Worse than we thought: "unpredictability of the weather" and crops

 

Darn that weather! Hail damaged corn in Iowa - click

 

From the University of Leeds, the Met Office Hadley Centre and University of Exeter via Eurekalert. No mention of the blueberry crop though.

Crop failures set to increase under climate change

Large-scale crop failures like the one that caused the recent Russian wheat crisis are likely to become more common under climate change due to an increased frequency of extreme weather events, a new study shows.

However, the worst effects of these events on agriculture could be mitigated by improved farming and the development of new crops, according to the research by the University of Leeds, the Met Office Hadley Centre and University of Exeter.

The unpredictability of the weather is one of the biggest challenges faced by farmers struggling to adapt to a changing climate. Some areas of the world are becoming hotter and drier, and more intense monsoon rains carry a risk of flooding and crop damage.

A summer of drought and wildfires has dramatically hit harvests across Russia this year, leading the government to place a ban on wheat exports. This led to a dramatic rise prices on the international commodity markets which is likely to have a knock-on effect in higher prices of consumer goods.

But the authors of the new study, which appears in Environmental Research Letters, argue that adaptation to climate change be possible through a combination of new crops that are more tolerant to heat and water stress, and socio-economic measures such as greater investment.

Lead author Dr Andy Challinor, from the University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment, said: “Due to the importance of international trade crop failure is an issue that affects everyone on the planet, not just those in crop-growing regions.

“More extreme weather events are expected to occur in the coming years due to climate change and we have shown that these events are likely to lead to more crop failures. What we need to do now is think about the solutions.

“It is highly unlikely that we will find a single intervention that is a ‘silver bullet’ for protecting crops from failure. What we need is an approach that combines building up crop tolerance to heath and water stress with socio-economic interventions.”

The team studied spring wheat crops in North East China. They used a climate model to make weather projections up to the year 2099 and then looked at the effect on crop yields. In parallel they looked at socioeconomic factors to determine how well farmers were able to adapt to drought.

While the study only looked at crops in China, the authors say this methodology can be applied to many of the other major crop-growing regions around the globe.

Study co-author Dr Evan Fraser, also of the University of Leeds, said: “It appears that more developed countries with a higher GDP tend to evolve more advanced coping mechanisms for extreme events. In China this is happening organically as the economy is growing quickly, but poorer regions such as Africa are likely to require more in the way of aid for such development.

“What is becoming clear is that we need to adopt a holistic approach: new crops for a changing climate and better farming practices that can only come about under more favourable socio-economic conditions.”

The team will now expand their research to look at other crops in different regions and they will look more closely at the reasons why increased GDP appears to protect against drought.

###

The research was funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council EQUIP programme and the Economic and Social Research Council Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.

For more information

A copy of the paper, ‘Increased crop failure due to climate change: assessing adaptation options using models and socio-economic data for wheat in China,’ is available to download here. http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/3/034012

Dr Andy Challinor is available for interview. Please contact Hannah Isom in the University of Leeds press office on 0113 343 4031 or email h.isom@leeds.ac.uk.

Notes to editors

The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise showed the University of Leeds to be the UK’s eighth biggest research powerhouse. The university is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The university’s vision is to secure a place among the world’s top 50 by 2015.

The Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (http://www.cccep.ac.uk/) was established in 2008 to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research. The Centre is hosted jointly by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/) and Munich Re (http://www.munichre.com/).

Contact: Hannah Isom

h.isom@leeds.ac.uk

44-113-343-5764

University of Leeds

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91 thoughts on “Worse than we thought: "unpredictability of the weather" and crops

  1. I am already seeing these effects in Southern New Zealand. That antartic storm that hit New Zealand two – three weeks ago meant that there no no bees around at the very time that my apricot trees were in blossum. No bees means no pollination, so no apricots this year. My black walnuts have just had their first leaf burst today, 12 -15 days later than normal.
    Yes, my crops are certainly being affected by global warming. Much more of this warming and we”ll freeze.

  2. A companion volume to this thread — or reality — can be found in this news item from Australia today:

    ‘Huge cost’ in returning water to Murray-Darling river system
        RETURNING water to the Murray-Darling river system may cost many billions of dollars more than predicted.
        The social cost, meanwhile, will be felt in the tens of thousands of jobs to be lost in rural communities.
        For the first time in four years, water is flowing along the 2400km course of the Murray.

  3. Our children will get to see less and less snow, errmm….I mean crops, due to climate change. The UK, Europe, New Zealand and Australia seem to be driving quite hard the scare campaigns in the MSN.

  4. There you have it an expert in climate change. Now if he was a farmer he might actually know something.

  5. Is it just me?
    Or is this carte blanch to game the system?
    Whenever some shyster wants to boost their profits, they cite inclement weather, blame C02, then hike their prices.
    Running low on OIL? – Hurricane in the Gulf.
    Getting short on Rice – that damn monsoon!
    Just used up the last jar of Mergatroids Exemplary carbunkle creme? – Blame the forest fires in Increduloustan.
    Almost any commodity, and others by proxy,…including proxy data from Yamal, can be over inflated on a whim.
    What joy for the markets, when a starving, bankrupt and desperate population take out 100% loan at 500% per annum
    to lease a cup of timeshare noodles.
    And you thought ENRON was a rip off. Not sure this is the kind of stimulus we need.

