Wednesday, January 6, 2010

defining the moment

In the midst of one of the coldest weather patterns in recent memory, and more snow in Kansas City than I've seen since I was a kid, it's so easy to pull out the old standby, "Gee, I thought we had to worry about global warming?" and the proverbial, "Where are all those greenhouse gasses when we need them?"

We say these things in jest, of course, just to comment on and cope with the extreme weather events. After all, we've got to have something clever to say at the cocktail party, right?

And while the slide toward chit-chat, banter and small talk is an easy ride, made easier by a vodka-tonic, we inevitably fail to grasp the moment to talk "big", smart, intelligently and god-forbid, proactively.

So next time you are tempted to dumb-down to the lowest common denominator in the room, here are a few REAL talking points which may (or may not) make a difference in someone's point of view. However, you will have at least PROACTIVELY made the attempt at disseminating usable information:

  • Global warming is typically referenced in the contemporary as the overall increase in the average temperature of Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation.
  • As one might expect, global temperature is subject to short-term fluctuations that overlay long term trends and can temporarily mask them. The relative stability in temperature from 1999 to 2009 is consistent with such an episode.
  • Climate change, on the other hand, is a change in the statistical distribution of weather and regional climate characteristics, including temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind, and severe weather events over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. It can be a change in the average weather or a change in the distribution of weather events around an average (for example, greater or fewer extreme weather events).
  • It is predicted that future climate changes will include further global warming (i.e., an upward trend in global mean temperature), sea level rise, and a probable increase in the frequency of some extreme weather events.

Remember, those who are flexible bend; those who are rigid break. Those who are smart know the difference.

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