We Broke the Weather

If you’re reading this from the sunny south you’re probably thinking it’s an over reaction to the recent brutal cold and then record highs we have been experiencing here in Eastern Ontario. Oh, no wait, since on November 19th, 50 states had temperatures below zero. I assume that included Florida. Oh, and Hawaii.

But the cold and snow we experienced earlier this month is not normal. I don’t care how many people try and tell me “Well we had a winter like this in 1938” or “Our winters always used to be like this.” I don’t believe them.

What I think is this. We broke the weather. And even though government-sponsored groups like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) say climate change effects will start to be felt in 2050 or later, it’s just not true. It’s happening now.

The biggest mistake we made was to call it “Global Warming.” While the planet overall is warming, it doesn’t mean that every day everywhere will be warmer. NOAA reports that globally, (in other words the global average) in October was the hottest ever. It set a record.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/20/warmest-october-on-record_n_6192502.html

It’s the 5th month in 2014 we’ve set a record which means 2014 is shaping up to a record breaker. I never thought I’d appreciate some of that heat. But the reality of climate change is that the weather will get weirder and more extreme. We’re just coming out on the cold end of the stick. When you look at those colored maps of the current temperatures you’ve got Alaska and Greenland all red and warm colored because they are warmer than normal, then you’ve got that big blue bulge sweeping down through the middle of North America.

Earlier in November Super Typhoon Nuri moved into the Bering Straight over Alaska.

http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/monster-storm-to-pound-bering/36927708

It was the most powerful storm ever recorded in this area in recorded history. Sounds kind of like Hurricane Sandy. Or the storm that caused $6 billion damage in Calgary in 2013. Or the storm that hit Toronto in August of 2013 and dumped a month’s worth of rain in an hour and caused close to a billion dollars in damage. This list just keeps getting longer and longer.

So this storm in Alaska might have influenced our weather. Or maybe it’s that the Arctic is warming 3 times faster than the south and that is causing the jet stream to meander like it never used to. And when it meanders it likes to stay put for a while rather than just moving on like it used to. Whether this meandering jet stream is caused by the reduced temperature differential between the Arctic and the Equator has yet to be proven.

But it just seems to be getting more pronounced and causing more discomfort, even for us comfortable North Americans.

I made the mistake one Sunday night of watching Leslie Stahl’s report on how bad the drought in California is. Good grief Cam, look away, watch the Simpson’s for heaven’s sake.

http://www.cbs.com/shows/60_minutes/video/eCJ1glZZrh6w0zsUPPHIYPhoKgK_k1D1/water-cardinal-se-n-mandy-patinkin/

Then I watched a NOVA show on the killer landslide from Oso in Washington.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/killer-landslide.html

In the 45 days leading up to the slide the area received twice as much rainfall as normal. The hill just got too saturated and gave way. This is what scientists have been telling us. A drought hammers one area. Another gets too much rain. Most major newscasts now feature an “Extreme Weather” segment, just about every day it seems.

And then there’s snow. We often don’t see snow here until close to Christmas. Last November we got a dumping on about the 24th, a month before I was expecting it. This year we had snow on the ground beginning on November 10th or so. This is just too bizarre. I still had work to do outside. Even I start thinking ‘what happened to global warming?” Oh right, it’s climate change.

Then there’s Buffalo. 6 feet of snow! Come on! That’s just not right. It won’t end! It truly is snowmageddon. No one, from individuals to governments can handle what’s happening.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/19/us/winter-weather/index.html

About 50% of the U.S. had snow on the ground. How’s the orange crop handling this?

Sorry to rant about the weather, but really, what else is there to rant about when by mid-November you’ve already experienced a lot of snow and a brutal cold wind blowing non-stop and you’re plowing through your softwood at a historic pace. I keep softwood at the front of my woodshed for the milder “swing” part of the heating season. The hardwood is at the back. I don’t usually need it until January. This year I needed it November 15th!

Climate change is happening. It’s happening much faster than climate scientists have publicly stated because they like to be conservative. We need to get with the program and deal with it.

The good news is that there are some good things happening! But that’ll have to wait until another day …

6 Responses to “We Broke the Weather”

  • j:

    There’s no such thing as normal when it comes to climate. Climate change is normal and natural.

  • You’re not the only one that’s noticed. Just wish the politicians would.

  • Gerrit:

    Well said, Cam. We have broken the weather, indeed. It will continue to get weirder and wilder. If all carbon production stops tonight, there is enough carbon already in the atmosphere to continue the heat forcing for more than a thousand years. Our generation will be cursed by human survivors for centuries and centuries to come.

  • Pat Nobbs & Lauder Smith:

    We have friends just back from 9 days in Florida. Coming for supper tonight and waiting to hear about the experience with the cold weather!
    Pat and Lauder

  • Well thanks for at least giving us hope in the future… blog post, at least! 😉

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Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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