Friday, January 18, 2008

Is It Just Me, or Is It Not Really All That Hot in Here?

An article at headlines, "2007 Was Tied As Earth's Second Warmest Year." ( The article is referring to the past 100 years, and the findings are pretty interesting. It's easy to shrug off Global Warming when it's 20 degrees and the ground is covered in snow. Hell, it's even easy to shrug it off when its 102 degrees in July and you're wishing you were at the lake. It's hard to get really worked up over such small degrees of change, even with all the doom-saying going on. The interesting thing about the article, was that it explained why this is. Warming trends are happening all over the globe, but to pretty small degrees. The only exception is in the Arctic regions. In areas that are usually covered in snow and ice, there have been relatively huge changes in temperature. This is because, "the loss of snow and ice leads to more open water, which absorbs more sunlight and warmth. Snow and ice reflect sunlight; when they disappear, so too does their ability to deflect warming rays." So a small warming trend in the arctic has a tendency to snowball out of control quickly. In contrast, warming trends over land and even over temperate ocean water do not change the reflectivity/absorption rates of heat and sunlight, so there is no snowball effect.

So, want to know what to expect in the coming warmer, wetter world? Check out this Newsweek article which talks about some of the many adaptations we will have to make in order to live in the future,( including increasing the length of airport runways (necessary to get the lift needed to raise a jet in all this heat) and creating "power lines that don't snap when they've got hundreds of pounds of ice on them."

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