Saturday, August 4, 2012

04 August 2012 That dusty ol’ dust is getting’ my home

Climate change is here — and worse than we thought
By James E. Hansen, Published: August 3
James E. Hansen directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

“When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988 , I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.
But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.

“My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather.

“In a new analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, which will be published Monday, my colleagues and I have revealed a stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers, with deeply troubling ramifications for not only our future but also for our present.
This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened. Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change....”

Cassi Creek:  There is a cyclic drought periodicity that affects the American midwest and high prairies.  The approximately 50 year period provides a lush farming land that can support utterly millions of grazing animals.  The high prairies were once populated by two immense migratory herds of American bison that fed Native Americans, fueled the wagon migrations westward, stopped trains, and were harvested for their hides to make indusstrial leather belts that powered factory machines.  There was thick, deep sod that held the soil in place during floods, prairie fires, and other natural events that made humans more or less able to live on the high prairies.
            The periods of westward migration and expansion which followed the annexation of lands once claimed by Mexico and Civil War brought farmers onto the prairies and opened the way for more of the benefits of civilization to land that had never known the distructive incisions of the steel plow.  The trans-continetal railroad allowed expansion to take root at points further and further from the great rivers and their tributaies and out onto the low desert that is essentially everything west of Goodland Kansas and East of the Rockies.  This was a period of adequate rainfall that allowed some plants to mature and be harvested with only minimal irrigation.  
            In conjunction with the downward side of the rainfall curve came changes in agricultural theory and practice for what came to be called “dry land farming”  That thick tangled sod which had held the mid section of the nation together was now being destroyed, leaving thousands of square miles of powdery dust in the fields that were receiving less and less rain.  The pattern had changed around humanity and been made worse by human interaction.  
            In the dust bowl. we were faced with hot and dry conditions that led to crop failures and were further linked with the Great Depression.  Now we are once again in an economic crisis spun by greed and the climate has been changed by the actions of humans.  While the measurable changes are small, they are persistent and cumulative.  It takes only a small shift in average temperatures applied over a period of years to create sufficient change in the global weather to cause the extremes of temperature we are now experiencing.  
            What we will now face is the expected teavangelist denial of any change in climate and any effect.  For a group that claims their sacred book is to be believed litteraly, I will find it amusing when their North Carolina colonies wash away beneath the higher average tides generated by mean sea level rises due to global warming.  Somehow I believe that their latest anti-science law is going to be repealed by climactic and geological science.  

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