Israeli Farmers Get Useful Data on Microclimates – for Now

microclimates israel

For farmers in one region in Israel, microclimates can be a headache. Little hills and valleys at differing heights and aspects influence how quickly crops grow and when infestations of pests,weeds and disease are likely to occur.

In some places in the world, a small region can experience many different varied microclimates within a small footprint.

Israel’s Mediterranean coast, north of Haifa, is one such region. Mountains by the sea play a big role. Farmers on this small 40 square mile area on Israel’s coast have to contend with s terrain that goes from 200 meters below sea level to 1,200 meters above it. The result is that the height of crops in one field can be different when planted even just 40 centimeters higher.

Until now, farmers have discovered their microclimates the hard way, after crop failures in just some fields – but not others – seemed to have an elusive cause.

But now, thanks to a means to analyze satellite technology developed by two Israeli scientists, farmers can find the micro-climates on their land and plan accordingly – rather than be bewildered by the apparent inconsistencies.

“The farmer may think he has a problem with irrigation or with pests” says Bar-Ilan University’s Itamar Lensky, one of the two scientists to develop the new system.“But in fact it may just be the different climate.”

Variable microclimates in Israel

israel climate map

The research by Lensky and his colleague, Uri Dayan of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is due to appear in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society shortly.

The two scientists developed the system for identifying microclimates utilizing data collected by satellites. NASA has been collecting detailed climate data for decades, helping farmers globally.

Too bad for farmers in Israel, and around the world, NASA’s climate satellite providing the data has just been defunded.

Tea Party America, in a fit of pique against the inconvenient truths brought to its attention by climate science, is cutting funds for NASA’s satellites. The Republican party intends to blind the messenger, rather than heed the message.With veto power over the Senate and a majority in the House, the only legislation that passes now in the US is the legislation the Republicans want. Presidents in the US have little power. But that’s another story.

Related climate and crop stories:

Why Israeli Rodents Are More Cautious Than Jordanian Ones
Agritech 2009 Expo In Tel Aviv Aims To Help Feed the World

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