Tag Archives: climate

El Nino – La Nina and Megadrought

(Survival manual/ 1. Disaster/El Nino – La Nina and Megadrought)

The El Nino – La Nina Southern Oscillations (ENSO) alternate quasi-periodically across the tropical Pacific Ocean on average every five years, but over a period which varies from three to seven years. ENSO causes extreme weather such as floods, droughts and other weather disturbances in many regions of the world.

Periodicity
Between 1950 and 1997, El Ninos were present 31%, La Ninas 23% of the time, and about 46% of the period was in a neutral state. El Nino and La Nina occur on average every 3 to 5 years. Based on the historical record, the interval between events has varied from 2 to 7 years. Since 1975, La Ninas have been only half as frequent as El Ninos, therefore, a La Nina episode may, but does not always
follow an El Nino. La Nina conditions typically last approximately 9-12 months, but some episodes may persist for as long as two years.

 1.  EL Nino
El Niño’s Are Growing Stronger, NASA/NOAA Study Finds
ScienceDaily (Aug. 27, 2010) — A relatively new type of El Niño, which has its warmest waters in the central-equatorial Pacific Ocean, rather than in the eastern-equatorial Pacific, is becoming more common and progressively stronger, according to a new study by NASA and NOAA.

El Niño, Spanish for “the little boy,” is the oceanic component of a climate pattern called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, which appears in the tropical Pacific Ocean on average every three to five years. The most dominant year-to-year fluctuating pattern in Earth’s climate system, El Niños have a powerful impact on the ocean and atmosphere, as well as important socioeconomic consequences.
They can influence global weather patterns and the occurrence and frequency of hurricanes, droughts and floods; and can even raise or lower global temperatures by as much as 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

During a “classic” El Niño episode, the normally strong easterly trade winds in the tropical eastern Pacific weaken. That weakening suppresses the normal upward movement of cold subsurface waters and allows warm surface water from the central Pacific to shift toward the Americas. In these situations, unusually warm surface water occupies much of the tropical Pacific, with the maximum ocean warming remaining in the eastern-equatorial Pacific.

Since the early 1990s, however, scientists have noted a new type of El Niño that has been occurring with greater frequency. Known variously as “central-Pacific El Niño,” “warm-pool El Niño,” “dateline El Niño” or “El Niño Modoki” (Japanese for “similar but different”), the maximum ocean warming from such El Niño’s is found in the central-equatorial, rather than eastern, Pacific. Such central Pacific El Niño events were observed in 1991-92, 1994-95, 2002-03, 2004-05 and 2009-10. A recent study found many climate models predict such events will become much more frequent under projected global warming scenarios.

Graphic above pasted from <http://www.eoearth.org/article/El_Ni%C3%B1o,_La_Ni%C3% B1a_and_the_southern_oscillation>

Our understanding of the processes responsible for the development of El Niño is still incomplete. Scientists are able to predict the future development of an event by noting the occurrence of particular weather precursors. Researchers also now have a pretty complete understanding of the global weather effects caused by the formation of an El Niño (see Figure 5).

2.   La Nina
La Niña is essentially the opposite of an El Niño. During a La Niña, trade winds in the western equatorial Pacific are stronger than normal, and the cold water that normally exists along the coast of South America extends to the central equatorial Pacific. La Niñas change global weather patterns and are associated with less moisture in the air, resulting in less rain along the coasts of North and South America. They also tend to increase the formation of tropical storms in the Atlantic.

“For the American Southwest, La Niñas usually bring a dry winter, not good news for a region that has experienced normal rain and snowpack only once in the past five winters,” said Patzert.

 La Niña causes mostly the opposite effects of El Niño. La Niña causes above average precipitation across the North Midwest, the Northern Rockies, Northern California, and in the Pacific Northwest’s southern and eastern regions. Meanwhile there is below average precipitation in the southwestern and outheastern states.

La Niñas occurred in 1904, 1908, 1910, 1916, 1924, 1928, 1938, 1950, 1955, 1964, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1988, 1995, 1998-99, 2008, 2010-11.

Recent occurrences
The strength of the La Niña made the 2008 hurricane season one of the most active since 1944; there were 16 named storms of at least 39 mph (63 kph), eight of which became 74 mph or greater hurricanes. The Gulf of Mexico holds about 27 percent of the U.S.’s oil and 15 percent of its natural gas, the U.S. Department of Energy reports. This makes La Niña and hurricanes serious business.

According to NOAA, El Niño conditions have been in place in the equatorial Pacific Ocean since June 2009, peaking in January-February. Positive SST anomalies are expected to last at least through the North American Spring as this El Niño slowly weakens.

3.  Megadrought Ancient megadroughts preview warmer climate -study
By Deborah  Zabarenko, 2/24/2011, WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (Reuters Life!) –
“Ancient mega droughts that lasted thousands of years in what is now the American Southwest could offer a preview of a climate changed by modern greenhouse gas emissions, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The scientists found these persistent dry periods were different from even the most severe decades-long modern droughts, including the 1930s “Dust Bowl.” And they determined that these millennial droughts occurred at times when Earth’s mean annual temperature was similar to or slightly higher than what it is now. These findings tally with projections by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others, according to study author Peter Fawcett of the University of New
Mexico. The results were published in the current edition of Nature.

“The IPCC model suggests that when you warm the climate, you’ll see extended droughts in this part of the world and this is what the paleo record seems to be telling us,” Fawcett said in a telephone interview. “When you’ve got past temperatures that were at or above today’s conditions, conditions got drier.”

The U.S. Southwest has seen steep population growth over the last century, with population increasing by 1,500 percent from 1900 to 1990, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The total U.S. population grew 225 percent over the same period.

The settlement of this area depended, as all human settlements do, on access to water. There would clearly be less water available in a megadrought.

Earth’s orbit and greenhouse emissions
Megadroughts in the past were caused by subtle changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, which were also responsible for periodic ice ages. If these orbital changes were the only influence on the
planet’s climate, Earth should be heading into a cool period, Fawcett said in a telephone interview.

However, recent temperature statistics indicate that is not the case. The decade that ended last year was the hottest since modern record-keeping began in 1880. The previous decade, 1991-2000, was next-warmest and 1981-1990 was third-warmest.

Emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide help trap heat near Earth’s surface and could be influencing the natural orbital cycle that would dictate a cooling period.

To figure out just how long these megadroughts lasted, and what happened during them, scientists took samples from a dried lake bed in northern New Mexico called the Valles Caldera. They analyzed these sediments for biochemical signs of drought, ranging from which trees and shrubs grew and how much calcium was in the cracked mud in the dried lake bottom.

Looking at records going back more than a half-million years, they also developed a technique to determine temperature in the ancient past by looking at signs left by soil bacteria, Fawcett said.

The fats in the walls of these bacteria change their structure in response to temperature changes, he said, and act like a “tape recorder” for antique temperatures. (Editing by Eric Walsh)
Pasted from <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41739225/ns/business->

4.  Mega-drought threat to US Southwest
Quirin Schiermeier
The Dust Bowl — the seven-year drought that devastated large swathes of US prairie land in the 1930s — was the worst prolonged environmental disaster recorded for the country. But a study of the American Southwest’s more distant climatic past reveals that the catastrophic drought was a mere dry spell compared to the ‘mega-droughts’ that were recurring long before humans began to settle the continent.

The findings, reported in a paper in Nature this week, add to concerns that the already arid region might face quasi-permanent drought conditions as climate continues to warm.

The team, led by Peter Fawcett, a climate scientist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, reconstructed the region’s climate history using geochemical indicators from an 82-metre-long lake sediment core from the Valles Caldera in northern New Mexico. Analysis of climate and vegetation proxies, such as pollen and carbon-isotope ratios, suggests that the Southwest experienced abrupt and surprisingly pronounced climate shifts during warm periods of the Pleistocee, including transitions to extended dry periods that lasted for hundreds or even thousands of years.

 5.  Reliving the past
If today’s climate repeated past patterns, the southwestern United States might move into a wetter and cooler phase. Such a transition happened at one point during the so-called Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11, an interglacial period around 400,000 years ago that shows some striking parallels with the Holocene, our current warm period. This seems to have roughly advanced to the point at which the climate in MIS 11 began to switch to a less arid one.

Earth’s orbit and axial tilt during the unusually long MIS 11 stage was similar to orbital conditions during the Holocene, which scientists think will last longer than most Pleistocene warm periods.

But for all the similarities, the climate during MIS 11 was unperturbed by human activity. This time around, rising greenhouse-gas concentrations driven by human activity will very likely override any natural cooling trend. Scientists fear that the Southwestern climate may in fact switch to an extended dry mode such as the ones that occurred during particularly warm Pleistocene periods.

“We won’t know for sure if it happens again until we get there,” says Fawcett. “But we are certainly increasing the possibility of crossing a critical threshold to severe and lasting drought conditions.”

Sudden shifts in carbon isotopes and lowered total organic carbon in the sediment record suggest that grasses and shrubs that depend mostly on summer rain died out during extended Pleistocene droughts. This is surprising, says Fawcett, because summer monsoon rainfall was thought to become more intense in a warmer climate. That summer rain was in fact strongly reduced, or had almost stopped, suggests that regional climate patterns must have shifted radically when Pleistocene temperatures crossed a threshold.

“The scary thing is that we seem to be very close to this point again,” he says.

 6.  A dry future
The Southwest has experienced significant reductions in rainfall during the last decade, causing freshwater reservoirs and groundwater to fall to unusually low levels. Colorado River flows recorded at Lees Ferry, Arizona, from 2000 to 2009 are the lowest on record.

Climate models suggest that the region will in future become even drier as atmospheric circulation patterns change and subtropical dry zones expand towards the poles2.
“The drying we expect for the twenty-first century is entirely the result of increased greenhouse forcing,” says Richard Seager, a climate researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. “Any natural variations in orbital forcing and incoming sunlight will hardly have a noticeable role in the near future.”

A 10–15% reduction in rainfall is enough to cause severe drought in the region, he says. Meanwhile, debate continues among scientists whether a transition to quasi-permanent dry conditions is imminent or already underway, and to what extent global warming has increased the risk of drought.

“A signal of anthropogenic drying is emerging, but it is still small,” says Seager. “I’d expect that by mid-century the human signal will exceed the amplitude of natural climate variability. Then we can safely say that the Southwest has entered a new climate stage.”
[Chart: Drought in American west]

“The climate system clearly has the capacity to get ‘stuck’ in drought-inducing modes over North America that can last several decades to a century or more,” Seager and colleagues wrote in an article published in 2009.

The researchers also point out that the megadroughts occurred without any intervention from human beings. So they could well happen again. It’s also very possible that human-caused warming could bring a return to megadroughts by inducing the same climatic conditions that appear to have been associated with them in the past.

Given projected increases in demand for water on the river, and a 20 percent reduction in its annual flow by 2057 due to climate change, there would be a nearly 10-fold increase in the chances that lakes Mead and Powell would become depleted.
Pasted from <http://www.cejournal.net/?p=4924&gt;

7.  Higher Water Shortage Risks in One Third of US Counties Due to Climate Change: NRDC Report
21 July 2010, Tree Hugger.com, by Matthew McDermott,  http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/07/higher-water-shortage-risks-one-third-u-s-counties-climate-change.php#ch02

A new report from the National Resources Defense Council paints a really dry and thirsty picture in a world warmed by climate change: More than 1100 counties in the United States face higher risks of water shortages by 2050, with more than 400 of these placed at extremely high risk.

14 States At Extreme Risk
Tetra Tech, which did the report for NRDC, used publicly available water use data and climate change models to examine water withdrawals versus renewable water supply. The result was that 14 states face extreme to high risk to water sustainability, or are likely to experience limitations in the water
supply. This is a 14-fold increase from previous estimates.

Parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas all are in this latter category–with the Great Plains and Southwest states singled out as places where “water sustainability is at extreme risk.”

Arid Western States’ Water Use Already Unsustainable
Stats on water use as a percentage of available precipitation clearly illustrate the problem: In the eastern US generally less than 5% of precipitation is withdrawn; in the majority of the western US water withdrawals are under 30% of precipitation. But in the arid areas of the states mentioned in the report (particularly in California, Texas and the desert Southwest), withdrawals top 100% of available precipitation.

In the Ogallala Aquifer, stretching from Nebraska to Texas and supplying about 30% of all the water used for farmland irrigation in the country, unsustainable water withdrawals have led to the aquifer dropping by more than 100 feet in many places. In fact The Nature Conservancy, whose scientists contributed research for the report, points out that some studies show the aquifer drying up in as little as 25 years.

As previous studies have indicated, the effect of these water shortages and patently unsustainable water use trend on agricultural production is pronounced. NRDC cites 2007 data to show that the value of crops raised in the 1100 counties at risk exceeded $105 billion.

Strong Climate Action by Congress Can Help
Dan Lashof, director of NRDC’s Climate Center:This analysis shows climate change will take a serious toll on water supplies throughout the country in the coming decades, with over one out of three U.S. counties facing greater risks of water shortages. Water shortages can strangle economic development and agricultural production and affected communities.

As a result, cities and states will bear real and significant costs if Congress fails to take the steps necessary to slow down and reverse the warming trend. Water management and climate change adaptation plans will be essential to lessen the impacts, but they cannot be expected to counter the effects of a warming climate. The only way to truly manage the risks exposed by this report is for Congress to pass meaningful legislation that cuts global warming pollution and allows the U.S. to exercise global leadership on the issue.

[The jury has delivered its verdict: Look for increasing drought during the next few decades. The drought is not a temporary climatic anomaly, but a global change in climatic conditions that will persist  for several centuries. -Mr Larry]

8.  Understanding Your Risk and Impacts: Economic Impacts
2006-2011, The National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
http://www.drought.unl.edu/risk/economic.htm
http://www.drought.unl.edu/index.htm
Costs and losses to agricultural producers:

  • Costs and losses to agricultural producers Annual and perennial crop losses [wheat and other grains]
  • Damage to crop quality [reduced yield]
  • Income loss for farmers due to reduced crop yields
  • Reduced productivity of cropland (wind erosion, long-term loss of organic matter, etc.) {late in oil decline making fertilizer very expensive]
  • Insect infestation [late in the oil decline]
  • Plant disease
  • Wildlife damage to crops
  • Increased irrigation costs [during a spreading and  increasingly severe  megadrought]
  • Cost of new or supplemental water resource development (wells, dams, pipelines)
  • Costs and losses to livestock producers
  • Reduced productivity of rangeland
  • Reduced milk production
  • Forced reduction of foundation stock
  • Closure/limitation of public lands to grazing
  • High cost/unavailability of water for livestock
  • Cost of new or supplemental water resource development (wells, dams, pipelines)
  • High cost/unavailability of feed for livestock
  • Increased feed transportation costs
  • High livestock mortality rates
  • Disruption of reproduction cycles (delayed breeding, more miscarriages)
  • Decreased stock weights
  • Increased predation
  • Range fires
  • Loss from timber production
  • Wildland fires
  • Tree disease
  • Insect infestation
  • Impaired productivity of forest land
  • Direct loss of trees, especially young ones
  • Loss from fishery production
  • Damage to fish habitat
  • Loss of fish and other aquatic organisms due to decreased flows
  • General economic effects
  • Decreased land prices
  • Loss to industries directly dependent on agricultural production (e.g., machinery and fertilizer manufacturers, food processors, dairies, etc.)
  • Unemployment from drought-related declines in production
  • Strain on financial institutions (foreclosures, more credit risk, capital shortfalls)
  • Revenue losses to federal, state, and local governments (from reduced tax base)
  • Reduction of economic development
  • Fewer agricultural producers (due to bankruptcies, new occupations)
  • Rural population loss
  • Loss to recreation and tourism industry
  • Loss to manufacturers and sellers of recreational equipment
  • Losses related to curtailed activities: hunting and fishing, bird watching, boating, etc.
  • Energy-related effects
  • Increased energy demand and reduced supply because of drought-related power curtailments
  • Costs to energy industry and consumers associated with substituting more expensive fuels (oil) for hydroelectric power
  • Water Suppliers
  • Revenue shortfalls and/or windfall profits
  • Cost of water transport or transfer
  • Cost of new or supplemental
    water resource development
  • Transportation Industry
  • Loss from impaired navigability of streams, rivers, and canals
  • Declinein food production/disrupted food supply
  • Increase in food prices
  • Increased importation of food (higher costs)

[The lists above speak of reduced agricultural production, rapidly accelerating input costs due to the decline in world petroleum production, stress on agricultural producers-fewer farmers, less land, less product—and much higher U.S. food prices, as a percentage of net income, hence much less discretionary income, less ability to develop a finacial cushion, and a lower quality of life. Add to this the hunger/ socially driven measures some foreign countries may be willing to undertake in these circumstances and we will likely see regional wars; one theater of broad damage might be on American soil. The lists also  speaks quietly about a global and US overpopulation on a diminishing resource base. As every ecologist knows, when  a population has exceeded its resources, its numbers must adjust to a level that is sustainable. Mr Larry]

Leave a comment

Filed under Survival Manual, __1. Disaster

Global Cooling

A. Earth heading for ‘mini ice age’ in just 15 years, scientists say
11 July 2015, upi.com, by Doug G. Ware
Pasted from: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2015/07/11/Earth-heading-for-mini-ice-age-in-just-15-years-scientists-say/2751436649025/

cooling iceSolar scientists predict that the Earth will enter a “mini ice age” around 2030 due to decreased activity by the sun, which will bring with it frigid cold winters. The last time the Earth experienced a similar situation occurred between 1645 and 1715. Photo: Albina Tiplyashina / Shutterstock

LLANDUDNO, Wales, July 11 (UPI) — Solar scientists, armed with the best data yet regarding the activities of the sun, say the Earth is headed for a “mini ice age” in just 15 years — something that hasn’t happened for three centuries.

