Normally this time of year we have done our share of skiing, but due to limited snow on Mt. Hood we have not skied once as a family. I did give it a try a couple of weeks ago, but on the one and only run I did it poured rain. At the same time, while we are sitting around waiting for snow, the east coast continues to be pummeled in powder. In isolation, these weather incidents mean nothing. But what about the big picture?
Do you remember what it was like in 1988? I was a young college student and had no clue that at the time it was the hottest year on record. It was also the year that newsies had fodder for some interesting global warming headlines, initiating years of squabbling between the believers and disbelievers. And while the debate rages on, we now know that 2013 has pushed 1988 out of the top 20 hottest years list!
Despite experiencing a number of hot years in recent times, the rate of increase has slowed considerably. Not surprisingly, disbelievers have gone on the offense using this data to debunk global warming. Political conservative Senator Ted Cruz loves to say there has been no warming since the alarm bell was rung in 1988 while Fox News has reported there is no such thing as global warming.
I really want the disbelievers to be right because the outcomes of a warming earth are not pretty! But I also have faith in scientists because their careers are not determined by the next election. They invest their life energy in a process that I know is not perfect, but collectively gets the job done. In the recent case of the slowed warming, they have discovered a simple answer. While the earths temperatures have slowed, warming in the deep oceans have accelerated some 15 times faster than in recorded history.
It’s not that we have been given a reprieve, global warming is still happening, it’s a reality. The question is whether we as a society can collectively cope with that reality before it’s too late.