the end of the century, going outdoors could become unsafe on a few days each year, thanks to a particularly extreme combination of heat and humidity.

“Increasing heat and humidity in some parts of the region could lead to outside conditions that are literally unbearable to humans, who must maintain a skin temperature below 100°F in order to effectively cool down and avoid fatal heat stroke,” notes the document.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/01/23/the-midwests-climate-future-missouri-becomes-like-arizona-chicago-becomes-like-texas/ (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/01/23/the-midwests-climate-future-missouri-becomes-like-arizona-chicago-becomes-like-texas/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 24, 2015, 03:43:58 PM
Brief article on why the next Dust Bowl in the US will be different than the previous one. Several links. The audio clip is 90 seconds.
http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/01/avoiding-a-second-dust-bowl-across-the-u-s/ (http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2015/01/avoiding-a-second-dust-bowl-across-the-u-s/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on January 29, 2015, 03:13:55 PM
Australian fish moving south as climate changes, say researchers
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/29/australian-fish-moving-south-as-climate-changes-say-researchers (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/29/australian-fish-moving-south-as-climate-changes-say-researchers)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 29, 2015, 04:25:00 PM
Here is a positive food-related consequence to report.

Quote
The UK’s food and drink industry has slashed it emissions by more than a third since 1990.

That’s the finding of a major new report from the Food and Drink Federation that shows the industry cut emissions 35%, meeting its carbon saving target seven years ahead of schedule.

In all the industry saw emissions fall by 664,000 tonnes of CO2, and the federation says it is already working on a new goal, revising their 2020 target upwards.
http://tcktcktck.org/2015/01/uk-food-drink-industry-slashes-emissions-35/66208 (http://tcktcktck.org/2015/01/uk-food-drink-industry-slashes-emissions-35/66208)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 30, 2015, 09:13:08 PM
Huge populations of small sea slugs have migrated to Northern California with the warmer waters.
http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Sea-slug-masses-migrate-to-Northern-California-6049772.php (http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Sea-slug-masses-migrate-to-Northern-California-6049772.php)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on January 30, 2015, 09:38:10 PM
Cattle pollution under attack again.
Quote
This week, a group of eight organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, Center for Food Safety and the Sierra Club, filed two lawsuits against the EPA for not doing enough to control emissions from large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. One lawsuit deals with ammonia pollution, and the other addresses methane and other air pollutants.
...
“CAFOs degrade the environment,” the organizations write in the lawsuit tackling methane and other air pollutants. “Their emissions exacerbate climate change; impair air quality; lead to the formation of haze, fine particulate matter, and ozone; and contribute to the impairment of land and water resources, causing ‘dead zones’ in waterways and acidification of soil and waters. CAFO air pollution is nationally significant, noxious, and dangerous to public health and welfare, wildlife, and the environment.”

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/30/3617172/epa-cafos-lawsuit/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/30/3617172/epa-cafos-lawsuit/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: AbruptSLR on February 01, 2015, 12:21:43 PM
The linked article (and associated image) from Mother Jones, indicates that climate change will lead to a reduction in food production in the US Midwest:

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/01/climate-change-farmers-midwest (http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/01/climate-change-farmers-midwest)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on February 03, 2015, 11:18:49 AM
New study confirms world's oceans are warming
https://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/26182836/new-study-confirms-worlds-oceans-are-warming/ (https://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/26182836/new-study-confirms-worlds-oceans-are-warming/)

A Fresh Look at the Watery Side of Earth’s Climate Shows ‘Unabated Planetary Warming’
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/02/a-fresh-look-at-the-watery-side-of-earths-climate-shows-unabated-planetary-warming/?partner=rss&emc=rss (http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/02/a-fresh-look-at-the-watery-side-of-earths-climate-shows-unabated-planetary-warming/?partner=rss&emc=rss)

Oceans Getting Hotter Than Anybody Realized
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/oceans-getting-hotter-than-anybody-realized-18139 (http://www.climatecentral.org/news/oceans-getting-hotter-than-anybody-realized-18139)
Quote
Just how rapidly the oceanic heat will resurface to warm the land is “something that we struggle with,” said Scripps’s Gille. But she said heat is constantly shifting between oceans and the atmosphere. “A warmer ocean will mean a warmer atmosphere.”
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 03, 2015, 03:42:25 PM
Andean potato growing.  Interesting.

Climate Change Might Be the Greatest Threat to Potato Cultivation in 8,000 Years

Quote
."It's extremely clear that temperatures have risen, as potatoes that 30 years ago used to grow between 2,800 and 3,500 meters above sea level, now grow from 4,000 to 4,200 meters," Lino Loaiza, of the Association for Nature and Sustainable Development (ANDES) that assists the Pisac-based park, told VICE News...

https://news.vice.com/article/climate-change-might-be-the-greatest-threat-to-potato-cultivation-in-8000-years?utm_source=vicenewstwitter
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: ritter on February 03, 2015, 06:33:16 PM
Andean potato growing.  Interesting.

Climate Change Might Be the Greatest Threat to Potato Cultivation in 8,000 Years

Quote
."It's extremely clear that temperatures have risen, as potatoes that 30 years ago used to grow between 2,800 and 3,500 meters above sea level, now grow from 4,000 to 4,200 meters," Lino Loaiza, of the Association for Nature and Sustainable Development (ANDES) that assists the Pisac-based park, told VICE News...

https://news.vice.com/article/climate-change-might-be-the-greatest-threat-to-potato-cultivation-in-8000-years?utm_source=vicenewstwitter

This is a very good example of how plant species don't have the time to adapt to new climate regimes. Potatoes are lucky enough to have a human agent tor to transport them to higher elevations for viable temperatures. Many other plant species are not so lucky(?) and will have to do it themselves or go extinct.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 04, 2015, 09:55:48 PM
Nifty interactive graphic from Climate Central lets you input a city and see what the winters could be like in 2100. 
U.S. cities only, I'm afraid.  :-(
Separate link has a similar map for summers.
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/winter-is-losing-its-cool-18635 (http://www.climatecentral.org/news/winter-is-losing-its-cool-18635)

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/summer-temperatures-co2-emissions-1001-cities-16583 (http://www.climatecentral.org/news/summer-temperatures-co2-emissions-1001-cities-16583)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 07, 2015, 12:36:18 AM
Maine prepares legislation to deal with ocean acidification.
Quote
“Our marine economy is at stake here, said Maine Rep. Mick Devin (D). “The lobster fishery alone is worth $1 billion. No one comes to the Maine coast to eat a chicken sandwich. We lose our lobster, we lose our clams? We’ll lose tourism as well.”
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/02/06/3619987/maine-ocean-acidification-report/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/02/06/3619987/maine-ocean-acidification-report/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 07, 2015, 03:12:54 AM
Climate Changes Are Coming To The American Heartland
Eventually, the Midwest will heat up and become more like Texas. Imagine what it will be like in Texas.
http://www.fastcoexist.com/3041697/climate-changes-are-coming-to-the-american-heartland (http://www.fastcoexist.com/3041697/climate-changes-are-coming-to-the-american-heartland)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 08, 2015, 02:12:14 PM
"Climate smart" agricultural techniques are improving yields around the world.  For now.
http://e360.yale.edu/feature/agricultural_movement_tackles_challenges_of_a_warming_world/2844/ (http://e360.yale.edu/feature/agricultural_movement_tackles_challenges_of_a_warming_world/2844/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 12, 2015, 03:30:52 PM
Quote
....The decline in U.S. farmers’ net-cash income, a reliable measure of cash flow used to make purchases, would be for the third consecutive year since reaching a record $137.1 billion in 2012. Total net-farm income, a measure that includes the value of inventories, will be $73.6 billion, down 32 percent from last year and a record $129 billion in 2013.

Wow.  From $137 billion to $73 billion in 2 years?  Guess we need to raise the Ag subsidies?

http://www.agweb.com/article/us-farm-income-set-to-drop-22--blmg/?smartid=ZZZZZZLZ1ZZZZZ1Z2ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ&spMailingID=48000011&spUserID=MTE5MTM3ODczNzMS1&spJobID=621337444&spReportId=NjIxMzM3NDQ0S0 (http://www.agweb.com/article/us-farm-income-set-to-drop-22--blmg/?smartid=ZZZZZZLZ1ZZZZZ1Z2ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ&spMailingID=48000011&spUserID=MTE5MTM3ODczNzMS1&spJobID=621337444&spReportId=NjIxMzM3NDQ0S0)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on February 13, 2015, 03:55:33 PM
I have been visiting this site and reading research on AGW for more than 3 years. I am beginning to think this emerging catastrophe is going to hit us hard much faster than most of us realize. It will not be sea level rise. It will not be the actual temperature we reach, whether it is 2C, 3C or 6C higher than pre-industrial. I think we are beginning to see evidence of the breakdown of the northern hemisphere climate. This breakdown is being driven by a single significant transformation in the northern hemisphere and this transformation is gaining speed, the loss of ice in the Arctic Ocean.

Our climate, our weather, is dramatically influenced by the topographical, (all surface actually) features of the planet. The Rocky Mountains and Himalayas, the massive Asian landmass that stretches across 1/3 of the hemisphere, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Greenland ice sheet and the frozen Arctic Ocean are the most significant of these. The Great Lakes and other regional features across the hemisphere also drive weather that all of us are very familiar with. All of these surface features contribute to the existence of things like tornado alley and Nor'Easters and lake effect snows.

The loss of Arctic ice is causing dramatic new patterns in our climate and weather as I type. The dipole anomaly and the ridiculously resilient ridge are two of these. More are emerging and most, if not all, are taking us by surprise. I am certain the regular visitors here could remind me of many more.

