Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘rain’

Another benefit of global warming

Posted by Richard on August 26, 2009

Turn up your air conditioner. Fire up the barbecue grill. Gas up your SUV and take a road trip. If human CO2 production is in fact warming the planet, you'll be helping to make the desert bloom. And millions of Africans will thank you. This happy news comes from those right-wing shills for industry at National Geographic:

Desertification, drought, and despair-that's what global warming has in store for much of Africa. Or so we hear.

Emerging evidence is painting a very different scenario, one in which rising temperatures could benefit millions of Africans in the driest parts of the continent.

Scientists are now seeing signals that the Sahara desert and surrounding regions are greening due to increasing rainfall.

If sustained, these rains could revitalize drought-ravaged regions, reclaiming them for farming communities.

This desert-shrinking trend is supported by climate models, which predict a return to conditions that turned the Sahara into a lush savanna some 12,000 years ago.

The green shoots of recovery are showing up on satellite images of regions including the Sahel, a semi-desert zone bordering the Sahara to the south that stretches some 2,400 miles (3,860 kilometers).

Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.

The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan.

The transition may be occurring because hotter air has more capacity to hold moisture, which in turn creates more rain, said Martin Claussen of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, who was not involved in the new study.

In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees-such as acacias-are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne's Africa Research Unit in Germany.

"Shrubs are coming up and growing into big shrubs. This is completely different from having a bit more tiny grass," said Kröpelin, who has studied the region for two decades.

In 2008 Kröpelin-not involved in the new satellite research-visited Western Sahara, a disputed territory controlled by Morocco.

"The nomads there told me there was never as much rainfall as in the past few years," Kröpelin said. "They have never seen so much grazing land."

"Before, there was not a single scorpion, not a single blade of grass," he said.

"Now you have people grazing their camels in areas which may not have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. You see birds, ostriches, gazelles coming back, even sorts of amphibians coming back," he said.

"The trend has continued for more than 20 years. It is indisputable."

Sounds pretty good to me. I think I'll go increase my carbon footprint.

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Train bashing

Posted by Richard on July 8, 2007

Reason #347 why driving my SUV is better than mass transit: Last night's Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash at the Celtic Tavern was just a few blocks from the Union Station light rail stop, so I told myself taking the train would be reasonably convenient and safer than risking a DUI on the way home. Well, the latter was probably true.

I live about half a mile from the Broadway & I-25 station. I got about two-thirds of the way there when the thundershower hit and I had to seek shelter. Fifteen minutes later, I was able to continue.

The train I wanted sat at the station as I worked at getting the ticket machine to accept my dollar bills (an RTD light rail ticket is just about the only thing I can think of that can't be bought by scanning a debit or credit card). It continued to sit as I sprinted toward it, teasing me to within twenty feet before pulling away.

When I finally got to Union Station, it was raining cats and dogs. I waited there for twenty or thirty minutes until it slowed to a light drizzle, and then headed out with alacrity. I was almost at my destination when I realized it wasn't my destination.

In a senior moment, I'd headed for an Irish pub I'd been to in the past, Fadó, instead of the Celtic Tavern. A mere three or four block detour.

All of which explains why I was much more than the seven seconds late that I'd promised.  

Nevertheless, the evening was delightful, with lots of good conversation, and the trip home about one-ish was slow but uneventful (albeit a wee bit hazy). Even the food and service were quite good. I had just one question: How the heck can you run a place called the Celtic Tavern and not serve Guinness and Harp?

The Murphy's Irish Stout was a tolerable substitute, but no Guinness. 

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Turn on your lights! (a rant)

Posted by Richard on April 28, 2006

Greetings from Colorful Colorado, a generally quite arid state that’s imitating Seattle at the moment. This morning, I have a modest request of you, if you’re reading this blog while driving in the Denver area (or in similar circumstances elsewhere): If it’s pouring down rain as you cruise the interstate, if there’s so much spray and splashback from the standing water that it looks like you’re driving into a heavy fog, if visibility is so low that air traffic control long ago switched to instrument flight rules, …


Thank you. I feel better now.

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