Global warming details by the numbers for 5th District Democrats

Sharing specific details about global warming’s worldwide effect on climate change, an associate professor of environmental climatology at the University of Tennessee visited 5th District Democrats recently.

About global warming’s harmful effects, “Right now the scientific community has been pretty much on board … somehow there’s a lot of controversy,” Joanne Logan said during her address to FDD at its monthly meeting Thursday evening, Sept. 21, in Rosarita’s Mexican Cantina off Lovell Road.

“The largest source of global warming pollution is the burning of fossil fuels,” Logan added, noting it’s about “80 percent” of the problem.

As for a measurable amount, Logan said, “We’re putting 110 million tons of man-made global-warming pollution into the atmosphere.”

With China and the United States the world’s two biggest polluters according to Logan, “India will overtake us soon, so we will be in third place,” she said.

As for temperature, “Since 2001, 16 of the 17 hottest years [globally] have occurred,” Logan said. “The hottest year was 2016.

“Ninety percent of the extra heat energy trapped by the atmosphere is going on the oceans,” Logan added, pointing out this helps create “ocean-based storms like hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones.

“In 2015 there were three category-four hurricanes simultaneously occurring in the Eastern Pacific Ocean — the first time that had ever happened.”

Moreover, “For every one degree Celsius increase in temperature, the air can hold 70 percent more moisture,” Logan said.

“Even though in the U.S. we’re not seeing big changes in the total rainfall, we’re finding that it’s coming in greater amounts” per storm, she said.

In extreme cases, “50 inches of rain in two days in some places,” Logan said.

However, when looking at past hurricanes such as Katrina that hit New Orleans in 2005 and trying to blame the cause on climate change, “up until recently climatologists were always like, ‘mmmh, no, you can never blame one specific event on climate change,’” she said.

Looking ahead, “Climatologists believe that we’re going to get more extreme situations. Heavy rains with heavy droughts … bouncing back and forth,” she said.

Meanwhile, “Tropical glaciers are in crisis right now,” Logan said. “If you look at the glaciers they’re about half the size they were three years ago.”

However, in a related concern, “the melting of the Arctic ice is not going to raise sea levels,” she said.

As ice, “It’s already in the water.”