Saturday, March 17, 2012

The real and painful effects of Climate Change on Ontario Part 1

The snowdrops and crocuses are blooming in my yard, weeks earlier than I've ever seen them. It has been a strange winter. Normally, the park abutting my yard is covered in snow from December through to March, even longer some years. This year it has been winter green, punctuated by brief periods of whiteness that melt in just days. There were no extended cold spells, I mean really cold spells, where it hurts just to be outside for too long. The local pond near my house, never did freeze up for skating.

Predictions for the winter of 2011-12 were way off (see picture above). Most weather offices predicted this winter was to be colder and snowier than usual, they predicted a winter of yesteryear. It didn't happen. So much for long range predictions.

This may be the mildest winter in my memory, I know we're not done yet, but how bad can it get at this point?

Apparently winter was absent from much of the country according to the latest issue of MacLean's (The year that winter died, March 26/12). They viewed it as a concern. What if there are no more backyard hockey rinks? Where will we nurture our future Gretzky's and Crosby's? Oh woe is Canada, what will happen to our national identity, hockey? Despite that, no one around here is complaining, quite the contrary.

Why was everyone so wrong? Weather people are blaming (thanking?) something called the Arctic Oscillation for this anomalous winter behaviour. Indeed winter was brutal in some places, ask the Europeans. Much of Europe and Asia was gripped in the kind of weather we expect here.  

Of course one winter, does not a trend make, so I'm not selling my snow shovels or snow tires yet. But I am convinced that winters around here are getting milder, and have been for some time. How do I know? It's not that I keep meticulous records and can recall past winters, its that I can see evidence in the plants and animals of southern Ontario. I have seen changes, subtle changes in the indigenous wildlife, for example: Turkey Vultures were once rare visitors this far north. No longer, they now range into Central Ontario (that video link is a clue as to how rare they were) each summer, they regularly soar over my town near Toronto, and have done for years now. Opossums, once rarely seen in the Toronto area, are now becoming a nuisance and can be found north into Central OntarioRobins are found year-round in Central Ontario, and this year tree pollen was detected in Pittsburg in February, earliest ever. Yes, these are subtle changes, and the truth is change has always occurred. This area was once covered by a continental ice sheet, and my house is just south of a large moraine leftover by the glacier's retreat.

There is nothing painful about these changes, they are easy to adapt to. Even the temperature changes are on average minor. Next year is libel to be as cold, snowy and as bad, as the winter of 2008 - 09.

What I found remarkable this winter were the lack of claims by the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) crowd that our strange weather is a direct result of what they call "carbon pollution." They have been strangely quite. It may be because they have been embarrased, like here. Or because the theory of AGW caused by greenhouse gas emissions is falling into disrepute, as more and more scientists support the theory less and less like here. Its clear that the dire predictions of the IPCC are not in line with reality (see graphic below).

This graphic comes from an article published in Forbes magazine, where Warren Meyer compares the AGW theory with observations, and finds the theory to be alarmist and unrealistic. Meyer does not dispute the warming or even the possible insignificant impact of CO2, he just argues that the predictive models are hyped far in excess of the actual observed data. That alone should be enough to sink any theoretical model, but this theory, like a zombie seems to cling to life.
Here is where the problem occurs. Belief in that theory and the actions taken as a direct result of it, has caused and will continue to cause the people of Ontario unnecessary grief and expense. The real and painful effects of an erroneous theory are right now taking their toll on the economic freedom of all Ontarian's.


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