This year has been a trying one for much of the country. Currently, the tornadoes and extreme flooding caused by low pressure systems and cold fronts ramming into warm fronts are making some real weather whiplash.
Strange as it seems, global warming has been on hiatus creating debate in the scientific community. Climate models did not predict the harsh winter or the drought that hit California this past winter. The causes have been suggested as ” from stratospheric humidity changes, to the heat escaping into the bottom of the ocean.” Plus, science can not predict when this odd change in weather might come to an end. Considerable knowledge and foresight doesn’t always warn us of things to come.
Because greenhouse gases are continually increasing, science has been scratching its head in order to explain the current weather trend. They suspect that global warming has just “hit the pause button” and will resume at this past rate or greater. Greenhouse gases are either being stored in the ocean, are scattering away more of sun’s energy, or throwing the trapped energy back into space, leading to cooling, but one way or another will likely resume with internal variability causing fluctuation in weather.
Internal variability is described as “variability of the climate system (which) is essentially the rich spectrum of timescales in weather and climate that are not directly forced by the daytime and seasonal energy received from the sun.” The “spectrum of timescales” are generated by internal feedbacks in the systems of the earth between the atmosphere, land, ocean and ice, all working to effect what we see as weather and seasonal changes. The frigid winter and drought in California are examples that internal fluctuation is at work according to climatologists.
To read more on this by Raghu Murtugudde who is the executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Forecasting System at the University of Maryland Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center and a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, see his article in LiveScience.
What is certain is that nothing is certain. I find many of the studies and theories are influenced by outcomes the money behind them drives. Some are based on rhetoric and hyperbole, not science. It seems that who makes the most noise and gains the most publicity, helps drive politics and law enactment. Science or no science, climate change is happening and people exposed to the natural world can “feel” it happening.
Humidity increases in the atmosphere are believed to be responsible for extreme rainfall and heat wave events. So what will summer bring? They are still not sure.
All things are intertwined in this ecosystem and on earth where each respond to the changes brought, some much faster and more direct than others. Despite scientific evidence of human-made climate change, policy decisions leading to substantial emissions reduction have not been happening quickly enough. In fact recent Gallup polls indicate that Americans were more concerned about the environment in 2007 than they are now. (source) Sad huh?
Many people see global warming not as a problem for today, but one of the future. This is because most don’t have a direct experience or have tangible proof they can understand firsthand.
Whether we choose to understand, I believe the creatures of this planet do see where things are headed. Having to depend more directly for food and shelter, they understand the difficulties that lie ahead.
They can see their populations in decline, their habits destroyed and a livable world shrinking around them. We don’t see it because we make the world conform to our needs, not us to what the world offers us.
Albert Schweitzer said, “Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the Earth.” If alive today, he might have made the statement in reference to global warming and climate change, rather than nuclear proliferation. He felt that all of nature was sacred and worthy of reverence. Too bad most of us don’t.
The plant images in this post were from late March and early April 2012. The birds from April 30th, 2014. Still not a lot to show because of the winter that never seemed to end.