Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's Global Climate Change - not Global Warming

By Hardy Jones

Its’ freezing again down here in St. Augustine (N.E. Florida). I get up in the early morning hours when the temperatures hit their lows and if the thermometer looks like it will cross into freezing territory I water and cover my citrus. It’s not as frigid as in January when we had to string Christmas lights through the key limes and Meyer lemons to protect them.

Where the cold has really caused devastation is in its terrible effects on species of wildlife that aren't geared for such temperatures. There are perhaps 4,500 sea turtles, some of them highly endangered, that are in a moribund state - paralyzed by the cold and possibly not going to survive. Manatees have been severely impacted, many have died and each day that passes with extreme low temperatures the more of these engaging creatures will die. In January we had large die-offs of fish and alligators in many parts of the state due to cold water temperatures.

Some animals that have died are exotics that the ecosystem is better off rid of i.e. Burmese pythons that have been let loose by pet owners and multiplied in the Everglades. Certain non-native fish that push out local fish are also dieing in large numbers while native fish are surviving better.

Animals that are at the northern limit of their ranges are all vulnerable. And the recent record cold down here is an indicator of things to come as climate changes due to a combination of forces, mostly greenhouse gasses created by human activities.

Let’s be clear about something. What we are facing is not global warming, though the globe is warming. On a global basis January was the warmest month in recorded history worldwide. But in large parts of the United states there have been unusual cold and record levels of snow fall. There are those who disparage and despise Al Gore and the vast majority of scientists around the world who support the thesis of anthropogenicly induced climate change. They are showing either their own stupidity or their dogmatic clutching at anything that will undermine the science that proves global climate change a real and present danger.

These people are generally not stupid. They are ideologues who make a living parroting a line of thought that is bought, literally, by a segment of our population. These are people who twist their own belief systems to allow themselves to make money by falsifying information critical to the survival of our planetary ecosystems.

In this way Fox News and their ilk say the recent cold waves and heavy snow falls prove global warming is bogus. No one should ever have used the term global warming. Huge mistake. Global climate change models call for rising overall global temperatures with extremes of cold, hot, snow, drought, flooding etc. And BTW, warmer air holds more moisture and thus creates more snow so heavy snow is completely consistent with global climate change, even with global warming.

Email from a friend in Vancouver says they are having the warmest winter in recorded history. Reports from Iqaluit in Arctic, Canada indicate extraordinarily mild winter temperatures.

On the other side of the world Australia has experienced its warmest year ever.

Oddly, for a species self-named homo sapiens, we tend to believe what is convenient or profitable. This will have consequences.

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