Europe: Heat Records Obliterated, Wheat and Corn Smacked

Europe: Heat Records Obliterated, Wheat and Corn Smacked

When the UK’s Met Office made a long-range forecast for British and European weather in 2020, no one foresaw that its extreme 2050 heat forecast would arrive in 2022. Tuesday, the UK recorded its highest temperature ever, 40.2 degrees Centigrade (104.4 F).

Across Europe, temperature records have been broken all week. Over 2,000 people have died in Portugal and Spain alone because of heat and wildfires rage from Turkey to Spain and north to the Arctic Circle. Agriculture is suffering, with corn yields predicted to go down by 30% in Italy and 16% in Spain.

The complete social and economic damage has yet to be calculated for this summer’s wild weather in the Northern Hemisphere but the European Environment Agency estimates that the continent has lost up to $552 billion in the last forty years from extreme weather events.

At a climate summit in Berlin this week, António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, declared, “We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide.”

WIth European temperatures reaching up to 115 Fahrenheit and London thirty Fahrenheit degrees higher than average, is it any wonder the UN Secretary-General despairs?

Temperature changes in Europe show the increased heat
Temperature change in Europe since 1900. Source: UNFCC.

First Cold, Now Heat: Euro Agriculture Has Taken A Big Weather Hit This Year

This is Europe’s second heatwave this year and forecasts call for more. Heat has not been the only concern for European agriculture this year, however. A record-setting cold snap in April came after higher than normal spring temperatures. Late frosts impacted almond and fruit trees in Spain and wine-growing regions in France. Impacts on grain-producing regions in Germany and other countries were small. however.

The current heat wave has led to early harvest in some soft wheat-producing areas. France’s Ministry of Agriculture forecast that 2022 soft wheat production would decline by 7.2% thanks to drought and heat. France is the largest wheat exporter in the European Union and the world’s fourth-largest.

Heat Defeats Italian Farmers, Already in a World of Climate Hurt

Italy, too, has seen a decline in its soft wheat harvest this year. The Italian Association of Millers forecast this week that the soft wheat harvest would come in at 15% under 2021’s number. Durum wheat production, according to the Italian millers, could fall by 10%.

Minster of Agriculture Stefano Patuanelli announced last week that as much as 30% of Italian agriculture will be lost this year due to drought and heat. The government declared a heat and drought emergency in five provinces and Italy’s main farm lobby, Coldiretti, estimates that Italian farmers have lost up to US$3 billion.

The Po Valley Drought Is the Worst in 70 Years

In the Po Valley, the heartland of Italy’s rice growing area, heat and drought have decimated crops. The Po Valley includes the provinces of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Piedmonte, some of the most productive land in the country. A farmer there estimated that up to 70% of their crops were already gone. Saline water from the sea normally reaches three miles up the Po. This year, it has intruded up to 18 miles inland, damaging crops irrigated with river water.

Po River drought in heat wave.
The Po River is seeing the worst drought in 70 years thanks to reduced winter-spring precipitation and summer heat waves. Source: SciTechDaily. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2020-22), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

Over 50% of Europe and UK on Drought Alert or Warnings

Yesterday, the European Commission published its report “Drought in Europe July 2022“, which found that an unprecedented 44% of land in Europe and the UK is at a drought warning stage, with 9% at the alert level. Winter-spring precipitation deficit was up to 22% more than in 2021 and this is stressing vegetation, especially in the south of the continent. Water Europe estimates that 59% of freshwater use in Europe is for agriculture, with a significant amount used to keep agriculture going in parched Southern Europe.

Water Europe also reports that annual renewable freshwater resources per inhabitant decreased across much of Europe during 1990-2017. The greatest decreases were seen in Spain (-65 %), the greenhouse for Europe, and Malta (-54 %).

In Italy, Minister Patuanelli said that the latest government research showed that Italy had lost 19% of its available water resources from 1991-2020 compared to 1921-1950. He added that the coming decades could see further decreases of up to 40%. Coldretti said that northern Italy has seen half the average rainfall for the last few years. To combat this year’s drought, water rationing has been instituted in cities across Italy.

