Nature: Signs and portents.
November 30 should mark the end of 2017’s hurricane season and there will likely be many sighs of relief. I say should because nature is not renowned for observing dates. This year’s season has been bad, Harvey, Irma and Maria; Irma broke records for storms. As I write today all is quiet on the Atlantic storm front. I hope it remains that way.
Storms happen every year and when they’re particularly bad in recent years then climate change comes to the fore. Forecasters did predict more storms for 2017 and warmer surface ocean temperatures, combined with a strong West African monsoon apparently made for perfect hurricane brewing in the Caribbean Sea and the tropical Atlantic Ocean.
When people are devastated by storms, lives are lost and property and infrastructure is destroyed and damaged. It can take years, even decades to recover and the financial losses can wreck budgets for a long time to come. The trouble is that it takes such a long time for us to establish a pattern in nature that by the time the guys at the top figure it out, it’s too late. I’ve been saying that for years. Not that it makes any difference. There will be more, less or the same number of storms next year. Whatever posture our leaders take.
Something we can measure and need to take note of is melting permafrost. Communities in Alaska are in crisis as the ground melts beneath them. I’ve read reports that it’s happening in the Canadian Arctic and Siberia too. Not only is the ground changing, affecting virtually everything on it, there will be climate change gasses, notably methane, being released too and no doubt some organisms, seeds, bacteria and viruses that have been locked away for maybe millions of years. Some of them will be benign, useful even, others, well, if you’ve seen the Fortitude series you may have reason to be concerned. Take all that and add in methane bubbles bursting out from the Arctic Ocean and I think that man made climate change is nothing compared to what nature can do and now, I think, is doing. Wasting time, money and effort arguing about if it’s happening or not is likely going to look pretty silly when we look back.
Now, insects. They’re a pest and I’m sure we all wish that were less flying biters. A recent study out of Germany has alarmed insectologists and more. Researchers took samples from 63 nature reserves across the country and concluded that flying insects have declined by over 75 per cent since 1989. The reason is unknown, the effect of ecosystems and pollination could be catastrophic. I read that a scientist in Ottawa was saying pretty much the same thing about Canadian flying insects earlier this year. Can we do something to redress the balance? Again, by the time the arguing ends as to is, how and why it may be too late or a very long haul back.
I’m going to finish on U.S. President Donald Trump who has long professed scepticism on climate change. Maybe he’ll end up like the Vice President in the Day After Tomorrow movie? We’ll see. Trump seems to be always in the news and usually on the end of a row or starting one. Fallen U.S. soldiers and his and other President’s actions about them, fake news, North Korea of course and the ongoing Russia investigation. I expect I missed a few out too. I did read an article about the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Basically, it seems a President can be removed if he is deemed mentally unfit to hold office. It looks to be a long shot and a long haul but ultimately doable. A bit like Star Trek when bones tells Kirk he’s too nuts to be in command. It’s a lot easier on TV. One might wonder why a candidate for the U.S. Presidency is not compulsorily checked out by independent medics. As Home Simpson would say, “Doh.”