Originally Posted by someone123
I tried to explain in my last post. Let's say you look at the record temperature on January 1. On any given year, the chance of that record being broken is very low. However, the chances of the record being broken any day of the year during a given year is very high because there are 365 (366 this year) possible days to choose from. Our records only go back to the 19th century so in fact we would expect to break multiple daily extreme temperature records per year on average, if the average temperature were about the same.
Yes, you did. Good try.
The chances of the record of January 1 being broken again on January 1 of the following year is extremely slight, and yet this is becoming more frequent.
The closer together, in the context of 'years', these records are broken must be considered in concert with the number of records broken per year. Our understanding of temperature goes back several hundreds of million of years, and we know that the pace of either trend (whether it be warming or cooling)has always been very gradual. I'll repeat that either trend takes tens of thousands of years, naturally.
If there is a day when a record is broken and that record was set hundreds of years ago....then no biggie -- even if many days that year broke records. If, however, a new record beats a record set 50 years ago -- and then two years later an even higher record is set -- and this is occurring for many other records for many other days during the same year -- and consecutive years show increasing numbers of days with broken records -- then to a climatologist this is quite alarming.
Global Warming has never been a bad thing for Earth before -- but now it's happening much too quickly; although to us, with our relatively short lifetimes, we don't easily see this as 'quick' because we lack the perspective hundreds of millions of years gives.
During previous periods of warming, the gradual pace gave trees the necessary time to migrate (through seed) all the way to Canada's Arctic. Since we've experience thousands of years of warming in a matter of decades our forests are now existing in climates in which they haven't evolved.
Animals and insects, being more mobile, are migrating more quickly than plants. While large animals will be stressed the most, due to our sprawled cities being in the way of their migrations, insects are having no problems migrating. In fact, many southern insects are feasting on our northern trees, in droves. This is a feedback loop that will speed-up global warming.
This is not a Doomsday; this is just a seemingly slow escalation towards one many decades down the road. Unfortunately, even this slow escalation requires immediate action because what does remain of our forests are now under a growing threat OTHER than our continued deforestation behaviours.
Human civilisation may one day decide to stop deforesting -- but we have no immediate control over the climate, which is now deforesting on its own. Any action we take NOW to slow global warming will show results in an extremely time-delayed manner, and these results must now work against these feedbacks.