Too Much of Europe is Burning

This summer’s heat waves have lead to record numbers of fires in forest and agriculture areas. The state of Brandenburg in Germany already has experienced over 260 wildfires this year. Forests in Southwest Europe have been hit unusually hard. Across Spain, over 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) have burned, around twice the average area in a year. Meanwhile, a record number of hectares have burned in France for this time of year; the fire season has not hit its traditional height.

Hectares burned in France in 2022 in heat wave compared to other years
Hectares burned in France in 2022 heat waves compared to previous years. Source: Dr. Serge Zaka, Asso Infoclimat.

What Might Be Causing Europe’s Disasterous Heat and Drought?

A recent study in Nature posited that Western Europe has been a heat wave hotspot for four decades, with heat events increasing in both frequency and intensity. The study found that there was an increased frequency of and intensity when the phenomenon of the upper atmosphere’s jet stream splitting into two occurred. Heat waves would then develop between the two flanks of the jet stream, leading to the rise in European temperatures. What caused this divide was not clear to researchers.

For most of Europe, the extreme weather impacts from climate change are already easily seen, no matter what the cause. “The moment of real climate crisis is 2022,” Rudolfo Laurenti, Deputy Director of the Bonifaca Po Delta Authority, told CNN.

Yellowstone’s 1 in 500-Year Flood May See More Weekend Rain

Yellowstone’s 1 in 500-Year Flood May See More Weekend Rain

Over the course of three days this week, unprecedented rains and early snowmelt combined to close Yellowstone National Park and change its landscape forever. Rivers in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming burst their banks.

The Park’s worst flood before those three days occurred in 1978. Experts called it a 1 in 100 years event. The US Geological Survey considered this month’s flooding to be a 1 in 500 years event.

Some forecasts see more precipitation in Yellowstone this weekend. Park administrators say they are watching the weather closely but park plans to rebuild ruined infrastructure are already underway. This time, however, they will take into account climate change.

The National Park sits in the middle of reater Yellowstone ecosystem
The National Park sits in the middle of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which runs from the Canadian border to Wyoming. Source: National Park Service.

The Greater Yellowstone Area includes parts of six major rivers: the Missouri, Upper Yellowstone, Big Horn, Upper Green, Snake Headwaters, and Upper Snake. It is one of the few remaining large and nearly intact temperate ecosystems on Earth. As the 2021 Greater Yellowstone Climate Assessment (GYCA) noted, climate change impacts on the area often push the bounds of historical trends. What happens in this area also impacts agricultural areas in the Northern High Plains.

Yellowstone Faces Major Climate Challenges

The 2021 GYCA predicted significant changes in precipitation timing and type. More spring rain and less winter snow are foreseen. Precipitation for June 2022 is already over 400% of normal in parts of the Yellowstone area.

Flooded Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park
Flooded Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park. Source: National Park Service.

The timing of peak streamflows have already changed. Water amounts have not changed significantly in most of the area but there have been increases in the Yellowstone, Gallatin, and Madison rivers. All are tributaries of the Missouri River.

The GYCA showed peak flows have shifted 1 to 15 days earlier, lengthening the hot season when water is limited. In some areas, spring flows have increased by 30 to 80 percent. For other areas, minimum flows have declined by 10 to 40 percent in the summer and winter.

In the Greater Yellowstone Area, potential evapotranspiration is less than precipitation on an annual basis. At lower elevations in summer, the reverse is true. This brings an increasing seasonal water deficit.

Snowpack Issues Are at the Heart of Water Flow Issues

Warming winters are bringing earlier snowmelt and a loss of snowpack across the West, including in Yellowstone. Warmer winters bring a longer growing season because of longer summers but reduce water availability. They also increase fire risks. Both snowpack and soil moisture impact stream flow. The amount of annual streamflow can vary by up to 300 percent between years because of all these factors.

Snow pack mass has declined by as much as 80% in some places in the last 65 years.
Peak snowpack timing has moved as much as three weeks earlier in some parts of the U.S. west.

