- Not good news for cities, especially those subject to "heat islands
"Human society has now reached a point in population growth and
technological skill at which it can destroy the viability of the
environment .... To the extraterrestrial observer, man might appear as
unself-conscious as a fish in relation to his ecological situation.
This ecological innocence, harmless in fish, is dangerous in men.
Rambunctious adolescent naivete' and a powerful, science-based
technology are poorly matched companions."
-- Lyton Keith Caldwell, 1971
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Rapid Climate Change is Happening Right Now
Tuesday, 04 November 2003
Summary: This article provides results of yet another global warming
study that shows temperatures are continuing to rise, alarmingly so,
and rise faster than perhaps ever before.
This study shows that spring snowmelt in the Midwest and Northern
Great Plains has been occurring much sooner over the last 20 years
than during the previous 80 years. The earlier than usual snowmelt is
just another surrogate for Earth's continuously rising temperatures.
Study after study show Earth's temperatures (land, ocean, troposphere)
are warming. They warmed only slightly during the last century --
about one degree Fahrenheit. But they are rising much faster now, the
result of way too much fossil fuel burning by humans: gasoline burning
in car driving, kerosene burning in jet travel, diesel fuel burning in
trucking and shipping, coal and natural gas burning for electricity
generation, burning fuel for the fun of it in motorized ATV
recreation, in car racing, airplane flying, motorcycle riding, lawn
keeping, building highways and runways, and parking lots, emitting
more greenhouse gases in concrete manufacturing, unnecessary heating
and air conditioning. The list is endless. All of this is new in just
the last 150 years or so, along with 5 billion more people in the
world. But the U.S. is still the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the
world today, by far.
Contained herein are the results of yet another global warming study,
showing that temperatures continue to rise, and rise faster than
before. This study shows that spring snowmelt in the Midwest and
Northern Great Plains has been occurring much sooner over the last 20
years than during the previous 80 years. The earlier than usual
snowmelt is just another surrogate for Earth's rising temperatures,
because of too much fossil fuel burning.
Yet few people get riled up over this. The war on Iraq has commanded
the prime time spot on every TV channel and network news show for
almost the past year. Yet this problem surpasses every other world
problem in history in terms of the magnitude of its destructive
Based on an analysis of snowmelt runoff in the Upper Midwest and
Northern Great Plains - an area that includes the Upper Mississippi
River, Upper Great Lakes, and part of the headwaters area to Hudson
Bay -- senior hydrologist Patrick J. Neuman, of the National Weather
Services' North Central River Forecast Center(NCRFC)*, concludes in
this study that "rapid climate warming is happening now in the Upper
Midwest and Northern Great Plains".
Neuman presented his findings to a large group of high-level
scientists at an interagency workshop directed by the National
Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA)- National Weather
Service(NWS) - Climate Prediction Center(CPC) and the Desert Research
Institute at Reno, Nevada, October 20 - 23, 2003. The title of the
paper is: "Earlier Seasonal Snowmelt Runoff in the Upper Midwest &
Northern Great Plains".
Neuman says that we must acknowledge that temperatures and humidity
will continue to rise, for an indefinite but very long period of time.
"The picture is clear", he said, "Rapid climate warming is happening
Interestingly, Neuman's study was not based on air temperature data
but rather daily river flow data for 100 years of record. Flow data
from the United States Geological Survey were used to evaluate the
timing of spring snowmelt runoff over the last 100 years, showing that
spring snowmelt runoff in the Upper Midwest and Northern Great Plains
is now beginning 2 - 4 weeks earlier, compared to the historical
record of snowmelt runoff over the last 100 years of record. A copy of
Neuman's paper can be accessed online from the Minnesotan's for
Sustainability website, at:
Neuman's snowmelt runoff study also references work done in 2002-2003
by George Kling and other scientists contributing to the Union of
Concerned Scientists' report: "Confronting Climate Change in the Great
Lakes Region", which analyzed temperature data for the Great Lakes
region and found that from 1998 - 2001, annual average temperatures
ranged from 2 to 4 degrees F (1 to 2 degrees C ) warmer than the
long-term average in summer, and up to 7 degrees F (4 degrees C) above
average in winter:
Neuman found similar increases for the 5-year period 1998 - 2002, with
increases in temperatures from 1.1 degrees F warmer than long term
average (1898-1997) at Bellefontaine, Ohio, and up to 3.6 degrees F
warmer than average (1898-1997) at Spooner, Wisconsin.
Source: U.S. Newswire Release, 10/30/03
* Patrick J. Neuman has been a team leader of hydrologists at the
NCRFC since 1980, with primary focus on snow hydrology. He earned his
Masters of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison
in 1975, focusing on Great Lakes Water Levels. He began his career
with the NWS in 1976 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Madison IMC: http://madison.indymedia.org/