Global warming means wild weather, not necessarily warmer

By Lance Braud.
Recent headlines this week report record low temperatures in many parts of the country. The wind chill in Chicago last week was 50 degrees below zero. It’s 11 degrees in Atlanta, Georgia, the city nicknamed “Hotlanta.” Is global warming, as a climate trend and a source of worry, just hype that will be seen as a historical footnote of mass mania like Y2K? “I wish people would not focus on global warming and instead see it as global climate change, or [global climate] destabilization,” says Kent Short, meteorology instructor at BC. We are having undeniable average global temperatures that are warmer, and that makes for weird weather. Short refers to it as “anomalous climate.” One example is the heavy snow fall this past December in the Puget Sound area. Because warmer air holds more moisture than cooler air, we received more snow during the cold weather. We can expect “more storminess” and fiercer hurricanes on the Gulf Coast,” says Dr. Rob Viens, Natural Science Program Chair and environmental science instructor. Climate change can not be explained without human involvement. The Earth does naturally and normally go through climate change, but what’s happening today isn’t natural or normal. “What would happen in 40 million years is what we have seen in the last 200 years,” says Viens. Rebecca Baldwin, BC’s Social Science Division Chair and previously a natural science economist, says it helps to think of it like forest fires. The frequency of the fires are greater than if humans weren’t around. Camping, our proximity, and other human activity all cause the number of fires to increase. The same is true of average global temperature; it’s rising much faster than it would without human activity. The world will be a different place in 100 years. Around the Bellevue area, this could mean we see a rise in sea level. Will the seas rise one foot, or 12 feet? Will the average temperature rise one degree or 20 degrees? We don’t know. “But shouldn’t you prepare for the worst?” asks Short. “Do something [in the next ten years] or it doesn’t matter. Prevention is costly, but it’s less than dealing with the problem after the fact, says Short. “Our children and grandchildren will look back and ask,