This is the time of the year when my family normally begs me not to serve any more tomatoes. Not this year. My CSA box has delivered only two pounds of small Early Girls a full six weeks into what we know as Tomato Season. By contrast, I had already processed 50 pounds for winter use by mid-September last year and had more than enough tomatoes to eat fresh.
Not all is weird in tomato land though. A chef from Connecticut called me yesterday to find out if he needed any special permission to buy 1,800 pounds of surplus ripe tomatoes from the farmer who regularly sells him 100 pounds per week. (The answer was no, but I was insanely jealous.) Abundant tomatoes in Connecticut but not in California? What's happening?
Major media reports on the Pakistan floods, fires and heat wave in Russia, and unusually hot weather on the East Coast have generally treated these occurrences as unrelated weather conditions. Perhaps they are. No modeling exists that could confirm or deny global climate change or other connected forces as being responsible for them.
At the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, on September 8, Jane Lubchenco, the eminent marine scientist who is serving as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), confirmed that we cannot tie these events to climate change. But Lubchenco, whose agency is responsible for daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring, was clear that these types of disasters are what scientists have been arguing for years "could become normal patterns rather than once-in-a-lifetime" occurrences as carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere rise. Andy Revkin's piece about "weird weather" in The New York Times made the same point.