Climate Change Category

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dear James,

The biggest current threat to the U.S. food supply is the extraordinary drought that has had a relentless grip on the western half of the country. If you check out the U.S. Drought Monitor, you can see that drought conditions currently stretch from California all the way to the heart of Texas. In fact, the worst drought in the history of the state of California is happening right now. And considering the fact that the rest of the nation is extremely dependent on produce grown in California and cattle raised in the western half of the U.S., this should be of great concern to all of us.

According to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. interior west is now the driest that it has been in 500 years. Snowpack in the Sierra's is 15% of normal.

California already lost 40% of the citrus crop due to the freeze in December. Driving into Fresno you can see much of the orange crop still on the trees rotting. Without the income from the crop, the farmers can't pay the workers to pick it.

In the late fall 2013 there was a freak snowstorm that killed close to 300,000+ cattle. This is a major hit to the cattle market. Government data shows that the U.S. cattle herd contracted, for six straight years, to the smallest since 1952. A record drought in 2011 destroyed pastures in Texas, the top producing state, followed the next year by a surge in feed-grain prices during the worst Midwest dry spell since the 1930s. Fewer cattle will mean production in the $85 billion beef industry drops to a 20-year low in 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. Texas beef ranchers, currently in a 5 year drought, have to ship grass bails in from Colorado, Utah and other parts of the country just to feed the cattle.

And it isn't just the U.S. that is dealing with this kind of drought. The largest freshwater lake in China that was once about twice the size of London, England has almost entirely dried up because of the ongoing drought over there.

If this drought ends and the western half of the nation starts getting lots of rain, this could just be a temporary crisis.

However, the truth is that scientific research has shown that the 20th century was the wettest century in the western half of the country in 1000 years, and we should expect things to return to "normal" at some point.

In July 2007 a few dozen climate specialists gathered at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory to discuss the past and future of the world's drylands, especially the Southwest. On the first morning, much of the talk was about medieval megadroughts. Scott Stine of California State University, East Bay, presented vivid evidence that they had extended beyond the Colorado River basin, well into California.

Stine found two distinct generations, corresponding to two distinct droughts. The first had begun sometime before 900 and lasted over two centuries. There followed several extremely wet decades, not unlike those of the early 20th century. Then the next epic drought kicked in for 150 years, ending around 1350. Stine estimates that the runoff into Sierran lakes during the droughts must have been less than 60 percent of the modern average, and it may have been as low as 25 percent, for decades at a time. "What we have come to consider normal is profoundly wet," Stine said. "We're kidding ourselves if we think that's going to continue, with or without global warming."

At a time when the United States is facing the greatest water crisis that it has ever known, our government is allowing water from the Great Lakes to be drained, bottled, and shipped to China and other countries around the globe. Right now, the Great Lakes hold approximately 21 percent of the total supply of fresh water in the entire world.

"Two of the Great Lakes have hit their lowest water levels EVER RECORDED," the US Army Corps of Engineers reported early this year. Corps measurements taken in January of 2013 "show Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have reached their lowest ebb since record keeping began in 1918." The chief watershed hydrology expert warns Americans that "We're in an extreme situation."

Lake Michigan water is being shipped by boat loads over to China! By using a little known loophole in the 2006 Great Lakes Compact, our government is allowing Nestle Company to export precious fresh water out of Lake Michigan to the tune of an estimated $500,000 to $1.8 million per day profit. All of this is happening at a time when the U.S. is getting ready to deal with the greatest water crisis this nation has ever known.

According to a Reuters article from just a few weeks ago, the state of California is currently experiencing the driest year ever recorded. According to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. interior west is now the driest that it has been in 500 years. - S.W.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hello Mr. Rawles,
I am a great fan of your work and I eagerly anticipate the release of your new novel.   I live in rural Northeastern Colorado, where both sides of my family settled in the 1870s.  The mid-sized ranch, 1,900 acres, that I live on has been owned by my family for 104 years.  I raise cattle, goats, horses and hay along with my dad, my wife and kids.  I also have a “government job” in local emergency services to help make ends meet. 
I read the recent article by Denise Chow of Live Science, titled Water Woes: Vast US Aquifer Is Being Tapped Out about the Ogallala Aquifer and thought you might be interested in it.  I can vouch that the water table is indeed dropping, from personal experience.  We are on the edge of the Ogallala Aquifer and we have always had an ample supply of water until about five years ago when the wells in our area started going dry.  We have a stock well with a windmill on our place, that was originally hand dug by my great-grandfather in the early 1890s, which went dry two years ago.  I believe that this problem will help contribute to and be a factor in the coming collapse.  There are some center pivot irrigation wells in our area that are no longer being used because they either went dry, or were told to shut down by the state to conserve water.  This has reduced the amount of high yield crops being raised because they now have to be dry land farmed and produce lower yields.
Keep up the good work and God Bless, - Michael M.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

If climate change people would improve their arguments, it's not so much global warming as it is climate chaos, or Climate Weirding.
As a Peak Oiler in the Portland area, I've also sat through my share of lectures, given by peer-reviewed scientists, on the subject. When you artificially add more CO2 and methane to the atmosphere, you don't just necessarily get record warmer temperatures (although we've definitely seen this, within the last decade in particular). What you get is more unpredictable weather, along with dry areas getting drier (Texas, for example), and wetter areas getting wetter (We had a wetter than usual winter season last year in the Northwest). Cheers, - Jerry O.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

As a geologist (masters degree) I have written for 30 years on issues of geologic hazards for numerous publications and made presentations to governmental entities regarding same. I preach preparedness for disaster as a way of mitigation for the inevitable. This is my heads up for your readers.

The unpronounceable Icelandic volcano (Eyjafjallajokull) that is currently erupting and disrupting air traffic mostly over Europe is becoming quite a demonstration of natures ability to mess with our technology. A much bigger worry is a nearby volcano called Katla which is also located under a huge ice cap on iceland. Katla is one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the island and in the northern hemisphere. There seems to be a historic connection between the eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull and Katla which is potentially a very bad thing. These volcanoes are of a scale significant enough to literally cool the climate enough to effect agriculture on a world wide basis. One of the eruptions of Katla is being tied to the french revolution (famine) and if you don't think that major social upheavals can be food related, then you need to be reading the P.E.T.A. web site not this one.

In other words, if this volcanic system starts to really clear it's throat and start singing, we won't be worrying about global warming for a while. But we will be worried about the food lines and rationing cards put out by the government to control the flow of rare commodities such as edibles. A serious volcanic event is just about all it would take to through many world economies that are teetering on the brink regardless, right over the edge. Massive quantities of SO2 thrown into the stratosphere will cool the planet rapidly and likely could give us several years of terrible harvests. Get your pantry in order if it's not already.

For some historical background, see: How an Icelandic volcano helped spark the French Revolution.

Best, - F.B., 14 miles from the nearest asphalt road.

Mr. Rawles,

Just wanted to pass along a link to an MSN story about the volcano erupting in Iceland. My eyebrow went up when I saw the words "Interwoven World" in the headline. Of course they don't go very deep into the possible disruptions this kind of event can bring about.

Also, I was curious if you are familiar with the BBC science documentary series "Connections" that was first aired in the 1970s. It had many interesting segments, but the first episode was my favorite. The host of the show used an example of a blackout that hit New York City in 1965. He discussed how people dealt with the disruption with the expectation that things were going to be fixed and then life would go back to normal. The power did come back after five hours, but the host did then put a question to the viewer of what would they do if the power did not come back. What would they do? Where would they go?

I've always been a "What If" thinker, and when I saw this in a class many years ago, it added a whole new level of thought that sticks with me to this day.

My wife and I appreciate your efforts and hope for your continued success. We just received our copy of the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course and are starting to get ourselves organized as best we can.

Thank you, - Sean J. in Washington State

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My brother wrote me recently to ask what we do to prepare for our winters here in the inland Pacific Northwest. He lives in a warmer climate but has been reading about the global cooling underway. For the last two years our area has been colder longer and this last winter we had the most snow in over 100 years.

Remembering that Boy Scout slogan, “Be prepared,” prudent people are already looking ahead for the winter soon to come. Here are my odds and ends to get your thinking processes going:

Dress to Save Your Life
Our heaviest coats are rarely used, unless the temps get below about 20. Important that they shed snow (slick, synthetic outside layer). Whether its actually snowing, or snow falls on you from the trees, or you get snow on you from scraping the car or the roof of your house you're going to get snow on you.

Knit caps keep your head comfortable. If you are working outdoors and wear a really heavy fur Russian-type hat your head will probably sweat. Our winters aren't usually very cold, so something moderate is all we need. I keep my cap, gloves, Gargoyles (folding ear muffs), Yaktrax traction cleats (in a ZipLoc bag), and scarf (rarely used) all tucked away in my heavy coat at all times, and I can add them or put them away in the pockets as needed (your coat needs to have lots of pockets). I look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, but I'm comfortable.

The cap I keep in my heavy coat has a nylon shell and ear flaps that can snap down. And it has a brim, to help keep snow out of my eyes and glasses.

When it's snowing hard you're going to want some kind of eye protection. Ski goggles would be great (all I have are some polycarbonate eye protection glasses). Try to avoid working outdoors while it's snowing, but you can't avoid it all the time. Be sure they're fog-proof (double-layer, vented). I've done without goggles all these years, but they sure would have been nice.

Mostly we layer up: shirt, sweatshirt, windbreaker or shell. My really expensive jacket that Joy bought for me turns out to not be warm, but to be a good outer layer (breathable and all that). Not particularly durable, but otherwise good. (I'm looking to buy a denim insulated work coat this winter to replace mine that has holes.)

Warm socks are a must. I've been buying GI-style socks from the local General store so I have enough for a whole week. They're quite thick. The warm socks I bought last year (not the GI-style) wore holes that I still need to darn. You can't have too many durable, warm socks.

Warm gloves are a must, but they have to be waterproof. I use insulated leather work gloves that I've treated with SnowSeal or something like that (paraffin or seal oil) to protect the leather (I wouldn't use anything that sprays on). The "ski gloves" I have are warm and shed snow, but many of them aren't waterproof and the ones I've tried are definitely not durable. If you're going to ski they're fine. If you're going to work you need leather or an insulated synthetic that is durable.

You'll also want glove liners (so get your gloves big enough). I bought some cheapo military-surplus-type wool liners. They give my gloves extra warmth and I can pull them out of the gloves to help them dry quicker. I have some really warm mittens, but I can't work in them. Putting liners in my regular insulated work gloves works better.

Waterproof, high boots are essential. I used cheapo $9 rubber boots most of the winter. They're tall, taller than the snow usually, and absolutely waterproof. And they have really aggressive treads. I don't think breathable fabric is all that important. With each step the boots breathe up your pant leg... I also don't do a lot of walking in them, but working around the homestead, around fences and barbed wire, and turkey manure the inexpensive boots work great.

Snow bibs (look like farmer's bib overalls) are cheap. You wear them under your coat. They're not so much warm as they are slick and the snow doesn't stick. They're not waterproof, so you CAN get them wet (which is bad) if you're not careful. But the snow falls off and keeps your legs dry, and they're an extra layer on your legs. I think I wore mine once or twice last year. I can easily tolerate cooler legs when my core is warm.

I don't have leggings or whatever they're called. I just pull my pants over the tops of the boots, or pull the snow bib legs over my boots. YakTrax are essential. Falls are devastating.

Working in cold weather, unless you keep changing clothes as your chores change, you're probably going to get at least a little sweaty. Some chores make you hot, some don't. Unless you're going to be going in and out (which would not be energy efficient) to continuously change clothes, then at some point your clothes are going to get wet and / or sweaty. You must have a plan for hanging the clothes over or near some heat source to dry them. Having a second set of socks and gloves and pants is important in case you have to go outside before everything's dry.

