Congress debates it. Nations argue about how to address it. But its existence is “unmistakable” according to the 2009 State of the Climate report released Wednesday.
Global warming is happening.
State of the Climate, which drew on work by 300 scientists in 160 research groups in 48 countries, confirms that the past decade of 2000-2009 was the warmest on record, and that Earth has been growing warmer over the past 50 years.
The research groups looked at 10 indicators, and confirmed that seven are going up, making the world slightly, but significantly warmer.
Talk about insult after injury. This year, the U.S. can expect a more active hurricane season, in which drifting oil and highs winds could conspire to slap the Gulf of Mexico coast with black storm waves, smearing the spilled BP oil far inland and complicating hurricane clean ups.
It could “blanket all of south Louisiana, not only killing the marsh, but contaminating where we sit right now, the football field, the high school, so it wouldn’t just be a cleanup from water. … I don’t know if we’d ever clean it up,” Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser told CNN.
By Barbara Kessler
Hurricane Ike, which knocked Galveston and Houston with a right hook reminiscent of Katrina, again raises the question of whether global warming is fostering monster storms.
It has become almost ipso facto among many climate change scientists and activists that global warming is a key culprit behind worsening hurricanes. They point out that tropical storms feed on warmer water, and warmer sea waters are a given these days, whether you believe that the sea change is caused by Mother Nature, greenhouse gases or little green men in space.
But weather forecasters and meteorologists take a more measured view of hurricanes. Trained to distinguish between causes and consider time lines and probabilities, they do not use “weather” and “climate change” interchangeably. Weather is a sudden occurrence – albeit with a hurricane it can malinger and loom with maddening deliberateness – whereas climate change is a gradual thing, building over many years.
So to the weather experts, the shorthand formula is not as simple as Storms + Warmer Waters = Worse Storms.