Climate Change & Weather

This past Tuesday, at 2:15 in the afternoon, the thermometer indicated that it was 55 degrees F. on the back deck. By 3:30 p.m., the temperature had dropped to 30 degrees, and there were already two inches of snow. By the next morning, when the snow stopped, it was almost knee-deep in the back yard, and the temperature was down to 15 degrees – on April 4th.

Now… radically shifting weather and weather events far out of season are scarcely unknown here in Cedar City. In 2014, we got 13-14 inches of snow on the Saturday before Mothers’ Day. We lost power for two days, and it took weeks before all the broken branches were cleared from the town.

But changes in climate have markedly changed the weather patterns, especially in increasing the violence of weather events and the wind speeds associated with extreme weather events. Statistics show that climate change doesn’t seem to increase the number of severe weather events, such as major rains or snowstorms, hurricanes, or tornados, but it does appear to have increased the intensity of such events.

The vast majority of this past week’s tornados in the south and Midwest, for example, had more high wind speeds and stayed on the ground significantly longer than historical averages, just as last year’s hurricanes had higher wind speeds. Likewise, the amount of snow dropped on the California mountains this past year is close to the all-time record year, and the snow year’s not over. Here in Utah, this winter set an all-time record for snowpack, and the governor has announced a snow-melt warning. Even so, the Great Salt Lake is only a few feet above its all-time low.

So while the southwestern United States has been given a brief reprieve from one of the worst droughts in historic times, I’m wagering that this past winter is only a short respite from increasing heat and dryness.

5 thoughts on “Climate Change & Weather”

  1. KTL says:

    LEM, glad to hear you are on the page with the best that science has been publishing and predicting for some time now. Alas, by the time a large enough body of people and politicians are in the same place, the global effects will not be reversible (in a foreseeable amount of time) or any policies effectively implementable. As I am 65 now, I expect not to suffer much from those changes. Such a shame that homo sapiens is so destructive. Surely, that must be hardwired in us?

    1. I’ve been on that page since there was such a page.

  2. Daze says:

    When I was active in the UK Green Party in the 80s, we used to say that action needed to be taken before the year 2000 to avoid the worst consequences. I think that is still true!

    Somewhere early in this century, George Monbiot warned that those who oppose action will pivot to “it’s too late now, so no point in doing anything “. Coming to a theatre near you.

  3. Tom says:

    A slightly different take on climate change:

    The Holocene is our earth coming out of an ice age. The question is can we really tell whether the Anthropocene age is large and long enough to put us back into an ice age?

    But: should we not be concentrating on expanding our journey out to somewhere ‘where no-one has gone before’, rather than trying to decrease our population through sanctioned killing on the battle field or legislated killing with inadequate medical services for women and children?

  4. ian cormac says:

    maybe nuclear war, is the solution to global warming, lets test this notion the Soviets sold Carl Sagan in the 70s, with conflicts across both oceans,

    good grief the ipcc is the greatest group of scam artists since spectre, with larry fink’s black rock as their orchestra they may succeed in plunging us into a dark age, look at sri lanka as a test case,

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