Climate Change Causing Southeast Asia Rice Harvests to “Dwindle”… NOT!

Guest “no it isn’t” by David Middleton

Food under threat: Struggle to harvest

Climate change pushing the world into hunger?

PUBLISHED NOV 11, 2018

As South-east Asia’s population grows rapidly, decreasing rice yields as well as the increasingly erratic weather brought by a warming world will place ever more stress on a region where millions still do not have enough access to food

Jose Hong

South-east Asia is the world’s rice bowl. But climate change, with its unpredictable rainfall and warming seas, is causing harvests to dwindle.

[…]

The Straits Times

I stopped reading right there and went here: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAOSTAT and downloaded rice yield and production data for Southeast Asia.

Dwindle…

 

Climate change, with its unpredictable rainfall and warming seas, is causing harvests to dwindle.

No it isn’t.

Southeast Asia, Rice Yield (hg/ha)

Southeast Asia, Rice Yield (hg/ha)

Southeast Asia, Rice Production (tonnes)

Southeast Asia, Rice Production (tonnes)

2016 marked the sixth hottest most productive year on record for Southeast Asia rice harvests, 97% of the record harvest in 2013.

Thailand’s rice production has fallen off since their record-high 2012 harvest; however nothing has “dwindled.”

If Southeast Asia rice harvests are dwindling, global temperatures are plummeting…

HadCRUT4 global temperature anomaly since 1961 (deg. C). Wood for Trees

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61 thoughts on “Climate Change Causing Southeast Asia Rice Harvests to “Dwindle”… NOT!

  1. I am struck by the difference between HadCRUTT4 above and UAH. Are we even living on the same planet? The RSS record isn’t that different than UAH. link

    What’s the excuse for HadCRUTT4 being so different from the satellite and balloon records?

      • Yeah the Hadcrut estimate is using relatively sparse single points of data to interpolate an imaginary 2D plane whereas UAH is using an array of vertical data to interpolate the temperature of the 3D troposphere.

        The satellite and balloon data is inherently more accurate for what it is they are trying to do.

        • You cannot have CAGW 2 metres from the surface and have the rest of the troposphere looking and feeling normal. That is why the UAH data will eventually put the nail in the CAGW coffin.

  2. I’ll put a twist on an old adage.

    Learn from the successes of the past, or you’ll be fearful that that won’t occur in the future.

    Ma Nature’s global warming cannot keep up with man’s success at adapting crop production to it.

    • Ma Nature’s global warming cannot keep up with man’s success at adapting crop production to it.

      That’s even assuming that a warmer planet won’t be beneficial.

      Ross McKitrick points out that the social cost of carbon might be negative. That means extra CO2 and warmth would be beneficial.

      Last year, two colleagues and I published a study in which we took an earlier Lewis and Curry ECS estimate and plugged it into two of those models. The result was that the estimated economic damages of greenhouse gas emissions fell by between 40 and 80 per cent, and in the case of one model the damages had a 40 per cent probability of being negative for the next few decades — that is, they would be beneficial changes. The new Lewis and Curry ECS estimate is even lower than their old one, so if we re-did the same study we would find even lower social costs of carbon. link

      The article linked above is a simple and clear explanation of what’s going on with ECS (Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity) estimates. I missed it when it first came out and maybe it’s already been covered in WUWT (I don’t know) but it’s well worth a read.

      I also take note that Lawrence Solomon also thinks CAGW is done for. link

    • It’s not a sentence. There is no main verb, only a present participle. To make it a sentence, add “is”:

      “Climate change is causing . . . “

  3. CHANGES IN RICE FARMING IN MAINLAND SOUTHEAST ASIA

    Researchers will examine one of the most intriguing agricultural-development questions in the region—how have fewer, older farmers with fewer agricultural laborers and smaller farms managed to more than double total rice production over the past 20 years?

    …………., mainland Southeast Asia currently faces a glut of rice supplies and low market prices

    https://www.eastwestcenter.org/research/research-projects/changes-in-rice-farming-in-mainland-southeast-asia

    • gee, you think maybe that “glut” caused the slight dip in production over the past 5 years??

      ……….dunno, I”m stupid

      • That was exactly my thought when I saw the steady incline for so long. Eventually you flood the market with success and you either accept lower prices or you adapt and grow something else and the market diversifies.