You have to plan your excursions outside. Take all the tools you need, etc. so you're not going in and out. You also have to have a plan to time yourself outside. You'll be warm but wet and not realize it. An hour of chores outside is probably plenty, then come in to hydrate and dry out. Plan to hydrate while you're outdoors too if you're working hard (don't eat the snow - it lowers your core temp).

With thick socks the rubber boots are comfortable, not very heavy, absolutely waterproof, have great tread, durable, and quick to get on and off when I do have to go in and out of the house (very nice). I have a pair of very heavy winter boots, rated to below zero. But they're heavy and hard to lace on. I've got them if I ever need to climb Mount Everest...

We keep the boots in a little plastic "boot tray" near the door so that the melting snow doesn't get everywhere and make a mess.

The rubber boots are also essential in the spring melt-off when there's four inches of slush everywhere... Regular snow boots with tiny holes that doesn't matter in snow will spring leaks in slush...

I Sno Seal my gloves and my work boots (cheapo Big 5 high-tops). You rub the stuff all over them and put them in a warm oven or run a hair dryer over them to melt the sealant into the leather. Just rubbing it in isn't enough. Read the instructions!

You should be able to find wool socks and glove liners at many Internet shops. I reserve my wool gear for the really cold weather.

I also have a full heavy rain suit (in case we ever get monsoon-type weather - which happened once! - and I have to care for the livestock). You could put on some fairly warm clothes and the rain suit over it and be great in the snow. The biggest issue with snow is not having it melt on you and get you wet. And the rain suit would be an extra insulating layer.

I have a set of YakTrax that I leave on my rubber boots (extra large), and a set I keep in my jacket I wear to the office if the ground gets treacherous. The deluxe Yaktrax have a strap over the top that definitely helps keep them on in heavy snow. You can improvise a strap like that with baling wire or cord or velcro. You probably need more than one strap over the top. A second strap that goes from the heel up and around the top of the foot will help in the back.

Have the Right Tools Ready
You need to have a snow shovel for the house and one for each vehicle. I'd go by the local feed store and buy a 50 pound sack of poultry grit and use that instead of the stupid sand. The weight will help with traction and if you have to sprinkle it under your tires or on your driveway it will grip better than sand. Price isn't too bad.

I strongly recommend having a hoe with a shortened handle in each vehicle. Vehicles get in trouble two ways - slide-offs and high-centering. You can't effectively dig the snow out from under your vehicle with a snow shovel. You have to lay on your side and dig it out with the hoe. It works and it doesn't take too long.

If you slide off into a ditch you're just going to need a tow. If you have a winch you might be able to winch yourself out.

If you slide off and you have a good tow strap (not a chain) you might be able to get pulled out. The strap is springy and allows the towing vehicle to get a little inertia going before the strap pulls tight. They may not be able to get enough traction to pull you out, but that bit of inertia might be enough to do the job. I would never try a questionable tow unless I did my best to dig the car out first. Even a tow truck might have trouble pulling a vehicle out of a snow-filled ditch unless the car was dug out first. Compacted snow is very hard and heavy.

You really never know when a really bad snowstorm is going to hit. The weather service is terrible about being accurate, especially regards timing. We've been warned that bad weather was coming and it is often early or late by 8 or more hours. We pack a winter survival bag with extra coats, a blanket, food, water, and a small catalytic heater and extra propane canisters. We carry water in a mylar bag (old wine bag) packed in a box so it can expand and contract as it freezes and thaws.

We've never had to use chains, but we have a set of cable chains if we need them. Only one of our cars is fully equipped and we stop using the other car unless the roads are clear.

I've seen traction strips that look like plastic trellis that you put under your tires to get traction. I fabbed up something like that and it helped once or twice when I got stuck.

With your hill you might consider parking somewhere else nearby. Unless you can keep your driveway ice-free you might not like sliding down the driveway and into the street uncontrollably. Have a good supply of de-ice in advance (which was hard to find around here when all the trouble started). Some are better than others.

We use a lot of plain unscented clay cat litter on the steps and sidewalk. It works very well. Better than de-ice for concrete and wood. And cheap!

We buy windshield wiper fluid that also contains de-ice. It works really well unless the temps are very low. You should keep a spray bottle of it in the house and take it outside to spray any vehicle windows that got snow or ice on them.

If you think there could be lots of snow then you might want to consider the rating of your home's roof. I'm guessing that no homes in your area can take much snow (why should they?). Getting on the roof to shovel it off is bloody dangerous. It's not worth dying for, or being crippled for. If you've got the money, buy a Snow Razor from MinnSnowta ($150) - they'll last forever.

We mainly use plastic snow shovels with straight handles. Snow gets to be very heavy and the fancy curved handles fail sooner (I think). The plastic blade is strong enough for most uses. We use a little plastic snow shovel (probably made for kids) to shovel the stairs because a regular shovel is too big.

Get a plastic sled so you can drag the snow away from your driveway and house. Many years we started with a snow pile by the driveway, but by the end of winter it was huge and in the way! Just drag it a little distance, and it won't be in your way or the snowplow's way if you have to get your driveway plowed.

We also have steel square tip shovels (2 sizes) to dig up the ice that inevitably forms in places when the snow gets too deep. We also use the mattock to break up ice on the ground (you should have a mattock anyway, good for lots of things). Many years we've had 2 - 4" of hard ice that forms under the snow from cycles of melting and snowing...

|We keep a big coffee can of cat litter and a can of deice in the house by the front door. Many days we couldn't safely get out of the house or get to the garage to spread the cat litter. We also have some car lock de-icer sprays, but have only needed them once or twice in 21 years.

If the forecast is for heavy snow, you can park your car at the end of your driveway. You'll only need to shovel maybe 6 feet of driveway, instead of 40 or 50 (or 250 in our case). It's also a good way to avoid having to pay to have your driveway plowed (it's $50 for a long driveway like ours, every time). You'll want to have your plastic sled on hand so that you can sled your groceries up to the house or the garbage out to the road.

Parking your vehicle in your garage has a lot of benefits when it comes to not having to scrape windows (oh, yea, have more than one good ice scraper...). But in heavy snow your wheel wells will be full of compacted snow (the whole undercarriage, grill, bumpers, etc., actually). When you drive into your garage you'll be bringing maybe 3 - 5 gallons of water into the garage. The warm engine then slowly warms the room and much of the ice melts. Each time you drive in.

Five gallons maybe you can handle, but over and over and you start to get a moisture problem in the garage. We've actually had it rain inside - the moisture condensed on the Tyvek lining of the roof and rained out on everything - not just where the car was, but all over the inside of the garage.

Our "solution" is to only drive one car in the winter when the weather's really bad and to use a floor squeegee to push the water and slush back outside. (While we're on the subject, one winter the ice formed a dam on both sides of the driveway in front of the garage and the water level of melting snow actually started to come in the garage. I had to take the mattock and dig a trench - in the cold and snow after work - down one side of the garage to drain the water away! Try that with a regular steel shovel!)

Shovel the snow early and often. Better 10 minutes several times a day than to try to dig out from an 8 inch accumulation.

Snow blowers around here are generally too small for our use with a 250'-long driveway. And they take gas and oil to run. A capable snow blower is expensive.

When we've had a bunch of snow, with more on the way, I often drive up and down the driveway compacting it. I drive to the left, to the right, and in the center to make as wide of a compacted area as possible (taking maybe 10 minutes). Our front wheel drive cars can drive in snow up to the undercarriage. You can drive on compacted snow, but if you've got snow that is deeper than your undercarriage it tends to build up in front of your vehicle while you're trying to get to the road and will probably high-center you. You can shovel / snow blow it out of the way or compact it down so you can drive on it. The next time your driveway's plowed they'll get most of the ice that forms from the compacting so it won't get too deep.

If you start to slide on ice let off the brake. You won't be able to slow yourself down anyway, and with the front wheels turning you might actually have a bit of steering control and be able to miss the really expensive / dangerous things on the road. (Hit something cheap.) Turns in the road are bad. Shaded areas are bad. The key is to slow down. That's all you usually need to do. (I've slide nearly a mile down a hill. I've spun around in the middle of our road and not left the roadway. I've slid to a stop just inches from the car ahead of me. I've also lost control and crossed the oncoming lanes and onto the opposite shoulder. Going slow is the secret to avoiding these events.)

Everything Else
Needless to say we have over a month’s supply of food and water stored. If we’re snowed in, or have the sniffles (or worse) we can ride it out at home. And of course, as Christians we pray early and often. We want to be in a position to help others, but we also realize it’s prudent to prepare for “such a time as this.”

Be Prepared. Trust God. We can do both. - Peter H.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I'm a long-time lurker of SurvivalBlog, but thought I'd pass on some links of interest. For the record, I've read your novel ["Patriots"], and I am coming from a "Peaknik" viewpoint. But still have my original copy of "Life After Doomsday". Currently I'm living in Finland, which has its pros and cons. "Russian bombers over your home" is not a theoretical concept to Finns and they don't grow enough food for themselves [for a self-sufficient economy.]. A Nordic socialist government with high taxes and cost of living might not be of interest to many SurvivalBlog readers, but at least I see where my money goes and feel safer for my family should something happen to me. We won't talk about gun control and no legal right to self-defense. However, the country is the third most heavily armed civilian population in the world. Excluding the two school shootings the lack of most violent crime I would attest to the social welfare system in the country helping even out the worst of the differences. Study the causes of the nasty Finnish Civil War of 1918 with how united the country was in WWII and you can see why some of the social welfare system was instituted.

There's a large number of illegal guns in the country, 50,000--500,000. These aren't just your old hunting rifle, but include Maxim machine guns sealed behind a wall and mortar tubes in the basement. See the Wikipedia page on weapons caches. (A stay-behind plan in case of Russian occupation of the country. Note the explanation of why Finnish communists went from planning revolution to entering Parliament).

The Finnish government has spent a lot of time and effort towards building resiliency into the country, fearing a repeat of WWII when they ended up fighting both the Soviets and the Nazis. Since then they put a lot of effort into building up food stocks and ensuring the country can survive on its own. Bomb shelters are still part of the standard building code, though it's been relaxed from buildings of 600m2 [floor] surface area to 1000m2, and the air-raid sirens are still tested regularly. Military conscription is still practiced here and overall widely supported by people as well as a strong reserve system. However recruits these days are more likely to be out of shape and more attuned to working with computers than the farm-bred youth of WWII.

Many Finns have their own cottages as they move from the farm didn't occur that long ago. With the many lakes for water, cottages for shelter, wood for fuel and more nature-orientation of the Finns I think they'd do fine overall as a society in a TEOTWAWKI situation presuming the government food supplies get the population through the first winter. I was reading the government estimate in a Finland-stands-alone situation is that they can feed everyone in Finland with at least 2,800 calories per day, though you might be suicidal from the blandness of the diet. (See the NESA web site). This is a bilingual country with Finnish and Swedish, but they still translate many things into English).
Unfortunately, I don't know how much they took into account cuts in the fuel supply for tractors, fertilizers and transportation. The winters can be harsh and we're noticing climate change here leading to "black winters" that are worse than "real" winters. The snow and frost helps kill off bugs in the soil, provide extra insulation for buildings, and reflects light so it's not so dark. Unfortunately, that's all disappearing. Winds blow to the east for about nine months of the year. Unfortunately, Chernobyl melted down during one of the [Spring] months [when] the winds blow from the east and so nuclear fallout is also a concept that's been just theoretical so far. There's some mushrooms here you no longer want to eat. The Sosnovy Bor reactor that powers St. Petersburg is the same model as Chernobyl and is far closer to the Finnish border than one would like.

