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the snows of kilimanjaro

***
SOME THOUGHTS WHILE ALGORE GETS HIS
DR. G's TRAVELING SHOW TOGETHER

I will probably be working at my parents’ house on the roof again but I hope to get some news of algore’s appearance before the Senate. If you missed my late night edit on yesterday’s post about his appearance, here’s what I wrote:

Algore, despite being given preferential treatment in his appearance before the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) on Wednesday, is already in violation of Committee rules. He has been afforded a 30 minute period to make an introductionary statement and had asked that he not have to submit his testimony in advance. That was refused, of course, but he was still given a break and directed to deliver it 24 hours in advance instead of the normally required 48 hours. As of 8 p.m. Tuesday night, he has yet to deliver his testimony. Could it be he is afraid someone might actually check his facts for accuracy and question him on it? Stay tuned.

I was recently reminded by a friend, a schoolteacher, of algore’s award-winning “documentary” and some mention of the “snows of Kilimanjaro”. No, not the short story by Ernest Hemingway, although the ramblings of a man dying from gangrene and reflecting on his life might be an appropriate metaphor, but part of the “proof” that man-made global warming is the cause of the receding snow at its peaks.

I was always fascinated by Kilimanjaro and my friend struck a nerve. I asked her if she knew where Kilimanjaro was located. She knew approximately but not precisely. Do you? Do you really? Okay, I won't make you look it up. It is at The Equator, the hottest spot on Earth. That is why I was always fascinated with it and have since learned that there are several spots at The Equator where snow appears, dependent on latitude and other factors, always at the peaks of very high summits. Mt. Meru and Mt. Kenya are two others in the general vicinity of Kilinanjaro. Some grade school science explains why snow and glaciers form there in the first place but I won’t bore you with that.

Scientists have been studying the diminishing snow levels for some time, a trend that began in the early 1900’s. Here are some common sense explanations to consider while pondering the effect of man on these wonderful works of nature.

Kilimanjaro has three dormant volcanoes, part of a string of about 20 I believe and, while not “active” regularly emits steam and gases.

Loss of snow is common due to higher temperatures during the summer and natural melt-off.

Lack of adequate precipitation is a common reason for inadequate replacement of loss ice and snow.

Nearby Lake Victoria shows wide fluctuation in water levels over the last 130 years which indicate an unusually HIGH level in the 1880’s, a sign of abnormally high levels of precipitation … and, I’m sure, heavy snowfall at higher elevations.

I say all this because I don’t know what algore said about these issues or if he mentioned them at all. I don’t know what caused the diminishing of the snows of Kilimanjaro, but suspect that sitting on a line of volcanoes and decreased snowfall MIGHT have contributed something. Anyone know if these issues were adressed in algore’s “documentary”? Have all mountain peaks shown similar decline over the last 130 years? Have all areas experienced decreased precipitation. Wouldn't it seem so? Maybe someone will ask today. I’m just trying to get the facts.
***

You're caught in a vicious circle
Surrounded by your so called friends
You're caught in a vicious circle
And it looks like it will never end
'Cause some people think that it's nerves
And some people think that it's not
And some people think that it's things that you do
And others think that you were cold, when you were hot
They think that that is what it was about
You're caught in a vicious circle
Surrounded by all of your friends


***

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
theresaboo
Mar. 21st, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
=)
Maybe I don't know where mountains are...BUT do you know where the best shopping in florida is? lol
metaphorsbwithu
Mar. 21st, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
Re: =)
Sure ... all I have to do is follow you. ;-)

I love taking women shopping too.
goodall
Mar. 21st, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
The snow has been pretty poor in the Alps over the past few years, too. No volcanoes there...
metaphorsbwithu
Mar. 21st, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
I wonder what the precipitation rates have been like here. That's the first place to look. Have there been water shortages too? Many communities depend on melting snow to fill their resoivoirs. My brother lived in Denver in the 70's and there were a lot of problems with lack of snowfall and consequently water was very tight No water in restaurants and people couldn't water their lawns. I wish I had more time to research this because it's amazing what a person kind find. Weather is a complex of so many factors.

