May Temperatures, Economic Implications

From NOAA:

The United States reported its warmest spring since records began in 1895,…

… with 31 states in the eastern two-thirds of the country observing record warmth. The national temperature was 2.9°C (5.2°F) above its long-term average, surpassing the previous record by 1.1°C (2.0°F).

Here’s the May Global Mean Surface Temperature Anomaly:

Figure from NOAA, State of the Climate Global Analysis, May 2012.

Note in particular the land temperatures.

Well, not to panic. We can easily adjust to the temperature changes. Just change what we’re planting and where. And crank up the air conditioning. Or will it be so easy? From WSJ:

A year after historic flooding brought the Mississippi River up to record levels, the severe drought hitting the central U.S. has caused water levels along parts of the waterway to plummet, disrupting barge traffic from Cairo, Ill., to Natchez, Miss.

Barge operators have sharply reduced their loads to get through tightening river passages. They say major rain is needed soon or they would have to reduce commerce even more, causing shipment delays and driving up transportation costs. With forecasts showing little prospect of significant rain, hydrologists see no relief in sight for the giant inland waterway that also includes the Ohio River.

Some river ports have been forced to close temporarily or shut down parts of their operations because of the low water levels. At the port of Rosedale in the Mississippi Delta, port director Robert Maxwell Jr. said water levels are about 50 feet below what they were last year, when flooding shut down the port. If the water falls any lower, there was a “high likelihood” he would have to close, he said. One of the port’s public loading docks is inoperable, with equipment normally in the water now hanging the air. The Army Corps of Engineers is supposed to come this week to dredge, where heavy equipment is used to dig out sediment from waterways to make them passable for shipping.

“This is absolutely not normal,” Mr. Maxwell said.

Crops are also being hit hard [1].

Here is a meta-analysis of the scientific consensus on the reasons why global climate change is happening.

Forecast temperatures for Madison, WI are for 99 degrees tomorrow. And the day after. Which wouldn’t be so strange except for the many other days we’ve been in that range over the past months.

About Menzie Chinn 83 Articles

Affiliation: University of Wisconsin

Menzie Chinn is Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Visit: Econbrowser

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*