Saturday, November 03, 2007
It's Not Just My Imagination
This fall's weather has been unusually, unseasonably, warm. As this map shows, during the third week of October when we were in the Adirondacks, temperatures were nearly 10 degrees over average. While I was pleased and surprised to be enjoying beautiful fall foliage and 75 degree temperatures on our long weekend, I knew there was something just not quite right about the whole thing.
I look out the window into my back yard and see all the trees here in my neighborhood not only still have leaves, but those leaves are green. The maple tree overhanging our deck looks the same as it did in mid-summer.
When DH and I were married 22 years ago on October 5, 1985, the leaves had turned and were already falling off the trees. One of our wedding pictures shows us in our wedding finery standing next to a maple tree. The tree's leaves were universally yellow and many of them were already on the ground beneath our feet - a full month earlier than today.
When we visited Newfoundland, Canada, two years ago, everywhere we went the people were talking about global warming. One town, Twillingate, is usually a mecca for tourists coming to see the picturesque icebergs floating down from the north; but when we were there, at the height of the iceberg season, there were none. There are many there who depend on the tourism for much of their income, and no one wants to go out on a boat to look at iceburgs when there are no icebergs to be seen, so their livelihoods are suffering. (See below for a magnificent iceberg in the Twillingate area - something we did not see when we were there).
I think nowadays there is no denying that global temperatures are getting warmer. Even the Neocons have to admit this when faced with trends such as these:
But what many of them still deny is the relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature change. But this comparison is pretty convincing to me:
It is true that correlation does not necessarily mean causation. And it's possible this warming trend might have happened anyway and the increase in carbon dioxide in the air is a coincidence.
This site goes into a lot of detail showing that carbon dioxide may not be the sole, or main, cause of the recent warming trends. Apparently there was a similar warm trend back in the Middle Ages, followed by a Little Ice Age, from which we may just be emerging.
But science shows that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could promote warming. And we do have more of it in the atmosphere. And warming is happening. Could it do any harm to try to cut down on it and slow down this trend? Cutting back on fossil fuel consumption can have other benefits besides slowing global warming, such as making us less dependent on countries such as Saudi Arabia, and postponing the inevitable date when we run out of these fuels altogether.
The problem is, businesses don't want to make the investments needed to cut back on carbon dioxide emissions. Those whose political careers are supported by Big Business don't want to offend their supporters.
So unless that changes, prepare for more warm autumns, hotter summers, less snow, fewer polar bears, more floods and dangerous storms, and beachfront property several miles inland.
Hmmm, perhaps our house will become more valuable with a beach in front of it? It might not be all bad.
Maple trees are green
Canada Geese don't migrate
Climate change is real.