There have been at least 4 Ice Ages, for example, over millions of years, the last ending around 10,000 years ago. We are technically in the very end of the last one because we still have the ice sheets that many have pointed out are breaking off in some areas. However, what caused the previous four Ice Ages to end, I'd like to know? It also occurred to me that the more ice there is, the less the vegetation and, theoretically, the less oxygen in the atmosphere!

Follow me? Trees and plants convert carbon dioxide into what? OXYGEN. I seem to remember that the carbon dioxide levels were HIGHER during these cold periods which would fly in the face of current theories.

Keep making your points. I enjoy when people think critically about these subjects. I hope some of this stuff does make you think, although I'm afraid it might make you less popular.

Did anyone ask Mr. Gore about the melting ice on Mars? I wonder. I would love to find a transcript. :-)
goodall
Mar. 22nd, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
To tell you the truth, I don't discuss global warming in mixed company. I'm better armed to discuss sex, religion, and politics.
metaphorsbwithu
Mar. 22nd, 2007 12:22 am (UTC)
I can relate.

Actually, I rarely discuss any of those subjects, although I love to explore issues myself and learn about them. I am a natural reporter and love to ask tough but objective questions. If and when I discover misinformation, a lack of reasoning, contradictions, or whatever, I will keep asking questions, and try to show where there are possible holes in popular arguments.

I understand most people don't have or want to devote the time to really investigate issues. It's just when they hold to a belief so steadfastly without knowing anything about the subject that bothers me. Often what you don't know can hurt you.

tniassaint
Mar. 22nd, 2007 02:36 am (UTC)
I soooo love NPR
There was an environmental scientist on NPR the other day. Sadly I missed the beginning of the article, so I missed his name. He made a couple interesting comments. He said - paraphrased as best as I can recall . . .

Al Gore made some glaring mistakes in his movie and in his related interviews, and those mistakes rankle the scientists in the field because they tend to damage the credibility of the experts in that field [especially in such a politically divisive and charged area as this]; BUT that doesn't change that the basic concepts are more or less accurate and not in any serious dispute - in general.

The Earth has had cycles of hot and cold spells throughout history; but since life has existed, and it crawled onto the land, and began breathing the air we have never seen the shifts as rapid as we do now.

The Earth has seen major increases in heat at various times in history in conjunction with a rise in CO2 levels, which can be measured in the rock samples of rocks that were exposed at that time. The levels of CO2 and Heat increases are directly related to each other. The current CO2 levels are already some of the highest the geological record has ever shown indications for; and with the levels already in the atmosphere, the heat indexes will rise for another ten years even if we were able to stop all CO2 emissions today.

Six of the hottest years on record happened in the last 10 years and the summer of 2005 - for example - was the hottest ever recorded. Since 1980, the earth has experienced 19 of its 20 hottest years on record, with 2005 and 1998 tied for the hottest and 2002 and 2003 coming in second and third.

With the exception of about 12 or 15 rouge scientists there is little or no debate in the scientific community that the Earth is heating up, and that fossil fuel consumption by man is the number one factor.

So the Dr. says . . .

I agree with him that we have a problem. I also agree with him that Al Gore is exaggerating things a bit. The reality is somewhere between the pundits - as usual. More pressing is that we do not have an easy replacement for fossil fuels at this point. We SHOULD be looking for alternatives anyway. US dependence on overseas production from countries like Venezuela and [pick your OPEC country of choice] has put the US in a precarious position. China is making deals to grab larger shares of the production pie. At their current rate of increase, within 10 years China will be consuming more power annually then has ever been produced - out pacing US [ with their huge population it would be no great wonder]. Guess who produces the most solar panels in the world. Judging by the vendors we deal with . . . it is the same people we will trying to outbid on the tightening supply of oil - China.
metaphorsbwithu
Mar. 22nd, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)
Re: I soooo love NPR
Yes, I've seen similar statistics like this and I've always agreed that, generally speaking, we have seen higher spikes in temperatures in recent years. God, I remember leaving one job and going to another in August in the late 80's and early 90's and feeling like I was walking into an oven.

