Climate Change

August 9, 2018

BW photograph of the Nisqually Glacier path with the low flow of the Nisqually River.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The cover headline of this issue of The Economist reads “In the line of fire: Losing the war against climate change”-inside are several articles that amplify the concern.  It is worth a read.

Take care.

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BW photograph of the Hurricane Jose's flooding of Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

PHOTOGRAPHER NOTE:  The above photograph is from Bethany Beach following a tropical storm.

Yesterday, NPR’s 1A had a discussion about Tangier Island and it is worth a listen.

Climate change does indeed present an unpleasant reality for many.  The notion that a way of life lived for generations may no longer be possible is very difficult to contemplate, let alone actually face.  Years ago, I learned a definition of denial that I came to appreciate:  “Denial provides a sense of security or buffer against an unacceptable reality.”  (Unfortunately, I do not recall the source of the definition.) In that sense, denial is a coping mechanism-an ineffective one in the longer term, but it does take the sting out of the short-term.  However, to continue to deny the existence of climate change and its human basis in the face of scientific evidence, or worse, to support politicians, ideas (which include the questioning of the fundamental scientific processes resulting in the data), and policies that will exacerbate the problem, is a willful refusal to accept things as they are and are becoming.  Meanwhile, fires burn, floods inundate, and droughts bake in the time of now.

It is important that one caller advised Mr. Johnson about his mischaracterization of Tangier Island as the initial population to be relocated.  Here is an article regarding Isle de Jean Charles from two years ago-please also give this a read.

Climate change and the need for mitigation and adaptation cannot rationally be denied regardless of how uncomfortable that may be.

Take care.

Detour

August 6, 2018

BW photograph of Detour with Double Pipe Creek flooding its banks onto a road.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Between here and there is the small town of Detour, Md.  My first recollection of Detour was when it flooded in 1972 as a result of Hurricane Agnes.  At the very western edge of the town is the Double Pipe Creek, which has left its banks multiple times over the decades flooding and/or endangering the homes and businesses there.  The above photograph was made at 9:13 a.m. on August 4, 2018…the date of the most recent flooding.

In comparison to many other parts of the world, which are experiencing extraordinarily high temperatures and often accompanying droughts, the local area has been inundated by rain.  This report provides an explanation for the seemingly contradictory weather patterns produced by the overall changing of the global climate system.

BW photograph of a fallen sycamore tree against an overpass.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As a reminder, the above photograph was posted to this blog on May 24, 2018 and shows the water level of Double Pipe Creek just beyond the tree roots in the foreground-a period of very heavy rain had preceded this event.

This past Friday and early Saturday morning brought yet another series of drenching rainfalls.

BW photograph of Detour showing the elevated water level of Double Pipe Creek-debris is against the bridge.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The above photograph was made at 9:17 a.m. and shows the resulting water level of Double Pipe Creek-the debris pictured here is just about at the point where the sycamore tree trunk is laying atop the bridge in the previous image.

BW photograph of Detour with Double Pipe Creek flooding its banks onto a road.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

9:21 a.m.

BW photograph of Detour showing the elevated water level of Double Pipe Creek-debris and a flooded fence are in the foreground.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

9:26 a.m.

Double Pipe Creek had once again broached its banks.

BW photograph of Detour showing the elevated water level of Double Pipe Creek-a moving truck has water to the half-wheel height.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

9:29 a.m.

BW photograph of Detour showing the elevated water level of Double Pipe Creek-a moving truck has water to the two-thirds wheel height.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

11:10 a.m.

Importantly, the water level had not as yet crested when these photographs were made.  Look closely at the wheels of the truck in both:  the water was still rising across that time span.

Meanwhile, today 1A aired this discussion regarding the current administration’s efforts to freeze the standards for fuel economy and emissions-it is worth listening to the disagreements and points made by the various guests, which highlight both the complexity of this issue as well as the conclusions drawn from particular data points.  The environmental impact of auto emissions is the connection to this post-it is also another example of the U.S. withdrawal from longer-term active measures to address climate change, which is the fundamental basis for the patterns of such extreme weather events.

Take care.

 

Flexibility

August 1, 2018

BW photograph of car headlights shining through trees on a rainy morning.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

A few years ago I wrote an article entitled “Flexibility in the Field”, which advised photographers to develop that characteristic in case the preconceived plan became unfeasible.  Unfortunately for me, it was never published.  That, however, does not invalidate the concept.

The iPhone weather app that I use is usually accurate enough, so when it said “cloudy”, I made plans for a 4-5 mile hike though the woods.  Upon reaching the destination, the “cloudy” icon remained but the physical conditions presented as a light, steady rain-the graphic never did change.  After the course of about an hour, it was evident that the rain was in place and so the plan needed to change.  The above image was made from the window of my truck photographing through the rain.  It was not at all what I had in mind when setting out, but is quite representative of the morning.  As such, it is a satisfying photograph as it represents a change in thinking and was a bit of a challenge to create.  Fundamentally, I had to move from a particular mindset and adjust to a new set of circumstances.  Of course, another solution would have been to allow the frustration to build to the point of just driving off.  However, doing so would have also deprived me of the sound of raindrops on the trees…

Flexibility is an important asset.  The previous posts regarding climate change are cases in point.  Whether it be through mitigation, adaptation, or a combination of the two, humans need to adjust to the new reality instead of being inflexible in the reliance on fossil fuels and a lifestyle of throw-away convenience.  Driving away, literally or figuratively, will not work.

