Program to address changing climates

A climatologist and Texas ranch owner says planning for the weather and environmental changes is the first step toward conserving the environment for the future.Evelyn Browning-Garriss, climatologist and editor of Browning Newsletter, and Comer Tuck, of the Texas Water Development Board, will join students and alumni of the ranch management program Saturday at the biannual Roundup.

Browning-Garriss said she plans to discuss the climate in Texas and the Great Plains.

Prospective ranchers will learn what to expect in years to come based on regional weather patterns, Browning-Garriss said.

Tuck will discuss drought plans while presenting an in-depth analysis of the state water plan released this month.

Ranch management students learn natural resources aren’t always reliable and require careful strategic planning to remain readily available, said Kerry Cornelius, director of the ranch management program.

“Going back to the 1950s,” Browning-Garriss said, “government officials built reservoirs to accommodate the growing population and relieve the nation from drought.”

This type of process, reinventing agricultural management, comes from discovering new and innovative ways to adjust operations in exchange for long-term benefits, Browning-Garriss said.

“The point is that we’re looking at renewable resources and if it’s economically and ecologically sound then it’s probably sustainable,” Cornelius said. “If you take out the words ecologically sound, then it’s not going to be sustainable. There has to be both; there has to be that synergy.”

Climatologists told CNN yesterday that global warming is here and said human impact is to blame for climate changes and “unseasonal” weather. They say the future looks bleak.

“Current scientific evidence is that global warming is man-made,” said Ranjan Muttiah, assistant professor of environmental science. “Global temperatures are going up.”

Although both scientists and ranch managers work directly with the land, those in the ranch management program consistently expressed disbelief in the global warming theory.

“I hold conclusions about the fact that climatic changes are cyclical,” said Eric Brast, assistant director of the Institute of Ranch Management. “The things that we may experience during a specific period of time may seem out of the norm or ordinary for us, but unless we have a historical basis of which to compare it, it’s hard for us to conclusively decide that.”

There’s a possibility global warming has been around longer than us, Cornelius said.

“All I can say is that things run in cycles and for reasons and that’s part of what Browning-Garriss and Tuck will talk about at Roundup,” Cornelius said.