Like thousands of farmers around the world, we too have encountered difficulties in growing our crop at the Folkestone Cantiaci allotment this year. For us, it has been first the snow in the end of March and then the drought in June and July that have compromised our harvest.
Luckily we don't depend on the allotment for putting food on our tables, but in the near future this, unfortunately, could change as crops around the world could fail and staple food prices rise.
The news about the changes that Earth has allegedly been going through overwhelm me sometimes, making me wonder what is really happening and what I can do to prepare for what's in store for us. Hence the idea of writing a blog post on it. However, this topic is vast, so I’ll discuss it in two posts. In this one, I’ll look into the risk caused by heat, droughts and flooding; volcanic activity; earthquakes; and the weakening of the magnetic field. In my next blog post, I’ll discuss the phenomena of receding sea waters; sinkholes and fissures; the disappearance of insects; strange sky phenomena; the mysterious “booms” heard around the world; and last but not least, the grand solar minimum.
1) Heat, droughts and flooding
According to a study on the risks of crop disasters due to heat, droughts and flooding, “there is a 6% chance every decade that a simultaneous failure in maize production could occur in China and the US – the world’s main growers – which would result in widespread misery, particularly in Africa and south Asia, where maize is consumed directly as food”, and “The impact would be felt at a global scale.” (To learn more, please read the article “Maize, rice, wheat: alarm at rising climate risk to vital crops“ published by Robin McKie, The Guardian Observer Science Editor, first published on Sat 15 Jul 2017.)
2) Volcanic activity
Despite the spectacular eruptions in Guatemala and Hawaii, according to many sources, like the Smithsonian Institute’s website, the current level of volcanic activity is normal and therefore the amount of ashes spewed out by volcanoes so far isn't enough to block out the sun beams more than usual.
According to a paper presented by Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in October 2017, there is a link between Earth’s rotation and seismic activity. As Earth’s rotation has been slowing down in the past few years, to Bilham, “Next year  we should see a significant increase in numbers of severe earthquakes. We have had it easy this year. So far, we have only had about six severe earthquakes. We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018.”
Will this be the year in which “The Big One” hits the West Coast of the USA?
4) Weakening of the magnetic field and poles’ shift
The Earth’s magnetic field protects the planet from solar and cosmic rays. When the poles switch, this protective shield could diminish to as little as one-tenth of its typical ability.
For the last 160 years, the strength of Earth’s magnetic field has been decreasing at a worrying rate, especially in a huge expanse of the Southern Hemisphere, extending from Zimbabwe to Chile, known as the South Atlantic Anomaly. The field no longer protects the satellites that orbit above the region from the radiation that interferes with satellite electronics.
As the field grows weaker, the possibility of a reversal of the magnetic poles, already overdue, rises. Although nobody can tell when the flip will take place and how long the reversal process will last, there is a widespread consensus that not only our navigation systems and the transmission of electricity will be affected, but also the animals that migrate, like birds and dolphins for example. In addition, the risk of cancer will grow.
On the bright side, the northern lights might be enjoyed at lower latitudes.