Canada and USA agricultural weather issues and changes in our solar cycles

Photo

Frosted organic cranberries are seen at Canneberges Quebec farm in St-Louis-de-Blandford October 17, 2007. REUTERS / Mathieu Belanger

There’s been some concern lately over climate and agriculture. In the last few days we’ve had headlines such as:

Crops under stress as temperatures fall (UK Telegraph)

Canadian Wheat Output May Fall on Dry, Cool Weather (Bloomberg)

Southeastern Missouri farmers try to overcome wet spring, soggy crops (TV4 Kansas City)

About the same time as these stories I got an email from David Archibald that talks about shifts in growing areas in the USA and the increased yields we’ve seen in the past quarter century. The concern of course is that those gains may vanish with the advent of a quiet solar cycle:

Anthony,

The attached article, dated 30th December 2008, was noted on Icecap in early January.

The prediction in it appears to have been borne out by subsequent events.  Note this report of widespread frosts:

Canada frosts the most widespread in recent memory (Reuters, also source of photo above)

Your readers may benefit from having it reposted on WUWT.  It is a good example of the practical application of Friis-Christensen and Lassen theory, and thus solar science to practical matters at ground level.

David

Quantifying the US Agricultural Productivity Response to Solar Cycle 24

In 2006, The National Arbor Day Foundation updated the 1990 US Department of Agriculture map of plant hardiness zones for changes in the annual average minimum temperate over the intervening sixteen years.

That map is reproduced following:

USA_hardiness_zone

Figure 1: US Plant Hardiness Zones from http://www.arborday.org/media/graphics/2006_zones.zip

Relative to the location of the zones in the 1990 USDA map, hardiness zones have shifted northward by the following amounts relative to the latitude band:

30° N 110 km northward shift

35° N 200 km northward shift

40° N 280 km northward shift

The improvement in growing conditions resulting from this northward shift in annual average minimum temperature caused an increase in agricultural productivity. Following is a graphic of the agricultural output of a number of US states accounting for 19% of US agricultural production:

USA_ag_productivity

Figure 2: Agricultural Productivity of Six US States 1960 to 2004.

Productivity is calibrated against Alabama’s production in 1996.

It is apparent from the graphic that there was a step change in the rate of increase of agricultural production at about the time the USDA plant hardiness zone map was created in 1990. Over the subsequent fourteen years, agricultural production in these six states rose 34%. The USDA state productivity data is available at:

http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/AgProductivity/table03.xls

A proportion of the increase would have been due to the introduction of GM crops and other changes in agricultural practices. Nevertheless, the productivity growth is substantial and coincident with improved climatic conditions.

The change in plant hardiness zones over the 1990 to 2006 period is explained by solar cycle length changes. Solar Cycle 20 from 1964 to 1976 was 11.6 years long. Solar Cycle 21 was shorter than average at 10.3 years and Solar Cycle 22 from 1986 to 1996 was very short at 9.6 years long. There is a correlation between solar cycle length and temperature over the following solar cycle. In the mid-latitudes of the US north-eastern seaboard, this is 0.7° C for each year of solar cycle length.

With the cumulative change in solar cycle length between Solar Cycle 20 and Solar Cycle 22 of two years, this would have translated to a 1.4º C increase in temperature by early this decade relative to early 1970s. This is reflected in the northward shift of plant hardiness zones as mapped by The National Arbor Day Foundation.

By virtue of a lack of Solar Cycle 23 sunspots, solar minimum of the Solar Cycle 23 to 24 transition appears to have been in late 2008. This makes Solar Cycle 23 three years long than its predecessor. Consequently, using the 0.7° C per year of solar cycle length relationship, there will be a 2.1º C decline in temperature of the mid-latitudes next decade during Solar Cycle 24.

Using the calibration provided by the climate shift caused by the Solar Cycle 20 to 22 change in solar cycle length, the following shifts in climatic zones, and thus growing conditions, are estimated:

30° N 160 km southward shift

35° N 300 km southward shift

40° N 420 km southward shift

Assuming that two thirds of the productivity increase in mid-western states from 1990 to 2004 was climatically driven, then the productivity decline in this region due to Solar Cycle 24 is expected to be of the order of 30%. The total US agricultural productivity decrease would be less than that at possibly 20%, equating to the export share of US agricultural production.

David Archibald

30th December, 2008

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135 thoughts on “Canada and USA agricultural weather issues and changes in our solar cycles

  1. “Assuming that two thirds of the productivity increase in mid-western states from 1990 to 2004 was climatically driven”
    That’s a big assumption right there. Monsanto might disagree, as it is also co-incident with the introduction of GM crops in north america.

  2. This extract from another article seems relevant:
    “If jet streams, on average, are further south then the high pressure systems to the north of them predominate and the globe is cooling. If, on average, they are further north then high pressure to the south of them predominates and the globe is warming.
    I’ll leave it to others to check it out but I’ll just give an illustration.
    I well remember the very cold winter of 1962/63. The UK persistently had high pressure over Greenland and Northern Europe giving a primary flow of air from the north. That feature was not just for the duration of that winter. Throughout the cooling trend up to 1975 or thereabouts winds with a northerly component were much more common than they were during the subsequent warming trend.
    During the warming trend from 1975 to 1998 there were very few northerly flows of air in Western Europe. The hot summer of 1976 had the main area of high pressure over Southern Europe bringing a steady flow of hot equatorial air northwards. From 1998 to date there has been a shift away from the more frequent southerly flows and since 2007 the tendency for a polar component to wind flows at 45 degrees latitude in both hemispheres has increased further. In the spring and early summer of 2008 (continuing in 2009) North America has been plagued by regular incursions of air from the north and Western Europe has been cooler than average due to many days of winds with a northerly component.”
    Full article here:
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=1458

  3. Check out this article dated 3/26/2009, to see what farmers in Washington state have been up against this year. Degree Days, sometimes called Thermal Units, have been falling for 3 years, with consequent effect on our yields.
    ** WEATHER CAFE **
    Cooler spring delays harvest
    Growers note consistently low temperatures
    Degree-days
    Cumulative degree days – 45 F minimum, 85 F maximum – from Jan. 1 through March 19 in the years designated.
    2007 2008 2009
    Bellingham 114 69 45
    Mount Vernon 133 84 58
    Wenatchee 69 64 18
    Yakima 106 101 48
    By COOKSON BEECHER
    Capital Press
    Late harvests may be in store for Washington state growers this year, according to reports from the field.
    Underscoring the field reports are comparisons of degree-days – also known as heat units – from the start of the year to March 19, which show fewer heat units this year than in 2008 or 2007.
    Rufus LaLone, an entomologist and meteorologist, said this year’s situation is worrisome because 2008 had the latest harvests in the region since 1984.
    “We’re way behind last year,” LaLone said. “It’s still early, but if March and April stay cold, we’ll really be behind.”
    According to LaLone’s Weather Cafe report on March 23, April 3 or 4 should see a return to a cold upper trough dropping down from the Gulf of Alaska bringing wet and unseasonably chilly conditions to the Pacific Northwest for several days. Eastern Washington basins will return to near-winter feel by early April, as cold air aloft will hinder spring. Possibly drier, but nippy weather, is forecast for April 8-12.
    Each plant needs a certain number of degree-days before it reaches the next stage of its development.
    LaLone compares degree-days to money in the bank.
    “If enough heat units are generated, the plants collect them,” LaLone said. “It’s like a savings account. They don’t forget what they’ve accumulated.”
    In Skagit County, Wash., William Roozen, co-owner of Washington Bulb, said the daffodils are later this year than last year, and the tulips may go into peak bloom later than usual. His brother John said that in an average year, daffodil harvest runs from Feb. 18 to 22, but this year picking didn’t start until early March.
    Many Western Washington farmers say that if the flowers are late, harvest for other crops will probably be late. But John Roozen said Mother Nature calls the shots.
    “If the weather warms up, the tulips can go like lightning,” he said.
    Skagit County, Wash., potato grower Darrin Morrison said he’s watching soil temperatures, which were still low on March 20.
    “It’s a late spring,” he said. “Even our orchard trees haven’t budded out yet.”
    In Whatcom County, Wash., Allen Brown, fieldman for Curt Maberry Farm, said that last year crews started the main fungicide spraying regime for blueberries on March 12.
    “We haven’t sprayed a single blueberry this year,” he said on March 20. “We’re probably three weeks behind last year.”
    Raspberry cane planting is also running late. While Maberry’s usually has all of its new raspberries in by March 20, the farm still had 90 acres to plant, and some growers in the area hadn’t planted any new canes.
    “We’ve had a lot of cold weather and freezing temperatures – 18 degrees for three days in a row a week or so ago,” Brown said. “It was like winter.”
    Brown said berry growers in his area are praying for sunshine.
    “We’re behind, and we want to get going,” he said. “We’re in a hurry-up-and-wait mode.”
    LAST YEAR was no great shakes either — Cherry and apples crops took a hit due to unseasonable cold. see http://seattle.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2008/06/23/story4.html

  4. and this:
    “A period of several decades of reduced solar activity will quickly need more emissions producing activity to SAVE the planet yet nonetheless the populations of most living species will be decimated. At present population levels a repeat of the Little Ice Age a mere 400 years ago will cause mass starvation worldwide. Does anyone really think that the CO2 we produce is effective enough to reduce that risk to zero when we have plenty of astronomic evidence of an imminent reduction in solar activity.”
    and this:
    “A change in global weather patterns which I noticed as long ago as 2000 whereby the jet streams moved back towards the equator from the positions they adopted during the warming spell. The observation that a global warming or cooling trend can be discerned from seasonal weather patterns seems to be unique to me and will be dealt with in more detail in my next article.”
    From here:
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=1396

  5. A click on the pretty “organic (!!??) cranberries” photo gave me an “ERROR 404” message………….

  6. yet more :
    “1) Active sun in (short) cycles 18 and 19 then a less active sun in cycle 20 plus a negative PDO = cancelling out of expected warming during 18 and 19 followed by cooling when the sun became less active in cycle 20 (!940 to 1975).
    2) Active sun during cycles 21, 22 and the double peak of 23 plus positive PDO = significant warming. (1975 to 1998)
    3) Slightly quieter sun during extended tail end of cycle 23 plus positive PDO = stable temperatures. (1998 to 2007).
    4) Quiet sun as cycle 23 fizzles out and cycle 24 is deferred plus a negative PDO = Rather chilly in my opinion. (2007 to 20 ?)
    Could it be that the IPCC and the modellers have been completely wrong footed and are now recommending exactly the opposite policy decisions to those that the world really needs? ”
    from here:
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=1302

  7. There was a report today in Australia media regarding the slump in share price of agricultural fertiliser companies due to the late onset of wheat planting due to cold weather. Two companies listed here Nufarm and Incitec Pivot were mentioned but I think the planting season referred to North America.
    Agricultural companies can be an interesting barometer to the planting and weather cycle and their share price/cold temperature correlation is worth watching.

  8. Wheat didn’t increase much. Nor did Beans. Just corn exploded.
    Oh, wheat didn’t go GM. Beans? Nope. Corn went GM. It was, mostly (really, really mostly) GM Seeds.