Professor Valentina Zharkova, of the University of Northumbria, presented the findings at the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales this week, Britain’s Independent reported Saturday.

Researchers, saying they understand solar cycles better than ever, predict that the sun’s normal activity will decrease by 60 percent around 2030 — triggering the “mini ice age” that could last for a decade. The last time the Earth was hit by such a lull in solar activity happened 300 years ago, during the Maunder Minimum, which lasted from 1645 to 1715.

Scientists say there are magnetic waves in the sun’s interior that fluctuate between the body’s northern and southern hemispheres, resulting in various solar conditions over a period of 10 to 12 years. Based on that data, researchers say they are now better able to anticipate the sun’s activity — which has led to the Zharkova team’s prediction.

“Combining both [magnetic] waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 percent,” Zharkova said. If the “mini ice age” does indeed arrive, scientists say it will be accompanied by bitter cold winters — frigid enough to cause rivers, like the Thames in London, to freeze over.
.

  B.  Ice Core Analysis Shows Fastest Decline in Solar Activity for 10,000 Years
18 January 2014, The Daily Sheeple, by Chris Carrington
Pasted from: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/ice-core-analysis-shows-fastest-decline-in-solar-activity-for-10000-years_012014

Solar physicist Richard Harrison says he has never seen the sun this quiet in more than 30 years of studying it.
“If you want to go back to see when the Sun was this inactive… you’ve got to go back about 100 years,” he says.
At this point in the solar cycle the sun should be a hive of activity, popping off flares and dotted with sunspots.

cooling solar flareProfessor Mike Lockwood, a space environment physicist at Reading University UK has studied ice cores going back tens of thousands of years. He thinks there’s a very good chance that the Sun is heading for an extremely quiet period. Speaking to the BBC  he said that it was
“…an unusually rapid decline. It’s a very active research topic at the present time, but we do think there is a mechanism in place where we should expect more cold winters when solar activity is low.”

He went on to explain how Europe would bear the brunt of the change he believes is afoot.
“There are large meanders in the jet stream, and they’re called blocking events because they block off the normal moist, mild winds we get from the Atlantic, and instead we get cold air being dragged down from the Arctic and from Russia,” he says.

“These are what we call a cold snap… a series of three or four cold snaps in a row adds up to a cold winter. And that’s quite likely what we’ll see as solar activity declines.”

“If we take all the science that we know relating to how the Sun emits heat and light and how that heat and light powers our climate system, and we look at the climate system globally, the difference that it makes even going back into Maunder Minimum conditions is very small.
“I’ve done a number of studies that show at the very most it might buy you about five years before you reach a certain global average temperature level. But that’s not to say, on a more regional basis there aren’t changes to the patterns of our weather that we’ll have to get used to.”

The Maunder Minimum was a period of intensely cold winters during the 1600′s. If Lockwood and his colleagues are right this is yet another indicator that points towards global cooling. Although the effects of the jet stream are predominantly felt in Europe the overall temperature drops caused by a cessation of activity on the Sun will be felt across the Northern Hemisphere.
As the warnings about global cooling and it’s connection to lack of activity on the Sun continue to gather pace, we need to start thinking about a world where the summers are cooler, where growing zone boundaries are changing due to the weather.

The government, backed by their butt buddies at the IPCC are not going to warn us, they are not going to admit that global warming was flawed science at best and an out and out con at the worst.

C. The Number Of Volcanic Eruptions Is Increasing And That Could Lead To An Extremely Cold Winter
16 Sep 2014, theeconomiccollapseblog.com, by Michael Snyder
Pasted from: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-number-of-volcanic-eruptions-is-increasing-and-that-could-lead-to-an-extremely-cold-winter

The number of volcanoes that are erupting continues to rise, and scientists cannot seem to explain why this is happening.  In 2013, we witnessed the most volcanic eruptions worldwide that we have ever seen in a single year, and this increased activity has carried over into 2014.  In recent months, we have seen major volcanoes roar to life in Russia, Peru, Hawaii, Reunion Island, Indonesia, and all over Alaska.  It is highly unusual for so many volcanoes to all be erupting at the same time.  According to Volcano Discovery, a whopping 34 volcanoes are erupting around the globe right now.  This is sending a massive amount of dust and ash into the upper atmosphere, and it may explain why many parts of the planet are experiencing strangely cold weather at the moment.  If this trend continues, we could potentially be facing years of crop failures and widespread famines all over the world.

And what we have witnessed already may just be the beginning.  There are several more very large volcanoes around the globe that scientists are extremely concerned about right now.

For example, just check out what is going on in the Philippines…cooling volcanic activity
Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay was placed on “Alert Level 3” on Monday evening, September 15, after showing signs of “relatively high unrest,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said.
In a bulletin issued at 10:00 pm, PHIVOLCS observed 39 rockfall events from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm on September 15, symptoms of the build-up of magma at the summit dome. At least 32 low frequency volcanic earthquakes were also recorded, indicating magma intrusion or volcanic gas activity.
PHIVOLCS-DOST raised the alert status of Mayon Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 which is equivalent to a “Critical Alert” in the agency’s 5-level alert system. This means that the volcano is exhibiting relatively high unrest, magma is at the crater, and that an eruption is possible within weeks.

But of even greater concern is Bardarbunga.  It is the largest volcano system in Iceland, and a major eruption could potentially be absolutely catastrophic…
This time the threat of an eruption – potentially even more powerful than the one in 2010 – is posed by Bardarbunga, the biggest of Iceland’s 30 or so volcanic systems. Located roughly at the country’s centre, the volcano’s 10-kilometre caldera lies several hundred metres beneath Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier by volume.
Scientists are taking the latest rumblings seriously: roughly 8000 years ago, after all, the volcanic leviathan let rip with the largest eruption of the past 10,000 years.
“It is very difficult to predict exactly what will happen with an eruption,” says Monash University vulcanologist Professor Ray Cas, who is president of the International Association for Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth.

Scientists tell us that over the last 10,000 years Bardarbunga has produced “more lava than any other volcano on the planet.”
If we witness a full scale eruption at Bardarbunga, the cancellation of a few thousand flights may be the smallest of our concerns.
The truth is that we might be looking at the coldest winter that any of us have ever seen in the northern hemisphere.

But don’t just take my word for it.  The following is from a British newspaper article entitled “Icelandic volcano could trigger Britain’s coldest winter EVER this year”…
Depending on the force of the explosion, minute particles thrust beyond the earth’s atmosphere can trigger DECADES of chaotic weather patterns. Tiny pieces of debris act as billions of shields reflecting the sun’s light away from earth meaning winter temperatures could plunge LOWER THAN EVER before while summer will be devoid of sunshine. The first effect could be a bitterly cold winter to arrive in weeks with thermometers plunging into minus figures and not rising long before next summer.

If this did happen, there is nothing that we could do to change it. We would just have to deal with it.

This is a kind of “climate change” that everyone can agree on.  It is well known that volcanic eruptions can substantially lower global temperatures.  In fact, some global warming theorists are already blaming increased volcanic activity for why temperatures have not been rising in recent years…
“In the last decade, the amount of volcanic aerosol in the stratosphere has increased, so more sunlight is being reflected back into space,” said lead author Benjamin Santer, climate scientist at Laurence Livermore National Laboratory, in a press release. “This has created a natural cooling of the planet and has partly offset the increase in surface and atmospheric temperatures due to human influence.”

But if Bardarbunga fully erupts, we could be looking at something a lot worse than a little “global cooling”. We could potentially be facing winters that never seem to end. It has happened before in recorded history many times.  The following list comes from Wikipedia…
The effects of volcanic eruptions on recent winters are modest in scale, but historically have been significant. Most recently, the 1991 explosion of Mount Pinatubo, a stratovolcano in the Philippines, cooled global temperatures for about 2–3 years.
In 1883, the explosion of
Krakatoa (Krakatau) created volcanic winter-like conditions. The four years following the explosion were unusually cold, and the winter of 1887-1888 included powerful blizzards.  Record snowfalls were recorded worldwide The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, a stratovolcano in Indonesia, occasioned mid-summer frosts in New York State and June snowfalls in New England and Newfoundland and Labrador in what came to be known as the “Year Without a Summer” of 1816.

A paper written by Benjamin Franklin in 1783 blamed the unusually cool summer of 1783 on volcanic dust coming from Iceland, where the eruption of Laki volcano had released enormous amounts of sulfur dioxide, resulting in the death of much of the island’s livestock and a catastrophic famine which killed a quarter of the Icelandic population. Northern hemisphere temperatures dropped by about 1 °C in the year following the Laki eruption.

In 1600, the Huaynaputina in Peru erupted. Tree ring studies show that 1601 was cold. Russia had its worst famine in 1601-1603. From 1600 to 1602, Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia had exceptionally cold winters. The wine harvest was late in 1601 in France, and in Peru and Germany, wine production collapsed. Peach trees bloomed late in China, and Lake Suwa in Japan froze early.

The possibility of volcanic eruptions substantially cooling our weather is the biggest “climate threat” that we are facing by far.
Without warm summers and plenty of sunshine, our crops will not succeed. And global food supplies are already stretched to the limit.  Just this week we learned that one out of every nine people in the world does not have enough food to eat. What would happen if global food production was cut by 10 or 20 percent for a few years?

So keep an eye on Bardarbunga and the other major volcanoes around the planet that are rumbling right now. They may just play a major role in our immediate future.

.

D.  Global Cooling: Is an Ice Age coming?
7 Jan 2014, Scottnet, from YouTube
Pasted from: http://www.sott.net/article/271736-Global-Cooling-Is-an-Ice-Age-coming

YouTubeVideo: Global Cooling: Is an Ice Age Coming?

The climate is changing, but it’s not changing the way the climate change crowd predicted it would. Nature has made a mockery of global warming, so who are the real climate deniers?

.

E.  Heaviest snow in 50 years blankets most of Iran
5 Feb 2014, Posted by EU Times
Pasted from: http://www.eutimes.net/2014/02/heaviest-snow-in-50-years-blankets-most-of-iran/

cooling Iran snowRescue operations are underway in different parts of Iran as the heaviest snowstorm in five decades has blanketed the country’s northern provinces, leaving many people without power and running water.

The Iranian Red Crescent Society says teams have rescued over 10,000 people caught in the heavy snow in 18 different provinces.
Rescue operations are also underway in the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran. Thousands of people are reportedly trapped on the roads of the two provinces.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and army troops have been sent to help people. Water and power supplies were cut off in the remote regions, but reports say electricity is mostly restored. Schools and universities have been shut down because of the heavy snow. There have been no official reports of casualties. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has formed an emergency ministerial team to supervise relief assistance to provinces.

(News & Editorial/ Global Cooling)

Leave a comment

Filed under News & Editorial

Yes, there’s “climate change”, its cooling

A. Sunspots 2015: Year of the decline
4 Jan 2015, Posted by azleader
Pasted from: https://informthepundits.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/sunspots-2015-year-of-the-decline/

Cooling1 sun Giant solar flare on October 27, 2014. Credit/NASA SDO spacecraft

Solar maximum has passed. What climate effects will come next?
Austin, January 4, 2015 – Solar maximum activity peaked in April 2014 at an exceptionally low 81.9 spots/day. Waning solar activity in 2015 will begin the long, inexorably journey towards solar minimum over the next half decade or so.

If solar physicists are correct, solar activity could be very low for several decades to come. How that will affect climate change is anyone’s guess, but low sunspot activity has already been identified by the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as one of the main causes for the 15+ year “hiatus” from atmospheric global warming.

cooling2 progressionSolar max arrived in April 2014. Credit/Steve Davidson-SILSO data, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels

The Royal Observatory of Belgium released December’s official monthly international sunspot numbers on January 1, 2015. Sunspots increased again in December, but the 13-month smoothed sunspot number that defines solar maximum declined for the 2nd month in a row. Given that solar maximum is a 13-month running average, no one knows maximum has been reached until at least seven months after the fact.

What does the downturn in solar activity mean for earth’s long-term climate change? One legitimate comparison of the current situation on the sun is to a cold period on earth called the Dalton Minimum. It happened 200 years ago.

cooling3 daltonCurrent solar activity is similar to the Dalton Minimum. Credit/Steve Davidson using SILSO data

There were three declining solar cycles leading into the Dalton Minimum, just like now. The third exceptionally weak cycle had a rare higher secondary peak than its first when the Dalton was reached, just like now.

That cycle was followed by a decline to zero spots. The period of zero spots lasted nearly two years before another weak cycle occurred. The match to current activity isn’t exact, but it’s eerily similar. There is modern supporting evidence that the sun will have an exceptionally weak cycle next time, just like the Dalton.

cooling umbralSunspots are becoming harder to see and weaker. Credit/Dr. Leif Svalgaard Research Page

Umbral intensity is a measure of how black the center of the average sunspot is compared to its surroundings. An intensity of 1 means the sunspot is invisible. Sunspots have been fading away since the late 1990s. In the last 3-4 years, though, the fading has leveled off.

Umbral magnetic field is a measure of the strength of the average sunspot, measured in Gauss. The lower the number, the weaker the sunspot. Strong magnetic fields are what cause giant solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that dramatically affect earth. Sunspots cannot form with a field strength below 1,500 Gauss. In the last 3-4 years the decline in magnetic field strength has leveled off, too.

When this data was first published in 2011 it caused quite a stir among solar physicists. Some predicted sunspots would totally disappear after the current cycle ended. It doesn’t look like that will be the case after all. It looks like the next cycle, Cycle 25, will be another weak one, just like during the Dalton Minimum.

Reliable global temperature data does not extend further back than about 1850, fifty years after the Dalton. However, anecdotal evidence suggests there were very cold winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere during that time period.

The current sunspot cycle most closely matches Cycle 12, which peaked in 1883. That one is within reliable global temperature records.

cooling monthly smoothedThe current solar cycle is best matched to Cycle 12. Credit/Steve Davidson using SILSO data

Both Cycle 12 and the current cycle have a rare secondary peak higher than the first. That has got to mean something.

According to IPCC data, the period of the 1880s to the early 1900s was characterized by a general decline in earth’s global atmospheric temperature.

 cooling trend1880-1910 cooling trend corresponds to low sunspot activity. Source/IPCC AR5 Report

Cycle 12 and the two cycles following it were exceptionally weak cycles leading into the early 1900s. It corresponded to declining global temperatures. Coincidence? Not likely.

Conclusions
Solar sunspot maximum was reached in April of 2014. That did not become known until recently because solar max is computed as a 13-month running average. You can’t know it has been reached until at least seven months after the fact. There have been two months of decline since then, so it is reasonably certain the maximum was finally reached. As it is, it was over two years later than originally predicted.

If the current cycle follows past solar behavior then 2015 will see a steep decline in solar activity as it progresses toward solar minimum in the next five years or so.
The current cycle (Cycle 24) has strong similarities to both the Dalton Minimum and Cycle 12 that peaked in 1883. Both time periods are associated with cold earth temperatures. Cycle 12 is more meaningful because it is supported by current United Nations IPCC data.
That being the case, it’s time to start thinking about breaking out the cold weather gear.
.

B. New Ice Age to Begin in 2014
23 Feb 2012, IceAgeNow.info, By Robert
Pasted from: http://iceagenow.info/2012/02/ice-age-2014/

“Forecasters predict that a new ice age will begin soon,” says this article on russia-ic.com.

“Habibullo Abdusamatov, a scientist from the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences considers that the sharp drop in temperature will start on the Earth in 2014. “According to the scientist, our planet began to “get cold” in the 1990s. The new ice age will last at least two centuries, with its peak in 2055. “It is interesting, that the same date was chosen by the supporters of the theory of global warming. “The expected decrease in temperature may … become the fifth over the past nine centuries, reports Hydrometeorological Center of Russia. Experts call this phenomenon the “little ice age”, it was observed in the XII, XV, XVII, XIX centuries. This cyclicity makes the theory of upcoming cold weather in XXI century look like truth.” http://russia-ic.com/news/show/13717#.T0Q3Ms7rk9C Thanks to Thomas McHart, Stephanie Relfe for this link

Habibullo Abdussamatov is not just “a scientist.” Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov, astrophysicist, is head of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, and head of Space Research of the Sun Sector at the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences. I
’m inclined to take his forecasts seriously.
I’ve met Dr Abdussamatov, and posted other articles about him here: http://iceagenow.info/2010/05/new-little-ice-age-to-begin-in-2014/
And here: http://iceagenow.info/2011/11/russian-scientists-predict-100-years-cooling/

.

C. New Little Ice Age ‘to Begin in 2014′
20 May 2010,IceAgeNow.info, by Bob
Pasted from: http://iceagenow.info/2010/05/new-little-ice-age-to-begin-in-2014/

cooling Habibullo AbdussamatovRussian scientist to alarmists: ‘Sun heats Earth!’ 20 May 10 – CHICAGO – Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, predicts that a new “Little Ice Age” could begin in just four years.
I sat just ten feet away from Abdussamatov as he made this startling assertion at the Heartland Institute’s 4th International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago just two days ago.
Jerome R. Corsi from World Net Daily covered the proceedings exceedingly well, and I am quoting or paraphrasing him extensively here.
In a two-part video recorded at the conference by WND (link below), Abdussamatov explains that average annual sun activity has experienced an accelerated decrease since the 1990s.

