DiCaprio wins Oscar, says climate change most urgent threat facing mankind

Chinook over Calgary, Canada (CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2301694) Chinook over Calgary, Canada (CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2301694) It seems that sixth time’s the charm when it comes to Leonardo DiCaprio winning an Oscar. After five previous nominations, DiCaprio finally left the Oscars last night with a gold statuette under his arms for Best Actor for his role in “The Revenant.” It also gave DiCaprio a chance to espouse on his favorite subject, climate change, having once said he witnessed the effects of global warming first hand while making ‘The Revenant.’

During his acceptance speech (video here), DiCaprio said climate change was real and, “It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.” DiCaprio had previously said he got up close and personal with climate change while filming ‘The Revenant’ in Alberta, Canada.

While filming, a “Chinook [pronounced shinook] came over the mountains, which he erroneously assumed was proof of climate change, even going so far as to call it ‘terrifying.'” If DiCaprio had bothered to look up or research what he saw, he’d learn that Chinooks have been part of Alberta’s climate for centuries.

It was first named by the Chinookan band of indigenous people who used to describe a weather phenomenon called a ‘snow-eater’ or ‘ice-eater’. A Chinook wind, or simply Chinooks, occurs as “moist winds from the Pacific are forced to rise over the mountains,” and “the moisture in the air is condensed and falls out.” The now-dried air “descends on the leeward side of the mountains,” warming at a rate of 10 degrees Celsius for every 1,000 meters (or 5.5 ¬∞F per 1,000 FT).

It’s neither a recent development nor a byproduct of global warming. A strong Chinook wind can make a foot of snow disappear in a day. These Chinook winds have been known to raise winter temperatures (sorry DiCaprio) “from -20 degrees Celsius (-4 ¬∞F) to as high 10-20 degrees Celsius (50-68 ¬∞F) for a few hours to a few days,” and then “temperatures plummet back to their normal levels.” They are also not relegated to the Pacific Northwest, and have been seen around the world.

Chinooks are most prevalent over Alberta in Canada, which “get 30 to 35 Chinook days per year on average.” DiCaprio may have been scared by the fact that “Chinook winds can gust in excess of hurricane force [120 km/h (75 mph)].” One of the most visually striking things about this climate event is the Chinook arch, which is a “band of stationary stratus clouds caused by air rippling over the mountains.” 

To those not familiar with Alberta weather or this naturally occurring phenomenon, the Chinook arch may look like a “threatening storm cloud at times” yet they “rarely produce rain or snow.” They also may have stunning colors depending on where the sun is during the day, with “yellow, orange, red and pink shades in the morning,” pink or red colors at midday, and then orange-yellow hues as the sun sets.

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