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Changing weather patterns?

  1. Jun 13, 2007 #1

    wolram

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    Is there a long term trend for global weather change? if so then how will this
    effect traditional area crop growth?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2007 #2
    I'm not sure anyone knows that yet. Most predictions seem to be for more precipitation overall, but in some areas that's expected to be concentrated as seasonal storms rather than spread out the way the farmers would like to see it.

    I'm not a scientist, but it seems to me that any change in weather is disruptive to an established agriculture. Also, crop pests show up in new areas. There are also changes to fisheries. Off the Pacific Northwest coast of north america, warmer waters reduce salmon numbers and increase mackerel, which feed on salmon. Also, cool oceans produce more fish because they contain more dissolved oxygen.
    In short, it seems obvious that any noticable climate change will change what people eat.
     
  4. Jun 13, 2007 #3

    baywax

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    One of the major factors affecting weather patterns are major volcanic eruptions. If you look at this timeline of human activity, mean temperatures and major volcanic eruptions taking place over the last 2000 years, you can see how the weather has been influenced and, conversely, how humans have been influenced in a corresponding fashion by volcanic eruptions.

    http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache....pdf+krakatoa+600+ad&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=ca

    There have been suggestions that it was eruptions like these that set the tone for the black plague, world wide crop failures, civilizations collapsing and winters that lasted for years.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2007 #4
  6. Jun 13, 2007 #5

    baywax

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    This looks like it checks out. It is all measured globally mind you. A nice turn around for me Andre! But locally what would be the temperature drops or increases? By locally I mean, you know, the whole Mediterranean or the immediate 5 - 10,000 square miles around an eruption.

    The question is about weather patterns so I wonder if, locally, volcanos had quite an effect on weather patterns. The ash plumes certainly show up the weather patterns but I don't know if they would change them enough to bring about drought or floods or agricultural ruin. After a decade the ash is supposed to make good soil for growing. I do know that there are reports about the sun being blocked for a longer length of time. Tree ring analysis' show a reduced growth period for that era in time... around the "dark ages".
     
  7. Jun 14, 2007 #6

    wolram

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    Any one know the actual conditions that would cause crop failure, how
    many inches of rain is ok, how many is to much, time of year it falls.
    temp to hot, cold, hours of sun light.

    Maybe a years crop is lost so are there alternative crops that would thrive
    the next year.
     
  8. Jun 14, 2007 #7
    Let's get the thread back on the subject. If we look at historical examples, the answer is yes. During the medieval warm period, the grape vines in the UK were poster child and all desired crops were flourishing, wheat was abundant. Then during the 13th century the climate deteriorated into the little ice age. Only rye could cope with that, which beacame the main food. Unfortunately there is that fungus which causes ergotism or St Anthony's fire, which was unknown at that time and caused numerous casualties.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2007
  9. Jun 15, 2007 #8

    Astronuc

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    In the last two decades, we have had significant variation in local conditions, from more than average rain in one year followed by drought the next, followed more normal rain. So we have seen corn yields exceed average, followed by less than half to complete loss, to normal yield, and there was no way to predict that trend. We did receive predictions 12 to 6 months in advance, but they were very general. Farmers just plant and hope for the best.
     
  10. Jun 15, 2007 #9

    baywax

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    You see more and more agriculturalists relying on genetic modifications to stave off the effects of changes in weather patterns. The trouble is, how do you modify the genes of a plant to adapt to flood, drought, fire, pests, erosion and heftier radiation doses. Then, how do you keep these modified plants from becoming a problem when they pollinate the original strains with the natural defences from which the modifications were originally derived?

    Does anyone have info on the collapse of the Bee population? I understand this may be a result of weather pattern changes (or cell phone towers?).

    http://www.science.psu.edu/journal/Winter2005/GeneticBarrierWin05.htm

    http://cls.casa.colostate.edu/TransgenicCrops/history.html

    http://www.monsanto.co.uk/news/ukshowlib.phtml?uid=11490

    This could be devastating to all crops requiring pollination. There was a rumor that Monsanto is developing a genetic modification that produces "self-pollenation in plants" right on the heels of this decline in the Bee population.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2007
  11. Jun 15, 2007 #10
    Good rethorical question, in practice it is answered by court order in US. Any cross polination plants and its seed are property of the company owning the originally modified gene.

    Appart from these readily available excuses for mass production/distribution of gentically modified plants , its profit that drives this "dirty" application of the research. Seedless wheet, court approved copy rights over genetically modified seeds even if cross polinated with natural ones, unhealthy effects, the corruption of reporting gentically modified products, and other practices and results incorporated into this makes this only business issues rather than scientific one.

    I would hate to see something like GW becoming justification of corporate greed and unjustice like in this matter.
     
  12. Jun 16, 2007 #11

    Astronuc

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    Certainly if a farmer purchases a 'proprietary crop seed', he is at the mercy of the corporation who owns the seed. If enough farmers buy from a few corporations, then those corporations control the food supply.

    I was talking with a bee keeper, and he mentioned that he (and apparently others) believe that GM crops are responsible for the decline in bee populations (the collapsed colony disorder). Apparently some GM plants have natural pesticides which kill insects, including bees. But I don't know if that is true.

