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Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

Posted by mes111 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 15, 14 at 15:55

WARNING !!! WARNING !!! - this is NOT a CLIMATE thread.

Apparently there is a multi-decadal cycle of cooling and warming of the tropical Pacific waters which has been going on for thousands of years. The cycle seem to repeat every 40-60 years. The tropical pacific waters are now actually in a cooling phase. The northern Pacific is warming, which, again, seems to be the usual.

When Pacific tropical waters cool it causes droughts in the western US. This last occurred in the 60's and 70's. Once started the drought cycle can last for decades.

The Pacific cooling and he multi year drought California is having now was predicted in the Early 2000's. 'Drought' conditions in California could last for another 10-15 years.

This is a bare 'synopsis' of what I was able to glean from my readings. There are some here who are much more qualified to interpret the studies more deeply than I am.
(Just Google 'multi decadal pacific cooling' and see some studuies)

But no matter, California's produce production is a huge factor in our economy and on our food prices.

The backyard veggie/fruit garden may transform from a 'hobby' to an actual economically driven endeavor.

I am planning to plant more than the usual tomato garden that I usually do.

Mike

Here is a link that might be useful:


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

CA is important to the rest of the country for fresh produce- what in the past would be considered luxury food. I think people tend to exaggerate the importance of CA to the overall agricultural economy because they are more aware of the source of their fruit and vegies then to the source of the majority of their actual fuel food which is mostly about grains-either to eat directly or as animal food.

If water gets too scarce to grow fruit, I will certainly miss that source, but I gather that it won't have a huge affect even on CA's overall economy as agriculture has fallen back in importance in recent years. Of course, people do need to drink an bathe.

For the rest of us, alternate sources will arrive and folks may begin eating more frozen fruit and vegetables.

I do not believe long term forecasting is at all accurate- particularly as it relates to a limited area. Shorterm is bad enough.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 15, 14 at 21:57

"The backyard veggie/fruit garden may transform from a 'hobby' to an actual economically driven endeavor."

It has become a lifestyle change for me more than anything else. We buy very little fresh produce these days, which saves gas and adds to our overall health and vitality. Cutting way back on grains, cutting down on meat and dairy, and upping the amount of fresh leafy greens from the garden has been a winning dietary plan.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

May be a largely California thing, I'm not aware of any extensive droughts in westside/coastal Oregon/Washington.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

mes111: I was born in San Diego and haven't left for the last 50 years.

Though I believe in climate change and I believe over the billions of years earth has been around, it's had it's extremes and will have them in the future. But, the only thing that's changed here in Socal over the decades is the monsoonal moisture that comes around in July and the rest of the summer. When I was a kid, it just got hot in the summer. Now it gets humid too.

I've never seen a decadal drought here and according to this chart, there hasn't been one in the last 160 years.

Rain comes and goes. And it's usually predicated to the whole El Nino/La Nina thing. In fact, scientists predict El Nino this year. The problem this year is that "pineapple express"(moisture coming from the central tropical pacific) is being directed to Oregon right now as we speak. It is farther North than usual. Look at yesterday's weather pattern for Oregon.

Look at the yearly chart in the link ---- things really haven't changed in the last 160 years. What HAS changed is there are just too many people on earth nowadays for the water being put out. This doesn't even take into account the waste. From toilets to golf courses to people doing laundry daily to everything else... 100 years ago, people pissed outside and washed their clothes by the river.

So, the word "drought" is subjective. We're only in a drought because of the word "humans."

My opinion -- birth control... JMO

Kevin

Here is a link that might be useful: San Diego rainfall -- looks cyclical to me, but not DECADES

This post was edited by woohooman on Sat, Feb 15, 14 at 23:45


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

mrclint

You are fortunate to be living in your climate. Here in the Northeast winter sort of disconnects you from the land.

I have noticed that over the last three years since I started my orchard project my diet, even if inadvertently, has changed somewhat towards less prepared foods and more raw foods.

This is especially true in the spring and summer months when I spend a pretty much the whole weekend working outdoors.

But when I get back into the city I fall off the wagon and more so during a NY winter... Ughhhh !!!!

Seeing my cardiologist next week.... Hmmm

Mike


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

I look at the drought as a giant opportunity for farmers elsewhere to grow more. As markets will open up for them. We here in MI will certainly do so. Conditions are excellent here with no expected changes.
I do want to grow more food, but to the truth it's much cheaper for me and my family to buy it. No matter how much, I cannot produce at the cost a farmer can. Gas and such is not an issue as markets are very close to my house.
I cannot produce thousands of kinds of vegetables, but literally thousands are available to me at the market. As far as meat and grains, I can never give those up, rice and pasta, pork and beef taste too good. If I die young, I'll still have a huge smile on my face.To me portion control is the answer, no need to eliminate them. Genetics is the biggest factor on how long you'll be around. My uncle ate fatty and starchy foods his whole life. He made it to 96. Genetics man!
Euell Theophilus Gibbons (September 14, 1911- December 29, 1975) was an outdoorsman and proponent of natural diets during the 1960s.
He lived to be 64.

