Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Horchen! Die kleine Scheiße kehrt zurück!*

Man, I'm getting hammered with chores. Five months of letting things slide will do that. I start out to do a task and realize that I'll have to do three or five other tasks first, else I'll have to undo and redo all or part of the original task.

Well, no one held a gun to my head and said "you must raise cattle."

I mention this only because it's my not-good-enough-at-all excuse for slipshod blogging.

Anyway, as I mentioned the other day or last week or last month or whenever it was, we've noticed a sharp uptick in jackrabbit population numbers. I've been whittling them down a bit but I'm really not making a dent. Makes me wonder if the common wisdom regarding the demise of the passenger pigeon is true. Did evil white állaphobic 'merkin men really slaughter them to extinction? But I digress.

A long time ago a scientist I admire, upon hearing a hypothesis I'd developed to explain some phenomenon or other, said, "Hey, Evertson, common things happen commonly!"

Just turble English, I know. His point was valid though. Before you go looking for magical causes, check out the common, every day ones!

So we've got a really big increase in jackrabbit numbers (more cottontails, too, though not quite so many). Have we committed a terrible crime against nature, and thrown the land so out of balance that we've caused this?

Well, it's possible but unlikely. A more likely explanation is this; we've had a couple of really good plant production years, with adequate and timely moisture and otherwise salubrious weather. This allowed for the production of lots and lots of plant material, much of which is rabbit food. When there is lots of food, rabbits can make and feed lots of babies. Coupled with a shortfall in predators, the population of which is just beginning to recover from the 2012 drought (predators have fewer offspring from fewer pregnancies and the young take longer to reach reproductive maturity), we now have more rabbits, more rabbit food, fewer predators, and a cold but essentially open (snowless) winter. So do the math, right?

At this point in the annual cycle of life on the High Plains, the prognostications of the weather-guessers are starting to become interesting. The goat entrails are telling them that we just might have another "good" year. More on that a bit down the page, because I've got myself a bit off course here. I was going to tell an amusing rabbit anecdote.

The other day, after I'd slaughtered about 40 helpless and innocent hares and delivered their carcasses to the coyote food bank, Mom asked an interesting question. "What," she asked, "do you call a group of rabbits? Is it a herd or a flock or what?"

I didn't have time (yeah, good one) to whip out my phone and ask the interwebs, so I replied, "I believe it's called a shitload of rabbits."

Which response everyone found amusing, but it didn't properly answer the question.

So, in the interest of scientific taxonomy common folkloric naming convention, a group of hares (jackrabbits are hares, not rabbits) is called a down or a drove. Just FYI, a group of rabbits (cottontails are rabbits) is called a herd.

Okay, now where was I? Oh yeah, goat entrails. And, *Hark! The little shit is coming!

Late last spring El Niño was fading. In this part of the country we felt some of the effect as a significant slow-down of precipitation through late summer, autumn, and early winter.

The ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) pattern has a lot to do with the weather we experience in the U.S. You could, in fact, make the argument that the southern Pacific Ocean is where our U.S. weather is born.

In a nutshell, ENSO consists of small variations in surface water temperature -- about half a degree centigrade -- in the eastern Pacific, and small variations in near-surface air pressure in the western Pacific. Warming sea water and increased air pressure are called the El Niño phase, while cooling sea water and decreased air pressure are called the La Niña phase.

In Spanish, El Niño translates roughly to "the boy child" while La Niña means "the girl child." These were the names given to warming and cooling seas by South American Pacific coastal fishermen who noticed the phenomena long before professional lab-coated gut-pickers ever did.

The ENSO pattern is only part of an extremely complex climate system which we have yet to understand. We do know that in general, El Niño is correlated with increased precipitation and slight cooling across our part (High Plains) of the U.S., and that La Niña is correlated with decreased precipitation and slight warming here. The ENSO-associated weather pattern changes we see here are quite variable though, and to say El Niño means rain and La Niña means drought is far from correct.

According to Art Douglas, Professor emeritus of Creighton University, El Niño appears to be returning, which may presage adequate moisture across the High Plains in the coming growing season.

An early indication that El Niño might have returned has been the continual flow of moisture-bearing weather systems which have been moving across our region every week or 10 days since about Christmastime.

A surprise is that a new El Niño pattern would develop again so soon after fading.

Historically, extended periods of El Niño occur somewhat infrequently. The last long El Niño period ran from 1990-95. According to Douglas, a six-month neutral ENSO (which occurred from May-November, 2016) bookended by strong El Niño patterns is quite unusual.

What will this mean for farming and ranching across the High Plains region?

Going into the spring, Douglas is forecasting a persistent ridge of high pressure off the West Coast. That’s very typical of El Niño, he says. A low pressure trough off Baja is expected to form, and the combination will serve to funnel air flow into the midsection of the continent. A weak trough near the Great Lakes is expected to form which will allow cold fronts to flow south out of Canadia. Although Douglas didn't mention this, I believe that super-heated air produced along the east and west Canadian coasts by hysterical, fleeing U.S. progressives will serve to focus the southward flow of cold air. Butt I digress.

The weak trough near the Great Lakes will also encourage moisture-laden air from the Gulf of Mexico to flow north. Where the south-flowing cold fronts collide with the north flowing warm, wet air (in other words, here), there you are likely to have rain!

It's all very simple, really.

