Posts Tagged ‘Winter’


Yes Virginia, Global Warming Can Mean Lower Temperatures

February 16, 2014

Snow DayI’ve notice something recently, when I make a comment about all the snow or how cold a day might be on social media, a comment akin to “so much for global warming” always seems to creep in.  I have to shake my head and wonder about the education level of people making such comments.  It is one thing to make a smart-ass comment for effect; I do it all the time.  It is another matter entirely to drink the disinformation of news networks and apply it to serious issues like global warming.

In a very large part, the confusion of us lay-people is due to the moniker, “global warming.”  It is all too easy to miss-apply it and miss the real point is energy trapped in the upper troposphere and tropopause, not the relative high or low temperature of a particular day. 

For those who have forgotten middle-school earth science, the troposphere is the atmospheric layer we live in.  It extends from the earth’s surface up to about 10 miles or so.  The tropopause is the dense boundary between troposphere and the stratosphere.  These parts of the atmosphere are where the weather happens. We all know as you go higher, it gets colder, but that is only to a point.  Once you reach the tropopause, the temperature stabilizes; it then increases through the stratosphere before it again drops.  It is not uncommon for temperatures in this region to reach as low as -75°C (-103°F).

Just for the sake of clarity, the layers of our atmosphere, in order away from the earth, are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere.  The ozone layer lives within the lower stratosphere but is not considered a true atmospheric layer.  Commercial jetliners like to fly in the lower stratosphere too, as it puts them above thunderstorms, clouds and such.

The term global warming, applies less to the temperature at the earth’s surface and more to the energy stored in the upper troposphere and tropopause.  A 1°C change in the average temperature in this area has a huge impact of the weather at the earth’s surface.  This is because the energy required to change the average is tremendous.  Notice I did not say it has a huge impact on the temperature at the earth’s surface.  The change affects the weather in the form of high and low pressure systems and ultimately the jet stream. The temperature will fluctuate up down, for sure, but it is the increase storms and their severity we will most readily endure by warming. 

This is why a warming in the upper troposphere and tropopause can result in lower temperatures and cause a great amount of snow.  In reality, it supports the theory of global warming.  So, keep this little tidbit in mind next time you hear someone make a silly comment about cold weather disproving global warming.  Simply shake your head and realize the person making such a comment does not know what the hell they are talking about when it comes to global warming.



Wintertime’s Reprieve

February 21, 2012

Far and away my mind does fly
from winter’s dull and gray.
To lands of warm and sandy loam
that calls most every day.

No parade of noise fills the air
this while my mind is free.
‘Tis more a place of solemn care
my soul does long to be.

At water’s edge with fresh wind’s breeze
I find my heart’s complete.
With toes in sand l walk this beach
dreaming of summer’s heat.

So join me there along the strand
when chill of morn does blow.
We’ll warm ourselves in our souls
from winter’s cold and snow.

Copyright ©2012 MH Benton. All rights reserved.


The Sound of Snow

February 8, 2010

Whether or not you enjoyed the recent snowfall, El Niño is responsible.  El Niño is a quasi-periodic weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean, which occurs every few years, holding great influence over a large portion of the world.  Here in the LowCountry of South Carolina, it brings mostly rain when the event takes place in the winter months.  It would have been nice to have a bit of snow, just a bit.  When it’s measured in feet rather than inches, I simply don’t know what to do.

Still, I must admit I enjoy the snow, even large amounts, for a change of pace.  There is something magical about it.  I realize the adjective selection is somewhat different for the guy stuck outside in sub-zero temperatures, trying to shovel his car free.  Nonetheless, most people enjoy the anticipation of the year’s first snow as it seems to slow the world down a bit.

That’s the part I like best, the slow tempo of things with snowfall.  We rush around today and have little time to take in the world around us.  We live fast, hectic, and gritty lives in our modern society.  Snowfall reminds us we are part of something more – it connects us in a way.  It brings out the kid in all of us who wonders at the simple things in life.

I was in mountains of North Carolina one winter shortly after my father passed away.  It was not a particularly happy time and I was keeping to myself more than I normally do.  If you know me, you understand that is really saying something.  One morning, I woke up to the most magnificent view I have ever seen.  It was a seemingly endless carpet of snow that covered everything.  I had to be part of it.  Walking some distance, I could see nothing but white in every direction and the snow was falling even faster.  I stopped to enjoy the silence of the moment – silent but for the sound of snow.

The Sound of Snow

The sound of snow takes on many a form
molds itself to all and soon surrounds it
But when it floats and falls – leaves the swarm
’tis the soft “shhhhh…” the soul cannot forget

It calms as the sound slowly covers me
and makes me part of the world around
Still, the white veil does not change leaf or tree
but gently covers all and peace is found

A monochrome world that moment exists
for all I hear and see become as one
But if we’d keep it so, we’d be remiss
accepting the lie of such beauty spun

This sound of snow gives just a moment’s peace
but for that moment… pain and hatred cease

I think about that time often.  It has inspired many of my poems but none are more dear to me than this one.  I am a Southern boy who grew up on the coast.  Meaning, snow is not something I see regularly.  When I do, I have the privilege of its newness and take it in with awe.   It reminds me to live each moment for they are all precious. Each of us only has so many in life to enjoy.

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