To the editor:
In the last several days of June as well as this week, temperatures have been up in the 90s, and it even stays hot all night. The last 10 years have been the warmest years on record all over the world, year-round. We have had 70 degrees in December and even January some years even in Fairfield. Last week the temperature hit 115 degrees in France, breaking all records and all of Europe was in an intense heat wave.
If you Google “Global Warming,” nearly all reports will state that human activity has been the biggest contributor to this trend of higher temperatures, melting glaciers and rising sea levels in the last many years.
All of these extreme warming trends were predicted in the 1970s and the research data in the following decades have not disputed that but substantiated it. Even the excessive rains occurring in Iowa this spring are an effect of Climate Change, as reported by a professor who spoke at the annual Iowa Farmer’s Union Conference; he said this trend of very wet springs and too much rain will continue and worsen as time goes on. And then on the west coast, there is excessive heat, and wildfires and drought much of the time.
Birds and animals can’t take refuge from the constant heat, so please leave out bowls of fresh water for them as the summer goes on.
Here is the basic science: some of the gases in the atmosphere trap the sun’s heat, collecting and absorbing sunlight, thus making the air warmer. This heating is called the greenhouse effect because the gasses trap heat like the glass in a greenhouse. Carbon dioxide has dramatically increased in the last 100 years due to people burning things like fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum, and CO2 is the primary gas that traps heat.
When I grew up we had a coal burning furnace but changed over to gas at some point. If you don’t believe that human activity is a major contributor to climate change, then picture this: England in the 1890s with all the black soot rising over their cities and factories, (and the same was true here). Think of all the smog over Los Angeles and New York City, etc. as well as all the millions of cars on the roads, in the past century.
Adding to that problem is the millions of acres of forests that have been cut in South America, and continue to be burned to provide more grazing land for cattle to feed on. Those fires as well as the California wildfires, give off CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, such as nitrous oxide, and destroys the homes of many animals and birds, leaving the soil bare. Whether it is melting ice caps or barren lands, sunlight is no longer reflected back but absorbed, and more heat and melting occurs.
At 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, there will be a slide-show presentation and talk about the Climate Crisis at the Fairfield Public Library. I am urging you to attend and learn something, and bring along a skeptic or someone who hasn’t fully understood what Climate Change is all about.
- Susan Chapin, Fairfield