        • …and of course the idiots that wrote this paper assumed “increasingly erratic weather brought by a warming world “

    • Wow, in the search for negatives in the most glorious age we are living in, they are even counting spermatazoa! What kind of people do this sort of thing!/sarc. I had an uncle who went through the Great Depression in the 30s and spent the next 40 yrs of his life worrying sick about its return. Today we have the “Great Greening^TM” with rapidly expanding forests and other green cover encroaching on arid lands globally, expanding habitat, bumper harvests requiring much less land to farm and they use less water, abundance of resources of all kinds and peak population and broadly spread prosperity in the next 30-50yrs (we are 85% there already). We are entering the wonderful era of “Garden of Eden Earth ^TM” and we have gnashing of teeth and rending of hair by the terminally glum.

      This “WILL happen”, that WILL happen! Things have been “WILL happening” in vain for over 200yrs since Thomas Malthus’s grim end of all good things. These Doomcasters continue to experience “gambler’s ruin” by doubling up on their bets until they’ve used up their essentially useless lives. Why don’t such psychologists as Lewandowsky not see that they are missing out on the best research material that has ever come their way by being on the wrong side of the viewpoint.

      The constant worrying about impending disaster I have given the term RCP8.5 diagnosis. The “Climate Blues” precipitated by the “Dreaded Pause^TM” which pole-axed a number of climate scientists right out of their professions was, at base, from D’Nile of a niggling suspicion that the world may not be in danger afterall and they had wasted half a lifetime in study and much of another half in the practice of illigitimate science!

      • . . . about impending disaster I have given the term RCP8.5 . . .

        Good try, but the grim end of all good things ought to rate an RCP11.

      • It’s difficult to predict the future, maybe they have invented time travel?:

        “The major problem is quite simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr. Dan Streetmentioner’s Time Traveler’s Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations.

        Most readers get as far as the Future Semiconditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up; and in fact in later editions of the book all the pages beyond this point have been left blank to save on printing costs.

        The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy skips lightly over this tangle of academic abstraction, pausing only to note that the term “Future Perfect” has been abandoned since it was discovered not to be. To resume:
        The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one of the most extraordinary ventures in the entire history of catering. It is built on the fragmented remains of an eventually ruined planet which is (wioll haven be) enclosed in a vast time bubble and projected forward in time to the precise moment of the End of the Universe. This is, many would say, impossible. In it, guests take (willan on-take) their places at table and eat (willan on-eat) sumptuous meals while watching (willing watchen) the whole of creation explode around them.
        This, many would say, is equally impossible.”

        ― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

  4. A small amount of warming has occurred…but mostly at night and primarily at high latitudes where rice doesn’t grow well if at all.

    How does a .25 degree C increase in Alberta Province wreck rice harvests?

    The important thing here is that some University in dior need of funds got to steal ~half of the government grant money given for this study.

    AND SO IT GOES… AND GROWS…Always follow the money…especially when $Billions are involved.

  5. Perhaps it would be better to address the other elephant in the room:
    “As South-east Asia’s population grows rapidly”

  6. Yes, this Straits Times from Singapore article is junk.. I wonder how it got past the ‘In their faces’ perspective of the rice growing in close by areas like Johore, Sumatra etc…

    And by the way, growing more rice to feed all those extra people in SEA, means more methane gas to ‘warm’ the planet….If the world is to be saved all those rice eaters need to switch to sweet potato../sarc !

  7. Rice genotype & rice research applied are mostly responsible for increased yields. Agronomists in every country work to match rice genotypes’ ideal temperature range influence by sowing at the right time.

    In general any delay in sowing to catch the ideal temperature leads to fewer grains filling in a rice panicle. Genotypes of rice are screened for not only plant height & 1,000 grain weight, but also panicles per sq. meter, number of spikelettes per panicle & in the end the total amount of panicles actually filled.

    There is additional selection for different field conditions, such as elevation & water. A good part of the original post’s charted yields in S.E.Asia is due to farmers increased fertilization whereby their successive sowing benefits from unused fertilizer of their 1st crop. I’ll add that a lot of the early charted low yields were in countries directly affected by war or political mismanagement.

