Relationship

March 28, 2019

BW photograph of the sunrise on the solstice.

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

“Air Force Needs Almost $5 Billion To Recover Bases from Hurricane, Flood Damage”

“40 Years After A Partial Nuclear Meltdown, A New Push To Keep Three Mile Island Open” 

There is a direct relationship between these two reports.  The economic consequences of climate change-charged storms continue to rise.  Sea-level rise is a clear and present danger to coastal populations and infrastructure. (It is not just the Air Force needing to adapt to the effects of climate change-the Navy has issues, too.)  Expanding the use of renewable energy and non-fossil fuel options is seen as one of the main means by which to adapt to a volatile environment.  As such, attention has re-focused on nuclear energy-hence the report about keeping Three Mile Island in operation.

Interestingly, I was on my way back to college when the accident at Three Mile Island occurred.  I distinctly remember looking across and wondering why the highway lanes heading in the opposite direction were so unusually crowded-I was remarkably unaware of the problem.  As per the NPR report above, about 80,000 people evacuated in the days following the incident-some of whom did not return.  The fear of contamination drove people away from the immediate area.   It was also a point of alarm regarding the dangers of this form of energy production.

As per the report, Three Mile Island had its partial meltdown on March 28, 1979.  A few years later (April 26, 1986), the Chernobyl reactor exploded.  Later still (March 11, 2011), the Fukushima reactor had a meltdown following a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.  Those two links present information about the damage to the reactors as well as the current status of those geographic areas.  These incidents further exacerbated pre-existing concerns over the reliance on nuclear energy as a primary source of power-a history of which is presented by the Clean Energy Wire.  Countries around the world abandoned nuclear energy as a viable resource.

Climate change has necessitated a new look at the cost/benefit ratio provided by nuclear resources.  Would that be the case if more had been done with wind and solar energy in the years past instead of continuing drill and refine and burn?

BW photograph looking west down Thames Street before sunrise.

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

What if we in the developed world had placed greater emphasis on reducing our power consumptions and throw-away lifestyles?

BW photograph of a plastic water bottle laying amid some plants along a hiking trail.

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

What if we had done both?

Of course, it is less than useful to have a one way view looking back because doing so does not change the present.  However, examining the past does explain how we came to be where we are, so there is value in analyzing previous mistakes so as to avoid them in the present and future.  While we must also be open to exploring alternatives, critical thinking with an eye toward the future in the evaluation of the possibilities is critical.  There are alternatives-nuclear energy is one, geoengineering approaches are being explored by others.

We are in a position where extraordinary amounts of money are required for mitigation and adaptation to the current problems related to climate change-these costs are going to increase.  As such, long-term solutions do need to be found.  They, too, will require investment.  We have lived our way into an incredibly complex problem, which will require multiple solutions.  We must evaluate these options with due diligence and choose wisely, which puts me in agreement with the conclusions drawn in the Vox article linked above.  Some mistakes are, after all, more consequential than others.

Take care.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography.  All rights reserved.

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Preview

March 23, 2019

BW photograph of Morgan Run still rushing after a flood even though it was clear that the water had receeded.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

NOAA recently released a report, and its title says all that needs to be said-“Spring Outlook:  Historic, widespread flooding to continue through May”.  Please be sure to give that link a read as the majority of states and “…more than 200 million people…” are at risk.

This aligns with the information contained in The Climate Report:  The National Climate Assessment-Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States, which was published late last year.  That report is also worth a read-particularly for the  breakdown of what geographic areas can expect going forward.

BW photograph of a fallen tree after a flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of debris that accumulated after a recent flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of debris that accumulated after a recent flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

According to The Climate Report, “The recent dominant trend in precipitation throughout the Northeast has been towards increases in rainfall intensity, with increases in intensity exceeding those in other areas of the contiguous United States.” (2018, p. 117)  There are nuances to this, so please do read the report.  Such appeared to be the case when a hard rain fell this past Thursday night-after having rained all day.  As a result, Morgan Run flooded yet again.

BW photograph of tree roots exposed after more flooding.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of tree roots exposed after more flooding.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of tree roots exposed after more flooding.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The erosion is exacerbated due to the continual washing away of remaining topsoil.

