Thursday Morning – June 7, 20 O’Seven

What a difference a day makes…Yesterday morning I was in Medical Mode and not hurrying out the door, so I drew my first cup and glanced up at the “Weather Station”. The outside temperature was 68 and the humidity was lower than normal, just in the 80% vicinity, so I took my cup and myself out into the backyard to sit and enjoy (which is part of the reason for no post yesterday, I enjoyed it immensely). Today, I grabbed so garbage bags for the trip to the curb while the laptop loaded up. The minute I stepped out the door for the trek to the curb, I felt like I should be paying for a spa treatment. 6:00 am and the heat and the humidity were in your face. Once I was back in the kitchen for that first cup I read the truth…79 degrees and 89%. What a change.

Yesterday was still with a light layer of dew on the world. But the air was clean and clear, the mockingbird was singing loud and cheerful above my head, and the sun was bright on the trees in the yard and woods. The dew on the sunlit cypress tree gave it a kind of green jewel quality, but softened in a way.

I was reading US News this week and I see the secret is out as Boone makes the top 10 in budget retirement locations…I would say congratulation but I was hoping the secret would stay hidden (at least until we moved to the mountains). I was happy to see that one of our earlier retirement hopes was on the list also…Fredericksburg, Tx is where we go many years for our anniversary runaway from the kids weekend. It is also about as close to the Houston area as you can go and find what passes for mountains.

Garrison Keillor takes a long look at the state of the world in Salon and brings back this look of the future for thee…

You look at the Amish and you see the past but you might also be looking at the future. Our great-grandchildren, faced with facts their ancestors were able to ignore, might have to do without the internal-combustion engine and figure out how to live the subsistence life. Maybe someone will invent a car that runs on hydrogen, or horse manure, or maybe people will travel on beams of light like in old radio serials, but the realist in you thinks otherwise.

Source: Amish like me | Salon.com

Mr. Bush must have done Harvard Business School about like he has done everything else in his life…

The White House said it would hold firm against concrete long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a major priority for Merkel, the host of the Group of 8 meeting.

At some point in his college career they must have mentioned that in oder to set goals they have to be achievable and measurable. Setting goals without actual…well, you know…goals is like…cheating. Oh (slap my forehead) that’s right…We are talking about George W Bush aren’t we…
Source: U.S. rejects greenhouse gas initiative at G8 summit | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Time to run…catch you later.

Tuesday Coffee Muses

Looks like the same old game for the Bush administration. Give a big speech taking the oppositions side away from them, do some back office finagling to ensure what you just promised doesn’t happen, and then just assume no one will notice.

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is drastically scaling back efforts to measure global warming from space, just as the president tries to convince the world the U.S. is ready to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gases.

Not only are they scaling back the numbers of satellites but they are pulling out the instrument packages that would have been used to study long range climate data. That’ll pretty much put an end to the inconvenience of having your own data used against you in the court of public opinion…or not.

Source: U.S. slashes global warming monitoring | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Tomorrows weather will be brought to you courtesy of the EU and our good buddies in the Bureau of French Climate Studies…Have a great day George, and all the rest of you also.

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.

Monday Muses

Seems like every year brings more good news for the folks out there who think the world is too cool. To my way of thinking, mind you I am no scientist and claim no special knowledge, but folks this seems to be a trend line. Now I am not claiming I know (or at this point care) what is causing this climate change, but climate change it is, and our actions are contributing to the outcome.

Global Highlights:

  • Based on preliminary data, globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the warmest on record for January-April year-to-date period and third warmest for April.
  • Global land surface temperature was warmest on record in April. Temperatures were above average in Europe, Alaska, western U.S., eastern Brazil, northwestern Africa, and most of Asia. Cooler-than-average conditions occurred in the Middle East Region and the eastern half of the contiguous U.S.
  • Precipitation during April 2007 was above average in the Northeast region of the contiguous U.S. and most of South America. Drier than average conditions were observed in Japan, southeastern U.S., southeastern China and most of Europe.
  • ENSO conditions remained in a neutral phase during April.

Source: NCDC: Climate of 2007- April Global analysis

Monday Muses

Seems like every year brings more good news for the folks out there who think the world is too cool. To my way of thinking, mind you I am no scientist and claim no special knowledge, but folks this seems to be a trend line. Now I am not claiming I know (or at this point care) what is causing this climate change, but climate change it is, and our actions are contributing to the outcome.

Global Highlights:

  • Based on preliminary data, globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the warmest on record for January-April year-to-date period and third warmest for April.
  • Global land surface temperature was warmest on record in April. Temperatures were above average in Europe, Alaska, western U.S., eastern Brazil, northwestern Africa, and most of Asia. Cooler-than-average conditions occurred in the Middle East Region and the eastern half of the contiguous U.S.
  • Precipitation during April 2007 was above average in the Northeast region of the contiguous U.S. and most of South America. Drier than average conditions were observed in Japan, southeastern U.S., southeastern China and most of Europe.
  • ENSO conditions remained in a neutral phase during April.

Source: NCDC: Climate of 2007- April Global analysis

Al Gore has it right…

Gore Unveils Global-Warming Plan – washingtonpost.com: “‘This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue — it affects the survival of human civilization,’ Gore said in an hour-long speech at the New York University School of Law. ‘Put simply, it is wrong to destroy the habitability of our planet and ruin the prospects of every generation that follows ours.'”

He went on to say…

“The debate over solutions has been slow to begin in earnest . . . because some of our leaders still find it more convenient to deny the reality of the crisis.”