On the Cusp: Alaska Vegetable Farms Too Cold

Russ Steele

The Alaska Dispatch has the story HERE:

Cold weather in South central Alaska isn’t just affecting people’s moods. It’s seriously hurting vegetable crops in the Matanuska Susitna Valley, one of the state’s major farming regions.

Most crops are several weeks behind schedule, according to farmers, the result of a chilly spring and a summer that’s nearly breaking cold-temperature records. 

Pyrah’s Pioneer Peak Farm, a popular pick-it-yourself destination near Palmer, would normally see five times as many people as it has, says owner Ted Pyrah. There’s just not much for customers to pick right now, he says, and most vegetables are small.

While farmers can handle cloudy weather and a good amount of rain, there’s not much they can do when temperatures dip. Plants simply aren’t maturing fast enough, putting many farmers in a lurch.

The yield’s way down, the production numbers are not there,” says Arthur Keyes, owner of the South Anchorage Farmer’s Market and Glacier Valley Farm in Palmer. “It’s so cold, we need heat. We don’t need rain, we need the sun.”

The question is, if NASA’s James Hansen is declaring the world is warming, with July the warmest ever (not) then why is Alaska too cold to grow vegetables?

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About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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2 Responses to On the Cusp: Alaska Vegetable Farms Too Cold

  1. Anthony j. Mengotto says:

    Russ, That’s a very good question. I think the answer to that is we’re seeing the begining of the last chance to beat the global warming drum. Yes it has been hot, but only where there is drought. Now here’s the answer to the lack of rain and heat. THE JET STREAM!!!!!! It has been to far to the north mostly on the united states canadian border. Remember the summer of 2010 when russia had the same problem with drought and heat waves and wildfires? At that time here, in most of the U.S.A. we where having a cool summer with 2 or 3 heat waves. Now it has been reversed for the summer of 2012. Russia is cool and we are hot. According to Geoff sharp on layman’s sunspot count posted on 7/31/2012, The EUV and FUV have been low this cycle so far, in fact the current level is not far above cycles 22/23 minimum and plays a major role in the jet stream. You can find the rest of it here> http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/270. Also, in my research I have found that temperature extremes can happen during weak cycles as you will see here> http://ggweather.com/climate/extremes_us.htm. As you can see here during cycle 14 which had a sunspot value of 65 http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl14.html there was record lows and record highs during that cycle and I will point them out. Record lows were as follows: Arkansas -29F on 2/13/1905,Kansas -40F on 2/13/1905,Maryland -40F on 2/13/1912, Missouri -40F on 2/13/1905,New Jersey -34F on 1/5/1904,Pennsylvania -42F on 1/5/1904. Record highs are as follows: California +134F on 7/10/1913,Maine +105F on 7/10/1911,New Hampshire +106F on 7/4/1911,and Vermont +105F on 7/4/1911. The bottom line is, it’s all in the jet stream as to weather you are going to have record highs or record lows during solar minimum. As far as alaska, we are seeing the begining of drops in temperatures that only are going to drop more. As for now, enjoy the warmth!! Anthony

    • Anthony,

      Thanks for the information and links. I agree, the jet stream plays a major role in the weather. I have always wondered about the connection between the jet stream and the magnetosphere. Have you read about any connection. Are changes in the magnetosphere reflected in changes in the jet stream?

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