April 12, 2016
At this point, as we all understand what is the difference between “time” and climate. And we know that while the exact time they will do tomorrow or in a week, it is almost impossible to predict, we can know enough – and robust – precisely what trend will continue, what will be the weather. The problem is with phenomena such as monsoons, which are weather patterns – trends – but also weather.
And they have a vital importance for agriculture. Monsoons are weather patterns that have to do with the direction of the winds. But for what we want, we understand monsoons as the time of summer rains that occur in Southeast Asia.
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This rainy season affects crops. Most notably, not only in quantity. In the case of tea in China, the stronger monsoons – the harder the rainy season, and more water falls – worse quality has tea and lower the harvest.
The problem comes when trying to predict the onset of the monsoon, to reap the harvest earlier. As we mentioned before, predicting the weather – and in this case, the onset of the monsoon is a matter of weather – it is very difficult. And therefore, the harvest synchronize with the start of the rainy season is almost impossible.
You can perform other actions. For example, changing the varieties grown, and choose those most resistant to rain. Here the problem is that precisely these varieties are not usually choose for their lower quality.
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There is still something else to try. One of the reasons why a very rainy monsoon is bad for the tea plant is soil washing. Nutrients, fertilizers and trace elements that are in the soil are lost by the rains, when they are abundant.
They can be used for agricultural techniques waterlogged soil remains the longer, and thus washing is avoided. But also it affects the plant, and the quality of the harvest.
Not all bad news. The same scientists have shown that changes in monsoons affect crops of tea give an alternative. And it is precisely treat changes in these long-term processes as they are, as trends.
If you think about the monsoons as a climatic trend, it can more accurately predict when it will begin. This way you can adapt the crop calendar to the new reality, and maintain good crops of tea, one of the main sources of income in some rural areas of China.
Credit above: Tufts University Tea & Climate Change Collaborative