January 18, 2012
Thirty years ago, on January 17, 1982, America experienced the famous “Cold Sunday,” when temperatures in various parts of the nation plummeted to astonishing record lows. A massive cold front blowing down from Canada caused International Falls, Minnesota to record -45 degrees Fahrenheit, while the lowest temperature in the United States that day was the -52 degrees near Tower, Minnesota.
Several parts of the nation suffered all-time lows for the lower 48 states, and indeed levels never reported outside of Siberia, northern Canada, or Antarctica. North central Florida’s 1982 citrus crop was written off as a disaster.
Manmade global warming had been a scientific theory since long before Cold Sunday. In fact, some scientists had been hypothesizing since the 1880s — a century before the 1982 event — that carbon emissions would gradually raise the temperature of the planet. The idea of a “greenhouse effect” supposedly caused by humanity burning fossil fuels leading to a rise in CO2 emissions was discarded by the 1940s, when the predicted rise in global temperature of one degree centigrade did not occur. Humans have been burning fossil fuels for thousands of years, although higher levels were not reached until the 19th century.
What has never been questioned in modern scientific history is that the planet’s climate is gradually changing all the time. Earth’s revolution around the sun and its rotation on its axis cause short-term, predictable climate change related to the planet’s position and movement in the solar system.
This article was posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 3:37 am