Habibullo Abdussamatov Head of the Russian-Ukrainian project “Astrometria” on the Russian segment of the International Space Station, Abdussamatov’s theory is that “long-term variations in the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth are the main and principal reasons driving and defining the whole mechanism of climatic changes from the global warmings to the Little Ice Ages to the big glacial periods.”

In his speech, Abdussamatov took on advocates of the theory of man-caused warming who want to curtail our use of hydrocarbon fuels. He contended, instead, that a reasonable way to combat coming cooling trends would be “to maintain economic growth in order to adapt to the upcoming new Little Ice Age in the middle of the 21st century.”

Sun’s activity determines temperatures
Abdussamatov argues that total sun irradiance, or TSI, is the primary factor responsible for causing climate variations on Earth, not carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is “not guilty,” says Abdussamatov. “As for what lies ahead in the coming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged temperature drop.”

Abdussamatov pointed to the English astronomer Walter Maunder, who noticed that sunspots had been generally absent from 1645 to 1715. That period coincided with the middle and coldest part of the Little Ice Age (see article D, below), which began around 1650 and extended through 1850.

“There is now an unavoidable advance toward a global decrease, a deep temperature drop comparable to the Maunder minimum,” he wrote. “Already there are signs of the future deep temperature drop.”

“The observed global warming of the climate of the Earth is not caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses, but by extraordinarily high solar intensity that extended over virtually the entire past century.” “Future decrease in global temperature will occur even if anthropogenic ejection of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere rises to record levels.

“The implementation of the Kyoto Protocol aimed to rescue the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off at least 150 years.”

I have the utmost respect for the courageous scientists who presented at this convention.

.

D. The Little Ice Age in Europe
Scott A. Mandia, Professor – Physical Sciences, S.C.C.C., Selden, NY
Excerpts pasted from: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html

Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating effect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea.

Impact on Agriculture
Lamb (1966) points out that the growing season changed by 15 to 20 percent between the warmest and coldest times of the millennium. That is enough to affect almost any type of food production, especially crops highly adapted to use the full-season warm climatic periods. During the coldest times of the LIA, England’s growing season was shortened by one to two months compared to present day values. The availability of varieties of seed today that can withstand extreme cold or warmth, wetness or dryness, was not available in the past. Therefore, climate changes had a much greater impact on agricultural output in the past.

Fig. 16 and 17 show the price of wheat and rye, respectively, in various European countries during the LIA.

cooling wheat pricesFigure 16: Prices of wheat expressed in Dutch guilders per 100 kg. in various countries vs. time. (Source: Lamb, 1995)

Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating affect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea.

Impact on Health
The cooler climate during the LIA had a huge impact on the health of Europeans. As mentioned earlier, dearth and famine killed millions and poor nutrition decreased the stature of the Vikings in Greenland and Iceland.

Cool, wet summers led to outbreaks of an illness called St. Anthony’s Fire. Whole villages would suffer convulsions, hallucinations, gangrenous rotting of the extremities, and even death. Grain, if stored in cool, damp conditions, may develop a fungus known as ergot blight and also may ferment just enough to produce a drug similar to LSD. (In fact, some historians claim that the Salem, Massachusetts witch hysteria was the result of ergot blight.)

Malnutrition led to a weakened immunity to a variety of illnesses. In England, malnutrition aggravated an influenza epidemic of 1557-8 in which whole families died. In fact, during most of the 1550’s deaths outnumbered births (Lamb, 1995.) The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) was hastened by malnutrition all over Europe.

One might not expect a typically tropical disease such as malaria to be found during the LIA, but Reiter (2000) has shown that it was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England. The English word for malaria was ague, a term that remained in common usage until the nineteenth century. Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400) wrote in the Nun’s Priest Tale:

You are so very choleric of complexion. Beware the mounting sun and all dejection, Nor get yourself with sudden humours hot; For if you do, I dare well lay a groat That you shall have the tertian fever’s pain, Or some ague that may well be your bane.

In sixteenth century England, many marshlands were notorious for their ague-stricken populations. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) mentioned ague in eight of his plays. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) died of ague in September 1658, which was one of the coldest years of the LIA.

Five indigenous species of mosquito are capable of transmitting malaria in England where they prefer the brackish water along river estuaries. The anaerobic bacterial flora of saline mud produces a strong sulfur odor that was widely believed to be the cause of agues in salt marsh areas (i.e. Shakespeare’s “unwholesome fens.”) The term malaria comes from the Italian term “mala aria” meaning “bad air.”

Impact on Economics
In addition to increasing grain prices and lower wine production, there were many examples of economic impact by the dramatic cooling of the climate. Due to famine, storms, and growth of glaciers ,many farmsteads were destroyed, which resulted in less tax revenues collected due to decreased value of the properties (Lamb, 1995.)

Cod fishing greatly decreased, especially for the Scottish fisherman, as the cod moved farther south. The cod fishery at the Faeroe Islands began to fail around 1615 and failed altogether for thirty years between 1675 and 1704 (Lamb, 1995.) In the Hohe Tauern mountains of the Austrian Alps, advancing glaciers closed the gold mines of the Archbishop of Salzburg who was one of the wealthiest dukes in the empire. The succession of two or three bad summers where the miners could not rely on work in the mines caused them to find employment elsewhere, which resulted in an abrupt end to the mining operations (Bryson, 1977.)

Not all of the economic impact was bad. The fertile fishing grounds of the present day Newfoundland Banks were thought to have been found by fisherman in the late 1400’s who were looking for the fish stocks that had deserted their former grounds as the result of the movement of colder waters from the north (Lamb, 1995.)

English fisherman benefited by the southern movement of herring normally found in the waters off Norway. This increase in deep-sea fishing helped to build the maritime population and strength of the country (Lamb, 1995.) The failure of crops in Norway between 1680 and 1720 was a prime reason for the great growth of merchant shipping there. Coastal farmers whose crops failed turned to selling their timber and to constructing ships in order to transport these timbers themselves (Lamb, 1995.)

Social Unrest
Conditions during the LIA led to many cases of social unrest. The winter of 1709 killed many people in France. Conditions were so bad, a priest in Angers, in west-central France, wrote: “The cold began on January 6, 1709, and lasted in all its rigor until the twenty-fourth. The crops that had been sewn were all completely destroyed…. Most of the hens had died of cold, as had the beasts in the stables. When any poultry did survive the cold, their combs were seen to freeze and fall off. Many birds, ducks, partidges, woodcock, and blackbirds died and were found on the roads and on the thick ice and frequent snow. Oaks, ashes, and other valley trees split with cold. Two thirds of the vines died…. No grape harvest was gathered at all in Anjou…. I myself did not get enough wine from my vineyard to fill a nutshell.” (Ladurie, 1971) In March the poor rioted in several cities to keep the merchants from selling what little wheat they had left.

The winter of 1739-40 was also a bad one. After that there was no spring and only a damp, cool summer which spoiled the wheat harvest. The poor rebelled and the governor of Liège told the rich to “fire into the middle of them. That’s the only way to disperse this riffraff, who want nothing but bread and loot.” (Ladurie, 1971)

Lamb (1995) reports the occurrence of cattle raids on the Lowlanders by Highlanders who were stressed by the deteriorating climate. In 1436, King James I of Scotland was murdered while hunting on the edge of the Highland region near Perth. The clan warfare grew so bad that it was decided that no place north of Edinburgh Castle was safe for the king so Edinburgh became the capital of the country.

In England, the effect of starvation and the poor condition of the country encouraged men to enlist during the War of the Roses (1455-1485.) As tillable land was converted to other uses such as sheep rearing, the landlords who organized the conversions became the focus of many hostilities.

One group in particular suffered from the poor conditions – people thought to be witches (Behringer, 1999.) Weather-making was thought to be among the traditional abilities of witches and during the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries many saw a great witch conspiracy. Extensive witch hunts took place during the most severe years of the LIA, as people looked for scapegoats to blame for their suffering.

One of history’s most notorious quotes might have been due in part to a rare extremely warm period during the LIA. In northern France in 1788, after an unusually bad winter, May, June, and July were excessively hot, which caused the grain to shrivel. On July 13, just at harvest time, a severe hailstorm (which typically occurs when there is very cold air aloft) destroyed what little crops were left. From that bad harvest of 1788 came the bread riots of 1789 which led to Marie Antoinette’s alleged remark “Let them eat cake,” and the storming of the Bastille.

Art and Literature
Writers and artists were also influenced by the great change in climate. In 1816, “the year without a summer,” many Europeans spent their summers around the fire. Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein, and Polidori, The Vampire. Both authors, together with Byron and Percy Shelley, were in Switzerland, near Lake Geneva where Byron said “We will each write a ghost story.” Percy Shelley also referred to a glacier in his poem “Mont Blanc” when he wrote “…and wall impregnable of beaming ice. The race of man flies far in dread; his work and dwelling vanish…”

Neuberger (1970) studied more than 12,000 paintings in 41 art museums in the United States and eight European countries to test his hypothesis that paintings would accurately reveal the climate record. These paintings covered the period from 1400 to 1967. He categorized the blueness of the sky into a three-step scale consisting of pale blue, medium blue, and deep blue. Cloudiness was estimated according to the U.S. airways code: clear (less than 10 percent coverage), scattered (10 to 50 percent), broken (60 to 90 percent), and overcast (more than 90 percent cloud coverage.) In addition, the types of clouds were observed according to four families: high, middle, low, and convective (vertically-developed) clouds. Neuberger separated his data into three epochs. According to the data in Fig. 19 below, during the second epoch when the LIA was at its peak, cloudiness and darkness prevailed.

cooling sky paintingsFigure 19: Epochal changes in various painting features. (Source: Neuberger, 1970)

Neuberger suggests that the similarities between the second and third epochs have more to do with a stylistic change in the third epoch to impressionism which produced hazy atmospheres and also to an increase in industrial pollution.

Frequency of Storms
Fig. 20 shows the number of reported severe sea floods per century in the North Sea region.

cooling severe sea floodsFigure 20: Number of reported sea floods per century in the North Sea region. (Source: Lamb, 1995)

During the LIA, there was a high frequency of storms. As the cooler air began to move southward, the polar jet stream strengthened and followed, which directed a higher number of storms into the region. At least four sea floods of the Dutch and German coasts in the thirteenth century were reported to have caused the loss of around 100,000 lives. Sea level was likely increased by the long-term ice melt during the MWP which compounded the flooding. Storms that caused greater than 100,000 deaths were also reported in 1421, 1446, and 1570. Additionally, large hailstorms that wiped out farmland and killed great numbers of livestock occurred over much of Europe due to the very cold air aloft during the warmer months. Due to severe erosion of coastline and high winds, great sand storms developed which destroyed farmlands and reshaped coastal land regions.

(News & Editorial/ Yes there’s “climate change”, it cooling)

Leave a comment

Filed under News & Editorial

Weather prediction skills

(Survival manual / Prepper articles / Weather prediction skills)

 A.  Head For The Hills?
25 April  2013, Survival Life.com, by Joe Pasted from: http://www.survivallife.com/2013/04/25/head-for-the-hills/

Have you ever headed out in the morning to what you expect to be a bright and sunny day, only to have the bottom fall out of the sky hours later, leaving you soaked and miserable?

I have…

And while the weather is always unpredictable at best (especially in the spring) there is one simple trick that can you can do in order to keep yourself out of rough weather…. most of the time at least.

forecast cloudRead the clouds!

Cloud reading has been used as a basic primitive weather prediction for thousands of years, and unfortunately our protected, indoor lifestyle has caused us to forget how to read the world around us.

Clouds can easily be broken into four categories. These categories are high clouds, middle clouds, low clouds and clouds with vertical growth.

High clouds form at 16,000 – 43,000 feet. Basically, these are the clouds that you only encounter on the top of really high mountains or at the cruising altitude of a jet airplane. Due to the extreme conditions at which they form, they tend to be comprised primarily of ice crystals.

  •  High clouds include:
  • _Cirrostratus
  • _Cirrocumulus
  • _Cirrus
  • Middle clouds form at 6,500 to 23,000 feet. They are comprised of water, and, if cold enough, ice.
  • Middle clouds consist of:
  • _Altocumulus
  • _Altostratus
  • Low clouds form below 6,500 feet. These clouds are the ones that like to hang-around just above tall buildings. These clouds tend to contain water, but can also be comprised of snow if the weather gets cold enough. Low clouds include:_Stratocumulus
  • _Nimbostratus
  • _Stratus
  • And last, but not least, are clouds with vertical growth which tend to have a base that hangs really low (5,000 feet) and a top that climbs really high (over 50,000 feet). Clouds in this category include:_
    • _Cumulonimbus
  • _Cumulus

Clouds are one of the most reliable predictors of weather and cloud reading is a basic skill that every survivalist, hiker, camper and outdoors man should know. So how do you “read” the clouds? It’s fairly simple when you know what you are looking at.

There are 10 types of clouds that you should be able to recognize, but if you get their names confused, just remember that the higher the clouds, the better the weather will be.

forecast cloud read
1.  Cirrocumulus Clouds look like ripples of water on the surface of a lake. There are a sign of good weather and often dissipate to blue sky.
2. Altocumulus Clouds are fair weather clouds. They usually occur after a storm.
3.  Cumulonimbus Clouds are low thunder clouds that bring hail, strong wind, thunder and lightning. They have a characteristic flat, anvil-like top.
4.  Cumulus Clouds are easily recognizable, large, white, fluffy clouds. They indicate fair weather when they are widely separated, but if they are large and many headed, they are capable of bringing heavy showers.
5.  Cirrus Clouds are high altitude, wispy clouds, seen in fine weather.
6.  Cirrostratus Clouds are made up of ice particles and form a halo around the sun. If a Cirrus filled sky darkens and turns to Cirrostratus it is a sign of rain or snow, depending on temperature.
7.  Altostratus Clouds form a greyish veil over the sun or moon. If they get darker and thicken, it is a sign that rain is on the way.
8.  Nimbostratus Clouds form low blankets of cloud and indicate rain or snow, lasting for several hours.
9.  Stratocumulus Clouds can form a lumpy mass covering the entire sky and may produce light rain, but usually dissipate by the late afternoon or evening.
10. Stratus Clouds are low clouds that form a fog like layer and may produce drizzle. If they form thickly at night and cover the morning sky, they will usually burn off and produce a fine day.

So the next time you head out for the day, take a quick look at the sky and make a judgment call on whether or not you should bring sunglasses or an umbrella.

.

B. Weather Forecasting
WeatherShack.com
Pasted from: http://www.weathershack.com/static/ed-weather-forecasting.html

Sharpen Your Weather Forecasting Skillt

Deterioraating Weather Indicators:

  • Clouds lowering and thickening, ceiling lowers
  • Puffy clouds begin to develop vertically and darken
  • Sky is dark and threatening to the West
  • Clouds increasing in numbers, moving rapidly across the sky
  • Clouds at different heights moving in different directions
  • Clouds moving from East or Northeast towards the South
  • Heavy rain occurring at night
  • Barometer falling steadily or rapidly
  • Smoke from stacks lowers
  • Static on AM radio
  • Wind shifting North to East and possibly through East to South
  • There is a ring (halo) around the moon
  • If on land, leaves that grow according to prevailing winds turn over and show their backs
  • Strong wind and/or a red sky in the morning
  • Temperature far above or below normal for the time of year

Impending Precipitation Weather Indicators:

  • Distant objects seem to stand above the horizon
  • Sounds are very clear and can be heard for great distances
  • Transparent veil-like cirrus clouds thicken, ceiling lowers
  • Hazy and sticky air. Rain may occur in 18-36 hours
  • Halo around the sun or moon
  • Increasing South wind with clouds moving from the West
  • Wind (especially North wind) shifting to West and then South
  • Steadily falling barometer
  • Pale sunset
  • Red sky to the West at dawn
  • No dew after a hot day

Impending Strong Winds Weather Indicators:

  • Light, scattered clouds alone in a clear sky
  • Sharp, clearly defined edges to clouds
  • Yellow sunset
  • Unusually bright stars
  • Major changes in the temperature

Clearing Weather Indicators:

  • Cloud bases rise
  • Smoke from stacks rise
  • Wind shifts to West, especially from East through South
  • Barometer rises quickly
  • A cold front has passed in the past 4 to 7 hours
  • Gray early morning sky shows signs of clearing
  • Morning fog or dew
  • Rain stopping and clouds breaking away at sunset

Continuing Fair Weather Indicators:

  • Early morning fog that clears
  • Gentle wind from the West or Northwest
  • Barometer steady or rising slightly
  • Red sky to East with clear sky to the West at sunset
  • Bright moon and light breeze at night
  • Heavy dew or frost
  • Clear blue morning sky to West
  • Clouds dot the afternoon summer sky.\
    .

WEATHER FORECAST CHART

 

WIND DIRECTION: BAROMETER (AIR PRESSURE) AT SEA LEVEL: EXPECTED WEATHER:
SW To NW 30.10 to 30.20, steady Fair with little temp. change for 2 days
SW To NW 30.10 to 30.20, rising fast Fair followed by precipitation in 2 days
SW To NW 30.20 or above, steady Continued fair with little temp. change
SW To NW 30.20 or above, falling slowly Slowly rising temp; fair for 2 days
S To SE 30.10 to 30.20, falling slowly Precipitation within 24 hours
S To SE 30.10 to 30.20, falling fast Increasing wind; precipitation in 12 – 24 hours
SE To NE 30.10 to 30.20, falling slowly Precipitation in 12 – 18 hours
SE To NE 30.10 to 30.20, falling fast Wind rising; precipitation within 12 hours
E To NE 30.10 or above, falling slowly Rain (snow) within 24 hours in winter
E To NE 30.10 or below, falling fast Precipitation, wind
SE To NE 30.00 or below, falling slowly Steady rain for 1 – 2 days
SE To NE 30.00 or below, falling fast Rain and high wind clearing in 36 hours
S to SW 30.00 or below, rising slowly Clearing within a few hours then fair
S to E 29.80 or below, falling fast Severe storm imminent, clearing in 24 hrs
E to N 29.80 or below, falling fast Severe northeast gale, precipitation
Going to W 29.80 or below, rising fast Clearing and colder

Naturally there are other factors than these, but this gives you a rough guide to start with.

