@usatoday @usatodayweather pushes Fake Climate News about the 100th meridian Agricultural belt

Supposedly the climate of the US Agricultural Belt has shifted 100 miles east according to a model analysis. But as we know, climate models aren’t reality.

Actual data analysis shows it hasn’t and that precipitation in the 100th meridian states has actually increased, which is good for crops.

From Dr. Roy Spencer:

The 100th Meridian Agricultural Scare: Another Example of Media Hype Exceeding Reality

Guest essay by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

A new paper published in the AMS Earth Interactions entitled, Whither the 100th Meridian? The Once and Future Physical and Human Geography of America’s Arid-Humid Divide, Part II: The Meridian Moves East, discusses the climate model-expected drying of the western U.S. and how this will affect the agricultural central- and east- U.S. as the climatological boundary roughly represented by the 100th Meridian moves eastward.

This paper has become a good example of media hype overwhelming actual substance. For example, take this headline from Doyle Rice at USAToday on April 13,

“A major climate boundary in the central U.S. has shifted 140 miles due to global warming”

So, what’s wrong with the headline? Nowhere in the original scientific study can I find any observational evidence of such a shift.

The fact is, the study is a modeling study — not observational. They tell us what might happen in the coming decades, given certain (and numerous) assumptions.

Since I’ve been consulting for U.S. grain interests for the last seven or eight years, I have some interest in this subject. Generally speaking, climate change isn’t on the Midwest farmers’ radar because, so far, there has been no sign of it in agricultural yields. Yields (production per acre) of all grains, even globally, have been on an upward trend for decades. This is fueled mainly by improved seeds, farming practices, and possibly by the direct benefits of more atmospheric CO2 on plants. If there has been any negative effect of modestly increasing temperatures, it has been buried by other, positive, effects.

And so, the study begs the question: how has growing season precipitation changed in this 100th meridian zone? Using NOAA’s own official statewide average precipitation statistics, this is how the rainfall observations for the primary agricultural states in the zone (North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma) have fared every year between 1900 and 2017:

Jun, July, August average monthly precipitation as observed over 5 U.S. states encompassing the 100th Meridian, and as predicted by a CMIP5 (RCP8.5 forcing scenario) multi-model mean from 35N to 50N, and 95W to 105 W (observational data from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/statewide/time-series; model data from https://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_cmip5.cgi?id=someone@somewhere)

What we see is that there has been, so far, no evidence of decreasing precipitation amounts exactly where the authors claim it will occur (and according to press reports, has already occurred).

To the authors’ credit, in their final “Discussion and Conclusions” section of the research paper they admit:

“First, we have shown that state-of-the-art models simulate the aridity gradient across North America poorly.”

“Second, while current Earth system models predict widespread declines in soil moisture and increases in continental aridity, they also simulate increases in net primary productivity. This is because, within the models, the beneficial effects on photosynthesis and water-use efficiency of increased CO2 overwhelm the effects of increased temperature and vapor pressure deficit.” (emphasis added)

The positive effects of more CO2 on global agricultural yields have been tallied, as I have previously discussed here.

Yet, the popular press emphasizes the alarmist nature of the article, even going so far as to make as the central claim something that, as far as I can tell, isn’t even in the paper (!)

Source: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2018/04/the-100th-meridian-agricultural-scare-another-example-of-media-hype-exceeding-reality/

Here is the press release via Eurekalert:

The 100th meridian, where the Great Plains begin, may be shifting

Warming climate may push western aridity to the east


In 1878, the American geologist and explorer John Wesley Powell drew an invisible line in the dirt-a very long line. It was the 100th meridian west, the longitude he identified as the boundary between the humid eastern United States and the arid Western plains. Running south to north, the meridian cuts northward through the eastern states of Mexico, and on to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and the Canadian province of Manitoba on its way to the pole. Powell, best known for exploring the Grand Canyon and other parts of the West, was wary of large-scale settlement in that often harsh region, and tried convincing Congress to lay out water- and land-management districts crossing state lines to deal with environmental constraints. Western political leaders hated the idea-they feared this might limit development, and their own power-and it never went anywhere. It was not the first time that politicians would ignore the advice of scientists.

