Our Opinion: Hold on; the ride is getting started


Talk about a week of wacky weather!

It started out comfortably seasonable, but on Wednesday temperatures skyrocketed past 90 degrees. And then on Thursday ... well, we all know what happened Thursday when the skies let loose and inundated the region with several inches of rain and subjected us to multiple bolts of thunder and awesome rolling thunder.

For some, the intensity of the storm brought to mind the recent ravages of Tropical Storm Irene. And though there was some damage done to roadways and some power lines were knocked down, the storm passed through rather quickly and didn't linger like Irene did.

Even though we've seen these quick, massive downpours on several occasions this year, we've been counting ourselves lucky that conditions in the Atlantic basin aren't ripe for the creation of monster storms such as Irene and Sandy.

But the fact is, with temperatures rising globally, sea ice and glaciers rapidly melting and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increasing, weather "weirding" will only become more frequent.

We've written about "weirding" before, but we'll explain it again.

Many climate scientists have concluded that while global climate change is a proven fact, the term itself is not descriptive enough of the effects that are a result of mankind's industrialization and burning of fossil fuels.

Global weirding more accurately reflects the wide variation in extremes that are a result of increased greenhouse gases. These include extremes in both hot and cold weather, with storms and rainfall events predicted to become more intense.

So while you might be one of those who is in denial as to the real causes of global climate change (humanity, if you believe 95 percent of the climate scientists), we still must be prepared to deal with these wild swings in weather and the floods, wildfires, blizzards, winds, droughts and tornadoes they will bring.

In truth, there is only so much we can do to be prepared, and most often our character is tested by our response to disaster. Such was the case when Irene bore through Vermont and wreaked devastation unseen before by most of us outside of pictures of the Hurricane of 1938.

We were fortunate in how our communities responded in the wake of Irene and how we pulled together as a team to overcome the havoc. But we wonder if our communal spirit can rebound time and time again if such weather events become commonplace.

It's a question that needs to be asked and dealt with, because barring some technological marvel that can reverse the course of global climate change, weird weather will become the norm and not the exception.

Hold on tight.


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