Global Warming and Fishing

Remember the Polar Vortex last winter that produced record cold weather around here and all over the US and the northern hemisphere? The extremely cold days and nights that lasted several days each time it hit? It was produced by a change in wind patterns that brought artic cold further south than normal. The terrible cold made hunting and fishing miserable.

A team of scientists from the US and Korea have come up with the reason, and I guess their conclusions should come as no surprise even if they don’t make sense. The reason? Global warming, of course.

You gotta wonder how scientists can “prove” or even theorize that warming produces record cold. That just shows you can “prove” anything you want to. Right now there is big money behind any efforts to prove global warming exists, and researchers know they won’t get funded unless they produce the desired results.

The whole theory of colder winters due to global warming is based on the Artic ice cap getting smaller. Strangely enough, the data does not show a shrinking ice cap for the past few years. Instead, according to the “National Snow and Ice Data Center,” the Artic ice melt this year has been lower than last year, and the extent of the ice cap size will set a record this winter and will continue to increase.

Some believe in global warming based on their past experiences. They might say this summer was the hottest they can remember, without looking at temperature records. Or for a while winters were claimed to be warmer, again not looking at temperature records.

My experiences make me think we have weather, not climate change. For years I spent Christmas holidays at Clarks Hill. One year, two days before Christmas, I had been fishing barefoot and shirtless for several days. But other years I had to wear a snowmobile suit during the same time period.

When I was working on my first Masters Degree in the mid 1970e at West Georgia College I had to write a report on the coming ice age. I used information from Time magazine the month the cover proclaimed scientists predicted a new ice age within 20 years or so, and articles explained how we would suffer from the extreme cold in coming years.

There is a lot at stake for us on how this debate turns out. One claimed way to lessen global warming is to reduce coal use. But even if we reduce it in the US, and we have been doing that for years with no new coal fired power plants approved for a long time, what other effects will it have?

Almost all of our electricity around here comes from coal even though we have a lot of hydroelectric power dams in Georgia. The coal fired plant in Forsyth is the biggest in the US, and uses an incredible amount of coal each day. If such plants are shut down expect your power rates to get much, much higher and less reliability of power supply.

I hate it when the power goes out, or even when it is reduced in a brown out due to storms. Electrical motors and appliances do not work right. Expect that to be the rule, rather than the exception, if we shut down coal fired power plants.

Georgia Power is already working on closing the coal fired power plant on Lake Sinclair. It has been reduced to one working boiler if my information is correct. Why are they shutting this plant? Because new EPA rules require them to make upgrades that cost so much it is not economically feasible to do them.

One effect of shutting that plant down will be no more warm water released into Beaverdam Creek. That warm water keeps most of the lake downstream a little warmer than other lakes around here. The warmer water makes bass bite better. Almost every bass club in middle Georgia schedule winter tournaments there for that reason.

The effect on fish and wildlife is another claim the true believers in global warming make is something else I find hard to take for true. Computer models predict about a four degree warming in the next one hundred years. Even though the computer models have been far off in their predictions for the past 20 years, assume they are right.

Game and fish undergo changes in water and air temperature of many degrees each day. For wildlife, last week is a good example. In the mornings we had temperatures in the low sixties that climbed into the eighties each afternoon. That is over 20 degree in a few hours. So how is a change of four degrees in one hundred years going to make a difference?

In August the surface water temperature on area lakes was in the upper eighties. By late October they will be in the seventies, and by February in the low forties. That is a fifty degree change in six months. So four degrees in one hundred years is going to kill off all our fish?

When global warming claims make more sense I will believe them.