Weather and climate

Let’s talk for a minute about Nome, Alaska. This burg of 3,700 sits near the western edge of the Seward Peninsula where it borders the Bering Sea, summer destination for the Earth’s recovering population of Grey whales due to very cold surface waters which circulate freely with deep currents, bringing up nutrients that feed a thriving surface community of algae and plankton that nourish the whales.

Nome

You might remember Nome from the recent documentary The Fourth Kind in which aliens use the immersion technique to teach Liv Tyler Milla Jovovich’s family ancient Babylonian. Though far north as towns go Nome weather is moderated by the ocean, keeping it as warm as minus two to twelve Fahrenheit on average even in late January against an average of zero to minus eighteen for the Alaskan interior.

You might be thinking to yourself, minus two to twelve degrees sounds pretty appealing right now. We all have that personal limit where the cold becomes definitely NOT OK; mine is when the inside of my nostrils freeze every time I breathe in. Fortunately Max has about the same limit. Around that temperature he says screw this noise, poops in a hurry and drags me back to the house. A Siberian Husky my Doberman is not.

For those of you wondering what happened to your jet stream, folks in Nome are enjoying a record high of forty six degrees (forty with wind chill) and looking at an overnight low around thirty three. It is raining in Anchorage.

weather2

Sea ice started melting a while ago in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean. This warms up the area like crazy because ice reflects solar energy whereas open water absorbs it. This drew the jet stream north as everyone knew it would, winters get a lot nicer in the far north (unless you have a foundation in permafrost, which everyone does) and the higher atmo pressure pushed the arctic weather south to us while denying the Southwest any precipitation at all. That kind of sucks for SoCal, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and anyone in the lower 48 who prefers not to freeze to death and it will put huge pressure on Colorado and other upriver states to sacrifice their water consumption so Arizona farmers and Flagstaff golf courses can stay in business.

To summarize, whenever someone says “where is your global warming now?“, punch him in the neck.

***Update***

See XKCD for a similar point made better.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

174 replies
  1. 1
    srv says:

    Obama is using HAARP as a weapon against his own people to secure a tryannical rule.

  2. 2
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Why in the neck? I never got that.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    It’s so much easier to punch than to try to explain the science. So that’s always my impulse. I just nod and change the subject because it’s a matter of faith to so many of those folks. You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. So I’ve (mostly) given up trying.

  5. 5
    Steeplejack says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    It is a John Cole phrase that has become common Balloon Juice usage.

  6. 6
    Botsplainer says:

    Somebody at the Bureau of Prisons has an awesome sense of humor.

    They gave Richie Farmer a prisoner number with the tacked on trailer number of his UK jersey.

    http://www.wdrb.com/story/2455.....like%22%7D

  7. 7
    MikeJ says:

    @Gin & Tonic: The primary conduits for air, blood, and nerve impulses all travel through the relatively narrow neck. There’s a good chance of damaging a person very, very seriously.

  8. 8
    Geeno says:

    @Gin & Tonic: ‘Cuz if you can crush their larynx, they’ll drown in their own blood.

  9. 9
    Hawes says:

    @Gin & Tonic: have you ever been punched in the neck? Hurts like piss.

  10. 10
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    This burg of 3,700 sots

    Really? They all drink that heavily?

  11. 11
    elmo says:

    My old home in the Eastern Sierra is devastated. When I lived there from 96 – 03, we would have a twenty-foot snow base by this time of year. There’s a sign on top of Mammoth Mountain (elev 11053) that is about 20 feet tall. Here is what it looks like in summer. Most winters when I lived there, ski patrol had to dig to keep the top clear of snow.

    Last year was a bad drought, but at least they got enough snow in December for a decent base to carry them through the holidays and the Jan-Feb part of the ski season. (The season in Mammoth usually lasts well into June, and often to the Fourth of July. The US Ski Team practices there every May.) This year? This year they’ve had a total of only four feet of snow, and their base depth at Main Lodge is barely more than a foot.

    It’s horrifying.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    beth says:

    The kids here in South Carolina are bursting with excitement that after today’s 65 degree weather, there may be two days off school due to a possible 2-4″ wintry mix coming through. You’ll have a tough time selling climate change here even as we build snowmen in freaking Charleston!

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Shinobi says:

    Even my Siberian Husky is like “Uh no, this is dumb.” (But he is a spoiled old man. https://twitter.com/shinobi42/status/425489883767910400/photo/1 )

    He’s usually got about 5/10 minutes of snow frolicking in him. But when it is this cold he’s like “DO NOT THROW SNOW IN MY FACE I AM LEAVING. SHOVEL BY YOURSELF.”

    He’s also blowing his coat? So official WTF weather.

  16. 16
    GregB says:

    I just saw Marc Morano yell at Bill Nye therefore winning the global warming debate.

    Now can we argue how an increase of taxes on the top earners is the new Holocaust?

  17. 17
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @MikeJ: Sure. But it’s hard to do successfully.

  18. 18
    kbuttle says:

    Damn, Tim – it’s my field and I don’t have the facility with words for it that you do. Thanks for the simple explanation.

  19. 19
    Belafon says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy: You should link directly to the xkcd so that people can also read the image information text. Always read the image text.

  20. 20
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    You might remember Nome from the recent documentary The Fourth Kind, in which aliens use the immersion technique to teach Liv Tyler’s family ancient Babylonian.

    Milla Jovovich, surely.

  21. 21
    catclub says:

    @GregB: Only if you make sure to include Paris Hilton and the Walton tribe as ‘earners’.

  22. 22
    catclub says:

    @Belafon: Always read the image text.

    I larfed.

  23. 23
    Petorado says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: There’s a cottage industry in Alaska that produces T-shirts and bumper stickers proclaiming each municipality as “A quaint drinking village village with a fishing/ skiing/ snowmobiling/ hunting problem.” And then there’s this.

  24. 24
    Cervantes says:

    @kbuttle:

    Damn, Tim – it’s my field and I don’t have the facility with words for it that you do. Thanks for the simple explanation.

    Yes, thanks.

    Then there are those who do not deny climate change but insist that, as with everything else, there are winners and losers. In Nome (the Bering Straits area) specifically, Black Brant geese are thriving because of climate-linked changes on the coast.

    And speaking of the coast:

    As part of a report on the newly- released 2014 Interior Appropriations bill, Senator Lisa Murkowski says she was fighting off a number of funding threats to Alaska priorities and protecting core Alaska concerns like fisheries, land management and suicide prevention.

    One item Sen. Murkowski reports to have been instrumental in was blocking Coastal Marine Special Planning in Alaska. The Senator wrote that Alaskans are against CMSP, linking a website of the Alaska Chamber of Commerce with that claim. Senator Murkowski was told by then-acting NOAA Secretary Blank earlier this year that states not wanting to participate in the program wouldn’t have to do so. Murkowski supported language in the budget prohibiting Interior Department funds from being used for CMSP in and around Alaska.

    Call or write to her.

  25. 25
    negative 1 says:

    I realize I’m a horrible person but I figure since the whole globe is well on f&*ked I’ll get some slim pleasure out of watching Texas turn into a desert before I suffocate due to poor air quality in the northeast. At least those who deny climate change most fervently will have the ill effects before me.

  26. 26
    Tommy says:

    @elmo: Very sorry to hear. I live in the town I grew up in. Moved back here 20+ years later. As a kid in the 80s the lake as you entered town froze. People would ice skate and play hockey. Ice fish. In the 8 years I’ve been back it has not frozen over once.

    It still gets cold here and snows in the winter. It was like -35 two weeks ago,

    But I’ve come to think/realize that a little change here or there can have massive impact. I use the lake as an example all the time.

    Heck I could take you to a little pub in my town, not remotely liberal folks, but farmers. They will tell you climate change is a reality and in the next sentence that Obama was born in Africa.

