Just A Good, Old-Fashioned, La Niña

This week, yet again, the media is dominated by raging fires ravaging the California landscape. Whole towns are evacuated; hundreds of homes are going up in flames. Yet still everyone holds back, hesitates, as though afraid to make the final declaration.

Yesterday, on NBC Nightly News a veteran weather forecaster was asked to explain the cause of these intense infernos. His response: La Niña – the sort of opposite of El Niño.

He’s probably right, but it’s unlikely anyone living in California would argue against the frequency and intensity of these devastating fires having increased dramatically over the past decade.

While it’s comforting to blame El Niño and La Niña for the problems in California, these atmospheric genies that act like an enormous weather pendulum swinging ocean currents and temperatures backwards and forwards across the globe, have been around for eons. It’s easy to sit back and listen to ‘experts’ postulate their theory that the increase in El Niño/La Niña intensity documented over the last twenty years is nothing more than a temporary aberration – a mere quirk of the weather patterns – and the explanation might be acceptable, were it not for all the other evidence piling up to discount it.

This year has seen environmentally devastating weather conditions throughout much of the planet. Records are not yet available, but it is likely to prove, yet again, another of the warmest years on record. In parts of the world heatwaves have killed many. In other areas devastating floods have been responsible for catastrophic disasters. Only a few months ago, Greece was consumed by fires equally as intense, if not worse than those presently experienced by California.

Still the ‘experts’ will not commit themselves. Like the proverbial ostriches, they bury their heads in the sand and mumble incoherently about El Niño or La Niña being the only culprits of this wayward weather.

Scientists from the Global Carbon Project, the University of East Anglia, UK, and the British Antarctic Survey, have just published a report stating that carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere have risen 35% faster than expected since 2000. 17% of that figure is due to industrial nations taking no action to curb their carbon emissions. The cause of the other 18% is even more concerning.

Oceans around the world have always been a vast filter of CO2 from the atmosphere, absorbing much of the carbon that would otherwise turn this planet into another greenhouse-gas-run-riot environment like our sister planet, Venus. Scientists have now realized the oceans are no longer able to store more carbon dioxide. They are reaching saturation point. Uptake of CO2 in the North Atlantic has halved in the last fifteen years. A similar situation exists in the Southern Oceans. The 18% CO2 increase, additional to the 17% caused by wayward politicians, is due to this factor.

Earth’s filters are clogged.

Landmass also acts as an absorber of CO2. Trees and plants do their share, but it is mainly the great forests of the Amazon basin that are the main ‘lungs’ of the planet. Prior to our ‘conversion’ from hunter-gatherers to agrarians there was much more forestation on the planet, but even today the landmass will normally absorb a similar amount of carbon dioxide to that of the oceans.

But, the very nature of the rainforest is changing. A twenty year study in Amazonia has revealed that, even in areas still untouched and pristine, the vegetation has altered. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing a shift in tree growth that will almost certainly have an increasingly negative effect on the forest’s ability to absorb CO2.

It would seem Planet Earth is reaching saturation point. The implications are enormous.

Meanwhile, our leaders mouth platitudes designed to placate our fears, while continuing to grant free reign to the greatest polluters on the planet – industry. Much is presently being made of an individual’s responsibility to decrease his ‘carbon footprint’, but industry still churns millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year with no restraint whatever.

It is right to applaud the ‘green’ communities that have sprung up all over the planet, doing their little bit to help reduce emissions, but their effectiveness is negligible set against the criminal complacency of the corporates.

Once the Earth’s natural filters become blocked and cease functioning, this planet will no longer be able to support life. It will happen quickly; snowballing. Temperature will rise ever more rapidly as the ‘greenhouse effect’ escalates. A 6 – 7 degree increase will mark the inevitability of human extinction.

As that happens, will the weather forecasters still be insisting its just La Niña?

Read More of El Niño/La Niña HERE.

Read about ocean CO2 absorption HERE.

Read more on the rainforest changes HERE, and HERE.

Read more on the disastrous 2007 weather HERE.

