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Along the Lakeshore: Oct. 23

Climate change, a northwest passage

I looked out the window today and according to my north dock, the lake seems significantly lower this week than last week, yet the reported elevations in Wednesday’s paper indicate that the water is higher. We can all see a strong flow of water streaming down the creek. I guess it is in excess of 200 million gallons per day, so the water level has to be lower than it was last week. I would like to know what day the level is read and reported to those interested. As far as I am concerned, just keep going down until we hit the Nov. 1 target of 861.5 feet.

I received a solicitation for a contribution from the Environmental Defense Fund. It had a list of the 164 senators and congressmen who signed the Koch Brothers’ list of climate destruction pledgers and climate change deniers. There are even three signers from New York State. This seems impossible after the many years of dealing with acid rain and particulates falling into our lake and landing on our possessions. Just look at any light-colored surface such as a boat or your picnic table. It was even worse when we had the dirty diesel fuel, but it is still self-evident.

You won’t see any evidence of carbon dioxide itself, as it is an odorless and colorless gas that forms the thermal blanket for the planet. We just see the effect of it in the global temperature increase and the melting Arctic ice.

If I were a young man, I would try to sail through the ever-widening northwest passage.

Some commercial ships tried the route in the summers of 2010-12. All made it through successfully, but there are obviously no facilities or safety systems installed yet.

The prize is a short route from the Orient to Europe, though it is not as short as it appears on paper maps. The earth’s surface can’t be represented on a flat plane without distortion. Because most maps require the greatest accuracy in the most populated areas, the latitudes and longitudes are projected or calculated so that the greatest distortion is around the poles. This, “projection error” makes the northern distances inaccurate, but you can use your ruler to estimate New York City to San Francisco without significant error. Your best bet is to use a cloth tape and a globe as a guide to distances around the world. Everybody is using Google maps these days and I wonder if they keep projection errors in mind when they give you the distance from Miami to Fairbanks.

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