Sunday, November 14, 2010

Global Warming

11/14/2010—It was recently announced that January-October 2010, globally, was the warmest such period on record. Just a little warmer than 2005.

Well, the skeptics say, why should a little warmer matter?

This keeps happening. When my son was 10, he swam for the Pittsburgh JCC swim team. And he had a coach named John. This would have been around 1991. John was very conservative, very pro-market. He would make fun of me about global warming. One day he asked me how much warming there had been during the 20th century. I didn’t know. I guessed a few degrees. He told me, “less than 1 degree C.” [or about 1 degree Fahrenheit; by now it is 1.5 degrees higher].

That did not seem like very much. One degree—the difference between 80 and 82 on a warm summer day. Or between 20 and 22 in the winter. So what?

What I did not know then is that global average temperature is a very big number. On average it should not change at all. It should go up a little and down a little. But that is all. When it has a trend, humankind, indeed life on land, is greatly affected.

A decline of 6-8 degrees C, for example, might well cause a new ice age. In that context, 1 degree C no longer seems so small.

In addition, this was almost 20 years ago. You would think, if global warming were a hoax, that 20 years would reveal it. Where have the cold years been?

I’m worried about my children and their children. I wonder about the Tea Party people, who claim to be concerned about the effects of the deficit on future generations. Global warming is going to have a much bigger impact. Why aren’t they worried about that?

1 comment:

  1. Not only are they not worried about it, they don't believe the science. Many environmentalists are now turning to state governments as clearly progress will be little if any with the Congress. As a scientist and self proclaimed climate hawk, I feel compelled to do something that educates and motivates people to consume less energy and produce less waste. But I don't know where to start.