Friday, January 24, 2003

Several family members and friends have made statements like "Well, I guess global warming isn't a threat after all" after the last couple of weeks of extremely cold weather.

Examples: Record lows have been set across Florida. There are big chunks of ice floating down the hudson. Lots of ice/snow throughout the mid-atlantic region. Etc...

What people need to understand about Global Warming is that it isn't about the whole world simply becoming warmer throughout the year. Global Warming implies that there is an increase in the amount of energy in the atmosphere.

An increase in energy in the atmosphere creates more powerful and more chaotic weather systems. This leads to larger and more destructive storm systems.

It also means that records on both ends of the temperature scale will be broken. With more energy to draw from, storm systems, the jet stream, and other atmospheric features will all change more rapidly and have the potential to reach greater extremes (such as Florida seeing record lows while the midwest had temperatures of 70+ degrees -- happened a few weeks ago).

And, of course, weather patterns tend to change over time and at a pace that stretches far beyond our recorded weather history. One year of freakishly odd weather-- or even five years of weather extremes-- does not necessarily set a trend.
1:54:25 PM  pontificate