BW photograph of a dead fish after being washed ashore during a flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Farmers in the Mid-West, who have been struggling with the impact crop tariffs have had on sales, have now watched as historic flooding has destroyed infrastructure and equipment, swamped fields, and swept away livestock.  Over the past few weeks, Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources has been re-stocking waterways with fish.  Indeed, during the week of March 3, “900 rainbow trout” were released into Morgan Run, as per their email to that effect.  Above is a photograph of one of the four that appear to have been washed onto fishing platform and perished.   As with all aquatic life deprived of oxygen, this fish’s death would have been unpleasant, and that registers on its face.   The livestock that perished in the flooding had the opposite problem, but it would have been no less excruciating.  There really is no comparison here:  most likely no one’s livelihood is dependent on the fish in Morgan Run.  However, families in Iowa, Nebraska, and elsewhere have a long road ahead to recoup their losses.

BW photograph of a short piece of log and other rocky debris after a recent flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

If what happened last week in the U.S., not to mention globally with the flooding in Africa and Asia, is indeed a preview, then the next couple of months will be quite stressful.

Take care.

 

 

 

 

 

Flooding

March 18, 2019

BW photograph of a worn work glove laying in a puddle of water.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The upper Mid-West has had more fallout from the bomb cyclone mentioned in the previous post-massive flooding from the snow/rain dumped from the storm has melted the previously existing snow pack overwhelming, streams, creeks, and rivers.  As a result, roads, bridges, and houses/businesses have been destroyed or damaged.   Meanwhile, a tropical cyclone ravaged Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe creating similar damage and killing hundreds.  Finally, floods and landslides have killed dozens in Indonesia.

This is occurring within the first months of 2019, which follows what was the wettest year on record for many in the U.S. in 2018.

Globally, as per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2018 was also “…the fourth hottest year in NOAA’s 139-year climate record.  The year ranks just behind 2016 (warmest), 2015 (second warmest) and 2017 (third warmest).”  NOAA has also posted that the about-to-end winter season has been the wettest on record in the U.S.

The reason for all of the links?  Individuals and corporate executives complain about the costs to adapt to or mitigate the consequences of climate change.  When one totals the financial and emotional cost of the effects of climate change, it becomes that much harder to complain.  That is, of course, unless one only focuses on the short-term, bottom-line, profit or expense report.

In 1971, Fram started using the tag line “You can pay me now, or pay me later” in ads for their oil filters.  As per the above reports, these past few days have evidenced the amount of blood and treasure currently being expended as a result of climate change.  The costs to make the necessary adaptations and/or mitigations are only going to increase as the number of people affected also rise and as climate systems become more unbalanced.

Fram had it right all those decades ago.

Take care,

Kevin

The Return

March 17, 2019

BW photograph of the remaining snow in the woods on a just post-dawn morning.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It had been about a month since the last trip to the mountains.  The past weeks were busy with work; the weather was often uncooperative; and I was just plain tired.   There were many major events that occurred over that span on both the national and global scene:  tornadoes hit Alabama and Georgia, a Bomb Cyclone descended on the Mid-West, and there was a second Boeing aircraft that crashed.   That list obviously does not include the political wranglings that also dominated the news cycle.  While none of those had a direct, personal impact, other than the concern that comes with future flights, these still register for those who care about the human condition.

Therefore, it was with more than a bit of relief that this past Thursday morning allotted for a walk in the woods.

As seen above, there was just enough snow remaining as a reminder that it is still winter.  The air was quite crisp in the pre-dawn hours, which is my preferred time to walk.  This is especially true when in the mountains as it can be ghostly quiet.  On this particular morning, there was no wind-just pure stillness as the night faded…

BW photograph of sun rising looking off Cat Rock into the woods.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of sun rising looking off Cat Rock into the woods.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and the sun arose to illuminate the far mountainside.

BW photograph of the sun rising behind the trees of Cat Rock.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Perfect.

Take care.

Extremes

March 9, 2019

BW photograph of a decaying tree trunk with some patchy snow.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

A couple of days ago, we had four or so inches of an icy snow fall and accumulate.  Interestingly, the snow did not have to first melt and then re-freeze to morph into the corn snow mentioned in an earlier post-it arrived fully formed.  Most of that is now gone as the sun-driven temperatures moderated a bit.  It was 31 degrees when the above photograph was made, though.

Tomorrow, the forecast calls for rain and temperatures in the 60s.

Cataclysmic weather can be the result when warm and cold air masses attempt to occupy the same space.  Such was the case just a week ago when an EF4 tornado killed 23 people in Alabama-truly a monstrous storm by all measures…  and one that will leave an indelible mark on those who survived.   Nothing so dramatic or catastrophic is supposed to happen here-just another upward jog in the confounding weather pattern that has characterized this year so far.

Perhaps the above photograph reflects the last of the snow for this winter season.  Perhaps not.

Take care.