The 100th meridian west (solid line) has long been considered the divide between the relatively moist eastern United States, and the more arid West. Climate change may already have started shifting the divide eastward (dotted line). CREDIT Modified from Seager et al. Earth Interactions, 2018

Now, 140 years later, scientists are looking again at the 100th meridian. In two just-published papers, they examine how it has played out in history so far, and what the future may hold. They confirm that the divide has turned out to be very real, as reflected by population and agriculture on opposite sides. They say also that the line appears to be slowly moving eastward, due to climate change. They say it will almost certainly continue shifting in coming decades, expanding the arid climate of the western plains into what we think of as the Midwest. The implications for farming and other pursuits could be huge.

One can literally step over the meridian line on foot, but the boundary it represents is more gradual. In 1890, Powell wrote, “Passing from east to west across this belt a wonderful transformation is observed. On the east a luxuriant growth of grass is seen, and the gaudy flowers of the order Compositae make the prairie landscape beautiful. Passing westward, species after species of luxuriant grass and brilliant flowering plants disappear; the ground gradually becomes naked, with bunch grasses her and there; now and then a thorny cactus is seen, and the yucca plant thrusts out its sharp bayonets.” Today, his description would only partly apply; the “luxuriant grass” of the eastern prairie was long ago plowed under for corn, wheat and other crops, leaving only scraps of the original landscape. The scrubby growth of the thinly populated far western plains remains more intact.

“Powell talked eloquently about the 100th meridian, and this concept of a boundary line has stayed with us down to the current day,” said Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and lead author of the two papers. “We wanted to ask whether there really is such a divide, and whether it’s influenced human settlement.” He calls the studies an example of “psychogeography”-the examination of how environment affects human decisions. The papers appear in the current edition of the journal Earth Interactions.

While the climate divide is not literally a visible line, it is about the closest thing around, easily seen on maps. Due to global-scale wind patterns, to the west of this longitude, rainfall drops off sharply. East of the line, it picks up sharply. Powell noted correctly that the western plains are dry in part because they lie in the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains, which rake off almost all the moisture blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. Seager’s team identifies two other factors. In winter, Atlantic storms bring plenty of moisture into the eastern plains and Southeast, but don’t make it far enough to moisten the western plains. In summer, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico moves northward, but that also curves eastward, again providing the East with plenty of precipitation, while the West gets cheated. Seager says there is only one other such major straight-line climate divide on the global map: the one separating the Sahara Desert from the rest of Africa, also due to cutoffs of prevailing oceanic winds.

In the United States, the effects show up in obvious ways. To the west, population density drops sharply. There are fewer homes, commercial facilities and roads. Farms are fewer, but bigger, reflecting the economics of less water and thus lower productivity. To the east, 70 percent of the crop is moisture-loving corn; to the west, aridity-resistant wheat is dominant.

Now, the researchers say, warming climate appears to be pushing the divide east. In the northern plains, rainfall has not changed much, but temperatures are going up, increasing evaporation from the soil. Further south, concurrent shifts in wind patterns are in fact causing less rain to fall. Either way, this tends to push western aridity eastward. Data collected since about 1980 suggests that the statistical divide between humid and arid has now shifted closer to the 98th meridian, some 140 miles east. (In Texas, this would move it roughly from Abilene to Fort Worth.) Seager says year-to-year weather variations may blur the data, and in any case the changes are still too small and gradual to yet affect land use over wide areas. But he is confident that aridity will perceptibly move eastward during the 21st century, and eventually effect large-scale changes.

Seager predicts that as drying progresses, farms further and further east will have to consolidate and become larger in order to remain viable. Unless farmers turn to irrigation or otherwise adapt, they will have to turn from corn to wheat or some other more suitable crop. Large expanses of cropland may fail altogether, and have to be converted to western-style grazing range. Water supplies could become a problem for urban areas.

Some historians say it could be argued that white settlement beyond the meridian influenced everything from the end of slavery (plantations could not expand beyond the line, weakening the South) to the development of modern firearms (settlers with single-shot muskets couldn’t compete with native peoples’ rapid-fire arrow attacks, until they became the first, best customers for new Colt repeating revolvers and rifles). The meridian itself is still registered in the popular imagination by historical roadside signs; books such Wallace Stegner’s “Beyond the Hundredth Meridian”; and the Canadian rock hit “At the Hundredth Meridian.” “It’s a reminder that climate really matters, then as it does today,” said Seager.

