I remember walking around my neighborhood in upper Manhattan without my winter coat one unusually mild January day in 1956. That night a cold front swept through and the next day was frigid. The sudden change captivated me and kindled a life-long fascination with the weather.
Spring has come a month early to interior Southern New England, and that’s after the winter that wasn’t. In the Northeast several consecutive winters that included periods of intense cold and snow had lulled us into thinking that we were experiencing “old-fashioned weather” despite global warming. Many did not realize that the weather pattern of those winters concealed ongoing climatic warming. This year’s weather pattern maximized the impact of climate change and the vast majority of North America experienced the result. (I’m not surprised by this turn of events.
We, who have just endured four of the warmest weeks the eastern two-thirds of the United States has experienced since we started keeping records, have been told repeatedly by media pundits that “you can’t attribute this particular spell of weather to global warming.” This statement, while true in a narrow sense, is false in a broader contextual sense. Worse, such “truths” are confusing and immobilizing. They make it more difficult to gather the impetus for the essential, society-wide behavior shift we need to avoid impending ecological catastrophes.
How could the case of Edward Snowden have anything to do with global warming? By now I probably don’t have to mention that Edward Snowden is the intelligence analyst who blew the whistle on the NSA’s previously top secret PRISM program which has, among other things, monitored all our phone calls, emails and texts.