Saturday, February 27, 2010


This image was sent in an email from a friend and occasional commentor on this blog, the mysterious SR. These are giant snow feet that were created in the latest snowstorm that crippled the North East US and New York City. New York is suffering from it's heaviest accumalation of snow in decades, it might be one of the snowiest winters on record.
Tonight, I am sitting in my house here in La Sechere with all of the shutters latched tightly shut listening to the ever increasing gale winds battering the hilltop we sit on.

I have a shipment of roofing tiles for the barn sitting out on the lawn to repair the barn roof from the last big storm, almost one year ago. That was a Northern Atlantic version of a Hurricane, a Tempete named Klaus. Klaus destroyed much of the pine forest in Lalande, west of Bordeaux. The forest was just beginning to really recover from the huge storm that occurred in 1999. That storm knocked the power out here for weeks. I was arriving here in France as it hit and landed in Toulouse on a flight from Frankfurt. I flew over the storm and was unaware of the scope and the severity. Actually there were two storms and I read about the first one sitting in the Frankfort airport and the destruction it caused in Paris.

When I arrived in Toulouse, which was untouched by the storm, I tried to take a train to Brive-la-Gaillarde, only to find sheer chaos reigning in the station as all trains going north were cancelled because of damage. I was stuck in Toulouse for 3 exciting days and learned a lot about the city.

That was called the storm of the century. There is still damage visible from that storm. The storm called Klaus was just as bad and came too soon into the next century to be called the storm of the century. Klaus really hammered Toulouse. There have been a number of huge Tempetes in between and tonight looks to be very bad for the regions North of here...

I think I will be lucky this time, but I hope what remains of the back wall of my barn is still standing. That also began to collapse after Klaus. The work is supposed to start any day now, in the classic French tradition, but if there is a lot of regional damage here, the builders we contracted to do the work might be very busy.
We are lucky as well, in light of the tragic earthquake in Chile. The energy of the quake is supposed to have been 500 times as powerful as the Haitian quake, but Chile is a much more developed country in a very sesmically active region and they have strict building codes. Still the damage reports I am beginning to see are horrific. As I write, I am getting reports of the tsunami that might affect most of the Pacific coastline.

Earthquakes are one thing;, they are part of the life of our planet. The phenomena of the weather is another thing all together. The increase in damaging winter Tempetes in Europe and the extreme snowfall in the Northeast US, the increase in the size of the hurricanes in the Carribean and Cyclones in Asia are all manifestations of human induced climate change. Yesterday, an ice shelf the size of Luxembourg detached itself from Antartica and started its journey that will truly affect the planets climate for years to come.

And on Friday, Rush Limbaugh made his pronouncement the Climate Debate was over because the snow in New York proved it. All it proves is the sad fact that Simple Minds Demand Simple Answers.


mud_rake said...

Simple Minds Demand Simple Answers.

So Rush proclaimed it. Well, I guess that settles it once and for all. One of his ditto heads proclaimed it in our local newspaper too.

I suppose that they have trouble with the word, CHANGE. You know- altering, moving in an unknown, uncharted direction.

CHANGE doesn't sit well with these conservatives, you know. They like predictability, assuredness. The past is safe; the future, not so.

As a result of this fear of the unknown, the embrace the security of things past and, to ease their angst, deny the future.

It's all rather psychotic and paranoid.

microdot said...

The myth of the security of things past is the basis of fairy tales. Now we live with media enforced sensationalistic manipulation. The endtime myths of the evangelicals collide with reality in a horrible chain reaction pile up of facts, disinformation and fear in the blatant cynicism of corporate short term greed.

The good news is that the Tempete named Xynthia brushed this area. We had winds of up to 135 km/hr, but no real damage. I spent the morning cleaning up branches, blown in barn doors, and minor damage to outdoor structures. We lost power for a few hour off and on. It roared through about 3 am this morning.

Meanwhile, north of here, millions are without electricity today, there is wide spread wind damge and flooding because it was high tide.
The latest casualty estimate is 13 in France.

Engineer of Knowledge said...

Hello Microdot and Muddy,
Last night I was at a birthday party for my nephew’s wife who turned 30. One of the people attending made the statement to the fact of, “Where’s this Global Warming I keep hearing about?”

I just kind of laughed a little bit to disarm the person, and then went on to explain that “Global Warming does not mean Palm Trees growing in Boston.” I explained that the warmer the atmosphere the more evaporation of moisture into the atmosphere….and that moisture has to come down in one form or another. “This record snow that we had in the Mid-Atlantic is text book scenario of the predictions of Global Warming.”

Well I don’t know if the person was just being kind, but I do believe he did give some thought and recognized the validity of my scientific explanation. That is what it is really going to take to get the message through to those who have no other exposure than the Fox Programming or Conservative Talk Radio, a “One on One” of someone who is really knowledgeable about the subject and can explain the science facts on the subject.

Anonymous said...


Obviously I do agree w/ the aft One, but I caution you not to make the same argument that he does. Rush said something to the effect that the snow in the mid Atlantic states proves that Global warming is dead and then you say the severity of storms is proof of global warming.

Weather and climate change are different. Discussing Weather patterns and storm severity play into the hands of the Fat One and his ilk. Discuss sea ice; glacier melt; smaller sheep on St. Kila, etc.