Elaine Meinel Supkis
Hurricane Gustav didn't reach Katrina proportions. But the levees still flooded. This has been a year of floods. We had nonstop rains up here for nearly two months, for example. Mega storm systems are forming all over the place but are not producing great winds. But certainly, are making lots of rain. This is a dual effect of global warming interfacing with high stratospheric volcanic ash. Weather is a very complex, dynamic system on this particular planet.
First, a story I wrote approximately one year ago discusses this high stratospheric gas and particulate volcanic dust:
Summer up here in the Northeastern US which is almost always under the Jet Stream has been quite cool and even downright cold on my small mountain. We have even had frost warnings in August! I have noticed for a while an increasing amount of fine white volcanic ash in the high statosphere so yesterday, being a fully wind from the north jet stream day, I took photos at sunset showing this effect. Namely, the winter will be hard up here as this fine dust produces snow because it attracts moisture as it slowly filters down.
*snip* My parents wrote one of the first books about how volcanic dust can change the statosphere's light effects. The scattering of the light by fine volcanic dust means the whole heaven is evenly lit by any light source. Normally, when the wind blows from the Arctic, it is pure and clean. When the wind here blows from the south, it is filthy with pollution in summer. Pollution usually doesn't make it to the higher levels of the stratosphere which is why sunsets are redder than sunrises. All day long, human and animal activities raise dust and other particulates on the lower levels so when the sun shines through all this, all but the red lights are blocked out.
But when volcanoes pump fine pumic dust into the higher levels, this spreads out and can be seen at all hours of day or night. Last night, to test this out, I went out at 2am and looked up. The moon is exactly at half full yet the landscape around me was very lit up. I could see perfectly well because of the fine, white light that was universal. Only the very brightest stars could be seen. This white veil of light is a characteristic of volcanic eruptions.
We had a snowy winter right after writing that story. It may even be a super-snow winter this year. China, last winter, had epic snow and ice storms. This caused tremendous damage. Indeed, China has been hit by a number of big earthquakes like the one this week. It seems, the lithosphere has definitely shifted downwards in Sichuan province. I suspect this is distantly related to the huge jump the seabed alongside Sumatra two years ago.
As global warming melts the glaciers, this releases tremendous amounts of locked-up water coupled with the release of these massive weights on the continental land masses and they spring upwards, feeding even more earthquakes. This last week, Vancouver Island had a banging big series of quakes. The entire West Coast of the US is shuddering and moving. The San Andreas has one locked section running from west of LA to the center of the state and we know this will be rearranged in a microsecond. This looming event clearly shows us what to expect as we watch China's landscape respond to all these mega-forces.
The sun is showing no sunspot activity. My father surmised last year that this would happen. This is due to the sun going through its periodic 'shut downs' of the magnetic flows from the core. This leads to cooler weather as we shall see. But the ice on the extreme areas on earth are still melting. This contrary-wise action is due to changes in the earth's atmospheric chemical configuration. McCain just chose a woman from Alaska who believes in magic forces [much more about HER later!]. She thinks changing the chemistry of the planet has no effects. A total fool.
The effects do interact with other forces which is why weather is one of the most complex things one can study. Powerful computers can barely peer into the near future because of this complexity. Forget, figuring out 5 days in advance. The planet, unlike others, also has the living elements that have utterly overwhelmed the 'natural' forces we see on say, Jupiter. Thanks to living things, the atmosphere's chemical composition is very 'queer'. And getting 'queerer' thanks to human beings.
Let's again visit the 'magic' side here:
This is beyond the pale, one of James Dobson's cronies asking their minions to pray for rain on August 28, the day of Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco stadium, not just rain, torrential rain.
The Goddesses do love it when foolish humans pray to the Invisible Gods for weather changes. As if anyone can petition Mother Nature in this regard! She follows her own wishes and doesn't give a damn about anyone making requests. People are amused that a major storm has disrupted the Republican Convention after Dobson pleaded with his demonic god to intercede and do ill to others. We know for certain, Dobson was begging for lightning bolts.
He is also a fool: he talks endlessly about exactly how much and how little this demonic storm is supposed to act. Not too big and not too small. I remember Pat Robertson. I nearly sued him in Federal Court for damages. I actually talked to a lawyer about this. Back in the 1980's, a hurricane was moving up the East Coast. He prayed it would hit someone else. So the hurricane came to MY house and the eye passed over MY house and we had significant damage to MY house. After this hurricane messed up my home, Robertson went on TV and boasted that his demon and he did it to me.
Har. More about all this later today as we talk about magic, politics and seeing the future.
(CNN) -- Hurricane-force winds slammed into oil terminals around Port Fourchon, southwest of New Orleans, as the eye of Category 2 Gustav was churning just off the Gulf shore Monday morning, according to radar.
The eye of Hurricane Gustav made landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana, about 10:30 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said.
According to forecasts, Gustav -- which was downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane when its winds weakened to 110 mph (177 kph) Monday morning -- is expected to skim New Orleans, which is still recovering from 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
Port Fourchon is packed with oil terminals and distribution facilities. It is the terminal for tankers bringing oil to the United States from overseas. The U.S. Department of Energy says 56 percent of the imported and Gulf of Mexico oil entering the United States passes this point.
