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Surface Temperatures Over Land Masses Showed Second-Warmest October Ever Recorded

Posted Dec 10 2008 9:12pm

Since the very beginning of this blog in the summer of 2007, I have warned about rising temperatures. Given that my corner of this blog community is labeled Keyboard Culture Global Warming, this should come as little surprise. At the risk of tooting my own horn, it likewise should come as little surprise that my prognostications and warnings continue to point to a steady flow of bad news.

A few weeks ago, we received the latest round. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, has determined that surface temperatures over land during the month of October were the second-warmest ever. Yes, this is more bad news.

It begs two questions:

1) What are the short-term ramifications?

and

2) What can this alarming statistic teach us about the planet’s reaction to our continued and accelerating emission of greenhouse gases?

I’ll answer in reverse order.

The atmosphere of the Earth is self-regulating. If it weren’t, the constant assault of solar radiation and assorted other galactic pollutants would cook us. The planetary regulatory mechanism relies on various components, including the ozone layer, the oxygen-producing qualities of the oceans, the oxygen-producing qualities of forests and prairies and the carbon-sequestering qualities of plants.

Human behavior since the Industrial Revolution has thrown a monkey wrench into that mechanism. Now, we have stripped the gears and the only way of repairing the damage is to rebuild the machine. Until we do, the atmosphere will behave as if it has several screws loose and stripped gears.

As for the short-term ramifications, the effect of atmospheric stripped gears will be further volatility in the weather. The most obvious manifestations will be sudden, unseasonable storms, bringing flooding, hail, hurricanes and other such phenomena.

How should you respond? Well, I keep pounding on the theme of buying carbon offsets. In my next post, I will begin a series on various offerings to help you purchase carbon offsets from CarbonFund.org and protect areas which are vital to the self-regulating mechanism of our atmosphere with the Wild Places program from the Sierra Club.

Fomenting the Triple Bottom Line

Corbett Kroehler

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