Climate Debate 101
|New England Ice Storm 2011|
I am lucky to have a very well rounded group of friends, some of whom are always looking for a debate. When I say ‘well rounded’ I mean from all walks of life and political persuasion. I think this weekend there will be a lengthy How can we be having global warming when the winter is so severe discussion over cocktails. Its certainly a legitimate question with all that has been swirling around us. Extreme weather events are supposed to be rare, but recent history has shown us that in this millennium they are far from an occasional occurrence. Fires,tsunamis, snow storms from hell and weather related natural disasters are part of our everyday vocabulary in 2011. If we take it down to basic physics and chemistry, and believe me when I say I excelled in neither: more carbon CO2 = more of the sun’s heat trapped in the air = extra energy that powers the storms. Warm air can hold more water. According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, “the planet is 4% moister than it was 40 years ago.” In the simplest of terms, that translates into more snow and rain.
|Image via Current Green|
As blizzards sweep the nation, even more important is the fact that this January has seen the lowest ice extent on the books since the National Snow and Ice Data Center began keeping satellite records. No matter what your opinion about the storms sweeping the globe, this single fact is the most important when it comes to global warming. Non the less, as we blog, members of Congress are gearing up to try and repeal the Supreme Court Mandate to regulate greenhouse gasses. Putting on blinders against mounting evidence will not make global warming disappear, nor will siding with polluting big business help with the future of our planet. I feel moved by the recent weather experience to learn as much as I can about this subject. What to do think??