What's with this crazy weather?

What's with this crazy weather?

We're used to extreme weather changes in NJ - it's part of what makes us the toughest (and dare we say best?) state. However, the increasing number of tornados, destructive floods, and record breaking high & low temps, have even the hardiest members of the Garden State wondering what's going on?

I love this graphic, but if we want a real answer here it is: 

It's climate change

Climate change caused by global warming. Yes, even when it's cold and snowing.

Not feeling this post after the stress of a two year pandemic? I get it, do what you gotta do, but it will be here if you want to come back to it. 

So, I mentioned that last year I participated in the Climate Reality Leadership training and these slides were part of a presentation on the basics of global warming and what we can do about it. It's a complicated topic, but I found this basic overview really easy to understand and explain. Especially to my boys, as we were hanging out near the basement door during those tornado warnings a few months ago.

Like this one explaining why our planet is warm enough for us to live.. yay, solar rays!

Only it's getting too toasty now. Our industrial revolution and lifestyle changes are messing with the system. Why is this happening?

 It's happening because we're pumping millions of tons of manmade pollution into the atmosphere every single day, and that pollution is building up and trapping heat. Warming the planet, just a little bit every year - and now we are at a tipping point.

Humans can be overachievers and we've unfortunately really excelled at creating new ways to pollute the planet. The main contributors to greenhouse gases are shown below: transportation, industrial agriculture, forest fires, etc. 

The main source and cause of the rising global temperatures we are seeing today though, is the burning of fossil fuels.

Now, let's get back to the weather. How does all of this contribute to the extreme weather we've been experiencing? 
As the suns rays are trapped by greenhouse gases, the oceans absorb that heat and ...warm. Warmer oceans mean more water evaporates into the air, which makes for stronger storms, with more precipitation.
Those stronger storms don't distribute precipitation as consistently, and as any distracted plant parent knows.... dryer soil has trouble absorbing deluges of water.
So, while we have more flooding in some areas, we also have more droughts and these conditions contribute to an increase in forest fires. Droughts, heat, increased lightening strikes - they exacerbate the number of fires and acres destroyed.


To recap this sort of depressing post ----> a warming planet means warmer oceans which leads to stronger and more unpredictable storms and weather patterns. This gives us tornados, floods, droughts, and forest fires.

I promised you in the previous post that there's good news coming, but first - we needed to understand why this is happening. With an overwhelming problem like climate change, it's easy to get distracted by the myriad of crises that come with it. The most important next step is simple - we need to burn less (and ultimately stop burning) fossil fuels. 

On the next post we'll go over how we as a society can do that, and why it will save the planet and your savings account. 

Thanks for hanging in! To get involved or just learn more, please visit The Climate Reality Project. 

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