La Nina gives colder winter; depends on North or South

Duane Dailey

Ah, weather story time. Then, I’ll write a life-or-death story. (This affects you and me.)

First, think winter. A few days ago as I left for work the air filled with snowflakes. The winter warning lasted about a minute.

Ag newsletters bat around stories about a warm — or is it cold — winter ahead.

The weather service made their official release, Thursday. La Nina is real.

That means El Nino with warm weather faded. Years ago, we never knew the impact of water temperature across the Pacific at the equator. Lately, it’s run warm. Now cool water increases.

As a result cold air over the Pacific flows north to the Arctic Circle. Then above Alaska the jet stream turns south. The high speed wind brings Arctic blasts to the heart of the Midwest.

When La Nina air gets here the jet stream turns again at where the Missouri River crosses Mid-Missouri. Arctic air then heads northeast.

If it works like the past, North Missouri becomes cold and South Missouri becomes warm.

Here in Boone County in the past that weather line wobbled about over my house. A sharp line separates north from south in winter.

At MU we won’t know day to day. But, on the Iowa-Missouri state line it’ll be frigid. The good news: So far this La Nina is weak.

As with all forecasts let’s wait and see.

This fall, we’ve had yoyo forecasts, warm for a week, and then cool. The blessing of the fall weather was that we missed chances for big dumps of hurricane rains. These were record hurricanes, but we missed out mostly. The Bootheel got some rains as early storms turned northeast about there.

The one thing that Pat Guinan, MU Extension climatologist, reports at the crop conferences: There have been about 10 years of record setting warm temperatures, month by month.

Now that I’m resituated into a cubicle in the Animal Science Research Center I am closer to interesting seminars. The best one this week, I could relate to, was by George Seidel, visiting professor emeritus in genetics from Colorado State University.

He talked about why some DNA ages but those germ cells don’t. The reproductive cells replicate themselves with hardly a touch of aging.

Other cells, decline with age. He, being age 84, compared cells of an 80-year-old with a 40-year-old man. He confirmed what I suspected, my cells are aging out.

In an early slide he showed the diseases, heart, and cancer, which get lots of research dollars. But few research dollars go to the one that is 100 percent fatal. When aging catches up with us, we all die. That puts a new perspective on research.

He found few studies on why our DNA runs down after so many replications. Some studies show that cells naturally auto-correct fatal errors.

But, for now, the fatal cells are winning.

Apparently, we don’t want to pursue stopping aging decline. The world would get quite a bit more crowded, if we solved that on. And, that might hasten the demise of the earth’s resources. We’re doing a pretty good job of that at the present population growth. Seidel didn’t get into that discussion.

For the animal geneticists, it could be worthwhile to solve the animal death loss at the embryo level. Now almost every cow becomes pregnant on first breeding. There’s huge loss even before the cow knows she’s pregnant.

Some of that is good. Bad connections of sperm and egg are aborted. But, most losses are not understood.

An interesting factoid, Seidel tossed out about declines of species. Nature takes care of many. How many of the species on earth, from the beginning of time, are now extinct? It’s 99.9 percent. It’s not just the dinosaurs.

Two students gave seminars on their work at MU Thompson Farm. They promise to translate into farm talks.

Your forecast to or 511 W. Worley, Columbia, Mo., 65203.