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Extreme Weather from the Past

Updated on March 15, 2017
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Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years on museums and libraries.

Introduction

Are you a climate change believer? Do you think our weather in recent years are extreme? Do you buy into the notion that we humans are responsible for most of these events? You are in for a surprise. Extreme weather for the last 300 years. Long before the theory of AGW and Al Gore...

- Mar. 2017





What is the main driver of our weather?

Down through the ages, man have always had to deal with extreme weather. It is a natural phenomenon. We had volcanos, earthquakes, tsunami and meteorites...all part of the daily challenges around the globe. In recent years, last 25 years, we have a new theory. The AGW theory claims man and the use of fossil fuels has contributed greatly to the changing weather and climate. Is that true? An examination of the past 300 years of recorded weather in the US may shed some light on this topic. Thanks to the archives of the Old Farmer's Almanac.

© 2017 Jack Lee

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    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 weeks ago from Houston, TX USA

      Q ...why do we need 1 person?

      A We need a minimum number of people to avoid inbreeding and the resultant birth defects.

      Q. It is not a question of how many people but what is the meaning and purpose of life? Answer that and you will have solved the mystery of all times.

      A. The purpose of life is to love each other. Do no harm to another person. Learn to share and help each other. Do not Condemn unless you wish to be condemned by the same measure. Forgive to be forgiven.

      You are correct, the number of people will not matter unless we learn the above.

      Q. God did not instruct Adam and Eve to multiply and stop at 100 million. There is no mechanism to set a population to a fix number except in science fiction. Remember Soylent Green - the movie?

      A. Nature drives us to procreate, that is fine, but we are not animals. We should control ourselves and avoid: war, famine and disease as our control mechanisms. The above proposal of birth control is to avoid the situation of Soylent Green.

      P.S. We do not know what God told Adam because we were not there.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 5 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      That is a "dumb" question to ask. What do you mean why do we need more than ...? In that case, why do we need 1 person?

      It is not a question of how many people but what is the meaning and purpose of life? Answer that and you will have solved the mystery of all times.

      God did not instruct Adam and Eve to multiply and stop at 100 million. There is no mechanism to set a population to a fix number except in science fiction. Remember Soylent Green - the movie?

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 weeks ago from Houston, TX USA

      Yes, we have resource management problems and probably always will. Fewer people may simplify logistical problems. Follow the examples of Europe and Japan.

      Again, why do we need more that 100 million people in the world?

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 5 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Europe is dying slowly. When the birth rate falls below the death rate, the society is in decline.

      You have no solution until you answer the question "who decides?" In nazi Germany, under Hitler, they exterminated Jews...

      We don't have a population crisis.

      We have a resource management problem.

      There are plenty of food and energy and land and space...

      We don't have the infrastructure to distribute and move resources to where people are concentrated...

      I prefer a democracy where people vote for their government and policies...

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 weeks ago from Houston, TX USA

      So population control IS working in Europe!

      My suggestion is simple, start thinking of the Minimum number of people needed in the world. How much is that? 100 million? 10 million? Can you give any rational reason we need more that 100 million people in the world?

      Look at the alternative, Famine, poverty and war. Why not control ourselves rather than rut like animals?

    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 6 weeks ago from Creating The Ivan Brand in Miami, FL

      OK, I'll check out the old farmer's almanac myself.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 6 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Jay, that is a little naive. No person will volunteer to reduce their number of children. In Europe and Japan, they are experiencing a declining population where their country 's long term survival is in question. I remember in the 1970s, over population was a big discussion. As it turned out, there was no problem as we found better and more efficient way of food production. The bottom line, we haved plenty of energy, plenty pf raw materials and we have ingenuity to invent and improve...

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 6 weeks ago from Houston, TX USA

      Good questions Jack. I think education is the key. Once people know what we are doing to the environment they would voluntarily have fewer children or none at all. Who decides... as always... the woman.

      see:

      https://hubpages.com/education/Progressive-Science...

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 6 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Jay, assuming what you say is true, what do you consider a good limit on global population and who gets to decide?

