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2011 May Ring in Record Droughts

2011 May Ring in Record Droughts

Water security has become an incredibly important topic for many governments and environmentalists. Without water, there would be no life on Earth, and while there has been some efforts towards water conservation, world wide water shortage may happen sooner than anticipated. Based on various climate prediction centers, 2011 appears as though it will bring in severe droughts around the world.

In the US, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center recently released drought targets for 2011. While most of the north US appears to be drought free, much of the southeast and southwest seems to either remain at the same level of drought or see a significant increase. Droughts in Colorado have dried up many of the Colorado River’s tributaries and resulted in the lowest water levels of Lake Mead since 1937. Should the lake decrease another eight feet (it is currently at a mere 130 feet deep), federal officials will declare a shortage on the river that would cut Nevada’s river share by six percent [Source: My Fox Phoneix]. Grass fires have already sparked across the state of Missouri and are beginning to affect dairy farmers. While some pastures had already been supplemented with water from creeks, the drought has dried up many of the local creeks and prices of livestock feed have begun creeping upwards [Source: WLBT]. It isn’t only in the US, though, where farmers are facing the side effects of drought. Countries across the world are seeing the effects of warmer temperatures and less rainfall. Russia and Ukraine winter crops could not be sown during the normal month of July, and instead the farmers had to wait until August. This has forced Russia to ban wheat exports until December while Ukraine has begun thinking of imposing export quotas [Source: Today's Zaman]. More than half of Uganda’s population will suffer from severe food shortage in February 2011 due to drought that will not only destroy crops, but livestock as well [Source: New York Times]. Even in Brazil, there is the dry weather has led the sugar industry to lower their sugar cane yields to 60 million tons. This has increased the price of sugar from 14 cents a pount to 25 cents with forecasts of in February 2011 reaching 30 cents a pound [Source: Reuters]. Another major Brazilian export, coffee, is also facing hardships due to drought and many coffee farmers expect the 2011 harvest to be smaller than the already decreased 2010 harvest of 47.2 million 60-kg bag crop [Source: Fox Business].

Despite the bad news, governmental entities are looking for ways to help alleviate drought problems for the future.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has created the Coping With Drought (CWD) within the US and US transboundary areas that will provide research, tool development (early warning systems) and decision support for water and resource managers. On top of that, the Modeling, Analysis, Prediction and Projection (MAPP) Program plans to develop the next-generation Integrated Drought Prediction System. This proposed system will incorporate research advances in climate prediction and land-surface and hydrologic modeling and data assimilation .Researchers are also banding together and hosting a symposium in Indiana in 2011. The symposium will focus on data-driven approaches for characterizing, understanding and modeling droughts and attract studies that demonstrate how the new knowledge base created from the cyberinfrastructure for data collection, when combined with visualization techniques, leads to improved understanding and practical applications [Source: driNET]. Agricultural companies, like Pioneer Hi-Bred, have created a strain of drought resistant plants that will potentially increase crop yield up to 6 percent. The Drought I hybrids will be released in 2011 with the Drought II hybrids appearing within the upcoming decade [Source: Farm Industry News].

With Russia and the Ukraine out of the picture in terms of grain export, the US will actually increase their production and output. The USDA expects a 5.1 percent increase in agricultural export to roughly $311 billion “and provide opportunities for U.S. expansion in the Middle East and North Africa” [Source: AG Network]. Unfortunately, with much of the southern, midwest and western states already experiencing or about to experience severe drought, prices of these crops have also increased:

  • Corn: Up 63%
  • Wheat: Up 84%
  • Soybeans: Up 24%
  • Sugar: Up 55% [Source: Daily Reckoning]

As droughts continue to increase, water won’t be the only shortage in the world, food will as well. As the human population begins to grow, drought and food shortages will be the major hurdle to maintain the populous. It won’t be too long until water becomes a sought after commodity.

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keetsa
Jasmine Greene

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79 comments

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7:52AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

4:01PM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

thank you

5:02AM PDT on May 15, 2011

Thanks, at some point we will have to start using water wisely.

