Thursday, May 07, 2009

A year without summer

About two centuries ago, during the "Dalton Minimum", there were nearly 30 years of global cooling, world temperature dropped by around 2 Celsius from their normal levels. And there was one year of almost full year of snow in the temperate zone, and lots of rains in the tropics. That was called "a year without summer". There was massive crop failure, resulting in mass hunger in a number of countries. Crops and vegetables cannot withstand prolonged cold season, they wilt, they die.

This year in the Philippines and many other countries, there is an obvious change in climate. Before it was "global warming" literature all around. This does not look consistent with current weather development. Summer months are March to May. But it was often cloudy with occassional rains in many parts of the country from March to April. The almost daily rains phenomenon started especially in mid-April up to this week, the 1st week of May. Many people, including me, bring an umbrella almost daily because the rains can come anytime. It can be sunny in the morning and suddenly turn cloudy by noon or afternoon, or evening.

The 5th typhoon of the year, locally named "Emong" has already entered the country's area of responsibility today. Tomorrow it is forcast to make landfall in Pangasinan, a province north of Manila. This will be among the few typhoons that come from the South China Sea and exiting towards the Pacific Ocean. Normally it's the reverse. And having 5 typhoons in early May is too many, considering that regular rainy season starts in June, and the peak of typhoon season is August-September. Also, average number of typhoons that visit the Philippines is 20 per year. What would this mean, we will have 25 or more typhoons this year? That should be too much.

Some climate scientiss who are skeptical of the dominant "global warming" prediction by the IPCC and other scientists, environmental NGOs, etc. are predicting that the planet is approaching the "Dalton Minimum" this year and the coming years. Up to the next 30 years.

The current weather pattern is bad for tourism and farmers for dry crops. Tomatoes, water melon, peanuts, corn, other summer crops suffer low output this year because of the early onset of the rains. But current weather is good news for rice farmers. They can plant early and harvest early.

Of course communities have to grapple with prolonged rainy season and its sometimes undesirable results -- flash floods, landslides.

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