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 6 weeks ago from Houston, TX USA

      Jack Lee, I do not watch Bill Nyc, but I agree we need to reduce population to reduce our effects on the Environment (I did not say climate change, but environment).

      Climate change is due in large part to the Malkovich cycles.

      The Bible is better explained by a misidentification of a person/ pilot as God. Who wants a God who goes around killing people or commanding genocide? See the Book of Joshua.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 6 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Erick, I think you are missing the point. The Old Farmers Almanac has a good track record in predicting weather. They have a secret formula that has worked for them over the years. They are not 100 percent but are better at predicting long range forecast than most including our NOAA which has over estimated hurricanes for the past several years.

      The point of my article is that given the past 300 years of extreme weather, we cannot say the past 25 years is better or worse. It is within the statistical variation of natural climate change.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 6 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Jay, that is far out! I think you been watching the Science Guy, Bill Nye too much. He too think the way to deal with climate change is to have a smaller population.

      That is not what God instructed?... "Be fruitful and multiply..."

      The problem with AGW is the focus on Man and his influence on the environment. Even though we have accomplished much, we are very small compared to the size of the earth. We have plenty of resorces to last a long long time and we are not even close to full population.

    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 6 weeks ago from Creating The Ivan Brand in Miami, FL

      While Technology has improved since the 1890s and has certainly improved since the 1940s, I now think that the weather has grown steady since the 1700s. Does the old farmer's almanac predict hurricanes that'll strike this year?

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 6 weeks ago from Houston, TX USA

      Theory: Mt. Toba killed so many people reproduction was by Incest. That is why we have so many genetic defects today.

      Theory: Mt. Toba destroyed a high-tech civilization (with aircraft). The remnants of that civilization flew around trying to organize people. The piolets and aircraft were misidentified as God/angels to the remaining bands of low-tech survivors. This theory would completely explain ancient religious stories of flying Gods.

      Climate change? Yes, according to the Malkovich Cycle. To reduce our effect on the environment we need to practice Birth Control. We need to think of the Least amount of people in the world rather than the most.

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      Jack Lee 6 weeks ago from Yorktown NY

      Erick, just wondering if this information affected your thinking about current extreme weather conditions. Do you think it is worse, about the same or better today than the past 300 years history in the US?

    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 6 weeks ago from Creating The Ivan Brand in Miami, FL

      The Mt Toba theory stated that the population dipped from just over 200,000 to about 2,500 (I think).

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 6 weeks ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      To be clear, the possible human population bottleneck due to Mt. Toba is proposed to have occurred about 75,000 years ago. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_the...

    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 6 weeks ago from Creating The Ivan Brand in Miami, FL

      For your information, Mt. Toba, the Indonesian supervolcano, killed so many people that it caused the world population to plummet below 16,000. Fact.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, my mind is open to new evidence... with emphasis on the word "evidence."

      "Doc, I am generally against using geo engineering technique to combat climate change... There are unintended consequences when dealing with these global changing events... The cure may be worst than the disease..."

      Indeed.

      "...the small chance that global warming becomes a deadly issue down the road."

      Except that it is already a "deadly issue," having by my rough and unscientific estimate, already killed more than 100,000 people prematurely.

      "Mitigating against climate change over a century is better than tackling it now when we are still studying the climate and perfecting the models..."

      I know I've said it before, but this cannot be reiterated enough. *There is no time to wait.* The carbon budget is limited, and we have burned through more than half of it already--with emissions still increasing (though less quickly than they used to). Another decade like this and we will have no hope whatever of staying under 2 C warming.

      I don't want to submerge you with links, but this is well worth your time. Note that the IEA has a deep history with fossil fuels, and that IRENA was created in part to address a consistent IEA history of underestimating renewable energy deployment. So it's quite remarkable to see both agencies addressing the issue of carbon emissions, and possible pathways to staying under 2 C.

      http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publication...

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I am generally against using geo engineering technique to combat climate change. Not for the reasons cited in your link. There are unintended consequences when dealjng with these global changing events. Who knows what can happen when we blanket the globe with a compound that seems harmless...? The cure may be worst than the disease...

