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Climate change: The new talk of farm country

From Monday's Globe and Mail

Unusually dry conditions fuel speculation that global warming is affecting crop conditions ...Read the full article

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  1. Upper Canadian born and raised in Western Canada from St Albert, Canada writes: Let's recall the late (and great) Pierre Berton's words on the 1930's in "The Great Depression", shall we? "On the prairies, there was no relief from the weather. The winter, which had been the coldest in history, was followed by a summer that was the hottest. Two-thirds of the western grain lands were withered by drought, producing the smallest harvest since 1919. Each day was hotter than the last. Right across the southern plains temperatures rose to ninety degrees, and then kept climing. Saskatchewan suffered for six straight weeks; in all that period there were only three days in which the thermometer dropped below 90F. In many areas it was worse. Willow Creek endured thirteen days of 100-degree weather in July. On July 11, the termperature reached 108F in Winnipeg, 110F in Brandon. It was almost as bad in Toronto, where the temperature reached 105F for three consecutive days." "..By midsumme in southern Saskatchewan, most streams and rivers were dry, the cows had stopped giving milk, wild life vanished, the grain elevators stood empty, and even the potato crops failed." I do believe at this point it is highly improbably to correct the next drought, IIRC there was a report released that 2001-2002 was the worst drought in the history of Canada - naturally in all the 'hoopla' of the best economy ever, this seemed to not hit the news. I suggest we take some of that surplus money the goverment has, and start applying it to tomorrow's problems, while we have the gift of FORESIGHT, which my family NEVER had. If this is our collision course, certainly there is something we can do now to mitigate the problem. (Naturally #1 is the issue of water usage, and in particular ALBERTA -oil sands, nuclear power, due to the water flow to Saskatchewan. In the '30's, how much water had been used for coal and other mining activities during the roaring 20's?) cheers.
  2. Bobby Dy from Edmonton, Canada writes: Upper Canadian, with respect to water usage, I think that the most absurd plan was put forth by the man who is now in charge of the environment in Alberta-Ted Morton. Part of his leadership platform was putting dams up to keep the water in Alberta and out of Saskatchewan.

    In terms of global warming, the models that I ahve seen predicted drought across the American midwest. I don't recall detailed models for the prairies in Canada. However, historical assessments from tree rings show that droughts in Alberta have extended as long as 30 years. Much longer than anything that has been experienced since Alberta has existed as a province. It is inevitable that these kinds of droughts will occur again, with or without global warming. In that context, the overconsumption of water by the oil sands is irresponsible to say the least.
  3. Jimmy K from Toronto, Canada writes: "Canada will be a big winner, with elevated temperatures holding out the prospect of longer growing seasons and the ability to raise crops at more northerly latitudes."

    Nuff said! Hooray! Go climate change, go! Mr. CO2, plz bring me fall in November and spring in February.
  4. Catherine Wilkie from Canada writes: The ground becomes so dry, in the past several summers, that the welcome rain doesn't benefit the way it once did. Rather, after a dry, hot spell, the rain often comes in the way of a storm and the water would run off rather than penetrate the soil.
    Tough for crops.
  5. garlick toast from mill village, Canada writes: while it may,in the future,be warm enough to plant the northern parts of canada,there's relatively little topsoil.putting it under the plow will cause erosion.there isn't much upside to g.w./c.c.
  6. gordon mcpherson from Ottawa, Canada writes: Odd, and in sub-Saharan central Africa they are several feet under water from the east coast to the west coast...who's going to dry up and who's going to float...
  7. Bob Beal from Edmonton, Canada writes: Don't hold your breath waiting for agricultural expansion in Canada as a result of global warming. By far the largest area of the country is the Canadian Shield. It doesn't matter how warm it gets, it is still rock. And, I don't know how long it would take to make the tundra agriculturally viable after the permafrost disappears.
  8. Bear Facts from Canada writes: Global warming leads to drought as temperatures rise.... no doubt there will also be a need for forest fire suppressing know-how on a larger scale.
  9. James Cyr from Balmertown, Ontario, Canada writes: Climate will occur given a long enough period of time. We do not need computer models to tell us that. We can start now to counter the effects.
  10. Dave Jansen from Canada writes: James Cyr from Balmertown, Ontario, Canada writes: Climate will occur given a long enough period of time.

    You don't say...
  11. Arec Bardwin from Canada writes: I'm just aching for another week or two of frost free days. Gore and Suzuki keep promising, but my tomatos are still stressed in September. I'll just up my international flights I guess.
  12. James Cyr from Balmertown, Ontario, Canada writes: David Jansen: oops, I made a typo error. I meant to say that "climate change will occur given a long enough period of time". Chalk that up to my poor proof-reading.
  13. Orson Kaart from Dorval, Canada writes: "... areas of Labrador and other parts of Northern Canada may be warm enough to grow wheat."

    There's just one problem with this - many of the northern areas identified are covered by trees growing on rocky ground, or by lakes. You need soil to grow crops!
  14. Bear Facts from Canada writes: Irony... Headlines will read...Greenhouse gases leads to greenhouse grow-ops. Species, including humans will adapt to changes in the environment, it has been going on for millions of years... It still boils down to cockroaches and Keith Richards in the end...
  15. Farm Boy from Big City, Canada writes: Could it be that the G & M is making progress? This article did not even mention the possibility that we are all going to starve to death.
  16. Donald Duck from Ottawa, Canada writes: I love the way computers have become experts on the earth. Garbage in, garbage out. You can manipulate any numbers to come out with a result you find desirable. Climate change has been going on for billions of years. The world is in a constant flux. We have very little to do with it, and other then cleaning up pollution, we can do very little about it. Pollution and climate change are two different issues. It's high time that people realize this. Words like "probable" "estimate" "point to" just feed the frenzy.
    When did computers become such earth experts? My high-school computer teacher gave me this valuable lesson: Garbage in, Garbage out. (meaning numbers can be manipulated to tell any story you want them to....and are only as good as the person programming them)
  17. Upper Canadian born and raised in Western Canada from St Albert, Canada writes: Bobby Dy:

    Oh yeah, as a displaced Saskatchanski, with 99% of my friends back home, and a lot of my immediate family back there as well, I can assure you I ranted for months about that dude's comments. I called back home to let 'em know what they were trying to do here.

    That's why you see me post things like the Dominion Land Act of 1930 and perhaps its relevant sections regarding the use of water in Alberta that has to be beneficial to all Canadians....

    Can't trust an americ-berta as far as you can throws 'em, I tells ya... ;)
  18. Devil's Advocate from Canada writes: "Bear Facts from Canada writes: Global warming leads to drought as temperatures rise" - if you read the article you'll find that it states computer models predict higher temperatures and increased rainfall. That's for us. For Africa, yes, hotter isn't beneficial. Maybe it's selfish, but frankly I'm sick to see snow already and could wish for a warmer planet.

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