Sunday, January 07, 2007

Strange Weather

If you live in the American Northeast, you've noticed how strange the weather has been this past week. In contrast, the West has been inundated with an enormous amount of snow. The incredible warmth in the east has many of us thinking about global warming and climate change. While it is a tricky thing to infer climate change from a few days of weather, this odd week should give us pause to contemplate about the realities of climate change. There is plenty of other scientific evidence for it.

Yesterday's record temperatures may or may not be a result of global warming, but they are worth pondering nonetheless. This from the National Weather Service climate records for New York City and environs:
"NEW RECORD HIGHS HAVE BEEN SET AT ALL OF THE CLIMATE SITES...AND IN SOME CASES BY A WIDE MARGIN. "
Here are the old records for January 6th, followed by yesterday's new record:

Newark International Airport: 61, in 1950; new record = 72
BDR (not sure which site this is): 53 in 1949 ; new record = 63
NYC (Central Park): 63, in 1950 ; new record = 72
LGA (LaGuardia): 59, in 1998 ; new record = 72
Kennedy International Airport: 57, 1998 ; new record = 71
ISP (somewhere on Long Island, I think?): 55, in 1998 ; new record = 65

Interesting that in three cases, the previous record was only set in 1998.

If this makes us think about climate change, we might also spend a minute thinking about its cause: releasing lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a result of burning fossil fuels.

Maybe we should then think about the vast amounts of energy we routinely waste in this country. Is each one of us doing enough to conserve energy and live more efficiently?

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