Field of Science

Winter weather?

The winter of '12-'13 is looking like another mild one as records fall for most number of days without a inch of snowfall.  Having grown up in the upstate New York snow belt, TPP has witnessed a 104 inch snowfall in 48 hours, and that did not set a state record, which is something like 78 inches in 24 hours.  So far this winter the precipitation totals have been less than 2 inches of snow, and pretty mild temperatures too.  But it is the impact of the former, not the latter that is a concern and the reason is because all the excess precipitation here in the upper midwest heads for the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River, which has its ups and downs.  A number of years ago the Phactors and friends owned a cabin perched on a bluff above the Mississippi, and during that time Old Man River favored us with a remarkable flood that we could observe safely from on high, although briefly all the access roads, which cross the flood plains, were were inundated.  So this year a dry winter is following a dry summer, and the water level in the Mississippi is lower than anyone can remember especially between St. Louis and Cairo ("kay-row" in the local tongue) where the Ohio River enters the equation.  This will have a major impact on farming because a significant proportion of corn and soybean crops so prevalent here abouts are shipped on this river  down to New Orleans for export.  If the river drops any further this shallow section will block shipping and already barges are being only partially loaded to raise their draft.  This is just a small example of how climate change can disrupt human affairs.  Of course if the drought continues not so much corn and soybeans will be raised for shipping either.  As these things add up, we can all wonder when politicians will get serious. 

1 comment:

~mel said...

It's going to be interesting to see what happens as time goes on. hmmm... one can only imagine?? I think I'm going to be doubling the size of my garden.