Saturday, June 29, 2013

Misunderstanding Flood Frequency and Climate Change

Apparently, some people still have problems understanding what the difference is between "climate" and "weather" - or in this case the impact of a changing climate on flooding (which is an outcome of severe weather). The high rains that hit the Calgary, Alberta region of Canada were caused by what The Weather Network described as an "atmospheric river"caused by a major meander in the Jet Stream. This sort of major meander in the Jet Stream is what caused Alaska to shatter high-temperature records, and could be linked to what is now causing a massive heat wave in much of the western US. This meandering of the Jet Stream is the reason why the UK is having such a soggy summer. And why, exactly, is the Jet Stream meandering so much? If only we had an explanation for it that makes sense of it in scientific terms. Oh, wait, we do, and it's called climate change (aka global warming).

See? Climate change is causing increased warming in higher latitudes. Warmer air in the higher latitudes means that the energy gradient compared to lower latitudes diminishes, which means that the Jet Stream meanders more. This is what the theory predicts, and this is what we actually see.

But - apparently - many people don't understand this. Many in the initial piece really wanted to bludgeon others with the contention that - since the Bow River had flooded in the past to the same magnitude (and even greater amount) - the current flooding has absolutely nothing to do with climate change. This is problematic on two fronts. The first is that the evidence of why the Bow River flooded (the "atmospheric river" caused by a major meander in the Jet Stream, which is exactly in line with what our models of climate change would predict to become more common). The second is that the justification for the argument (that we can use historic data and historic probabilities of flooding to predict the likelihood of future flooding) fly out the window when we recognize that global warming will alter the underlying processes governing flooding.

There was one particular commentator - Luke - who was more than a bit of an arrogant twit. Unfortunately, it looks like he deleted all of his comments from the page. (I'm making the assumption that he did it himself, because none of the other obviously-wrong-and-just-as-arrogant statements have not been removed.) Still, Luke's comments showed an obvious misunderstanding of flood frequency and the link between floods and global warming (outlined above). The basic contention by Luke was that the recent flooding in Calgary was nothing strange, and that - in fact - the name of the river indicates that flooding is a normal part of the river's course, citing this story, and specifically this passage:
The Bow River gets its name from the Peigan name “Makhabn” which means the “river where the bow reeds grow.” And a good place for reeds to grow is a flood plain.
To Luke, the fact that bow reeds grow on flood plains (and - apparently - that the term "flood plain" has the word "flood" in it) must have meant that the recent massive flooding wasn't really that big of a deal. To that contention, I wrote:
Perhaps you ought to look up what a floodplain is, and what the flooding frequency of a floodplain.

Or you can just keep believing that you aren't seeing the truth of your constructed reality being washed away. But that's your choice.

I prefer to side with reality. Call me biased in that way.
His response was to point me to another comment that he made about the size of the ten biggest floods recorded on the Bow River in Calgary. However, if you knew what a flood plain is, you would know that flood plains are not flooded only when there are historically huge floods. Indeed, flood plains are flooded far more frequently than once every 100 years or so. It's why they're called "flood plains", instead of just "plains." Indeed, I decided to even give Luke a link to an easy-to-read explanation from the USGS (yeah, I know, Calgary is in Canada, and the USGS is a US governmental agency, but the hydrology of rivers doesn't change at the border). (The portion in Courier is a blockquote from his comment, to which I was responding.)
Had you bothered to look at the table I posted below, you'd know exactly what the frequency is. But, evidently, all you've got is a big mouth.
Umm... Actually, all you're doing is showing the extent of your naivete about these issues. What you provided is the historical maximum floods. I actually did see that table. However, these incredibly large floods are not the only ones that inundate floodplains, and pointing to only this table indicates to me that you don't actually know what a flood plain is.

(To recap: Your original contention is that the name of the place - river where the bow reads grow - indicates that this is a flood plain, and that flood plains are known for ... flooding, and so what we just saw in Calgary ain't that big a deal. And then when I asked you if you actually know what the flooding rate of a flood plain is, you pointed me to a table that shows only the largest floods, which - if you know anything about flood plains - doesn't even come close to the numbers of floods that inundate a flood plain, which indicates your ignorace of what a flood plain actually is.)

