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Weather Extremes and Food Supplies

July 6, 2012

Three articles detailing the human suffering resulting from recent record-setting weather conditions:

First Article:

Drought Stalks the Global Food Supply

By  Alan Bjerga

When rain doesn’t fall in Iowa, it’s not just Des Moines that starts fretting. Food buyers from Addis Ababa to Beijing all are touched by the fate of the corn crop in the U.S., the world’s breadbasket in an era when crop shortages mean riots.

This year they have reason to be concerned. Stockpiles of corn in the U.S. tumbled 48 percent between March and June, the biggest drop since 1996, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said last week. And that was before drought hit the Midwest. Chicago last month saw its first 100F June day since 1988, the year parched ground caused $78 billion in crop damage. The percentage of the corn crop with top-quality ratings was 48 percent as of July 1; it was 69 percent a year ago. And with little rain in the forecast, farmers can only hope to preserve what crops they can while watching corn futures rise 33 percent since June 15, to $6.75 a bushel.


Second Article:

Drought hits 56 percent of continental US; ‘significant toll’ on crops

By Miguel Llanos

The prolonged heat across the Midwest has not only set temperature records, it is also expanding and intensifying drought conditions — and relief isn’t on the horizon for most areas, the National Weather Service reported Thursday.

Drought conditions are present in 56 percent of the continental U.S., according to the weekly Drought Monitor.

That’s the most in the 12 years that the data have been compiled, topping the previous record of 55 percent set on Aug. 26, 2003. It’s also up five percentage points from the previous week.


Third Article:

Wettest April to June since records began and more unsettled weather to come

By Richard Alleyne

The Environment Agency said that the recent deluges had meant that the last   three months have seen more rainfall than at any time since 1910 when the   first readings were made.

The highest rainfall was in Wales, parts of which saw 17 inches fall during   the time.

The “driest” area was the Anglian region with 11 inches.

The Environment Agencies, which monitors rainfall levels as part of its brief   to avoid droughts, made the announcement as the clean-up after being   battered by the latest torrential downpours battered homes and the transport   network.


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