Warmer Faster

Department of Confirmation of Things You Already Realized: The Belgian newspaper De Morgen has an article out today about how Western Europe is at the front of the Global Warming pack, with average temperatures here having risen since the 1950s at least twice as much as those in the rest of the world. (The article’s headling speaks of Belgium – Belgium Warming Up Twice As Fast as the Rest of the World – because De Morgen writes for its Belgian audience, but it quickly qualifies the area it is talking about as “the area from France to Poland.” You already knew that Belgium was a unique sort of hard-luck state – see for example the Dutch-French speaker dispute threatening to tear it apart – but even still, you didn’t really think that it could experience such temperature patterns all by itself, like it has some permanent black cloud of misfortune hovering over its territory?)

At least twice as fast, in fact – apparently it varies by season. Spring: 2.8 times warmer than the world average; winter: 2.4; summer: 2.1; autumn: 1.8. But let’s also make clear the scale that we’re talking about here: on average (i.e. for all four seasons) world average temperatures have risen by one-half a degree, while in Western Europe over that same period the rise has been from one to one-and-a-half degree. (They must be talking about Centigrade, by the way, so for Fahrenheit multiply all scalar numbers here by 1.8.)

And why has this happened? Naturally Global Warming comes up for discussion here, but on the other hand keep these two things in mind: 1) The phenomenon under discussion here is why Western Europe is warming faster than everywhere else: why would Global Warming be more virulent here? And 2), Authoress Kim Herbots admits that no link to Global Warming can be proven, and is echoed in that by the scientists she quotes within the article. So what are the reasons? Ironically, Western Europe’s success in reducing airborne pollution has a lot to do with it, since that allows the sun more access to get through the atmosphere and warm that particular part of the Earth. But also of importance is the general lack of any continental winds carrying cold air from the East, as well as the very real dry and warm southern winds coming from the South, especially in spring and summer.

If this difference in the temperature rate-of-change is a fact, then, is it good or is it bad? For now, both weather experts whom Herbots consults call it good: more sun and heat, especially good in the winter, so among other things less need to expend energy for artificial warmth.

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