Canada’s Prairie Provinces: Drought; And A Spring Without Green
(2-Month Standardized Precipitation Index Map Of Canada: yellow/red/brown colors indicate progression of relatively decreased precipitation from normal, over the period. Canada Drought Watch.)
While long and severe drought in the US State of Georgia is officially “over”, and water restrictions going “off” across the US Southeast, the Canadian prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as pictured) are suffering an historic drought that may have serious impacts on farmers and food production. The Globe & Mail reports that “In portions of the hardest-hit region, which stretches in a triangle pattern from Saskatoon to Edmonton and Calgary, 2009 marks the driest spring Agriculture Canada has seen in the 70 years records have been kept in the area.” They quote a farmer who said he’s never before seen a spring with out the grass turning green. Can you imagine?
Jerry Murphy has lived on 640 acres of rolling grassland just west of the Red Deer River for half a century, but he’s never seen a spring like this one.
“The hills look like sawdust, really, that colour,” he said from his ranch, a short drive from Elnora, Alta. “I’ve never seen it where the grass didn’t turn green in the spring before.”
Fair to say this is emblematic of climate change: more severe extremes, with wide regional variation.