[Some topics previously discussed in SurvivalBlog snipped, for brevity.]

Lest we forget non-TEOTWAWKI scenarios, here's a reminder of the world of US WWII rationing. I like the various kids' books about disaster being published by various agencies. "Color your way through disaster!" could be their motto. Still, it's a beginning.

May I also suggest some readers might be interested in the late John Seymour's post-collapse novel "Retrieved from the Future". Seymour is famous as a father of the back-to-the-land movement in Britain, publishing two classics as "The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It" as well as "Forgotten Arts and Crafts". Both are well illustrated and have a wealth of information on how to do things as well as how things used to be done. "Retrieved from the Future" is basically a Peak Oil novel written twelve years ago and set in Britain. As befits a self-sufficiency guru he pays a lot of attention to how high-energy farming fails to keep going as oil, fertilizer and spare parts go away while also discussing the rebirth of older forms of agricultural. The Golden Horde makes its visit and is deflected, but not the British Army when it comes time to requisition food for the cities and seize the few weapons British civilians have. Basically a solid British perspective on what would happen during a collapse.

As some readers have expressed interest in the new film "Defiance" I might also suggest trying to get hold of a Soviet film from 1987 called "Come and See". Essentially a film about partisans in Byelorussia during WWII, the depiction of the village being destroyed came to my mind several times while I was reading your book "Patriots".
Regards, - Simo H. in Finland

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm not sure if this has been covered here before, but here are a few links to Government climate data and maps in the US. Microclimate data are represented as well, to a degree limited by the number of stations:

Climate Maps of the United States - Lookup Page

Monthly Station Climate Summaries - By Station

U.S. Climate Normals

For those interested in wind speeds and patterns across the USA for whatever reason, the map link above can be supplemented with the data for the major population centers.

Thanks again for your hard work, - The DFer

JWR Replies: Thanks for sending those links. They are very useful for both assessing the "livability" of various locales. Along with prevailing wind maps (which are useful for radioactive fallout prediction), I consider maps an essential planning tool. I strongly recommend that anyone considering retreat locales should do a climate study first. It is notable that climate and growing season duration are what caused us to rule out areas east of The Great Divide when we went searching for the Rawles Ranch.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Regarding the recent Odd 'n Sods link to the article about "The Prophet of Climate Change": This planet on which we live has been "globally warmed" before, during that episode of time sometimes referred-to as the "Medieval Warm Period". This warming (which is acknowledged to have been even warmer than our present-day) occurred without benefit of (the) Industrial Revolution, or even of a large human population. It (the Warming) waxed into being beginning around 750-850 A.D., waned, and then moved into the next bit of planetary-cycle, often thought of as (the) "Little Ice Age".

This globe on which we all reside has seen these warm/cold cycles wax & wane for long before humans became the (supposedly; insects are said to be more widespread) dominant species. As I indicated above, the cycles have come and gone with little or no previous influence from humanity. Hysteria (and, making an "time 'honored'" institution of trading "carbon credits" worldwide) aside, from where do these supposedly "experts" think that we humans have put our planet into "irreversible" warming, and that "6 billion people will perish by the end of the century"?

The quicksand, as it were, of hysteria is that nobody thusly involved wishes to be on the back-end of the proverbial horse. "Jumping on the bandwagon" is a very old and time honored way of "proving" to ones' peers that they (the jumper['s]) have "gotten with the program". I should know; in my time I've shouted-down common sense, jumped on bandwagons, and altogether told intelligent & common-sense to "take a hike". In my case, however, I've come to my senses and decided to "Investigate, (but) not pile-on the wagon of hysteria" (noted above, a sad-to-say, but increasingly-popular, social-phenomena). Truly yours, - Ben L.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Here is the first round of responses to this question: Those who are well educated enough to see a societal collapse of some sort or another in the making fall into two groups, the merrymakers and the preparers. The merrymakers don't see life worth living post-SHTF, so they live it up now. We on SurvivalBlog are the preparers and have chosen to survive, but why? Our children? To rebuild civilization? Because the collapse will only be temporary? Because we can and we're stubborn with a stronger than normal will to survive? The following is just the first batch of responses. I plan to post at least one more batch. Please send your responses (one paragraph or less) via e-mail, and I will post them anonymously.

The survivalist is an optimist -- not merely because he/she thinks he'll make it through the crisis, but because of the (possibly subconscious) hope that something good will emerge in the aftermath. It's the logic of any kind of apocalyptic thought... Theological systems that have a conception of a climactic struggle or an "end times" imagine that, after Armageddon, we'll see the dawning of a new age. Not surprisingly, a lot of Hollywood movies follow this script, too: After the aliens are defeated, for example, in "Independence Day", mankind stands united, having put aside their differences; After catastrophic weather changes in "The Day After Tomorrow," the planet begins to heal itself, etc. Heck, this theme can be seen, too, in your fine book, "Patriots". In the same way, I plan to live not only because I'm stubborn and have a finely-tuned sense of justice -- and thus hate the idea of turning over the planet to looters, thugs, and others who would prey on the innocent -- but also because I'm both curious and hopeful about what will emerge as society reconstitutes itself.

My modest preparation springs from the knowledge that I and the Lord are the protectors of my family (there are five of us). Our ultimate trust is in Him, but it is on me to do what I reasonably can do to protect my family from in the event of hardship and/or disaster. (After watching [Hurricane] Katrina, it seems apparent that the government cannot do that.) Anyone reading your web site thinks that there is at least a fathomable chance that our nation's run of blessing/luck will end (or be suspended) at some point in the future. Nothing lasts forever. If and when that time comes, I would never forgive myself if my family suffered unnecessarily because I did not take reasonable steps to prepare for such a time. In addition to that, it's just plain fun to learn about this stuff. (Anyone who says otherwise is lying!)

Because the alternative is inconceivable to me!

I’m currently going through some things in my life that are agonizing (but subject to change) and make things feel almost hopeless for me at times, yet every day I wake up again and thank God that he breathed the breath of life into me. I won’t waste that breath. I’m motivated to prepare to survive and overcome by many factors. Here are some examples:

I’m a 7th generation descendant of a settler in my current state and I’m motivated to survive by the risks my settler ancestors took, the struggles they went through, the multiple battles they fought in, the children they lost prematurely and the price they paid to be here. I recently visited some of their graves for the first time. I see it as my responsibility, honor and duty to live freely and survive. The stock I am from is cut out for it.

I prepare to survive because I’m ultra conservative, at times feeling like an endangered species or “minority” and I’m tenaciously defiant to those who would like to see my “kind” exterminated. I am equipped with a few trusted friends that are peers in regard my views (though mostly surrounded by sheeple) and have inspired some to begin to prepare. I discern a negative spiritual force is taking action to see my country’s sovereignty given away. I am motivated to be a hindrance to that spirit. My country is worth saving.

I prepare to survive because as a young man I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, despite the fact that there have been some truly sorry individuals working to undermine that Constitution since before I was born. I intend to see my oath fulfilled.

I prepare to survive because I read "Patriots", awoke to how fragile our economy really is and saw how foolishly I’d been behaving in the past (assuming life would always be normal) and am in the process of repenting of any residual foolish, sheeple-like attitudes and habits I have.

I prepare to survive because I’ve been in a city where gasoline was temporarily not available and walked through the local grocery store at 3:00 AM (less crowded) and have seen the store shelves stripped of food for a short period of time. It’s pretty convincing you need to prepare when the fuel in the tank of your vehicle and few 5 gallon cans (at the time) may be all you’ll have for a while.

I prepare to survive because if things ever Schumerize I have multiple skill sets that can help a number of people in a number of survival situations. I believe I was created to help people, when possible. I gather info, educate, discuss and leave food for thought for those who are unprepared, but willing to listen and consider my views on the subject.

Why an I preparing? For the simple reason that I live in the middle of the midwest. Bad winters, heavy snow, and ice storms. The rest of the year heavy rain , floods, tornados, et cetera. You can't depend on the government to come through when needed, so if you don't have what you need than you are SOL! You have to be able to get by on what you have or fabricate something to do the job needed. I haven't depended on the government to help and I really don't think they have the capacity any more if ever. It will be your self and friends and neighbors pulling together that will make the difference. I prepare for me and mine so that we may be able to help others if need be. I've traveled extensively in South America, off the beaten path, and if you don't have what you need or can fabricate it than you should not be there. The same goes for having all your ducks lined up at home.

I'm a Jesuit educated 38 year old Bachelor, Eagle Scout, USMC Gulf War Vet, working for a major aerospace company in Seattle. The reason I'm preparing is I inherited ~$500K from my grandfather, who sold the family farm in California to housing developers. He worked hard for all of us and I don't want that blessing of wealth to be squandered. I'm preparing because being prepared is what's been beat into my head since I was a kid. You can't play the "victim" card on the Four Horsemen.

Why do I prepare? Probably because I read too much science fiction as a child! Probably because surviving is so much more interesting than succumbing. Born in the late 1950s, I remember bomb shelter salesmen and diving under my desk during A-bomb drills. I always assumed something, a war, or a pandemic, could change life as I knew it. It never occurred to me not to want to survive. Both my parents were alive during the depression, and that contributed to not taking food/housing for granted. Perhaps my uncle, who survived Bataan, or my aunt, who was a prisoner of war in the Philippines, might also have had something to do with my mindset?

Because I believe that life is worth living, and I have no intention of simply "biting the dust" unless I give it the old college try. I believe that trying and ultimately failing is far better than not trying at all.

Bottom line: I owe it to my family to be prepared. I could not bear to look into their eyes as they look to me for help and have to say "Sorry."

I am a preparer. Not because I'm smarter than anyone else, but because from what I see, there just is no other choice. I do it for my family; my beloved husband who humors me but thinks I'm slightly nuts, my grown children who love me but roll their eyes whenever I speak about what is happening around us. look, I don't have any college degree or any fancy smarts, no one would call me well educated. But I can see what I can see. I read, study, research and from my angle, we are gonna be toast and I bet my surly one eyed cat that it will be ugly. so I plod along doing the best I can when can. I don't have a retreat, I don't have a bunker or fallout shelter, I don't have 10 acres or two years worth of food. But I've got God. I keep plodding on doing the best with what I have and I know He takes care of the rest.Will we survive the whatever that comes? Heck if I know. But I'm a fool if I do not give it my best shot.

As a man of firm Christian beliefs, I believe all our days are numbered and have value. In those number of days we are to protect and provide for our our own selves, our families and so on. Examples in scripture are numerous how people were commanded to defend their homes, their cities, their neighbors, and their land. Unless we (like some were) are destined to go into Babylonian captivity I see no other proper choice.

I am taking what steps I feel necessary to survive in a societal collapse of infrastructure because I realize that the more intricate a system of living becomes, the more possible facets of failure are therefore created. As the machine known as Society grows in scale and complexity, so do the required aspects of its function; increasing the number of things that can go wrong, thus eventually causing a critical failure of the system. With the statistical (and historical) inevitability staring one in the face, how can someone not do everything within your power to be prepared?

I feel its my duty to four fathers, kids, grand kids, friends, although they are getting harder to find these days, an it just feels like the right thing to do,also its interesting,fun, a great learning expense,i spend hours on your site an i want to really thank you for it. I'm sure you make money off of it an you should, but I'll bet you are the type of person that really believe in what you do. I love my guns an have about 25 [of them], I try to go to the range at least three times a week, its the most relaxing time in my life ,by myself or with someone, I'm sure a lot of people don't understand, I love the military weapons a lot, I have .303s, Mausers, and others. I'm proud of my beliefs, thanks.

I consider preparing my Christian duty. I'm also stocking up lots of extra food, clothing, and so forth for charity, which is also my Christian duty.

