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WEATHER ALERT

Opinion

Wineke: Is this weather really a result of global warming?

I can on occasion feel some sympathy for climate change skeptics.

Like when I read essays suggesting that the current spell of cold weather is actually due to the fact that the Arctic is warming. You read that, and you say something to the effect of, “What?”

Actually, the theory is that a warmer Arctic leads to a smaller temperature differential between the Arctic and warmer lands, and that leads to a decrease in the jet stream, and on and on.

I guess all that is plausible. All I know is that it has been very cold here for longer than I would like it to be cold here. And yet, for January it really isn’t all that cold. I have yet to awaken to a 20 below zero temperature reading. Until a few years ago, such readings were pretty customary.

The important thing about all this is that we really don’t know what is happening to our climate. The past year saw fires burning up a good part of the West Coast, Noah-style floods in Texas and hurricanes that pretty much wiped Puerto Rico off the map.

Now we have a blizzard they’re calling a “bomb cyclone” that brings 80 mph winds, snow, ice and general misery to the Eastern Seaboard.

None of this really strikes me as a good thing.

The Greenland ice cap is melting, and that might raise sea levels and wipe low-lying island nations off the face of the Earth (so to speak). But recent reports also suggest Antarctica may be experiencing record snowfalls, and that could counteract sea level rise.

In the meantime, my furnace is running full-time, as are two electric space heaters. I seem to be doing my part to accelerate the diffusion of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which will accelerate global warming, which, in turn, will lead to more cold temperatures.

I would like to blame this all on Donald Trump, but let’s face it, Donald Trump is increasingly irrelevant to anything important. He just tweets and tweets and the world concludes that it will march on without him.

The problem is that we don’t yet have good answers to climate change. I suspect we will get them. By the time we do, it will be too late to save the climate we now have, but we will adapt.

In the meantime, as you don extra sweaters and insulated boots just so you can take your dog for a walk, don’t despair. Just blame global warming.


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