The mild winter on the High Plains has changed to a dry and windy spring of unusual warmth. And the weather is wreaking havoc in various ways. For example, reports AgJournal, a huge wildfire flared up across portions of northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas last week. And wheat stripe rust was discovered in eastern Colorado, much earlier than expected. Stripe rust is a disease that can threaten wheat yields.
A lot of Texas residents are wondering what happened to winter, according to Austin member station KUT. While it’s true that we’ve had plenty of nice days to go outside in February, the weather has had other impacts as well. In Austin, the famous bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge have been out and about. Normally they aren’t seen until summertime.
It was a comparatively mild year weatherwise for Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle, reports Amarillo.com. Globally, 2015 was by far the hottest year in 136 years of recordkeeping. The worldwide temperature exceeded the 20th century average by 1.62 degrees. However, in Amarillo the temperature never rose above 100 degrees. That hasn’t happened since 2002.
What a difference a few months can make in the realm of public opinion. According to The Rural Blog, and The Guardian, the number of Americans who now accept global warming as fact rests at 70%, up 7 points from July.
Recent rains might have pushed the drought out of our minds, but climate scientists say the hot, dry weather is a glimpse into the future, and Oklahoma is a good place to study what adaptations will work.
A Kansas-based study comparing results on almost 30 years of winter wheat trials across the state points researchers to say global warming will cut wheat yields. Wheat demand is expected to increase by 60 percent by 2050 to meet population demands.
A lead author of the study says one way of adapting the world to warming temperatures maybe be to shift wheat farming more toward the poles.
Barry Smitherman, the head of Texas’ oil and gas drilling regulatory agency, does not believe in global warming according to a recent piece by State Impact Texas. Smitherman says before dismantling the electrical power generating fleet, there should be certainty about the role of CO2.