Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Pissing and moaning

June 17, 2022

This started out smelling like rain, but what did we get?
Nothing but heartache.

They promise rain, but all we get is fire.

The North American Monsoon is a couple of days late. And I expect a few long-haul truckers may be running behind schedule too, with a 30-acre brush fire closing eight miles of Interstate 40 westbound, from Zuzax to Carnuel, and the eastbound lane of NM 333 from Tramway to Tijeras.

The thing lit up 5-ish yesterday evening with a real stiff wind from the east, and here at El Rancho Pendejo we could see aircraft trying to piss it out, so as the crow and/or smoking ember flies it was a good deal closer to home than we like. Many local roadies, among them Your Humble Narrator, get their kicks on NM 333, a.k.a. Old Route 66.

We had gotten a whole bunch of not much in the way of journalism about the fire by bedtime last night — a paywall from the Journal and a couple drive-bys from the TV people — so, after checking New Mexico Fire Info a few times we decided to roll the dice and hit the rack.

Today we awakened to another warm, dry morning and very little in the way of news about our neighborhood scorcher. There’s some confusion about whether I-40 is open again, but it seems certain that 333 is a no-go this morning as a bridge and power lines get a look-see.

The good news is that the monsoon is back on the menu today. It goes without saying that we will believe this when we see the blessed water falling from the skies. Who knows? The local journos might even give it a writeup.

‘Virga’ mi verga

June 13, 2022

Wet dream.

The NWS calls it “virga,” which means “rain that evaporates before it reaches the ground due to very dry air above the surface and below cloud base.”

But they should really call it “verga,” which means “dick,” which is what you get. And a dry hump it is, too.

Rain? Sheeyit. We got better odds of seeing a sensible gun-control measure clearing the Senate and Beelzebozo doing the perp walk.

We was robbed

June 3, 2022

Good morning, sunshine.

The weather wizards were talking a double-digit possibility of a sprinkle yesterday. But talk don’t water the cacti, son! What we got was nada, and plenty of it.

Our Acu-Rite widget claims we last got precip’ on March 30, a whopping 0.14 inch, but I don’t remember that. My training log mentions rain on March 22, and after that, bupkis.

“We are having a very bad year,” observes John Fleck.

Riding my bike to a meeting with folks trying to figure out how to cope with climate change seemed appropriate signaling, but mainly bikes are fun, as my friend Charlie likes to say, and I pretty much ride mine everywhere I can.

After the meeting, I took the long way home, which involved a dirt trail through the riverside woods along Albuquerque’s reach of the Rio Grande. It was shady and cool on a hot afternoon, but the glimpses of the river were painful. Sometime around midday flow dropped below 300 cubic feet per second, which probably means nothing to most everyone, so I’ll put it this way – it’s just a hair above one tenth of the normal flow for this time of year.

Yow.

Southern California is restricting water use for 6 million people, and I would not be surprised to see our local water coppers taking measures before much longer. I’ve spotted a flotilla of Albuquerque-Bernalillo Water Utiility Authority vehicles cruising the Foothills lately, and they can’t all be meter readers.

Even Arizona is contemplating a “new normal,” though the last I looked the thinking was running very far afield indeed, from desalinization projects in Mexico to pumping water from the Mississippi Basin rather than restricting use of a diminishing supply.

Meanwhile, as the wind blows and the temperature rises, while the swamp coolers begin to bubble and air conditioners to whir, the power grid seems to be a few watts shy of the load.

Phrases like “rolling outages” and “worst-case scenarios” are getting tossed around as neighboring grids find they have no spare power to share and the aforementioned shortage of our old pal water threatens hydroelectric generation. And the buck stops … uh, where, exactly?

“The problem is there is nobody in charge,” said M. Granger Morgan, a professor of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. The national power grid, he said, is a patchwork of regional systems designed to be guided by market demand in each area. Federal regulators have limited authority over it, and many states have constrained their own power to manage energy resources as part of a deregulation push that took hold in the 1990s.

“We don’t have the national regulatory arrangements and incentives in place to implement this energy transition in a coherent and rapid-enough manner,” Morgan said.

Oh, good. For a second there I thought we might be in trouble.

