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Olde Joke Is Still On Us

Climate change ain't what it used to be......now, it's here

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, February 05, 2014.

Looking out the window this morning at the folks who plow and shovel our snow, enjoying the 70 degree difference that separated their world from mine, I succumbed to thought sipping coffee comfortably. Shoveling and sprinkling pellets and sand, moving quick, it's tough work when so cold the snow loudly squeaks. Not surprisingly, the team is speaking Spanglish, and wearing totally insufficient jeans, hoodies, sneakers, and finger less gloves. They are cheerful, fast, and efficient despite what have to be numb feet and hands. And, they're gone. .

It was 2 degrees or less last night, and won't get much warmer today. Winter as it should be, because it's February, right? Well, it certainly is in Boulder the Damned, where the sky is as blue as our lips. .

In Alaska, however, where weather as I've just described would be normal for six months of the year, perhaps verging on a heat wave, things are different. Temperatures in the state of ice and igloos are forty degrees above normal for this time of year. In much of the state, the ancient snow pack is melting, grass is exposed and green in Anchorage, huge avalanches have collapsed highway travel and blocked rivers, rivers where the ice was so thin that winter events that normally are held atop the ice have been moved or cancelled. Skiing events have been cancelled. What once fell as snow is falling as rain. In February. In Alaska. .

Despite this, the climate change deniers are trotting out the old Al Gore jokes because the reverse of Alaska's weather has hit the highly populated east coast and cold weather has killed folks in the Deep South, where many homes really had small and infrequent need for insulation and stoves burning wood also serve as a furnace at infrequent need. We may have to rewrite all of that. Soon. .

In England, the notion of rising sea levels is not without illustrative example as coastal villages in Sussex that periodically see floods have had some doozies this winter and in some areas the tide isn't actually going out, anymore. The land is being reclaimed by the sea, and chatter about dikes and barriers, while common, are clearly hogwash absent a coffer dam around the entire island, which would the enjoy the security and sense of safety enjoyed by New Orleans. .

Still, because Boulder has lucked out again, we have the sense of continuity, at least this year. And, even including the floods in September, it has been a good winter season for much of Colorado. Lot of snow, rain, deep snow pack, and more coming. Perhaps our decade long drought is over. If so, Colorado is going to be rich in many segments of the economy, but primarily agriculture. .

Among other horrors besides Alaska coming to resemble North Carolina in February is the huge and long lasting drought in California, especially around one of our primary bread baskets, the central valley of the state where normally climate, soil, and science produced what might well be the best farmland in the world and a major supplier of our home grown food. If things don't change quick, California might on go from breadbasket to basket case, as even the water from Colorado and the Rockies will not be enough to preserve what is there, much less provide the perpetually needed increases. .

Texas, despite Rick Perry's mandated prayers, is succumbing to an extreme drought in place for years now. As it loses fresh water from even the deepest aquifers, it gains salt water from a rising Gulf of Mexico. Given all the oil and gas wells, it will be awful if all of them risk being submerged and the new Texas coast is fifty miles inland. .

Australians are being warned that fire and drought are likely their constant companions from here on out, and to brace for their continent becoming a real desert, not the practice model it is. Again, though, as the salt water rises, it could be become just a larger version of the guano islands in the Caribbean with a deep and dead Great Barrier Reef.

Mark Twain once joked, we talk a lot about the weather yet do nothing about it because, his audience knew, we couldn't. Of late, we've talked a lot about the climate and discovered we could indeed change it and affect the weather and actually had done so. We even knew how to address the issue and yet did not. Things change, but the joke's still on us.