Slow Progress by Numbers.

Ever since I worked on a poultry farm in my teen years, I’ve had one irritating obsessive compulsive disorder. I count things. This came from the twice daily routine of walking through the sheds and collecting eggs from in, under and around the nesting boxes and the poultry shed. A careful and accurate count had to be recorded of the eggs from each shed.

Nowadays I catch myself counting whenever I’m doing anything that has a hint of repetition associated. Depending on what I’m doing, at some time during the day I discover a number incrementing in my head, and I often have to ponder before I realise what it is that I have been counting. Riding my motorcycle it may have been power poles, or species of animal; driving on the Tanami it was kangaroos and wallabies, or neck-crunching potholes.

In the Bribie swimming pool I’ve been counting the number of strokes it takes me swim a length and the number of lengths I can swim in 15 minutes. Today for the first time I managed to do that and in addition keep count of the total number of lengths I swam. I’m pretty sure I did 50 lengths on Thursday, but I had to calculate it from the number of laps I did per quarter hour. All I know is that I was completely buggered and needed a nap before I could go to the physiotherapist that afternoon for more workout. There I pedalled for 15 minutes with shrieking knees, then 10 minutes pedalling another machine with my arms, and lastly knee bends or squats on a vibrating platform that gave me the weirdest sensation. The efforts of that day left me aching and weary. I treated myself to a lamb biryani for dinner, from the Indian restaurant up the road. The next day I spent quietly at home, napping and reading. And eating leftover biryani.

That itself is a breakthrough. Once, there would have been no leftovers.

Today I kept count again while swimming and was pleased with myself when I completed 40 lengths in just under one hour forty five minutes. That is 1 kilometre. I started out doing two lengths in a little under 3 minutes for a time then settled into a steady 6 per 15 minutes, with enough time spare for a short break every four lengths to do some water assisted chin-ups on the dive podium, and step-ups, squats or leg stretches on the exit steps.

It’s all getting easier and easier. I am concentrating now on breast stroke when I swim, because according to the app I use to record my progress, breast stroke burns the most calories. I know I am not giving it the effort that a fit swimmer would, so I record my swim in the app as leisurely swimming, That is listed as being about a thousand kJ less per half hour. That way, I feel I will not be exaggerating the progress I’m actually making.

On Thursday I was watching the clock, aching and weary long before the time I had set myself, and totally stuffed at the end of my session. Two hours seemed far too long. By the end I was struggling to maintain my determination.

Today I was surprised at how effortless the swimming seemed and how quickly time passed. I could have gone on longer and considered for a bit trying for 50 laps. In the end I chose to finish after an hour and three quarters, while my shoulders were still not aching. Hunger played a part in that decision because I had only had a mug of coffee before I set out. My reward today is a Thai prawn green curry and noodles I am about to prepare.

I swam five out of seven days this week, and I am thinking that four days a week will be sufficient, or perhaps just a regular two days on and one off. Judging by how good I felt today, a periodic rest day is a great idea.


Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns

Land and water resources around the globe are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, threatening the ability of humanity to feed itself.

The report warns that climate change will exacerbate the dangers, as extreme weather threatens to disrupt and shrink the global food supply.

Food shortages could also increase a flow of immigration that is already redefining politics in North America, Europe and other regions. From 2010 to 2015, the number of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who traveled to the U.S. increased fivefold, coinciding with an unusually dry period that left many without enough food.

The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself.

The report, prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary form in Geneva on Thursday, found that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly. A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the report.



When I have ceased to break my wings 
Against the faultiness of things, 
And learned that compromises wait 
Behind each hardly opened gate, 
When I can look Life in the eyes, 
Grown calm and very coldly wise, 
Life will have given me the Truth, 
And taken in exchange — my youth.

 Sara Teasdale, Love Songs)

In Other Words, We’re Fucked.

Climate deadline more like 18 months instead of 12 years, some experts say

    We may think we have 12 years to curb climate change, but some Canadian climate experts say we likely have close to 18 months instead

    Climate scientist Ian Mauro from the University of Winnipeg says 2020 is the climate change deadline we should be eyeing.

