Sunday, February 08, 2009

Blame it on what?

We all know that you can not take any single weather event and make a climate story out of it. But people do. Such is the way that some would use this winter's cold weather in the Eastern US to say "see, I told you Al Gore had it wrong."

However, not everyone lives in the Eastern US. And when you start averaging what else in happening around the world right now, you will understand. Follow me to the rest of the story by clicking Read more!

Let us begin with the stories coming out of Australia where the most we heard in the US was about the heat taking a toll on the Australian Open. Now, after weeks of record breaking heat, it seems as if the entire state of Victoria has erupted in flames. As of the instant that I write this, the 12:00 PM report in the Sydney Morning Herald lists 126 dead, many critically burned, many others missing.

In another report that you won't hear on our national new, obsessed as some are with Barry Bonds and A-Rod, comes out of the Argentinian Pampas. According to the Seattle Times, Argentina is in a similar situation to Australia as pertains to heat and drought.
STROEDER, Argentina — Skeletons of livestock are piling up in the scorching sun of the Southern Hemisphere's summer as the worst drought in a generation turns much of Argentina's breadbasket into a dust bowl.

The nation's farm sector stands to lose $5 billion this year alone — a huge blow to the economy of Argentina, a top world exporter of soy, corn, wheat and beef — as well as to the government of President Cristina Fernandez, which faces billions of dollars in debt payments this year.
I am sure that there are many in Kentucky right now who would like to have averaged this out, but the climate does not work that way. Extremes seem to require the opposite extremes. Now, California is experiencing a drought. One estimate is that it will cost our local economy more than $1 Billion and some 40,000 jobs while we are trying to stimulate our way out of a recession. This, with Folsom Lake at only 25% of capacity.

I would question whether this drought is just part of the normal cycle, since it is also hitting China as well. BBC is reporting this as the worst drought in 50 years and in one province, without rain for 70 days, some 70% of the rivers have dried up.

What this all adds up to is a global condition, not local weather and that puts it in the realm of climate, not weather. The deniers will still deny, but it is time to increase the pressure on those in Congress who still claim to be friends of the environment. When Barbara Boxer said that they would be no climate change legislation this year, she showed that the only thing that changed in Washington was the name on the White House mailbox.

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