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Climate Change in the Arctic & around the globe

Heading for 2009 – one of the warmest years ever?

British climate scientists are predicting 2009 will be one of the five warmest years on record. Exactly what that means is a complicated business and, of course, all part of some longer-term calculations. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s a worrying forecast and the climate data available does not make me optimistic at the end of this 2008.
Reuters summary of the forecast

In the part of Germany where I live, it has actually turned very cold over the past few days, with temperatures down to minus 10C at night. Where does that leave us with global warming, asks Christopher B. in his comment. Indeed I have heard some sceptical neighbours say “so much for global warming”. The trouble is we would like to be able to understand everything instantly and draw immediate conclusions from what we experience. And with global climate patterns, that is just not possible and we need a really long-term view. Yes, it can be colder locally and still getting warmer overall. And as a planet, we are not doing anything like enough to avert potentially catastrophic warming.
Yesterday, I was talking to a friend on a winter hike in the “Eifel” region, about a prediction on the radio the other day that the Arctic was melting much faster than expected, and a reminder that if the Greenland ice sheet melts, sea levels will rise by up to 7 metres. (I’d like to give you a link to the report we heard, but am having trouble locating it on the websites where I’d expect to find it. Strange how some worrying reports just come on a couple of time then seem to disappear.)
Anyway, I was surprised when “Siggi”, who is normally quite critical of industry, said at least the German car-makers were putting an effort into developing smaller cars that use less fuel. Now this is not what German cars are generally known for, and it seems to me they have a long way to go. But compared to the US car market, we are exemplary, Siggi pointed out. Well, everything is relative. Normally, I am more inclined to the glass being “half-full” than “half-empty” approach.
But just because another country, continent, region, sector, is even worse than we are – that doesn’t make us good. Does it?


December 31, 2008 | 2:06 pm