Abrupt changes in the weather round the world

Abrupt changes in the weather round the world

This is London, not Africa

Drone video shows how drought has dried out pitches on London’s famous Hackney Marshes

THE UNITED STATES

“Worst I’ve Ever Seen”: Cotton Prices Soar After Historic USDA Cut Amid Megadrought

US cotton prices continued to surge above the boom days of 2010-11 after a massive crop estimate cut by the USDA, shocking Wall Street analysts and traders, due primarily to a megadrought scorching farmland of Texas, according to Bloomberg

Futures in New York for December delivery were up 4.5% to $1.1359 a pound and up more than 21% this month. 

I don’t think you can put a top on prices right now,” Louis Barbera, the managing partner for VLM Commodities, told Bloomberg. 

“I have been going to Texas for more than ten years, and this is by far the absolute worst I have ever seen, said Barbera.  

What Barbera is referring to is the drought situation in Texas. The long stretches of triple-digit temperatures and limited rainfall this summer have turned vast amounts of farmland to dust, hurting cotton farmers in the South Plains of West Texas. 

I don’t

Last Friday, the USDA’s bigger-than-expected cut to domestic cotton crop stunned many on Wall Street. Crop output plunged to 12.57 million bales, the lowest in a decade. The cut also pushed down the US from the world’s third-largest producer to the world’s fourth. 

Barbera said the western Texas region (around Lubbock and Lamesa), the epicenter of America’s cotton-growing belt, has “literally nothing” in fields that are just desert sand. He said fields that had drip irrigation were harvestable, but ones that weren’t weren’t salvageable. 

“If cotton is not readily available from other sources, the scarcity of supply from the US could support prices globally, said Jon Devine, supply-chain economist for research Cotton Inc.

“The market has struggled to find the balance between the weakened demand environment and limited exportable supply in recent months. The conflict between these two influences makes it difficult to discern a clear direction for prices and suggests continued volatility,” Devine continued. 

Supporting prices are bullish bets by money managers turning positive for the first time since June as prices rally.

Louis Rose, director at Rose Commodity Group, said the USDA’s cut to US output is “shocking” and comes at a time of the highest consumer inflation in decades. 

Farmers, particularly in Texas, are abandoning failed crops in droves, and cotton prices are rising

Cotton prices are rising as a punishing drought forces farmers to abandon their crops.

Southwestern cotton growers are abandoning millions of parched acres that they planted in spring, prompting forecasts for the weakest U.S. harvest in more than a decade and sending prices sharply higher.

U.S. agricultural forecasters expect drought-struck farmers to walk away from more than 40% of the 12.5 million acres they sowed with cotton and harvest the smallest area since Reconstruction. Back then, in 1868, yields per acre were less than a fifth of what they are today, but the market for cotton was vastly smaller too.

Monsoon Rainfall Waterlogs Vegas, While Pacific Northwest Braces For Heat Dome

Wild weather across the western part of the US has sparked one of the worst monsoon seasons in Las Vegas in a decade, while California and parts of the Pacific Northwest brace for a heat dome that could push power grids to the max.

Late last week, intense thunderstorms flooded parts of southern Nevada, including Vegas. Videos on social media show floodwater pouring into at least one casino while parking garages were transformed into rivers. This comes two weeks after another storm wreaked havoc on Sin City.  

Clark County officials report the latest series of storms in the Vegas metro area has meant the wettest monsoon season in a decade. Besides the flooding, this is good news for the region suffering from extreme drought. 

“That makes this the wettest monsoon season in ten years,” the National Weather Service tweeted. 

Meanwhile, near-record heat is expected this week in California’s Central Valley and parts of the Pacific Northwest as a heat dome builds across the region, worsening the drought-stricken area and pushing power grids to critical levels. 

California’s Central Valley could record temperatures as high as 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Another pocket of heat will scorch western Washington. 

Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster with the Weather Prediction Center, said Sacramento could hit 105 Fahrenheit by mid-week, and Redding could record 109 Fahrenheit. 

