It might be cold outside, but Earth is still getting warmer


Whenever we have a cold snap like the one our region experienced last week, it’s easy to scratch our heads wondering what all the fuss is about climate change anyway.

But weather and climate couldn’t be more different — Just because we might have cold days in winter, doesn’t mean the average temperature of our planet isn’t rising.

In 2017, we experienced our third warmest year in the 138 years we’ve tracked such statistics, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. We are more than a degree and a half above the 57.2 degrees we averaged in the 20th century, and that marks the 395th consecutive month with temperatures above the 1900s average.

While some, like our president, might want to call climate change a hoax, evidence of a warming planet is visible just about everywhere we look.

The oceans are warming. Ice sheets in both Greenland and the Antarctic are losing dozens of cubic miles of mass each year. Glaciers are retreating. Sea level has risen 16 inches in the last 20 years — double the rise of the last century.

Nope, this evidence isn’t the product of conspiracy theorists. Instead, it comes from a much more trusted source — NASA.

But what can we do about it? Quite a bit actually. Education always helps, especially in social media where comments and tweets might try to spin tales about what’s happening to our home on a planetary scale.

And writing to our government leaders, from our city councilman, to our mayor, to state lawmakers and the governor, right up through Congress and President Trump himself. We might not think expressing ourselves will do any good. But if voices get loud enough, even the leaders most deaf to our cries can’t help but hear it.

Cold weather or no cold weather, climate change is real. And it will take all of us to get our planet back on track.