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Snow What?
Author: BobR    Date: 03/01/2018 14:47:30

The political climate in DC right now could be described as hostile, turgid, contentious, and toxic. With tRump doing what he does best (generating conflict) in an already polarized partisan atmosphere, our entire government is in disarray.

It's somewhat of a metaphor for what our actual climate is like. Global warming has disrupted our weather systems, changing climates around the world, and not for the better. Here in DC we have had a warmer-than-normal February, which - while nice for those who hate the cold - is not so good for the plants.

Plants have evolved over the centuries to work with the natural rhythms of nature. They flower in the spring, grow in the summer, produce their fruit in the fall, and sleep and recharge in the winter. Longer warm seasons disrupt that natural rhythym:
This week’s unusual heat may have come as a pleasant surprise for winter-weary East coasters, but a few days of tropical weather in February can wreak havoc on plants, animals and insects. Flowers may emerge before birds and bees arrive to pollinate them. Or worse, trees blossom early only to perish amid a late-winter frost. Weather reporters in New York, Washington and elsewhere catalogued early blooms on Wednesday.

Weather is screwy everywhere. Europe is in a deep freeze, and the north pole is above freezing - in winter:
A Siberian cold front has spread sub-zero temperatures across Europe, carpeting southern cities and palm-lined Mediterranean beaches with snow.

On Sunday, meanwhile, air temperatures at the North Pole — which won’t see the Sun until March — rose above freezing.

“In relative terms, that’s a 30 C (54 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature anomaly,” Robert Rohde, lead scientist at Berkeley Earth in Washington, tweeted.

At the Longyearbyen weather station on the Island of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean, temperatures were 10 C above average over the last 30 days, according to Zack Labe, a climate modeller at the University of California Irvine.

At the same time, sea ice is covering the smallest area in the dead of winter since records began more than half a century ago.

So yes, that means snow in Rome (as well as the rest of Europe). That's not a "never seen before" thing, but it's another item on a growing pile of evidence that the weather and climate we've relied on year after year is no longer reliable.

Cold is expected in winter, and warm is expected in summer. An occasional bad storm is expected. What we're seeing, however, is consistently weird weather that is creating problems with our normal human processes. That means food production is impacted, and we're incurring greater costs for recovering from weather-related events. The coal and oil industry tries to claim that getting off fossil fuels will cost us jobs, but there are jobs in renewable energy, and the costs for dealing with climate change grow higher every year.

Dealing with this is no longer just the right thing to do - it's the cost-effective thing to do. Pretty soon it won't just be jobs or costs, but the very survival of society.

 

60 comments (Latest Comment: 03/01/2018 22:32:02 by livingonli)
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