Global warming, caused by both human production of CO2 and increased nuclear activity in the local star, our ancient sun, turns once-temperate climates into extreme climates. The latest searing heat wave to trouble the US West is typical for Arizona, not unusual. But it is certainly unusual for Oregon! And in Europe, the vast plains are now turning to desert with Arizona-like heat. And floods indundate Texas, Oklahoma and England as if it is monsoon season. So people concerned about CO2 pollution hold a global series of concerts that used up tremendous energy, caused huge pollution as people drove cars to the countryside which they then destroyed with their vehicles and trampling feet and all so they could be blasted with loud music and exhortations to stop pollution???? Gads.
The drought is worst here, but it is wilting much of the Southeast, causing watering restrictions and curtailed crops in Georgia, premature cattle sales in Mississippi and Tennessee, and rivers so low that power companies in the region are scrambling and barges are unable to navigate. Fourth of July fireworks are out of the question in many tinderbox areas. Hay to feed livestock is in increasingly short supply, watermelons are coming in small and some places have not had good rain since the start of the year.
All things are part of the same system: the planet earth's orb of life and non-life. The effects of one thing reverberate on all other things. If something anywhere changes, all other things change alongside or directly because of it. We just saw a multi-national concert to educate young people about global warming. This is a classic example of McLuhan's philosophical analysis of modern life. The medium is the message.
So let's look at the message that series of rock concerts gave: they all used electricity in vast quantities to produce louder than nature-type noise. They used even more electricity to create light effects. Everyone was supposed to be transported by all this electrical usage to jump up and down with increased excitement and to be very, very agitated and aggressive. For this is how the use of this medium works.
Go to a classical orchestra playing with no amplification! Using mostly wooden, hand made instruments or metal wind instruments, using a large group of people, they can produce some exciting noises. But they also make quiet, gentle sounds that soothe the soul and force contemplation of history, nature and the soul.
But the organizers of these rock concerts wanted to talk to the masses and this meant turning to the Machine and have it blast everyone to bits and then on comes the orator who is a puny, ridiculous figure indeed! They talk about how our energy consumption is destroying the planet and the Machine roars back, blasting away all the rhetoric with its mighty, energy consuming, CO2 creating roar.
And the pollution is getting worse, not better. Greenland is melting faster and faster and the Antarctic is melting and the oceans are rising and there is more water in the earth's dynamic systems but it isn't turning the planet into a temperate zone but rather, increasing both the deserts and the floods. All global warming cycles feature floods. When the sun suddenly decided it increase its energetic output 30,000 years ago, the melting ice coupled with the tremendous increase in potential rainfall meant lots of flooding until the system stabilized 12,000 years ago.
We then created 'agriculture' and tamed many creatures from cats to cows. So the recent global rock concert to stop global warming is like a throwing a birthday party for Smokey the Bear by lighting all our national parks on fire.
Hundreds of residents fled their northeastern Oklahoma homes Tuesday with all they could carry as floodwaters pushed downstream, and one river carried an oil slick toward a large reservoir that supplies water to several cities.
An estimated 42,000 gallons of thick crude oil that spilled from a Kansas refinery on Sunday floated with mud and debris down the Verdigris River, coating everything it touched with a slimy, smelly layer of goo.
The slick wasn't expected to have an effect on water supply intakes located well below the surface Oklahoma's Oologah Lake, about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa, said Skylar McElhaney, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.
The Central Plains reels between floods and droughts. The best agricultural conditions is to have regular rains or regular floods. Swinging wildly between the two is dangerous. The elaborate cycle of festivals and religious magical ceremonies that are a feature of all ancient cultures is humanity's way of coping with erratic cycles. The invention of irrigation goes back to nearly the very beginning of agriculture. Only in the temperate zones can one live blissfully without worry about regular rainfall. I live in such a zone and they tend to be forest zones if humans don't clear the land of the oaks and beeches.
But the more the temperate forests are cleared, the drier the land because the leaves no longer shade the soil and the greater the chances of drought/flood cycles! I live in a forest that was totally consumed and cleared by 1860. My county was famous for haymaking! This dried out the entire northeast. If winter didn't replentish the water table, it would have become more like Spain which is, thanks to stripping out all shade, becoming like the Sahara.