Hang on to your popcorn. It's going to get rough.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on February 13, 2015, 08:52:13 PM
Interesting hypothesis :
It’s Buggy Out There
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/its-buggy-out-there.html?partner=rss&emc=rss (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/its-buggy-out-there.html?partner=rss&emc=rss)

Quote
Scientists have long known that certain terrestrial microbes perform this alchemy. In recent years, however, new discoveries have increasingly persuaded them that such micro-organisms live a double life in the sky, manipulating the weather for their own benefit.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: AbruptSLR on February 16, 2015, 05:17:36 PM
Feeding 9 to 10 billion people of Earth by 2050 will take a major anthropogenic effort as indicated by the linked article and the following extract.  To my mind such an effort cannot help but to serve to accelerate anthropogenic radiative forcing. 

http://phys.org/news/2015-02-climate-hampering-world-food-production.html (http://phys.org/news/2015-02-climate-hampering-world-food-production.html)


Extract: ""If you look at production from 2000 to 2050, we basically have to produce the same amount of food as we produced in the last 500 years" he said.
But globally, land usage levels and productivity will continue to degrade the soil, he added."
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 18, 2015, 02:47:56 PM
Feeding 9 to 10 billion people of Earth by 2050 will take a major anthropogenic effort as indicated by the linked article and the following extract.  To my mind such an effort cannot help but to serve to accelerate anthropogenic radiative forcing. 

http://phys.org/news/2015-02-climate-hampering-world-food-production.html (http://phys.org/news/2015-02-climate-hampering-world-food-production.html)


Extract: ""If you look at production from 2000 to 2050, we basically have to produce the same amount of food as we produced in the last 500 years" he said.
But globally, land usage levels and productivity will continue to degrade the soil, he added."
This is why I believe the future for agriculture lies not in acres and acres of increasingly poor soil and vulnerability to weather, but instead in "indoor farming" which can support many layers of crops in climate-controlled and LED-lit conditions -- powered by solar or wind, of course.  This can maximize food production while minimizing water, fertilizer and energy (i.e., fossil fuels) needed to plant and harvest, and eliminating pesticides/herbicides/fungicides, bacterial contamination, and pollution.

Quote
The UN’s World Meteorological Organization has pushed for innovation in indoor farming techniques to combat the nourishment problems of large cities, specifically in large Asian metropolises. “WMO recommends countries invest more in urban and indoor agriculture that can assist greatly in providing food for the hundreds of millions of people living in the growing cities of Asia,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a 2008 report on urbanization, nutrition, and climate change. His recommendation was that cities “invest more in urban and indoor agriculture that can assist greatly in providing food for the hundreds of millions of people living in Asian cities whose populations are surging.”
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/09/3442719/weird-wonderful-indoor-farming/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/09/3442719/weird-wonderful-indoor-farming/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: AbruptSLR on February 19, 2015, 12:06:23 AM
The linked reference indicates that wheat yields are projected to decrease by 6 percent for each degree Celsius the temperature rises if no measures to adapt to extreme weather fluctuations are taken.

S. Asseng, et al, (2015), "Rising temperatures reduce global wheat production", Nature Climate Change, Volume: 5, Pages: 143–147, doi:10.1038/nclimate2470


http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n2/abs/nclimate2470.html (http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n2/abs/nclimate2470.html)


Abstract: "Crop models are essential tools for assessing the threat of climate change to local and global food production. Present models used to predict wheat grain yield are highly uncertain when simulating how crops respond to temperature. Here we systematically tested 30 different wheat crop models of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project against field experiments in which growing season mean temperatures ranged from 15 °C to 32 °C, including experiments with artificial heating. Many models simulated yields well, but were less accurate at higher temperatures. The model ensemble median was consistently more accurate in simulating the crop temperature response than any single model, regardless of the input information used. Extrapolating the model ensemble temperature response indicates that warming is already slowing yield gains at a majority of wheat-growing locations. Global wheat production is estimated to fall by 6% for each °C of further temperature increase and become more variable over space and time."

See also:
http://www.kansasagland.com/news/stateagnews/study-finds-climate-change-might-dramatically-reduce-wheat-production/article_1f66a5cd-1f4f-5ceb-a78a-2a23ee6a80c4.html (http://www.kansasagland.com/news/stateagnews/study-finds-climate-change-might-dramatically-reduce-wheat-production/article_1f66a5cd-1f4f-5ceb-a78a-2a23ee6a80c4.html)

Extract: "A recent study involving Kansas State University researchers finds that in the coming decades at least one-quarter of the world's wheat production will be lost to extreme weather from climate change if no adaptive measures are taken.
Vara Prasad, professor of crop ecophysiology and director of the USAID Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab at Kansas State University, is part of a collaborative team that found wheat yields are projected to decrease by 6 percent for each degree Celsius the temperature rises if no measures to adapt to extreme weather fluctuations are taken. Based on the 2012-2013 wheat harvest of 701 million tons worldwide, the resulting temperature increase would result in 42 million tons less produced wheat — or a loss of nearly one-quarter of the current wheat production.
"It's pretty severe," Prasad said. "The projected effect of climate change on wheat is more than what has been forecast. That's challenging because the world will have to at least double our food supply in the next 30 years if we're going to feed 9.6 billion people.""
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 20, 2015, 02:24:22 PM
U.S. orange crop threatened by drought, freezing weather -- and dockworkers strike.
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/nations-orange-crop-faces-triple-whammy-drought-cold-ports-n309071 (http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/nations-orange-crop-faces-triple-whammy-drought-cold-ports-n309071)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 20, 2015, 03:16:00 PM
Increase in stranded, starving seal pups on California coast likely due to ocean changes.
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/starving-sea-lion-pups-california-warmer-ocean-could-be-blame-n309041 (http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/starving-sea-lion-pups-california-warmer-ocean-could-be-blame-n309041)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 21, 2015, 08:08:14 PM
This is just one of the reasons why I don't eat ocean fish.

Quote
...My colleagues Carl Lamborg, Marty Horgan and I analyzed data from over the past 50 years and found that mercury levels in Pacific yellowfin tuna, often marketed as ahi tuna, is increasing at 3.8% per year. The results were reported earlier this month in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry...

These levels of mercury – a neurotoxin – are now approaching what the EPA considers unsafe for human consumption, underscoring the importance of accurate data.
....

Which to me means that it is already unsafe to eat.

http://www.businessinsider.com/mercury-levels-rise-in-tuna-2015-2 (http://www.businessinsider.com/mercury-levels-rise-in-tuna-2015-2)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 22, 2015, 03:50:56 PM
India approves GM crop field testing.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/102444658 (http://www.cnbc.com/id/102444658)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 23, 2015, 05:04:01 PM
This is big news in US agriculture.

Quote
(Reuters) - Across the U.S. Midwest, the plunge in grain prices to near four-year lows is pitting landowners determined to sustain rental incomes against farmer tenants worried about making rent payments because their revenues are squeezed.

Some grain farmers already see the burden as too big. They are taking an extreme step, one not widely seen since the 1980s: breaching lease contracts, reducing how much land they will sow this spring and risking years-long legal battles with landlords......

Many rent payments – which vary from a few thousand dollars for a tiny farm to millions for a major operation – are due on March 1, just weeks after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated net farm income, which peaked at $129 billion in 2013, could slide by almost a third this year to $74 billion.

One thing that will help them some is the big drop in fuel prices (even though fertilizer and chemicals have not come down as they should). The industrial farm consumption of diesel is massive and a big drop in price will have large effects.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/23/us-usa-grains-rents-insight-idUSKBN0LR0EX20150223 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/23/us-usa-grains-rents-insight-idUSKBN0LR0EX20150223)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 23, 2015, 07:33:00 PM
Sustainable fish farms: a vegetarian diet for the fish eliminates the need to feed them fish meal.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-02-23/fish-farm-of-the-future-goes-vegetarian-to-save-seafood (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-02-23/fish-farm-of-the-future-goes-vegetarian-to-save-seafood)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 24, 2015, 05:37:21 PM
Sustainable fish farms: a vegetarian diet for the fish eliminates the need to feed them fish meal.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-02-23/fish-farm-of-the-future-goes-vegetarian-to-save-seafood (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-02-23/fish-farm-of-the-future-goes-vegetarian-to-save-seafood)

Sigmetnow

I watched your video link and must admit I am very confused here.  Did you mean to imply with your post that you think that their 'claim' of being sustainable is true?

There is absolutely nothing about this variation in fish farming techniques which is 'sustainable' in any way.  They are just using the word 'sustainable' as a marketing tool.

What you see in this video is the fishing industry version of what hydroponics is to vegetable farming.  There is absolutely nothing sustainable in fish farming nor hydroponics.

Fish farming is a form of CAFO industrial agriculture.  What these guys are doing is just switching the feed stock (mostly for marketing purposes as their feed is way more expensive than the normal fish meal feed). 

When people complain bitterly about the other kinds of CAFO operations using crops to feed pigs, chickens and cattle to provide meat one of their main complaints is that if we want to be smart we just eat the crops ourselves.  This complaint is fully valid in the case of this new feed for the fish farming industrial agriculture operations.

Raising or harvesting meat for human consumption is a perfectly valid thing to to.  But only within the natural dictates of the Earths carrying capacity.  So we only take the amount of fish from the lakes and oceans which does not exceed their ability to maintain sustainable levels of population.  Same for cattle, pigs, chickens, etc.  There is lots of grazing land that is not suitable for growing crops.  We use an appropriate amount of that...and no more.

That is how you get to sustainable. 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 24, 2015, 06:26:45 PM
"Slightly more sustainable," then, if that makes you feel better.

No one is claiming this solves all the problems of fish farming, but it is much more energy efficient, and needs not damage the environment any more than grazing on land.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 24, 2015, 06:28:10 PM
Toronto Seeks to Combat Climate Change with New Local Food Policy
http://www.isfoundation.com/news/toronto-seeks-combat-climate-change-new-local-food-policy#.dpuf (http://www.isfoundation.com/news/toronto-seeks-combat-climate-change-new-local-food-policy#.dpuf)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on February 24, 2015, 06:47:05 PM
Here is a paper on the projected  societal costs of acidification in the U.S.  It uses commercially harvested mollusks and the percentage of income dependence of different regions as well as the adaptability of those effected to gauge future impacts.

   http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2508.html (http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2508.html)

I wrote one of the authors the following note

 Could you please send me a copy of your new paper?  
I was reading some of the societal risks , or trying to, on the charts at the bottom of the
EPOCA blog notice on your paper.  I think making predictions about dependence on food resources should also bracket the possibility that climate change and a dependence upon declining fossil fuel resources will result in more poverty and as a result a higher dependence upon local food resources. Many of those resources we currently ignore will become very important food resources to people at the bottom of the economic pile.