Here is some reading material about what a flood plain actually is, and what the flooding frequency of a floodplain is. (I'll give you a big hint about where to find the answer: paragraph three, which begins with the words "Bank-full discharge..."

Of course, these floods are several magnitudes smaller than the one that hit the city, but the point is that you can have flood plain inundation - and therefore have a great place to grow bow reeds - with river discharge rates far below the one that you're trying to show as being no big deal.

Still, I applaud your efforts to try and understand something that either beyond your comprehension or actually operates in a way that runs counter to your presuppositions. My advice to you is to keep working at it, eventually you might come to recognize that you're wrong, which might then allow you to actually learn something correct.

Good luck!
After this point, Luke decided to cut his losses and say that I won... but without actually recognizing why his position was wrong. I really wish that I had his wording, since it's patently clear that Luke was just trying to find a way to get out of having to argue against someone who slung his arrogance back in his face, along with a ready understanding of the very facts that he was trying to use to bludgeon his opponents. Of course, his weasel-worded "concession" comment tried to have it both ways; saying that I won the debate but that he was right on the facts. However, there was a problem... A: there was no "debate", and B: the whole point of my comments were that he was wrong on the facts. (Did I mention that he was an arrogant-twit?) So, since he crowned me the victor, I felt that it was important to explain to him why his concession was actually just annoying:
Wow. Apparently you don't understand simple hydrology (or you are incapable of taking 10 minutes to read some easy-to-digest science from people who do and written for people who don't).

I'm not going to waste time even trying to explain more to you, since you have twice shown an unwillingness to actually make the slightest modicum of effort to understand why your statements are just grossly and laughably wrong.
To this, he gave the completely bizarre (and equally weasel-worded) response that amounted to, "But I said you won. Why don't you just accept that you won and move on?" And I decided not to respond further, since - as I wrote - he wasn't worth my time.

Things were left there for a day, and now, another commentator felt that I was too harsh on Luke, and insinuated that some of the positions I outlined were wrong:
Your arrogance overshadows everything you've said. The point is that the big floods in Calgary were 125 years ago when 1/100th as many buildings were on the Bow River's flood plains. So this flood was both normal, and predictable. That may not follow the climate alarm industry's script, but it is observed fact. BTW, the Bow River's floodplains mostly grow cottonwoods.
I do recognize that I'm acerbic. And I also recognize when others are being acerbic. If someone wishes to be acerbic, I'm more than happy to oblige them, but what am I supposed to do with this comment? I mean, there is nothing there that actually is written to confront or try to refute any factual piece that I wrote (other than the observation about the current plant ecology, which I didn't introduce in the first place) while simultaneously implying that none of it is valid because I wrote arrogantly to an arrogant person or to bring up points that are only tangentially related to things that I wrote and to point out that the reference to the plant ecology of the Bow River (which I didn't introduce, but was actually responding to) was incorrect. Well, I decided to spend about 30 minutes to write the following exhaustive reply to each of the points that this commentator raised (many of which I didn't discuss at all in the first place, but whatevs):
As with kindness, respect, or sincerity, I return arrogance, like for like, pound for pound, and Luke was dishing his arrogance out like there was no tomorrow. From the above, though, you'll note that neither Luke nor I really minded (or at least commented that we minded) on the heights of arrogance that we were using to talk with each other. I enter each interaction with the understanding of how - based on the evidence - the other person/people are already conducting themselves in the forum, and apply the Golden Rule: they are treating others with arrogance, which means that it is apparently how they wish to be treated. (After all, if they didn't wish to be responded to with arrogance and derision, they shouldn't have done it in the first place, right?) However, those are issues of interactive game theory and socialization, which (although an interesting topic) isn't the one covered by this article, nor by Luke.

To the substantive points you make, you are right: there are more buildings in Calgary now than there were 125 years ago, but this has nothing to do with regional flood frequency. But if I am missing some connection between flood frequency and the different number of buildings in Calgary, I would be happy for you to explain that link to me. The only major impact of building construction to flood frequency is the extent to which the land-cover changed, although landcover change creates local impacts, and the flooding wasn't only occurring within Calgary, which means that land-cover change wasn't the significant driver of this flooding event. But again, if I'm wrong on the facts here, please let me know.