The forest has returned as the last farms have folded. Even my own farm's fields are going to forest since I can't make a profit farming. When it rains now, there is so much moisture in the forest's mulch and understories, clouds form on the ground and rise to the storm's skirts and the moisture from this feeds the storms, giving them greater power. If it is all fields, this doesn't happen.
So, the level of forestation is in direct conflict with farming. But the world's lungs are these forests which capture the rain and release the moisture when it is hot. This is why thunderstorms form in the afternoon. In the deserts of Arizona, when the moisture from the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico pours in, the forests of the mountains help create the thunderstorms which then roar down into the valleys, bringing rain and fierce lightning.
When I was young, I had to keep an alert eye on clouds forming on the peaks of mountains when hiking around Kitt Peak or Mount Lemmon, for example. Sometimes, a small storm on the other side of a mountain would create such a flood, it would come roaring out of nowhere and being caught in a gully or steep canyon can mean death. At Seven Falls in Tucson, some people were injured playing foolishly at those lovely but dangerous falls. A helicopter was sent in to rescue them. The noise of the helicopter covered up the sound of water slamming down the mountainside from a seemingly small but very wet storm and the tsunami of brown water swept away a number of rescuers and bathers, killing them.
In the last dozen years, here in New York, we have had such thunderstorms. I was once caught in one, the wall of water came tearing around the corner on Plank Road and we barely outran it with our car, speeding up as we tore downhill as fast as we could go. The road washed out behind us.
Just two days ago, we had hail and thunder and several inches of water in a matter of minutes. Now I have to go over the road with my backblade to fix the mess it made. This is why deserts have lots of gullies, incidentally. These floods are bad for agriculture.
Forecasts favor improvement across much of the Deep South into September, with the best prospects for improvement along the Gulf Coast and the South Atlantic Coast. The odds for improvement diminish to the north, with the drought from northern Alabama and Georgia into the Ohio Valley expected to largely persist, although there will be local improvement here as well. Given the increased evaporation and water use expected during the summer, levels in many lakes, reservoirs, and wells will likely continue to drop into September.
Soil moisture, small streams, and ponds have a better chance for improvement, but it is extremely unlikely the regional drought affecting the South will end within the next few months. Year-to-date rainfall deficits range from 15 to 20 inches in the area of exceptional drought centered in northern Alabama. As is the case with summer droughts in this part of the country, tropical waves, depressions, storms, or hurricanes could change the picture rapidly, but the paths for such weather systems cannot be foreseen more than a few days into the future.
To the north, despite some recent rains, the odds favor drought expansion from Illinois into southwest Pennsylvania, especially during the final week of June. Improvement should continue in the Upper Midwest from Minnesota into Wisconsin and Michigan, but the West should see persisting or worsening drought, with a good chance for expansion northward. The summer thunderstorm season should offer temporary relief to Arizona. Drought is forecast to persist in Hawaii, and may develop in the eastern interior basin of Alaska.
We had 96 degree F temperatures here two weeks ago. All the grasses curled up and became very brittle. Farmers hayed their fields as fast as they could to beat the heat. The soil became very dry, very fast. I now cover my veggie garden with ground cloth to keep in the moisture because of these heat waves. In the Dust Bowl region of the US we saw floods this year. And while the rain concentrated on just one small area, right next door, it was bone dry.
This brings back to mind how nature and reality works: all things are one and work in conjunction with each other and affects each other. The US public has been thinking delusionally about energy and the environment. They imagine we can grow energy and then consume it at a much higher rate than it is produced. This is illogical.
Biofuels are extremely dangerous. They will make global warming worse. Growing the plants we intend to burn as fuelt will alter the use of water and the ability of the land to give weather systems more moisture rather than drying out everything. Corn, for example, eats up water notoriously. Ditto sugar cane. The Amazon is the Lungs of the Planet and it has emphyzemia thanks to cutting of trees and replacing them with soy, sugar and corn fields. Droughts and floods are now intensifying in all of South America and is affecting Africa where the same stripping of forest overstories is moving at nearly the same rate. And in the entire jungle belt, this is going on, all forests are shrinking and the increased moisture from glaciers melting is being concentrated into more and more powerful storms rather than gentle, daily rains in jungles.