But it all depends on whether certain climatic variables line up properly, and those are extremely complex. We can guess and hypothesize 'til the cows come home, but we don't understand how 99 percent of this shit works, despite what algore and the climate change alarmists say.

The southern Pacific may be where our U.S. weather is born, but just as with a newborn babe, there’s no way to tell what the future holds in store. The present indications and predictions are good, but we won’t know what the weather will do until it actually does it.

As for global warming/climate change, I'm sick to death of the message of the alarmists. Pay attention people! It doesn't matter a whit how eloquently these assholes report on carbon dioxide or cow farts, if the climate isn't changing, those things don't mean shit in the context of climate change. The fact that glaciers and polar ice sometimes retreat doesn't mean shit if they once again advance when normal climatic variability brings back the snow and cold.

The argument is always couched in terms of the absolute fact that mankind is changing the climate, the proof of which only exists in computer models and carefully selected and intentionally dishonest and misleading evidence, much of which is manufactured out of whole cloth.

Don't fall into the clever trap of agreeing that climate is changing and has always changed. In progressive alarmist-speak, climate change means "icky non-prog Caucasoid 'merkin males (except for us because wonderful) are causing catastrophic environment-destroying climate change right now!"

This isn't happening. Not anywhere!

A lot of fairly reasonable people say, "Well, yeah, duh, the climate is changing because it has always changed." It's a nice but weak effort. What they usually mean is that the weather is constantly changing, from hour to hour and day to day, and weather is the same as climate, right?

But here's the point. We know from studying the geologic record that there have been many ice ages and many steamy jungle ages. We know in fact that the last ice age ended on the order of 15,000-20,000 years ago. The record shows that ice ages last a very long time, jungle ages are a bit more brief, and the transitional ages are very short indeed -- measured in mere tens of thousands of years. The record shows that this variability is normal for our planet. We know that the climate was perfectly able to swing from ice to jungle on its own long before mankind or even progressives appeared on the scene. We know that atmospheric carbon dioxide has been higher than it is today during ice ages, and lower than it is today during jungle ages, and vice-versa.

We know that these things have happened, and that they are normal for our planet. We do not know how and why they happen. We would like to know, and science is our best hope for finding out. But so long as modern "science" is in fact pseudoscience, rife with dishonesty and nearly completely politicized, we're not going to be able to learn shit.

The climate is NOT changing. It's doing exactly what its always done. None of the recent (circa 2,000 years) variability used as evidence of man-caused climate change is anything new. It's all happened many times before, and recent variability is well within he bounds of previous variability.

Okay, rant over. Remember that scientists aren't smarter than you are, and that there's no reason you can't gain a perfectly good understanding of climate on your own. Do so and be skeptical. It'll take work, but fer cryin' out loud, you're Sovereign Citizens! Grow a pair, suck it up, and drive on!


  1. Hahaha!

    Excellent posts, even though parts of it made my head hurt.

    So a jackrabbit is a hare? I think I knew that, there were a shitload of them on Lowry AFB back in my salad days. Though we weren't really on speaking terms.

    In other news, we (my fellow sergeants and I) invented a term for a group of colonels at Offutt AFB, we determined that a group of three or more colonels (full O-6 type colonels, not the Diet Colonels) should be termed a "buckle of colonels." That's right, a buckle. The reason why escapes me.

    So what are trying to say with this post Shaun? (Standby for a Game of Thrones reference...)

    "Winter is coming." (And Ned Stark wants his head back.)

    I'm out...

    1. Diet Colonels??????? Ahem!!!!

    2. Or, maybe......Harrrummph!

    3. Diet Colonels! That's brilliant! Now what is a group of Diet Colonels called?

    4. Buck up Juvat. He could have referenced "partial heifer" colonels...

    5. Oh dear, I had quite forgotten that my very own co-blogger, and fighter pilot extraordinaire, finished his career as a [*cough*] "Diet Colonel." I know that I shall pay and pay dearly.

      As to what a group of Diet Colonels is called, hhmm. From what I recollect they were solitary beasts, commanding squadrons or lurking in the bowels of the Pentagon, waiting to pounce on the unwary. (And avoiding Power Point presentations like a vampire avoids garlic. It is garlic isn't it?)

      I suppose it's like asking what a group of tigers is called...

      (Okay Juvat, I compared you to a tiger. Hey, eagles are solitary too aren't they?)

    6. A group of tigers is an ambush. Eagles get together in convocations.

  2. That KB is so lovely! I hope they get a person who loves old trucks to buy it.

  3. One of the things I really enjoy about your blog is the photography. Keep up the good work. Also, thank you for the gratuitous 135 photo. Always appreciated. Hint to Sarge and Juvat.

    1. I should have mentioned that I stole that one from the interwebs. I have a post in process regarding the Boom Drogue Adapter (BDA) and how very much naval aviators love the contraption. In researching the topic I've found that a lot of "furrin" aviators love it equally well, and that the Air Force has had a lot of trouble with the podded, wing-mounted refueling stores they've been using. Interesting....

    2. Hhmm, is it 135s you like? Hint received, challenge accepted.

      We're on it!

  4. "I believe that super-heated air produced along the east and west Canadian coasts by hysterical, fleeing U.S. progressives will serve to focus the southward flow of cold air."

    Good one Shaun.

    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Thanks Paul. It is, of course, only a hypothesis. I'll have to collect some data...