Thread: Global Warming
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Old 03-22-2006, 08:40 AM   #10
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Default A Global Summer

It is spring in New Hampshire. The ice is melting in the lake, but yet it is below freezing outside. How can this be? If you stand back and take the long term view, you realize that by July, a return to winter or even spring will be a silly question. The ice will be gone, and it will be hot.

The earth is has been experiencing a global spring since the glaciers left New England, and now the earth is approaching a global summer. The ice caps are melting, Greenland is calving into the sea, glaciers in many places are melting at increased rates, the permafrost in Alaska is melting, sea levels are rising, and so on. Even the ice caps on Mars are melting. That is the evidence. The potential causes are many, including man, sunspots, orbit within our galaxy, and other causes yet to be determined. Figuring out the cause is interesting, but it leads to the blame game, and no country (especially the USA) wants to be held responsible for picking up the tab. The costs of the impact of climate issues during the next several hundred years will be huge. The earth entered global spring before humans were a factor. Did the industrial age speed up the onset of global summer by 5 years? By 100 years? By 1000 years? Good question, but I doubt there is any stopping it now.

We experience the transition to spring and summer every year, so have a good idea what is coming next at the lake. Our theories about what will happen next in the transition to global summer is still a guess at best. Scientists believe that over time, the earth has been encased in ice more than it has been warm like it is now. There is also evidence that once global climate changes start, they move quickly from one stable state to another. The evidence suggests that we are in a "move quick" period. This is similar to what we will experience at the lake in a few weeks as the ice melts, or those 3 days in May when the leaves just POP out. There is no going back. We can only look forward into the next cycle - and that is going to mean some changes. The past few weeks of cold weather have delayed what we thought might be a record early ice-out - but it won't matter. Massive human energy put into delaying the global summer would likely do just the same - delay but not stop the global summer from coming.

If we are in a transition stage now - we will see extremes for the next decade or so, as new patterns will emerge. One short-term pattern that seems to be emerging is that the snowstorms are more frequently south of the lakes region, rather than from the lakes region north. Our winters are milder, our falls are later, our springs are earlier. That pattern could last the next 30 years, or it could change next year. We could zip through Global summer in a decade and enter a new ice age. The only thing that is certain is that the climage is changing and will continue to do so.

More energy should be put into understanding what is happening, what will happen, and how to deal with what is coming next. Assigning blame to humans, is like blaming your neighbor's bubbler for an early ice-out. It had impact, and it matters locally for a short period of time, but in the long run, it doesn't matter much.
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