Where's spring? 2nd most extreme March jet stream pattern on record extends winter

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:15 PM GMT on March 20, 2013

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Punxatawney Phil got it way wrong. Pennsylvania's famous prognosticating rodent predicted just three more weeks of winter back on February 2. It's the first day of spring, but winter remains firmly entrenched over the eastern half of the U.S., where temperatures of 5 - 25°F below average have been the rule all week. The culprit is the jet stream, which has taken on an unusually contorted shape that is allowing cold air to spill down over the Eastern U.S. and Western Europe, but bringing near-record warmth to portions of Greenland. One measure of how contorted the jet stream has become is by measuring the difference in pressure between the Icelandic Low and the Azores High. There are two indices used to do this--one called the Arctic Oscillation (AO), which treats the flow over the entire Northern Hemisphere, and another called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which is more focused on the North Atlantic. The two are closely related about 90% of the time. When these indices are strongly negative, the pressure difference between the Icelandic Low and the Azores High is low. This results in a weaker jet stream, allowing it to take large, meandering loops, letting cold air to spill far to the south from the Arctic into the mid-latitudes. The AO index hit -5.2 today (March 20). This is the second most extreme March value of the index since record keeping began in 1948; only an AO value of -6.3 in March 1970 was more extreme. We've had some wildly variable jet stream patterns in recent years in the Northern Hemisphere. Just last year, we had the opposite extreme in March, when our ridiculous "Summer in March" heat wave brought a week of temperatures in the 80s to the Midwest U.S. The first day of spring today in Chicago, IL is expected to have a high temperature of just 25°F--a 60 degree difference from last year's high of 85°F on March 20!


Figure 1. The jet stream is taking a large dip to the south over the Eastern U.S., allowing cold air to spill southwards and bring winter-like conditions.

Unusual winter jet stream patterns tied to Arctic sea ice loss
Unusual jet stream contortions in winter have become increasingly common in recent years, according to a March 2013 paper by Tang et al., "Cold winter extremes in northern continents linked to Arctic sea ice loss". They found a mathematical relationship between wintertime Arctic sea ice loss and the increase in unusual jet stream patterns capable of bringing cold, snowy weather to the Eastern U.S., Western Europe, and East Asia, typical of what one sees during a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation. They theorized that sea ice loss in the Arctic promotes more evaporation, resulting in earlier snowfall in Siberia and other Arctic lands. The earlier snow insulates the soil, allowing the land to cool more rapidly. This results in a southwards shift of the jet stream and builds higher atmospheric pressures farther to the south, which increases the odds of cold spells and blocking high pressure systems that can cause extended periods of unusually cold and snowy weather in the mid-latitudes.

Related posts
From Heat Wave to Snowstorms, March Goes to Extremes by Andrew Freedman of Climate Central
Extreme jet stream causing record warmth in the east, record cold in the west (January 2013)
Arctic sea ice loss tied to unusual jet stream patterns (April 2012)
Our extreme weather: Arctic changes to blame? (December 2011)
Florida shivers; Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern is back (December 2010)
Jet stream moved northwards 270 miles in 22 years; climate change to blame? (June 2008)

I'll have a new post on Thursday.

Jeff Masters

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Gusty Winds (novembergale)
High winds create huge waves behind ice dunes on Lake Erie this last day of winter.
Gusty Winds
After the blizzard (springsun)
Extreme severe winterconditions in the northeast of Germany, Kap Arkona. Source: wetterzentrale
After the blizzard