As for the growth of cottonwoods vs. bow reeds, I was not making any claim about the actual biodiversity in the region, only responding to the claim by Luke that the large floods are somehow normal, because the name cites bow reeds, and bow reeds grow in floodplains, and - as evidence of flooding - Luke points only to extreme flooding events instead of a natural frequency of flood-plain inundation. Still, this doesn't change the general point of linking the comment to the flood-plain inundation rate and not the historical maximum flood rates, because although I am not a plant ecologist, the species of cottonwood I am familiar with tend to grow in/near floodplains and (especially in more arid regions) rely heavily on the periodicity of flood-plain inundation. Therefore, whether it's bow reeds of cottonwoods, it's the flood-plain inundation frequency (and not the historical maximum flood volumes and rates of flooding) that are more important in understanding those local ecosystem dynamics. (Although, to be fair, extreme floods do have a significant effect in shaping certain constraints to ecosystem structure, but the temporal scale of their impacts are at a completely different scale than the flood-plain inundation rates, which are far more important for year-to-year survival and propagation. This is the case for most flood-plain ecosystems, and I'm assuming that those in Alberta are no different in these broad-brushstrokes.)

Also, I agree with your point that the flood was predictable, and - in that sense - as normal as any large and predictable flood would be in the course of the history of a location. I am hesitant, though, to say that it's "normal," since the idea of "normal" is different when speaking about flood frequency and speaking in a day-to-day context. To most people, the idea of "normal" tends to be in the "happens regularly within a time frame that I happen to expect it to occur within (which usually extends to a maximum of "my life so far")". Therefore, while a 100-year flood, 500-year flood, or 1000-year flood occurring at some time in the history of a river system is "normal" in the grand-scheme of things, to most people, that particular event wouldn't be seen as "normal", since it didn't happen in their lifetimes (and if it did, then it wouldn't be "normal" since multi-century events "shouldn't" happen more than once in their lifetimes, even though - statistically - they could, and would be perfectly "normal" from a flood-frequency perspective).

Finally, to shift the discussion to where I infer that you're implying that I'm "follow[ing] the climate alarm industry's script", let's step away from the label-placing and automatic assumptions and speak about how climate change will affect the reliability of current flood frequency statistics. Flood frequency is based on a statistical probability based on past events, and this is fine, so long as current climate is adequately described by past climate. In general, though, climate change is expected to significantly alter flood frequencies in many places. Therefore, methodologically speaking, a future with altered climate makes using flood frequencies that were established on historic data methodologically troubling at best (and - if a region's climate has changed dramatically - it makes them completely useless).

Again, if I get anything wrong here, please do let me know. I'd be happy to have a discussion with you about them and to correct my knowledge and expectations.
I won't hold my breath to see if there's a response.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Just what does Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia think the Supreme Court is SUPPOSED to do?

In his scathing dissent in the minority opinion on Windsor v. United States Scalia wrote (and spoke) this statement, which left me scratching my head a little bit (emphasis mine):
The Court says that we have the power to decide this case because if we did not, thenour “primary role in determining the constitutionality of a law” (at least one that “has inflicted real injury on a plaintiff ”) would “become only secondary to the President’s.” Ante, at 12. But wait, the reader wonders—Windsor won below, and so cured her injury, and the President was glad to see it. True, says the majority, but judicial review must march on regardless, lest we “undermine the clear dictate of the separation-of-powers principle that when an Act of Congress is alleged to conflict with the Constitution, it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” Ibid. (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted).

That is jaw-dropping. It is an assertion of judicial supremacy over the people’s Representatives in Congress and the Executive. It envisions a Supreme Court standing (or rather enthroned) at the apex of government, empowered to decide all constitutional questions, always and every- where “primary” in its role.

This image of the Court would have been unrecognizable to those who wrote and ratified our national charter. They knew well the dangers of “primary” power, and so created branches of government that would be “perfectly coordinate by the terms of their common commission,” none of which branches could “pretend to an exclusive or superior right of settling the boundaries between their respective powers.” The Federalist, No. 49, p. 314 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961) (J. Madison). The people did this to protect themselves. They did it to guard their right to self-rule against the black-robed supremacy that today’s majority finds so attractive. So it was that Madison could confidently state, with no fear of contradiction, that there was nothing of “greater intrinsic value” or “stamped with the authority of more enlightened patrons of liberty” than a government of separate and coordinate powers. Id., No. 47, at 301.