  6. “More extreme weather events are expected to occur in the coming years due to climate change …”

    It was implied there would be huge hurricane damage this year. Where’d it go, and why isn’t the MSM asking that question?
    Ditto tornado damage–where’d it go?

  7. Sooooooooo…… Unpredictable weather affects farmers and their crops….
    Uh, didn’t they teach that in grade school for the last 500 years?
    Global warming certainly isn’t making hurricanes worse OR more abundant since there are less of them than 70 years ago… Is that part of their “unpredictable” mantra? LOL

  8. Dr. Andy Challinor Said: “More extreme weather events are expected to occur in the coming years due to climate change and we have shown that these events are likely to lead to more crop failures.”
    and
    “… new crops for a changing climate …”
    Dr. Challinor, what change in climate?
    More people, more houses to get damaged by normal weather. There is a change. It’s not climate.
    More crops, more planted land, more crops to get damaged from normal weather. There is a change. It is not climate.
    More people building right on the beachfront, more damage from hurricanes which thankfully are at an all time low right now. There is a change. It is not climate.
    The Russian fires were from the mismanagement of the peat normally cut and mined and burned but no longer until it was a disaster waiting to happen. There is a change. It is not climate.
    The fires in the U.S.’s forest were once again from mismanagement of the forest floor where lumber was regularly cut and cleared decades ago. No longer until it was a disaster waiting to happen. There is a change. It is not climate.
    So just where is the change in climate. Changes in climate are large, last for decades if not centuries, everyone notices, from thousands around the world there is no noticeable change in their local climate over decades. So, once again Dr. Challinor, what change in climate?
    I’m sick of these ‘Global Warming’ and ‘Global Climate Change’ and ‘Global Climate Disruptor’ people that call themselves ‘climatologists’ or worse, ‘scientists’.
    Real scientists out there, hang on, the tide is a turning.

  9. CO2 Climate change alarm is quite simply the theft of public attention. The dangerous selling of a message that CO2 control equates to eliminate climate/weather control. As a result we no lo longer need to ask pesky questions like whether our water storage facilities can handle a 1930s type drought (or worse one of the 1600s events). Gone with the CO2 will be any repeat of 1927 Mississippi River flood that saw the river crest 50 miles wide and 30 foot deep. Certainly we won’t see another starvation period like the year without a summer. And nothing to see here- pay no attention to the emergence of the UG99 wheat rust. Tilting at windmills- you see- will fix everything.

  10. From the press release:
    But the authors of the new study, which appears in Environmental Research Letters, argue that adaptation to climate change be possible through a combination of new crops that are more tolerant to heat and water stress, and socio-economic measures such as greater investment.
    ———–
    From the paper:
    The results, and the limitations of this study, also
    suggest directions for research for linking climate and crop models, socio-economic analyses
    and crop variety trial data in order to prioritize options such as capacity building, plant breeding
    and biotechnology.

    Progress towards this
    limit may be achieved through using or developing appropriate
    stress-tolerant varieties or, in the case of water, through ample
    irrigation.

    Whilst the analysis presented here stops
    short of identifying specific varieties for drought and/or heat
    tolerance, methods do exist to more closely link modelling
    work with field studies in order to assess the potential for
    adaptation contained within existing germplasm (e.g. [28, 34]).
    ————-
    So …, Co2 is making it too hot in China for wheat, but if farmers would buy pumps and water their crops more thoroughly, or if somebody clever invents a strain of wheat that doesn’t care so much about the whole water thing, then we’ll be okay.
    Happily, there do exist computer models that can do the job that we would have been doing, had we been doing anything more than telling you that we’d better study this more closely.

  11. Egypt is already warmer than any place north of Egypt will be, even if the globe warms as much as they worry about, and Egyptian farmers harvest three crops a year.

  12. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    October 7, 2010 at 10:03 pm
    Could it get that bad?
    If Climate Discombobulation Agendists suceed and return to the “utopia” of the 15-17th Century, yes.
    Only the advances in technology and trade saved Europe during the Dalton episode.

  13. “They used a climate model . . .” Of course . . .
    I’m tired of model outputs and interpretations of model outputs being called “studies.” There is nothing inherently wrong in looking at models, but there needs to be a different term that can be used to distinguish this kind of “study” from real studies — you know, the ones with real observations . . . and real data . . . and boots on the ground.

  14. More of those thrice damned play station scientists.
    For tens of thousands of years, farmers have led a precarious existence. And these idiots have just discovered this?
    Now I wonder why is it that I am filled with such contempt and loathing for posturing pretentious climate scientists and their many hangers-on?

  15. Geez – as far back as I can remember as a kid growing up on the prairie, we had a thing called “crop insurance.” It was used most often when weather was cold and wet rather than dry and hot. And that was in the 5 months of the year when it was actually warm enough to produce anything green.
    Last time I drove west to east on the way to visit mom during Christmas it was -31 C past Regina in the middle of the night (although at 110 km/hr it was probably closer to -60 C on the engine). All the disconnected pollution devices required by California law (but not on vehicles imported into Canada) kept lighting-up on my dash board. They weren’t connected to anything, but the cold was setting them off. Kind of worrisome since -31 C will kill you a lot faster than +31 C and it was difficult to tell if it was a low oil light, or overheating engine because the rad had frozen up.
    Global warming? Can’t happen fast enough, if you ask me.

