The warmest winter on record" sounds very alarming -- until you realize that we've only been keeping
records for less than 150 years. On a global climatic scale, that's nothing
This is a line that is often used when talking about current global warming trends. Also, people often bring in the fact that global temperatures di flucuate significantly during geologic times, remember the Ice Ages?
Anyway, regardless of this, there is an important question that we should be asking. Not whether this warming is dwarfed by Earth's history of chaotic weather patterns, but to what degree have we, as humans, played in this current alteration of weather patterns?.
That bold question is the important question, if it turns out that we have altered mother nature, it seems to me to be far worse than if Earth took a climactic turn of it's own accord. I'm not an avid environmentalist, but I do believe somewhat in the chaos theory of moths possibly producing hurricanes. The facts are that we are damming up rivers, which can greatly affect the hydrodynamics of certain areas. While seemingly not great, these might add up over time. Same with CO2 levels from engines. I'm not saying how significantly we have changed things, but we have to consider if we have.
It's a difficult question to ask, primarily because weather is such an insanely chaotic system. But it's very important, IMHO, to know how we have been affecting the planet. Take Europe, for instance. European countries are significant warmer than American/Canadian locals at the same latitude, specifically due to the northeastern ocean currents bringing warmer waters to the European coasts. It might be possible to alter enough of Earth to change these currents, which would drastically affect Europe's climate. This is an example, and I'm in no way of saying how probably or possible it might be, but it is something to consider. Is this a common concept amongst Europeans? There are probably many many similar examples of interdependence.
Anyway, my main point is just because climate scales on Earth have changed alot, that fact in itself doesn't dismiss the current climate trends as irrevelent. Nor does it excuse humanity from having environmental awareness of the vastly inter-related chaotic system of global weather and ecology that we must be responsible for.
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