With Headwaters in Yellowstone, the Missouri River Feeds Plains Agriculture

Yellowstone area climate change impacts the Missouri River headwaters and its tributaries. Some studies indicate that rainfall and water access are already changing in the Northern Great Plains and Central Midwest due to agricultural intensification. Models in the Fourth National Climate Assessment saw annual decreases of 30 days or more in the number of days with temperatures under 28 degrees by 2050. This would have serious implications for the region’s snowpack, streamflow, and water use.

Missouri River Basin map
Missouri River basin. Source: Army Corps of Engineers.

Parts of the Northern Great Plains are among the most arid in the United States. Because they are far from the coasts, the Northern Great Plains’ climate is not modulated by the oceans. Extreme drought or extreme flooding tends to happen every ten years or so. With less than ten percent of regional precipitation reaching the Missouri River, large changes in flooding can be brought about by small changes in precipitation. A good example of the region’s unpredictable weather is the severe flooding of 2011. It was followed by a drought in 2012.

The Northern Great Plains

The Northern Great Plains states use irrigation water from Yellowstone, Platte and other rivers for agriculture.
Northern Great Plains. Source: Fourth National Climate Assessment, U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Yellowstone’s Changes Has Similarities/Differences to Dust Bowl Weather

Changes in peak streamflow timing since 1970 look similar to the peak timing during the 1930s Dust Bowl drought but the difference is that a year-round decline in precipitation caused the Dust Bowl. As the Greater Yellowstone Climate Assessment points out, the recent change in peak streamflow times is caused by spring temperatures rising sooner. Earlier spring warmth causes earlier snow melting.

Europe’s Love of Russian Fuel Ends: Who Wins?

Europe’s Love of Russian Fuel Ends: Who Wins?

Last week the European Commission announced it will end Europe’s dependence on Russian oil, natural gas, and coal by 2027. In 2019, Russia provided 29% of the EU’s crude oil imports, 41% of its imported natural gas, and 47% of the EU’s imported coal. Net imports accounted for more than half of the EU’s energy needs.

Domestic crude oil, natural gas, and coal sources are limited within the EU. Some member states (i.e, Malta & Luxembourg) import up to 90% of their energy.

The EU is unlikely to simply switch supplying countries, thus leaving energy supplies outside their control again. However, European manufacturers and service suppliers must all contend with a new set of unknowns. A continuing conflict in Ukraine is bringing changes in supplies of components and raw materials. The war is impacting not only wheat supplies but also Europe’s supplies of computer chips. There are also potential costs in so quickly abandoning fossil fuels.

That said, what companies might benefit from this rapid push away from Russia and toward what must be a greener future?

Europe’s New Green Deal Firmly Back on Track (for Now)

Europe is moving to renewable energy and away from oil, natural gas, and coal. Some countries are more dependent on Russian oil than others.
Renewables as percentage of energy by EU member country.

Friday, EU leaders agreed to spend the next two months drafting proposals for weaning Europe from dependency on Russian fossil fuels. Leaders set a deadline of 2027 to make Europe more energy independent. The replacement fuels will come from national and European sources, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. EU climate policy chief, Frans Timmermans, stated that Europe could replace two-thirds Russian gas imports by the end of 2022

Coal and gas reserves vary wildly from country to country within the European Union. In 2020, EU production of primary energy was down by 17.7% from a decade before and 7.1% lower than in 2019. In the ten years up to 2020, European renewable energy use increased dramatically while uses of other sources declined. The EU’s recently agreed “Green New Deal” aims to make Europe carbon neutral by 2050. It included a €40bn fund to help coal-reliant regions, like Poland, move to cleaner alternatives

Primary energy production in EUrope 2010-2020.
Primary energy production in Europe, 2010-2020.

In addition to emphasizing renewable energy, the Green New Deal also mandates a 20% reduction in agricultural fertilizer use. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has helped send already high fertilizer prices soaring. Global fertilizer producer Yara recently reduced production at plants in Italy and France to 45% of capacity, citing rising gas prices. According to S&P Global Commodity Insights, Dutch natural gas prices have risen 1,100% from a year ago.