Myself, I am what would be called a "millennialist" based on my beliefs from the Bible. The majority of mankind is stupid and sinful. Thousands of years and we are still doing the same mistakes over and over. I do not believe in any Gene Roddenberry vision where mankind, by its own efforts, rises from the ashes and evolves into a benevolent a Star Trek society. Nothing sort of divine intervention will save us in the long run from permanent self-destruction----Now aren't I a cheerful one to invite to a social gathering?;)

Just for the record, I'm not one of those nuts that believe in trying to hasten or encourage the Second coming The world is dong a fine job all by itself.

While I had read about survivalism and planning for a couple of years, the importance of having some sort of plan didn't hit me hard until I was living in the South, had a new baby, and [Hurricane] Katrina hit. All of a sudden the importance of having an evacuation plan, supplies, and a known destination to retreat to were very important. I am not as prepared as many of the readers, but I know where to go and what I'll do when I get there. Also, thanks to some great books on small farming and some great advice on here I know how to avoid some real pitfalls.

I’m preparing to survive for my wife and my children, because I can and because it gives me a feeling of confidence. I say “because I can” since most of my acquaintances don’t have a clue of the probable upcoming changes in society, but of those that do have a clue they can’t prepare for survival. They can’t prepare for survival because they’re financially tapped out by having been brainwashed into living on credit today figuring somebody else will take care of them tomorrow, but it won’t be me.

And it drives me nuts. A 45 year old single female friend of my wife owns a boat, owns a camper, had two vehicles, bought a scooter and recently bought a house within the last two years. When I first started preparing for survival, my wife made a comment to her about it and her friend said when the SHTF “we’ll all be as snug as a bug in a rug.” I said“What do you mean we? I think you need to make your own preparations.”

I used to try and educate our acquaintances but have started taking more of an inquiring approach with regards to what they think are the possible upcoming changes in society. A couple we know refinanced their house to buy a travel trailer but they only camp within 45 minutes of their house because they can’t afford the gas and their tow vehicle is not reliable. I asked the husband what he thought was coming in the future, he said he figured things were going to get pretty bad. But then they just put down a deposit on a trip to Hawaii so I’ve got to figure you just can’t help people like this.

And it’s not that I wouldn’t help anybody, I saw value in a comment on your web site with regards to helping neighbors and I will. (Is it okay if I only help the ones I like?). We live in a conventional neighborhood and I wish we didn’t but at this point it would take too much of our resources to move to a property with more land. So our best defense is to bond with the good neighbors but I don’t want all our irresponsible acquaintances coming to live with us.

We have a good life and are lucky to be able to make preparations for what may come. And I am thankful for every additional day I have to get better prepared.

I am preparing to survive because I believe the threats to our way of life are manifold. We are in a global war. China strength's grows, our borders are not protected. Our government is shredding the constitution. Natural disasters, environmental concerns, the basic depravity and selfishness of man--its reason enough. I was a volunteer during [Hurricane] Katrina. Not one person who had preps, was sorry. Many other equivalent societies in this century have fallen, why is America better ? It is inevitable, one disaster will prove the wisdom of preparing.

1. Life is worth living.
2. I want to be around if there is any defending of this nation to be done.
3. Who said one can’t prepare and merrymake? (I guess it depends on one’s interpretation of ‘merrymake’).

It's something that was raised in me. Whether it was the Boy Scout's motto of always being prepared, or just the human instinct of survival, if I see something on the horizon, I won't back down. Not to mention I get to justify spending a lot of money on camping gear and guns, my two favorite hobbies.

We are trying to prepare because it is the right and responsible thing to do for our family, friends, neighbors, and country. If we all became part of the solution, then there would be no problem.

Jim, I grew up in the bomb shelter/Cold War era. A neighbor two houses down actually dug out their front yard to install a bomb shelter. My folks had a rudimentary bug-out bag and we always kept a month's worth of food on hand. Hey, for the 1950s, that was progressive thinking so I guess I come by being into preparedness naturally.

I hold advanced degrees but my education does not get in the way of exercising common sense. It is obvious that our complex society is too interdependent to survive major interruptions and we have numerous examples to look at (the L.A. riots, Hurricane Katrina, and such). To believe that a major interruption of services could not occur is delusional. The empirical evidence is right in front of us. The family which is prepared has far fewer worries.

Do I believe we are headed for TEOTWAWKI? Not particularly. Do I believe that we will see significant disruptions that will affect us for 10 days or so? Yes, definitely. Disruptions lasting to 30 days or beyond? Less likely, but I maintain a "year's supply" nonetheless. Also, my Church has preached being prepared for years. Our leaders have constantly cajoled us to have a year's supply of food and other necessities and my guess is they know something we haven't heard yet.

Most pundits state that human beings are constantly evolving. The point they have ignored or can't see is that the evolvement of the human race in the last 50 years has been a deterioration, not an advancement. We survivalists are, quite frankly, throwbacks to the pure genotype that got us to this point in time.

I prepare because the end is nigh (at least TEOTWAWKI), and there will be a lot of merry-makers who suddenly changed their minds, post-collapse. If you're prepared and you decide the going is too rough, you can always quit,but if you're not prepared, your options are zero. You're done. Besides, my family is Finnish, and we're stubborn SOBs. You can always tell a Finn, just not much...

I prepare to survive because I see it as part of the natural cycle of human civilization. Something in us wants to forget the lessons of what makes us a great society and start living on borrowed riches and capabilities. Eventually, that living beyond our means catches up with us via a natural disaster, economic collapse or societal conflict.

If we were not to prepare to survive then we are doomed to fail and live miserably under the dictates of someone else. If we prepare we are not guaranteed to have prepared for the right situation, or enough, but at least we have a much better than average chance. In the end, I am an optimist. No matter how bad things get they will eventually get better. We can speed up our own recovery and that of our community’s by preparing now. If we do not, then we may end up wallowing in misery and struggling for the barest necessities. Is that the kind of life God wants for us? I think not. I believe God wants us to live wisely and prepare to prosper under all conditions. That takes discipline and short-term sacrifice.

Jim, your blog rocks. I only hope that I can learn and earn fast enough to take advantage of the incredible information that your forum provides before TEOTWAWKI.

I have a beautiful 6 month old son who is totally innocent to the ways in which TPTB (the powers that be) are systematically destroying nature, American Democratic principles and threatening the survival of humanity. He deserves a chance in this life, regardless of whether or not he'll ever get to visit Sam's Club, get a college scholarship, drive a V-8 or own an iPod.

When things start to get dicey, and as the world as we know it begins to fall apart - most likely permanently- he will be just coming up in age and entering what should be the most wondrous years of a child's life.

For him, and for my future children, I will fill their youthful imaginations with nature, tools, projects, outdoor adventure and practical knowledge. Before I let the idiot-box and America's media-driven junk-culture destroy their understanding of their place in God's kingdom (and the animal kingdom), they will know what to eat and how to hunt it, how to garden, how to fix stuff and how to avoid trouble in a society that in the future will eventually fail entirely by trying to eliminate all risk of failure here in the present.

They will be encouraged to learn practical trades: veterinary sciences, engineering, construction, medicine and alternative medicine, martial arts, food production and off-the-grid technology solutions.

No bankers, real-estate agents, financial analysts, politicians or computer graphic designers in this family, Jim. No sireeee bubba.

I have always believed that those people who want to throw God's gift of life away through risk, recklessness, attempted suicide or plain old bad lifestyle habits are doomed to live longer.

I have also questioned since1987 when the U.S.S. Stark got hit by our"allies" escorting black gold in the Persian Gulf how long our cheeseburger-driven, cheap-oil, fiat-money, fake-friends and fear of loss-driven society can keep going.

Therefore I will survive this impending paradigm-shift in human existence in order to see my children prevail into adulthood, and for my morbid curiosity to see how all this B.S. I have put up with my entire life winds-up in the end of my days.

It won't be easy however. Here in Texas, not 1 in 1000 people has a clue what might be coming in the next few years. Even after [Hurricane] Katrina pushed a not-so-golden horde of 150,000 low income welfare dependents onto the greater Houston area. I guess that bad stuff only happens to others, right?

I'll be heading for the hills soon enough I hope, and taking my brood to a more austere, self-sufficient and remote lifestyle before Sugar Land Texas becomes a looter's paradise.

At first I prepared because it was an American act of self-reliance. Now, after all the weird looks and puzzled expressions, I get to have the biggest 'I told you so' in my lifetime.

Great question. Do I have an answer? Yeah a couple. Peace of mind in these troubled times is the main one. We buy insurance for everything except peace of mind. Our power goes off we start our transition to alternatives without a worry. Lights, power,shelter, water, communication ability goes on. Food is here to be eaten fuel to use without need to purchase, cash on hand no worries. Another reason we do what we do is because "I" feel it's my responsibility to my family. Part of my responsibility as a husband and a father is prepare to take care of them no matter what happens next I can't sleep knowing I could have, but I didn't. It's a philosophy of maintaining the status quo to then have the time and resources to help others. It's about being "ahead of the game." It's about life and meeting it's changes head on, never stopping head down and moving constantly on forward to whatever it is that is next in life.

My reason is: why give up? I have fought to hard in this life to just roll over and die.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dear Jim and Family,
The movie The Day After Tomorrow was on FX (cable TV channel) tonight. The first hour is entertaining weather disasters and fun science building up, the second hour was a travesty which insulted intelligent people and scientists everywhere. But it was pretty, and it's just a movie. It's okay for it to be half cr*p as long as its entertaining.

The reality of climate change is much more interesting, and considerably slower paced. This week I found a web site with a drought map which is updated weekly. US Drought Monitor. It is pretty darned interesting.

Another little reality is the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) has its entire climate based on the Longshore Drift, which is powered by the North Wind from Alaska. This wind causes upwelling of nutrient rich cold water along the coastline to several hundred miles out on the continental shelf. This water provides food for plankton, fish, and birds. It also drops summer temperatures inland and reduces evaporation along the coastline. Without this cool water current, there's no food for the fish, no fish to catch, no salmon, and the weather starts to resemble that of Baja Mexico. That sounds pretty good until you realize that Baja has pretty dead water with not much in it. The ocean's equivalent of a desert: oxygen poor, toxic thanks to algae blooms, and not healthy for people either. This is happening now, and has been a problem for the last 4 years, which (perhaps) coincidentally corresponds with years of drought. The North Wind has started late each summer, usually after high numbers of birds have died. Most of the Salmon are gone, for various reasons but the oxygen problem is the main culprit. You'd think this would be limited to California, since its a state which clearly offends God, but Oregon is suffering too and there's a lot of Christians up there. Its Eugene that gives the state a bad rep.

This isn't the best part. With warmer temperatures, the waters can support unusual weather for the area: hurricanes. I say unusual because they are such in the last few thousand years, however they're Not unusual in the geologic record. As a geology student, I got to see the sedimentation of hurricanes, event (storm) by event (storm) in coastal sandstones called "Turbidite Sequences". Turns out that California (and Oregon) used to get some pretty severe weather we normally associate with Southern Mexico, Florida, and the Gulf Coast. I'm talking category 4-5 hurricanes every year. Yes that seems strange, but the winds control the currents and the currents & winds control the weather. ANd the weather controls the food supply, which controls population movements and can turn a remote retreat location into a deathtrap.

Or something really weird can happen. Like summer rains and monsoons can start flowing into California, along with those hurricanes. See, normal California and Southwestern weather is brief winter rains followed by months of spring, summer, and fall drought. In the old days, Northern California got rain from October to May, and that was perfectly normal weather. Nowadays is January to February, and the rainy season is punctuated by long drying periods so the aquifers don't fill, the streams empty, and it just resembles a desert. It sucks, but that's how it is. This is a transitional period. Perhaps things will change back next year, but perhaps they won't.

