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Fire Age

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Older people around the Country have fond memories of Barry ZeVan, the weatherman. He was also known as “The Peekaboo Weatherman” for his penchant for popping into the frame. Barry was old school, delivering the weather using a real map on which he wrote the day’s highs. A short fellow, ZeVan would step on a short stool to point to a Canadian spot. He named the stool his Canadian Mountee.

He worked for stations in D.C., Pennsylvania, Los Angeles and others. Although his forecasts were lighthearted and filled with puns, he was a serious meteorologist. In his 80s, and still full of vigor, Barry started a weekly episode for what was to become a series of YouTube videos. Sadly, recurring bouts of pneumonia took him before the show could gain traction.

I was fortunate to be on the crew for the show. Rather than be a celebrity, Barry engaged each of us on very friendly terms. So one day when we finished shooting, someone mentioned Climate Change. I told him about a report I had heard from Los Angeles weatherman Dallas Raines. ZeVan knew Raines, and had been a contemporary of Raines’ mentor, Dr. George Fishbeck.

Raines explained that Earth’s orbit around our Sun is not a circle but an ellipse. The planet follows a path more akin to the shape of a running track that surrounds a football field at your local high school. The intriguing part is that the Sun is not always the center of the path. The entire orbit slowly moves back and forth between the 30 yard lines of the field inside the track.

A little more than 10,000 years ago, Terra Firma was near one of the 30 yard lines. There was intense heat for a few months, followed by a long intensely cold spell. During that time, vast amounts of snow accumulated. The part of the orbit close to the Sun caused some melting but did not eradicate all the snow. The long winter froze the water, which then got buried by more frosty flakes. The result was the Ice Age.

Now, our planet has moved to the fifty yard line. Twice a year we pass close to the Sun (alternating for Northern and Southern Hemispheres) for a long stretch, with brief but intense cold snaps. This, according to Raines, accounted for the increasing temperatures, glacier melting, and other aspects of Climate Change.

ZeVan listened patiently to my layman’s extrapolation of these celestial machinations. Then he said, “That’s exactly right.” He went on to tell me that it was common knowledge among meteorologists and other scientists. “But it doesn’t have any political impact,” he concluded.

The “Science Deniers” are derided by people who espouse only the slim scientific evidence that supports their interpretation of current climate events. If you want to make correlations between this and recent pandemic “science” then do so at your own risk. After all, I am not a scientist, but I play one in my blog.

Written by Tim Conaway

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