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Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one? (Weather)

by dulan drift, Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 20:36 (102 days ago)

Ok, I'm calling it. Given what we've seen in Australia this summer, the coming northern instalment will be the one where we go over the top.

Here is an interesting list from a Guardian article of where we are now:

"Since 2005, the number of floods has increased by a factor of 15, extreme temperature events by a factor of 20, and wildfires sevenfold; topsoil is now being lost 10 to 40 times faster than it is being replenished by natural processes; the 20 warmest years since records began in 1850 have been in the past 22 years; vertebrate populations have fallen by an average of 60% since the 1970s, and insect numbers – vital for pollination – have declined even faster in some countries."

Then there's this:

"The paper warns of the vulnerability of food systems that rely on just five animal and 12 plant species to provide 75% of the world’s nutrition"

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/12/climate-and-economic-risks-threaten...

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Sunday, February 17, 2019, 20:08 (97 days ago) @ dulan drift

This is something i didn't understand before:

Methane, which comes from cows, is worse than CO2 as an planet warmer, but breaks down naturally in the atmosphere at a faster rate than CO2.

The bad news is that the amount of methane is climbing suggesting the break-down reaction is getting slower - possibly due to a 'tipping point' reached whereby the heat level is negatively impacting the chemical reaction in the atmosphere that causes the break-down.

Another pointer to us being about to enter hyper-drive?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/17/methane-levels-sharp-rise-threaten-...

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dan @, Monday, February 18, 2019, 07:31 (97 days ago) @ dulan drift

That is sort of what I fear, an unforeseen chain reaction of sorts.

Interesting article. This part was telling, "“It is particularly alarming because we are still not sure why atmospheric methane levels are rising across the planet.”

I'm surprised they didn't mention all the decaying material being added to the mix by the melting of ice and resulting exposure and thawing of organic material.

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Monday, February 18, 2019, 16:14 (96 days ago) @ dan

I'm surprised they didn't mention all the decaying material being added to the mix by the melting of ice and resulting exposure and thawing of organic material.

Yeah, that'll give it a spike!

What's going on in Australia this summer reminds me of the rumblings of a volcano - just before it blows.

What preparatory steps should we take? Forget saving the planet, just on a personal level. Is it too early for solar electrified security fencing around the vegie patch and chicken coop?

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dan @, Monday, February 18, 2019, 18:28 (96 days ago) @ dulan drift

I think we have a dangerously false sense of security when it comes to social order. I mean, consider how little it would take to disrupt international shipping, let alone shipping within a country's borders or even to the next city.

What we'll likely see is an increase in short term interruptions in all sorts of services, including air travel, ground transport, etc., due to extreme weather, fires, and floods. If those California fires continue every year, wow.

What happens if those fires encircle LA and cut off I-5 or other main arteries? You know how fast the shelves empty when a typhoon is approaching, right? And that's in a place that is accustomed to typhoons.

Being stuck in an airport or Walmart parking lot for days on end does not sound like fun. (People who escaped the Paradise, CA fire ended up camping in the nearest Walmart lot for months.)

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 18:52 (95 days ago) @ dan

That's a good break-down of how it might pan out - a rupturing of something simple we take for granted - which starts creating it's own weather

There was a landmark case in Australia recently where a court ruled against an application for a coal mine - amongst other reasons the judge cited climate change as a reason for rejecting the proposal. Too little too late, but is that a world first?

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/judge-rejects-nsw-coal-mine-citing-climate-change

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Friday, February 22, 2019, 18:19 (92 days ago) @ dulan drift

This is an interesting development - a Chinese port suddenly banned Australian coal this week - they cited 'environmental concerns' as a reason - though it's suspected to be payback for Australia banning Hua Wei. Anyway, it's really hitting Australia where it hurts. Australia is the planet's coal mine - one of the big ones anyway.

On the other side, i love the 'war of the worlds' coal photos coming out with the story

[image]

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Friday, February 22, 2019, 19:02 (92 days ago) @ dulan drift

This is not very scientific, but it is a bit - defrosting the fridge where i am staying (had to coz couldn't get tbe freezer door open) - there is a tipping point with ice melting - starts out slow - but then it really picks up steam. Then i added a 'major climate change event' in the form of a saucepan full of boiling water - whole ice shelves started collapsing causing flooding in the kitchen

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Tuesday, February 26, 2019, 18:24 (88 days ago) @ dulan drift

Ok, it's started - earlier than i thought. UK today broke a winter heat record with 20.6C, which doesn't sound that bad, but it's about double the average

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47360952

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Thursday, March 07, 2019, 22:03 (79 days ago) @ dulan drift

Warmest winter in Taiwan on record supposedly, though records only go back to 1947.

