13 January 2011

You're Getting Warmer

Yesterday, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies released data showing that 2010 tied 2005 for the hottest recorded year with regard to worldwide surface temperature. What is more, with last year now in the books, six of the seven hottest years on record occurred between 2002-2010 (see the story from Environment News Service).

So if winter has you bundled up with your head down against a biting wind, chances are you'll be warming up soon. (Most of the planet is.)

I think one of the challenges presented by the issue of global warming is that it requires us to move back and forth between a large scope and a small scope so often. First, as NASA's information shows, we've got to look beyond our particular place and time and contemplate complex global trends over hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Then, once we see the warming patterns, we need to look inward and investigate our own contribution to them. Finally, we've got to figure out the dynamic relationship between our own little place in the world and the workings of the planet. All these things must come together before we can address the issue.

Without doubt, taking on global warming is hard work, but we can move a little closer to meeting that challenge by getting used to these various levels on which the issue operates; so take a look at the article in the link above. It contains a great map that lets you see different climate patterns in relation to each other.

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