For this reason we are quite forbidden to say what the law is whenever (as today’s opinion asserts) “‘an Act of Congress is alleged to conflict with the Constitution.’” Ante, at 12. We can do so only when that allegation will determine the outcome of a lawsuit, and is contradicted by the other party. The “judicial Power” is not, as the majority believes, the power “‘to say what the law is,’” ibid., giving the Supreme Court the “primary role in determining the constitutionality of laws.” The majority must have in mind one of the foreign constitutions that pronounces such primacy for its constitutional court and allows that primacy to be exercised in contexts other than a lawsuit.See, e.g., Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, Art. 93. The judicial power as Americans have understood it (and their English ancestors before them) is the power to adjudicate, with conclusive effect, disputed government claims (civil or criminal) against private persons, and disputed claims by private persons against the government or other private persons. Sometimes (though not always) the parties before the court disagree not with regard to the facts of their case (or not only with regard to the facts) but with regard to the applicable law—in which event (and only in which event) it becomes the “‘province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.’” Ante, at 12.

In other words, declaring the compatibility of state or federal laws with the Constitution is not only not the “primary role” of this Court, it is not a separate, free standing role at all. We perform that role incidentally—by accident, as it were—when that is necessary to resolve the dispute before us. Then, and only then, does it become “‘the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.’” That is why, in 1793, we politely declined the Washington Administration’s request to “say what the law is” on a particular treaty matter that was not the subject of a concrete legal controversy. 3 Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay 486–489 (H.Johnston ed. 1893). And that is why, as our opinions have said, some questions of law will never be presented to this Court, because there will never be anyone with standing to bring a lawsuit. See Schlesinger v. Reservists Comm. to Stop the War, 418 U. S. 208, 227 (1974); United States v. Richardson, 418 U. S. 166, 179 (1974). As Justice Bran- deis put it, we cannot “pass upon the constitutionality of legislation in a friendly, non-adversary, proceeding”; absent a “‘real, earnest and vital controversy between individuals,’” we have neither any work to do nor any power to do it. Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U. S. 288, 346 (1936) (concurring opinion) (quoting Chicago & Grand Trunk R. Co. v. Wellman, 143 U. S. 339, 345 (1892)). Our authority begins and ends with the need to adjudge the rights of an injured party who stands before us seeking redress. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 560 (1992).
Is Scalia really saying that the Supreme Court is not there to judge whether a law passed by Congress is constitutional or not if the specific offended party gets a positive decision in their case? Is Scalia really saying that the Supreme Court isn't really there to determine the compatibility of state and federal laws with the Constitution? I'm sorry, but whaaaa?

First of all, I don't really see this rationale in the decisions he makes in striking down legislation and court decisions that he doesn't agree with. So he's not being consistent in his framework. Or, as the Daily Show's Samantha Bee reported, "It's what lawyers call 'the Principle of Waaaaah!'":

Second of all, perhaps Scalia needs to take a refresher course in civics, because the role of the Supreme Court is often defined as follows:
[The Supreme Court] can tell a President that his actions are not allowed by the Constitution. It can tell Congress that a law it passed violated the U.S. Constitution and is, therefore, no longer a law. It can also tell the government of a state that one of its laws breaks a rule in the Constitution.
Maybe, though Scalia should contact (and all the other textbook publishers) to inform them of what the real role of the Supreme Court is (right after he figures out a way to make it consistent with his own past judicial positions as well as those of the Supreme Court through time).

Maybe, too, Scalia could jump in his time machine and explain to the writers of the US Constitution what they meant when they wrote the following about the role of the judiciary (and the Supreme Court):
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; ...
Of course, maybe Scalia doesn't think that the Constitution actually says what it means to say.

(I also think that this is the first time that the phrase "argle-bargle" was used in a Supreme Court opinion, but I could be wrong here.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Did climate change cause storm X" is the wrong question to be asking.

Treehugger has a story titled, "Did Climate Change Cause the Alberta Flooding?" Although the short article was decent, it leads with a question - the general form of, "Did climate change/global warming cause weather catastrophe X?" - that is misguided in its construction. Let me explain.

