Hurricane Season

September 27, 2017

BW photograph of a bike rack flooded by Hurricane Jose at Bethany Beach.

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

This is a photo essay showing the standing water that remained a couple of days after having been left by Hurricane Jose as it passed by Bethany Beach.  Jose remained off the coast, and so this part of the world was spared the massive damage generated by the 2017 Hurricane Season (thus far).  Such is not the case for other parts of the mainland U.S. and several of the islands in the Caribbean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

BW photograph of a flooded storm drain in Bethany Beach.

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

NPR’s 1A broadcast a program dedicated to the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico.  This discussion addressed the breadth and depth of the humanitarian, political, economic, and social issues generated by this disaster.  Several important historical points that have contributed to the current crisis are included.  Mr. Johnson’s opening lines encapsulate what follows.

Take care.

UPDATE:  This link addresses The Jones Act mentioned in the above discussion, and this link provides more details regarding the extreme hardships being experienced in Puerto Rico.

 

 

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Fall 2017

September 20, 2017

BW photograph of fall debris.

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

The official start of Fall 2017 is right around the corner.

BW photograph of a foggy river.

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

As last week closed, the days generally started with decidedly cooler temperatures.

This week, though, has seen a return to more summeresque conditions-higher temperatures and humidity.  The week also brought a continuation of natural disasters:  Hurricane Jose has created some disruption for the Mid-Atlantic, and Hurricane Maria has torn up several countries on her march westward.  Time will tell if she is destined for the U.S.

Violent weather patterns are not the only issue as we make this transition:  Mexico had a 7.1 earthquake.

Hurricane season officially ends on November 30.  There is no “season” for earthquakes-they are the result of geology.  Such quakes are not unique to Mexico-in 2015, Nepal experienced a 7.8 quake.  The U.S. is still waiting for “The Really Big One”.

Just as human lifestyles have contributed to climate change and the subsequent increase in massive storms, not to mention our propensity to drain wetlands and build close to shorelines, which makes the infrastructure more susceptible to flooding and storm surges; human activity also plays a role in some earthquakes and the subsequent damage done.  Part of this is due to the location and the manner in which buildings are constructed-the latter point is especially true for less developed countries-but here in the U.S., many are related to our energy production needs/methods-please read this and this.

Condolences to all who continue to suffer through these catastrophic events.

Take care.

 

Torrents

September 1, 2017

BW photograph of dark and light clouds with a tree in the foreground.

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

Harvey has set a U.S. record for the amount of rain dropped by a single storm in the history of recording such things.

Attention here is focused on Texas and Louisiana, and the other states impacted as Harvey moves north and east-what remains will most likely arrive in this area Saturday. On the other side of the world, South Asia has been hammered with torrential monsoons.  Last month, Sierra Leone experienced this.  The death tolls for both Harvey and the monsoon in India continue to rise.

The property damage caused by Harvey has yet to be determined-that should provide an interesting comparison to Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.

While some politicians have said this is not a time to discuss climate change, as that would be “playing politics”, at what point will the severity of climate change get the full attention of those with the power to make large-scale systemic changes?  Four years is an awful long time to wait, and there are no guarantees then.

An awful lot of losses can accrue over that span.

There is another issue to address as well-the human factor.  The above incidents are referred to as “natural disasters”.  However, that grossly overlooks the human factor.  The failure of New Orleans’ levee and seawall system has been widely documented.  (As an aside, New Orleans had flooding earlier this year due to many pump failures.).  NPR published this report regarding Houston.  Part of what contributed to the flooding in Mumbai was clogged storm drains due to the amount of trash generated-poverty and poor infrastructure add to the problems.

One thing is certain, though:  these “100 year storms” are occurring with greater and greater frequency.  When there are weaknesses in the social structure, they will increase the risk to the population.

The clouds in the above photograph?  They produced not a drop of water.

Take care.

BW photograph of a dropped leave in dried, cracked mud.

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

Yesterday, the president did what he said he would do-he withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.  NPR posted this fact-check of the speech within which the president made the announcement.

BW photograph of a dark vehicle driving in a parking lot on a rainy day as seen through a windshield.