“It is going to be well above average,” Oravec said. “The heat will also eventually spread to the Northwest and Northern Plains.” 

A linger heat dome over California could stress power grids. Demand is expected to peak Monday at around 43.8 gigawatts and could even jump to 45.2 gigawatts by mid-week, said grid operator California Independent System Operator. 

In anticipation of increasing cooling demand, Southern California’s SP15 hub’s on-peak power prices soared 29% to $149.70 a megawatt for Monday, the highest in nearly a year. 

Gary Ackerman, an independent energy consultant who founded the Western Power Trading Forum, told Bloomberg that power-supply shortfalls are unlikely at this point. 

However, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a regulatory body that manages grid stability, recently warned before the summer that power supplies in the Western US could be overwhelmed by soaring demand due to extreme heat. We might add decarbonization efforts of grids have made things worse.

EUROPE

Europe’s rivers are running dry as the climate crisis worsens

Much of Europe and the Northern Hemisphere is battling either wildfires, low water levels, harvest warnings, water use restrictions or a mixture of all these. In Germany, one core focus of the drought is the Rhine River, which ultimately connects the Alps with the North Sea. Europe’s second-longest river after the Danube, it is also a core shipping lane for western Germany. It is still open to freight traffic for now, but already boats are unable to run fully laden. Germany’s Federal Institute of Hydrology warned on Thursday that without rain, one notorious shallow point on the river could become completely impassable next week.

 

 

From Time magazine

Drought Hits Nearly Half of Europe. Experts Warn It Could be the Worst In 500 Years

Once, a river ran through it. Now, white dust and thousands of dead fish cover the wide trench that winds amid rows of trees in France’s Burgundy region in what was the Tille River in the village of Lux.

From dry and cracked reservoirs in Spain to falling water levels on major arteries like the Danube, the Rhine and the Po, an unprecedented drought is afflicting nearly half of the European continent. It is damaging farm economies, forcing water restrictions, causing wildfires and threatening aquatic species.

There has been no significant rainfall for almost two months in Western, Central, and Southern Europe. In typically rainy Britain, the government officially declared a drought across southern and central England on Friday amid one of the hottest and driest summers on record.

And Europe’s dry period is expected to continue in what experts say could be the worst drought in 500 years.

Europe’s Nuclear & Hydropower Falter With Droughts

As Europe looks to secure alternative energy sources to Russian gas in light of the war in UkraineStatista’s Anna Fleck warnsa new threat to energy security is stirring, this time from droughts.

The droughts hitting Europe are impacting everything from food to transportation to the environment.

In Italy, the River Po has fallen two meters below its normal levels, seeing rice paddy fields dry out. Meanwhile, Germany’s River Rhine has become so shallow that cargo vessels can’t pass through it fully loaded, pushing up shipping costs, and France’s Tille River, in the Burgundy region, is now a dried up bed covered in thousands of dead fish.

But Europe’s energy production has also been impacted. As Statista’s chart below shows, hydroelectric power has fallen some 20 percent since 2021. This partly comes down to the fact reservoirs have been drying up in countries such as Italy, Serbia, Montenegro and Norway. The latter, according to Bloomberg, usually a major hydroproducer, is even taking the steps to reduce exports in order to prioritize refilling its reservoir’s low water levels so the country can maintain domestic production.

Infographic: Europe’s Nuclear & Hydropower Falter With Droughts | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Nuclear power too has fallen since 2021. One reason for this is that France has had to shut down several of its nuclear power plants because the rivers Rhone and the Garonne have been too warm to be able to cool down its reactors. France is 70 percent dependent on nuclear energy and is a key exporter of electricity, usually supplying Italy, Germany and the UK. It’s important to note here however, that other problems are troubling France’s nuclear fleet too. A significant number of the country’s power plants have had to be powered down recently due to malfunctions and maintenance issues, which had been delayed because of the pandemic. These combined reasons mean, according to Wired, that the country’s hydropower output is down nearly 50 percent.