I sold my boat and after 40 years putting on a wetsuit to make a living I am about done. The Sea Urchin industry is O.K. but I am switching to full time farming. I tell people I'm moving up in the world, I'm a pig farmer. Diane and I are running about 80-100 Mangalitsa pigs( a rare Hungarian breed ). Nothing focuses your attention to diet , locally foraged feeds, and cost ,like running a bunch of pigs.  The pigs get pasture and I get the pleasure of collecting acorns, walnuts, olives, and designing a healthy diet with local / free food. The whole process makes me so much more aware of caloric content, protein with balanced amino acids, and food value in general. Barley comprises most of their feed , but vegetables and mast are important in delivering a balanced diet. Food that is mostly ignored right now will return to human diets when society finds the costs of delivering on fossil fuel roulette too high. Shellfish will be part of that emergency food that we tend to ignore right now. How societal risk is allocated changes under that scenario.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 25, 2015, 05:42:39 PM
Bruce

Good on you and the best of luck.  I miss running my farm tremendously (stay out of accidents!). 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: AbruptSLR on February 27, 2015, 12:26:42 AM
The linked article indicates that the world currently wastes $300 Billion of food per year and that by 2030 (when the middle class doubles) we will waste $600 Billion per year, all of which contributes to GHG emissions when it rots:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/02/26/3627531/wasting-food-expensive-bad-for-climate/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/02/26/3627531/wasting-food-expensive-bad-for-climate/)


PS: Bruce, good luck with your Mangalitsa pig farm!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on February 27, 2015, 06:59:33 AM
Thanks  to both of you,
Jim , I did take a big drop off an extension  ladder about six months ago. I thought about you a lot but other than rotator cup issues I survived O.K. 
 The solar is up and running so I have been considering a little e car to harvest acorns . Still trying to figure out how to add some caloric value to PV. Pigs eat acorns and spit out the shells. They don't require all the leaching of acorns that humans find necessary.  There are literally tons of acorns that nobody currently cares about. Ccg once asked if my little electric tillers could be scaled up into larger production systems and honestly I don't think they will scale very well. Acorns , pigs, and some high tech foraging might scale nicely however.   I did produce ~ $1000 of lettuce without anything but the electric tillers but trying to scale that into $ 20,000 wouldn't work IMO.  Hauling a couple boxes off to market negated any energy savings the tillers may have produced anyhow. Pigs are very concentrated energy sources so the caloric equation in hauling them to market works better but still may rival production inputs. FDA doesn't worry about logistics. 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on February 27, 2015, 06:06:00 PM
Bruce.   You have new competition.

Pretty interesting.

Quote
The Alaskan tundra might not seem like much of an agricultural hotspot, but one farmer in the frigid town of Bethel believes he's found America's newest breadbasket.

For the last 10 years, Tim Meyers has been coaxing an enviable quantity of fruits and veggies from just four acres of land. Last year, he produced 50,000 pounds of potatoes, beets, carrots and other vegetables. He sells it at his year-round biweekly market and to local grocery stores....

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/02/26/389011370/alaska-farmer-turns-icy-patch-of-tundra-into-a-breadbasket (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/02/26/389011370/alaska-farmer-turns-icy-patch-of-tundra-into-a-breadbasket)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: KeithAnt on February 28, 2015, 07:19:33 AM
Waters off the West Coast of US present a huge worry:

https://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/starving-sea-lion-pups-and-liquified-starfish-how-were-turning-the-eastern-pacific-into-a-death-trap-for-marine-species/?blogsub=confirming#subscribe-blog
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on March 03, 2015, 08:16:31 PM
Coming soon: the 'Big Heat'
http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2777808/coming_soon_the_big_heat.html (http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2777808/coming_soon_the_big_heat.html)

Quote
Global warming has been on vacation for a few years, writes Nafeez Ahmed. But that's only because the excess heat - two Hiroshima bombs-worth every second - has been buried in the deep ocean. But within a few years that's set to change, producing a huge decade-long warming surge, focused on the Arctic, that could overwhelm us all
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 04, 2015, 05:09:14 PM
Quote
[Climate change may be one reason more jellyfish are congregating in large numbers known as blooms, which can encompass millions of the creatures over tens of kilometers. Researchers are seeking to develop a system, akin to weather forecasting, to help predict their movement and prevent fish deaths, such as the loss of 300,000 salmon off Scotland last year, or power outages that shut a Swedish nuclear plant in 2013.
...
“Warmer water is a dream come true for jellyfish,” Lisa-ann Gershwin, a marine scientist who has studied the creatures for about 25 years and author of Stung!: On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean, said by phone Feb. 4. “It amps up their metabolism so they grow faster, eat more, breed more and live longer.”
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-03/attack-of-jellyfish-turns-deadly-on-sea-farms-carbon-climate (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-03/attack-of-jellyfish-turns-deadly-on-sea-farms-carbon-climate)

If we could just get humans to harvest and eat them....   ;)
http://www.zelinfood.com.cn/en/news2View.asp?id=86&ClassID=15 (http://www.zelinfood.com.cn/en/news2View.asp?id=86&ClassID=15)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 05, 2015, 03:28:24 PM
Coffee.   How "K-Cups are killing the planet."
http://m.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/ (http://m.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 05, 2015, 04:28:22 PM
Coffee.   How "K-Cups are killing the planet."
http://m.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/ (http://m.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/)

Well that was interesting...but not in a good way.  I must admit that I had no idea what K-cup referred to until I read the article.  Guess I live in the dark ages.  I have seen a few for sale in a store somewhere but I just laughed and walked on.  I had no idea they were every where.  A good item to toss on the de-growth list of unneeded technologies. 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 05, 2015, 06:44:24 PM
India:
Quote
The government of the state of Maharashtra this week banned possession of beef and its byproducts and the slaughtering of cows, bulls and bullocks.

...it can now cost you five years in prison.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-04/in-mumbai-eating-that-steak-could-cost-5-years-in-jail-cities (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-04/in-mumbai-eating-that-steak-could-cost-5-years-in-jail-cities)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 06, 2015, 03:37:14 PM
The USDA Is Helping Rural Farmers Get Their Own Renewable Energy
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/05/3630185/rural-renewable-energy-program/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/05/3630185/rural-renewable-energy-program/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 06, 2015, 04:51:44 PM
The Philippines plans to increase production, adapt to climate fluctuations, and reduce CO2 emissions from rice growing by 25%, by transitioning half the country's fields away from continuous flooding methods.
Quote
This NAMA option targets all farmers in the Philippines who cultivate rice in irrigated rice fields. It aims to design policy and economic incentives for farmers to switch from continuous flooding to Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) and sustain that practice over the long run.
http://namanews.org/news/2015/03/05/climate-change-adaptation-oriented-nama-option-for-the-rice-sector-in-the-philippines/ (http://namanews.org/news/2015/03/05/climate-change-adaptation-oriented-nama-option-for-the-rice-sector-in-the-philippines/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 06, 2015, 08:43:17 PM
Women are the world’s primary food producers, but the majority of them in developing countries lack land rights.
Quote
Women produce up to 80 per cent of the total food and make up 43 per cent of the labour force in developing countries. Yet 95 per cent of agricultural education programmes exclude them. In Yazd, the ‘desert capital’ of Iran, for example, women have invented a method to produce food in underground tunnels.

In Asia and Africa, a woman’s weekly work is up to 13 hours longer than a man’s. Furthermore, women spend nearly all their earnings on their families, whereas men divert a quarter of their income to other expenses. But most have no rights to the land they till.

Land rights level the playing field by giving both men and women the same access to vital agricultural resources. The knock-on effect is striking. Granting land rights to women can raise farm production by 20-30 per cent in developing countries, and increase a country’s total agricultural production by up to 4 per cent.
http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/03/opinion-lets-grant-women-land-rights-and-power-our-future/ (http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/03/opinion-lets-grant-women-land-rights-and-power-our-future/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 16, 2015, 07:29:42 PM
Ouch!

Don't you love Big Ag.  Another thing we have to quit doing.  Or else...

Quote
Rapidly increasing evidence has documented that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) contribute substantially to disease and disability....

EDC exposures in the EU are likely to contribute substantially to disease and dysfunction across the life course with costs in the hundreds of billions of Euros per year. These estimates represent only those EDCs with the highest probability of causation; a broader analysis would have produced greater estimates of burden of disease and costs....

http://press.endocrine.org/doi/10.1210/jc.2014-4324 (http://press.endocrine.org/doi/10.1210/jc.2014-4324)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 18, 2015, 12:24:49 AM
A grocery chain in Canada is selling ugly produce at a discount, to help save waste.
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/17/3634553/canada-sells-ugly-produce/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/17/3634553/canada-sells-ugly-produce/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 18, 2015, 01:36:50 PM
Study projects lower quality of food grown in in Australia due to the stresses of climate change.
Quote
A study of the impact of climate change on 55 foods grown in Australia, found the quality of beef and chicken may plummet, eggplants may look weirder than they already do and carrots could taste worse.
The report by researchers at the University of Melbourne said Australia’s dry deserts will become hotter, heavy rain will increase in areas like NSW and cyclones will become less frequent but more intense in the north.
It found those predictions will impact agriculture production and force farmers to adapt to changing conditions.
That could mean cattle farmers switch to more heat-tolerant, but lower eating-quality, cows and winemakers will have to migrate south or face lower-quality yields.
http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change-to-make-steak-and-chicken-taste-worse-ruining-barbecues-for-future-aussies/story-fnjwvztl-1227263312406 (http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change-to-make-steak-and-chicken-taste-worse-ruining-barbecues-for-future-aussies/story-fnjwvztl-1227263312406)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on March 18, 2015, 05:51:01 PM
A grocery chain in Canada is selling ugly produce at a discount, to help save waste.
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/17/3634553/canada-sells-ugly-produce/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/17/3634553/canada-sells-ugly-produce/)

I am not sure how old you are sig so you may have never seen what I am going to describe.