  9. Many nations will not accept our GM exports. To them, it’s the equivalent of cardboard.
    David has a point: The year on year shift to cooler weather continues unabated.
    Heavy driving thunderstorms active here the past 2 weeks. The Emergency Broadcast System has been busy with intense hail & rain warnings. Stay inside, they tell you, wait until it passes.
    Warnings to be prepared for a year without a summer in some northern states are not a joking matter. It’s the real deal.
    So is this quiet sun.
    Tiny Tims and a handful of fattened pores won’t get the scales tipped.

  10. Monsanto would disagree. They have been making fat profit on the back of naturally increasing yields.

  11. Eastern Canada here. June 16th, and to date we have had one day above 20C. Cold, wet, rainy, late frosts. Ice in early, out late. Weather is not climate, but it is cold.

  12. OT, maybe some else can relate to my situation? Rain and Lightning is all we get for summer with mild 70deg F Temps. It’s been raining since Saturday Here in Okinawa, Japan. I took an HD picture of a 1+ gallon bucket filled with water and over flowing. I took the picture today, but the bucket has been full since Sunday. The reason I even took pic of it is because I noticed the sun for the first time since Sat poking through the evening sky. It was not bright at all as there was a haze of gray dominating the sky. 3/4’s of the sky was completely gray with few lighter low lying clouds so low I could almost touch them. The rain however is coming from the higher darker gray clouds. The reamining 1/4 of the sky was dominated by white puffy clouds with just enough space or sun to be visible. I was able to stare at the sun without any difficulty. That is when it dawned(get it) on me to take a few pics. As I took a couple of pics the sun was overcome by the dark gray sky. The sky being completely dark and featureless onc again. When will this stop. The weather man says maybe by Sat it will be mostly cloudy for the weekend. Beyond that it would be guessing. So my guess is that it will remain as is. I wish we were experiencing the drought problems we had 2 years ago when it was rare for it to rain, with exception a nearby tropical storm or typhoon would graze by us only depositng much needed rain. However this year everyone is begging for a week or two of sunshine. Summer lovers and farmers alike. My plants are very sad and pathetic lately, although they are well watered “logged”. Last Wed, Thur and Fri was the first time in week that the sun shined and gave us reason to go outside. Any way, I hope someone somewhere is having a better “real” summer.

  13. We’ve heard from tallbloke and Kum Dollison on just how much GM had to do with the increase in yield. Kum says outside of corn, not much. Tallbloke says the opposite.
    Are there any farmer types, or those who know what is really going on in the fields who would care to comment on this?
    Don’t really care what Monsanto would have to say as they would want to take as much credit as possible.
    Here in Colorado, we have had a very cool and wet spring. It is still a little iffy to be putting beans in the ground as they will likely just turn yellow without some heat. We’ve also had day after day of tornadoes, hail, and heavy rains (for Denver). Very unusual. Rockies game delayed by tornado warning, with some seen hovering over downtown Denver.
    Streams and rivers are running heavier than usual. I was up on my favorite streams over the weekend. Not only running a little high, but the hills are deep green, something I haven’t seen in a long time. Good fishing. I joked with my wife I wasn’t fishing, I was doing a stream survey. All the trout were heavy and strong.
    I know a single spring fishing trip is not a trend, but I have been going up on these streams since ’68 and one does remember patterns.
    Just one other observation: saw only one other fisherman, that was down on stream running through the rest stop. Usually, on a weekend in the middle of June you can count on seeing at least a few. Only evidence of anyone up on second stream was a single boot print in the sand.

  14. OT: Comnispa climate proxy
    I haven’t seen anything on WUWT on the Comnispa climate proxy. This European Alps stalactite based temperature proxy shows that the warming of the last quarter of the 20th century is completely within normal climate variations:
    Now the delta-18O is related to temperature at about 1°C per 0.22‰. Looking at the graph we see swings of 3 to 4 degrees(C) over the last 10 centuries, often in a very short time.
    I wonder if WUWT would like to write something on comnispa and its consequences and its comparison with Manns hockestick :-). Googling provides all the relevant links.

  15. tallbloke (01:05:54) :
    Monsanto would disagree. They have been making fat profit on the back of naturally increasing yields.
    And scams?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1082559/The-GM-genocide-Thousands-Indian-farmers-committing-suicide-using-genetically-modified-crops.html
    Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiralling debts – and no income.
    So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.
    The crisis, branded the ‘GM Genocide’ by campaigners, was highlighted recently when Prince Charles claimed that the issue of GM had become a ‘global moral question’ – and the time had come to end its unstoppable march.
    Speaking by video link to a conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, he infuriated bio-tech leaders and some politicians by condemning ‘the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming… from the failure of many GM crop varieties’.

  16. On the weather front, as reported in today’s The Daily Telegraph.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weather/5543939/Call-for-more-accurate-forecasts-as-English-summer-continues-to-cause-havoc.html
    “Tobias Ellwood, Bournemouth East MP, said the tourism industry is regularly losing money because tourists are put off by doomladen predictions which turn out to be false.”
    And they wonder why we laugh at predictions like this one?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/globalwarming/5469353/Global-warming-to-push-London-temperatures-up-to-105F.html
    The warmists can repeat their “It’s only weather, not climate” mantra, but if it’s obvious that weather can’t be predicted accurately, even days ahead, why should climate decades ahead be predictable?

  17. Is it time to start panicking yet?
    Crop scientists fear the Ug99 fungus could wipe out more than 80% of worldwide wheat crops as it spreads from eastern Africa. It has already jumped the Red Sea and traveled as far as Iran. Experts say it is poised to enter the breadbasket of northern India and Pakistan, and the wind will inevitably carry it to Russia, China and even North America — if it doesn’t hitch a ride with people first.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-wheat-rust14-2009jun14,0,1661589.story

  18. “A click on the pretty “organic (!!??) cranberries” photo gave me an “ERROR 404″ message………….”
    They weren’t really “organic”.

  19. Are the right people getting this news? Have any of the farmers noted got the ear of their representatives. Hard core warmers are not going to change their tunes (thankfully journalists are sensing a “hot” new news cycle and these “fair weather friends” can turn from cosy as heck to derisory and mean without a moment’s notice). Your first poster “NS” shows how warmers will react – quietly pull on your longjohns and rationalize the data. They are already specialists at making smoothies with their data blenders.
    I hope solar physicists use this historic development to learn more about the sun and climate and don’t stick to their guns so strongly to protect their long-held territory. The long wrangle that took place between a few solar posters under the “Thermostat Hypothesis” suggests that “inconvenient truths” are beginning to pop up around the world. We can either learn something great or fight it off like the geological establishment did the theory of “Continental Drift” for 40 years before the resisters got literally overwelmed with data and grudgingly were rescued by a “new” theory – Plate Tectonics, which was essentially the same thing, just an uglier term.

  20. The Canadian Prairie Provinces and the Northwestern Regions have had poor fall and winter precipitation for two year in a row. The 2008 fall precipitation was 4.2 % below normal and the winter precipitation was down 4.7% below normal. The 2007 fall precipitation was down 4.7% and the winter precipitation was down 22.1%. During the same time the winter and spring temperature anomalies have also been falling . Similar statistics apply for the Northwest or the north half of the tree Prairie Provinces
    Prairies Average Spring temperature anomalies
    2006 +2.1
    2007 +1.9
    2008 +0.3
    2009 -1.0
    So the spring temperatures have dropped 3.1 C since only 2006 in the Prairies
    http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/todays-paper/Crop+concern+grows/1687952/story.html
    Canadian climate records show that nationally or Canada wide there was less precipitation during many past cool PDO years like 1948-1972
    . http://www.msc-smc.ec.gc.ca/ccrm/bulletin/annual08/figchartp_e.html?season=Annual&date=2008
    A study by ALBERTA ENVIORNMENT on Canadian Prairie drought reported:
    The earlier studies of Dey and Chakravarty identify the presence of a mid-tropospheric
    ridge centered over the prairie provinces leading to extended dry spells and precipitation deficits
    during the summer season. The study of Bonsal et al. extends this idea and tries to develop a
    causal relationship between SST patterns over the North Pacific and extended dry spells over the
    Canadian prairies. Bonsal et al. find a certain configuration of SST pattern—anomalously cold
    water over an area between 140 and 160W longitude and centered around 30N latitude in
    conjunction with anomalously warm water off the coast of northern British Columbia—as
    favorable for the development of a mid-tropospheric ridge over the prairies. This ridge
    development, according to Bonsal et al., leads to extended dry spells and drought during the
    summer season.
    http://environment.gov.ab.ca/info/library/6673.pdf
    Lets hope that there is not another drought in this region. The last ones were 2001,2002, mid 1980’s, 1977,1961 , 1936-1937,1929-1931 and 1919-1921

  21. A little bit offtopic, but it is very likely that June 2009 will be colder globally than June 2008. Remember, the UK MetOffice predicted six months ago that 2009 is going to be one of the top five warmest years ever recorded. The great La Nina of 2007/08 and the minor one peaked in December 2008 has gone. We have near-neutral ENSO conditions for months now, but the global temperature can’t recover to pre-2008 levels.
    The lack of warming since 1997, and the obvious cooling trend since about 2001 can be seen even in the HadCRUT dataset. Despite this fact and the systematic bias in their annual global temperature predictions, Phil Jones just keeps repeating the very same mantra:
    “The fact that 2009, like 2008, will not break records does not mean that global warming has gone away. What matters is the underlying rate of warming – the period 2001-2007, with an average of 14.44 °C, was 0.21 °C warmer than corresponding values for the period 1991-2000.”
    This 9-year cooling trend have not been caused by a single ENSO event, it must be something else – something they weren’t aware of. Maybe a bright object in the sky…

  22. Monsanto is not the only seed company. Every year there are others and they often have much better yields. The farmer does have to many variables to choose from. Every year i visit with an ex Monsanto Phd that was a former employee of mine. He is now active in farming.
    Since there are many vartiables in crop yield other than genetics, it seems the dooom prophets use very few variables and make claims they can’t support or prove.
    Over on climate progress, they mentioned a phrase “when we get CO2 emissions down to zero” That is never possible unless we have not even decay or fire. Since temps are for real falling, I see they still consider falling temps to be a lie and rapidly increasing temps for 2099 as an absolute given fact. A real piece of astrology.

  23. The real issue is what this implies for the price of food. While climate changes will directly affect supply, we must now also factor in the wackyness of government policies, such as cutting off water to a large amount of California land in order to save a fish, and the mandates to use ethanol (now made from corn) in gasoline. There is talk of increasing ethanol from 10% to 15%, which implies a bump of 50% in the amount of corn we will be burning.
    Apart from the billions in subsidies that are required to bring the price of ethanol down to where it can be successfully sold in gasoline, it is very foolish to commit to burning hydrocarbons derived from corn rather burn hydrocarbons derived from coal, shales, or crude oil.

