Monday, January 5, 2009

Global Warming, the hot topic

Okay, on the way to school today my daughters and I were discussing Global Warming. According to the EPA, since the mid 1970s, the average surface temperature has warmed about 1°F. And unless we all change the way we live, greenhouse gas concentrations are very likely to continue to raise the Earth's average temperature over the next century. In fact, looking at it in a negative light, the EPA says: The average surface temperature of the Earth is likely to increase by 2 to 11.5°F by the end of the 21st century, relative to 1980-1990, with a best estimate of 3.2 to 7.2°F.

What brought this topic on? Well, snow days of course! They were both complaining about the lack of snow days so far this year. (Today was their first day back after Christmas break). But it did get me to thinking. We've had the most mild winter here in Ohio. It's been so strange. Today it's to be in the thirties. Looking outside it could be early spring for goodness sake! That's not to say we won't still get a load of snow. February--March could bring nothing but snow. Ohio weather has always been just a little strange. Nevertheless, I still think this has been the craziest winter yet. Heck, I wouldn't even call it winter!

So it got me curious if any of you have noticed a difference since you were a kid? Do you remember the winters being colder?

I'd swear we used to get tons of snow growing up. Didn't we?? We went ice skating, sledding, the works. We were always outside freezing our butts off, playing. And the only time we had a 'snow day' was if half the state was buried under a foot of the fluffy stuff. These days the kids get a two hour delay if we get an inch of snow. Two inches and I swear the state is in a state of emergency. And you tell them to go outside, it's nice out, get some exercise. They look at you like you're crazy. "Mom, it's freezing!"

And as to those oh so wonderful snow days the kids want so badly...I keep trying to tell them not to count on those, because even if we do get some snow days this year, the school will just take away Spring Break. But, they're kids. All they see is the now. LOL

***Also, don't forget my HOT HOT menage (f/f/m) releases tomorrow, Burn


Regina Carlysle said...

This is super serious and everyone has to do whatever we can to slow things down. We've switched from gas-guzzling suvs to more fuel efficient cars and have switched the kind of light bulbs we use. Things like that.

My part of Texas is normally HOT and DRY. Very arrid. Yet we noticed some days this summer that were downright balmy, almost tropical. Very strange. We experimented by planting some things in our backyard that normally do well in humid weather and they grew like crazy when we'd never been able to grow them before.

Regina Carlysle said...

Oh! Dang! Happy Release Day tomorrow. Soooo exciting. The book is going to be a scorcher.

Kelley Nyrae said...

Happy release day tomorrow. Can't wait for it.

It's very scary what will happen if things don't change. We're doing our part with little things around the house.

BrennaLyons said...

Oh yes! I notice a difference. I remember being packed in with FEET of snow at every major snowfall, when I was a kid...and we never got snow days, unless the snow was actively falling and/or the bridges froze solid. So far, this winter, we've had a sum total of about two feet. Not that I'm complaining about not having to shovel or snow throw, but it's a big difference.

We're also using a lot less heating fuel/electricity to heat the house, which says it's not as cold out there...that's just comparing our units last year to this year. Not that I'm complaining about that, either...since the price is so much higher per unit that we're spending more for it, at a much lower consumption rate.

Honestly, with all the alternatives, we can do much better by our planet and ourselves.

There are wind towers that are only 3-feet wide. I could easily mount six of them on my property, if I could afford it.

There's solar power...and solar hot water. I had solar hot water in VA, and it was fantastic. I know people with solar power that actually break even with or get paid money by the electric company for pouring electricity back into the system.

There's geo-thermal heat...a bunch of pipe and some drilling to heat/cool a house. For that matter, there are sod or hillside houses that naturally take advantage of it.

There's tidal/river-power. I live just above a river, a river that was used to power mills in the 1800s...that provided the machine-labor. Why is no one smart enough to use it for electrical power now?

There are hybrid cars...and electric cars. Electricity for them could be augmented by solar panels.

Not to mention the radiant heat fireplaces that are so popular in Denmark. Imagine a fireplace that has an efficiency rating that's 8 or 9 TIMES that of the ones we typically use, that can take the place of other forms of heat.

All of this exists. Why aren't we utilizing it? Why are we pricing simple machinery that can make our lives better unreasonably high? If more people could afford to implement it, we'd be a lot better off. Honestly, I think the companies involved would do well to consider the higher profits they'd make with a lower profit margin per item. But that's me...making sense in a non-sense world, again.


Samantha said...

It's all pretty much related to sunspot activity, as far I can see (and I'm no scientist). This summer was unusually cool (October like temps in August) and November we had our earliest ice storm since I've lived here (Virginia). And guess what? This year we have had very low to no sunspot activity.

Earliest snows in a century in Idaho, Northern CA, and other places. Earliest freezing in AK. Snow packs building up north. Ice sheets rebuilding back to 'normal' levels.

So, Global Warming is about as likely as the 'new ice age' was in the 70s (when you are remembering snow/cold).

Being responsible about energy use and finding cleaner options should be about the desire to, not out of fear of some unproven theory, IMHO. And no government or people should be fined or taxed for their energy use by some world authority.