German Power Prices Hit Record 500 Euros With No Signs of Slowing Down

Europe’s benchmark power price surged above 500 euros ($509) for the first time, ratcheting up pressure on households and businesses as the worst energy crisis in decades looks set to persist well into next year.

German year-ahead electricity rose as much as 11% to 530.50 euros a megawatt-hour on the European Energy Exchange AG. That marks a gain of over 500% in the past year, driven predominantly by Russia’s moves to slash gas supply.

No water in south-east France: Limit 150 liters per day due to drought!

Residents of the Seillant community in south-eastern France have to make do with 150 liters of water per day per person due to the dryness of springs and groundwater which has led to the adoption of emergency tough prevention measures.

Across the region, mayors are imposing increasingly stringent measures, with some even forced to hand out bottled water as the springs and groundwater that fed cities dry up.

If the limit is exceeded, technicians install a plastic limiter in the meter, which significantly reduces the performance of the tubes, says Le Monde.

In an effort to “prevent the worst”, namely a complete shutdown of the water supply, the control agencies are desperately trying to force the population of the community, which includes Seian, to comply with the city government’s decree.

The problem is that “for the 90% of people who follow it, there’s 10% who think they’re allowed to do anything,” says Seillant mayor and commune president René Hugo.

He reminds that “only a balanced distribution of resources will help to delay or even avoid a water cut”.

THE UNITED KINGDOM

Double misery for weather-weary Brits: Scorching heat turns to torrential downpours and thunderstorms in Scotland bringing ‘risk to life and businesses’ with flooding – but extreme rain still won’t be enough to recover from driest July on record

Two women wade through flood water at a Tesco store in Inverness as heavy rain hits the area on Sunday

  • Flash flooding has hit Scotland this afternoon after the Met Office issued a thunderstorm warning for country
  • Forecasters have warned that there is a ‘danger to life’ with heavy thunderstorms in Northern Ireland
  • But experts say it will take ‘weeks’ of heavy rainfall to help parts of the country recover from the drought
  • Short bursts of heavy rain will likely lead to flash flooding as the parched ground struggles to absorb water 
  • The Met Office has issued three days of alerts across the UK after weeks of soaring temperatures

A freak summer… or a terrifying glimpse of what is to come? GEOFFREY LEAN examines what Britain must do to stop experts’ hellish vision of a parched country coming true

What if this apparently freakish summer with record temperatures and drought declared in eight areas of England turned out to be a harbinger of the new normal?

Green fields have turned permanently brown. Food is scarce and drinking water rationed. Industry is on its knees. Blackouts are common. Wildfires rage. Pollution is growing. Diseases are spreading. And neighbours and communities are increasingly in conflict.

‘Whiskey is for drinking,’ Mark Twain once said. ‘Water is for fighting over.’ We now know he was right.

It is truly a dystopian vision. So what if this apparently freakish summer with record temperatures and drought declared in eight areas of England turned out to be a harbinger of the new normal?

Mike Rivington, a senior scientist at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland, believes: ‘We are seeing a clear signal of what the future is going to be like.’

 

CHINA

NEW ZEALAND

NZ Extreme weather: West Coast braces for flooding, state of emergency declared

The area around Franz Josef has seen the heaviest rain, as the West Coast and top of the South Island start to feel the bad weather. Hydrologists have stayed overnight at the nearby Waiho River to monitor rising levels.

Civil Defence urged Westport residents whose properties had previously flooded to keep a bag packed as they may have to evacuate their homes.

state of emergency was declared after severe weather warnings were raised to red for Buller and Westland until Thursday afternoon.

“At this stage there’s no planned evacuation but we will know more this morning,” Buller District deputy mayor Sharon Roche said.

NZ Cost of living bites: Food prices up by 7.4%, led by fruit and vegetables surging by 10%

Experts today will likely see if prices for popular meat, dairy, vegetables and grain products perform act as an inflation bellwether. Photo / NZME

Fruit and vegetable prices have shot up by just 10 per cent in just one year.

And food prices overall were 7.4 percent higher last month compared with July 2021.

Wildfires As A Weapon, US Military Exposed

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