Minnesota’s temperatures are changing faster than any state other than Alaska, according to Kenny Blumenfield, a senior climatologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and fellow climatologist Mark Seeley, a retired University of Minnesota professor.
Since 1970, the coldest nights of the year in central and western Minnesota have warmed by between 1.5 and 2 degrees per decade. A typical “very cold night,” therefore, is now noticeably warmer than it would have been just four or five decades ago, according to the Alexandria Echo Press.
[Verbatim] Preventing an extra single degree of heat could make a life-or-death difference in the next few decades for multitudes of people and ecosystems on this fast-warming planet, an international panel of scientists reported [yesterday]. But they provide little hope the world will rise to the challenge.
In a 728-page document, the U.N. organization detailed how Earth’s weather, health and ecosystems would be in better shape if the world’s leaders could somehow limit future human-caused warming to just 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit from now, instead of the globally agreed-upon goal of 1.8 degrees F. Among other things:
- Half as many people would suffer from lack of water.
- There would be fewer deaths and illnesses from heat, smog and infectious diseases.
- Seas would rise nearly 4 inches (0.1 meters) less.
- Half as many animals with back bones and plants would lose the majority of their habitats.
- There would be substantially fewer heat waves, downpours and droughts.
- The West Antarctic ice sheet might not kick into irreversible melting.
- And it just may be enough to save most of the world’s coral reefs from dying.