The other authors of the study are Nathan Lis of Pennsylvania State University; Jamie Feldman of Columbia Engineering; and Mingfang Tang, Park Williams, Jennifer Nakamura, Haibo Liu and Naomi Henderson, all of Lamont-Doherty.


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April 18, 2018 11:48 am

Now I have Gord Downie’s voice in my head again. Which is bad because although I like his music, he recently died and it’s been getting a lot of play.

Reply to  Greg61
April 18, 2018 1:21 pm

“…Driving down a corduroy road…weeds standing shoulder high” Ok, I’m not helping.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  manfredkintop
April 18, 2018 2:56 pm

“let’s just see what tomorrow brings”

April 18, 2018 11:49 am

Modeling has become the new synthetic truth for news editors and their rationale.

John harmsworth
Reply to  ResourceGuy
April 19, 2018 7:40 am

“Synthetic truth”. I like that. It’s like polyester is clothing.

Robert in Busan
April 18, 2018 11:49 am

Interesting how the rainfall data matches some recollections or just plain old history. Low numbers in the 1930s ‘Dustbowl’ era and a spike in one year in the early 1990s, maybe when we had the big flooding on the Mississippi. Guess NASA has been too busy to get around to torturing ths data set. 😉

April 18, 2018 11:50 am

The beauty of science by press release is nobody has to actually read the paper. Meridian has moved because of Global Warming. End of. And rebuttals are NEVER printed. And why shouldn’t they lie, cheat and steal when there are zero consequences?

Reply to  Wharfplank
April 18, 2018 12:07 pm

I wonder if the PR is citeable in Wikipedia.
‘Data collected since about 1980 suggests that the statistical divide between humid and arid has now shifted closer to the 98th meridian, some 140 miles east.’ [citation missing]

Andrew Cooke
April 18, 2018 11:50 am

Frankly, I am surprised any of the authors of the paper or the article even know where Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas are on the map.
I highly doubt any of them have ever visited, or even understand the weather dynamics of the plains states. If they had, they might actually have direct observational data. But that would mean coming to the flyover states.
You know the truly embarrassing part? All you have to do is look at the Google Maps satellite of the USA and….hmmm…no….it doesn’t appear to be moving off the 100th Meridian yet. I wonder why that is? Oh wait, the Gulf of Mexico is still where it has always been.
Models make people stupid.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Andrew Cooke
April 18, 2018 7:26 pm

Stupid people make models. Even stupider people fund model makers.

Paul Blase
Reply to  Andrew Cooke
April 18, 2018 7:39 pm

The Great Lakes haven’t moved much either.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Andrew Cooke
April 19, 2018 5:20 am

Iffen one cares to look at a US Contour Map they should easily notice that when one is travelling west out of St. Louis, Missouri, it is pretty much an “uphill” climb (increase in elevation) from the time they cross the Mississippi River until they arrive in central Colorado or New Mexico.
To wit, a contour map of the US:
“YUP”, unlike the movies portray, the horses and oxen that were pulling the “Westward Ho the Covered Wagons” were actually pulling the wagons uphill most all the way.
The elevation at St. Louis, Missouri is 466 feet, ….. whereas the elevation of Denver, Colorado, ….. “the mile high city”, …… ranges from 5,130 to 5,690 feet (1,560 to 1,730 m). WOW, a 5,000 feet increase in elevation.
Now the reason I point out the above fact, …… is the fact that air temperature decreases as elevation increases …… and biomass growth is directly affected by changes in/of “average spring/summer temperatures” and/or “length of (# of days) the growing season”.
Anyway, iffen the Great Plains are shifting away from the 100th meridian, then it would most probably be due to an increase (uplifting) or decrease in surface elevation.

John harmsworth
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
April 19, 2018 7:45 am

Except that the Great Plains are in the rain shadow of the Rockies. That’s why it’s dry there. The Rockies are no longer pushing upward. They are slowly but surely eroding. That means that the rain shadow is slowly being reduced and over time (lots of time), precipitation should increase. At least that’s what my model ( on the back of a napkin) says.
My napkin appears to be more accurate than their computer!

April 18, 2018 11:58 am

I don’t believe a word of it, except that they’re forced to admit CO2 increases crop yields.