  8. Much of this increase is probably due to the work of Norman Borlaug. A name that not many people would know.

  9. A few months ago, WUWT perused and discussed an article in which some science peeps were upset by the amount of methane produced by rice farming. They were quite upset about it, inferring that methane was going to destroy rice farming, when in fact, it is a nitrogen-based molecule that can be used to to enrich rice paddies and make them more fertile. The rice is harvested, plant matter thrown back into the paddies to decay and produce more dirt/soil, then the paddies are flooded and rice shoots implanted, and hey, presto! another rice crop grows and produces more rice – and methane.

    Now this bunch of (insulated against reality) people are alarmed that all that rice volume is dwindling or going to do so, because tropical storms and rainy weather bring in a lot of rain – or something, not real sure what their angst is based on – and yet – as the chart shows – rice production is rising.

    Seriously, I think these people in so-called climate ‘science’ need to spend some quality time with professional counselors. They need help with their angst, and with their “doom and gloom” syndrome. It is truly said to come across people who could complain loudly about anything, as long as they attention (and grant money) out of it.

    • I’ve never accused the climate cult of knowing how the carbon cycle works. And the fact they think peat forming geomorphic processes, i.e. thawing permafrost, have a net release of carbon into the atmosphere shows they haven’t even grasped logic yet.

    • A few months ago, WUWT perused and discussed an article in which some science peeps were upset by the amount of methane produced by rice farming. They were quite upset about it, inferring that methane was going to destroy rice farming, when in fact, it is a nitrogen-based molecule that can be used to to enrich rice paddies and make them more fertile.

      I may be missing some grammatical connection here, but methane (CH4) is not nitrogen based.

  10. Is there anything that is not caused by climate change? That would be original.
    “le plus ca change le plus c’est la meme chose.”

    • Is there anything that is not caused by climate change?

      yeah, it’s called reality and it’s been thumbing it’s nose at “(man-made) climate change” for years. 🙂

  11. On request I presented a chapter [chapter 10] in a book “Current Environmental Issues”, B.B.S. Kapoor, et al. 2003 [Madhu Publications, Bikaner, India] titled “Evolution of Seed Technology, Biotechnology!”, 139-158pp. In this presented progressive agriculture development at all-India level that includes area under high yielding seeds, irrigated area and fertilizer use in lakh hectares/lakh tons. Discussed the role of technology on yield of paddy that constituted 75 to 80% of total food grain production of the state:
    The use of high yielding rice varieties [HYV] have gone up from 14.5% to 67% in about four years with little change in chemical fertilizers [N + P + K] use, increased the yield level only by about 245 kg/ha [1359 to 1604 kg/ha]. That is, increase under HYV by one percent increased the yield by about 5 kg/ha – by bringing 100% under HYV will increase the yield by 500 kg/ha only. During 1974-75 to 1978-79 with no change in % HYV use but an increase in fertilizer use by about 3.258 lakh tons showed an increase in yield by about 303 kg/ha [1604 to 1907 kg/ha]. That is an increase in fertilizer by one lakh tons increased the yield by about 100 kg/ha – by assuming that the chemical fertilizers were used by paddy only. By increasing the chemical fertilizer use by 20 lakh tons will increase the yield by 2000 kg/ha. With the tradition average yield of about 1300 kg/ha, the HYV + chemical fertilizers are expected to yield about 3800 kg/ha on an average. All these are under irrigation only.

    In my book “Agriculture & Environment”, 2007, presented the change in irrigation potential under different sources of irrigation, area under different crops, yield of different crops along with chemical fertilizer use starting from 1960-61 [around this time green revolution technology introduced in India] to 2000-01. Paddy yields follow the chemical inputs pattern.

    On December 7, 2013 presented a talk at a seminar in Hyderabad on “IPCC Report on climate change – Myths & Realities [later published in Wats up with that on the same date]. In this I presented a slide showing the production versus irrigation, chemical fertilizer use, seed, etc. The production followed fertilizer use. In the same seminar CRIDA director also presented keynote talk “Climate change and Indian Agriculture —“. He tried to inject the global warming theory. Then I questioned him on this, he simply says he has to go with wind and get funds. We are not free like you.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • Thanks for the summary.

