«

»

It’s not climate change.

A friend posted something about Houston on Facebook and actually implied that Harvey proved the case for climate change.

Neglecting the fact that a major hurricane has not hit the United States since Katrina, 12 years ago.*

Neglecting the fact that hurricanes aren’t driven by climate, they’re driven by weather.  If you don’t have a deep low pressure zone over warm water, you don’t generate a hurricane.  But that is completely and totally dependent on the chaotic system known as “weather”, that the experts in the field can’t even predict accurately more than about 12 hours out, let alone your lazy ass that looks at the outdoor thermometer for the last week or so and gasps, “OMG it’s global climate change!  It’s August (or now September) and it’s still summer and it’s ONLY 70 degrees!” without bothering to look at the latest NOAA surface analysis map (as if you took the junior-level Weather and Climate class from Prof Tom many years ago and actually know what all those squiggly lines mean) to find out why that might be.**

Climate is what we expect.  Weather is what we get, and it doesn’t always track with climatic expectations.

And still nobody on the Chicken Little side of the climate debate has explained why all the “warming” they saw suddenly stopped in 1997 and hasn’t started back up since.  (Oh, sure, they keep adjusting the models and fudging the data, but the models don’t jibe with what we see and we all know the data is being fudged.)

And nobody — but nobody — wants to admit that the solar cycle has anything at all to do with that, even with us going into one of the deepest solar minimums since the Maunder or the Dalton. No, the big hydrogen fusion furnace in the sky that burns your skin if you stay out in it too long has nothing to do with temperature on earth.  Y’all just keep believing that.

And keep believing that increased atmospheric CO2 means increased atmospheric heating, when actual research shows that CO2 gets released during cooling cycles, and trapped during warming cycles.  It’s almost as if the planet has a thermostat.  Oh, wait.

The fact is that the human race has seen warmer times and colder times.  Indeed, when I was in high school, Al Gore was ranting about global cooling, with just about as much reason to pay attention to him then as there is now, i.e., none.  But let’s face it:  Around the turn of the first millennium, the Vikings named their colony in eastern Canada “Vinland”.  Because they fucking grew grapevines there and were making wine, that’s why.  And as another friend of mine who is another global warming advocate (and ought to be smart enough to know better) keeps pointing out to me, there are ancient farmsteads being uncovered by melting ice in Greenland, another Viking haunt from about the same period of history.

Is it possible that we’re just living during a period when the natural variation either way just seems like it might be catastrophic?  There are stories of winter festivals held on the iced-over Thames River in London during the “Little Ice Age” (1645-1715) coincident with the Maunder Minimum.  (The Thames, for those of you who aren’t keeping up, doesn’t freeze in the winter these days.  Neither does the Hudson or Long Island Sound in New York, but both did in 1780 — the winter of Valley Forge — and the British troops rolled cannon across them to Staten Island to defend it from American partisans who were sneaking across the river to attack them.)

The US was just getting a good start when the Dalton Minimum hit in 1790. and winters turned awful until around 1830.  Have you ever read any good stories about pioneering in the Midwest during the Northwest Territories period?  Look what they have to say about the winters.  Hint:  They were nasty.  And the New Madrid fault famously cut loose during the depths of winter right in the middle of it, 1811-1812, probably making folks in proto-Illinois and proto-Indiana even more miserable than they already were.

Conversely, the Romans at their height lived through a warm era that probably fostered the growth of their empire.  It’s called the Roman Warm Period. You or Al Gore could look it up.  And there was another warm period later called the Medieval Warm Period that might have had a lot to do with the Renaissance.  You or Al Gore could look that up, too.  That one coincides with the Vinland colonization, by the way.

But you try to make that sort of logical argument these days, and the Luddites put you in the stocks and throw rotten vegetables at your head.  Or the virtual equivalent thereof.

Won’t they all be disappointed when it all works out just fine.

_____________________
* And never mind that another one is bearing down on either Florida, or the Carolinas, or the Gulf, or somewhere (the models — remember what I said about models? — disagree fairly violently) even as we speak.  To all my friends in Florida, hang in there; we’re thinking of you.

** Your concept of that sort of map may well be along the lines of, “Weather was dominated by a large Canadian low, which is not to be compared to a Mexican high, ha ha ha.”