Is Extreme Weather Here to Stay?
Weather patterns come and go. Scientists tell us it’s been that way throughout recorded history.
Right now, many people are focused on the fact that the Earth has been warming in recent years. And how that warmth is affecting the polar regions. And resulting in flooding and other problems.
If we’d had meteorologists 12,000 years ago, they would have discussed the ice age that was ending after some 100,000 years.
Regardless of what causes weather patterns to alternate, we now find ourselves at a time when severe weather is increasing. Both in the number of weather events and the intensity of that weather.
These extreme weather events contributed to natural catastrophe losses of $40 billion in the first half of 2021 alone. That’s according to Swiss Re, the world’s largest reinsurance company.
Farmers Are Feeling the Heat
Perhaps our great-great-great-great grandchildren will see the situation change. But it looks like we’re locked into an extreme weather pattern for the foreseeable future. As far as we’re concerned, it’s here to stay.
Among those hit hardest by extreme weather are farmers. Overwhelming heat and droughts, followed by damaging frosts, are making life difficult for them. And resulting in food price increases.
Prices for items including coffee, sugar and wheat are soaring. All due to destruction caused by extreme weather. As supplies dwindle, demand goes up. Which means higher prices.
Just over the past year, food prices around the world have increased by 31 percent. That’s according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Jennifer Bartashus is a senor analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. Here’s what she told CNN Business. “There’s no doubt that changes in weather patterns are impacting our food supply.”
Heat, Drought and a Deep Freeze
Now, not every price increase is caused by severe weather. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a shortage of food production workers. That bogged down the supply chain, causing higher prices. The Delta variant has recently made things even worse.
Transportation costs have also soared. Thanks to oil prices rising, packaging costs rising and a shortage of truck drivers. Overall, inflation has reached levels we haven’t seen since 2008.
But extreme weather has been the main culprit. Dry weather and crops destroyed by severe weather have seriously damaged the U.S. wheat crop. In Washington state, 93 percent of the wheat is in poor condition. That’s according to the DroughtMonitor.
The USDA found that only 11 percent of spring wheat across six states was in good to excellent condition this year. That means rising wheat prices. In addition, meat prices are up 5.9 percent, milk 6.2 percent and eggs 5.7 percent.
Heat and drought have caused most of the problems. But February’s deep freeze in the South was also a factor. It caused $600 million in agricultural losses in Texas alone. Including livestock, citrus and vegetable crop damage.
It’s Inevitable… But We Can Prepare
OK, so extreme weather is going to continue – and very possibly worsen. It will result in food shortages and price increases. Plus water contaminations and power outages. What can we do about it?
Well, we can’t do anything to change the weather. Heat and drought are likely to continue. Storms will become even more numerous and violent. These events are already too much for our aging electrical grid.
Here’s what we can do – prepare for the inevitable.
What does that mean? It means making sure we’re ready to be self-sufficient when it comes to the three most important things in our lives: food, water purification and power.
The Perfect Trifecta – Food, Water, Power
Why food? Because in an emergency caused by extreme weather, crops get destroyed. Grocery store shelves empty quickly. Food supply chains become disrupted.
Why water? Because we can’t live long without clean drinking water. Extreme weather disasters often contaminate water supplies. We need to be able to make unsafe water safe to consume.
Why power? Because we are dependent upon it as a society. We need electricity to warm or cool ourselves. And to see in the dark. As well to power devices that enable us to gain crucial information. And communicate with each other.
Of course, we have other needs that are also important. And we have included solutions for them in what we like to call our ultimate emergency kit.