NOAA released some statistics this week showing that this was the warmest spring on record in the United States. Average temperatures in the lower 48 were an astounding 5.2 degrees warmer than average. That 5.2 degree deviance was the largest EVER deviation from normal temperatures, for any season, ever in the United States. The last 12 months have been the warmest 12 months EVER for the United States. EACH of the three spring months of March, April, and May had temperatures in the top-10 warmest ever for those months….the first time that’s ever happened. EVERY state, other than Washington, has had above-average temperatures over the last year.
Just more in a long line of temperature records in recent decades. I haven’t posted anything on climate change for quite some time. A a scientist, for me, given the actual scientific evidence, it’s an extremely obvious fact of life that climate change is occurring. As such, I guess it’s not a big story to me any more when news like this comes out…it’s EXPECTED in my mind. The evidence doesn’t lie. Climate change isn’t going away…it’s a simple fact of life, just like the sun rising in the morning.
But then I remember that hey, this is America. Science doesn’t mean anything to a good chunk of the population. Science has been replaced by political or religious ideology for FAR too many people…one factor that’s leading to the decline of America as the world’s leader in science. When some new data comes in, such as the spring temperature numbers for the U.S., perhaps I SHOULD make a bigger deal out of the data…not for my OWN sake, but for the sake of all the wackos out there who refuse to acknowledge what’s happening right before their very eyes.
I’m 45. In my lifetime, I’m not concerned that climate change will make the earth uninhabitable. In my lifetime, I’m only a little concerned that there will be drastic social and political upheaval due to climate change. But…I also have a 9-year old son. In HIS lifetime? I have NO doubt that climate change will have a profound impact in the second half of his life.
So…when numbers like this come out…when there are reports of Arctic sensors detecting 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere for the first time ever…I SHOULD make a big deal out of it. Not that the wackos will listen…which I find puzzling.
I care about the world my son will inherit. I’m not sure anymore that most Americans care about ANYTHING, other than their own personal, short-term satisfaction.
Posted in Climate Change
Tagged atmosphere, carbon dioxide, climate, climate change, global, hot, spring, temperature, warm, warming, weather
Some random thoughts from perusin’ the web…
Jobs Report Doesn’t Bode Well for Obama – Not a good jobs report today. Unemployment inched down, but only because so many people have left the work force. It’s a damned tough environment for a sitting president to win re-election. Frankly though, there’s just not much Obama can do to get things going on the economic front. This is a global downturn, and U.S. government economic policy isn’t the key to our economy. Romney says he’ll create 500,000 jobs a months and drop unemployment to 4%. That’s about as likely as Gingrich’s promises to lower gas prices to below $2.00 a gallon. However, it’s pretty obvious Republicans SHOULD have the edge given 1) the down economy, and 2) an American public who is stupid enough to actually BELIEVE some of the crap Republicans shovel down their throats. The only thing working against them is 1) their OWN ineptitude and 2) a complete lack of any strong candidates.
Redneck Massachusetts Man Attacks Hawk - No South Dakota, we do NOT have a monopoly on redneck losers. In Massachusetts, a man was arrested when he attacked a Red-tailed Hawk who had captured a pigeon…presumably to “protect” the pigeons in the park? The story also notes other memorable Massachusetts losers, such as a fish hatchery operator who shot herons, Osprey, and even Eagles that hung around his hatchery. Never underestimate just how incredibly cruel, selfish, and evil people can be.
Sioux Falls Man found Guilty of Raping 7-year Old – See the story above, multiply the horror and disgust by a factor of, oh, around 1,000, and you have this story of a Sioux Falls man raping a 7-year old. About 99% of the time, I’m against capital punishment….but BOY do stories like this make me at least pause and consider it for a second.
First Hummingbird of the Year - Like clockwork since we’ve moved into our current house, the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the year arrives sometime during the first week of May. Today was the day for 2012, when I saw a beautiful male hummingbird flitting around the yard much of the day. The link at the top of the paragraph shows the migratory progress of the Hummingbirds for this spring. I will GREATLY enjoy having them around my yard for the next 4 1/2 months, until they depart by mid- to late-September.
Posted in Birds, Politics, Sports
Tagged attack, baseball, child, closer, economy, government, Guilty, Hawk, hummingbird, jobs, man, Mariano Rivera, Massachusetts, migration, New York, obama, pigeon, policy, rape, Red-tailed Hawk, redneck, report, Romney, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, save, Sioux Falls, spring, Yankees
The first bluebird of the spring! And a photo as well...always nice to get!
