Friday, May 31, 2013

Our Little FrankenPlanet

1910 Edison Sudio Version of Frankenstrein!
This morning, I ventured out of my house after yesterdays deluge to go down to Terrasson to do some shopping. It's been a pretty depressing spring, I must say. My life has become more and more dominated by the climate. I grow most of my own vegetables and a lot of my favorite soft fruits. I have worked for the wine producing Chateau for the last 11 years. Normally, I work for a few weeks in late April into early May on the 21 hectares of vines preparing them for the growing season. This year, the vineyard which has been cultivated by the same family for almost 200 years was flooded and nothing good was happening. If you are interested in learning about Chateau Vieux Chevrol, which is a grand Lalande de Pomerol Wine, check out their site. These people are truly my other family. Hopefully, I will be working there this summer for the Vendange Verte, if the grapes start growing  normally. 
My big vegetable potager was turned over a month ago, but because of the rain, I have to re cultivate it again when and if it dries out. My friends who went ahead and started their gardens are all experiencing die offs of tomatoes and the tender plants they put in because of the continuous rain and cold weather. Today on the news there were flood alerts for the Pyrenees, the Northern Atlantic coast and warnings for this area. So, I drove down the Elle River Gorge through the forest to Terrasson and watched the little river rage over it's banks on it's way to the Vezere. In Terrasson, the Vezere was almost at flood stage. Pretty depressing, eh? It's almost June, I've bought and burnt a few trailers of fire wood...I'm still cutting wood and trying to get enough to get me through the next few weeks. All that is really growing here is the weeds and the grass.  After the bizarre spring of last year...we had very warm winter, everything started to really grow in late March, we had one of the most severe cold snaps that France had in over 25 years in mid April! It killed everything! This winter wasn't so warm, and things looked good, there hasn't been a killing cold wave, but it rarely gets above 55 degrees and it rains non stop!
Terrasson, La Vezere, the 11th century bridge on
a "nice day".
Well, now France’s main weather channel, Meteo, is reporting that there’s a 70% chance that the summer is going to be record-breaking cold and wet across much of western Europe. Meteo says that it’s been the coldest spring in 20 years in France, and the forecast is looking so bad, there’s talk of this being “the year without a summer” across western Europe. Europe hasn’t had one of those since the unusually brutal year of 1816, when Mary Shelley, reportedly stuck inside due to the bad weather, wrote “Frankenstein.”

European weather forecast for the summer shows temperatures below normal in much of western Europe, and a rainier summer as well. (source: Meteo)
This is our depressing summer here in France, rain, rain and more rain and for a solar powered being, such as myself, the season looks pretty bleak. I am already coming up with a few of my own Frankenstein variety plots to entertain myself with..
But, I think my dampish and chilly little summer will only be a minor discomfort. I might experience chafing and unpleasant humid discomfort, but you folks in North America? Let's look at the complicated inter action. Rapidly melting icecaps create hyper cool currents n the North Atlantic, which  along with the change in the salinity of the water, influence the flow of the Gulf Stream. This is what produces the abnormal temperatures in Europe. Most of our present cold weather is influenced by the melting of the Greenland ice cap. The abnormal temperature of the Gulf Stream as it comes into contact with the hotter than usual Ocean temperatures in the rest of the ocean. The results?

Image: NAS
It's about that time. The lights are back on, and theres a plume of smoke pumping out of that  old Frankenstorm factory Y'all done built. Frankies puttin' his boots back on....
Hurricane season officially begins officially, tomorrow on June 1st, and climatologists and meteorologists are bracing for another "above normal" or "extremely active" season. Above normal because humans built that frankenstorm factory in the first place, when we loaded up the atmosphere and the oceans with carbon and methane and cranked up the greenhouse effect. Now American government climate forecasters say you're in for another hell of a season these next few months.
Last year, you'll recall, saw Hurricane Sandy transform into FrankenStorm Sandy, after the tropical storm collided with another system that had moved in from the Midwest. Scientists were unusually quick to direct some of the blame for the storm's unusual potency on climate change—warmer-than-average ocean temps helped fuel the storm's amphetamine fury, higher sea levels made deluge easy.
It was a storm of storms, and it was the national headline. For a while there, we were all talking about global change. Even Republicans.
But as we're wont to do, we soon moved on to other tragedies and curiosities, shootings and bombings and presidential politics, and we forgot that the Frankenstorm factory was just idling for the winter.
Now, in its annual forecast, the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to bring 13-20 tropical storms. As many as 11 of those will turn into hurricanes. As many as 6 of those could become a Category 3 or more. That's a 110 mph+ storm, folks.
NOAA chief Kathryn Sullivan
told Reuters that "For the six-month hurricane season which will start June 1, NOAA predicts an above-normal and possibly an extremely active hurricane season."
has more: "Speaking at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, she said the hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico threatened "quite a lot of activity" due to a combination of several climate factors, including warmer-than-average temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean."
Alas. Warmer-than-average ocean temperatures are like Red Bull for storms. More energy, more anger. Just a key component of the frankenstorm factory, though, a fact of life. Oceans are warmer now, so are global average temps, and that warmer air holds more moisture. Stormier storms. It's bad news for East Coasters, some of whom still haven't finished repairs on the damage left by the last frankenstorm. Some of whom are still homeless.
Doesn't matter much to the new-and-improved-and-hotter-than-ever climate system though. It's hurricane season. Let's see what Frankenstorm factory cranks out this time.

1 comment:

Ol'Buzzard said...

The pollution resulting in climate change is a symptom, not a cause. The cause is overpopulation. Population scientist say four billion is the optimum population for this planet - we are now at seven plus...expected to double within the next fifty years. Increase population requires more power production, more food production, more water usage, more natural resource consumption; resulting in more pollution...etc.

This is the new world...
the Ol'Buzzard