Thursday, November 30, 2017

Weather It Is (Wild Swings)

Good Afternoon:

Warm winds are blowing, and they are going to continue blowing until the middle of next week.

If one takes a look at the height field of the Global Ensemble Forecast System Model one will note a sharp increase in the height of the 850 mb level, for example.  The height of the 850 mb level depends on the temperature of the atmosphere between the surface and 850 mb.   Similar height increases will be occurring at other "standard" height levels of 700 mb and 500 mb.  The increase in temperatures will help push surface temperatures into the 20s in many locations.  We refer to the weather pattern of warm temperatures as a "ridge."

However, if one is not afraid to look a bit further into the future, then one might be similarly impressed by how far the mighty will fall.   Just like there are waves on the ocean surface, there are waves in the atmosphere and the changing seasons (fall to winter) means that our unusually warm weather will be followed by unusually cold weather -- referred to as a "trough."

The cold air arriving with the advent of the trough should bring a period of rain, although not heavy rain.  Interestingly, there is a 20% chance that temperatures will dive even further, and perhaps near or very close to 0 in the mountainous areas.  The arrival of even colder air would bring a heavier rain, and be a good step towards alleviating our drought.  If the coldest temperatures within the ensemble were to actually occur, it could be cold enough for snow at the highest elevations.

While there may be water drought, there's no drought of new laws in the Knesset.   In the last several months, the Knesset has passed a law legalizing what were illegal outposts, and now they want to pass a law making it illegal for the police to recommend to the prosecutor whether to indict (really the Prime Minister) for apparent criminal activity or not.  There is also a proposal to limit the authority of the comptroller to investigate current malfeasance of government officials, and even to override the supreme court. The government also reneged on its agreement to implement a shared prayer space for non-orthodox Jewish prayer goers.  Of course, there is also the call to fully pardon a soldier who was jailed for manslaughter, even though he is already serving a relatively short sentence.

I realize that there will be those who agree or disagree with the proposed policy changes, or at least wish the law was different.  However, what it seems to me is happening is that the Knesset (led by the "Likud" party) is legislating to make the illegal legal.  In other words, they want to change the laws to give license to break the law.

This has happened before, and happens many times in autocracies.  It also happens when democracies become autocratic as well (see Turkey as a recent example), and is often an important step in moving away from democracy.  The most egregious example with terrible consequences for the Jewish people was Nazi Germany, where everything the Germans did to the Jewish people, from stripping them of employment to murdering them, was anchored in German law.

Do we really want to go down this path?

Barry Lynn

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