question of the weekend: What seemingly unconnected consequences are we likely to experience as a result of global warming?
Item: The monster storm that socked a huge portion of the United States this week with feet of snow and icy rain is threatening to disappoint fans of American football who may not be able to make it to the Super Bowl this Sunday, even though the game itself — which will take place in Texas — is in no danger of getting snowed under.
Item: My friend bronxbee found herself reluctantly having to take a vacation day from work she’d rather have saved for another time because, as a result of that same storm, she literally could not get into her office: streets weren’t plowed, sidewalks weren’t shoveled, buses and taxis were not running, and there was no way she could walk a mile to the subway with all the snow and ice on the ground. But her office was open, and an absence would be noted.
When we think about global warming, we think about things like low-lying areas getting permanently flooded and sweltering heat waves killing elderly people. But a warmer atmosphere is a wetter atmosphere, and a rise in the average global temperature will also mean bigger winter snow and ice storms, too. And so we’re already seeing some impact from global warming that might seem surprising, such as cities going bankrupt from snow removal, lost productivity when workers cannot get to work, and disruptions to personal lives because of lost vacation time.
So let’s be really forward thinking by thinking sideways here:
What seemingly unconnected consequences are we likely to experience as a result of global warming?
It’s not just about too much snow being a surprising side effect of global warming, or, say, tropical diseases migrating into regions that have never seen them before: it’s things like… well, I dunno. What do you think?
(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)
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