A WATERWORKS Column by Gordon Prickett
for the 12/4/2013 Aitkin Independent Age
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
We hear a lot about “global warming” or “climate change” in the news cycles of today. There are many places to get your updates on this topic: browsing new on-line media, watching the many kinds of TV, leafing through newspapers, magazines, and books. Not to mention radio, both public and commercial.
Some of the stories are alarming, like sea level rise and wildlife extinction. But how one responds depends a lot on who you believe and one’s attitude towards new information. Can I see and feel anything different going on? We live in the day-to-day weather.
This fall I am reporting ice-in on our lake as November 23rd. Ice-in is never as dramatic as ice-out in the spring, with its sudden break up and shattering of ice crystals. But going back 18 years it appears that this year is pretty-much normal. Our lake records for ice-out have been kept since 1976, and show a lot of variability. The two extreme dates occurred in consecutive years - March 22, 2012, and May 10, 2013.
Humankind certainly has had an impact on life in these parts in the past couple centuries, and I believe we are impacting the climate right now in the way we dig, drill, and consume energy fuels. We cannot change the way our forefathers clear cut the woods, plowed up the prairie, and killed off the native animals. We can however give serious thought to how we use modern discoveries of technology and science. Sensible limits to population, economic development, and comfortable lifestyles can go a long way towards a future our kids will want to inherit.