  16. ‘They used a climate model to make weather projections up to the year 2099 and then looked at the effect on crop yields’
    They took a model to forecast the climate 90 years out, then used another model to forecast the effect on crop yields.
    Call me a cynic if you wish, but with no actual experimental data involved…merely forecasts…have they really done any more than examine the characteristics of the models?
    Could they perhaps make some predictions a bit closer to home..say 5 years…and then we would have a chance of actually testing their predictions before we are all dead? Or does Climatology still not invite any verification at all?
    I have a model here that conclusively proves that Shergar will win the Grand National next time. Any takers? I’ll offer a good price….and its a cert!

  17. Patrick:
    Agreed.
    The general public in Australia could be forgiven for thinking all is well with the IPCC, and never heard of ETS fraud, ClimateGate, SplatterGate, or anything that dares to question the alarmist movement, since virtually nothing but alarmist news has been reported.
    It’s no wonder our Labor government is still pursuing a “tax on carbon”; the public doesn’t know enough to complain about it.

  18. Blah blah blah blah…
    Might, maybe, possibly, coulda, woulda, shoulda, if, or, but, unpredictable, unsure, unexpected…
    Yup.
    Sounds like weather and climate to me.
    *yawn*

  19. Isn’t it odd that climate change always means bad news? They haven’t thought of the crops we could grow successfully IF temps do increase. How odd?

  20. What is bad about a return to normal climate variability is that farmers have been encouraged by agribusiness to forget how to farm. Every farmer used to practise crop improvement through selection, that is how we got all of the “heritage” varieties we have today. The main mechanisms for dealing with disease and pests (which are the harbingers of climate change) was crop selection. Soil was managed by manuring, crop rotation, interplanting, fallow and a host of other tricks of the trade. Now you plant your crop developed by Megacorp, fertilize it with your fossil fuel based fertilizer, and spray it with petroleum based pesticides and when the soil loses its capacity to hold water and nutrients, give it a shot of polyacrylamide. Farmers are just the lastest in a long list of skilled tradesmen to be turned into trades-consumers. So if the world does get a little hotter or a little colder, Megacorp probably won’t have the magic bean in their product line, but you can bet that somewhere among the 10,000 varieties of beans in Italy, there will be some that thrive. Hey, what am I thinking, I must be crazy, we should let the experts take care of us. We would surely screw up if left to our own devices.

  21. The unpredictability of the weather is one of the biggest challenges faced by farmers struggling to adapt to a changing climate
    When I was a boy, and growing up on a farm, we had three years with a flood, a drought, and then a flood and three damaged wheat crops.
    In the last year, I can remember watching fish swim across a road between the paddocks – the water was that high.
    That was about 40 years ago – and you know what – the weather now is just as unpredictable as it was then.

  22. No wonder sensible UK farmers go to Piers Corbyn, WeatherAction for forecasts instead of the Met Office!
    Following their line of argument gives me hope that the first crops to fail will be the ones that produce biofuels!

  23. *sigh* Remember the good old days, before climate change, when every crop on the face of the Earth received exactly the right amount of sunshine and rain for maximum production?
    Man, I miss those times.

  24. “more developed countries with a higher GDP tend to evolve more advanced coping mechanisms for extreme events. In China this is happening organically as the economy is growing quickly, but poorer regions such as Africa are likely to require more in the way of aid for such development.”
    So, having forced many African countries to adopt monoculture cash crops to service their debt to the IMF and world bank, we now need to give them charity money so they can diversify again to protect against crop failure.
    Duh!

  25. Hmmm…… ‘crop failure’ ……’global climate change’….’world’s leading climatologists’ …..all sounds very familiar where have I read that before… oh yes that CIA 1974 document – (follow the link, it’s well worth reading)
    http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/world-exclusive-cia-1974-document-reveals-emptiness-of-agw-scares-closes-debate-on-global-cooling-consensus-and-more/
    Our socialist media are very concerned about the problem of climate change in today’s society, here we have them talking about the ‘suspension of democracy’ and the Greens telling us how much easier it is in China!!, “it’s the politicians who decide what is beyond the democratic remit” [just as they did for the EU!!!] -well worth following the link to the Analysis programme on BBC Radio 4 (Sun May 30, 2010).
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ethicalman/2010/05/are_we_doomed_by_democracy.html

