Most Floridians shrug off personal impacts of climate change

New TS wind graphic

HEADS UP FROM THE NHC: The National Hurricane Center will begin issuing a new product for the upcoming hurricane season showing when specific locations can expect to begin seeing tropical storm-force winds from a hurricane or storm.  For other changes this year, see this detailed post on the agency’s website. (Credit: NOAA/ NHC)

Also on Tuesday: The NHC announced that Rick Knabb, director of the agency since June 2012, will leave May 12 for a job at The Weather Channel. Deputy Director Edward Rappaport will serve as acting director for the upcoming hurricane season. Rappaport has been acting director for 17 years.

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Most Americans believe in the concept of global warming, but they don’t think it’s going to impact them personally, according to new data released by Yale University’Climate Change Program.

Seventy percent say warming is taking place, and still a majority — 53 percent — agree that it’s caused by human activity. But just 40 percent say it will “harm me personally.”

When people were asked whether it would harm future generations, though, the percentage popped back up to 70 percent.

Even in the Florida Keys, a location one might think will be vulnerable to sea level rise and other impacts of climate change, only 42 percent of residents say it’s likely to affect them, just 1 percent higher than people in Palm Beach County, three counties to the north.

The only county in Florida where a majority of residents think global warming will be a personal problem for them is Miami-Dade, where 51 percent express that opinion.

Overall in Florida, 41 percent fall into that category — only 1 percentage point higher than the national average.

“Global warming is precisely the kind of threat humans are awful at dealing with,” the New York Times says in an analysis of the study publishes on its home page Tuesday. “A problem with enormous consequences over the long term, but little that is sharply visible on a personal level in the short term.”

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COLD SNAP FACT: March temperatures have edged below normal in South Florida after seven straight days of cooler-than-average weather (eight days in Naples). West Palm Beach has had seven consecutive morning lows in the 50s — something that didn’t happen during the entire meteorological winter from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28.

Tuesday morning temperatures slipped into the 50s once again in West Palm Beach and Naples, but bottomed out in the low 60s in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Normal South Florida highs are right around 80 this time of the year with lows in the low 60s.

With 10 days to go in the month, however, it seems unlikely that March will go into the books as a below-normal month — an outcome that would make it the first month with below-average temperatures since February 2016 in West Palm Beach.

The National Weather Service in Miami is calling for slightly above normal temperatures over the next week, and Weather Underground has highs creeping up toward the mid-80s the last week or so of the month with lows also slightly above average.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has a long-range forecast that keeps Florida above average through the end of March and into the first two weeks of April.

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Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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