So far 2012 is on pace to be the hottest year on record. But does this mean that we’ve reached a threshold — a tipping point that signals a climate disaster?Saturday evening update:
For those warning of global warming, it would be tempting to say so. The problem is, no one knows if there is a point at which a climate system shifts abruptly. But some scientists are now bringing mathematical rigor to the tipping-point argument. Their findings give us fresh cause to worry that sudden changes are in our future.
Good editorial from the Journal Sentinel:
It's possible that this summer is just a fluke; that the heat waves and drought that are wreaking havoc for farmers and others are an anomaly, and that the weather will return to "normal" next summer or maybe the summer after that. That it's just summer and it's hot, and that this really isn't part of a trend that climate scientists have been predicting.
But that's not the way to bet.
The science says climate change is happening now, not just in computer models or overactive imaginations but in the real world. From rising sea levels to droughts to tornadoes and wildfires, there is a growing list of anomalous events that indicate climate change is already upon us. And the safe bet is to start acting now to mitigate the human effect on climate change at the international, national and local levels.