Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Drought

Drought conditions
Sunday's New York Times had an interesting article on the drought we're experiencing.  The forecast does not look promising.  According to the map above, Memphis is experiencing "extreme" drought.  My father lives in Hardy, AR (north central Arkansas) and he can vouch for the "exceptional" drought conditions.  He plants a huge garden every year; this year, in his words, was pitiful, all burned up.  He couldn't water enough.  (As he's so "frugal," you have to take that with a grain of salt!)  I was recently in western North Carolina and it rained almost every day.  Good rains.  Rains that we would give a row of corn for.  And you can see by the map that most of North Carolina is not in a drought area at all.

So far, we're very lucky here that we have water for irrigation.  But the West is not so fortunate.  The media is full of stories about crop failures and increasing food prices due to the drought.

A related article in Sunday's Times reported on research done by scientists using tree ring samples from El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico.  They were able to map wet and dry conditions for over 2000 years.  Using the period 1931 to 1990 as the baseline, they produced a graph showing wetter and drier years from 137B.C. to 1992.

All this makes me ever more conscious of food sufficiency.  When my father was telling me about his crop failure, I remarked that we're lucky we don't have to depend on our home gardens for food.  I doubt that any of us knows anyone who has ever had to depend on what they could individually produce for survival.  Hopefully, it won't come to that.  But wouldn't it be good to know that we could do it if we have to?

More on that subject later.

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