Browning Newsletter: Extreme Cold and Drought Double Whammy to U.S. Ag
Date Posted: February 4, 2014
Las Vegas—Winter is only half over, and the extreme cold has already broken thousands of records in the Central and Eastern U.S.
Meanwhile, the Western U.S. is breaking drought records.
Both are caused by a dynamic jet stream shifting the cold far north in the West and far south in the East says Evelyn Browning-Garriss, noted climatologist and author, who predicted this extremely cold winter and California drought in published reports this past October.
“The first tip was that we had the coldest Arctic summer on record,” said Browning-Garriss, who serves as editor-in-chief of the 37-year-old Browning Newsletter.
“It was so cold, in fact, that the Arctic sea ice grew 60 percent this summer. Normally, the Arctic summer has about 90 days above freezing; in 2013 there were less than 50.”
“The Arctic saw 920,000 extra square miles of ice,” she said. “You usually hear about Arctic ice melting, not growing.
"When that Arctic cold poured south, more than 6,800 snowfall records were broken in the U.S. in just December, including in San Diego and Orlando.”
According to Browning-Garriss, this much colder air is affecting agriculture.
Back in October, the wet corn harvest required large quantities of propane to dry out the crops for storage.
This has caused a propane shortage.
Now the extreme cold is stressing livestock and costing farmers and ranchers more money to keep their animals warm and healthy.
While the jet stream going south in the Eastern United States has caused the extreme cold, as Browning-Garriss predicted this past fall, in the West, it’s traveling north of the U.S. Canadian border.
This has resulted in the severe drought conditions much of the Western United States is seeing.
California, in the worst drought in a century, is rationing the water available for its winter fruit and vegetable crops.
It is not the only state facing problems—56 percent of the lower 48 states are already in dry or drought conditions.
There is one potential saving grace, however, says Browning-Garriss, for Western and even global crops.
“Many models are now predicting a weak El Nino, with El Nino conditions beginning in the summer,” said Browning-Garriss.
“This would be great for U.S. grains, for fruits and vegetables and overall good for world crops. An El Nino has the potential to break a California drought, and this could be the light at the end of the tunnel.”
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