Reality Numbers

September 30, 2014

495cb3e60a8a4a8fabb58191d95c3ac2Clear and chilly this early Tuesday on California’s north coast — we’re forecast for some warm weather the next few days, supposedly near 80 tomorrow.
Here so near the shoreline, though, all bets are either hedged, or called-off completely.

Interesting weather-related new thing this morning, the NWS issued its first/last freeze warning dates for the coming growing season — for my area it’s Oct. 22, just a little over three weeks. Now, these are “mean” (sometimes called the arithmetic mean) freeze dates, or the “average,” or from the bowels of the InterWebs: ‘Wordsmiths sometimes dislike numbers, or at least have a hard time grasping them.’

(Illustration: Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity),‘ found here).

Hence, any shit involving math is way-over-my-head and out the window, and I’m way-below average, way-under the median, and mean like a crazed cat when it comes to numbers. I received a diploma from the University of Florida with only one (1) math class in my entire academic portfolio — the minimum for graduation.
And as a wordsmith kind-of-guy, I also have enormous trouble with the sciences, biology, and the like, but a right-outside-your-window reality overcomes the any math/science difficulty. Case in point is climate change — most-likely the most-horrid, most-humongous looming catastrophe in human history — has now-well surpassed the math/science.
Visuals are blooming up like wildfires.

Global warming as illustrated, from dry creek beds a few miles from my house, to huge bodies of water all over this planet, the pictures of reality. The deep-bottom bed of the earth’s fourth largest lake can now be used for motocross events.
Via CBS News:

Satellite images from NASA show that over the last 14 years, one of the world’s largest inland bodies of water, the Aral Sea in Central Asia, has almost completely dried up and disappeared.
The Aral Sea — once the fourth-largest lake in the world — has been shrinking since the 1960s, when the Soviet Union began diverting its waters to irrigate surrounding areas and transform the deserts of Kazakhstan, Uzbekisan and Turkmenistan into crop land.

The loss of the once-great body of water has devastated the fishing communities that used to flourish along its banks.
The sea’s disappearance left behind dry, salty sand and dust, which have degraded nearby farmland and caused respiratory illness in local residents.
According to NASA, the loss of the water’s moderating influence has also led to more extreme temperatures in the region, making winters colder and summers hotter and drier.

And there’s a sequence of satellite photos that are just freakin’ mind blowing — obvious to any ignorant, naked eye bad shit is happening.
Just the last couple of days, a couple reports/studies/research/news-item/whatnot indicate bad is morphing into worse.

Yesterday, one study was released involving math and science, even biology.
From the Guardian:

The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis.
Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found.
“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science.
“But that is happening in the great outdoors.
“This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.”
He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing.
“We have lost one half of the animal population and knowing this is driven by human consumption, this is clearly a call to arms and we must act now,” said Mike Barratt, director of science and policy at WWF.
He said more of the Earth must be protected from development and deforestation, while food and energy had to be produced sustainably.

A second index in the new Living Planet report calculates humanity’s “ecological footprint”, ie the scale at which it is using up natural resources.
Currently, the global population is cutting down trees faster than they regrow, catching fish faster than the oceans can restock, pumping water from rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them and emitting more climate-warming carbon dioxide than oceans and forests can absorb.
The report concludes that today’s average global rate of consumption would need 1.5 planet Earths to sustain it.
But four planets would be required to sustain US levels of consumption, or 2.5 Earths to match UK consumption levels.
The fastest decline among the animal populations were found in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have plummeted by 75 percent since 1970.
“Rivers are the bottom of the system,” said Dave Tickner, WWF’s chief freshwater adviser. “Whatever happens on the land, it all ends up in the rivers.”

And this don’t help — during the same period: Human population numbers shot up from about 3.7 billion to nearly seven billion from 1970 to 2010.
What little remains is getting fried.

Climate change is not tomorrow, but also yesterday, and already for sure, today.
Last Saturday, also from the Guardian:

Perhaps most alarming of all the forecasts that concern the future warming of our planet is the work of Camilo Mora at the University of Hawaii.
His research — which involved using a range of climate models to predict temperatures on a grid that covered the globe — suggests that by 2047 the planet’s climate systems will have changed to such an extent that the coldest years then will be warmer than even the hottest years that were experienced at any time in the 20th century.
“Go back in your life to think about the hottest, most traumatic event you have experienced,” Mora said in an interview with the New York Times recently.
“What we are saying is that very soon, that event is going to become the norm.”
In other words, our species — which is already assailed by the impact of mild global warming — is now plunging headlong into an overheated future for which there are no recorded precedents.

Just do the math, look outside and either scream, or start some serious sobbing.
I personally prefer a little of both, though, maybe leaning toward more sobbing — don’t want to freak the neighbors.

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