Warming clarifications gladly offered

By Jack Scheff

In her Feb. 8 letter “Clarification on global warming, please,” Ari Sahagun raised some excellent questions about why global warming amounts to a crisis. I offer two often-missed scientific points to help answer them.

The first is that today, global warming has just started to inch forward, and during the next century it will go much farther even if we do manage to end our CO2 inputs. In other words: we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This explains why we are still walking to class in single-digit cold in February 2007. I will be surprised if the UI class of, say, 2070 ever suffers the same fate.

The second point is that it’s not the warming itself that concerns scholars- it’s the much more drastic changes in weather and ecology that warming will cause. For example, the dry western U.S. is dependent on water from rivers fed by snowmelt in the mountains. So if snow stops dependably falling out there, the region will face extreme water shortages, a much scarier prospect than mere palm trees on the Quad.

Jack Scheff

junior in LAS

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