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We Sure Could Use Some Global Warming Down Here in Texas

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I'll make a deal. I'm willing to accept the existence of global warming, just like Nancy Pelosi and the Supreme Court if someone will come down here to Texas and pay my heating bills, put insulation around my fruit trees, and mulch my flowers.

We're entering the second week of April, the time of year when the weather in the Austin area normally makes a gradual change from balmy to blazing hot, and there's ice falling out of the sky, frost on the ground, and a truly remarkable crop of Spring wildflowers is dying on the stem.

It's cold here. It's not just a little cool like it might be on a breezy Spring night, it's record shattering, unprecedentedly, incredibly cold. It's oh my god I think the ice age has started cold. The cold is lasting for days, and when these cold fronts come in from the west and hit the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, we also get a hell of a lot of rain. Really cold rain. Where are the arid winds and baking sun of Global Warming which are supposed to turn the two thirds of the world into desert?

Some numbers might help you. The low last night was 31 degrees. The high during the day was 35. The low barely broke past records, only a couple of degrees colder than the previous record from 1980. The high broke all prior records and then danced on their shards laughing insanely. The previous low daytime temperature record was set in 1939 at 61 degrees. Today's highest afternoon temperature was 26 degrees lower. That's not seasonal temperature variation. That's unprecedented. A few more degrees and it would probably be snowing here.

This isn't just some short-term regional anomaly. It's snowing in West Texas and Oklahoma. It's snowing in Atlanta, Tennessee, and North Carolina, and there are serious snows farther north and farther west. And it's not ending any time soon. Forecasts suggest that it's going to get even colder over the next few days with temperatures dropping into the teens as cold front piles on cold front through Tuesday.

This isn't just an inconvenience. Parts of the country which normally have balmy weather this time of year are burning natural gas, propane, and electricity to keep warm, and that's going to have an impact on personal budgets for millions of people. This is also well into the growing season for farmers throughout the south, southwest, and lower midwest. Cold combined with excessive rain have likely already destroyed one crop of feed corn, and are stressing cattle who ought to be eating heavily now to recover from the lean winter months. Fruit yields will certainly be much lower than usual. I'm sure we've lost two aging peach trees and I doubt our plums will produce at all this year.

Climatologists are likely to blame this weather on the breakdown of El Nino and the emergence of the cold Pacific waters of the La Nina weather pattern, but the reasons don't matter much to those of us getting a taste of what life will be like in Texas if an ice age brings glaciers down to the Mason-Dixon line.

More important than rotting corn, starving cows, and $400 propane bills, I know it's not going to be much fun for our 4-year-old to hunt Easter eggs in mittens, an overcoat, and hip-boots.

Global warming my frozen Texas ass.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Jenny

    I think the phrase ‘global warming’ used to describe the recent deviations from normal weather conditions is a bit misleading. You think that it is not happening, but in fact what we are seeing by this wintry storm is an extreme weather pattern that is actually demonstrating the predictions of the theory. So read up on it so that you can make an informed statement in your debate against this phenomenon.

  • Clavos

    I was going to tell you that the real acolytes for GW were going to tell you that your severe winter is yet another manifestation of GW, Dave, but I see I’m already too late.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I’ve been through it before, Clavos. Everything is a result of global warming and if you question it, you’re burnt at the stake.

    And Jenny, does this article read like I want to engage in an informed debate? I’ve done that in the past and it was pointless.

    It wa slike arguing with right-to-lifers about abortion.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Good lord, it just started snowing – in Austin – in April.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dave

    Its just been cold for 3 days.

    Please read up on weather patterns and the entire global warming phenomenon and stop embarrassing yourself.

  • http://www.rightwinged.com Randy

    Record heat? Global warming! Record cold?…. Uh… Global warming!

    I’m not that old, but I love telling global warming idiots, “In my day, we called it the f-ing weather!”

    It’s funny how these clowns always tell us to read and talk about scientific “consensus”… Yet they’re the ones listening to politicians, and NOT looking at the science.

    Global warming, is global crap.. and you can tell me to put on my tin-foil hat but it’s about the New World Order, which I’ve maintained for years, and I’m being proven right more lately.

    First of all, anyone could see the global law/global tax motivations behind this… But just a few days ago Tony Blair’s likely successor at PM of the UK said that we need a “new world order” to handle global warming. And thanks to new laws in the UK, their citizens will soon be penalized for not making their homes for fuel efficient. While all these Bush derranged conspiracy theorists freak out about a Bush Illuminati police state, they’ve totally missed what’s been going on right under their stuck up liberal noses.

    Again, this isn’t conspiracy theory stuff, this is happening! And if you global warmists want to do your part to stop the emission of C02… stop breathing!

