Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tornadoes in February: Welcome to Your New Climate

Having grown up just down the street from Fenway Park as a diehard Boston Red Sox fan, The Green Miles can find a baseball metaphor for anything.

I compare the relationship between weather and climate to an individual baseball game and an the results of an entire season. If the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays, even though the Red Sox are far superior in talent this year, the Red Sox only have about a 60% chance of winning any given game. But I can tell you with a great degree of certainty that the Red Sox will finish ahead of the Rays in the final standings. (Yes, they're now just the Rays, as in rays of sunshine, instead of the Devil Rays. And you thought they couldn't be any less compelling. Wrong!)

That's why I usually don't make a big deal out of individual weather events. Just because I saw
Bob Zupcic hit a game-tying grand slam once didn't mean I wanted him to be our starting right fielder for a full season, and just because it's cold one day in June doesn't mean global warming isn't happening.

But I can't let today slide. February tornadoes in the south kill 48? Severe thunderstorm warnings in DC? New record highs before 11am?

I just got this email from our office's facilities staff:
Please note that due to today's unusually warm temperatures outside that it will become quite warm inside by this afternoon. During the winter season we do not have a/c and rely on the outside air to cool the building. Currently it is 70 degrees outside and we are limited to that for cooling. Storms are predicted for this afternoon which will raise the internal humidity and make it feel warmer.
Are we going to have to start leaving the air conditioning on in the winter time?

Yes, global warming threatens polar bears and glaciers. But it's also about a second winter in a row with hardly any snow here in DC. No matter where you are, your climate is changing.
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