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Long-range forecast is for relentless heat

The second day of summer seems about right for musing on what kind of weather we can expect this season around the Moremstead in the Valley of the Bears.

I’ll go out on a limb and forecast that we’ll have morning fog, burning off by late morning to partly sunny skies with highs in the upper 60s to mid-70s and afternoon northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. (Whew, I should be charging for such oracular insights.)

As I’ve noted previously, I like weather, real weather. That’s why sensible people, such as The Lovely Sharita, give me sidelong glances of mild alarm when I make comments like: Gosh, if only I wasn’t such a Luddite, I’d Tivo the Weather Channel.

What can I say? Perhaps it’s my Norwegian-Minnesotan DNA at work at a cellular level. Whatever, after seeing this year’s massive floods uprooting thousands of people, killer twisters devastating whole towns and unrelenting heat and wildfires, my enthusiasm for all things weather is waning.

That feeling was goosed earlier this month when Stanford University published the results of a study June 6 that said in part: “Large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century (possibly as soon as 20 years from now), even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years.”

For those who scoff and pooh-pooh such findings as being those of poor misguided eggheads who are pursuing a socialist agenda, those well-known communistic agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health and the World Bank underwrote the study.

OK, assuming this is true, that our climate will be warming about 2 degrees in the coming decades and the unrelenting heat waves currently plaguing the West and Midwest will become the norm in our immediate lifetimes, what does that mean for our quality of lives?

Well, as this is being written, it’s 101 degrees on the Carissa Plains (or Carrizo Plain, if you prefer). Forecasts for over the Grade are calling for lots of heat — and this is only the second day of summer. And we’re staring down the barrel of this kind of heat being a “cool” summer in 20 years? What will our quality of life be in those temperatures? Here’s a wild stab: How about not pleasant?

On a health level, a European heat wave in Europe last year was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands.

The questions that should be examined (if they aren’t already) are: What will that heat do to our vineyards and crops of the Central Coast, not to mention the Central Valley’s reputation as the Salad Bowl of America, or America’s breadbasket for that matter? What about the cooked indigenous species allowing new bugs and plants to opportunistically fill those eco-niches? As new places warm to certain levels, will malaria and who knows what else find fresh hosts without immunities? And water? Well, I’ll leave that to my esteemed colleague Phil Dirkx to parse.

Here’s the point: Even if there’s an outside chance that lessening our CO2-loading on the atmosphere now will help derail this climactic high-balling freight, shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to bring that about?

Bill Morem can be reached at bmorem@thetribunenews.com or at 781-7852.

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