Monday, October 17, 2005



By Elaine Meinel Supkis

From the BBC:
Oil prices rose by $1.50 a barrel on Monday, as dealers grow nervous about the possibility of another storm hitting output in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical Storm Wilma, caused by a depression in the Caribbean, could move into the Gulf by Friday, said the US National Hurricane Center.

It comes in the wake of hurricanes Rita and Katrina, which shut US oil facilities. Six remain closed.

US crude was up $1.42 at $64.05 and Brent crude up $1.48 at $60.96.
Wilma is getting up there in the name list. Xerxes next? Xenon? At least there are a lot of Y names.
Wilma is either going to hit the heaviest oil fields yet again or curve into Florida. We shall see. The longer she swirls in the warm Gulf waters, the worse she will be. Time for more planetary weather news. We Northeasters just came off of a huge series of storms. After a very dry summer, in one week, we got several month's worth of rain so the overall stats will look normal but it is very abnormal, coming in this fashion. Quite a bit of flood damage out of what were "ordinary" storms. Meaning, there wasn't some "perfect storm" scenario, just lots of water being concentrated on us right now. Next month, this might be happening elsewhere on the planet. Just like in late July, early August, the intense rain was in the Alpine regions of Europe. Note how there were no hurricanes during this bout of intense rain.

From the BBC:
A worsening drought in the Amazon basin has prompted Brazil to extend an emergency across the Amazonas state.
Brazil's military has been distributing supplies and medicine to tens of thousands of people stranded by the dramatic drop in water levels.

Witnesses say rivers and lakes have dried up completely, leaving behind kilometres of sand and mud.

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has blamed deforestation and global warming for the drought.

It quoted scientists as saying that the burning of forests has raised temperatures in the Amazon, preventing the formation of clouds.

Brazilian government meteorologists, however, have said the drought is the result of unusually high temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, that have also been linked to this year's devastating hurricanes.
f The Amazon is rightfully called "the lungs of the world" and it has lung cancer. Humans evolved on savannahs and everywhere we go, we create imitation savannahs. Many of our crops are from the grass family---corn, wheat, sugar, barley, oats, rice. What animals which we hunted grazed upon, we now consume ourselves and use to feed captive animals that we eat.

As far as humans are concerned, jungles are wastelands. Even humans living in the jungles try to clear it as much as possible by slash and burn or they fell the trees and grow stuff in between the fallen logs. Jungles support few humans, the famous pygmy tribes in Africa are an example, they evolved into smaller stature because of the sparse eating.

Alas for humans, turning the entire planet into a savannah is a very bad idea. This huge imbalance in nature will tip the ecoscales so that we end up with the dire side effect of savannahization: desertfication. The Mayan, for example, cut down all the jungles in Central America and turned it into corn growing lands and this caused serious weather disruptions leading to the destruction of their civilization. No small matter, that!

We can see it in the Fertile Cresent which is now pretty desert looking. The Gardens of Babylon are now red dust cloaked places barely tolerable in winter and nearly impossible to live in comfortably in summer without serious bubble protections like we see in Texas or Arizona today. Florida, too, for that matter.

America can't afford another hurricane this year. I notice the lack of jumping to help the Northeast when we got flooded. It is like we are cut off, on our own here now. And soon, everyone will be like that as the money runs out. Which reminds me, here is a funny article from the business pages: From Market Watch:
Citing a surge in tax revenues, the federal government on Friday posted a deficit of $319 billion in fiscal 2005, down $94 billion from the previous year's record....
This number is stupid only because the "decline" in red ink is due to increased Social Security money which is no longer in that "locked box" and thus is counted as present revenue. And the red ink is ferocious on any scale. And worse, this was when things were still booming in the housing sector which is no longer true. And the red ink doesn't take in Katrina or Rita. Those will show up in January's figures which will stink.

Oh well, on with the hurricane/flood season. At least our 10+ inches of rain last week wasn't snow! That would translate into over 8' of snow and the Northeast would have been paralyzed economically!

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