It’s been mighty cold lately. I swear that when it’s in the 20s here if feels like a much colder temperature and I blame this on the humidity. Seattle is most humid in the fall and winter. I think the wind blows tiny frigid mini-droplets of water past our outerwear, through our shirts, down our collective underpants, and right to the skin. I believe that this makes us feel colder than if it were dry air. This hypothesis could be complete BS, but it sounds good. Here’s some hot chocolate:
I recently read about a new overlay for Google Earth that shows surface temperature records for regions across the planet from 1850 (if records go back that far) to the present. If you have Google Earth, download the overlay here – thank you Phil Plait for pointing this out.
Of course I went to the Pacific Northwest section of the globe and looked at the records. Examine the following the graph, which tracks anomalies above and below the mean temperature and you’ll see a slow but steady rise with a bump in the last couple decades.
Global warming vs. climate change
This is as good a time as any to explode the myth that an unspecified “they” changed the name “global warming” to “climate change” because the world isn’t really warming up. First look at the facts – which is usually a great place to start. The famous organization of world scientists that publishes regular papers on this subject is called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It was founded with that name in 1988. An early article on the subject (1975) was called “Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?”
From that time up to the present, both global warming and climate change have been used. Now tell me again how someone changed the name recently to obscure the facts or fool people.
Why use two different terms? When the world warms up, it doesn’t just cause the thermometer to rise (though it does do that). It also causes more severe weather, it causes sea levels to rise, it creates more precipitation in the form of rain and snow, it makes glaciers melt, it causes ocean acidification, creates drought in some places, and floods elsewhere.
In other words, the warming causes climate change. Take your pick – global warming, climate change – they’ve both been around from the beginning.