Which Companies May May Benefit From These Moves?

The EU’s Green New Deal focuses on transportation, energy production, agriculture sustainability, and improved energy efficiency in buildings. Some companies, like Baywa, work in several sectors that may see increased business because of Europe’s moves away from Russian energy reliance. Companies in energy production and transportation may be most likely to benefit quickly from the energy policy change.

Energy Production

Europe’s moves may not benefit nuclear power development, given rising concerns about potential accidents at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. Energy companies that could benefit include Brookfield Renewable (NYSE: BEP; TSX: BEP.UN) and Spain’s Iberdrola (OTC: IBDRY), one of the world’s largest renewable energy producers.

Another company that may benefit is Switzerland’s Meyer Burger Technology AG (OTC: MYBUF), which has a focus on solar cells and photovoltaic equipment. Germany’s Baywa (ETR: BYW6) has a focus on agriculture, renewable energy, and construction, all sectors which will be impacted by Europe’s move away from imported fuels. Baywa’s agrovoltaic development center is already working with farmers on pilot projects.


Companies providing goods and services to the public transportation sector and those with increasing production of electric vehicles have growth opportunities from this change. Alstom (EPA: ALO), the French company focused on rail infrastructure, recently acquired the rail division of Canada’s Bombardier. A renewed focus on public transportation could improve Alstom’s fortunes.

Many companies that produce electric vehicles already have long waitlists for their cars, SUVs, and trucks. Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY) is increasing its electric vehicle production substantially in Europe, while also providing the technology for the seven new electric models that Ford (NYSE: F) will introduce in Europe by 2024.

Any of these stocks that might benefit from the EU’s decision to be independent of Russian energy will, of course, be subject to the whims of market movements. They also are dependent on the availability of raw materials and specific components. Battery improvement and production will underpin both energy and transport improvements.

Mercedes’s (OTC: DDAIF) corporate plan has been to produce only electric vehicles by 2030. To that end, the company has recently opened a battery plant in Alabama, while also taking an equity stake in European battery cell manufacturer Automotive Cells Company. Mercedes is partnering with Total Energy and Stellanis (NYSE: STLA), owner of Peugeot, in that venture.



The explosion of an underwater volcano off Tonga last week was unexpected. It triggered tsunami warnings and evacuation orders in Japan and caused large waves in several South Pacific islands. Footage on social media showed waves crashing into coastal homes. NASA said the volcano’s eruption was more powerful than an atomic bomb.

Volcanic explosions have changed weather throughout history, but be especially glad you’re not living in 536 A.D. That year erupting volcanoes plunged Europe into a foggy darkness for 18 months. Average temperatures in North America, Asia, and Europe plummeted by up to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the coldest decade in the last 2300 years. Snow fell in summer in China, crops failed in many places. This was followed by plague in the Mediterranean.

What happened in tonga?

Shock waves from Tonga’s unusual eruption were felt as far as Alaska. The explosion caused a major oil spill thousands of miles away in Peru, a tsunami, and a seven-hour lightning storm. Its ash went up to about 65,000 feet. Luckily, the damage was isolated to the Island of Tonga but only a few people were injured.

The Hunga Tonga volcano spread a shock wave around the world several times. This was caused by something we call “Gravity Waves”. Think of when you throw a rock in a lake and see the ripples and how they speed up.

Gravity waves from Tonga's underwater volcanic eruption

Scientists still “do not understand” many issues concerning magma-water interaction and these types of volcanoes. Much research will go into predicting if this will have any lasting effect that cools the climate.

Based on analysis of data from global weather satellites, the Tonga volcanic cloud could have reached an altitude of 39km (128,000ft).

At this height, a volcano can have a net cooling effect on the planet. Will this one? I do not think that low solar activity from the Tonga explosion is having a cooling effect.


The eruption’s initial blast caused the plume of ash and vapor to climb some 55 kilometers, or more than 34 miles, high into the atmosphere.

Typically, the air stops rising far below 60,000 feet, where air temperatures begin to warm and the air loses its buoyancy. In this case, the upward force of the explosion combined with the heat of the plume allowed the vapor to rise to 180,000 feet.

