Monday, January 30, 2012

January Heat

Around here, it used to be normal to have several days in a row of sub-zero temperatures at this time of year. It used to be that we'd have two or three months straight of temperatures in the single digits and teens, never rising to above 25 on even the best days. I remember being kept home from school because it was so cold (think -15). But that's not reality anymore.

Today, the high temperature here is a comfortable 35 degrees. By mid-week, it's supposed to be sitting in the 40's, a temperature that would have been unheard of a decade ago. Instead of long, drawn-out cold, we now have a constant up-and-down of high temperatures, but nothing like it used to be. Sure, there may be the occasional day where the temperature dips down into the single digits, but it doesn't last long.

I know my personal observations do not prove global warming, but it seems to me that we are seeing some very dramatic changes in the temperatures for this time of year. Whenever it gets cold, the political pundits on the radio always joke about how it just proves that "global warming" is a sham. Well, I haven't heard any of those jokes yet this year, and they were never in good taste anyway. After all, these same radio jocks never said a word when the temperature peaked 40 in January, or we had rain for three days straight after Christmas.

As this cool visual shows, the temperature of the Earth has been erratic in the past, but is clearly rising over time, especially since the 1980s. There are a lot of factors that go into global warming, but the human component is easily the most contested. I find it ironic that we have to debate whether we have an impact on our environment when we burn millions of gallons of fossil fuels daily, we build massive cities, we dump waste into our water system, and we pollute our land with landfills and trash.

I've said it many times, but I'll say it again. We have only one planet to live on, and that's it. This planet does not have infinite resources and does not have the capacity to house an infinite number of humans. We currently have a crisis on our hands when it comes to climate change, but we let politics, money, and environmental atheists control the discussion. We don't use common sense, and we aren't looking to the future. We are looking at our current state and thinking that this is how it will be in ten years. But why? Why should we believe that. In ten years, there could be no ice at the North Pole. There could be extinction of who knows how many species as a result of climate change. We could tip the scales of our planet's ability to support life.

My last point on this is to consider Venus. The planet Venus is very much like Earth, or at least it was at one time. Now it is completely lifeless, and so adverse to living organisms that we can't even send probes in to see what it looks like beneath the clouds. The reason I bring it up here is because Venus is what Earth could very well be in the future. Venus suffers from having too many greenhouse gases in its atmosphere. It has huge amounts of CO2 and CO, which trap the heat from the sun. Normally, Venus might have been able to support some life, but the extra gases in the atmosphere have caused the planet to retain excess heat from the sun, raising the temperature to the thousands of degrees. A similar process is happening here. We are pumping huge amounts of various greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. Those gases can be trapped by plants, but we don't have enough plant coverage to completely negate what we're giving off. In the end, it could come back to haunt us, but no one thinks of these things. No one looks even ten years down the road. It's worth a look, but we have to change our course if we want to avoid catastrophe.

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