Blog: Carlita the Croc

Gary Groundhog on Climate Change

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My name is Gary Groundhog and I am a weather know-it-all.  Punxsutawney Phil may give you a forecast on February 2nd, but I can give the full story.  My friend Carlita suggested I drop some knowledge today.

Do you remember when discussing the weather was a “safe” topic of conversation?  You could never go wrong with remarks like “Some weather we’re having” or “Looks like rain”.  These days, the weather has become a touchy subject.  Each year as the weather gets colder, people start to debate causes of climate change and how our weather is affected.
 
It seems to me that if folks want to discuss the weather, they should understand the basics.  Let’s start with the fact that weather is not the same thing as climate.  Weather is the daily variation in temperature, humidity, rainfall, and so on.  It’s what is actually going on outside your gopher hole.  Climate is the 30 year average of the weather. ).  It’s what you generally expect when you peek your head out of the burrow. The climate where you live is the regional climate. The global climate is the average of all regional climates in the world.  Once you understand the difference between weather vs. climate and regional vs. global, it all starts to make sense.  Just because it’s snowing at your house does not mean the earth is not warming. You’re looking at regional weather, not global climate.  If you look at an individual puzzle piece, you know it is just one part of the big picture.  Weather is just a puzzle piece and global climate is the completed picture. 
 
Our changing climate is fueling the weather.  Sometimes, the snow and cold at your house is an effect of climate change. We know that when large areas of the Arctic warm, there is a shift in sea-level air pressure.  This change will push the jet stream around and affect the weather thousands of miles away.  So, should you care that the poles are warming?  Yes!  Because cold air may be pushed far enough to settle over your house, bringing frigid temperatures and snow you weren’t expecting.  That is not fun for a groundhog like me, and I bet you don’t like it either. And if you think that the earth warming by 1 or 2 degrees is no big deal, think again! The truth is that small changes in temperature create big changes in the environment.

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Climate change may not cause all weather events, but may change the scale of an event.  If we are not able to mitigate climate change, we can expect more intense floods, droughts, hurricanes, and wildfires.  A flood or wildfire would wreak havoc in my burrow.  Could your home owners insurance handle it? And get your AC and furnace checked, because we will experience more heat waves and winter storms. 
 
The next time someone wants to discuss the weather, really discuss the weather!  Let people know that the weather where you live is greatly affected by our changing climate.  Part of that changing climate is global warming.  As you reach for your wool hat and mittens, it’s time to realize what global warming and climate change can do. Tell your friends you heard it straight from Gary Groundhog.  Who could argue with that?

Posted: 1/20/2017 2:20:13 PM by


Carlita the Croc

I'm Carlita the Croc, here to deliver my candid views on various topics, articles, news, and stories in conservation. For the latest news follow me on Twitter, for striking photos follow me on Instagram.

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