Wednesday Muse – Climate Change

My email yesterday brought me the weekly newsletter from Earth Observatory a part of NASA. The first article they referenced was their updated Global Warming Reference. It is a good overview of what we are probably in for in the coming years.

Earth Observatory Reference: Global Warming

by Holli Riebeek • design by Robert Simmon • May 11, 2007

Over the last five years, 600 scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sifted through thousands of studies about global warming published in forums ranging from scientific journals to industry publications and distilled the world’s accumulated knowledge into this conclusion: “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”

Far from being some future fear, global warming is happening now, and scientists have evidence that humans are to blame. For decades, cars and factories have spewed billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and these gases caused temperatures to rise between 0.6°C and 0.9°C (1.08°F to 1.62°F) over the past century. The rate of warming in the last 50 years was double the rate observed over the last 100 years. Temperatures are certain to go up further.

One of the facts they mention that I wasn’t aware of is that during the last ice age the average temperature was only 9 to 15 degrees cooler than right now. That’s kind of scary to my way of thinking.

Source: Earth Observatory Reference: Global Warming

Follow that up with this years hurricane prediction and life looks very interesting…

Experts: Expect a busy hurricane season

Oceans warmer than last year, and there’s no El Niño to ward off activity

Federal scientists weighed in on the upcoming hurricane season Tuesday, and their report echoes that of other forecasters: The 2007 hurricane season will produce a greater number of storms than usual.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s report calls for 13 to 17 named storms, up to 10 of which might become hurricanes. About 10 tropical storms and hurricanes form during an average year.

And if that doesn’t make you feel warm and cuddly here on the coast, and remembering the damage from just a few years ago on the Blue Ridge from the rains spawned by these monster storms, they offer these words of encouragement…

Sea-surface temperatures are even warmer this year than in 2006, and climate scientists say they could approach levels of the record-breaking 2005 season — the year of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Hurricane activity has been on the upswing since 1995 as Atlantic sea-surface temperatures have been rising. Scientists say this period of increased activity could last another 10 to 30 years as part of a natural, decades-long cycle.

I just love the editing that went into that last statement…”natural, decades-long cycle” indeed. True as far as it goes, since man is part of nature, anything we do to effect our environment is natural…Right? It seems to me this is about the same prediction I recall from the season before last. Didn’t it last into January? Didn’t we run out of assigned names and have to go to the Greek alphabet or some such convention?

Source: Experts: Expect a busy hurricane season | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season Track Map

It seems that even Verlyn Klinkenborg is thinking thoughts of global warming. The sight of wildfires burning in California started a chain of thoughts that almost have a spiritual feel to the imagery.

It began to seem to me that we are a species of fire-starters, and that all of our imprisoned fires are just so many versions of yet another cook-fire on the edge of night in a land where fuel has grown scarce from all the cook-fires of all the people.

I thought about this sudden vision for a couple of days. At first, it seemed almost overwhelming. I tried to picture all the combustions that are essential to the human ways of life in all their global diversity. I wondered what Earth would look like from our neighborhood in space if we could see all our incandescences, in all their forms, glowing at once. There would be only a faint corona of anthropogenic combustion, but it would be more than enough to have begun overwhelming the atmosphere, which is, after all, such a thin, faint halo around this planet.

The image of the cook-fire kept coming back to mind — the cook-fires I saw burning last June in a village in Tanzania, where every day the problem of fuel presented itself all over again. Sooner or later a wildfire burns itself out for lack of fuel. The question, I suppose, is whether our species will do the same.

It’s that final image that will live with me, the need for fire to cook with and the lack of fuel to start the fire. The unending hunt for new fuels and new methods of burning to sustain life here on Earth.

It seems to me that the Earth had been banking it’s carbon for eons then along came man. Man started to release the carbon, first before it was banked but before long it was easier to pull it out of the bank in it’s more concentrated form. All of this was no real problem when we were few and scattered about in small communities. Peer pressure kept everyone from getting too outrageous, when the neighbors are close and mostly kin no one person will be overly abusive of any resource. It’s only when the neighbors are unknown that resource abuse goes unpunished by the peer group.

Source: Letter From California: Some Thoughts on Living the Combustible Life – New York Times

It’s been a long morning but it’s time to start winding this down…Y’all have a great day.

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