Argentina – A Drought Canary?

It looks to me like the cold weather shift has brought with it the old pattern of drought and crop failures. I suspect that this is just the beginning of a 20 year trend. Argentina also had a similar drought back in about 1914 (when the sun was in a similar low output state…) so we seem to be falling into a pattern.

Yes, it’s a combinantion of dumb governmental policy and weather, but a significant drought in Argentina is putting a big crimp on the wheat crop:

Bloomberg has a similar story, but with the added info that Egypt was complaining that Ukraine wheat was having a quality drop:

And an update:

Even the BBC is getting in on the story in a cattle oriented story:

And this guy seems to think that it’s going to be very very bad and catalogs a set of places, including Kansas, Texas, Australia and South Aftrica. Complete with a nice drought map for Argentina in the second link and lots of scary pictures:

These folks want you to sign up for the full article, but this link seemed to work for most of it:

The pattern seems to be one of droughts. I would speculate that it is perhaps because our cooling oceans do not evaporate as much water for rainfall now that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation has flipped to the cold side.

There also seems to be a fungus pathogen involved in some areas:

While these folks have a single line that implies some of the drought is hitting Brazilian soy beans as well:

Which a Google Search confirmed with a dozen interesting articles. Including one that says cocoa is impacted too:

So what do we have here? I think we have the first steps of a global food shortage caused by a long term cyclical shift of the weather cycle to a colder and dryer state. I am taking this as a long term issue, but with a short term market opportunity. So I’m buying JJG and DBA (a grain Exchange Traded Fund and a general Agriculture ETF) and probably also COW (pigs, cows, chickens).

As a longer term item, I’m updating my food storage system contents to have a fresh batch of noodles in it along with a freshening of the wheat flour (I’ve run rather low on flour). I will also use this drop of pork prices (on the swine flu panic ) to put some cans of “pork shoulder” (i.e. SPAM and the WalMart house brand knock-off of it) on the shelf as well.

It is my opinion that most folks will treat this as a 1 or 2 year local weather event and not as a 2 or 3 decade cyclical event. Thus there will not be enough preparation nor enough mitigation until we are well into the crop failures a half decade from now. We’ll see if this SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) has any accuracy as events unfold…

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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3 Responses to Argentine-Drought-Crop-Failure

  1. Dear Mr.E.M.Smith: As you probably read in WUWT:
    For the known argentinian geologist Miguel Gonzales, in his studies in the “Salinas del bebedero”, a salt lake in Argentina,
    all these weather changes coincide with solar minimums like the Maunder minimum, which produced drought in the argentinian “pampa” (plains), and which it is happening again now. So, in general, we have different weather systems: one west of the andes and the other east of the andes.
    He studied a dried salt lake called “Salinas del Bebedero”, he found that this salt lake filled with water during solar minimums.
    Here the paper (in spanish):

    Click to access salinas.pdf

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    A fascinating story. I had not known details about Salinas de Bebedero. A vague awareness was about all.

    Do you have a link to the WUWT thread? I’d like to catch up.

    The ‘springerlink’ abstract is great evidence that the Little Ice Age did happen in S. America!

    BTW, while my Spanish is a bit rusty and I’m sure I missed much: I loved your story about work on Salinas de Bebedero! The vision of an old Citron compared with Geologists on a mule was priceless! It was also a good story of sleuthing, as geologists sift the sands of time (literally!) to show how this odd lake came to be.

    I’ll probably re-read it 3 or 4 times as my Spanish wakes up from it’s slumber. At one time, I’d had 5 years of Spanish. 3 in Grammar School and 2 in High School – a progressive school system that taught languages early. There was not much more than Spanish Literature left to go… I also grew up spending about 1/2 my time at a Mexican friends home where almost everything was Spanish. though of a different sort. I remember the frustration that my friend, Miguel, frequently had asking in Spanish class “But isn’t the word for that this?” and being told, “Well, in Mexican Spanish, but in the Spanish of Spain it is this other! And he thought he was going to have an easy elective class!

    Since then, French, some Italian, and even a bit of German and Russian have layered on top. But the Spanish is still in there, it just needs a poke or two to wake it up ;-)

    The groundwater “volcanos” is an interesting feature. So it looks like sometimes the groundwater leaching salt to carry to the lake, makes little geysers. A geologic feature I’ve never heard of before.

    It will be very interesting to see if the salt lake starts to get more water in it during this “solar minimum”… Any idea what the time lag is between downturns in solar activity and onset of water to the lake? Decades? Centuries?

    A study of Be vs C isotopes might be interesting… (Solar activity vs actual date of wetness… )

    Muchas Gracias por todo!

  3. Dear E.M.Smith:
    Miguel A. González still lives in Argentina.
    I wanted also to know his opinion about current climate issues, I contacted Eduardo Ferreyra , web page:
    who sometimes writes at WUWT was going to contact him.

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