Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'm just going to say it

Is anybody else concerned about the weather?

Like nearly every Minnesotan, I love spring. Golfing, grilling, and comfortably wearing short pants and sandals? Or even better, throwing open the windows at night? You can't beat it, after a long, grueling Minnesota winter! Only the winter wasn't that long, there was hardly any snow, and it was over fifty degrees in January.

This incredibly odd weather is messing with my head. The temperature says it is June, but the calendar says it is March 18th. It is astronomical winter, but it feels like early summer. The number of records broken by this March heat wave are incredible - thousands of daily records for high temperatures and dewpoints have been set. In the Twin Cities, we've set daily record temperatures for seven of the last nine days. We're not done yet. The forecast is for above average temperatures for the next week.

Obviously, climate change is a bunch of crap cooked up by socialists to control the economy and destroy our freedom.

Please don't misinterpret me. I am not arguing that one abnormal spring proves that global warming is true or that human activity is the definitive cause of it. I am arguing that our climate in Minnesota is changing rapidly, and that the science of climate change is pretty damn clear at this point.

Here's a chart of average spring (March - May) temperatures for east central Minnesota:

Just for your reference, we're currently averaging 42.1 degrees during the first (coldest) seventeen days of March, above average for the whole 90 day period. But more than the fact we've been above average, look at the dramatic swings from year to year. We are seeing far more volatile swings in spring temperatures, consistent with predictions of climate change.

In related news, Australian atmospheric scientists reported that we set another record this spring, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In addition, they documented that sea levels are rising, at the high end of the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Ominously, their data also show that we are on track to exceed 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere within five years. 400 ppm is significantly over the level we need to preserve the climate that has sustained human civilization on the Earth, about 350 ppm. And if you think we'll just invent magic carbon vacuums, you might be right, but consider this. If we can invent effective carbon sequestration technology, it will cost upwards of $10 trillion to reduce global CO2 concentrations by 50 ppm.

I've been told it's the height of arrogance to assume that human beings could do anything that might affect the climate. Not true; the real arrogance come from assuming we can continue pump carbon into the atmosphere and nothing will change.

Enjoy the weather, but the climate is something to worry about.

Follow me on Twitter @aaronklemz

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