April 18, 2018 12:04 pm

I think they got that wrong/
remember my results show it is already globally cooling.
As the temperature differential between the poles and equator grows larger due to the cooling from the top, very likely something will also change on earth. Predictably, there would be a small (?) shift of cloud formation and precipitation, more towards the equator, on average. At the equator insolation is 684 W/m2 whereas on average it is 342 W/m2. So, if there are more clouds in and around the equator, this will amplify the cooling effect due to less direct natural insolation of earth (clouds deflect a lot of radiation). Furthermore, in a cooling world there is more likely less moisture in the air, but even assuming equal amounts of water vapour available in the air, a lesser amount of clouds and precipitation will be available for spreading to higher latitudes. So, a natural consequence of global cooling is that at the higher latitudes it will become cooler and/or drier.

Taylor Ponlman
April 18, 2018 12:10 pm

Let’s start with the fact that they apparently used the RCP 8.5 scenario. That’s complete junk, and should be outlawed. It’s only resurrected when somebody wants a scary outcome.
Then consider that they don’t seem to be able to hindcast to match reality, another proof that the model is junk. Add that to the fact that the article describing the study is flat wrong about the paper’s conclusions, and you have junk science of the highest order. Are any of the authors of the paper filing protests with USA Today calling them out for misrepresentation of the science? That will be a good test of how honorable (or not) they are). I’ll stay tuned…

Reply to  Taylor Ponlman
April 18, 2018 7:11 pm

BTW, I tried to comment on USA Today, but you have to have a facebook account to do so (don’t have one). Hope somebody does so.

April 18, 2018 12:13 pm

Isn’t global warming supposed to create more moisture in the air?
The summer rain graph shows less during the 1930s Dust Bowl, when the US was at least as warm as now, and then again less during the warming after the PDO flip of 1977.
The spike up in 1991 and ’92 might be related to Mt. Pinatubo.

Joel Snider
April 18, 2018 12:17 pm

It’s not like the modern press had any concern with the truth.

Tom Halla
April 18, 2018 12:55 pm

The model output on the historical portion of the graph bears so little resemblance to reality it a wonder anyone takes the model seriously.

April 18, 2018 1:00 pm

How far did it shift during the dust bowl years?
And, how long did it take to un-shift?

April 18, 2018 1:21 pm

Roy’s rainfall data goes in the opposite direction from the models! How ignorant can these researchers be? I know. Stupid question. Talk about having an alternate reality.

April 18, 2018 1:33 pm

Nice essay, Dr. Spencer. So this models only study contradicts observation, so actually concludes that state of art models POORLY simulate the 100 meridian aridity gradient, but still predict increased NPP from CO2 fertilizatiin effect so no farm worries. That all gets ignored by the alarmist MSM reporting on this study, turning so what into CAGW.
There is another equally stark example of media spin on an otherwise interesting but completely unalarming paper. See guest post Totten Glacer over at Judoth Curry’s. In that case, it wasn’t MSM hype, it was the University press offices and the university authors themselves spinning alarm that did NOT exist in their paper(s).

Kristi Silber
Reply to  ristvan
April 19, 2018 2:51 pm

“That all gets ignored by the alarmist MSM reporting on this study, turning so what into CAGW.”
I would argue that Spencer does the same kind of thing that he is accusing the media of doing: misrepresenting the study.
The graph in the post is not from the paper, it’s created by Spencer using models that the study says are biased, so why did he use them? In addition, it’s only about precipitation, while the paper looks at evapotranspiration potential and an index of aridity. Spencer also graphs state-wide indices that could easily swamp changes seen along the eastern edge. What’s more, he doesn’t graph those areas along the eastern edge of the line that are expected to become more arid. In other words, the graph may be observational, but it is not relevant to the study.
And that makes it misleading.
Spencer says, “The fact is, the study is a modeling study — not observational.”
Wrong. This is paper 2 in a series of 2, and the first paper has the observational data (some of which is also shown in Fig. 6 in paper 2). Paper 2 alludes to it.
I’m not defending the paper, press release or USAToday (never!). I’m arguing that Spencer spins, too.
I concentrate on this point because this is the kind of thing that, when it happens enough, begins to take the force of truth. The unquestioned idea that science is sloppy and corrupt has become pervasive, and part of the reason is through misrepresentations like this. I see them again and again – but it’s different when scientists do it than when the media does. It is one reason I find the contrarian scientist positions are often weak – they resort to underhanded tactics to convince, rather than do it through science. Blogs are worse. Ridicule is a common part of posts on WUWT, another way of influencing public opinion – but then, that’s what readers want.
Another reason I distrust the skeptic “movement” is that it’s so closely tied to policy. How is it possible that skeptics do not see the double standard in condemning the mainstream scientists for alleged agendas when so many contrarian scientists openly advocate a policy agenda? What about all the contrarian scientists who have contributed to books published by conservative think tanks? Or those have received funding from them?
It seems like skeptics are constantly whining about “leftist” propaganda, but they refuse to see the propaganda all around them. It has resulted in widespread distrust in mainstream science. It has become a battle, and reason has been forfeit.