James F. Fixx, who spurred the jogging craze with his best-selling books about running and preached the gospel that active people live longer, died of a heart attack Friday while on a solitary jog in Vermont. He was 52 years old.
(Published: July 22, 1984)

Draw your own conclusions.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

My wife and I were talking yesterday with friends about the CA drought and the effect it will have on fresh produce prices and availability. She encouraged me to rent a rototiller this spring to dig up a big piece of yard for more garden space. I'm planning to take her up on that.

When will all that snow melt off (and the yard dry up), and where are those neighbor boys willing to do a little work for cash?


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

This drought is not just a CA thing. It has affected or will affect at the very least CA, NV, CO, UT, AZ, NM. Here in NM we're already in our 4th year of it, so I really hope we won't have more than 6 years to go!

H-man: I'm surprised at your statement above: "CA is important to the rest of the country for fresh produce- what in the past would be considered luxury food".

There really is no downplaying the importance of agriculture in CA. It amounts to more than 13% of the total country's ag. value, and grows a whole lot more than just fruits and veggies. Among other things, it ranks 2nd (behind Arkansas) in the production of rice, the world's most important grain. While CA does not grow much corn or soy (mostly used as food additives and cattle feed) it ranks first in hay production, 3rd in potatoes, 5th in eggs, and 8th in cattle. Hardly just fruits and veggies.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

Just wait till they ration the water in CA and make watering any plants outside in a residential area a crime or make the water rates so high only the very wealthy can afford to water. It is coming.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

bamboo: It already happens here. It hasn't this year yet, but by May/June, daytime watering will be OUT and odd/even addresses will switch off daily. What my water district does is put one in tiers. Makes it tough because we rent rooms at my house and were already in the higher tier. I'm already cutting down to just peppers and maters this summer. My lemon and tangerine trees need very little watering throughout the year. I think it's because they're at least 15 years old and we sit at the bottom of a hill, so with deep roots, they draw moisture from deep down.. with the very little rain we get.

Kevin


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

"You are fortunate to be living in your climate. Here in the Northeast winter sort of disconnects you from the land."

Yeah, especially when it is separated from you with a few feet of snow.

I have to negotiate the land whatever the weather and the current snow is exhausting. There is a crust that almost takes ones weight but your leg crashes through about every 4th step and you have to pull yourself out.

I can't remember more difficult conditions for carrying and constantly repositioning a ladder. My shoulders ache. I'm wondering if my body will adjust.

I'm really not very bright to have gone all these years without buying a decent pair of snow shoes. 3 pears- 2 for my ladder.

I will still gladly take this over drought. When I lived in CA it completely drove me crazy. Even on best years the dry season is too long for someone that likes to see plants grow but the full blown droughts are awful. Leads to high hort-anxiety.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

"There really is no downplaying the importance of agriculture in CA. It amounts to more than 13% of the total country's ag. value, and grows a whole lot more than just fruits and veggies"

If the drought is really multi-decade, then this won't matter. California grows most of our food because their typical climate makes it very cheap to grow food there. If that's no longer true, people will grow food somewhere else (maybe the southeast). It may be more expensive, but we'll adjust.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

JoppaRich: It's not so much expense. There's a reason why certain veggies/fruits/etc. aren't only grown here, but a lot of those it's the very high percentages of certain veggies/fruits that are only grown here... or in very small quantities in other states.

Broccoli -- 95%
Almonds -- only state that produces them commercially and Pistachio 98%
Spinach -75%
Lettuce -70%( as of 2007)
Avocados - 86% (as of 2004)
Grapes - 90%
Garlic - 85%
Lemons - 92%

These are just a few that came off the top of my head and I googled real quick

Why would it be so CHEAP to grow here??? It's definitely not cheap land and it's definitely not cheap water.


There's nothing cheap about it. But farmers here can work year-round. It's because there are few places on earth that allows for year-round production of so much agriculture as far as climate, fertile soil and diversity.

Kevin


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

Regarding the economics of backyard gardening, I did not count on how expensive it would be to keep the deer and rabbits from eating everything. I have a 3 acre field with all the sun I need, and I thought I would just keep filling it up more and more every year. However, if I don't fence everything off from the deer, they'll pretty much eat it all. So now I'm trying to fit everything in a 55' x 90' area that I have a 7 ft deer fence around. I have cages around some other trees but it is a pain to prune/mulch/weed the trees that way. I'd love to grow sweet corn this year, but I'll have to fence that as well. All the positives about eating fresh produce and enjoying the outdoors make it worth it for me, but I couldn't argue that it makes absolute financial sense.


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harvestman,
It's probably a necessity to work out in adverse conditions in your area.
I even read an online report by one of your customers about pruning an orchard in a blizzard and I think staying until completing the job.That takes a lot. Brady


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

My comment about the largely California thing was of course intended for the West Coast, in the title of this discussion.

