Monday, January 28, 2019

True Confessions from Singleton Philly

This ground hog has been living in lies on our national day. It is true! Seeing a shadow on Ground Hog Day is a murky predictor at its best. The truth is that global warming has robbed me of my predictive prowess. The confession is that global warming is no secret. Never was.

The science of greenhouse gases dates back to 1824 and Joseph Fourier.  In 1859 John Tyndall figured out that coal gas was a mix of methane and other vapours and that it strongly absorbed infrared radiation similar to CO2. In 1896, Swedish scientist, Svante Arrhenius actually calculated that doubling atmospheric CO2 would raise global temperatures by 5 or 6 degrees Celsius. Svante also determined that halving CO2 would result in another ice age.  Neither are good options. There were many brilliant scientists and together they laid the foundation for our understanding of how the world and atmosphere really  work.

But what has man been doing since the Industrial Revolution (1760 to 1840)? Burning fossil fuels at ever increasing rates in an insatiable appetite for power. The impact of the greenhouse gases released on temperature had already been determined by Svante. The impacts on the globe would be witnessed as the earth became a huge science experiment.
For any meteorological rodent it was clear that the poles would warm much faster than the equator. This would turn the jet stream into a meandering trickle.
The El Nino aided warm ridge over the Rockies in turn forces a cold cut-off, ox bow over the east.  The media know this cyclonic rotating pocket of cold air as the dreaded Polar Vortex. Get used to it.

This high amplitude ridge-trough pattern has been with us more or less for several years over North America. The pattern will be there until the entire earth is hot and the ice has melted into just a memory. Sea level rises will be the big story then. The impacts of melting the polar permafrost and the resultant release of Tyndall’s methane is even scarier.

My career as a professional furcaster for 35 years has revealed these truths to me. Understanding the atmosphere and learning science was my job. The Ground Hog gig was just a media fest for me. My forecast has always been for six more weeks of winter under the Polar Vortex. I just pretended to see my shadow and race back into my Singleton burrow. The fact of the atmosphere is that Singleton will remain under the Polar Vortex and that is a good thing. We will have clouds to paint and water to drink.

Conditions will be much more turbulent under the toasty, dry west coast ridge. Forests and everything else will be strained to the brink by the ongoing droughts and lets not think of any cataclysmic earthquake that is long overdue.

The energy I use is delivered by the sun directly to my burrow most days. Storing the sun’s energy for those cloudy days is problematic. But I limit how much energy I need. My dark dirt passive solar burrow does store some of that needed energy. I am afraid to light my locally produced methane gas and rely more on geothermal heating and cooling. Staying cool is more of a trepidation for me anyway which explains my high albedo fur. 

I wish that the remaining fossil fuels would stay locked up. I wish that our energy would come directly from the sun and not through an intermediate source like the ancient fossils or even the wind. 

I wish that governments could work together using the well-established scientific knowledge to pull the world and all of its inhabitants back from the brink. I wish there was some good news. 

I am not a political rodent but realize that no one is powerful enough to mess with the laws of science. 

Singleton Philly

Friends have pointed out some informative articles on greening the economy. Here they are.
Tennessee Valley Authority.. and another that I really believe in..  Leap Manifesto
Apparently change needs to come from the citizens first.

"The Stone Age didn't end for lack of stone, and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil." The quote is usually attributed to Saudi oil minister Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani in the 2005 New York Times article "The Breaking Point." The Age of Big Oil and burning fossils need to end fast.