Sohn: Yes, Virginia, there is climate change

Sohn: Yes, Virginia, there is climate change

May 14th, 2018 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

NASA images acquired April 29, 2013 to April 29, 2018.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Let's talk about what the Trump administration and most Republican leaders call the climate change "hoax."

On the science side, Deborah Byrd, of EarthSky, reports that researchers have recorded soaring temperatures at the North Pole in recent days, rising unseasonably high to the melting point of ice (30 to 35 degrees) far earlier than normal.

The early temperature increase is a repeat from four of the past five winters, although such dramatic spikes at this time of year in the North Pole in previous decades were very rare.

Much of the Arctic is abnormally warm, and the regional average is the warmest on record for the time of year, dating back to at least 1958. It is about 18 degrees above the normal of 4 degrees.

Scientists say this warming could further hasten the melt of Arctic sea ice — which is already near record low levels.

The Norway Ice Service tweeted that sea ice area near Svalbard, the small island chain between Norway and the North Pole, fell by about 32,000 square miles to the second lowest area on record. That's about the size of South Carolina, according to the Washington Post.

Zachary Labe, a climate scientist at University of California in Irvine, told the Post that such a pulse of warm, moist air into the Arctic can "have a long-lasting fingerprint" that preconditions the ice to melt more rapidly throughout the summer.

Closer to home in America, the ice extent over the Chukchi Sea, just north of the Bering Sea abutting Alaska's northwest coast, is also already abnormally depleted. It began its melt season earlier than ever before measured.

Meanwhile, the California state Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday released a dire report on the local impacts of climate change. Average night temperatures have risen, spring runoff from the Sacramento River has decreased, more wildfires are blazing and glaciers are shrinking in the Sierra Nevadas.

On the same day, the California Energy Commission unanimously voted to approve measures requiring solar panels on all new homes, condos and multi-family buildings up to three stories high beginning in 2020.

Back in Washington, D.C., however, the Pentagon removed numerous climate change references from an Obama-era report about U.S. military installations, de-emphasizing the Department of Defense's focus on preparing for the effects of rising temperatures and sea levels.

Left out all together in the report's final version that was presented to Congress in January were maps detailing "those sites that indicated possible effects could occur due to increased mean sea level between 0-3 feet," according to the Washington Post. Other references to climate change were amended to "extreme weather" or "climate." Another passage describing how storms are "made more destructive by a reduction in sea ice and an increase in ice free periods" was also removed completely from the final document.

Come on, now. Who's promoting a hoax?

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