  24. Well, as a Midwestern, edge of the corn belt farmer, I’ll give my input. As Kum pointed out, wheat yields are not increasing, and, in fact, our best wheat yields have been in the late 1990’s. Soybeans. The early GM beans actually were yielding LESS than conventional varieties. They were/are planted because weed control costs less, is more standardized across weed species, and it helps larger operations get more acres done when you don’t have to be changing chemicals for specific weed problems. If it was on yield alone, GM never would have been adopted, and there’s still evidence of some yield lag on GM beans. Corn. We’ve done side by side trials for years. The best corn is still, nearly always, a conventional hybrid handled correctly. GM varities simply make management easier as you don’t have to worry as much about insecticide sprays, and the herbicide tolerant varieties make management easier, but, in a lot of cases, there’s not much yield bump there. Other practices, including fertility managment, have probably been more important. In general, all hybrids have improved, although, due to marketing, it’s getting harder to get conventional varieties. Varieties with the BT(insect resistance) gene are becoming the standard, Monsanto wants to make it’s “Triple stacks” the standard, and is working on “Quad stacks.”
    Also, from an agricultural standpoint, it’s easier to handle hotter weather than cooler. You can adopt irrigation, you can breed for heat tolerance. This spring, it’s been so wet that I still have half my Soybeans to plant, and the Corn that is in looks like hell. You’d like to be done with Soybeans by around Memorial day in this part of the world, FWIW. We need heat units right now to get this crop going, and we aren’t getting them. I also think that rising CO2 should be given some credit for increased crop yields. I think it does a whole lot more there than with Global temperature.

  25. Kum Dollison (00:50:13) :
    Wheat didn’t increase much. Nor did Beans. Just corn exploded.
    Oh, wheat didn’t go GM. Beans? Nope. Corn went GM. It was, mostly (really, really mostly) GM Seeds.

    Beans are also roundup ready. Corn acreage increased relative to beans.

  26. The Jet Stream Patterns shifting towards the lower latitudes seems to becoming a driver or even a result from the “Eddy Minimum”. Is there anyone with a report or scientific study on this? Thanks.

  27. I answered my own question with a quick Google Search:
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/view.php?id=21754
    This paper is from 2001 and it was tilted towards more solar activity causing more clouds with a mention of the Jet Stream moving northward during higher solar activity. I would assume the opposite to be the result in reduced soar activity. Fascinating.
    Ignoring or making a constant in the AGW models the contribution of the Sun is exposing the mistake to blame everything on human releases of carbon to be the cause of a mass extinction. This is getting very interesting.

  28. rbateman (00:59:13) :
    Many nations will not accept our GM exports. To them, it’s the equivalent of cardboard.

    They aren’t hungry enough.
    Yet.

  29. Do we have any political recourse to stop the insanity being forced on us by the drooling politicians? Waxman-Markey seems to be pressing ahead despite of reality. In the real world politics has no place in science, but in our reality there seems to be no place for science in our politics.

  30. It is a good example of the practical application of Friis-Christensen and Lassen theory, and thus solar science to practical matters at ground level.
    The F-C&L ‘theory’ doesn’t hold water as we have discussed before. It is somewhat amazing that all the critical heads here have a blind spot when it comes to this.

  31. What is the probability of sufficient rain for the 2009 crops for the Canadian Prairie Provinces .A search of the past summers shows the following summer rain pattern [+ is wetter] as shown below. There is no pattern apparent here nor is there any pattern in the records going back to 1948 with irregular alternating dry and wet summers except for the drought years.
    2005 +47.4%
    2006 -32.1 %
    2007 -26.6 %
    2008 +14.9%
    There is a cool water pattren[ typical cool PDO pattern] in the Pacific along the North American coast but no warm water pool off the coast of BC. So this pattern is not exactly the same as during the past droughts .The pattern of jet stream seems to be the unknown factor. If does not cross the Prairies often enough to bring badly needed storms and associated rain then , we could have a local drought in this area. Last year it did bring sufficient rain with many storms . This week the first storm has shown up.

  32. While I see the potential correlation here, not enough attention was paid to the other factors – such as changing ag practices & technology which could contribute to changing productivity. To be a solid analysis, other factors need to be ruled out or at least quantified vs just acknowledged. From that standpoint, it is no different than AGWers assigning all temp changes to CO2 w/o quantifying or ruling out other factors. Good science is always the goal – regardless of the points being made & how they may or may not appear to ones personal sensibilities.

  33. Steven Wilde, you may be interested in this,
    Michael G Mirkin included this in post at the url below, he also linked it to Birkland’s Terella experiments and the recent NASA discovery of plasma bands encircling the globe in the equatorial region which may vary with the activity of the Sun
    “The Discovery Channel article wrote:In an upcoming paper, Haigh’s team provides evidence that when the sun is more active, Earth’s jet streams weaken and shift toward the poles, taking with them storm tracks and weather systems that carry heat. The result is a subtle warming around Earth’s mid-latitudes.”
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1861&start=0

  34. don’t tarp me bro (05:38:11) :

    A real piece of astrology.

    You need to get your superstitions straight, especially when these people don’t believe the Great Yellow Sky Thingy has any effect on climate. What they are practicing isn’t astrology, it’s “sympathetic magic.” If they make a model of increased sunspots, or a warming climate, it will influence the real world to respond as they wish.

  35. A couple of comments from the Gulf Coast
    (a) the apparent southerly shift in the jet stream has been NASTY for us; several weeks without rain, temps in the HIGH 90’s (should be about 90-91). The only good news is the relatively low humidity (water vapor doesn’t stand a chance at these temps, but it’s just staying away, as there’s nothing left to precipitate).
    (b) Has anybody noticed the 10.7cm solar flux number? It just dropped to 67.
    YIKESamundo. To borrow from the “technical” stock pickers, Flux appears to be trading in a narrow range from 68 to 72, but with a long-term negative trend.
    (c) Curiously, the conventional wisdom in Ham Radio circles is that low sunspot activity means poor propagation at lower frequencies (due mainly to low ionization of the upper layers of the atmosphere, principally the “E” & “F” layers).
    NOW, however, the background noise has been so low (presumably due to very very low geomagnetic activity) that effective propagation on the higher frequency bands is actually quite good. I’m considering firing-up PSK on 20 meters again (sorry, hamspeak) to see what all the fuss is about.
    BTW a great article from ARRL on solar indices is at
    http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/pdf/0209038.pdf

  36. Posted elsewhere last week:
    Earth is cooling, not warming. Global temperatures have been falling for about a decade, after a quarter-century of natural, cyclical warming. Earth also cooled from about 1945 to 1975. There is nothing new here, and humans play no role in this natural warming and cooling cycle.
    Still, this does not stop phony environmentalists and other rent-seekers from trying to pick your pocket with scares of global warming.
    Now, however, the science is truly settled. Even though many humans buy into the global warming myth, including our undereducated politicians, trillions of plants just aren’t buying.
    Crop yields in Canada and the USA are ‘way down. Wheat is down 20% in Canada and the USA and US corn is down as much as 35%.
    The plants have spoken people, and there are more of them than of us. A clear consensus has emerged – there is no global warming crisis, and humans who believe in global warming are dumber than rutabaga.

  37. How much of the increased yield is due to CO2 fertilizing the planet?
    How much less water does the earth need to grow the same amount of food due to the aerial fertlilization of the planet?
    What is the economic value of this increase in CO2?
    All the money spent on CO2 research is for what is often fantasy harm from CO2. What about a study for the three questions above.

  38. To add insult to injury, Mount Sarychev is blowing its top – ash plume up to 13,700 m and diverting/cancelling air traffic.

  39. Roundup ready soybeans make no till farming possible. No need to work the land to destroy weeds just spray roundup.

  40. Adam Soereg
    Good comments . I just add the following.
    You qouted Phil Jones of CRU,UK ,
    “The fact that 2009, like 2008, will not break records does not mean that global warming has gone away. What matters is the underlying rate of warming – the period 2001-2007, with an average of 14.44 °C, was 0.21 °C warmer than corresponding values for the period 1991-2000.”
    And you also said
    This 9-year cooling trend have not been caused by a single ENSO event, it must be something else – something they weren’t aware of. Maybe a bright object in the sky…”
    The cooling started in my opinion with the oceans . I don’t know how and when the sun started its reduced output to allow the oceans to cool .
    AMO index started decline in 2003 based on LINEAR TREND analysis. Went negative in Jan 2009
    PDO index started decline in 2001 based on least square slope analysis [-0.0487/year] .Went negative in Sept 2007
    [WOOD FOR TREES –INTERACTIVE GRAPHS]
    OCEANS SST
    GLOBAL OCEANS SST [HADSST2gl] started decline in 2000 at [-0.00204 C/year]
    NORTHERN HEMISPHERE OCEANS SST [HADSST] started decline in 2002 at [-0.0233 C/year]
    SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE OCEANS SST [HADSST] started decline in 2000 at [-0.00204 C/year]
    I think P. Jones will run out of words and excuses because the underlying causes for the warming during 2001- 2007 are no longer present [ warm PDO and warm AMO], and the opposite factors[cool PDO and AMO] are now the underlying causes of the cooling at least the next 20-30 years . As the cooling continues , watch their words change or CRU will lose their credibilty. They have too many credible people to allow these comments to continue for too long.
    13 OF THE WARMEST GLOBAL AIR TEMPERTURES happened during the 14 year period JAN 1995- DEC 2008 when PDO and AMO were essentially both warm or positive * and accounts for the global warming and the temperature records . The numbers below show how the 3 highest global temperature records were accompanied by 3 of the 5 highest single AMO index readings ever .Only1878 and 1937 had the higher AMO levels. The single PDO readings were also high [around 2.0 ] during these peak periods.
    1998 Highest Temperature anomaly [0.546C] AMO [0.562 3rd highest]
    2005 Second Highest Temperature anomaly [0 .482C] AMO [0.503 5TH highest]
    2003 Third Highest Temperature anomaly [0.473C] AMO [0.504 4th
    highest]

  41. In the last thirty years, crop yields on my farm have exploded. Current expectations for bushels per acre exceed what would have been conceivable a few decades ago. I will cite three developments (and could add a couple others) that seem to be behind increased yields: 1) increased CO2 in the air, 2) warmer weather brought on by the PDO, and 3) better hybrids / GM. To separate out the effects of the three is probably a mission doomed to heroic assumptions and ongoing controversy.

  42. Adam Soereg (05:22:58) :
    A little bit offtopic, but it is very likely that June 2009 will be colder globally than June 2008.

    Roy Spencer has stated that his team exclusively uses Channel 9 in calculating global mean temperature. 2009 has been higher than 2008 on Channel 9 for three months now.
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps+006
    (Don’t be confused by the “006” in the url — this is Channel 9.)
    _________________________________________________________________
    Stephen Wilde (00:24:47): During the warming trend from 1975 to 1998 there were very few northerly flows of air in Western Europe.
    The exception would be the Hale Winter of 1984-85, which I spent as a student in Blois, France. We’d been told to bring clothing for temps in the 50s. I had the pleasure, for weeks, of riding my bike 5 miles to school (over much black ice) with snow flurries and ice crystals in the air and temperatures hovering around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. I was able to get a winter coat that almost fit in a thrift shop and not perish.
    Images of the frozen Loire River and fields covered in snow are part of my strongest memories of France, despite many trips there since during warmer weather.