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Its just been cold for 3 days.

    Actually, it was quite nice for two days, cold today and expected to be cold through Tuesday at least.

    Please read up on weather patterns and the entire global warming phenomenon and stop embarrassing yourself.

    I have, Zedd. Like I said before and as should be clear from the article, it’s entirely anecdotal. Just bitching about the cold.

    I will say this though. If they’re all worrying about global warming that suggests that no one is going to do anything about me freezing my ass off.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Zedd,

    Read Dave’s link, ‘climatologists” near the end of the article. The article linked to comes from the UN World Meteorological Organization and talks about the El Niño and La Niña phenomena (officially the El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO) in the Pacific.

    The article mentions, correctly, that these two weather patterns have a huge effect on weather all around the Pacific Rim and as far away as Africa, as they shift back and forth.

    The ENSO has been observed and recorded for more than 300 years, and likely has been around for centuries before that. One of the major effects it has been proven to have is on the severity and frequency of Atlantic hurricanes.

    That fact is confirmed by both Dr. William Gray of Colorado and Max Mayfield, the recently retired Director of the National Hurricane Center. Both of them deny, by the way, that “global warming” is having any effect on the hurricanes, and they are the two top experts on hurricanes in the world.

    Here’s a particularly telling quote from Dave’s link:

    El Nino conditions, which in December were forecast as likely to persist until at least March, dissipated rapidly during January and February (emphasis mine)

    That’s a perfect example of how well the experts can make long range predictions about what will happen with the weather and climate.

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com Christopher Rose

    In the end, it doesn’t matter at all whether the planet is warming or cooling. The plain fact of the matter is that climate patterns are changing.

    The changes will cause quite large scale disruption to the lives of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people and the fallout from that is going to affect all of us.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    For once, Chris, I see that we can actually agree. Climate conditions are changing. The real issue is not global warming or global cooling, but the time frame (speed) that either trend occurs in.

    If the climatic change is relatively gradual, then Dave’s daughter having to dig Easter eggs in mittens (along with the heat bills, etc.) will be the worst of the problems. If the changes are sudden, then massive hurricanes and double tornadoes hitting heat islands will kill hundreds or thousands at a time.

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com Christopher Rose

    Indeed, Ruvy. Not only that, but there are going to be MANY climate refugees moving away from the climate change frontline. That is going to impact directly on those fortunate enough to live further away from the most seriously affected areas. The only thing that remains unclear are the scale of disruption and the timeline. As the song goes, “you ain’t seen nothing yet”.

    Oh yeah, if the timeline is short, well done on moving you and your family right into one of the main frontline areas.

    As we’ve already been over many times, I don’t buy any of your faithist views, but can see a real reason for conflict in the region. It’s an increasingly precious and scarce resource called fresh water…

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Chris,

    With respect to climate change, the scale of disruption will be directly dependent on the timeline. Speaking of weather, it has been decidedly cool here. The temps usually reach to 25C (77F) in midday around here by March. That is only begining to happen now.

    As for potable water being an issue, it always has in this neighborhood. Isaac fought with Canaanite kings over wells here 3,700 years ago. So wars over water are nothing new in this neck of the woods. But the water table has been rising lately here, not falling.

  • heatrave

    I wish to confess, and admit, that I have sinned. I am a Energy User. AlGore has shown me the error of my ways. I understand that it is not too late to do something, and I would like to do what He has done. Set up a multi-national corporation. Purchase Carbon Offsets from Himself, as he is the CEO of this company which “sells” this type of widget. Enjoy the tax write offs of both the “credits” and the “operational overhead” of this transaction. Kinda sounds like a good tax shelter to me. I suppose the IRS approves of this scheme, as I don’t recall AlGore being audited lately.

  • MAOZ

    Good grief, Dave! If, G^d forbid, they burn you at the stake [ref. comment #3], won’t that just add to the global heat burden?!

  • MCH

    [Personal attack deleted]

  • Don

    Gee, and everyone was complaining in March 2006 because of the record heat wave in Austin.
    Make up your minds.

  • Clavos

    Christopher says:

    In the end, it doesn’t matter at all whether the planet is warming or cooling. The plain fact of the matter is that climate patterns are changing.

    True. They have done so since the formation of our planet, and will continue to do so until the earth ceases to exist.

    The changes will cause quite large scale disruption to the lives of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people and the fallout from that is going to affect all of us.

    There is no certain, irrefutable and repeatable proof of that; there is only speculation and computer “models” which are subject to literally thousands of variables.

