Global Warming Issues :)
It’s unfortunate that these days, “global warming” is such a dirty word; tis a fascinating topic and one we’ll be investigating a bit during our course (in Unit 3 when we talk about the rocky planets). Despite the fact we’ll be looking at this more later, I HAVE to post about two things that I found yesterday that remind me of global warming issues.
1. A Bad Astronomy blog post about new research about the cause of the Little Ice Age also linked to some new data put out by NASA stating the Sun cannot be the cause of global warming. This claim that the Sun’s natural increase in temperature over time (increase is true) is the cause of what we are calling “global warming” is one of the big drums that climate change deniers keep beating on. But it’s simply not true. We just go to the data (like the folks at NASA did in the above article). We’ll talk about it more in class.
2. One of my sisters is a landscape designer and she provided a link to the newly updated “Plant Hardiness” map published by the USDA. It shows that the hardiness zones (basically what kinds of plants you can put outdoors) are shifting northerly a bit.
However, they are careful to put this statement on their website:
“Climate changes are usually based on trends in overall average temperatures recorded over 50-100 years. Because the USDA PHZM represents 30-year averages of what are essentially extreme weather events (the coldest temperature of the year), changes in zones are not reliable evidence of whether there has been global warming.”
There are other factors in the shift, like better data (more coverage, more accurate) available now, but regardless, it seems mighty interesting to me :)