It's never easy talking about climate change. It wasn't easy when it first made its rounds back in the 1970s, again in the early 2000s, and certainly that holds true again for 2021.
As a meteorologist in front of the public eye, from even before my education started, I could tell you that the phrase "climate change" would bring out some of the best and worst of us. It's become a blatantly partisan issue over the decades -- a fact that some believe and some choose not to.
But, climate doesn't have to be a dirty word. The effects of climate change won't discriminate based upon political ideology, socioeconomic status or belief system.
It affects all of us.
When creating our Climate Smart series, I knew just throwing out statistics and fearful language wouldn't do us any favors. While scientists may have evidence of the potential gloom and doom pressing in on us in the next century, I knew it wouldn't help our entire audience, from a variety of different backgrounds, understand what we were creating for our viewers. It wouldn't serve you in the best way possible.
The FOX43 Weather Team knew we needed to take the time to educate and empower. Four stories, one for each member of the weather team, slowly guiding you through the science, the doubt and the proof of it all.
Back in May, I came upon a graphic that showed just how quickly carbon dioxide levels had increased not just steadily through the last century, but how drastically it had compared to 1,000-year averages. It told a much more enlightening (and frightening) tale of what we're still learning about each and every day.
I recall Dr. Benjamin Strauss, creator of the Carbon Skyscraper, said, "... there's this spike at the end. It's kind of unthinkable. Where is that going to lead us?"
Unthinkable because scientists conservatively estimate that we have yet to feel the effects of carbon outputs of the last half-century -- and what we've seen so far is already concerning. Pollen season is growing. The mosquito population is growing.
It is a fact that the average global temperature is rising. And while we cannot specifically say that climate change is causing the worsening wildfire crisis from Australia to California, or the advanced hurricane season of 2020, we can say that it creates an environment where those situations are possible, if not more likely.
And while this undoubtedly, and unfortunately, will continue to serve as a divisive topic, there are a few climate truths we all can come together on:
- The climate is changing.
- Weather does exist. Extreme weather has always, and will always happen.
- Variations in the sun, volcanic eruptions, and changes in the orbit of the Earth around the sun exert an external control on climate variability.
- There is an anthropogenic element to climate change.
- CO2 is the lifeblood of the planet, but at the same time, it is a greenhouse gas.
- Too much of a good thing, like CO2, can be bad.
So as we reflect upon the Climate Smart series and move forward, I hope that we've been able to ask a few fair questions, give a few fair answers and maybe even change a few minds in the process.
As always, you can email any member of the FOX43 Weather Team for more information on our weather and climate, as we aim to keep you both Weather and Climate Smart.
Until next time,
-Chief Meteorologist Bradon Long