I know it doesn’t seem that way right now for many of us in the east, but the climate continues to warm. 2013 was the 4th warmest year on record. Each of the top 10 is since 1998. The last year with temperatures below the 20th century average (already hotter than the 500 year norm) was 1976. So we are at 37 straight years of above average temperatures. This might be old hat to some of you, but Phil Plait with some of the implications.
So, yeah. One more piece in a very, very long list of evidence that the planet’s getting hotter. While surface temperatures are not the best way to keep tabs on warming—much of the extra energy is being stored deep in the oceans, and local effects can mask overall trends making you think there’s a pause in warming when no such pause exists—it would be foolish in the extreme to ignore it.
This news comes on the heels of lots of other global warming news as well.
Clear and Present Danger
Climatologist Michael Mann wrote an important op-ed in the New York Times called “If You See Something, Say Something.” In it, he argues that scientists are morally obligated to speak up when their research has an impact on society, especially with something as huge and damaging as global warming.
The very first thing he writes is something everyone should read:
The overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science. This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.
That’s why scientists need to speak up about it. But when they don’t, it leaves “a vacuum that will be filled by those whose agenda is one of short-term self-interest.”
He also calls global warming a “clear and present danger.” I agree. Politicians who ignore it (and the media that enable them) are putting our country and our population at grave risk.
Of course we won’t do anything about it. I feel like I’m saying the same thing over and over again. I’m sure more oil drilling will help.
…NASA lets us visualize global warming in 15 seconds. Ugh.