Steve Case
April 18, 2018 2:05 pm

According to NOAA’s Climate at a Glance precipitation in those six states, where the so-called climate boundary is, has been on the increase since the 19th century.
Here’s what that looks like:

Reply to  Steve Case
April 18, 2018 2:30 pm

With the best will in the world, those graphs mean nothing to me.
I’m a layman, and although they are obvious to an educated man like you, 97% (or so) of the public have been infected, not by science, but by marketing.
Please deliver your messages that the climate change scam, is just that, in a more digestible form for people like me.
And I really hope Anthony reads this. Don’t stand still. WUWT is a huge success, but unless it moves on to the next stage of marketing it’s message, it will stagnate.

Steve Case
Reply to  HotScot
April 18, 2018 5:35 pm

Hot Scot,
Wow! I don’t remember what grade I was in when we were taught how to read a graph, but it was pretty early on. I ginned up that series of six graphs yesterday and posted it on some other blogs and news outlets on the net and it generated the usual like or dislike comments but your “..those graphs mean nothing..” to you is a new one.
I guess NOAA’s Climate at A Glance is a waste of government money if you really represent the average layman.
As far as WUWT and other blogs moving on, to “the next stage of marketing” goes, it will take money and organization. The Climate Change industry is a Trillion dollar industry at this point, and all the profits comes from government subsidies. The people who have bet their careers on this issue aren’t going to go quietly into the night. Name-calling climate change as a “scam” by itself won’t do it. You have to say why.
Well anyway, thanks for the reply – I guess.

Reply to  Steve Case
April 18, 2018 11:44 pm

Yep, I was in primary school when I started reading graphs as well. Doesn’t mean they mean anything more now than they did then. And yes, I’m thick, l make no secret of that, but so is much of our youthful population these days when it comes to science, certainly, as well as maths an English.
However, whilst it’s not credible to say CC is a scam without justifying it is, as you say, useless. But the science is well known, regularly analysed on here, so what’s the problem with having a layman’s analysis of the data on a parallel site?
I know Anthony has enough on his plate, but there are plenty of capable people here who could organise a titchy blog that’s easy to read but founded on sound science.
The alarmists managed to scare the planet by running round with their hair on fire screaming “we’re all doomed” based on junk science. Our message can be just as simple, based on good science.

Steve Case
Reply to  HotScot
April 19, 2018 3:12 am

HotScot April 18, 2018 at 11:44 pm

The alarmists managed to scare the planet by running round with their hair on fire screaming “we’re all doomed” based on junk science. Our message can be just as simple, based on good science.

Yes, our message is simple:

        CO2 Is Not
        A Problem

The money and organization to get that message out just isn’t there.

Reply to  Steve Case
April 19, 2018 3:34 am

Steve Case
Dripping tap. That’s all that’s needed.

April 18, 2018 2:08 pm

From the article: “Powell noted correctly that the western plains are dry in part because they lie in the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains, which rake off almost all the moisture blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. Seager’s team identifies two other factors. In winter, Atlantic storms bring plenty of moisture into the eastern plains and Southeast, but don’t make it far enough to moisten the western plains. In summer, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico moves northward, but that also curves eastward, again providing the East with plenty of precipitation, while the West gets cheated.”
I think that explains everything that is going on. I live in Oklahoma and the “dry line” through Oklahoma varies. Sometimes it is more to the east and sometimes it is more to the west. And it all depends on where the moisture is.
Currently, it has been quite wet in the Eastern half of Oklahoma and quite dry in the Western half. The storms have been forming up over Eastern Oklahoma and have then been moving east.
But we now have a weather front coming that is supposed to pump moisture into Western Oklahoma and are expecting a lot of rain out there. And the need it, there have been a lot of grass fires out there.
Oklahoma goes through cycles. Sometimes it gets real dry all over the State for a few years, and then the next thing you know, there is a deluge of rain right about the time it gets critically dry.
Our moisture here in Eastern Oklahoma is very good. We’ve had enough rain already to carry us through the drier summer months.

