“Weather” describes atmospheric conditions at any location — temperature, humidity, clouds, precipitation, and winds. Every place has its own weather, which depends on the time of day, the season, the latitude, local topography, and the nearness and surface temperature of the ocean. Meteorologists need a good knowledge of weather records, atmospheric physics, geography, oceanography, and solar cycles. Weather is mainly about wind — is it hot or cold, moist or dry, strong or weak? Surface atmospheric pressure gradients control wind strength, direction, and temperature, and are valuable tools for short-term forecasting. Longer-term weather forecasters will find value in studying sunspots and El Niño episodes in the oceans. Few weathermen see any value in measuring or forecasting atmospheric CO2 to help forecast the weather. “Climate” is defined as the thirty-year average of weather at that spot. To determine climate trends thus requires centuries of reliable weather records. This is why geologists feature so prominently in determining past climates by mapping Earth’s crust and collecting deep core samples in ice sheets, ocean and lake sediments, and crustal rocks.
Nature & Environment
A fungus that is destroying bat populations in eastern North America has made its first appearance on the Canadian Prairies. Researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society report that they’ve found the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in eastern Saskatchewan, despite hopes the western grasslands would prove a barrier. “We have found the fungus,” said Cory Olson, who discovered it while researching how bats use structures on the prairies such as bridges. “It’s easily in the millions of bats in North America that have already died from this fungus.” White-nose syndrome is caused by growth of the Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus on the bodies of hibernating bats. Bats are able to fight off the fungus during the summer. But when they hibernate in winter, their immune systems slow down.
“Not nothing” was how Justin Trudeau portrayed his environmental track record over the weekend. “Not nothing” isn’t much of a boast from a man who, six years ago, stood on the stage at the crucial Paris climate conference and solemnly intoned: “Canada is back.” I was in that room in Paris, in 2015, just a few weeks after the vote that had seen Justin Trudeau’s Liberals get elected on a frothy promise of “real change.” I felt hopeful we would finally get it right on climate. Once back in Canada, however, and with less fanfare, Trudeau announced that his own targets and timelines to fight climate change would, in fact, be those of his much-maligned predecessor, Stephen Harper. Oh, and he never managed to meet even those. At the end of last year, Trudeau announced a bold, marvellous new climate plan. Only problem is, nothing has come of it yet. On April 22, Earth Day, he joined Biden and other leaders and, needing something to say, started outbidding himself. Nothing really new, just more ambitious targets. […] In the six years he’s been in power, Trudeau has seen GHGs increase every year and, yes, we do have the worst record of G7 countries.
President Biden claims recent hurricanes prove we’re in a “climate crisis” — “code red” for the world, he warns. White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy adds that climate is now a “health emergency.” It’s convenient for politicians to treat every hurricane, tornado and flood as an apocalyptic sign from Gaia — and then blame political apostates for offending the goddess. But it’s an irrational way to think about the world. Because our situation is, in most ways, quantifiably better than before on nearly every front. This reality is probably difficult to accept for a generation subjected to decades of fearmongering, but climate anomalies are nothing new. When a freak snowstorm hit Texas this year, the administration used it to push draconian policies. But the Texas storm was no different than the rare 1973 blizzard that hit the South. It happens. And there’s nothing we can do. While victims of Ida will take no solace in this fact, historically speaking, hurricanes aren’t touching land at higher frequencies, either. Nor is there evidence that storms that make landfall do so with more intensity than in previous years.
An Alberta couple received hefty hunting fines in Saskatchewan after a driver was caught using his cellphone while driving. Saskatchewan Environment said a conservation officer was patrolling in the Turtleford area on Nov. 22, 2020, when a driver was spotted using his phone. During the traffic stop, the conservation officer said a white-tailed doe was found with improperly applied seals. Further investigation found that the couple had obtained multiple Saskatchewan resident hunting licences despite having lived in Alberta since 2018, according to Saskatchewan Environment. They were also accused of providing false information about when and where several deer had been harvested and trying to enlist a third person to cover up their deceptions. Richard Bannister and Valerie Lavelle, both from Veteran, Alta., recently pleaded guilty in St. Walburg provincial court to numerous charges, including misrepresenting their place of residence, lying to a conservation officer and improperly harvesting and tagging game.
The Solar Futures Study from the Department of Energy, released Wednesday, shows that by 2035, solar energy has the potential to power 40% of the nation’s electricity and create up to 1.5 million jobs — without raising electricity costs for consumers. “The study illuminates the fact that solar, our cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy, could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the US by 2035 and employ as many as 1.5 million people in the process,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. Solar currently accounts for about 3% of US electricity supply. The study shows the US would need to quadruple its yearly solar capacity additions by 2035, providing 1,000 gigawatts of power to ensure most of the electricity grid was powered by renewables.