Tools to help you make a reasonable forecast:

forecast tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Prepper articles, Survival Manual

How to keep cool indoors and out: vests

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ How to keep cool indoors and out: vests)

Think about maintaining your normal body core temperature, whether inside and outdoors during an extended emergency summer power outage.

A.  Keeping Your Cool: cooling vest type
April 2010, mitoaction,
http://www.mitoaction.org/red-tape/keeping-your-cool-cooling-vest-types-sources-financial-assistance

There are a variety of personal cooling systems that are available for purchase, and each style has unique advantages and drawbacks. Here is a brief summary of the three most popular systems:

1.  Evaporative Cooling Vests:
These vests feel like terry cloth but have tiny pockets of highly absorbable beads that can take in water and expand to 6 times their dry size. The vest is soaked in cool water and gently wrung out to remove excess. The vest is placed over a t-shirt and cools by evaporation; the air moves faster next to the water-logged beads, which creates a layer of cool air between the vest and the skin. Evaporative cooling vests are light weight, inexpensive, and there is no need to purchase a second vest to swap; the vest can be re-wet and immediately used again. Evaporative cooling apparel is not limited to vests; headbands, wristbands, floor mats, and even dog vests are available for purchasing. If an evaporative vest is damaged, it can be re-sewn by hand. The function of the vest isn’t seriously compromised if a few beads escape. (The beads are non-toxic, but always check the vest carefully to avoid ingestion by a child.) Evaporative cooling vests are of limited benefit in humid environments and are sometimes not tolerated by individuals with sensitive skin due to the slight dampness of the garment.

 2.  Phase Change Cooling Systems:
This type of vest contains inserts that are activated by placing them in the freezer or a container of ice water, and then the inserts maintain a consistent temperature (usually 53-56 degrees F.) for up to three hours. The inserts can then be re-activated (10 to 20 minutes for activation) and reused. Many people choose to purchase an extra set of inserts and rotate them, so that the vest can be used continuously. The inserts are not exactly ice packs; they do not reach freezing temperatures so they are unlikely to cause damage if left in contact with bare skin. This makes them safe to use with young children or individuals who are unable to feel heat or cold due to neuropathy or communicate discomfort. They are activated when exposed to temperatures above freezing, and need much less time to recharge than an actual frozen ice pack would take. Also, the inserts do not “sweat” when the cold is being transferred to the wearer, so clothing stays dry. Phase change vests can be made to fit wearers of all ages and sizes, custom vests can be made for individuals weighing more or less than the displayed vests are recommended for.

There are drawbacks to purchasing and using phase change vests. The inserts add weight to the vest, from 1 ½ to 2 lbs for children’s vests to 4 lbs or more for 3X or 4X adult sizes. Fortunately, the weight is evenly distributed on the body and is close to the individual’s center of gravity, so the balance issues associated with backpacks or weights shouldn’t be a problem. The cooling vest system is much more expensive than an evaporative vest; you can expect to pay around $200 for a vest and two sets of inserts. The phase change inserts are filled with a viscous fluid and are durable but not indestructible. If an insert is damaged it must be discarded and replaced.

3.  Hybrid Cooling Vests:
This vest combines the benefits of the evaporative as well as phase change vests. The user has the ability to choose between using the evaporative or phase change cooling methods, and can also choose to use both systems simultaneously to complement one another. This type of vest is new to the market, but customers who have purchased hybrid guests have reported high satisfaction rates.

4.  Cold Pack Cooling Vests:
These vests look just like phase change cooling vests, but use actual ice packs that freeze at 32 degrees or in some cases, even colder. These cold packs give the highest level of cooling because the cold packs are the lowest temperature. These vests are effective in extreme humidity and very high temperatures. Extra packs can be added or changed out over time.

There are several drawbacks to cold pack vests. The frozen inserts are generally heavier than phase change inserts, are usually inflexible when frozen, and must be returned to an actual freezer, below 32 degrees farenheight, to be refrozen, which can take several hours. Most frozen packs “sweat” while discharging cold energy, which some individuals may find uncomfortable. Most importantly, ice packs cannot be applied directly to skin and should never be used by individuals who may have impaired sensation, are asleep, or unable to communicate discomfort, as frostbite and serious injury can occur.

.

B .  MSolutions Cooling Climate Control Products
http://www.mscooling.com/faq
1.  WHO NEEDS A COOLING VEST?
If work, leisure activities or medical conditions make you uncomfortably hot and/or affect your performance, you could benefit from a Cooling Vest.

2.  WHAT IS HEAT STRESS?
Heat stress occurs when the body’s reaction to the environment causes its core temperature to rise above safe limits. This can result in a racing heart, profuse sweating, dizziness, reduced energy and slowed reaction times. This reduces safety, decreases efficiency and lowers productivity.
What is the difference between the many different types of body cooling systems available?
There are many different cooling products available and the best one for you depends on your personal situation, activity and environment. We recommend you consult your health care professional prior to purchasing a cooling garment or system.

A summary of the systems:

Evaporative
Cooling Power: Low*
Cost: Very Low
(*depending on humidity and outside variables)

Cold packs
Cooling Power: High
Cost: Low to Medium

Phase Change
Cooling Power: Medium
Cost: Medium

Active Cooling
Cooling Power: Very High
Cost: High to Very High

Evaporative Cooling: These products come in an assortment of garments that fit a wide variety of locations on the body. They are soaked in water to charge special polymer materials built into the garments. As the water evaporates (sometimes over several days), the garment provides surface cooling. These systems are typically low cost and light weight.
Advantages: Low cost, light weight works for an extended period of time
Disadvantages: Requires wetting of garment loses effectiveness in higher humidity

Cold pack cooling: These products typically come in vests, neck coolers and wrist coolers. The products work by incorporating cold packs into pockets of the wraps. The cold packs are placed in a freezer or a refrigerator until ready for use and then are placed in pockets designed into the wraps. The packs will stay cold for 2 to 4 hours depending on environmental conditions.
Advantages: Medium cost, no wetting required effective for 2-4 hours, highest cooling capacity works in all environments adjustable cooling with more / less packs extra packs easily carried for extended cooling
Disadvantages: Requires access to freezer / refrigerator requires time for packs to freeze medium weight: 4-5 lbs.

Phase Change Cold Pack Cooling: These products are similar to the cold pack systems only use a phase change polymer in the cold packs or the garment. This technology controls the release of temperature to a specific range through out the cooling cycle. A typical temperature is 58 degree F. Phase change cold packs may be recharged in the freezer, refrigerator or in ice water.
Advantages: Charges in ice water, refrigerator, freezer wetting not required, effective for 2-3 hours provides moderate cooling temperature  works in all environments extra packs easily carried for extended cooling
DisadvantagesHigher cost system, high cost of spare packs Lower cooling efficiency than cold packs medium weight: 5-7 lbs. medium cooling capacity.

Active Cooling: These products typically incorporate a coolant, often ice water, that is circulated from a reservoir by a pump system through channels or tubes embedded in a vest. Often a hood for the head is incorporated into the system also. The temperature of the circulating coolant usually can be adjusted. The system operates on batteries, house or car current. This type of system will provide many hours of cooling before the ice and water needs to be recharged.
AdvantagesMost effective cooling – core body cooling adjustable cooling temperature extended cooling time between recharges no wetting required, works in all environments light weight garments.
Disadvantages: Very high cost system tethered system limits mobility requires ice water reservoir.

.

C.  Glacier Tec  Phase Change cooling vest
Pasted from <http://blog.coolvest.com/easy-rider-glacier-tek-coolvest-product-review/>

Original RPCM® Cooling Vest – Tan Khaki
Price: $179.00, get a 10% discount with the special sales code “fjrforum-10”    from <http://www.fjrforum.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=139799>

I have this vest and it works well, it does keep you cool out doors at temperatures of around 100F while doing light to medium work . I prefer using this,  the “phase change” vest for “in the house” applications when the power is out. It’s dry and doesn’t damped furniture; for for a similar reason, I prefer the evaporative vest, discussed below, for outdoor use.

Product Details:
RPCM® Cooling Vests feature side elastic straps and over-the-shoulder adjustability to fit a wide range of body sizes. RPCM® Cool Vests provide you with the maximum comfort available in the market today. They maintain a cool, constant 59°F/15°C temperature for up to 2½ hours, weigh less than 5 lbs., and recharge in minutes. The RPCM® Cool Vest is extremely durable. It can be easily cleaned in regular laundry. .                                                           

> RPCM® Cool Packs quickly recharge in only 20 minutes in ice water. The packs charge (freeze solid) at a temperature about 50 degrees. There are 3 ways to fully charge the packs. They will be rock solid even using the refrigerator which is my favorite of the 3 ways.
__1) On the road toss them in a plastic bag full of ice for 30 minutes.
__2) Put them in the freezer for 1 hour.
__3) Put them in the refrigerator for 2 hours
> RPCM® Cool Vests are Glacier Tek’s exclusive Patent-Pending technology that uses a unique “green” formula.
> RPCM® contains absolutely no hazardous ingredients or chemicals and is completely non-toxic.
> Vest weigh less than 5 lbs.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Pasted from <http://www.glaciertek.com/RPCM_Cooling_Vest/FAQ.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1>

Q. Is the material in the RPCM® Cooling Vest hazardous?
A. No. The phase change material in the RPCM® Cool Pack is unique among phase change materials used for cooling. It is the only phase change cooling vest on the market which contains no hazardous ingredients or materials. It is also non-toxic, safe, and environmentally friendly. Should the RPCM® Cool Pack become punctured and leak onto your skin, it may be washed off with soap and water.

Q. How many times can the RPCM® Cooling Vest be used?
A. If the RPCM® Cool Packs are not punctured or torn, they can be used indefinitely. Our RPCM Cooling Vest has no shelf life. Some of our cooling packs have been recharged 10,000 times with no measurable change in performance.

Q. Can I store my cooling vest in the freezer?
A. Yes, the RPCM® Cooling Packs can be deep-frozen indefinitely without affecting performance.

Q. How long do RPCM® Cooling Vests take to recharge?
A. Typically 20 minutes in ice water will fully recharge a set of cooling packs, longer in a freezer or refrigerator. They recharge more quickly in ice water because of the conductive method of heat transfer. In a freezer, they chill convectively, which takes longer. They can be stored in a refrigerator or freezer indefinitely without damage or loss of functionality. Recharging in a cold freezer with the door kept shut takes about an hour. In a refrigerator, it can be several hours to overnight, depending on the heat load, how many times the refrigerator is opened, etc.

Q. What are the benefits of RPCM® Cool Packs over ice or frozen gel packs?
A. There are three key benefits:

  1. RPCM® Cool Packs operate at a much more comfortable 59° F (15°C) temperature. That means they can’t cause skin or tissue damage or cause extreme discomfort like ice or frozen gel can do.
  2. RPCM® Cool Packs will be effective for a longer period of time between charges. The reason? The difference in temperature between ambient (surrounding) air and the phase change product is much less than the difference in temperature between ambient air and ice. That means more cooling is absorbed by the body and less is lost to the air.
  3. RPCM® Cool Packs are cooled to a temperature that is usually above the dew point. That means they normally won’t condense or sweat against your body or clothing. Ice and frozen gel packs are below the dew point, so they sweat, making them uncomfortable to wear and adding to the weight of the vest or jacket. Condensation also robs the ice pack of efficiency because condensation creates heat, which is absorbed by the pack, further reducing its efficiency.

Q. How do RPCM® Cooling Vests compare with evaporative-type products?
A. RPCM® Cooling Vests provide much greater efficiency and better performance. Evaporative-type products by design retain water, so are always wet and can grow bacteria. This makes them uncomfortable against your skin. It also means they will grow mildew quickly over time, as they rarely dry out. Further, evaporative-type products can’t operate in high humidity environments (or under protective clothing,) because the atmosphere is already saturated with water, so there is no place for the evaporation to go. RPCM® Cooling Vests, on the other hand, are unaffected by humidity.

Q. Will RPCM® Cooling Vests reduce body core temperature?
A. Our products are worn to help maintain a normal body core temperature. The purpose of phase change cooling technology is to help maintain a comfortable core temperature and prevent that temperature from increasing above normal. It’s our goal to help you avoid heat stress in the first place.

Q. Isn’t water a phase change material?
A. Yes. A phase change occurs whenever matter changes from one form into another. Water can change from a solid (ice) to a liquid, as well as to a vapor. Water changes into a solid at a specific temperature: 32ºF (0°C). But RPCM® Cooling Vest packs change into their solid form at 59º F (15°C). Since water changes into its solid form at a much lower temperature, it loses more of its cooling ability to ambient (surrounding) temperature. It’s also below the dew point, so it causes condensation as it melts. Further, it’s uncomfortable and requires an overnight stay in the freezer to refreeze.

Q. Will RPCM® Cooling Vests cause vasoconstriction?
A. That’s one of the advantages of RPCM® Cooling Vests: They function within a comfortable temperature range that unlikely to promote vasoconstriction of blood vessels, unlike ice or frozen gel which promotes rapid vasoconstriction. This is an important benefit, as non-constricted blood vessels allow your circulatory system to freely move blood throughout your body, then release heat at the skin surface. With ice, the body is fooled into defending itself agains the intense cold. It reacts by constricting the blood vessels near the skin, limiting the body’s natural cooling system. The heart and lungs then have to work harder, expending extra energy in the chest cavity and creating yet more body heat and other risks.

Q. Do RPCM® Cooling Vests come in sizes?
A. No. The RPCM® Cooling Vest is adjustable across a wide range of sizes to enable it to fit many people. Inventories of various sizes are reduced and one vest may be adjusted to fit several people, enabling sharing of the product from person to person. It adjusts over the shoulders and around the waist for a comfortable fit in a wide range of body sizes.

Q. Where can I purchase Glacier Tek Products?
A. Glacier Tek, Inc. wishes to offer you the most expedient service possible, and allows you to choose from several ordering options: Order On-Line, Fill out an Information Sheet, or call us at 800-482-0533 for more information or to locate a distributor near you. Thank you for your interest in Glacier Tek, Inc. and our cooling technology products.

.

D.  Tech Deluxe Evaporative Cooling vest
Amazon.com, $49.99
See: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FGD8SA/ref=gno_cart_title_1

[Photo at left] TechNiche Deluxe Hyperkewl Evaporative cooling vest, Large size (40-42),, silver colored exterior, $49.99: High mandarin collar, front pockets, and zipper closure combine to offer the ultimate cooling and sun protection solution.

The evaporative vest works, I have one and prefer it for outdoor use. I’ve tested it doing my afternoon walks at temperatures of about 100F.

HyperKewl™ Evaporative Cooling Fabric is 47% Fluff Pulp, 33% Crosslinked Super Absorbent Polymer Fiber, Sodium Acrylate Coploymer and 20 % Bicomponent Polyolefin Bonding Fiber

EASY TO USE:
1.  Soak garment in cool water for 1-3 minutes
2.  Gently squeeze out excess water
3.  Wear; repeat steps as needed
4.  Hang to dry
5.  Wash in mild, soapy water (as needed)

Improved HyperKewl™ Evaporative Cooling Fabric ((PEF6519) – Helps our Evaporative Cooling products to last longer, and withstand more wear and tear. No gel or beads. This simple and effective technology works by combining water with our HyperKewl™ Fabric to create garments that gradually release water through evaporation to keep you cool and comfortable. Comfortable quilted Oxford nylon outer w/ polymer embedded fabric inner, water repellent nylon liner, and black poly-cotton trim.
Provides 5-10 hours of cooling relief per soaking; lightweight, durable and washable.

* Between use the vests are each hung on a sturdy wide shouldered clothes hanger.

Leave a comment

Filed under Prepper articles, Survival Manual

Volcanic winter

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/ Volcanic winter)

A.  Vuncanism as a threat
How many volcanoes are there?
During the past 10,000 years, there are about 1,500 volcanoes on land that are known to have  been active, while the even larger number of submarine volcanoes is unknown. At present, there are about 600 volcanoes that have had known eruptions during recorded history, while about 50-70 volcanoes are active (erupting) each year. At any given time, there is an average of about 20 volcanoes that are erupting. Active volcanoes in the U.S. are found mainly in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington.

One of the major factors that affect overall climate are volcanoes. If a volcanic eruption occurs in Russia, it can affect North American weather if the eruption is at least 3 kilometers high. If an eruption occurs in the southern hemisphere and is 16 kilometers high, the entire globe will have its climate affected. Simply put, volcanic eruptions can alter the expected outcome of crops, investments, oil, ranching and many other factors that affect the economy of the world.

