El Nino Flooding in Store?
10/29/15 INSIIDE Track: Outlook 2015–2017
40-Year Cycle & Food Crises III
In recent months, we have re-examined a topic that has been discussed the past 3–5 years – that of an impending (expected) Food Crisis in 2016–2017 (potentially extending into 2019)… directly linked to the uncanny 40-Year Cycle.
This could take MANY forms, as a review of past phases (of that 40-Year Cycle) can attest. One example is that of cold/frost/freezes, with a very noteworthy example occurring in 1816–1819 (triggered by the Year Without a Summer in 1816).
Another – more common – example has to do with drought and/or excessive heat. Even this can take multiple forms, with recent U.S. examples being in 1936–1939 (Dust Bowl) and 1976–1977 (California Drought). At the same time, corresponding Food Crises were also striking other parts of the globe.
Ironically, the opposite (climate) extreme could do just as much damage. That refers to too much precipitation and/or moisture. Not only can flooding delay plantings or delay harvests, it can also facilitate the growth of various fungi – like the diverse forms of Wheat rust that necessitate constant vigilance. Already, El Nino 2015/2016 forecasts are for increasing flooding in S. America.
Another distinct possibility is that of disease (fungus, bacteria, etc.) impacting a particular crop. With US primary crops becoming so homogenous – the opposite of a diverse array of crops that could withstand a particular outbreak – a disease or pest could mutate and grow, large enough to damage some crops and create uncertainty (its all about perception) and cast doubt on the rest of it.
It has taken one precise, 40-Year Cycle to set the stage for this as American farmers have abandoned the majority of diversity and placed all their proverbial ‘eggs in one basket’. So, how is that basket looking (actually, there are 3–4 ‘baskets’, replacing what used to be dozens of ‘baskets’)?
One example is Bt Corn – a genetically modified crop (in which the pesticide is now IN the crop, instead of just ON it) – accounts for 80% of US corn. At the same time US dependency on this one crop has escalated, so has the resistance of the rootworm it is supposed to destroy (see page 4). The result is a developing ‘super-pest’.
Both (the danger & the dependency) are passing the point of no return at the same time cycles project a new Food Crisis. Could the two be related?
Or, could it just be an archetype of a similar food ‘crisis’ festering just below the surface?
Cycle analysis – like this – does not always provide specifics… but provides a key level of timing, when other factors are incorporated (synergy!).
There are other possibilities that could cause – or contribute to – a ‘food crisis’. Distribution disruptions could be another. What if flooding – or the opposite – disrupts shipping of crops? Since this discussion is half-extrapolation (of current challenges) & half-postulation, it should not be carried too far.
That segues to a VERY important reminder: These possibilities are NOT addressed to create an alarmist mentality that the sky is falling. Instead, they are discussed to encourage readers to think out of the box & hopefully reduce vulnerability when the next challenge inevitably strikes & the media naively concludes “No one could have seen this crisis coming!”
100-Year Cycle Synergy
Let’s return to a related topic… The eruption of Mt. Tambora (1815) and the ensuing ‘Year Without a Summer’ is one of the most globally-notorious phases of that 40-Year Cycle. It impacted crops, harvests (or lack thereof) and famine around the globe… as has already been detailed. (It also impacted war, particularly Napoleon’s.)
Another reason that 40-Year Cycle phase is so intriguing – and projects focus to 2016–2019 – is the recurrence of a 100-Year Cycle that has triggered similar events. Perhaps one of the best known examples – prior to 1816–1819 – was the devastating ‘Great Famine’ of 1315–1317 (-1322).
The ‘Great Famine’ impacted most of Europe, ranging from Great Britain in the west to Russia in the north & Italy in the south. Recurring crop failures stretched from early-1315 through the summer of 1317 and were responsible for millions of deaths.
That Food Crisis coincided with the stark shift from the Medieval Warm Period (culminating in mid-1200’s) to the Little Ice Age(early-1300’s until ~1850). In the midst of this, the 1710’s marked the culmination of the lowest level of solar activity in (at least) the past 400 years… and one of the coldest. That drop began 100 years earlier – in the 1610’s.
To reiterate, it is the transition period – between various types of cycles – that is often the most volatile. We could be moving through a similar transition period in the second half of the 2010’s.
40-Year Cycle & Climate Change
That provides a nice segue back to a topic discussed last issue, and periodically in the past, having to do with climate shifts (very closely linked to solar cycles and the ebb & flow of periods of high & low sunspot activity). Extremes in temperature have vacillated – often from one extreme to the other – along with this 40-Year Cycle of Food Crises.
Most recently, that can be seen in the swing from the Dust Bowl (excessive heat) – peaking in the 1930’s – to the cooling temperatures reaching a crescendo in the 1970’s (when many ’experts’ warned of an impending new Ice Age). In many cases, this cycle might not time the precise peak of the warmest temps – or nadir of coldest temps – but it does represent the extreme, synergistic impact of related phenomenon (including drought, frosts, etc.).
In other words, 1936 or 1937 might not be the exact high temperature of the surrounding decades, and 1976 or 1977 might not be the exact low temperature, but they represent when the cumulative effect of climate extremes created the greatest consequences. It pinpoints when the synergy of all these factors reached the ‘tipping point’.
This is similar to when I discuss the cyclicality of earth disturbance ‘swarms’… the periods of time when the highest concentration of earthquakes and/or volcanoes occur.
If this climate vacillation continues, one might expect the late-2010’s to see the extreme of warming and the transition into a cooling phase of recurring ‘climate change’.”
Food Crisis Cycles focus on 2016/2017 for tipping point… leading to escalating challenges in 2016–2021. El Nino-related flooding (and potential topsoil erosion) could pose a greater threat than recent droughts, exacerbating an already tenuous situation in South America & California (where drought cycles are maturing/shifting in 2015/2016). Related fungal challenges are possible as well.