A blog about a first-time house owner learning to maintain his backyard, and thoughts about nature, science, history, and life.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2012 Warmest Year on Record

 Source: Northeast Regional Climate Center

The numbers for the year 2012 are in, and it's not pretty.  2012 has surpassed 1998 as the warmest year on record, by a full degree Fahrenheit, in the U.S.  To add insult to injury, 1998 was a notorious El Nino year, meaning that the Pacific was warmer than normal, while 2012 was not.  This makes the record all the more remarkable.  Here in the Northeast, temperatures ran about 3-4 degrees above normal, with isolated pockets that were even warmer...Burlington ended the year about 6 degrees above normal.  Closer to home, Syracuse, Scranton-Wilkes Barre, and Binghamton all experienced their warmest year on record.

What does this mean?  Well, it means that we can't ignore climate change any longer.  Most of the warmest years in the past century have occurred in the past 20 years.  The warming trend is undeniable, and the cause is also quite well understood: us.  Greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide and methane, mostly - are at their highest levels and milennia, and they limit the Earth's ability to cool itself by absorbing outgoing radiation.

What can we do about it?  Well, we can support alternative energy sources - solar and wind, among others - and we can pressure energy companies to do the same.  But the problem will not be solved without a scalable, cost-competitive replacement for fossil fuels.  Scientist Nikola Tesla, one of the most brilliant minds in all of history, invented a wireless power transmission tower - much like our modern-day cell phone towers, it transmitted energy through the air - but funding for the project was pulled by financier J.P. Morgan before the project was completed.  It just so happened that Morgan owned a monopoly on the copper used for electric, telegraph, and telephone wires.  The bad news is that still today, there are vested interests that prevent Tesla's technology, or an even more advanced version of it, from being implemented.  The good news, though, is that the technology has been in within our capability for over a century now.

After last year's record warmth, not only in the U.S., but across the globe, it is time to implement these free energy technologies.  Imagine the good it will do for those who currently live in poverty without electricity or running water!

Neat Video Showing Global Temperature Trends

NOAA Climate Watch Article

 CNN Article

Australia Article

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