  43. anna.v 04:23:26
    I would give any article that has a ”Prince Charles” handle a short shift to the outhouse. I once was witness to an accident involving 2 buses in India 254 dead and about as many injured, ( have seen as many as 5 people between the steering wheel and the drivers door, ) in India you are a farmer if you rent enough dirt to stand on, suicides in India ( for a Hindu its a 100% no no ) are more likely to be otherwise related, you can sell your body for parts and make good money, and if there was a GM program you can bet your socks that the seeds were free, farmers do not buy seeds, there is the basic problem of money. its another world out there, and the propaganda machine relies on the western ignorance.

  44. David Archibald
    : the correlation between solar cycle length and northern hemisphere temperatures involves a time-lag component – such that there was much criticism based on the longer cycle lengths since cycle 22 coinciding with still rising temperatures (Lockwood and Frohlich, 2007 Royal Society paper) – and with little change in the other solar indicators from 1950-2000 (magnetic field, flux etc) or cosmic rays – but they published too early and the time-lag kicked in during 2007-2008, when the 11 year running average for temperature first turns downward;
    I suggest in my review of the available science (Chill: a reassessment of global warming theory) just published, that during the solar minimum the jetstream shifts southward and when this is extended in long minimums or Maunder type quiet sun periods, then the year-on-year effect of the shifting cloud patterns in relation to ocean heat stores causes cooling
    Jack Green: – NASA’s Drew Shindell did some work on this issue of the jetstream during the Maunder Minimum -a few years ago but that line of inquiry seems to have been abandoned – does anyone know why?
    Stephen Wilde:
    I think you have it right – a combination of solar effects and ocean oscillations – especially the PDO – but also the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation – which appears to be 60-100 years and could now be turning from warm phase to cold phase – it is marked with precisely the weather you indicate – a shift in high pressure systems from the Azores (replaced with lows) to Iceland (replacing the lows) – this system has a long-term multidecadal period and if the AMO now turns coincident with the cool phase of the PDO, then global temperatures will drop – who knows, maybe to -0.5 of the mean at its trough around 2030 before the PDO turns upward again.
    Clearly – the solar cycle and the ocean cycles are linked – but the mechanisms are complex – a bit of Shindell (UV and polar vortex) and a bit of Svensmark (cosmic rays and clouds), but with strange phase shifts as occurred in 2001 with global cloud cover – after which the oceans stopped warming (from a heat content perspective). This shift occurred at solar maximum! Global cloud cover has remained pretty constant since then, but higher than the low point that followed the decline of 5% (1983-2000).
    I recently corresponded with Hadley’s modellers on this topic – they have been trying to incorporate ocean cycles into shorter term projections (to 2020) and they expect a short pause in warming – measured in relation to ocean heat content – from 2002 to 2010, and thereafter, resurgence of warming. They see the ocean cycle as dampening the power of greenhouse gases but not by much. The problem is that I think they are still working with pre-Gouretski/Koltermann/Willis/Lyman/Palmer assessments of ocean heat content – but have to confirm this.
    Our government will tomorrow issue new long-term projections to 2080 – after delaying the issue of projections that were due last November. It will be interesting to see whether they have factored in any of the latest science on ocean heat storage, and the role of aerosols and clouds in global dimming (not now regarded as caused by human pollution) – I don’t expect them to give much thought to the solar magnetic theory, nor do they appear to take much heed of the jetstream patterns.

  45. John W. (06:11:29) :
    rbateman (00:59:13) :
    Many nations will not accept our GM exports. To them, it’s the equivalent of cardboard.
    They aren’t hungry enough.
    Yet.

    It is never good to generalize. What if you country, during the last 5000 years has developed the majority of world crops, from potato, tomato, corn, etc, where there are more than a thousand varieties of each of these. As I told in another post, here in Peru we have (among other thousands) a yellow potato and a PURPLE CORN out of which it is obtained a beverage and many other foods.
    Can you imagine what would it happend if these hybrid seeds were planted next to a field where this rare corn grows?
    These seeds can not invade the food nursery of humanity.
    Please don’t panick, what is needed is to see what happened during the LIA and take the needed policies to overcome the problem.

  46. I affirm what PoFarmer says. What I’ve been told is that average corn yield improves about 1 bushel per acre per year – going back many decades – and largely due to improved genetics. In the last 4 or 5 years that may have jumped to 2 bu per acre per year. My understanding has been that corn is much easier to cross on a field scale because the male and female parts are separated on the plant.
    The corn in northern Illinois also looks terrible. It looks to me like a lot may not be knee high by the fourth of July. And that old saying has not been relevant for 40 or 50 years. Normally corn should be head high or more by the fourth of July.
    All the talk of global warming will end instantly if we were to have a crop shortfall significant enough to make national news. A cooling trend is much more worrisome than any warming trend. On the morning of June 5, 1859 there was an extensive frost in Ohio Indiana and Illinois. Of course, in 1859 agriculture in the corn belt was very primitive. It would probably be fair to say that the land was still being settled. If we had a June frost in the Northern cornbelt in this day and age the repercussions would be huge.

  47. Peter Taylor (07:38:10) :
    About David Archibald

    According to Ivanka Charvatova, following the barycenter theory, after Jose, Landscheidt and others, points out the following:
    Moving along the disordered orbit to 2035 AD. …, which is similar to that of the second half of the nineteenth century (Fig. 3b), the Sun should develop lower solar cycles (Rmax from 65 to 140) of very variable length from 9.6 to 12.3 years). The initial development of the cycle 23, now in its third year, confirms this for the present cycle
    This disordered orbit began back in 1985 and will finish about 2040.
    http://www.giurfa.com/charvatova.pdf

  48. Julian Braggins (06:39:21) :
    Steven Wilde, you may be interested in this,
    Michael G Mirkin included this in post at the url below, he also linked it to Birkland’s Terella experiments and the recent NASA discovery of plasma bands encircling the globe in the equatorial region which may vary with the activity of the Sun
    “The Discovery Channel article wrote:In an upcoming paper, Haigh’s team provides evidence that when the sun is more active, Earth’s jet streams weaken and shift toward the poles, taking with them storm tracks and weather systems that carry heat. The result is a subtle warming around Earth’s mid-latitudes.”
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1861&start=0
    O/T comment here. There aren’t too many Haighs in the world so I was interested in this comment. I had a look at the article and Joanna Haigh is an atmospheric physicist with Imperial College in London. All Haighs originated in Yorkshire in England and we were all originally Vikings with the surname ‘Hauge’ from the Stavanger area of Southwest Norway. They first arrived in England in the 9th Century. Maybe Norway was too cold then? It warmed up in the MWP though.

  49. There are two assumptions in this article:
    – that solar cycle length is driving north american temperatures
    – that temperatures (actually, minimum temperatures) are driving agricultural productivity, (or at least two third of it…)
    This would need to be proven.

  50. Weather is not Climate, it’s a time-slice instance of it.
    Weather belongs to Climate.
    At some point, if your time-slice is large enough, the distinctions between the two blur and you cannot tell at what point your Weather slice turned into Clmate.
    Clever wording will not change 1 degree or alter the path of your “Weather/Climate”.
    It doesn’t suffer from oversimplification or overcomplication.
    It is not necessary to link Solar Inactivity to Weather/Climate Cooling.
    You don’t need to find the mechanism.
    All you need to know is that they coincide.
    A cooling Weather/Climate progresses along in the same noisy/erratic manner as a warming Weather/Climate.
    Rather, take a hard look at how quickly things cool as as opposed to how long it takes to wam them back up.
    Start with the Ice Age records.
    Then check out the literary history.
    Then check out the modern times.
    Do they all follow the same rates?
    So, when I listened to the explanation on Good Morning America this morning, the man explained that this isn’t unusual (tornado season), it’s just plain late.
    The reason they ran that?
    It’s becoming very obvious to the nation that things are way behind where they should be.

  51. It’s rewarding to now see so much support for the idea that the end of observed warming was most probably due to a solar/ocean combination and a natural weather system thermostat.
    It follows that the 20th Century warming phases (such as they were after stripping out UHI effects) were products of the same phenomena.
    When I started banging on about such matters on various blogs over 2 years ago I met with disbelief and hostility but the real world has provided credibilty and similar ideas with useful variants are now coming to the fore from others.
    It was the unusual (at the time) nature of my posts that led to an invitation to submit original material to the new climate sceptic site climaterealists.com (then known as CO2sceptics.com).
    It has been an enjoyable ride despite the stress and work involved and I look forward to future developments.
    Sites like this and the intelligence of the contributors are clearly a new way of progressing scientific endeavour and fortunately they have come to the fore just as the worldwide scientific establishments congealed into grant slaves of the political elites.
    Now, lets find some way of measuring and monitoring the average net jet stream positions so that we can see how closely and quickly (or not) they react to net changes in the Earth’s energy budget and/or changes in ocean SSTs.
    We need some proper observational science done as a replacement for the Playstation computer methods of recent years.
    I see that as the key to the whole climate debate.

  52. anna v (04:23:26) :
    tallbloke (01:05:54) :
    Monsanto would disagree. They have been making fat profit on the back of naturally increasing yields.
    And scams?

    I assumed that most of you knew what GM crops were. If I was wrong, the genetic modification in Roundup Ready corn and soybeans involves incorporating a bacterial version of an enzyme that induces tolerance to glyphosate, or Roundup, (from Agrobacterium species, strain CP4) into the plant, giving it tolerance to Roundup, a non-selective herbicide. In this way, the soybeans or corn and any weeds can be sprayed with Roundup, killing the weeds and leaving the crops. Other modifications include a natural insecticide from Bacillus Thurngensis, reduction in linolenic acid, and others. All modifications to date do not improve crop yield directly. (They are working on modifying the chloroplast in C3 plants, but that’s a ways off, and I think they are physiologically incorrect in assumed results.) The reduction in weed competition and/or insect damage should increase yields. Other modifications improve crop utility or value. The majority of yield increases is related to increased precipitation, associated with warming temperature:
    http://climvis.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/cag3/hr-display3.pl

  53. Adolfo Giurfa (07:45:24) :
    It is never good to generalize. What if you country, during the last 5000 years has developed the majority of world crops, from potato, tomato, corn, etc, where there are more than a thousand varieties of each of these. As I told in another post, here in Peru we have (among other thousands) a yellow potato and a PURPLE CORN out of which it is obtained a beverage and many other foods.

    You raise a reasonable point. But there is a difference between banning GM seeds because of the concerns you raise, and banning GM produce because of unscientific hysteria.

  54. Ice (08:20:39) :
    There are two assumptions in this article:
    – that solar cycle length is driving north american temperatures
    – that temperatures (actually, minimum temperatures) are driving agricultural productivity, (or at least two third of it…)
    This would need to be proven.

    Yes. Evidence supporting the first hypothesis is emerging as we speak (or write). If solar activity remains low, and we get an early onset of winter conditions in the Northern Hemisphere, corresponding to the prolonged winter conditions already experienced, then we have evidence for the first hypothesis.
    As to the second, any farmer from the last 10,000 years could confirm to you that, yes, when he can’t plant early enough to get a full growing cycle in before freezing/frost kills the unripened crop, his family goes hungry. Consider the hypothesis “that temperatures (actually, minimum temperatures) are driving agricultural productivity” as proved by 10,000 years of human experience.
    Personally, your last point seems to be trolling, and not very bright trolling at that. You should at least try to be witty and entertaining instead of thoughtlessly inane.