It’s 90 degrees in Sioux Falls today. It’s April 1st. It’s a nice weather trick on April Fool’s day, and it blows away the old record high. There are kids out running through sprinklers, I was out doing yard work this afternoon, but…more than that, the thing that has made it seem like “Spring” this weekend was seeing (and photographing) the first bluebird of the year.
In my part of South Dakota, we only get the one kind of Bluebird. This is an Eastern Bluebird. There are also a lot of Mountain Bluebirds in the western part of the state. I live across the street from a state park, and often see these guys there this time of year.
Some random thoughts from perusin’ the web:
Obama Caught with Open Mic - In a story the GOP is sure to play up from now through the election, Obama was caught saying something to Russian president Medvedev about the European missile defense system, asking the Russian to give him “space” on the issue until after the election. It’s not exactly surprising to hear that when (seemingly) out of the range of an open mic, this is how a politician would talk. There’s no doubt Republicans will act indignant on the story, and will righteously declare that all Obama cares about is getting re-elected, and is just playing politics until the election. And…they’re probably right. Obama can take heart though that 1) Republicans are JUST as apt to put politics over the welfare of the country, and 2) in the short news cycles we have, it’s only a matter of time before Romney makes a verbal gaffe and pushes this off the front pages. The real losers in all of this are all the voters. I can already picture scads of Republican ads this fall that feature this Obama comment, just as I can already see scads of Democratic ads this fall that feature stupid Romney comments.
When do plants know to bloom in Spring? - This story is definitely relevant this spring! Interesting read if you get a chance. We’ve already got things blooming here, in South Dakota, in March, in response to the incredibly warm weather we’re having. There have even been Hummingbirds spotted in adjacent states of Nebraska and Minnesota! I don’t usually see them at my house until the first week of May! But as this story notes, for some plants, day length doesn’t matter, temperature alone can trigger blooming. As such…my hummingbird feeder is going up this week!! Who knows??
Tim Tebow welcomed in New York - Few things bother me more in life than our incredibly shallow American culture, and what passes for being a “celebrity”. We have “celebrities” who have done nothing more than be participants in a “reality” (hah!) TV show, or are simply famous for being complete jackasses. In the sports world, the artificial nature of being a “celebrity” was quite obvious over the past week, when the Denver Broncos signed Peyton Manning to be their QB, and subsequently traded Tim Tebow to the New York Jets. Manning is a Super Bowl winner and an NFL MVP. Tim Tebow? He was one of the poorest rated quarterbacks in the NFL last year. But yet, the stories have at LEAST been 5 to 1 about Tebow instead of about Manning. Tebow to me is one of those “artificial” celebrities, now that his college career is well in the past. He CERTAINLY doesn’t deserve the attention for what he’s accomplished on the field in the NFL. He gets attention simply because of his very public, very over-the-top profession of his religious faith. In America…THAT’s what gets you noticed…acting outside-the-box. Peyton Manning’s accomplishments? Unimportant compared to Tebow’s unusual personal life. I wish I could say it was just sports, but this story is a microcosm of America in general. Working hard and achieving great things in your line of work? That’ll get you nowhere!! What you NEED is a viral video! What you NEED is to be a wacky, vocal jackass! THAT’S the kind of thing that gets you noticed in today’s America!
Supreme Court Tackles Obamacare - The Supreme Court today started hearing arguments regarding the legality of ObamaCare. In a poll, 56% of Americans believe Supreme Court Justices will rule according to their own personal politics, while only 27% believe that ObamaCare will be judged according to the law. I can’t say as I disagree. What’s always baffled me…why SUPREME COURT JUSTICES are either categorized as “Liberal” or “Conservative”. Isn’t the LAW above politics? Why the HELL should LAW be judged according to one’s own personal politics? Are American laws SO poorly written, are they SO open to personal interpretation, that Supreme Court decisions are (seemingly) always split according to perceived political persuasion of the Justices? In the end, what I FULLY expect…a 5-4 decision to repeal the mandate component of Obamacare. Why? Not because of any legal precedent or ruling. No, I expect a 5-4 ruling to repeal much of Obamacare, simply because 5 current justices are considered “Conservative”. Hey…I TELL you that I’m a CYNICAL scientist. Unfortunately, when it comes to my cynicism in matters such as this, I also have a hell of a lot of evidence to back me up.
Posted in Climate Change, Perusin' & Musin', Politics, Sports
Tagged bloom, climate, defense, Democrat, election, Europe, flowers, global warming, GOP, justice, Missile, NFL, obama, ObamaCare, Open Mic, Peyton Manning, plants, republican, spring, Supreme Court, Tim Tebow, warm, weather