The ice age correlations, however, make me want to look further and I'll tell you why. First, I am not convinced that measurements of ambiguous factors like global temperature can be as precise as some say they are. There were isolated temperatures of as high as 134 and 136 degrees, for example, at specific locations in the beginning of the 20th Century. How does one determine the average temperature of a day in the US when there is a hard freeze in California and relatively balmy weather in New York. As Mark Twain said, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. I know how they can be manipulated.

But I don't want to quibble to much at this point as to the accuracy or methodology of 21st century scientists interpreting the avalanche of information available as much as to question what effect man has had in whatever climate spikes are occurring. For example, assuming there is a correlation, what was the relationship between the level of CO2 and the Ice Age? Did lower levels of CO2 cause colder weather, or did the Ice Age affect the composition of the atmosphere? (See my comment on the effect of trees and vegetation on the production of Oxygen above).

Why did the CO2 levels drop in the first place, and why did they suddenly increase to end the Ice Age if there was a cause and effect? Wouldn't warmer climates mean more trees and vegetation which, in turn, should convert more CO2 into oxygen? I don't know. But I have read so many figures on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the percentage of CO2 contributed by man I have no way to make an educated comment. I think the oceans are actually the biggest contributors of CO2.

Statistically, there may be a correlation between two events without actually having a cause and effect. Ian might cry every time he sneaks a cookie at midnight, but is it the cookie making him cry or daddy's whack on his butt when he catches him?

Anyway, I am hearing more and more people finally coming out questioning the sensationalism of the doomsday crowd. They are far more knowledgeable than I am and I want to listen to their side. I frankly have a great distrust of people who have a vested interest in promoting a cause that stands to benefit their careers and pocketbooks. And when did the UN suddenly become a bastion of truth and common sense?

And when is someone going to ask about the melting polar ice caps on Mars? I'm not saying that "fact" debunks everything but don't you find that at least a little curious? Doesn't the fact that Gore is consuming energy like a madman with his multiple homes and private jets, now trying to rationalize it by passing this "energy credit" scheme onto people who may soon be buying $5 light bulbs. The idea that the rich and powerful can consume 20 or 50 or 100 times the energy as you and me and then justify it by buying "credits" from companies they are part owners of and which stands to make huge profits for them certainly disturbs (and disgusts) me. I see John Edwards in explaining his 28,000 sq.ft. fortress has taken up that mantra. The last bill he "saw" (when asked about his own energy consumption) was about $300-400. He tap-danced around that one trying to avoid the question. Will anyone demand he produce his energy bills for the public record? Some people have no shame because they're allowed to get away with it.

Thanks for taking the time to put those comments together. I'm in the process of trying to verify as much information as a layman can. My last electric bill was under $30, btw. Jealous? *lol* TTYL
tniassaint
Mar. 23rd, 2007 01:33 am (UTC)
Re: I soooo love NPR
Too long to respond here... you will just have to wander over to my place to read my rant...
metaphorsbwithu
Mar. 23rd, 2007 03:55 am (UTC)
oh, ya wanna fight, huh!
Oh I wander, wander, doo-be-doo-doo doo...

heh heh heh
macabredelight
Mar. 22nd, 2007 03:05 pm (UTC)
I think Kilimanjaro is very interesting. I watch shows like that when I have time. Ian and I watched a volcano show not too long ago and he couldn't understand how hot it was and everything.
metaphorsbwithu
Mar. 22nd, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
It's so magical to see through a child's eyes, or to remember the wonder and innocence of childhood. I remember trying to dig a hole through the Earth in our back yard, trying to see if I could reach the other side, and wondering what it'd feel like to stand "upside-down". I was so disappointed to learn that the center of the Earth was so hot and I'd never be able to do it. *lol*
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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