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May 25, 2011


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The earth and it's climate change on a planetary scale and at a planetary pace. In the same way that we do not concern ourselves with the two week life span of a fly, the earth cares little about our 75 year span. Planets speak in units of billions of years.

What has changed at an unnatural pace is the number of people, who by random chance cross paths with earth's rumblings and weather events.

Too many people.

Too many people.

Too many people.

When something in nature becomes unnatural. Nature, without malice, makes a correction.

Corrections really hurt.

God bless the victims and families of these terrible storms.

The Visible Hand of Entropy clenches.

Entropy "the degree of disorder or randomness in the system."
Out of Chaos comes a unknown degree of order but I prefer a statement made by one of my two Indian native wives, remarking on the 100 year flood plain near Scottsdale, AZ. “My people are not so stupid as to set up a tepee in a river bed.” As a kid in Iowa, storm cellars were where we went during a twister. No storm cellar, then lay down in a ditch as the storm follows the natural contours of the earth and seemingly strikes at raised oddities above the ground surface. My Grandfather was in a barn full of mules when it was destroyed by a tornado, all the mules died, may grandfather lost his left eye after being struck by a flying mule heel. There were no doctors or hospitals. He survived and died in his eighties bearing the face of a man smashed in by nature’s unpredictable forces. I have seen straw drilled straight into board planks. I certainly agree with azrebels above statements but as some on this blog would say, we come from that pessimistic group known as “old guys.” Religious driven nut job, Senator Jim Inhofe qualifies for a religious liftoff. If only his god would find a twister for him. I am back from Tejas where the wind does blow. In the 100 books I left my grandkids are some books on Weather and its disorderly conduct. Good piece Jon at least for us old history buffs.

Surprisingly, NOAA doesn't seem to find any connection between more severe events and climate change. They refer to stuff like the La Nina effect. Did I just stop Googling too soon?

Thanks for the definition cal. I thought Rate was talking about what happens to your hand when it is in a cast for a few months.

NOAA lost all credibility with me (not that it had a lot to begin with) when they sold us out in the gulf by stating "Oh my! All the oil is gone. We looked out our window here in DC and we can't see a drop of oil. So, as government scientists we deduce that it is gone. Good times are here again!!"

Even McKibben is calling global wierding (a.k.a. "global climate disruption") "climate change" . . .

"A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!"


I think the advantage of the pattern-finding mind is that even when we're wrong, which is most of the time, we can at least be curious about why things happen. What is odd about the current string of surreal weather events involves the remarkable degree of incuriosity among those who could otherwise divine a cataclysm from a chicken's entrails. Record drought over here, record precipitation over there, record cyclonic activity and record ocean temperatures. Gee? You think something kinda weird is happening?

The SCIENCE of climate change is not about certitude. It's about probability. And it's been telling us these weird weather events will become more frequent as the atmosphere and oceans heat up. This is not a matter of "liberal" scientists mocking God-fearing morons in Missouri. It's about physics. It's about things we can measure and know with confidence. Convesely, denialism is about things it can ridicule as "booklearnin'" and "pointy-headed intellectuals" telling us stuff we'd prefer not to know.

There is an element of poetic justice (if not schadenfreude) when Bible Belt denialists bear the brunt of nature's mechanistic fury. God doesn't protect the innocent and optimistic from random acts of molecules. It doesn't protect God's favorite nation and planet from human activity upsetting exquisite balances in global climate systems. A nation in thrall to easy answers from charlatans like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck will find out the hard way. Here's wishing they learn hard, fast, and decisively.

Weather and climate, while related, are not the same thing. That is what we often hear from scientist and it is very true. It is also immensely confusing to those who have little grasp of math and science. However, we cannot directly correlate these storms with global warming as much as we can with rising ocean levels and temperatures, and the increasing measurements of CO2 in arctic ice core samples. Science is not a religion and rightly, we do not believe, hope, or jump to conclusions based on loose data.

Speaking of the Arctic, Barry Lopez's "Arctic Dreams" is a worthy read. His most recent fictional work, "Resistance", is as well.

Thanks Soleri, that's what I was trying to say. And you did it so well.

Just got my first comment censored on AZCentral.

I expressed my wish that congress burn in hell for extending the Patriot Act.

Time to head for a higher elevation and get away from all this.


