Thoughts on 2017 – A few ideas on what might happen in the next 12 months.

Weather forecasting.

The weather in the UK will be very windy, but mild during the the first half of 2017. This will result in the year’s allocation of alphabetical names for storms to be completely used up by the end of October. The last storm of the year, Zebedee, will appear on the 23rd of October.This means, of course, that November and December will be much quieter than usual due to the lack of autumn and winter Atlantic storms.

2018 storm Anthony will come ashore in the UK at 2359 on 31st December.

There will be a barbecue summer. B & Q will sell a range of combination barbecues and fireproof tents so that families can still enjoy eating burnt and raw meat in the garden, in the rain, in the mud without getting wet – except when running back across the garden in the rain to the kitchen to get some proper food to replace that which has been trampled into the mud.

Long range – six hour – forecasting will be proven to be non veridical and so forecasters will change their position and regularly appear on television to let you know, in some detail, what the weather was yesterday and what you should have done if you had had that information. The ‘forecasts’ will have increasing anthropological content to disguise the lack of information. Expect stories about birds and dogs and a lot of videos of ‘cute’ cats killing birds. Sales of antifreeze will increase.

Natural disasters

The world turns so natural disasters, volcanoes erupting, earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, flooding, wildfires, outbreaks of diseases. will occur as in the past.

We are slowly getting better at understanding the causes and predicting them so some will be prevented – by better management of upland water stores, contour plowing, different cropping regimes to balance and prevent the sudden down-rush of precious silt and water onto the flood plains. Even beavers, with their dam building are playing a part.

There is some evidence that prediction of volcanic eruptions is becoming possible. We are slowly getting to understand earthquakes and their causes better, the resultant tsunamis are now detected by the chains of tsunami buoys at sea so giving some hours of warning. These were built after the dreadful losses in 2004.

Wildfires are now being reduced by reinstating manually, the random fires in the woods during the less dry seasons so that there is less fuel available during the wildfire seasons. Storms will continue but will be better predicted with warnings.

Bolides will drop from space but most will be small enough to burn up in the atmosphere. The last bolide to reach the surface and cause massive damage was in 1908 in Tungusta, Russia. While another can arrive at any time, the larger NEOs ( Near Earth Objects ) are tracked and so any severe danger will be known before its descent. What action can be taken is still unclear. If one of a similar size to the one that hit the earth 65 mya then we would probably go extinct.

Energy

The age of fossil fuels is drawing to a close. There is plenty of gas, oil and coal left in the Earth to be recovered but it is becoming too expensive in pollution terms to burn it.

Cities are starting to introduce congestion charges because of the thousands of people who are killed each year by pollution – particularly diesel produced particles that are killing our children.

Cycling and walking is becoming more acceptable and normal. This will increase as the climate warms and people realise that they need exercise to stay healthy.

Solar PV is the energy of the future and increasingly the now. Germany supplied itself with electricity from solar and wind completely for the first time on 16th May 2016. The cost of solar is dropping faster than computer’s Moors law so as installation double, the cost of installation is more than halving. The big problem with solar pv is that the sun only shines during the day so storage is required. This now being developed and will be one of the big stories in 2017.  Very large ‘flow’ batteries are becoming available and domestic batteries suitable to run the house during the night from solar pv generated during the day are now becoming standard. Electric cars can also be used as battery storage when they are now being used.

There is a web site that shows the balance of electricity generation in the UK:

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk

Solar PV is not centrally metered but Sheffield University has an estimate of the real time contribution here:

https://www.solar.sheffield.ac.uk/pvlive/

Climate change.

It is almost too late to prevent runaway anthropogenic global warming. This is because of the positive feedback loops that are now starting to come into play. These include the darkening of the Arctic ocean because of less ice etc. If the coastal clathrates start melting and releasing methane then it may well be too late. This ‘too late’ means for the human race, the Earth will carry on and some plants and animals will survive to evolve into other species. We have only ten years or so to mitigate the effects. Hopefully, after the Paris agreement, all countries will work towards this. The signs are good at the moment. Even China is stopping building coal fired power stations and switching to solar pv.

It is hoped that the uneducated idiots that do not ‘believe’ in man made climate change, in spite of the overwhelming evidence, will soon come to their senses, especially if they are in positions of power.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all work together to make a carbon neutral world by 2020?

There will be an increasing trend towards vegetarianism as people realise how damaging meat eating is to the earth.

The fashion of veganism will continue and increase.

Transport

Diesel transport, including lorries will start to be phased out, this may be by extra taxes on diesel vehicles or more simply by increasing the tax on diesel fuel every year to allow for a phased change to… yes, electrical vehicles, batteries charged by solar PV of course.

Electric cars will start to take off – perhaps not literally – as more charging points are installed. Why not build solar farms next to motorway service areas?

Shipping will slowly start using computer controlled sails again as the price of bunkering increases.

Aviation is the big problem, no one is predicting solar powered or electric commercial planes so we are left with fossil fuels. Perhaps there will be a slow changeover to microbe produced fuels from waste, so the fuel used will be carbon neutral.

Religion

Less than 49% of the UK population now profess some sort of religion and that percentage is reducing fast.

Politics

This where a lot of the unknown unknowns lie. The BREXIT issue will colour most of the politics in the UK during 2017.

After his outstanding success in the Middle East, Tony Blair will be welcomed back as a senior figure ( ‘Messiah’ ) in the ‘moderate’ labour party. He will stand against Jeremy Corbyn in a leadership election and will get 6% of the votes against JC’s 94%. Tony will go off in a sulk, start another war and make a lot more money.

The liberal party will become irrelevant, no sorry, they did that last year. They might try it again.

The conservatives will split over Europe – again.

UKIP will continue with their present policies – whatever they are.

Employment.

Mark Carney has predicted that the UK will lose 15million jobs because of automation. Jeremy Corbyn says that the answer is to allow unlimited immigration.

Wars

With Tony Blair and David Cameron out of the way, there should be fewer wars. There are several possible flash points – as always. Russia and China are getting increasingly unfriendly as China gets stronger and Russia tries to retain status as a superpower. American policy is one of the very big unknowns.

Unknowns

I don’t know anything about the unknowns as then they wouldn’t be, would they?

© Richard Kefford                                                                                                        Eorðdraca

*****

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