Friday, 14 February 2014

Organised weather systems

TV presenters sitting on couches making faces, talking about award shows, the NHS or celebrities and pretending to have a real relationship with a remote audience busy boiling kettles. I'm resisting the persistent illusion of human warmth that inhabits social television, full of assumptions and friendly banter, talking endlessly in the common parlance to try to fill the universal silence and void of broadcast matter and so pass time. It is vital that we pass the time and they are there to assist. This is the meaning of life. Today it will feel cold. Break to a weather bulletin.

The announcer spoke gently and normally, it was a regular weather forecast, 6PM on all channels. “On Tuesday we'll be hit by a rather well organised weather system coming in from the mid-Atlantic.” I thought little of it at the time, just a turn of phrase, a stock line in the weather script. I didn't realise that there was a basic truth there, one that was leaking out by whatever means and was about to make an enormous impact on our world.

The weather had turned against us; for years we thought that our actions were making the weather more intense and hard to predict, global warming, poor environmental management, the exploitation of resources whatever the cost. None of that was anything to do with anything or so it turned out, it was the weather itself, conscious and organised (as the announcer had let it slip) that was turning against us.

There in the clouds in the atmosphere in the blue yonder charges and particles were forming up, changing, evolving in an atmospheric soup. We all understand the principles of creation theory but we, in our thinking constrained it to animals and plants and organisms. They evolved thanks to natural selection and circumstances, now they were about to be hit by a higher evolutionary example. A thinking, focused and determined weather system, linked up and intelligent, self aware and with a purpose; to wipe the planet clean. Here we go.

At first the weather was just bad, badass even. Stormy, angry and for a few days unrelenting. Spread all across the world's stupid face. Normally calm and serene locations were suddenly struck by crazy, unseasonal and unexpected patterns of destructive rainstorms and cyclones. The seas crashed and swelled, trees uprooted, property destroyed on a huge scale and communications and travel disrupted. Then there would be a few days grace; the shock and the temporary recovery and then it would start up again. This pattern went on for about four weeks all across the globe and then stopped. The clouds disappeared and it was dry and slowly hotter , again everywhere...and it was February. In the north we were shocked, in the south; they just thought that summer had finally arrived a little later than usual.

The floods and the scattered damage caused now died back and dried out and dried out some more , then it baked hard in the heat, then things became desiccated and brittle. The saturated land that had sunk in the rains now cracked and groaned and place by place, bit by bit turned to dust. Whatever disaster recovery plans we'd prepared there was nothing that could deal with heat and drought everywhere all at once. Fires started, systems failed, water became like gold and food stores emptied as the fields and farms baked. Where is social cohesion and harmony when you need it? Not in the USA or the First World, those guys were mad as hell. Then, unexpectedly (and unforeseen) the rains returned. Too much too soon. It was Biblical in it's effect. It (the ongoing chaos) was the only subject the shattered news media covered and then food and fuel ran out big time.

For some people it was all about the wrath of god, others blamed the big companies, other's made the best by exploitation and profiteering. It made no difference, things were breaking up and civilisation was breaking down. Then there were those who understood, who had read and seen the signs and who knew that the “weather” was now a conscious entity; more than just a force. What we couldn't understand were it's processes. How advanced was it? A roaring lion, an angry animal, a vast and calculating human type mind, a god? To some it was a god. “Obvious” the said. When the term “intelligent weather” was first used by the BBC, social media ran riot. Cults and societies formed, conventional religions sought explanation and ownership. If the weather was/is a god it will be our god...or our devil. There were many views and as is the way of things, many divisions, some naturally turned violent and desperate as they twisted their versions of their truth to suit the ever changing actions of a clearly angry weather god.

Standing outside of the panic, up in the blasted Hebridean Islands of Scotland we gathered for an emergency council. (This was hardly anything new, all the big boys, corporations, NATO, UN, Russian, China and the Muslim and Vatican worlds had had their gatherings. Other than apportion blame to traditional enemies and expected protagonists it had all proved fruitless. Size matters but intention and determination are more important. We considered ours to be, for once, “for the best”.) Scientists, weather experts, a theologist and media people. We had to understand and we had to communicate with the weather. We had to learn it's language, hear what it said, negotiate a truce and somehow manage and understand this beast. In an abandoned community centre, warmed by a peat fired stove we drank hot tea and in as measured and civilised a way as we could began the discussion. Outside of the building the west winds hammered on the windows and spat hard rain at us as if it wished to join in and make some forceful points. We all understood. I said all the right things there, notice?

An American phonics specialist unleashed his laptop, a series of weather maps had been poured through some software synthesis mechanics. It was an intelligent piece of analysis and simulation. Every pattern for the last six months graphically displayed and analysed. If the weather was talking to us we had to listen and we had to look for the language hidden in the storms, here was a possible way. He ran the simulator. “You see how the pressures change across the world? It's almost like a human vocal pattern, like your throat and larynx, like your whole mouth moving to form sound and push out words. I first noticed this a few weeks ago and, when you run my software there are patterns, clear patterns that I believe are not only weather but actual expressions. The weather is communicating through the weather not just in angry bursts of natural phenomena but in a unique language and we must understand this. There were two Chinese linguist up at the end, their speciality was tonal language. They were suddenly exited and asked for a slow rerun of the presentation but this time with a sound wave analyser and view graph added in. “That will take me some time but I will work on it.” We broke for more tea and cigarettes while the others got down to work. It was all beyond my skill set, I'm more of a broker, a planner and a finisher. I see opportunities, gaps and requirements and fill them. This job probably being the biggest ever for me, by any definition. These experts, their ideals and their willingness to help coupled with their detailed work is what I need to capture, then I put a strategic plan together...and then I sell it to the highest bidder.

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