Cherrapunji

Photo by Manish Jaishree of the Wettest Place on Earth

Here I am, reading about massive rainstorms in India circa 1990 while living iat the edge of a desert—and one in an increasing cycle of drought. I imagine, someone in Cherrapunji, India, might have dreams of living in a dry country in which, for all intents and purposes, there is no rainfall for six months of the year.

For your information, Cherrapunji is considered the wettest place on earth. It holds the record for the most rainfall in a calendar month and in a year: it received 9,300 millimeters (370 inches; 30.5 feet) in July 1861 and 26,461 millimeters (1,041.8 inches; 86.814 feet) between 1 August 1860 and 31 July 1861. in Alexander Frater’s book Chasing the Monsoon, the author talks of a friend of his father experiencing rainfall for several consecutive days in which between 30 and 40 inches of precipitation fell.

I miss rain. In Los Angeles, we only had one day of persistent rain in the last twelve months. There have been numerous instances of what I call a dirty drizzle, in which the windshield of my car is muddy as the result of an insufficient drizzle. To form a raindrop, there must be a bit of dust in every drop. But when not enough rain falls to operate the windshield wiper, then the dust predominates.

California and the American Southwest looks to be one of the big losers in climate change. The Colorado River is drying up, the Sierra snowpack is insufficient to fill the reservoirs the state needs, and horrible wildfires are destroying our forests.

There is not too much one can do about it except wait it out. Climate change has happened before. Up until the 13th century, Greenland was actually a fairly prosperous place, but then a little ice age set in and the colonists appear to have vanished from the pages of history. The town of Garðar was actually a bishopric, but nothing remains of its past glory.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind another “little ice age,” but who knows what will happen in the years to come?

It’s Already Here

Lone Fire Fighter in Midst of Rapidly Growing Brush Fire

We have become used to talking about climate change as something that’ll take place in the future. Sorry, but it’s here already. It’s not like the Cold War, when we were constantly afraid of a nuclear holocaust that never happened, because both sides acted fairly reasonably.

But this is not the same America any more. Half the voting population is cray-cray, thinking that Democrats eat babies in the nonexistent basements of pizza parlors (as qAnon believes). Yes, and water flows uphill; the earth is flat; and the sun revolves around the earth. Vladimir Putin looked and acted more reasonable than our last president, who sounds more and more demented every time he opens his mouth.

Who would ever have thought that we, as a country, could become a victim of Alzheimer’s? Yet, it appears that we have.

So what am I going to do about it? I will continue to vote reasonably even if the others won’t. They are accumulating very bad juju and will eventually pay the price for it. I have some faith that the world will eventually right itself even if we continue to make disastrous mistakes.

I guess that makes me an optimist. Who would have thunk it?

Florida … Going, Going, Gone!

The Only Part of Florida I Really Like Are the Keys

Whatever you may think of Florida, and whatever you may think of global warming, Florida is sinking into the sea. Back when I was an infant, I used to live in Lake Worth, Florida, just south of West Palm Beach. My Dad didn’t like it much at all: With his delicate st0mach, he didn’t like to pick up the bodies of dead alligators, load them into a truck, and unload them at their final destination.

For a while in the 1980s and 1990s, my parents owned a condominium in Hollywood, at a place called Carriage Hills. I visited them from time to time, but had difficulties with the heat and humidity. Not that I saw much of the state, but I did go several times down to the Keys, which I loved. The first time was right after Hurricane Andrew struck. I was so amazed at miles of houses and apartments sans roofs that I kept accidentally exiting at all the offramps.

The highest point in the state is only 345 feet, and that’s near the Georgia border. Miami’s elevation is between six and seven feet. As glacial and polar ice continues to melt, Florida will assume a different shape in the years to come:

What Florida Will Look Like in the Not Too Distant Future

The left is Florida as it looks today. At the right, you can see what a five- and ten-meter rise in water level will do to the peninsula. You can kiss Miami goodbye.