Governor Kim Reynolds proclaimed counties in Iowa to be a disaster because of severe weather. It is time to act on climate.
Tornadoes tore through Marshalltown, Pella and Bondurant last Thursday as I got off work at the home, farm and auto supply store. It doesn’t appear anyone was seriously injured or died, although damage to the communities was substantial. Photos and video posted on social media depicted a horrible scene.
Are these storms due to climate change? We know Governor Kim Reynolds issued 11 disaster proclamations since June 11 for severe weather, heavy rains, storms, tornadoes and flooding. Something is different about our weather. Even a casual observer understands our climate changed and contributed to these extreme weather events.
Additionally, the seasons have been out of wack this year. A late spring, early high ambient temperatures, and more frequent storms make our weather exceedingly weird. Iowans have noticed and are talking about it. It’s not a random occurrence.
Ben Santer, an atmospheric scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, led a study of four decades of climate data that concluded human activity is disrupting our seasonal balance. That is, the seasons don’t proceed through time the way they did. Eric Roston at Bloomberg wrote a more accessible article about the study here.
“Poring over four decades of satellite data, climate scientists have concluded for the first time that humans are pushing seasonal temperatures out of balance — shifting what one researcher called the very ‘march of the seasons themselves,’” Roston wrote. “Ever-mindful of calculable uncertainty and climate deniers, the authors give ‘odds of roughly 5 in 1 million’ of these changes occurring naturally, without human influence.”
While an individual study is one thing, the science of climate change is clear. I wrote about it in 2014:
People seeking scientific proof of anthropogenic global climate change are barking up the wrong tree. The goal of science is not to prove, but to explain aspects of the natural world. Following is a brief explanation of climate change.
Around 1850, physicist John Tyndall discovered that carbon dioxide traps heat in our atmosphere, producing the greenhouse effect, which enables all of creation as we know it to live on Earth.
Carbon dioxide increased as a percentage of our atmosphere since Tyndall’s time at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. As a result, Earth’s average temperature increased by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
The disturbance of the global carbon cycle and related increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere is identifiably anthropogenic because of the isotope signature of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
We can also observe the effects of global warming in worldwide glacier retreat, declining Arctic ice sheets, sea level rise, warming oceans, ocean acidification, and increased intensity of weather events.
It is no wonder the vast majority of climate scientists and all of the national academies of science in the world agree climate change is real, it is happening now, it’s caused by humans, and is cause for immediate action before it is too late.
To learn more about what you can do to help solve the climate crisis, go to The Climate Reality Project.