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Climate Change

The fact that the climate is changing is difficult to deny.  If you look at the increased frequency droughts occur here in the west.  Or the increased frequency of high strength hurricanes.  Or the melting of the glaciers worldwide.  These are all signs of climate change.

The question, in part, is whether it is caused by man or not.  There is no doubt that climate change can be a natural phenomenon.  The Scandinavian countries experienced a mini-ice age in the 12th century that lasted for centuries.  Man did not cause this to happen.

Indeed, researchers have proven through various research methods, such as examination of tree rings that go back millennia, that there has been a gradual, natural warming trend that goes back towards the last ice age.  Historically these trends tend to last thousands of centuries, followed by some catastrophic event that can cause an ice age to occur.  Animals adapted to this change by moving northward.

However, this research also shows that the rate of change in this warming trend increases as we learn to produce more carbon dioxide.  It is not so much that man has caused global climate change as it is that man is causing climate change to occur much more quickly.

The climate also has multiple "stable" states.  The glaciers melting means that less sunlight in reflected leading to further increases in temperature and faster glacier melting.  There is carbon dioxide stored in the frozen tundra in the north.  If that tundra defrosts, the carbon dioxide will begin to be released back into the air;  Increasing the greenhouse effect.  At that point, even if we stopped producing carbon dioxide, the climate would not return to what we consider "normal" for an extremely long time.

Obviously, it is my belief the climate change is at least partially man-made.

However, in many respects it does not matter if the cause is man or not.  The fact that the climate is changing is something we must recognize and learn to either reverse or learn to live with. We could move north, but in general I doubt we would want to.  But (and this is not likely to happen soon), if Antarctica's glaciers all melted, sea level would rise a bit and remove some coastal communities.  For that people would move.

Eventually, some agriculture might move to north of Sacramento instead of the southern part of the central valley.  The farmers would find the north is more profitable.

Of course, the Earth does not care.  It will go on.  It is the people that are inconvenienced.

The federal government can provide resources to slow the impact on people.

Certainly we can reduce our fossil fuel use to decrease carbon dioxide emissions, however, currently the US only produces 37% of the carbon dioxide emitted.  While our efforts might help, it is limited without similar steps being taken worldwide.  This step might slow the climate change, but it really only helps if an international effort is coordinated.  Fortunately international conferences has helped.  There are many nations that are doing more than we are to reduce the carbon footprint.

None-the-less there are many steps we can take to reduce our carbon footprint further.  In the long run will even be economically beneficial to do so.  Each method will need to be balanced against the effects of climate change.  But unless we take make sure each country does it part of the job, there is a limit to what we will accomplish. 

If the above steps fails to slow climate change enough, than we must adapt.  Lately there has been considerable concern that climate change is responsible for our recent local drought.  Below are graphs of annual rainfall around the district using a 22 year moving average (to match the sunspot cycle) to reduce the year to year noise that might mask the trend.

Graphs to be Inserted Shortly