Friday, December 24, 2010

Do-it-yourself Arctic voyages

Innocent frozen French citizens are asking: "Is all that talk about global warming really serious? Aren't we rather experiencing the beginning of a return of the ice ages?" Here, for example, is a current image of the bookstalls alongside the Seine in Paris:

And here's a nice shot of the Pont des Arts, running into the Louvre:

A French humorist once said (more or less): "The Parisians love to go out on excursions into the surrounding countryside. To make life easier for them, let's import the countryside into Paris." You can't deny that it sounds like a Very Good Idea. Thanks to global warming, we're moving rapidly into a situation of that kind. Up until now, only wealthy people such as retired bank managers could afford to go on winter vacations up into the polar regions. These days, as a consequence of global warming, it's the Arctic that's moving down to places such as Paris. And Parisians no longer need to call upon a tourist agency to book an expensive Arctic voyage. They can merely step outside in the bleak air and try to get to their work location, then back home at the end of the day.

Meteorologists are explaining that the cold conditions in Paris and elsewhere are a direct consequence of the accelerated melting of the polar icecap. The term albedo designates the respective proportions of incident sunlight that are either reflected or absorbed at any geographical point. Since the volume of the polar icecap is shrinking, less sunlight gets reflected. Consequently, the sea waters are absorbing increasing quantities of sunlight, which means that they're warming up. The outcome of this polar phenomenon is the creation of high-pressure systems that end up pushing more and more cold polar air down towards lands such as France. And this process is unlikely to wane.

Paris has always had an excellent public-transport system. First, there were charming old buses with an open rear platform to jump on and off, dangerously. Then there was the celebrated métro. These days, there's the excellent self-service bicycle network called Vélib. And soon there'll be tiny electric automobiles in a system to be called Autolib.

In the future, there should be good commercial openings, particularly in the Paris suburbs, for an efficient system of Arctic transport.

I'm presently looking into the idea of moving back up there with my donkeys Moshé and Fanette (and my dogs, of course), in the hope of setting up a small suburban transport system that should normally make me a millionaire in the near future.

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