The State of Salt: Fall 2022

Learn what ice management chemicals are available and what remains in short supply for winter professionals heading into this season.

© Tricky Shark | adobe stock
The world of commodities, which includes virtually everything used in professional snow and ice management, has been turned upside down with global logistical challenges, fuel costs, regulatory restrictions, and a decreasing number of truck drivers in the US, just to name a few. Ocean shipping by container and break-bulk costs have skyrocketed and closed many markets out of supply. Low water and COVID in China have most of China’s production of deicing chemicals shut down due to a lack of power. The Yangtze River’s water levels have snarled up electric generation at key hydroelectric facilities sparking energy chaos across much of the country. Hydroelectric accounts for nearly 20% of China’s power. Coal accounts for the lion’s share of electric production in China. Coal increased mining production by 11% this year for generating electricity. With air pollution problems from coal, it is not fixing their industrial woes. Rather, it’s making them worse. I see this as a house of cards.

In 2022, we’ve seen severe drought across much of North America. My own experience is that nature will put back whatever it missed; that’s how averages are established. The summer of 2014 was similar to the summer of 2022, albeit not nearly as severe as 2022. Many will remember what happened in the winter of 2014/2015 when it got a late start but once it established a pattern, it snowed like there was no tomorrow.

Now this is my view and my view only, but we are going to see a lot of precipitation this winter. Whether it falls as rain, snow, sleet, or ice I can’t say. With a clearly warming climate, it is reasonable to expect regions typically hit with snow will see more ice storm. Accordingly, areas normally hit with ice storms may see rain. In my experience, a blindfold and dartboard with potential weather scenarios is as accurate as any long-range forecasts.

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