Take care.

 

Retreat

July 28, 2018

BW photograph of the origins of the Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This post is a follow-up to the last regarding the global effects of climate change.  In this particular case, the photo essay herein addresses the Nisqually Glacier, which is located in Mount Rainier National Park.  The photograph above is Mt. Rainier with the peak obscured by clouds.

BW photograph of the Nisqually Glacier path with the low flow of the Nisqually River.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The National Park Service provides information about the glaciers on Mt. Rainier.  Included are many other links and a time-lapse that demonstrates the “…dynamic nature of glaciers as rivers of ice.”

BW photograph of the Nisqually Glacier path with the low flow of the Nisqually River-looking into the river from above.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The previous post was about global temperatures and climate change.  Glaciers are another strong source of evidence regarding the impact of the increase of greenhouse gas emissions and the subsequent rise in global temperatures.  Such is the premise of photographer James Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey.  Mr. Balog also used time-lapse photography and video imagery of glacial retreat as a means of presenting visual evidence of climate change.  His work is available via a variety of resources, including this NOVA episode, a TED Talk, and the feature-length documentary entitled Chasing Ice.  It is significant to note that the imagery contained in these presentations is well over a decade old at this point.

BW photograph of the Nisqually Glacier path with the low flow of the Nisqually River.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The Nisqually Glacier has retreated far up the valley.

BW photograph of the Nisqually Glacier path with the low flow of the Nisqually River-the bridge is to the right.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The bridge over the valley is to the far right of the above photograph-this was the vantage point from which all of the images herein were made.  The NPS describes the changing nature of the Nisqually Glacier, which at one point extended from Mt. Rainier in the far distance as shown in the previous photograph, down through the valley, and to the site of the current bridge.  This is clearly no longer the case.

Global extremes in temperatures and their subsequent consequential impact, the increase in the severity of storms, flooding, (as an aside, Japan is bracing for a tsunami, which is about to hit areas most recently flooded), and glacial retreat.  Examining the visuals makes it extremely difficult to deny climate change…not that that stops those who do.

Take care.

Heat and Wet

July 25, 2018

BW photograph of Morgan Run flowing between rocks the day after a heavy rain.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

NPR’s 1A aired this discussion today addressing the record-setting heat being experienced globally.  Mentioned in the report were the fires in Athens, Greece; the 84 wildfires currently burning in the U.S. (including in Yosemite Valley); and that Death Valley, “the hottest place in the world”, set a record yesterday with a temperature of 127 degrees.  Seattle and Phoenix also factored into the discussion.

BW photograph of Morgan Run the day after heavy rain.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The other end of the spectrum would be the rainfall in the Mid-Atlantic region, which was also part of the discussion.  Flash flood warnings were issued for yesterday and again today in the Washington, D.C. area.  The photographs here are of Morgan Run, which was running higher than usual today…

BW photograph of some sticks laying on a rock after a flood.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

but had clearly receded since yesterday’s downpours.

BW photograph of a broken mailbox after a flood.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It is important to recognize that both the increased temperatures and rainfall are a reflection of the overall heating of the planet-clear signs of climate change.

Interestingly, I was in Seattle this past Sunday and locals were pointing out that it was quite hot for the area.  However, while hot, it was also dry there.  As such, it was not much of a preparation for the heat and humidity back here in the East.

Importantly, the 1A discussion also included methods by which to cope with the heat and humidity.  This information is particularly helpful for the safety of “vulnerable populations”, but all are susceptible to being adversely affected by these well-beyond-warm conditions.

Please be sure to listen to the discussion and implement the appropriate measures.

Take care.

 

Backdated: July 5, 2018

July 15, 2018

BW photograph looking west down Thames Street before sunrise.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph looking from Fells Point toward the Chesapeake Bay at sunrise.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the City Pier in Fells Point at sunrise.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I have finally gotten back to completing this post, which was begun on July 5.

These photographs were made early on the morning of July 5.  This area had been under high temperature/high humidity conditions that had pushed heat indexes into the triple digits during that week.  As such, when out and about, it was important to stay well-hydrated so as to stave off heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  While temperatures have moderated a bit, we still have August on the way…

BW photograph of a partially full water bottle atop a granite step.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a water bottle laying in the gutter.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a water bottle laying in the gutter.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a partially full water bottle laying at the base of a street light.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

However, it is also important to properly dispose of the containers for those fluids-especially when single-use containers are employed.  This recent article from National Geographic details the enormity of the problem that plastic presents.  The following is a quote from an earlier National Geographic article:

“The new study, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, is the first global analysis of all plastics ever made—and their fate. Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. Meaning: at some point, much of it ends up in the oceans, the final sink.”

The plastic bottles shown above are four that did not initially make it to a recycling bin on July 4th.  Just as important, two of them still contained a fair amount of water.  On that note, here is some information related to the wasting of water, while this site addresses the worldwide lack of access to improved water sources and the concomitant problems associated with that.

Remember Flint, MI? (And that is not the only city in the U.S. with water issues.)

Take care.