That leads to the weird thing. If we get summer monsoons, it changes the whole climate in the Southwest. It means lightning in a state that rarely sees any in the lowlands. It means tornados and hail. It means thunderstorms and flash floods. It means living pasture in currently dry regions, which is a real boon to ranching and dairy, but death to the orchards. It means heavy rain in the lower reaches of the Sierras and summer snowstorms. It also means rain reaching Nevada and the desert regions of California and Arizona (and Utah), with storms coming from the Southwest, via Hawaii, what we call the "Pineapple Express". Imagine that happening a couple times a week all summer long in places where it never used to rain, so the SW, starts to get like the SE. Humid, wet, water soaking into the aquifers, rivers running, plants changing. It also means that a lot of dry lakes fill, starting at salt marshes and swamps but eventually able to host fish, deer, elk, mountain sheep, migrating birds, antelope, willows, alders, cottonwoods. Land in Nevada would become not only habitable but valuable. With the change in direction of the weather, new banana-belts would also develop, as they're based on direction of rainfall and spots downwind from mountain ranges experience warming during storms on the far side. That's more long-term.

In the short term, you'll see a few storms, and a few hurricanes creeping north up Baja, a long way from Los Angeles, but as the ocean temps rise on the California and Oregon coastline, the further north the storms can go before breaking up. And like I said, there's evidence in the geologic record of hurricanes striking the coast North of San Francisco. It could be some time before that happens, or it could happen in a dozen years, then more quiet for another dozen. Lots of factors are involved making precise prediction foolhardy. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for summer rain in California. It could be a harbinger of a serious change in climate, perhaps for the better. Best, - InyoKern

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Dear Jim and Family,
Wow, people sure are getting worked up and personal about climate change aren't they? I agree that as survivalists we should do our best to plan for reasonable emergencies. Cold weather gear in Central America? Probably not. A larger cistern system than you think you need in the desert or great plains? A good idea. Why? Climate change, whether caused by man or not, makes for changing rainfall patterns. Maybe heavier so your soil gets waterlogged and you get unexpected floods. In Hawaii this may mean more hurricanes. Or maybe Hawaii turns into a desert island with little rainfall and ends up collapsing like Easter Island did. If the rain gets more brief and falls less often, aqueducts, which keep your well full, could fail and you're suddenly out of water. Drought has a very long history in North America in particular, topping several advanced and complex civilizations: the Mayans, Hohokam, Mississippi Mound Builders, and the Anasazi. In north america, climate can be accurately mapped by tree ring growth and several other methods, and the region has a tendency of a couple centuries of reliable weather, then a couple decades of severe drought. We've had 150 years of reliable weather, and I guess now we're going to have drought. The Mayan calendar maps that to 265 year cycle of growth and destruction, which is purported to end around 2012, which should be around 4 years into the Peak Oil collapse.

A couple degree water temp difference means a huge difference in Cod catch in the North Sea near Norway and Iceland. There are centuries of records on those, if anyone is interested. A couple degrees can mean glaciers grow or retreat, which they've been doing for millennia before man began burning coal or oil. I think that the IPCC report is inconclusive, but I'm a geologist and nobody asks us about climate since our viewpoint is a lot longer than theirs and our conclusions don't make good headlines: "It's Interglacial. Climate changes because its erratic until the next ice age begins." But that's not as sexy as claiming the <s>sky is falling</s> world is melting and everything will die. I'm pretty tired to explaining this to ignorant masses who want to believe we're all going to melt into the sea.

When all is said and done, climate change is something the governments of the world have decided to accept as truth, regardless of whether it is or not. They are prepared to mandate "solutions" to "stop warming", when their own vaunted report says that if we start now with the most extreme measures (no CO2 emissions at all), it will take 50 years to see any change.

As survivalists, we should be thinking about the political consequences of that decision, such as banning the burning of firewood to cut CO2 emissions, outlawing internal combustion engines, perhaps even seizing rural properties without active agriculture because the cost of transit from this rural location makes it environmentally damaging under the Kyoto protocols. Think about that. Are there alternatives to allow your lifestyle to survive? Yes, but they'll be expensive and bid up by demand. Electric cars actually cost around $40K, and are subsidized by the government down to $22K. A mass release of electric cars to the general public won't scale up for subsidies, so expect to pay that $40K for the first models. Instead of seeing the price drop, it will probably rise with time as demand for the most efficient models and latest innovations (and inflation) will bring it higher. As metals will cost more to make thanks to the lack of fuels and restrictions on CO2 emissions, special taxes are added on for a personal transport vehicle, and road taxes and GPS tracking of mileage that gets very expensive. I can easily see cars costing $70K (before inflation) by 2012. How many households can afford that? I sure can't.

The IPCC report invites all sorts of oppression and we should fight misuse and abuse of the data aggressively. They'll take your guns today (UN says self-defense is illegal) so they can take your cars tomorrow (personal vehicles release too much CO2, use precious fossil fuels/electricity), then your furnace/fireplace (CO2), then your pantry. (Ration Cards). You can see where that's going. Pretty soon you're living in Orwell's 1984. Letting government, and their politically motivated scientists, tell me I can't burn wood, coal, or oil to heat my home because it releases CO2, thus denying my right to survive the winter in a rural retreat, is the same as a putting a gun to my head and telling me to obey and die. I have real problems with that. Things like this convince me that the UN is the enemy of the Free Man.

Even if the science behind the IPCC report is correct, the threat of forcing First World countries to suffer like the 3rd World is too high a cost, particularly when it means death for so many of us. Regardless of effort applied, change will have to be endured over the next 50 years, so basically the rest of our lives. It is in our own best interests not to abide by the Kyoto protocols and to adopt affordable alternative energy. Any changes we make must make economic sense and the radicals frothing at the mouth over the IPCC report want aggressive changes made now, the kind that kill a lot of people. These are not people we should be taking advice from.

So, think about rainfall totals, falling well levels, potential oppressive laws, and how to deal with them all at your location while you try and make a living under the radar with a modicum of both privacy and comfort. Best, - InyoKern

Dear Jim,
I see that folk myths are becoming part of the Ad-hoc Working Group (AWG) "science." Regarding: "Greenland! Those who bought the stories they were told about it were sorely disappointed when they arrived."
Repeating: there are currently Viking Era farms melting out of the glaciers in Greenland, proving it was warmer then than currently. Greenland was not a garden, but by the standards of the Norse it was quite viable. The furthest north discoveries of artifacts are near 80 degrees north, well above the ice line for centuries in between then and now. Greenland was occupied for 450 years, by people who had boats as a standard. Think of where the English word "Skipper" comes from, also "Starboard" and many other nautical terms. If it had not been viable, they would have left. The Inuit arrived around the year 1200, fully two centuries after the Europeans, and survived the climate change the other way--colder. This is established fact.
"(freakish warmth in Greenland at some point is not a basis for concluding that a world-wide trend was evident, as it wasn't) .
It's sad to see this myth persists."
As to there not being supporting evidence, here's a secondary source linking to lots of others: See: This one smashes the notion that there was no Medieval Warm Period, with evidence from the Antarctic, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, the Pacific...all supporting a period warmer than today, followed by the Little Ice Age, and no measurable change in sea level.
The best quote from here is: As a prominent Finnish scientist remarked about a historical military event in his country's distant history, "if `anecdotal' ice is thick enough to carry a whole army, we can infer the ice was both thick and durable as an objective conclusion based on a documented historical fact."
To suggest that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) didn't exist is revisionism on par with Orwell's 1984. Any "scientist" claiming so is a charlatan, plain and simple. Too many disciplines, from geology to geography to botany to history to cartography all concur for them to be wrong on such a scale.
The other point I shall address is:
"In another widely held misconception, the rise in sea levels is not pegged to the weight of ice in the sea, but rather the melting of land ice and thermal expansion of the ocean."
This is an easy one (I had a physicist assist me, but my college math and HVAC thermodynamics is well able to grasp it):
The average temperature of the ocean surface waters is about 17 degrees Celsius
90 % of the total volume of ocean is found below the thermocline in the deep ocean. The deep ocean is not well mixed. The deep ocean is made up of horizontal layers of equal density. Much of this deep ocean water is between 0-3 degrees Celsius (32-37.5 degrees Fahrenheit)!
its volume is over 1340 million cubic kilometers
Average Depth: 12200 feet (3720 m).
A Calorie or kilocalorie is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one Celsius degree.
Although the metric unit of energy is the joule, heat is commonly also measured in units called calories (there are about 4.19 joules in a calorie)
Oceans volume: 1.34x1021 l
Oceans mass: 1.4x1021 kg
90% of the water is below the thermocline and can be ignored -
surface heating won't affect it.
Average surface water temperature: 17 C
Energy required to raise average surface water temperature to 22C
5x1.4x1020 KJ = 7x1021 KJ
Solar power input to the Earth is about 1050 W/m2 after counting the
amount reflected. Earth's cross-sectional area is 1.27x1014 m2, so
total solar power input is 1.33 x 1020 W
So 50 million seconds of solar output would do it.
Giving density at 17C as 1.024193346 kg/l
and at 22C as 1.020066461 kg/l
So our 10% surface water of 1.4x1021 kg has a volume of
1.36692940397x1020 l at 17C and 1.3724595931x1020 at 22C
which is a difference of about 5.5x1017 litres = 5.5x1014 m3
The surface area of the oceans is 3.61x1014 m
which give an approximate level rise of 1.5m or five feet, about 0.41%.
So, if the sun doubles in output for TWO YEARS, enough energy will enter the system to raise the ocean level about 5 feet.
If we decreased the energy radiated from the Earth by 1% (a SIGNIFICANT change for a system in equilibrium radiating on average as much as it absorbs), and if all that extra energy went into the oceans, that would raise the water temperature by 3C over 100 years, for less than a 2 foot rise.
This disregards that the upper ocean is not a parallel-sided tank, but slopes, that 30% of that energy would fall on dry land, and that toward the poles much of it would be soaked up or deflected by atmosphere. Also, in the last 3 billion years, the solar influx has INCREASED 40% without catastrophe.
This disregards additional cloud cover raising the albedo and reflecting some of the incoming energy.
Atmospheric warming is irrelevant to sea level expansion (it can affect surface ice), because the transfer rate from gaseous air to liquid water is very low.
And yet, this is an idea that so-called scientists are endorsing? I certainly hope not.
And there is certainly no consensus that warming is taking place to the degree some argue:
Supports global warming. Says he doesn't trust Mann's paper. some advance, some retreat Antarctic ice may be increasing
There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example, during the Jurassic Period (200 million years ago), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today. The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm -- about 18 times higher than today.
The Carboniferous Period and the Ordovician Period were the only geological periods during the Paleozoic Era when global temperatures were as low as they are today. To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today-- 4400 ppm. According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no warmer than today. Clearly, other factors besides atmospheric carbon influence earth temperatures and global warming."
One can say that the scientists working for the energy companies are "biased," but bias works both ways. One could also say that those getting paid higher wages by the private sector are competent. Those who can, do, and all that.
Certainly we are facing climate change. Certainly it will affect life, cause local disasters and shift society. But the planet, life and even the human race have withstood much worse with much less knowledge. - Michael Z. Williamson

