Sunday, April 24, 2016

Many Americans Don't Worry About Global Warming Because We've Been Enjoying It So Much

An ice skater in shorts and t-shirt enjoys record
Christmas week warmth in New York last December.
Photo from New York Daily News.  
I'll confess to a guilty pleasure.

Where I live in Vermont, we just came off the warmest winter on record.

I know it was bad for the winter sports industry, and if I don't like winter, I should just move to someplace warmer.

However, in many ways, I enjoyed this past winter more than I enjoy most winters.

I wasn't constantly struggling with layers of clothes, ski parkas, boots, etc. It didn't take an hour each morning to get dressed, start the truck and get to work.

I even got work done out in the gardens which is unheard of in Vermont.

I guess I was part of the crowd, judging from a new study I've seen discussed in the news lately.

It turns out at least in the United States, global warming has caused winters to warm up much more than summers.

Winters are generally easier, than the once were and summers aren't that much more unbearable than they used to be.

Despite the ever wilder storms and floods and such that keep pounding us Americans, in general, global warming has made the weather "nicer," at least in the opinions of many.  We tend to like milder winters and dislike hot, humid summers.

With winters warming faster than summer's, we broadly think the weather has gotten more pleasant in recent decades.

According to the Associated Press: 

"Americans are getting the wrong signal from year-round weather about whether they should be concerned about climate change," said study lead author Patrick Egan, a public policy professor at New York University. "They're getting the good parts and haven't had to pay the price of the bad part."

If you're totally selfish and don't care what's going on with climate change and its effects on people in other parts of the world, it's all good for us Americans, right?

Um, no, At least the climate scientists are saying no.

Here's the deal: Eventually, summer temperature rises are going to start catching up with the winter temperature increases.

That means in the coming decades, American summers will turn quite a bit hotter, and in many places, quite a bit more humid.

We humans tend to get cranky in such oppressive weather. Even worse, it's dangerous. You'll see more heat related deaths and illnesses, and diseases, most of them spread by bugs such as mosquitoes, will spread north into previously unaffected areas.

Plus, as climate change worsens, storms, floods, droughts and sea level rises will also screw up the lives of Americans, and the rest of the globe for that matter.

That totally sounds like not much fun.

Quoting from the AP again:

"America 'may have been lulled into a complacency when it comes to the impacts of climate change,' said Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann, who wasn't part of the study but called it a solid analysis."

Of course, our complacency over summer is because it's not all that hard to crank up the air conditioning. And if you have to go outside, it's still easier than going out in a blizzard.

I guess we'll have to wait and see how cranky we get if the summers start getting a lot hotter. And stormier. And droughtier.

1 comment:

  1. Really? It was still uncomfortably cold but there was no snow. Everything was covered in ice. It rained all the time. I get why people like a warm spring or fall when it's 60 and sunny. Do not understand why anyone would like a 40 degree winter of ice and rain. Unless you never do anything outside ever but if so who cares what the weather does at all.

    I don't know a single person who liked last winter. Maybe one. Maybe. Again maybe in New Jersey where last winter would be normal and instead they get actual warmth. But here. I don't buy that enough people like it to counterbalance those who hated it.

    In terms of people liking harmful and dangerous weather that may be linked to climate change I think the California drought is s good example.