When Katrina, Rita and Wilma all slammed into the Gulf states, there was virtually no volcanic dust in the high stratosphere. So they gained energy, not lost it. Gustav is not all-powerful thanks to this veil covering the earth. But it has astonishing amounts of rain.
CNN) -- As Hurricane Gustav neared Louisiana's coast Monday morning, forecasters warned the storm could stall over Louisiana and northeast Texas for several days, which would "exacerbate the threat of heavy rains and inland flooding."
The latest discussion published by NHC forecasters said computer models show "Gustav or its remnants slowing to a crawl" over northeast Texas over the next three to five days.
"Such slow motion would exacerbate the threat of heavy rains and inland flooding," the forecasters said.
No kidding! The rain from Katrina was particularly bad for the Mississippi river's residents because it blew straight up the Mississippi valley and tore through my own mountain landscape, dumping lots of rain. Much of this rain that fell across America fell in the water basin of the Mississippi River. So a heroic amount of water came pouring down to poor New Orleans. The damage from the passage of the hurricane the first day was nothing compared to the huge body of water that moved in the next day and the day after, day after day as all the storm's floods moved towards New Orleans.
The present hurricane isn't doing this. It is moving west. If it stalls, anything can happen. Certainly, Texas must brace not for high winds but terrible floods. Hurricane Mitchell got stuck over Honduras and killed tens of thousands from the endless floods and mudslides. A stationary hurricane that turns into a tropical storm can be every bit as deadly as a more compact, higher-wind, faster moving hurricane.
(Reuters) - The Indian army and navy stepped up efforts on Monday to rescue hundreds of thousands of people marooned by floods, while rising river levels also rang alarm bells in neighbouring Bangladesh.
In India's impoverished eastern state of Bihar, villagers have been living on rooftops for days, while others are eating plants and leaves after exhausting food stocks.
Aid agencies said the Bihar government should have done more to anticipate the disaster and plan relief operations in a region hit by monsoon flooding every year.
This is a prime example: the winds are being clipped by lack of solar feedback due to the fine veil of dust. But this same dust makes for big, fat rain drops, for example. All summer long, I marveled as to how the rain came down in huge drops or like a fire hose. Splat city.
Some Thais hit by the floods, as well as non-governmental organisations campaigning against dam building, say that water released from the reservoirs of three big Chinese dams on the upper reaches of the Mekong swelled the runoff from a tropical storm and heavy monsoon rain across northern Laos and China's southern Yunnan Province early last month.
But the Mekong River Commission, in a statement last week, pointed out that the volume of releasable water held by the three Chinese hydro-power dams to generate electricity was too small to have been a significant factor in the flooding. The commission, established by the governments of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in 1995 at the end of a long period of conflict in the region, helps to coordinate management of the Mekong Basin in South-East Asia.
Mega-storms are difficult for dam operators. The best dam system is one fed by slowly melting glaciers and annual snow storms like in the Sierra mountains in the Western USA. Fast melting coupled with massive floods is a bad thing, all around. But since most humans grab onto the concept of looking only at the thermometer instead of the dynamic interplay of all systems.
While this may be true, Chinese dam construction on the upper reaches of the Mekong is a legitimate source of concern for downstream South-East Asian countries. To generate electricity, water has to be released to drive the turbines.
Their worry is that too much will be released in the wet season, contributing to flooding, and too little in the dry season, when the water is needed in South-East Asia.
This concern will be accentuated when China completes the fourth dam on its section of the Mekong by 2013.
This dam at Xiaowan will be 292m high, one of the world's tallest. It will generate over 4000 megawatts of electricity, the equivalent output of at least four nuclear power stations.
Eventually, the Mekong will be like the Colorado: a trickle at the final end going into the ocean. Humans are changing all sorts of systems and water is a major, major system. Along with the chemistry of the atmosphere.
I had to wait a whole month for the North Wind to bring 'clear skies' so I could take some photos of the stratosphere. All these pictures were taken well after the sun set. The limpid, lucid evenings we have been having this year are due 100% to this high veil of volcanic dust. The brilliance of the evenings is startling, quite frankly. At night, the dimmer stars are masked and the Milky Way is more difficult to see the details of the dust lanes, etc.
Like last year, Fall is early. The birds are troubled by this and most have migrated already from our mountain, the goldfinches, for example. Trees started turning red last week. It is most startling. They aren't doing this due to it being very dry, we had a very, very wet summer! I suspect the veil is blocking various elements of the sun's spectrum. The parts that are missing are triggering this 'early fall' response. Trees don't use a calendar to figure when winter is coming. They rely on the data coming in from all those tiny little cells that fill the leaves which are really scaffolding for these migratory creatures. When they aren't harvesting enough solar energy to multiply or to feed the main body of the tree, they go into hibernation and the juices all begin flowing into the root system. This is why, in spring, we can tap maples for syrup as the same rich, sweet fluids flow into a new scaffolding system which we call 'leaves'.
And see how, at the end of August, it looks like late September here! Various varieties of bushes and trees are dimpling the landscape with yellow and red already. This is going to be one interesting winter, that I am certain.