International Polar Bear Day – February 27

The winter of 2019 has broken all sorts of records – record snow here in the Pacific Northwest, record cold temperatures in the Midwest, the “Polar Vortex.”   This inevitably leads to arguments by some, who don’t understand the science, that there is no such thing as “global warming.”  They believe it’s a hoax, after all, how can there be “global warming” when we have record cold? Global Warming vs. Climate Change Some years ago, I had an opportunity to have a private discussion with the president of one of the leading environmental organizations in the US. I believed (and still do,) that we are doing an injustice if we refer to this as global warming. It only leads to those who reject the science to use excuses when we have extreme cold weather events. He agreed with me. But proceeded to use the tern “global warming” during his presentation. Today, the term global warming continues to be used, even by scientists –the Union for Concerned Scientists have global warming as a heading on their website. So, What is Climate Change?   Green house gases in the atmosphere act like a blanket that keeps our planet warm. This protective blanket makes the planet inhabitable. But, due to the increased level of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere (due to the burning of fossil fuels and other factors, such as deforestation), we’ve added a second blanket of sorts, causing temperatures to rise. Warming leads to more warming. The scientific evidence is clear. Within the scientific community, there is no debate. An overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and that human activity is the primary cause. Global warming is already having significant and harmful effects on our communities, our health, and our climate. Sea level rise is accelerating. The number of large wildfires is growing. Dangerous heat waves are becoming more common. Extreme storm events are increasing in many areas. More severe droughts are occurring in others. If Dr. Steven C. Amstrup, chief scientist at Polar Bears International, had his way, every news report on the latest weather disaster would end with these words:  “Events like these will continue to increase in number and severity as the world continues to warm.” The Loss of Sea Ice Take a look at the video image (link) below. It is a fascinating illustration of the changes to Arctic sea ice between 1984 and 2016. The pulsing shows sea ice formation in winter and melting in summer.The younger sea ice, or first-year ice, is shown in a dark shade of blue while the ice that is four years old or older is shown as white. A bar graph displayed in the lower right corner quantifies the area in square kilometers covered by each age category of perennial sea ice. https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a004500/a004510/WeeklySeaIceAge_withSqKmGraph_p30_1080p30.mp4 The Loss of Sea Ice = Loss of

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