Monday, 19 October 2009

Energy Saving Week

The safari is going to save energy by not doing nuffin’ this week cos we are in a disastrous-attempt-at-twitching-fully-monked-out sulk!
And why do we all have to save energy – because of that nightmare that is climate change of course.
Don’t come running to me when the heat gets hot and we come to the end of civilisation as we know it. So do your bit and cut that carbon. Save your 10% in 2010!
So go on tell me why is it that 1998 was, globally, the warmest year on record and not 2008 if we are supposed to heating up? Try the Pacific Decadal Oscillation – yep that’s right the PDO, however it works, is keeping us cool and has been for a few years now, with more to come; perhaps another 15 – 20 or more. That combined with a slight La Niña is keeping global temperatures somewhat lower than the climatologists have been predicting. But now they know they will be revamping their computer models. So what happens when La Niña switches to El Niño and the PDO enters its next warm phase? Answer – we’ll all boil in our beds!
Waddya mean you’ve never heard of the PDO? Not surprised it was only discovered, accidentally while studying pacific species of Salmon, in 1997.

The dashboard thermometer is from July 2003 when it was lovely and warm (this summer was obviously its alter-ego). 31ºC is the hottest recorded in Blackpool but on the open road on the way home that day the temperature crept up to 33ºC; and there was me thinking it was that hot because the car had been sat in the sun in the car park all day! Will we see this record beaten in the next few years? When somewhere in the UK hits 40ºC then we’ll know for sure that the climate has done some serious changing – I don’t think it will be too many years away. In the meantime there might be a couple or three dismal summers and ‘normal’ winters (ie with a bit of proper snow like last year) to endure. From my records there hasn’t been a cooler than average month in Blackpool for at least four years. Several months have been warmer than the long term average by between two and four degrees. One thing we have noticed is that although the daytime temperatures have been more or less as expected the night-time temperatures are creeping up towards and even over that +2ºC mark.
As for sea-level rise – not a good thing cos the carpet under my feet is at about the same level as today’s high tide – don’t really fancy coming to work in a wet suit and snorkel. Hopefully I’ll have retired by the time the worst of it starts happening. Base Camp is on a hill (= future island) so I will be looking forward to trading the Land Rover for a boat, our house has a steep drive which won’t need to be converted into a slipway, already got a winch anchor point at the top to drag my trailer/boat* up with.
Whatever happens its nearly time to say good-bye to the Polar Bear with no summer sea ice within 20 years and maybe less poor PB’s prognosis isn’t good. 5 years ago when we opened the Centre the prediction for the end of summer ice at the Arctic was between 50 and 100 years. That’s what I call a substantial revision of an estimate.
(*delete as appropriate)

Had to use a little energy to cross the road to have a look at Patch 2 at lunch time where a blob of distant birds shipping south at a rate of knots were revealed in the scope to be about 40 Pintail. Two Grey Seals were bottling in the near and middle distance, the near one still far too far off to be within camera range. The grapevine has exciting tales of Brambling – is it gonna be a good year for them?

Where to next? Nowhere – told you I was sulking and saving energy.
In the meantime let us know what’s making you save energy in your outback.

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