  27. 27
    Bill says:

    Uh, they don’t get any more of our Colorado River water than the interstate compact allots to them. Sorry. Maybe the greater pressure from AZ and SoCal should be for a water pipeline from Canada than for XL. Hard to drink the tar sands oil!

  28. 28
    Roger Moore says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy:
    Always send people to the real XKCD, which has the often humorous, sometimes informative alt text.

  29. 29
    Schlemizel says:

    Thanks Tim – this simple explanation will help. I have tried showing people that the last great freeze in Europe was caused by a warm ocean stopping the Gulf STream flow that warms the continent but they can’t wrap their teeny minds around that because “it was centuries ago so how does it relate to us today, HUH SMART GUY?”

  30. 30
    ericblair says:

    @Petorado:

    There’s a cottage industry in Alaska that produces T-shirts and bumper stickers proclaiming each municipality as “A quaint drinking village village with a fishing/ skiing/ snowmobiling/ hunting problem.”

    I think they stole it from the Hash House Harriers, who have been “a bunch of drinkers with a running problem” for ages. As long as it’s not “KEEP CALM AND #RandomActivity”, it’s fine.

  31. 31
    slippytoad says:

    I sometimes wonder if I should ask deniers if they are familiar with how a fucking microwave works. Like this:

    “Hey, fuckwit, you know a fucking microwave works, don’t you dumbshit? Yeah, so put a big turkey in your microwave and run it for 10 minutes. Only parts of the turkey are hot, others are freezing cold. But overall, scrote, you notice that the OVERALL temperature of the turkey went up. if you leave it in the microwave longer, moron, you can see how some parts of the turkey get SMOKIN’ hot and others are still ice. Yeah, retard, so that is how global warming works too. Overall, stupid, the GLOBAL temperature is going up, even if some parts of the globe are not hot. So like all that cold weather used to be cold weather at the pole, and now that air is down here and getting warmed up, so GLOBALLY the temperature has actually gone up, which you’d know if you weren’t so stupid you can’t even figure out how a microwave oven works, you fucking retard.”

    That is about as much finesse as I can manage these days. Do adults seriously have to be spoon-fed basic facts these days? Is this why our social order is falling apart?

  32. 32
    Schlemizel says:

    @negative 1:

    Given that I believe it is already too late to stave off the worst damages of climate change that sort of gallows humor is all I have left. As Florida sinks into the ocean I will sense great joy at nutters drowning under their own pile of BS. Sadly, like cannibalistic, zombie rats many will flee to higher ground and cause worse damage on civilized areas. With any luck they will stick to Georgia & Mississippi and leave the rest of us alone.

  33. 33
    Belafon says:

    @slippytoad: I use the refrigerator analogy: So, if you want to make the stuff in your refrigerator colder, you unplug it, right?

  34. 34
    BethanyAnne says:

    @Roger Moore: And the mobile site is even more better! Just click to see the alt text, which works great for phones and tablets. Add m. to the front of any xkcd URL to get the matching mobile URL. http://m.xkcd.com/1321/

  35. 35
    Violet says:

    @Tommy:

    Heck I could take you to a little pub in my town, not remotely liberal folks, but farmers. They will tell you climate change is a reality

    Gardeners know. I’m sure farmers do too. Things are different from how they used to be. Seasons are different. Rain comes at different times. You can grow things you used to not be able to grow. It’s just different.

  36. 36
    MikeJ says:

    @ericblair: And *they* stole it from Oscar Wilde who said, “work is the curse of the drinking class.”

  37. 37
    Fair Economist says:

    @elmo:

    My old home in the Eastern Sierra is devastated. When I lived there from 96 – 03, we would have a twenty-foot snow base by this time of year.

    Just wait ’til summer, when we get to see what happens to California farming communities when the snow that isn’t on the Sierras doesn’t melt. Produce quality seems to be down around here so I wonder if we’re already seeing some effects.

    Just yesterday I overheard people at a supermarket near my house talking about how wonderful the warm weather was. I thought “yeah it’s nice for walks but I hope you like xeriscaping!” But I didn’t say anything.

  38. 38
    aimai says:

    @Tommy: I hear he walked over the bering straits to get here.

  39. 39
    Violet says:

    They showed the jetstream on the Today Show this morning and Al Roker talked about how Barrow, Alaska was warmer than Minneapolis and Cleveland.

  40. 40
    Fair Economist says:

    @Violet:

    Gardeners know. I’m sure farmers do too. Things are different from how they used to be. Seasons are different. Rain comes at different times. You can grow things you used to not be able to grow. It’s just different.

    Here in Southern California, the city of Westminster recently planted banana trees on one of the main boulevards. Banana trees can’t survive any freeze. So even though it *used* to freeze here every other year or so, Westminster is confident it’s never going to freeze again. They’re probably right – it’s been something like 15 years already.

  41. 41
    Origuy says:

    After you go to xkcd, go to Explain xkcd for the background. There’s a Discussion tab on each page, just like Wikipedia. At least one denialist has shown up there.

  42. 42
    Tommy says:

    @Schlemizel: I wouldn’t say my parents don’t believe in climate change, they would just debate it on the edges. They live within a few miles of the largest coal fired power plant not in China. The Gibson Generating Station. I don’t know how many times I’ve been to their house and never really seen stuff coming out from the smoke stacks. I know it runs on coal, but it seems from a visual point of view not to look like it pollutes (we know the reality).

    We were like 60 miles away in IN driving back to IL earlier last year and I recall seeing this huge cloud. I thought that is beautiful. Even thought of taking a pic out the window. As we got closer it wasn’t a cloud. It was whatever was coming out of the smoke stacks.

    I am like dad you can’t think that is good can you?

  43. 43
    Violet says:

    @Fair Economist: Some banana varieties can survive freezes. I’ve got a type that can survive a light freeze. They don’t like harder freezes (lower temps) or extended freezing. I take your point though. People know it’s changed/changing but they may not understand or want to understand or want to admit why.

  44. 44
    Origuy says:

    @slippytoad: Except that eventually all of the turkey will get hot. With global climate change, at least until the Earth becomes nearly uninhabitable, some parts will get colder. If the changes include shifting the Gulf Stream south, as some models suggest, Lisbon will start getting colder in the winter. Scotland and southern Scandiavia will see glaciers getting bigger.

  45. 45
    MomSense says:

    Yeah the climate is fricked which is bad news for human beings and lots of other species. Meanwhile we are arguing about whether or not women can have birth control–still. We have been arguing about the same things for 50 years. Probably 2/3 of the top contenders for the 2016 Republican nomination don’t accept evolution let alone climate change. The stupid doesn’t just burn it burns everything to the ground.

  46. 46
    Chris T. says:

    @Tommy: Interesting … the Gibson Generating Station has a nameplate capacity of π gigawatts (3.14 GW).

    … it wasn’t a cloud. It was whatever was coming out of the smoke stacks.

    If the scrubbers are working, that’s mostly CO2 and H2O, and what you see is a cloud, the water vapor re-condensing.

    The problem is mostly the “mostly”, and sometimes the “if”. Along with the CO2 and H2O you get some amount of SOx and NOx (sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which combine with water to make acid rain, and contribute to smog in general), mercury, lead, and arsenic.

    (There’s only a little bit of poison in the food air!)

  47. 47
    Roger Moore says:

    @Fair Economist:

    Just yesterday I overheard people at a supermarket near my house talking about how wonderful the warm weather was. I thought “yeah it’s nice for walks but I hope you like xeriscaping!”

    They should probably be xeriscaping anyway; big lawns are a huge waste of water even in relatively wet years. But the drought is definitely a huge problem. The next town over (Sierra Madre) is in big trouble because their municipal well has gone dry. They’re able to survive by importing water from a neighboring city (which AFAIK gets it from MWD) but their basic situation is precarious. It’s not made any better by idiots who think they’re somehow going to get through their problem without spending any money to solve it.

