Browning-Garriss: Dry conditions likely to continue

Evelyn Browning-Garriss talks about the continuing drought.
  • about Browning-Garriss

  • Historical climatologist, business consultant and international speaker

    Author and publisher of The Browning Newsletter, a monthly publication focused on long-term climate forecasts

    Earned a bachelor's degree in history and anthropology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and ...

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  • about Browning-Garriss

    Historical climatologist, business consultant and international speaker

    Author and publisher of The Browning Newsletter, a monthly publication focused on long-term climate forecasts

    Earned a bachelor's degree in history and anthropology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a master's degree from the University of New Mexico

  • For more information about Evelyn Browning-Garriss, or The Browning Newsletter, visit browningnewsletter.com.

    For video, go to VicAd.com and click on story.

  • Organizers deem show success

    The 2011 South Texas Farm and Ranch Show wrapped up Thursday and organizers said they were pleased with the turnout.

    Thursday brought about 300 people to the luncheon presentation, while about 350 children attended the ...

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  • Organizers deem show success

    The 2011 South Texas Farm and Ranch Show wrapped up Thursday and organizers said they were pleased with the turnout.

    Thursday brought about 300 people to the luncheon presentation, while about 350 children attended the Pasture to Plate event, said Victor Eder, the show's treasurer.

    "It's a good crowd," he said, noting other people attended training sessions and visited displays. "We've got a bit of everything."

    Eder estimated about 2,000 people attended the event during its two days.

    Show committee member Rena Scherer called it a friendly show and said the event was a good chance for exhibitors to showcase their products and get their names out there.

    But it isn't just new and existing customers the vendors focus on, said Vikki Fitzpatrick, another committee member. Many visit with one another.

    "You see them out there visiting, even if they're competition," she said.

A dry 2011 meant trying times for many Texas producers, but next year won't be much better, an expert said.

Texas is in for extended drought conditions, said Evelyn Browning-Garriss, a historical climatologist who writes and publishes The Browning Newsletter, a monthly publication centered on long-term climate forecasts.

Browning-Garriss presented "Texas Drought and Changing Climate" Thursday at the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show luncheon.

This year, La Nina weather conditions meant dry times throughout the southern United States, she said. At the same time, volcanic dust in the polar atmosphere meant arctic air moved south and North America still sat in the grips of a long-term trend of a cooler Pacific Ocean.

"And so it's like a cold La Nina being magnified by a cooler Pacific," she said after her presentation. "That's why this drought was so extraordinary."

The same factors will join for the coming year, she said, meaning producers are up against the same hurdles.

The news isn't necessarily good, she said, but it gives people an idea about what to expect.

"Here's your chance," she said to a crowd of about 300 farmers and ranchers. "Think of what you should have done last winter, last spring. Go ahead and do it."

She advised people to look at long-term weather patterns.

A 50-year cycle that provided abundant moisture and good conditions for North America ended in 2006, she explained. Many people believed those conditions to be typical, she said, but they were just part of a cycle.

Now, we are likely to see a 30-year pattern of warmer, dryer weather interrupted every five to six years by abundant rain. That's what happened in the 1950s and 1960s, and back then, Texas made it through.

Browning-Garriss ended her presentation with a Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times."

The Chinese might regard it as a curse, she said, but Texans view it more as a mild compliment. And, although the state has tough times ahead, it comes from a culture that knows how to adapt.

"Hey, it beats being bored," Browning-Garriss said. "So, you'll be facing some interesting times. Good luck."

Jason Elder, a Victoria resident with a family ranch, was in the audience Thursday. He said it was interesting and, even if some parts were concerning, opportunities were available for farmers and ranchers.

"People just need to take advantage of them," he said.

As for Jeff Nunley, a member of the farm and ranch show committee, he said news that the region faced more months of drought made him glad the luncheon took place where it did.

"I guess it's a good reason we have this presentation on the ground floor so we don't all go out and jump out a window," he said with a laugh to the crowd.