Another Example Of Weather Risks Due To Atmospheric Circulation Patterns “Argentine Wheat Sowing Slowed By Cold, Dry Weather”

As the USA drought and heat continues to significantly affect crops, I came across an interesting news article on a weather threat in South America that is due to cold and dry weather. The article Hugh Bronstein of Reuters is titled

Argentine wheat sowing slowed by cold, dry weather

Excerpts read [highlight added]

CBOT wheat prices rise for four straight weeks

* Adverse global crop weather fans supply worries

* Argentine growers shy from wheat to avoid export curbs

“BUENOS AIRES, July 13 (Reuters) – Dry, cold weather slowed Argentine wheat planting last week as farmers struggled to penetrate their frost-covered fields, the government said on Friday, further complicating a season marked by low output expectations. Argentina is the world’s No. 6 wheat exporter and principal supplier to neighboring Brazil. But plantings are set to fall 17 percent versus the previous crop year to 3.82 million hectares.”

The lack of rain over the last seven days was aggravated by low temperatures and frost throughout Buenos Aires province,” the Agriculture Ministry said in its weekly crop report. Buenos Aires accounts for more than half of Argentina’s total wheat output. In the district of Bragado, in the northern part of the province, “frosts have delayed the advance in the planting of winter wheat,” the report said. Chicago Board of Trade wheat prices have risen for four straight weeks, up 38.1 percent in that period, as adverse crop weather in major producers such as the United States and Australia fans supply worries. “

“Argentina, the world No. 3 soybean exporter, suffered a six-week drought in the December-January dog days of the Southern Hemisphere summer. The heat wave struck just as 2011/12 soy and corn plants were in their most delicate stage of flowering. The dry spell melted original expectations of a bumper crop and heavy May rains swamped some fields in Buenos Aires province, bogging down harvesting combines and forcing farmers to leave their late-seeded soy to rot.”

“….heat and drought continued to eat away at U.S. crop prospects. Argentina is also the world’s No. 2 corn exporter and the government estimates this season’s production at 20.1 million tonnes after the drought dashed early expectations of a 2011/12 crop well over the 23 million tonnes harvested in 2010/11.”

In terms of risks from weather extremes, the current threat to crops further illustrate that a global average surface temperature anomaly is not a useful metric to assess risk. Agriculture has always been at risk from weather extremes and this threat will continue into the future regardless of whether or not there are alteration in local and regional climate from human and/or natural forcings and feedbacks. A prudent way to reduce risk is to first develop mitigation and adaptation policies to weather extremes we have already experienced, and then build in a buffer in case more extreme events actually occur in the coming decades.

As the Reuters news article wrote

But the United Nations expects global food demand to double by 2050 as world population hits 9 billion. Argentina, which boasts a fertile Pampas grains belt bigger than the size of France, will be key to feeding an increasingly hungry world.

which means risk would increase even in the absence of changes in local and regional climate statistics.

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