      It is good to know that there is a drastic measure that though costly, can be implemented in the small chance that global warming becomes a deadly issue down the road.

      I would prefer to take a more measured approach. Mitigating against climate change over a century is better than tackling it now when we are still studying the climate and perfecting the models...

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, It will take me a while to go through the info you provided. Give me a week or so and I will respond.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      It's always good to keep an open mind... even when you are 100% convinced. haha...

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Jack, why do I 'need' to "think outside the box?"

      The point here is that there are cost-effective ways to deal with our problems here and now. We don't need super-plants or space shields that may or may not exist 50 years from now. We simply have to give up the delusion that fossil fuels are necessary for prosperity and progress.

      As to "Cool It," I haven't read it, but I have looked into a number of Bjorn Lomborg's public pronouncements in the past. He's clearly out to lunch on sea level rise.

      On other points, he's--well, controversial, to put it mildly. But no-one claims, as far as I can tell, that he has any expertise in climate science.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bj%C3%B8rn_Lomborg

      Returning to the point we were talking about, do you have a response to the analyses that I pointed to?

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      doc, there was a book written a few years ago that address the mitigation issue. It is called "Cool It" you might want to check it out. Also, you need to think outside the box. There is no one solution to this crisis. With all the technologies improvements just tjhe last 50 years, don't you think something will be invented in the next 50 years that will revolutionize our way of dealing with CO2? For example, how about the creation of a "super plant" that will eat up CO2 in large quantities? or building a sky shield shutter above the atomosphere to deflcect solar energy? the possibil;ities are endless.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Well, the question of geo-engineering versus mitigation is a huge topic, and I suspect that you really need to read a lot of literature to get a pretty complete picture. However, just with quick references, Robock concluded in a seminal 2009 paper that radiation management would cost "several billion [USD]" yearly, and would have, in addition to its benefits, the following disadvantages:

      --produce regional drought

      --produce ozone depletion,

      --produce less sunlight for solar power

      --make skies less blue

      --hamper Earth-based optical astronomy

      --do nothing to stop ocean acidification

      --present many ethical and moral issues

      He concludes that the pluses and minuses need to be quantified to inform decision-making.

      You can read previous studies in that area he cites, and you can search citations of this paper to read more recent analyses. Here's a link to a PDF:

      http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/GRLreview2.p...

      On the costs of mitigation side, the Stern report, an official effort of the UK govenment, found that transitioning away from a fossil-fuel-based economy to mitigate carbon emissions would cost as much as 1% of global GDP. But since costs of up to 20% of global GDP would be avoided, mitigation should have been an economic no-brainer. Today, some say the economics of mitigation are much better than then, because so much 'green tech' has become more affordable--in fact, by more than an order of magnitude:

      http://www.climatecentral.org/news/climate-economi...

      On the putative Mars shot, I'd love to see it done, personally. But just as it's much more expensive to maintain your home over the years than to go on a fun vacation, it's much harder to 'climate condition' the world than even to colonize Mars. (Unless you include 'climate conditioning' Mars in colonization costs, and maybe even then, given that as far as we know, Mars has no current ecosystems to preserve.)

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, I don't think anybody have done the analysis that reducing fossil fuel is the cheapest way to go... there are other methods which the environmentalist disagree...

      As far as technology goes, in the next 50 years, we are expected to travel to Mars... and you don't think we can come up with a way to cool the planet? You have too little faith in our ingenuity.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Two quick replies, Jack.

      1) Yes, the great ice sheets will take a long time to melt completely. However, they do not 'clamp' the temperature of the entire planet, just as you note in your analogy when you say those piles of snow will be there when the temperatures are in the 50s and 60s.

      2) Jack, to 'condition' the planet would be to modulate the energy fluxes in and out of the atmosphere. In fact, that's exactly what we are doing now with our greenhouse emissions--in the warming direction, obviously. To cool, we'd have to either decrease GHG concentrations, or decrease incoming sunlight. The latter has been suggested as a possible response, but has numerous drawbacks: vast expense, non-linear responses differentially advantaging various nations and therefore making adoption difficult and highly contentious, failure to address ocean acidification, and the need for indefinite maintainenance of the program (in the face of dangerous very rapid warming in the event of sudden cessation.)

