By:  Lee Ann Rush 

Was this past summer hot enough for you?  Two recent studies on climate change predict that, unless stringent measures are taken very soon to curtail the greenhouse gas emissions that function to trap heat in our atmosphere, the climates of many areas in the world will achieve a “new normal” of significantly hotter temperatures by 2047; only 34 years from now.  According to research done by scientists at Harvard University and the University of California- Berkeley and published last week in the journal Nature, tropical locales will probably be the first to experience this climate shift, which could occur within the next ten years.

Over the past 50 years, the warming temperatures associated with the arrival of spring have moved up almost two days earlier than normal.  According to Alexander Stine of Berkeley, no other temperature shift of this type has been noted in temperature records dating back to the 1800s.  Between 1954 and 2007, spring warming has moved forward 1.7 days; much of this acceleration has occurred since 1981.  “Really, the last 27 years stand out as being different from anywhere previous in the record,” cautioned Stine.   Hmm, what may have brought about such a change over the last three decades?   It might just have something to do with the expansion of global manufacturing without proper controls on plant emissions, along with the huge increase in the number of greenhouse gas-spewing motor vehicles clogging the roads and fouling the air.

Lest you think that warmer temperatures will be a pleasant enough change, the studies note that, on the contrary, they pose a significant threat to thousands of species of plants and animals, which will have to either move to different locations, adapt, or face the possibility of extinction.  Humans will not be spared either, according to Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii, Manoa.  “Within my generation, whatever climate we were used to will be a thing of the past,” he warned.  Many aspects of human society will be negatively impacted by the rise in temperatures, from agriculture to public health and the safety of the water supply.  Even if the world’s nations should unite in adopting an aggressive plan to reduce greenhouse gases, Mora’s research indicates that the annual mean temperature of the average location on Earth will still rise above its previous normal range by 2069.

We’ve all felt the recent hotter-than-normal summers, and we’ve witnessed the rise in major storm activity across the country over the past decade or so.  Is there anybody who still believes that global warming is a figment of the Green movement’s imagination?  Wake up, people, before we destroy our planet!