Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Global Warming and Our Bad Weather Streak: Related?

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

Commented Eric:

I heard there was a small tornado. This is the second tornado in as many years coming through the state.

Global warming is more dangerous than a small terrorist war to the United States of America. What would an increase of 5 or 10 feet do to the coastline of the world? New York, Tokyo, Calcutta, London, Dubai?

Agreed to a point. I wouldn’t go so far as to infer that our recent month-long stretch of bad weather is directly related to global warming. On the contrary, it looks like the weather we’ve been having is consistent with La Nina, cooler equatorial ocean temperatures, the opposite of El Nino. El Nino tends to produce dry winters here, La Nina wetter ones.

But by all means, global warming is a problem. And it should be addressed now. recent article in the Christian Science Monitor implies that the world may have less than a decade to stabilize the process.

Global warming appears to be pushing vast reservoirs of ice on Greenland and Antarctica toward a significant, long-term meltdown. The world may have as little as a decade to take the steps to avoid this scenario.

Those are the implications of new studies that looked to climate history for clues about how the planet’s major ice sheets might respond to human-triggered climate change.

Already, temperatures in the Arctic are close to those that thawed much of Greenland’s ice cap some 130,000 years ago, when the planet last enjoyed a balmy respite from continent-covering glaciers, say the studies’ authors.

The article includes a map of what the U.S. coastline would look like. The version in the Web article is sorta hard to make out, but among the highlights:

  • Much of the eastern seaboard, including the Outer Banks in North Carolina and Virginia, and about a third of the Florida peninsula, would be underwater.
  • So would much of the Gulf Coast, including all of the Mississippi Delta area including New Orleans.
  • San Francisco Bay would extend as far inland as Sacramento.

Bottom line: sea level is going to rise if we don’t do anything about it. And we should sign on to Kyoto. But right now, when we’re trying to beat back alligators, it’s hard to keep in mind that our ultimate objective is to drain the swamp.