Warren Miller: Is There Global Cooling in Your Future?

By Beacon Staff

Al Gore narrated a movie, and for doing so got an Academy Award and a Nobel Peace Prize. From his global warming platform an entire worldwide industry has sprung up. Tens of thousands of jobs have been created to paint the world green. What about painting the ocean blue?

Since the oceans cover more than 70 percent of the planet their health is much more important to mankind than we realize. They absorb energy and heat from the sun and the air passing over them picks up that heat and drifts over the land and can affect our weather patterns in dramatic ways.

Let me turn back the calendar 40 years for a moment.

It was September in a restaurant in Redondo Beach, Calif., and I was meeting with four ski shop owners about running my films on their weekly television program. Everyone had a different idea about why the coming winter would be great. The wooly moth is bigger; the squirrels are stashing more acorns, etc. My take on the whole good winter/bad winter discussion: “The water was really warm this morning when I was surfing and if it stays that way we will have a lousy winter.” It stayed warm and Southern California ski resorts had the worst ski season in my memory.

This led me to the conclusion that somehow the Japanese current had a large influence on West Coast weather. It goes north from Japan, then curves east and then south at the Aleutian Islands and down the West Coast. My hypothesis was based on the fact that as early as the 1930s scientists could predict European weather, good or bad, by the temperature of the Gulf of Mexico the summer before. With the Gulf Stream being the weather-controlling factor, then why not a similar weather-controlling factor for the Japanese current?

Now another weather-controlling factor is merging in what is called the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch, which is one-and-a-half times the size of the United States. It is composed primarily of floating plastic, some of which has already broken up into small pieces and pollutes the ocean as deep down as 300 feet.

With this giant blanket of plastic garbage reflecting the heat of the sun, has it reached a large and dense enough critical mass so that it is reflecting enough of the sun’s heat to actually change the overall temperature of this part of the Pacific Ocean? To prove this case, someone needs to get the temperature readings from all of the stations stretching from Japan through the Aleutian Islands and down the West Coast of North America for the last 20 years or more and they will have the conclusive information on this theory of mine.

If you watch the weather on the late night news you know that the storms come in from the Pacific Ocean and then cross America. The winter of 2007/8 was the wettest in many years on the West Coast. The weekend of June 14, 2008 the Aspen Ski resort reopened for skiing on new powder snow. The snow level in the Cascades of Washington State had as much as two feet of new snow down to 4,000 feet and it is the wettest May and June in history. Is this unprecedented cold weather a function of the scales finally being tipped into the cold arena by this huge biomass of plastic garbage floating out there 1,000 miles west of California?

What can be done about it if this is the case? A lot of suggestions have been floated, such as scooping it up in fish nets, hauling it to the Hawaiian Islands and dumping it where the Lava from Mauna Kea enters the ocean and turning it into energy.

Unfortunately, plastic is not biodegradable and will never go away. Birds and sea life ingest this floating mass of goo and eventually you might get to eat some of it when you eat Copper River salmon at $28 a pound.

In some way, big or small, your life will eventually be affected by that plastic water bottle that you throw away and will never disintegrate. The only bright side of the plastic water bottle scenario is that nine of them can be remanufactured into yarn, woven into fabric and made into fleece jackets and insulation. If it continues to get colder because of the floating plastic junk, we will all need more parkas, the ski resorts will prosper and the jury is still out on Al Gore’s prediction of global warming.

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