Six Degrees


Ponder this – The average temperature of earth during the last ice age was only 6 degrees cooler than it is now. The industrial revolution of the 19th century heralded the age of burning fossil fuels. Since our industrial blast furnace began belching noxious fumes – average temperatures have increased by 1 degree. A single degree; responsible for glaciers calving at unprecedented rates, and massive 100 year storms becoming all too frequent.

http://chge.med.harvard.edu/topic/climate-change-and-biodiversity-loss

A study by the International Social Survey Program was recently published by the Science World Report. Covering 33 countries over a 17 year period from 1993 – 2010; it concluded global warming is becoming less and less of a hot topic. Only 4.7% rated the environment as a pressing concern, with most people calling it a national rather than personal problem.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/02/26/kelly-mcparland-study-uncovers-massive-global-yawn-over-global-warming/

A story in the news today reported on rising food prices due to recent drought in North American farming regions. Within a few years dry land farming will surely become one for the history books. America’s corn belt was devastated last year, with the lowest rainfall in decades. Call me crazy but this should be seen as something far more than somebody else’s problem.

Big oil seems to have figured it out; at least a few big old Texas oilmen. T. Boone Pickens purchased 68,000 acres in Roberts County, Texas; along with the rights to drain 50% of the water. He sits atop the Ogallala Aquifer – the largest aquifer in America. In 2008 the Bush family purchased 100,000 acres in Paraguay – strategically placed over Guarani Aquifer; considered to be the largest in the world.

http://www.newsfocus.org/water_grab.htm

We need to start thinking about climate change from a different point of view. The debate over its cause will continue to rage, our hand in hastening natural cycles is no longer the point. The world is changing; our weather will become increasingly violent, and the ice will melt faster than it can be replaced. If we can move on to acceptance there’s a fighting chance to wrap our heads around the problem.

Six little degrees is all that stands between us and the last ice age. It doesn’t take much to turn our comfortable existence upside down.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/cause-ice-age.html

Call Me Crazy


Call me crazy, I won’t care. A week or so from now I’ll find myself in Battleford, Saskatchewan, and I couldn’t be happier. I grew up in the country; my rural childhood had seasons, wildlife, and something I perceived as isolation. Aside from the occasional rocking thunderstorm, and the time lightning struck and demolished the tree next to our house – it lacked extremes.

Canada is a very large country, a place with vastly different weather patterns. My farm childhood pales in comparison to that of the prairies. I grew up with lakes and mountains. I lived in a valley, surrounded by fruit trees and sagebrush. Sure it snowed, but never enough to halt our daily march to the school bus, or heaven forbid – issue a “snow day” at school.

In my early twenties I spent a winter working at a hotel in Grande Prairie, Alberta. This is the place responsible for my fascination with weather extremes.  I barely had time to wrap my head around the sun peering just above the edge of the horizon for a few hours each day, when terms like ice fog and snow rollers entered my vocabulary. Ice fog was my first lesson in the wonder of very, very cold weather.  I  knew about block heaters for car engines, you plugged your car in at night to keep the engine fluids from freezing. I didn’t know that despite this, at -40 or -45 degrees Celsius a coin still had to be flipped each morning to see who had to go out and get the thing started. I had no idea my car tires would become flat where they sat on the ground, and that everyone thunked along the road until their tires warmed up. I had no frame of reference to ponder temperatures so cold , water vapour in fog would form ice crystals that hung in the air. Barely able to catch my breath; snow rollers assaulted the house. Far from scientific my explanation of this phenomenon is summed up as high wind blowing across the prairie picking up snow, this snow forms balls, pushed by the wind and growing as they roll along,  they smash into the side of your house with a rather astounding thwack.

Officially hooked on weather, I sought it out rather than waiting for it to come along. While extremely cold weather seemed to offer the most excitement, I wasn’t picky. Any weather rush would do.

Hail storms fueled my hunger. Driving through “tornado alley” in the states gave me goose bumps. One night as we drove across South Dakota a tornado was visible between the lightning flashes. I see my first flash flood as if it were yesterday. We were at the Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border when massive thunder clouds started to build on the horizon, within minutes the wind was blowing sand  with such force it stung. All around me people scrambled for cover as hail and rain fell with force beyond imagination. I didn’t move, I couldn’t take my eyes off a red rock cliff; transformed into a muddy waterfall. Out of nowhere an old Navajo man appeared, he talked to me, explaining why mother earth had sent this storm. Never before or since have I felt as “spiritual” as I did that moment.

