December 12, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Global Local warming

Al Gore recently visited his arch-rival George W. Bush in the White House, along with other Nobel laureates, and it was quite an amusing situation. Some saw this as vindication for Gore's frantic alarms about global warming, but one has to wonder whether the recent release of scientific research on global warming was timed to coincide with this event. For example, some scientists estimate that the entire North Polar ice cap will melt by 2013, which could set in motion a self-reinforcing chain of climactic events of catastrophic proportions. See BBC. It would be prudent to take seriously such a possibility, but let's try not to set off a massive panic, OK?

Last week it snowed here in the Shenandoah Valley, which provided an occasion for many bloggers to mock the idea of global warming, notwithstanding the fact that snow in December is perfectly normal. I thought it would be obvious to everyone, but let us repeat the point: Day-to-day fluctuations in local weather conditions have nothing whatsoever to do with global climate change! Today it got up to 71 degrees, setting a record for this date. How many of those global warming skeptics will be taking note of that?

As a dramatic indication of the effect of the recent warm spell we've been enjoying in Virginia -- NOT related to global warming! -- I was surprised to come across this mushroom while going for a walk this morning. It's about three inches in diameter and fairly dense. According to my field guide, it is probably a Boletus Pinophilus, the species name indicating that it thrives around pine trees. The only fungus that we normally see during the winter is "Witch's butter."

Boletus Pinophilus