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Fire and Ice 25/02/2013

Posted by zoidion in Climate.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The thaw/freeze period is underway. Even when the air temperature is below freezing, any degree of sun visibility is enough to instigate some melting of the snow cover: seven to ten inches, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Last week, as Missouri got dumped on, my back yard, and roof, received about five inches of light stuff. That was about in line with what I considered possible, considering the relevant moisture chart. It was a major hassle for commuters, though. For the most part, I enjoyed the additional call to be outside, but it was also a bit of a nuisance: the part where I got out on the sunroom roof (for only the third time this winter) to rake the south quadrant. I wasn’t much good for fiddling that evening or the next.

Several years ago, I arranged for additional insulation topside (and wished that I could have had more added to the walls). And when I make a point of looking at the roof from up or down the street, I’m well satisfied that at least I’m not using fossil fuel to heat the roof—unlike quite a few of my neighbors. Anyway, I figure the house energy system works better if I make sure at least one roof vent is clear of snow and can breathe, and the south side is the only one I can reach.

Last week also saw the first seed-packing get-together of the Northeast/Southeast Food Resource Hub, whose mission is to support community and backyard gardeners with seeds, tools, classes and the knowledge and experience of its members. We met at Eastside Food Co-op, whose membership overlaps quite a bit with the year-old Northeast Investment Co-op. About fifteen of us sat and counted—or, more often, eyeballed—equal numbers of seeds to go into little glassine envelopes, to be distributed to members in April. This time it was cantaloupe and collard seeds. After an hour of that, most stayed, and a few more arrived, to watch “Farmageddon,” a very disturbing film about recent abuses by federal and state agricultural police.

The day before, I saw “Chasing Ice,” the closing song from which was nominated for an Academy Award—I didn’t know Scarlett Johansson couldn’t sing. That film documents photographer James Balog’s recent efforts to record the loss of glacial ice at twenty-some locations in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska and Montana. It’s astounding—the time-lapse photos, the meltwater rivers cutting canyons through the ice, the capture on camera of a lower-Manhattan-size chunk breaking off. Frankly, I walked out so stunned at the visual evidence of climate change that I didn’t retain a fair amount of the information. It does look like we’ll be cooking—mostly, until a major volcanic eruption or meteorite or something . . .

Speaking of volcanic eruptions, my recent reading (Brian Fagan’s The Little Ice Age and H.H. Lamb’s Climatic History and the Future) has brought my attention to their past impacts, and my pondering to the why of their timing.

Why were there four cold episodes in the seventeenth century, and at least six climatically significant eruptions (Fagan)?

The first episode followed the Huanyaputina eruption in what is now Peru in 1600, which took place as a series of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in water signs was shifting into the fire element, which held sway through the eighteenth century; Huanyaputina also occurred during an Uranus-Pluto conjunction in fire sign Aries, with both those planets in a trine angle (one-third of the zodiacal circle) with Neptune—a rare combination.

The cosmic situation on the date of the primary eruption—16 February 1600—is still more indicative of special potency: Saturn in close opposition to Uranus (less so to Pluto), and the Sun—serving as the day marker—in close opposition to Neptune. The spacing of bodies around the circle was: Sun – 60 degrees – Uranus-Pluto – 120 degrees – Neptune – 60 degrees – Saturn – 120 degrees – Sun. A kind of hourglass configuration. (Hot Mars and expansive Jupiter also joined Neptune in fire sign Leo.)

The configuration is even more interesting in relation to the chart for the zodiacal year, beginning the previous 20 March. Though no one knew beforehand what place would produce the defining event, the year chart cast for the area of Huanyaputina suggests that a sudden flip was imminent: The lower meridian, key to weather and seismic events, was at the very end of the last degree of Aquarius, the sign of maximum cold; and on eruption day the Sun, in exile in Aquarius, was close upon that meridian. (The Moon, at perigee—the monthly pass closest to Earth—was also midway between Sun and Uranus-Pluto, Venus nearly at maximum elongation—angular distance from the Sun.)

(Huanyaputina volcano chart calculated for local noon)

(Huanyaputina volcano chart calculated for local noon)

“Huanyaputina ash played havoc with global climate. The summer of 1601 was the coldest since 1400 throughout the northern hemisphere, and among the coldest of the past 1,600 years in Scandinavia, where the sun was dimmed by constant haze.” – Fagan

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Comments»

1. starjoy967@aol.com - 25/02/2013

I enjoy reading your e-mails even though I have no astro weather background. Thanks for sending them to me….do you send them to the others in our little group as well?…Blessings, M

zoidion - 26/02/2013

Hi M,

Thanks. I appreciate that you appreciate my work.

I don’t actually send these posts as e-mails, though last fall I sent a couple e-mails to our group announcing my blog. It sounds as if at some point you signed up to “follow” my blog, so you get an e-mail with the contents of each new post as I post it.

Peter

2. Dave of Maryland - 26/02/2013

Hello Pete,
I am still suffering from a weak heart and don’t want to push myself, but you’re doing outstanding work with long-term cycles. My compliments.

Regret that because of some sort of server error, about 40% of my mailing list is gone. Not sure it can be restored. If you did not get notice of yesterday’s newsletter, tell me and I will get you back on. It’s here: http://www.astroamerica.com/newsletters/2013-february26.pdf

Dave

zoidion - 27/02/2013

Dave,
Thanks! I’m glad to see you have a new newsletter–I didn’t get an email notice.
I hope you’re pacing yourself well. I value your voice.
Pete


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