1 degree C graphic

You’ve heard the story of the tortoise and the hare. Climate change is like the tortoise. It moves slowly, so its long-term effects can go unnoticed.

Broccoli: “That’s why we really have to rely on the scientific approach to measuring things very carefully and sustaining those measurements over long periods of time.”

Anthony Broccoli, a climate scientist at Rutgers University, says a long-term perspective is important when looking at global temperature:

Broccoli: “The temperature change doesn’t necessarily proceed smoothly like you’re riding up an escalator. Instead, the temperature changes are going to be a bumpier ride with some ups and downs … but more ups than downs.”

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He says it’s easy to get distracted by short-term hot and cold spells. But long-term trends show that the average global temperature has risen by more than one degree Celsius since the start of the 20th century.

That may not sound like a lot, but it’s close to the global temperature scientists say can trigger dramatic sea-level rise, more destructive storms, and heat waves.

So, when you think about global warming, think of the tortoise, and remember that slow changes add up over time.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

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