"Climate change" is talking about the shift from the historic climate regime into a different (ahistorical) one. That is all. Different areas (e.g., Toronto vs. Denver) have different climates, but they still do share some weather events (e.g., snow, wind, rain). However, the likelihood of one type of weather event happening is more an issue of climate.

However, what's makes this complicated is a conflation of the actual incidence versus the likelihood of the incidence. For example, if there is a 10% chance of rain for a particular date, and then it does rain on that date, the statistical likelihood of rain remains at 10%, even though the actual incidence of rain is 100%. Why? Because these are measuring different things. To use a baseball analogy, let's look at the Blue Jay's Adam Lind who has a .337 batting average and 30 RBIs for 202 at-bats so far in 2013. This means - all things being equal - he will get on base about 1/3 of the time and - of those times that he gets on base - his hit will allow someone(s) to score about 1/3 of the time. (That's pretty darn good.) Okay, now let's say that at his last at-bat, Lind hit a grand-slam home-run. (Congrats to Lind in this hypothetical case!) Now the analogous question: "Did his batting average and RBIs cause the grand-slam home-run?" That's a nonsensical question, and the only way you can really answer it is, "no, Lind's batting average and RBIs did not cause the grand-slam home-run." And - with baseball - we understand why that question doesn't make sense to ask. When it comes to climate change, though, we don't understand (yet) why the question is the wrong question and why the answer given by climate change deniers (as well as climate change scientist) are both, "No," or, "We can't say for sure." (This last response more often from scientists.)

A better question is, "How much has the likelihood of something like storm X occurring changed from its historical condition?" To use the baseball analogy one more time, this form of the question is more similar to the question of, "How have Lind's batting average and RBIs changed compared to his average before he was sent down for a time in the the Triple A's (i.e., his "historic batting average")?"

Previous entries explaining the difference between climate and weather: here (also using the Blue Jays), here, and here.

Previous entries looking at the implications of a change in the underlying incidence rate of floods: here and here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Response to a comment in

The following comment was left on an story about the feasibility of a Chicago-Detroit high-speed rail line. I wanted to make a refutation comment, but I was limited by the numbers of characters in the response box, so I decided to respond on my own blog.
you mention a feasibility study that shows this plan "earning tens of millions of dollars a year in profit" yet i don't see a link to the study. You provide a link to the high capacity transit costs in other stories . 

Also to begin a piece using Japan as a success is problematic. In terms of square miles the entire nation of japan would only be the 6th largest State in America yet in terms of population it nearly matches our top 8 states combined. 

Also when factoring cost for a plane versus a train its better not to throw in ancillary costs for one but not the other.
I agree that it would be nice to see the feasibility study. However, even looking at the numbers, what is reported seems within the ballpark. Still, having a link to the study itself would be nice. No real issue here, but the next paragraph contains some real non sequiturs (at least when one looks at the issues in relevant terms).

You suggest that Japan is not a good comparative example with the United States, and make the astute point that - by land area - it smaller than the five largest states of the nation. However - unlike many of the states west of Michigan - Japan isn't boxy; it's quite elongated, northeast to southwest. You failed to account for that in your comment. Indeed, if you were to look at the distance from Sapporo (the capital of the northernmost prefecture, and the terminus of one of the "Bullet Train" lines once that line is completed) to Kagoshimachuo (the southernmost Bullet train terminus in the city of Kagoshima), you'd get a straight-line distance (which I'm using as a rough analogue for the airplane distance) of roughly 960 miles (which happens to be about the same as the straight-line distance from Los Angeles to Vancouver and further than the straight-line distance from Detroit to Oklahoma City). In this sense, the distance of two relatively important Japanese cities is far longer than the distance between any two similarly important cities within any one state. So your first point of pure SIZE - while technically correct - is not a useful statistic, since Japan is a long country, but not a relatively wide one. But let's move on to the comment about population density.