When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's in the US all grocery stores had their produce sorted the way described.  There was often 3 grades of produce with varying prices.  This allowed farmers to find a market for non-perfect product, lower cost goods for varying levels of affluence, and less wastage. 

It largely disappeared with the dramatic rise in the use of pesticides.  When I ran my organic farm I use to bring 2nd grade product frequently and sell it cheap (as long as I did not have too much of the best stuff to move).  I also used to give a lot of what was left over to various church and other groups who fed the poor and homeless.  And I would take orders for things like bulk overripe tomatoes that folks could use for canning.  Only rich people can organic perfect tomatoes btw - crazy expensive - unless you grow them yourself.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: wili on March 18, 2015, 05:59:56 PM
We went to a local tomato tasting event last fall and got many pounds of what was left over for free, all canned and still enjoying them. Basically, these were what each farmer thought were his or her best tomatoes picked at the peak of their ripeness. Made a wonderful sauce!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 23, 2015, 01:17:43 AM
Africa poses unique challenges to increased food production because there is little surface water.
Quote
Ninety-five per cent of sub-Saharan agriculture depends on 'green water': moisture from rain held in the soil. In large parts of the continent, most rain evaporates before it generates 'blue water', or run-off, so little of it recharges rivers, lakes and groundwater. Most farming communities are a long way from rivers and cannot use irrigation. Arid deserts and semi-arid savannahs comprise 40% of the region's land area. These receive too little surface run-off (less than 100 millimetres a year) to grow maize (corn), rice, millet and sorghum (which requires at least 400 mm per year) using irrigation alone. Future rainfall will be more variable and could be 25% lower in many semi-arid regions if average global temperatures warm by 2 °C above pre-industrial levels5.

Management of green water for rain-fed, small-scale farming is integral to eradicating hunger. But it is missing from the draft United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be agreed in September. A dedicated water goal that includes science-based targets and indicators is essential and must receive attention during the SDG negotiations in New York next week, in the wake of the World Water Day on 22 March.

We propose an approach for the SDG goal that will improve water security, address hunger and poverty and enhance carbon storage. Retaining more rainwater in soils and storing run-off would bridge dry spells that last weeks, the major challenge to rain-fed food production. For longer droughts, social and economic strategies are needed to assure food security.
http://www.nature.com/news/agriculture-increase-water-harvesting-in-africa-1.17116 (http://www.nature.com/news/agriculture-increase-water-harvesting-in-africa-1.17116)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 24, 2015, 09:10:41 PM
Watch What Happened When a Reporter Tried to Buy Eight Basic Goods in Venezuela
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-24/watch-what-happened-when-a-reporter-tried-buy-eight-basic-goods-in-venezuela (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-24/watch-what-happened-when-a-reporter-tried-buy-eight-basic-goods-in-venezuela)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: anotheramethyst on March 24, 2015, 09:55:33 PM
interesting video!  venezuela is facing a lot of shortages and a generally unstable, possibly collapsing economy right now because they are an oil exporter.  when oil price dropped last fall, all oil exporters took a rough hit in their economies.  russia's fairly diverse and has weathered the changes so far.  the saudis have planned for it, and since their oil is so cheap to pump, they are still making profits.  i'm
not sure about other oil exporters.  it's a good example of some of the things that can go wrong during economic meltdowns. 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 25, 2015, 08:03:38 PM
Genetic tools lead to breeding of beans that can beat the heat, which could save the “meat of the poor” from global warming.
Quote
The new beans are a landmark result of urgent efforts by CGIAR to develop new crop varieties that can thrive in drastic weather extremes. The bedrock of this research is CGIAR’s “genebanks”, which preserve the world’s largest seed collections of humanity’s most important staple crops. Using new genomic tools, plant breeders are now better able to unlock the potential of the genebanks’ vast genetic diversity by probing nearly 750,000 samples of cereals, legumes, roots and tubers, trees, and other important food crops—along with their wild relatives—to identify genes with traits like heat, flood, and drought tolerance or resistance to pests and disease that can help farmers adapt to environmental stresses.

“The payoff we are seeing from these bean breeding efforts underscores the vital importance of investing in CGIAR’s genebanks—a front-line defense in the race to adapt crops to climate change to protect the staple food supplies of poor farmers and consumers and avert food crises around the world,” said Jonathan Wadsworth, Executive Secretary of the CGIAR Fund Council. “The development of these heat-defying beans also highlights what can be achieved when we invest in modern science to find solutions to urgent challenges, with expected economic benefits vastly exceeding the costs of investment in the research.”
http://www.cgiar.org/consortium-news/beans-that-beat-the-heat/ (http://www.cgiar.org/consortium-news/beans-that-beat-the-heat/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: neal on March 27, 2015, 03:11:50 AM
Re: indoor/urban farming

Seems to me that replacing a bunch of free, important, essential inputs--sunlight, water and fertile soil with indoor replicants will enormously increase the cost of the food produced.

The freebies are what make food cheap and affordable for billions.

Would you have potatoes grown in Nevada without lots of sun and water pumped from the ground at essentially little cost other than the diesel for the pump?

Cheap food supports billions of lives.

Each one of those essentials--light, water and fertile soil come under threat by climate change.  Sure you could move north to a more temperate climate, but will the northern soils support the same crops?  Will the northern light be adequate for the growing season required?  Is there the same groundwater or rainfall?

Yes humans are adaptable, but not every human can adapt to the same extent.  And people can live anywhere given enough supporting inputs, but there is certainly not enough supporting inputs for the billions of people that will have to move.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on March 27, 2015, 06:47:08 AM
Neal,  Trading high input costs like artificial lights for sunlight isn't ever going to feed many people. We can freak some plants into flowering early and maximize market opportunities . We can grow specialty
crops and sell them to very high end markets . So sometimes it gets to be very difficult separating snake oil and sales pitches from genuine attempts at improving agriculture. I think advice from people or institutions who have a decade or two invested in getting their hands ( or their students hands )
dirty will deliver more dividends than a lot of agriculture advice that just don't pass the smell test.
For the most part low tech agriculture is a large part hand labor. Almost every advance in agriculture that has expanded our production has come with an increase in fossil fuel inputs. Maintaining our amazingly cornucopian supermarkets sans fossil fuels is a pipe dream. And yes feeding people with shovels and hoes necessitates a large population contraction . Like many subjects on this forum there is a lot of grey area between extremes so if I might offer advice lots of work and modest expectations will probably produce a  garden and excesses of some crops. Enjoy the good years.   
 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: jai mitchell on March 27, 2015, 09:38:51 PM
Genetic tools lead to breeding of beans that can beat the heat, which could save the “meat of the poor” from global warming.
Quote
The new beans are a landmark result of urgent efforts by CGIAR to develop new crop varieties that can thrive in drastic weather extremes. The bedrock of this research is CGIAR’s “genebanks”, which preserve the world’s largest seed collections of humanity’s most important staple crops. Using new genomic tools, plant breeders are now better able to unlock the potential of the genebanks’ vast genetic diversity by probing nearly 750,000 samples of cereals, legumes, roots and tubers, trees, and other important food crops—along with their wild relatives—to identify genes with traits like heat, flood, and drought tolerance or resistance to pests and disease that can help farmers adapt to environmental stresses.

“The payoff we are seeing from these bean breeding efforts underscores the vital importance of investing in CGIAR’s genebanks—a front-line defense in the race to adapt crops to climate change to protect the staple food supplies of poor farmers and consumers and avert food crises around the world,” said Jonathan Wadsworth, Executive Secretary of the CGIAR Fund Council. “The development of these heat-defying beans also highlights what can be achieved when we invest in modern science to find solutions to urgent challenges, with expected economic benefits vastly exceeding the costs of investment in the research.”
http://www.cgiar.org/consortium-news/beans-that-beat-the-heat/ (http://www.cgiar.org/consortium-news/beans-that-beat-the-heat/)

Thanks for this, here is also a piece by NPR on the subject.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/03/25/395096885/meet-the-cool-beans-designed-to-beat-climate-change (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/03/25/395096885/meet-the-cool-beans-designed-to-beat-climate-change)

Quote
Planting those new varieties has revealed that heat already may be seriously cutting into bean production. Farmers in Nicaragua recently started culitvating one of these black bean varieties — and it produced harvests twice as large as other beans that farmers had been planting. Similar results were observed in Costa Rica.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 29, 2015, 08:39:58 PM
Once again, California is trucking salmon smolts past drought-lowered sections of rivers.
Quote
In a bid to save some of the 12 million juvenile Chinook salmon from near-certain death, federal wildlife officials in California are trucking fish to the Delta for release.

The move – necessitated by the state’s continuing drought – began last week as container trucks began arriving in Rio Vista. With six trucks on the job, the process is expected to take 22 working days. It’s the second straight year the fish have been trucked for release.

The salmon smolts, about 3 inches in length, are typically released into Battle Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River, near the Coleman National Fish Hatchery in Anderson. Releasing the fish upriver increases the odds the salmon will return as adults, but given the low water levels and warm water temperature on the Sacramento River, biologists feared too few would make it to the ocean, thus have no chance of returning to mate.
http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/environment/article16376159.html (http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/environment/article16376159.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on April 01, 2015, 10:13:15 AM
How Long Can Oceans Continue To Absorb Earth’s Excess Heat?
http://e360.yale.edu/feature/how_long_can_oceans_continue_to_absorb_earths_excess_heat/2860/ (http://e360.yale.edu/feature/how_long_can_oceans_continue_to_absorb_earths_excess_heat/2860/)

Quote
More heat stored in the ocean now means more will inevitably return to the atmosphere.

“A couple of El Niño events will do the trick,” said England.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on April 01, 2015, 07:40:53 PM
African agriculture.

They are so screwed and you can blame a host of non-African interventionists like the US, Monsanto and Bill Gates.  This is so colonial.  Charging down the road of BAU.

