Here’s why – What’s going on with the weather?More extremely hot summer days are projected for every part of the country. While the data show indisputable warming over the past several decades, cooler-than-average temperatures across the Midwest and Northeast this summer 2009 make it is easy to lose sight of this long-term trend. According to the most recent science on heat waves, this respite is temporary. Think there’s no such thing as climate change? We’re afraid that’s just a dream. And alas, it’s time to wake up.
Subtle connections between the 11-year solar cycle, the stratosphere, and the tropical Pacific Ocean work in sync to generate periodic weather patterns that affect much of the globe. Scientists are studying these connections in order to get an edge on eventually predicting the intensity of certain climate phenomena, such as the Indian monsoon and tropical Pacific rainfall, years in advance. One of the mysteries of weather prediction is this: If the total energy that reaches earth from the Sun varies by only 0.1% across the approximately 11-year solar cycle, how can such a small variation drive major changes in weather patterns on Earth?The answer has to do with the fact that chemicals in the stratosphere and sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean respond during solar maximum in a way that amplifies the Sun’s influence. This can intensify winds and rainfall and ultimately influence global weather.
During the Cold War, a group of doctors called Physicians for Social Responsibility worked to reduce the possibility of nuclear war. The fact that they are now concentrating on global warming reveals how serious this situation really is. Dr. Peter Wilk says, “Global warming is one of the gravest health emergencies facing humanity. It’s life-threatening and it’s affecting us now. The science confirms that the frequency and duration of heat waves has increased significantly over the last 50 years. In the United States, heat waves already kill more people during a typical year than floods, tornadoes and earthquakes combined. Given these worsening trends, taking decisive action to stop global warming becomes a medical necessity.”
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