  55. smallz79 (03:54:42) :

    Any way, I hope someone somewhere is having a better “real” summer.

    Summer in Greece is right on time, June is a bit on the higher than average heat where I am, Athens area. The average maximum for June is 29C and we have been going over for half the time. Swimming is fine since the waters are also about right.
    I remember one year, when it was cool and rainy like this in North Europe, suddenly we were swarmed by unexpected tourists coming helter skelter to get some sun.
    At times we get what I call “air conditioned summers”, temperatures not over 34 C and lovely north winds blowing. Maybe this will be one of those years. The islands are always comfortable , though windy.
    Some years July can hit 46C for a few days, dry heat from the Sahara.

  56. Pofarmer gave a nice summary of the effects of the current GM crops on yield (i.e. not much in the US), so increases in yield per acre can be attributed to breeding, temperature and increased CO2. Corn in particular is incredibly efficient at taking CO2 out of the air so even small increases will make a difference.
    New varieties make the biggest difference , but this may also be linked to temperature. If you can get earlier planting you can use a longer season crop which often correlates to higher yield. Conversely, later planting, shorter season and lower yield. Often it is the choice of variety that determines yield and if you expect a longer growing season, you breed/plant a variety that can make the most of it.
    I could go on boringly great length about investment in plant breeding, but I think the point I would like to make is that plant breeding is going to be critical to how we deal with climate change. Whatever is causing it, (not CO2, but it hardly matters as we can’t stop it happening), we will have to adapt – as we have in the past. If the increased total production in North America has been due to higher temperatures, then a fall in those temperatures is going to be very bad. North America is the world’s animal feed basket (demand for which is increasing faste than food per se as richer people eat more meat) and we are seeing mounting pressure on this from biofuels. If yields drop we will see more pressure to increase acreage either on marginal land or clearing of uncultivated land.
    To those people who criticise Monsanto, at least they are investing in plant breeding – which is more than can be said for most governments.
    Sorry, I’ll get down from my soap-box now.

  57. Crop losses to water shortage may exceed those from all other causes combined (Kramer, 1980).
    Also:
    http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1748-9326/3/3/034003/ and:
    Contribution of Planting Date Trends to Increased Maize Yields in the Central United States
    Christopher J. Kucharik*
    Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, 1710 University Avenue, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53726
    Early planting of maize (Zea mays L.) allows for longer-season hybrids to be used in cool temperate regions. Given that a multidecadal trend toward earlier planting has been occurring across the Corn Belt, it was hypothesized that this shift has supported a portion of recent yield increases. The objectives were to quantify relationships among state level monthly climate variables, maize yields, and planting dates, and to investigate whether multidecadal trends of earlier planting contributed to rising yields during 1979 to 2005 in 12 central U.S. states. Year-to-year changes (i.e., first differences) of predictor variables (monthly mean temperature and precipitation and planting date) and yields were calculated, and multiple linear regression was used to estimate the effect of planting date trends on maize yield increases. In six of the 12 states, a significant relationship (P < 0.05) existed between first differences of planting dates and yields. Multiple linear regression suggested that the management change has potentially contributed between 19 and 53% of the state level yield increases in Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Yield increases between 0.06 and 0.14 Mg ha–1 were attributed to each additional day of earlier planting, which likely reflects a gradual adoption of longer-season hybrids. Thus, if these earlier planting trends were to suddenly abate, a falloff in annual yield increases may follow in several Corn Belt states. Maize production in northern U.S. states appears to have benefited more significantly from earlier planting due to a shorter growing season in contrast to more southern locations.
    Estimated yield losses this year are based on delayed planting.

  58. TIm Clark
    I think you’ve got a chicken or egg thing there with early planting. Granted earlier planting of both corn and soybeans has generally led to higher yields. But, is the earlier planting due to weather changes? Hybrid changes? or cultural practices?
    My bet is a little bit of all three.

  59. Tim Clark (08:40:34) :
    “anna v (04:23:26) :
    “”tallbloke (01:05:54) :
    Monsanto would disagree. They have been making fat profit on the back of naturally increasing yields.””
    And scams?”
    I assumed that most of you knew what GM crops were.

    For scam I was talking of the lure described in the article I linked to buy GM seed with the promise of higher yiled and become bankrupt much more than if you had bought the seeds from the home providers, or even kept seeds from the previous crop, as was the traditional way.
    Am I wrong that the GM crop is sterile and cannot be used to produce next year’s crop? How can that be healthy?
    Personally I do not like pesticides with my food, and would prefer natural pest control or even living with pests as people have for maybe million of years. To incorporated them in the genes is terrible, imho. I have read some articles that the bee devestation in the US is due to these genetic pesticides.
    This is out of topic, but monoculture, controlled by a few corporations with patents on genes is a suicidal way for humanity to go, particularly if a little ice age is in the making. It is diversity that helps survival.

  60. Kum Dollison:
    Wheat didn’t increase much. Nor did Beans. Just corn exploded.
    Oh, wheat didn’t go GM. Beans? Nope. Corn went GM. It was, mostly (really, really mostly) GM Seeds.
    Soybeans are heavily GM. Fewer and fewer acres conventional beans grown each year. As a plant breeder, I know that much of the increase is GM seeds, but not all.

  61. anna v:
    Am I wrong that the GM crop is sterile and cannot be used to produce next year’s crop? How can that be healthy?
    Yes, you are incorrect. GM soybeans are not sterile. Soybeans are self-pollinated and seed from GM soybeans could be used for seed the next year. EULA agreements between farmers and seed companies are the reason why seed is not saved.
    Modern seed corn is a hybrid, can’t save that seed anyway.

  62. hareynolds (06:48:46) :
    (b) Has anybody noticed the 10.7cm solar flux number? It just dropped to 67.
    How many times must it be said that 10.7 also depends on the distance to the Sun. The reason for the low values recently is that we are approaching the point in the Earth’s orbit where we are farthest from the Sun. Has nothing to do with solar activity ‘flatlining’ or ‘dropping’. F10.7 has in fact been increasing since November of last year.
    REPLY: Maybe I need to do a post on this again – Anthony

  63. Corn needs HEAT and WATER to grow well. Planting it earlier only works if there is no frost that will kill the seedlings. Corn is very susceptible to frost.
    In Texas, early planting (March 15) allows the corn to use the large amounts of soil moisture that are typically present in the early spring and to get adequate water when blooming due to the 3-4 inch rains that come once or twice in May. By June1, most corn is fully eared out and by July 1 it is ready for harvest. This year, the corn is very late as only about half the fields have bloomed so far. The harvest will likely occur in August for North Texas. This is very late.
    You can also look at hay cuttings. Up until last year, Mother’s Day was the traditional first cutting. This year and last, the first cutting for warm season hay has yet to occur.
    GM has not had much of an effect. GM corn has two basic varieties – herbicide resistance genes (glyphosate) and BT genes ( a naturally occurring insecticide). The first allows farmers to spray roundup on their fields after emergence and before the corn closes its canopy over the soil – thus killing the weeds that would compete with the corn for both water and nutrients. In the past, farmers had to to use mechanical means to uproot the weeds. The BT gene prevents attacks by corn root worm which gives the plant more access to water and nutrients while preventing the farmer from having to spray the fields to control it. GM is thus a cost-containment strategy and not a yield-increasing strategy. If a farmer has a weed-free field and little evidence of pests, there is no need for GM.
    Yield is driven by many factors – heat and water and then nutrients, then planting care – seed bed, seed depth, plant placement, and then harvest factors.

  64. Seed can be saved. The farmer has to pay a “tech fee” if he or she elects to plant saved seed. Many do this for soybeans.
    Wheat is the most common seed that is saved that is not GM. In Texas, some people save milo and sudan as well. I have used all three from saved seed.
    Open pollinated crops are theoretically better than hybrids, but the long-term costs of plant breeding are not practical when compared to hybrids, thus hybrids rule currently.
    Some hybrids are fertile. But, generally corn hybrids are not. Some common corn varieties are not hybrids.

  65. To John W.
    As for the first point, i would appreciate it if you could provide me with some references about the established links between North Am. (regional) temperatures and solar cycle length.
    As for the second point, there are an awful lot of other factors that can affect trends in agricultural productivity (assuming the original plot in the article is about productivity, i-e yield, and not total production – which would also involve the areas under production): other climatic factors of course (what about rainfall ? incident radiation ?), but of course non-climatic factors as well, such as technological progress (improved varieties (not neccessarily GM), use of more efficient inputs (pesticides, fertilizers… ), irrigation), specially when combined with adequate agricultural policy, environnemental factors (soil fertility, CO2 fertilization), etc.
    Sorting out these factors in current crop yield trends is nothing trivial, i believe. Some researchers are working on it (see papers by David Lobell, for exemple). I’m not familiar with the agriculture in the US, and i certainly believe that in northern US yields are temperature-limited (but what about mississipi, or georgia?); however i find it hard to believe that temperatures are THE major driver of this recent increase in crop yields (as opposed to yield increase before 1990 ?). At least I think it needs a little more argumentation.

  66. Anna,
    You cannot raise large fields of row crops without pesticides. It is simply not possible. If the pests are not controlled at the early stages when they are first spotted, a massive infestation is possible. Once the pests reach maturity – like the grasshopper – then they are virtually unstoppable.
    The same goes for fertilizers.
    GM seed does not cause bankruptcy – drought and pests, do.

  67. Austin, Pofarmer, others:
    My understanding is that companies such as Monsanto or Conagra have to plan/plant two or three years out to have seed stock (hybrid or GM) ready for any given year. Is this correct?

  68. REPLY: Maybe I need to do a post on this again – Anthony
    We will be waiting for it….and for the correlated “watt’s effect” which for sure will lower 10.7 to 64!

  69. I buy most of my seed from the COOP or a private dealer. Most of it is produced in Texas on irrigated ground by private producers who sell to brokers after their germination tests are complete.
    The larger seed houses contract out to private producers to produce a specific crop. The real knowledge on seed production rests with them, not Monsanto or some other boogeyman.
    Monsanto could go away tomorrow and it would have no effect on me or most producers. Another firm would replace them because there is a real, economic need for GM and plant breeding.
    GM crops have saved a lot of time and labor and have greatly reduced the use of hard herbicides and pesticides. They have made no-till viable. Its been a great plus. Glyhposate is harmless. Would you prefer Atrazine?

  70. Harold Ambler (07:23:21) :
    Adam Soereg (05:22:58) :
    A little bit offtopic, but it is very likely that June 2009 will be colder globally than June 2008.
    Roy Spencer has stated that his team exclusively uses Channel 9 in calculating global mean temperature. 2009 has been higher than 2008 on Channel 9 for three months now.

