Climate Change

A letter (edited) to Senator Marco Rubio addressing Climate Change:

Hello Senator Rubio:

WeatherAg is a non-profit Weather Service dedicated to our nation’s agriculture, staffed by highly experienced meteorologists and a climatologist. We would like to address your recent statement made in reference to Climate Change. Our staff agrees that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and weather records only go back 100-150 years, giving us only a very small snapshot of data. It really wasn’t until the 1950′s when a better grasp of weather was attained, with the introduction of satellites, radar, and advancing weather equipment.

In 2013, WeatherAg published a report , “Is California Drying Up?”  Our Chief Meteorologist’s bottom line standing is that we don’t really don’t know the cause of Climate Change, but it is paramount for the world to accept it and become accountable towards the environment. The atmosphere changes second by second and we really can’t discern if climate change is something that regularly occurs every 100-200 years or if it is the first manifestation.  No two weather patterns are alike; it’s like a fingerprint.

Our staff are on both sides of the fence in regards to the recreating of past weather data.  No two weather patterns are alike.  Arguably, there is little accuracy to stand behind “modeling the past” from tree rings or ice samples, absent reliable weather data to support what was occurring at that time in history. True, tree rings and ice may show “something” occurred, but do we know exactly what?  Was it an anomaly?  Is it weather related? Even if it is weather related, again, we do not know if this is a normal pattern or not that repeats itself throughout our 4.5 billion year history.

However, our Climatologist makes some interesting and important points.  He emphasizes that we have to first recognize that science can never truly prove anything, only disprove, which can be just as beneficial.  Our Climatologist also directs attention to the anthropogenic evidence science has in support of identifying climate change.  He states: “Tree rings and other proxy data aside, climatologists have been able to, pretty accurately, recreate observed temperature conditions with our known climate forcings.  It was only until anthropogenic causes were added to the models that we can actually see the trend that has been observed over the past 50-100 years.”  He strongly believes that our current climate change is directly connected to man made actions, based on his research and studies.  The take home message here is “change towards more sustainable methods.  Science directs us to climate change being man induced.”

Something WeatherAg’s Chief Meteorologist finds concerning that’s not being addressed, from a meteorology standpoint, is the regular weather oscillation patterns such as the well known El Nino & La Nina. When these phenomena are active and aligned just right, extreme weather can occur. In 1996, an Alaskan Fisheries Scientist discovered the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in the North Pacific while studying salmon. Picture this as the El Nino / La Nina of the North Pacific, only lasting decades not months. This relatively recent discovery shows that we truly don’t understand everything about our earth’s weather patterns. We probably never will.

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation I just mentioned is in a negative phase and has been so since about 2000. It was in a positive phase prior (remember the strong 1998 El Nino?). Once the “PDO” switches to positive, about every 20-30 years on average, areas currently experiencing drought may go through a long period of no drought.

Note, however, that with any weather phenomena there are always times of anomalies that are incorrectly perceived as an interruption of the current trend.  Also note that there are much more other weather phenomena not mentioned here that interplay with extremes.

When the news media asks us about climate change, our bottom line is we really don’t know for sure what is causing it and whether or not it is a normal occurrence. However, as humans, we have the power to make positive changes to our environment.  We must become more responsible and accountable, irregardless of causation.

While the United States is a leader in environmental protection, on a planetary scale, our effect is extremely small. Countries like China, India, and the Philippines are significant contributors to environmental harm and whatever good the United States puts forth, such cannot currently balance the scale. That said, we have a duty to continue being a world model for environmentally sustainable methods in conjunction with balancing our own economic health.  The  worlds”polluters” need a reputable standard to look towards and ultimately implement.

Climate change is here, and although the causes are debatable, we can sit and argue or we can take action that improves our way of life and ensures environmental responsibility for generations to come.  Now is the time to take action and set all differences aside.

Scott Borgioli                                               
Chief Meteorologist                                      

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