On Tuesday, I participated in another conference call sponsored by the American Meteorological Society. In the conference call many broadcast meteorologists across the country were updated about findings and current trends relating to Global Warming. We heard from several experts in the Climate field, and I’d like to pass along new information/updates. If you haven’t read my previous post on Global Warming on August 15th, I suggest you read that first before continuing. Click here to do so.
Just in the past year we’ve seen several indications of the effects of Global Warming, along with a couple surprises (and they’re not for the better).
*2008 brought record low sea ice in the Arctic
*Record flooding in the mid-west
*Record number of tornadoes (2,098 although this is a preliminary number and could be revised)
*Hurricane Bertha became the longest lasting tropical cyclone in July (17 days)
Here are the surprises:
*One week ago the Global Carbon Project found that since 2000 the amount of Carbon Dioxide is growing four times faster than in the 1990s!
*Current Carbon Dioxide measurements already exceed the “worst case scenario” levels forecast by Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change.
Other findings and patterns:
*The number of frost days (days where the temperatures is less than 32 degrees) have decreased by 2-3 days when compared to the mid 20th century. Patterns indicate that there is a greater decrease in the Western U.S. vs. the Eastern U.S. More of the changes appear to be happening in the Spring, rather than Fall. This trend is expected to continue.
*Heat waves will become more intense. Patterns suggest that they will be most intense in the South, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest.
*Precipitation intensity will increase across the entire country. At the same time, the number of dry days is expected to increase. What this means is that more rain/snow will fall for a given event. Another example is that our area is seeing more snow, but less days with snow on the ground.
Impact On Health:
*More heat related deaths. More heat related illnesses, such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion. Those most effected are adults over 65, infants, young children, those that are physically unfit, those that take medications (beta blockers and medication for mental health, just to name a couple), those with economic challenges.
*Increased precipitation could bring about water born diseases.
*More air quality issues due to surface ozone. Ozone is formed on generally clear warm days. Studies indicate we will be seeing more ozone days. This can cause difficulty for those that have respiratory or cardiovascular disease.
*A longer pollen season/pollen occurring earlier in Spring.
I know there are still some who don’t believe that Global Warming is real. I too was the same way. However the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of Global Warming. Yes, there have been warm periods and ice ages in the past. Yes, solar output from the sun can vary, but this has been proven to have a minimal effect on global temperature. Yes, there are things we still don’t know and are still learning about. Nothing in records past indicate any rapid warming like we are seeing now. The warming we are seeing now is 100 times the rate that occurs naturally!!! That alone says quite a bit.
If you have any comments/questions on Global Warming or things you have done to minimize energy consumption, I’d love to hear from you. I'll do my best to try and post some of the questions/comments. Either send me a letter here at the station or e-mail me at here.