Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst

Wednesday 01/08/14

"Big Data" Climate Change Thoughts

One of the top items in agri-business in 2013--certainly in terms of pure dollars involved--was the sale of the "Big Data" weather insurance and analysis firm, the Climate Corporation, to Monsanto for almost $1 Billion. Climate Corporation chief executive officer, David Friedberg, was profiled in the November, 2013 issue of The New Yorker magazine by New Yorker reporter Michael Specter--and made some provocative comments regarding his company's findings on climate change impact after mining the I-don't-know-how-many terrabytes of data the company has done since it began about ten years ago.

Following are some excerpts from the Michel Specter article, titled "Climate By Numbers".

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

In 2012, drought struck nearly eighty per cent of the nation's farmland, and the growing season was the hottest and driest in decades. Perhaps worse, over the past half century there has been a sharp, sustained increase in the number of what farmers call "toad stranglers"--days with more than three inches of rain. That kind of weather is death to corn and soybeans, the country's biggest crops...

(David) Friedberg is convinced that climate change has the potential to alter land values dramatically, and soon. "We had this economic bubble because of a major housing crisis," he said. "Residential real-estate values dropped, and the debt-equity ratio was so high that there were massive economic consequences for the nation. There is almost certainly a much more significant devaluation that needs to occur with land affected by climate change." In Kansas, he noted, real estate trades at prices that make sense only if a farmer gets the kind of yield on an acre of corn that is now rare. "In parts of Kansas, farmers should simply not be growing corn," Friedberg said. "Historically, you would have a heat wave every twenty years there. Now it happens every three years or so, and in those years the crops die." ...

The Climate Corporation charges roughly forty dollars an acre to insure crops, and its customers farm more than ten million acres. Many of them give little credence to terms like "climate change" and "global warming." That doesn't bother Friedberg. "You don't need to talk about climate change per se," he told me. "Statistically, you are looking at a series of numbers. If it were a roulette wheel, you could say 'It's coming up black more and more frequently.' Can I attribute that to black being overweighted by the croupier? Or to the pit boss, or the machine broken? It doesn't matter. Some people will argue that ice ages have waxed and waned for tens of millennia and that this is part of a natural cycle. That doesn't change the fact that black is coming up more frequently and you will get less out of an acre of corn than you used to. The price for that land simply cannot be justified by the income it can generate." ...

There is more on this article here: http://nyr.kr/…

(CZ)

Posted at 9:31AM CST 01/08/14 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (1)
It seems like the global warming people keep predicting drought and disaster and yet at the end of the year we have more corn then ever. This is in part the result of better farming practices and genetics but our climate hasn't changed that much.
Posted by FRANK FULWIDER at 5:09PM CST 01/17/14
Post a Blog Comment:
Your Comment:
DTN reserves the right to delete comments posted to any of our blogs and forums, for reasons including profanity, libel, irrelevant personal attacks and advertisements.
Blog Home Pages
April  2014
S M T W T F S
      1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30         
Subscribe to Ag Weather Forum RSS
Recent Blog Posts
  • NOAA: Warm Streak Continues
  • El Nino Update
  • Jet Stream Research Called "Holy Grail" in Understanding Climate-Change Impact
  • Cautious El Nino Timetable
  • Another Slow Start To Spring
  • Freeze Threat Details For Wheat
  • Nebraska Spring Moisture Roundup
  • Delayed Start For Spring Field Work
  • El Nino Forecast Unsettled
  • Late Start To Corn Belt Spring
  • Higher Temperatures Arrive Next Week in Western Canada
  • Caliornia Wildfire Season Looks Bad
  • Dakotas Spring Blizzard And Livestock
  • Model Uncertainty Re SW Plains
  • Cold Pattern Starts To Diminish
  • Harsh Midwest Winter Details
  • NOAA Flood Outlook Significant
  • Cold Weather Keeps on Coming in Canada
  • Ukraine And South Russia Weather
  • Increasing Weather Concerns in Midwest, Plains