Natural disasters not cause for concern
J. Fed Fox | Collegio Reporters
Climate change is not a plausible scenario for a realization of the end of the world scenarios coming up. Despite an apparent increase in extreme weather anomalies, climate change seems to be a minuscule fac
tor. Following Hurricane Sandy, a dry summer, El Nino patterns, Monsoon seasons and other cyclical patterns over long periods of time have shown that this is not unusual.
The U.S. has bad droughts every few decades. Charles Blatchley, physics professor and former meteorology teacher at PSU, says weather can’t be analyzed based on the short term.
“If you take a longer view of history, the level of severity we’re experiencing isn’t new,” Blatchley said. “Record cold summers hit Alaska while the Midwest had record heat.”
Average global temperatures have steadied over the last few years and haven’t exceeded 1998 levels, which peaked because of El Nino. The general trend has been increasing since the 1600s. In fact, the 1950s saw an even worse collection of hurricanes than those seen in a long time, one of which hit Galvaston, Texas, killing more than 10,000 people.
Troy Comeau, professor in communication, says the focus changed when large news outlets became popular. News broadcasting, Comeau says, is meant to tell niche viewers what they want to hear, so the outlets can acquire ratings and increase their advertising income.
“With news revolving around advertising and money, stories like extreme weather are sensationalized,” Comeau said.
Melting polar ice caps will open new fishing and oil exploration in the arctic. It won’t affect ocean levels, because much of the loss is offset. Western Antarctica is losing ice while eastern Antarctica is showing increases in ice coverage. The U.N. will have talks in Qatar this year, in anticipation of the expiration of the Kyoto Accords next year. They will attempt to solve the problems, like China building a coal plant every week, or the U.S., which advises other countries to lower emissions, despite not doing it themselves.