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A Gathering Storm
We know some things, but many, many more things we don't. One thing we can say for certain is that our world's cli-mate is changing faster than at anytime in our recorded history, and no matter where you stand on the cause of this change, one needs to be totally honest and admit that it is difficult to know, no matter what any "expert" may claim, what the future holds.
The summer of 1988 burned a new fear into the minds of many Americans. We watched amber waves of grain in the nation's heartland turn brown and shriveled under the rain-less sky, while water levels dropped along the Mississippi River and temporarily stranded thousands of barges. Wildfires in the western states blazed through millions of forested acres and shrouded majestic mountains in a veil of smoke. Across the nation, record heat and drought forced us to wonder: Is Earth's climate changing before our very eyes.
We define abrupt climate change as a transition of the climate system into a different state (of temperature, rainfall and other aspects) on a time scale that is faster than the responsible force (mechanis-tic); change of the climate sys-tem that is faster than the adaptation time of social and/or ecosystems (impacts).
For decades the debate has raged over Global warming. First it was environmentalists and their cadre of scientists that sound the warning that is man continued to ignore the problem of pollution of the Earth, then the consequences would be dire indeed.