Let’s start talking about the weather — and take action
Let’s talk about the weather. The incessant rain, cloud cover and dampness invading our homes, gardens and psyches. Annoying, isn’t it?
In a recent article, Digital First Media reporter Michael Rellahan cited records kept by the Delaware Environmental Observing System station for West Goshen showing 59 days of rainfall since June.
In 2017, by contrast, there were just 39 days of rainfall at the West Goshen observation station, located at the Chester County Government Services Center. That means it rained more than 50 percent of the 116 days since June 1, 2018.
Add a few more days to that number since this report in late September.
By mid September, the amount of rainfall recorded since June 1 was 31.16 inches. West Chester averages about 47 inches of total rainfall a year, meaning that Chester County saw 65 percent of its total annual rainfall in those four months.
Trent Davis, the National Weather Service meteorologist in Mt. Holly, N.J., reported that as of Sept. 24, the Philadelphia region had achieved its average rainfall amount for the year. The Philadelphia International Airport had recorded a total of 41.63 inches of rainfall. That compares with the annual average rainfall from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of 41.53 inches.
In Berks County, the numbers are even greater. Where that area normally sees 43.27 inches of rain a year, by late September the weather service had recorded 51.38 inches. Montgomery and Delaware counties saw similar accumulations.
Now we’re keeping watch for yet another tropical storm, Michael, that may bring more moisture.
While we cope and grumble about the wet weather of the past months, a more serious weather alert was issued Monday.
The report by the Intergovernmenal Panel on Climate Change paints a dire picture of the consequences of climate change and predicts a timeline far more critical than previously thought.
The New York Times quoted the report’s findings: “... if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit ... by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty.”
The increased temperatures mean more rain in wetter areas while increasing drought in dry places. Warmer air traps more water vapor, increasing the volume and frequency of downpours.
“Avoiding the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy within just a few years, said the authors, who estimate that the damage would come at a cost of $54 trillion,” the Times reported. “But while they conclude that it is technically possible to achieve the rapid changes required to avoid 2.7 degrees of warming, they concede that it may be politically unlikely.”
Such a change would require worldwide reduction of carbon emissions and an immediate switch from coal to renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.
The push to renewable energy is moving forward in many states, including Pennsylvania, but not nearly with the speed and universal acceptance needed for the quick turnaround the international study suggests.
Add into the mix a president who rejects outright the predictions by scientists on climate change, and it becomes obvious that this nation won’t be marshaling the resources necessary to avoid the authors’ predictions of food shortages, wildfires, “and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040,” according to the Times report.
This region’s wet summer is nothing compared to the dramatic effects to be wrought by climate change around the world.
So what are we to do? Scoffing at the science is shortsighted and foolish. And waiting for a political eye-opener could take years.
As individuals, we can change habits to drive less — to car pool, bike, use public transit. Even more importantly, research the candidates for state legislature and Congress, and let it be known with your support and vote that you demand attention to this important issue.
In our daily lives, we can debate the makeup of the Supreme Court, show concern about Russian interference in our elections, and discuss the sex scandal headline of the day. But climate change has the potential to wreak most havoc in our lives.
Let’s talk about the weather — and start taking action to prevent disaster.