By Paul Douglas
27 May 2016
(Guardian) – Whatever happened to normal weather? Earth has always experienced epic storms, debilitating drought, and biblical floods. But lately it seems the treadmill of disruptive weather has been set to fast-forward. God’s grand Symphony of the Seasons, the natural ebb and flow of the atmosphere, is playing out of tune, sounding more like a talent-free second grade orchestra, with shrill horns, violins screeching off-key, cymbal crashes coming in at the wrong time. Something has changed.
My company, AerisWeather, tracks global weather for Fortune 500 companies trying to optimize supply chains, increase profitability, secure facilities, and ensure the safety of their employees and customers. It’s my 4th weather-technology company. Our team is constantly analyzing patterns, providing as much lead-time of impending weather extremes as possible. As a serial entrepreneur I respond to data, facts and evidence. If I spin the data and only see what I want to see, I go out of business. I lay off good people. I can’t afford to look away when data makes me uncomfortable.
I was initially skeptical of man-made climate change, but by the late 1990s I was witnessing the apparent symptoms of a warming climate. They were showing up on my weather map with greater frequency and ferocity. I didn’t set out to talk about climate volatility and weather disruption, but by the turn of the 21stcentury this warming seemed to be flavoring much of the weather I was tracking, turning up the volume of extremes, loading the dice for weather weirding. Multiple strands of data confirm Earth has a low-grade fever, a warming trend that transcends periodic heat released from El Niño.
People ask “What’s a couple of degrees, Paul?” Well, when was the last time you were a couple of degrees warmer? Chances are you felt miserable. And there were visible, tangible symptoms: sweating, chills, headaches, nausea. Your physician popped a thermometer in your mouth and confirmed you had a fever. Chances are you didn’t make a fuss, argue with the doctor, or deny the diagnosis. [more]