Treebeard's Homepage : Stumpers

Treebeard's Stumper
7 March 2003

Our Hot and Cold House

We set records for rain and drought in Santa Barbara in the last decade. There is growing scientific consensus that global warming is real, at least partly caused by the CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels like the gas in our cars. But how can this be when we still have such extreme blizzards (and drought) across the country? Maybe weather is random, like getting 8 heads in a row when flipping coins? My stumper is not to find the answer to global warming, but to pinpoint the question. Why is this topic still so controversial even among scientists?

Is this what global warming looks like? That's Mojo and my son Ry in the hot tub after we worked all afternoon to clear a path through the broken oak trees that blocked our road. (See my Storm Damage (26 March 1999) stumper.) Does it make sense that global warming would bring extreme weather like this foot of snow at our home in the Santa Barbara mountains in March, 1999? Then we had one of our driest springs ever in 2002. Is record breaking weather on the rise?

What's the connection between global warming and extreme weather? President Bush rejected the 1997 Kyoto Treaty intended to reduce CO2 emissions, and he's still hearing about it even from allies like British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Why is this topic still so controversial among scientists as well as politicians?

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Copyright © 2003 by Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org