Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 10:45 pm | Fair 49º

 
 
 
 

Ron Fink: Is Global Warming/Climate Change a Threat?

Since there has been a lot of discussion on these pages about global warming or climate change, pick your politically correct term, I would try to figure out how it affects people in Lompoc.

Each day I record weather-related data as it is reported by the National Weather Service observation site at the Lompoc Airport. It provides an interesting and accurate reflection of what has occurred since I started doing it 16 years ago.

On a broader scale, the climate portal on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website reports that according to its measuring devices, the world surface temperature has risen based on the long-term average temperature for the whole planet. It also indicates that during some periods it goes down.

But measurements only go back to 1870, about 146 years ago. So, the data is limited considering the age of the earth, which is measured in billions of years. Should we rely on partial information to make the assumption humans are influencing the world’s climate or rules about what they should do about it based on such limited data?

After all, even when the population was much smaller, there were dramatic temperature swings that resulted in catastrophic events such as the ice age in North America and the subsequent rapid thawing of the ice that probably created the Grand Canyon.

So, what do limited observations tell us?

Looking at the temperature, the last couple of years there have only been a few instances where record high temperatures have been reached. On the other end of the scale, there have been a few instances where low temperature records were set.

As far as rainfall goes, we are currently in the fifth year of a drought, but there have been other drought periods, the last being several years ago. Using September through December as a guide, we are doing a little better this year than since 2012. Maybe things are looking up, maybe not.

Maybe this year the cycle will change and it will rain. But I am not as good at predicting the weather as NOAA is, and while NOAA is very good at recording what happens, it is not always right when it comes to predicting what will happen.

For example, last year the weather guessers were predicting an epic rainfall event because of El Niño; it didn’t happen. This year, they are saying that because of La Niña it will be dry. Will this prediction be correct? If my amateur weather-watcher records are any indication, it is usually the La Niña years that produce the most rain in Santa Barbara County.

What does all this climate-change talk mean to Lompoc? It’s the water.

Water supplies for the South Coast and all over the state, are being confiscated by the fish lobby to preserve small populations of fish. Does this make sense?

The primary reason these fish are endangered along the Santa Ynez River is because 100 years ago the city of Santa Barbara began constructing a series of dams and a diversion tunnel to move water from the Santa Ynez River drainage to their growing city.
 
It could be argued that today’s center of the environmental activist movement was responsible for the near eradication of an entire fish species. Absent the three dams on the Santa Ynez, there would be no water shortage for fish or people in the areas downstream from the river's headwaters near the Ventura County line, including Lompoc. 

So, if the environmentalists were true to their cause, why aren’t they demanding the dams be removed? Could it be that their self-serving interest, like living the good life in Santa Barbara, is more important than the fish?

Maybe they should demand good environmental stewardship locally and apply it to their own way of life rather than preach to the rest of us about how to alter the world's climate.

So, what can we do about climate change; probably nothing. First, anyone who suggests the world’s population could agree to do anything as a group is dreaming. Second, what could they could do?

Concerning any water shortage in the Santa Ynez drainage area, the easy solution is to remove the dams and allow the river to flow naturally. The fish would be happy with this solution; but, their elitist protectors on the South Coast might object.

Concerning climate change, well the only thing we can do is watch the sky and see if it’s raining, foggy, windy, clear, warm or cold and record the results.

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=lox&sid=KLPC&num=48

https://www.climate.gov/

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.