A ‘Triple Crown’ of global cooling could pose serious threat to humanity
Sea surface temperatures, extremely low solar activity and increased volcanic activity would lead to
widespread food shortages and famine.  By Kirk Myers
19 May 10 – “Global warming” may become one of those quaint cocktail party conversations of the past if three key climate drivers – 1) cooling North Pacific sea surface temperatures, 2) extremely low solar activity and 3) increased volcanic eruptions – converge to form a “perfect storm” of plummeting temperatures that send our planet into a long-term cool-down lasting 20 or 30 years or longer.
“There are some wild cards that are different from what we saw when we came out of the last warm PDO [Pacific Decadal Oscillation] and entered its cool phase [1947 to 1976]. Now we have a very weak solar cycle and the possibility of increased volcanic activity. Together, they would create what I call the ‘Triple Crown of Cooling,’” says Accuweather meteorologist Joe Bastardi.
If all three climate-change ingredients come together, it would be a recipe for dangerously cold temperatures that would shorten the agricultural growing season in northern latitudes, crippling grain production in the wheat belts of the United States and Canada and triggering widespread food shortages and famine.

1.  Cool Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The Pacific Decadal Oscillation refers to cyclical variations in sea surface temperatures that occur in the North Pacific Ocean. (The PDO is often described as a long-lived El Niño-like pattern.) PDO events usually persist for 20 to 30 years, alternating between warm and cool phases.
From 1977 to 1998, during the height of “global warming,” North America was in the midst of a warm PDO.
But the PDO has once again resumed its negative cool phase, and, as such, represents the first climate driver in the Triple Crown of Cooling. With the switch to a cool PDO, we’ve seen a change in the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which alternates between El Nino (warm phase) and La Nina (cool phase) every few years. The recent strong El Nino that began in July 2009 is now transitioning to a La Nina, a sign of cooler temperatures ahead.
“We’re definitely headed towards La Nina conditions before summer is over, and we’re looking at a moderate to strong La Nina by fall and winter, which …should bring us cooler temperatures over the next few years,” predicts Joe D’Aleo, founder of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP) and the first director of meteorology at the Weather Channel.
He is not alone in his forecast. Bastardi also sees a La Nina just around the corner.
“I’ve been saying since February that we’ll transition to La Nina by the middle of the hurricane season. I think we’re already seeing the atmosphere going into a La Nina state in advance of water temperatures. This will have interesting implications down the road. La Nina will dramatically cool off everything later this year and into next year, and it is a signal for strong hurricane activity,” Bastardi predicts.
The difference in sea surface temperature between positive and negative PDO phases is not more than 1 to 2 degrees Celsius, but the affected area is huge. So the temperature changes can have a big impact on the climate in North America.

2.  Declining solar activity
Another real concern – and the second climate driver in the Triple Crown of Cooling – is the continued stretch of weak solar activity… We recently exited the longest solar minimum –12.7 years compared to the 11-year average – in 100 years. It was a historically inactive period in terms of sunspot numbers. During the minimum, which began in 2004, we have experienced 800 spotless days. A normal cycle averages 485 spotless days.
In 2008, we experienced 265 days without a sunspot, the fourth-highest number of spotless days since continuous daily observations began in 1849. In 2009, the trend continued, with 261 spotless days, ranking it among the top five blank-sun years. Only 1878, 1901 and 1913 (the record-holder with 311 days) recorded more spotless days.
In 2010, the sun continues to remain in a funk. There were 27 spotless days (according to Layman’s sunspot count) in April and, as of May 19, 12 days without a spot. Both months exhibited periods of inexplicably low solar activity during a time when the sun should be flexing its “solar muscle” and ramping up towards the next solar maximum.

3.  Strong correlation between sunspot activity and global temperature
Why are sunspot numbers important? Very simple: there is a strong correlation between sunspot activity and global temperature. During the Dalton Minimum (1790 – 1830) and Maunder Minimum (1645 -1715), two periods with very low sunspot activity, temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere plummeted.
During the Dalton Minimum, the abnormally cold weather destroyed crops in northern Europe, the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Historian John D. Post called it “the last great subsistence crisis in the Western world.” The record cold intensified after the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815, the largest volcanic eruption in more than 1,600 years (see details below).
During the 70-year Maunder Minimum, astronomers at the time counted only a few dozen sunspots per year, thousands fewer than usual. As sunspots vanished, temperatures fell. The River Thames in London froze, sea ice was reported along the coasts of southeast England, and ice floes blocked many harbors. Agricultural production nose-dived as growing seasons became shorter, leading to lower crop yields, food shortages and famine.
If the low levels of solar activity during the past three years continue through the current solar cycle … we could be facing a severe temperature decline within the next five to eight years.
“The sun is behaving very quietly – like it did in the late 1700s during the transition from Solar Cycle 4 to Solar Cycle 5 – which was the start of the Dalton Minimum,” D’Aleo says. If the official sunspot number reaches only 40 or 50 – a low number indicating very weak solar energy levels – during the next solar maximum, we could be facing much lower global temperatures down the road.”
Even NASA solar physicist David Hathaway has said this is “the quietest sun we’ve seen in almost a century.”

Volcanic eruptions
Unfortunately, there is a very real chance Eyjafjallajokull’s much larger neighbor, the Katla volcano, could blow its top, creating the third-climate driver in the ‘Triple Crown of Cooling’. If Katla does erupt, it would send global temperatures into a nosedive, with a big assist from the cool PDO and a slumbering sun.
The Katla caldera measures 42 square miles and has a magma chamber with a volume of around 2.4 cubic miles, enough to produce a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) level-six eruption – an event ten times larger than Mount St. Helens.
Katla erupts about every 70 years or so, most recently in 1918, often in tandem with neighboring Eyjafjallajokull, which is not a good sign.
According to Bastardi, “The Katla volcano in Iceland is a game changer. If it erupts and sends plumes of ash and SO2 into the stratosphere, any cooling caused by the oceanic cycles would be strengthened and amplified.”
Iceland’s President Olafur Grimsson says the eruption of Eyjafjallajoekull volcano is only a “small rehearsal.”
“The time for Katla to erupt is coming close . . . I don’t say if, but I say when Katla will erupt,” Grimsson predicts. And when Katla finally erupts it will “create for a long period, extraordinary damage to modern advanced society.”
Not a very encouraging outlook. Yet major eruptions throughout history bear witness to the deadly impact of volcanoes.
The Tambora eruption in 1815, the largest in 1,600 years, sent the earth’s climate into a deep freeze, triggering “the year without a summer.” Columnist Art Horn, writing in the Energy Tribune, describes the impact:
“During early June of 1815, a foot of snow fell on Quebec City. In July and August, lake and river ice were observed as far south as Pennsylvania. Frost killed crops across New England with resulting famine. During the brutal winter of 1816/17, the temperature fell to -32 in New York City.”
When (Katla) unleashed its fury in the 1700s, the volcano sent temperatures into a tailspin in North America.
“The Mississippi River froze just north of New Orleans and the East Coast, especially New England, had an extremely cold winter.

Global cooling: a life-threatening event
Says D’Aleo:  “Cold is far more threatening than the little extra warmth we experienced from 1977 to 1998 … A cooling down to Dalton Minimum temperatures or worse would lead to shortened growing seasons and large-scale crop failures. Food shortages would make worse the fact that more people die from cold than heat.”
Actions to limit CO2 emissions should be shelved and preparations made for an extended period of global cooling that would pose far more danger to humankind than any real or imagined warming predicted by today’s climate models.
Pasted from <http://www.iceagenow.com/Triple_Crown_of_global_cooling.htm>

B.  The Year Without a Summer
The Year Without a Summer (also known as, a) The Poverty Year, b) The Year There Was No Summer and c) Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death) was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities caused average global temperatures to decrease by about 0.4–0.7 °C (0.7–1.3 °F), resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere. It is believed that the anomaly was caused by a combination of 1) a historic low in solar activity with 2) a volcanic winter event, the latter caused by a succession of major volcanic eruptions capped off by the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815, the largest known eruption in over 1,600 years. Historian John D. Post has called this “the last great subsistence crisis in the Western world”.

[Chart above:The 1816 summer temperature anomaly with respect to 1971-2000 climatology.]

Description of The Year Without a Summer 
The unusual climatic aberrations of 1816 had the greatest effect on the Northeastern United States, the Canadian Maritimes, Newfoundland, and Northern Europe. Typically, the late spring and summer of the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada are relatively stable: temperatures (average of both day and night) average about 68–77 °F and rarely fall below 41 °F. Summer snow is an extreme rarity.
In the spring and summer of 1816, a persistent “dry fog” was observed in the northeastern United States. The fog reddened and dimmed the sunlight, such that sunspots were visible to the naked eye. Neither wind nor rainfall dispersed the “fog”. It has been characterized as a stratospheric sulfate aerosol veil.
In May 1816, frost killed off most of the crops that had been planted, and on 4 June 1816, frosts were reported in Connecticut, and by the following day, most of New England was gripped by the cold front. On 6 June 1816, snow fell in Albany, New York, and Dennysville, Maine. Nearly a foot of snow was observed in Quebec City in early June, with consequent additional loss of crops—most summer-growing plants have cell walls which rupture even in a mild frost. The result was regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality.
In July and August, lake and river ice were observed as far south as Pennsylvania. Rapid, dramatic temperature swings were common, with temperatures sometimes reverting from normal or above-normal summer temperatures as high as 95°F to near-freezing within hours. Even though farmers south of New England did succeed in bringing some crops to maturity, maize and other grain prices rose dramatically. The staple food oats, for example, rose from 12¢ a bushel the previous year to 92¢ a bushel –nearly eight times as much. Those areas suffering local crop failures had to deal with the lack of roads in the early 19th Century, preventing any easy importation of bulky food stuffs.
Cool temperatures and heavy rains resulted in failed harvests in the British Isles as well. Families in Wales traveled long distances as refugees, begging for food. Famine was prevalent in north and southwest Ireland, following the failure of wheat, oat, and potato harvests. The crisis was severe in Germany, where food prices rose sharply. Due to the unknown cause of the problems, demonstrations in front of grain markets and bakeries, followed by riots, arson, and looting, took place in many European cities. It was the worst famine of the 19th Century.
In China, the cold weather killed trees, rice crops, and even water buffalo, especially in northern China. Floods destroyed many remaining crops. Mount Tambora’s eruption disrupted China’s monsoon season, resulting in overwhelming floods in the Yangtze Valley in 1816. In India the delayed summer monsoon caused late torrential rains that aggravated the spread of cholera from a region near the River Ganges in Bengal to as far as Moscow.
In the ensuing bitter winter of 1817, when the thermometer dropped to -26°F, the waters of New York’s Upper Bay froze deeply enough for horse-drawn sleighs to be driven across Buttermilk Channel from Brooklyn to Governors Island.
The effects were widespread and lasted beyond the winter. In eastern Switzerland, the summers of 1816 and 1817 were so cool that an ice dam formed below a tongue of the Giétro Glacier high in the Val de Bagnes. In spite of the efforts of the engineer Ignaz Venetz to drain the growing lake, the ice dam collapsed catastrophically in June 1818.

Causes
It is now generally thought that the aberrations occurred because of the 1815 (April 5–15) volcanic Mount Tambora eruption on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia (then part of the Dutch East Indies). The eruption had a Volcanic Explosivity Index ranking of 7, a super-colossal event that ejected immense amounts of volcanic dust into the upper atmosphere. It was the world’s largest eruption since the Hatepe eruption over 1,630 years earlier in AD 180. The fact that the 1815 eruption occurred during the middle of the Dalton Minimum (a period of unusually low solar activity) is also significant.
Other large volcanic eruptions (with VEI at least 4) during the same time frame are:
•  1812, La Soufrière on Saint Vincent in the Caribbean
•  1812, Awu on Sangihe Islands, Indonesia
•  1813, Suwanosejima on Ryukyu Islands, Japan
•  1814, Mayon in the Philippines
These other eruptions had already built up a substantial amount of atmospheric dust. As is common following a massive volcanic eruption, temperatures fell worldwide because less sunlight passed through the atmosphere.

Effects
As a result of the series of volcanic eruptions, crops in the above-cited areas had been poor for several years; the final blow came in 1815 with the eruption of Tambora. In the United States, many historians cite the “Year Without a Summer” as a primary motivation for the western movement and rapid settlement of what is now western and central New York and the American Midwest. Many New Englanders were wiped out by the year, and tens of thousands struck out for the richer soil and better growing conditions of the Upper Midwest (then the Northwest Territory).
Europe, still recuperating from the Napoleonic Wars, suffered from food shortages. Food riots broke out in the United Kingdom and France, and grain warehouses were looted. The violence was worst in landlocked Switzerland, where famine caused the government to declare a national emergency. Huge storms and abnormal rainfall with floodings of the major rivers of Europe (including the Rhine) are attributed to the event, as was the frost setting in during August 1816. A major typhus epidemic occurred in Ireland between 1816 and 1819, precipitated by the famine caused by “The Year Without a Summer”. It is estimated that 100,000 Irish perished during this period. A BBC documentary using figures compiled in Switzerland estimated that fatality rates in 1816 were twice that of average years, giving an approximate European fatality total of 200,000 deaths.
The eruption of Tambora also caused Hungary to experience brown snow. Italy experienced something similar, with red snow falling throughout the year. The cause of this is believed to have been volcanic ash in the atmosphere.
In China, unusually low temperatures in summer and fall devastated rice production in Yunnan province in the southwest, resulting in widespread famine. Fort Shuangcheng, now in Heilongjiang province, reported fields disrupted by frost and conscripts deserting as a result. Summer snowfall was reported in various locations in Jiangxi and Anhui provinces, both in the south of the country. In Taiwan, which has a tropical climate, snow was reported in Hsinchu and Miaoli, while frost was reported in Changhua.

Cultural effect
High levels of ash in the atmosphere led to unusually spectacular sunsets during this period, a feature celebrated in the paintings of J. M. W. Turner. It has been theorized that it was this that gave rise to the yellow tinge that is predominant in his paintings such as Chichester Canal circa 1828. Similar phenomena were observed after the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa and on the West Coast of the United States following the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. [‘Google’ for images]
The lack of oats to feed horses may have inspired the German inventor Karl Drais to research new ways of horseless transportation, which led to the invention of the Draisine or velocipede. This was the ancestor of the modern bicycle and a step toward mechanized personal transport.
The crop failures of the “Year without Summer” forced the family of Joseph Smith to move from Sharon, Vermont, to Palmyra, New York,  precipitating a series of events which culminated in the publication of the Book of Mormon and the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In July 1816 “incessant rainfall” during that “wet, ungenial summer” forced Mary Shelley, John William Polidori, and their friends to stay indoors for much of their Swiss holiday. They decided to have a contest to see who could write the scariest story, leading Shelley to write Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus and Polidori to write The Vampyre. In addition, their host, Lord Byron, was inspired to write a poem, Darkness, at the same time.
Justus von Liebig, a chemist who had experienced the famine as a child in Darmstadt, later studied plant nutrition and introduced mineral fertilizers.

Comparable events
•  Toba catastrophe 70,000 to 75,000 years ago.
•  The 1628–26 BC climate disturbances, usually attributed to the Minoan eruption of Santorini.
•  The Hekla 3 eruption of about 1200 BC, contemporary with the historical bronze age collapse.
•  Climate changes of 535–536 have been linked to the effects of a volcanic eruption, possibly at Krakatoa.
•  An eruption of Kuwae, a Pacific volcano, has been implicated in events surrounding the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
•  An eruption of Huaynaputina, in Peru, caused 1601 to be the coldest year in the Northern Hemisphere for six centuries (see Russian famine of 1601–1603).
•  An eruption of Laki, in Iceland, caused major fatalities in Europe, 1783–84.
•  The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 led to odd weather patterns and temporary cooling in the United States, particularly in the Midwest and parts of the Northeast. An unusually mild winter and warm and early spring were followed by an unusually cool and wet summer in 1992.
Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer>