    Much of the hype about the extent of disruption attributable to GW comes from Al Gore’s movie, and is being refuted left and right. Even the IPCC disputes at least one of Gore’s allegations:

    Kevin Vranes, a University of Colorado climatologist, worried that Gore had been “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.”

    Gore warns about a 20-foot rise in sea level; the IPCC panel estimates “that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches – down from earlier estimates.”

    Ever apocalyptic, Gore says that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this.” But Don Easterbrook, a geology professor from Western Washington University, notes that within the last 15,000 years there have been shifts up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”

    The fact is that there is a not insignificant group of nonconforming, respectable scientists who disagree with the conventional wisdom, and who believe that the sun and the cycle of intensified sunspots it is currently undergoing have much more to do with global warming than anything anthropogenic.

    A couple of links: Here, from Science Daily.

    And this one, from The Times Online.

    Only the site restrictions on links prevent me from providing several more links.

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com Christopher Rose

    I fail to understand what point you’re trying to make here, Clavos.

    Your first sentence doesn’t add to or change anything about what I said and your second is entirely mistaken. WHEN these changes occur, it will have an affect on lots of people all over the planet. You also seem to have confused climate change with global warming.

    There is very clear evidence that human activity is changing the climate. Whether that will cause cooling or heating may not be totally clear but the balance of evidence is trending towards warming.

    Finally, since when has there ever been unanimous consensus about anything? If that was a requirement for action, nothing would ever get done.

  • Clavos

    Chris,

    My first sentence was in agreement with your statement, so of course it didn’t change anything.

    There has ALWAYS been climate change, throughout the history of the world; even before humans existed. Some of those changes, such as the ice ages, were enormous; most were not. NONE were caused anthropogenically. It is the very nature of the atmosphere, oceans and their currents, and the biosphere, which collectively are the climate, to be constantly in a state of flux.

    I haven’t confused climate change with global warming; I’m simply using them interchangeably, since the climate change we are currently undergoing is by all accounts a warming trend.

    The “evidence” of human activity changing the climate is VERY questionable as to degree; most of it is, in fact, not evidence at all, but rather computer model predictions, which are and have been notoriously unreliable in the past, as I showed with my link. Did you not read the links? Your response seems to indicate you didn’t.

    There is considerable evidence (from ice cores, among other sources) that past climate changes of significant magnitude had little or no deleterious effect on the planet. Some, such as the ice ages obviously did. I have not read any believable accounts that the present change will be of that magnitude.

    Finally, as one of my previous links suggests, we are not able to forecast climate change or anything else to do with the earth’s atmosphere with any degree of real accuracy yet.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Gee, and everyone was complaining in March 2006 because of the record heat wave in Austin.
    Make up your minds.

    I think that’s the problem in a nutshell. Weather patterns we used to be able to count on seem to be breaking down. The regular flow of the seasons is disrupted. It’s more disturbing not to know what the hell the weather is going to be from day to day than to know that weather is following a particular trend. The trend you can deal with. Uncertainty and randomness is unsettling and incredibly inconenient.

    Christopher probably has the right perspective in considering what’s going to be global climate change. The warming trend really pales in comparison to other forces that are at work like La Nina/El Nino and the shifting of the Atlantic currents away from Western Europe. Those regionalized effects are going to change conditions far more quickly and more radically than a couple of extra degrees to worldwide averages, and as this article was designed to point out, they aren’t necessarily going to make where you or I live any warmer.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Dave writes,

    The warming trend really pales in comparison to other forces that are at work like La Nina/El Nino and the shifting of the Atlantic currents away from Western Europe. Those regionalized effects are going to change conditions far more quickly and more radically than a couple of extra degrees to worldwide averages, and as this article was designed to point out, they aren’t necessarily going to make where you or I live any warmer.

    That’s exactly the point; records on El Niño go back hundreds of years. These and other elements of the atmosphere (the jetstream, e.g.) capable of great, but short term changes, have ALWAYS been there.

    It is VERY bad meteorology to take a few years of changed conditions and extrapolate from that “evidence” a long term trend with disastrous effects.

    One other point: While the basic data in the IPCC reports IS contributed by scientists (not all of whom are climatologists or meteorologists, BTW), the actual report is mostly written by BUREAUCRATS; representatives of various governments. This is the main reason for my contention that the whole issue is not about science so much as it is about control.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I think you’ve got some very powerful points here, Clavos. Two in particular.

    First, I think you’re right to remind us again and again that the efforts of GW advocates to bludgeon everyone into accepting the idea that there is consensus on the subject are deceptive. It’s important to remember that there are a great many respected and legitimate scientists who have serious questions about global warming.

