Sunday 16 January 2011

Whither The Weather?

Yesterday, Saturday 15 January, in the “Guardian” Environment section, Dr. Germaine Greer delivered a brutal analysis on the matter of the Queensland disaster, “ Australian Floods, Why Were We So Surprised?”. She is stranded up a mountain there at present attempting to save the rain forest. One of the factors in the flooding has been the deforestation in the territory.

Along with this, she suggests is the usual mix of human greed, stupidity, short sightedness and failure to comprehend the nature of complex events or to plan or deal with them effectively.

Elsewhere, “Naked Capitalism” worries about other consequences of the present floods in economic terms, there could be nasty price effects and strain on the finances of some countries.

The “Black Swan” is nothing to do with the new film about ballet or even the much better pirate film of 1942 about Henry Morgan, starring Tyrone Power, but refers to the concept developed by Nassim Taleb, Black Swan Events which means that the unexpected or unbelievable might just be out there waiting to happen, as in the discovery in Australia of black swans, before then held to be always white.

Meanwhile on Friday 14 January , Science Daily (the source of much of Daily Mail stuff, many of whose interns do not really understand it) put up an article from the Journal of Sciences, taking the longer view of climate and weather which gives context. Climate/weather patterns can and do change and have changed. Judging which way we are going is more complicated.

All this is a rich source for debate on many matters. What is happening at present may simply be predictable glitches and occurrences with an existing pattern, or it could be the first signs of larger scale change in progress.

But I can say with confidence that in the foreseeable future, I and others like me, will be worse off and suffer a great deal of inconvenience.

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