Posts Tagged ‘End Times’

New Dust Bowl, Asteroids or Revelation?

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

The four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are riding high in our age. The earth is getting hotter and scientists say it is the hottest in 400,000 years. Christians are seeing the end of the world. They look to Revelation. I remember how back in the 1980’s we were afraid that Reagan would try to bring on the end times and then again when Bush 2 was president. There was a strong movement of Christians who allied themselves with Israel believing that there had to be a conversion of the Jews and some other things to bring about the end times. John of Patmos or John the Divine had to disguise the words meaning from the Roman masters who had exiled him to the island of Patmos. He wrote in a style called Apocalyptic. Ezekiel and Daniel had scenes like this to create hope for the Jews. John was taking the symbols of the Jewish bible to speak words of code to give hope to the struggling Christian community of his time who were feeling oppressed by the Romans in the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem 20 years before he wrote the Revelation. Or so we are told by the Bible scholars. Apocalyptic means to remove the veil. It was a style to get his letters past the Roman censors into the hands of his supporters in 7 churches in Asia Minor. I guess I should reread that stuff. It is so dense with allegory, that it would take a real expert in the history of the times to understand it all. Theologians see the beast as Rome. Some like to think it is the Antichrist.
Many modern Christians think it is the current days being described but that is pretty typical of any generation. It was true in 1000 AD when the body of Charlemagne was disinterred on the rumor that he would fight Satan for Christ in 1033 the anniversary of Christ’s crucifixion. It was true at the time of the Plague, Ring Around the Rosy, was from the plague, Rosy was the outbreaks on the skin, a pocket full of poesy, these flowers held to the nose were thought to prevent the plague. Ashes, ashes all fall down… was well ashes to ashes… and it was true at the beginning of the great revivals of Christian faith in the 16th with Martin Luther, 17th with Cotton Mather who predicted the end in 1691, 18th, 19th and then there was William Miller who thought the book of Daniel predicted the date of 1843 as the second coming and were called Millerites. When it didn’t happen they predicted it would come in 1844. They became the 7th Day Adventists. Another preacher named Darby predicted the rapture, something not in the Bible. Again in the 20th and present century there are true believers. They think Har Meggido where many battles have been fought in the past, over 34 in history, in a valley in Israel is where the battle for the end times will be fought. There are those who wanted to try to precipitate that battle by calling for war in the middle east. At least according to the History Channel.

From Earth Institute at Columbia University. A short piece about dust bowls developing in China and Africa.
“Climate modellers see modern echo in ’30s Dust Bowl
Climate scientists using computer models to simulate the 1930s Dust Bowl on the U.S Great Plains have found that dust raised by farmers probably amplified and spread a natural drop in rainfall, turning an ordinary drying cycle into an agricultural collapse. The researcher say the study raises concern that current pressures on farmland from population growth and climate change could worsen current food crises by leading to similar events in other regions.

Recent studies indicate that periodic droughts in the western United States are controlled by naturally occurring periods of cool sea-surface water temperatures over the eastern tropical Pacific - so-called La Nina phases. Via long-distance winds, these phases indirectly affect faraway rain patterns. In addition to the 1930s, such patterns have occurred in the 1850-60s, 1870s, 1890s, 1950s, and 1999 to present.

What made the 1930s different was the arrival of farmers onto the Great Plains, where they replaced drought-resistant wild prairie grasses with fragile wheat, neglected to plant cover crops in unused fields, and allowed livestock to overgraze pastures.

When the 1932-1939 drought struck, plants shrivelled and ever more bare soil was exposed. The land was quickly eroded by gigantic dust storms, and farming collapsed. Skies were chronically darkened on and off; in some years, an estimated 770 million metric tons of topsoil were lost, and over the whole time, 3.5 million people were displaced - one of the 20th century’s worst environmental disasters. The new study finds that farm dust probably fed the disaster, doubling the drop in rainfall, and moving the drought itself northward into major farming regions.

The researchers, based at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (both affiliates of Columbia University’s Earth Institute) used a computer model to simulate a 1930s drought driven only by the change in sea-surface temperature. This showed a 5% drop in rainfall, centred over northern Mexico and the U.S. southwest, where little agriculture then took place. This would have affected the Great Plains too, but probably would have not brought disaster. Then the modellers added in the effects of dust, using data from the ’30s that indicated dust sources, and allowing the computer to create dust storms. This yielded a simulated event eerily like the real one, with a full 10% drop in rain - to just 18 inches a year - and centred over the prairie farm regions of north Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.