John harmsworth
Reply to  TA
April 19, 2018 7:56 am

Farther to the North, here in Western Canada, we had the driest year in approximately 100 last year. But the 20 or so years before that were notably devoid of excessively dry period and we had a long string of excellent crop years.

Russ R.
Reply to  TA
April 19, 2018 12:12 pm

So according to “climate justice” laws, all the Left coast states that steal precious water from the dry western states and plains, should be paying reparations!

April 18, 2018 2:18 pm

Thanks to the gods of sanity that we have people like Roy Spencer exposing nonsense like this by comparing fiction to reality.
Wouldn’t it be so easy to go with the alarmist flow and agree with their propositions, instead of fighting against their tide of ignorance.
I’ll fight thank you, and thank you Dr. Spencer for inspiring us.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  HotScot
April 19, 2018 3:00 pm

“Wouldn’t it be so easy to go with the alarmist flow and agree with their propositions, instead of fighting against their tide of ignorance.”
It’s always easy to battle against things one doesn’t understand.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
April 19, 2018 4:04 pm

Kristi Silber
It’s easy to battle against ignorance.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Kristi Silber
April 19, 2018 6:23 pm

Not when it’s willful.

April 18, 2018 2:32 pm

Relative near Minot ND have been growing corn recently. Better seeds and moisture sure help corn grow.

April 18, 2018 2:47 pm

Bad stuff is going to start happening.
Any day now.
Just you wait, it’s gonna happen.
It’s right around the corner, you better start listening to me.
I think I can see it.
It’s almost here.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  MarkW
April 18, 2018 3:01 pm

Somebody sees it, I think…

Pop Piasa
April 18, 2018 2:55 pm

Mashes well with “psychoclimatology”.

April 18, 2018 2:55 pm

“British farmers in turmoil as delayed spring plays havoc with growing season,” reads the Guardian headline.
“Last year, asparagus growers were harvesting as early as 8 April. This spring, they are not expecting to harvest until the last week of April … just one of the consequences of Britain’s disastrously delayed spring.”
“We have had a very challenging time,” said Guy Smith, vice president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU). “More often now we seem to be stuck in long periods of wet months and then long periods of dry months, which is more challenging for farmers.”
Adam Lockwood grows spring onions. “At the minute we’re struggling to get going,” he said. “Potato growers haven’t even started planting yet and drilling dates are well behind where they should be.
“Lettuce and brassica growers who have plants raised in a nursery that were ready weeks ago, they’re now having to throw those away.”
Livestock and dairy producers have been particularly hard hit. “It’s been a very late spring, even for a hill farm where we are,” said Richard Findlay, chair of the NFU’s livestock board, who farms in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.
“Instead of keeping the sheep in a couple of days after they’ve had lambs, we’re keeping them in for two or three weeks. We’re very fortunate in that we have the buildings to do it, but a lot of neighbours who don’t are struggling and have had many more losses.
There is Very little grass for the animals.
“We have nearly 1,000 sheep and it’s costing us about £1,000 extra a week at the moment to feed and house them to avoid a lot of losses. If we turned them out in poor weather there would be very little grass to eat.”
“It’s been the worst and most challenging time that I can remember,” Findlay said. “It really started last summer, which was very wet and quite cool, and the autumn and winter have generally been very wet.”
Needless to say it’s all evidence of man-made climate change. Unbelievable that they keep this up with a straight face. At least their last sentence is along the right lines: “We need to remember that it’s reckless to take food production for granted…”

April 18, 2018 3:02 pm

At the N pole the difference is insignificant! “Due to global-scale wind patterns, to the west of this longitude, rainfall drops off sharply. East of the line, it picks up sharply.” Only sharply at boundaries like fronts. In their world they may not have driven across this gradient. I have many times since the 1950s drought, and it has moved west at least in the south where it is broader.

