It seems to me that as winter rolls around, we find ourselves talking more and more about the weather. We talk about it in person, we talk about it on social media, and we are bombarded by images of the weather . This is arguably the great oppression of winter. The rest of the year you hardly think about. But winter…
Anyway, this morning I was scanning the weather photos and found a couple that pretty much say it all. The first taken on February 6 in Bakersfield, California by David McNew for Getty Images shows a sign warning people not to jump off a bridge into the river below. It is sage advice since the river bed is total dry and free of water free. California is in its third year of drought and is suffering through the driest year in 119 years of record keeping.
The second image was taken by Mathew Horwood on February 5 and shows waves breaking over the harbor wall in Porthcawl, United Kingdom.England has been experiencing an unusually rash period of storms and flooding this year. More than 130 severe flood warnings were issued since December 2013. This contrasts with only nine in the whole of 2012.
What is, of course, the most amazing aspect of the second picture is all the people standing there and watch. I mean, “Hello! Anyone worried about being swept at to sea?” I guess not. I mean you can just go home and watch the videos and look at the photographs in you dry and cozy living room.
Now I know that I am supposed to stop here and not get into the subject of climate change. However, I get kind of upset whenever there is an affront to science as basic as this. There are natural weather and climate cycles – but there is also a very troubling manmade effects. Indeed, the British Met Office is coming down pretty strongly in arguing that these winter storms are caused by global warming. The effect of mankind on the Earth’s climate is a proven fact – despite all the claims to the contrary made by hosts of people, who are not qualified to express their opinions on the subject. There are many places on the Earth, where people live dangerous close to the temperature limit where human life becomes untenable. We are expert at not reacting intelligently to global problems both because they are difficult and because they are inconvenient.
So while to first order these pictures are beautiful even whimsical, at another level they hold a much deeper and profound message. It is a message that we cannot really afford to ignore!