And the drought rolls on

An interactive map on Climate Central shows the 10 states where crop damage was greatest in 2012. But it also shows how the individual states were affected by the drought:

2012 drought map

The good news for Colorado is that although we were hardest hit by the drought, we produce the least amount of corn of the states shown. Kentucky’s corn crop was down more than 50%.

The map shows the ten states hardest hit by crop damage. Corn took its biggest hit in Kentucky. (Surprising. I had no idea corn was big in Kentucky.) Soy beans and sorghum were devastated in Kansas. Overall, crop yields in these ten states hit 20- to 30-year lows in 2012.

The not-so-cheerful weather news from the report:

The second week of February marked the 34th consecutive week in which more than half the land area in the contiguous U.S. has been engulfed by drought, and the 33rd consecutive week in which more than 10 percent of that area was under “extreme drought,” or worse. As this historic drought rolls on through a dry winter, the chances of recovery rest increasingly on a far wetter-than-average spring.

And there’s no indication whatsoever that Colorado is going to have a “far wetter-than-average spring”:

drought forecast Spring 2013

You can read the all dismal details on Climate Central, but I came away wondering how anyone can still be denying that our planet is warming. Maybe those people don’t live where agriculture and drought are critically important — although they don’t seem to mind consuming what we manage to produce.

It also occurs to me that we’re still using corn as biofuel, when it is a valuable food crop and livestock feed. There are other sources of biofuel; there’s no reason to keep using corn. That’s simplistic, I know. But I can’t see continuing to use food as fuel.


Categories: Money

6 replies

  1. Good grief PT, we humans really have a hard time when it comes to reading the signs, don’t we?

  2. Corn crops in southern Michigan also were hard hit by the drought conditions. There were plenty of signs of climate change around here–fruit crops also took severe hits.

    • I had no idea that either corn or drought was present in Michigan. The more I hear, the worse this sounds. On the NOAA map, though, it looks like Mich. might see some improvement this spring. Not looking so great for the Great Plains and much of the West. Maybe instead of building a pipeline clear across the US for Canadian oil destined to be sold overseas, we should be building pipelines for water.

  3. We are on the edge of drought – even if it is soggy now, our gumbo clay will harden like rock very quickly. We’ve been through these cycles before – it looks like more people notice now – (why wolverines and alligators migrated back and forth from northern areas to south and back.) I hope another el nino/la nina pattern doesn’t develop this spring – it will start all over again UGH. I hate those patterns.
    I am very anti using food for fuel – spoiled spoiled spoiled. Arrogant.
    One of the big local trash pick-up companies is gearing up to make fuel from collected trash – now that’s real progress – win-win! Why not fund that direction instead of corn as fuel?

    • I think it was Europe where I read they have huge plants making fuel from trash. So much better than burying it in landfills! I haven’t heard of any such plants around here. Too bad. I’d think they’d be very “in” in an area so conscious of conservation and recycling. Recycling is very big here. No sorting; just a separate trash can for all recyclables. Couldn’t be easier. I do wonder how it all gets sorted at the collection points, however.

“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” ~ Cornel West

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