All change

Dear Caroline,

Evaporation 27 Dec to 2 Jan 5-4, 5, 6, 6, 8, 9, 7, 6-2

I don’t know how many of you read about the North Pole which was 35 degrees warmer than normal on Wednesday 30th December. When I saw the article, I thought it must be a misprint in the headline; it must surely have been 3.5 degrees. But no, the article explained that, whereas the North Pole in mid-winter should be 30 degrees C below freezing, it was actually 5 degrees above. Add to that the fact that I stayed with Tony and Sue Orr over the weekend and they reported that, although the Zambezi HAS come up by half a meter, it is still about 3 meters down from ‘normal’. Finally my sons tell me that a friends of Sally’s tells her that El Nino is ‘locked in’ for four years. I am not sure how this friend (a meteorologist) knows this (and I am trying to find out from the Internet, what the scientists are thinking about further El Ninos) but I am certainly beginning to think that we are going to have to re-think the way we farm.

I think soybeans will probably no longer be a suitable crop for Choma, as El Nino seasons tend to be too short to fill the pods in April. I think we will be planting tobacco on the flat, at much lower populations, surrounded by mulch. Cassava might be a more drought resistant source of carbohydrate than maize. It is difficult to run experiments to find out the best solutions, because the conditions in 2016 may not be the same as the conditions in 2020. But, as a book written after the Kyoto Agreement states: we must adapt or die.

Best for 2016,

Bruce

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