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2012 Secretarial Drought Designations – All Drought


US Drought and Your Food Costs

USDA Farm Service Agency
Production, Emergencies and Compliance Division
Washington, D.C.
August 13, 2012

Category: Markets

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

17 Responses to “2012 Drought Disaster”

  1. milkman says:

    at least the oil and coal industries can rest easy because there’s no evidence of global warming……

  2. willid3 says:

    not sure why Texas is on that map as shows as being in a drought. i suppose parts of the state are but here in DFW we have west nile which comes from mosquitoes . which means we have to have had some rain to do that. and for us, July and August have been much wetter than ‘normal’. which means we had rain, since normal is almost no rain at all.

  3. taylorhr says:

    willid3, I agree. I live in southeast GA and we’ve had plenty of rain lately. 2012 has been better than the previous three or four years and five or so years ago we had >500,000 acres burn in forest fires.

  4. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    A drought map that appears to use better coloring tiers.

  5. RW says:

    Texas is in drought because, like most of the prairie states, periods between rains are getting longer and aquifers are being exhausted to sustain crops. When the rain does come it increasingly comes in a rush w/ flooding which washes away topsoil and fouls waterways with little aquifer replenishment. It does however leave behind extensive pooling w/ an increase in insect populations.

    These trends will likely continue into the century.

    NB: We are currently only 1 degree Centigrade cooler (mean temp) than the Medieval Warming period of (roughly) 950 to 1250 AD. Evidence indicates this warming was mainly northern hemisphere but what is significant for us is how dry two thirds N. America became; e.g., in the middle west prairie states, sand dunes stretched for thousands of miles from Texas and OK to Alberta and Saskatchewan and, in the west, main rivers such as the Colorado were running 15% less than now.

  6. tsk tsk says:

    And yet the UK is had one of the wettest Springs and early Summers on record. And mainland Europe had one of the snowiest winters.


    BR: It may have been wet but the UK heat record was broken as well.

    Increased weather volatility is consistent with global warming.

  7. wannabe says:

    milkman Says: – “at least the oil and coal industries can rest easy because there’s no evidence of global warming……”

    I know, right!? I mean, this is the worst drought since 1988! It’s simply unprecedented! /sarcasm

  8. mysterious eggs says:

    Texas depends on a lot of dammed rivers for power and more importantly irrigation. Just because it rains doesn’t mean that aquifers fill and rivers swell. Depending on your geology a certain amount of water needs to be soaked into certain rocks. Texas isn’t as far as some other states where their highways are separating as a result of the ground shrinking and pulling the road apart. That brings up Harold Edwin Hurst and his work in Egypt damming the Nile. The resulting Hurst Exponent gets used in a lot of earth sciences for long term memory in time series. I know this gets used in volatility models as far as financial time series go.

    he realized how important it was to Egypt that provision should be made not only for the dry years but for a series of dry years. Irrigation storage schemes should be adequate for every situation, very much, as in the Old Testament, Joseph stored grain for the lean years. He was one of the first to realize the need for the “Sudd el Aali,” that is, the High Dam and Reservoir at Aswan.

    Hurst’s name is linked to a statistical method he initiated, without at all realizing the scope of what he was doing. He used this technique to discover a major empirical law concerning the form statistical dependence takes in geophysics. At first, it seems surprising that anything of the kind could come from an author so poorly prepared in mathematics and working so far from any major center of learning, but at second thought these circumstances may have been vital to both the birth of his idea and its survival. He investigated the Nile using a peculiar method of analysis that follows very literally a recipe found in ancient books on optimum dam design and consists in a ratio $ R(d)/S(d)$ . The numerator $ R$ was defined, in current terminology as the range over a time span $ d$ relative to the cumulative sum of river discharges. The denominator $ S$ was defined as a standard deviation of yearly river discharges. Critics termed $ R/S$ narrow, undocumented, and ad hoc, but in fact this ratio – quite unexpectedly – turned out to be eminently intrinsic to the problem at hand and to have unparalleled qualities. With the computers of today, the calculation of $ R/S$ is easy, but in the mid-1960s, it was viewed as very time-consuming. Therefore, one can imagine the amount of hard work implied in such research before the advent of computers. But of course the Nile is sufficiently important to Egypt to justify comparatively large expenditures (and to preclude forcing Hurst to retire). Not being pressed by time and having exceptionally abundant data at his disposal, Hurst was in a position to evaluate their effect upon the design of the then-future High Dam. He showed that the dams the data demanded must be far larger than suggested by the standard model of stochastic variability of river discharges. Indeed, all earlier writings on this topic led to the expectation that in the long run $ R(d)$ should increase like the square root of $ d$ , whereas Hurst’s extraordinarily well-documented empirical law shows an increase like the power $ H$ of $ d$ , where $ H$ is about 0.7. Hurst adamantly maintained that this finding was significant, despite the fact that no test existed by which its statistical significance could be assessed objectively. Finally, at the ages of 71 and 75, he read two long papers that attracted attention. He was awarded the Telford Gold Medal by the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1957.