Lead author Benjamin Cook, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration postdoctoral researcher affiliated with both Lamont and Goddard, said the effect occurred because dust particles suspended in air reflect solar radiation. Studies by researchers in other parts of the world show that this causes a drop in temperatures at or near the soil surface, lessening evaporation of moisture into the air, and thus decreasing precipitation even further. Dust on the Great Plains helped draw the drought northward like a siphon, said Cook. ‘This is what made the Dust Bowl the Dust Bowl,’ he said. ‘It was a process that fed on itself.’

The U.S. southwest is currently suffering a serious long-term drought that threatens agriculture and population growth there. Cook said it is unlikely that this by itself will cause another Dust Bowl in the United States. Among other things, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, founded in response to the ’30s crisis, has shifted farmers into more sustainable practices. On the other hand, Cook points out that many scientists believe hard-pressed farmers and herders in China and Africa’s Sahel region may be repeating the experience, ruining marginal lands in order to feed themselves in the short term. ‘This highlights the fact that humans can alter natural events and make them worse,’ said coauthor Richard Seager, a modeller at Lamont. Seager says that scientists studying global climate change predict many subtropical regions will dry in coming years. ‘That, in combination with the pressure from rising population and demand for food, could lead to a similar cycle of drought, dust storms and more drought,’ he said. ‘The lesson of the Dust Bowl is there to be learned.’

And this from Agence France Presse
Droughts a long-term threat to West Africa
Posted 2:06 PM on 17 Apr 2009
by Agence France-Presse
WASHINGTON, April 17, 2009 (AFP) - Reeling from consecutive lengthy droughts for 3,000 years, sub-Saharan Africa faces an inevitable repetition of mega-droughts, according to a study published Friday.

A team of U.S. geoscientists and climate scientists found that severe droughts lasting several decades and sometimes even centuries have been the norm in west Africa for the past three centuries.

The most recent such drought lasted from 1400 to 1750, according to the researchers, whose study was published in the journal Science.

It was the first study to examine climate conditions in west Africa over thousands of years by analyzing annual layers of mud and tree sediment in Ghana’s Lake Bosumtwi, a crater lake. “Clearly, much of west Africa is already on the edge of sustainability,” said University of Arizona geoscience professor Jonathan Overpeck, the study’s lead author, “and the situation could become much more dire in the future with increased global warming.”

The latest Sahel drought killed over 100,000 people and displaced scores more, according to a 2002 report by the United Nations Environment Program.

“What’s disconcerting about this record is that it suggests that the most recent drought was relatively minor in the context of the west African drought history,” said Timothy Shanahan of the University of Texas at Austin, who co-authored the study.

As global warming progresses due to emissions of mostly human-generated greenhouse gases, the temperature rise could make droughts more severe and prolonged, a potentially “devastating” development for Africa, Overpeck warned.

“They must plan for possible droughts that last much longer than a couple of decades,” he told reporters by telephone. “We have strong confidence that continued warming will take place in the absence of reduction in greenhouse gases.”

The periods of drought, especially those that lasted for 30-40 years, pointed to a pattern of sea surface temperature changes called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), the researchers found. According to this hypothesis, temperatures in the Atlantic naturally fluctuate over 60-year cycles.

Although the oscillation has not yet been confirmed over long time periods, computer simulations and data sets, such as tree-ring variations from sites around the West Atlantic, have hinted at the possibility.

“More and more, it’s starting to look like the AMO is a big player affecting climate change around the Northern Hemisphere, including drought variability over western Africa and western North America,” said Overpeck.”

And again in China.

“Modern dust storms in China: an overview
by Xunming Wang, , a, Zhibao Donga, Jiawu Zhangb and Lichao Liua

a Laboratory of the Blown Sand Physics and Desert Environments, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 260, West Donggang Road, Gansu Province, Lanzhou 730000, China
b Department of Geography, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
Received 20 November 2002; accepted 24 November 2003. Available online 31 January 2004.
This paper discusses the sources, spatial distribution, frequency and trend of dust storms in China. Most dust storms in China originate from one of three geographic areas: the Hexi (River West) Corridor and western Inner Mongolia Plateau, the Taklimakan Desert, and the central Inner Mongolia Plateau. Dust is most likely from deteriorated grasslands, Gobi, alluvial, lacustrine sediments and wadis at the outer edge of deserts. But deserts themselves contribute only slightly to the dust storm directly. Two geographic areas frequently have dust storms: one is in the western Tarim Basin, a ground surface of deteriorated land and wadi, but it only affects its neighboring areas, and the other one is in the western Inner Mongolia Plateau, a ground surface of Gobi, alluvial and lacustrine sediments, but it causes most of the dust storms in north China. Generally speaking, dust storms have reduced in most regions of China from the 1950 to 2000. Dust storms are highly correlated with human activities and climate changes.”

