Weather dictates what kind of food we eat, what we wear, how we stay comfortable and protect ourselves.
Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 — Weather has a tremendous affect on people’s daily lives. My Face Book Valerie summed up today in a few words, ”Soooo it's winter again? Cool.” We were cloudy, colder and breezy to start out the day today because we had a weak cold front push in this morning. The chill will remain through tomorrow morning. I usually look outside my house and see quite a few cyclists and joggers, not as many today. People who are outside are wearing warmer (and more) clothing than they normally do, and are making no attempt to hang out outside or soak up some sun, but instead hurry around to try to rush back inside as fast as possible.
Climate influences the growth of crops, thus affecting the availability and kind of food we eat. Fluctuations in weather, droughts, wet spells, extreme heat or cold, also affect crops. Weather affects what clothes we wear, and soon. I can't think of anything we do that weather doesn't have a strong effect on. Weather affects us in a huge number of ways. I am just going to touch on a few in today’s “Weather Talk”.
When we are in our winter season there is an impact on public health and high numbers of vulnerable people die from the cold. Viruses thrive in the colder temperatures and you see how many people have been infected by colds and the flu this year. A small percentage of people have even died from the flu and pneumonia. A heat wave during the summer can boost sales for companies selling drinks and ice-cream whilst a mild winter can have a disastrous impact on the ski industry. Concerns about the weather can also impact on lifestyle, careers and even where people live as many people move off to the sunnier, warmer climates.
Here in far west Texas and southern New Mexico, as we know it doesn’t rain very often, so most farmers have to irrigate their fields with water from elsewhere in order to grow food. This creates competition for limited water resources between farming and other interests, such as drinking water, recreation, swimming pools and landscaping. Water, or the lack there of has become a big challenge in Colorado, New Mexico and especially Texas.
Climate and weather strongly control what fruits and vegetables can grow. For instance, next time you visit the supermarket, look at the labels on the fruits and vegetables to see where they are from. Many of them will likely be from Mexico or California because they can grow a huge variety of food for two main reasons. First, there are many different climates in California and Mexico, and second many of the climates are favorable for the growth of many of the foods we like to eat. However, you may find some foods that are not grown in California or Mexico for also one of two reasons. First off, that fruit or vegetable cannot grow well enough in either place to be farmed. Secondly, that fruit or vegetable only grows during certain seasons here and so must be imported from other countries when it is not growing in California or Mexico. Mexico can pretty much grow all year long, especially in southern half of the country.
As long as were on the topic of weather, we might as well discuss climate too. It is commonly said, climate is what you expect (or predict), and weather is what you get. This is another way of saying that weather represents the conditions at a specific location on a specific day, while climate is the average conditions over many years. Both have a great impact on how we live, but climate tends to affect lifestyle, social structure, and culture, whereas weather affects daily choices such as those described above. Weather and climate to a large degree determine how we stay warm (or cool) enough to survive, how we stay comfortable, what modes of transportation we use, what type of clothing we wear, what foods we can grow and eat in an area, and what resources (such as water and trees) are plentiful or rare.
Another important aspect of weather that has a huge effect on our lives is extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, floods, heat waves, or cold snaps and winter storms. Tens of thousands die almost every year in hurricanes/typhoons and powerful tornadoes. Ten of thousands of people s died in Europe during an extreme heat wave back in 2003. Some of these extreme events may be consequences of climate change caused by humans and the burning of fossil fuels, while others are just periodic events that happen very infrequently. In many cases, these extreme events are more catastrophic now due to higher human populations. For instance, droughts that cause crops to fail and water sources to dry up are probably harder on areas with many people to feed and water than on areas with fewer people.
There is really no end to the ways that weather and climate affect our lives. I encourage you to look at the things you on a daily basis and think about how they are affected by the weather and climate. Also think about how you live might change when the weather changes here or if different extreme weather events were to occur in the Borderland. Finally, think about how weather changes that occur elsewhere might affect the way you live. Give me some ideas on “How Weather & Climate effect you?” and I shall include you in a future “Weather Talk.”