Rise in temps a sign that global warming continues
Global warming is often treated as a “fact or fiction” piece of conversation, but it's hard to ignore new data released this week.
According to the Associated Press, the United States set a new heat record with an average annual temperature of 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit – a full degree higher than the previous record, which was set in 1998.
Scientists note that the new record is unprecedented – normally, when the record is broken, it's by a tenth of a degree, not a full one.
Globally, the article notes, the world as a whole fared a little better, although the complete data isn't out yet. The first 11 months of 2012 were tracking to be the eighth warmest year on record.
The question is, what does it mean? The article notes that 2012 had the second-most high-damage events caused by weather in the United States, which included 11 different natural disasters. The total cost? Over $1 billion.
Scientists say the 1-degree bump in temperature was caused by a one-two environmental punch: global warming and natural variations in weather patterns, such as La Nina.
The new year hasn't gotten off to a better start. It's so hot in Australia right now that the country's bureau of meteorology had to add a new color to its heat index – purple – to denote the temperature after it hit 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit. The previous record high was 123 degrees Fahrenheit, which was recorded in 1960.
The rise in the average annual temperature should serve as a wake-up call to those who doubt global warming, which is caused by burning fossil fuels. But a variety of steps can be taken to slow – and eventually reverse – the process. And Yuma County is becoming a leader in one such arena.
Solar power, a field in which Yuma County has seen great growth over the past few years, is one way to cut the nation's reliance on fossil-fuel-generated power.
In fact, Yuma County is home to the Agua Caliente Solar Generation Station near Dateland, which, when completed, is expected to be the world's largest photovoltaic solar power station. And, the Bureau of Land Management is considering approving another solar site near Agua Caliente.
In addition, the proposed wind tunnel in San Luis, if it comes to fruition, is another way to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.
It's terrific to see Yuma County industries taking a proactive step in helping to reverse the global warming trend.