The top of the plume was a relatively narrow column of volcanic material, likely located directly over the volcano. This feature, which somewhat resembles the top of a smashed witch’s hat, is called an overshooting top in meteorology.

How MUCH volcanic gas did tonga’s explosion release?

Sulfur dioxide from Tonga's volcanic eruption does not seem to be cooling the climate and impacting La Niña

The Hunga Tonga volcano has emitted more than 112 kilotons (kt) of SO2. For comparison, Pinatubo (1991) emitted 20,000 kt of SO2 and El Chichón (1982) emitted 7,500 kt, Both were climate-cooling eruptions and the Tonga eruption may continue and may emit more SO2. However, a significant climate-cooling SO2 release that may cause La Niña changes are not yet apparent.

Sulfur dioxide that is released from volcanic eruptions like this one can have a cooling effect on Earth, but Hunga Tonga released a relatively minuscule amount of SO2 compared to other climate-changing eruptions.

What Will Be The Impact on LA Niña?

If this underwater volcano has a potential climatic impact in the next few months, it “might” be prolonging La Niña a bit longer than some computer models suggest. I will discuss this and more about volcanoes in the weeks ahead.

Factors affecting commodities and why the brazil drought will ease (VIDEO)

Factors affecting commodities and why the brazil drought will ease (VIDEO)

Please click on the video above to find out how weather is affecting global commodities. The video talks about how a warm Tropical Atlantic and forecasts for a moderate to strong La Nina suggest rains (not just in October), but likely into November and December as well for key crop areas in Brazil. It has been a devastating last few years for Brazil agriculture with record low water levels. This has been due to climate change, deforestation and other climatic variables.

Even elephants feel the effects of climate change and overpopulation

Even elephants feel the effects of climate change and overpopulation

The article below is mostly excerpted from a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, with a few additional comments by me, Jim Roemer. Climate Change and overpopulation are certainly close to my heart and while this article does not discuss weather forecasting or the commodity markets, it is yet another important sign of how we are destroying our planet. The good thing is, is that China and several other major developing countries in the world, are taking steps to be close to 0% carbon emissions by the year 2050. Hopefully, China and others will remain firm on this commitment, but unless we take more action now, waiting till 2050 may be too late to reverse climate change–Jim Roemer

In recent weeks, a herd of 15 wild elephants on a long, strange trip out of the jungles of far southwestern China have transfixed millions of people across the country.

Millions have tuned in to watch the elephants’ 300-mile journey on television and on internet live streams, or tracked their movements on social media. While enamored with the creatures, some increasingly see the elephants and their journey as a lesson on the perils of nature and a rapidly urbanizing China crashing into one another, especially as development booms.

Along the way, the elephants have broken into villagers’ homes, eaten their food, drank their water and destroyed their crops. All told, the herd has now caused more than 400 separate incidents of damage, worth some $1.1 million, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The elephants, which have gone into rural villages and somewhat larger towns, have shown a continued interest in wooden barrels of alcohol. Last month, one of the baby elephants passed out after imbibing a kind of fermented alcohol, and was only able to rejoin the herd the next day.

Some scientists have hypothesized that the elephants are on the move because their habitat has shrunk while their population has grown.

China’s environmental crisis, the result of decades of rapid industrialization, not only threatens the health and livelihoods of the country’s 1.4 billion people but also the global fight against climate change. As the world’s largest source of greenhouse.

China suffers from notoriously bad air pollution. Its carbon-intensive industries have caused additional environmental challenges, including water scarcity and soil contamination. And, like the rest of the world, China will face increasingly harsh consequences of climate change in the coming decades, including flooding and droughts.

China’s staggering pace of urbanization has also contributed. Urbanization increases energy demands to power new manufacturing and industrial centers, and construction of these centers rely on high energy-consuming products such as cement and steel. Another contributor is the increase in cars on the road: In 2018, people in China owned 240 million vehicles, up from about 27 million in 2004.

Internationally, China is the largest financier of fossil fuel infrastructure.