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The subject of Global Warming is one that creates an intense reaction in people who have a political investment in opposition to it. As you can see by the letters my comment generated, it made the writers so angry that it actually interfered with their ability to read! We, as survivalists, need to be acutely aware of when this happens to us, as the ability to react to any information coolly and logically is a cultivated adaptation that will give us a leg-up in stressful situations.
In reply to M.W.A., I should probably expand on something about CO2 that I only touched on for brevity's sake. Contrary to how it might seem to us laymen, not all CO2 is the same, which is why I talked about man-made CO2's "distinct isotopic signature". The Carbon component of Carbon Dioxide is composed of three different isotopes (C14, C13, C12) and man-made CO2 has an identifiable ratio of these isotopes. Lest anyone think that the proofs of Global Warming are generated only by climate scientists, these isotopic ratios are recorded by those in many varied scientific disciplines (such as oceanographers and geochemists) and the results consistently concur with the basic premise, that increasing man-made CO2 levels parallel with increasing global temperatures. The collection of data like this has long been a characteristic of science and has nothing to do with attempts to control anyone or anything, as implied by M.W.A. As to the semantics of "Global Warming deniers", we're speaking of a very small group of dissenters, almost devoid of scientists (let alone ones working in the sciences associated with the earth's climate). Even the Bush administration, after repeatedly rejecting (and attempting to suppress) the conclusions of the scientific community, just this week said that they wholeheartedly embrace the U.N.'s IPCC report (which concluded that Global Warming is man-made) and called the evidence for Global Warming "unequivocal". Anyone who clings to the notion that this is nothing more than a ruse invented by environmentalists belongs to a tiny minority at this point. By the way, if M.W.A. would like to provide proof for his assertions about making "climate change denial" a crime, I'm sure we'd all like to see it.
I'm not sure where Michael Z. Williamson is getting his quote of raising ocean temperatures "a few degrees" as it isn't in my letter (or any other letter on your site) but his claim that "the Antarctic is growing" is incorrect. There was a temporary mitigation of the trend of ice loss due to some unusual precipitation but the first ever gravity survey (GRACE) of the entire ice sheet by NASA has detected significant Antarctic ice mass loss. "The mistake of one scientist" which he claims is insane to suggest was not connected to the "Medieval Warming Period" as Mr. Williamson misread, but rather the assertions of the growth of glaciers worldwide (I urge him and anyone else confused about this to re-read what I said). As I said about the so-called "Viking era", there may have been regional anomalies but this does not result in a conclusion of world-wide warming at that time (indeed, the evidence suggests nothing of the kind). The "records from the timeframe involved" don't actually "document" anything other than an attempt by the Vikings to expand settlements there. When I was a kid in school (in the distant past), we were taught a bit about Viking history, including their early use of propaganda. One of the most self-evident proofs of this is the very name of their colony: Greenland! Those who bought the stories they were told about it were sorely disappointed when they arrived. Instead of the fertile farmlands (capable of growing vineyards?) they had expected, they found a cold wasteland that was anything but green, ultimately incapable of sustaining the small (and initially, quite hardy) colony there. If there were warm periods in the area (and there is little to suggest that there were), they were freakish and short-lived. It would be foolish to assume that selectively chosen Viking literature on the subject of Greenland is a worthy substitute for accurate documents about conditions at that time.
As I implied in my previous letter, anyone who chooses to disregard the overwhelming conclusions by the scientific community is more than welcome to do so. I have no doubt that one could find some fantastic real estate buys along the Mississippi coast, for example, and if you feel that Global Warming is nothing but a hoax, there's no reason why you shouldn't take advantage of a buyer's market. I wouldn't even have dipped my toe into this controversy save for seeing disinformation presented as fact. Keep in mind that ExxonMobil has contributed a huge amount of money to support the distribution of non-peer reviewed papers critical of Global Warming science and the establishment of friendly "think tanks". In my mind, it's one thing to argue the concept based on it's economic effects but it's highly unethical to distort (or outright lie about) about the science involved. As survivalists, it would seem logical for us to pay very close attention to the potential catastrophic events that could domino when the climatic "tipping point" arrives, rather than be distracted by a corporation intent on buying "the best lies money can buy" to increase it's short term profits. However, (as I keep saying), that's your choice to make. To me, there's not much difference in how I prepare to survive, Global Warming simply increases the impetus for me to do so. Best Regards, - Hawaiian K.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Both M.W.A. and Michael Williamson bring some sanity and reason to the subject of climate change. Thanks for publishing their letters. Weather/climate is probably the most complex system on earth. For anyone to say they can tell with any kind of certainty what the climate on earth was like millions of years ago is ridiculous and what is the point. On a very basic level, the one universal truth about the weather/climate is change, unending change. You could even make the case that change is a universal physical law. The writers are correct to question the motives of the climate change promoters. I believe most are socialists, trying to get more control over our lives thru the politics of climate change. As in the past, humans will have to adapt to any changes in the weather/climate. Think about it, has the weather/climate ever been unchanging, with or without man on the planet? Regards, - Keith

I would suggest the site for a balanced view of global warming. However, I do believe we are heading for climatic upheaval due to a cyclic pattern- go to and order their DVD for additional info. Many things seem to be converging. [You can read] my two-cents worth at
Thank you, - Martin P.

There is an awful lot of money being spent by Big Oil to contradict the global warming research, and in particular their efforts to refute the recent UN ICPP report. As I read the 21 page Summary for Policy Makers, the report really seemed to want to avoid speculative consideration of methane feedback loops or nonlinear warming effects, i.e.:glaciers sliding into the ocean. My sense is that it was very conservatively written. Any rise in ocean level has profound implications for our way of life and Peak Oil issues since refining in the US is mostly at sea level. [Some ranting, snipped.] - Bruce F.

JWR Replies: The media hoopla over the UN report has ignored mention that what has been released thusfar is just a 21 page summary. The full 600+ page report won't be released for several months. There is definitely a divergence of opinion within the scientific community on this issue. I think that the jury will be out for quite some time. Draw your own conclusions. In my opinion, what we should take away from all this debate is that as well-prepared individuals, it is prudent to make preparations for both short term weather changes, and if we can afford to do so, for the possibility of longer term climate change. (But again, the degree, the direction, and even the cause of that potential change is still a matter of conjecture and heated debate.) To illustrate my point, let me digress: I had a friend named Richard, who sadly died of leukemia at age 45, a couple of years ago. He was a first class eccentric, but he had a sharp wit and was a lot of fun to be around. Richard was a single man that traveled the world. He made his living as a computer programmer in the States, but he owned both a home on a small island in the Philippines and a condominium in Thailand. (He only worked in the U.S. in alternating six month contract stints to support his "travel habit".) As an adherent of the Art Bell/George Noory school of paranormal conjecture, Richard was convinced that severe climate changes could happen "any time, and maybe even overnight" because of "pole shift." He was so concerned that he had all three of his homes stocked with arctic clothing. (N3B extreme cold weather parkas, insulated boots, Wiggy's Ultima Thule sleeping bags, the whole works.) Objectively, I think that Richard was over-prepared, but in the back of my mind is a small but lingering doubt. What if that ever really happened? What if Richard was right? I suppose that if I ever have a really big budget (read: somebody in Hollywood ever sends me a big fat check for my Pulling Through screenplay), then I might buy a second retreat in Central America, just in case. And I might even stock it with some cold weather gear, in memory of Richard.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I have been reluctant to comment on the climate change hysteria, but the recent letter by Hawaiian K was too much. There are several important facts to remember on this topic: 1) We don’t have enough data to determine whether we are in a long-term warming trend, or in a counter-cyclical move in a long term cooling trend. Lot’s of people have ‘data’ but no ‘facts’ have been established. Remember in the 1970’s how the next ice age was right around the corner? 2) Even if we do happen to be in a warming trend at the moment, there is no causal connection between the activities of man, and the warming itself. Lots of circumstantial ‘evidence’, but no causal connection. The earth is warming, and there is more CO2 in the air. Which causes which? Maybe there is a third factor, or fourth, or a hundredth!!! There may be some kind of correlation between CO2 and atmospheric temperature, but that does not mean that one causes the other. The environment is an extremely complex, dynamic system and to think that there is a straight-forward, reasonably linear relationship between the levels of one compound in the air and the overall temperature of the entire atmosphere is simplistic in the extreme. Heck, these guys can barely tell what the weather will be like next week, and we are supposed to think that they can tell us what will happen in 100 years? 3) The entire environmentalist movement is about control, nothing else. Environmentalism is a topic one group of people have used, repeatedly and successfully, to get governments around the world to implement social programs that sacrifice people in order to save bugs and weeds. Obviously these programs are detrimental to individual freedoms. A clue to the true intent of the ‘movement’ is contained in the language they use. Even Hawaiian K called the rational, objective scientists who have not bought in to the collective dogma of global warming, ‘climate change deniers’. Clearly this language is intended to imply that these guys are the same kind of whack jobs as the ‘holocaust deniers’ and should be treated as such. There have been stories recently about scientists who are losing their jobs because they haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid, and even talk of laws to make ‘climate change denial’ a crime! Clearly, anyone who needs the force of law to protect their pet theory cannot defend it against rigorous science in the open market. Will we soon have a Global Warming Inquisition? The truth does not need a law to defend it. And if you think this is just an American thing, you are wrong. I spent a couple of weeks in Canada since the UN report came out, and they are getting it bad up there! 24/7 coverage of how we are all about to fry in our own juices while there is a negative 30 degree wind chill outside. (Just so everyone knows, I am an ‘Elvis is dead denier’ and a ‘Loch Ness monster denier’ but please try to keep it quiet.)

Obviously, survivalists want to plan for as many potential outcomes as they can, and I am not discouraging anyone from taking the steps that they think they need to take to protect their families. I would just encourage people to examine the motives of climate change proponents from the standpoint of the harm that the environmentalist movement has caused, the individual rights they have denied, and the outcomes that they have desired and produced in recent decades. - M.W.A..


Dear Jim,
The energy involved in raising the oceans "a few degrees" to effect a sea-level increase would almost involve the Sun going nova. I can calculate it if you like.
The Antarctic ice cap is growing, so there's no increase in water level from there.
The current climate trends are available online and show a steadying of the climate the last decade.
To suggest that the Medieval Warm Period is the mistake of one scientist is insane. It's documented from ice core samples, and the fact that Viking era farms in Greenland are melting out of the ice cap as we speak. Not to mention the northern hunting grounds and other sites the Norse used were, until quite recently, pack ice. Then there's all those records from the timeframe involved, documenting the plants, harvests, weather, etc.
That strikes me as more hand waving by the catastrophists. I had a detailed debate with a student of this, an earnest young man in grad school, who pointed me to "one of the best papers on the subject." The paper was full of "It seems to me"s and "I feel"s, an admission that when satellite data was inconclusive, just because it didn't contradict the assumptions made, it could be assumed the assumptions were correct (the data didn't support the assumptions, either), and a statement that any climate studies done before 1990 were "politically motivated" (Aren't they all?) and therefore suspect.
So, by the admission of a shoddily written article that's purported by a student to be "one of the best," the field is less than two decades old.
Now, how long have physicists and astronomers been trying to describe the universe?
I'm certainly concerned about long term effects to the environment, and storms can cause damage lasting weeks, trends damage lasting years...but I'm about as worried about a catastrophic climate failure as I am about aliens landing. It's a huge planet and system, and people are very small. Let's not, religious or not, give ourselves too much credit in the face of God's greatness. - Michael Z. Williamson

