Monsoon season…

As it turns out it’s monsoon season here in the mid-Atlantic. Something something climate change, something something global warming, something something fake news. I’m sure there are a wide ranging set of reasons this summer as gone directly from cold and rainy to oven baked, and is now shifting gears back to torrential downpours. I find none of those reasons particularly interesting. Mostly because none of them lead to a long stretch of days that we could reasonably describe as “temperate.” I think at this point I may even be willing to settle for “seasonal.”

We’re two months through “summer,” and I’ve only had the top off a handful of times – worse yet, the doors have been firmly installed since I put them back on last September. That’s no kind of life for a Jeep. I mean if you’re not going to drive it up to the fender wells in mud, the very least you can do is strip it down to the bare essentials and enjoy the open air. Except, sadly, you need the air to also cooperate with this plan.

We’ll see what August brings, but given recent history I’m not overly optimistic. I have a terrible feeling that the last, best hope for good Jeep weather this year will be in finding a long Indian summer and trying to hold on to it a little too long. This late in topless driving / monsoon season I suppose I’ll have to take what I can get.

The lucky ones or, The difference between climate and weather…

I’m about to say something controversial, or at least controversial among some of my more right leaning friends. Here it is: the Global climate is changing.

It’s shocking I know, but there are a whole sea of scientists who tell me it’s happening and in cases of science, I’m generally inclined to go along with the majority rather than hang in with the outliers. For purposes of this post, I’m just going to stipulate that climate change is a real thing. In fact that’s all I’m going to stipulate to, because I don’t know (and it really doesn’t matter) whether that change is being caused by humans or whether it’s the result of natural phenomena. The cause, at this moment, isn’t actually the important thing.

If we accept that the earth’s climate is changing and that this change will result in a number of negative consequences, the only question that really matters is what are we going to do about it? We can do nothing, let the temperature creep up, let the oceans rise, and get use to the idea that the breadbasket of the world will end up in central Canada instead of the American Midwest. We can adjust to record rainfalls and droughts, to stronger and more frequent hurricanes, and to the coming unprecedented migrations out of areas that will no longer be suitable for human habitation. Those things are coming regardless of whether we cause the earth to warm or if it’s just part of a natural cycle. It’s going to happen.

Why am I saying this? Well, you see I’m one of the lucky ones. Most people my age have had a few kids and might be interested in leaving the world a better place for their offspring. I’m not tied down with that kind of long range baggage. What I’ve got on my side is the fact that global changes come on fairly slowly and that I’ve already exceeded half of my average life expectancy. Playing the numbers, I’ll most likely be able to ride out the last of the good times and then promptly drop dead before things really go to hell in a handbag, so even if we collectively decide to do nothing, it’s mostly wine and roses for this old boy. You bunch out there with kids or grandkids, on the other hand, wow. The world is going to be a different place for them.

The world is getting warmer and that means life is going to get harder, more violent, and generally less pleasant. We can piss and moan about what caused which, or we can throw in and come up with some solutions to get after the worst of the consequences. The only thing that the pop science I have access to seems certain about is that we can change now or change later, but either way a change is going to come. I’d say it’s better now while we have a chance to think it through instead of just reacting to external stimuli. Then again, what do I know, I’m just a guy sitting here who’s smart enough to know there’s a whole world of things he doesn’t know. As a rule, though, when big groups of smarter people than me say there’s a problem I tend to listen to them rather than dismiss them as hokum and witchcraft.

Now I’ll just sit here quietly while someone from the RNC comes to collect my Republican Party ID card and decoder ring because I think it’s ok to know the difference between climate and weather.

Climate and weather…

Over the weekend, the world’s governments trumpeted their having reached an accord on a theoretical way ahead on slowing down global climate change – what we like to call Global Warming.

I’m sure it’s just coincidence, but this weekend it was also just shy of 70 degrees. It’s very nearly the middle of December. Whatever else it is, the temperatures here on the east coast are certainly an anomaly.

Now I’m smart enough  know there is a huge chasm of difference between local weather and the overall climate. Still, if there is any chance that temperatures like these in mid-December is in some way related to climate change, maybe we should be quite so hasty to try rolling it back. I mean sitting in the porch in shorts and a tee shirt on December 13th isn’t exactly all bad.

Sure potential for the 115 degree summers could be problematic in this part of the world, but just now I’m enjoying the hell out of early fall weather in the middle of winter.

Cold, colder, coldest…

The media have made a great story out of the grave menace to our way of life posed by the Polar Vortex of Doom. Rightly so, I suppose. It is cold out there after all. But there’s gohomearcticyouredrunksomething that’s been nagging at me since the early hours of this morning. I mean aside from vaguely wondering if I shouldn’t have left a faucet running while I was at work.

It was cold last night – somewhere in the low teens when I took the dogs out for last call around 10PM. A little after 6 this morning, I took them out again and discovered that it was still cold. It was still cold to the tune of about 3 degrees. The wind felt like it was blowing at more or less the same speed from more or less the same direction. On both occasions, I was more than well aware that it was, by my own definition, cold as blue hell. However, I can’t say that 3 degrees at 6AM felt substantively colder than 13 degrees at 10PM. This all leads me to believe at some level cold is simply cold.

There’s probably some very scientific method of proving that people sense degrees of coldness in different ways, but based on my purely unscientific experience over the last 24 hours, I’d be hard pressed to confirm that. I’m willing to go ahead and make a concession that I would probably be able to tell -30 from 10, but in a narrower range, it all just feels like worse than average cold to me. Then again, I’m not a devotee of cold weather. At best I consider the cold something to be avoided, hidden from, and beaten back using all the home heating weapons at your disposal… but really, unless I’m going to be stuck in it for hours on end, I don’t need gradations of cold. Unless there’s a tragic accident, I’m not going to be in it long enough to do more than notice that “sweet baby Jesus it’s cold out here.” That makes discussions of cold, colder, and coldest pretty much academic by my standards.