      In fact, many lower level managers of agencies — of all types — “go with wind” (go with the flow) in order to get funds for staff to continue the work they do. Whether or not they really believe in CAGW doesn’t matter. They must keep the funds flowing and learn to respond to the themes from which that money comes.

    • There is actually some saline issues in the Mekong, land subsidence may be part of the issue, farming further out to try be productive, there can be many reasons but mostly it is marginal land that is affected. All in all it will make little difference in total Thai or Viet production as they get better genetics and production methods. There are also strains coming out that are more saline tolerant, China has some land that is having difficulty and they are working hard to come up with a good variety that can tolerate the salt and still be acceptable to the Asian palate.

  12. How does ‘rice yield’ in the first chart stack geographically? Total production does, land under crop does, but not yield…. I must be being very dense here if no-one else sees a problem, but what the heck…

  13. David

    You are dead wrong on this
    Once the eco nuts gain control of these countries like they have in the west they will stop rice production because of its huge carbon footprint, then rice production will fall and people will starve all because of global warming.

  14. Any discussion of falling rice yields is complete BS. There have been great advances in rice genetics (not GMO) that have increased yields. There are some areas, mainly China, that have had issues of salinity and basic ground pollution that have dropped yields but in general the top exporter nations have been keeping up with increased demand. Carry out stocks of rice have been generally shrinking for the last 10 years but that is due to increased population and consumption out of Africa, Philippines, and China. Issues with transport and storage are the number one problem with increased rice production as farmers have too many people touching the product to the point that the small farmers of Asia can barely make enough on their product but that is a whole different issue. If anything increased mechanization in Thailand and Vietnam will cause a jump in rice production which will likely increase C/O stocks in the coming years, but they have a long way to go to match US production methods.

  15. The Important Statistic is YIELD hg/ha— which is how much rice do we get from a set area of land planted. This is what the farmer is worried about — he invests his money in seed and his effort in preparing and planting his land.

    Governments and social factors determine how many acres/hectares are planted in rice so total production is not affected by meteorological / climate factors — political factors determine total tonnes produced.

  16. You watched The Princess Bride too.
    Mandy Patinkin was great as Inigo Montoya.
    The most profound moment for me was Wesley’s cry of of despairing agony ringing out through the forest during his torture.
    tor.com also holds the movie in high esteem, as well as Lady Hawk.

  17. Just returned to my home in Subic Bay from a trip to Thailand. Plenty of rice there and here in PI. I know a rice farmer in the Pampanga Province who has had great crops for the past 4 years, so much so the family has built a new house. The airplane flew back over Cambodia and Vietnam and the rice crop looked vast from 30K feet.

  18. Just returned to my home in Subic Bay from a trip to Thailand. Plenty of rice there and here in PI. I know a rice farmer in Pampanga province who has had great crops for the past 4 years, so much so the family has built a new house. The airplane flew back over Cambodia and Vietnam and the rice crop looked vast from 30K feet.
    From Clark to Subic the highway passes through the rice bowl of PI. Rice looked fine.
    There! Anecdotal evidence that the world is not ending.

    (obviously duplicate posts, but both are are released. Mod.)

  19. Thank you for your excellent post David. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Straits Times, though I would be very surprised if they decide to publish it, given that the paper is completely sold on the myriad claims of the climate industrial complex. They have running a weekly series of “special reports” in their Sunday Times, full of alarmist claims. Here is the content of the letter that was sent to the editor on Friday:

    Straits Times recently published an article (“Climate change pushing the world into hunger?”, November 11, 2018) which claimed that “South-east Asia is the world’s rice bowl. But climate change, with its unpredictable rainfall and warming seas, is causing harvests to dwindle”.

    Having checked the authoritative data provided by UN FAO (http://www.fao.org/faostat ) on rice yields in Southeast Asia (1961 – 2016), even a cursory examination does not support the claim that rice yields are “dwindling”. Simple statistical analysis will show that nothing of that sort is apparent from the data.

    In these days when concern over “fake news” is at the top of public discourse and government concerns, one hopes that your journalists be extra diligent in fact checking and avoid making unsupported or false claims which are alarmist and do your readers a disservice.

    I will be happy to provide your journalists and fact-checkers the original data and simple applied statistical analysis if ST editors wants to pursue this further.

    Your response, and information on any proposed action if any, will be much appreciated.

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