    Second, the political nature of the issue can’t be ignored. When it comes down to it, that’s what global warming is really all about. To get done the things they want to do to the world, certain global interests need to have a threat out there. Then they can claim that the control they want to exercise over our lives is justified by the battle against global warming.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dave sed:Like I said before and as should be clear from the article, it’s entirely anecdotal. Just bitching about the cold.

    Okay, I got you. I thought that since your article was in the political section that there was a political element to it. SORRY!

    I agree with you. Its weird. My flowers are dying but anything that helps me to pretend as if Summer is not coming works. I’ve lived in Texas most of my life and I STILL have not adjusted to Summer. People don’t realise that it is HELL!!! I cant imagine that Native Americans hung around this place in the Summer. They must have lived in caves or something. Even the nomads, they wouldn’t make it. Its pure torture!!! Off course they didn’t have 12 consecutive ozone alert days.

    Clavos

    What are you on about?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Zedd, don’t you live in the DFW area? Being there makes summer just a little bit worse than it is here in well-shaded and green Austin.

    As for the political element, any discussion of global warming is inherently political.

    As for the cold spell, what if it was the beginning of a trend? What it it meant a future of 80 degree summers in Texas. Would you be complaining? I know I could put up with frozen Easters if that was the payoff.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dave

    The massive concrete in Dallas does not help the situation. It is just torturous. I go through shock every summer. It seems as if it FEELS hotter than it used to. Upper 90’s were tolerable but now on an ozone day 98 feels like death valley. I’ve known several people from up north to leave after a couple of summers because they just cant stand it. Several people die from heat every year. The past couple of years we’ve had droughts so there hasn’t been that much lake activity either so we just stay inside. There really is no other choice. Summer excluded, I love DFW.

    I would love cooler summers without a doubt, however I would also know that that shift affects the stability of the entire planet. What would Siberia be like for instance?

    If we were slowly, on schedule, heading towards an inevitable ice age, then I would welcome the cooler weather but if the change in climate was due to some misdeed of ours and a premature change in patterns, then I would be concerned.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    There’s all those overheated tires rolling on that concrete too.

    Having been to Siberia I can only think that anything would be an improvement.

    Well, if we are heading towards an ice-age we’re living on what’s going to turn into some pretty prime real estate.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    [Personal attack deleted]

    I am still buying up beachfront property in Nebraska…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    By the way, Chris, if the weather in España gets really cold the day after tomorrow, you can sit with a couple of your buddies – one of you can toast Juan Carlos, another can toast humankind – and you can toast Manchester United.

    Bottoms up!

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com Christopher Rose

    I’ve no idea what you’re on about here, virtual bud, but the weather forecast is saying the rain will finally stop and the sun make a welcome return this Friday.

    I am looking forward to the FA Cup Semi-Final against Watford on Saturday though – and hoping to see another awesome display of attacking football like last night’s 7-1 thrashing of Roma.

  • Servant

    What I don’t understand is why no one thinks of this as simple evolution of the planet. I mean, even if global warming exists, even if it is going to sink the world, isn’t that just change? If natural selection wanted us to burn fossil fuels, I say let the galaxy burn.

  • Liane

    Why must you simply debate what is already obvious? No one seriously cares this much about global warming or global cooling, but rather the fact that there is no guarantee as to whether the cool weather will continue or not. It does not matter if one does not agree with another, because the obvious fact is that changes will eventually occur in our climate and forever alter our ways of life.

  • STM

    Dave, one of the effects of global warming – as I’m sure you know – is that areas where the climate is traditionally warm can get colder, and vice-versa.

    Here I am, sitting in the driest continent on this Earth, and the sea temperature is still 22 degrees celsius, the same as mid-summer, heading into winter (same as last year and the year before and for a few years before that) but the air temperature seems to be steadily getting cooler earlier this time of year, year after year.

    This year, up north in sub-tropical south-east Queensland (the most populous part of that state and an international tourist detsination) they are now on high-level water restrictions – four-minute showers, spot-washing only for cars and garden watering restricted to a couple of buckets twice a week for your special flowers. This, in an area that has historically been prone to severe flooding.

    The whole country apart from some coastal areas is bone dry, and when the westerlies blow on the east coast you can smell and almost taste the red dust in the air.

    Some children in the bush have never seen rain. Some older ones, including my mate’s 13-year-old who has just been sent down to boarding school in Sydney, have seen it as youngsters but simply don’t remember it. This boy went outside and stood under it for half an hour and looked up at the sky with his arms outstretched the first time it rained in Sydney after he arrived. Not all his mates thought he was mad either, because some of them were doing the same thing.

    Even in Sydney, dam levels are down to near-critical levels.

