One of my correspondents recently told me she had seen Carolina Blue Birds and Golden Finches at her feeders much earlier (January) than she remembered ever before. A journal article a few days before that had reported migrating birds being spotted in Chicago (of all places) weeks earlier than normal. One can find (an easy Google search) reports of many other species including butterflies and reindeer migrating earlier and moving higher in mountains. There are also reports of tree lines on mountains rising to higher elevations. (Except, perhaps in Queensland, where abnormally high temperatures and drought are destroying the rainforests. Rainforests in Australia? Who’d a thunk it.)
Perhaps more important, The British Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), which monitors fish populations in the North Sea, reports that squid and other warm water fish (sardines and anchovies, e.g.) are flourishing in the once-cold waters of the North Sea. CEFAS also reports that cod, a common part of fish and chips, are migrating northward, toward Norway. It has been suggested that Britain’s signature dish may become squid and chips.
All of these migrations are evidence of global climate change. There can be no question that climate change is a fact. The only areas that can be open for discussion and questioning are (1) what will the future bring, and (2) what have humans done to cause this and what must we do to ameliorate it?
The unusual weather being experienced in the US and Europe is further evidence of climate change. The North American Continent is presently under the influence of a La Niña event, one aspect of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Georgia is experiencing an unusually warm and dry winter. Temperatures in the Atlanta area are predicted to break 70 degrees F, today, for example. *
Storms get their energy from heat, and Earth is warming. That's the simple explanation. True, but not complete. For example, the ENSO is driven by heat and has a tremendous effect on weather in North America. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) also called the “thermohaline circuit” and which includes the Gulf Stream, is a huge ocean current that is driven by differences in temperature between the Atlantic Equatorial Current and the waters of the North Atlantic, cooled by the Greenland and Labrador Currents. The AMOC has a lesser effect on our weather, but could have catastrophic effects on both North America and Europe if it ever failed.
A recent peer-reviewed prediction suggested that the AMOC could fail in 300 years. For a nation which seems to be unable to think beyon the next presidential election, that’s probably much too far away to even think about. Certainly none of this is important to Trump or Trump’s Chumps, to the point that they would endanger not only this country but the world in their pursuit of wealth and power.
* Temperature of a single day is an anecdote, and the plural of anecdote isn’t data (despite what too many politicians seem to believe, but that’s another subject).
References (Google anything else that you question.):
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.