The past week saw the horrendous devastation caused by tornados in Alabama and over the past couple of months we’ve had two major storms hit the Monterey Peninsula. The effect has been widespread destruction, but nothing compared with the damage done in the Southeast. Our hearts go out to the people who have lost friends, family and property. If we thought prayer would do any good we’d pray. But like the heroes, Jaq and Kate, of Sun Valley Moon Mountains, we have a pagan streak. So we offer our thoughts and hearts.
The Monterey Peninsula on the Central Coast of California is peculiar in more than one way. First, it is the coldest area in the continental U.S. during the summer months of July and August. The rest of the country’s summer is our winter! And while the rest of the country uses air conditioners, they are practically nonexistent here. Instead the generator is the preferred ‘appliance’. During the last storm ours ran for four days!
The Monterey Peninsula is also home to Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine. As I wrote last week in the short story, Wanda and the Winged Sea Serpent, “the Monterey pine is a very common, though not terribly attractive, species of conifer on the Peninsula.” I was generous. Most individuals are very tall and straight with only a ‘shock top’ of needles, which shed 24/7/365. There is a ‘dominant’ variety that actually possesses an attractive ‘habit’ but is far less common. In addition to being tall and gangly, the Monterey pine has a shallow root system. This makes it vulnerable to high winds common during storms.
The last big storm, of a type known as the ‘Pineapple Express’ (those come from the direction of Hawaii), took down over 300 trees in Del Monte Forest in Pebble Beach.
This baby was at the end of our driveway, over 80 feet tall and snapped in half! The tree below was uprooted, fell across the adjacent road and demolished a neighbor’s driveway gate.
Another took out a gatehouse onto 17 Mile Drive. No fatalities.
This was the worst storm some had seen in over three decades. So is Climate Change real? Sure. Did humans have something to do with this (secular or cyclical) change? Your call. I take a simple view. Carbon causes a greenhouse effect not because it is Republican or Democrat but because its structure allows heat generating UV radiation to penetrate the atmosphere and heat up the planet, and it blocks the infrared radiation (heat) generated during the day. Maybe humans didn’t cause the current warming and more violent weather, but since we can measure carbon levels in the atmosphere and in the oceans and we know they are rising it seems to me a big stretch to say we don’t add to the problem at the margin.
And warming could have counter-intuitive effects as we find inThe Girl from Ipanema (TGFI). Rather than the meteor strike in TGFI, we are seeing formerly land-supported glaciers flow then calve, or melt, into the ocean. If this were to happen in Greenland it might affect the Gulf Stream and cause a Big Chill, as happened on earth during the Dryas period some twelve thousand years ago, or happened in TGFI.
Everyone might have to trade out their AC’s for generators. Ironic huh?