  48. 48
    Citizen_X says:

    @Violet: Yes, I’d guess that many (most?) gardeners and farmers are acutely aware of anthropogenic global warming. However, remember that only 2% of the population is directly involved in agriculture. Most of our idiot conservative demographic is suburban, not rural. They don’t know where our food comes from, and they don’t care. Until it suddenly doesn’t appear in the supermarket.

  49. 49
    Violet says:

    @Roger Moore: With good soil, lawns don’t need to be watered much at all. It takes time to improve the soil in your lawn to get it to that condition, but it’s possible to do. Use organic compost. Feed with humate and molasses. Cut the grass high in the summer to shade the blades from the extreme heat and don’t bother watering. It works. Initially the lawn looks crappy because it’s looking for the chemical fertilizer weed n’ feed stuff, but eventually the roots go deep and you barely need to water.

    In a lot of places that won’t work, of course. Deserts should have desert xeriscaping. But for places that can have grass, organic soil improvements really can lower your water usage.

  50. 50
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:
    Honest to God, I grew up in Nome. And, yes.

    When I was a kid I remember my mother described Nome as a town with “as many churches as there are bars.”

  51. 51
    zmulls says:

    Did you actually describe The Fourth Kind as a documentary???

    It purports to be a documentary but it’s a very Blair Witch-y sort of faux real story. The “archival footage” and the interview footage have actors playing the real people that the other actors are enacting.

    (I’m the dude who’s playing the dude pretending to be the other dude….)

  52. 52
    Roger Moore says:

    @Violet:

    In a lot of places that won’t work, of course.

    And AFAIK, both Fair Economist and I are in those places. The parts of the country that are pleasantly warm right now and need to think about xeriscaping are ones where people should not be growing lawns.

  53. 53
    Fair Economist says:

    @Roger Moore:

    They should probably be xeriscaping anyway; big lawns are a huge waste of water even in relatively wet years. But the drought is definitely a huge problem. The next town over (Sierra Madre) is in big trouble because their municipal well has gone dry. They’re able to survive by importing water from a neighboring city (which AFAIK gets it from MWD) but their basic situation is precarious. It’s not made any better by idiots who think they’re somehow going to get through their problem without spending any money to solve it.

    My city is dumb enough to legally require a green grass lawn. I’d be delighted with xeriscaping but obviously the local majority wants their green lawns, and seems unaware of the consequences of this nice walking weather.

  54. 54
    Jay in Oregon says:

    Climate change is also literally eating away at the village of Shishmaref, Alaska. The warmer temperatures means that the permafrost is thawing on the edges of the island the village sits on, allowing the ocean to erode the coastline.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/s.....index.html

    There are another dozen towns and villages on the Alaskan coast that are facing similar problems. Nome could face problems like that also, but it has a rocky seawall that helps protect most of the town. There are stretches of road down the coast that are threatened by the receding shoreline, though.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi....._scene.jpg

    But we had a “polar vortex” so SUCK IT, LIBTARDS!

  55. 55
    Petorado says:

    @Chris T.: I wish folks would understand that using fossil fuels is essentially taking a high-density, low volume solid substance and through the process of combustion converting it into a low-density, high volume gas, capturing some of the energy of either heat or expansion along the way. We’ve taken a whole lot of earth and turned it from something below our feet to something above our heads. that’s going to change things. The fact that we’ve cleaned up the visuals of gaseous pollution, unlike China, makes it easier to deny that we’re substantively altering anything.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Fair Economist:

    California grows 80 percent of the country’s food. Eighty.

    So it’s going to suck for the entire country when we can’t produce food anymore thanks to global warming.

  57. 57
    elmo says:

    @Fair Economist:
    Farming communities are one concern – the other, and possibly more newsworthy when it happens, is fire. When the eastern suburbs of San Diego are having 90-degree weather in January, which is supposed to be the rainy season, the fire threat looms very, very large.

  58. 58
    Violet says:

    @Roger Moore: Yeah, the lawn thing is a carry over from England, where they get a lot more rain. Doesn’t work so well here in our drier areas.

    I was thinking of areas where people want those green lawns, and they generally have the weather for them, but they ruin the soil with chemical fertilizers, then water every day for ten minutes, which trains the roots to be shallow (why grow deeper when they get water every day) and thus the lawn isn’t very robust. Better soil management practices can minimize water needs, eliminate toxic runoff into rivers and streams, and still allow people to keep an amazing lawn.

  59. 59
    sparrow says:

    @Violet: My Greek boyfriend’s parents are still in Greece, in Thessaloniki (in the North). His dad bought his mother a lemon tree when they were first married. It never gave lemons — too cold there. Until a few years ago. Now they get lemons every year.

  60. 60
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: Maybe the midwest will be the new California?

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Not with the winters they’re having. Our climate in California has traditionally been mild enough that we can grow things year-round.

    IOW, you should probably start a garden, like, yesterday.

  62. 62
    Tim F. says:

    @WaterGirl: More like British Columbia.

  63. 63
    sparrow says:

    @Fair Economist: I would put down astroturf. Idiots.

  64. 64
    WaterGirl says:

    @Violet: Do they sell the kinds of products you are suggesting in anything sort of equivalent to the Scott’s 4 step treatment program?

  65. 65
    Violet says:

    @Tim F.: Heard a thing on NPR several weeks ago about how lobsters that used to be in Maine are migrating ever northward and Canada has more lobsters now. The Maine lobster person put on a brave face saying, “the lobster range moves north and south in different years”, but the statistics they had were not encouraging for Maine.

  66. 66
    Anoniminous says:

    The Simple Explanation:

    Global Warming means more moist hot air along the equator. These air masses move further north than they used to driving cool dry arctic air further south. One result is a elongated front between the moist hot air and the dry cool air mass with abnormal weather at both ends: warmer than expected weather in Alaska, cooler weather than expected in Charleston during winter.

  67. 67
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: Happy to say I started one last year for my big three: zucchini, hot peppers and tomatoes. Would definitely add cucumbers if I could grow the smallish ones with the thin skin I don’t have to cut off.

  68. 68
    Violet says:

    @WaterGirl: I don’t know. Scott’s is a national brand so it’s designed to work reasonably well for everyone. It may not work great for you in your particular area.

    I use products designed for my area, like organic compost and fertilizer made in my area and I follow a plan for lawn treatment that is suggested by soil professionals in my area. I guess I’d ask around at good garden centers (not big box stores) and see what you can find out. Some of the products I use work in spreaders. Some don’t.

  69. 69
    Ernest Pikeman says:

    @Fair Economist:

    My city is dumb enough to legally require a green grass lawn.

    This is something I just can’t get my head around. Land of the Free, with Totalitarian Yard Policy. How do people go for that kind of shit? How is this even legal? How about organizing a repeal of such idiocy – maybe you could give the local teabaggers something useful to do with their CONSTITUTION! signs.

  70. 70
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    California grows 80 percent of the country’s food. Eighty.

    How do we know this? (Thanks.)

  71. 71
    skerry says:

    If you can’t garden, or can’t garden extensively, consider supporting your local agriculture through a CSA (community supported agriculture). I belong to one that supports 9 local, small farmers. I get fresh fruits and veggies from Spring through Fall. The amount, variety and quality varies with the weather. It’s a bit of a gamble, but so is gardening. I pick up once a week from a near-by school.

  72. 72
    Cervantes says:

    @Ernest Pikeman:

    This is something I just can’t get my head around. Land of the Free, with Totalitarian Yard Policy. How do people go for that kind of shit? How is this even legal?

    Anything to stop me from reducing the “value” of your “property.”

    How about organizing a repeal of such idiocy – maybe you could give the local teabaggers something useful to do with their CONSTITUTION! signs.

    Idiots would have no idea what you’re on about. They’d stand there blinking at you.

  73. 73
    Anoniminous says:

    And the next person stating the global climate isn’t changing because of weather will be beaten to death with a baseball bat mercilessly mocked for being the dumbfvck ignorant waste-of-space nincompoop fool that they are.

