Regardless of whether or not you believe that climate change is anthropogenic (that is, caused by humankind) or that it is occurring at all, weather data for 2010 show that it was one of the hottest years in the human scientific record, at least since meteorological records began to be kept in the 19th century. Two American agencies have it tied as the hottest year on record – tied with 2005 – although the U.K.’s meteorological agency notes it as the second hottest.
Weather agencies record temperature several different ways – from ground and ocean sensors at weather stations to analyzing complicated satellite data – but there appears to be a consensus among government agencies in the U.S. and U.K. that the average global temperature is rising. NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.K.’s Met Office might disagree on which years, specifically, tie for the hottest (is it 2010 and 2005, as the U.S. asserts, or 2005 and 1998, as the U.K. insists?), but the fact that three of the hottest years have occurred in the last two decades is consistent with projections that the atmosphere is continuing to warm.
There’s always a degree of statistical uncertainty whenever a scientific conclusion is made, especially with one on so grand a scale as a measurement of the entire earth’s average temperature. But it is worthwhile to note that even the World Meterological Organization (WMO), the U.N.’s weather agency, has verified 2010’s average as the hottest on record (virtually tied with 2005 and 1998, whatever the technical differences between the U.S.’s and U.K.’s conclusions).
As the New York Times’ Green blog aptly states, “the bottom line is that the world’s three best measurements of surface temperature are showing no letup in the trend of a warming planet.”
GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS
While the planet is warming on average, this does not mean that every place will become warmer. Subtle changes in the average global temperature mean that weather patterns will change, and some places will get drier and hotter, and some places will get cooler and wetter. More intense weather events – like heat waves and blizzards, in particular – are projected to occur because of shifting global weather patterns.
People will turn to their conventional home heating and cooling systems to make these extremes more comfortable. But these machines are energy-intensive, and there are more energy-efficient methods available to make the weather more comfortable. Insulating a home is the most practical and cost-effective way to keep a house warm in the winter, and cool in the summer, and this in turn will contribute less to anthropogenic climate change than air conditioners and furnaces. Below are two green products to help out with this.
We’ve written extensively in the past about insulating homes and the added benefits of fitting your home so that it retains more heat, instead of losing it. This is better for reducing heating costs, and thus for reducing our environmental footprint – approximately 4 metric tons of carbon dioxide are emitted each year from residences, most of which is the consequence of home heating. Conventional fiberglass insulation is a suspected carcinogen, so using a green product like Bonded Logic Ultratouch Recycled Cotton Insulation is a major step towards making a greener home. For an even more efficient home, National Fiber Cel-Pak Cellulose Insulation is a blow-in material that settles into the tiniest corners and cracks of walls, ceilings, and attics.
Closing up cracks and drafts in homes is an effective – and inexpensive – way to conserve energy and reduce heating and cooling costs. Using VOC-free caulks is an important way to protect the health of everyone in your home. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals that are “off-gassed” from conventional caulks and can cause serious neurological problems, kidney failure, and is a suspected carcinogen. Safecoat is a toxin-free caulk that can be used to plug drafts and lower your winter energy bills.