Does it seem a little colder outside this season? China and South Korea received record snowfall. Europe is enduring some of the coldest temperatures in 30 years. The Front Range of Colorado received record snowfall before Halloween! Do record low temperatures indicate the end of global warming? What do you think?
Human beings, at least most of us out here, struggle to survive every day by paying the bills, working, etc. We check weather every morning to get our daily and weekly forecast. We live day to day and month to month. We live in the present. We forget the past and try not to think about the future. We give little thought to science, even though science is integrated in everything we do on a daily basis. So the closest we come to acknowledging science is on the daily and weekly weather outside and in our individual lives.
Weather vs. Climate
Since we do focus on day to day weather, we forget about the times when temperatures reached the 60s and 70s in winter on the Front Range. Ask some long time skiers and residents in the mountains. They and Colorado farmers sure would appreciate more snow and cooler temperatures to keep the snow pack around until spring and not have to make “man made” snow.
Look no further that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to learn the average temperatures over time and that there has been a big increase in average daily temperatures in the past 30 years.
Learn about the climate by looking at weather over time and not on any given day or season.
What is global warming?
It is a fact that practically everything we do releases carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas. It is a fact that carbon dioxide traps more heat and light from the sun than other gases like nitrogen or oxygen. Methane, however, absorbs 20 times more heat than CO2 (a deadly GHG).
We are actually lucky to live on a planet that has an atmosphere and a magnetic field that protects from deadly radiation from the sun and space. Earth with little to no atmosphere would be much like Mars. Earth could be a planet with a freezing or frying surface flying through space devoid of life.
However our atmosphere has increased GHG due to human consumption of fossil fuels. Heat gets trapped and cannot escape into space so the land absorbs most of the heat and melts the polar ice, but the oceans hold the heat and control our climate.
How does the sun fit into the picture?
The sun plays a big role in global warming of course. Approximately every 11 years the sun has increased sunspots that create solar storms. The sun blasts large amounts of energy into space, which comes blasting towards the Earth and can cause problems with satellite communications. If we didn’t have a magnetic field and atmosphere to protect us we would be fried otherwise.
Lack of sunspots can create cooling on Earth as well, which occurred during the Little Ice Age from the 16th to 19th centuries. However, other possible causes to the Little Ice Age were increased volcanic activity during this period, and higher than normal temperatures prior to the ice age which led to the melting of ice in the Arctic. This may have impacted temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean changing weather patterns, called thermohaline circulation or the conveyor belt.
What about La Nina and El Nino?
The oceans’ temperatures impact our weather globally from an ocean a thousand miles away. One ocean impacts the entire planet. Currently, the globe is experiencing an El Nino winter. El Nino is when surface ocean temperatures are warmer. La Nina, its counterpart, is when surface temperatures are cooler. Remember all the tropical storms the Pacific endured this past summer? Learn more from NOAA.
Where are the real facts found?
Look no further than the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecast. What do global scientists and governments have to gain by determining that humans are causing global warming? Critics claim the want to attain political ambitions. Exactly how many scientists are politicians and policy makers in Congress? Currently, there is only one scientist serving in the U.S. Congress.
Who are the climate debunkers? They are the corporations that believe they have the most to lose (money and capital).
The fact is that millions of people around the world, even those of great religious faith, take global warming for what it is a fact caused by humans and they want to do something about it. Do you?
So who should you believe? Those paid to keep fossil fuels as a primary energy source or those that study the climate and/or take action to save our species?
Even those who don’t “believe” in climate change, do they also believe that fossil fuels are a renewable resource and that they will last “forever”? Are we living in a fairy tale or reality?
How does global warming impact me?
As the planet warms, ice caps and glaciers begin to melt raising ocean levels that can flood low lying areas, including islands. We reside in Colorado far from any ocean. However, the oceans control the weather and they could bring long term drought to our region, which impacts all life. Other regions could be impacted by severe tropical storms.
It could also deter tourists from visiting our state due to a lack of snow for skiing and snowboarding and water sports like fishing, white water rafting, and kayaking. Lack of water could be fought over with the other states that rely on our snowpack.
Furthermore, increased CO2 is destroying coral reefs in which a great deal of life depends upon to survive, including human beings.
Resources from across the world would be impacted by drought and flooding, which include energy, food, water, and everything we depend upon on a daily basis. Global warming is already taking place in many regions of the world in the form of desertification.
What can you do?
Reduce, reuse, and recycle resources. Become active in your community in waste management and energy resources conservation (attend Public Utility Commission, City Council, and regional transportation and development meetings). Buy from locally owned businesses that keep money and resources in the community. Buy products made locally and in the U.S.A. Speak to your policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels in regards to energy, trade, and a “green economy”. Most of all get educated. Check out this examiner’s previous articles and links to learn more.
America, we cannot continue to be scientifically illiterate. Get involved! Everything we do impacts all life on Earth and impacts the future for every living thing.