Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Grazier Solutions for Record-Breaking Heat

It seems like every July now, we’re setting new high temperature records. Back in 2016, CNN posed a theory that “corn sweat” was to blame for that year’s record breaking stretch. As it turns out, with just a bit of research On Pasture was able to prove that corn is not the culprit.

Is Corn Sweat to Blame for the Heat Wave?

But blame isn’t really the point when it’s this hot. So, this week, we’re taking a look at what’s happening and why, and how we can get through this July and on to hopefully improving out summers in the future.

First, is it really getting hotter?

Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the United Kingdom’s University of Reading built this animation using monthly temperature records for every year from 1850 to 2020. The 0.0 degrees Celsius circle at the start of the animation is the pre-Industrial Revolution mean temperature. (You may need to click on the image to get it started.)

As the years go on and the spiral grows in size, you can see that temperatures are warming. You can also see that the planet’s average temperature moves closer and closer to the 1.5 degree Celsius rise that countries pledged to try to avoid at the recent climate talks in Paris. Hawkins describes some of the weather events an earlier version of the animation shows on his blog post here.

Hawkins created a similar image showing changes in the Arctic sea ice volume to give us a look at how much things have changed between 1979 and 2017.

Naturally that’s led to rising sea levels. This article has some great video and descriptions of the impacts on infrastructure and the challenges faced by coastal cities in the U.S as a result.

All of this is the natural consequence of increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere. You’ve all probably seen the graph, but here’s Hawkins animated spiral as a more interesting look at what’s happening.

What should we do about it today?

Since every July is hotter and hotter, I’ve grown a good collection of articles on how to protect your livestock and yourselves from the heat. Here are two to get you started.

Managing Livestock Heat Stress

Managing Heat Stress Across Your Farm

What can we do about it for the future?

You know how we say, “Everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it?” Well, while you may not be able to change the weather, our current situation is excellent evidence that we can change the climate. And as a grazier, you’re especially well-situated to do just that while making good money at the same time. Here’s what you can do right now so we can all have cooler Julys in the future.

How to Spread Compost as a Climate Change Solution in Your Community

That’s all for this week as we finish off with a funny. Stay cool!

Why Do Pigs Snort?

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.

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