It's snowing. Is global warming fake?
The earth is warming. Period. Freezing weather with snow doesn't disprove climate change. Exclamation point.
You run out and it crunches underneath you. It's like a gentle foot massage that muffles the noise of each step. It's snowing. You are always amazed at every flake and enjoy the white-glowing terrain. When you add the glints of sunshine, it's like a glittering fairy tale. Silence and peace. You like to climb the peaks and then enjoy a carefree ride down the fluffy powder. How much longer? How long can this pure joy last?
We are losing it. Snow. That symbol of true winter that can transform a familiar landscape. Personally, I live in a relatively quiet area, we don't encounter dramatic snowstorms, hurricanes or devastating freezes. Still, we can see its contours changing steadily, and instead of a magical snow land, we've enjoyed only hearty helpings of drizzle and slush in recent years. But it isn't just the joy of building snowmen that is lost in the disappearing snow, there is something deeper and much more serious. We are witnessing the onset of erratic weather and its extreme fluctuations. We are witnessing the deteriorating conditions of life on Earth. We are, unfortunately, the cause of it.
It's getting warmer!
Don't throw away the snow shovel just yet.
Global warming again. Yes, again. Because you can't point to a pile of snow drifts behind your house and ignore the world. Ignore the fact that by burning fossil fuels, we are warming the planet and severely interfering with its functioning. Things may be relatively normal in your area, but they may not be elsewhere. Just ask Texas.
Rising average temperatures don't prohibit cold. The changing climate still hasn't had time to destroy winter. But it's affecting it. Or rather, it's having an impact on what's happening outside. In fact, it adds important factors into play, such as the unreasonable warming of the Arctic, the state of the polar vortex and ocean conditions. All of these increase the likelihood of extreme and erratic weather. A deeply frosty week, a momentary cool down in May, a tropical heatwave in summer? Nothing unusual... in temperate climates. It turns out that the changes in the Arctic polar region are related to more radical weather events at mid-latitudes. We can still tell the seasons apart, the cold months still manage to coexist with the gradual warming of the Earth, but soon it may be much more chaotic.
Huskies up north can be sad that it's above freezing.
In the south, a farmer will grumble that his oranges froze.
A microscopic particle of dust forms a crystal in the atmosphere. This gradually evolves into a snowflake due to air mixing and intense precipitation. It grows and falls towards the Earth's surface. It snows. If it's below zero. In some regions, white cover is becoming more of a rarity as they get over the zero threshold temperature and then get rain instead of snow.
Many doubters take snow hostage in underestimating the situation. However, when scientists talk about the issue of global warming, they are referring to the temperature shift across the entire surface of the Earth observed over decades. Not today's minus twenty. There is hard data on that. The temperature has been measured on land, in water, all over the world, for more than a century, and the trend is clear. The global average temperature is rising. We've had the hottest decade on record. According to NOAA, the year 2020 has warmed us an average of 0.98 degrees Celsius more than the period from 1901 to 2000. The unfavourable balance is mainly due to man-made CO2 emissions. This is simply the reality.
The Paris Agreement seeks to keep average global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Indeed, ecosystems, the cryosphere (all areas of the planet where water is frozen) and atmospheric and oceanic circulation would in many cases reach so-called tipping points. You suspect correctly that we really don't want that.
At temperatures above 1.2 degrees Celsius, almost all coral reefs disappear. Three to four degrees more will be equivalent to a massive loss of tropical rainforests and northern forests. Extreme heat will kill many species of animals and plants. Warming by two degrees will affect the cryosphere. The Arctic Ocean will remain ice-free in summer, the Greenland ice sheet will begin to melt irreversibly. In the same way, the world's permafrost (eternally frozen soil in the polar regions). It can melt by up to half, and in the case of even greater warming, there is a risk of complete collapse. Mountain glaciers will retreat, leading to a shortage of water for irrigation.
And then there's the weather. Or rather, atmospheric and oceanic currents that are disrupted by warming, and these in turn change weather patterns around the world. The Gulf Stream, the West African and Indian monsoons, El Niño and La Niña, or the jet stream and polar vortex that affect Europe a lot. The jet stream and polar vortex circulate over the North Pole and keep the cold air there. When things go wrong and the jet stream weakens, the cold air heads towards the equator, the warm tropical air towards the pole. We then enjoy minus thirty or plus forty in Europe, Asia or America. These extreme swings in both directions will intensify due to climate change.
Every snowflake is unique, no two are the same.
On average, one septillion of them falls from the sky during the winter.
Let's go back to the ice and snow. There is a reason for the seasonal cover. It affects vegetation and wildlife, and many plants and animals depend on icy winters for their existence. When it melts, it fills rivers and bodies of water that supply agriculture and other areas. It affects transport, cultural customs, travel and tourism. The Arctic communities can suffer from greater coastal erosion and unusual weather patterns. Snow and ice are an important part of the Earth's climate system. Because of their light color, they reflect more of the sun's radiation back into space. 80 to 90%. By comparison, trees, plants and soil only have a reflectivity of 10 to 30%. This, of course, has an impact on the Earth's energy balance. Melting raises the level of the oceans and changes their circulation. Open water or bare soil absorbs far more energy and makes global warming more intense. The circle has closed.
Is it snowing? Remember the moment.
Because one day you might run out and nothing will crunch underneath you.
PS: It's up to us. We have the technology and we know the solutions to slow it all down. You can help.