The Big Melt


Seeking Truth...

Climate change is sinking into the consciousness of most as reality. Sandy, the largest Atlantic storm on record, wielded enormous destruction over the most densely populated part of North America. Monster storms are becoming more numerous. Ask yourselves: when since naming storms have we actually reached the letter "S" during the hurricane season?

Remember Irene in August of 2011? The bizarre October nor-easter followed by an oddly mild, dry and even-tempered winter? During the 2010 winter we, in southern New England, experienced a battery of heavy snow storms which added up to snow pack measured in damaging feet. During the winter of 2009 similar enormous moisture-infused snow storms disrupted the lives of those living in the mid-Atlantic region.

Last summer the extended searing drought in America's Bread Basket decimated corn and damaged soybean crops. Storms, floods, hurricanes, drought, wild fires, swarms of tornadoes increasing in number are visiting disruption, huge expense and misery to families and cultures all around the globe. And you ask, "All anecdotal. Where's the proof?"

An all too convenient and exploitable loophole is that one cannot point to a single climate event and certify, "This storm is directly linked to global warming." Neither can one see nor smell the increasing percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere. Yet many of us now feel something unsettling in the primordial recesses of our beings. These weather extremes don't feel right. Red flags are flying.

Anecdotes are coming with greater frequency. Predictions made as long as 30 years ago by climatologists are now coming disturbingly true - sooner than originally anticipated. Alongside the monster storms and droughts worldwide we are experiencing warmest year records broken almost annually, another in 2012. Unforeseen is the now slowing jet stream which slows weather patterns. Unforeseen, too, is that greater warmth produces larger destructive thunderstorms which are punching water vapor geysers into the thin, fragile stratospheric zone allowing an influx of man-made chlorofluorocarbons. Chlorofluorocarbons deplete the fragile ozone layer which shields all of life from the sun's ultraviolet rays. An enormous ozone hole has opened above North America. Another measurable fact is that ocean levels are warming, rising and fueling larger storms - no longer a joke except perhaps among those frolicking in the mind numbing echo chamber of extreme ignorance. Melting glaciers and ice caps have acidified oceans by 30% implying unknown consequences to marine life.

Independent world scientists, in an extraordinary number of disciplines have tested repeatedly, studied the data and are in agreement. Direct and measurable is the correlation between burgeoning human populations and emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Less discussed but no less destructive is methane from stock animals in mega farm production. The only real "argument" among independent scientists presently is how quickly, where and to what extent will affected ecosystems both in the oceans and on land alter.

Chasing Ice...

Jeff Orlowski is one of the co-collaborators of a documentary named "Chasing Ice", a visual depiction in time lapse cinematography of melting glaciers and ice caps. Mr. Orlowski drew one of the most eloquent and easy-to-understand analogies in comprehending the complex issue of climate change.

In an interview this former skeptic likened climate change to a major league baseball player who is taking steroids. One cannot directly link a single home run to steroid use; rather, it is the overall ability of the player to hit an eye-raising plethora of home runs in uncanny repetition. Though no single event can be attributed to steroids it is the overall gestalt that links his seemingly superhuman abilities to performance enhancers. Testing for the drug bears it out.

Similarly, a single wacky weather event cannot be directly linked to climate change. It is the increasing number of extreme anecdotes in a continuous, growing volley which points towards the possibility. And the testing too bears this out.

I wanted to share this analogy with readers. I found it so simply illuminating, so eloquent and clear that it has made the grasp of aggregate climate change events immediately understandable.

Climatologists' predictions will continue to be realized for decades to come even if we begin to seriously grapple with the issue of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and methane in large-scale farming operations now. Scientists are setting forth requirements that would counter the growing threat. It's really simple math on a huge scale. But even if all changes were embraced and enacted immediately it would be many decades before potential normalcy might be achieved. It's possible and necessary; the longer the procrastination the more dire the effects. If we do not implement change we imperil ourselves and all life as we know it on Mother Earth.

Start small. Reduce carbon emissions. Support green energy alternatives. Plant a tree. And remember: every day is Earth Day.

From The Potting Shed, Villager Newspapers - penned by Wayne Paquette in November 2012