Climate Change

For those that were on the Island last year, the brutal memories of a frigid winter have thankfully remained just that. A memory. For newer Pelicans from the tropics, (Louisiana, Bangkok, Texas, etc.) there’s no reminiscence to compare this lite chill to. Just as the irregular weather has caused us to question mother nature, so too has it peaked the interest of scientists and meteorologists, who have seriously begun to investigate the 70 degree Christmas.

In 5th grade science, we learned about El Niño, a climatic catastrophe which delivers a significant warming to the Pacific Ocean every few years. But wait: if the Pacific Ocean is being warmed, how does that affect New England, where we are on the other side of the continental United States bordering the Atlantic? The answer to that questions lies not only in the fact that El Niño drives up temperatures around the globe but also in the fact that it forces the jet stream of strong, high winds farther to the north. Thus, the winds that would usually bring cold temperatures to New England are getting forced closer to the arctic region.

But is El Niño the only reason that the winter this year is exceptionally warm? Meteorologist Eric Holthaus thinks otherwise. In a report, he wrote that global climate change, although not fully responsible, has contributed at least in part. Although some disagree with the whole idea of man-made climate change, it seems that the scientific community has come to consensus on the fact that it is indeed very real and the problem is very existent. Countries came together in early December for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France. World leaders agreed upon a new roadmap to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to a shifting climate.

Surely, we have no way of foretelling the future. Last year, many came forward to say that climate change wasn’t real due to the extremely cold winter that New England faced. But this winter dozens of winter records were broken all across the Eastern United States, some records dating back to the 1800s. We don’t know if next year’s winter will be warm or cold, but it is evident that we must be wary of man-made global warming in the future and acknowledge how (and hopefully carry out) our everyday actions can impact the environment in either detrimental or beneficial ways.