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Quoting FtMyersgal:
Largo, did you get any rain yet? Nothing here at the office. Hope this afternoon doesn't show that Ft Myers has her shields up again..
Hi..just enough real early thiss morning to about wet the sidewalk..total overcast now but rain is coming later out in the gulf.
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found this in S AL as well



maybe an iso tornado?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9746
Largo, did you get any rain yet? Nothing here at the office. Hope this afternoon doesn't show that Ft Myers has her shields up again..
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in 6hrs, we go from precip centered on warm front, maybe severe and a few storms back in MS oriented on the cold front SW to NE



to the warm front way north and the cold front moving out of GA

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9746
114. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting AGWcreationists:
Here is what is meant by pain and suffering. Basically, newer suburbs and exurbs would need to be bulldozed with residents moving into densely-packed communities so mass transit would be viable. Driving would be limited to shopping trips where heavy loads need to be hauled. Vacations largely would be much closer to home. Shuttling the kids endlessly to events after school would end. Home floor space would be much smaller. There would be strict regulation of water usage and thermostat settings.


Many laws are in place now, like much of FL you can't sell anything from your garden unless it's on 10 acres or more. Need to be in a city to do business or make about anything. It's just becoming legal across the land to have chickens again..Clotheslines & solar panels were outlawed in alot of places. There was alot of pro big Ag & energy laws put in place in the '80s that would need to go.. Many of these would actually help people support & do for themselves. Mass transit was dismantled by the auto makers. It doesn't matter if we all moved to the city, they are doing all they can to keep mass transit from coming back.

I don't see the thermostat thing being an issue with efficient AC's. They pay for themselves while you are much more comfortable. Mine plus $70 worth of caulk & a few hundred for new ducts (wrecked by hurricanes & age) cut my overall energy bill by over 2/3rds, while maintaining a comfortable temp...where the old one couldn't cool the house below 82 on a hot day.

More efficient vehicles like cars that charged on panels would solve alot of your perceived inconveniences. I've got to drive a prius here & there..they are pretty sweet. Gets better than 50mpg around town. People shouldn't knock them til they spend a day driving one & pocketing the money that would have otherwise been spent on gas..
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 209 Comments: 39113
wonder how many warm months they do get up there?.....
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gotta be some rugged people in north dakota huh.....
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Hmmmm, you don't see all of that coming any way? Does it cause more pain and suffering to plan for and take actions on this now or to be forced to scramble just to survive and little in the ways of fossil fuels left to help to accomplish with what will need to be done regardless as to what anyone would consider to be "pain and suffering"?
Whether it is planned by government or inflicted by circumstance does not alter the fact that it would be a major change to the American economy, way of life and very pysche of this nation.

And profound changes usually unleash profound havoc.
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Quoting wxmod:


I agree with you. 100 percent. Tell you the truth though: does anyone know how much jetting around weather phd's do in pursuit of climate data? Or is the oil industry just spreading rumors?
What Doha did

NONE of the 10,000 diplomats, activists, lobbyists and hangers-on returning home from the UN climate conference in the Qatari capital of Doha at the weekend can have expected a hero’s welcome.

10,000 persons. That's a lot of flying. To an out of the way place.
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S AL 4 days


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Quoting AGWcreationists:
Here is what is meant by pain and suffering. Basically, newer suburbs and exurbs would need to be bulldozed with residents moving into densely-packed communities so mass transit would be viable. Driving would be limited to shopping trips where heavy loads need to be hauled. Vacations largely would be much closer to home. Shuttling the kids endlessly to events after school would end. Home floor space would be much smaller. There would be strict regulation of water usage and thermostat settings.


Hmmmm, you don't see all of that coming any way? Does it cause more pain and suffering to plan for and take actions on this now or to be forced to scramble just to survive and little in the ways of fossil fuels left to help to accomplish with what will need to be done regardless as to what anyone would consider to be "pain and suffering"?
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107. VR46L
Quoting LargoFl:
good thing its not august..............


Yep there would be alot of teeth being gnashed ..
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6972
yes jedkins..some red and yellows out there.......
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Quoting 1911maker:
37. stormygace Straw man argument.

38. Skyepony, you lost me. Are you saying that we can make the move away from CO2 with out any significant change in society? Specifiably with out any pain and suffering along the way?



The math shows that if solar and wind are done properly, they are actually cheaper than existing energy, particularly if you own your own systems.

