If It Feels Like July in April, Does that Prove Global Warming?


We dare not adopt the global-warming deniers' approach to make our case for climate change – weather is not climate and what happens in the U.S. isn't all there is to the world, Parham writes.
The Weather Channel reported that during the first week of April more than 1,800 daily record highs in the United States were tied or broken.

 

The article was an update from an earlier piece titled "July or April? Spring Skipped?"

 

The Weather Channel's senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman had written, "I had to check my calendar when I looked at the weather the past few days in the eastern half of the nation. Indeed, it claimed it was early April, but the pattern suggested mid-summer!"

 

He wrote that the "temperatures had soared into the 80s and, yes, 90s in many locations, shattering daily record highs. In fact, according to the National Climatic Data Center, in the seven-day period from March 29 through April 4, over 1,100 daily record highs were either tied or broken in the nation!"

 

Then, Erdman updated his article bumping up the number of daily records to over 1,800.

 

Other media outlets also covered the soaring temperatures:

 

  • Associated Press reported that the temperature at Dulles International Airport, outside of the nation's capital, was 93 degrees on April 6, soaring 7 degrees above the previous high five years ago.
  • Another Associated Press news story cited the National Weather Service as reporting that Boston's Logan International Airport hit 90 degrees, 4 degrees warmer than the 1991 record high.
  • The Tennessean noted that April 5 tied the hottest day on record for that day at 87 degrees, compared to the normal early April highs of 67 degrees.
  • WKTV, the NBC station in Utica, N.Y., reported a record high for April 3 of 84 degrees, breaking the record of 79 degrees set in 1981 and surpassing the average highs in central New York of 48 degrees.
  • The Beacon Journal, in Akron, Ohio, reported that on April 2 a record high of 82 degrees was reached, 2 degrees higher than in 1963.
  • The Roanoke Times said that the temperature of 87 degrees on April 2 was "the hottest it's ever been in the month of April dating back to 1952 when official weather records begin."

 

It was so hot in some parts of the nation that folk were telling "hot" jokes: "It's so hot that farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs." Or "It's so hot that the birds had to pick up worms with potholders."

 

But seriously, one can't make the case for global warming based on the large number of weather reports about record-breaking high temperatures in the United States.

 

To do so would be a mirror in reverse of what the global warming denial network, Fox News, did earlier this year when the nation experienced record snowstorms.

 

Remember how Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Neil Cavuto and others mocked Al Gore? Remember how Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich ridiculed the idea of global warming? Recall how a Southern Baptist Convention leader has claimed global cooling?


Now with record-smashing temperatures, these science-deniers are rather silent. Recent weather conditions contradict their ideology.

 

We dare not adopt their approach to make our case for climate changeweather is not climate and what happens in the U.S. isn't all there is to the world.

 

An EthicsDaily.com editorial pointed out in February the difference between weather and climate, quoting from a statement on the NASA Web site: "The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere 'behaves' over relatively long periods of time."

 

NASA said, "In most places, weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day and season-to-season. Climate, however, is the average of weather over time and space. An easy way to remember the difference is that climate is what you expect, like a very hot summer, and weather is what you get, like a hot day with pop-up thunderstorms."

 

Moreover, the editorial argued what Americans were experiencing in January and February was taking place in only 1.5 percent of the Earth's surface and was not reflective of conditions for the remainder of the 98.5 percent of the surface.

 

Those of us who recognize the reality of climate change need be careful that we don't use one week in late March and early April in a tiny fraction of the globe (the U.S.) as proof for global warming.

 

The scientific community says climate change is real. Scientists make the case that the massive shifts in conditions from record-setting snowstorms to record-setting heat waves, from massive floods to horrific storms, are the results of climate change.

 

One such climatologist, James Hansen, who directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is adjunct professor of Earth Sciences at Columbia University's Earth Institute, said last week that climate change is the "predominate moral issue of the 21st century."

 

He said it was "comparable to Nazism faced by Churchill in the 20th century and slavery faced by Lincoln in the 19th century."

 

Regrettably, too many white Baptists of the South and other conservative Protestants were as slow to see slavery and Nazism as predominate moral issues as they are to see climate change as such.

 

Why it is that those who claim the Bible are so accepting of the social status quo and so slow to address the most pressing moral issue of their day?

 

The biblical imperative is clear about caring for creation. The scientific evidence is clear about climate change. Yet too many of our faith leaders give an "uncertain sound."

 

Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.

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Tags: Climate Change, Global Warming, Robert Parham


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