  26. Posted this on Judith Curry blog;
    Richard Holle | October 7, 2010 at 5:07 am | Reply
    You don’t have family connections to real farmers do you?
    There is always a question as to what is the best crop to plant, and how to schedule the rotation patterns for best yields over the next 3 to 4 years.
    The seed purchase/delivery system is rather flexible from year to year, and quite often is the weather shifts dramatically in early spring and the corn crop drowns out in low lying areas, there is still time to plant a short season crop of soy beans in the same ground. (some of my neighbors did that this last spring).
    Usually it takes quite a change in total rainfall to drop the resultant yield more than 50%, lots of irrigated crop land is reserved for those crops that might need to be watered to make a good harvest, normally that crop choice varies from year to year as the weather shifts around naturally.
    This over all resultant flexibility from state to state, just allows the type of crop planted to shift to the most optimal locations, no complicated government intervention needed, just farmers talking at morning coffee in front of the overhead TV weather forecast. Or chatting with the silo and train car loaders of the harvested crops, and seed supplier at the local coop elevators, whom are hooked up to state of the art satellite forecasts and hourly up dates of agricultural news and commodity prices.
    It isn’t like we are all ignorant of the outside world, and can’t adapt on as quick as a weekly basis, in response to weather and crop growing condition changes as they happen world wide. Not to mention at the farm home PC stations on satellite high speed connections just like the city dwellers have for their individual needs.
    It is time to learn that the rest of the world is not as stupid as you perceive your local neighbors to be. Try not isolating your self from other real people, watching sports on the tube, MSM news crap, and sucking up all of the advertising BS.

  27. In times past, it was witchcraft, now we can blame all bad weather on man-made climate disruption. These claims are being made, seemingly, without the slightest rational supporting evidence. They all appear to be competing with each other acting as potential ‘prosecutors for the planet’ to discover real or potential adverse weather events that might be used in a grand effort to condemn modern man in a court where *innocence* must be proved beyond all reasonable doubt.
    I feel I must have developed a case of climate guilt fatigue.

  28. Wow, almost as soon as I started to read this paper my bullshitometer started to twitch…
    “Authors of the new study, which appears in Environmental Research Letters, argue that adaptation to climate change be possible through a combination of new crops that are more tolerant to heat and water stress”
    Article was published by Environmental Research Letters well known for it’s pro CAGW stance and it’s and its green agenda.
    “The unpredictability of the weather is one of the biggest challenges faced by farmers struggling to adapt to a changing climate. Some areas of the world are becoming hotter and drier, and more intense monsoon rains carry a risk of flooding and crop damage.”
    It starts to get worse. The authors state the obvious, which has been true about the vagaries of farming since the first Neanderthal woman planted the very first seed. They then go on to couch it in terms which make it sound new and frightening.
    “They used a climate model to make weather projections up to the year 2099 and then looked at the effect on crop yields.”
    Finally we have the coup de grace…
    The study relies on computer climate models. Time and time again computer models have produced results which have no relationship to observational phenomenon. Because our climate is driven by deterministic chaos and our observation systems are poor it will take several generations before accurate predictions of climate and subsequent regional effects make them useful for long-term planning.
    Dr Andy Challinor, the lead author of the study, should be ashamed of himself for producing such a travesty of a paper. Cargo cult science reaches new heights!

  29. “More extreme weather events are expected to occur in the coming years due to climate change and we have shown that these events are likely to lead to more crop failures.
    My emphasis. Have they shown this? They are proposing a theory but where is any rigour in this, any proof, any evidence at all. I suggest that the Russian crop failures were as a consequence of weather (as covered numerous times here and elsewhere) and are not evidence of global warming. Just more alarmism.

  30. I find the most interesting thing about this study, is that it “shows” implying an essence of certainty, rather than typically “suggests” implying an element of doubt! Perhaps it’s just me?

  31. The unpredictability of the weather is one of the biggest challenges faced by farmers struggling to adapt to a changing climate.
    Struggling Farmers, this has always made me smile, here in England these sruggling farmers are forever holding up the traffic with their band new tractors.

  32. “Dave N says:
    October 7, 2010 at 11:33 pm”
    And blogs\articles on “climate change” which allows comments, if those comments appear to be too much in disagreement with the ideology, they are “disappeared” very quickly, esp at the SMH. Also, when you have the Australian MSN focusing on “climate change”, a carbon tax (Another election backflip), the Commonwealth Games, “sports personalities”and their medals being revoked for false starts at the exclusion of EVERYTHING else, I would expect some form of sheepish response to the brainwashing going on. I fully expect for some sort of “climate change” policy to be passed in the lower house in secrecy during the distraction of the games. I mean, politicians like to do this. Thatcher passed draconian policy during the Falklands war.
    Pox on all houses in Australian Govn’t. And like KRudd747, Gillard will be a less than a one term wonder. Lets see if another one of my predictions comes true.

  33. Why pay attention to such a waste of words. Nobody can possibly have a clue what the world or the climate will look like in 50 or a hundred years on a global scale, nor what crop qualities will be. 50 years ago we grew absolutely no corn (Zea) in the Netherlands and now it is the no1 crop both in area and yield (cattle feed), grown in dozens of varieties. With the variability of the weather, growing several varieties sort of helps avaraging the annual yield. That is not rocket science. And as far a the extreme weather events go, I have not seen any convincing evidence that there is a climatological change towards more extreme weather events. I think the title of the magazine it was published in should have been enough warning.

