Wednesday, October 17, 2012

World Grain Reserves At A Very Low Level, leaving no room for extreme weather - World grain reserves are so dangerously low that severe weather in the United States or other food-exporting countries could trigger a major hunger crisis next year, the United Nations has warned.
Failing harvests in the US, Ukraine and other countries this year have eroded reserves to their LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 1974. The US, which has experienced record heatwaves and droughts in 2012, now holds in reserve a HISTORICALLY LOW 6.5% of the maize that it expects to consume in the next year. “We’ve not been producing as much as we are consuming. That is why stocks are being run down. Supplies are now very tight across the world and reserves are at a very low level, leaving no room for unexpected events next year." With food consumption exceeding the amount grown for six of the past 11 years, countries have run down reserves from an average of 107 days of consumption 10 years ago to under 74 days recently.

If extreme weather becomes the norm, starvation awaits.

Food scarcity - the timebomb setting nation against nation.

Bad weather causes dramatic impact on Scottish harvest - Extreme weather conditions across much of Scotland throughout spring and summer have had a dramatic impact on the Scottish harvest, estimates suggest.

Kazakhstan Cuts Grain Export Forecast as Drought Shrivels Crops - Kazakhstan, the biggest wheat producer in Central Asia, lowered its grain export forecast for this season and sees prices rising after drought cut the harvest by about 55 percent.

**The best way to predict the future is to create it.**
Abraham Lincoln

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/16/12 -

Maine - A 4.0-magnitude earthquake has struck the northeastern US state of Maine and was felt as far south of Boston and throughout New England, shocking residents unaccustomed to such tremors. There were no reports of damage or casualties following the quake, which struck shortly after 7.00pm on Tuesday, with its epicentre recorded at a relatively shallow 3.1 miles (five kilometres). In Montpelier, the capital of the state of Vermont, residents reported feeling "sustained shaking for 10 seconds". The quake rattled nearby New England states as far as Connecticut, including the Boston area. Experts at the US Geological Survey put the quake as high as 4.6 before recalibrating it down to 4.0.

In the Atlantic -
- Tropical storm Rafael was located about 135 mi [215 km] E of Bermuda. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

In the Eastern Pacific -
- Tropical storm Paul was located approximately 60 mi [100 km] NNW of Punta Abreojos, Mexico. Paul should move away from the Baja California peninsula tonight and Thursday.

In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon 22w (Prapiroon) was located approximately 185 nm south-southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.
- Tropical storm Maria was located about 275 nm north-northeast of Iwo To, Japan.

In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Anais was located approximately 405 nm north-northeast of La Reunion.

Tropical Storm Paul weakens near Mexico; Rafael to miss Bermuda - Tropical Storm Paul was weakening rapidly as it skirted a sparsely populated area of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, while Hurricane Rafael was expected to pass by Bermuda in the Atlantic.

Prapiroon downgraded but still a nuisance - Prapiroon was downgraded to a mere tropical storm Tuesday, never coming close to its peak forecast 115-mph gusts that the Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicted in the storm's infancy.


Floods Wash Away Nigeria’s Hope On Rice Self-Sufficiency - As floods continue to wreak havoc in several states of Nigeria, destroying farmlands of rice, maize and other crops, there are fears of imminent food security threat. A report by a group of journalists in Abuja who toured some of the ravaged areas of the country said that concerns on food security were coming at a time the federal government was contemplating the implementation of increased tariffs on rice imports and eventual stopping of same by 2015. The 2013 budget proposes a 10 per cent duty plus a 100 per cent levy on imported polished rice.
But several voices of concern are emerging from all sectors urging the federal government to reconsider increasing the tariffs to a prohibitive level (100%). Concerns over food security were raised recently by the minister of environment who revealed that thousands of farmlands had been destroyed by the ravaging floods across the country. "The consequences of the floods are that there are huge losses of farmlands; there are likely threats to food security. We are likely going to have challenges that have to do with the health of the people in some areas."
Also, the federal director of agriculture in Adamawa stated that there was a real possibility of food crisis in Adamawa State this year. The director noted that, considering the huge damage to farmlands, there was likely to be a food crisis in the state if immediate action was not taken to address the situation. He said "most of the farmers affected by the disaster are more preoccupied with how to save themselves and their families from the disaster than their farms".
Kano State has equally been badly affected by the floods resulting in disruption of rice production. About 95 per cent of all rice farms had been destroyed by the floods. These were the areas that were producing rice in a large scale. In Plateau State, the flood affected eight local government areas, destroying eight bridges and rendering more than 10,000 people homeless. More than 100 villages and 4,000 hectares of farmlands were destroyed. "Unfortunately and tragically, Plateau has been affected by another flood disaster after the one in Jos North." The situation will lead to likely shortage of food supply in the state as the areas ravaged were mainly agricultural areas.
The floods had caused the death of scores of people in Jos. Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State government has temporarily closed all schools in the state as a result of rising water level all over the state. In the north-central zone, in Kogi State alone, more than 600,000 people have been displaced by the floods.


