To the Editor: It’s Real
I write to point out that the article by Heidi Sonen and Roscoe Shaw in the recent Crozet Weather Almanac is misleading (Crozet Weather Almanac: Climate Change, June 2014). As a Ph.D. meteorologist, I agree there is abundant evidence to suggest the earth has warmed and humans have contributed to the warming. There is a broad scientific consensus that global average temperatures have already increased by over 1°F. In fact, even the most conservative estimates suggest at least 2.5°F warming will occur as CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere double. The authors claim there is no evidence that extreme weather is more common in a warming world, but there are precipitation studies that show heavy downpours have grown more frequent and more intense over the past 50 years (http://www.climate.gov/news-features/featured-images/heavy-downpours-more-intense-frequent-warmer-world). However, my main criticism of this article is the “bottom line” statement that despite an explosion of new emissions from China “climate has stubbornly refused to warm.” Along with the cryptic graph, this statement creates confusion, if not deliberate misinformation.
I would like to tell your readers that the combined global average temperature over land and ocean surfaces in May 2014 was the warmest May on record; temperatures were 1.3°F above the 20th century average according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2014/5). Furthermore, recent analyses from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration note that, globally, the 14 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998. (http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/). Finally, for the authors to suggest that citizens’ efforts to cut energy consumption are of no value is simply irresponsible. In fact there is good evidence that action to curb global warming makes economic sense and that the costs of inaction are high. (http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/reduce-emissions/economics-climate-factsheet.html).