Friday, February 9, 2007

With regards to the recent flurry of postings on Global Warming (I prefer this term to the Frank Luntz, focus group tested "climate change", which is designed to remove anxiety about the issue and thereby stifle any action on it), I wanted to clear up some common misunderstandings that have been intentionally spread around to confuse folks.
I live very close to the laboratory on the slopes of Mauna Loa that first discovered the Global Warming trend over 30 years ago. After a long search for truth on the subject, I've come to understand that climate scientists are dealing with problems of almost unimaginable complexity and as a group, are exceedingly conservative with regards to predictive claims. I doubt that many of us who are non-scientists can really appreciate what must go through a climate scientist's mind when he/she encounters ill-informed individuals spouting off commonly repeated misnomers about the CO2 levels of volcanoes (for example), as though the scientists had somehow forgotten to factor major natural data in! The little reported fact of the matter is that volcanoes produce about 110 million tons of CO2 per year, an amount that is naturally absorbable by earth and ocean. Man-made CO2, which has been rising steadily since the dawn of the industrial revolution, is contributed to the atmosphere at a rate of 10 billion tons per year (and is identifiable by it's distinct isotopic signature). In another widely held misconception, the rise in sea levels is not pegged to the weight of ice in the sea, but rather the melting of land ice and thermal expansion of the ocean (anyone who has ever tried to top off a warm gas tank with cool gas from an underground tank on a hot Summer's day will see how the latter works). The so called "Viking era" (also incorrectly called "the Medieval Warm Period") is a myth that continues to be perpetuated, based on misreadings of historical regional temperatures when applied global-scale (freakish warmth in Greenland at some point is not a basis for concluding that a world-wide trend was evident, as it wasn't) . As to the claim that glaciers are increasing in size rather than retreating, I'm afraid that this misinformation is based on the poor typing of a single scientist (botanist David Bellamy) who, when trying to type "55%", slipped on the shift key and put the number "555" into his calculations (such is the rigor of the Global Warming deniers)! According to the definitive source on the subject (World Glacier Monitoring Service), most of the world's glaciers are in retreat.
You and I, as survivalists, can opt to try to ignore what's happening to this planet and hope that the effects of it don't end up having a lethal effect on us or someone in our family. On the other hand, we might want to become proactive in some way, just in case. Many people would reflect on their geographic area and how it might cause them problems, for example, shore areas that could suffer destruction from rising ocean levels, coastal areas from increased hurricane activity, tornado prone areas becoming dangerous year round (as we're seeing this year). It just seems like common sense to me to consider a couple of aspects of your home's architecture, it's overall strength and it's ability to deflect heat. Given the weather trends we're beginning to see, I would think that there would be a sudden renewed interest in earth sheltered and underground homes. Vast areas of the American south and midwest could well become a landscape filled with splintered plywood and and empty cement pads if current trends continue. We're also likely to see massive crop failures (this might cause some of us to dig out our calculators to figure out the weight and cost of lifetime supplies of wheat) and civil unrest on a nation-wide scale.
We, as survivalists, should all be very careful about being too reactionary to claims concerning Global Warming, simply because they don't fit neatly into our political philosophy. The climate scientists I've come to know are deadly serious people disinclined to represent their subject in any but the truest way possible. Personally, based on what they've told me, I'm going to completely reevaluate the way that my house is currently constructed with an eye to making it significantly stouter. By way of example, I'm considering the utilization of the Line-X blast-proof coating (mentioned downthread) as a way of attempting to make my home more hurricane resistant. It's also possible, with proper water-proofing and termite prevention, that conventional homes could be retrofitted with earth berms. I've even heard of roof-sized nets designed to attached to earth anchors, to hold the roof on a home in hurricane conditions (which might be workable with enough advanced notice). Obviously, windows and lightweight doors will require superlative coverings, complete with heavy hardware that is solidly anchored. As to the potential rise in temperature, one might use a system of earth covered "cool tubes" to bring cool air though vents in one's floor, which could rise to a "solar chimney" placed high in the house for an effective passive ventilation (approaching natural air conditioning). There are fantastic ceramic roofing paints available that utilize Space Shuttle tile technology to keep a normally hot roof as cool as the surrounding air, resulting in dramatically cooler interior temperatures! Water could become a rarer resource, so a strongly-built catchment tank might end up being worth it's weight in gold.
I'm sure that the creative minds of the survivalblog community are capable of expanding on this theme with solutions that are designed for their particular circumstance. Hopefully, they'll share them with us so that a bank of solutions might be available that will help us all learn from their individual experiences. Best Regards, - Hawaiian K.

I've been a regular reader of your blog for a couple of months now and I'd like to point out something regarding one of the global warming letters you published on Sunday, February 4th. The letter says, "Nor is a sea level rise likely--fill a glass with ice water, let it melt, and the level will drop, because ice is less dense than water". There are two potential sources for sea level rise, melting ice is one of them. The problem isn't ice that's already in (or floating on) the water, like the Arctic ice pack, it's ice that's sitting above sea level, such as various glaciers, and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The other source of sea level rise is the expansion of the seawater already in the oceans. Like most other materials, water expands as it gets warmer. If the average ocean temperature rose by a few degrees, sea levels would rise even if the amount of water in the oceans remained the same. Thermal expansion is actually a bigger potential contributor to sea level rise than all of the world's the ice sheets and glaciers combined. - Chris

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Dear Jim,
In response to this: "(See the movie The Day After Tomorrow regarding tipping points). Discoveries of animals flash frozen solid with fresh grass their stomachs points to the possibility of a very fast onset to global climate change." The Day After Tomorrow was roundly slammed by scientists and went beyond ludicrous, and the "flash frozen" animals are a myth that has never been documented. The recovered frozen mammoths have all been highly putrefied.
At present, the evidence of warming is mixed, with glaciers in Europe, South America and Antarctica all increasing [in size]. Even with the current Northern Hemisphere warming trend (Which leveled out a decade ago), we're still quite cooler than during the Viking Era, when summer temperatures in Greenland could reach 80 degrees F. Nor is a sea level rise likely--fill a glass with ice water, let it melt, and the level will drop, because ice is less dense than water (one of water's unique properties that makes it so useful as a basis for life). The Earth has sustained life from the Carboniferous, with double the current CO2 level and 35% oxygen [JWR Adds: Reader B.F. mentioned that the figure is acutally only about 21% oxygen], to deep ice ages with glaciers as far south as 30 degrees latitude.
That said, SF raises very good points about shifting weather patterns, all of which are cyclic. Tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, ice storms are all potential crop killers. Volcanic eruptions and meteorite impacts have affected the global environment (see The Year Without A Summer) and are definitely things to prepare for. The latter would be catastrophic, as the huge population of Earth depends upon steady movement of harvested crops to keep people fed. (I covered this as a military strategy in my novel "The Weapon.")
Even in "normal" climate, I've seen snow flurries in San Antonio in August, snow on Memorial Day in Chicago, and temperatures as low as 30 degrees F in rural Ohio and Pennsylvania over July 4th weekend in quite modest hills (Also T-shirt weather in January, but that's less of a threat). Breaking down in those hills on a back country road means you might need a fire or warm clothing at once.
I guesstimate that a local disaster (riot, tornado, earthquake) could last days, a regional one (hurricane, major earthquake, political collapse) weeks, and a global disaster (mega-volcano, large meteorite, infrastructure failure) a year or more. Once we get into that, deaths from starvation are utterly certain for those not prepared, until population reaches equilibrium with the available food supply.
This reiterates that one's survival preparations should not be public knowledge. Starving people have and will kill to feed themselves and their children. This could be the ugliest of scenarios. - Michael Z. Williamson

Dear Jim and Family,
This is in response to the post about climate change. I have a degree in geology, though when I graduated there were no jobs. (Thanks, Bill!). There were some good points raised, however I have to raise a flag over the "flash frozen animals" thing: it's more of a myth than a fact. Yes a few mammoths were found that way but the cause is only speculation. Far more likely they got drowned by a small tsunami raised by a calving ice sheet. That whole aspect of the movie showing superfreezing from the middle atmosphere is bunk. The Day After Tomorrow wasn't a great film (unless you enjoy humor), however one aspect of it was right: a flood of melted ice water (low salt content) would either change or stop the Gulf Stream (shifting it South is most likely), thus suddenly allowing Arctic storms into Europe. Temperatures would drop considerably, which would actually provide much more habitat for fish but ruin crops.

During the Little Ice Age (see Wikipedia) from 1300-1850 AD, climate got very erratic. Some years were too wet for crops. Some were too dry. Some years it snowed in July. Some years the glaciers advanced several hundred yards. Other years they retreated. We're between Ice Ages (and some geologists say that the Pleistocene isn't over, this is just a minor retreat). For the scientifically minded, the most recent warming began 20,000 years ago, and picked up a lot around 8000 years ago, when things really started to melt. A lot of grass grew and a lot of creatures died out, and the rest of them ran upon grassy plains where our ancestors hunted them and made cave drawings and early agriculture, Sumeria, Egypt, Greece. In the present its really dried out and all the grass is gone. Lebanon has few trees but used to be covered in giant Cedars, which grow well in wetter climates. Israel was also heavily treed and resembled Eastern Arizona of today. Yes, rains and wind will probably change and after two years of studying the Pleistocene (for the purposes of writing a novel about it) ... I don't know if it will get wet during the next ice age's arrival. I really don't. It may dry out more and promote growth of desert. It will almost certainly be bad for crops so agriculture is going to take a beating and food supply will almost certainly be less. That's a real problem for a population of 6.5 billion, and not so great for a population of 2 billion either (if 4.5 billion die from starvation).

One important piece of history to keep in mind: we survived the last ice age with little more than stone tools and fire. We'll get through the next one considerably better off. It's not like we'll forget iron working, and properly made CD-ROMs (pressed, not burned) last for centuries. Consider how much useful information will fit in a tiny space with a very basic computer to read them. That's nothing to sneeze at. Imagine Wikipedia complete with engineering designs and open source CAD software to help you develop it. Society won't fall very far down the ladder if that's the case. That engineering knowledge will let us continue to make firearms, steam engines, computers, electricity, food storage, farming, genetic engineering, navigation, etc, without having to resort to bows and arrows or wattle and daub houses. It's very unlikely to drop below 1950s technology, we'll just have to get by without cheap oil.

If climate change starts heading for return of the ice age, which is still possible, the way to tell is rapid growth of glaciers in formerly dry northeastern rockies. That's where the ice sheets began last time, according to best current data. We think they began due to melting of the polar ice, which winds swept up and deposited snow on these 19,000 foot elevation plateaus (currently dry). The ice built up and flowed down slope, increasing reflected sunlight and eventually cooling the globe. It's possible that while the ice caps remained wet (rather than icy), the ice age was already beginning.

Keep in mind there are at least 34 identified feedback loops responsible for Earth's climate, and that's without involving Divine Intervention. Eight of these loops are based on orbit, volcanics, and magnetic field (plus solar storms), all of which have a huge impact on climate. Based on the Milancovic cycle we're about due to begin the next Ice Age, a point made in 1970 is that Global Cooling would kill us all (sound familiar?). Warming is curious. Higher CO2 levels are unprecedented. But the climate has been much warmer than it is now and everything didn't die then, so I don't expect it will die now either. Plants and animals will end up migrating to suitable habitat or dying out. That's how it goes. And apparently there's quite a few new species trying to come into being but they keep dying out due to human interference to "preserve" something or other green nonsense. Best not to get worked up about it.

