Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pineapple Express

Walking an overheated Dog this evening and came across a neighbour tending his garden. We said hi and did a bit of small talk about local gossip and the weather. Neighbour, being a local boy, knows all the little climatic quirks of our little patch of paradise, including a phenomenon he called the 'Pineapple Express'. Apparently this is a feature that occurs in mainly El Nino years, which raises temperatures and rainfall in the depths of winter, often raising the temperature to ten or eleven degrees. I recounted a few occasions when I had noted the wind direction has changed the local weather within a few hours, which, neighbour assured me was consistent with the aforesaid weather system. This particular wind comes from the South East, and things get pretty stormy, even in the comparative haven of the Narrows. Snow comes from almost due west during Winter, and calmer but very much colder weather from the North West.

Neighbour recounted meeting a couple of Environmentalists who had berated him about the large paper bag he had been carrying, virtually accusing him of being a 'tree murderer'. He had, like any good Canadian does, spoke his mind and told them about plant respiration. They apparently obeyed the Leninist maxim 'Advance with bayonet fixed, if you meet mush, continue, if you meet steel, withdraw.' Which in itself was very telling.
"They should read their damn History books." He remarked sharply. "All this fool talk about global warming. The Vikings had farms in Greenland a thousand years ago. Then a few hundred years later it got cooler again, and hundreds of thousands of people froze to death all over Europe."
"Yeah, they don't understand much about High School physics either." I agreed. "Or geology." Well, it seems to be true. We groused a bit about the two point four cents on every litre of gas as of Tuesday, and how pointless it all was.
"The weather all tracks the sunspot cycles." Neighbour opined, and for myself I agreed that in England at least,every 20-22 years we get a colder and snowier Winter with damp and miserable summers either side, which is what we're having now. Not so much every 10-11 years like in the basic sunspot cycle but certainly his postulation seems to fit the profile which suggests (At least in the current climate cycles) that there are weather cycles that fit in with a basic 10-11, 20-22, 63-66 year sunspot pattern. Despite it being the first day when temperatures ascended to the 29 degree celsius marker, according to neighbour it's been a cooler and wetter year than usual on Vancouver Island this year. He's expecting similar next year. Maybe a bit warmer the year after, and I'd take his word over ten million David Suzuki's, Al Gore's and James Hansen's. The man is a gardener, what we used to call on rural England 'old country' and in my half century on this planet I have found that kind of person appears to know more about the climate than anyone else.

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