One of things I had been hoping for was a catastrophe bad enough to galvanize attention, but not one so bad that it made collective action impossible. These tornadoes might be it. It's not a matter of proving global warming produced them. It's a matter of showing that the likelihood of destructive weather will increase as the atmosphere and oceans warm up. In other words, welcome to THIS future and probably worse.


I don't know when it stared, maybe our generation was the first, the boomers. The generational relay of important, basic information about how to survive on this planet stopped being received by the new generation. Maybe moving to cities and becoming dumbed down made it hard for the old generation to pass on the information. Old timers know about weather such as tornados. The folks in the new cities don't think tornados would have the audacity to hit a city. Maybe that's why only 3% of homes in tornado alley have a storm shelter.

I am not without blame. I still feel guilty to this day for losing a home in the Rodeo-Chedeski fire. I can just hear the voices of my ancestors, "What? You built a home among the trees in a forest without clearing a fire break around the structure. You built IN THE TREES? What are you, an idiot???"

We're devolving and you know what nature does to those who devolve? Just ask the Dodo bird.

As our Valley grows warmer, the Bad Ozone also grows. When the number exceeds 100, there's significant cause for concern. Those of us with respiratory issues are well-advised to stay indoors. Today's the 2nd or 3rd in a series of soft-pedaled "alerts" and "warnings". The Republic's weather website has conveniently omitted air quality information. Who'd want to discourage folks from driving over this holiday weekend? It would be un-'Merican! Once again we sense the invisible hand of the omnipotent Real Estate Booster Club.

"It's a matter of showing that the likelihood of destructive weather will increase as the atmosphere and oceans warm up. In other words, welcome to THIS future and probably worse." Soleri

Agreed, the problem with weather patterns and attributing them to global warming is that we don't know how weather will be affected over time. Will next year progressively get worse for tornadoes and flooding? And will the year after that be even worse? Or will there be more droughts, as some scientists have been modeling, for the Midwest and a possible return of the dust bowl? This is why most scientist today will not say, yes, these tornadoes are due to global warming and the nation will experience more of this in the future.

What we do know is that global warming is occurring at an unnatural pace due to pollution and human activity. The natural cooling and heating of the earth is well documented throughout history: Romans marched toward the Rhineland over the Alps with little difficulty at times because many high passes in the Alps were not covered with snow year round and glacial activity during some centuries was more sporadic. The earth was much warmer then.

The problem today is population growth and the quickening pace of warming. We don't have the time to react to our changing environments; therefore, it will be devastating to human population centers on every continent.

PSF, while we can't know anything with certainty, we can know some things in terms of probability. That's why computer models are critical here. If warmer air holds more moisture, storms will tend to be more violent. Drought, which is forecast for the desert Southwest, will be the flip side of that phenomenon - drier air currents aloft moving in places at increasingly higher latitudes. Now, maybe some years will be wetter, or some drier, but what we can safely assert is that sea levels will rise, glaciers will continue melting, and desertification will worsen.

Because Big Oil's disinformation campaign (not to mention the Republican noise machine) has persuaded a majority of Americans that there is no real issue here, the problems will go unaddressed. We need vivid examples and alarmist rhetoric if we're going to have any hope of countering these trends. Whether we can conclusively explain every weather phenomenon as related to global warming isn't the issue. The issue is that we're already running out of critical time. I'd rather err on the side of scientific nicety than incur further disasters to Earth's ecosystems and climates. It's probably too late as it is. If we don't scream, we're not going to avert a looming catastrophe several short decades in the future. Don't worry about being absolutely certain here because it's unlikely anyone is going to notice. What they'll notice is you hedging your bets and decide that it's probably not that serious anyway.

Something to really watch is Siberia, where climate change is thawing the permafrost, threatening to release methane, which will only increase the feedback loop.

Soleri, I think the only small but significant thing we disagree about it what we need to scream to those that don't believe in global warming. If we pin hopes on these type of weather disasters (occurring more frequently) and those predictions turn out incorrect or only periodic, then the disbelievers will continue to disbelieve.

They will say, "see this year is dry and dusty but next year might be the worst flooding in the Mississippi's course since the building of the ancient serpent mounds." It is important to stress that more violent storms for the earth are likely, but also that more unpredictable weather will also follow.

Hate to be the pessimist (again) but education is out and ignorance is in. In Brazil A few days ago the greedy and ignorant sent another message to environmentalists, quit or we will kill you. I hear that kind of talk regularly from very angry local foes of protecting the environment. And most of those folks also belong to the NRA and God.

