SciSun: Under the Weather   Leave a comment

In most of North America, lately it’s been really cold. Really, really cold. How cold, you ask? So cold temperature records are being set. So cold zoo polar bears must stay inside. So cold thousands of people are fighting the flu. So cold a weatherman took a banana outside and it froze solid enough to be used as a hammer (although this form of banana abuse was probably not approved by the Banana Marketing Association). It’s been so cold, there’s talk that these freezing temperatures are evidence the concept of ‘Global Warming’ is a lie, because then, it wouldn’t be so cold!

In an attempt to keep warm, Polaris has started working out.  He's concentrating on upper body strength.

In an attempt to keep warm, Polaris has started working out. He’s concentrating on upper body strength.

So what? you might say – it really is cold, and if the earth is getting warmer, as scientists report, then why does every winter seem more harsh than the last? Actually, the term ‘Global Warming’ might be an unfortunate choice of words – a better description might be ‘Global Climate Change‘, because while the overall average temperature in the Earth’s climate has been steadily increasing over the past 30 years, the effects of this warming do not always result in warmer temperatures we all can feel. For example, the world’s oceans, along with other bodies of water – which cover over 70% of the earth’s surface – take in and hold the most heat – just like your cup of coffee, or bowl of soup, that hold heat and take so long to cool down. And while it’s cooling, every time you try to take a sip (and burn your lips), you can see ‘heat’ escaping from the surface of the cup. Although what we see isn’t really the heat, it’s how the heat is effecting water vapor, which flows away from the source of heat (your coffee or soup) as the vapor cools. Now imagine this multiplied millions of times, with heat and vapor rising from the oceans, into the atmosphere, and with enough power to create and move entire weather systems. And that’s some of what we’re seeing now, with more powerful and frequent hurricanes; devastating rainstorms and flooding; and the Polar Vortex that’s currently freezing much of the the United States and Canada.

Because it’s probable this extreme weather is, itself, due to Climate Change. There’s nothing odd about these freezing polar temperatures – it’s normal for – you guessed it – the North Pole!  But what we’re seeing now is the entire weather pattern of the Pole being shifted south, due to years of receding polar ice (which would normally reflect heat) melting into the Arctic Ocean (which, like all water, holds heat and releases it slowly), affecting the movement and patterns of air and climate above the Arctic, resulting in the almost unbearable temperatures we’re seeing today.

Oh, and if you really want to be convinced ‘Global Warming’ does have to do with hotter weather, check out Australia – where it’s now summer – and temperatures have been over 120 degrees. And this following the summer of 2013 which already was the hottest summer on record.

Despite what some nay-sayers might be saying (probably they’re saying ‘nay’), the fact is Earth’s climate is changing. These changes might be due to, at least partially, cyclical patterns; or atmospheric events we don’t understand; or – most probably, because the changes are happening so quickly – directly because of the actions of man. But whatever the cause, we all need to recognize something is happening to our climate, weather patterns, and atmosphere, which leads to a more harsh and difficult life for everyone. So it’s important that each of us live in ways that take a little less toll on the Earth; and we give back a little more than we get. Or one day, we all might be under the weather.


Michonne Says: I haven’t been too cold. But most days I’ve been inside my burrow sleeping. I think those ground-hoggies live where it’s cold and they probably won’t get up early this year. So maybe the men will leave them alone this time. You know how I feel about that.

Posted January 12, 2014 by ECOVIA eco-adventure® in SciSun

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