The spring of 2013 will be the coolest in 50 years in the British Isles. Two days ago, many parts of Upstate New York experienced a snowstorm, extremely rare for late May. At the same time, the Russian Arctic Station is being evacuated because the ice floe it is sited on has started melting much earlier than expected. So what’s happening? Why are the mid-latitudes unseasonably cold when the arctic is warm?
It is an odd and chilling feeling to see Hurricane Sandy called a superstorm. It’s going to go down in history as Superstorm Sandy.
I didn’t coin the word ‘superstorm’ but the Coming Global Superstorm, certainly brought it into the language. And the movie based on it, the Day After Tomorrow, fixed the idea of such storms in the public imagination.
The news media has been calling Hurricane Sandy a ‘superstorm.’ It is not that, not yet. It is not as intense as storms that will form later in the process of climate change. We have already passed the point of no return on this issue. It is going to happen. In part, this is because the interglacial during which human population has expanded to cover the earth is ending, and in part it is because mankind does not have planetary institutions that are sufficiently robust to enable widespread agreement about this issue. So the developed country most able to reduce its CO2 emissions, the United States, has remained divided.
Sauropod dinosaurs could have produced enough of the greenhouse gas methane to warm the climate 150 million years ago, at a time when the earth was warm and wet. Does this mean, now that humans rule the planet, we should avoid eating beans?