The risk of bushfires around Australia this spring and summer is much higher than in recent years, so households in vulnerable areas should start preparing now, insurers have urged. Bushfires are more likely in coming months than over the previous couple of years.
"The very wet weather Australia experienced over the past two years has created optimal conditions for the growth of grasslands, providing potential fires with an abundant fuel source and means there will be a high fire risk from now until March. The seasonal outlook also points to higher-than-average temperatures for much of Australia." The traditional bushfire season has just started but there have already been significant bushfires that threatened homes and businesses on the east coast, including the NSW Central Coast, and Queensland's Darling Downs and Atherton Tablelands..
Western Australia has also been hit by bushfires while South Australia's Country Fire Service this week imposed total fire bans in parts of the state."Householders in areas at risk of bushfires should take steps to prepare now." Such households should physically prepare their properties by fitting smoke alarms and removing flammable materials from around the home, including clearing dry leaves from gutters. They should also review their level of insurance cover for vehicles as well as home and contents.

Hawaii - Big Island Drought Expands. Areas on the Big Island considered to be under "D3" or extreme drought conditions have expanded from South Kohala and Pohakuloa to North Kona. Dry weather continues to plague the state, with two more areas on the Big Island officially being affected.
And scientists say the situation could persist as four decades of observation are showing a decrease in moisture-bringing trade winds in Hawaii. The drought continues to affect farmers and ranchers on the Big Island and elsewhere in the state. Like much of the US mainland, the US Department of Agriculture has classified the entire state as being under a federal drought disaster declaration.
So far the Big Island’s municipal water system, which is fed almost exclusively by deep wells, is holding up under the dry conditions. “Our sources are keeping up with consumption." The only exception is in Waimea where a conservation notice is still in effect because a 50-million-gallon reservoir, one of three in the area, is awaiting repair of damage sustained in the 2006 earthquake.
The upcoming wet season, which typically lasts from October through April, is expected to be drier than normal. Part of the reason is the continuing development of El Nino conditions, a warming of the waters in the Equatorial Pacific which usually result in less rainfall in Hawaii. The El Nino is expected to be a mild one. The wet season is expected to bring some drought relief statewide but full recovery will be difficult on the Big Island and on Maui because of the severity and length of dry conditions there. Parts of the state have been under at least severe drought conditions continuously since June 2008.
Meanwhile, scientists have documented a decrease in the frequency of northeast trade winds over the past 40 years. In the 1970s trade winds occurred an average of 291 days per year at Honolulu’s airport. Today they only occur 210 a year. That is significant because trade winds drive much of Hawaii’s weather, affecting cloud formation and precipitation, particularly over windward slopes. “We have seen more frequent drought in the Hawaiian islands over the last 30 years. Precipitation associated with the moisture-laden northeasterly trades along the windward slopes of the islands contributes much of the overall rainfall in Hawaii.” The researchers said when trades fail to develop the air can become dormant and unpleasant weather can develop.
Last week provided a classic example of that. The absence of trade winds resulted in volcanic emissions known as vog enveloping much of the state and dry, hot conditions prevailing in the usually balmy and moist windward side of the Big Island.
Iowa is on pace to see THE QUIETEST TORNADO SEASON IN NEARLY 50 YEARS, thanks to the drought. This summer’s extreme dry conditions have helped keep tornadoes at bay. Iowa has recorded just 16 twisters this year.
Scorching weather this summer in the Midwest left crops parched and livestock famished. Restaurants, already struggling with high fuel costs and a sluggish economy, are starting to feel the pinch of higher food costs.
U.S. Corn Belt shifts North with climate into Canada as Kansas corn crop dies.