Brendan McWilliams talk tonight, Tuesday 8th, in Airfield House, Dundrum, Dublin
8 Nov 2005
Brendan McWilliams, author of the popular Weather Eye column in the Irish Times will give a talk on What's Climate Change and What's Not, tonight at 8pm, in Airfield House, in Dundrum in Dublin.
Brendan McWilliams introduces the talk in todays Weather Eye, below.
The truth about climate change
By Brendan McWilliams
What do love and climate change have in common? Quite a lot, in fact, if you observe WH Auden's dilemma: When it comes, will it come without warning Just as I'm picking my nose? Will it knock on my door in the morning, Or tread in the bus on my toes? Will it come like a change in the weather? Will its greeting be courteous or rough? Will it alter my life altogether? O tell me the truth about love.
Climate change poses a similar conundrum. We know, for example, that in global terms the 20th century was the warmest of last millennium, that the 1990s was the warmest decade, and that 1998 was the warmest year on record with 2003 and 2004 behind it only by a whisker. Global warming, in other words, is taking place even as we speak - but is our climate really changing? That nasty storm we have just experienced, for example - did that have anything to do with climate change? And what about this bizarre hurricane season not yet over?
There have been 23 named tropical storms in the Caribbean this year, enough to beat the previous record of 21 in 1933 and to exhaust the prearranged list of hurricane names so that the powers that be had to resort to the Greek alphabet for the 22nd and the 23rd.
Has the existence of storms Alpha and Beta, and the unusual ferocity of Katerina and Rita, anything to do with global warning. And what about that eccentric Hurricane Vince a week or two ago which, instead of moving west, headed eastwards into Spain? Not to mention the unique occurrence in Brazil last year of Hurricane Catrina.
For that matter, does the ozone hole have anything to do with global warming? And are the Arctic and Antarctic ice packs about to melt and drown us in our beds? Will Ireland shortly become rather like the south of France, or can we expect the day after tomorrow on our sainted isle to be something like The Day After Tomorrow in New York? If you find these matters of interest, or even of concern, you may wish to betake yourself at 8pm tonight to the Airfield Trust on the Upper Kilmacud Road in Dublin, to the former residence of Misses Letitia and Naomi Overend.
There, under the title What's Climate Change and What's Not, you will hear them discussed with the aid of a magic lantern by one who claims to know a thing or two about such issues. It will cost you €8 at the door to gain admission, a devil in the detail which came as rather a surprise to the writer of this column. And the speaker? Yes, you may have guessed: it is none other than your daily scribbler, Modesty Forbids.
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