Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The Guardian is distressed that the agreeable, pleasantly mild weather caused by global warming is undermining efforts to motivate ordinary people to address Climate Change.
A large majority of Americans have enjoyed more pleasant weather due to global warming over the past 40 years, research has found, but there is set to be an unpleasant sting in the tail as temperatures escalate further this century.
Vast areas of the contiguous US have warmed considerably during winters without becoming unbearably hot during the summers, making the climate generally more agreeable to the public. A new study has found that 80% of the American population lives in areas where the weather has become more “preferable” since 1974.
According to the analysis by Duke University and New York University, 99% of Americans live in places where the average January temperature has increased, with just 60% in locations where the July temperature has risen. Rainfall and humidity changes have also, largely, changed by a favorable degree for many Americans.
This shift to more temperate conditions means that “virtually all Americans are now experiencing the much milder winters that they typically prefer, and these mild winters have not been offset by markedly more uncomfortable summers or other negative changes,” the paper found.
The abstract of the study;
As climate change unfolds, weather systems in the United States have been shifting in patterns that vary across regions and seasons. Climate science research typically assesses these changes by examining individual weather indicators, such as temperature or precipitation, in isolation, and averaging their values across the spatial surface. As a result, little is known about population exposure to changes in weather and how people experience and evaluate these changes considered together. Here we show that in the United States from 1974 to 2013, the weather conditions experienced by the vast majority of the population improved. Using previous research on how weather affects local population growth to develop an index of people’s weather preferences, we find that 80% of Americans live in counties that are experiencing more pleasant weather than they did four decades ago. Virtually all Americans are now experiencing the much milder winters that they typically prefer, and these mild winters have not been offset by markedly more uncomfortable summers or other negative changes. Climate change models predict that this trend is temporary, however, because US summers will eventually warm more than winters. Under a scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions proceed at an unabated rate (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5), we estimate that 88% of the US public will experience weather at the end of the century that is less preferable than weather in the recent past. Our results have implications for the public’s understanding of the climate change problem, which is shaped in part by experiences with local weather. Whereas weather patterns in recent decades have served as a poor source of motivation for Americans to demand a policy response to climate change, public concern may rise once people’s everyday experiences of climate change effects start to become less pleasant.
Think about it – if this awful trend continues, one day parts of the Southern USA might enjoy the kind of climate you currently have to retire to the Caribbean to experience.
Let us all work together, to ensure that our children’s children are never forced to endure long idyllic Summers and mild winters.