  34. ###
    The research was funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council EQUIP programme and the Economic and Social Research Council Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.
    “it is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/) and Munich Re.”
    The money will still be forthcoming so long as we put out a report on our work so that those who provide the cash can be conned it to believing their ridiculous work is good value for money. These cash distributing bodies should be on the top of the list of wasteful organisations which David Cameron should eradicate in the interests of reducing our national debt.

  35. Does this mean Leeds has come out for genetically modified crops? Isn’t gene splicing the best and fastest way to develop specific characteristics? Isn’t this the dreaded “frankenfood”? Ah, the choices of the Greens: starve, freeze, be miserable or just go off as organic fertilizer.

  36. Let’s see…
    First they “modeled” the increase of extreme weather events.
    Then they “modeled” the ability of farmers to respond to them.
    The evidence they collected was from somewhere in China, and the conclusions applied to various places on earth such as Africa, which suggested that ability to respond is tied to socio-economic factors. Except in China where it is “organic”.
    Carefull farmers! You’ve been modeled! The researchers know more about what you are going to do before you do it than you do!
    “…and in farm news today, models predict that there will be a 70% chance of heavy rain this weekend, causing 43% of farmers to switch seeding from wheat to watermelons. We interviewed Farmer Bob, the largest wheat farmer in the area, and he says ‘I’ll make that decision in four months you stupid f***, not on this week’s weather you idiot, and I may change to hops or barley unless your bullsh*t model is going to guarantee me enough rain and growing season to grow watermellons’. The balance of his comments were not repeatable, but suffice to say that Farmer Bob is ignoring the computer models and may very well not be in business a few year from now. Over to Cindy for that weather report from the east coast where a third successive early frost has killed most of the citrus crop, a side effect of global warming. Cindy?”

  37. “…The team studied spring wheat crops in North East China. They used a climate model to make weather projections up to the year 2099 and then looked at the effect on crop yields. In parallel they looked at socioeconomic factors to determine how well farmers were able to adapt to drought….”
    Climate models: $6Billion
    Farmer’s Almanac: $5.99 a year
    Common sense: Free (but non-existent)

  38. Climate Change™ is the new witch, always to blame when something unfortunate happens. There’s no-one to randomly burn, so piles of money and civil rights go on the bonfire instead.

  39. This may be good news, as it appears to be a shift towards saying we were right – climate change is a big issue – but we can deal with it. The story itself is obviously nonsense – inaccurate computer models predicting utter nonsense for after the researchers are all dead – but compared to the stuff coming out of these institutions a few years ago it is a huge backdown on the case for action.

  40. Climate change is a huge issue, but our clever climate scientists have come up with a solution. Plant crops that are appropriate for the climate at the time you plant them. Without us farmers would have been planting bananas in greenland and herding reindeer on the sahara. Yeah for climate scientists.

  41. Kevin says:
    October 8, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Ha ha, I liked that , and added some more…(and changed a bit)

    Do you remember the good old days, before climate change, when every crop on the face of the Earth received exactly the right amount of sunshine and rain at correct intervals for maximum crop yield ?
    Do you remember the good old days, before climate change, when the weather behaved as it should to serve mankind to the best of its capabilities? The winter came during the correct time period, summers were just right?
    Do you remember the good old days, before climate change, when there were no flooding what so ever? the water stayed in the rivers and the sea was calm?
    Man, I miss those times.
    (feel free to add statements)

  42. Tenuc says:
    October 8, 2010 at 1:19 am
    “…since the first Neanderthal woman planted the very first seed”
    As a preamble, this is how it all started. Mods – OT I know – delete if necessary.
    The first meeting ever was held back in the Mezzanine Era. In those days, Man’s job
    was to slay his prey and bring it home for Woman, who had to figure out how to cook it.
    The problem was, Man was slow and basically naked, whereas the prey had warm fur
    and could run like an antelope. (In fact it *was* an antelope, only nobody knew this).
    At last someone said, “Maybe if we just sat down and did some brainstorming, we
    could come up with a better way to hunt our prey!” It went extremely well, plus it was
    much warmer sitting in a circle, so they agreed to meet again the next day, and the next.
    But the women pointed out that, prey-wise, the men had not produced anything, and
    the human race was pretty much starving. The men agreed that was serious and said they
    would put it right near the top of their “agenda”. At this point, the women, who were
    primitive but not stupid, started eating plants, and thus modern agriculture was born. It
    never would have happened without meetings.

  43. Time to fold all this nonsense, get the Met back to some standard of weather predictability rather than promises of balmy winters without snow, that they didn’t deliver last year and seems headed for a freeze this year. They mucked it up, so time to do their penance – perhaps a few salary cuts for failing to meet performance standards.
    Sadly with Australia’s political climate, we are getting disrupted (discombobulation, what a descriptive truism!!) big time. When will people wake up that when the greens are allowed to go power crazy, disasters like fire, flood and pestilence are that much worse because of their petty fogging meddling.!!
    Arghhh!!

  44. “Larry says:
    October 8, 2010 at 4:08 am”
    Personally, I think this relates to the age of massive mono-culture installtions in agriculture, the mechanisation\industrialisation of food production, predominatly since WWII. The massive wheat plains of the Praries in the US are at massive risk, enter Monsanto. Compare to the “patchwork” of fields (Slowly being decimated) in England. It is, well maybe once was, diverce. We need to step back and look at this divercity, again.