Last summer in Cuba, tropical storm Emily passed over Havana. Sitting at the edge of our hotel’s roof top pool, I felt the storm before I saw it. Oblivious to the pounding rain, wind, or frantic appeals by hotel staff to clear the roof; I smiled as funnel clouds formed, dropping down and retreating, teasing me with their elegance and power. The hotel staff literally pulled me from the roof as lightning lashed with a fury that surprised and rejuvenated me. Deposited in my room just in time to witness a lightning bolt strike the building next to us. Every hair on my body stood on end, the building rocked as deafening echoes bounced off the battered city. It was incredible, one of my best days.

So now I’m off to Battleford. A tiny blip, planted squarely in the centre of the Canadian prairie. A place where freezing rain, blizzards, and wind chills are a fact of life. I’m going to visit a place where weather changes in the blink of an eye, and best of all; a place where the endless sky, unobstructed by mountains or city lights will give me a front row seat to auroras. The northern lights show will hopefully be the icing on an extreme weather shot in the arm.

Snow Rollers –

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=snow+rollers&view=detail&id=D9A8786E6C9339F090D5DA14BBF3CA44637AEB1B&first=1

Stop Procrastinating – Consider 26 Weeks to Emergency Ready


While Hurricane Sandy is the story today, lets not forget the earthquake in B.C. on Saturday. The massive 7.7 was the third largest ever recorded in Canada. Scores of aftershocks, some as high as 6.4 continue to shake the Pacific coast.

Most people think of themselves as invincible. The not in my backyard attitude is simply not going to prepare anyone for the unexpected. We are given a few days warning to prepare for a major storm. I can guarantee that other than stocking up on water and canned food or batteries: most people wouldn’t have a clue where to begin. If a major earthquake hit a populated area, ponder getting by with no emergency plan or supplies.

Time to stop procrastinating. This is an easy way to find a starting place, a way to spread out the cost, and the perfect platform to involve your entire family.The link below gives you a task a week for 26 weeks.

http://www.pep.bc.ca/hazard_preparedness/26_Weeks_2007.pdf

 

Hurricane Felix by NASA

Watch Sandy From Space


Tired of watching news coverage of Hurricane Sandy, I decided to watch her from space. A massive 1200 Km. across; this view from space gives a birds eye view of her size.

http://www.weather.com/weather/videos/news-41/top-stories-169/sandy-from-space-31891

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The Northeast Corridor slowly struggled back to life on Wednesday after the knockout punch from Superstorm Sandy. This image shows the storm at 9:10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, October 31.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/29/us/gallery/sandy-sats/index.html

Hurricane Season


Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins when the temperature of the ocean reaches 26 degrees Celsius. At this point 180 tons of water evaporates every hour. Drawn high into the atmosphere – the rest is history.

Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones

A tropical cyclone, variably known as a hurricane, typhoon, or cyclone, is a huge rotating air mass, typically having very low pressure, high winds, and torrential rains. Tropical cyclones are the largest storm systems on Earth.

Air always moves from areas of high pressure towards areas of low pressure. The speed of the airflow increases as the pressure difference between the two air cells increases and their proximity decreases.

Hurricanes begin as low-pressure cells that break off from the equatorial low-pressure belt. They begin to spin due to the Coriolis effect and pick up large amounts of water vapor and heat energy as they pass over the warm tropical water. When wind velocity within the storms reaches 120 kilometers (77 miles) per hour, tropical storms are upgraded to hurricane status. In large hurricanes, wind speeds have reached 400 kilometers (250 miles) per hour.

Hurricanes form only in the late summer and fall, when water temperatures reach at least 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit). They travel with the trade winds flowing east to west. Most hurricanes last 5 to 10 days and remain in the tropical region. Some storms, however, pass into the middle latitudes where they can cause great destruction along the east and west coasts of the Americas.

Read more: Weather and the Ocean – river, oceans, temperature, largest, source, effect, marine, Pacific http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/Tw-Z/Weather-and-the-Ocean.html#b#ixzz1vOb69u5p