Unless you’ve been curled up like Rip Van Winkle this last decade, you’ve heard the cacophony of voices clamoring about global warming. It’s hotter than ever! Global ice is melting, sea levels are rising! And today’s extreme weather is the first small glimpse of the chaos ahead! No, no, no! Don’t believe those self-serving scientists! It’s all a massive hoax! Actually, it’s been cooling recently!
Since most of us don’t do our own global climate monitoring, we have to believe someone. But whom?
Even for those of us who are inclined to trust the consistent findings of national and international scientific academies, the countervailing claims can give us pause. How can we be sure that the world is really warming, or that the trends are all that alarming?
Well, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has just helped us out in a big way. The WMO is the world’s most authoritative voice on the state and behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources. It’s been around for more than six decades, and has 191 member nations. And it’s just released a climatic review of the decade 2001-2010, and compared it to prior decades.
The report is chock full of fascinating and alarming findings about global heat, precipitation, ice cover trends, droughts and floods. But a single picture – actually, a single graph – tells you most of what you really need to know if you’re wondering how serious anthropogenic warming of the planet really is. Have a look:
The WMO has taken the planetary surface temperature records from all the most authoritative US and UK climate research institutions – including NASA and NOAA – and averaged them. Then, they’ve bunched them together by decades, to eliminate the inevitable ups and downs that happen from year to year. What emerges is a clear picture of what’s happening to our world – decade by decade. And when you consider the trajectory, it’s no wonder that scientists are so alarmed.
It’s why last week, more than 200 evangelical Christian scientists wrote to Congress with these words of warning: “Average global temperatures are at their highest level within the measurement record, and we are beginning to see indications of increasingly disturbed weather. For example, 2012 was the hottest year ever recorded for the contiguous United States, and it will go down as one of the most destructive and disruptive years in U.S. history: wildfires, drought, superstorms, and public health outbreaks.”
You’ve heard the words of warning, no doubt. Now you’ve seen the picture.
Thanks for reading, and may God bless you.