  45. The new report on planning for the future of the Murray Darling river system has been mentioned above.
    This is REALLY BIG.
    It calls for a 37% reduction in water supply to farmers.
    That will not only force many farmers off their farms and into bankrupcy.
    It will also mean the destruction of many rural towns and communities.
    It may also create a political rising in Australia which the threat of a carbon tax has failed to do.
    There’s no question that in drought conditions governments have assigned more water than was available, not only to maintain a “healthy river” whatever that means, but also to maintain many existing farms.
    So good planning is now required and I suspect some water rights will need to be cancelled.
    Who pays for that? – farmers or government or well funded NGO’s?
    THe BOM believes that the recent long drought will continue into the future because of global warming.
    Their analysis methods need to be scrutinised by expert statisticans who are independent, wise and balanced in their thinking.
    We must get the science right first before rushing in to destroy many lives.
    Then we need to measure the costs and benefits of restoring the rivers to perfect health, against the costs and benefits of allowing farms, town and cities access to the water they need.
    It is likely that both cannot be accomodated.
    We need clear eyes to see how bad the downsides are for both a destroyed river system with all that implies for diversity and nature generally, against a destroyed (large) food producing industry and a large (formerly) happy, prosperous and viable region of Australia. (Oh! and I nearly forgot the broken families as well).
    Wahch this space.
    I suspect the xxxxx is about to hit the fan.

  46. I nearly forgot.
    We also need to make really sure we know that recent drought conditions have really, truly changed for good.
    Or is the climate just more variable than we understood?
    After all, our rainfall data at best goes back a mere 150 years or so.
    With climate cycles of 60 odd years (the period fluctiating chaotically). we need some many hundres of years of data to make sure.
    THe BOM appears to place most emphasis on the last 30 years history.
    Is that sufficient?

  47. “They used a climate model to make weather projections up to the year 2099…”
    Using a climate model to make weather projections??? LOL!
    When will this garbage science end? When will they finally return the wasted Climate Ca$h to the taxpayers?
    By the way, these researchers ought to try “projecting” next year’s climate, so as to help farmers, you know, NEXT YEAR. Ooops – sorry – climate models can’t predict next year’s climate…

  48. “But the authors of the new study, which appears in Environmental Research Letters, argue that adaptation to climate change be possible through a combination of new crops that are more tolerant to heat and water stress,”
    Hum?, what is the easiest most effective solution to making crops more heat and water stress tolerant ???
    Oh Oh I know says the eigth grade student, raising his hand, I know, it is that evil atmospehric gas CO2! (They never mention the benefits of CO2, only the “modeled” scare stories)

  49. This is nothing new, from http://www.ccccok.org/museum/dustbowl.html
    “In 1934 to 1936, three record drought years were marked for the nation. In 1936, a more severe storm spread out of the plains and across most of the nation. The drought years were accompanied with record breaking heavy rains, blizzards, tornadoes and floods. In September 1930, it rained over five inches in a very short time in the Oklahoma Panhandle. The flooding in Cimarron County was accompanied by a dirt storm which damaged several small buildings and graineries. Later that year, the regions were whipped again by a strong dirt storm from the southwest until the winds gave way to a blizzard from the north.
    After the blizzards in winter 1930-1931, the drought began. First the northern plains felt the dry spell, but by July the southern plains were in the drought. It was not until late September that the ground had enough water to justify planting. Because of the late planting and early frost, much of the wheat was small and weak when the spring winds of 1932 began to blow. The wheat was also beaten by dirt from the abandoned fields. In March, there were twenty-two days of dirt storms and drifts began to build in the fence rows. “

  50. Here in the American heartland (flyover country to you folks on the coasts) we just harvested our largest soybean crop in history. The record was broken not due to acres planted, but to bushels per acre produced. Our local yeilds in Central Illinois were stunning.
    Last year we had a record corn harvest, due to perfect growing weather. We only had 6 days at or above 90 degrees F (30 is normal). And still the local papers print as front page news every little piece of goat vomit barfed up by some activist pseudo scientist predicting the end of the American bread basket.

  51. “Large-scale crop failures like the one that caused the recent Russian wheat crisis are likely to become more common under climate change due to an increased frequency of extreme weather events, a new study shows.”
    Summer heat waves can occur after a very cold winter, and often do, they can occur in a cooler, or a warmer year, and have nothing to do with what is regarded as climatic change on a longer scale in any way whatsoever. Without exception, summer heat waves are primarily driven by short term changes in the solar wind velocity. Create chart here: http://omniweb.gsfc.nasa.gov/form/dx1.html
    “The unpredictability of the weather is one of the biggest challenges faced by farmers struggling to adapt to a changing climate. Some areas of the world are becoming hotter and drier, and more intense monsoon rains carry a risk of flooding and crop damage.”
    The timing of heat waves this summer were well predicted several times on this blog by Myself, and Piers Corbyn made a very good forecasts of circulation patterns, and identified the Moscow region in particular as having a heat wave ahead.

  52. … follow the “Big Seeds”… and the “climate ready seeds”. The money wasted in research this have to return to stakeholders.

