Do You Believe It Yet?

We’re so lucky to have people like Rick Santorum to keep us informed about so many things. Otherwise we might believe that global warming was actually happening.

Ever hear of Tuvalu? It’s a tiny atoll island in the south Pacific. The population was 11,000—before. Unfortunately, most of the island is no more than a meter above sea level, and when high tide comes around they find it sloshing onto their roads, and squeezing up from the coral bedrock. Like this. But that was six years ago. It’s worse now. In fact, New Zealand has given citizenship to a number of Tuvaluans, who are tired of standing knee deep in their own yards.

These copyrighted photos and chart are reproduced with the kind permission of environmental photographer Gary Braasch. The one below, also from 2005, shows the edge of a rice field on a river in Bangladesh at low tide. Notice that high tide has eaten away the field where the rice is growing. Wonder what it looks like now, six years later.Bangladesh is much bigger than Tuvalu. There is a population of over 158 million people, 24 million of whom live in low lying areas. Over a million who lived on islands in the Bay of Bengal have found their fields and even their homes taken by rising waters, and moved to the mainland.

Yeah, but that’s off in some exotic place. There’s no evidence of it here in the US.

Take a close look at these two shots of Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, in Maryland. See the dead tree, in 2001? It’s surrounded by low land and vegetation. Nine years later, all of that is gone.

Oh, come on! What’s that got to do with us?

Well, OK. How about this picture of a home in the Florida Keys, taken last year. The sandy soil under the trees and grass is gone. Pretty soon the house will be too. Go away! This has nothing to do with me!

What will it take? Hundreds of tornadoes, violent hurricanes, deep snowstorms, flooding, crop failure, drought, record heat? Well, we’ve had all those already. NASA figures show that 2010 was the warmest year ever, tied with 2005. Here’s what the sea level has done so far. It’s up about 8 inches. See a trend here?

ScienceDaily (June 20, 2011) — The rate of sea level rise along the U.S. Atlantic coast is greater now than at any time in the past 2,000 years — and has shown a consistent link between changes in global mean surface temperature and sea level.

A study led by Mark Tedesco of City College of NY showed that the Greenland ice sheet is melting at an ever-increasing rate, with 2010 showing the most melting since records were kept. Summer temperatures were up to 5.4˚F warmer than normal, with melting in some places 50 days longer than average. Although the ice cap is not expected to totally melt for at least another century, that event would raise sea levels 7 feet.

The fact is, the official Republican/conservative position on global warming and rising sea level is utterly irrelevant. The evidence is all around us every day.

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