I think that Steve Savage expresses the climate change connection about right. We won’t know for twenty years if the 2012 weather extremes are expressing a climate change signal. Regardless, the extremes are signaling how important it is to make the global food supply more robust under the stress of combined extremes of heat and drought. Here’s a snippet from Dr. Savage:
OK, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think that this year’s climate extremes are linked to human-caused climate change. We might not really have the definitive answer on whether that is true for 20 years, but I would like nothing better than to be proven wrong about the linkage I’m making today. From a global food supply perspective, the effects of weather on 2012 food production is problematic no matter what its cause. As bad as it seems, it might just be a ‘shot over the bow’ relative to what me might expect in the future. The unfilled corn cob pictured above is a relatively decent example of what the US corn crop is yielding this year.
How Hot Is It?
This isn’t just about low rainfall. There is a recent graph about temperature extremes on the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency) site that is striking. The 2012 difference from average is off the chart!
When it is both hot and dry, our dominant, rain-fed crops suffer the most.
Please do read Steve’s complete analysis.