/The wind in my ears

The wind in my ears

By Jim Poling Sr. 

There are days when I want to be like Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh and cut off my ear.
the wind. It is getting stronger by the year and never seems to stop.
Howling in my ears, like the famous mistral wind that helped drive van
Gogh crazy while he was painting in southern France.
Van Gogh complained in letters that the mistral made painting difficult and got on his nerves.
find painting hard work because of the wind,” he wrote in one letter,
noting that the mistral blew sand onto his wet canvas and made scratches
in the paint when he brushed.
There is speculation that the
mistral, a strong, sustained wind most prevalent in winter and spring,
helped to drive van Gogh crazy. He sliced off his ear and gave it to a
prostitute in 1888, two years before committing suicide by shooting
himself in the stomach.
Our winds are not really driving me crazy, but they are making me take notice of the changes in our climate.
recent study in the journal Nature Climate Change reports that winds in
much of the world have become faster in the last 10 years. It says that
in northern-mid-latitude regions wind speeds have increased seven per
cent in the last decade.
Some studies say increasing winds are at
least partially tied to climate change. Northern regions are warming
more rapidly than southern regions, creating smaller temperature
differences that affect the jet stream, which is creating more wild
weather, including more and stronger winds.
There are not a lot of
definitive studies on what is happening with the wind, and those that do
exist are highly technical or deal with how more wind is terrific for
wind turbines producing electrical power.
All I know is what I see and feel. There seem to be fewer calm days in the past couple of years.
lake where I spend much of my time is seldom calm. A walk in the woods
shows me far more twigs and branches felled by the wind.
Also, there
seems to be more severe wind events – times when the winds gust to 95
kilometres per hour or higher. Certainly, the number of tornadoes has
been increasing in the U.S. and Canada.
Canada averaged 60 to 70
tornadoes a year during the 1980-2009 period. However, many tornadoes
occur in remote areas where they go unrecorded and some analysts believe
the Canadian annual average is 150 to 230 tornadoes a year.
The U.S. averages roughly 1,200 tornadoes a year, and so far in 2020 there have been more than 500.
days of more wind are not a major concern in our part of the country as
long as we don’t experience more severe wind events. In fact, light to
medium winds are a blessing at this time of year when the spring and
early summer flies are numerous and feasting.
The real concern is the future and the possibility that climate change will bring more destructive winds.
Environment Canada study done six or seven years ago reported that
there will be more “wind gust events” and more of them severe, in the
coming years.
The study concludes that:
“The implications of these
increases should be taken into consideration and integrated into
policies and planning for adaptation strategies, including measures to
incorporate climate change into engineering infrastructure design
standards and disaster-risk-reduction measures.”
In simpler English:
It’s going to get windier in future, so plan to build stronger policies
and buildings to withstand stronger winds.
I’ve been convinced for some time that it is getting windier, but I won’t be like van Gogh and let it bother me.
winds may bite your cheeks in winter and buzz your ears in summer, but
they are an important and beneficial part of nature.
Wind helps
plants to move pollen and seeds that create new generations. Wind
blowing on a new seedling or a developing spring plant helps that new
life to become stronger. When pushed by the wind a plant produces a
hormone called auxin that stimulates the growth of supporting cells.
damaging winds can be beneficial to a forest. They knock down diseased
trees, creating space for new life that support a greater diversity of