Let’s start talk­ing about the weather — and take ac­tion

The Review - - OPINION -

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.

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