Asia’s energy prices aren’t the only commodity to have reached record highs this winter, the chill of solar minimum has also driven China’s fresh vegetable prices to unprecedented levels.
A lingering “dip” in the jet stream has seen Arctic air funnel into southern Asian since early-December, 2020. The resulting cold has hampered the efforts of farmers ACROSS the continent, including in China, where on Monday the nation’s wholesale price index for agricultural products –developed by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs– surged to a new all-time high of 139.
In addition, the sub-index dedicated solely to vegetables climbed even higher, to 145, also a new record. Among the 28 types of vegetables monitored by the index, the average price surged to 6.2 yuan (96 US cents) per kg on Monday, the highest since the data became available 10 years ago. The price of cauliflowers and cabbages almost doubled compared to a year earlier.
“In the beginning of 2021, we had three cold waves. This type of cold and frosty weather has a big impact on the production and growth of vegetables, their maturity periods and yields,” said a spokesman for Baishazhou Agricultural and Non-staple Products Marketplace, a major wholesale market in Hubei province.
“Some vegetables have frozen to death,” the spokesman continued, “even the vegetables growing in greenhouses may freeze badly, such as red cabbages and lettuces. The quality of a number of water spinach has dropped with declining supply.
“Even if the weather improves and temperature rebounds later, recovery of vegetable production needs more time, meaning vegetable prices will remain at a high level for a while,” the spokesman concluded.
The cold times are returning, the mid-latitudes are refreezing in line with the great conjunction, historically low solar activity, cloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow (among other forcings).
Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
Furthermore, we can’t ignore the slew of new scientific papers stating the immense impact The Beaufort Gyre could have on the Gulf Stream, and therefore the climate overall.