Monday, October 15, 2007

Storm World

It's Blog Action Day, a day for bloggers around the web to unite in writing about a single important issue - the environment.

The last time I tried to stir up some interest among my readers about climate change it generated a healthy debate in the comments. So this time I'll try not to piss of too many readers.

All of us who live near the coast and especially those of us who set sail on the high seas surely have an interest in storms, and especially in hurricanes. The question as to how global warming will affect hurricanes is still a topic of active debate in the scientific community.

On one side of the argument, climate scientists using sophisticated computer models are finding evidence that warmer seas will fuel more intense (but perhaps not more frequent) hurricanes. On the other side, some weather forecasters who specialize in hurricanes say those climate models are inherently unreliable, and that the data to demonstrate such a connection just doesn't exist.

I've just finished reading Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming by Chris Mooney, an excellent overview of this whole issue. If you care about the topic and want to become better informed you should read this book.

Oops. Did I do the right thing for the environment? How many extra trees are going to be felled when all my readers rush out and buy the book?

Tell you what. Do what I did. Borrow it from the local library.


3 comments:

Team Gherkin said...

Well, down here in Eastern rural Australia, we're into the sixth (some say seventh) year of drought. As an inland lake sailor, having never seen our dam anywhere near full capacity, the whole Global Warming is certainly bringing home the affect of climate change.

I grew up sailing on the coast, in Sydney Harbour. Water was never an issue in those days. Ah, how much we take for granted!

Cyalayta
Mal :)

Carol Anne said...

Like Mal, we're dealing with long-term drought here in the Southwestern US, including the mountains where drought wasn't all that big a deal in the past. The problem is that when the studies were made that determined how water would be allocated, that was an unusually wet period. Now the government contracts say that the contractors downstream are entitled to however many acre-feet the contract calls for, even if those acre-feet don't exist.

Of course, if the contractors downstream are entitled to and use more water than is in the lake, the lake goes dry. That's not good.

And the long-term predictions, given the drought, are for much less water to go into the lake than the contractors are authorized to take out. That's not good.

Mal, I've actually seen both Heron and Elephant Butte dams near capacity, and it's a beautiful sight. I sincerely hope that you will, at some time, see such a marvel.

Alas, I fear that it is not to be.

Tim said...

Some advice to America on how to help the plant:

When I lived in Houston Texas about 8 years ago, I noticed a most peculiar habit amoung the local inhabitants. During the summer they would water thier lawns every day, sometimes twice a day. Then they would cut the grass when it grew! How stupid is that?

I mean if you want to conserve water (and keep your water bill down) don't water the lawn and this will have the added benifit that you don't have to waste your time and money cutting it!

While you're at it switch off a few lights too and use low energy ones. I know that energy is relatively cheap in the US but you will save money and the planet at the same time. It really is not that difficult to understand or do.

Oh and why not use cars with smaller engines. Sure they don't make such a throaty roar and don't go as quick but hey most of you sit in traffic jams anyway so what the hell? If you could just half the engine size of the average car you would use significantly less fuel, generate less polution and less CO2 as well as reducing your travel costs. Again its not a difficult thing to do, just buy smaller cars.

Just a few ideas from this side of the pond. For more thoughts on how to stop the american dream becoming the worlds nightmare check out http://www.affluenza.org/

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