2.2C higher than ave - which fits my theory that it's already 2C warmer - it's just a matter of where it goes from here


Warmest http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2019/03/07/2003711017

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Wednesday, April 03, 2019, 07:01 (53 days ago) @ dulan drift

This is an article saying Canada is warming faster than other countries.

Under a scenario in which global emissions are dramatically reduced, average temperatures will rise only 3C across the country by 2100, including the Arctic region.

But if countries – including Canada – fail to act aggressively, increases of 7-9 degrees are likely, and the Arctic faces the prospect of 11 degrees of warming.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/02/canada-climate-change-warming-twice-as-fa...

Meanwhile, Taiwan has had a very warm winter, possibly a record. My guess that is going to flow on into summer. I wonder if this will be the year Taipei cracks 40C

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dan @, Thursday, April 04, 2019, 16:01 (51 days ago) @ dulan drift

Pretty shocking. It would appear we're much further along the trajectory than was once assumed. I think it comes down to the whole thing being far more complicated than the various models used allow for. Granted, this also means that a reversal could possibly happen more easily than models allow for, but I'm afraid that's wishful thinking because that would at least require a committed, coordinated, global effort, and countries can't even coordinate gun control or whether or not to leave the EU, much less anything outside their own borders. (Well, New Zealand got it together pretty quickly on gun control. The US can't even decide if teens should be allowed to buy assault rifles or not.)

As an example of complexity, I read a while ago about how a decrease in pollution, something we all want and that would be a result of and result in lowering greenhouse gasses, would at this point increase global warming. See https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cleaning-up-air-pollution-may-strengthen-glo... (I haven't read the whole article.) So we're walking such a fine, delicate line, trying to get something back into balance that earth had kept in balance until we screwed everything up. The complexity of the ecosystem, I think, is far greater than we are able to comprehend. We think we're so fucking smart with all our science. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

EDIT: Yes, the article does indeed echo what I'd read earlier. From the end:

""I think we need to have more variety in those projections, since even matching up the real world today with the emissions projections from 2000 that we used last time shows a significant mismatch," said Schmidt, the NASA scientist (who was not involved with the new research), in an email to E&E News.

What remains clear, though, is that the full extent of human-caused global warming is still revealing itself—and the future may be more severe than the past would seem to suggest."

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Thursday, April 04, 2019, 19:56 (51 days ago) @ dan

My current situation is a microcosm of what you're talking about.

I bought some degraded farmland used for cattle grazing. Mostly denuded of trees, the creek is polluted by fertilizer, roundup, and cow shit. The net result is no carbon absorbing trees and lots of methane = climate change.

But there's no obvious path back. Without the trees, the grass grows like crazy. The only economical way to keep the grass down is have cows. I have planted 200 trees along the creek (sounds like a lot but it's a pitiful fraction of the land) but that involves a lot of work (keeping the grass from strangling the trees, fencing it off from the cows) and expense without any prospect of financial return. Most people are just not gonna bother.

Cropping is what i want to do but that's problematic because of winter frosts and dwindling spring and summer rainfall - which just leaves the dumbed-down cattle farming. Previously i had pegged the oil industry as the worst culprits but i'm now starting to see that farming practices are right up there as well.

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dan @, Saturday, April 13, 2019, 16:25 (42 days ago) @ dulan drift

Quick question -- what if you were to take a patch -- like 1/4-1/2 acre, and just let it go. What would be the progression of recovery?

In Florida (and Taiwan I imagine), the jungle would recover quite quickly, with trees within the first year or two.

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Saturday, April 13, 2019, 16:49 (42 days ago) @ dan

Interesting question, but i don't think it would work like that here. Actually i know, coz i've seen patches where they have let it go. The problem is that there's been too much man-made interference for it to revert back naturally. The trees were all cut down and non-native grass planted for cows - if you let it go then you'd just get very high grass that would strangle out everything else. There's no way trees could get a foot-hold to compete with the grass. There are patches of it that i've been trying to tackle with the brush-cutter that have been let grow for decades - it's just pure grass about as high as me. The only tree that seems to have any hope of competing is the camphor - which grows on the creek banks - maybe coz the floods periodically flatten the grass out - but it is itself an invasive species here and even poisonous to wildlife apparently.

I did let that block next to me in Taitung go a few times - similar situation. If there are already a few trees in existence to give shade and stop the grass growing so high then they've got some chance, but in an open field it's tough. If you had a few hundred years to play with then the forest might creep down from the mountains where it's established.

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dan @, Saturday, April 13, 2019, 17:00 (42 days ago) @ dulan drift

Wow. If I let the yard go around the house in Florida, it, the house, would disappear. Is this a somewhat dry area? It sounds like it. So you're in a pickle. Cows or grass. Shit. Well, you have lots of that too.