C.  Three discussions of Volcanic Winter
1.  Days of Darkness (AD 535-AD 546)
Each day, the morning sunrise is taken for granted. Based on the laws of science, it is expected that the sun will rise each day from east to west. Yet, the question must be asked, “what would happen if the sun didn’t rise?” This was the case from AD 535 through AD 546, with the darkest days in AD 536.
“A mighty roar of thunder” came out of the local mountain; there was a furious shaking of the earth, total darkness, thunder and lightning.” A Chinese court journal also made mention of “a huge thunderous sound coming from the south west” in February 535.2 And as a Hopi elder had said, thousands of miles away, “When the changes begin, there will be a big noise heard all over the Earth,” a low rumble reverberated across the planet.
“Then came forth a furious gale together with torrential rain and a deadly storm darkened the entire world,” read the Pustaka Raja Purwa or The Book of Ancient Kings, a buried Indonesian chronicle.
“The sun began to go dark, rain poured red, as if tinted by blood. Clouds of dust enveloped the earth… Yellow dust rained down like snow. It could be scooped up in handfuls,” wrote The Nan Shi Ancient Chronicle of Southern China, referring to the country’s weather in November and December 535.
Darkness followed making the day indistinguishable from the night. “There was a sign from the Sun, the likes of which had never been seen or reported before. The Sun became dark, and its darkness lasted for about 18 months. Each day, it shone for about four hours and still this light was only a feeble shadow. Everyone declared that the Sun would never recover its full light again. The fruits did not ripen and the wine tasted like sour grapes,” John of Ephesus, a Syrian bishop and contemporary writer, wrote in describing the unending darkness. “The sun became dim… for nearly the whole year… so that the fruits were killed at an unseasonable time,” John Lydus added, which was further confirmed by Procopius, a prominent Roman historian who served as Emperor Justinian’s chief archivist and secretary, when he wrote of 536, “…during this year a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the Moon, during this whole year… and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear.”  “The sun… seems to have lost its wonted light, and appears of a bluish color. We marvel to see no shadows of our bodies at noon, to feel the mighty vigor of the sun’s heat wasted into feebleness,” Flavius Cassiodorus, another Roman historian wrote. Reports even indicated that midday consisted of “almost night-like darkness.”
A cold then gripped the world as temperatures declined. “We have had a winter without storms…”1 “a spring without mildness [and] a summer without heat… The months which should have been maturing the crops have been chilled by north winds,” wrote Cassiodorus. “When can we hope for mild weather, now that the months that once ripened the crops have become deadly sick under the northern blasts? …Out of all the elements, we find these two against us: perpetual frost and unnatural drought,” he added, while in China, it was written, “the stars were lost from view for three months. The sun dimmed, the rain failed, and snow fell in the summertime. Famine spread, and the emperor abandoned his capital…” Other Chinese records referred to a ‘dust veil’ obscuring the sky” while Mediterranean historians wrote about a “‘dry fog’ blocking out much of the sun’s heat for more than year.” The sun was so ineffective that snow even fell during August in southern China and in every month of the year in northern Europe.
“Then came drought [or floods], famine, plague, death…” “Food is the basis of the Empire. Yellow gold and ten thousand strings of cash cannot cure hunger. What avails a thousand boxes of pearls to him who is starving of cold,” the Japanese Great King lamented in 540, while Cassiodorus added, “Rain is denied and the reaper fears new frosts.” And “as hard winters and drought continued into the second and third years [in Mongolia and parts of China, the Avars] unable to find food, unable to barter food from others…” began a 3,000-mile trek to new lands to save themselves and their families from annihilation and starvation.
During this sustained period of unseasonably cold temperatures from 535-546 when the sun was ineffective and blotted out, plant life experienced stunted growth – tree rings from this period show little or no growth – and many crops failed. According to climatological research presented in 2001 by Markus Lindholm of the University of Helsinki, Finland, Abrupt changes in northern Fennoscandian summer temperatures extracted from the 7500-year ring-width chronology of Scots pine, the “most dramatic shift in growing conditions, from favorable to unfavorable, between two years, took place between A.D. 535-536” in Europe and Africa. His findings were corroborated by Mike Baillie of the University of Belfast, who based on his tree ring chronologies, some from specimens preserved in bogs, that dated back thousands of years stated, “It was a catastrophic environmental downturn that shows up in trees all over the world. Temperatures dropped enough to hinder the growth of trees as widely dispersed as northern Europe, Siberia, western North America, and southern South America.” Ominously, the cold brought rats, mice and fleas that normally lived outdoors, into peoples’ homes in search of food and warmth because of the decimation that was occurring to the animal population in the suddenly hostile, chilly dark environment. Deadly bacterium, Yersinia pestis was then transmitted to people and their pets.
In the ensuing unending darkness, chaos reigned as “whole cities were wiped out – civilizations crumbled.” Wars raged across Europe and the Middle East, prosperous societies were stripped of sustenance and wealth, economies collapsed and huge swaths of populations succumbed to disease and plague. “With some people it began in the head, made the eyes bloody and the face swollen, descended to the throat and then removed them from Mankind. With others, there was a flowing of the bowels. Some came out in buboes [pus-filled swellings] which gave rise to great fevers, and they would die two or three days later with their minds in the same state as those who had suffered nothing and with their bodies still robust. Others lost their senses before dying. Malignant pustules erupted and did away with them. Sometimes people were afflicted once or twice and then recovered, only to fall victim a third time and then succumb,” Evagrius, a 6th century Church historian wrote. In their final stages, people “generally entered a semi-conscious, lethargic state, and would not… eat or drink. Following this stage, the victims would be seized by madness… Many people died painfully when their buboes gangrened. A number of victims broke out with black blisters covering their bodies, and these individuals died swiftly.”
Within seven years, due to the ivory trade, in which ships brought rats and sailors infected by the plague, Europe and the Middle East were being ravaged. In Constantinople alone, “they had to dispose of over 10,000 bodies a day, week after week, throwing them into the sea off special boats, sticking them in the towers of the city wall, filling up cisterns, digging up orchards. Soldiers were forced to dig mass graves… chaos and pandemonium [reigned]. Constantinople stank for months after months [from the decaying bodies that were stuffed in towers and stacked or dumped in streets]… [and] when the number of dead reached a quarter of a million, Constantinople officials simply stopped counting.
An account by Procopius went as follows: “At first, relatives and domestics attended to the burial of the dead, but as the violence of the plague increased this duty was neglected, and corpses lay forlorn narrow in the streets, but even in the houses of notable men whose servants were sick or dead. Aware of this, Justinian placed considerable sums at the disposal of Theodore, one of his private secretaries, to take measures for the disposal of the dead. Huge pits [that could hold up to 70,000 corpses] were dug at Sycae, on the other side of the Golden Horn, in which the bodies were laid in rows and tramped down tightly; but the men who were engaged on this work, unable to keep up with the number of the dying, mounted the towers of the wall of the suburb, tore off their roofs, and threw the bodies in. Virtually all the towers were filled with corpses, and as a result ‘an evil stench pervaded the city and distressed the inhabitants still more, and especially whenever the wind blew fresh from that quarter.’”
Out of fear, many people refused to venture out of their homes — “…houses became tombs, as whole families died from the plague without anyone from the outside world even knowing. Streets were deserted…” Furthermore because of this fear and/or the affects of suffering from high fever, scores of people hallucinated, seeing apparitions and visions. And with the vast pestilence and destruction all around them, many could not help but wonder if the apocalypse as described in Revelation 6:8 “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death” was upon them.
It was so bad that some thirty years later, Pope Gregory The Great wrote of Rome, “Ruins on ruins… Where is the senate? Where are the people? All the pomp of secular dignities has been destroyed… And we, the few that we are who remain, every day we are menaced by scourges and innumerable trials.” In its height, the plague “depopulated towns, turned the country into a desert and made the habitations of men to become the haunts of wild beasts” while in Africa, major ports ceased to exist and agricultural practices all but vanished.
“And as others left the stricken city wearing identification tags so that their bodies would be buried if found] they took the plague to towns, villages and farms throughout the empire. To compound matters, with trade and commerce virtually nonexistent, food became scarce leading to the starvation of others. Untold millions perished,” with an estimated death toll of 100 million, the worst pandemic in human history.
“Scandinavian elites” in feeble desperation, “sacrificed large amounts of gold… to appease the angry gods and get the sunlight back.” In Mesoamerica and the Andes, cities “of perhaps one million people” emptied out “practically overnight” through starvation and disease. Peoples turned on their gods and goddesses, violently smashing their images and burning temples and towards the end, they viciously fought each other having become “savage and warlike.”
When the sun finally came out, overcoming the affects of a massive volcanic eruption, even though it hadn’t really been gone, minimizing the adverse affects and saving living creatures from complete extinction, the world was forever transformed. Countries and civilizations had ceased to exist while others emerged as the days of darkness “weakened the Eastern Roman Empire; created horrendous living conditions in the western part of Great Britain; contributed through drought… to the fall of the Teotihuacan civilization in Mexico; and through flooding to the collapse of a major center of civilization in Yemen;” while major upheavals occurred in China and France. More than half the world’s population when taking Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, into account, along with countless numbers of plants and animals, had perished illustrating the fragile relationship that exists between people and nature.
Pasted from <http://ezinearticles.com/?Days-of-Darkness-(AD-535-AD-546)&id=202540>

2.  The Great Famine,  ca. 1315-1322
The first half of the Great Famine of 1315–1322 in Europe may have been precipitated by a volcanic event, perhaps that of Kaharoa, New Zealand; the unusual weather patterns of the period are similar to those found following volcanic eruptions, such as the Mount Tambora eruption of April 1815 that caused ‘The Year Without a Summer’ in Europe.
The Great Famine lasted seven years, from 1315 to 1322, for which reason it is sometimes compared to the famine of Egypt in Genesis 41.  The first three years, however, were the most severe, and they adversely affected the next decade.  Even chroniclers in the 18th and 19th centuries pointed out the severe food shortages and torrential weather patterns of  1310-1320.
There was a catastrophic dip in the weather during the Medieval Warm Period that coincided with the onset of the Great Famine. Between 1310 and 1330 northern Europe saw some of the worst and most sustained periods of bad weather in the entire Middle Ages, characterized by severe winters and rainy and cold summers.
In the spring of 1315, unusually heavy rain began in much of Europe. Throughout the spring and summer, it continued to rain and the temperature remained cool. The rains began early in May and did not let up until September. These conditions caused widespread crop failures. The straw and hay for the animals could not be cured and there was no fodder for the livestock. The price of food began to rise.
Food prices in England doubled between spring and midsummer. Salt, the only way to cure and preserve meat, was difficult to obtain because it could not be evaporated in the wet weather; it went from 30 shillings to 40 shillings. In Lorraine, wheat prices increased by 320 percent and peasants could no longer afford bread. Stores of grain for long-term emergencies were limited to the lords and nobles.
Because of the general increased population pressures, even lower-than-average harvests meant some people would go hungry; there was little margin for failure. People began to harvest wild edible roots, plants, grasses, nuts, and bark in the forests. There are a number of documented incidents that show the extent of the famine. Edward II, King of England, stopped at St Albans on 10 August 1315 and no bread could be found for him or his entourage; it was a rare occasion in which the King of England was unable to eat.
In the spring of 1316, it continued to rain on a European population deprived of energy and reserves to sustain itself. All segments of society from nobles to peasants were affected, but especially the peasants who represented 95% of the population and who had no reserve food supplies. To provide some measure of relief, draft animals were butchered, seed grain was consumed, children were abandoned to fend for themselves (see “Hansel and Gretel”), and some elderly people voluntarily refused food in order to provide nourishment needed for the younger generation to survive. The chroniclers of the time wrote of many incidents of cannibalism.

“When God saw that the world was so over proud,
He sent a dearth on earth, and made it full hard.
A bushel of wheat was at four shillings or more,
Of which men might have had a quarter before….
And then they turned pale who had laughed so loud,
And they became all docile who before were so proud.
A man’s heart might bleed for to hear the cry
Of poor men who called out, “Alas! For hunger I die …!
—Poem on the Evil Times of Edward II, c. 1321.
Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_of_1315%E2%80%931317>

The height of the famine was reached in 1317 as the wet weather continued. Finally, in the summer the weather returned to its normal patterns. By now, however, people were so weakened by diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and tuberculosis, and so much of the seed stock had been eaten, that it was not until 1325 that the food supply returned to relatively normal conditions and the population began to increase again. Historians debate the toll but it is estimated that 10–25% of the population of many cities and towns died. While the Black Death (1338–1375) would kill more people, it often swept through an area in a matter of months whereas the Great Famine lingered for years, drawing out the suffering of the populace.

3.  The Year Without Summer, 1816
In 1815, the Indonesian volcano Tambora propelled more ash and volcanic gases into the atmosphere than any other eruption in history and resulted in significant atmospheric cooling on a global scale, much like Krakatau a few decades later.
New England and Europe were particularly hard hit, with snowfalls as late as August and massive crop failures. The cold, wet, and unpleasant climatic effects of the eruption led 1816 to be known as “the year without a summer,” and inspired Lord Byron to write:

“The bright Sun was extinguished and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space
Rayless and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went and came,
And brought no day.”

1816 was known as the year without summer … famines in Europe and China … snowstorms killing people in June in Canada and New England …. even a book describing processions held by the church in the holy land (around Jerusalem ) praying for the famine to end … the wet weather caused eruption of ergot in France … just like in the medieval times.
Pasted from <http://www.historum.com/general-history/6893-volcanic-eruptions-world-history.html>

D.  Effect Of Volcanoes On World Climate
The first connection between volcanoes and global climate was made by Benjamin Franklin in 1783 while stationed in Paris as the first diplomatic representative of the United States of America.
He observed that during the summer of 1783, the climate was abnormally cold, both in Europe and back in the U.S. The ground froze early, the first snow stayed on the ground without melting, the winter was more severe than usual, and there seemed to be “a constant fog over all Europe, and a great part of North America.
What Benjamin Franklin observed was indeed the result of volcanic activity. An enormous eruption of the Laid fissure system (a chain of volcanoes in which the lava erupts through a crack in the ground instead of from a single point) in Iceland caused the disruptions.
The Laid eruptions produced about 14 cubic kilometers of basalt (thin, black, fluid lava) during more than eight months of activity. More importantly in terms of global climate, however, the Laid Event also produced an ash cloud that may have reached up into the stratosphere. This cloud caused a dense haze across Europe that dimmed the sun, perhaps far west as Siberia. In addition to ash, the eruptive cloud consisted primarily of vast quantities of sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen chloride (HCL), and hydrogen fluoride gases (HF).
The gases combined with water in the atmosphere to produce acid rain, destroying crops and killing livestock. The effects, of course, were most severe in Iceland; ultimately, more than 75 percent of Iceland’s livestock and 25 percent of its human population died from famine or the toxic impact of the Laid eruption clouds. Consequences were also felt far beyond Iceland.
Temperature data from the U.S. indicate that records low occurred during the winter of 1783-1784. In fact, the temperature decreased about one degree Celsius in the Northern Hemisphere. It may not sound like much, but it had enormous effects in terms of food supplies and the survival of people across the Northern Hemisphere. For comparison, the global temperature of the most recent Ice Age was only about five degrees C below the current average.
There are many reasons that large volcanic eruptions have such far-reaching effects on global climate. First, volcanic eruptions produce major quantities of carbon dioxide (C02), a gas known to contribute to the greenhouse effect. Such greenhouse gases trap heat radiated off of the surface of the earth forming a type of insulation around the planet.
The greenhouse effect is essential for our survival because it maintains the temperature of our planet within a habitable range. Nevertheless, there is growing concern that our production of gases such as CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels may be pushing the system a little too far, resulting in excessive warming on a global scale.
There is no doubt that volcanic eruptions add CO2 to the atmosphere, but compared to the quantity produced by human activities, their impact is virtually trivial: volcanic eruptions produce about 110 million tons of CO2 each year, whereas human activities contribute almost 10,000 times that quantity.
By far the more substantive climatic effect from volcanoes results from the production of atmospheric haze. Large eruption columns inject ash particles and sulfur-rich gases into the troposphere and stratosphere and these clouds can circle the globe within weeks of the volcanic activity.
The small ash particles decrease the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the earth and lower average global temperatures. The sulfurous gases combine with water in the atmosphere to form acidic aerosols that also absorb incoming solar radiation and scatter it back out into space.
The ash and aerosol clouds from large volcanic eruptions spread quickly through the atmosphere. On August26 and 27, 1883, the volcano Krakatau erupted in a catastrophic event that ejected about 20 cubic kilometers of material in an eruption column almost 40 kilometers high.
Darkness immediately enveloped the neighboring Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. Fine particles, however, rode atmospheric currents westward. By the afternoon of August 28th, haze from the Krakatau eruption had reached South Africa and by September 9th it had circled the globe, only to do so several more times before settling out of the atmosphere.
Initially, scientists believed that it was volcanoes stratospheric ash clouds that had the dominant effect on global temperatures. The 1982 eruption of El Chichon in Mexico, however, altered that view. Only two years earlier, the major Mt. St. Helens eruption had lowered global temperatures by about 0.1 degree C.
The much smaller eruption of El Chichon, in contrast, had three to five times the global cooling effect worldwide. Despite its smaller ash cloud, El Chichon emitted more than 40 times the volume of sulfur-rich gases produced by Mt. St. Helens, which revealed that the formation of atmospheric sulfur aerosols has a more substantial effect on global temperatures than simply the volume of ash produced during an eruption. Sulfate aerosols appear to take several years to settle out of the atmosphere, which is one of the reasons their effects are so widespread and long lasting.
The atmospheric effects of volcanic eruptions were confirmed by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, in the Philippines. Pinatubo’s eruption cloud reached over 40 kilometers into the atmosphere and ejected about 17 million tons of SO2, just over two times that of El Chichon in 1982. The sulfur-rich aerosols circled the globe within three weeks and produced a global cooling effect approximately twice that of El Chichon.
The Northern Hemisphere cooled by up to 0.6 degrees C during 1992 and 1993. Moreover, the aerosol particles may have contributed to an accelerated rate of ozone depletion during that same period. Interestingly, some scientists argue that without the cooling effect of major volcanic eruptions such as El Chichon and Mount Pinatubo, global warming effects caused by human activities would have been far more substantial.
Major volcanic eruptions have additional climatic effects beyond global temperature decreases and acid rain. Ash and aerosol particles suspended in the atmosphere scatter light of red wavelengths, often resulting in brilliantly colored sunsets and sunrises around the world. The spectacular optical effects of the 1883 Krakatau eruption cloud were observed across the globe, and may have inspired numerous artists and writers in theft work.
The luminous, vibrant renderings of the fiery late day skyline above the Thames River in London by the British painter William Ascroft, for instance, may be the result of the distant Krakatau eruption.

Krakatau (1883) — Eruption of the Indonesian volcano Krakatau in August 1883 generated twenty times the volume of tephra released by the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Krakatau was the second largest eruption in recorded history, dwarfed only by the eruption of neighboring Tambora in 1815 (see above). For months after the Krakatau eruption, the world experienced unseasonably cool weather, brilliant sunsets, and prolonged twilights due to the spread of aerosols throughout the stratosphere. The brilliant sunsets are typical of atmospheric haze. The unusual and prolonged sunsets generated considerable contemporary debate on their origin. They also provided inspiration for artists who depicted the vibrant nature of the sunsets in several late 19th-century paintings, two of which are noted here.
In London, the Krakatau sunsets were clearly distinct from the familiar red sunsets seen through the smoke-laden atmosphere of the city. This is demonstrated in the painting shown here of a sunset from the banks of the Thames River, created by artist William Ascroft on November 26, 1883 The vivid red sky in Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” was inspired by the vibrant twilights in Norway, his native land.