    I think you misremember. It is channel 5 that Roy Spencer uses :
    “A reminder for those who are monitoring the daily progress of global-average temperatures here:
    (1) Only use channel 5 (”ch05″), which is what we use for the lower troposphere and middle troposphere temperature products.
    (2) Compare the current month to the same calendar month from the previous year (which is already plotted for you).
    (3) The progress of daily temperatures should only be used as a rough guide for how the current month is shaping up because t”
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/05/uah-global-temperature-anomaly-for-may-down-again-near-zero/#more-8204
    and channel 5 shows cooling at the moment:
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps

  71. My two cents
    I tried GMO Soybeans when they were first introduced. And contine to use Round-up ready beans. The RR (roundup ready) trait allowed easier,cheaper weed control. You got a yield boost if you had weeds i your fields that were hard to controll with other herbicide programs. Over 80% of the beans planted now include the RR trait. The biggest change in the farm country was the disappearance of your local soybean herbicide rep. Monsanto has all the business today. They are able to insert the RR trait into varities of soybeans with better yields over time.
    Corn has multiple GMO traits that improve yield. Resistance to various insect being the main driver here.
    Wheat : a decision was made to not raise GMO wheat since the politics were so overwhelming. I.E. do you want you a pupper fish gene with your toast this morning. So all the reasearch dollar have flowed to corn and soybeans.

  72. Anna V: “and channel 5 shows cooling at the moment:”
    Up to and including June 14, the cumulative difference from last year is +0.64 degrees. Dividing this by the 14 days and adding to last June’s anomaly of -0.114 degrees gives a reading of -0.087 degrees. However, given the difference from last year as of June 14 was -0.054 degrees, there is a strong possibility that the June temperature will end up lower than the -0.087 degrees figure. And this is when the MEI reading is positive!

  73. Food shortages and price spikes experienced over the past two years were but a warning wave of what is to come.

  74. I can vouch for the cool, rainy June here in SE Missouri. My farmer friends tell me that they are way behind planting rice and soybeans. Its getting late for both crops to have proper growing season. Rainy weather has also had major impact on construction projects. We have lost more than two weeks of work days over the past month. Long term forcasts (for what they are worth) don’t look much better.

  75. The farmer has to pay a “tech fee” if he or she elects to plant saved seed.
    Actually, you can’t save GM seed at all. You sign a contract to that effect when you buy it, and it is enforced.
    “My understanding is that companies such as Monsanto or Conagra have to plan/plant two or three years out to have seed stock (hybrid or GM) ready for any given year. Is this correct?”
    Well, it depends. To gear up for full scale production of a hybrid is a fairly long window, however, some seed companies are now doing off season production in Hawaii and Chile, to make it faster bringing certain varieties to market.

  76. Can you also put up a blog about the jet stream???? Colder weather in the north means that the jet stream has moved NORTH and is in its Rockies-Great Lakes track. It is the depth of its North to South oriented loops that scoops out warmer weather and puts cold weather in its place in southern locations. The constant cold versus warm fronts also results in weather extremes in the Northern latitudes. When the North is bathed in warmer calm weather it means that the jet stream is in its straighter, less loopy pineapple belt-Florida track. The lack of mixing cold with warm means that the northern areas are heated by the Sun instead of cooled or fried by a raucous looping jet stream. Unfortunately, it also means that in its Southern track, the warm weather over the Gulf leads to strong hurricanes coming on shore one after the other.

  77. The cooler wet weather means rust in rye grass in the Willamette Valley. Yields will be down but price could go up. EXCEPT that it also means no lawn replanting necessary in the South as the lawns won’t die in the heat. Less demand for lawn seed. The price will stay low. Wheat futures are a good bet. People will eat expensive bread way before they will eat their lawn.

  78. I am left to wonder by what proposed mechanism the quiet Sun is thought by Archibald to have caused a shift in the zones? Does not this David follow the jet stream or the PDO? ENSO? Trade winds, Hadley Cells, Kelvin Waves or the Coriolis? I sometimes get the idea that he sticks his fingers in his ears and says, “La La La La La La La La La”. So I have a suggestion for his next post. He should explain the mechanism and influence he believes these natural weather variation pattern drivers have had on the last 100 years and why he thinks the Sun’s proposed mechanism and influence is so much stronger than these other Earth bound drivers. One of the better ways that Sun believers can promote their idea is to explain and compare their hypothesis with other drivers. And I mean thoroughly. Let’s end these frog jumping postings that go from zones to Sun without much meat between. Where’s the beef?

  79. I personally think following pasture or crop yields would give a better indication on climate than comparing daily highs, or taking a daily mean from temp manually… nature will do a better job at showing the averages over a larger area whilst eliminating the possibility of very localized conditions.. (most pastoral farmers will measure pasture growth also)
    However, as a farmer, i know the fact that the fertilizer companies participated in a bit o blatant price gouging during the 07-08 season, and with reduced commodity prices during the 08-09 a lot o people did cut their inputs to remain economical… at least here in New Zealand anyway… But this autumn just gone, was the coldest ive seen, with the worst growth rates by far! And the may here, was the coldest, wettest and darkest in new zealands recorded history. We Missed all the warm northerly rains and had the lows too far south dragging up freezing weather and rain a few months earlier than normal.

  80. Jimmy Haigh (08:13:26) :
    All Haighs originated in Yorkshire in England and we were all originally Vikings with the surname ‘Hauge’ from the Stavanger area of Southwest Norway. They first arrived in England in the 9th Century. Maybe Norway was too cold then? It warmed up in the MWP though.

    Interesting. Hauge is still a very common name in Norway.
    Regarding Viking era climate in Norway, at least one history book claims the opposite of what you suggest; it was warm. The following URL is to a Google translate to English of an on line Norwegian history book
    http://tinyurl.com/Vikings-in-the-west
    “The climate in the Viking period was better than it is today. That meant that the crops grew well, which meant that people had enough to eat. We can see it in the skeletons as archaeologists have studied, people were just as tall as we are today. In the Middle Ages, when the climate was colder and there was less food, people became shorter again. The good supply of food during the Viking Age made the population increase, which gave many people no choice: If one would have its own soil spot to cultivate food on, many were forced to look for new places to live.”
    Here, a “better” climate, means a warmer climate obviously.

  81. Max (00:32:24) is right on the money. The principal connection (controlling for other factors) between climate and agricultural productivity are the total growing-degree days during the growing season. See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growing_degree_day
    That squishy statistic is unfortunately subject to divergent calculation and wide interpretation. For instance, the National Weather Service computes a corn growing degree day by:
    … subtracting a base temperature of 50°F from the average of the maximum and minimum temperatures for the day. Minimum temperatures less than 50°F are set to 50, and maximum temperatures greater than 86°F are set to 86. These substitutions indicate that no appreciable growth is detected with temperatures lower than 50 or greater than 86.
    which is not accurate and almost counter-factual. Nevertheless, the amount of heat work on plants at effective temperatures during the growing season is the key driver of plant productivity — after factoring out moisture stress, fertilization, ag practices, etc.
    The more heat work, the better the growth. The warmest areas of the country (such as the Imperial, San Joaquin, and Salinas Valleys in CA) are also the most productive. The coldest areas (Alaska, Maine) have the least vegetative productivity.
    Most of the food crops grown today (that feed the world) were domesticated in tropical or semi-tropical climates.
    Warmer Is Better when comes to farming.

  82. Pamela – I don’t think its either or….it can be both solar and PDO/AMO/ENSO and the jetstream……though I’m not sure David A. gets this…as a specialist in solar he might not be expected to….what we need is some interdisciplinary teamwork between ocean and solar specialists. Check out the papers of Charles Perry (haven’t got time to get the links but google will find him at the US geological service).
    We seem to have two interacting systems in parallel – the solar cycles, and the ocean oscillations and the latter can be followed in the paleo-ecological record and then correlations sought with the solar proxies. There are many papers that suggest the patterns are linked.
    Over on this side of the pond, the jetstream was loopy and the loop had shifted slightly eastward in June 2007 and 2008 bringing torrential rain to the western UK, but this May-June, the track has been much flatter and further south, also in the winter, bringing cool wet and windy weather to Iberia, and drier weather in the UK – with some Arctic highs developng – not sure if it is the highs that push it south, or whether they are a consequence. At times these highs produce northerly winds and cool air masses into the UK.
    The MetOffice expects a hot summer here – but they got the last two summers and the winter forecast wrong. They may get lucky – this summer is different from last.

  83. Denver has yet to hit 80 in June. That is a record…the previous record was the first 14 days of 1949.

  84. Mike D. (15:05:21) :
    Yes, i know weather conditions show in my dairy companies production figures, locally and nationally.. i think farming practices average themselves out… for dairy 1000kgs o milk solids a hectare is as good as youre going to get on a low input system on good land. Its not hard to factor in the N induced growth, or fertilizers either, these are known figures ( N= 10-1 response above 12C soil temps, 15-1 above 18C )

  85. Great to see this thread. ‘cos plants don’t lie, don’t have to skew research to keep their funding, or whatever. And agricultural stats (like the aforementioned milk solids kg/ha) are both ubiquitous and heavily relied on by folks with skin in the game, like banksters.
    As that old geezer Leonard Cohen sang (‘Anthem’)
    There is a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.
    And this particular crack – plants’ response to their environment – may well prove to be the very one that the light shines through. Hopefully, in time to prevent too many blood (well, ok, your tax dollars) sacrifices on the Holy Altar of AGW.

  86. The Weather Channel seems to avoid talking about cooler weather. If they do mention it they sometimes remind us that cooler temps are temporary and that global warming is here for the long run.
    From the front page of The Weather Channel web site today they are talking about the heat only in ~1/4 of the US while not mentioning the long standing unseasonable cold in ~3/4 of the US :
    http://www.weather.com/?from=gn_logo_welcome

  87. “Many nations will not accept our GM exports. To them, it’s the equivalent of cardboard.
    They aren’t hungry enough.
    Yet.”
    A few years ago the Zambian population was certainly hungry enough, they were eating grass and soil because of the failure of the rains and the subsequent failure of the maize crop.
    The US Government (not Monsanto) offered huge quantities of milling maize and seed maize for just about free. Fortunately a young Zambian agronomist checked just what was being offered.
    It was a poisoned chalice.
    The seed being offered was sterile, it had the so-called suicide gene. Anyone growing this crop could not save seed for the next year. Unfortunately, this is how almost all farming in Zambia works. The farmer saves seed from this year’s crop for next year. The bright agronomist spotted that, by accepting the sterile seed almost all of Zambia’s maize seed for the forthcoming year would have to be purchased. There are very, very few Zambian subsistence farmers who can afford to buy seed maize.
    The Zambian Government decided to accept the US aid only if all of the maize was ground to maize flour (mealie meal, the Zambian staple food) in order to avert this problem.
    The US Government declined to accept this condition of acceptance by an almost starving Third World country.
    I emphasise “Government”, not a commercial company. There was no “Frankenstein” hysteria in Zambia about anything GM. The only block was the refusal by the Zambian Government to import maize seed which was infertile; this was completely at odds with the normal farming methods in the country and, if it had been allowed, would have paved the way to devastating famine.
    Draw your own conclusions.

  88. Jared (15:38:37) : Denver has yet to hit 80 in June. That is a record…
    Haven’t you heard from The Weather Channel Jared? Regardless of this being a first since records were kept this is only temporary and global warming is with us for decades and centuries.

  89. The seed being offered was sterile, it had the so-called suicide gene. ]
    This is the first I’ve ever heard of any “suicide gene” except perhaps, experimentally in cotton. More than likely it was simply hybrid seed.

