Students noticed the high temperatures this summer, but going into fall it has still been hot. Even with the cooler mornings and evenings, the middle of the day has felt unseasonably warm. September was the hottest on the climate record, and through the years autumn has only been getting warmer.
Kyleigh Hardiman, freshman and UNA band member, said after a morning band practice in October, when in the past it has been a comfortable temperature, it was definitely “way hotter” than in the past.
“And it’s just gonna get hotter,” Hardiman said.
Why has the temperature been getting warmer? The expression “greenhouse effect” is a common one, but what does it mean?
“So in the greenhouse you have transparent ceilings and walls made of glass,” said Matthew Balentine, professor of geography.
“It allows radiant energy in the form of white light to come through the glass,” Balentine said. “This is going to be short wave radiation. It has higher energy content. It enters through, gets absorbed and when it goes to leave the greenhouse it’s in the form of longwave radiation, so a different frequency. So less energy. Now it can’t get out.”
Balentine said while the greenhouse analogy isn’t perfect, it illustrates the point well enough to be understood easily.
Something to keep in mind, of course, is that September was the hottest “on record.”
“Climate data doesn’t go back very far,” Balentine said. “With that said, there’s still lots of proxy measurements that would confirm the general consensus that there’s warming going on. I mean, I think we had mid-to-upper nineties at the beginning of October. The data I’ve seen suggests that’s, you know, on a large time scale that’s unusual and it’s part of a general trend of warming.”
The highest temperature in the area in September, according to the Weather Underground website, was 100 degrees. This is the highest temperature seen in the month of September in this area going back several years.
The expression “carbon footprint” is another common one. How can students reduce their carbon footprint and help stop this trend of global warming? Some suggestions made by Balentine include living within walking distance of work or school. If not, then carpool.
“I swore off boxed cereal,” He said. “Because the box is actually just a product of advertising. They want shelf space. And so I buy bagged cereal. The box is totally unnecessary. Typically things that are going to reduce your waste are going to reduce your carbon footprint.”