    You Have Been Warned.

  74. 74
    Violet says:

    @WaterGirl: I’ve grown pickling cucumbers. They’re short and I find I don’t need to cut off the skins. You might look for them when it’s time to plant cucumbers. Of course water management is key. If the plants go too long without water the skins will thicken up as they begin to conserve the water they’ve got. Mulch to help the plant retain water.

  75. 75
    cmorenc says:

    @Violet:

    Cut the grass high in the summer to shade the blades from the extreme heat and don’t bother watering. It works. Initially the lawn looks crappy because it’s looking for the chemical fertilizer weed n’ feed stuff, but eventually the roots go deep and you barely need to water.

    The problem here in the Piedmont region of North Carolina is a lawn that looks lush in early May will, as the summer heat really comes on starting the latter half of June and into July, be progressively over-run by aggressively opportunistic crabgrass that’s constantly replenished by the seeds in bird-poop – especially in those areas that temporarily look “crappy”. The real problem is that a strong majority of people nowdays insistently choose to try to grow fescue lawns (natively suited for cooler climates) in a too-warm climate, because fescue (if healthy) stays green year-round, instead of having bermuda or zoysia lawns (natively suited for warmer summer climates), which go dormant and brown in winter (but are far better-resistant to droughts, weeds, and insect pests). The second problem is that the lawn-supply industry has bamboozled folks into believing that a “lawn” that’s not pure grass, as opposed to mixed clover and grass, is ideal. Back in the 50s and 60s growing up in eastern North Carolina, most folks DID have lawns that were warm-tolerant “summer” varieties, with generous amounts of clover mixed-in (I remember having fun watching bees gathering pollen from the clover in the grass), and the browning of lawns in winter was an unremarkably accepted seasonal change.

    We’re guilty for the moment of perpetuating this sin in the house we currently own, having inherited a pampered fescue lawn from the previous owners, but this year or next we’re going to switch to zoysia in the sunnier parts that burn out every summer and get most infested with crabgrass. However, zoysia is difficult to establish from seed and requires considerable patience and work to establish from plugs – re-turfing is the only way to succeed without agonizing patience and effort, but it’s obviously more costly.

    Something many of our neighbors do that’s baffling to me is that every summer, a hardy native bermuda grass will infuse and substantially take over a four to six foot stretch of their fescue lawns nearest the street, and yet every fall they’ll try to kill it out with herbicide and re-plant fescue. However, since our neighborhood streets lack curbs and no one’s driveway has space for more than three or four cars, when someone has any kind of social gathering people have to park with at least one wheel on the lawn, and any injury to the lawn this causes (particularly during wet conditions) – the “wild” bermuda will hardily and fairly promptly grow right back, whereas the fescue won’t, and leaves scars on their yard. They insist on trying to grow fescue for a situation it’s clearly ill-suited for, and stamp out bermuda that’s ideally adapted for the situation. Freaking insane.

  76. 76
    Anoniminous says:

    @Violet:

    The Maine lobster person should go to sea in his boat, tie an anchor to his feet, and jump overboard. And by so doing raise the global average IQ by a small, but significant, amount.

  77. 77
    Cervantes says:

    @Anoniminous:

    The Maine lobster person should go to sea in his boat, tie an anchor to his feet, and jump overboard. And by so doing raise the global average IQ by a small, but significant, amount.

    Why?

  78. 78
    WaterGirl says:

    @Violet: Sadly, most of our good independent garden centers have closed in the past 5-7 years, so I wouldn’t even know where to start.

  79. 79
    Violet says:

    @Anoniminous: The Maine lobster guy wasn’t wrong. The lobster range does move north and south in different years. The issue is that over the long term the range is moving northward. Plus the Maine lobster guy was just doing his job and talking up industry in his state and country. Lobsters are a big business in Maine and losing that industry is a potential problem.

  80. 80
    WaterGirl says:

    @Violet: Didn’t know that about skins thickening up to preserve water, thanks!

  81. 81
    Violet says:

    @WaterGirl: If there’s even one left, go there. You can also google organic soil management and organic lawn management and put your city/state/region in as well to see if something comes up. You never know what might be there. Who knows, maybe the big box stores in your area have some good info.

  82. 82
    Violet says:

    @cmorenc: People are stupid. Maybe someone in your area should start a lawn management class. Give presentations at the local homeowners group meetings. Find advantages for using the proper gross and promote them. Get yourself in the local news as an “organic community” (could raise property values). There are ways to work that kind of problem but take organization.

  83. 83
    Anoniminous says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    One result of the California water shortages, allied with the salinization of the topsoils, should be a resurgence of vegetable production and truck gardening in the MidWest states, driven out of vegetable and small fruit production due to the California Aqueduct Project.

  84. 84
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    A couple of years ago, a schoolmate of my son’s punched him in the stomach. Morgan used the snake strike on him (tips of fingers bunched together, strike the larynx) Put him on the floor. The kid never came near my son again.

  85. 85
    Fair Economist says:

    @sparrow:

    I would put down astroturf. Idiots.

    Illegal. One house down the street actually did; I have no idea how they got it past the HOA or what the city has threatened them with, given that they’re in violation of a city ordinance. I haven’t got the nerve, plus my husband has a Brady Bunch mentality of what a house is supposed to be and would never agree to it. We have successful xeriscaping in the back yard, but he hates it.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    This website says 80 percent, but there’s no attribution. According to the state of California, it’s a mere 50 percent, so obviously it’s a complete lie and no food shortages will be forthcoming, right?

    Hopefully you’re not fond of almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, grapes/raisins, kiwifruit, olives, peaches, pistachios, plums, pomegranates, rice, or walnuts — according to the state of California, 99 percent of those products are grown in California.

    ETA: California is also the #1 producer of dairy, so you should probably start weaning yourself off milk and cheese now.

  87. 87
    Mnemosyne says:

    @WaterGirl:

    In the store, they call those Persian cucumbers — I don’t know if the seeds are sold under that name, though.

  88. 88
    Fair Economist says:

    @cmorenc:

    The real problem is that a strong majority of people nowdays insistently choose to try to grow fescue lawns (natively suited for cooler climates) in a too-warm climate, because fescue (if healthy) stays green year-round, instead of having bermuda or zoysia lawns (natively suited for warmer summer climates), which go dormant and brown in winter (but are far better-resistant to droughts, weeds, and insect pests). The second problem is that the lawn-supply industry has bamboozled folks into believing that a “lawn” that’s not pure grass, as opposed to mixed clover and grass, is ideal.

    Amen. Grass is a perfectly reasonable ground cover, even here in Southern California, if you’re willing to let it do what it does naturally. Grass does fine on hillsides and open space around here; it’s just yellow 6 months out of the year. But the lawn industry has gotten people hooked on the idea that everybody’s supposed to have a lawn that only grows in places like England, and a super-manicured version that needs a full-time gardener at that.

    I will say that some of the true desert areas inland from here seem to be realizing that you can have an attractive yard that doesn’t look like it’s from a country estate in England, and have yards with rocks, succulents, and desert plants. Some, not all.

  89. 89
    MomSense says:

    @Violet:

    Part of the problem is that you can only ship lobsters when they are “hard shell” but now that the ocean temperatures are warming, the lobsters are shedding their shells earlier which means that they are “soft shell” and not able to be shipped. This is happening at the peak of lobster season which is really bad for business.

  90. 90
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Good luck with that — the Midwest is getting alternating drought and floods along with their freezing temperatures. They’re not going to be much better off than California when it comes to growing food on a consistent basis.

  91. 91
    Anoniminous says:

    @Violet:

    The lobster person can spin all she/he wants.

    In the long term the lobster industry in Maine is gone. Warmer waters in the Gulf and Caribbean means warmer Gulf Stream waters flowing past the Maine coast meaning a modification of the off-shore eco-system. Them’s the facts.

