‘Death ridge’ causes drought, raises food prices
- Aug. 22, 2012
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Drought conditions mean warmer temperatures, drier weather, and higher food and alcohol prices for students.
Due to heat and lack of moisture this summer, any food product derived from grain will see a rise in prices, said Kevin Nelson, an atmospheric science graduate student from Prior Lake, Minn. This includes beef, bread and alcohol.
“Higher grain prices might mean a drought for drink specials,” Nelson said. “Drier weather makes for a drier Lawrence.”
Although drought conditions have hurt grain production this year, Nelson did not expect to see the effect on food prices until next year. Drought conditions are also responsible for the algae bloom in the Lawrence water supply, Nelson said.
The unusual drought conditions are the result of a weather pattern known as the death ridge, said Prescott Bishop, an atmospheric science graduate student from San Antonio, Texas. “It stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast,” Bishop said. “It’s even larger than last summer’s.”
Bishop said the death ridge is a warm, high pressure weather system that has covered the Great Plains since April.
“High pressure makes the weather warmer and drier, which makes the high pressure stronger, causing even more warmth and dryness,” said Garrett Black, an atmospheric science senior from Hutchinson.
So far, no other weather pattern has broken the death ridge, which is unusual, Black said. Black did have hope that weather systems moving into the region this week could begin to curb the drought conditions.
“This weekend we have a chance for rain, which could be a good start to a series of low pressure systems to break the death ridge,” Black said.
— Edited by Brian Sisk
Marshall Schmidt is a graduate student majoring in biomedical engineering from Mount Hope. Read more from Marshall Schmidt.