Omaha meteorologist John Pollack said Monday that he believes the heat wave gripping Nebraska, Iowa and much of the nation is a message from planet Earth that global warming is real.
“The Earth is saying that we can lurch from one climate to another year after year or we can commit to stopping global warming,” Pollack said. “Sticking your head in the sand and waiting for the sea levels to rise is not a valid solution.”
As with any individual weather phenomenon, it's difficult to make a direct link to global warming.
However, experts say extreme weather is a marker of the planet's changing climate.
Pollack, who retired from the National Weather Service in 2009, said other recent weather disasters such as drought, western wildfires, straight line windstorms from Indiana to the mid-Atlantic states and a rash of unseasonable tropical storms also are the results of climate change.
“There are going to be more heat waves and, in my opinion, they will be more severe,” Pollack said during a press conference on the Lewis and Clark Landing. “Human-caused global warming has been worsening this large-scale weather pattern by pushing southern weather systems northward.”
He and other members of the Nebraska chapter of 350.org, an organization trying to solve climate change, are urging the public to conserve energy, including raising the thermostat on air conditioning, whenever possible.
The group has also been appearing at OPPD board meetings for the past 18 months to urge a change to wind power.
“We're trying to get the biggest coal burner in the state to adopt renewable energy projects,” Pollack said. “OPPD is very gradually doing it, but we would like to see them pick up the pace.”
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