Tuesday, December 19, 2006


At the end of today's cycle I came across a burst water mains right in the middle of the road as you come into Klerck Avenue (the street where I grew up). The geyser was about 20 metres high. Rushed home to get my camera but when I got back they'd closed off the water. Would have been nice to have a shower with some other people in the neighborhood. It's sort of thing you see in commercials.

Meanwhile, my leg handled the ride, but still felt sensitive. We're talking about arranging a trip to J-Bay and cycling the nicest pieces. Still in the works go. Might go after Christmas or something.

Yesterday I saw Mark Collie at the Stadium pool, and hung out with the New Zealand neighbours. Did a few jumps off the high diving board. Came back at 6pm to swim 2km. Also saw Adrian, had my car registered and tested for roadworthiness, and then dropped Adrian off at his place. Told me some hectic stuff about Celeste, his wife (who used to be a supermodel. She won the same modelling competitions as Charlize Theron).

Going to swim again today at about 6pm.

Am a bit frustrated with Ohmynews as I've posted about 4 good stories and they've only published the last one. I guess I'm going to have to resubmit each one, one at a time. Would like to draw more Ohmynews cash today but looks like I'll have to wait till Thursday or Friday (they have a minimum you can transfer, which is a few hundred rands).

It's incredibly hot today, and yesterday was too. Check this out:

2006 is one of the warmest on record
by Nick van der Leek

It’s interesting when you talk about climate change. There are still some people who appear to be listening attentively to a serious conversation on the subject and then respond: “You really think it’s happening?”
The year 2006 (that’s this year, to be clear) is the sixth warmest year since records began in 1861.* The British Hadley Climate Centre and the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) recently issued a joint statement on climate change. The warmest years since reliable records were kept were 1998 and 2005. In fact the 10 warmest years during the last 150 years were in the last 12 years. Average surface temperatures this year increased almost 0.5 degrees Celsius when compared to the period 1961-1990. In the Northern hemisphere this figure is closer to 0.6 degrees.

The World Meteorological Organization reports severe droughts and floods worldwide, as well as very austere winters in Asia and Eastern Europe. America has just experienced the warmest January to September (since records began), and Australia has registered the highest temperatures, in a series of stinging heat waves, since records began. Heat waves have been the pattern all over the world, from the USA to Europe. Many European nations reported the warmest autumn since records began in those countries. Large parts of Africa remain in the grip of serious drought (Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, Somalia etc). Many of these same countries experienced floods during their rainy seasons.

According to the WMO, 1976 proved to be a turning point. Temperatures increased three times quicker than in the first three quarters of the same century. Most computer aided climate models predict a catastrophic change in climate after the 2050 tipping point (if current emission trends continue). It’s at this point that methane hydrate deposits (which are superstores of CO2) which have been locked into the Earth’s crust by forces of either extreme pressure or cold will be released.

People have received plenty of warnings about climate change over the last few years, but in almost every instance, these warnings are answered by counterarguments, which basically mix-up the signal. As a result, many people are confused and doubtful as to how serious climate change is, and whether it is imminent. Here are the answers:

Predictions are that the Arctic will be entirely free of ice for parts of the year in the next 20 years. Significant sheets of ice have already melted and disappeared. We know this. The consequences of having more energy transferred to the atmosphere (in terms of more moisture, more warm, unstable energy) is simply that weather becomes more chaotic and less constant. This means more extreme weather events, fewer definable patterns and general instability. You might say: what’s wrong with an extra storm here and there? Well, here’s the problem. On a local scale small fluctuations can signal crop failures, and crop failures on a worldwide scale simply mean food shortages on a massive scale, inducing increasingly expensive food prices, then ever expanding famine.

On the second point, is climate change imminent? I’m sorry but I have to be blunt here. This is a stupid question. The climate is not only changing, it is changing at an accelerated rate, which by implications means that of course, it’s happening now. Where I am in South Africa I am seeing plants that I bought from a local nursery (that are supposed to love sun) having their uppermost leaves burnt dry by the fierce fire of the sun. We’re finding here, in South Africa, that we’re getting a month’s rainfall in one day, or missing it altogether. Other areas have seen the worst flooding ever. It’s likely that this is going to get worse.

Climate change doesn’t only mean rising sea levels. Long before that happens the carbon sync – the great Amazon rainforest – will eventually reach the point where the temperatures are just too hot to be fit for a forest, and so it’ll transform into savannah. The carbon sync absorbs at least half of the world’s CO2 emissions, and if the forests die because of a dry season just a few weeks too long, then the forests are vulnerable to fires, and are then instantly transformed into a giant carbon emitter.
This also represents a TPE (Tipping Point Event).

In only a few years, people will look back at how this society was distracted and entertained by current trends in consumption and excess. There will be reminiscences filled with bitterness and regret simply because people will remember they were exposed to countless warnings, but chose to doubt them, chose to listen to those who were in a position to influence people so they could continue to make more profits out of plundering the planet. Personally I think our prospects are pretty poor. Might we see GM and Daimler Chrysler and Toyota building giant atmosphere processors, atmosphere coolers, in the years to come? We human beings have been naughty children, ignoring our mother’s calls (Mother Nature), and those entreaties to curb our enthusiasm are about to manifest into a more retributive reality.

*Based on findings published by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

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