But has it not occurred to these geniuses that maybe, just maybe, these farmers actually understand their climate and its history much better than they do? Or that climatic patterns change all the time?
Let’s check out what NOAA have to say about the climate of the Corn Belt (and bear in mind that these graphs are based on their already heavily doctored data).
First, annual temperatures.
As we can see, temperatures have risen since the 1970s, but only back to the level of the 1940s.
When we look at summer temperatures, we find that they were much higher back in the 1930s.
Meanwhile, rainfall has been increasing in recent decades, and the long and severe droughts, regularly seen in the past, have become much less common. If this is due to climate change, I am sure farmers will be more than happy about it.
Snotty little academics like Arbuckle and Prokopy actually do themselves a great disservice by ignoring the accumulated knowledge and experience of the farmers who actually till this land.
Many will be aware, and certainly those whose families have farmed there for generations, that climate on the Great Plains runs in cycles, of which the period since 1910 only offers a small window.
The belief that “the rain follows the plough” actually stems from an unusually wet period on the plains in the 1880s, which was then followed by drought in the 1890s, and then another wetter period in the early 20thC. (There is a full analysis of this period here.)
It may, just may, be that global warming has improved rainfall levels in the Mid West. However, to assume that is just as dangerous, and naive, as believing that rain follows the plough.
In any event, whatever impact man is having, it is evident to anybody with a passing knowledge of the climatic history of the Corn Belt that it is small compared to the great natural changes that always take place.