Song, fire, and ice

May 22, 2022

Sign of the times.

Tezcatlipoca, God of the Night Wind, was in something of a mood as we hit the sack last eventide.

The sonofabitch spent the night roaring and rumbling, tipping things over, and generally acting the fool. The power blipped on and off a half-dozen times before I finally toppled into a restless sleep marred by inexplicable dreams.

In one I was outside somewhere with the rest of the bums as Tom Waits sat at a nearby café, trying to compose an opera based on his song “Misery is the River of the World.”

When I moseyed on over to his table and suggested that “Ruby’s Arms” might make a better foundation, Waits snickered and replied to the effect that I must’ve fallen in love with the first girl to kiss me somewhere other than the cheek.

When I wandered back to the bums one of them was gnawing on a sandwich I had scrounged. Let your attention drift for a second and someone will be eating your lunch, swear to God.

Elsewhere other deities were on the job. Coyote took a snowy shit on Colorado, because he thought it would be funny to lay 10 inches of snow on the place right after a 90-degree day. And Xiuhtecuhtli is still torching everything flammable in New Mexico because … well, it’s anybody’s guess. Perhaps he’s croaking the tourist season to punish the pochteca merchant class for sniveling about a dearth of eager employees while refusing to pay a living wage.

Strictly for the birds

April 29, 2022

The hummers and quail are lightening the mood around here.

The hummingbirds are back. And this looks just like an Audubon photo of one, the same way I look just like Jason Statham if you see me backlit at sunset, from the other side of a four-lane street with a sizable median. It’s possible that you left your specs in the pub after a half-dozen boilermakers, a vicious beating, and perhaps a stroke.

The grasses in Elena Gallegos Open Space are an ominous shade of tan.

It’s been a quiet week around El Rancho Pendejo. Herself just got her second Plague-B-Gon booster and is recovering nicely after enduring a sore arm and some drowsiness.

As for Your Humble Narrator, despite relentless seasonal allergies exacerbated by smoke-laden afternoon breezes I found the weather stellar for cycling. Actual tan lines are in evidence. I managed 105 miles last week and would be on track to repeat that this week if I hadn’t veered off road three times, twice on the bike and once on foot.

When riding trail I strive mightily to avoid nicking any trailside rocks with a pedal. One good spark in these dry, windy conditions and we’ll be grabbing the go-bags and cat carrier and hightailing it for … for … for where? Is there anyplace that isn’t on fire and/or out of water?

The sneezin’ season

April 16, 2022

The maple is leafing out nicely.

I’ve seen it twice now, at the NPR website and in the AARP Bulletin, so it must be true: Allergy season is getting worse.

(I’ve also seen it in our Kleenex consumption, if you’re looking for empirical evidence.)

The gist of it is that warmer temperatures mean your sneezing starts earlier in the spring and lasts longer come fall. And the hotter the climate, the bigger the pollen output.

“This is another unintended consequence of climate change that hasn’t been explored that much,” says Allison Steiner, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Michigan and an author of the study. “It has a big impact on human health.”

Warmer and drier also means more fires, and we have several going on at the moment, the worst of them down at Ruidoso. The McBride Fire has taken more than 200 homes and at least two lives, and thousands are under evacuation orders. There was zero containment as of last night.

“But it’s not even fire season yet!” you exclaim. You’re looking at last year’s calendar, Hoss.

River of fools

March 22, 2022

Every little bit helps.

What’s black and white and cold all over?

The Duck! City at dawn.

We got a little smooch from the gods as they thundered eastward to kick the shit out of Texas. Rained all day Monday, then started snowing overnight.

The Mad Dog Weather Widget says we got slightly less than half an inch, and we will take it, thank you very much, if only to keep the dust and pollen out of our snouts and eyeballs for a little while. Shoutout to Thor and Mjolnir for not taking the roof off en route.

Elsewhere, the water news is not as cheery. Reporting from the University of Utah’s Stegner Symposium on the Colorado River Compact, John Fleck notes, among other things, that:

  • Colorado River Basin water users are currently consuming 14-15 million acre feet of water from a river that for the 21st century has averaged 12.3 million acre feet.
  • Lake Powell is sinking toward “minimum power pool” – its lowest level since filling in the 1960s.
  • Summer drying is making it harder for snowpack the following winter to make it to headwaters rivers.