  90. A new report from the White House on “Climate Change”.
    One of thier predictions “For example, warming trends in coming decades are expected to reduce the lobster catch in the waters of the Northeast, increase the intensity of hurricanes in the Southeast and accelerate drought in the Southwest, it said.”
    They apparently were not informed of the Sporer Minimum 1420 to 1570 (some say 1450 to 1550). , and the 3 MegaDroughts of the 14th, 15th & 16th Centuries.
    Tree-ring reconstructed megadroughts
    over North America since A.D. 1300
    David W. Stahle & Falko K. Fye &
    Edward R. Cook & R. Daniel Griffin
    What warming trends?
    I don’t see any warming trends.
    I see definate signs of cooling trends, and a Deep Solar Minimum forming.
    Isn’t this just lovely. Blame everything on warming trends.
    Open the window and get some fresh air.

  91. I will recant one thing from that article. I don’t think the month of solar minimum is in yet. Solar Cycle 23 could end up being 14 years long. In the absence of sunspots, it will be put in the middle of the F 10.7 quiet period. Another year of cooling means another 0.7 degrees C off mid-latitude temperatures.
    I have updated solar activity graphs and they are posted on Warwick Hughes at:http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=224
    I now think we are in for a Maunder Minimum rerun. The Sun is bleeding magnetic flux in a transition to a lower ground state. We don’t know yet which solar cycle ahead us will pull us out of that lower ground state, so that length can’t be predicted yet.
    The inflection point in the Ap Index and the IMF is June 2008. In the fullness of time we will find out if the ocean cooling accelerated from that date.

  92. Since the productivity graphs are for total farm output, you have to consider not only increases in yield per acre but increases in acres under tillage. This brings the ethanol boondoggle into the picture, as it was developing in the same time period as the accelerated growth in productivity. By the time ethanol peaked, crop rotation, which was pretty much the norm of farming practice, at least in the MN, IA, WS area I had occasion to observe, had virtually disappeared. Add in the effect of new seeds, and the growth enhancement of higher CO2 in the atmosphere and the contribution provided by climate variation starts to look less significant. Ethanol can also account for the anomaly of falling futures prices in the face of grim crop forecasts, since the whole industry is on life support throughout the Upper Midwest, which will mean a greatly diminished market come harvest time. Biodiesel isn’t doing much better, which will be a drag on the soybean price.
    Weed control not only affects the yield per acre, but the total profit since once harvested and taken to the elevator to be sold, the price received can be greatly affected if the foreign matter is high, especially for soybeans. Even if two plots of soybeans had identical yields, if one had a high level of weed infestation the total revenue generated would be reduced.

  93. Pofarmer (12:43:56) :
    The farmer has to pay a “tech fee” if he or she elects to plant saved seed.
    Actually, you can’t save GM seed at all. You sign a contract to that effect when you buy it, and it is enforced.
    the tech fee is enforced.YES… A local seed cleaner was cleaning RR soybeans for years and seelling a few on the side as well. They caught him and fined the business around $120,000.00. It went into local High school scholar ship fund.

  94. My apricots are a disaster, ZERO yield, a complete loss this year. My apples are 5 – 10% yield. My apple trees are already turning – it starts with the small leaves which never reached maturity every year – these started turning and falling two weeks ago. Now I am seeing the first large leaves. The few apples are about cherry sized and still fully green. They may never make it.
    I’ve also noticed many of the (non native) birches found in landscaped, irrigated areas here are starting to turn.
    They are sooooooo confused.

  95. The jet stream in the Western US has been looped under it, holding a sizeable low that has produced much thunder, lightning, rain & hail. In a previous thread, we had a link to the forecast that has June cooler than normal for the West. Of course, their forecast models are all brown spots from July 2009 onwards. Reminds me of the Met Office getting the UK’s longrange forecasts upside down.
    Gotta keep plugging in those coins to feed the Lucky AGW Slot model.
    One-eyed bandit.

  96. Tim Clark (09:53:39) :
    The only reason my post is original is that the people who should be doing it – the USDA and the state universities – are way behind.

  97. As Al Gore would say, taking liberties from Dilbert, “Stupid plants. Don’t they know it is getting warmer?”

  98. rbateman (08:30:13) : “Weather is not Climate, . . .”
    Historically climate was a pattern of weather. Look at the descriptions. Such as hot dry summers and cool wet winters or an alternative of wet summer and dry winter.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6ppen_climate_classification
    A change in climate ought to mean a change in pattern and not just a fraction of a degree of temperature change without a change in pattern of all the things explained in the link above.

  99. Leif Svalgaard (10:26:18) : the 10.7cm solar flux
    This is one of several issues that appear in comments about once each week. Perhaps we could make a list and have it appear on the right side of the posts — there could be a 25 cent fine for anyone repeating these things, much like an office that has a fine if one swears. Every so often we could vote on where or to whom the accumulated cash goes. It might add up rapidly.

  100. Mike D. (15:05:21) : “That squishy statistic . . .”
    Such things as growing degree days are, at best, indicators and should be recognized as only giving an idea as to what is going on out in the fields, orchards, and vineyards. Daytime temps above the high 80s do not do wine grapes any good and where such temperatures are expected the growers often place misters among the vines. The evaporation lowers the temp and the vines keep growing.
    I guess my point is you have generalized beyond the data.

  101. John F. Hultquist (23:18:26) :
    In the absence of sunspots, the F 10.7 is the remaining indicator of where we are in the solar cycle. A reading of 67 is only 2.5 or so above the theoretical minimum, and adjusted for aphelion/perihelion may be at the minimum. It would be more pertinent to have that little box quote the raw and the distance adjusted number. A reading of 67 means things are very flat no matter how much it is adjusted.
    Dr Svalgaard, thanks for the reference to the polar fields.

  102. Stephen Brown
    The conclusion I draw if your story is true is that the seed being offered was GM,which is why it was a suicide gene.I do see a lot of holes in your story.If Zambia was not in a drought,why wouldn’t the UN provide seeds to the farmers?Looking up Zambia leads me to believe irrigation was the main problem.
    http://www.eoearth.org/article/Water_profile_of_Zambia
    This lady is very wise in my opinion,but it will never happen.
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=1647433

  103. David Archibald (00:14:21) :
    A reading of 67 is only 2.5 or so above the theoretical minimum, and adjusted for aphelion/perihelion may be at the minimum.
    There is no theoretical minimum. F10.7 is a measure of the temperature and density of the corona and those do not have theoretical minima [except the trivial one: zero]. Right now we are close to aphelion and the adjustment goes in the direction of a larger number. The ’67’ should be adjusted to 70.5 and is up from the value of 65 that was recorded at the minimum back in early December 2008.

  104. Ice (10:38:31) :
    To John W.
    As for the first point, i would appreciate it if you could provide me with some references about the established links between North Am. (regional) temperatures and solar cycle length.

    That hypothesis is discussed on multiple threads here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/
    Including this one.
    As for the second point, there are an awful lot of other factors that can affect trends in agricultural productivity …
    however i find it hard to believe that temperatures are THE major driver of this recent increase in crop yields ….

    Many factors affect agricultural yield. However, your original point only addressed one: “that temperatures (actually, minimum temperatures) are driving agricultural productivity, (or at least two third of it…).”
    Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. A growing season shortened due to prolonged winter conditions early in the year, and early onset of winter condition later in the year, will result in lower yields. Any farmer from the last 10,000 years could explain that to you. That is the reason current agricultural forecasts for the entire Northern Hemisphere are dismal – as in 15% to 25% lower than normal.
    Or were you simply having trouble staying with the thread of the discussion point you raised?

  105. to john W.
    I was talking about papers in scientific journals, not blog posts.
    “Or were you simply having trouble staying with the thread of the discussion point you raised?”
    I have no trouble. I’m perfectly fine with the notion of temperature-limited plant cycle lengths, and thereby limited crop yield. I’m simply saying there could be other reasons explaining the increase in american crop yields over recent decades (after 1990). I’m ready to believe that positive trends in t° could be one of the main reasons why crop yields increased in northern USA (Minnesota, for instance). I doubt it is the only one, and i doubt it is the case everywhere (Georgia, Mississipi, etc.). And BTW, what about the increase before 1990 ? and what about the increase in yields in Europe ? in other parts of the world ? T°-driven everywhere ?
    Just like you i could say “more CO2 is good for crops. Any plant physiologist can explain that to you. Atmospheric CO2 has increased. Consequently, the increase in yields must result from the increase in CO2”. This is not proving anything.
    Your point about yield forecast is irrelevant. Weather conditions can perfectly drive interannual variability in yields, in terms of anomalies, without driving the underlying positive trend.
    As I said, sorting out the factors explaining that trend (technology, climate, environment…)is not straightforward. Any agroclimatologist could explain that to you.

  106. Stephen Wilde (08:31:40) :
    It’s rewarding to now see so much support for the idea that the end of observed warming was most probably due to a solar/ocean combination and a natural weather system thermostat.
    It follows that the 20th Century warming phases (such as they were after stripping out UHI effects) were products of the same phenomena.
    When I started banging on about such matters on various blogs over 2 years ago I met with disbelief and hostility but the real world has provided credibilty and similar ideas with useful variants are now coming to the fore from others.
    It was the unusual (at the time) nature of my posts that led to an invitation to submit original material to the new climate sceptic site climaterealists.com (then known as CO2sceptics.com).
    It has been an enjoyable ride despite the stress and work involved and I look forward to future developments.
    Sites like this and the intelligence of the contributors are clearly a new way of progressing scientific endeavour and fortunately they have come to the fore just as the worldwide scientific establishments congealed into grant slaves of the political elites.
    Now, lets find some way of measuring and monitoring the average net jet stream positions so that we can see how closely and quickly (or not) they react to net changes in the Earth’s energy budget and/or changes in ocean SSTs.
    We need some proper observational science done as a replacement for the Playstation computer methods of recent years.
    I see that as the key to the whole climate debate.
    Stephen,
    You make a very good point here and I agree.
    But we also need honest government.
    We are now ruled by spin doctors who lie and cheet us into poverty.
    Proper science and monitoring won’t change that.
    This is a political and educational problem.

  107. rbateman (19:31:54) :
    At about 1000 feet above MSL, in the upper 30s north latitude, within 10 miles of the Pacific.

  108. SteveSadlov (12:23:34) :
    What’s been going on in your weather?
    Frost, fog, rain, dry, hot & cold?

  109. Leif Svalgaard (05:49:21) :
    I only have to got back to WUWT in February to prove you wrong, in part with your own words: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/14/code-blue-107-centimeter-solar-radio-flux-is-flatlining/
    Extrapolation to zero of plots of the 10.7cm flux against other activity indices such as plage area or total photospheric magnetic flux in active regions suggest a quiet sun flux density of about 64 s.f.u.
    And your words: “I have updated the graph in the document to show the flat-lining of F10.7.”

  110. Many nations will not accept our GM exports. To them, it’s the equivalent of cardboard.
    It’s also the equivalent of protectionism.
    “Dump?! Sir, I do not dump. I . . . sell abroad at a loss . . . in defense of the national interest.”

