DOUBLE CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE THEM
Due to a family crisis last year, my wife, Mecee and I were unable to take an extended holiday. So we packed up our stuff and headed west last week to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole and the surrounding areas.
The Grand Tetons are unique because they have no foothills. As the picture above shows, the mountains literally shoot up from the surrounding plains. The Tetons have glaciers, and unlike so many in our world, they are actually growing in size! The high altitude and extremely heavy snow falls in winter are the reason why. The Teton glaciers were formed in what is considered a mini ice age around 1850.
My mind wandered to another part of our planet in the mid 1800’s. Between 1300 and 1850, England endured a “little ice age” that brought harsh winters. The fact is documented in Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carole”, which portrays London as a snowy town with sub-freezing temperatures. The winters were so cold that contemporary artists painted pictures of people ice skating on the Thames River!
Anyone who has been to London in the 20th and 21st Century knows it can get damp and cold. But it is extremely rare to see snow in London. Furthermore, the Thames River does not freeze over. It is open to navigation year round.
Coincidentally, there was story in the local news paper, the Jackson Hole Daily, which lampooned some the hysteria of scientific experts who spend an inordinate amount of time lamenting global warming.
It was a good read. The most interesting part was a reminiscence of so-called scientific predictions that got it all wrong with dire predictions for the future.
Following are a few examples.
Newsweek magazine featured a cover story in 1975 about “global cooling.” That was supposed to be a scientific consensus.
Prior to 1985, there was “scientific consensus” that acid rain caused by electricity generating plants fueled by coal and emitting sulfur dioxide was destroying vast acres of forests and lakes in the eastern United States. In 1991, “after 10 years and $500 million, the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program study … concluded, ‘Acid rain was not damaging forests, did not hurt crops, and caused no measurable health problems.’ ”
A June 2010 article in Reason magazine lists some of the other Chicken Little claims about doomsday being just around the corner. The magazine’s science writer, Ronald Bailey, found a July 1, 1979 issue of The Washington Post claiming a “broad scientific consensus” that saccharin causes cancer. It took 30 years before the National Cancer Institute reported, “There is no clear evidence that saccharin causes cancer in humans.”
Today’s hot topic is “global warming”. Not all scientists are in agreement with the popular theory that CO2 controls the climate. Most notably, MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen, who claims believing that CO2 controls the climate “is pretty close to believing in magic.”
As for the “Little Ice Age” mentioned earlier in this column, just what did cause the unusually cold weather of the mid-1800’s?
One influence may have been a drop in solar energy. Isotopes of carbon in tree rings and beryllium in ice cores show a drop-off in solar radiation during much of the period. Moreover, sunspot observations that began around 1610 show a near-absence of reported sunspots between 1645 and 1715. However, recent studies have brought down the relative importance of this solar effect on the little ice age.
Also in the mix are volcanoes, which seem to have erupted more frequently after 1500 than during the so-called medieval warm period that preceded it. The 1815 eruption of Indonesia's Tambora – one of the most violent ever recorded on Earth – led to a disastrously cold summer across much of the globe in 1816. That "year without a summer" brought crop failures to northern Europe as well as snows in Vermont as late as early June.
After reading through all of this data, the only conclusion I have come with is that the climate is something everyone can talk about, but none are able to control.
to be Repaired
One of the first things I did on my return from vacation was check out 59th Street. It came as no surprise that the street had degraded even further. Whoever wrote on the blog that driving down 59th Street was like riding on a roller coaster pretty much hit the nail on the head.
I have been watching the comments in the Raytown Report and know more than a few people want the street repaired. So I checked at City Hall to see what the plan is for repairing the street.
I was told there is no doubt the problem with the street is the responsibility of the local Water Company. The city has informed the Water Company of its responsibility to repair the street properly.
At the same time the city has also recognizes its responsibility in making certain the repairs are made in a timely fashion. That being the case, the city may make the repairs and then require the water company to pay for the cost of the repairs.
Whatever the solution, it would be in the best interest of everyone concerned for the street to be repaired soon, properly and efficiently.
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – June 6, 2017
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