Sad. 

http://www.alternet.org/world/how-gates-foundation-and-western-countries-are-plotting-take-control-africas-agriculture (http://www.alternet.org/world/how-gates-foundation-and-western-countries-are-plotting-take-control-africas-agriculture)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 03, 2015, 12:47:14 AM
The co-founder of a company that produces food for human consumption from crickets, suggests almond growers should join them.  Crickets are a good source of protein that requires hardly any water, and emit no greenhouse gasses.
Quote
Cricket farming provides a major economic opportunity for almond farmers, or really any farmer, looking for more income.
https://medium.com/@lesliejz/don-t-stop-showering-california-lay-off-the-burgers-and-nuts-and-pick-up-some-crickets-eb63bddf0277
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 15, 2015, 08:44:33 PM
U.S. Forced to Import Corn as Shoppers Demand Organic Food
Quote
About 90 percent of U.S. corn and soy is bioengineered, thus automatically ineligible for the organic label.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-15/romanian-corn-imports-to-u-s-surge-as-shoppers-demand-organic (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-15/romanian-corn-imports-to-u-s-surge-as-shoppers-demand-organic)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 25, 2015, 03:06:41 PM
"Urban Homestead"
A family in Southern California produces over 6,000 pounds of food per year on only 1/10 acre.  And with an electricity bill of about $12 a month.
http://www.sun-gazing.com/tiny-farm-pumps-6000-pounds-food-per-year-located-shocking/ (http://www.sun-gazing.com/tiny-farm-pumps-6000-pounds-food-per-year-located-shocking/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Neven on April 25, 2015, 04:07:48 PM
"Urban Homestead"
A family in Southern California produces over 6,000 pounds of food per year on only 1/10 acre.  And with an electricity bill of about $12 a month.
http://www.sun-gazing.com/tiny-farm-pumps-6000-pounds-food-per-year-located-shocking/ (http://www.sun-gazing.com/tiny-farm-pumps-6000-pounds-food-per-year-located-shocking/)

I've seen this video before and it's really interesting, but I've always wondered where they are getting their input from (compost, fertilizer, etc.). I should look into this one day, as I want to do something similar here in Austria.

One day...
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on April 25, 2015, 04:25:31 PM
5 Fun Ways to Eat Crickets
http://observer.com/2015/04/here-are-5-fun-ways-to-eat-crickets/ (http://observer.com/2015/04/here-are-5-fun-ways-to-eat-crickets/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Laurent on May 08, 2015, 10:02:15 AM
Dissecting the ocean's unseen waves to learn where the heat, energy and nutrients go
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-05/pu-dto050715.php (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-05/pu-dto050715.php)

Quote
Internal waves have long been recognized as essential components of the ocean's nutrient cycle, and key to how oceans will store and distribute additional heat brought on by global warming. Yet, scientists have not until now had a thorough understanding of how internal waves start, move and dissipate.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on May 09, 2015, 03:00:30 AM
Making Small Changes To Your Diet Could Help Save The Environment
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/05/08/3656756/uk-sutdy-diet-health-climate-change/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/05/08/3656756/uk-sutdy-diet-health-climate-change/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on May 26, 2015, 04:00:14 PM
Just like the movements of the EKW's flowing beneath the waves of the Pacific carry the promise of massive effects and future disasters so do the actions of man.  Both of these things promise certain destruction and suffering.  Across a wide spectrum of our civilization we see daily the corrupt and cowardly actions of those afraid to change away from our ancestral tendencies to stick with what we know even in the face of utter disaster.  BAU leaves no other option but for most to perish.  Yes, I am pointing at you.

http://www.peakprosperity.com/insider/92653/suicide-pesticide (http://www.peakprosperity.com/insider/92653/suicide-pesticide)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on May 26, 2015, 07:31:00 PM
Interview with Michael Pollan.
Quote
In a wide-ranging interview, Pollan, the author of the recent  —  and excellent  —  Cooked: a Natural History of Transformation —  explained what studying the food system teaches you about capitalism, why he’s more excited about meat made from vegetables than meat made from clones, and whether it’s time to add anything to his famous triplet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Quote
Consider the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent announcement that it would begin regulating emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. “The agricultural sector generates more methane than any other sector,” Pollan says. “But for reasons I can’t fathom, when they announced the new rules governing methane in the energy sector, they called for voluntary measures in the agricultural sector.”
Quote
"A lot of cheese goes into things like frozen pizza where you’re really just getting a gooey white substance,” Pollan says. “A lot of eggs go into things like mayo where you’re really not seeing the egg. If you could replace that kind of production with something that doesn’t require actual animals you could make some huge strides in animal production.”
http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/05/big-food/ (http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/05/big-food/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on May 28, 2015, 11:57:23 PM
From Pollan to pollen.   ;D

Enjoy Jon Stewart's take on the media claiming, every year, "This is the worst year ever for pollen!"
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Roo--idDA24
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on May 29, 2015, 01:35:23 PM
Anheuser-Busch Halts Beer Production to Provide Water for Texas, Oklahoma Storm Victims
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/anheuser-busch-halts-beer-production-provide-water-texas-oklahoma-storm-n366361 (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/anheuser-busch-halts-beer-production-provide-water-texas-oklahoma-storm-n366361)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: mati on May 29, 2015, 09:27:50 PM
Fish species moving north as arctic waters warm:

http://barentsobserver.com/en/nature/2015/05/cod-haddock-moving-north-barents-sea-take-over-27-05 (http://barentsobserver.com/en/nature/2015/05/cod-haddock-moving-north-barents-sea-take-over-27-05)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: sidd on May 30, 2015, 05:31:34 AM
i believe i have previously posted a reference to

doi:10.1038/nature12156

about global warming signature in fish catch.

I include two images. The term MTC is the caption of the second image denotes "Mean Temperature of Catch" (" ... calculated from the average inferred temperature preference of exploited species weighted by their annual catch." I draw attention in the second figure to the red dashed lines showing extinction.

sidd
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 08, 2015, 01:53:12 PM
Today, June 8, is World Oceans Day!

Did you know:
Quote
- Tiny marine plants called phytoplankton release half of all oxygen in the atmosphere through photosynthesis.

- The ocean absorbs approximately 25 percent of the CO2 added to the atmosphere from human activities each year, greatly reducing the impact of this greenhouse gas on the climate.

- Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.

- Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 2.6 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source of protein.
http://www.ecology.com/2015/06/08/world-oceans-day-2015/ (http://www.ecology.com/2015/06/08/world-oceans-day-2015/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 17, 2015, 01:00:14 PM
'Quite Extensive': Huge Toxic Algae Bloom Hits West Coast of U.S.
Quote
An extraordinarily large mass of toxic algae off the West Coast of the United States has prompted state agencies to shut down crab and clam fisheries in at least two states, posing risks to recreational fishing and marine life.
...
Harmful algal blooms are actually quite common, but this one is unprecedented in terms of its severity and its exceptionally early arrival. Scientists such as Trainer say the bloom may be connected to a large patch of warm water in the Pacific known as "the blob," but they cannot yet say for sure.

The phenomenon is sometimes called "red tide" since algae can give the water a rust-like color. But the term "red tide" is actually a misnomer, Trainer said. The blooms are not always red, and they are not associated with tides.

That said, they are dangerous to marine animals and humans who are exposed to high levels of the toxic chemical domoic acid, which is produced by one species of algae.

It has been responsible for seizures and deaths in California sea lion populations that eat contaminated fish. The number of sea lions affected by "sea lion sickness" has increased dramatically in recent years, according to NOAA.
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/quite-extensive-huge-toxic-algae-bloom-hits-west-coast-n376641 (http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/quite-extensive-huge-toxic-algae-bloom-hits-west-coast-n376641)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Buddy on June 17, 2015, 01:42:02 PM
Another article in the Oregonion newspaper about the largest ever algae bloom on the west coast:

http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/06/west_coast_shellfish_industrie.html#incart_m-rpt-1 (http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/06/west_coast_shellfish_industrie.html#incart_m-rpt-1)
Title: Re: Worsening food shortages in North Korea
Post by: Buddy on June 17, 2015, 05:41:43 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/drought-sparks-fears-worsening-food-shortages-n-korea-115723895.html (http://news.yahoo.com/drought-sparks-fears-worsening-food-shortages-n-korea-115723895.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 19, 2015, 12:49:45 AM
Why is the ocean salty?

http://news.discovery.com/earth/videos/why-is-the-ocean-salty-150526.htm (http://news.discovery.com/earth/videos/why-is-the-ocean-salty-150526.htm)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 21, 2015, 12:39:59 AM
How a Hard-Core Carnivore Fell in Love with Vegetable-Mad Paris
Quote
“Vegetables are more than a fashion in Paris. We are entering a new age,” says the chef, who runs 25 restaurants around the globe....  When members of the venerable Old World Gastronomic Societies came to sample his radical new menu at the Plaza Athénée, he announced to the startled group that, in this establishment, “red meat is over—red meat is finis!”
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-06-15/where-s-the-boeuf- (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-06-15/where-s-the-boeuf-)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on June 27, 2015, 07:57:20 PM
The impact of deteriorating sea ice, which walrus depend on for resting, calving, nursing, and other uses, is becoming more widely recognized. Now a new sea change threatens the walrus, and Alaska Natives. The main food source for walrus — clams and other benthic calcifying organisms — is vulnerable to ocean acidification. Lower pH levels in ocean waters can impede shell formation, weakening and killing clams and other seafloor invertebrates. The same factor that is causing the sea ice to shrink (carbon dioxide emissions) also is driving down pH in the Bering and Chukchi seas, whose cold waters are already particularly vulnerable to acidification.

Alaska Native subsistence hunters view ocean ecosystems as interconnected and recognize that negative impacts on a prey species reverberate up the food chain. People are part of this food chain. There is considerable uncertainty about how various species will fare under more acidic sea water conditions, and if walrus will be able to find alternative prey, particularly if diminishing ice forces walrus to rely on coastal haul-outs, constraining their foraging to smaller areas. Cumulative threats to walrus and clams are expected, however, presenting cause for concern for Alaska Native subsistence communities and their cultural continuity.