Volcano Danger: What you can do
The further from the volcano you are, the more time you have to respond and the fewer dangers exist. Immediately around the volcano, dangers include earthquake damage, flying rocks, heat blast, lava, floods, and mudslides. Rocks can be thrown 20 miles from a volcanic eruption but the ash can travel hundreds of miles.

Ash facts include:
•  can dissipate into the high altitude wind stream and travel around the globe, possibly causing world-wide temperature changes.
•  can clog water systems, damage vehicle engines, make walking slippery, and effect vegetation.
•  can damage lungs and cause respiratory problems because it is extremely abrasive. It can also scratch eye tissue.
•  can accumulate and collapse buildings. 1 inch of ash weighs up to 10 pounds dry and up to 15 pounds when wet.
•  can short circuit electrical items such as computers.
•  can cause power outages which often happen after an eruption.
•  can corrode metal with long-term exposure.
•  can linger and cause problems for months and months after an eruption.

There is usually plenty of warning that a volcano is preparing to erupt. Scientists monitor the Cascade range volcanoes as well as those in Hawaii and Alaska for information to help predict volcanic events. Many communities close to volcanoes now have volcano warning systems to alert citizens. But, if you live anywhere in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, and possibly Wyoming and Nevada you may be affected by an eruption in the Cascade range. Taking a few precautions now won’t cost much and are a good idea to do anyway:
•  Keep 3 extra air filters and oil filters on hand for your vehicle.
•  Keep 3 extra filters for your home heating/cooling system.
•  Keep a roll of plastic wrap and packing tape so you can wrap and protect computers, electronics, and appliances from ash.
•  Store emergency food and water in your home.
•  Find out if your community has a warning system and know the warning signs.
•  Create an evacuation plan. It is best to head for high ground away from the eruption to protect against flood danger.
•  Define an out-of-town contact for all family members to reach to check in.
•  Besides your family emergency kit, have disposable breathing masks and goggles for each family member.

The North American Cascade Volcanic Arc
The Cascade Volcanic Arc is a continental volcanic arc that extends from northern California to the coastal mountains of British Columbia, a distance of well over 700 mi (1,100 km). The arc consists of a series of Quaternary age stratovolcanoes that grew on top of pre-existing geologic materials that ranged from Miocene volcanics to glacial ice. The Cascade Volcanic arc is located approximately 100 km inland from the coast, and forms a north-to-south chain of peaks that average over 10,000 feet in elevation. The major peaks from south to north include:
•  Lassen Peak and Mt. Shasta (California)
•  Crater Lake (Mazama), Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood (Oregon)
•  Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Glacier Peak, Mt. Baker (Washington)
•  Mt. Garibaldi and Mt. Meager (British Columbia)
The most active volcanoes in the chain include Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Baker, Lassen Peak, and Mt. Hood. St. Helens captured worldwide attention when it erupted catastrophically in 1980. St. Helens continues to rumble, albeit more quietly, emitting occasional steam plumes and experiencing small earthquakes, both signs of continuing magmatic activity.  Most of the volcanoes have a main, central vent from which the most recent eruptions have occurred.
The arc has formed due to subduction along the Cascadia subduction zone. Although taking its name from the Cascade Range, this term is a geologic grouping rather than a geographic one, and the Cascade Volcanoes extend north into the Coast Mountains, past the Fraser River which is the northward limit of the Cascade Range proper.
Some of the major cities along the length of the arc include Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, and the population in the region exceeds 10,000,000. All could be potentially affected by volcanic activity and great subduction-zone earthquakes along the arc. Because the population of the Pacific Northwest is rapidly increasing, the Cascade volcanoes are some of the most dangerous, due to their past eruptive history, potential eruptions and because they are underlain by weak, hydrothermally altered volcanic rocks that are susceptible to failure. Many large, long-runout landslides originating on Cascade volcanoes have inundated valleys tens of kilometers from their sources, and some of the inundated areas now support large populations.

Volcanoes within the subduction zone include:
Silverthrone Caldera     Mount Meager
Mount Cayley                  Mount Garibaldi
Mount Baker                   Glacier Peak
Mount Rainier                Mount St. Helens
Mount Adams                 Mount Hood
Mount Jefferson             Three Sisters
Newberry Volcano         Mount Mazama
Mount McLoughlin       Medicine Lake Volcano
Mount Shasta                  Lassen Peak
Black Butte

Could We Survive a Super Volcano?
Observing the volcanic ash cloud and the disruptions to northern Europe from Iceland’s recent volcanic eruption causes one to think about other scenarios which would have grim and wider consequences from an event called – a Super Volcano.
Our experiences with volcanoes have for the most part been with classifications that are somewhat tame in comparison to some events that have occurred in the distant past. I recall having observed a volcanic effect following the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. At the time I was living in Massachusetts, about 2,500 miles from the volcano. Within a few days of the eruption, the ash reached the east coast of the US, and within 2 weeks was circling the globe up in the stratosphere (between 6 and 31 miles altitude). I clearly remember the reddish skies from the ash up in the high atmosphere, as well as spectacular orange and red sunsets. The ash remained in the atmosphere for years.
Mount St. Helens was minuscule compared to the most dangerous type of volcano, the super volcano. Try to imagine an eruption that would be up to 10,000 times stronger than a Mount St. Helens. One that would threaten the very survival of all humankind. The super volcano is quite likely the worse case scenario of any and all possible disaster scenarios, mainly due to the fact that there is absolutely nothing that we can do to deter or prevent it. It’s devastation ranks up there with a large asteroid hit, world nuclear war, and worldwide deadly pandemic.

Super Volcano locations include
•  Yellowstone in Wyoming (USA)
•  Long Valley in California (USA)
•  Valley Grande in New Mexico (USA)
•  Lake Taupo in New Zealand
•  Aira in Japan
•  Lake Toba in Sumatra
•  Siberian Traps supervolcano field in Russia

Super Volcano Effects
•  Magma would be hurled 30 miles up into the atmosphere
•  Complete devastation of an area the size of North America or Europe
•  Volcanic ash would cover the devastated area to depths ranging from hundreds of feet to as much as six inches – thousands of miles away
•  Anything within 500 miles of the eruption would be completely destroyed
•  Sunlight would be blotted out for months followed by a dim and cold volcanic winter lasting for several years
•  Global temperature would drop 20 degrees
•  Mini Ice Age
•  75% off of all plant species would die off
•  World agriculture would be devastated
•  Mass starvation would ensue
•  The very survival of human civilization would be threatened.

An alarming statistic regarding Yellowstone is that it’s eruption cycle is about 600,000 years. That in itself is not alarming, however the fact that the last eruption was 640,000 years ago is alarming. Yellowstone is 40,000 years overdue!
When considering the affects that such an event would have upon the world, it is nearly incomprehensible to create a survival plan. When considering Yellowstone for example, those that live in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming will have a terrible if not impossible chance of survival. The entire United States will be covered with ash, probably at a minimum depth of 5 inches. How could one expect a chance to survive the effects of such a catastrophe? You may decide not to consider a plan of action due to the odds and magnitude of the situation. Well, you may be right if you live in the region, however there is always hope and a way for those living further away.
Pasted from <http://modernsurvivalblog.com/volcano/could-we-survive-a-super-volcano/>

[The Four Horsemen: Their effects spread over the period of several years]

The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse
The ‘four horseman’ will ride amongst Mankind in the aftermath of 1) the eruption of a supervolcano caldera; 2) a full scale, multi strike nuclear war; 3) a medium size asteroid impact; or 4) a solar flare that knocks out 1/4  the worlds electric power with an EMP.
Anyone living during the time of even a ‘major’ volcanic volcano eruption, will come to know the concept of ‘The Four Horsemen’. That will be a time when human ‘over population’ quickly encounters a greatly reduced global harvest that continues for several consecutive years, or longer.

[A Crisis, followed by 1) national plans to reduce disruption and maximize population survival, 2) those not part of the political definition of the solution are part of the problem, there is discontent, civil war and international wars follow, 3) the aftermath of the crisis and wars work together increasing the effects of famine-hunger-disease, 4) there are local and regional die offs, great hardship for a year or two, then things improve. Basically, the ‘Four Horsemen’ represent the downside-collapse of  the growth and prosperity curve. Mr Larry.]

In Biblical phraseology:  The first Horseman rides a white horse, and he represents the anti-Christ, proclaiming false prophecies and crying the end if the world.  He wears a golden crown and carries a bow in his hand.  He is crafty, spreading a false sense of God’s Will while hiding behind the facade of Divine favor.
The second Horseman comes colored in the blood of conflict.  To roughly translate what Emil Bock writes, the Red Horseman rides “to destroy peace on Earth and to sow fighting amongst the people.”  With his arrival, countries’ leaders will fight each other, while the Horseman oppresses the faithful of God’s children.
The Black Horsemen brings with him disease and famine.  His actions are directed to affect mostly the economy of a society, driving up food prices when crops fail, and making labor more valuable when plague kills off workers.  Under him, the wealthy thrive upon the misfortune of the poor, who are unable to pay for the items they need to survive.
Finally comes Death, riding a pale horse – one which is often described as ashen or greenish-yellow, the color of a corpse.  His goal is to destroy all that has life on Earth.

Where the land is overpopulated and because of disaster mankind is forced to swiftly reallocate resources, there will be fighting and death until balance is reestablished. – Mr Larry

Leave a comment

Filed under __1. Disaster

About famine

(News & Editorial: About famine)

A.  Famine an often unnatural disaster

__1.  ‘Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962,’
 by Yang Jisheng
7 Dec 2012, New York Times Sunday Book Review, news article by JONATHAN MIRSKY
Pasted from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/09/books/review/tombstone-the-great-chinese-famine-1958-1962-by-yang-jisheng.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

famine chinaA rice field in what is now Guangdong Province, 1958.

In the summer of 1962, China’s president, Liu Shaoqi, warned Mao Zedong that “history will record the role you and I played in the starvation of so many people, and the cannibalism will also be memorialized!” Liu had visited Hunan, his home province as well as Mao’s, where almost a million people died of hunger. Some of the survivors had eaten dead bodies or had killed and eaten their comrades. In “Tombstone,” an eye-­opening study of the worst famine in history, Yang Jisheng concludes that 36 million Chinese starved to death in the years between 1958 and 1962, while 40 million others failed to be born, which means that “China’s total population loss during the Great Famine then comes to 76 million.”


__2.  Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962
By Yang Jisheng,  Translated by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian,  629 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
There are good earlier studies of the famine and one excellent recent one, “Mao’s Great Famine” by Frank Dikötter, but Yang’s is significant because he lives in China and is boldly unsparing. Mao’s rule, he writes, “became a secular theocracy. . . . Divergence from Mao’s views was heresy. . . . Dread and falsehood were thus both the result and the lifeblood of totalitarianism.” This political system, he argues, “caused the degeneration of the national character of the Chinese people.”

Yang, who was born in 1940, is a well-known veteran journalist and a Communist Party member. Before I quote the following sentence, remember that a huge portrait of Chairman Mao still hangs over the main gate into Beijing’s Forbidden City and can be seen from every corner of Tiananmen Square, where his embalmed body lies in an elaborate mausoleum. Despite this continued public veneration, Yang looks squarely at the real chairman: “In power, Mao became immersed in China’s traditional monarchal culture and Lenin and Stalin’s ‘dictatorship of the proletariat.’ . . . When Mao was provided with a list of slogans for his approval, he personally added one: ‘Long Live Chairman Mao.’ ” Two years ago, in an interview with the journalist Ian Johnson, Yang remarked that he views the famine “as part of the totalitarian system that China had at the time. The chief culprit was Mao.”

From the early 1990s, Yang writes, he began combing normally closed official archives containing confidential reports of the ravages of the famine, and reading accounts of the official killing of protesters. He found references to cannibalism and interviewed men and women who survived by eating human flesh.

Chinese statistics are always overwhelming, so Yang helps us to conceptualize what 36 million deaths actually means. It is, he writes, “450 times the number of people killed by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki” and “greater than the number of people killed in World War I.” It also, he insists, “outstripped the ravages of World War II.” While 40 to 50 million died in that war, it stretched over seven or eight years, while most deaths in the great Chinese famine, he notes, were “concentrated in a six-month period.” The famine occurred neither during a war nor in a period of natural calamity. When mentioned in China, which is rarely, bad weather or Russian treachery are usually blamed for this disaster, and both are knowledgeably dismissed by Yang.

The most staggering and detailed chapter in Yang’s narrative relates what happened in Xinyang Prefecture, in Henan Province. A lush region, it was “the economic engine of the province,” with a population in 1958 of 8.5 million. Mao’s policies had driven the peasants from their individual small holdings; working communally, they were now forced to yield almost everything to the state, either to feed the cities or — crazily — to increase exports. The peasants were allotted enough grain for just a few months. In Xinyang alone, Yang calculates, over a million people died.

Mao had pronounced that the family, in the new order of collective farming and eating, was no longer necessary. Liu Shaoqi, reliably sycophantic, agreed: “The family is a historically produced phenomenon and will be eliminated.” Grain production plummeted, the communal kitchens collapsed. As yields dived, Zhou Enlai and other leaders, “the falcons and hounds of evil,” as Yang describes them, assured Mao that agricultural production had in fact soared. Mao himself proclaimed that under the new dispensation yields could be exponentially higher. “Tell the peasants to resume eating chaff and herbs for half the year,” he said, “and after some hardship for one or two or three years things will turn around.”


__3.   Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962
By Yang Jisheng, Translated by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian, 629 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

A journalist reporting on Xinyang at the time saw the desperation of ordinary people. Years later, he told Yang that he had witnessed a Party secretary — during the famine, cadres were well fed — treating his guests to a local delicacy. But he knew what happened to people who recorded the truth, so he said nothing: “How could I dare to write an internal reference report?” Indeed. Liu Shaoqi confronted Mao, who remembered all slights, and during the Cultural Revolution he was accused of being a traitor and an enemy agent. Expelled from the Party, he died alone, uncared for, anonymous.

Of course, “Tombstone” has been banned in China, but in 2008 it was published in Hong Kong in two mighty volumes. Pirated texts and Internet summaries soon slipped over the border. This English version, although substantial, is roughly half the size of the original. Its eloquent translators, Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian, say their aim, like the author’s, is to “present the tragedy in all its horror” and to render Yang’s searching analysis in a manner that is both accessible to general readers and informative for specialists. There is much in this readable “Tombstone” I needed to know.

Yang writes that one reason for the book’s title is to establish a memorial for the uncle who raised him like a son and starved to death in 1959. At the time a devout believer in the Party and ignorant of the extent of what was going on in the country at large, Yang felt that everything, no matter how difficult, was part of China’s battle for a new socialist order. Discovering official secrets during his work as a young journalist, he began to lose his faith. His real “awakening,” however, came after the 1989 Tiananmen massacre: “The blood of those young students cleansed my brain of all the lies I had accepted over the previous decades.” This is brave talk. Words and phrases associated with “Tiananmen” remain blocked on China’s Internet.

Nowadays, Yang asserts, “rulers and ordinary citizens alike know in their hearts that the totalitarian system has reached its end.” He hopes “Tombstone” will help banish the “historical amnesia imposed by those in power” and spur his countrymen to “renounce man-made calamity, darkness and evil.” While guardedly hopeful about the rise of democracy, Yang is ultimately a realist. Despite China’s economic and social transformation, this courageous man concludes, “the political system remains unchanged.” “Tombstone” doesn’t directly challenge China’s current regime, nor is its author part of an organized movement. And so, unlike the Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, Yang Jisheng is not serving a long prison sentence. But he has driven a stake through the hearts of Mao Zedong and the party he helped found.

.

B.  Hunger and Famine
2011, Illinois State University, by Robert Dirks
Pasted from: http://www.academia.edu/484324/Hunger_and_Famine

Introduction
Hunger takes many forms:
1) It smolders as chronic under nutrition.
2) It can flare up intermittently, sometimes annually, because food stores are never quite sufficient to last until next harvest.
3) Occasionally, hunger erupts in famine, an episode of want so acute as to precipitate the breakdown of societies’ most fundamental institutions.
Whatever the form, the costs are immense. Eighteen million people die every year from hunger-related causes.The biggest known loss of life from a single famine occurred between 1959 and 1961 when at least 15 million people died.

What causes hunger and leads to such tragic consequences? Certainly it is not always shortcomings in food production. Pockets of hunger exist within some of the most agriculturally productive countries in the world, including the United States. Great regions of persistent famine exist on a planet producing more than enough food for everyone. Currently, parts of Africa suffer the most from famine. Formerly, it was areas of Asia and before that Europe.

Were famine fire, the historical pattern would suggest arson or some other human agency. In fact, careful studies never fail to disclose human causes. I discuss some of these in the first part of this essay. I turn my attention to effects in the second part.

Causes of Famine
Conditions and events of many sorts can contribute to the development of famine. These include natural disasters (e.g., flood, plant disease) and technological failures (e.g., unreliable storage, destructive farming practices) as well as various social, economic, and political factors (e.g., class inequities, market collapse, war). Rarely, if ever, can we attribute a particular famine to any single cause. Take, for example, the most recent famines that have plagued portions of Africa’s Sahel, an arid to semi-arid belt just south of the Sahara Desert.  

As some popular accounts would have it, these were natural disasters caused by drought, one beginning in 1968, another in 1984. Yet, the pastoralists of the region, the chief victims, have coped with periods of unusually scant rainfall for centuries. Key to their survival was their nomadic lifestyle and the movement of livestock over great distances when necessary. No less important was their practice of maintaining larger than needed herds during normal times as insurance against catastrophic loss during exceptionally dry years. While this double-edged strategy was never entirely fail-safe, it did for the most part prevent major catastrophes.

