Monday, December 24, 2012

Do You Find the Tone of This Piece Puzzling?

The Seattle Times doing their bit to sound the klaxon about climate change... sort of.  Very odd tone, I thought.  A bit rueful, but mostly a giant virtual shrug of the shoulders.  Nothin' we can do about it.  Let's have a bit of a collective rumination on the shortened skiing season, and move along.

No call to action.  No suggestion that the "new normal" referred to might be bad in any way.  Not a peep about what any individual might or might not be able to do to spur political action.  Just a heavy sigh.  'Cause hey!  What can ya' do?

Thinking about it, let me change my assessment from "puzzling" to "horrifying."  This is precisely the kind of story we do not need.  The consequences of human-made climate change will not simply be a longer drive to the slopes and a little less snow in winter Seattle.

Here's what NASA has to say about the effects of climate change.  And in case you don't have the energy to follow the link, here's a handy chart -

Phenomena: Likelihood of trend
Contraction of snow cover areas, increased thaw in permafrost regions, decrease in sea ice extent:  Virtually certain
Increased frequency of hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation:  Very likely to occur
Increase in tropical cyclone intensity:  Likely to occur
Precipitation increases in high latitudes:  Very likely to occur
Precipitation decreases in subtropical land regions:  Very likely to occur
Decreased water resources in many semi-arid areas, including western U.S. and Mediterranean basin:  High confidence

And here are the definitions of those likelihood ranges: virtually certain >99%, very likely >90%, likely >66%.

A screen grab from the NASA climate change pages: