Climate Change It’s Not If But How Much

B. McPherson
There are still some holdouts in the debate about the global climate, but the majority of objective scientists agree that change is happening. Non-professionals have observed local changes to migratory patterns and plant blooming. Locally, timber companies are planning ways to cope with expected temperature changes by planting diverse species of trees that they expect to better survive warmer years. Personally, I grew up able to skate on our old farm pond. That hasn’t frozen hard enough for many years now. Hummingbirds that winged south every winter are now spending the winter, cadging drinks from feeders, but finding enough tiny insects to survive. Extreme weather events are becoming more common.

The most recent publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Summary Report is quoted by National Geographic:

“Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.”

On average, the Earth’s temperature has increased by 0.85oC (1.5oF) since records were kept. The temperature increase is not even around the globe. The Arctic temperatures have increased markedly. Cloud cover in some areas has reduced average temperature.

While climate predictions remain an inexact study, the evidence for a warmer world is piling up. There seems to be a pause in the straight line increase, but the last three decades have been warmer than any decades since records have been kept.

National Geographic puts the information from the Summary Report very simply in the form of five takeaways. I have taken the liberty of ‘cherry picking’ from it. For more information, refer to NatGeo’s article.

1.       Since 1950 cold days and nights have decreased while warm days and nights have increased.
2.       The top 75 metres of the oceans have warmed an average of 0.2oF(0.11oC) each decade since 1970.
3.       Sea ice in the Arctic as well as glaciers has declined since 1970. Sea ice is growing in the Antarctic as predicted by climate scientists. Permafrost temperatures in the boreal areas are increasing.
4.       Sea levels have increased and will continue to increase.
5.       At least 50% of the global warming since 1950 can be attributed to the carbon dioxide released into the air when fossil fuels are burned.

If present trends continue and heedless consumption of fossil fuels continue and increase, the coming decades will be interesting indeed. 

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