    “We need to bring down our emissions and peak [in] 2020,” he said

Greenland’s ice wasn’t supposed to melt like last week until 2070

Article Source Here

During the past week, temperatures at the highest reaches of the Greenland ice sheet rose above freezing, melting snow at the Summit Station (10,550 feet above sea level) for the first time since July 2012 and perhaps only the third time in the last seven centuries

Across lower elevations around the margins of the ice sheet, bare glacial ice melted at an unprecedented rate, losing 12.5 billion tons of water on Thursday alone, with daily losses likely exceeding any point in at least the past 70 years. 

The Greenland ice sheet covers an area the size of Alaska with enough ice to raise global sea level by more than 20 feet. Greenland gains ice each winter from compacting snow accumulation and loses ice from melt water and icebergs discharged to the ocean. A dry, warm spring this year left a thin snow cover over bare glacial ice. Spring warming followed by a large melt event in June led scientist Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Greenland to predict record ice losses this year. The peak of the melt season passed in mid-July with more typical summer conditions, but the past week again saw a large increase in the area and intensity of melt across the Northern Hemisphere’s remaining ice sheet.

This latest heat wave was particularly unusual as a dome of warm air arrived from the east, associated with the remnants of the record-setting European heat wave last month. Most large melt events on Greenland involve warm, humid air masses arriving from North America and the western Atlantic Ocean. This surge of warm air started in North Africa, traveled north across Europe and then westward across the North Atlantic Ocean toward and across Greenland. Air masses originating over North Africa are known to reach Greenland — Saharan dust has been traced to the ice sheet— but this recent air mass was exceptionally warm. By following the path of the heat wave, scientists predicted the extensive melt several days in advance. Air temperatures at Summit hovered near or above freezing for more than 11 hours on Wednesday, which is nearly twice as long as the last melt event there in 2012.

Satellite data that I process for the National Snow and Ice Data Center showed more than 60 percent of the surface area of the ice sheet melting last Wednesday. While this is a smaller melt area than in mid-July 2012, the melt extent was second only to 2012 for late July. More detailed satellite images show that snow has melted from a large area along the western edge of the ice sheet, leaving more exposed ice than in 2012 in several areas. Numerous meltwater rivers and lakes, and dark, dust-encrusted ice reached areas higher on the ice sheet. Images comparing summer 2018 and summer 2019 show a larger area of bare ice and meltwater lakes this summer. Several of the Danish Meteorological Institute weather stations on the ice sheet have recorded greater melt rates in 2019 than in 2012.

In July 2012, the public watched video of melt water runoff raging down the Watson River, near Greenland’s main international airport at Kangerlussuaq. The flood waters destroyed the bridge’s approaches and prevented travel across the river, which have since been rebuilt. This past week, journalist Laurie Garrett recorded similar images of Watson River flooding. Meanwhile, further north near the U.S. Thule Air Force Base, less than 1,000 miles from the North Pole, scientist Pete Akers at the Institute of Geosciences and Environment in Grenoble reported temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, ice margin collapse, meltwater pouring into new channels and into the ocean.

While the ice losses on any individual day make only modest contributions to global sea level, the increasing frequency of heat waves and large melt events across Greenland during the past two decades contribute significantly to sea level rise. When the entire surface of the ice sheet melted in July 2012, climatologists and glaciologists told the public that these melt events will become more common in the future. While some recent years, such as 2017, have seen more modest melt seasons, we again witnessed record-setting losses from the ice sheet this summer. 

Mass losses from Greenland this past week were already approaching levels not expected until 2070 based on the best available models. It is still too early to tell if the ice losses for the summer will exceed the losses in 2012, but it is clear that the Greenland ice sheet is rapidly responding to climate change, even faster than many scientists expected. These rapid changes point to the necessity for action on climate change and for improved observing systems to monitor the ice sheet.

Thomas Mote is a distinguished research professor of Geography and Atmospheric Science at the University of Georgia. He has published research for the past 25 years on Arctic climate change and the use of regional climate models and remote sensing to monitor the Greenland ice sheet. He provides the processed satellite data for the Greenland Today website at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.