Robert W Turner
April 18, 2018 3:06 pm

Climate Inc. keeps digging their hole deeper and deeper with these ‘don’t believe your lying eyes’ papers.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
April 18, 2018 3:10 pm

Since CO2 levels will continue to rise for the foreseeable future since temperatures have risen slightly – opps sorry, because of burning fossil fuels – am I right in confidently looking forward to the world’s climate patterns continuing to shift eastwards?
Given the crap climate for most of the year in Britain I look forward to the day when we get the climate of Texas arriving in Britain, which with its extra warmth and sunny skies is a prospect that cheers me up immensely. What you’ll get in Texas I can only guess. Perhaps you’ll get Hawaiian weather which will at least offer a wider range of bright shirts to go with the Stetson hats.
On the other hand I pity Iran which will probably get the UK’s climate. What’s not to like otherwise?

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
April 19, 2018 3:52 am

Don’t know what you are complaining about, I spent 33 days in the UK at the begining of summer and it was sunny on at least 2 days.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
April 19, 2018 7:54 am

Moderate, that’s funny. Then there’s the “scary” scenario that Gorebull warming will cause northward movement of climate. Then I think, what if my climate was like 100 miles south of me, and quickly realize that it would not only be OK, it would be better!

Pop Piasa
April 18, 2018 3:18 pm

Here in the US fly-over bankrupt state of Illinois I’m concerned that cold temps and lack of sunshine are delaying pasture growth, even though the drought is past for now. My hay supply will squeak by this spring but we should be halfway to first cutting by now instead of waiting for sufficient sunlight and soil temps to start seasonal growth. Hay prices will rise I expect. Crops will be in late this year also. We’re just now disking in anhydrous.

April 18, 2018 3:23 pm

“Second, while current Earth system models predict widespread declines in soil moisture and increases in continental aridity….”
Okay, stop. Just stop. Stop right there. It is modeling, which is guesstimating, not based on empirical evidence but on biased subjective opinions.
Have any of these people gone to the trouble of interviewing or even vaguely talking for a few minutes with people to the west side of that invisible meridian since – oh, say, 1995? I seriously doubt it. I doubt that any of these “researchers” have stirred their stumps outside their offices since they found chairs and desks there.
I worked for an agribiz company for two full years, doing Accounts Receivable. I took every possible opportunity to talk to customers in every state that was on the list, from Tennessee out to Nevada and west Texas. In 2005, while there was a mild drought going on in the central Midwest, there was abundant – in fact, excessive rain – in the Dakotas, so much so that cattle were picking up anthrax from spores that had lain dormant in the soil for over a century. In west Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, etc., the reports were all plentiful rain and abundant crops. The drought in the Midwest broke by late summer, and things were back to normal.
I talked to every kind of farmer or rancher, from corn and soybeans to steers and even some bison being raised for the dinner table, dairy farmers in Illinois and Wisconsin and cotton farmers in west Texas. They all said essentially the same things: weather is normal, business as usual.
Where these people who style themselves “researchers” – and I use THAT term loosely in this case — get this information is beyond me but there is NOTHING – ZERO, ZIP, NADA – NO EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE to support it. Period. It is poppycock.
Rant over, Mods. Enjoy your evening.

Reply to  Sara
April 19, 2018 8:00 am

The glacial maximums are the drier scenarios, not warm periods. That doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be drier local areas if it warms, but in general the earth is moister.

Hocus Locus
April 18, 2018 3:27 pm

dang dirt dryer than a dead dog’s donut
cillia ‘n pseudopods need killin’ afore the Spring
leapin’ beepin’ skitters in me bob-nobs early this year
noisome bog shure is noisome, lonesome gulch is lonesome
urban blight rottin’ Facebook posts right outa the ground
manure ‘aint workin’ right, mebbe the animals got flipped around
Harvester’s down for a dagnab Windows 10 ‘Spring Creators’ Update’
tech gets infected more than the critters these days
gotta flub the grubs outa the shrubs, club the nubs an put ’em in tubs
just you watch what I do to this chickin, you won’t cross me agin.
scooches in the haunches! gnarly wooglies in the furament!
12 CCs if interdexylmethyl-asssinine will do the trick, mind the children!
nuthin’ but bills, junk mail ‘n weather models in my mailbox
need a Masters in trivial hoohockey to run this place
media sez I’m the Breadbasket of the World, how about that
they should come and pull my finger,
I feel a dinner roll workin’ up right now

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Hocus Locus
April 18, 2018 4:41 pm

Dude that’s a collector’s item! Is it yours?
Good catch if it’s not.