Impacts to Communities

Respect, reciprocity, and avoiding waste are traditional ecological principles of ocean stewardship for Alaska Native communities of the Bering and Chukchi seas. Communities limit their harvests and take only what they need each year. Respect and thanks are given to the walrus through song and dance and other gestures of a spiritual nature to ensure balance. Food sharing and gifts to elders and families in need strengthen community cohesion and well-being. Walrus hunting is one of the ways through which older family members impart ocean knowledge, subsistence skills, and stewardship principles to younger generations, beginning with family hunting trips in childhood.

If practicing stewardship and minimizing the waste of ocean resources were purely local actions, Alaska Native communities might exert greater influence through their traditional institutions and co-management roles. But the vast majority of ocean resource consumption is global, and the pollution from fossil-fuel burning thousands of miles away is already manifesting in climate and ocean changes that affect small-scale subsistence communities along the Bering and Chukchi seas.

The Bering Sea communities most dependent on Pacific walrus, Gambell and Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island and Little Diomede in the middle of the Bering Strait, have suffered severe food shortages in the past two years. Unusual sea ice and weather conditions have blocked their hunters’ access to the walrus, causing record low harvests and forcing them to declare walrus harvest disasters in order to obtain food aid.

For now, the Pacific walrus population remains healthy despite rapid habitat change. The communities of Gambell, Savoonga, and Diomede are hopeful that favorable hunting conditions will return in coming seasons, but their experience gives a taste of the perils looming as carbon dioxide emissions rise. These changes threaten not only food resources and community resilience, but cultural survival and physical and psychological well-being. Subsistence cannot be separated from culture, and the possibility of unavailable marine resources hangs heavy on the hearts and minds of Alaska Natives.

The Future for Walrus and Walrus-Reliant Communities

Alaska Native rights to marine mammal subsistence harvests are recognized specifically in the Marine Mammal Protection Act and more broadly in other patterns of federal law. The Eskimo Walrus Commission represents the interests of 19 Alaska Native subsistence hunting communities in the co-management of the Pacific walrus population. Although the Pacific walrus population is currently stable and subsistence harvests remain within sustainable ranges, scientists from the Eskimo Walrus Commission’s co-management partner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have indicated that restricting subsistence walrus hunting is a likely mitigation approach if diminishing sea ice and ocean acidification result in declining walrus populations. The Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing the Pacific walrus’ status for potential listing under the Endangered Species Act, not because of overharvesting or any other current population impacts but because of the anticipated effects of environmental changes in the next 100 years.

The Eskimo Walrus Commission sees this type of management strategy as one that neglects the larger and more dangerous threats: carbon dioxide emissions, increased Arctic shipping, and other industrial pressures. If subsistence harvesting is not the issue, can harvest reductions be an effective solution? Hunting restrictions will not improve the condition of the sea ice or the pH of the ocean, so the threats to the walrus population will continue to exist whether subsistence harvests are reduced or not. Furthermore, under this harvest reduction scenario, Alaska Native subsistence hunters would be left to bear the burden for the consumption behavior of people thousands of miles away. If an Endangered Species Act listing doesn’t protect walrus from loss of habitat and prey species, how might ecosystem approaches to management better protect these marine mammals for both biological and cultural well-being?

Going Forward

Protecting the Pacific walrus from the future impacts of climate change and ocean acidification is a top priority for the Eskimo Walrus Commission. In December 2014, the Commission issued a resolution urging the U.S. government and state of Alaska to reduce carbon dioxide emissions; invest in ocean acidification research to better anticipate and mitigate its impact on marine ecosystems, including people; and invest in renewable energy. These actions appeal to the governments’ responsibilities to protect the well-being of citizens, fulfill trust responsibilities to Native American tribes, and to protect Alaska Native subsistence needs. These management actions also take an ecosystem approach that focuses on integrated and dynamic environment and human interactions at multiple scales. This includes strategies that are preventative in nature, focusing on understanding and addressing system threats, rather than only reacting to single species concerns.

Walrus play a significant part in Alaska Native coastal communities’ connections with their environment. An entire way of life, together with cultural identity, food and economic security, self-determination, social cohesion, traditional knowledge, and community health, depend on these connections. Anthropogenic ocean acidification could mark a turning point for the food web of clams-walrus-people in the near future. Alaska Native hunters face these concerns every day, but for people living elsewhere, or living in the same part of the world but with different lifestyles, these issues are not so apparent or pressing. The Eskimo Walrus Commission will continue advocating for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions to protect the Pacific walrus population that Alaska Native people depend on. The scale of the challenge will make progress, let alone success, difficult, but too much is at stake to let this effort fail.

http://earthzine.org/2015/04/24/pacific-walrus-and-coastal-alaska-native-subsistence-hunting-considering-vulnerabilities-from-ocean-acidification/ (http://earthzine.org/2015/04/24/pacific-walrus-and-coastal-alaska-native-subsistence-hunting-considering-vulnerabilities-from-ocean-acidification/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 02, 2015, 09:55:25 PM
There Are Strawberries Growing Underwater Off the Coast of Italy
Quote
Just off the coast of Noli, Italy, tethered twenty feet below the surface of the Mediterranean Sea, hover five bulbous biospheres filled with plants, light, and warm, wet air.

The underwater greenhouses make up Nemo’s Garden, an experimental agricultural project, now in its fourth year, operated by a company that specializes in diving equipment. As Robert Gebelhoff reports at The Washington Post:

The balloon-like biospheres take advantage of the sea’s natural properties to grow plants. The underwater temperatures are constant, and the shape of the greenhouses allows for water to constantly evaporate and replenish the plants. What’s more, the high amounts of carbon dioxide act like steroids for the plants, making them grow at very rapid rates.

Ocean Reef Group — a diving equipment company — is monitoring five balloon-like biospheres that house a number of plants, such as basil, lettuce, strawberries and beans. The group has a patent on the structure and plans to build a few more to experiment with other crops, such as mushrooms, which should thrive in the humid environment.
http://io9.com/there-are-strawberries-growing-underwater-off-the-coast-1715214480 (http://io9.com/there-are-strawberries-growing-underwater-off-the-coast-1715214480)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 06, 2015, 01:52:54 AM
This Is What Your Hot Dog and Burger Are Doing to the Planet
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122240/what-your-hot-dog-and-burger-are-doing-planet (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122240/what-your-hot-dog-and-burger-are-doing-planet)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 11, 2015, 02:16:02 PM
World's Largest Indoor Vertical Farm is Coming to Newark, New Jersey*
Quote
Vertical farming involves converting buildings into high-tech grow houses that use artificial lighting, hydroponics, and climate control to increase crop productivity 70 times greater than field farmers.

Fisher expects lower transportation costs and reduced spoilage, since the farm will be supplying local restaurants and supermarkets, and the indoor farm will eliminate seed contamination and harsh weather conditions.
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/worlds-largest-indoor-vertical-farm-coming-newark-n389761 (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/worlds-largest-indoor-vertical-farm-coming-newark-n389761)

*Official state nickname:  The Garden State.   :D
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on July 11, 2015, 03:48:01 PM
Gotham Greens is coming to Chicago!

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20141007/REAL_ESTATE/141009877/brooklyns-gotham-greens-to-sprout-big-chicago-farm (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20141007/REAL_ESTATE/141009877/brooklyns-gotham-greens-to-sprout-big-chicago-farm)

Incorporated in New York and operating three highly profitable commercial greenhouses on rooftops in NYC, the corporation is starting up a huge commercial rooftop greenhouse on the south side of Chicago. This greenhouse will run 24/7 and harvest and deliver produce daily to local grocers and restaurants. They have hit on a formula for success. Traditional greenhouses, located at ground level, struggle to remain profitable as heating costs in the winter drive costs up. The rooftop greenhouses capture heat escaping from the building below.

The Chicago greenhouse, their largest rooftop farm to date, is located on top of a soap manufacturer (Method) which produces bio-friendly soaps.

https://instagram.com/p/4wrmK4xAEn/ (https://instagram.com/p/4wrmK4xAEn/)

http://gothamgreens.com/ (http://gothamgreens.com/)

They keep costs down further by installing solar farms on the rooftops to deliver energy to the greenhouses. They use no pesticides in the greenhouses. They instead introduce a wide array of carnivorous insects that devour the pests. They also maintain bee hives for pollination.

I am a workforce developer in Chicago and my nonprofit (Calumet Area Industrial Commission) is working closely with Gotham Greens to staff the new greenhouse which will begin to deliver produce in September. There will eventually be over 100 employees, full time jobs with benefits.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 14, 2015, 10:02:35 PM
The Best (And Worst) Retailers For Sustainable Seafood In the U.S.
Article: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/07/14/3680277/sustainable-seafood-greenpeace-report/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/07/14/3680277/sustainable-seafood-greenpeace-report/)

Report (PDF): http://seafood.greenpeaceusa.org/Carting-Away-the-Oceans-9.pdf (http://seafood.greenpeaceusa.org/Carting-Away-the-Oceans-9.pdf)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 17, 2015, 09:18:53 PM
Warming of oceans due to climate change is unstoppable, say US scientists.
Seas will continue to warm for centuries even if manmade greenhouse gas emissions were frozen at today’s levels, say US government scientists.
Quote
The warming of the oceans due to climate change is now unstoppable after record temperatures last year, bringing additional sea-level rise, and raising the risks of severe storms, US government climate scientists said on Thursday.

