Today was the warmest May 24 on record for Montreal. How many times in the past ten years have we had this discussion, that the record for warmest or coldest had just been broken? Dozens of times. We’re re-writing the history of weather on a monthly basis yet there are still some who believe there is no climate change occurring.
A small part of the problem lies with the terminology – “climate change” versus “global warming.” People get hung up on “global warming” and assume that if we get an unusually cold few days now and then it refutes the evidence. But those people aren’t too bright so perhaps we shouldn’t pay them any attention.
People who have both eyes open know that “climate change” is a better term. Even though the gross effect is that of warming (a degree or two, on average, over the whole world) the net effect in specific areas is variable. What we have is a great disturbance – or series of disturbances – in the regulatory system. The world’s thermostats are hosed, with a lot of imbalance as the result.
So next winter, when it dips down to -25° C on some random Thursday, don’t even bother with the “whatever happened to global warming?” joke. Chances are it’s -25° because of global warming (or more precisely, because of the disturbances in the planet’s self-regulation brought about by climate change).
Although there are still the nay-sayers, more and more people are accepting that climate change is a fact. The next big hurdle is convincing people that it is not just some big natural cycle, that it is brought about by human activity.
That “Climate Change 101” lecture is brought to you by Earth’s wacky and increasingly unpredictable climate. Although today was the warmest May 24 on record for Montreal, it snowed in Calgary today.
In the short term, I’m glad it wasn’t rainy or snowy here this week, as I’ve been riding my bicycle to work because of the transit strike. While I could have commuted within the “essential services” bus and Metro rush hour windows, I bristle at being herded.
So I took control of my destiny by mounting my bicycle for the 14 kilometer trek to downtown. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I’d expected it to be (it helps that I normally ride five kilometers a day to the nearest Metro station). Most of the ride is pretty flat, except for going over the 2.6 kilometer long Jacques Cartier Bridge with its long and seemingly endless ascents. That part can be tough. Especially when it’s only May 24 and you’re dragging your ass home at 6:15 PM in the blue haze of a humid 32° C (90°F) record-breaking day.