So I assume this introduced grass is in the area, and even if you were to eradicate it, it would reseed naturally. I'm beginning to appreciate the couple of acres of wooded land we still have in Florida, so thank you for that. But that doesn't solve your problem of course.

Have you talked to any locals and gotten their advice?

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dan @, Saturday, April 13, 2019, 19:40 (42 days ago) @ dan

Here's a radical idea. I know you want to return the land to native species, but as step in that process, how about introducing other non-native plants (already rampant in Australia of course) that would choke out the grass? Is there any such plant? I'm assuming it would be a vine of sorts.

Another option is a plow, a complete eradication of everything, roots and all, then an introduction of a ground cover plant that would prohibit grass, then planting trees in that.

Bamboo? Have you considered bamboo?

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Thursday, April 18, 2019, 07:04 (38 days ago) @ dan

Actually i am following advice more or less. They say work from an existing group of trees and plant out from there. Was also told to plant seedlings 1.5 metres apart, which i thought was too close, but they said it's to encourage competition. They have what they call 'pioneers' - fast growing trees that shoot up to provide shade and reduce weeds, then you plant the slower but longer living stuff amongst them. The biggest challenge is to keep the grass down in the first year or so around the trees. There are grants you can get to regenerate but it's the wrong time of year to apply - it's during spring - i'll be on my marks for that when it comes around again. If you're successful, they will supply labour to help manage it. Should be well placed for a grant as they particularly want to regenerate creek banks and they look favourably on anyone who's made a start by themselves. I estimate it will need several thousand trees. You'd be surprised how puny 200 trees can look when it's stretched along a kilometre of river bank.

Bear in mind it's 30 acres, so that's about 15 times the size of my old place - so a lot of land to manage.

Have got some cows at the moment rotating between two paddocks and paying my neighbour to slash the one with the seedlings in it. I really want to plough one paddock and try a crop but still need more research - as my neighbour pointed out 'you need something that there's a market for'

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Thursday, April 18, 2019, 07:11 (38 days ago) @ dulan drift

Meanwhile, out of habit i still keep an eye on Taiwan's weather - particularly Taitung. Have started adding up the number of degrees the forecast temps vary from the historical ave temp for the month across the week. This coming week Taitung is 13 above across the 7 days, so nearly 2C on average. That appears to be normal. Can't remember a week where it was in the negative.

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dan @, Thursday, April 18, 2019, 10:11 (37 days ago) @ dulan drift

30 acres! That's a lot of trees to plant and/or crops to grow. When I was a treeplanter, we'd plant at about 1.5-2 meter spacing. On a good day, each person would plant 1,000 or more. Much would depend on how much we'd have to 'scalp', or clear, the area to be planted. If no scalping was required, then it would be a very fast process of step step step, hoedad in the ground, break soil, lift, flip seedling in with other hand, stomp as removing hoedad, move on. If a lot of scalping was required, and the inspector was a dick, we'd only get maybe 500/day in. The seedlings, bare-root, would be anywhere from maybe 12" root tip to top, to a couple of feet. If they were small to medium sized, we could get 450 in one load in our tree bags. On a really good day, we could bag up 3 times. Hard work indeed!

I'm simplifying the process. Often it was step step, trip over brush, get up, step, plant.

Are you allowed to grow hemp? (And I do mean hemp rather pot.)

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 20:05 (32 days ago) @ dan

Can you get the band back together - minus the dick manager? Actually, i need to wait until spring now - or after the last frost - before i can crank it up again, but it's a top priority to plan the shit out of this place.

I did investigate hemp growing - have gotten as far as printing out the application form - would probably need to hook up with someone to do it - assuming you would need a tractor to plough the field and a header to harvest it. - and lots of signs saying 'Don't steal the fucking weed, dude - it won't get you high!' Was told you'd need to smoke a hectare of it to get a faint high - though you'd probably die of lung cancer before then.

As an opening salvo in the coming northern summer, Taipei is expecting a top of 35C tomorrow - that's 9.3C above ave max for April!

For the week, it's around 5C above ave per day.

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dan @, Friday, April 26, 2019, 18:39 (29 days ago) @ dulan drift

Well, the dick manager was never our manager but an inspector from the people that contracted with us, either the forest service or a logging/paper company. I worked for a small company that bid on regional contracts from the forest service and major logging companies. As such, I saw all the major clear cut areas. Total devastation and erosion. And you've heard of Agent Orange I presume, the defoliant they used in Vietnam and that people protested against. That was a combination of 2,4-D, and 2,5,4-T, strong herbicides. They were spraying that shit in the Pacific Northwest through the mid 1980's to defoliate after logging and before replanting. I saw it listed in some of our contracts. So, as Americans were protesting this stuff in the 70's, it was being sprayed in the US and continued to be used long after it was used in Vietnam. There were marked rises in birth defects in the areas on the US NW where it was used.