    Also, a few days ago, I heard comment that keepers of 'organic' bees have not experienced any losses among their colonies. I don't understand the term 'organic' with respect to bees. :confused:

    Anyway, with respect to the OP -

    Struggling over Water
    Tennessee Drought Stunts Growth of Local Crops
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11095767
    And similarly - Florida Faces Vanishing Water Supply
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11097869
    Southwest Water: Sharing a Dwindling Supply
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11036046

    Drought Takes Toll on Lake Powell
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11035086
     
  13. Jun 16, 2007 #12

    turbo

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    There is a microbial pesticide called Bacillus thuringiensis that causes paralysis of the gut of insects that eat it. The active agent can be applied to growing plants to kill the insects eating the plants. So far, so good. The problem comes when plants are genetically modified to produce this toxin internally. The concern is that the toxin is not only expressed in the leaves and stems of the plant, but also in the sexual organs and pollen. Bees will not chew on the leaves, etc, but gather pollen and take that back to the hive. The concern of beekeepers is that by gathering pollen from the GM crops, the bees are poisoning themselves. I don't know if this has been proven, but it was a factor in the banning of GM crops in the EU.
     
  14. Jun 16, 2007 #13

    baywax

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    Sorry I got this thread off topic. GMOs have not really got anything to do with weather patterns except as a means of offsetting loss of profits with weather resistant genetic traits.

    My last installment on this off-topic is a positive note about pesticides and genetically modified plants that produce their own pesticide with a genetic transfection....

    India found a way around costly pesticides and GMOs and a movement has spread there where the farmers are using CocaCola as a pesticide

    http://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2004/cokespins.html

    and here's the suspected mechanism that makes it work

    http://www.impactlab.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4292
     
  15. Jun 16, 2007 #14

    Astronuc

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    I was talking with another local beekeeper this morning, and he said he lost 47% of his hives last year. He mentioned that another beekeeper further north lost more than 80% of his hives.

    Now apparently the bees don't seem to be coming back to the hive, or perhaps they do, but then leave and die while away from the hive. They know this because most bees are not dying at the hive, but just disappear - i.e. just die while out collecting pollen. One thought is that the bees get disoriented/lost. One possibility is that the bees are poisoned, by bad pollen or insecticide, and another theory is that microwaves (cell phones and other communication systems) are affecting the bees ability to navigate, which presumably implies bees navigate by the earth's magnetic field.

    There is also speculation that warmer weather encourages the increased populations of mites and/or other parasites - fungi, bacteria, . . . .

    So lots of speculation and no definitive answers.

    The local beekeeper today also mentioned that Monsanto quashed a French study that pointed the finger at GM crops, but apparently the study found that bees in fields with certain GM crops become disoriented or lost.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2007
  16. Jun 17, 2007 #15

    baywax

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    Sorry for the long quote but this article explores some of the reasons for "colony collapse" among the bees etc... and one of the reasons sited is "extreme weather changes". There are four scientists on the panel and one of them is from NASA who also happens to be a beekeeper.

    more here: http://www.nhne.org/news/NewsArticl.../articleId/3118/Who-Killed-The-Honeybees.aspx
     
  17. Jun 18, 2007 #16
    More here too:

    http://www.physorg.com/news101272309.html

    The wrong word is "global" here, where there is obviously local climate change. A possible anthropogenic cause: Stripping the land bare also dries it out. This decreases evaporation which decreases rainfall which decreases latent heat moving energy from the surface which makes the surface warmer.

    But everybody is routinely thinking CO2

    Then again, Africa has alternating between arid and moist througout the Quartenary without the help of humans, so why now?
     
  18. Jun 18, 2007 #17

    Astronuc

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    Agreed! Deforestation and slash/burn farming is certainly anthropogenic.

    Depravation leads to desperation leads to conflict, and I'm sure there are those who want power and will exploit human suffering and strife.

    Various parts of the Sahel have actually improved local harvests, but that seem few and far between.
     
  19. Jun 18, 2007 #18

    wolram

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    It seems to me that weather is to chaotic, may be there are cycles within
    cycles, local deforestation could cause a short term weather spike that is
    damped by global weather, may be it would take decades for the global
    weather to equalise or show a change.
     
  20. Jun 18, 2007 #19

    baywax

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    We're literally on a slippery slope right now where our own sewage and greywater is filled with antibiotics and undigested drugs like prozac and other pharmaceuticals and even DNA. As weather patterns change (just try and stop them!) this effluent spreads into our private and public drinking water reservoirs as well as into irrigation channels to our crops. This is exasperated by increased rainfall and floods in various parts of industrialized nations as well as by hurricans and tornados etc....

    http://www.aquasanastore.com/water-facts_b02.html

    http://www.livescience.com/health/061023_antibiotic_spread.html

    http://www.mercola.com/2005/nov/17/pharmaceutical_drugs_found_in_us_water_supplies.htm

    Water and effluent were never a good mix because water, over time will always seek out the lowest lying land where all the other water is. That's where the drugs etc... meet drinking and irrigation waters. Composting toilets or high combustion toilets are just about the only answer. The former will also remove unwanted and unsightly hair:rofl::surprised
     
  21. Jul 22, 2007 #20

    baywax

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    I suppose one of the most dramatic climate change would be the onslaught of an "ice age".

    What gets an "ice age" started in the first place?
     
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