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Spanish Views from a Small Town

Thoughts about life in a small Spanish town from a transplanted American, commenting on things that catch my attention.

Not So Fast, 24 - 27. Change is Real.
31 July 2021 @ 22:43

In our neck of the woods, this is becoming the year without a summer. Or, at least, with an anomalous summer. 

We have had a few, perfect days, and even two days where the temperatures went well above 30ºC/86ºF. But the majority of them had temperatures with a maximum of 25ºC/77ºF and below, with a few days colder than normal. And the sun has found it hard to string three or four days together with few or no clouds. Meteorologists say that that is because air from the Arctic isn't allowing the Azores high pressure area to strengthen and touch us with more than just a tentacle. In the meantime, parts of Europe has baked in unusual heat, while other parts drowned in unusual floods. The western U.S. and Canada have also passed record high temperatures, which have resulted in enormous wildfires, the same as in Siberia (again), Turkey, Sicily, and other areas. On the southern half of the world, southern Brazil and northern Argentina have received unexpected snow. 

Yet, could we be at the beginning of a new ice age? This is what climate change skeptics claim. A study published at the beginning of this year may corroborate their belief. In it, scientists spell out how debris from the bottom of the ocean shows that, at the beginning of every ice age, huge icebergs calved from Antarctica have drifted northward, until they melted in the North Atlantic ocean. As the dynamics of the ocean changed, with the Southern Ocean fresher, and the North Atlantic saltier, the ocean circulation patterns changed, taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, and lessening the greenhouse extent to the point of a new ice age beginning.

But not so fast, say the scientists. Back then, humans weren't enough to have much of an impact on their environment. Now, the icebergs that calve off Antarctica are melting long before reaching the North Atlantic, so the ocean circulation there is not affected so much anymore. Humans may have broken the cycle.

Or, slowed it down. As fresh water from the melting of Greenland's glaciers reaches the North Atlantic, it disrupts the ocean dynamics, and the Gulf Stream has been shown to be slowing down. If it slows down enough, it may cause a cooling of the temperatures on the land masses that have shores on the North Atlantic. But, with the warming of the atmosphere, most likely there won't be another Little Ice Age. What there will be is an increase in temperatures, an increase in precipitation, wild weather will become even wilder, perhaps to the extent that many hurricanes, and even winter storms, will not be survivable. Areas of the world will become uninhabitable as temperatures reach extremes the human body cannot withstand. This has already happened in areas of India and Pakistan this year, for days at a time. 

I don't understand those who deny climate change. It's not simply "weather", it's entire weather systems that are different from what they were even forty years ago. We now have data to corroborate that change. Studies have been done. It's a matter of looking them up and checking the data they present. Surely, a majority of scientists can't be wrong in affirming that a rapid change is under way. At the very least that is happening. The probability that it is anthropogenic is also high, even if there are some variables that suggest some of the change may be natural. 

It's like those who deny we are in the middle of a pandemic. I have seen pandemic deniers post videos of what seemed to be empty hospitals. That is no proof. That they were in a hospital at all is even debatable. In any case, no hospital would let anyone from the general public wander into risk areas of contagion just to film them. If the videos were filmed in an actual hospital, the emptiness is because many people's outpatient appointments were cancelled to avoid many of them risking contagion, during the lockdown of last year. This ability to wear mental blinkers to only see what one wants to see is not understandable. 

Then there are those who are suspicious of the Covid vaccines, citing that the FDA only authorized them for emergency use, and that the full authorization has not been given yet. They are suggesting the the FDA thinks they may still be harmful. But many of these people are the first to suggest that the FDA is too cautious for many other substances that we also put into our bodies.

Being suspicious can be healthy, but there comes a point where one's own shadow starts laughing because its owner doesn't trust it. Suspicious people should realize that things can be checked and double checked, and that they can do it, instead of faithfully following someone who tells them they shouldn't believe established science. They are so suspicious, but they lose that suspicion when someone falls in step with their doubts without offering any evidence. It's true that the general public has been duped before; it's true that scientists change their minds when more evidence comes along. But there are things that have to be taken for truth, otherwise, we would doubt everything we touch. We trust a car manufacturer to have assembled our car correctly. We trust a pharmaceutical company to not have introduced poison into our antibiotics. We trust the food processing companies to stock quality food in our supermarkets. We should trust scientists with science.

Even Doubting Thomas had his suspicions assuaged when presented with proof. 

Life continues.

 Lightning, Bolt, Storm, Weather, Thunder

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