of Chester County, PA
Aug 28, 2013 - A prolonged La Nina may explain a leveling off of air temp increase in the past decade. Read More.
July, 1959 article about the effects of CO2 and Climate Change
Bill McKibben and 350.org produced this compelling video.
What Climate Change means to us
Recent polls show that over 61 percent of Americans are now convinced that human caused global warming is a serious threat, up from 49 percent in 1997 (link to poll). This is in spite of the millions of dollars the fossil fuel industry funnels through neo-conservative “think tanks” like the Heartland Institute and the George C. Marshall Institute, to name a few, trying to convince people that climate change is a hoax.
It’s easy to get bogged down in scientific minutia trying to sort it all out, but there is only one statistic that you need to follow: CO2 levels in the atmosphere. CO2 concentration in the atmosphere drives weather events. The concept is very basic. The higher the CO2 levels in the atmosphere, the hotter the atmosphere gets. The hotter the atmosphere gets, the more moisture the atmosphere wicks up from the oceans and the earth. The more moisture in the atmosphere, the more moisture comes down in a storm event causing much more extreme storms than usual. (add diargram or chart with link)
The fact that some parts of the earth suffer severe droughts while others suffer severe floods isn’t all that confusing when you look at it from a global perspective. When the continuously heating atmosphere wicks up moisture from areas of land, it dries those areas out causing droughts and the upper air currents drive that moisture to different parts of the planet where it gets dumped in extreme storm events. If the weather in that area is cold it will result in an extreme snow event, if it is warm it will result in rain and floods.
Ice core sampling of glaciers show that the natural CO2 average over 800,000 years hovered around 280 parts per million (PPM). About 120 years ago, at the advent of the industrial revolution, CO2 started increasing. Scientists measure CO2 from burning fossil fuels being pumped into the atmosphere globally at a rate of 90 million tons every 24 hours. Today, the mean CO2 level is 395 PPM. (source NOAA: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/) That is a frightening 115 PPM higher than any time in the last 800,000 years and it is heating up the atmosphere and causing extreme weather events around the planet. In addition, last year, 2012, eighty percent of the arctic ice cap completely melted, something never before witnessed by humanity. (add image of shrinking ice caps, and link)
In any case, CO2 levels are the most important concern. We have got to stop burning fossil fuels, and scientist say, get CO2 levels down to at least 350 PPM if we want to survive as a species on this planet. So far we’ve done nothing meaningful about it.
It’s important to keep a vigilant eye and even more important to get involved in doing something about it.
Here's a nice article on SkepticalScience.com that does a good job of explaining the basics of climate change
- Empirical evidence that humans are causing global warming.
From NASA.gov/climate - 97% of climate scientists agree
From Agence France-Presse - Can UN scientists revive drive against climate change?
From Richmond Times-Dispatch - Mann: Reality and threats of climate change are clear
NOAA's Climate Facebook page - here