  111. Central Maine, June 18 2009, NO home gardens around here look good unless they’ve been ‘replanted.’ Almost everyone’s garden plants which were planted in late May (typical) have died due to cold or excessive moisture. I’ve personally seen twenty or more home gardens in the past three weeks. We have an acre or so planted at home, and little other than the treated corn is growing well. Half the tomato plants dead. Cucumbers gave up due to root rot. My wife and I went for a walk last evening to the lake, and it felt like late September. We can see the possibility we may not have the forty or fifty jars of canned garden tomotoes we usually put away for winter. It would be a first, but a variety of plants are just not growing well at all due to too few warm sunny days, too many cool wet days and nights.
    John in China, Maine.

  112. David Archibald (14:25:38) :
    And your words: “I have updated the graph in the document to show the flat-lining of F10.7.”
    (sigh) At solar minimum there is a period where F10.7 curve is flat. At the current minimum that happened half a year ago. F10.7 is now markedly up and is no longer ‘flat’. See the pink curve at http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-SORCE-2008-now.png
    The error you commit is to try to pretend that solar minimum is still in the future and that F10.7 is still dropping. It is NOT.

  113. John F. Hultquist (23:37:13) : Daytime temps above the high 80s do not do wine grapes any good and where such temperatures are expected the growers often place misters among the vines. The evaporation lowers the temp and the vines keep growing.
    Depends on the variety. Winegrapes are grown in Northern Africa where it’s d*mn hot. In fact, Neolithic winepresses (treading basins) are found Egypt, Iran, and in the Jordan Rift Valley where it’s even hotter. Muscatel may have originated in Greece, or in Muscat on the southern Arabian Peninsula as the name implies. Only the ancient Phoenicians know. The northern varieties are new cultivars. The Imperial Valley produces winegrapes as well as table and raisin grapes. Etc.

  114. anna v (10:10:52) : For scam I was talking of the lure described in the article I linked to buy GM seed with the promise of higher yiled and become bankrupt much more than if you had bought the seeds from the home providers, or even kept seeds from the previous crop, as was the traditional way.
    I, too, have seen “news articles” about this in India. I could see it happening on a small scale; but have not fist hand evidence. Google it up and decide for yourself.
    So the weather is going to be cold, and there will be crop challenges, and farmers will respond with faster growing and changed plantings. There will be a rocky year or three while it happens. It’s not going to be particularly easy times. ( I don’t expect disaster, but just “hard times” like were in the world before the Modern Optimum warm period). My advice:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/food-storage-systems/
    And have at least a little garden of your own with seeds you can save. GM is not part of the solution for what is to come, it is part of the problems that will come. There is a wonderful book on edible landscaping:
    http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Book-Edible-Landscaping-Resource-Saving/dp/0871562782
    And these folks have a nice reading list:
    http://www.bellaonline.com/subjects/6322.asp
    if you want a garden that doesn’t look like a vegetable garden 😉
    Am I wrong that the GM crop is sterile and cannot be used to produce next year’s crop? How can that be healthy?
    Generally GM can’t be used either because it is not licensed for such use or because the seeds, after crossing out, are not suitable (i.e. they are not a stable cross – like hybrids). There was work being done on a ‘terminator gene’ but I don’t know if it going in to production. Some are stable and can be used, if you pay the penalty fees and get permission.
    The big issue is that if you plant GM near non-GM you get genetic pollution of the non-GM types. This is not a hypothetical. The rice shortage a year or two ago (blamed on Global Warming) was largely because a GM test field (gown by Bayer) down near Louisiana polluted the “foundation stock” for some of the most widely grown rice varieties from other seed companies and rendered it useless (as no license to use GM existed AND the strain was now wrong…)
    The foundation stock is what you grow out to make the seeds you will sell, so this caused a massive problem. Lots of farmers also quit growing rice until it all got cleaned up. Something about destroying your crops that bothered them… It was a few years before it was caught, so there was very little clean seed to start from to regenerate a new foundation seed stock.
    A farmer in Canada had spent years developing his own strain of Canola. Monsanto GM crossed into it from outside his farm AND SO MONSANTO SUED HIM. A decade or so later (and AFTER his years of labor were destroyed along with his crop) the suit settled in his favor, sort of… his seeds are toast, but he doesn’t have to pay Monsanto for their polluting his crop…
    There are now multiple herbicide resistant Rape / Canola WEEDS growing all over the place, including Japan (thanks to Canadian seeds falling off trucks on the way to processing). Oh, and there have been several cases now of such genes jumping to related species. The Cruciferous group being particularly untidy with their genes (cabages, kales, canola, rape, radishes, mustards ….) along with there being a weed (that around here is commonly called “milkweed” but isn’t) that will cross with lettuce (normally only a problem in giving you bitter lettuce, but going the other way once RR lettuce is around will result in unstoppable weeds…) At least one wild weed was found with a “quad stack” of herbicide resistance genes from several vendors…
    Personally I do not like pesticides with my food, and would prefer natural pest control or even living with pests as people have for maybe million of years. To incorporated them in the genes is terrible, imho. I have read some articles that the bee devestation in the US is due to these genetic pesticides.
    Oh yes, the OTHER big problem…
    But first: The first few years I had a garden, I had significant pest problems. I gave up for 2 years and just let the bugs eat my chard et. al. Then the spider and wasp population built up. Now I use no pesticides and enjoy watching my army of wasps working over the crop on warm days.. and have little to no pest problems (other than the tweety birds that peck my bean and pea leaves…. but they are so cute!) Oh, and I’ve got some kind of finch like thing and some hummers that keep the bugs down too. All because I stopped putting chemicals out. Completely unplanned, just an act of frustration.
    Back to the GM problems:
    You can not wash off the BT protein inside ever cell of GM product, it is IN the food. You CAN wash off BT spray applied externally. To those who will say “it is harmless”: A food allergy can develop to any non-self protein. The more you are exposed, the more likely it will develop.
    It is also now only a bit of time until BT no longer works as bugs develop resistance. It was one of the very few “pesticides” classed as “natural” (being a bacteria when used in organic gardening, not a chemical). Some folks have suggested that the decision to focus on BT was at least partially motivated by the desire to kill off the best “last resort” option organic gardeners had.
    Further, if you EVER develop an allergy to the BT protein, exactly what will you be able to eat? Since I have 3 food allergies already, I’m particularly bothered by this potential. There is evidence for cross reaction between soy, peanut, and lupin beans. Some kids with peanut allergies have died after eating lupini beans in Europe (not common in US food). It is speculated that increased soy consumption may be part of the reason we have an epidemic of peanut allergies. So what happens when even MORE genes and proteins are shared? How does a person with an allergy know what species they are eating when the species all have non-specific genes in them?
    Per bees: A German researcher was testing the BT toxin on bees (that it is supposed to not kill) and it didn’t kill them. THEN they got an accidental infection with another illness (a fungus?) that normally didn’t kill them, just made them a bit sick. The whole hive died. They are now redoing the testing a few more times to prove it. In the mean time we have BT laden corn pollen blowing over the entire midwest killing off who knows what… (it can blow for miles). Endangered insect species anyone? Believed to be part of the drop in butterfly numbers recently as they feed on things, like real milkweed, but it has a layer of corn pollen on it and no more butterfly… The interactions and cross reactions of RR, BT, etc. are completely unknown, untested, and not being looked at much or at all. “The Science Is Settled”… so why look?
    This is out of topic, but monoculture, controlled by a few corporations with patents on genes is a suicidal way for humanity to go, particularly if a little ice age is in the making. It is diversity that helps survival.
    That is why there are folks like me, who save seeds. Heirloom open pollinated seeds. Put them in glass jars in the freezer and they keep for decades. I have a dedicated (small) freezer for this purpose ( 8 cu ft?).
    http://www.seedsavers.org/
    One of my food allergies is to corn (which arrived about the same time GM corn took off, but is unlikely to be related; maybe). I have an ark of seeds so that WHEN some fool puts a corn gene where it doesn’t belong, I can still eat…
    There was a fish gene being put into some other plants. Anyone with seafood allergies? How do you handle “kosher” when your beans may be part crab?
    Oh, and there are two other small problems:
    1) The gene is “shutgunned” in with a Locked on master regulator gene to assure it is expressed. This tends to “lock on” some other random genes in whatever chromosome it enters. For this reason, many of the “sample” die. Those that don’t die are used to breed up a product. But what non-lethal genes are locked on, doing what? Nobody knows. One GM potato was withdrawn when they found it was a toxin (probably solanine that makes potato leaves and green skins poisonous) and was making folks sick; but it was more pest resistant…
    2) The genes are shot in using a virus that its particularly good at putting random chunks of genetic material into the nucleus (sometimes including it’s own genes). Bacteria fed on GM products have, in some cases, been shown to pick up some or all of the gene package. Nobody knows what this brew of pesticide genes, locked on master genes, virus genes, et. al. does in your intestinal tract when mixed with lots of microbes soaking up some of the genes. There is anecdotal evidence of some not-so-good things going on (that I’ll leave out due to the lack of published work).
    Oh, and they put a Marker Gene to make it easy to spot GM plants. It is an antibiotic resistance gene. Just what we need being given to every person and farm animal on the planet for incorporation into their gut bacteria. (Bacteria frequently pick up bits of genes from their environment…)
    One last minor point: GM plants often have significant “issues” that causes lower yields (especially in the first few rounds of breeding) due to this “shotgun and lock on random chunks of DNA and break some other bits” process. GM is about CONVENIENCE to the farmer, not yield or quality for you. In looking at GM, the model was “one gene, one protein”. This has been shown to be wrong, it’s more of “one holographic gene, several sometimes unrelated proteins”. When you whack that around, you have no idea what you get and what you break. None. All you have is “hope”.
    But the science is settled…
    IMHO, GM is just not ready for prime time, no matter how much you like The Genetic Shiny Thing. Too many loose ends and unresolved issues. The major “advantage” seems to be that Monsanto (and Bayer and Syngenta and) can get a patent on the genes and force you into serfdom indentured to them for life and sell boat loads of RoundUp for soaking the entire midwest.
    BTW, GM corn genes have already been found in the “land race” primitive corns of Mexico — where new genes come from for developing our hybrids. Genetic pollution of the land races in the centers of origin (as pointed out by Adolfo) is a major issue. The idea that the GM packages stay where they are put is seriously broken.
    If Syngenta finds a great cold tolerance gene in a “wild” corn in Mexico, but it has a Monsanto RR gene in it already: Who owns the genes? I can say it will be tied up in court so long that nobody will benefit from it in time…

  115. Canada has had a ridiculously cold year so far, just about anywhere. Crops have been decimated in large swaths of the prairies. Further north? Well, here’s a link about northern Manitoba’s coldest spring (if you can call it that) ever:
    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/westview/big-chill-in-churchill-47992231.html
    The southern hemisphere is faring no better, with ice wine in Brazil and plentiful snow (earliest ski openings on record) in New Zealand and Australia:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10579643
    Skiing is ongoing in Europe as well:
    http://www.planetski.eu/news/528
    Things won’t be getting any better, either. I think we could use a piece about Mount Sarychev in the Kuril islands:
    It’s eruption is here
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/38000/38985/ISS020-E-09048_lrg.jpg
    And the cooling sulphur plume coming to a continent near you (click on “daily OMI images” and then choose (say) Kamchatka:
    http://so2.umbc.edu/omi/
    I don’t normally post a bunch of links like this, but a quick scan suggests to me that they haven’t been posted yet, and I thought some of you might find them interesting, especially the last two.

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