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6 Replies to “Just A Good, Old-Fashioned, La Niña”

  1. And as the non-Kyoto signers and their followers have it, RJA, the coming Rapture will take care of everything. A little bit hotter than they foresee, I would imagine.
    Yes, we are beyond the tipping point and us little ‘uns are doing our bit but Big Corp is negating all the efforts.

  2. “As that happens, will the weather forecasters still be insisting its just La Niña?”

    I’d bet on it! And our idiot Senator, James Inhofe, will still be declaring it all “a hoax”.

    In spite of Al Gore’s sterling work in raising awareness, little has changed in this neck of the woods. Nobody cares, RJ.

    When we moved to this house 3 years ago I bought a flagpole and hoisted the Earth Flag, it has been there ever since (with several renewals). Some people have asked what it is, what it signifies. I told ’em. They looked blank as they turned their gaze to the stars and stripes flying further up the road.

  3. As an escapee from southern CA I have to add there are more factors at work though I do not at all dispute climate change being one of them.

    There are entirely too many people now living in areas not suitable for habitation. Dry forests are very pretty, they’re also extremely dangerous to live in. Add in the ever increasing population of mentally ill persons and the last half dozen republican governors cutting mental health services and closing hospitals….arson is a daily fact of life in CA. I personally had someone try to torch my neighborhood not once but twice within the space of 5 years. I actually SAW tham do it and several of my neighbors were firefighters so we were able to avoid disaster. One Christmas Eve when I was a young single parent I was less fortunate when a neighbor set fire to the duplex and burned us all out. Not one person offered us a helping hand so my cup of empathy is a bit dryish.

    Then there are the environmental folks. They mean well but the truth is that periodically underbrush MUST be burned off or these fires will happen. Native Americans knew this and would burn areas of overgrowth periodically. Controlled burning is banned in CA courtesy of the environmentalist movement.

    More reasons I fled the state, too many people, not enough with as much sense as a pissant.

  4. Wisewebwoman – in March this year, Falwell preached a sermon entitled, “The Myth of Global Warming”, in which he called it “….a tool of Satan being used to distract churches from their primary focus of preaching the gospel.” Back in August 2006, his pal Robertson declared he was “….a convert…” to global warming, saying he believed, “…..“it is getting hotter and the ice caps are melting and there is a build up of carbon dioxide in the air……we really need to do something on fossil fuels.”

    It would seem God is sending them contradictory messages.

    Twilight – you are right that nobody cares. At least, not enough of us. While the shepherd keeps telling the sheep there’s nothing to fear, they’ll continue to graze happily, even though the wolf is clearly visible on the horizon.

    NYM – I agree wholly with regard to correct forest management. I’ve been appalled, even up here in Illinois, how wooded areas are just left to run rampant and become overgrown. I once asked the town’s official ‘woodsman’ what their forest management policies were, and his eyes glazed over. “Well,” he said, after a pause, “we give priority to downing any trees on the town’s land if they become dangerous.”

    Clearing undergrowth, thinning woodland, and cutting firebreaks is a major part of the British Forestry Commission’s management work throughout the British Isles. Of course, they are a government department, so we mustn’t expect too much of them, must we?

  5. When Jimmy Carter was in office, he actually tried to work on the problem. There were tax credits for alternative energies, laws about gas mileage etc. He even tried to set an example by turning down the heat and putting on a sweater, plus he put solar panels on the White House. Reagan tore those down asap and said “be Happy, Don’t Worry” and the country ridiculed Carter. I still hear people say that a shipping route through the Arctic is great and that the doomsayers are wacko.

    The business about buying carbon indulgences by paying some third world country to plant trees is so flat out insane. What can a tiny tree that will probably be cut for firewood when it grows up enough to do anything do except assuage some rich guys conscience about his private plane? Same as hiring some poor schmuck to go fight wars for your pocketbook.

    The Republicans think that thinking positive will actually make positive things happen. Reality be damned.

  6. Flimsy – the Republicans (and most Democrat politicians) don’t think positive, so much as they think money. They’re still convinced that when things get bad enough they’ll be able to solve the problem by throwing money at it. Bush constantly talks of ‘developing technology to solve global warming’. Of course, that’s what the corporates are feeding him. The latest idea: fill the sea with hollow tubes to draw cool water to the surface and dissipate the heat….

    It just gets crazier!

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