Solar and Wind may even be cheaper than LENR systems would be, even if anyone figures out how to make them work.

The real trouble is phasing in electric automobiles, as they are a large, long-term investment, and they aren't practical for a lot of people due to range and power limits.

Living in cities could allow more idealized transport with less waste, but the more people who live in cities the more trucks and trains you need to move food and goods to the city, and the more energy you need to move to the city. Plus it produces other problems, like increased risk of epidemics, and human waste disposal. The biggest problem facing cities: How to keep your city from being, well, Sh*tty. London's entire watershed is one big latrine.
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Quoting etxwx:


We are in the 9.7 range with tomorrow forecast to be 10.20....solid red bars at Pollen.com
Dang, the pollen is so bad it's got it's own website...


A very cool website etxwx..
Thanks for the share.. :)
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good thing its not august..............
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Quoting LargoFl:
rain should be here by this afternoon, the heaviest stuff is going south of tampa so far....



Don't worry, the greatest focus of upper energy is still south of Louisiana, once that shifts into the eastern gulf it will allow for more widespread showers and thunderstorms.

Keep an eye to the sky as the atmosphere is favorable for some severe cells including organized supercell structures, long range radar confirms already a few super cells way off shore. However these cells are over much warmer water where much higher CAPE exists to support them. The cooler waters near the coast are the tricky factor that may limit the strength of thunderstorms and coverage all together.

Hopefully daytime heating and additionally upper energy will help to counteract the stabilizing effect of the cooler water near the coast, because central Florida needs some serious rainfall.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
Quoting 1911maker:
71. Skyepony

Sky, you dodged the question. Is it going to be all good?

Rookie, I know you are not going after me. :)

AGWcreationist:
Is CO2 a green house gas or not?
What is causing the arctic to melt?
If you are a skeptic (not a denier), cough up some scientific answers to what is causing the arctic and the oceans to get warm.
What is causing the oceans to get acidic if not CO2?



I believe CO2 is a greenhouse gas, one only needs to look at Venus. However, I am not sure that the human-caused increase concentrations in our atmosphere are signficant enough to cause the warming we have seen. Given that the Arctic has warmed in the past, IMO it is the result of the increase in solar cycles we have seen over the last 150 years or so, with ups and downs.

I do think ocean acidification reprents a potential serious problem. However, CO2 was much, much higher in geologic history and life did not end. Life will change in response to these environmental changes. It will not end, but it may change in ways detrimental to humanity.
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One last comment and then I am out.

We pay the price in pain and suffering now, or we pay a lot larger price in pain an suffering later.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
the next and final winter blast

Local met said there will be another on after that...winters not over with us yet.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
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the next and final winter blast

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
Quoting txjac:


I think that AG is trying to get across is to Lead by Example instead of Do as I say and not as I do
Worked when I was raising my kids


I agree with you. 100 percent. Tell you the truth though: does anyone know how much jetting around weather phd's do in pursuit of climate data? Or is the oil industry just spreading rumors?
Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1769
Quoting AGWcreationists:
That 'cheap' energy is due to massive taxpayer subsidies - so the taxpayers are stuck with the bill while 'green' energy generates reap profits selling that energy outside Germany. And Germany still burns a lot of fossil fuels, especially since curtailing their nuclear program after Fukishima.


That is all true, but even the green energy that is sold outside of Germany, by German producers, cuts back on the carbon footprint that these customers would have otherwise had.

Here, in the U.S., we take the different approach. We reduce our amount of coal being burned here, but we export the surplus to other countries to be burned for their energy needs. Was the U.S. as productive as Germany in reducing its carbon footprint?
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great white sharks do sometimes come into the gulf, the one caught on a fishing pole last friday was 30 miles off john's pass,not all that far from where I used to fish.
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Quoting Skyepony:


Everything I've done has certainly changed my lifestyle because I ended up with more money. Food is expensive..Become a gardener, eat healthier, feel better, look better (a little sun & exercise does wonders) spend less on food & health care.

