Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Strange Times

It seems that from now on, we can count on everything being very strange:
2003 heatwave 'may have sped up global warming'

LIFE STYLE EXTRA (UK) - The record heatwave that scorched Europe two years ago killing tens of thousands of people could have led to a devastating increase in global warming, new research shows. [...]

Now French researchers have calculated that plant growth across the continent was reduced by about 30 per cent. [...]

Global warming: Siberia feels the heat

It’s a frozen peat bog the size of France and Germany combined that contains billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases and, for the first time since the ice age, it is melting, writes Ian Sample. [...]
Global warming changes the temperature of the oceans which changes our climate. Small changes have quantum effects, which we are beginning to see, with the 2003 European heat wave, and now with the US hurricane season.

Rita is heading toward the Texas coast, and the Houston Mayor urges evacuation as the storm rapidly grows into a Category 4. Galveston and New Orleans have mandatory evacuation orders. South Florida, so far, has been spared a direct hit.
Rita Developments: Experts in New Orleans warn that even a glancing blow from the storm and as little as 3 inches of rain could swamp the city's damaged levees. Engineers and contractors work furiously to repair levees and pumps that protect the below-sea-level city.
I notice that neocon-lovers are attempting to exploit the ignorance of the faithful by playing up the recent announcement of global warming on Mars, with such articles as “Hey Liberals: Better Save Mars from Global Warming”, and “Katie Couric and Matt Lauer Blame Hurricanes On Global Warming”, implying that liberals blame Bush for global warming and the whole notion of global climate change is a liberal fantasy.

The Bush regime is not responsible for global warming, despite their love of pollution, although the regime is certainly not helping. I can't but wonder that if those in power know that catastrophic changes are happening, making plans to save their own psychopathic hides, and leaving us out of the picture.

Update: From The Storm Track - Hurricane Rita is continuing her explosive growth and could easilly reach Category 5. Rita just moved out of range of the Key West radar and technical problem had grounded the hurricane hunters this morning, so NHC is flying blind.

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24 Comments:

Blogger Ron Franscell said...

Rita has morphed in the past 24 hours from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane .. and is expected to swell into a Category 5 later today as it barrels across the warm, energizing Gulf of Mexico. It remains aimed at Texas' mid-coast, but moments ago Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for the voluntary evacuation of coastal areas from Beaumont to Corpus Christi; our own county and municipal authorities have also called for voluntary evacuation, with the option to make it mandatory in the next 24 hours.

Our protector at the moment is a high-pressure cell that's acting as a shield, driving Rita more southerly. If the high-pressure system passes through too quickly, our shield disappears and Rita can detour sharply north toward the Texas-Louisiana line ... us. Our best-case scenario, it seems, is that we'll endure Rita's outer bands of tropical storm-force winds and rain; worst-case is that she turns directly at us.

Relentless Rita churns ahead. One hurricane guru called the devastating difference between a Category 4 and 5 as the difference between being run over by an 18-wheeler or a freight train. One might be slightly less powerful than the other, but either way you're gonna have a really bad day.

The scenario we face now, to extend the analogy, is a freight train heading at you with a 400-mile running start.

Gas stations in some surrounding communities have already sold out. I saw long lines at bank ATMs this morning. If you're looking for a small generator, plywood to board your windows, lumber to buttress your home or other structures, bottled water, a hotel room within 100 miles ... you're already out of luck here.

The mood around the newsroom is a slightly more nervous than yesterday, but certainly not disabling. We've begun to see how our focus might shift from our traditional paper-newspaper to our web site as a way to keep generating fresh, relevant news for readers who aren't here -- both local evacuees and curious outlanders who want to see what we're seeing. Our preparations are a mix of journalistic forethinking, gut reaction, and planning for the safety and comfort of our people who stay. We discuss how to power computers in a blackout, keys to the company snack bar, porta-johns in the warehouse, flexible and dynamic graphics that can be adjusted at the latest moment, who must stay and who can go ... if nothing else, we get a crash course -- on a very small scale -- of the difficulty of responding wisely, quickly and perfectly to a storm that could change course in the next hour and hit anywhere within about 500 miles.

Perhaps FEMA should be smarter about such things than a bunch of Texas newspaper wretches, but until you're casually chatting about life and death in the maw of a killer hurricane, you don't really understand how the processes become more urgent, confusing and haphazard. Many questions go unasked, leaving holes in our foresight and uneasy feelings.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Ron Franscell said...

Rita has morphed in the past 24 hours from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane .. and is expected to swell into a Category 5 later today as it barrels across the warm, energizing Gulf of Mexico. It remains aimed at Texas' mid-coast, but moments ago Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for the voluntary evacuation of coastal areas from Beaumont to Corpus Christi; our own county and municipal authorities have also called for voluntary evacuation, with the option to make it mandatory in the next 24 hours.

Our protector at the moment is a high-pressure cell that's acting as a shield, driving Rita more southerly. If the high-pressure system passes through too quickly, our shield disappears and Rita can detour sharply north toward the Texas-Louisiana line ... us. Our best-case scenario, it seems, is that we'll endure Rita's outer bands of tropical storm-force winds and rain; worst-case is that she turns directly at us.

Relentless Rita churns ahead. One hurricane guru called the devastating difference between a Category 4 and 5 as the difference between being run over by an 18-wheeler or a freight train. One might be slightly less powerful than the other, but either way you're gonna have a really bad day.

The scenario we face now, to extend the analogy, is a freight train heading at you with a 400-mile running start.

Gas stations in some surrounding communities have already sold out. I saw long lines at bank ATMs this morning. If you're looking for a small generator, plywood to board your windows, lumber to buttress your home or other structures, bottled water, a hotel room within 100 miles ... you're already out of luck here.

The mood around the newsroom is a slightly more nervous than yesterday, but certainly not disabling. We've begun to see how our focus might shift from our traditional paper-newspaper to our web site as a way to keep generating fresh, relevant news for readers who aren't here -- both local evacuees and curious outlanders who want to see what we're seeing. Our preparations are a mix of journalistic forethinking, gut reaction, and planning for the safety and comfort of our people who stay. We discuss how to power computers in a blackout, keys to the company snack bar, porta-johns in the warehouse, flexible and dynamic graphics that can be adjusted at the latest moment, who must stay and who can go ... if nothing else, we get a crash course -- on a very small scale -- of the difficulty of responding wisely, quickly and perfectly to a storm that could change course in the next hour and hit anywhere within about 500 miles.

Perhaps FEMA should be smarter about such things than a bunch of Texas newspaper wretches, but until you're casually chatting about life and death in the maw of a killer hurricane, you don't really understand how the processes become more urgent, confusing and haphazard. Many questions go unasked, leaving holes in our foresight and uneasy feelings.

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