When Weather Becomes More than Small Talk
Written by Johanna Flashman|
March 1, 2016
On Monday, the Virginian Pilot Online published an article called “Another month, another climate record” discussing a trend of increased global temperatures consistently breaking records over the past several months. The article gives an outline on how this past fall and winter we have seen the global temperatures breaking records across the board, with deviations from the average monthly climates to overall warmth of the planet regardless of the month. Anyone who has been in Williamsburg over the past couple of weeks cannot deny that the weather has been notably temperamental, and this article shows how it is not just a “classic Williamsburg” phenomenon; weather conditions have been going haywire everywhere.
Bringing this closer to home, we have also been breaking our own smaller-scale records. We have been seeing the effects right here on campus enjoying the sunshine and lack of snow, but we have to admit it is an abnormality. This year’s average high temperature for January in Williamsburg was 3.5 ºF higher than the recorded January average.
Similarly, February could likely be almost 4ºF higher than average. Although we can revel in the idea of a possible early spring, we should be looking at this and feeling more than a little disturbed. If this keeps happening each coming year (and predictions say it will), Williamsburg is definitely in for some pretty dramatic changes.
However, the weather we are seeing and its effect on Williamsburg are only a very small chunk of the big picture. One of the biggest issues, which the article briefly touches on, comes from melting Arctic sea ice. Along with playing a huge role in the ocean currents, sea ice holds a huge amount of the Earth’s water. When the ice melts, we get sea level rise and, as the article says, this area of Virginia will feel its full force.
At this point, I would be surprised if anyone from our generation denies the fact of global warming, but if you were looking for more solid proof — here it is. Something like this warm winter may at first seem like just an oddity, but it has very real causes, from warmer ocean temperatures to increased retention of heat in the atmosphere. These realities are also not going to change unless we start thinking about it and doing something. Like the Pilot said, this dramatic proof of global warming is a “missed warning” if we do not take action now to reduce climate change through legislative movements such as the Clean Power Plan or enacting carbon taxes.