I was talking with a friend today and she asked me to write this. I was explaining to her how climate change was working, and how it created the very warm March we are now experiencing.
The weather we see daily is influenced by many things. The atmosphere of the planet has many different things happening, some of which people have given names to. El Nino/La Nina, the Arctic Oscillation, and who knows how many other fluctuations that occur in semi regular ways. These things are constantly interacting. Some years they cancel each other out, some years they reinforce each other. Every so often all the cycles line up and create an extreme year.
If the system was non directional, if the climate was stable, wet and dry years, hot and cold years would balance each other out. But in a situation in which the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has gone from 280 parts per million to 392 parts per million in approximately 250 years, with the lion’s share taking place int he last 50 years, and the rate of greenhouse gas emissions polluting the atmosphere continuing to increase, we see a different phenomena.
Just like in the past the various atmospheric systems interact and counter balance or amplify each other depending upon year, with occasional years of a lining up of the various systems so that we get some sort of record year. But the atmosphere is getting warmer due to the retention of greenhouse gases, which work by blocking more and more of the suns rays striking the earth from bouncing back into space, thereby trapping the extra energy and heat.
Now when we get forces lined up, every so often, there is a spike in high temperatures, or a series of exceptionally large storms. Then we go back to a normal distribution of the weather except each cycle of records is followed by a “normal period” that was warmer and more unstable than the last.