Saturday, January 6, 2018


As is my habit I routinely cut out newspaper articles of significance and interest to me. Usually if I'm going to post about them I do so shortly after having read them and cut them out. Today is a little different in that I am posting about an article (Editor's Notes) in the Woolwich Observer from last May 11, 2017. Steve Kannon, the Editor, wrote the following Editorial titled "Recent heavy rainfall and flooding likely the shape of things to come".

Of course it is during an ongoing unusual weather event that I have decided to post about Global Warming also known as Climate Change. Also of interest, in hindsight, was the timing of Steve Kannon's Editorial. He was talking about unusually cold weather combined with heavy rain in the first week of May. In fact he wrote that the first week of May has dropped "...more rain than we usually see in all of May.". So what is the timing issue I'm talking about? Last June Waterloo Region as well as north of here was inundated with rain during an overnite episode. Normally even with the extraordinary amount of rain that fell, the flooding wouldn't have been such a record breaker. However Steve's Editorial clarifies things. The ground was already saturated hence the huge downfall literally had nowhere to go except into surface waterways, basements, garages and low lying areas which it did with a vengeance.

Currently we are experiencing both unusual cold for this time of year plus it has been of unusual duration. Historically the two coldest weeks of the year have been the last week in January and the first week in February. That is a few weeks away and we've been in this cold snap for at least a week already. Yes the two heaviest snowfall months are December and January, historically. Thus the snow is no big deal although yours truly was secretly (or not) kind of hoping that global warming would lessen that workload.

Now just because Steve Kannon predicted warmer weather (as well as greater flooding etc.) during a cooler than usual April/May and just because we are currently in a deep freeze (-25 C, -13 F) this morning, I'm not going to take a cheap shot at Steve's predictions. Anybody older than 40-45 years knows that summers are getting hotter, there is more rain in winter than we've ever had before and generally less snowfall. Also I believe that overall winters have been milder over the last few decades.

Two days ago I posted about the methane issue in the Bolender Park Landfill. I pointed out that our current unusually cold weather very well might be the straw that allows methane gas to migrate horizontally into nearby homes and businesses where their heating systems (furnaces, fireplaces) will likely be going full blast. We all hope this does not result in a disaster. If it does our local illuminaries will undoubtedly blame a leaking natural gas pipe, ISIS terrorists, tampering (suicide?) and last but not least the weather if they finally have to concede the possibility of methane gas being the culprit. That said Steve Kannon's Editorial makes it very clear that it is not just exceptional weather events that cause disasters. Usually it is "...caused by poor land-use decisions, among other public-policy foibles.". This fellow citizens will exactly be the cause of any such disaster (fire/explosion/vapour intrusion) if it occurs here in Elmira, in and around Bolender Park.


  1. A big buildup to making a relevant point in your last paragraph. Sorry Alan, based on my environmental career they are or can be entirely separate issues. And just because we are currently suffering from a polar vortex doesn't mean climate change is not happening. As for flooding, in urban areas this is becoming more prevalent and that is due to increased urbanization, roads and parking lots being impervious and yes, climate change as well. Severe weather is more of an issue now than everyday weather and whether we are worse off now than when we were kids is irrelevant to me. Cold winters and flooding happened back then but does one not think mankind has created the situations we are in now. Just my humble opinion old buddy!!

  2. I agree with most of that.

  3. Well I would have expected you to say you agreed with all of it based on my professional history. I do have the data to back it up. You know old buddy I would never lead you astray.