Loving my more efficient appliances. They've payed for them selves, put money in my pocket..

Everything you do saves you money which makes it easier to get by.



It's amazing how blinded we are by the powerful influence of the consumer culture in America. We have the technology to transform our country into a healthier, cleaner, more efficient society without forcing anything on anyone but very few are yet willing to change. Some of what we now hold as "values" are the very things that are dismantling are society little by little. People seem to forget quickly that this planet is our home, and what is happening isn't just hurting a few trees, but negatively affecting all life including humans.

Just in terms fuel, water and food, and electric consumption. It really humbled me to realize how wasteful I was before I moved away from home and had to live on a strict budget here at college. My parents always got on me for it when I was at home but I often apposed them, and that's despite my desire to be less wasteful.

Why? I too was and I'm sure still am blinded by our consumer culture. We don't just burn too much fossil fuel, we consume too much of everything. Whether it be food, water, overspending, overuse of utilities, and many more.

Population is not the problem, its that we are often greedy and selfish, which I can say I am very much a part of, so I'm not here to point fingers, rather, to make people aware.

Capitalism still holds the greatest potential to do the greatest good in my opinion, however our culture sure has not made the most of it. People complain about socialist influences in politics, should we be surprised when our current form of capitalism is failing?


Mostly when I try to discuss these things to neighbors and some friends, I get negative comments like "Oh college is turning you into a liberal hippy".

Yet, none of my change in perspective has to do with college, it is something I've acquired from a much more complex influence, much of which has been an awareness of realizing to look beyond my own little world and realize I'm sharing the same home with 7 billion people, so I need to stop acting like it revolves around me.

With that said I think the issue of climate change can best be solved with how we conduct our lives on a daily basis. Not perfection, however if we still throw out our plastics and electronics, and aren't taking any measures to reduce fuel usage and consumption, should we be surprised when people don't listen to us? If we demand political actions while not living our lives accordingly, we are causing more harm than good. Culture needs to be changed before politics.
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imagine going fishing and catching a great white on your pole..
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
74. MrMixon

I hear you. I agree with you. You stated it way better then I could.

I just get tired of "gathering around the camp fire and singing Kumbia" and every one will fine.

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



ours got up to extremely high before monday's storms, 356, but now it's coming up again....it's killing me.

last year we topped out at 10,000.


We are in the 9.7 range with tomorrow forecast to be 10.20....solid red bars at Pollen.com
Dang, the pollen is so bad it's got it's own website...
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Quoting VR46L:


Nice Blob Heading towards you now

yeah hopefully I'll get the 1 or 2 inches of rain like scott said yesterday..
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Interesting. I suppose that would be determined by what you mean by "pain and suffering".

When you consume less of the marketed goods you also spend less in the process. Is this pain and suffering?

When you consume less in material objects you also save more money by not having to maintain their proper upkeep. Is this pain and suffering?

When you become more self sufficient in how you go about your daily life you are also less reliant on others to help you succeed. Is this pain and suffering? Certainly one could acquire more money and pay to be "self sufficient", in this sense. What happens should you lose your money through circumstances unforeseen, but not unforeseeable? (the 2008 stock market, for example?)

What brings you more pain and suffering? Is it the ability for you to perform your own work or to have to pay others to do it for you simply because you lack the knowledge and skills to perform the work yourself?

I know you, 1911maker, and I know of the many skills you have acquired for doing things for yourself. So please know that I am speaking in general terms and not to you.
Here is what is meant by pain and suffering. Basically, newer suburbs and exurbs would need to be bulldozed with residents moving into densely-packed communities so mass transit would be viable. Driving would be limited to shopping trips where heavy loads need to be hauled. Vacations largely would be much closer to home. Shuttling the kids endlessly to events after school would end. Home floor space would be much smaller. There would be strict regulation of water usage and thermostat settings.
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Quoting LargoFl:
rain should be here by this afternoon, the heaviest stuff is going south of tampa so far....