    Short term pauses may occur by parts of the Greenland Ice Sheet breaking off and drifting south, temporarily cooling the waters. Maybe. It is equally likely the ice sheets will get caught up in the Gulf Stream and meander their way towards Iceland and the coast of Norway.

    Edited for grammar

  92. 92
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This website says 80 percent, but there’s no attribution.

    No, it does not. The web-site you are citing says:

    California grows about 80% of all fruits and vegetables in the U.S.

    Your actual claim was:

    California grows 80 percent of the country’s food. Eighty.

    I’d say even you can tell the difference between those two statements, but that’s obviously not true.

    You continue:

    According to the state of California, it’s a mere 50 percent

    Which is different from 80% — but never mind that because you’re wrong about what this source says as well:

    California remained the number-one state in cash farm receipts in 2011, with its $43.5 billion in revenue representing 11.6 percent of the U.S. total. The state accounted for 15.0 percent of national receipts for crops, and 7.4 percent of the U.S. revenue for livestock and livestock products.

    See those numbers? They don’t amount to “50 percent.”

    so obviously it’s a complete lie and no food shortages will be forthcoming, right? Hopefully you’re not fond of almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, grapes/raisins, kiwifruit, olives, peaches, pistachios, plums, pomegranates, rice, or walnuts — according to the state of California, 99 percent of those products are grown in California. ETA: California is also the #1 producer of dairy, so you should probably start weaning yourself off milk and cheese now.

    Irrelevant and silly (at best).

  93. 93
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy:
    @Petorado:
    @Jay in Oregon:

    So basically, you’re all telling me “That was no typo!!”

  94. 94
    tybee says:

    @beth:

    ditto here but that accumulation of freezing rain doesn’t fill me with joy but bring on the snow!

  95. 95
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    I see that, once again, you’re playing games with your pull quotes:

    The state produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. (emphasis mine)

    But, hey, enjoy starving while you quibble over whether 45 percent or 50 percent of the produce you’re no longer eating used to come from California.

  96. 96
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne: Progress!

    You’re down from “80 percent of the country’s food” to “nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables.”

    And I bet you still think you’re right.

    And as for:

    I see that, once again, you’re playing games with your pull quotes:

    See here.

  97. 97
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    California grows all of our fruits and vegetables. What would we do without the state?

    But, as I said, I’m sure your slow starvation after California stops producing half of the country’s produce will be much more palatable knowing that Someone On the Internet Was (Slightly) Wrong.

  98. 98
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s past time to start seriously supporting local agriculture. My CSA is about to start a greenhouse program for the member farmers, helping them with the startup costs so they can supply us subscribers year-round. The smaller grocery chains have started prominently featuring local produce.

    I was surprised at the effort it’s taken to adjust to cooking seasonally.

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    The state produces 99 percent of the artichokes grown in the US, 44 percent of asparagus, a fifth of cabbage, two-thirds of carrots, half of bell peppers, 89 percent of cauliflower, 94 percent of broccoli, and 95 percent of celery. Leafy greens? California’s got the market cornered: 90 percent of the leaf lettuce we consume, along with and 83 percent of Romaine lettuce and 83 percent of fresh spinach, come from the big state on the left side of the map. Cali also cranks a third of total fresh tomatoes consumed in the U.S.—and 95 percent of ones destined for cans and other processing purposes.

    As for fruit, I get that 86 percent of lemons and a quarter of oranges come from there; its sunny climate makes it perfect for citrus, and lemons store relatively well. Ninety percent of avocados? Fine. But 84 percent of peaches, 88 percent of fresh strawberries, and 97 percent of fresh plums?

    But nothing will change if California can’t produce food anymore, because most of your food totally comes from other places, like, you know, the other 6% that also grow broccoli.

  100. 100
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    that’s an awful glib response to someone merely asking for a source for a statistic.

  101. 101
    tybee says:

    @Fair Economist:

    bananas will survive a brief freeze. it got to 25 here twice last year and the banana trees and the bananas on them did just fine.
    however, the first vortex took it below freezing here for more than 36 hours and the nanners trunks are all dead. i suspect we’ll see new sprouts in the spring but for now, kaput.

  102. 102
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So what’s the point, overall? That we steer more water California’s way? Or is it that there are too many mouths to feed in the world, and we can’t depend on traditional bread/fruit baskets to sustain human population growth?

  103. 103
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    We regularly get phone calls from the local lawn service guys because we refuse to put in the work to keep a fescue lawn alive in the clayey soil of my front lawn. Sometimes when I say we’re not interested, they ask to speak to my husband. My stock answer is that my husband is perfectly secure in his manhood and doesn’t feel the need to dicksize via his lawn.

  104. 104

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    I was surprised at the effort it’s taken to adjust to cooking seasonally.

    MrsFromOhio and I had a long discussion about what we need to do a major canning session this autumn, and what the menus will look like Jan-Mar – basically, a lot of meat, grains, sauces … and canned veggies (mostly corn, peas and tomatoes).

    We’ve been trying to find a reasonable CSA, so many have popped up since it became popular, we are still in the weed out period. The local Amish have been going gangbusters, suddenly everyone wants their dairy, honey, chickens and eggs, along with the furniture and barns.

    It’s going to be tricky weaning off California, and the variety is definitely going to suffer. The challenge is making it sustainable, or at least less destructive on the path to sustainability, while keeping up with the nutritional necessities.

    Bottom line? There’s too Gaia-damned many of us. America’s food chains have so many kinks now, won’t take much to initiate a good old-fashioned, honest-to-Gaia famine to trim the herd.

  105. 105
    tybee says:

    @tybee:

    and i see violet beat me to it.

  106. 106
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    Or is it that there are too many mouths to feed in the world, and we can’t depend on traditional bread/fruit baskets to sustain human population growth?

    It’s not human population growth overall that we’re going to have a hard time keeping up with if California can’t keep up its farms — it’s keeping people in the United States fed. I have no idea what the solution is, but cutting off California’s water supply will be cutting off the rest of the country’s food supply, and I get a little tired of the snarky Oh, what’s the big deal if California can’t steal Colorado’s water anymore? It’s a big fucking deal for the whole country, not just California.

  107. 107
    chopper says:

    @tybee:

    depends on the cultivar. non-fruiting musa cultivars can be bred to tolerate a freeze much better than the fruiting kinds, which makes sense.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    Cervantes spends most of his time here JAQing off, and no amount of statistics is ever satisfactory. So I don’t really see any point in replying politely to such demands anymore.

  109. 109
    gelfling545 says:

    @Fair Economist: My city tried but too many people challenged the grass only rule starting with some elderly hippy neighbors of mine about 25 years ago. I was the second on my street about 10 years ago. I was ticketed 3 times over about 5 years for my front garden; appealed and won each time. The last time, the hearing officer was someone who drove down my street on his way to work daily & knew exactly what I had. He agreed that the ticket was nonsense, that usually a solar water feature, brick path & roses on an arch trellis are not considered signs of neglect & I haven’t been troubled since. Now too many folks are doing it for them to even try to keep up the pretense although last year they did try to fine some folks in a not very affluent area who were growing mixed vegetable & wildflower gardens in front. The city mostly backed down on that too. Too many people are doing that type of gardening here for it to make it practical for the city to fight it. The style is even becoming known in some circles as “Buffalo style” gardening.

  110. 110
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    well, your statement was wildly off. i was going to ask for a cite myself but he beat me to it.

    if you’re going to make some bold and incorrect claim you gotta expect people to call you on it.

  111. 111
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @BruceFromOhio: My paternal grandfather was a sharecropper in West TN. My mother, a city girl, spent the first years of her marriage learning to be a farmer’s wife. They had given up and moved to the city before I arrived, but a lot of those rhythms were still a part of their lives.