The annual State of the Climate in 2014 report, based on research from 413 scientists from 58 countries, found record warming on the surface and upper levels of the oceans, especially in the North Pacific, in line with earlier findings of 2014 as the hottest year on record.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/16/warming-of-oceans-due-to-climate-change-is-unstoppable-say-us-scientists (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/16/warming-of-oceans-due-to-climate-change-is-unstoppable-say-us-scientists)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 20, 2015, 11:34:21 PM
Stressed Italian Cows Get Air-Conditioned Sheds To Beat The Heat
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/16/cows-air-conditioners_n_7808822.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/16/cows-air-conditioners_n_7808822.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 20, 2015, 11:54:08 PM
This Seaweed Tastes Like Bacon. It Could Help Clean The Oceans.
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/07/19/3681740/bacon-seaweed-environmental-benefits/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/07/19/3681740/bacon-seaweed-environmental-benefits/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 25, 2015, 03:07:45 AM
Record Ocean Temperatures Threaten Hawaii's Coral Reefs
By: Jeff Masters
http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3053 (http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3053)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 25, 2015, 03:19:17 AM
Have Scientists Found A Way To Feed The World Without Warming The Planet?
Quote
Aside from corn, rice might be the single most important staple crop on Earth. According to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, more than 3.5 billion people around the world depend on rice for at least 20 percent of their daily caloric intake. But rice is also a major source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that’s more effective, at least in the short term, at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

Now, scientists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences think they’ve found a solution: a high-yielding, low-methane type of rice that can cut methane emissions from rice cultivation by up to 90 percent.
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/07/23/3683754/gmo-rice-climate-change/ (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/07/23/3683754/gmo-rice-climate-change/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 26, 2015, 06:49:44 PM
Shocker!  ;D  New U.S. vegan fast-food restaurant looks to be a big hit.  (It helps that their excellent frozen vegan foods have been in grocery stores here for years.)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/18/amys-drive-thru-vegetarian-amys-kitchen_n_7612660.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/18/amys-drive-thru-vegetarian-amys-kitchen_n_7612660.html)

Article, with video:
http://6abc.com/food/nations-first-vegetarian-drive-through-opens-in-california/883102/ (http://6abc.com/food/nations-first-vegetarian-drive-through-opens-in-california/883102/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 26, 2015, 07:17:03 PM
No room for an orchard?  No problem!  Here's a tree that grows 40 different types of fruit.
Quote
... When the tree unexpectedly blossoms in different colors, or you see these different types of fruit hanging from its branches, it not only changes the way you look at it, but it changes the way you perceive [things] in general.

As the project evolved, it took on more goals. In trying to find different varieties of stone fruit to create the Tree of 40 Fruit, I realized that for various reasons, including industrialization and the creation of enormous monocultures, we are losing diversity in food production and that heirloom, antique, and native varieties that were less commercially viable were disappearing. I saw this as an opportunity to, in some way, preserve these varieties.
http://www.epicurious.com/archive/chefsexperts/interviews/sam-van-aken-interview (http://www.epicurious.com/archive/chefsexperts/interviews/sam-van-aken-interview)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 29, 2015, 01:26:42 AM
In U.S.: Warm water killing half of Columbia River sockeye salmon
Quote
More than a quarter million sockeye salmon returning from the ocean to spawn are either dead or dying in the Columbia River and its tributaries due to warming water temperatures.
http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/33340358-75/warm-water-killing-half-of-columbia-river-sockeye-salmon.html.csp (http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/33340358-75/warm-water-killing-half-of-columbia-river-sockeye-salmon.html.csp)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on July 29, 2015, 02:10:43 PM
In U.S.: Warm water killing half of Columbia River sockeye salmon
Quote
More than a quarter million sockeye salmon returning from the ocean to spawn are either dead or dying in the Columbia River and its tributaries due to warming water temperatures.
http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/33340358-75/warm-water-killing-half-of-columbia-river-sockeye-salmon.html.csp (http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/33340358-75/warm-water-killing-half-of-columbia-river-sockeye-salmon.html.csp)

The march to a 3C plus degree warmer world is relentless and the ecosystem is so complex that we will be swamped with a never ending and rapidly growing list of regional and local impacts. The disasters will be so many that people and policy makers will be overwhelmed. No responses will be adequate and the effect will be to freeze us in our tracks as our attention is drawn from one horror to the next.

This, by the way, is already happening across the planet and this lovely blog is doing a wonderful job of documenting the horrors.

Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 01, 2015, 03:22:52 PM
Poor editing???  Climatologist: "It's not climate change... but we'll be seeing more of this in the coming decades." 
Short news video on the warm water hitting Seattle, Washington, and its effects on marine life.

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/warm-water-blob-hits-seattle-495155267829 (http://www.nbcnews.com/video/warm-water-blob-hits-seattle-495155267829)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 03, 2015, 03:56:16 AM
Scientists fear toxic algae bloom spreading on Pacific coast
Stretching from southern California to Alaska, this year’s blooms thought to be the largest ever recorded
Quote
While algal blooms are not uncommon in the Pacific, 2015’s blooms appear to be the largest on record, scientists say. Stretching from Southern California to Alaska, the blooms are responsible for unprecedented closures of fisheries and unusual deaths of marine life up and down the Pacific coast.

Pseudo-nitzchia is one species of algae that produces domoic acid, a neurotoxin that can be lethal to humans and wildlife. The toxin is ingested by shellfish and krill that, when consumed, pass the toxin onto the predator — in some cases, people.
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/8/1/scientists-fear-toxic-algae-bloom-continues-to-spread.html (http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/8/1/scientists-fear-toxic-algae-bloom-continues-to-spread.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: BornFromTheVoid on August 05, 2015, 02:25:04 PM
An AMA (Q&A) on reddit.com/r/science at the moment, may interest a few here.

PLOS Science Wednesdays: Hi, I’m Laura Jurgens here to talk about my research on the mass death of sea species along the Pacific Coastline — Ask Me Anything!

Hi Reddit,
My name is Laura Jurgens and I am a postdoctoral researcher at Temple University and Smithsonian Institution. My research focuses on how marine organisms, and the interacting communities they form, respond to extreme events and global change.
Together with a wonderful group of collaborators, I recently published a study titled "Patterns of Mass Mortality among Rocky Shore Invertebrates across 100 km of Northeastern Pacific Coastline"[1] in PLOS ONE[2] . In it, we describe an unusual event that killed nearly 100% of two species, a tiny sea star and a sea urchin, over a large region, following a harmful algal bloom or "red tide". We discuss why it's especially important, but often hard, to document such events, which may be increasing in severity and frequency with human-induced changes to our oceans. We also discuss how lifestyle differences between the affected species could determine how long it takes them to recover, and what that means for coastal ecosystems.
I will be answering your questions at 1pm ET. Ask me Anything!



And the link https://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/3fv6to/plos_science_wednesdays_hi_im_laura_jurgens_here/ (https://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/3fv6to/plos_science_wednesdays_hi_im_laura_jurgens_here/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 06, 2015, 07:26:39 PM
NASA interview.

Just 5 questions: Sea surface topography
http://climate.nasa.gov/news/2318/ (http://climate.nasa.gov/news/2318/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 09, 2015, 02:58:09 PM
Tons of food, wasted as a political statement.

Russian Food Burning: Incineration of Smuggled Food Prompts Protests
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russian-food-burning-incineration-smuggled-food-prompts-protests-n405941 (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russian-food-burning-incineration-smuggled-food-prompts-protests-n405941)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 09, 2015, 04:20:45 PM
Tons of food, wasted as a political statement.

Russian Food Burning: Incineration of Smuggled Food Prompts Protests
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russian-food-burning-incineration-smuggled-food-prompts-protests-n405941 (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russian-food-burning-incineration-smuggled-food-prompts-protests-n405941)

We are a stupid species.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 16, 2015, 03:05:19 AM
Added Gene Can Make Rice More Climate-Friendly
Quote
The scientists from China, Sweden and the US report in Nature journal that they calculated that if they could do something to encourage the conversion of sugars to starches in the rice plant, there would be more productivity in the stalk and ears, and less around the roots, where the methane-generating bacteria flourish.

In their words, this would “generate a high starch, low methane emission variety”.

They used transcription factor technology—a form of genetic modification that could soon also deliver better drought tolerance in some important crop plants – and began tests at the Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Fuzhou, China, in 2012 and 2013. Transcription factors bind to genes and turn them on or off.

http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/added-gene-can-make-rice-more-climate-friendly/ (http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/added-gene-can-make-rice-more-climate-friendly/)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Clare on August 20, 2015, 03:51:58 AM
In case you haven't seen this latest post from Robert:
Massive Sargassum Seaweed Bloom is Choking The Caribbean — Climate Change a Likely Culprit

http://robertscribbler.com/ (http://robertscribbler.com/)
The pic & video linked here are staggering, well shocking to see.

Last November we took this pic while on holiday at our favourite (obviously! v quiet) NZ beach, at Mahia, we have seen this algal bloom there a few years ago too. Not sargassum algae of course but I am sure some of the same factors of water temp & nutrient runoff & pine forest harvesting may well be factors here too.

I did come home with rubbish bags full for our vege patch! :-)
Clare
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: anotheramethyst on August 20, 2015, 07:33:38 AM
yeah that's a highly unusual amount of sargassum seaweed :( it's not much fun on a beach.  and if it's causing anoxic conditions, it's definitely not good!!! when that particular seaweed is in healthy concentrations, it's habitat for this little guy, the sargassum fish!  his fins can act a bit like claws, holding him to the seaweed!!! ok so he's not very photogenic, i promise hes cute in person!!!
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Clare on August 20, 2015, 08:31:16 AM
yeah that's a highly unusual amount of sargassum seaweed :( it's not much fun on a beach.  and if it's causing anoxic conditions, it's definitely not good!!! when that particular seaweed is in healthy concentrations, it's habitat for this little guy, the sargassum fish!  his fins can act a bit like claws, holding him to the seaweed!!! ok so he's not very photogenic, i promise hes cute in person!!!

Thanks! Looks cute to me & beautifully camouflaged when I see the seaweed from below in the video.

Clare
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: JimD on August 20, 2015, 07:45:09 PM
Well we may have a Black Swan here.

New research has just been published about what is in the water in the High Plains (Ogalalla) and the Central Valley (Calif) aquifers.

Quote
..The High Plains aquifer is the largest in the US: It spans from Texas to South Dakota and stretches over a total of eight states. And it not only has uranium concentrations 89 times the EPA's maximum contaminant level (MCL), but it also has nitrate concentrations levels 189 times the MCL.