Nice Blob Heading towards you now

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6972
I won't speak for the rest of the country, but here in New York's Mid Hudson Valley, I recently did a local informal evaluation on groundhog's day going back to 2005 (Link), and the only year in which Punxatawney Phil was correct was 2005. So, by virtue of having made incorrect predictions for all of the past eight seasons (2006-2013), one may argue that Mr. Punxsutawney Phil is actually the most skilled of the groundhogs in that he is reliably wrong.


Not to pick on innocent rodents, or anything....
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71. Skyepony

Sky, you dodged the question. Is it going to be all good?

Rookie, I know you are not going after me. :)

AGWcreationist:
Is CO2 a green house gas or not?
What is causing the arctic to melt?
If you are a skeptic (not a denier), cough up some scientific answers to what is causing the arctic and the oceans to get warm.
What is causing the oceans to get acidic if not CO2?



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rain should be here by this afternoon, the heaviest stuff is going south of tampa so far....
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Quoting Skyepony:



Germany is way ahead of us..they are having to deal with much lower energy prices, suddenly being a major exporter of cheap green energy, subsidies & entitlements are constantly in review & change. There has been controversy over politicians cashing in. The middle class & small farmers have become much wealthier. It certainly caused Big Energy & Big Ag to stopping holding every last bit of the wealth.
That 'cheap' energy is due to massive taxpayer subsidies - so the taxpayers are stuck with the bill while 'green' energy generates reap profits selling that energy outside Germany. And Germany still burns a lot of fossil fuels, especially since curtailing their nuclear program after Fukishima.
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Quoting txjac:



Funny, funny girl ...lol

AGWCREATIONIST is who I was talking about ...lol


.... I couldn't Resist it !!

LOL
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6972
Quoting Skyepony:


Everything I've done has certainly changed my lifestyle because I ended up with more money. Food is expensive..Become a gardener, eat healthier, feel better, look better (a little sun & exercise does wonders) spend less on food & health care.

Loving my more efficient appliances. They've payed for them selves, put money in my pocket..

Everything you do saves you money which makes it easier to get by.


I've always been amazed at the folks who insist they are too big to fit in a small car, so they buy a big truck and complain about the price of gas. If someone is too big to get in a car that saves them a ton of money, they are hopeless people. And I think most people are. That's why we are in the global warming mess we're in.
Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1769
Quoting Midweststorm:
What I think would be nice to see is some history on the occurrences of the wild varience in the Jetstream. Rather maybe a climatology listing and then a year over year (just specific months for me) view of where its at during said months and where typically it should be based on seasonal shifts.

Its apparent no matter what the cause, There is some rather unusual things going on with the weather. I for one do not look forward to another round of snows here in KC missouri (It is cold as heck compared to what it Should be.)

-MWS


That is one of the salient issues as to this research; we will never have a historical record of what the jet stream was doing in the past for analog purposes prior to the advent of the satellite age.....Prior Arctic sea ice loss events, in eons past, "may" have been accompanied by these type of unusual jet stream patterns but we are stuck with present conditions forward..........Makes for lots of interesting and provocative research but it might take another 500 years, if the pendulum swings back the other way towards a mini ice-age and ice recovery period, to see how the jet stream reacts to verify the current theories.
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Quoting 1911maker:
50. MrMixon


Yes we need to make some big changes, but that doesn't mean reverting to our hunting-gathering days. It just means making smarter choices about when to use fossil fuels and when to use our own power.

We are now talking policy. Just how close to the hunter gather are we going to get?

Little CO2 reductions are not going to cut it. We need large, quick reductions of CO2 output. Not later, now. Can we do that with out a major shift in every ones lives?


I actually wasn't talking policy. I was talking about personal decisions. And you can get as close to hunting-gathering as you wish... or not.