    I was amazed at how many vegetables showed up on my front porch that I had no idea what to do with. We almost never had squash growing up. It’s definitely been a learning experience.

    My husband is threatening to get another freezer after seeing last year’s bounty. Canning and freezing isn’t an autumn project here; it’s constant all summer.

  112. 112
    chopper says:

    @gelfling545:

    our front ‘yard’ is a hill covered with shrubs and a few trees. it looks nice so nobody cares, but even if it went a bit wild nobody would really give a shit. some people here have nice lawns but most people have shrubs and mulch.

    people out here talk a great deal about the drought. much of it is wondering when water restrictions will start and what they’ll end up doing. i usually just spout off a bunch of things people can do and they look surprised like they never thought that far into it before.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    The first statement was off. I posted a second, correct one. Now we’re arguing about whether “almost half” counts as 50%, or if we have to get the exact percentage to three decimal places before Cervantes admits that we’re all really, really fucked if California can’t produce food anymore.

  114. 114
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Question for the resident experts: How easy/expensive is it to convert lawn to xeriscaping?

    Specifically, I have a small patch of grass (we’re probably talking 15’x20′) that serves as a back yard. I’ve really got no interest in keeping it as a yard, and now that the automatic irrigation system is tits-up, some animal just dug the shit out of the lawn, and there’s drought on the horizon, I’m thinking the time is right to just say screw the lawn and convert.

    Now, there is pavement back there, too, bordering the lawn on three sides. The fourth side is bordered by a small planting area (there are a couple trees there now, but we want to tear them out and replace them with better trees, probably dwarf lemon trees). And drainage is certainly a concern–we don’t want water pooling by the house, and we don’t want water just running right off and into the street. Is it really just as simple as pulling up the grass and replacing it with gravel/sand?

  115. 115
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Mnemosyne: No, we’re not. People are pointing out that you claimed that 80% of the country’s food was produced in California. You have since modified that to about 50% but what you don’t recognize is that all of the places you are citing are talking about a subset of food, not all of it. California doesn’t produce anything close to half of the country’s food. And you are too busy being an asshole to recognize the glaring flaw in your claims.

  116. 116
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s a big deal for the entire planet and every other living being when we fuck with natural ecosystems, too, when we divert natural resources in order to sustain ourselves.

    BTW, and quite ironically, the crops that California ships overseas- and you can be damned sure that they get shipped past Catalina- contribute to the air pollution that’s at the heart of global climate change, as well as acid rain and respiratory problems in humans..

  117. 117
    jl says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: Where do you live? I think you’d want to check out possibilities for local plant varieties based on your location. For example, in some parts of the country, you can find good alternatives to standard turf grass that require much less water, if you still want some grass you can walk on. It would not be fluorescent green all year round, but if it is in a backyard, there will be no problem with goofus neighbors complaining.

  118. 118
    jl says:

    Interesting blog post by Barry Ritholtz on how more an more companies are waking up to how climate change (aka global warming caused by people pumping CO2 into the atmosphere) and how it is costing them money.

    Global Warming Battle Is Over Market Share, Not Science

    ” Investors should be considering this as a fight over market share, not a scientific debate. That is the approach taken by McKenzie Funk in a new book, “Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming.” The impact is across many industries. It’s time to throw out your preconceptions of climate change as a fight between green hippies and Big Oil. This is far broader and more complex. And it goes far beyond energy, to include agriculture, insurance, transportation, construction, recreation, real estate, energy exploration, food production, health care, minerals and even finance.

    The culturally constructed ignorance known as “agnotology” has been driven primarily by the oil and coal industries. Funk argues that we are about to move beyond that faux debate to a more important battle between even larger interests. ”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....cience.html

  119. 119
    PurpleGirl says:

    I wonder if there will be a rejuvenation in truck farms in New York and New Jersey. I remember what they used to grow and the veggie stores in the city which featured the produce. Of course, as the suburbs grew they grew on the good farming land and farming areas are much farther out now. Long Island used to be produce lots of potatoes, onions, mushrooms, etc. Not so much now.

    I looked into a CSA that services Woodside and Sunnyside but a lot of what they give you I can’t eat for various reasons.

    I wonder what people will do when water becomes much more expensive everywhere. It is going to cost a lot more shortly, I guess.

  120. 120
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    You will be able to bask in the glow of your righteousness as you slowly starve to death without the dairy, nuts, or fresh produce that California no longer provides to you. Enjoy!

  121. 121
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    no. you said we here in CA produced 80% of the country’s food. then said ‘okay, it’s 50’. no, it’s about 50% of fresh fruits and vegetables, which isn’t ‘all the country’s food’.

    even when you tried to backpedal you were way off.

  122. 122
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    It’s a big deal for the entire planet and every other living being when we fuck with natural ecosystems, too, when we divert natural resources in order to sustain ourselves.

    Even without diverting water, and with historical rain patterns, California as a whole probably has enough water to support itself. It’s when the state has to support the rest of the country and other countries that things go haywire. It’s an industrial farming problem, not a California’s a desert! problem, because most of California is not a desert.

    The biggest problem we’re going to have this year is not the Colorado River, but the American River and other water sources up by Sacramento, which provide water to everyone up there, including farms, but are also experiencing drought conditions.

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    I invite you to enjoy your new produce-, nut-, and dairy-free diet once California is no longer supplying the rest of the country. What’s a little scurvy between friends?

  124. 124
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Mnemosyne: I live next to Wisconsin so I’m not going to be starving to death for lack of dairy. Yes, California is the #1 producer of dairy products. That’s primarily because California is the largest state in the nation, full stop. As an overall share of national production, California isn’t much higher than than its share of population (about 20% vs. about 14%).

    It doesn’t surprise me that you have no idea what numbers actually mean. As for vegetables, we can grow them elsewhere and while they’ll be more expensive and less plentiful they will be around. No one else is going to starve just because it becomes apparent that no one should have been growing large amounts of fruits and vegetables in a desert.

  125. 125
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    listen, you nut. i live in an agrigultural section of california. i understand the impact of this drought. i’m living right in the middle of it.

    i also understand that your claim (and subsequent one) was way fucking off. glibly telling people they’re going to ‘starve to death’ for daring to point it out is stupid. you’re acting like a fucking child.

  126. 126
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:
    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    So, just to be clear, your collective opinion is that the rest of the country will NOT be affected if California is unable to continue supplying food at the level it currently is?

  127. 127
    chopper says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    there are some things that don’t really grow well in other places. but lots of stuff like broccoli and apples that grows elsewhere is grown here because it’s easy.

    losing the productivity of the central valley and coastal areas (like the salinas valley) will totally suck and some stuff will become pretty rare, assuming this drought continues for some time. and lots of stuff would get more expensive to be sure.

  128. 128
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    are you high? of course it’ll have an effect.

    TTP isn’t going to starve to death over it.

  129. 129

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    My husband is threatening to get another freezer after seeing last year’s bounty. Canning and freezing isn’t an autumn project here; it’s constant all summer.

    I get that. I’m resistant to ‘second freezer’ because one major power outage and it’s all she wrote. Canning has its own perils, though on the outside looking in it has longer term bennies I’m willing to invest in. Seasonal, cyclical diets and menus are definitely the way of the future.

    Thanks for your comments, I think I need to have a long conversation with some of the family olds.

  130. 130
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    I would take you off #126 if I could, but the edit time ran out. You can consider that one withdrawn, for you at least, because you at least understand that losing California’s food production would be bad for everyone else, not just California.

  131. 131
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    considering TTP stated that the price of vegetables would go up and the availability would go down if CA stopped production, i think he’s in the same boat i am.

  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    No one else is going to starve just because it becomes apparent that no one should have been growing large amounts of fruits and vegetables in a desert.

    What part of the Central Valley is a Mediterranean climate is confusing to you?

    Hint: Mediterranean =/= desert.

    ETA:

    @chopper:

    He’s still pushing the California is farming in the desert! bullshit, so I’m afraid he’s still on the boat.

