The ice melts, the truth doesn’t
While Houston has largely recovered from Friday’s icy nightmare, we are reminded that we are still very much at the mercy of nature. And while we are subject to its fury, humans still have remarkable ability to force nature’s hand. If the population as whole continues its reckless destruction of the environment, we can only expect, and some say deserve, more severe weather-related disasters.
On Tuesday, CNN reported that snow was present in 69.4 percent of the lower 48 states, and Florida was the only state without snow on the ground. The naysayers point to the 20 inches of snow in Chicago and the rolling blackouts here in Texas, and decry with self-righteous indignation, “We told you global warming was a scam!” But by narrowly focusing on local and short term weather patterns, they fail to see how a general warming trend in the Earth’s average temperature can ultimately lead to more intense winters.
At first glance this theory may appear speculative and exaggerated; the skeptic would justifiably ask for evidence that such events were actually occurring. Regrettably for the Earth, the non-governmental International Arctic Science Committee has in fact documented a sustained period of warmer temperatures in the northern pole region and altered air current patterns.
Climatologists predict that as the climate shifts to an elevated average temperature, extreme weather patterns of all types will become the norm. Greater evaporation in equatorial regions will lead to drought and subsequent crop loss. As this warm air mass moves north, it cools and looses its ability to retain the evaporated water.
The result is larger storms of greater intensity. Sadly, events like Hurricane Katrina and the enormous cyclone that recently ravaged Australia will only increase in frequency.
In 2009, the U.S. Global Change Research Program reported that global warming “is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.” Independently, the IASC affirmed this in its Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, which stated, “There is international scientific consensus that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”
No credible scientific body stands in opposition to these beliefs. A concerted world effort to reduce green-house gases and other pollutants could begin to remediate or at least mitigate these climate changes. Failure to act virtually guarantees that the nightmarish conditions faced this winter will become norm rather than the exception.