Have you heard? Have you noticed? It’s heating up around here. I notice – it’s hard not to when you drive a car with no air conditioning and live in a metal house with only a small AC unit to ameliorate the oppressive heat.
Today we, like many of you, are under a heat advisory as a heat dome blankets the middle of the country bringing triple digit heat indices. The thermometer might say 95° F but the humidity makes it feel as though it’s over 100°F! It is recommended that we stay indoors in air conditioned rooms, drink plenty of water and be careful not to leave pets or children in vehicles (something that happens all too often; the number of hot car deaths (children) in the first half of 2016 has already doubled over last year’s total).
2016 is setting up to break records. It is the hottest year on record:
Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
Additionally 2016 is setting the record for the smallest extent of Arctic sea ice. This is important because the less ice there is the more radiation from the sun is absorbed instead of reflected out to space. That means the ocean becomes warmer. A warmer ocean melts more ice (icebergs are melting from underneath as well as from above), leading to a feedback loop of worsening conditions. The oceans are currently warmer now than at any time in the past 50 years. Warmer oceans also lead to more severe storms- tropical storms and hurricanes. This article, “Warmer Oceans, Stronger Hurricanes” is a good explanation of the phenomena.
Climate change is real. This is not in dispute in the global scientific community. It is happening now and it will affect you, your children and grandchildren.It is not somebody else’s problem. Yes, it is a huge and daunting problem but it won’t go away if we stick our heads in the sand or say ‘What can I do? I’m just one person.’ We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves on this topic. Here are a few good places to start:
Climate Interactive. Try out their climate model – see how changing the way we conduct our lives might help keep our grandchildren safer. Read about the many global initiatives that are underway – it will make you feel less alone in tackling the problem.
NASA Global Climate Change. This website is full of up to date data, studies, news and resources. You’ll be proud of the work our great space agency is doing in this area.
NOAA. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA works to keep citizens informed about the changing environment.
All three of these organizations rely on good science and cutting edge resources and technology. They are a good place to find information. I intend to do my part to inform the students, teachers and parents with whom I work. I hope you’ll check these and other reputable websites out and stay informed about this challenge that confronts all of us.
Quick note – I’m blogging while out of town at a workshop. Our internet has gone out at home and I can’t afford the fee for the technician to come out so once I’m home I will not be able to respond as quickly to comments. Be patient – I’m sure we’ll go to the library to get out of the heat and I can log on there!