Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cost of the Texas Drought

Texas temperature and precipitation for summer, including 2011How much has the drought cost Texas?

OK, of course no one really knows how much of the drought in Texas is due to climate change. John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas state climatologist, has thought an awful lot about it  lot about it, and he has his suspicions.

That said, the annual harvest numbers (via Early Warning) for several major crops in Texas have been released. The major drought there has had a big impact -- cotton and corn production are both down 55%, and likewise for some others.

What does this amount to in dollars? About $4 billion, I think (with the proviso that I don't know much about these kind of calculations).

I put a spreadsheet here with links to my sources. That seems in the ballpark -- this article puts numbers in this range for filings of crop insurance indemnities for Texas and other nearby states.  This says $5.2 billion, and that didn't even include the entire harvest. And surely ranchers and others have lost a lot too. Plus the fires: about 4 million acres, almost 3,000 homes, and almost 3,000 other structures.

It seems that the cost of droughts could easily be greater than the annual cost of all hurricanes. I wonder how they all add-up and average-out over the long-term.

1 comment:

Dano said...

What is important in my view is that farmers are always on the edge. Pushing some over the cliff weakens agricultural resilience in an age when we need more and more output, ag strength and resilience. Not to mention Mexican farmers have worse drought and fewer safety nets and must migrate soon if this continues. Foreigners migrating north to cooler climes when natives are doing it sounds like a recipe for anger...