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Tony Grist

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So Cold... [Dec. 21st, 2010|09:45 am]
Tony Grist
Odi turned up on the doorstep yesterday afternoon with bags full of potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, parsnips, melons, aubergines and plums. She'd been to an outdoor market where they were selling off frozen and frost damaged produce for silly money. 

My afternoon appointment with the practise nurse has been cancelled. They didn't tell me why she wasn't coming in, but she's probably snowbound.

George Monbiot says these vicious winters we're having are actually a sign of global warming.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2010-12-21 10:15 am (UTC)
OMG I AM SO COLD.

I am glad you have your windows back in!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-12-21 11:39 am (UTC)
Thanks. The house is warmer now than it's ever been.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2010-12-21 11:29 am (UTC)
My husband, who has just come back from a scientific conference in San Franciso, tried to explain it all to me. It's to do with the fact that at the moment, there is now a greater temperature difference between the poles and the equator than there used to be and it is doing strange things to the atmosphere and the Jet Stream (which is a mechanism for keeping the atmosphere in balance). As a result, we in the north are getting colder winters while hot places are getting hotter.

Or something like that... It's beyond my knowledge of physics and fluid dynamics to understand all the details.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-12-21 11:40 am (UTC)
So the earth is a self-regulating mechanism- and there's nothing to be worried about.

Or am I drawing the wrong conclusion?
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2010-12-21 03:02 pm (UTC)
Well, the fact that the oceans are warming is troublesome--it makes the earth less able to self-regulate.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-12-21 03:27 pm (UTC)
It seems we Brits may have to get used to something like a Scandanavian climate.
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2010-12-21 12:35 pm (UTC)
It got down to -12°C, one morning last week, with gusting winds, then warmed up just enough to dump a half-foot of snow on Thursday. I love a white Christmas, but I have already had my fill of this winter.

The weather has changed radically, since I was a child. Significant snow falls this early in the season were practically unheard of. Our winters are warmer and, paradoxically, much more vicious than they used to be. We used to have nights colder than -18°C, sometimes several in a row, whereas these days we have not seen temperatures that cold in more than a decade.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-12-21 12:40 pm (UTC)
White Christmases were a rarity for most of my life. Heavy snow in November was even rarer.

Britain has very largely stopped functioning- which shows just how little we expected any of this.
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[User Picture]From: endlessrarities
2010-12-21 12:41 pm (UTC)
According to the BBC weather folk, the Gulf Stream's taken a wee jaunt up to Greenland.

Be afraid. Be very afraid...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-12-21 03:21 pm (UTC)
So it seems we're going to suffer the hardships of global warming without any of the advantages they used to dangle in front of us- like vineyards in Yorkshire.
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[User Picture]From: endlessrarities
2010-12-21 03:26 pm (UTC)
Ain't it always the case? Least the Scots curlers will be happy. They'll be getting their Bon Spiel thingy every other year...

Brrrr... I think I'll emigrate. To where, I don't know. Even Florence is getting it...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-12-21 03:28 pm (UTC)
There must be somewhere on the planet where global warming actually means- you know- warmer weather.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2010-12-21 04:05 pm (UTC)
The problem is that the term "global warming" isn't an accurate descriptor of day to day climate, only of an overall trend which takes place in geological time scales --- ie over the course of many human lifetimes, so we as individuals can't see it in our own daily observations. Most serious meteorologists are in the process of discarding it in favor of the term "global weirding", because that's what Joe and Jane Average actually see during their lifetimes: the weather's getting weirder every year, and patterns that have been the recent norm are disappearing fast.

The overall geological-scale pattern involves the earth gradually warming, but that warming paradoxically causes greater cold during winters. It's quite complex, but it's also very real. Unfortunately, the fact that some global warming scientists have also committed fraud and lied about their results and their evidence doesn't help the credibility of those honest scientists who are trying to explain a complicated, counter-intuitive process.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2010-12-21 04:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, and the place where I live? Started having temps in the 80s and 90s F in mid April this year, and kept on having them into late October, nearly into November, with only one brief break in early October. We also had weeks in a row of daytime high temps over 95F, and night-time lows going all the way down to 68 or 70 F. Long time residents have unanimously told us that that degree of heat used to run from late May or early June into late September, with regular breaks of cooler days, and with plenty of rain. This year also had record low rainfall, and several crops failed due to lack of rain. (This area usually get so much summer rain that none of the farmers have irrigaiton setups.) So yeah, warmer weather is happening too.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-12-21 04:33 pm (UTC)
The phrase "global weirding is new to me. I like it.

Of course the climate is shifting around all the time. It's only a few hundred years since northern Europe went through a mini-ice age.

What annoys me is the apocalyptic mind-set that insists this latest shift is likely to wipe us out. I really don't see why it should. We've been around for several million years now and have always managed to adapt.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2010-12-21 04:45 pm (UTC)
Now Itotally agree with you there. No, this won't be the end of the human species. We survived this far, including through an ice age or so, thank you very much. We'll hit the wall some day --- most species do --- but I don't for one moment believe that global weirding is the name tag on that wall.

But then I'm one of those people who don't believe that the world ever ends for any reason short of the death of the sun. Cultures end, societies end, religions end, species end, families and tribes end, but the world itself goes chugging along its merry way just fine. We're not as important as we think we are.
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[User Picture]From: negothick
2010-12-21 05:20 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you can take such an objective view of it all: I'm more inclined to think that Dickens had it right. Scrooge could think dispassionately about the need for "reducing the surplus population," but when faced with the possible death of Tiny Tim, he melted (like the glaciers).
Yes, our species has survived numerous climate changes--including the one that killed off such a large percentage of the humans then alive that DNA research shows we're all descended from fewer than 100,000 survivors. I really don't want to be alive when our numbers drop from 7 billion to, oh say 7 million.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2010-12-21 05:37 pm (UTC)
There's no credible evidence that anything like such a drop will result from global weirding within a single human lifetime.
Rapid, immense drops in population are extremely rare. We're more likely to go through the quite normal and much slower drop caused by fewer births, more infant mortality, and a higher death rate for elderly, sick, or otherwise vulnerable adults. See the recent experiences of the former Soviet former Union for the kind of thing that we can reasonably expect.

As far as objectivity goes, the fact that I can look at the probable overall fate of my species in a somewhat detached fashion has nothing whatsoever to do with my personal response to grief and loss. The former is the subject under discussion. The latter isn't part of the conversation, and isn't any of your business.
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[User Picture]From: negothick
2010-12-21 07:42 pm (UTC)
I really should have said "one" rather than "you," because we're all susceptible to the "Scrooge" effect--I didn't invent the truism that goes something like "one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." That's why charities use the faces of dying orphans rather than bar graphs and flow charts to raise money.

I also apologize for another error of magnitude: the "keyhole" or "bottleneck" of population at the time of the extinction of the Neanderthal, about 65,000 years ago, was estimated at 10,000, not 100,000. And while that population crash was not felt within a lifetime, it came close to wiping us out. Still, as you say, Homo Sap rebounded, again very quickly--and spread all over the planet.
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