  133. 133

    @PurpleGirl:
    I wonder what people will do when water becomes much more expensive everywhere.

    This, this, this. The fundamental relationship most Americans have with water (faucets that spew endless streams of clean hot and cold water) is going to change. The question is, how painful will it be?

    One need only observe howregional political, environmental, and economic philosophies are already shifting in anticipation.

  134. 134
    chopper says:

    @BruceFromOhio:

    i’d love to replace my current deep freezer with a bigger one, but i’ll have to wait until i find out if we’re staying in this town or not.

  135. 135
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    the southern end is a desert. the rest certainly is not.

  136. 136
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    He’s still pushing the California is farming in the desert! bullshit, so I’m afraid he’s still on the boat.

    what does thinking the central valley is a desert have to do with thinking that the loss of such as productive irrigated farmland won’t have an effect on the rest of the country?

    the former does not in any way imply the latter. you’re just grasping for a reason to avoid dealing with your own pigheaded wrongness in this thread by trying to get everyone to focus on someone else’s error.

  137. 137
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Mnemosyne: No, you fucking idiot. I never said that it won’t have an effect. Stop listening to the voices in your head. All I said was:

    a) your claim that half the food grown in America is grown in California is way off and you just keep digging yourself a bigger hole by refusing to back down on this;

    b) because of your mistake in a) you have a grossly overstated opinion of just how large those effects are going to be. No one is going to starve because of losing California’s produce. To take your example of dairy, I’d bet that if California dropped off the fucking map tomorrow, the rest of the country could increase its dairy production by the roughly 8% it would take to make up the difference between the amount of dairy California produces versus the amount of dairy it drinks.

    The loss of vegetable growing would be large, though again nowhere near as large as you think it is. Nuts, on the other hand, while I’d hate losing them, aren’t really a staple of the diet of much of America.

    Your predictions of mass starvation are a hallucination. Your own citation says that the agriculture in California constitutes about 11% of the total value of agriculture in the United States, which is LESS than California’s share of the population. Given what is grown in California, I’d bet that it’s share of the total caloric content grown in the United States is even less than that. It’s a net food importer, not exporter.

  138. 138
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    what does thinking the central valley is a desert have to do with thinking that the loss of such as productive irrigated farmland won’t have an effect on the rest of the country?

    Because it’s all tied in with the belief that California doesn’t really supply that much food to the rest of the US (after all, how much can you really grow in a desert, amirite?) so California’s drought problems aren’t going to affect anyone other than California farmers. Which is bullshit.

    Also, please explain how I’m wrong in saying that there will be major food disruptions in the United States if California is no longer able to produce food for the rest of the country. I quoted at least two articles above saying there will be major disruptions.

  139. 139
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    No one is going to starve because of losing California’s produce.

    Go take another look at the statistics in this link again. Those numbers aren’t how much California produces for California. It’s how much is produced for the whole country.

    Please explain how the state that produces 94 percent of the nation’s broccoli is insignificant and everyone else can get along just fine without it.

  140. 140
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Because it’s all tied in with the belief that California doesn’t really supply that much food to the rest of the US (after all, how much can you really grow in a desert, amirite?) so California’s drought problems aren’t going to affect anyone other than California farmers. Which is bullshit.

    nobody’s said that, you halfwit. saying the valley is a desert is merely saying it’s not a smart place to grow food, not that it doesn’t produce much.

    Also, please explain how I’m wrong in saying that there will be major food disruptions in the United States if California is no longer able to produce food for the rest of the country. I quoted at least two articles above saying there will be major disruption

    nobody’s said there won’t be disruptions.

    we’re saying we’re not going to fucking starve, nor will we all have to “give up dairy and vegetables”. even nuts, which do actually grow in other places.

    FFS, how dumb is it to tell a fucking wisconsonite that he won’t have access to dairy if california dries up?

  141. 141
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Mnemosyne: Do you understand that there is a difference between, “California’s agriculture is significant,” and “California’s agriculture is the only thing standing between the United States and mass starvation”? Americans can eat things besides broccoli. Let me put this in all caps because otherwise you don’t seem to get it:

    I NEVER SAID THAT CALIFORNIA’S AGRICULTURE IS INSIGNIFICANT.

  142. 142
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @chopper: Actually, I’m a Minnesotan. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: we have dairy farms here, too. And soybeans. Lots and lots of soybeans.

  143. 143
    chopper says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    ah, i didn’t read the ‘next to’ by ‘wisconsin’. my bad.

  144. 144
    chopper says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    besides which, broccoli grows elsewhere. it’s primarily grown here because it’s easier and cheaper (for now) and there’s a long season. but you can grow the shit all over the place.

    in fact, i distinctly remember buying tons of the stuff at the farmer’s market in new york. it even grew really well in my garden there.

    if CA dries up, broccoli doesn’t disappear. it gets more expensive because it has to be grown elsewhere. we don’t all starve because of that fact, nor are we forced to give up vegetables.

  145. 145
    Joel says:

    @elmo: Up here in Washington, Mt. Baker — you know, the place that once recorded roughly one hundred feet of snow in a season has seen 76 inches of snowfall this season.

  146. 146
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Well, except where you said it here:

    Your own citation says that the agriculture in California constitutes about 11% of the total value of agriculture in the United States, which is LESS than California’s share of the population. Given what is grown in California, I’d bet that it’s share of the total caloric content grown in the United States is even less than that. It’s a net food importer, not exporter. (emphasis mine)

    So which is it? Is California a significant producer of food in the US, or do they produce less than 11% of the total value and import more than they export?

  147. 147
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    You may want to re-check that list and see what else we’re going to have to figure out how to move to other states. It ain’t just broccoli, and it’s more than 11 percent of US produce.

    ETA: Ah, I see where JMN is confused — he’s conflating cash receipts with actual food production. Here’s the reality:

    The state produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. Across the nation, US consumers regularly purchase several crops produced solely in California.

  148. 148
    Mnemosyne says:

    Highest value cash crop? Corn. States that grow corn have the highest cash receipts, followed by soybeans.

    But cash receipts =/= food production, and humans can’t eat just corn and soybeans.

  149. 149
    maeve says:

    @MikeJ:

    And if you’re Xena the warrior princess, you punch them once to paralyze them, then again (if you feel like it) to let them go.

  150. 150
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You may want to re-check that list and see what else we’re going to have to figure out how to move to other states.

    a number of products will have to be grown primarily elsewhere. it will certainly raise the prices of a number of fruits and veggies.

    now you explain how, in that case, people like TTP will starve to death, and how people like me will have to give up dairy and vegetables. i’ll wait.

  151. 151
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    a number of products will have to be grown primarily elsewhere. it will certainly raise the prices of a number of fruits and veggies.

    Many of the places you’re counting on to grow fruits and veggies in our stead are also being affected by global warming. The Midwest has had alternating floods and droughts for at least a decade now. I think ramping up food production in the rest of the country is going to be a little trickier than you think.

    now you explain how, in that case, people like TTP will starve to death, and how people like me will have to give up dairy and vegetables. i’ll wait.

    You won’t have to give them up, because you’re in California and will still be able to get them. JMN is going to have a little harder time in Minnesota, but at least he’ll be able to comfort himself knowing that California only has 11% of the cash farm receipts, so there’s no way we were also producing almost half the produce. Except that we were.

  152. 152
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    JMN is going to have a little harder time in Minnesota

    i thought he was going to starve to death.

  153. 153
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    I’m trying to think more kindly of him now that I know he doesn’t understand the difference between farm cash receipts and crop production.

  154. 154
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    well, given your earlier wholesale pigheaded wrongness about food production here in california you’re not in any place to be so smug and patronizing.

  155. 155
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    Which pigheaded wrongness? California does produce almost half of the nation’s fruits, vegetables and nuts, plus a huge proportion of its dairy. I posted an entire list of foods that are produced almost entirely (90 percent or more) in California. Read the links again.