It's true that Japan is a country with a greater population density than the entirety of the United States, and you are right in pointing this out, since greater population density correlates strongly with greater train transport. However, like the problem of looking at gross land area (see above), your association of gross population is also problematic. If you are going to compare demographic distribution, shouldn't you do so at a scale that is - itself - comparable? If we look at Japan, it is easy to see that its population distribution pattern is completely different from that of the United States as a whole. However, it is far more similar to the concept of megalopoli. If we consider the nation of Japan to operate in a similar way to the megalopoli of the combination of the Great Lakes and Northeastern megaliopoli, we would then be able to consider like with like. Indeed, the comparison of the Japan against the Great Lakes-Northeastern Megalopolis provides the following results:

  • Japan: 126,659,683 people/145,925 sq.mi. = 867.978 people/sq.mi.
  • GL-NE Megalopolis: 90,500,000 people/173,000 = 523.121 people/sq.mi.
This regional perspective allows a person to compare like with like, since Japan and the GL-NE Megalopolis have roughly the same land area and comparable numbers of people. (Indeed, many planners actually look at the unit of "megacity" or "megalopolis" when conducting regional planning; they don't look at the entire United States.) Therefore, your contention that comparing the regional plan of high-speed transport with Japan is "problematic" is - itself filled with problems. However, let's move on to your final paragraph.

You make the point that the author doesn't add the ancillary costs when adding up the prices for train travel. Okay, let's add the additional costs. AATA bus fare from Blake Transit Authority to the train station ($1.25), a taxi could put you out by as much as $15. But maybe the person gets their spouse or a friend to drive them to the station on their way to work. Then the additional cost is approaching $0.00. So, transport costs to the train station: $0 - $1.25. We can - of course - add the estimates from the story about costs at the other end (which would be the same, regardless of traveling by train or airplane) which are, "car mileage ($25), taxi ($30) or mass transit costs ($3)." So the ancillary costs associated with the proposed high-speed rail system would be: $3 (get dropped off in Ann Arbor and use mass transit in Chicago) to $45 (take a cab to the train station, take a cab to your destination in Chicago). There. Done.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

More bike companies need to make these kinds of bikes

If even Bianchi is making "City" commuter bikes like this:

then maybe we can have even more people choosing to become daily bike commuters. From The Urban Country, we are offered a different way to think about urban commuter cycling... It's for lazy people!
I arrive on time, I’m not sweaty, and I rode my bike not for a workout, but rather au contraire, I rode my bicycle because I am lazy.

I step outside my front door and hop on my bike because I’m too lazy to go downstairs in the parking garage to get the car. I pull my bike up to the front door at my destination because I’m too lazy to drive around looking for a parking spot then having to walk from the car to the building.

I ride my bike instead of taking public transit because I’m too lazy to go to the store to buy bus tickets, and I am far too lazy to dig for loose change under my couch. I am also too lazy to transfer from the bus to the subway to the streetcar, preferring to ride directly to my destination without transfers.

Instead of walking 15 minutes to my destination, I ride my bicycle there in 5. Yes, I ride there because I am too lazy to walk.

I ride my bicycle past dozens of cars at rush hour because I’m too lazy to be stressed out sitting in traffic and too lazy to explain why I’m late all the time.
Brilliant. I also ride my bike because I'm lazy. Too lazy to go to a gym to work out. Too lazy to go park a car. Too lazy to wait for the car to get cool enough in the summer or warm enough in the winter. Too lazy to go and pump gas.

I love it that I'm too lazy for all that.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Shibuya, Then and Now

A recent post by Danny Choo showed Shibuya in 1952:

This made me think about what the place looks like today, and going over to Google Earth, I find:

Not too different, right? ;)

(Previously: A "Then-and-Now" comparison of New York City)

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Cleared massive fallen branch

Yesterday, there were bands of storms working their way across Michigan (and much of the Midwest). Yesterday, too, there was an Elderwise event: "Walk in the Woods," led by professor emeritus, Chuck Olson. Luckily, they didn't get rained out, but there was apparently a near miss:
The thunder shower that came through about 12:20-12:40 was over by the time we started. While we had a brief shower, later, most of the wet stuff was dripping of the trees. When we walked around the lake, I was surprised at the amount of windfall I saw, and especially by the very recent tree that dropped across the path just befoer we got to the side path to the board walk. We got around it (actually over it) and finished our walk without any real difficulty.
I went out there this morning and took care of the MASSIVE fallen branch.

BEFORE, there was a massive branch across the path, making it rather difficult to walk that route:

AFTER, apart from some debris and dug-up earth, the pathway is now clear:

I'm gonna miss this kind of work, even though I probably sweat several pints in the process. It's good, honest, physical labor, and it feels great.