The eastern parts of OR/WA have been in weather news repeatedly over the years, only get "average" precipitation once every 5 or 10 years according to news accounts.

In modern times forecasts and planning have been based on 30-year averages, not nearly enough history for extended drought purposes.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 0:15

mes111, best of luck to you on your Dr. visit. Consider growing microgreens or sprouts indoors.

Drew51, James F. Fixx died doing what he loved, there's nothing wrong with that. We should all be so lucky.

Here in So Cal water rates will go up, there will be restrictions, and we will each need to manage our usage according to our needs. Will it be cheaper to keep the pool filled or pay extra to run the A/C around the clock? Will it be cheaper to keep the garden/orchard watered or purchase produce elsewhere? These are still better choices than figuring out where to put snow when it's already piled up over your head.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

"These are still better choices than figuring out where to put snow when it's already piled up over your head."

Mr. Clint, at least I know when April will arrive.

I admire your calm and assurance, however. When I lived there I was not calm about drought- I was quite obsessive.

One year as a grower in Mendocino in the '70's I was dependent on a gravity spring almost a mile through very tough chaparral to the storage tank. I was living in a cabin without electricity.

The drought was so bad that the spring was down to a trickle and the squirrels were constantly gnawing holes through the PVC pipe that brought water from the spring. I would have to crawl the entire distance through the brush every few days to repair leaks.

I remember once climbing up to the top of the tank to check the water level (I had a quicker way to check the line) and seeing several drowned squirrels at varying stages of decomposition floating in the water . I had no idea I'd been drinking squirrel tea for several days.

I hate drought almost as much as I hate squirrels. Snow is irritating, but drought drives me mad.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

Take a look at ancient history. In the western states the ancient people of th 4 corners area moved away due to a long drought. Apparently their population grew and when the long drought came there was not enough water to support them. It happenned then and can happen now unless technology can be used the conserve existing water resources and find new ones. In any case, I too hate squirrels almost as much as drought.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

mrclint:

You were reading my mind. A friend grows microgreens and sprouts and I just had some. Actually the mix he gave me to taste was pretty good.

Came back from cardiologist. Am scheduled for nuclear stress test on Feb 27 as if worrying about freeze damage to the trees is not enough. Guess I just got to keep breathing till then.

From symptoms he diagnosed angina but said ".. early enough we can fix this..." . Hope it is easier to fix than fireblight, borers, CM, SWD, leaf curl, etc. !!!

Mike
:-)


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  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 10:19

We know how to compost food waste and human waste, without using much water. Sooner or later we will have to begin using this method, to save on water. I'm sure it will be complicated to implement such a plan in urban California, but it has to happen, eventually. Every spring, there are floods on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. We could be gathering this extra fresh water up and sending it to the southwest USA by means of pipeline. That would not solve the water shortage, but it would help the situation out there. I agree, the agricultural sector is an important piece of the California economy. However, we could be growing more vegetables and fruits here in the mid-west, and we could learn to live without all of the imported produce during the winter months.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

If the drought is to be an extended period of less rain, gardeners will need to get inovative to grow in these conditions. One method used in Africa and other dry areas is the raised Keyhole garden bed.


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Raising the bed should increase water need, I think. It increases evaporation by absorbing more heat. Probably Israel is the best source of technological info for farming with little water. They are the masters of this.

Heat is also a problem with the CA drought, increased heat is exacerbating the problem by way of increased evaporation. Experts are guessing drought will not increase beyond historical level in CA due to climate change but the temps will rise, making the affect of drought worse.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

"There's nothing cheap about it. But farmers here can work year-round. "

The fact that farmers can work year round is a good part of the reason why growing there is cheap.

You pay $5M for a plot of land in CA, I pay $3M here, and your land is cheaper, because you can use it more than twice as long.

We grow food in california because its cheaper to grow it there than anywhere else. Its as simple as that. When that stops, we'll grow it elsewhere.

All of those things you mention grow elsewhere just fine, just not as cheaply.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

Vegetables, fruits and nuts, important stuff, but not of existential importance. It isn't the money it's the calories, and they don't much come from CA for most of us.

Once again- wheat, corn and soy- the staples of our civilization. CA does grow some rice and I guess the drought could knock that out quick. It probably shouldn't be grown there on drought years.


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 20:35

We just need to get smarter. Things are swinging toward desalination. Better still would be solar powered desalination.

This post was edited by mrclint on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 20:41


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

mrclint: Totally agree. I've been saying all along that if they buily that new desalination plant WITHOUT renewable power supply, they're being terribly short sighted.

JoppaRich: You proved my point. It is, bottom line, going to always be about the bottom line. I can't wait until I can get some snow peas from Kansas 2 weeks out of the year at $12/lb.

Kevin


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RE: Potential multi-decadal west coast drought

I agree about the rice in CA. We don't need to grow rice to send to Asia with CA water in drought years. What bothers me more is wasted food. I hate to see so much food going in the trash when I go out to a buffet and see all the food people don't eat left at the table. I wish we could move the extra water from the pacific northwest. They don't want it and we need it.


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