So what happened? For one thing, overgrazing and the reduction of grass cover; desertification was prevented so long as the pastoral tribes moved their herds throughout the year. But, the construction of boreholes by development agencies (to provide water) eliminated the incentive to move. Political concerns also conspired against migration; the enforcement of  international political boundaries became stricter. Later on, crop production began to press into the southern reaches of the region decreasing the availability of pasture. To make matters worse, farmers began turning to cotton and other cash crops, reducing the opportunity to graze animals on grain stubble. The commercialization of the region’s economy created yet another hazard finally realized when drought set in. No longer able to rely on traditional reciprocities with farmers (who now wanted money for their grain) but more dependent than ever on grain because of the poor condition of their herds, the pastoralists brought increasing numbers of animals to market. This upsurge in supply sent cattle prices plunging. Grossly disadvantaged in the marketplace and unable to meet their Caloric requirements, the pastoralists starved, their physical condition deteriorating more than any other Sahelian people. There were 100,000 starvation-related deaths in the region in 1973. Yet, throughout the crisis years, only one Sahelian country, Mauritania (where much of the economy depends on mining), fell short of producing enough food to feed its total population. In addition to illustrating causal complexity, what happened in the Sahelal so demonstrates that disastrous situations do not develop overnight. The stage for famine is often set decades or more prior to the death of the first victim. More or less remote occurrences, such as those that upset traditional Sahelian grazing patterns, are sometimes referred to as “underlying causes.” More immediate events like drought are usually “the last straw.”   That straw can break the camel’s back but only if there are underlying weaknesses or pre-existing burdens, and these are usually traceable to cultural developments.

Foraging, Food production, and Famine
One such development is agriculture, the very foundation of civilization and all modern food systems. Jared Diamond calls it “the worst mistake in the history of the human race.”

Diamond’s label represents a drastic revision of prehistory. Not long ago nobody doubted that the transition from foraging (hunting and gathering) to cultivation brought with it more bountiful and reliable food supplies and that nutritional well-being increased as a result. Studies showing that modern foragers are generally well nourished first led scholars to question this received wisdom. Later, paleo pathological data gleaned from examinations of prehistoric skeletal materials provided more direct evidence that agriculture was not the great blessing once imaged. Mark Cohen, comparing a variety of information collected from the bones of both foragers and early agriculturalists came to the conclusion that at best farming did nothing to improve nutritional conditions.

Signs of nutritional stress enscribed in tooth enamel indicate worse, that people who gave up foraging inadvertently traded in relatively mild bouts with starvation in exchange for episodes of stark famine. My research using famine records from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS) support this view, particularly when the experience of foragers in especially difficult environments is discounted. Cohen reminds us that before their displacement by agriculturalists, foragers did not live in the harshest habitats earth has to offer.

Following up on this point and removing foragers occupying especially difficult habitats (arctic, sub-arctic, and desert regions) from consideration, I found a significantly greater occurrence of famine among farmers and herders than among foragers.

If agriculture developed as a solution to increasing population and hunger, as Cohen believes, then it would appear that the solution did no more than exacerbate the problem.

Population and Famine
Population growth beyond society’s means of subsistence is widely regarded as an underlying cause of hunger and famine. The problem, as Thomas Malthus pointed out near two centuries ago, is that populations unchecked grow exponentially.

The ability to provide food increases linearly. Consequently, unless society institutes preventive checks on growth– say, for instance, by tolerating abortions – starvation and violent efforts to avoid it are inevitable. The temptation to neglect preventive checks is probably the greatest in agricultural societies in which children can perform simple but economically important tasks.

This presents no problem so long as extra hands increase food supply beyond the additional cost of feeding them. Overpopulation begins once this is no longer the case. For the shifting cultivator, it becomes a matter of too many people attempting to wrest a living from an area to allow soils adequate recovery time between crops. Thus, among shifting cultivators, susceptibility to famine increases with population density.

This is not so among intensive agriculturalists, farmers who have eliminated long fallows by applying manures and irrigation silts to their fields. These ecological imports liberate populations from the natural constraints of soil restoration cycles. This encourages growth and provides an opening for abroad range of technological and organization variables to affect how many people a particular agricultural region can safely support. Once human ecologies become open systems and their productivity depends heavily on non-local resources it becomes impossible to speak of any necessary connection between population growth and the likelihood of famine. An expanding population may go further and further afield in its quest for food. Population pressure has spurred the discovery of new food resources. In some cases, it has pushed standards of living upward by driving trade and industrial development. Nevertheless, the earth’s resources are infinite. For a particular locality, the consequences of unabashedly pro-natal attitudes (favoring reproduction) are not entirely as Malthus predicted; but for the world as a whole, they are almost certainly inescapable.

World Economic System and Famine
Studies of hunger and famine in the Third World frequently point to foreign economic intrusions and changes initiated in the name of “development” as important causes. Various schemes promoting international agribusiness have come under especially severe criticism in recent years. Critics argue that the business of agribusiness, contrary to public claims, is not to feed the world, but to turn a profit. This causes food to flow from where it is needed most to where it can fetch the highest price.

Third World governments, eager for export income, participate in this process by encouraging farmers to raise commodities for the world market at the expense of growing traditional food crops. The upshot in the case of Africa has been a steady decline in per capita food production concurrent with a dramatic increase in the production of such crops as coffee and tea.

Historically, the displacement of traditional systems devoted to locally important subsistence foods was well underway by the early seventeenth century. famine BosniaPlanters, then, no less than modern apologists for international agribusiness, saw their enterprises as progressive and indigenous regimes as backward. It counted for naught that they were the products of hundreds of years of biological and cultural evolution. But, from the standpoint of local food supply, it may be that backwardness has its advantages. Anthropologists often marvel at the ingenuity of traditional food economies and how generations of trial and error have paid off in practices closely attuned to local conditions. Elaborate backup systems, including complex institutions for food redistribution and knowledge of so-called “famine foods,” are seen as part of this accumulated wisdom. While no one contends that lessons from the past can lead to an absolutely fail-safe food system, it has been argued that relatively long-standing ones may be inherently less prone to disastrous breakdowns than newer orders introduced in the name of progress. [ie., “Just in time” grocery shelf  restocking? Mr. Larry]

While recent cross-cultural research does not support this sweeping contention, it does suggest that certain specific economic changes introduced from abroad have repeatedly contributed to the development of food emergencies.

The introduction of foreign trade is one such change. In the past, societies new to trade have been far more susceptible to famine than those having long histories of commerce with other nations. Another change significantly associated with the occurrence of famine worldwide is increased land use. Often this has been at the expense of foragers, pastoralists, or shifting agriculturalists. The practice of the French in colonial Vietnam was to drive peasants from villages in sparsely populated areas and declare the land “unused.” Between 1860 and 1931, large areas formerly devoted to subsistence production were seized by this and various others means and converted to export agriculture. The Vietnamese diet went into steady decline. The final blow came during World War II when under Japanese occupation the entire food system collapsed and more than two million Vietnamese starved to death.

The historical relationship between increased land use and famine susceptibility ought to be especially worrisome at present given the expansion of intensive farming and ranching in tropical forest regions.

Class Inequity, Poverty, and Famine
W.R. Aykroyd, an international authority on nutrition, asserts that all famine may be called “class famines” since it is always the poor who die.

While this may be true, it is not the case that societies with formal class systems have had a monopoly on famine. They appear in fact to be no more prone to famine than their more egalitarian counterparts.

Yet when famine does strike the class-structure society it tends to be especially severe, particularly if the class (or caste) system is relatively complex.

I suspect the reason is because complex systems restrict individuals’ income opportunities to relatively narrow occupational spheres. The makes it possible for economic disturbances to have unequal effects. When the brunt of deprivation falls on a limited segment of society its effects are amplified. This follows from the simple rule that the weight of a burden placed on the shoulders of a few is always more difficult to be than when it is carried equally by many.

Food Entitlements and Famine
Amartya Sen believes that the occurrence of famine is culturally conditioned through society’s rules of ownership and exchange.

These define legal abilities to command resources, including food. Famine in Sen’s view arises when many people simultaneously find themselves unable to survive on the commodities to which they are legally entitled. Sen thinks it is a mistake to think most famines arise from declines in overall food availability. Even granting unusual scarcity, whether starvation actually occurs is almost always a matter of who is entitled legally to whatever food is available. Consider farmers who suffer crop failure. They experience both a reduction in food supply and a loss of direct entitlement to food (i.e., what they own as the fruits of their rightful land and labor). Yet when they and their families starve, it is usually not because there is absolutely no food to be had anywhere. Rather, it is because the food they own or can acquire through trade is inadequate. This distinction, the difference between the general availability of food and the food an individual is entitled to by the rules of ownership and exchange, is of utmost importance. It helps explain why so often it is only some members of society that go hungry. It helps explain, for instance, why Sahelians starved in the early 1970s and their countrymen to the south did not. The influence of legal entitlements on the prospects for famine is seen in comparing societies having some kind of collective ownership with those in which individual ownership is the rule. My research shows that famine occurs less often in non-industrial societies where land and other properties are held collectively.

With collective ownership, one person’s failure to obtain food can only be part of a general shortage. In contrast, individualized property rights allow the effects of untoward events to fall disproportionately on some people. Thus, the potential for famine increases because the immediate event that causes some members of society to starve does not have to be as great as one that reduces food availability for everyone. The influence of entitlements on the prospects for famine can also be seen in comparing societies subscribing to different rules of exchange. On the one hand, there are societies in which members are entitled to food as a status right. Social relationships, such as kinship, encumber individual ownership and compel sharing. On the other hand, there are societies in which members must trade for food. Trade allows the legal right to deny food to others. To put it bluntly, people can be allowed to starve without violating their rights in the slightest. I have found that famine tends to be relatively more severe where trade rather than social status is the cornerstone of exchange.

I believe this is because emergencies are prone to become more serious if people who have food are under no strong obligation to feed the starving. In light of the apparent dangers associated with private ownership and trade, what accounts for the relatively famine-free histories of many modern capitalist economies? It is certainly not because they are immune to disasters nor because they have eradicated poverty. What stands between disaster and poverty on the one hand and starvation on the other are political entitlements, government programs that range from price supports through unemployment benefits and child welfare.

One suspects that by building similar fail-safe programs – at the very least programs that prevent chronic under nutrition (a powerful predictor of famine) – we actually would be doing more to foster the nutritional security of famine-prone nations than we are now doing through efforts to boost food production.

Effects of Famine
Famine has both immediate and long-term effects. Its immediate biological effects include epidemics of disease and sharp increases in mortality. Behaviorally, many conventions of ordinary life disappear. Social contacts, for example, are avoided rather than sought out. Hunger’s long-term effects include physical and psychological scars (e.g., developmental abnormalities and mental illness). In addition, hunger and famine often condition profound transformations in culture (e.g., changes in food habits, forms of government, and magical and religious practices).

Biological Effects
Starvation, meaning a condition in which the body draws on its own reserves for energy, becomes a disease once it begins to damage active tissue. This condition is referred to as “general starvation.” In children, kwashiorkor and marasmus (protein-calorie malnutritional diseases) show up early.
• Before gross weight loss is seen in older victims, there is loss of endurance.
• As general starvation becomes more advanced, victims become apathetic and a series of physical symptoms unfolds, including
 • rapid weight loss,
 • edema
(abnormal accumulations of fluids in parts of the body)
• and diarrhea.

General starvation increases susceptibility to many contagious diseases.
• Individual resistance is undermined at every line of defense.
• As protein is lost, protective surface such as skin and mucous membranes lose their integrity and fail as barriers against the invasion of pathogens.
• Infectious agents once inside the body encounter an impaired immune system.
• Population dislocations and the overcrowding of public facilities favor the spread of infections at the community level.
• Energy-sparing behavioral economies cause inattention to personal hygiene and public sanitation.
• The infections facilitated by famine accelerate the course of general starvation by increasing the body’s nutritional demands. During famines more people die of contagious diseases that of starvation itself.
• Famine’s survivors come away with both physical and mental scars. On the physical side, starvation can result in the curtailment of growth and permanent stunting.
• Work capacity and productivity suffer.

Careful investigation of the long-term consequences of the Dutch Hunger Winter(1944-1945) disclosed lasting damage among those who lived through it while still in their mothers’ wombs. Problems included central nervous system abnormalities detected in military inductees nineteen years later.

Among the Kaiadilt, a group of Australian Aborigines, psychiatric problems arising from famine, including chronic depression, were still evident some twenty years after rescue.

famine group

Social and Cultural Effects
Behavior amidst famine shows certain regularities.
1) The first response, particularly when food emergencies are unfamiliar or of unprecedented proportions, is alarm. This often means panic in the marketplace, mass emigration, and increased (and sometimes violent) political protest and anti-government activity. However, in face-to-face communities the situation is liable to be quite different. Here neighborhoods and other localities often experience a “disaster utopia,” the development of a social environment of intense mutual care and assistance. This environment disappears once starvation begins to exact its physical toll and individuals become weaker and more easily fatigued.

2) The question of available energy becomes paramount at this point. People resort to unusual foods. To conserve energy, expenditures other than those immediately related to obtaining food are pared to a minimum.

3) Social atomization results. Essentially, households close themselves off, and any signs of concern or generosity beyond the bounds of family and household disappear. Supplies are hidden. Food preparation and eating takes place in secret.

4) Lawlessness, including physical aggression, continues to increase but tends to be less concerted and sustained.

5) As victims approach exhaustion, the mayhem ceases. Indeed, activity of any sort practically disappears.

6) Eventually comes the disintegration of the household.  Its collapse is foreshadowed as food sharing within becomes increasingly  discriminatory. There is a tendency to see the elderly as a drain on provisions. Tolerance toward younger dependent erodes less quickly, but there comes a point when children too are receiving disproportionately small amounts of available food. The appearance of neglected wandering children is a certain sign that pockets of exhaustion exist within a famine region. The abandonment or sale of children might be attributed to parents’ concern for their own survival or to their hope that some other person or agency will save their off springs’ lives. In either case, an underlying cause is almost certainly the mental fatigue and exasperation that arises from hearing the children’s incessant cries for food.

Famine can leave cultural legacies that persist for many generations. It is not unusual to find customs that appear to reflect food-related anxieties. Eating patterns, for example, sometimes appear anticipatory, almost as if people were anxiously preparing themselves or “practicing” for another bout with starvation. That Cagaba of Northern Columbia, who have been trouble repeatedly by food crises, glorify fasting.

Goodenough Islanders, likewise no strangers to starvation, use magic to depress their appetites.

Anxiety manifested as a mistrust of others is especially rampant in societies familiar with famines. Famine and mistrust are strong predictors of societies’ readiness to engage in war.

Prolonged or repeated famine has the effect of allowing emergency behavior, patterns essential to survival in the midst of a crisis, to become normalized. This apparently occurs because younger members of society grow up knowing no alternatives. Colin Turnbull felt he witnessed a pivotal moment among the Ik of Uganda when memories of food sharing died with the last members of the society who could recall what life was like in the absence of famine.

For those still living, sharing food with anyone beyond the age of three had become unthinkable, even when food was now and again plentiful. William Shack’s work among the Gurage of Ethiopia provides some indication of the depth to which famine-inspired traits can become embedded in a culture. Shack found the Gurage to be astonishingly light eaters, which he interpreted as the product of “rational fears about physical survival.”

At the time of his fieldwork, however, he found nutrition ample. The Gurage nevertheless behaved as though food were scarce. Meals taken during the day amounted to no more than slight handfuls. Eating more was considered vulgar. It was a different story in private. At night in the dim light of their fireplaces, family members showed none of the restraint they displayed during the day. Shack saw this two-faced attitude as fundamentally selfish. One shared food only when observed eating. The key to minimize sharing was to minimize eating in public.
Shack explains this historically. Four centuries of pillage at the hands of various enemies ended in 1889, but by then the Gurage had learned the consequences of indulging one’s appetite in public and appearing conspicuously plump. To reduce the risk of attack and subsequent starvation, the Gurage developed the habit of never eating more than a handful in public and cultivating an emaciated appearance. These practices set the course of cultural development; what at one time was adaptive became no more than arbitrary virtue. Will this fossilized sense of virtue serve the Gurage well should hunger become a problem again in the future?

The Study of Hunger and Famine
It has been argued that famine is avoidable if government has incentive to act in time. Recent history would suggest that political democracy and a free press create the strongest incentive. According to Sen, no democratic country with a free press has ever suffered famine. If office holders must seek reelection and the media are free to report hunger and criticize policies, then leaders must take pre-emptive steps or risk losing office.

While this may be true, it ought not to be imagined that democratic institutions are the answer. Economic programs that all alleviate immediate concerns of an electorate at the expense of long-term prospects for food security may do more harm than good. Granting the desirability of institutions that foster responsive government, there remains the need for arming the public with knowledge that renders politically unacceptable any response that wins a reprieve from hunger by placing others, including future generations, at greater risk. The realization that nutritional impoverishment is largely a cultural problem places anthropology, the science of culture, under an obligation to respond to this need. To date it has lived up to that obligation. Its holistic, historically informed, and comparative outlooks have contributed substantially to broader, more sophisticated understandings of hunger and famine. The challenge for the future is not to develop some ultimate model for prevention. There are no lasting solutions. Rather, hope resides in relentlessly engaging hunger and famine as topics of investigation and, through research, continuously constructing the knowledge people will need to identify and avert threats to food security in the future.

Leave a comment

Filed under News & Editorial