ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Snow and Rainfall.

with 4 comments

I suppose I should have written much more about the environment and climate change as these issues have concerned me for over 20 years, but now I hope to rectify that omission.

Global warming is not just about the temperature heating up, it’s also about changing patterns of expected seasons, and in some cases increased volatility in weather systems. Obviously this varies from place to place and depends on the time of the year.

Receding snowlines in Nepal are just one indicator, which mountaineers have noticed for years, another is the change in expected rainfall, as the BBC reports:

“Once the world’s wettest places, Cherrapunji is getting up to 20% less rain every year – and is suffering water shortages.

Cherrapunji’s weather office says the average annual rainfall in the town has dropped by about 20% in the last five years – though the trend started a decade ago.

“It is basically since 2005 that we are often getting 800cm-900cm of rain in Cherrapunji annually – against the normal average of 1100cm,” says one of the office’s staff, Amit Chaudhuri.

But the town has been getting drier due to erratic rain since the beginning of the decade, Mr Chaudhuri says.”

Written by modernityblog

20/12/2009 at 04:13

4 Responses

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  1. Mod, all of Texas experienced a dreadful, aweful drought in the 1950s. The old timers still talk about it. Wells went dry up and down this canyon, and people were reduced to getiing drinking water from a lone spring about 8 miles from here. The grass went dormant, then died, then disappeared.

    That’s the nature of this country. Parts were purchased and settled during unusually wet years, when this place is Shangri-La. Lifestock brought in, crops planted, communities established. Then a couple of dry years wipe every thing out.

    Two or three years of 40″ of rain is heaven. Two or three years of 15″ rain is hell. It’s been that way since this canyon was first settled in the 1850s.

    What causes it? Who knows?

    mesquito

    20/12/2009 at 14:57

  2. mesquito,

    I think you highlight one of the problems with the debate, because obviously people who come from a region or country where there is great volatility in the weather wouldn’t necessarily notice these changes or could accept them as natural to the region/country.

    Wouldn’t they?

    Whereas countries which have fairly temperate climate (not changing much in a particular season), would notice these changes and potentially be alarmed?

    I think in part it’s a problem of perspective, if (supposing for the sake of argument, that it exists) we wait until all the world is a dustbowl to be sure, then the Earth won’t be inhabitable, would it?

    So an alternative is to look overall, globally, at the totality of world temperatures and volatility and say

    “Do these changes indicate something worse?” and

    “If so, should we do something about it”

    and finally “What should we do?”

    The problem is, as I see it, we’re still on question one.

    modernityblog

    20/12/2009 at 15:22

  3. Before living in Texas I lived in Panama, which had an extraordinarily temperate and predictable climate. The tempererature never fell below 70 or rose above 90. There was never any severe weather to speak of, since Panama is shielded against hurricanes from the east by South America.

    Even there, rainfall rates were widely variable from year to year, something followed with some anxiety because the operation of the canal is utterly dependent on the flow of the Rio Chagres.

    Everywhere I look I see claims of recent climate change, and everywhere those claims are, to my scientific albeit Christian and Republican mind, highly suspect or crudely hyped.

    mesquito

    20/12/2009 at 16:35

  4. Like I say, you have to take it globally, world-wide, or you end up in the school of antidotes, basing it on subjective accounts of people’s own limited (mine included) experiences

    modernityblog

    20/12/2009 at 19:06


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