Tag Archives: Climate change

Summer solstice on tap!

Hey, gang … got some good news to share: The summer solstice, the longest 24-hour period with daylight, is just around the corner.

It occurs on Thursday. It’s the first day of summer. Officially. On the record.

After that, the daylight period shrinks daily by about a second. In December, we get the winter solstice.

Is this a huge deal? Sure it is! We bitch about being too cold in the winter. We long for warmer temps. Then it gets too damn hot! There’s just no pleasing fickle human beings.

Drive home: not for the timid

I want to offer a serious shout-out to my fellow North Texans who today demonstrated that smart people do exist and they do occupy motor vehicles wisely through some seriously inclement weather.

My day began inauspiciously enough with a drive from McKinney to Fort Worth, where a friend of mine and I went to see a movie. We enjoyed the new release, “Ezra.” We had lunch and then I headed back to my house in Princeton. My GPS said it would take a little more than hour to make the trip. Bwahahaha!

I was heading for the Sam Rayburn Tollway when I saw it get very dark, very quickly. It was about 4 p.m. Then the rain came. With a vengeance!

Lightning flashes lit up the sky. The rain came down in seemingly Biblical amounts. The wind started to howl.

I turned on my four-way flashers and slowed my Ranger pickup way to down to around 35 or 40 mph.

This is where I want to offer a bouquet to the hundreds of other motorists I noticed. They did the same thing. Flashers and a major slow-down.

I noticed one serious wreck on the tollway median; a young couple had crashed through a utility pole and their car was parked rear-end first on the embankment, suffering heavy damage. The couple appeared to be OK. I said a quiet prayer that they would get emergency personnel attention soon.

I don’t normally take time on this blog to bitch about bad drivers. I do want to offer a good word about those I saw driving with an abundance of caution in some highly inclement conditions.

Oh, I am sure there were some wannabe-Mario Andrettis out there who thought they could power through the rough stuff no matter what. I am just grateful beyond measure they did so out of my field of vision.

We have been getting a lot of this kind meteorological violence in recent weeks. It could be that we are wising up to Mother Nature’s unspeakable power.

Whatever. May we never lose sight of the value of those lessons.

Yes, climate is changing

You hear it almost unfailingly whenever we get hit with a cold snap, such as what has gripped North Texas — and much of the rest of the country of late.

It comes from climate change deniers who scoff at the notion that our climate is changing, and the globe is getting warmer. I heard it the other morning while having breakfast with some gentlemen with whom I am acquainted. They dissed the notion of global warming.

I didn’t say a word, as I don’t know them well enough to challenge such nonsense.

One of our local TV meteorologists put it well recently in a public service announcement. The weather, he said, defines what is happening in the moment, while “climate” defines longer-term trends.

That was his way of telling us to disregard current weather conditions when discussing whether the climate is changing.

I believe he is correct.

I remember the time during an earlier D.C. cold snap when climate change denier U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma took a snowball to the floor of the Senate to make some kind of idiotic argument that climate change is a hoax, a product of liberals seeking to damage to the fossil fuel industry which, I should add, was a big contributor to Inhofe during his years in public life.

The term “global warming” has for all intent been replaced by “climate change,” which I believe is a more inclusive description of what is happening to our good Earth. We indeed are suffering through more climate extremes from year to year.

The data we receive from worldwide meteorological organizations is beyond dispute. It is that despite these cold snaps, Earth’s mean temperature is rising year over year, the global ice caps are melting, mountain glaciers are receding and that thousands of species of wildlife are endangered by the changing climate.

When I hear the climate change deniers dismiss the evidence because they’re bundling up to protect against frigid air temps, I am left only to shake my head in dismay at their ignorance.

Climate is changing … period

Let’s be sure to wait for what’s to come this winter, as it likely will drive many environmentally conscious Americans to the verge of screaming out loud.

