On a Beach Walk: No. 41 (Storms)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

In advance of a storm front due to pass in mid-afternoon, many clouds dominate the sky. They are not a solid mass, but an irregular one showing a seemingly unlimited spectrum of gray. The clouds nearly saturate the sky as ritual smoke as they move to their own cosmic dance.

Scant patches of blue periodically appear as holes leading to a greater beyond. Sometimes, an opening aligns with the sun to shine light on me. Other times the sun transforms a puffy cloud into a brilliant white aerial statue.

The wind is a little stronger today at it assists me in my eastward walk – but I know it will provide resistance on my return trip.

The winds travel across the water’s surface creating ripples for as far as I can see. I look at the thick clouds above whose lower surfaces appear as ripples caused by the same wind. There must be a connection.

The sea is more agitated than normal – unlike their more placid nature of yesterday. The red flag warms visitors of riptide currents, yet the sea is far from the fury whose tempest took ships to their unexpected but permanent mooring on the ocean floor.

The storm is not yet here – and may or may not live up to forecasted expectations. The clouds serve as a blanket of anticipation – but not a positive one because they display a haunting gloom of the approaching afternoon worry.

Storms make people anxious – just as the difficulties, trials, and tribulations do in life. Personal storms tend to weaken fragile foundations, but those with a strong cornerstone survive and come forth with strength and wisdom.

I think of storms as metaphors because storms are like problems, scrutiny, anger, life changing events, trials, and tribulations. We are aware of the political storms of controversy and ideological differences, but brainstorming seldom solves these problems.

Fortunately, information does not imply that the current and approaching weather conditions are aligning to be the perfect storm – but I wonder about not only its turmoil, but the calm on the other side – even the possibility of a rainbow, then the sunshine to follow.

For now, I don’t worry. I enjoy this time because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Global Warming Misfires

It gets you a little nervous about what is happening to global temperatures. When it’s 75 degrees in Chicago in the beginning of March, you start thinking. On the other hand, I really have enjoyed nice weather. (President Obama)

When I heard him say those words, I shook my head and wanted to shake some sense into him because he should know better. Then again, he is a politician who does what politicians do. For most of the eastern US, winter 2011-2012 was abnormally mild. However, regardless, of one’s stance on global warming, I shake my head at anyone who any point in time to promote or criticize global warming – and yes – I criticized President Obama on these pages at the time.

Not long after President Obama’s remarks, the Wall Street Journal published a guest columnist – Dr. William Harper, a physics professor at Princeton University. Dr. Harper concluding paragraph began with these words.

The most important component of climate science is careful, long-term observation of climate-related phenomena, from space, from land, and in the oceans.

I agree with Dr. Harper’ concluding statement, but it is interesting to examine the data that he used. He opened his column with President Obama’s quote in order to counter the president. Interestingly, the majority of the data he cites in his article is specific point data rather than long-term data. In other words, he did what he criticized President Obama for doing.

My point is that there is a difference between weather and climate. Whereas both are important for any location, the key difference between the two is the time involved. Each of us know how the weather can change very quickly, climate, on the other hand, involves years of data to establish climate. Therefore, discussions about climate change should involve climate data – not weather data.

So here we are, in this period of abnormally scorching temperatures across the much of the U.S., ridiculous comments continue to come forth.

On Random Science Thoughts

On a New Header
As I stated on the first post of the year, my plan is to dedicate the 2010 to the Hubble Telescope by changing headers throughout the year. As I have stated several time, I find great awe in Hubble images as they display play my belief in continual creation.

I started the year with an image of the Veil Nebula, and now I change to the Trifid Nebula. Here are two links to learn more about Trifid: Wikipedia and Science Daily.

Interestingly, yesterday NASA released images from the WISE Mission.

To see the previous header, click the Past Banners tab along the top.

On the European Telescope
I recently discovered the images from the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Their telescope, Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), recently released new images – simply amazing. Here is the click to their gallery, and I added it as a Potpourri link.

On Watts Up with That?
While visiting Basic Blogonomics (of my friend Dave), I discovered an interesting science site – Watts Up with That?: Commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology, and recent news by Anthony Watts. Interesting reading here.

On Masdar City
Masdar City in Adu Dhabi, UAE is a planned city that will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources, with a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology. It is quite intriguing and worth searching on your favorite search engines.

On Global Warming
Although I realize that global warming is a controversial topic, much of it is due to misinformation and selective use of statistics. There’s no doubt in my mind that the debate is actually about economics, I’m still amazed how some people seeking power play on the ignorance or stupidity of others. Let’s take the Virginia state Republican Party officials who use this winter’s storms in their area to fire doubt about global warming. Time had this to say about the situation:

Weather is what will happen next weekend; climate is what will happen over the next decades and centuries. And while our ability to predict the former has become reasonably reliable, scientists are still a long way from being able to make accurate projections about the future of the global climate. (Click for full article)

On Learning Physics
Years ago, I learned about this site and its creator. Whether you are a parent of a student, a student, or just a person who has always enjoyed physics, this is a the Physics Classroom.

Here are a few other sites to enjoy.