Oklahoma City water rates could go up and the upcoming boating season at Lake Hefner could be cancelled because of a devastating drought here and in many portions of the country’s Southwest and Midwest.
Meanwhile, what some meteorologists are calling a “historic” blizzard, named Nemo, is bearing down on New England today and could dump as much as two feet of snow near the coastline. New York could be hit hard as well.
What’s a possible connection between the two? Global warming, or specifically, manmade carbon emissions that lead to global warming.
In Oklahoma City’s case, the continued warm temperatures and lingering drought—attributable to ongoing climate change—have led to dwindling water supplies. Lake Hefner is a water supply lake for the city and recently had to be partially replenished from an outside source. Recreational boats docked there are sitting on a dry lake bed because of low water levels. City officials are apparently considering cancelling the upcoming boating season altogether for the first time. Water rates could go up, too.
In New England’s case, “unusually warm sea-surface temperatures”, which are probably caused by global warming could churn up the storm energy that could result in a historic. highly damaging storm.
The global warming deniers, like Oklahoma’s own U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, will flat out dismiss any consideration of manmade global warming and will no doubt, gleefully and with oblivious smirks, point out what they will see as the false equivalency between a drought and a snowstorm, but that doesn’t make it less true.
Climatologists have long predicted that global warming will lead to the type of severe weather events that combined together in short periods of time will lead to worldwide economic devastation, including food and water shortages. Don’t forget the East Coast is still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Sandy, which has cost up to now about $50 billion. Sandy’s strength has been attributed to high sea levels, a result of global warming. Last year was also the warmest on record for the continental United States.
The point is global warming has become increasingly unsustainable and is currently the world’s most serious problem.
But don’t count on our local weather forecasters to say much on the issue, as I’ve written about before. A recent study showed many of these hype-casters don’t even believe global warming exists. In an article published on Salon.com, David Sirota writes:
. . . when it comes to weather forecasters, a recent Rolling Stone magazine assessment of the local news scene found that “there’s a shockingly high chance that your friendly TV weatherman is a full-blown climate denier.” The report cited a 2010 survey finding that in the vast wasteland of Ron Burgundys, only half of all local weather forecasters believe climate change is even happening, and fewer than a third acknowledge the scientific evidence proving that it is “caused mostly by human activities.” Not surprisingly, their forecasts often omit any discussion of climate change’s effect on the weather systems, thus forfeiting a chance to properly contextualize severe weather events.
Fortunately, most people are becoming aware of global warming, according to Sirota, but it’s probably going to take more local coverage of climate change as it manifests itself to make it even a part of a national discussion. That’s bad news about bad news.
The main culprit of global warming remains manmade carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. These emissions enhance the greenhouse effect in which gases, such as carbon dioxide, collect near the earth’s surface because they can’t be absorbed naturally by the environment. Consequently, these trapped gasses warm the planet, changing the climate.
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