Waiting for Andrea

June 7, 2013

Foggy, rainy day prior to the arrival of Tropical Storm Andrea.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The Mid-West has already been hammered by violent weather this spring and now it is the East Coast’s turn.  (Not to mention the Southwest and West Coast, which have been setting records for high heat.  California has already had at least one large fire.)  Tropical Storm Andrea is the first named storm of the 2013 hurricane season that officially opened just six days ago, and she battered Florida yesterday and is now making her way up through the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic states.  Andrea has already flooded parts of the South and created several tornadoes.  Forecasts predict flooding in the Mid-Atlantic and on through New York and into New England.  Right now, in the Mid-Atlantic, it is rainy, foggy, and the winds are calm.  That is to change a bit later today.

Weather, and climate change, is not often far from our awareness now.  Outside magazine’s July 2013 cover screams “Weather Gone Wild” as the issue contains several articles related to the changing weather patterns and what folks can do to protect themselves. (NOTE:  That link is to Outside Online, their web presence.  The magazine is on the rack in brick-and-mortar stores.)  One of the articles is how Norfolk, Virginia is planning to deal with sea level rise.  National Public Radio (NPR) has aired several broadcasts regarding the discussions of how to protect New York from another SuperStorm Sandy-one is linked here.  This particular story was chosen because it contains in the title the words “New Normal”.  That is a phrase used more and more often as a result of the continued degradation of the environment, as evidenced by the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere reaching 400 ppm. Our appetite for the burning of fossil fuels to drive (literally and figuratively) our lifestyle is the main culprit here.  (Another issue is our diet and the methane levels produced in support of what we eat, but that is a story for another day.)

Buckle up, we are in for nasty weather.

Take care.

UPDATE:  Not too long after having posted this, I remembered John McPee’s The Control of Nature.  I enjoy Mr. McPee’s writing and have read many of his books and articles and highly recommend his work.  The relevance here is the title and content of this particular book-he uses three specific examples to illustrate the folly of attempting to harness a force that is so much more powerful than us.  This is a major issue as the levee system in New Orleans has had its problems and there is no reason to think the sea walls around Manhattan will be the singular answer.  While the link between climate change and big weather continues to be debated in some sectors,  it is pretty clear that storms are getting bigger and occurring much more frequently, not only here in the United States, but worldwide as well.  Storms are just part of the equation, though.

For example, consider the Maldives.  Mohamed Nasheed, the former President, was the subject of a documentary entitled The Island President, which is linked here.  Mr. Nasheed’s concerns were the impact of CO2 levels reaching 350 ppm and the resulting consequences for the Maldives, therefore he was advocating for efforts to reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.   An important aside is that Mr. Nasheed addresses the point about building sea walls to protect his country several times in the movie.  Please watch the documentary and/or read more about this situation.  As stated above, the CO2 level has reached 400 ppm.

Climate change truly is a world-wide issue and it would certainly seem that at some point our culture-driven lifestyles will need to be addressed and modified-we most likely cannot build our way out of the impact of climate change.  The building-solution is fraught with problems, chief of which is the economic scale needed.  Besides, what are countries with fewer economic resources, such as the Maldives, to do?  Without a change in lifestyle we may all be spending more time underwater, being smacked about by cataclysmic winds, baked by sweltering heat, or any combination of those three.

Take care.