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Climate Change: A Midwesterner’s Take

Today is a wonderful February day here in Nebraska.  It is a balmy 66 degrees as I write this, and it got me to thinking about our climate a bit.  I’m not a scientist.  I make no claims to understand or even be able to interpret the mountains of data available on global warming.  I am a persistent observer of things going on in my neck of the woods though.  I can tell you this, I have reason to believe a few things about climate change in my part of the world.

I have every reason to believe that, like so many things in our world, the climate systems of our planet function in cycles.  I am not saying that humans don’t influence how this cycle functions, but I am not very certain that we as humans truly know how much or in what way we do affect this planet.

Here is a case and point on this why I feel this way.  Here in Nebraska, our largest lake is the artificial lake McConaughy.  It is just one of a system of reservoirs that were created to handle winter snow melt runoff from the Rocky Mountains.  There is a real concern this year that major flooding of the Platte river could occur because there is projected to be a spring run off that is significantly higher than average.  Every reservoir in the system is full, and McConaughy is nearly so.  A good thing in a manner of speaking though, right?  I mean the last time this happened was the fall of 1999.

After that the area endured a punishing drought that lasted for about ten years.  During that time McConaughy was a poster-child example of climate change in action.  There were real concerns that the body of water was going to simply dry up and cease to exist.  At its low point the reservoir only held about a third of its capacity.  During this same period you also found many supporters of the claims that global warming was happening.  However, if you jump forward to today many are not so sure.

I can tell you from my own personal observations, that in the last two years alone, the seasons have seemed to be right on target with the calendar partners.  The moisture we have got seems about right, and temperatures seem about normal.  As I said in the beginning, I believe it would be quite short-sighted to believe that over 5 billion humans do not impact the planet.  What I do question is how much of a cause we really are in a system that we understand less about than we do our neighbor the moon.

How is the weather behaving in your corner of the world?  Do you believe that climate change by humans is the driving force to your weather?

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About Mike Lemons
I'm a guy in his 40's who has been bumming around the net for years. I am married to a wonderful woman, and have 3 gorgeous kids.

5 Responses to Climate Change: A Midwesterner’s Take

  1. Becky says:

    No. I don’t think humans have enough power to be the sole contributor to the weather, but I, like you, am not quick to dismiss the fact that 5 billion humans must have SOME effect. However, I’m having a hard time explaining the weather over here: We’ve had a record number (my guess, not a scientific fact) of 60-degree days in January and February, while the rest of the country has been buried in snow for a month now. I really can’t explain that at all. Can you?

    • Mike Lemons says:

      Personally, I just think it is part of a much larger cycle that we just don’t see yet…since intelligent homo sapiens have been keeping weather records for a reasonably short time and the rest is just archeological hypothesis…

      • Becky says:

        I was contemplating your blog the other day when driving to visit my parents 4 hours away. When you leave my town you go through major farm country covered in fields, silos, tractors, bales of hay, the whole nine yards. My sister was traveling with me and we started talking about weather for some reason. When I mentioned to her that coming out to the country was a GREAT way to escape the nasty after-heat of summer evenings, it started to hit me that humans may have a greater effect on weather and climate than I had originally thought.

        Why is it nice to leave the city on a summer evening and enjoy the countryside? Because it’s as much as 10 degrees (in my estimation) cooler out in the fields than it is on Main Street downtown. Why is that? Because the paved roads, cement and steel buildings, and brick facades suck heat from the sun and then radiate it for hours after the sun disappears for the night. Out in the country, that doesn’t happen. Plants don’t radiate heat, really. And to add to that, often farmers spend afternoons and evenings watering their crops. The water sprayed into the air cools it down, and if you’re lucky, you might get a mist on your face.

        Humans build the roads, buildings and facades. So perhaps it IS our doing when it is unbearably hot even after the sun goes down, eh? Just a thought….

      • Mike Lemons says:

        It is true that in the cities we generate a lot of our own heat…but when you consider how little space these cities occupy in relation to the rest of the planet…well…I’m just not sure how much “global” impact these zones have (although I am sure is is significant)

  2. Pingback: Explore the Possibilities « Mike's Take…

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