While planting on these units, we had no choice but to drink from runoff, creeks and streams. God only knows how much of that shit I consumed.

Oddly, I have dreams about going back to planting trees regularly, like every few months. It's a really odd, unlikely, just... very unsettling job in the sense that when you do it, everything else in your life is totally disrupted. So, you're living in the boonies, camping out for much of the time... it's just something that does not fit with modern western life at all. But it's exhilarating. So after reading this posting of yours, I had yet another dream of going back to the unit to plant, thinking, shit, I wonder if the knee will hold out. Heavy duty memories there.

Given that much acreage, why don't you take, say, 3 acres and experiment? Or 5? That's enough to play with. We only have 4 1/2 acres in Florida, and I'd have plenty of land to goof around on given the chance. As it is, I'm stuck here if arctic northern Japan, so that Florida real estate isn't doing me much good, but oh well,

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Friday, April 26, 2019, 22:19 (29 days ago) @ dan

I'm gonna go crazy with the planting as soon as spring comes around - i do regret i didn't get more in when i first got here but there were a lot of things to deal with at the time. Probably won't live to see the whole thing come to fruition - but someone will.

Meanwhile turns out my creek has at least three platypus - that's pretty special considering most people in Australia go their whole lives without seeing one. They're meant to be super-shy and only come out on dusk or dawn but twice i've seen one in the middle of the day.

[image]

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 19:02 (25 days ago) @ dulan drift

Floods in Quebec recently - the second 'once-in-a-hundred-year-flood' in two years.

More talk of how to adapt to a climate changed world. That's gonna be something we'll hear a lot more of - not just how can we reduce global warming by such and such a date - but how to cope with what's already happening


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/30/canada-flooding-quebec-montreal-justin-tr...

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 08:53 (19 days ago) @ dulan drift

"The meat industry has a particularly heavy impact. Grazing areas for cattle account for about 25% of the world’s ice-free land and more than 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Crop production uses 12% of land and creates less than 7% of emissions."
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/06/human-society-under-urgent-threat-l...

25%! This is what i am living on the frontline of. The more i think about it the more i see the cattle industry as a major cause of climate change - right up there with coal. It involves massive deforestation of native habitat and massive methane production. Throw in massive amounts of poison to control the non-edible weeds and to treat the cows against ticks and buffalo flies, and you've got a built in environmental disaster.

Less clear is what can done about it. There's a lot of noise now about reducing coal, which is good, but not much about reducing cattle farms. Yes, there's an activist vegan movement in Australia - the current conservative government just rushed in new, 'terrorist-type' laws to jail them for protesting at abattoirs and farms - but is the world really gonna give up eating beef any time soon?

I'm interested in the growing fake meat technology - haven't researched it too deeply so there may be underlying problems there as well - but on the surface it would seem to offer some solutions

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dan @, Saturday, May 11, 2019, 15:17 (14 days ago) @ dulan drift

25% is an astonishing figure. I would have guessed in the low single digits. Apparently cattle grazing accounts for much of the deforestation of the Amazon-area rain forests.

One thing that can be done about it is cutting government subsidies. The meat industry is a huge political force in the US, and I suspect everywhere else, and in the US they get loads of government money in one form or another. It goes hand in hand with subsidies to the corn industry, much of which goes to feed. And so we have meat that is incredibly cheap, insanely cheap in the US because the farmers producing the feed and the ranchers raising the cattle are all subsidized by tax dollars.

The first step might be to redirect that public money to more sustainable food production.

Wait... I just realized that this figure is for grazing areas. Most US cattle are penned up and force fed corn, a practice my Canadian cattle farming friends are quick to point out is not used in Canada. So the figure, if you were to include all the area used for feed-based corn production, is actually much greater.

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dulan drift, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 07:22 (11 days ago) @ dan

The stumbling block to farm reform is that the farmer, in Australia at least, is still held up as the 'heart and soul of the country'; never mind that he votes for the far right wing, causes emissions galore, is a climate change denier, and constantly has his hand out for subsidies to cover the losses caused by climate change events that he denies are even happening. These cultural narratives are difficult to shift but we probably don't have time for niceties.

Fake meat sounds kind of, well, fake, but it's a technology that may hold a lot of answers to our current problems.

Northern hemisphere summer - is this the big one?

by dan @, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 07:41 (11 days ago) @ dulan drift

Right, and the irony of it all, the hypocrisy rather, is that the farmers in the US are among those who carry on about the evils of socialism when in fact they are the largest beneficiaries of one of the largest socialist programs in the US -- farm subsidies. Now Trump is promising to bathe farmers in cash to make up for lost business due to his tariff increases, and I'm sure they'll accept these 'government handouts' with open arms.

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