Yesterday I wrote about floods and exceptional rainfall in the British Isles and in Russia. Today I suggest that we turn our attention to the drought that is affecting continental North America. More than half of the USA’s mainland is today in a state of moderate to extreme drought. The effect drought has been exacerbated by very hot temperatures and farmland has dried out, topsoil lost, crops decimated as 2011 was the hottest year in the USA since records began in 1895, and 2012 looks like equalling or surpassing last year’s record.
The corn, or at least 61% of this year’s crop, is not as high as an elephant’s eye. Rather than climbing right up to the sky it is decimated in many places. As temperatures now regularly climb into three digits of Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) the corn bakes as it grows and the ears do not fill out.
All is not bad news. As the hurricane season approaches there is a possibility that rains will bring some relief from the drought. The Goddard Institute for Space Studies back in 2010 made some predictions about the global temperatures for 2011 and 2012. The summer of 2010 was the fourth warmest on record, according to GISS records, which were started in 1880. The summer of 2009 was the second warmest. GISS expected 2012 to break records for the warmest US summer ever. Its prediction looks likely to be fulfilled.
In science you can never be 100% certain about anything. In life you cannot gain that certainty even about small mundane matters. Law is built on the basis of uncertainty and judges being wrong because there is a system of appeals. Philosophy is also a field of uncertainty. Even logic and mathematics has its uncertainty. So I conclude that it is probably certain that the planet is warming, the climate changing and those changes being revealed in the weather.
There is a correlation between that warming and the industrial revolution which created far more anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. There is also a correlation between the warming climate and the increase in numbers of humans on this planet. There may be other correlations – sunspots, movements in the planet’s magnetic fields, and so forth. The most likely conclusion is that climate change is largely the result of human activity.
We had better get on with trying to fix the climate. We now waste time and time will then waste us.
Filed under: carbon emissions, climate change, global warming Tagged: | anthropogenic climate change, certainty in law, certainty in science, drought, drought in USA 2012, fixing the climate, GISS, hottest USA summers, industrial revolution