Global Warming News



The New York Times reported yesterday (Oct 29) that a change in the jet stream may be responsible for the chaotic weather that mid-atlantic and northeast states have experienced in recent years. Scientists are now studying whether global warming caused the jet stream shift.

The jet stream, the current of air that runs west to east in our upper atmosphere, has shifted in recent years, scientists say. It now flows further south and east over the United States than ever before.

The shift has increased the severity and reduced the frequency of storms the northeast experiences. The blizzards of 1993 and 1996, the torrential rain storms earlier this year, and the massive "Halloween Northeaster" of 1991 may all have been at least in part related to this shift in the jet stream.

This is in keeping with the predictions scientists have made about the results of global warming. Dr. Tom Karl, Senior Scientist at the National Climate Data Center, has reported that the number of extreme weather events, rainstorms and blizzards that produce large amounts of precipitation (over 2 inches) in 24 hours, has increased dramatically in recent years. This research has led him to conclude that global warming has begun.

Even notable climate change skeptics are admitting the possibility of a human influence on the jet stream. In a major shift Dr. Robert E. Davis, a global warming dissenter at the University of Virginia, was quoted by the New York Times as saying "the bottom line is we just don't know" when asked whether or not global warming was behind the shift. In the past Dr. DAVIS HAS ARGUED THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS A MYTH AND THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE WORLD'S CLIMATE scientists are wrong in saying THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS OCCURING.


Last week (10/21-10/25) we reported on the impacts of global warming on migratory birds. As the climate changes droughts occur more frequently in areas such as the US Sourhwest. Also, red tides -- algal blooms -- are linked to warming waters. Today's Greenwire carries a story on the endangered whooping crane and how it will face some of those hazards during it's winter migration.

At a time when the crane's population is making a modest comeback, many could face starvation. The Aransas National Wildlife refuge in Texas, where 158 of the rare birds spent the winter of 1995, has suffered from a combination of drought and red tides that have drastically cut the available food supply. An extremely dry year has reduced the population of blue crabs, their favorite winter food source. A recent bloom of the algae that causes red tides may have contaminated many of the bird's other food sources, and could make many of the cranes sick. As the process of global warming continues, more and more of the world's wildlife could become extinct.

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