7:40PM PST on Nov 30, 2010

behold keep them in office and pay them a bonus , we bail them out? Letting other country bring products that are against regulations / be allowed to sell those products and poison our children.Allow companys to hire illegals and not be penalized, Allow out of country students priority in Universities, Allowing our seniors to live under the poverty line and yet give new immigrants sixteen hundred dollars a month to stay here?? Pensioners get a cape l think of about 1100.Feed countrys that dont want to feed their own people , so we help feed them. and most of them hate us and when given the chance will blow our heads off!!! Bring people over here that dont agree with our laws and are fighting to add in their own , which is against womens rights that we have taken years to fight for?? Get caught steeling from the government like 2mil. and are just fired?? No jail term?? Giving a life sentence to a theif that only stole dozens of times, yet give a petifile probation for three years, a rapist after 116 rapes was finaly put in for life! Selling a billion dollar highway to a foreign country, Making people sell their properties for the betterment of the whole?? Then selling it for one tenth the cost , we have to pay a large fee to use that highway!! Today their making millions. Hydro sold itself for penuts , we have to pay the debt!, quess what?? The first quarter they made millions .What right do they have to sell the publics property?? No voting? Our tax dollars.at work?? God BTL

7:11PM PST on Nov 30, 2010

Robert O. regarding immigrants!!! l have no problems with immigrants in times of surplus and in a flurishing economy. When you look around do you see lots of American and Canadian foods around in surplus??? Do you see lots of jobs available to the public?? Do you also know that our borders were closed for one year to anyone that was white??? Are you white?? l believe in fare trade, fair immigration and fair equality. That is another topic for discussion. Immigration is adding to an already populated area that cant support the people it has already. We have to go outside North America for food. We are taking food from poor countries already only because we have the money! How long do you think that is going to last. l believe in living in a country that can feed me not to allow my children to starve in the future because we have allowed this country to multiply to billions in a period of ten years. I think people are closing their eyes to the future. We are so caught up with whats in our own little world we are failing to protect the future. l m not going to be around then , but l sure as hell care. Our governments are more concerned with the nitty griddy present , that they are not acting in the publics best interest. We need to protect what we have, that means you dont give it away for money, you dont sell it for money, and you dont deplete it for money... Here are some of my beefs, letting industry leave our country, letting CEOs screw up and keep their jobs and

6:37PM PST on Nov 30, 2010

If there were a lot fewer people in the world, we would have more water and food.

7:38PM PST on Nov 23, 2010

Thank You

8:39PM PST on Nov 21, 2010

Thought provoking. thanx :-)

10:15PM PST on Nov 19, 2010

Save every drop of precious water. Wastage of anything is a sin.Save the water to quench the thirst of the planet.Let us grow more trees, more greenery, more woods and forests, every thing is going to be alright.Rosy tinted optimism will be a reality if we adore and respect Nature.

9:24AM PST on Nov 15, 2010

The used water from your home or business is called "gray water." It has the characteristic of being water you have already paid for, remember, that water from the tap is costing you! Why use fresh water to flush a toilet? Why let bath & laundry water go down the sewer when it can accomplish much, much more for you? Use gray water to rinse dishes, flush the toilet, wash the car, even water the garden. Put a tub in each sink & buckets by the washing machine & bath tub. No whining! Make it part of your fitness program! Better yet, install a gray water system, gutters, down spouts & rain barrells-there are some very eye pleasing designs! Switch to all organic, biodegradable cleaning products for both household & personal hygeine, that is, make sure your waste water is not toxic. Next, mulch your garden -heavily- then reduce & eliminate lawn grass! Mulch prevents both evaporation & weed growth. Additionally, use organic matter for mulch & you will also be improving the quality of your soil as well as the quality of your food crop & landscape. Be persuasive with your homeowner's association, before water rationing creates sad parched lawns in your neighborhood. For more ideas, find & study a copy of Ruth Stout's No Work Gardening, Rodale Publishing.

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