  53. It is disturbing that many city-dwellers, even the well educated, have grown up so divorced from the realities of weather and food production that they phantasise about some golden time when weather and climate behaved in an ideal and benign way.
    The language of farmers has always been salted with war-like imagery, an echo of their constant battle with the elements over generations.
    Farming has always been subject to the vagaries of weather. Even in Biblical times farmers stored surplus grain or other products from good harvests to carry the population through lean times, which were inevitable.
    The ‘study’ above is nothing more than an exercise in playing with models that have little to do with reality. Or even good sense.

  54. Global weather is either Hot and Wet or it is Cold and Dry. The deserts were created during the ice ages. Deserts are hot because they are dry. They are not dry because they are hot. Dry air has a higher temperature then moist for a given amount of energy.

  55. Patrick Davis says:
    October 8, 2010 at 4:52 am
    Humans cultivate huge areas of land with monocultures, and have been doing for millenia. We use flushing toilets which flush the nutrients from the land to the sea. We have a huge impact, and real science would analyse that impact – and try to predict the implications – based on real data.
    By doing these studies based on computer predictions their “research” is pretty much guaranteed to be worthless ten years from now. As if they can predict the climate 90 years from now to the level of detail to predict which crops will be planted where.
    The real travesty here is that billions of dollars are being spent on “the environment” without improving the environment and making normally supportive people mistrust anything to do with “environmental issues”. Imagine if the UN environmental budget alone had been spent on better land husbandry, general environmental monitoring and cleaning up human damage – never mind the carbon credits.

  56. Better than we Thought! No ‘Disruption’ in North Dakota! They are reported to produce 70% of US hard durum wheat… and they are having record yields and excellent prices. Let’s hear it for the independent American Capitalist farmers!
    YOU DA MEN!
    ND durum (hard wheat) fetching high prices, record yields
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iVkEnlfcfB7vfZv7bNEQ2Ss7WefwD9IN19LO0?docId=D9IN19LO0
    Field corn and soybean yields throughout the American heartland are trending high to near record yields. Sweet corn and green bean yields were record highs in many areas of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. American farmers could get used to this ‘Global Climate Disruption’!

  57. Ho hum,
    Growers always have and always will have to vary their crops over the years as the air circulations cyclically shift first poleward, then equatorward, then poleward again as part of an everlasting natural process above their heads.
    If CO2 makes any difference at all it will only affect that cyclical process to a miniscule degree.
    Do AGW proponents plan to freeze the latitudinal position and relative intensities of all the air circulation systems forever ?
    Do they really think the whole natural process will lock in place if we just stop all our CO2 emissions ?
    Nuts.

  58. Instead of 90 years out maybe they should work on ten at a time, maybe five. It seems to me that these models have had to work to be as wrong as they have. From temps, huricanes, rising sea levels, ice, malaria, crop yields etc., straight row of lemons. They could have got a chimp to be more acurate than those models and they wouldn’t have added any co2 to the environment because, you know, monkeys run on bananas….

  59. “… better farming practices that can only come about under more favourable socio-economic conditions.”
    Sounds like a call to modernization which is best brought about by energy efficient, fossil fuel based equipment and ready access to global markets. I agree… allow African and Asian agriculture to modernize up to western standards in order to mitigate the supposed negative effects of global warming / climate change / global climate disruption. In other words, the best solution to the perceived dangers of modernization is more modernization. How quaintly non-Malthusian.

  60. Kevin says:
    October 8, 2010 at 12:17 am
    *sigh* Remember the good old days, before climate change, when every crop on the face of the Earth received exactly the right amount of sunshine and rain for maximum production?
    Man, I miss those times.
    ~~~~~~~~~
    Anthony, the thread can be closed now. Kevin wins it, hands down!

    REPLY:
    Yeah that’s a keeper. – Anthony

  61. This is just one of many issues from monoculture in farming. The more consumers buy organic variety, the more farms can afford to diversify their crops. The more diverse, the better they can thrive during climate hiccups and shifts.
    I guess the other solution is to stop climates from changing, but we need to figure out how to be gods first, and we’d still have to deal with other issues from monoculture, such as disease.

  62. Unfortunately, there is some truth to this one as the multidecadal Atlantic and Pacific Oscillations have turned to cooling, and the current sunspot cycle is also expected to be a relative bust.
    But let’s not panic over it–we keep finding ways to enhance crops and I daresay we will be all right.
    The wildlife will not fare as well, unless biologists start telling the truth about the real effects of weather and other things, and concentrate of what humans can really do to increase biodiversity. There is plenty to do, but Mother nature is somewhat harder to lie to than Politicians.

  63. The Jet stream over the past decades (since 1980’s) had been moving North until recent few years when it suddenly moved much closer to the equator (like pre 1970’s). This shows evidence that the cause of warming climate mainly by this moving jet stream and therefore different consistent weather patterns had very little to do with AGW. Therefore weather patterns with the jet stream are responsible for how crops fair and are not supported by the claims of this paper from the MetO.
    The planet shows when jet stream is closer to the equator more severe weather events occur because more regions have cooler Arctic air mixing with warmer tropical air. During the time when the globe was warming severe events have been reducing because less areas are affected by this instable border of polar and tropical air masses. When the planet more or less confirms cooling with the jet stream push further South, these severe events will increase and not down to AGW. So this paper has it the wrong way round and I am confident it doesn’t match reality. If the paper concluded with a jet stream further South and cooling planet, will likely increase severe weather events, then I would agree.
    Further reasoning is because during a warming planet observed, the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics are smaller compared with cooling one. This increases the stability of the weather and climate.

