Extreme Weather Hurt Farmers in 2019
Farmers will not be surprised to hear that 2019 was one of the wettest on record, and Karin Gleason, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said all data indicate that extreme weather events have played havoc with farmers crops.
"There are certainly going to be costs associated with losses, or anticipated losses," she said. "There were some crops that didn't get planted until June. You have a shorter growing season that can put you at risk in the fall for early frosts or freezes."
Last year's flooding in Nebraska, which could be seen from space, resulted in damage costing more than $1.3 billion. In just the past 10 years, major flooding in the United States resulted in losses of at least $40 billion.
Gleason and her colleagues at NOAA are monitoring changes in weather patterns and are making their data available for farmers. She said looking back at historical rainfall averages, days of drought and how those averages are changing can help farmers adjust their strategies and adapt.
"and to understand, 'Do I need to anticipate in the future changing up my practices? Do I want to pick a different kind of crop? Will that yield a better harvest? Will that yield a better bottom line?' "
Gleason said the easiest way to tap NOAA's climate data is through its interactive tool, Climate at a Glance, which can be found online at ncdc.noaa.gov.