An 8,000-acre wildfire forced hundreds of people in the town of Winnemucca to leave their homes, one of more than a dozen blazes that charred a combined 55 square miles in northern Nevada.
The blaze was among a series that dotted the West on Saturday as a heat wave made parched terrain even drier, forcing authorities to evacuate homes and close highways and wilderness areas.
A 100-mile stretch of Interstate 15 in central Utah was closed when a 160,000-acre wildfire jumped the highway, and other fires burned in California, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Humans changed the earth when early humanids discovered the magic of fire and the blessings of the Thunder Gods. We then turned this weapon against all living things and used it to hunt, kill and eat other animals. This is our sin and our power. And energy is the root of all our power and this is why we turn to increasingly sophisticated and dangerous ways of using everything to produce energy. And like with rock concerts, the bigger and louder, the better, so we increase our use more and more and this makes us feel good, like gods!
A searing heatwave has killed at least 40 people across southern Europe while in Britain torrential rain has killed three people and forced hundreds to flee a creaking dam.
Twenty-nine deaths have been blamed on the heat in Romania where temperatures have hit 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit), four in Greece, three in Albania and at least five in Bosnia, Croatia and Turkey.
Record temperatures have been recorded in several countries while violent winds have spread wildfires and stretched emergency services across much of southern Italy.
Bucharest is Europe's hottest capital, with temperatures at 45 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) with a heat alert sounded for much of the south of the country.
Eastern Europe, the ancient home of the horse people, the grazing grounds of the earliest herds of horses that evolved out of the jungles an onto the Ice Age plains, is turing into desert. The Middle East, cradle of agriculture and the creation of cities, is overpopulated and violent and water is increasingly precious and increasingly misused and it is also the potent site of precious energy from dead creatures who lived in a more humid environment millions of years ago when the Garden of Eden flourished in these now parched lands. This is the world's tinderbox on every possible level, religious, economic and energy.
Farmers have asked Brussels to scrap set-aside across Europe for the first time since the surplus-reduction measure was introduced in 1992, in order to avoid shortages of wheat and other cereals next year.
EU Agriculture Commissioner has said she would like to scrap set-aside at the earliest opportunity
Strong demand from Asia, drought in Australia and growing demand for biofuels have slashed Europe's reserves this year to almost nothing and demand is still rising.
Last year's cereal harvest for the EU's 27 member states was 268 million tons and was forecast to reach 275 million tons this year until heavy rain made experts revise estimates downwards by six million tons.
Instead of abundant organic material to turn into biofuels, we have an increasing crisis as all the graineries of the world are emptied rapidly as the energy consumers turn to burning more and more food for energy. The cost of living for the teeming masses huddled in the city slums across the planet see inflation and loss of sustenance. Half of humanity now lives in urban settings. And nothing is more desertfied then cities! Most reproduce the hottest canyons and driest death valleys on earth.
In upper income cities like Manhattan, except for one big park, Central Park, and a few tiny pockets of lower Manhattan parks, the city is one big desert complex that has a feature no desert in nature has: it not only reflects heat and suppresses moisture, it also generates heat! Namely, the city itself, aside from the shimmering heat created by the sun shining on black surfaces of roofs and roads as well as the double-heat produced by giant banks of windows reflecting the sunlight back onto other hot surfaces, the airconditioning systems cooling these many heat-generating buildings expels even more hot air!
When I lived next to the park in Park Slope, it would be comfortable at 85 degrees F. I would then commute to work on 43rd Street and Park Avenue and the temperature on the street would be 100+ degrees! If the city were 'green' rather than a desert, if the buildings weren't packed in so tightly and the roofs had terraces and gardens, then the city might be tolerable if there was also no airconditioning. I remember when airconditioning started.
