Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The Sun reports that in London, some supermarkets are rationing purchases of vegetables like lettuce, which is in short supply due to Southern European crop failures.
SALAD SHORTAGE What is the 2017 vegetable shortage, which supermarkets are rationing broccoli and lettuce and what’s the cause of the crisis?
Tesco and Sainsbury’s are rationing iceburg lettuces and broccoli as cold weather in the Med causes a vegetable shortage.
BY ELLIE FLYNN 4th February 2017, 2:29 pm
THESE are dark times times for British vegetable lovers.
A veggie shortage plaguing UK supermarkets has worsened – with Tesco and Sainsbury’s now forced to ration iceburg lettuces and broccoli.
Customers will only be allowed a maximum of three lettuces per visit after poor growing conditions in Europe caused a shortage.
Why is there a vegetable shortage?
Poor growing conditions in Europe – mostly Italy and Spain – has meant there is a lack of vegetable stock.
This comes from a combination of flooding, cold weather and poor light levels.
In winter months Spain’s Murcia region supplies 80 per cent of Europe’s fresh produce.
But the area has suffered its heaviest rainfall in 30 years – meaning 70 per cent of the growing fields are unuseable.
Italy has also suffered a cold snap – meaning the region is having to import vegetables they usually export at this time of year.
The effects of shortages are particularly notable in Britain, which imports an estimated 50 per cent of its vegetables and 90 per cent of its fruit.
Why do I describe this as a possible early taste of Maunder Minimum like conditions? As WUWT has reported, solar activity has been unusually low this cycle, and appears to be trending downwards, leading to predictions we are entering a new solar grand minimum.
While the connection between solar activity and weather is controversial, in Europe, Solar Grand Minima appear to be associated with cold, rainy weather, and growing season difficulties.
Consider this description of the Little Ice Age, one of the most brutal periods of which coincided with the Maunder Minimum (1645 – 1715). The description is from Hubert Lamb, founded of the Climatic Research Unit.
Hubert Lamb said that in many years, “snowfall was much heavier than recorded before or since, and the snow lay on the ground for many months longer than it does today.” In Lisbon, Portugal, snowstorms were much more frequent than today; one winter in the 17th century produced eight snowstorms. Many springs and summers were cold and wet but with great variability between years and groups of years. Crop practices throughout Europe had to be altered to adapt to the shortened, less reliable growing season, and there were many years of dearth and famine (such as the Great Famine of 1315–1317, but that may have been before the Little Ice Age).
Read More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age
Obviously in today’s connected world high speed transport will soon solve the shortage in England. It is possible to fly or ship vast quantities of food from other regions to make up for any lack.
However this unexpected food shortage should be a wakeup call to Europe and the world, that there are potential climate problems other than global warming which should occupy some of their attention.
If current conditions worsen, and crop losses in Europe and other Northern growing regions become the norm, at the very least poor people will begin to suffer from the impact of rising prices.