Riddle me this: America is enjoying a nearly unprecedented respite from weather-related disasters, yet the planet has just experienced one of the hottest years on record. How can it be that the climate in America is calm, the Arctic ice cap isn't melted, yet scientists still shout that disaster looms?
A Global Warming PSA poster.
By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -It appears to be a riddle that nobody can solve, and indeed we hardly can. The nemesis of stable climate, CO2, is slowly climbing, reaching the infamous 400PPM mark, with a November 2013 average reading by NASA and Scripps of 395.10.
Atmospheric CO2 concentration has been steadily rising.
As the record books now reveal, 2013 was also one of the hottest years on record, and all of the ten hottest years in recorded human history occurred within the last decade. Yes, we're warming up.
This map shows the worldwide average warming. The poles as well as the Sahara and the Middle East are facing the brunt of the warming.
Despite this trend, which by all scientific claims should be catastrophic, the United States has experienced the quietest year on record in terms of tornadoes, with the rotating columns of death reduced to nearly half of what should be average.
Major hurricanes have been absent for three years now, with none of category 3 or higher striking the United States. The Atlantic hurricane season was surprisingly quiet, despite predictions that it would be a busy season.
This year's tornadoes in the U.S. are down, well below normal. This is not consistent with the pedestrian understanding of global warming catastrophe.
Can we admit it yet? The scientists don't know what they're talking about.
Well, that's partially true. As long as they miss predictions of hurricane season intensity and the Arctic ice cap doesn't melt as predicted, we can reasonably conclude that someone forgot to carry the 1 somewhere.
However, as much as we'd like to debunk climate change horror scenarios, the scientists are still right. The planet is still warming and although atmospheric warming has hit a plateau, we have recently observed that the oceans continue to warm. This warming is correlated to the increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gasses.
Global climate change, like all else in nature, isn't evenly distributed. In fact, in what could be one of the cruelest twists of fate for the rest of the world, the United States, one of the most industrialized nations on the planet and a key culprit in emissions, suffers the least from global climate change.
The United States has a high standard of living, advanced technology, and all the wonderful goodies modern industrialization cheaply provides. This means Americans feel global climate change the least. We're very well insulated. Added to this is the relatively pacific weather North America enjoys, and it becomes hard to convince many that global climate change is even happening.
This, combined with the politicization of the issue in America means scientists are reluctant to correlate specific weather events to global climate change. Indeed, many scientists say this is currently impossible.
The problem is the models scientists use to predict changes in the Earth's weather patterns as CO2 concentrations rise. The natural environment is filled with variables and there are simply no models that take every variable into account. This means that scientists, at best, can only make general predictions with any degree of accuracy. They can generally conclude that temperatures will rise, that extreme weather will increase, and that extinctions, sea-level rises, and other problems will occur.
However, the public, especially the media is always hungry for the details. How will this affect me? How much will the temperature increase at my house? Will I have to pay more? What will change for me? This tempts scientists into setting dates for specific scenarios, something that is really impossible when all of the variables cannot be taken into account.
In America, the answer to how much it will affect you, remains "very little," perhaps to the chagrin of those preaching the significance of the problem.
This shows the temperature anomalies for Nov. 2013. Notice the US is fortunate with cooler temperatures than much of the rest of the world, rather than warmer.
While Americans remain blissful about the status quo, the rest of the world, in the main, is feeling the effects. Typhoon Hiyan/Yolanda devastated the Philippines. Drought continues in the Sahel. The arctic ice cap continues to melt, although more of it returned this year than predicted; the cap is still smaller than it ought to be.
None of these events can be tied specifically and entirely to global warming. Even without global warming there would be storms and droughts and extinctions and other terrible things in nature. Yet, there's a sense that these things are being exacerbated.
Climate change is a natural part of living on a dynamic planet. On a dynamic planet, the local effects of climate change will have variety, year over year. This was a quiet year for North America, but it's just one data point.
Rapid climate change is catastrophic, and in many parts of the world, it's unquestionably real. In our present case, it's not the result of a megavolcano or asteroid impact, but rather human CO2 emissions. The speed of that change is leaving ecosystems with very little time to adapt resulting in local catastrophes that we don't notice. Around the globe, climate change is the new normal.
Oddly, in America we just don't feel it yet. But we will, that's a fact. And when that happens, a quiet weather season will just be an anomalous data point on a dire hockey-stick chart that we ridicule today, and will bemoan tomorrow.
Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal: That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.
When an inter-tidal rock was found in the Sucia Island State Park in Washington State back in 2012, its discoverers had no idea that it would create or cause such excitement and hype. Embedded in the rock is a 17-inch bone fragment, that could not be immediately ... continue reading
rapid expansion as the global population increases is taking its
toll on the environment. Climate change, overpopulation, pollution,
hunting of endangered species and strip mining are running rampant
worldwide. A series of shocking photographs now ... continue reading
In spite of various published reports that Blessed Teresa of Kolkata will be canonized on September 4, 2016, the Vatican says that this remains hypothetical. "It is a working hypothesis, therefore there is no official confirmation to be given," Vatican representative ... continue reading
rich get richer, the poor get poorer and those polar ice caps keep
right on melting. Things have deteriorated so badly - especially the
Larsen B ice shelf, that scientist now fear the entire Antarctica ice
shelf will collapse by the end of this decade, in ... continue reading
The worst news for spider haters in Australia and around the globe: a natural migration phenomenon where baby spiders are flying is possible and has recently happened in the southern part of Australia. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Referred to as "Angel ... continue reading
is an alarming figure that may speak of a silent, ecological disaster.
According to a federal study, more than two out of five American
honeybee colonies died in the past year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The survey reports that the worst die-off ... continue reading
asteroid, crashing into the Earth 65 million years ago, is thought to
have caused the dinosaurs to go extinct. A group of dinosaurs managed to
survive, and is thought to have evolved into modern-day birds. That
theory has been around since the 19th Century. ... continue reading
Inside a cave near Tena in Ecuador, a group of scientists filmed a catfish climbing up the wall to lick food from the roof. Climbing seems impossible for fishes, but evidence of an actual video showing an armored catfish making its way up the cave wall presents a new ... continue reading
In the next century or so, one in six species of plants and animals are likely to be extinct in South America, New Zealand, and Australia. Species in North America are at a lower risk of being extinct. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to a study ... continue reading
Oxford University researchers observed a rapid decline among large herbivores living in the rainforests, savannah and jungles located in Southeast Asia, as well as in India and Africa. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to the experts, this ... continue reading