If you want to hear the anger out there, go undercover as a militant right wing agent of god. The ignorant make a lot of bad assumptions based on appearance consequently I fit right into their perception as of one of them!

Somehow, religion gets a bad rap in discussions of climate change denial. One of George Carlin's last gigs was a rant against God. It made for good theater, but mainly profiled the evangelical right whack-a-doodles. Then there's the progressive school of theology (pastors like Jack Spong and Dom Crossan) that tends to debunk segments of the Bible as metaphor and woo-woo. They maintain that the Bible "should be taken seriously but not literally". belong to one of those churches and it is like a breath of fresh air. They support social justice issues like gay rights and don't always vote Republican!

morecleanair, in my 70 years of travels I have experienced attempted drowning by many "christian" religions. And I am an amateur student of world religions. I have spent many an hour with religious clergy and found most to be well educated and fairly liberal at least in their personal lives out of sight of I least in their personal lives out of sight of the congregation. I have had discussions with a number of clergy that I think do not actually believe in the god as depicted in the world’s religions. I have acquaintances that believe Jesus was a terrorist.
I kinda like the Hopi religion but don’t take it seriously. Around the Xmas holidays I watch Elmer Gantry for entertainment and to remind me of the evangelists that came through small Midwest towns with their tent shows. Leaving behind a trail of looting and sexually deviances. I have had the experience of out running a religious pedophile (The tent fire depicted in the movie, Elmer Gantry reminds me of the whackos that got fired in Waco. Thanks for the info on liberal religious places but I’ll get my religion on my recumbent or on top of a mountain in a lighting storm where you can get really close to the “power.”

Morecleanair: I'm a Christian and I'm not a nut. My faith only strengthens my sense of stewardship and the duty to address these many environmental disasters we are bringing on ourselves by our own free agency.

Jon: what you said! Or do the hipsters say "WORD"?

"Free agency" I had this discussion with a Unitarian clergy person on top of a mountain that overlooks 4 SE states. I had this meeting while backpacking across America in 95-96 and was invited to this retreat by a North Carolina anthropologist professor. I am a militant agnostic but hopefully I will be able to tell the “good” Christian stewards from the “others” as I pass through the land of great Saguaros and the sands of time.

Funny Cal, a lightning bolt crashed a few yards away from me on Camelback a few (or more) years ago. Scared off the two fellas in front of me, but I didn't think it should spoil a good hike.

For all: Does anyone know the quote from General Sherman about Arizona?

Nevermind the quote -- I think I found it (thanks to Google Books):

At Maricopa, 23 October 1880

Sherman: "What a hell of a country!"

Capt. Hancock of Phoenix: "Why General, it is not such a bad country; we have to the north a rich agricultural valley and mines. Possibly Arizona is a bit warm, but all she needs is more water and better immigration."

Sherman: "Huh! Less heat! More water! Better society! That’s all hell needs!"

Thus Captain Hancock is probably the granddaddy of all AZ real estate scams and dirty development deals, SB1070, and of the Rogue Columnist blog!

Electricdog: Hancock was talking about the location in Texas where they named a Fort after him? Only Mere mortals would leave the mountain. Whats a few lighting bolts among us gods. Mere mortals have trouble with intense electrical currents. I remember the farm boy contest where we would grab the electric (animal) fence and see who could hold on the longest.
If you hold on strongly and long enough your hands and arms up to your elbows become numb and you cant feel a thing.
Gordon J Liddy from Sarah Palins new homeland, Scottsdale, AZ

Sherman also said if he owned both hell and Texas, he would live in hell and rent out Texas.

Sherman sounds similar to his fellow Ohioans of today who have emigrated to Arizona...except, these Ohioans don't leave so easily!


Capt. Hancock and Gen'l Sherman were on a train stopped at Maricopa, AZ. Hancock evidently was an early Phoenix settler, the first store in Phoenix being a rented room in his adobe around 1st & Washington:


A small bio on page 270 in my above link.

PSF -- If it weren't for air conditioning no midwesterners or alaskans would live here!

I like Sherman's take on TX too! Thanks.

Hope you all had a great weekend and are enjoying Memorial Day. About to fire up the grill as it has been very cool here in Phoenix this spring.

E-dog, I'm sure mid-westerners would live here September through April/May (or this year until June) after which it would get too hot without A/C...

Just for the record, even though I have been here 61 years I am from Iowa and I love da heat. Hancock and I used to hunt the desert North of Sunnyslope. Wayne Hancock.


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