Sunday, August 12, 2012

US 100 Year Drought?‏

1) The New York Times has an interesting article re how some scientists think the USA may have severe droughts over the next 100 years:
2) Our maize crop is  being severely hurt by our existing heat wave and drought in the Midwest:
3) But what is interesting is that the American West has been hit by severe decades-long droughts in the past centuries.   (That is believed to have been one of the primary causes for the collapse of the Anasazi civilization in New Mexico circa 1200 AD.)
4) Here is what things looked like in the 1930s when drought  caused the US Dust Bowl:
5) In the longer term, however, the USA has a significant problem.   Much of our food is grown in the western Plains State and those places dealt with water shortages by extending electrical power lines across the area and drilling deep wells to tap into the huge Ogallala aquifer which runs from South Dakota to west Texas.
However, that aquifer has steadily shrunk over the past decades and some towns in
west Texas are now dying because their wells are going dry.   Scientist say that it will take 6000 years to replenish the Ogallala if it is sucked dry:

6) This is what makes a retreat in a remote location so questionable  -- those marginal places have low population density for a reason and are very vulnerable to climate shifts extending over a decade or more.  Obviously food prices in cities on the Eastern Seaboard are going to soar (which will not affect someone who has saved money).
But there is much to be said for having a port with access to the world's oceans (giving access both to alternative food supplies and to escape routes.)
Don Williams

Hi Don,
Water is of great importance and I would avoid living in places where there’s lack of it, especially deserted locations far from natural water sources that simply exist thanks to artificial water provision. There’s many of those all across western US, many live in them and don’t even realize it!
Anyone serious about survival and preparedness should study the Dust Bowl. There’s plenty of information on line.
When making up your mind on where to live certainly avoid deserts and make water availability a primary concern.


Anonymous said...

Meat prices are going to skyrocket in the coming few months - I don't want to think about next year's prices. Drought is causing many cattle ranchers to sell their herds (too expensive to feed them) so you would think meat glut would cause prices to fall - nope, just the opposite. Bet some meat packers are stacking this in the deep freeze to make some real money in near future.

Anonymous said...

The worst part is watching all the lovely farmland on the eastern seaboard being paved over to make way for shopping malls and developments.

Anonymous said...

The worst part is watching all the lovely farmland on the eastern seaboard being paved over to make way for shopping centers and housing developments.

Anonymous said...

We are experiencing the inevitable weather associated with an La Nina weather pattern. It is cyclical and not unusual at all. We have had between 5 and 7 of these La Nina cycles in the last 100 years the most notable was the dust bowl of the mid 30's. La Nina cycles last 1-4 years or so and then revert to the more familiar El Nino cycle. 100 years??? Not likely, no evidence of that and in fact this La Nina cycle is far from the worst one in recent history. Does anyone know with any confidence if this La Nina cycle will be worse then previous cycles? No. The odds are it won't be and contrary to the media on this so far it is not worse. But most likely in four years the media will be touting the wettest years ever...

k said...

Aside from living where you have access to clean fresh water, you need access to clean food and air. You also need to avoid diseases like malaria (used to be in Taxachusetts and Sweden), Lyme disease (present in a lot of places on Earth. Otzi the Iceman had it), Chagas (found from Texas to Argentina), etc. And you need a place that is far from the big cities, but not too far from from people you can deal with. You will likely need suitible clothing or shelter. You likely lack at least one of the needs. And that lack could easy shorten your life.

Don Williams said...

Some updates:

a) G20 is looking at an emergency meeting to address how to reduce soaring food prices
due to US drought/ fall in US grain exports.

b) My guess is that one thing they will discuss is how to avoid having poor nations
starve because wealthier nations bid up the price of grain by stockpiling /hoarding.

Mexico just made a huge purchase of the US corn crop because she has been
suffering drought herself --but that leaves Africa holding the short end of the stick.


c) While we can debate what, if anything, can be done about global warming, I don't
think there is any question that it is occurring. When US satellite photos from the 1970s
are compared with today's they show that a large chunk of the Arctic
polar ice cap has melted:


d) The US National Intelligence Council's future forecast "Global Trends 2025" --dated Nov 2008 -- warns
that climate change could trigger large migrations in the coming decades(p.53) --including
from Latin America into the USA.


Don Williams said...

Anon at 8:27AM "Does anyone know with any confidence if this La Nina cycle will be worse then previous cycles? No."
I concur that you can't extrapolate from one year's weather to long term climate prediction.

And that there is a lot of variation from year to year.

However, the New Mexico record at least shows droughts that ran for DECADES.

July in the USA was not just hot, it was the hottest since we started keeping records in 1895.
That's for the past 117 years:


Don Williams said...

Anon at 5:09 am "The worst part is watching all the lovely farmland on the eastern seaboard being paved over"

I concur. It is idiotic. Although they are bulldozing large parts of Detroit and giving it back to the wildlife. In some cases, Mother Nature ain't waiting:


A. Ruiz said...

Food prepping is nothing new, agricultural societies always have years worth of grain stored for this reason. Drought.

But I don't see how it makes a difference if you live in a remote area or not, if there is years long drought. City or country, you're go to have a hard time finding food.