On April 10th, 1815 Mount Tambora experienced one of the most powerful eruptions in recorded history. One year later, the entire northern hemisphere of the globe experienced The Year Without a Summer. History is replete with examples of seasonal anomalies where temperatures were either warmer or cooler than expected. This year, something is different.
Jonn Elledge has recently written an opinion piece on The Guardian asking if he's the only one terrified of the warm weather. He's not. This week the daily temperatures in this part of Japan have been hovering between 14° and 17°C, which is about 10° warmer than usual for the end of February. The higher temperatures haven't been limited to just the UK and Japan, though, as similar irregularities are being seen across Europe and much of Asia. The absence of summer two hundred years ago was likely the result of ash in the atmosphere blocking sunlight. The absence of winter this year is not the result of a lack of volcanic eruptions. Again, something is different.
Whether some people believe it or not, the climate is changing. Politicians and billionaires can debate whether this is the result of human activity until their blue in the face, but the reality before us is undeniable. The warmest 20 years on record for many of the G7 nations have all happened in the last quarter century. Doing the math, it's hard to say that this February warm spell is just a fluke of nature that should be enjoyed rather than heeded. As a civilization, we need to look at what is happening around us and plan accordingly. Leading scientists say that we have fewer than a dozen years to avert disaster. Some say we've already passed the point of no return given that the majority of the world's insects are dying in staggering numbers.
Right now, what matters more is that we address the changing climate than try to affix blame or point fingers. The planet will continue to exist without us and, being the ever-resilient biosphere it is, new species will evolve and conquer the world. But this isn't the point. The universe doesn't care that we exist. The planet doesn't care, either. But we should. We should care very much, and do what is necessary to ensure that we not only exist, but continue to strive towards a better future.