WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – It may be time to retire the term “global warming” when talking about climate change.
While the effects of climate change are real and happening now, say scientists, it can be confusing to talk about rising temperatures around the world when half of the nation is in a deep freeze.
New Englanders are getting weary from all the snow they’ve recently seen as Boston is dealing with 8 feet of the white powder. Ice and sub-zero weather has played havoc with traffic and brought down power lines in parts of the South and Midwest. Meanwhile, the West Coast is enduring higher temperatures than normal for this time of year.
“Global weirding” might be a better way to describe climatic change, suggests Dr. Thomas Wilbanks, with the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
“Climate change involves a host of effects beyond temperature change alone,” he explains. “In many cases, for example, the concern is with changes in exposure to climate-related extreme weather events – such as storms, droughts, and wildfires.”
Crazy weather events are an accepted consequence of man-made climate change models. In the near future, the planet will see altered weather patterns, sea level rise, an increase in natural disasters and droughts on a scale unlike anything in recent human history, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
If the predicted weather chaos sounds confusing, that’s because it is. So while some places will see colder than usual temperatures and higher rainfalls, others will experience long heat waves and dry spells.
“‘Global warming’ fails to pick up on the most frequent citizen observation that the climate is changing, which is an increase in the frequency and severity of anomalies, things we are not used to seeing,” said Wilbanks.
But the average temperatures across the globe will steadily get warmer, warns Wilbanks, according to the most current computer models.
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