With the strange weather Seattlites have been experiencing this year, what with the cold snap back in early winter, the one night of snow and the weird warm but rainy reality of last week, it should come as no surprise that global warming is a fact. Not only this, global warming is affecting the planet’s weather in the present.
Several papers published articles dealing with the startling trend that has been noticed by contemporary scientists. According to New York Times reporter Justin Gillis, the consequences of human development are being felt on American soil. “The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States,” said Gillis. “With water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects.” Essentially, the world’s average temperature has been rising less than two-degrees Fahrenheit for the last century—causing more extreme weather in all regions.
In a report assessing the effect of climate change in the U.S., scientists highlighted the present modernity of the problem. According to the report, “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.”
The report goes on to point out some of the trends indicating the change in environment brought on by climate change. “Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced,” the report continued. “Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours. People are seeing changes in the length and severity of seasonal allergies, the plant varieties that thrive in their gardens, and the kinds of birds they see in any particular month in their neighborhoods.”
The report is one in a series of scary recordings of the present-day nature of human induced climate change and its consequences. Still, while the effects of climate change are beginning to be felt on a national scale, and while those effects are in themselves scary, they are not the end product of climate change.
According to Richard B. Alley, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, “Yes, climate change is already here, but the costs so far are still on the low side compared to what will be coming under business as usual by late in this century.”
With an increase in unpredictable and dangerous weather patterns, it is in the best interest of the nation to act on the issue of global warming quickly and effectively. Storms like Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the East Coast and caused costly damage, will only increase in strength and frequency—thus weakening our nation’s already fragile infrastructure and further endangering our economic and ecological stability.