      Most people, as in almost everybody who has looked at it, think it would be simpler and cheaper to stop burning fossil fuels.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, another thought which you inspired me by talking about the next ice age. The average temperature of the earth now is 57.2 degrees F, and during the last ice age was 44.6 degrees F a range of 12 degrees. What if we did what we do in our homes? In the summer we use AC to cool our homes and in the winter we use oil or gas heat to keep a comfortable 68 degrees F. Instead of calling IPCC, why not support International Panel on Climate Control?

      Let's treat the earth, our habitat as a closed system. We can keep the earth more closely to what we like and less what the natural cycle of warming and ice ages. There is nothing that will prevent future technologies of improving on warming and cooling on a global scale. Suppose we are able to control it? Wouldn't that be even better? than reducing fossil fuel... ideally, if we can maintain the earth at an even balmy 60 degrees give or take a few degrees either way for all times. Think of all the benefits of increased food production for longer periods for mankind. Less problems with moving glaciers every 100,000 years... food for thought...

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 4 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, perhaps this simple exercise can explain it for you. In my neck of the wood, last week, we received 12 inches of snow in less than 24 hours. In my driveway and in shopping centers, the snow plow pushed all the snow into a high pile. This pile will be there long into Spring when the temperature will be in the 50s and 60s. Why is that? It is the same reason why glaciers will not melt anytime soon... on a much bigger scale. This may be an unscientific explanation but it serves the purpose.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 4 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      No, the El Nino does not account for the record high temps. Otherwise, 2014 & 2015 would not have surpassed the last big Nino in '98. And it's unlikely that we are heading into an Ice Age, though we 'should' be, according to Milankovitch cycles--the GHG forcing is much greater than the solar 'signal.' (There's also the issue of time scales, but let's not get too far into the weeds here.)

      And once again, you are arguing purely from incredulity. You advance no actual reason why the temperature projection can't happen--it's just that you *choose* not to believe that it is possible.

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      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Doc, history is the facts hard to deny. I find most people have short memories. The latest storms always seems to be the worst... The el nino of past few years accounts for the high record temperatures. If you look at the global climate, we are actually heading into a mini ice age. Thst is why the projected rise ala hockey stick is all wet. There is no way the global temperature can rise at that steep curve, no matter how hot the earth get.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 5 months ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

      Interesting, in a "Trivial Pursuit" kind of way, but the fact that extreme weather has always happened tells us nothing. If we want to know something about whether weather extremes are changing in some way reflective of anthropogenic climate change, we really need to look at quantifiable *patterns* of change. Like this, for instance:

      http://www.climatesignals.org/data/record-high-tem...

      The present decade is well-positioned to outdo the last, too.

      https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temper...

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      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I agree that man has very little control over our climate. I also agree that we were given dominion over the earth and it is our duty to protect and conserve our environment and the animals. Thanks for checking in.

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      Eric Dierker 5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Jack I would love to take you on a hike to the inner gorge of the Grand Canyon. There are spots where a million years settle into one inch. And just below are formations known to be at least two billion. God can make it so. But us kicking natures' ass and changing it to any degree is folly. Even our endangered and extinct creatures come and go - it is true nature. I heard that ten new species in the animal kingdom are found each month. One massive volcano - Pinatubo released more crap than LA could in 100 thousand years.

      Such arrogance man has. OTOH my footprint is tiny tiny tiny. Use, reuse and recycle and drive less and wash less.

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      Jack Lee 5 months ago from Yorktown NY

      I thouht I made it clear. These pages are from the Old Farmer's Almanac 2017 edition.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Very informative. Where did you get the chart? If you look up, "Ice Cores" and weather you can go back about 800,000 years. A graph of air temperature shows a fairly regular cycle of highs and lows. We are in a hot period now. I am waiting for the reversal and the next Ice Age.