My question is this, if all of these scientists are so brilliant, why does the Farmer's Almanac seem to get our winter weather spot on almost every year with their own personal formula? This year? Colder than normal...and so far, they are right!

Connie Northrop said...

Arizona just had more precipitation than it's had in over 15 years. This would be good if we weren't at the long end of a 15+ year draught. We just finished one of our hotest years on record.

We all need to do what we can.

How Gov't officials of any country can say there isn't a problem I have not been able to figure out.

Saje Williams said...

Global warming is probably more accurately called "climate change" and, while it's unfortunate that the majority of scientists operating in the field agree that we are having an negative effect on the environment (it's silly to think we can pour chemicals into the atmosphere for several hundred years without it doing SOMETHING), there are still bastions of pseudo-science (often working with grants from corporations addicted to hydro-carbon dollars) who are all too happy to tell us it's all hunky-dory and we're worried about nothing.

We've been interfering with the natural balance for a long time, and we don't understand how it all works well enough to be so casual about the long-term effects we might cause.

I'm just hoping that the only thing more powerful than human arrogance is human ingenuity.

BrennaLyons said...

Samantha, I don't know where you live, but the Farmer's Almanac is dead WRONG for here. It's not colder than usual. It's warmer, by far...and we have far less precipitation than normal.

Then again, the entire weather pattern is screwed up. Snow in NV? Snow in portions of FL that haven't seen snow since 1987...and I know it, because we were there when it happened. Snow in parts of Arkansas that NEVER see snow; I have family that lives there. Not to mention, their gardens, like those in Texas, were way off kilter this year and growing odd things/having things that usually grow die. Very little snow on Mt. Washington and Mt. Okimo, compared to normal, according to reports.

I'm not saying it's not spot on for your area. I'm saying it's weird weather, all the way around.


Samantha said...

I thought this was interesting to note...sea ice levels are back to levels from 29 years ONE year!

Both sides of this argument have something to gain, Saje...there is research money up for grabs for those who espouse the 'global warming' theory. Why is it only the corporations are seen as ha ving an 'agenda'? None of this research is completely free of bias.

If by "chemicals" you mean carbon dioxide, I'd have to disagree. Carbon dioxide is a natural part of our atmosphere. And yet carbon dioxide is one of the main 'greenhouse gases' that global warming theorists say will be our doom. If you look at how large our planet really is and how huge the amount of atmosphere surrounding it, our activities impact it so minutely as to be virtually negligible when it comes to impacting climate.

BrennaLyons said...

One thing I'd note that Samantha might find of interest...

There are new studies about unexplained holes in the Ozone layer. But, I hazard a guess that they aren't unexplained. Why is it that scientists don't always see the obvious connections, like sun spot activity and magnetic fields?

Back to the subject. The magnetic poles of the Earth drift and eventually switch. That's been long established. The core of the Earth is molten metal. In the perfectly-normal shifting and reorganizing of said core, which affects the magnetic poles, everything is affected...including the atmosphere. So, why do simple things pass the common sense test and evade scientific study?

And flares DO affect our weather. I won't deny it. That was established almost ten years ago, to most people's satisfaction.

At the same time, the reliance on fossil fuels has a limited life and a nasty effect, at least on the air we breathe, if nothing else. I'd like to be able to take a deep breath in 50 years. Grinning...

Beside that, the use of plastics means much more use of fossil fuels than even fueling vehicles and heating homes accounts for alone. A lot of people don't realize that plastics are made from the same source.

Even if you don't believe in global warming...and I personally think there is MUCH more to it than oil and industry...there are good reasons to look for other alternatives for electrical/heating/transportation.


Anne Rainey said...

This has turned out to be a very enlightening discussion!!

Thank you ALL for the input.

Saje Williams said...

Well of course corporations have an agenda, Samantha. Profit above everything. They have no inherent obligation to social responsibility, though many attempt to operate as though they do. Others, unfortunately, do not.
And yes, carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas, but we produce immense quantities of it ourselves through vehicle emissions, factory farming, and other industries, not to mention things like sulfur, carbon monoxide and other even less pleasant things. The global atmosphere is immense, but it's not infinite. We've been pouring an ever increasing amount of chemical waste into the air, earth, and water for at least 200 years--it seems irrational to think that has no effect whatsoever on the overall ecological equilibrium of the planet. Added to the destruction of old growth rain forests, as well as the continuing die-off of oceanic micro-organisms, and you're talking about a severe impact on the whole system that we can't afford to ignore.

Even if one doubts the extent to which our behavior is affecting climate change, there's still good reason to work to minimize our impact as quickly as possible. The majority of scientists, including those who aren't directly involved in ecological work (NASA, anyone?), accept that climate change is real. The few who don't are on the fringe, and all to often reveal a conflict of interest due to present or past association with certain carbon-heavy industries. If we haven't learned in the last several years that we shouldn't just take a corporation (or its officers or affiliates) at its word with regards to something affecting its fiscal interests, then we haven't learned a damned thing.