With all the crazy weather currently being experienced across the United States, many conversations are turning to the topic of climate change.
While it’s been the focus of debate for years and politicized to death, there are climatologists who study the long-term changes of weather patterns across the world. One of those, Dr. Randall Cerveny who teaches at Arizona State University, said the U.S. is certainly experiencing odd weather.
“This is rare because it hasn’t happened for a while,” he told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Bruce St. James Show on Friday.
According to Cerveny, the frigid temperatures hovering over the Eastern seaboard used to be normal about 25 years ago. Is it a result of climate change? Possibly.
“With this system we’ve got right now, I think there’s a little bit of change associated with it,” he said. “If you think back to when you were a kid or to your parents or grandparents, these kinds of cold events that they have in the east happened a lot more frequently than they do now.”
However, Cerveny said it’s difficult to tell if the weather is a fluke or part of an actual trend in climate change. As a climatologist, he studies the long-term effects of weather. The big problem he and other scientists face is the human weather record.
“That’s part of the problem: Our weather records don’t go back that far,” he said, adding that the National Weather Service has only been around for about 150 years.
Another issue is the lack of weather monitoring stations around the planet. It’s basically like trying to put together a massive puzzle with some of the pieces missing.
While the East Coast digs out from yet another snowstorm, Phoenix is enjoying abnormally high temperatures. Friday is expected to tie the record 85 degrees set in 1957 and Saturday is expected to break the old record of 83 set in 1977. Cerveny said the high temperatures could be the result of climate change, but humans have an impact as well.
“Phoenix, as a city, gets hotter,” he said. “It’s because of what we do. We have asphalt, we have concrete that absorb heat, so the city is almost always about five to seven degrees warmer than it is out in the desert.”
Some climate change may feel a small impact from human life. Cerveny gave the example of Phoenix using the equivalent of 36 inches of rain per year, but not averaging anywhere near that. However, he said it’s impossible to say one thing causes another because “our climate system is, frankly, the most complex thing that we have studied.”
When all is said and done, the weather will be weather and climatologists like Cerveny will continue to study it. But with all the doubt in his field, he said there is one thing that is certain:
“We are living in a changing planet. That’s something that can’t be argued.
Our climate has changed in the past, it’s changing now and it will change in the future.”
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.