The California-based Central Valley aquifer has even higher concentration levels with uranium concentrations 180 times the MCL and nitrate concentration levels 34 times the MCL.....

WTF!!  you say.  How on earth did this happen???  Well it gets worse.

Quote
...The study found that 78% of the uranium-contaminated sites are linked to the presence of nitrate, a common groundwater contaminant, that stems from chemical and animal waste fertilizers. Nitrate, through a series of bacterial and chemical reactions, oxidizes uranium which then makes it soluble and capable of leaching into groundwater.
...

So....it is caused by industrial Agriculture and the use of synthetic fertilizers chemically reacting with the natural uranium in the rock and releasing it into the water.

So your drinking water if you live there is not safe, the veggies and animals are being water with it too, and best of all we are all eating this stuff.  What could possibly go wrong?

Hmmm...let's see.  Besides the Ogalalla and the Central Valley how many places in the world are following this practice?  Pretty much everywhere actually.  So this is going to also happen to the big aquifers in India and China.  And Europe.  And...

Yup we are going to be able to feed 9+ billion in 2050 all right.  NOT.

http://www.businessinsider.com/high-uranium-levels-of-drinking-water-in-the-central-us-2015-8?utm_content=buffer53cd6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer (http://www.businessinsider.com/high-uranium-levels-of-drinking-water-in-the-central-us-2015-8?utm_content=buffer53cd6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 23, 2015, 08:47:09 PM
The Delicious, Invasive Species You'll Be Eating Next
Clever chefs fight against damaging local species—by serving them for dinner
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-19/invasive-species-chefs-latest-menu-offering (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-19/invasive-species-chefs-latest-menu-offering)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: anotheramethyst on August 25, 2015, 08:07:39 AM
The Delicious, Invasive Species You'll Be Eating Next
Clever chefs fight against damaging local species—by serving them for dinner
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-19/invasive-species-chefs-latest-menu-offering (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-19/invasive-species-chefs-latest-menu-offering)

if you're interested in eating invasive species check this out

http://www.eattheweeds.com/ (http://www.eattheweeds.com/)

(unfortunately i think this website is only focused on north america)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Martin Gisser on August 25, 2015, 01:43:49 PM
WE are the black swan  ??? Another agricultural source of uranium is phosphorus fertilizer. (Germany adds 100 tons U per year to the soil. Average concentration is 238mg U per kg phosphate.) And that will increase with the exhaustion of good phosophate rock mines (peak phosphorus in a few decades). The bad mines have much more uranium. And not only that.

http://earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/4642/why-does-phosphate-rock-contain-uranium (http://earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/4642/why-does-phosphate-rock-contain-uranium)
http://www.umweltinstitut.org/themen/radioaktivitaet/radioaktivitaet-und-gesundheit/natuerliche-radioaktivitaet/uran-im-duenger.html (http://www.umweltinstitut.org/themen/radioaktivitaet/radioaktivitaet-und-gesundheit/natuerliche-radioaktivitaet/uran-im-duenger.html)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Theta on August 29, 2015, 01:44:03 AM
Not entirely related to food, but notable in terms of the ocean.

http://robertscribbler.com/2015/08/28/shades-of-a-canfield-ocean-hydrogen-sulfide-in-oregons-purple-waves/Shades of a Canfield Ocean — Hydrogen Sulfide in Oregon’s Purple Waves? (http://robertscribbler.com/2015/08/28/shades-of-a-canfield-ocean-hydrogen-sulfide-in-oregons-purple-waves/Shades of a Canfield Ocean — Hydrogen Sulfide in Oregon’s Purple Waves?)

Quote
At issue is the fact that the waters off Oregon are increasingly warm. They are increasingly low oxygen or even anoxic. Conditions that are prime for the production of some of the world’s nastiest ancient species of microbes. The rotten-eggs smelling hydrogen sulfide producing varieties. The variety that paint the waters green (or turquoise as described by Jeanine Sbisa above) or even an ugly black. And there is one primordial creature in particular that thrives in warm, low-oxygen, funky-smelling water. An organism that’s well known for coloring bodies of water purple — the purple sulfur bacteria
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Bruce Steele on August 29, 2015, 01:16:56 PM
Theta, I think Robert may be jumping the gun a bit here. A Canfield ocean will be accompanied by mass fish kills , huge drops in oxygen content, and very low pH. Although the Oregon coast may be one of the first places on earth to experience these somewhat end times conditions the purple waves are not in this case not a sign we have arrived. A large bloom of salps ( a jellyfish type animal ) is apparently the cause.
 Oregon has experienced fish kills and hypoxic conditions but I do not believe those conditions currently exist. The switch to a warm water PDO phase will likely push the intermediate waters deeper and lessen the chances of upwelling those waters and repeating the hypoxic conditions that resulted in those fish kills earlier this decade so we , and the fish, may get a break for awhile.We have buoys with pH meters in place that can be monitored real time and some very good scientists monitoring condition on the Oregon Coast. Canfield is IMO + 2000-3000 Gt carbon away and several centuries into the future ... So we have lots to worry about first.

http://www.beachconnection.net/news/salppurp082815_725.php (http://www.beachconnection.net/news/salppurp082815_725.php)


 
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Theta on August 30, 2015, 01:53:08 AM
Theta, I think Robert may be jumping the gun a bit here. A Canfield ocean will be accompanied by mass fish kills , huge drops in oxygen content, and very low pH. Although the Oregon coast may be one of the first places on earth to experience these somewhat end times conditions the purple waves are not in this case not a sign we have arrived. A large bloom of salps ( a jellyfish type animal ) is apparently the cause.
 Oregon has experienced fish kills and hypoxic conditions but I do not believe those conditions currently exist. The switch to a warm water PDO phase will likely push the intermediate waters deeper and lessen the chances of upwelling those waters and repeating the hypoxic conditions that resulted in those fish kills earlier this decade so we , and the fish, may get a break for awhile.We have buoys with pH meters in place that can be monitored real time and some very good scientists monitoring condition on the Oregon Coast. Canfield is IMO + 2000-3000 Gt carbon away and several centuries into the future ... So we have lots to worry about first.

http://www.beachconnection.net/news/salppurp082815_725.php (http://www.beachconnection.net/news/salppurp082815_725.php)

You are right about that too, an update regarding this topic that I forgot to add.

Quote
"(Oregon Coast) - Those funky, freaky purple waves that had Oregon coast scientists completely puzzled has likely been solved. According Dr. Caren Braby of the Newport office of Oregon Department and Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), it is a jellyfish-like creature called a salp. But there may be a surprise twist as to why there are so many. (Photo above by Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium).
While completely harmless and in fact rather pretty, the purple waves came to light because of an Oregon Coast Beach Connection reader, and it created a huge stir among scientists from various agencies. It wasn't a big deal because it was worrisome in anyway, it was simply that none of the experts had ever seen anything like that."
http://www.beachconnection.net/news/salppurp082815_725.php (http://www.beachconnection.net/news/salppurp082815_725.php)

I was under the impression that he had jumped the gun too, but the Climate seems to pull all sorts of surprises nowadays.
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on September 03, 2015, 09:54:19 PM
Commercial scale vertical farms: underground in London; combined with aquaponics in East London; and the world's largest in a huge warehouse in Newark, New Jersey, which uses a mist of water and nutrients instead of submerging roots.
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Thirty-three meters under the streets of central London is an old World War II bomb shelter that’s been transformed into a hi-tech underground farm.

The long tunnels beneath Clapham are being filled with stacked layers of hydroponic beds - forming "vertical farms" - for growing salads and herbs that can be delivered to tables in the city within four hours of harvesting.

The growing system uses energy-efficient LEDs instead of sun, no pesticides, needs 70 percent less water than growing plants in open fields, and less energy than a greenhouse.

“The whole system runs automatically, with an environmental computer controlling the lighting, temperature, nutrients and air flow,” explains Steven Dring, co-founder of the company behind the operation, Zero Carbon Food.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-03/wwii-bomb-shelter-becomes-hi-tech-salad-farm-deep-under-london (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-03/wwii-bomb-shelter-becomes-hi-tech-salad-farm-deep-under-london)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Paddy on September 04, 2015, 09:48:16 AM
It surprises me sometimes that with the world's population growing by about 70 or 80 million people a year for the last 40 years, the depletion of groundwater, fish stock decline, and soil erosion, climate change-related events and the move of consumers to more meat-heavy diets, that world food prices have generally stayed as low as they have.

Sooner or later it seems likely we'll hit a tipping point, however :S
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on September 13, 2015, 08:53:45 PM
Insect farming in the U.K.

Edible Insect-Farming Hatches New Breed of ‘Entopreneurs’
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The number of unwitting consumers of insect products is much larger: honey is bee vomit, the red food-coloring cochineal is made of crushed bugs, and shellac, a glaze commonly used to cover sweets and fruit, is made from insect excretions. Despite this, acceptance takes time.

“The number one thing people have to get over is the visual aspect. Once they taste it and it’s cooked well, it’s about how good the meat is,” says Whippey.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-10/edible-insect-farming-hatches-new-breed-of-entopreneurs- (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-10/edible-insect-farming-hatches-new-breed-of-entopreneurs-)
Title: Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
Post by: Sigmetnow on September 14, 2015, 02:36:17 AM
Scientists expect Hawaii’s worst coral bleaching ever
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HONOLULU — Warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures around Hawaii this year will likely lead to the worst coral bleaching the islands have ever seen, scientists said Friday.

Many corals are only just recovering from last year’s bleaching, which occurs when warm waters prompt coral to expel the algae they rely on for food, said Ruth Gates, the director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. The phenomenon is called bleaching because coral lose their color when they push out algae.

The island chain experienced a mass bleaching event in 1996, and another one last year. This year, ocean temperatures around Hawaii are about 3 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal, said Chris Brenchley, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

Bleaching makes coral more susceptible to disease and increases the risk they will die. This is a troubling for fish and other species that spawn and live in coral reefs. It’s also a concern for Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy because many travelers come to the islands to enjoy marine life.

Gates compared dead coral reef to a city laid to rubble.
https:/