“It is very difficult being a producer to have high and consistent yields with this kind of weather whiplash of extremes. It’s extremely difficult to prepare for a precipitation pattern that features long periods of near zero rainfall and short periods of extreme precipitation.” Victor Murphy of the National Weather Service
Drought in the high plains down to the plains of southern Texas has been in the news in agricultural and scientific circles for years. Due to climate change, drought-prone regions in the high plains have even shifted to the east of the 100th meridian, where the climate is more humid and rainier.
Low rainfall conditions cause droughts and an "above average persistence of high pressure over the drought area." Drought can happen anywhere, and it unfolds slowly and periodically (though flash drought is a worrisome increasing threat to agriculture in the high plains of North America.)
The drought in parts of Texas is historic and has threatened the state’s food supply and the world. There is a worrisome though predicted development that crop failures cover a broader area across the earth and that climate impact has raised alarm bells within the Texas Department of Agriculture. They released a report linking climate change with "food insecurity and identified it as a potential threat to the state's food supply."
The Texas Tribune writes:
The food access study, coordinated by the TDA and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, notes that “climate instability” is strongly associated with soil loss, water quality, droughts, fires, floods and other environmental disasters.
2022 was one of the driest years on record for Texas, and about 49% of the state was still in drought conditions at the end of December. The drought resulted in failed crops, low yields for farmers and diminished grazing, which forced ranchers to cull their cattle and led to the highest amount of livestock sold — nearly 2.7 million — in more than a decade.
“From the agricultural perspective, concerns were expressed regarding droughts, drying up of [artesian] wells, water use restrictions, fire threats and dangerous conditions for farm workers,” the report says.
Extended dry periods devastated Texas’ agricultural production, said Victor Murphy, a climate service program manager with the National Weather Service.
“We’re seeing longer periods without any precipitation, then when it does come, it’s in shorter, more intense bursts,” he said.
The article notes that 2022 rainfall in the state was comparable to 2021. With one difference, all the rain in Texas fell at once toward the end of the growing season, with over 13 inches in some areas. The 2022 rainfall distribution event was penned as a once in a 1000-year rain event, and crops that did survive the drought were flattened by heavy precipitation.
The report was sent to the GQP-dominated Texas Legislature, warning that besides the damage to the state’s food producers, the message “also points to other factors that are making it harder for Texans to access and afford food, such as wages falling behind rising costs of living and lack of access to food in rural areas.” What Texas does with the report is a question, but the majority of suggestions were, to begin with, assistance for those that are hungry while raising the minimum wage. Those suggestions are libtard ideas, and Abbot, Cruz, and
Corner Cornhole Corbyn have no empathy for human suffering. The MAGA mantra of letting the poor and lower middle class pull themselves up by their bootstraps will be a policy until Texas turns blue.
Republican governance reminds me of disaster movies where scientists and experts are always ignored. Until the crisis becomes evident, intelligent people are asked to solve the looming apocalypse. They always do - in the movies.
The 100th Meridian, Where the Great Plains Begin, May Be Shifting.
“Powell talked eloquently about the 100th meridian, and this concept of a boundary line has stayed with us down to the current day,” said Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and lead author of both papers. “We wanted to ask whether there really is such a divide, and whether it’s influenced human settlement.” He calls the studies an example of “psychogeography”—the examination of how environment affects human decisions. They appear in the current edition of the journal Earth Interactions.
While the climate divide is not a literal line, it is about the closest thing around–arid on one side, relatively wet on the other. Powell noted correctly that the western plains are dry in part because they lie in the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains, which rake off almost all the moisture blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. Seager’s team identifies two other factors. In winter, Atlantic storms bring plenty of moisture into the eastern plains and Southeast, but the storms don’t make it far enough to moisten the western plains. In summer, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico moves northward, but that also curves eastward, again providing the East with rain, while the West gets cheated. Seager says there is only one other such major straight-line climate divide on the global map: the one separating the Sahara Desert from the rest of Africa, also due to cutoffs of prevailing oceanic winds.