Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What is this about?

When I was planning my move to the US, I had the luxury of having no preconceived ideas about location.  I had never been here before and knew no one living here.  If you read my book (see link on the right) you will know that I chose Texas based on a number of criteria, one of which was the weather.  

I was so tired of cold, wet, grey days almost all year 'round that I wanted to live somewhere hot and hotter, dry and sunny. My research led me to believe I would find what I wanted in Texas. Yes, I knew there would be some cool days, even a few cold days in mid winter, but I also knew that these would be few and far between. The first few years after I arrived I was very happy to discover this expectation was (mostly) satisfied.  There was one four-day ice storm the second winter I was in Austin. But it was such a rare and unexpected event that the entire city closed down for those 4 days.

But this winter has been awful, yes we need the rain and I have finally become Texan enough that I am always now happy to see it, of course it doesn't happen very often and not nearly often enough for the well being of the State. However, look at this! 

No, I am not returning to Ireland any time soon, well not for more than my usual visit to see family. But this weather is not what I bargained for, except of course, no bargaining was involved, just guesswork and luck.

We have a saying in Texas, 'if you don't like the weather just wait because it will change' - whoever says that clearly never visited Ireland where we do have the same saying, but it is fact. In Texas we are pretty much guaranteed to have ~HOT~ weather from June through September, day after day, with perhaps (if we are lucky) an occasional shower of rain, the rain is hot by Irish standards also.

In Ireland we can have rain, fog, sun, cold, warm, deluge, clouds, wind, sun, cold, hot, dry - and that all in the space of a few hours. Dublin is on the east coast, we are surrounded, at least to the south and southwest by what we fondly refer to as mountains, they are in fact beautiful rolling hills.

We have a saying 'if you can see the mountains it is going to rain, if you can't see them it is raining'. What makes the difference to me is that home heating in the US is much cheaper and more efficient, than in Ireland.  Almost no one in Ireland can afford to run their heating 24 hours, even on a thermostat, in fact the same goes for hot water.  The cost would be prohibitive.

Now, we have to take into account global warming. Why is it that normal, presumably reasonably intelligent human beings can't grasp what is happening to our climate, to our planet - what mankind is doing to our planet, and what we are sowing, that our children and grandchildren will have to reap and live and/ or die with? Otherwise intelligent people think that global warming is disproved because it has suddenly got extremly cold (not warm) throughout the United States, or because we have a major hurricane event, or no hurricane events at all in one season. In fact you don't have to be terribly smart to understand that if the earth - the globe- is warming, the first thing to happen is melting of the icecap - hey presto otherwise warm waters become seriously chilled by the melting ice.  And I know I learned in school that the oceans have a major influence on our weather.

Ireland is very far north, Dublin City is at a latitude of just over 53 degrees North, but the climate is relatively mild compared to other countries on the same latitude due to the warm Gulf Stream flowing down the Atlantic Coast to the West, and an abundance of hills and mountains around the coastline, affording shelter to the island.  With the melting of the polar icecap I fear that this will change, as the melting of that ice cap allows massive amounts of fresh water to flow into the ocean, at best changing the flow of the currents in the Atlantic and thereby redirecting the Gulf Stream. Some believe the melting icecap will actually cool the warm Gulf Steam sufficiently to eliminate its protective cloak around our tiny island, sending mean temperatures plummeting.

Mankind appears to be determined to destroy the earth, apparently the only motivation for this is pure greed. How illogical is that? Let's make lots of money and ignore the damage we are doing, but the day will come when no amount of money is going to solve the problems caused by this greed, nor will it protect anyone, rich or poor, against the effects of global warming.

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