We have endured a searing summer, with high-temperature records falling seemingly every day. It has become almost a given in weather-watching circles that severe summers usually precede severe winters. We’ll go from very hot to very cold.

What will be the mantra we can expect to hear? It will come from climate-change deniers who, when trying to stay warm during the next frigid winter, will express open doubt that Earth indeed is getting warmer.

Let’s hold on for a moment, eh?

There’s a simple difference between the terms “weather” and “climate.” Weather is intended to examine day-to-day events. Climate looks at the longer term. So, when someone says the climate isn’t changing because it’s cold on a given winter day, then he or she is blowing it out of his backside.

Many of us prefer the current term of art, which is “climate change,” rather than “global warming.”

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association reports damn near every year about how our climate events are getting more frequent and more severe.

Of course, the linchpin argument centers on the reasons for the intense change. I happen to be one American patriot who believes human beings are significantly responsible for the change in our climate. Thus, I won’t listen to the climate-change deniers.

We are throwing carbon emissions into the air; we are cutting trees and removing plant life that turns carbon dioxide into oxygen. This isn’t happening by itself. It is happening because human beings are acting irresponsibly.

I am preparing for a severe winter. I also am getting ready to listen to the doubters who will deny the obvious, that our climate is changing.

A break on the way?

You have heard it said, I am certain, that “only a TV weatherman or woman can be so wrong, so often, and still have a job.” 

Well, kids, I heard a gem today from a Dallas/Fort Worth TV weatherman who said, with the sound of metaphysical certitude in his voice, that our oppressive heat is about to end.

He said “in a day or two” we are going to see temperatures plunge from the near-record 100-degree-plus temps to the 80s and then the 70s. It got my attention, to be sure.

I have boasted about my adaptability. Well, it has its limits. I never have liked extreme heat. For that matter, I don’t do well with extreme cold, either … but I won’t go there.

I am going to take this TV talking head at his word that the summer blast is coming to an end.

Toby the Puppy and I are getting ready to leave Princeton for a few days near the end of the month. I am hoping against all hope that we don’t run into any more of this furnace-like weather as we proceed westward.

I am ready for an end to it. If the weather guys and gals are wrong this time … they need to be canned!

Yep, climate is changing

The heat that is bearing down on us in Texas has quelled the arguments too often heard from those who deny the obvious.

Which is that Earth’s climate is changing … and that human beings are largely responsible for the intense warming we’re experiencing.

We keep setting heat records in the Dallas/Fort Worth area damn near daily. The weather forecasters look down the calendar for the next week to 10 days and they say the same thing: No relief is in sight.

Now, I truly understand the difference between weather and climate. It’s just that the current weather is acting like a harbinger of what we can expect in the years — maybe decades — to come.

National weather organizations tell us constantly that months are getting warmer; our ocean water is getting warmer, spurring more intense storms.

Many news networks long ago quit interviewing climate change deniers, telling us their arguments are not valid, that they promote lies. I’m fine with that.

And so, here we are. The summer of 2023 has been a brutal event so far.

I am ready for autumn. Then again, that remains the same as it has been for as long as I can remember.

Until then, I am quite content to live without listening to the crap offered by those who deny the obvious.

Heat wave: not a new issue

All this chatter about how hot the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean have become during this murderous summer heat wave reminds me of an episode my family and I experienced in the early 1990s.

We were living in Beaumont, Texas. One weekend I was mowing the lawn during a heat wave; the temperature was in the high 90s, the humidity was the same. It felt like 200 degrees out there.

Finally, I quit mowing. I walked inside and announced to my wife and sons, “We’re going to the beach!” We packed up our 1987 Honda Civic with coolers full of drinks, beach towels, a couple of folding chairs … and off we drove.

We headed south toward the Gulf of Mexico, we hung a left at Sabine Pass and drove to Holly Beach, La., one of our favorite — and unexplored — resorts on the coast. We drove our Honda onto the beach, piled out of the car and ran into the surf.

