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Like me, I’m sure you have friends or know people who were happy as wedding guest at the free bar when all the weeks of subzero were on us. Oh yes, they were uncommonly, glowingly happy with all those weeks of deep, deep cold mocking (as they gleefully saw it) the myth of global warming (aka climate change).
Really, there are two main elements coming with the picture of glee. First is being a climate change believer or debunker is like being a Ford or Chevy (sorry ladies) man. You know, I’m sure, at least one person so enthralled with the brand they associate as theirs that they won’t so much as consider another car maker. You and I know better, but we also know those stout souls who would never in their life drive “one of those foreign toys they call cars.” I had an uncle who was a lifelong, to the death Plymouth man. I suppose it is fortunate he’s dead because Plymouth (along with others as Kaiser, Willys, and Nash to name but a few) has been gone so long there are generations of younger readers who will draw blank on all those names. It is, to be honest, sad and sorry work to work in an allusion to their father’s Oldsmobile. They won’t get it any more than a majority would recall much info on the once notable Yugo (rare as a Cord but for opposite reasons). So, if you follow the Ford vs Chevy comparison the camps of climate change believers and deniers are opposed car marques fighting it out for top model and as likely to be stunned by reality when new factors emerge. (Think in terms of Lexus overturning the quality spot once held all but entirely in the mass market by M Benz.)
Both camps have tried to pin me down. What do I think about the threat of global warming? Is it real or manufactured? Not scientific enough to wade through volumes of numeric argument I take the easier way of honest uncertainty given with the amendment that the possibility of human influenced climate change is a serious enough possibility I’m willing to make carbon friendly decisions as and when possible. How does that sound to you? I find it is often enough to royally annoy either side of the question by demonstrating my lacks of conviction, inquiry, and concern. Both sides say much the same thing if they think you’re not sufficiently with them and are to be denounced as one of the dumb sheep. I could have told them (but they are not prone to asking) the sheep flock of humanity is so vast it encompasses all, including the many breeds of scoffing doubt or body bowing obedience.
One area, it’s a stand out, that nicely separates believer from debunker is that a denier will most always jump at local weather as proof of point the way a smallmouth bass will go after a surface popper moved with quiet skill through a weave of lily pads. Once a denier grabs the bait of weather they are doomed by the hook of constant reversal. By that I mean (even to a non-science person like me) that daily weather or seasonal variations are not the story. A hot today doesn’t prove global warming any more than a chill tomorrow disproves it. A cool spring is no more proof than a hot summer. The things to be considered are the long term trends and averages. If we are in a period of “change” an element to consider is instability or more variation than we’d see in a neat picture. That’s a problem isn’t it? The swings could be wilder but still have the average over decades moving slowly in one direction.
Being that we live in what some teasingly call the frozen north there are many who’d welcome Duluth turned into Palm Beach. Pretty as some might find that picture it would require epochs to happen, so I’d not count on any purchases on future lake front turning gold any time soon. Palm Beach Duluth is the very definition of long term. Other things to remember are the seeming contradictions. In other words a little planetary warming could lead to a local ice age. How would that work? Well we can be fairly sure warming will add moisture to the atmosphere which at its upper levels is reliably frigid. A little more moisture reaching the cold upper atmosphere will eventually precipitate out in rain or snow, neither of which by my recollection is what I’d call warm, though some rain is less cold it is not especially warm. In a subzero world there’d be little source for new snow or ice without which there is no slow creeping growth of a glacier. An ice age doesn’t have to be frigid. Had it been so then humanity might not have survived the last one ending around 10,000 years ago. Snow that becomes glacial ice has to begin somewhere, and you can count on warming in some form needed to keep supplying water vapor to the system. The record shows the last ice age as wet turning to snow and ice in certain areas. So, a winter that was subzero in December and turned near summery in January will not satisfy the climate beliefs of either a Chevy or a Ford.
My last thing this week is the real chill recently from Saudi Arabia. Where else but in a system of political bound with religious authority is a writer held subject to 1,000 lashes for disrespect in a blog? If they were given at one time that many lashes would likely be fatal. So in an act of mercy the sentence is carried out twenty lashes at a time so the cruel inhumanity will drag on for months during which the free speech criminal can heal before being flogged again, and again, and again until theocracy be satisfied, which of course it never, ever, ever is.