Cold Weather In A Tropical Country
The rain started two days before the last day of 2013 and it continued to drizzle on and off since then. There has been a low pressure area (LPA) hovering in the country which seems to have no intention of leaving anytime soon. In fact, the air in most of the country has gotten colder today with temperatures between 20 and 24 degrees centigrade and the wind chill can go down as low as 17 degrees especially during early morning. In Baguio, it is even colder! Some people are enjoying the cool weather saying that it is just like that of San Francisco. Since I've never been stateside, I wouldn't know. Although I like the cool breeze too, and I'm happy that I can wear my cold weather clothes everyday now, I can't help but worry about this drop in temperature. We are a tropical country, located near the equator, where there are only two seasons (dry and wet) in a year! So, how can this be happening?
Some people call it global warming which is often interchanged with climate change. But, in reality, these two terms have different meanings. The North Carolina State University has a very good website on climate education and there it says,
Global warming only describes the increase in global average temperature. The current global average temperature is 59°F (15°C, 288K) and is projected to increase 3-7°F (2-4°C, K) by 2100. It is generally agreed upon that the man-made increase in greenhouse gases due to the burning of fossil fuels is causing or expediting this warming. The rise in global average temperature doesn’t mean the temperature will increase by the same amount everywhere. It doesn’t even mean that everywhere in the world will get warmer. It just means that the average global temperature is increasing. This is where climate change comes in.
Climate change refers to the change in climates around the world over time. This could be due to the effects of the increase in global average temperature, among other things. Climate change means more than just a change in temperature, but a change in global weather patterns which could affect precipitation averages and extremes, too. For example, one effect of global warming could be that the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere will likely warm up more than other parts of the globe. This is because the increased temperatures are likely to melt large polar ice fields, replacing the ice with darker open ground. The dark ground would absorb sunlight much more quickly than the reflective ice did, leading to strong heating. Other effects could result in some locations getting more rain while others will be more likely to have long-term droughts. It is not clear how this would affect overall weather patterns, since the reduction in temperature gradient from equator to poles could decrease winds and storm activity, but the higher temperatures would have more energy overall.
And so, this phenomenon of having cold weather in a tropical country is climate change. Simply put, climate is getting more extreme all over the world. There are more typhoons, hurricanes or cyclones...stronger and devastating like Haiyan aka Yolanda. There will be big swings in temperature like what is happening now, not just in the Philippines and SouthEast Asia (there was snow in Vietnam) but the whole world. The so called polar vortex in the US has caused school suspensions and the Niagara Falls to freeze. And my cousins in England say that winter has still to arrive.
This is not the first time that I have written about this growing instability in our weather. Two years ago it's been raining like crazy even at the peak of summer, but this is the first time that it has become this cold for a much longer period of time. Nice cool weather though it may be, 17 to 18 degrees C just isn't "normal" in a tropical country. According to NASA, "temperature change itself isn't the most severe effect of changing climate. Changes to precipitation patterns and sea level are likely to have much greater human impact than the higher temperatures alone. For this reason, scientific research on climate change encompasses far more than surface temperature change".
Isn't that scary? And who is to blame for all this? The whole human race have greatly contributed to the changing climate today. The way we abuse our environment, natural resources, and the like, ...we have nobody to blame but us. For our children and their children's sake, we should do something now!