Climate change and your farm – it’s something that we all have to adapt to! It’s not all doom and gloom and it’s crazy to bury our heads in the sand and not try and understand what the overwhelming majority of the the scientific community agree on.
Our planets climate is changing – it will not be the same as we are used to!
Climate change and your farm in a nutshell
What is weather?
Weather is the daily variation in temperature and precipitation (rain, hail, fog, snow etc) that a place on our planet experiences each and every moment of each and every day. There is always natural variation in our weather – we have dry spells, cold spells, hot periods etc We all worry and about the weather – its it going to rain? Is it going to be hot? Is it going to snow? etc Why? – Because as farmers we plan a lot of our activities around the weather! Weather to us is IMPORTANT.
What is climate?
Climate is the AVERAGE weather of a place over time. If we record all the variations in weather over time then average them out, you get a picture of the climate of a place. So one very brutal winter (like we had on our farm last winter) added to the two previous mild winters averages out to be a climate that has cold , but not always brutal, winters. Average it out over 100 years and we get a real picture of what the climate for a place is like.
So farmers have always worried about the weather, but did not really worry about the climate for their area. Climate just was, is and will be. But science is now showing that climate is CHANGING – that is, the normal variations in our weather over time are changing! So climate change on your farm is something worth worrying about.
Why is it changing?
Our atmosphere is a dynamic place and interacts with the oceans, the forests, the factories, the cities and the farmland. These interactions are really about the movement of heat energy around in the atmosphere. All that heat comes from the sun. The sun heats the Earth which in turn heats the atmosphere. The heat in the atmosphere causes it to move around and to either absorb (evaporate) water or drop (condensate then precipitate) water. The amount that the atmosphere can do all of these is dependent on the chemical mixture of the atmosphere. Scientists have clearly seen that the chemical mixture of the atmosphere IS CHANGING with some gases increasing dramatically (like carbon dioxide). This change in the chemistry is forcing the atmosphere to behave differently – and therefore change the way it moves heat and water around the planet. This change will be reflected in our weather. So over time our average weather patterns, or climate, will also change. And it has started to happen!
So what does it mean for me?
You should become aware of how climate change is going to affect the variations in weather on your farm. For example, it may mean that you make some long term plans on shifting what your grow. In some places, for example, crops that have been grown for hundreds of years may become more difficult to grow in the future because of it becoming drier, hotter, wetter or colder. This is expecially true if you are farming items on the ‘edge’ of their zones right now. You my find that the change in climate works in your benefit…but you need to KNOW what the predicted change will be.
How to find out?
Most countries have science-based websites with details of the predicted changes written in terms that we can all understand. I urge you to visit these sites and learn what you can and be prepared to make shifts in your farm plans based on the information.
Here are some of the sites :-
If your country is not on this list, do a search for “climate change and farming” in your country and looks for information from reputable and reliable scientific sources.
Climate change on your farm is IMPORTANT. Please become aware – and make some plans for the future.