Monday, September 27, 2010

Ohio farms more at risk as world warms

Steve Bennish in the Dayton Daily News (Ohio): Ohio should start preparing now for a hotter planet that puts a top industry, agriculture, at risk, according to the state’s climatologist. Ohio State University geography professor and State Climatologist Jeffrey Rogers said weather extremes that already have hit Ohio are leading indicators of climate change. The state climatologist, an unpaid position, is designated by the federal government as the person to keep track of the state’s climate data. Agriculture is estimated to be worth $93 billion of Ohio’s economic output.

“Ohio needs to plan for the future in which these extremes become even more deleterious to the economy and agriculture,” he said. “The typical person doesn’t notice it, but we are witnessing longer periods with no rain and a few days of heavy rainfall.”

Weather preparation doesn’t fall under the regulatory authority of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said spokeswoman Megumi Robinson, adding she’s unable to comment on the issue.

Rogers said that Ohio is being buffeted by historic weather extremes. The summer of 2010 is the fourth warmest summer since 1895. Three of the warmest six summers since 1895 have occurred in 2002, 2005 and 2010. Ohio rainfall has become more extreme with long dry spells in the warm season punctuated by very heavy rains. With regard to agriculture and in terms of water supplies, Ohio is being hit with long periods of near drought followed by potential flooding and excessive rain that may not help the crops, he said…..

Dr. Tiedjens doing yield work in a corn field. Erie County, Ohio, in 1956 or '57. Shot by Calnut, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

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