  156. 156
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    we went over this already. “80% of food! okay, 50% of food. wait, 50% of fruits, nuts and veggies? whatever, it’s all the same, shut up! you’ll be laughing when you’re starving to death!”

    in all seriousness, you haven’t exactly covered yourself in glory in this thread. you’re not in any place to condescend to someone else who made an error.

  157. 157
    draftmama says:

    Its been over 60 almost every day here in Montana for the past couple of weeks, with a few crappy days in for good measure here and there. Very weird indeedy.

  158. 158
    Pogonip says:

    @Violet: Just in the last 30 years my area has warmed (overall) from agricultural zone 5 to zone 6.

    Ten to fifteen below predicted tonight.

  159. 159
    Mojo says:

    For the record, Flagstaff golf courses use only reclaimed water and Flagstaff doesn’t receive any Colorado River water anyway.

  160. 160
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @slippytoad:

    “Hey, fuckwit, you know a fucking microwave works, don’t you dumbshit? Yeah, so put a big turkey in your microwave and run it for 10 minutes. Only parts of the turkey are hot, others are freezing cold. But overall, scrote, you notice that the OVERALL temperature of the turkey went up. “

    The argument is that, because it is extra cold in much of the US for a few days in winter, global warming is a myth.

    Quick – from the top of your heads – what’s the area of the US as a percentage of the world’s surface? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    Try 1.9%. It’s like saying that there can’t be an economic recession because one person in your office of fifty got a payrise this year…

  161. 161
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @Violet:

    Gardeners know. I’m sure farmers do too.

    I’m reading a journal from tehe Alpine Society here. They sure as hell know too.

  162. 162
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So which is it? Is California a significant producer of food in the US, or do they produce less than 11% of the total value and import more than they export?

    Both. 11% is a significant portion of the total agriculture produced in this country. Losing it definitely enough to be significant. As you point out, it is significantly higher than that for some products. What it is not is either:

    a) enough to produce mass starvation anywhere else even if it disappeared entirely;
    b) as high an overall percentage as California itself eats. You guys are a net food importer. So if California suddenly disappeared, the rest of us would have enough food to eat. We’d have to give up certain things. Other things would become a lot more expensive. So our dietary habits would change. That is significant; it is not in any way shape or form starvation.

    Highest value cash crop? Corn. States that grow corn have the highest cash receipts, followed by soybeans.

    Do you have ANY concept of the difference between absolute numbers and percentages? At all? Yes, in absolute terms soybeans and corn produce more money than any of the things that are grown in large amounts in California. This is in no way the same thing as saying that the dollar cost of a fixed amount of caloric content is highest for these products.

    A bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds and costs about $6.00. The commodity price of broccoli, since you like talking about that so much, is about $8.00 for 20 pounds. (I’d provide links but I don’t want to go into moderation in a thread this old; you can find it if you look. So broccoli is about four times as expensive as corn on a per pound basis. The reason corn and soybeans are a greater share of agricultural income is because there is a LOT more of them produced than there are of vegetables.

    One cup of broccoli has about 25 calories in it. One cup of corn has about 132.

    So when I say that the 11% of U.S. agricultural production that California provides likely overstates the share of the caloric content that’s because vegetables are both a lot more expensive than grains and they have a lot less calories. Do you see what I’m getting at there?

    . . . humans can’t eat just corn and soybeans.

    Actually, not only can they eat almost entirely grains, that’s what humans did eat almost entirely for millennia. It isn’t nearly as healthy a diet but you don’t starve to death. Widespread availability of fresh vegetables is a very new phenomenon in human history.

    So, yeah, a complete and total loss of California’s food production would be a significant and distinctly undesirable development. It wouldn’t mean that there will be mass starvation.

  163. 163
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    in all seriousness, you haven’t exactly covered yourself in glory in this thread. you’re not in any place to condescend to someone else who made an error.

    Read his defense right above me. Does that sound like someone who’s willing to admit an error?

    But, hey, if California’s food production isn’t important to the rest of the country, then our drought doesn’t really matter and they can take care of themselves, right?

  164. 164
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    11% is a significant portion of the total agriculture produced in this country.

    You do realize that agriculture is not reserved to food items, right? Cotton is grown. Tobacco is grown. Looking at the total agriculture number doesn’t tell you how much of that is edible by humans.

  165. 165
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:
    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Whatever. I give up. California’s drought is completely insignificant and there will be no problems with the food supply due to global warming. Ever. Happy now?

  166. 166
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Mnemosyne: You are either a clueless moron or utterly dishonest. You keep saying that I said things that I never did.

  167. 167
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So that’s your excuse for being a cock to everyone who pointed out your numerous errors, or even asking you for evidence for a claim?

    But, hey, if California’s food production isn’t important to the rest of the country, then our drought doesn’t really matter and they can take care of themselves, right?

    do you even read anymore? what the fuck, what happened to you? You weren’t this much of a snide moron in the past.

  168. 168
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @chopper:

    You weren’t this much of a snide moron in the past.

    It comes and goes, though I think it’s happening more frequently recently. She’s always had moments.

  169. 169
    Cervantes says:

    @chopper:

    that’s an awful glib response to someone merely asking for a source for a statistic.

    That’s the problem in a nutshell. Question one of her oh-so-confident “statistics” and watch her invent — and attempt to refute — utterly incompetently — a dozen claims you’ve never made.

  170. 170
    Bill D. says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    People may not believe the 1.9% statistic. After all, it looks a lot bigger on a map, right? The answer to that is that maps distort relative sizes (making mid-latitude countries like the US larger), they don’t show the entire Earth’s surface, and finally the human mind tends to easily double the apparent size of a smaller area within a larger one.

  171. 171
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @Bill D.:

    People may not believe the 1.9% statistic. After all, it looks a lot bigger on a map, right? The answer to that is that maps distort relative sizes (

    Yup. For instance, while the US is having a week of snow, Australia is having a whole terrible summer of heat.

    But that doesn’t count, because Australia is so much smaller than the US, right? Um, no – 78% the size.

    Bottom line – 2013 was the fourth hottest year globally on record. Central Asia, central Africa, Australia – all had record heat. Despite a bunch of Americans getting a snow storm.

    Hell, the US recorded its warmest year ever in 2012…

  172. 172
    dianne says:

    When the orchards are allowed to die, they can’t be replanted and start producing in the next good water year. It will take many years of growth for them to start producing again. The wonderful nectarines in the central valley will be gone probably forever. Who will even take a chance when replanting is so expensive. I don’t won’t to live on just corn – California gives us the wonderful variety we have in our diets.

  173. 173
    Cervantes says:

    @dianne:

    California gives us the wonderful variety we have in our diets.

    But think of the cost of transportation. I’m not talking about dollars paid for gasoline. I’m talking about refrigerated trucks and internal combustion engines and greenhouse gases. “Wonderful variety” may be nice but at what cost? Buying local produce — encouraging local farmers wherever you are — is a good idea. Yes, it may be a sacrifice — but that’s what this thread is really about: cutting back on some things so that other things can survive beyond our myopia.

  174. 174
    mclaren says:

    @Schlemizel:

    I have tried showing people that the last great freeze in Europe was caused by a warm ocean stopping the Gulf STream flow that warms the continent but they can’t wrap their teeny minds around that because “it was centuries ago so how does it relate to us today, HUH SMART GUY?”

    But is there any consensus in the scientific community about why the ocean warmed? AFAIK there isn’t a solid scientific consensus about why the Little Ice Age occurred in Europe in the 1600s.

    From the Wikipedia article on the Little Ice Age:

    Several causes have been proposed: cyclical lows in solar radiation, heightened volcanic activity, changes in the ocean circulation, an inherent variability in global climate, or decreases in the human population.

    But so far, no smoking gun in the scientific literature. Am I wrong?

Comments are closed.