People used to go to movies to cool off because they were one of the few places with air conditioning. At the University of Chicago, the only air conditioned building was where Univac lived. As air conditioners spread, the heat outside rose. They are significant double global warming agents. They create CO2 to make the electricity to run them and they turn hot air much hotter when they pass this through the air compressors and the cooling coils.
For example, Greenland's massive ice cap, covering 624,000 cubic miles and accounting for one-tenth of the world's fresh water supplies, is melting much faster than expected. Not surprising, considering that winter temperatures on the cap have risen by 9 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 15 years. Over the past 30 years, the cap's "melt zone" has swelled by 30%. That's significant, because the more it melts, the faster the ice sheet slides towards the ocean. Considering that Greenland has enough ice to raise sea levels by 23 feet, if it melted completely, major cities like New York and London would flood.
According to the United Nations' "Global Outlook for Ice and Snow" report, if world sea levels were to rise just 3ft, 3in, it could cost $950 billion in damage and expose 145 million people to floods.
Right now, however, higher temperatures are causing some crippling droughts in many parts of the world and have lowered crop yields for farmers. In fact, global wheat production has slumped to a 25-year low, due in part to climate changes.
Global wheat production is being hammered by the drought/flood cycles. The corn and wheat as well as pasturage crops in Texas, Oklahoma and Kanasa have been utterly wrecked by vast floods this last three weeks. The wheat and pasturage crops in the entire West is being shrivelled to nothing by the super-heat wave that is now more than a week old. The grass roots don't die but the leaves literally turn to dust. There is zero nutient value left as the energy of the plant rushed back to the roots to keep them alive for another day.
The news that world grain reserves are dropping is onimous. First, it means inflation which in food, is already raging. Second, if these growing things are to fuel a bunch of cars and such, we have a serious problem since the cars are also making the climate for growing plants more difficult. This is because the earth is a closed system. Except for meteorites and comets striking us from out of the blue, the only thing that comes into our system and which is the ultimate force here is the sun.
The European Commission no longer has reserves to help manage the market, having dismantled its mountains of butter, meat and powdered milk under reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Brussels has drastically cut stocks of grains, and will soon close its maize silos altogether. Over the past year, EU barley stocks have fallen from 2.2m tonnes to 0.1m, wheat from 5.5m to 0.2m and maize from 5.6m to 2.6m.
Michael Lewis, head of commodities research at Deutsche Bank, said grain prices still had much further to rise, predicting a long catch-up rally over coming years after lagging behind metals and oil in the early phase of the boom.
"Fundamentals have been tightening ever since 2001, but now we're hitting critically low levels of stocks. We're seeing very big structural shifts in the world and this is going to make farmland much more expensive in the future," he said.
Even on a cyclical basis, Deutsche Bank says the corn boom remains young, far behind the 237pc rise from June 1972 to October 1974. Grain prices would have to jump 230pc from current levels to reach the 1970s peak in real terms.
And what happened from 1972-1974? Well, we hit the Hubbert Oil Peak here in the USA. We also lost the Vietnam war and a war between Israel and its neighbors led to an oil boycott by Saudi Arabia and Iraq. And farmers use lots of oil go grow crops here with the Green Revolution so their costs shot up and then we had a cycle of floods and droughts hammering the agricultural belts of the US and then, due to the floods, in the Midwest, we had a very nasty bout of leaf rust that destroyed a lot of crops!
So inflation hit from both ends of the energy spectrum. The earth has spawned several more billion people since then. So all systems have to run well all the time or really bad inflation and starvation looms. The droughts that hit Africa during the 1970's was severe and the Sahara spread further south by leaps and bounds. Lake Chad shrank and is still shrinking. Timbuktu, once the verdant capital of a small kingdom during the Middle Ages, finally was abandoned and is now covered by sand dunes.
Today, I live in fear of droughts, both winter and summer droughts. I have been terracing my mountainside where I grow things so they can survive prolonged dry spells. Droughts also make insect infestations worse since bugs tend to flock together when food is scarce. They also multiply in the heat and bugs are destroying the pine forests from Alaska to Arizona.
Throwing rock concerts for billions of people isn't going to fix anything. It only makes things worse.