Hey Zeus, etc. “The crisis situation on the river made for some pointed conversations,” says Fleck, and I believe him.

“Would you like a whiskey with your wee-wee?”

“Yes, please.”

“Sorry, it takes water to make whiskey. It’s straight wee-wee for you, pal. Shall I catheterize you or would you prefer to sample our Wee-wee of the Week? This week it’s Pima Pee, and yes, we stole it.”

No. 9 … No. 9 … No. 9. …

December 3, 2021

I haven’t been up there since breaking the ankle.

Got my booster this morning. Easy peasy roll up your sleevesie. I’ve burned more daylight waiting on a No. 9 breakfast burrito at the Golden Pride drive-through.

Of course, a No. 9 might be more effective against the newest variant — some Irish bug called the O’Micron — so I’ll try a couple of those too, just to be on the safe side.

In the meantime, after getting stuck I filled the bird feeders and went for a stroll through the foothills to collect a little free vitamin D. I’m a senior citizen on a fixed income, goddamn it, I’ll take all the free shit I can get.

To be honest, a nap sounded pretty good. But it was 64° in the ol’ cul-de-sac, and my rule is “Sun’s out, guns out.” The weather can’t stay like this forever, unless it does. It’ll make the chile real mean.

 

The cool September morn

September 1, 2021

I guess I can skip the rubdown with SPF 70 this morning.

Huh. Must be a national-holiday weekend on the horizon. ’Cause there’s plenty grim-looking clouds up there to keep it company.

Looks like a page-one meeting at The Washington Post:

“Gloom, yep. Despair, check. Agony, roger. How about a light feature? ‘How the delta variant stole Christmas?’ We need art, maybe a Barbie on a ventilator.”

Gaia must have the DTs. She’s boiling Lake Tahoe like a teapot and power-washing Tucson like a redneck sheriff blasting hippies and coloreds off his streets. A brother-in-law had to drive from Maryland to Louisiana and back to rescue a daughter whose Nawlins vacation went all Waterworld on her.

And unvaccinated Americans are advised to avoid Labor Day travel. Ho, ho, etc. Unless they’re traveling to a vaccination clinic to terrorize health-care workers.

Me, I’m just glad I got a nice ride in yesterday, ’cause it looks like the surf’s up today. And when it comes to surfing, you can call me Charlie.

It never rains, but it pours

July 28, 2021

It looks like feckin’ Ireland over by the Menaul trailhead.

We New Mexicans should probably apologize to the Pacific Northwest for stealing their climate.

But hey, you left it unlocked with the keys in the ignition, so. …

Puddles on the Duke City trails are as rare as original thought in government. (See the latest iteration of publicly funded downtown stadiums for privately owned sports teams.) This in a town where we have a six-pack of dudes — half of them part-time — to plug holes in the bike paths along which the homeless pitch their festive tents.

Standing water on a Duke City trail in July? Truly these are dire portents of the End Times.

In DeeCee, meanwhile … well, the less said about that, the better. But can we at least agree that a few more Republicans would be on board the Investigation Train if the treasonous fucks who invaded the U.S. Capitol, pounding a few John Laws along the way, had been socialist, gay, people of color, or any combination thereof? You know: Democrats?

Jesus H., etc. In Hell Mao is all like, “Damn, and I thought I had a cult of personality going on.” But this feels more like the Israelites and their golden calf, only with “Christians” and a plastic pig from the Dollar Store rattle-canned with metallic-gold Krylon.

This sort of behavior failed to amuse either Moses or the Lord, as I recall. Doesn’t do shit for me, either.

Speaking of things that are a monkey or two short of a full barrel, I see we’re back to wearing our face panties.

Bernalillo County is tagged orange, with a “substantial” level of community transmission, so the CDC would like us to cover up when visiting indoor public spaces, shots or no shots.

Oh, good. I was already sick of seeing smiling faces and understanding the speech emerging from same.

The bright side is that in the past two weeks a half-dozen family members from far and wide have been able to visit Herself the Elder before the portcullis drops again, as seems likely. So, yay, etc.. May yis all be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.