They want you to buy the article to get more information. That is not what I call a free exchange of information.

From the Science Daily we have asteroid news.
Could An Asteroid Hit Planet Earth, Again?
Science Daily (Jan. 30, 2008) — Earth dodged a bullet today, when asteroid TU24 passed within 540,000 kilometers of our planet, which is just down the street on a galactic scale. Tomorrow, another asteroid – 2007 WD5 – will zip past Mars at a distance of only 26,000 kilometers away. Will we dodge the bullet the next time a near-Earth object (NEO) hurtles dangerously close to our home planet?

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska event, when an exploding asteroid leveled 2000 square kilometers of Siberian forest, The Planetary Society today kicked off a year-long focus on Target Earth. The asteroid believed responsible for the cataclysm on June 30, 1908 became a fireball from the sky and knocked pine trees over like matchsticks near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Russia. Such an explosion today over more populated areas could lay waste an entire city.

“The solar system is a busy place,” said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society. “In fact, we live in a dangerous neighborhood, and keeping track of NEOs is like organizing a Neighborhood Watch in our corner of space.”

Earth has been hit by NEOs many times in the past; ancient craters are still visible in landforms around the world. The famed Meteor Crater in Arizona and Canada’s Lake Manicouagan are only two examples.”

Well I could go on. but this post is long enough. I used to get emails from a site called Prophecy Times. They were a good source of news about the middle east They had their sight set on the end times. Me, I have already had my end times. I am broke, I am ready for my millennium of peace.

End Of The World

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

It is a popular theme among religious people and sci-fi buffs. The people who think these are the last days take the problems of the day and twist them into scenarios for doom. I just read one called “Listening” by Dave McKay, It started out good enough, and a Jewish Quaker Professor becomes a prophet of the end times and gets killed by a United Nations Sniper. Along the way he develops the ability to throw fireballs at people that oppose him. It starts out like some kind of universal communist return to Christian roots thing, but then the US gets nuked and pretty quickly we get a traditional Revelation like story with the believers going up into the heavens in a rapture like experience in the end. Ho hum stuff.
I did like the twists the author took, giving some time for Moslem, Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, but not much. He seemed to know a bit more about Quakers. There is a whole lot about dropping out, tuning in and turning on to god, a real 60’s Jesus freak flash back thing, It reminds me of the early 70’s when a lot of people joined religious communes. Except these people are more anarchic, they just sort of listen to their inner voices and work as teams to tell people to listen to the inner voice, one that ends up being Jesus. Pagans get short shrift; the one leader who is one listens to the wrong voices and gets her zapped with a lightening bolt. She is also the only strong female and you get a distinctly anti woman bias in this book. Or at least they are seen as being possessed by the devil, another cute Christian trait. I am being facetious It started with an interesting premise, what would happen if we all stopped working for money and worked for free and trusted the spirit to take care of us. I had an acid trip as a kid where I wanted to do that once. It was when I first joined the spiritual commune I was part of for 7 years in the 70’s. I wanted to just stick out my thumb and see where the rides took me. I had about $20 to my name and the clothes on my back. Luckily my friends took me to the mountains where they were renting a cabin. It was beautiful up in the high Rockies, a great place to be poor.
Now, back to the end of the world, where the forces of good and evil are in a Manichean struggle for our souls. The book ends up in traditional a Christian tribulation that has an antichrist who reminds me an awful lot of the movie versions of the emperor Caligula. The United Nations is the traditional bad guy, but at least in this version making money is not made into the god that modern fundamentalists have turned it into. That part I liked, in fact that is what drew me in, the anarchist/communist idea of living by giving and not the capitalist greed machine. That was a welcome change, and take away the end of days nonsense and you have a pretty good beginning of what an anarchist communist society might look like in a transitional period. If you can ignore the Christian bias, it is an easy entertaining read, and the author is Australian, “don’t want to kill no kangaroos” to quote one of my favorite song writers Randy Newman.
Someday maybe I will go into the Sci-Fi doomsday machine, but for now that is all I have to say, lets build the world we want, and the end of the world we don’t want to get there. It doesn’t take a Jesus with a mighty sword to do it, just people of good will.

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