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

And the world has responded:  It appears that China is moving towards leadership in this critical issue; France replied in this manner;  and this is the response from the EU.  This report is a little older, and, of course, we now know the result.  Ideally, the U.S. withdrawal will strengthen the resolve of the remaining 190+ countries who signed the Accord.

For someone who claims to be so enamoured with the environment (listen to or read the text of the speech), the president sure has a contradictory way of showing it-Scott Pruitt as head of EPA, the roll-backs of Obama-era climate efforts, and now this one.

It is worth noting that current Secretary of Defense James Mattis had this to say about climate change earlier this year.

Take care.

Long Term Consequences

March 6, 2017

BW photograph of a mini-falls with bubbly water.

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

It was 16 degrees Sunday morning and just above freezing this morning.  The forecast calls for temperatures in the 60s over the next couple of days and then for the possibility of snow showers later in the week.

A local NPR station has a relatively new show entitled 1A, and one of today’s broadcasts dealt with climate change-a topic that Mr. Joshua Johnson, the host, has addressed before.  The panelists reported on the fluctuation of weather systems coupled with the longer term consequences of climate change.

BW photograph of sycamore trees against the sky.

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

There were two major areas of discussion involving the warming temperatures: the shift in weather patterns and the de-synchronization between plant and animal species.  (The book Why Time Flies covered in an earlier blog includes this as well.)  One of the panelists presented a theory that addressed the former and both discussed examples to illustrate the latter.  The biological and economic consequences of these developments are quite notable.

Take care.

 

74 Degrees

February 18, 2017

BW photograph of a shopping center's parking lot.

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

Today, February 18, 2017, it was 74 degrees in Frederick, Maryland.

BW photograph of the back side of a store front's wall.

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

While walking around the downtown area in the early afternoon, one gentleman was overheard saying to his companions “Sure, it’s global warming, but it’s nice.”

And it was.

The issue, though, is that we are dealing with climate change.  In a previous post, I referenced Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation by Alan Burdick, which really is an excellent read.  One of the chapters, “The Days,” describes the impact of climate change on the circadian rhythms of some migrating species and their sources of food.  Historically, their biological clocks were synchronized-as the planet warms, they are becoming less so.  Some species’ biological clocks are driven by time, others by temperature.  As such, this creates a problem for those migrating species with biological clocks that are time-based whose food sources may have hatched much earlier than usual due to a circadian rhythm reacting to warmer temperatures.  As Mr. Burdick points out, those species that are able to adapt to these changing patterns will survive and those that don’t, won’t. (pg. 64)

So, while it was undeniably an excellent day for a walk around town, there are much larger implications involved.  It is easy to adapt to the warmth of a day like today by putting on a lighter jacket or by wearing none at all.  Assuming the temperatures drop over the next week as is forecast, one can adjust by selecting a heavier jacket or adding a sweater.  No big deal.  For some species, though, the evolutionary process of adaptation may, in fact, take too long.

Take care.

“Home Free”

January 31, 2017

BW photograph of a cardboard sign stating "Home Free Broke & Hungry Anything Helps God Bless Trying to gt A Room" in a trashcan.

Copyright 2016 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It is very difficult to reconcile the above image.

This documentary is also difficult to watch-it is entitled 4.1 Miles and depicts Kyriakos Papadopoulos and his crew’s efforts to rescue refugees off the coast of Lesbos.  It does, however, provide a very powerful juxtaposition to current U.S. policy regarding immigration.  This news analysis also provides a counter-point to said policy.  (As an aside, given that we are in an era of “alternative facts,” it is important to carefully review the actual language used and check and validate statistics when examining such issues.)  The current policy has created a great deal of controversy here in the U.S. and abroad.

As stated in the news analysis, the goal of terrorism is to create fear.  Individuals and social institutions can wittingly and unwittingly play into such efforts by creating a globalized fear of the other.  Critical thinking and actual facts do make a difference so as to avoid the dangers inherent in stereotyping and demonizing.  With specific regard to refugees, at what point do empathy, compassion, and humanity become factors?  The same need to be afforded to the victims of terrorist actions.  It is vitally important that one group not be played against the other.

Returning to the photograph at the head of this post, part of what is heartbreaking is that the sign was in the trash.  Perhaps, in the best sense, it was no longer needed as the person or persons achieved what was expressed.

Take care.