Is global warming to blame for this unusually warm winter?
That's the question many are asking in light of last week's 70 degree temperatures in New York and other parts of the northeast, as well as the early blooming of the famed cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.
The short answer, is no. El Nio (that's Spanish for ... "The Nio ") is back and causing the increased temperatures. El Nio, simply put, is the warming of the Pacific Ocean, which then has a ripple effect that redirects colder air streams away from the United States.
However, the long answer to that question is global warming is playing a factor, in this way: These rare weather phenomenons and influxes of warmer temperatures are going to continue and become more and more common.
"Whatever the natural causes are, they are riding on top of the warming trend that has been induced by humans using the atmosphere as a free place to dump our tailpipe waste," Dr. Stephen Schneider, of Stanford University, told MSNBC.
Even with the return of winter today across much of the country (certainly here in Norwalk) the idea of global warming is not going away any time soon. And this discussion is a good thing, even though some people believe global warming to be a myth or an exaggeration.
Talking about global warming can lead to discussions about a real change in energy policy. And we can all agree whether because of environmental concerns or simply a desire to move away from foreign oil a push toward "green energy" alternatives such as ethanol, wind and solar power, is in the nation's best interest. But it is up to citizens to apply pressure to energy companies and the government to make these changes.
So, before you're breaking out those shorts in January or filling up your tank for $3.50 per gallon, sound the call for change, action and energy reform.