    Now, 13,000 miles away on the other side of the planet, the Poms are gearing up for their third red-hot hot summer in a row, with temperatures predicted to hit the mid-30s, and up to about 40 (100 degrees fahrenheit) in the south of England.

    You couldn’t be here and tell me that global warming is just a political issue. It may not be as bad as some in the GW “industry” would have us believe, but there is certainly something very bizarre going on, and we would be right to be worried about it.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Stan,

    Your descriptions in the comment above would make good feature journalism. Always good to read a pro – even when he is not on the clock. You really ought to write an article about it here. It may not be news in Oz, but it’s news everywhere else…

    You say that something strange is going on. Well, it rained here yesterday, and the level of rain has been going up here for about the same time period that you have suffered a drought. Our sages tell us that when the messiah will arrive, the waters will rise – and indeed here they have risen.

    You might be getting a Message from On High. think on it, the next time you pour yourself a beer… Water seems to getting awful expensive down your way.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Servant, that’s exactly what a lot of people believe based on pretty good evidence, but that belief is stygmatized and people who hold it are persecuted. Metorologists lose their jobs over saying it. There are powerful political forces at work which have too much invested in global warming as a route to power to allow challenges to it or even plain common sense to have a say.

    Dave

  • STM

    Thanks Ruvy. I do believe something strange is going on. It’s a miracle that the farmers here are continuing to feed and clothe us (and as I’ve said before, half the rest of the world as well).

    Although this has always been a harsh place in terms of climate, it is really quite frightening up in the bush. There is no moisture in the ground or the air, the dust is bright red (rich in iron) and just sticks to everything. Only the eucaplypts, which have been on this continent since the dawn of time, thrive.

    Perhaps they know something we don’t.

  • Clavos

    Stan says:

    You couldn’t be here and tell me that global warming is just a political issue. It may not be as bad as some in the GW “industry” would have us believe, but there is certainly something very bizarre going on, and we would be right to be worried about it.

    Stan, according to very respectable scientists, what’s going on is not bizarre at all.

    Ice core and other evidence found all over the world proves (not “suggests”) that what we are enduring right now is the warming element of a 1500 year cycle which has occurred a minimum of nine times before in the last 25,000 years. The most recent warming period occurred during the Middle Ages. These alternate cycles of warming followed by cooling always result in droughts in some parts of the world and increased rainfall in others.

    This is explained in great detail in the book “Unstoppable Global Warming”, by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery. The book is new, published this year, and very convincing.

    Singer is a climate physicist who is currently professor emeritus of environmental science at the Unversity of Virginia. He was the first director of the US National Weather Satellite Service, and has served for years as the Vice Chairman of the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmospheres; he’s no lightweight.

    Avery is a journalist who is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. He has published articles on environmental issues in the WSJ, Christian Science Monitor, various urban newspapers around the US, and several magazines, including Forbes and the Atlantic Monthly.

    I’ve not finished reading the book, so won’t go deeper into the science, but it is VERY convincing, and cites the work of other scientists around the world, with which I AM familiar. Cited are highly respected scientists, such as Bjorn Lomborg (author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist”) and Henrik Svensmark (also a climate physicist) in Denmark; Richard Lindzen, here in the US; and Nigel Calder, in the UK.

    I don’t think that GW is claimed to be “just a political issue” by anybody serious, but the fact that it is being used as a scare tactic to effect political changes around the world is irrefutable.

    All of this is no consolation for Oz, I know, but as a journalist, I thought you would be interested in checking out the book.

  • Servant

    I personally think that we should focus on more immediate environmental issues. To name three off the top of my head: freash water scarcity, ozone depletion, and acid rain.

    These are more prssing problems that affect us now, yet you don’t see documentaries about it. And come on, it gives more material to the US-haters, so that should appeal to them too, right?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Servant, I think we have Ozone depletion and Acid Rain well on their way towards being licked. But I agree that the diminishing availability of fresh water is a serious regional issue.

    Dave

  • STM

    Servant: “And come on, it gives more material to the US-haters”.

    What on Earth has this to do with US-hating?

  • Servant

    The world is wrapped around the (admittedly correct) idea that the US is rather stupid about the environment. Personally, I place the blame on its citizens, instead of scapegoating the politicains. I meant the “US-haters” comment as a joke, sorry if it offends.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    The US has made remarkable, genuine progress in cleaning up its own environment. Those who claim otherwise are ill-informed.

    Dave

  • Servant

    Yes, yes I know. It was a joke, I don’t hate the US, I know all that stuff.

    But still, I mean, since only .8% of water is actually usable by us, we shouldn’t screw around with it. Anyone else agree besides Dave?