What If Global Warming Is Real?

I love tracking weather and I love statistics, so when I stumbled across a site that easily gave me the actual and average temperature for every day, I was hooked.  I created a spreadsheet and over a few months, during lunch breaks and what not, I entered the information and started tracking some information.

mb-201307planetBelow is a table that shows the variation from the average high temperature (by day) for the total of the year.  This is for the closest official weather station to my house, in Oakland County, Michigan.

Essentially, it tracks the mid-year and the end of year.  The results are somewhat startling.

Year June 30th December 31st
2005 2.0 2.0
2006 3.7 2.4
2007 1.6 1.4
2008 0.7 0.6
2009 1.5 0.2
2010 2.9 1.9
2011 -1.2 0.6
2012 6.8 4.8
2013 1.0

To summarize, every year since 2005 (when data was first available to this level), has ended up higher than average.

Even this year has been considered ‘cooler’ by just about everybody I know, but we’re still a degree above average.  Considering that June 30th is roughly 180 days into the year, we’d have to have 18 days straight of ten degrees below average to be at ‘average’ for the year.  That would be a cold spell!

It kind of tells me that we’re either in a pretty big weather pattern that’s lasted quite a few years…or maybe there is something to this whole idea of global warming.  It’s hard to say.  On one hand, I know that weather patterns can change over a few years, or even a couple of decades.  Maybe the next ten years will all have below average temperatures for the year and balance things out (note: if this were to happen, I’d request that Mother Nature please make the winters especially cold and let us enjoy warm summers to balance things out somewhat).

I admit, I’m not a freak about the earth and all that, but I do try to respect the planet.  We recycle quite a bit thanks to a great recycling program offered by our city hauler.  I always drive with an eye on my gas mileage, avoiding sudden starts and all that.  We have a lot of trees in our yard, which I know help clean the air.

Still, could we do more?  Probably.  When I throw a plastic garbage bag away, I often think of how many millions are thrown away across the planet each and every day.  What goes into making them?  How long will they sit there?  Do we still have a lot of plastic bags in our house?  I’m ashamed to say yes we do.  But I do try to be concisious of it and we do try to limit the use.  We use reusable bags at the grocery store to limit the bags we do get.  If we do have plastic bags come in from shopping, they all get reused as garbage bags for cat litter or wastepaper baskets.

Still, I know I could be doing more.  I should be.

I don’t think that everybody needs to make drastic changes in order to help the planet.  In fact, that’s probably not going to work.  Drastic and sudden changes are harder to maintain.  Instead, I think we should all try to do a little something.  If everybody avoided just a few plastic bags per year, it would add up.  If people paid a little more attention to their driving habits, it might save only a gallon of gas per driver per year, but added together, that’s a big deal.

What do you think? Are these higher temperatures here to stay and are they responsible for our more noticeable weather related damage over the years?  What little things can we do to keep things in check or do you not think it’s worth the bother?