Hocus Locus
Reply to  Pop Piasa
April 18, 2018 4:53 pm

Mine, I’ve reached the age where I no longer absorb new culture and regurgitate it all at once. Creates odd characters from thin air, always people I’d like to meet.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
April 18, 2018 6:08 pm

That’s bongo drums and beatniks deluxe! Excellent off-the-cuff creativity, if anybody cares what I think.

Phil Rae
Reply to  Pop Piasa
April 18, 2018 8:39 pm

I agree! Brilliant! Get a publisher, man!

John harmsworth
Reply to  Hocus Locus
April 19, 2018 8:03 am

Awesome! I can hear the grumpy old farmer voice that goes with it. Known about a hundred of ’em! But they just keep plugging away, doing the job while everybody in the city screams that all is lost and there’s no point. Never any appreciation for the food on the table. Thank God for farmers.

April 18, 2018 3:44 pm

In the map they show the 98th meridian being approximately along the east line of South Dakota which according to google earth is more like 96.5. The 98th pretty much splits Kansas in equal halves. Their map is inaccurate and exaggerates the significance. The 100th meridian looks pretty much on. According to the map Wichita is on the 98th.
Another inaccuracy is the example of “Abilene to Ft Worth”. It is about 140 miles between the two cities but from 100th to 98th meridians the distance is closer to 100 miles and the limits of Ft Worth are from 97 to 97.5.

April 18, 2018 4:08 pm

Nobody seems to understand that there are two weather systems working here. As I live in Arizona, we need to understand where all of our rain comes from. In the winter our rain comes from the pacific and we see most of it when it comes from the south west avoiding many of the mountains. In the summer, we have the monsoon that comes from the gulf of Mexico. When I look at the 100th meridian, it runs right down the eastern coast of Mexico indicating that much of the eastern summer rain originates in the gulf area and moves northward. Proof of this is when a hurricane hits the gulf area then decays dropping rain on the states north of the gulf. Can the 100th meridian move around a little bit? Sure but it’s pretty well stuck were it is as the moisture for much of the eastern US is supplied by that northernly flow.

Pop Piasa
April 18, 2018 4:30 pm

“It’s a reminder that climate really matters, then as it does today,” said Seager.
The famous picture of Washington crossing the Delaware comes to mind when I read that.
It is the adaptation to, and even profiting from changes in climate that shaped our history, if you take a closer look. Time to quit trying to change the course of climate and concentrate on the most equitable adaptation approaches so the evolution of society doesn’t take two steps back.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
April 18, 2018 5:04 pm

The precipitation figure clearly shows a cyclic pattern. There is a need to study this as this is the factor that is going to impact the grain production in this belt.
Irrigation can change the area of production.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
April 18, 2018 6:22 pm

Dr Reddy, you can see evidence of irrigation in action along the 100° W meridian by using Google Earth and looking for circular patterns, usually greener than the surrounding landscape.

Gene Walker
April 18, 2018 6:31 pm

So the headline should read “Higher Productivity Agriculture and Less Flooding Predicted by Climate Model”

April 19, 2018 2:10 am

They use a model they admit can’t model the present, adjust it so it looks more like reality now, then think it’s fine to project out 100 years! A model that cannot model what we know as fact can be trusted to model out decades?
It is literally laughable, literally so stupid that its authors should be laughing-stocks. Can you imagine this idiocy in any real science? If climate science had any integrity, it wold police itself and prevent this utter junk being worked on, let alone published.

John harmsworth
Reply to  Phoenix44
April 19, 2018 8:10 am

That’s just about everything anybody needs to know about climate science. It’s garbage! Practised by shamen.

Kristi Silber
April 19, 2018 3:19 pm

i wonder how many of the comments here insulting the research paper or scientists are made by those who actually read and understood it.

April 20, 2018 10:23 am

I find this in the press release: Data collected since about 1980 suggests that the statistical divide between humid and arid has now shifted closer to the 98th meridian, some 140 miles east” kinda contradicts Roy Spencer’s claim that the study is not based on observations. What kind of data is it talking about then?

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