Friday, March 26, 2010

Is Global Warming for Real?

Our climate is radically changing, so let’s get rid of global warming and talk climate change...

With all the cold and snow, I’ve heard the same refrain all winter: How can it be so cold if there’s global warming?
For the average person, it all gets confusing. Who’s right? Does the frigid winter along the Mid-Atlantic signal the end of the global warming threat? Or was it all just a scam on the part of the scientific community to get everybody worked up over nothing so they could get big grants to study a non-existent crisis?

I think the first problem is the phrase global warming. Once you say that the planet is getting warmer, any time it gets cold, people are naturally going to wonder what is going on.

So let’s get rid of global warming and talk climate change instead. The climate of planet Earth is radically changing. 

The National Academy of Science, the most prestigious scientific body in the world, is a conservative group comprised of the top scientists from every country on the planet. It’s also an organization that usually takes about a decade to agree on where to go to lunch. When it unanimously says that Earth’s largest threat is climate change, it’s time to stop listening to Bill O’Reilly. It’s time to start paying attention.

NASA says the planet has warmed 1.4 degrees since 1880.

It’s getting warmer faster. The last two decades were the warmest in the last 400 years, and maybe for the last few thousand years.

And here are some chilling facts compiled by National Geographic.

Average temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as anywhere else on earth. The ice pack is melting at an alarming rate, and the loss of sea ice is already changing the lives of native people and polar bears. Villages along the coasts all over the earth are going.

Glaciers are melting all around the world. Glacier National Park in Montana has lost two-thirds of its glaciers in the last 100 years.

As sea temperature has risen, coral reefs — which cannot handle the warmer water — are dying.
Extreme weather — like wildfires in Australia, heat waves in Europe and tropical storms in the Caribbean — happens with much greater frequency.

That last one is important. Climate change is about extreme weather, not necessarily warmer or colder weather where you happen to live. When Florida freezes over, or Hawaii doesn’t get any rain, we’re looking at the direct effects of climate change.

Our climate is out of balance, and imbalance manifests in abnormal events. Storms are nastier. When it’s hot, it’s really hot. And when it’s cold, it’s really cold. 

So let’s be clear. It happens to be really cold for two weeks in the beginning of 2010. It snows harder and more often than it has for several years. Even together, those facts mean absolutely nothing. The weather in Maryland, or even the United States, isn’t steering this process. It’s the oceans that will determine our future. And they are getting warmer every year.

Why should we care about warmer water?

The latest predictions are that we will experience a sea level rise of seven to 23 inches by the end of the century. If that happens, most of the eastern seaboard and states like Florida and Louisiana will be gone, along with Annapolis, Mayo, Deale, Shady Side, Solomons, Cambridge, and Ocean City.

Ironically, the ocean’s conveyor belt may shut down, triggering an ice age. We know from looking at ice cores in the Antarctic that planetary warming has caused previous mini-ice ages, as recently as the Middle Ages in Europe. 

So if you are looking for proof that every media moron who makes fun of climate change is simply showing ignorance, rather than spreading common-sense reality, here it is. Warm weather can ultimately turn the planet into a giant ice ball.

We all need to recognize that we are indeed contributing to the warming of Earth. If it snows into March in Chesapeake Country, that only proves the point. If you don’t want to believe that’s true, the oceans don’t care. Your kids definitely will.

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