It's probably true that stabilizing our climate would be impossible without large, quick reductions in global CO2 output. But I think most of us realize there is no realistic way to mandate such massive, rapid cuts without causing major socio-economic disruptions. As I said yesterday - humans ARE good at adapting, but we're also resistant to change. Because of this, I think it's going to have to happen gradually and it's going to have to be a multi-pronged approach (in other words, we can't just focus on automobiles and power generation, we need to gradually work to make all aspects of our lives more harmonious with our environment).

Yes, the gradual approach may not be quick enough... but short of some mandate from Mother Earth herself (in the form of calamity) I am skeptical that humans are capable of choosing such rapid changes for themselves. That's why I advocate policies focused on adapting to a changed climate first, with policies to stabilize the climate as a secondary goal.
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Quoting VR46L:


Which AG is that ?

The Blogger AGWCREATIONIST or Al Gore....LOL

Cause I dont think its Al Gore !!

and I think I might step away now!




Funny, funny girl ...lol

AGWCREATIONIST is who I was talking about ...lol
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2593
Quoting wxmod:


Anyone who flies in a jet or drives in a car or orders something from overseas is causing global warming. Sounds like you have a vendetta against one small group of people. Yes, there is hypocrisy out there. Have you been perfect lately?
Let's see. I don't drive, I take transit and/or walk. I live in an efficiency apartment in an inner-ring suburb. I eat little red meat. I line dry my clothing. Keep my thermostat pretty low in the winter. Only fly to see my elderly parents 2-3 times a year. Don't have much 'stuff'.

And I'm an AGW skeptic.

But that is basically the kind of lifestyle that would be needed to significantly lower carbon emissions in this country.

And that doesn't even reflect the growing middle class populations in developing parts of the world - lifestyle changes that would offset carbon reductions in American and European counties.
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71. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting 1911maker:

38. Skyepony, you lost me. Are you saying that we can make the move away from CO2 with out any significant change in society? Specifiably with out any pain and suffering along the way?



Germany is way ahead of us..they are having to deal with much lower energy prices, suddenly being a major exporter of cheap green energy, subsidies & entitlements are constantly in review & change. There has been controversy over politicians cashing in. The middle class & small farmers have become much wealthier. It certainly caused Big Energy & Big Ag to stopping holding every last bit of the wealth.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 209 Comments: 39113
Quoting etxwx:
We have pollen drifts instead of snow drifts here. Had about a quarter inch of rain last night to help wash away some of the yellow stuff. This morning it's 60F, sunny with a light breeze. A lovely spring day to say "Hello World!"




ours got up to extremely high before monday's storms, 356, but now it's coming up again....it's killing me.

last year we topped out at 10,000.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9746
Quoting etxwx:
We have pollen drifts instead of snow drifts here. Had about a quarter inch of rain last night to help wash away some of the yellow stuff. This morning it's 60F, sunny with a light breeze. A lovely spring day to say "Hello World!"




Awww ...I love that picture ...cows are my all time favorite animal ...want to get one for a pet as soon as I can get a big enough place
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2593
Quoting 1911maker:
37. stormygace Straw man argument.

38. Skyepony, you lost me. Are you saying that we can make the move away from CO2 with out any significant change in society? Specifiably with out any pain and suffering along the way?


Interesting. I suppose that would be determined by what you mean by "pain and suffering".

When you consume less of the marketed goods you also spend less in the process. Is this pain and suffering?

When you consume less in material objects you also save more money by not having to maintain their proper upkeep. Is this pain and suffering?

When you become more self sufficient in how you go about your daily life you are also less reliant on others to help you succeed. Is this pain and suffering? Certainly one could acquire more money and pay to be "self sufficient", in this sense. What happens should you lose your money through circumstances unforeseen, but not unforeseeable? (the 2008 stock market, for example?)

What brings you more pain and suffering? Is it the ability for you to perform your own work or to have to pay others to do it for you simply because you lack the knowledge and skills to perform the work yourself?

I know you, 1911maker, and I know of the many skills you have acquired for doing things for yourself. So please know that I am speaking in general terms and not to you.
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.