Friday, January 31, 2014

Is this Winter's Icy Weather a Reprieve from Global Warming?

The term Polar Vortex has been on every newscaster's lips recently. Is the cold a reprieve from global warming?

Here's Rush Limbaugh's take:
I want everything to be legit, you know, up and up. Global warming is a great example. It's a full-fledged, now documented hoax. Yet if you listen to the news media, it's still in full swing, and it explains this cold snap. I have here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers a website. It's Business Insider, of all things, that explains the polar vortex. Now, I want to read this to you. "As tundra-like temperatures and wind chills as cold as 70 below zero fan out across the country, everyone is blaming the 'polar vortex.' Polar vortexes, though, are nothing new. They occur seasonally at the North Pole, and their formation resembles that of hurricanes in more tropical regions: fast-moving winds build up around a calm center.
"Unlike a hurricane, these are frigid polar winds, circling the Arctic at more than 100 miles per hour. The spinning winds typically trap this cold air in the Arctic. But the problem comes when the polar vortex weakens or splits apart, essentially flinging these cold wind patterns out of the Arctic and into our backyards. NOAA scientists have suggested," which means they don't have the foggiest idea.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration "scientists have suggested that warming temperatures in the Arctic may be responsible for the weakening of the polar vortex." So, you see, it's magic! Supposedly, man-made global warming is causing record cold, because warming temperatures may be responsible for the weakening of the polar vortex -- and when the polar vortex weakens, it's more likely to break apart and become a factor in our winter weather.
Rush Limbaugh is so sure Arctic ice hasn't diminished that it sounds as if he has been there to see for himself, lol. Unfortunately for those of us who wish we didn't need to face a global Climate Change crisis, there is thorough and reliable documentation of Arctic ice melt. In addition, there will be many opportunities to view displays of weakening vortices when the figure skaters perform in the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 10.23.17 PM caption

Anyhoo, my hopes for a Winter garden full of chickweed, Asian cabbage, and fava  beans have been iced. Something of concern to all of us regardless of political views is that extreme weather is bad for our ability to grow food. I've been paying closer attention to Sepp Holzer's Alpine farming methods:
Visit Sepp Holzer's amazing, biodiverse farm 1500 metres (almost 5000 feet) on an Austrian mountain. Most neighbouring farmers mainly 'farm' monocultural spruce plantations, Sepp is able to produce an incredible range of crops through the creation of microclimates and his unique water management systems. Sepp builds water retaining ponds and lake systems high up on the mountain which have become thriving aquacultures producing fish for the table as well as wildlife habitats teeming with biodiversity. The water creates microclimates around the banks where Sepp is able to grow an abundant edible landscape of fruit and nut orchards plus heritage vegetable and grain crops planted along the banks. In a cold Alpine climate you can find oranges, lemons and kiwis growing, as well as numerous other fruits and vegetables.

In my little urban garden, I'll be able to use stones, mirrors in lieu of ponds, and small scale Hugelkulture. What changes are needed in our commercial farming system? Where there's food there's hope ;-)