You know, I’ve never really liked the snow. I’m sorry, but I get tired of the snow. And it really gets down to whenever it snows somewhere unexpectedly or unseasonably, I invariably hear comments and remarks like “so much for global warming” or “how about that Al Gore” or some similar misinformed comment.
It recently snowed in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And not just a little bit of snow, it broke records. February 2011 was the snowiest month on record for Tulsa with 22-plus inches. It also broke the all-time winter record for snow at over 26 inches. The previous record was 25-plus inches in 1923-24.
So when snow like this hits Oklahoma, or Chicago, or New York, people are quick to discount the whole concept of global warming. I see it on my Facebook account all the time; snide, snippy remarks that are quick and heavy on the draw and very slim on the facts.
Politics aside (because that’s really what’s behind so many of these comments, not actual facts), NASA has some very good, complete scientific information about the Earth’s temperature over the last 130 years. They have numerous graphs you can view that show how global land-ocean temperatures have increased consistently from about 1880 and are rising at an exponential rate since then. I find it interesting and not coincidental that this timing is almost exactly parallel with the exponential rise in industrialization.
Naysayers will say this is part of the Earth’s natural cycle, but that seems too much like the ostrich putting its head in the sand so it doesn’t see what it knows to be true. Also, please, please be careful not to look at just one year’s data; look at long term trends. If you single out just one year, you can pick a slice of that graph that shows what you want it to show and over the next 10 or 20 years make a fool of yourself in the process. Global warming is real; and we are at the very least part of the problem and more likely the cause of the problem.
But back to the snow in Oklahoma. This is where knee-jerk reactions to overall climate change (oh, yeah, when it snows, they change the term to “climate change”, now that’s convenient) are foolish. If you’ve read any of my blogs or heard me speak, I subscribe to the idea that there are consequences to anything. Barry Commoner was right: everything is connected to everything else.
So when we have unseasonal snow in Oklahoma, I believe it really is due to global warming. Because global warming creates changes in the weather patterns we’ve come to know and expect for the last however many years. Industrialization and, specifically CO2 emissions, warms the atmosphere and changes the weather patterns so that we are seeing trees dying in the Amazon, which affects the amount of oxygen and moisture in the air, which affects the size of the Sahara Desert (it’s getting bigger). And all of this contributes to unseasonal, record snowfalls in Tulsa and New York, flooding in Australia and drought in the Southern US.
We need to stop making stupid remarks about global warming or climate change or whatever you want to call it and make changes in how we do things. We need electric vehicles and we need them now. We need a sustainable energy policy in our country and we need it now. We need to stop cutting down rain forests and we need to stop it now. We need to stop blowing the tops off our mountains in the Southeastern US and we need to stop it now.
We need to work at reversing the effects of all the crap we’re putting into the atmosphere and our world and respect creation for the beautiful, wonderful gift it is to us. Let’s be good stewards of this Earth and let’s be that now.