Saturday, August 25, 2012

Let's pray for rain!

The sign says "Let's pray for rain" and is taped to the door of the entrance of the sanctuary of Madonna del Sasso (Our Lady of the Rock), not far from Florence, Italy.

The drought in Italy is so bad that we can only pray for some rain, which doesn't seem to be coming, anyway. As an example of how bad it is, I had never seen figs drying on their branch, but this year it is happening. Look:

More pictures of the drought in the countryside can be found at this link.

Now, why this terrible (I'd say "Biblic") drought? Well, it is an ongoing phenomenon, clearly related to climate change. Look at this image from NOAA (source).

Look at the Mediterranean Region: it is predicted to be the most affected by drought in the whole world. So, what we are seeing today is just a prelude of something much worse that could develop in the coming years and decades.

Now we are reduced to pray for rain and hope that the Good Lord will perform a miracle for us. But we cannot say we hadn't been warned.


  1. Let's pray for rain indeed! I, too, saw a few days ago a fig tree with dried figs. And today I couldn't buy beautiful big tomatos at the local market. They were small and deformed and looked ugly.

  2. I six thousand almond cultivation in the Mediterranean. Here are grown for over two hundred years without much effort. If it does not rain this fall as usual. It is quite possible that all dry. My father prayed, I shit on everything.

  3. Amazing film explains how arctic sea ice melt affects the jet stream in the northern hemisphere, causing extreme drought (and floods):

  4. Hugo - first, lovely carpentry of the church's door.

    Next, it's very good to see the NOAA 2030-39 PDSI plot here. But it doesn't seem quite fair to say people have been warned about climate destabilization, since I'd doubt that even one in ten thousand globally have seen that plot and fewer still of urban populations have understood what warming by only around 1.2C by 2035 means for global food production. A useful metric for the plot is that the US dustbowl drought was mostly of 3 to 4 (puce) on the PDSI scale, only occasionally spiking to 6 (red). The plot shows the average shift for the decade - with volatility each way some years would face global crop failures and contagious societal collapse.

    Of the time series of six of these plots in Dai's paper, I wish you'd add those of '75-'84, and 2000-2009 before the one above so that the very clear progression can be seen from observed changes. Until people awake to the threat, there will be no sufficient pressure on the US to end its climate policy of a 'Brinkmanship of Inaction' with China. That bipartisan US policy that Obama adopted from Bush, of awaiting the climatic destabilization of China's govt via food-price unrest, is now the sole visible means of deflecting China's rise to global economic dominance. In exacerbating global climate destabilization for the sake of maintaining its hegemony, the US plainly commits an aggression that demands effective confrontation.

    The policy is not unassailable as it has three major weaknesses:
    - it reflects Cheyney-era assumptions that China will be harder hit by climate impacts than the US (despite both being under the same increasingly disrupted Jet Stream),
    - and that the US will be better able to afford the damage costs than China (this despite China being the rising economy, US infrastructure being already dilapidated, and the major disparity in relative political impacts of major events' casualty figures).
    - Moreover, the policy’s genocidal impacts globally in terms of generating serial famine and strife of course makes it wholly inadmissible and indefensible, which is a further weakness when people wake up enough to challenge it.

    Ending that policy is the paramount global priority for political action. Until that is achieved, the necessary climate treaty and its sufficient complements of global programs for Carbon Recovery and Albedo Restoration are shelved, and all other plans of transition are mere fantasy.

    It needs saying that once those commensurate responses are in operation, there is a good chance of rapidly restoring a natural global temperature and climatic stability within a decade, primarily by Albedo Restoration cooling the planet but eventually by ending emissions (2050?) and by Carbon Recovery cleansing the atmosphere (by 2100).

    I think this prospect of success needs saying loud and clear because a large part of the suppression of Western dissent is by generating apathy - that catastrophe is unavoidable - (for which climate-threat plots lacking qualifiers are as useful as anything). The reality is that social and political transformation are inevitable - but it is up to the public as to which direction those changes take.



  5. Hi Lewis, interesting points you are making. You know, about the US trying to use climate change to destabilize China, it reminds me a little of an old story that we tell in Italy, of the guy who castrated himself to annoy his wife....

    But, here, the situation is truly tragic, not funny at all. I think there were plenty of chances for people to learn about it much earlier, had the powers that be cared to inform them. Now, it is probably too late, but we may still have a chance. Act on the planet's albedo is fundamental, although of course not sufficient, alone. And we need to fight also the apathy of those who think we are doomed. Not yet!

  6. maybe they could also sacrifice a goat!!

    have about as much effect. wonder if its ever occured to them to join the dots and actually do something practical like ordering their gormless congregation to stop driving and flying everywhere on a whim.

    ive done this a few times myself when feeling particularly annoyed with the blank faced car addled land whales i share the road with. the expression on their faces is priceless ! so rude. yet so right at the same time. how to respond. who cares. i just cycle off quickly before they reply.

  7. Nice post... they are praying for rain also in Serbia! There the drought is accompanied by fires.

    I honestly believe that Jesus would be more happy and proud about us if we actually *did* something about climate change, instead of (just) praying.

    My girlfriend is religious (I am not (yet)), and she attends the church using car (ok, it is 1 km), but you get the point. What can I do? Mostly I do not talk about climate change - even if I could, that would not change anything...

    I agree with Ugo, that we are not doomed (though some people already died sooner as a result of climate change), but we probably will be...

    Hey, which reminds me where is all that Arctic ice???

  8. I don't consider myself very religious, but I must admit that on this occasion I prayed - a little. And, you know? Yesterday it rained! :-)

  9. I suggest someone makes a couple of phone calls in addition to praying. Please call those who are allowing those unidentified jet planes which appear whenever clouds form to spray them with some aerosol stuff until they dissolve into some kind of white whatever. Yes, I know, chemtrails don't exist... just like global warming doesn't. Good luck with your phone conversations.

    1. Could you post a link to good quality video of this aerial spraying whenever clouds form ? I should be interested to see it and learn of the locations as we get lots of clouds here in Wales without anyone doing anything much about them.

      Perhaps you could also clarify how I should distinguish your comment from the widespread denialist propaganda that still attempts to postpone public appreciation of climate science by inventing and propagating conspiracy theories ?

      Pat Chauri

    2. Perhaps I should reply to this as follows: "E pur si muove!"



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)