  9. romerjt says:

    Note to climate change deniers: The earth is not like a meatloaf you put in the oven and cooks with uniformity.- just because some places are actually colder this year means nothing and you should give up saying it to support your non-trending opinion.

    It”s an incredibility complex environment of thousands of climates and maybe millions of micro climates. The conclusive evidence for climate change will not come from academics, instead the business community. It’s generally getting hotter,with more extreme weather.

    Mostly farmers and other agriculture, insurance companies, ski resort, professional sports (1st time EVER Dayton 500 rained out), the data to support climate change is going to (is) show up in thousands of places that have nothing to do with academic studies.

  10. RW says:

    Folks need to remember that weather and climate are different concepts: The former is the ‘noise’ around the latter, the cyclical patterns within the secular.

    More heat means more noise around the central tendency but each region will experience that differently. Some will get drier, some wetter, some hotter, some colder, but the overall variance will grow; swings between extremes will get bigger.

    That is what is expected and a cooler summer next year there or a hotter one there will just be another data point in what is becoming an increasingly clear trend.

    NB: As far as colder and/or snowier winters go, more moisture in the atmosphere means more precipitation in areas where the jet streams take it and if the air is cold enough then that means more snow.

    Moister, warmer air ‘pollutes’ arctic wind belts fencing in deep cold so it is expected breaks will become more common w/ blasts of frigid, arctic air reaching far south only to be matched by earlier springs and melting permafrost further north …interesting times.

  11. louiswi says:

    And what does the world famous climatologist Dr. Rush Limtard have to say on this???

  12. Lyle says:

    Note that where in Texas one may be makes a difference. In the hill country last year the lawn did not grow at all, and this year it needed mowing only once in may. Texas seems to be in the midsts of a multi-year drought, with some years being better than others. (Note that the winter and spring were wet, then the upper level ridge returned, and it just stopped raining)

  13. victor says:

    Drought=>Higher corn prices=>higher food prices and higher ethanol prices (higher gasoline prices)=>inflation=>bonds sell off?

  14. constantnormal says:

    Interesting that the bar charts of food prices don’t show anything close to the impact on corn prices … the next chart shows that most of the price of processed food is in “people costs” — and unless the 1%-ers are working in the produce processing industries (mental image of Mitt picking cotton, or working in a slaughterhouse), those “people costs” are likely not seeing much of an increase …

    I have noticed a sharp rise in the price of soft drinks lately, stuff that uses high fructose corn syrup as a “cheap” sweetener, dunno if that is related or not …

    And I would DEARLY like to have every Congresscrook that voted for the ethanol lunacy (and the idiot president that signed it into law) be made to drink a gallon of ethanol daily until they either expire or repeal that idiotic pork-barrel legislation …

  15. CentralIowaFarmer says:

    Interesting to see how Romney reaches out to get in touch with the Iowa farmer. He picks THIS guy, who tells Romney that we “need you like we need oxygen.” I’d believe that his brain is deprived of oxygen, because he doesn’t seem to have a clue how most of us are living (or maybe he does, heck, seems to know a lot more than me!!).

    The farmer’s 2 million dollar house is at 3514 142nd St., Urbandale, IA, check it out on google maps. When I read this, I thought that he FARMED 54 farms, which would not be that unusual, there are a few farmers in the area that farm 5000 or 10,000 acres (owning some, renting most). But this gentlemen OWNS that many farms. Probably a value between 40 and 60 million dollars, just guessing. 8000 SQ ft. living space, 7000 SQ ft. garage. on the home.

    Typical Republican, challenged to get his taxes reduced (taken from Dallas County Assessor’s page – “2008 – BOARD OF REVIEW UPHELD PETITION 06/04/08 – REDUCED FROM 2,429,400 TO 2,143,970. MP 04/01/2008 SENT OUT A PROTEST FORM PER HIS REQUEST. WC”).

  16. CentralIowaFarmer says:

    Follow this article down to comment #25, Lemar Koethe writes his own response. Apparently he joined National Guard when he was 12? Must be how most Republicans do their math.

  17. GarryG99 says:

    Following the dought disaster in USA and severe heat wave in Europe,
    good article on food pricies preductability published on Seeking Alpha this weekend: