What’s Up With This Weather?

by MaxPower

Hey how aboot that weather eh? A typically Canadian thing to say.

Yo, sup wit da wet’her dog? A typically American thing to say.

I say, notice the weather at all, old chap? A typically British thing to say.

See the pattern? People love to talk about the weather, probably because its universal and you can complain about it with coworkers, friends, and family etc without fear of upsetting anyone or having anyone disagree with you. No dammit I love it when it rains for 20 days straight, cause I love the rain – that just doesn’t happen.

But what drives me crazy is the incessant media portrayal that the first bit of odd weather is cause for alarm for some reason. Whoa, abnormally hot day in December (or July for you Southern Hemisphereians) must be _________. Fill in the blank with Global Warming, Ozone Hole Depletion, Car Exhaust Emissions or similar man-made causes.

Maybe it was just a warm day in December. Nope, according to most politicians and the media it’s due to you and me. A local politician recently stood outside on a balmy day in December and said look at how warm it is – it must be global warming. While he said that there were snowstorms in New York and Ontario was 10 degrees below ‘normal’ temperatures. There is a fundamental flaw with making an assumption about a small sample and connecting it with the whole. I’m sure at any one given point in time, hundreds or thousands of places around the world are experiences ‘weird weather’. Does that make the cause of weather obvious? – No. Basically its all blamed on humans because we can’t predict weather 24 hours in advance let alone weeks or years. All we have is historical data. And if you live in the ‘New World’ maybe you have 150 years of historical weather data, if your lucky. More often than not, people are basing what is ‘normal’ on 0.00000003% of the Earth’s history.

Humans have such a superiority complex – as if our daily routines have massive and irreversible impacts on the globe. Mother Nature could and does kick our little piddly asses on a regular occasion, yet people continue to believe everything we do changes the planet for the worse. Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991 in the Philippines – 5 cubic kilometres of ash (take a 5 kilometre square, and cube it and then fill it with ash) was released in one day. It rose 35 km into the atmosphere and those particles circled the globe numerous times. That caused the planet-wide temperature to drop by 0.5 degrees Celsius for 3 years (1991 – 1993). Additionally 20 million tones of sulfur dioxide were ejected into the atmosphere. Nice. One volcano. When tens of volcanos erupt per year.

Going out a little further, I recently read in Discover magazine that it appears that our solar system has been sitting in one of the ‘arms’ of the Milky Way spiral galaxy for the last while and now is approaching the end of one the arms. The arms are where the highest concentrations of stars are and where the ambient temperature of space is slightly warmer than in the colder spaces between the arms. So this guy – I can track down the name if someone is interested – calculated the speed of the earth, versus the size of the Milky Way, Earth’s position in it, and the occurrence of ice ages in Earth’s history. Looks like every time we enter a void space in between ‘arms’ we get an ice age. And uh oh seems like our time in the tropics of the Galaxy is about up – we are due to exit the warmer ‘arm’ anytime soon. At least the skiing will be good…

20,000 years ago the Laurentide glacier covered all of Canada and the Northern Tier of the US (down to New York). That was an Ice Age – cooler than normal periods in the earth’s history and which may consist of several ‘glacials’- times when glaciers reach their peak, and warmer periods called ‘interglacials’ – when the glaciers recede. Scientists believe at least four glacial advances and retreats have occurred during the last two million years. In fact, the entire history of modern humanity (ie. For the last six thousand years) has been taking place in one of these interglacials – which means another Ice Age is coming. Not if, but when.

Take a look at this graph found at http://www.niwa.co.nz/pubs/wa/09-1/ice-graph.htm

You can see the Ice Age 20,000 years ago, its right before the latest spike in the temperature line.

This shows the temperature change over the last 400,000 years vs. Carbon Dioxide and Methane levels in the air and the amount of Solar Radiation present derived from the ice core samples from Vostok research centre in Antarctica. I quote from the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Resarch ‘The parallel changes in CO2 and CH4 are believed to have caused about half the amplitude of the temperature changes, with the other half probably due to changes in solar insolation.’ So here we go, at least half of the change in our weather is due to external factors like solar flares and radiation and the other half is naturally occurring carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Where do humans fit?

Take your guess. If you want to go along with the popular pop-enviro psuedo-science media view that the world has never seen such ‘weird and wacky weather’ then fine. But look at the data. The Earth has seen it before and the Earth will see it again. It’s not abnormal; it’s just new to us.

  • What’s Up With This Weather?
  • by MaxPower
  • Published on January 1st, 2003

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