The tropics did not require cold weather gear, however ice was in tropical environments, around subtropical plants because the ice moved faster than it could melt during certain points of its advance stage. There's enough evidence to support this quirky image: 70'F Florida type weather and plants next to ice sheet a few dozen feet away. Yes, that's really weird, but there's evidence to support this. The nice thing about ice ages is there's generally time to get out of the way, same with volcanic eruptions. You get plenty of warning. If things change, you can always built it yourself, or adapt otherwise. Everything flows from the will to live and the fortitude to endure hardship to accomplish that. Best, - InyoKern


I'm tired of everyone playing the "fear" card in regards to global climate change. Man's ability to adapt to different situations and in fact thrive in them should not be underestimated. The fact that man has lived in harsh northern environments has led to the development of countless tools, technologies, and techniques that have benefited all of mankind. In reference to the comments made by SF in Hawaii, the frozen woolly mammoth couldn't put on a coat or jacket, we can. Also I don’t know that an autopsy was ever actually performed on that animal, I think everyone just assumed it froze to death but as far as I know it might have died of an aneurysm! If ocean levels ever rise fifteen feet I will personally go to SF's house and move his belongings to higher ground. I do not believe there is enough water on the planet to raise ocean levels anywhere close to fifteen feet. At any rate it is downright foolish to try and take anything from the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" other than entertainment, and even the that was marginal. The climate will change, is changing, and has always changed, the part mankind plays in all of this is miniscule at best, and very likely totally insignificant. Whatever changes lie ahead we will overcome them, that's why we are all here; to overcome whatever hardships we may face. We will face these challenges with strength, faith, truth, ingenuity, wisdom, justice, and communities such as this on SurvivalBlog. If people want to do something for the environment that's fine, but don’t be so foolish as to think you are going to prevent global climate change. Reduce, reuse, and recycle, these are good things no matter what your political stripe, and buying quality instead of junk is always wise for the survivor. - A. Friendly

Friday, February 2, 2007

While the pundits assure us that global warming, if real at all, won't affect us in our lifetime, other scientific models suggest explosive climate shifts as 'tipping points' are reached. (See the movie The Day after Tomorrow regarding tipping points). Discoveries of animals flash frozen solid with fresh grass their stomachs points to the possibility of a very fast onset to global climate change. While suddenly finding yourself in an Arctic climate is likely not survivable, we must consider if we have the flexibility to survive in a radically different or highly volatile climate. Global warming can make warm places colder and cold places warmer. Dry places wetter and wet places drier. Rather than thinking of global warming as a 'warming' per-say (as in the end it may even trigger an ice age), think of it as having the potential of radically changing in any direction your historical weather pattern and making weather very unpredictable. Questions to ponder are:

If it got much wetter/drier where I live what would happen? What if the rain stops, or it rains 50 times more than it used to? If you rely on catchment and the rain stops, then what? If you rely on a well in an otherwise dry climate, are you prepared for flash floods? Do you have proper drainage ditches?

If it got much warmer or much colder, do you have heirloom seeds for temperate and tropical climates? Are you prepared to build a greenhouse if temperature fluctuates from 70F to 6F in a matter of weeks (as it did in New York City recently). Do your crops require a frost and what if you don't get one? Will your crops be killed by a frost and what if you do get one? If you live in the tropics, do you have any cold weather gear?
Warm weather can bring insect and vermin to an area that would otherwise not survive. Could your crops deal with insects from another climate? Witness the rising of malaria in locations that had until now been at a high enough altitude to prevent mosquitoes from thriving in central American cities. Alternatively, if you hope to add to your larder by hunting game and migratory bird, what if the birds shifted their flight path to accommodate a weather change? What if the local deer decided en masse to move south (or whatever direction was warmer)? If you hope to fish to augment your protein stores, what if the fish (which are as we speak disappearing) left your shores or your waters became another notorious 'dead zone'?

If it got much windier or less windy, then what? If you rely on wind power and the wind patterns shift direction, can you move your system to accommodate it? What if the winds stop entirely (unlikely as climate changes tend to make for more wind not less), then what? If it got much windier, can your wind generating equipment handle it? Can you house survive a hurricane in a location where houses are not built with hurricanes in mind? (Remember the recent Pacific Northwest windstorms?) Would your crops suffer if your windbreak were suddenly on the wrong side of your farm?

If you rely on solar [power or water heating] and you go from a sunny location to clouds all the time, then what? Do you have crops that can handle both high levels and low levels of sunlight?

Do you have snow tires or chains for your car? What would you do if your roads were covered in snow and ice? Do you have anti-freeze?

Where would a 15 foot rise in sea level put you? - SF in Hawaii

Friday, July 7, 2006

Dear Jim:
For those who still think an asteroid impact is nothing to worry about, this was just posted on the Australian survival site forum, a 10 inch asteroid just hit the moon with the power of four tons of TNT, making a crater just over 42 feet wide. The event was captured on video. Although it is acknowledged that this would have been unlikely to make it through Earth’s atmosphere, the point is this goes on all the time, and Earth being hit by one that makes it through is just a matter of time. It is also believed that a 26 pound meteor landed recently in Northern Finland. Early speculation was that it was much larger. - Rourke

JWR Replies: Rourke's letter (received July 2nd) deserves even more attention after a news story on July 3rd about a large asteroid a near miss ( Apollo Asteroid 2004 XP14). This one was estimated at 370 meter width, and passed by Earth at only one lunar distance (LD), which by astronomical standards is a very close call. OBTW, for comparison, the asteroid that is thought to have formed Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona was estimated to have been just 25 meters in diameter.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Since moving to Chenango County, New York in 2001, I have tried to do a bit of studying on the history of the area. My father lived in Fulton – North of Syracuse – as a boy and I spent the first 12 years of my life in Rhode Island with trips to the Upstate region for camping, family visits, etc. so I was not completely unfamiliar with the area. However, I had never really studied the history of the region and some of the things that I have found surprised me. I have always been fascinated by the catastrophes of the past – wars, epidemics, natural disasters, etc. and tend to study them. They can teach us about ourselves and of things to come. As they say, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. What I have found is one of those things.

Many people may not be aware of it, but there was a summer here - shortly after settlers first moved to this area - that was no summer at all. That summer had a killing frost every month of the year. The cause of this calamity was located practically on the other side of the earth from New York - Mount Tambora, on the Island of Sumbawa in what is modern Indonesia. This volcano erupted from April 5th through April 18th of 1815. During that time it ejected anywhere from 25 to 43 cubic miles of debris into the atmosphere. Only 25 of the island's 12,000 inhabitants survived. As you will soon see the eruption of Tambora had worldwide effects.
For comparison, the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980 ejected 0.67 cubic miles of debris – a piker! I was living 1,200 miles away from Mt. St. Helens - near Denver, Colorado - at the time and we had a fine layer of ash on everything and were informed that we should rinse things off before scrubbing them as the finish on a car – for example – could be ruined if one tried to scrub the ash off because it would act like sandpaper as it is essentially small particles of glass and stone. People with allergies and lung conditions were advised to avoid breathing the dust as it could aggravate their condition.

In any case, back to our story. The year 1816 started out to be a pretty easy one. The winter was slightly warmer than normal and fairly dry by most accounts I can find from New England and New York. When spring arrived, the temperature dropped somewhat, but nothing too severe and it remained dry. It was so dry, in fact, that local papers began to report on it. The Albany Advertiser stated they had " recollection of so backward a season...the length and severity of drought checked progress of vegetation, grass withered."
The dry, cold weather pattern continued until early May which delayed the start of planting in some places and the growth of crops that had been planted in others. However, the people suspected nothing because - as we all know - strange things can happen in springtime.

On May 12th a wave of cold air rolled down over the region – the northeast from coastal Connecticut down into Pennsylvania and Virginia was gripped by a frost. This weather lasted until around May 18. Then it moderated and with the increase in temperature came rain - soon farmers began their yearly ritual of planting. However, the warmth was only passing and on May 29th came a blast of cold arctic air - so cold that there was an inch of ice on many bodies of water. This too passed and those that hadn’t already started began their planting in early June.
On the 5th of June New England was basking in temperatures in the high 70’s and low 80’s. However, the weather was changing again. At the same time - from Quebec to Pittsburgh - another cold front began to move in. This one brought frosts with it as well. June 6th brought snow and cold to most areas. It snowed for hours in Elizabethtown, NY and many places had killing frosts. Wild birds roosted inside barns to try to stay warm and many died where they sat. Newly shorn sheep died in the fields from the cold. Crops were killed by the frost, most fruit trees lost their blossoms and many trees lost their newly formed leaves. It was beginning to look very bad for the farmers of the region. In fact, the Quebec Gazette warned: " . . . nothing which may provide sustenance for man or beast ought to be neglected..."
After this cold front passed farmers rapidly began planting crops such as Barley, potatoes and beets that could make it to maturity by the usual fall freezes.

Remember that this was before hybridized and genetically engineered crops that mature more rapidly.
The rest of June brought warm temperatures. July started off well but on the 6th of July another cold front came that brought frost to many areas. Lake and river ice was observed as far south as Pennsylvania and huge temperature fluctuations accompanied the front. Some places experienced temperatures of 95 degrees during the day and dropped to below freezing within hours. Overall it was a disaster for local farmers.
August had more of the same. On the 13th, frost returned again to central New York and most of the crops that were growing were killed off. Even pastures and hay were doing poorly. August 28th brought more frost and the drought continued.

By September farmers had all but given up, although some planted winter crops to have them ready as soon as possible the next spring. Corn and other grain prices soared. Oats, for example, rose from a high of 12 cents a bushel during 1815 to 92 cents a bushel in 1816! In the spring of 1817, the worst of the shortage appeared. For example in DeRuyter, a farmer was forced to dig up some of his newly planted potatoes to get food on the table. The town sent an agent to Onondaga County to look for wheat and corn. When he returned and it was learned that he had been successful, it brought a "great rejoicing to the citizenry and tears to strong men's eyes."

The spring of 1817 brought some very high prices indeed. Corn was four to five dollars per bushel (prices not seen again until the 1970’s - over 150 years later!), and in some places wheat sold for any price that was asked. Many people barely survived and this brought about the great western migration toward Ohio and Indiana as farmers sought places with better weather conditions.

The strange weather brought about all around the world that year also brought us two classics of fiction. A woman named Mary Shelly and a man named John Polidori were both vacationing at a literary gathering that summer on Lake Geneva in Switzerland and were forced inside by the cold and dreary weather. The group huddled around the fire and told each other stories to pass the time. Both ended up publishing their stories. Mary Shelly’s was entitled “The Modern Prometheus” which is better known as “Frankenstein” and John Polidori’s was entitled “The Vampyre” better known to many as the modern Count Dracula. Both have been immortalized in film a number of times.

These days we do sometimes see some strange weather, but nothing like this. In my experience, people tend to believe that weather and famines of this type are things of the past and cannot happen any more, but we are not immune. In fact, modern farmers support many more people per acre of land than those farmers did in 1816 so we would, in fact, be in worse condition. How well will we fare when God sends the next year without a summer our way?

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

The UPI recently ran a news story from the RussianNovosti news service about a Russian astronomer that has predicted that Earth will experience a "mini Ice Age" in the middle of this century, caused by low solar activity. See: Here is an excerpt from the article: "Khabibullo Abdusamatov of the Pulkovo Astronomic Observatory in St. Petersburg said Monday that temperatures will begin falling six or seven years from now, when global warming caused by increased solar activity in the 20th century reaches its peak, RIA Novosti reported.  The coldest period will occur 15 to 20 years after a major solar output decline between 2035 and 2045, Abdusamatov said. Dramatic changes in the earth's surface temperatures are an ordinary phenomenon, not an anomaly, he said, and result from variations in the sun's energy output and ultraviolet radiation. The Northern Hemisphere's most recent cool-down period occurred between 1645 and 1705. The resulting period, known as the Little Ice Age, left canals in the Netherlands frozen solid and forced people in Greenland to abandon their houses to glaciers, the scientist said."

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Although climatologists are sharply divided as to long term global warming versus global cooling, there is some evidence of at least short term changes in climate. Consider the following "Hundred Year Forecast" from the pundits at LiveScience: However, you might just log this as "Food for Though and Grounds for Further Research" (FFTAGFFR), rather than as reliable data for making decisive relocation plans. I'm sorry to say that the jury is still out about global warming.

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