I usually don’t spend much time contemplating situations that are larger than what a mere mortal can comprehend or control, such as the forces of nature or the solar system.
But I must admit that recent weather events, including the ongoing cold snap, have me wondering what’s up with such things — not only in dealing with the here and now but concern about what the future holds.
Are all the weird patterns the nation and world have been experiencing a signal that we are headed toward the end of civilization as we know it, or are such fears just a lot of hot air?
The catalyst for my thoughts on this topic is, of course, the arctic freeze that has gripped our region for the better part of two weeks. As someone who‘s a bit of a meteorological observer and has written many weather-related news stories, I have made note of such trends over the years.
Based on those recollections, it has not been unusual for our weather to drastically turn colder in December or January, sometimes with the mercury even inching down to the zero mark. But typically for only a couple of days.
What’s different this time is the prolonged period of cold we’ve been experiencing with temperatures dipping into the 20s, teens and even single digits overnight and not warming up past the 20s or 30s during the day.
It’s been so bad that a forecast in the 40s might even have some people reaching for the beach blankets to go sunbathing because this would resemble a virtual heat wave by comparison.
And it’s not just this area that has been suffering from residual effects of the bitter cold such as broken pipes, vehicles that won’t start and astronomical heating bills.
In “sunny” Florida, for example, extremely low temperatures have caused iguanas to freeze, fall from trees and litter the ground in an apparent state of rigor mortis.
Meanwhile, sea turtles at the Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi, Texas, were brought inside to prevent what the National Park Service called a “sea turtle cold stunning event.” (And I’ll bet it’s not been good for those turtles who are hard-shell Baptists, either.)
There were reports that this past New Year’s Eve might have been the coldest on record on the East Coast.
Fittingly, the unusual deep freeze at the end of 2017 mirrored drastic weather patterns overall during the year, which set a record for property losses from natural disasters. This included a hurricane season (courtesy of nice folks such as Harvey, Irma and Maria) that caused the most damage in history.
Then there was the calamitous wildfire season in California, along with the usual severe storms and tornadoes around the country which seem to become more prevalent over time. And in Asia, heavy monsoon rains that lasted about four weeks longer than normal killed 2,700 people while causing billions in property losses.
Naturally, many in society automatically will blame global warming for all these weird occurrences in their usual knee-jerk way.
That’s the case even with the record cold of late, which climate change experts say actually goes hand in hand with the global warming phenomenon — as strange as it might seem.
They point out that with the warming of the planet causing a loss of arctic sea ice, the polar vortex — which normally acts as a shielding device that keeps bitter cold temperatures away from areas to the south — has had its usually airtight funnel weakened. As a result, frigid weather normally limited to the Arctic by the vortex has seeped into areas such as ours.
But I tend to take a larger view of what’s happening which goes beyond global warming and similar theories.
I’m thinking that the unusual weather conditions could be a sign that God has had enough and is ready to destroy what once was His precious creation through one big natural disaster at some point — similar to the biblical flood.
And if you come down more on the evolutionary side of things, you might argue that Earth is simply paying mankind back for all the abuse he has heaped onto the planet for generations. Nature is seeking to recapture it through meteorological disasters.
While global warming is a relatively new field of study, the truth is that man’s inhumanity to the planet dates way back to the times when no one even thought about climate change. It covers a much wider scope than damage to the ozone from carbon-generated pollution.
Even before that became a concern, we did a pretty good job ruining most of our rivers and other waterways with industrial discharges, over-development and agricultural runoff.
And not enough people have cared about any of this.
Tom Joyce is a staff writer for The Mount Airy News. He may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.