By Dave Lindorff
Summer 2011: What's left of the North Polar ice cap by ThisCantBeHappening
On my Yahoo home page today, there was a picture of the globe, and an instant poll asking me to check one of two choices: Yes or No, Do you believe global warming is a real threat?
I don't usually waste my time on these things, but there was that tantalizing link to "See the results," and you had to vote to see them, so I voted.
Having recently looked at some depressing satellite images of the pathetically reduced Arctic ice from this past summer , read an account of the rapidly melting glaciers in the Himalayas (sometimes known as Earth's third polar region), and read some really frightening articles about the plumes of methane erupting from the Arctic sea floor and the Siberian and North American tundra , I of course voted "yes."
The results, though, of the 96,740 other people who participated in that ballot, were 50% yes and 50% no.
Who are these "no" voters? What are they watching, reading, or, for god's sake, what are they seeing when they walk around outside (or maybe they never do that)?
I walked out my door yesterday here in southeastern Pennsylvania, and saw the daffodil shoots poking up two inches above the unfrozen ground in our front garden--something they usually start to do in early March!
The grass on our lawn is green! Usually at this time of year, if it's not covered in snow, it's all brown, frozen solid by a couple weeks of hard frosts, but this year, the ground has never frozen at all.
Now I know that local climates can vary wildly, but first of all, the word was that the US northeast was actually going to be getting colder in the near term, because the melting polar water was supposedly going to be pushing the Gulf Stream, which has for millennia warmed the eastern coast of North America, out to sea. But this year, because of the record melting of the Arctic sea ice, the Jet Stream has shifted northward, and the whole of the Lower 48 in the US is missing the usual arctic blasts that get pulled down here when the Jet Stream dips southward during the winter months.
A woman at the local coffee shop was remarking to the barrista that she has humming birds wintering over this year! Now that's really something. Hummingbirds have a metabolism that expends an enormous amount of energy just staying alive. That they could manage to survive through the winter in Philadelphia, at least to mid-January, is nothing short of astounding...
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