  64. Last PDO cold shift , we had NW Wheat farmers contemplating “Canadian North
    Prairie conditions-in the inland NW US! My Pop, had toplant Barley just have a
    cash crop in the early 1950’s. This planning for AGW is gong to bite us in the arse…

  65. What is their uncertainty? Seems like it is too difficult to determine, so they just don’t do it.
    (2) The dependence of crop failure rates on future climate, and the inherent uncertainty in prediction of future climates, implies a need for end-to-end analyses of the cascade of uncertainty from climate to crop production. Through understanding this causal chain of uncertainty, key observations needed to constrain ensemble simulations may be found. If such analyses can be conducted
    from a decision-making perspective—rather than being motivated purely for the sake of understanding, they may permit the development of risk-based, targeted adaptation plans. Efforts to take a decision-based approached have increased in recent years (see e.g. [47], http://www.equip.leeds.ac.uk).
    From the equip.leeds site – 5. Further understanding of the cascade of uncertainty from climate to impacts and its relationship to model error and climate predictability. Uncertainty in climate simulation, model error and the predictability of climate have implications for the predictability of climate impacts. Furthermore, non-linearities in the response of impacts variables (e.g. crop failure resulting from a few days of elevated temperature during flowering) necessitate understanding of a broad range of non-climatic uncertainties (e.g. when the crop flowers, the likelihood of high temperatures during this period and the impact of those temperatures). By increasing our understanding of this cascade of uncertainty, the situations in which climate models can produce useful information, and those in which they cannot, will be identified. Thus the situations in which uncertainty prevents skilful forecasts of climate impacts will be identified.

  66. Back in the early 70’s the pea crop in and around Pendleton was destroyed by too much heat and Sun at the wrong time and too little rain and Sun at the right time. Two years ago the pumpkin crop was destroyed by two much rain/sleet/snow/clouds at the wrong time and too much frost/freeze/ice/clouds at the wrong time. Back in the dust bowl era, we had similar events. We survive it better now due to crop protection from freeze, and better use of irrigation.
    Now give me my grant to I can say that in a journal.

  67. The paper was funded by The Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy chaired by (Lord???) Nicholas Stern who, in turn, employs Bob “Attack Dog” Ward as his PR man.
    Definitely much worse than we thought!

  68. How does this kind of scientist ever get published?
    I went back through the list of his contributions to science and found this gem from back in 2004:
    “Design and optimisation of a large-area process-based model for annual crops”
    Apparently, Challinor thinks he has developed a model that can predict the effects of global climate disruption, and he is building a career by running this model for various crops and regions, and predicting catastrophe. If, however, you look at the abstract from the early work he waxes tautological:
    “Agreement between observed and modelled yield was variable, with correlation coefficients of 0.74, 0.42 and 0, respectively. Skill was highest where the climate signal was greatest…”
    Knowing that “climate signal” means drought, heat waves or flooding, this learned individual has discovered that bad weather hurts crop yields. Really? Who’d a thunk it?

  69. Like Russia never had droughts before??
    From Wikipedia (who I don’t trust, but blast it, they’re convenient):
    Post 1900 Droughts and Famines
    The Golubev and Dronin report gives the following table of the major droughts in Russia.[1] (I added the emphasis)
    * Central: 1920, 1924, 1936, 1946, 1972, 1979, 1981, 1984.
    * Southern: 1901, 1906, 1921, 1939, 1948, 1951, 1957, 1975, 1995.
    * Eastern: 1911, 1931, 1963, 1965, 1991.

  70. However, the worst effects of these events on agriculture could be mitigated by Watts Up With That Farm Weather?
    hint… hint… to any potential sponsers reading this!

  71. “Larry says:
    October 8, 2010 at 7:54 am”
    No, you are wrong. I mentioned mechanisation, since WW2, which has introduced the practice of “mono-culture” farming on an industrial scale. Farming practices like this did not exist much before WW2, farming was more granular. It’s a well established fact that prior to WW2 farming practices were more diverse, there was more biodiversity in a single field, more crop rotation etc etc.
    I don’t know where you live however, I have never lived anywhere where flushing toilets discharge directly on farmland. Most sewer systems are “closed” until the effluent is captured, stored and treated before discharging into rivers/seas etc.
    But I agree with you, we should be focusing on real pollution issues and proper land and water management.
    It’s already been mentioned by another postie that the new Labor Govn’t here in Australia is about to inflict massive damage to Australia, the Australian people and Australian growers with their plans to “manage” the Murray-Darling river system. I am pretty sure this along with the introduction of a carbon tax will be the end of Labor. Unfortunately any opposition party won’t have the guts to back out these rediculous policies.
    Time for a fight I reckon.

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