My … God! The water had to be 100 degrees!

So, this is my way of telling you that what we’re experiencing these days is nothing new. Am I dismissing the climate change/global warming arguments? Not … one … bit!

I am going to submit that the human impact on our climate has been decades in the making and that its effect has been felt long before what many of us are experiencing in the summer of 2023.

We are pouring carbon emissions into the air; we are ridding the planet of trees that replace the carbon dioxide with oxygen. Plenty of politicians have warned us that we are approaching — or have surpassed already — the point of no return. Others, including scientists, say we can still save this planet of ours.

We had better get busy. As of this very moment, it’s the only planet we have in this vast universe.


Have to wait for tee time

Dang it! I was looking forward to teeing it up later this week with some fellows who attend a church I recently joined.

Yes, it’s another turn on my retirement journey. I had (more or less) given up the game of golf. But today I dusted off my clubs, hit the driving range to pound at a bucket of balls and made two quick discoveries.

  1. I haven’t forgotten how to hit a golf ball.
  2. My right shoulder that had been giving me fits allows me to take a full swing with a golf club.

Then came the bad news. The weather forecast for the date of our golf event in McKinney has the temps hitting 105 degrees with a heat index surpassing 110.

The fellow who coordinated the event asked all of us for our thoughts. It’s too hot, we said in unison. He called it off.

Jeez! It’s not even July yet! Damn climate change!


Happy Earth Day … Earth

Dear Earth … well, this is your day. We human inhabitants of the only planet we can call home celebrate you and presumably give thanks for being alive and well enough to wish you good health.

Agreed, your health ain’t great. We human beings are doing our best (or shall I say our worst) to mess you up. Your climate is changing. Our planet is getting hotter every year. I keep reading about how glaciers are melting at a quicker rate than expected. Yes, I know what happens to that glacial ice: It turns to water and the sea levels are rising, endangering our seaside communities around the world.

The debate has pretty much ended about whether human beings are responsible for it. We are. We keep wiping out forests and we keep pouring carbon-based pollutants into the air. On behalf of my fellow humans, I apologize for the mistreatment we have laid on you.

I want to boast just a bit, Mother Earth, about what we’re doing in our North Texas community to help you. I live in a community, Princeton, that recycles expendable items. The disposal company gives us bins into which we can toss our recyclable material: plastic, paper, metal. It all goes in there and I am told that it reduces landfill waste by about 40%. That’s not bad.

Mother Earth, I am sure you remember the era in which the U.S. government decided to honor you. It came in 1970, when a Republican served as president. Yes, it was President Nixon who thought enough of you to establish the Environmental Protection Agency. Ah, yes. Those were the days.

Imagine a MAGA Republican today endorsing such a thing. It won’t happen … but that’s another story for another day.

I just want to wish you well, Earth and I want to call on my neighbors and fellow Americans — along with my fellow terrestrial travelers — to honor you every single day we all are able.


The ‘river’ has arrived!

EUREKA, Calif. — I set out this morning headed northward from the San Francisco Bay Area, and with forecasters predicting a return visit of that Atmospheric River.

My sister expressed some faint hope that they would get it wrong.

They didn’t. It arrived with a vengeance … again!

I drove into the sucker from Oakland and it never dried out when I landed at my next stop just south of the Oregon border.

To be honest, I totally get why our California countrymen and women are tired of the wind, rain, and “wintry mix” that doesn’t seem to let up. We’re now well into the spring season and it feels damn near like winter.

You are welcome to spare the notion that the prolonged cold doesn’t mean our “climate is changing.” It damn sure is changing, so I won’t debate anyone here on the merits of climate change.

I just had hoped to avoid that “atmospheric river” nonsense on this westward trek. Hey, it has taken my mind off the sad event of a month ago that prompted me to leave my house in North Texas.

So, the trek continues into Oregon, the state where I came into this world more than seven decades ago … and where it rains for three days before anyone even notices.