Bernadette Woods Placky, Emmy Award-winning meteorologist and director of Climate Central’s Climate Matters program, stopped by Columbus on Tuesday to educate a group of reporters on the impact of climate change on local weather.
The Penn State graduate worked in television for 10 years, including a stint in Lexington, Kentucky. She therefore knows a little about the weather in this part of the country.
She also customized stylish graphics to illustrate the impact on Ohio and some of its larger cities. A direct debit:
How much warmer will Columbus get by 2100? It’s our choice
Depending on how the world tackles global warming, temperatures in Columbus could rise about six degrees on average by the end of the century.
That might not sound like a lot, but it would mean changes ranging from more damaging storms to longer allergy seasons for our grandchildren and their families.
Already, the number of summer days in Columbus with above-average temperature has increased by 24 since 1970.
Cincinnati could look like Louisiana in a few decades if current trends continue
If climate change goes largely unchecked, huge weather changes will occur around the world, Placky said.
Climate Change, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides detailed climate information but does not lobby or take political positions, has developed a tool that shows what this change will look like for the United States.
For example, in 2100, temperatures in Cincinnati could resemble those experienced in Shreveport, Louisiana today.
Placky noted that to find similar comparisons for certain places in the South, they were forced to use current weather conditions in the Middle East.
It’s not just the highs of the day; we don’t get so cold at night
While record highs usually grab the attention of local weather reports, a related phenomenon is happening at the same time, she said.
Nighttime lows are also higher. This means we don’t lose that heat until the sun comes up the next day, especially in big cities that tend to trap heat in buildings and paved areas.
Rising temperatures may bring more snow to Ohio. Eh?
The amount of Lake Erie that freezes over each winter has already been declining for several years.
While that may extend the boating season, it also lengthens the period when lake-effect snow can hit northeast Ohio, Placky pointed out. The unfrozen lake water powers the snow machine that often pound the area.
A heavy rain will fall… and fall and fall and fall
Weather statistics since 1970 show what many of you probably already suspect: our rainstorms are getting more and more intense.
Of course, that means more flooding, more property damage, more lives lost. And it’s less good for our gardens and crops because the soil can’t absorb so much moisture so quickly.
Average hourly precipitation in Columbus has already increased somewhat over the past half century. As with everything else on this list, it’s sure to get worse as global warming increases.
Now is a good time to ask: how many are likely to reject everything you just read? Placky cited a poll showing only 9% are now dismissive of climate change, although a further 10% say they are skeptical.
Yet climate change deniers are becoming increasingly rare. The poll found 58% are “alarmed” or at least “concerned” about what is happening with the climate.
A Yale University study last year found that 68% of Ohioans believe climate change is happening, 53% say humans are the main cause and 61% see climate change affect the weather.
The sticker shock hits the health insurance bills of millions in the United States
Another type of impending storm was described by another speaker at the one-day event in Columbus sponsored by the Florida-based Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
Larry Leavitt, executive vice president of health policy at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, said unless Congress acts soon, the 13 million Americans covered by health insurance in under the Affordable Care Act market will see their premiums increase this fall. And a million of them — those earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level, or just over $92,000 a year for a family of three — will have to pay premiums that will double.
This is all happening because Obamacare grants of about $22 billion a year approved after President Joe Biden took office last year are set to expire at the end of 2022. Interestingly, the opinions of these impending increases will hit the mailboxes shortly before the midterm elections.
You are not exempt from paying more if you have private health coverage. Most insurance company filing rates for next year are forecasting an increase of about 10%, Leavitt said.
How significant is Donald Trump’s “intent” to convict him of a crime?
Amid the pile of evidence uncovered by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising, some central Ohio political types are still questioning the significance of Donald Trump’s intent. to establish a possible criminal case against the former president.
We had the opportunity to pose this question to David Becker, an attorney who enforced voting rights for the US Department of Justice before founding and now directing the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation & Research at non-profit.
First, even if Trump didn’t think he was breaking the law, he can still be charged with a crime, Becker said.
“If you think robbing a bank is legal, but you rob a bank and you know you were robbing a bank, that’s enough to prove intent,” the attorney said.
Legally, “intent” can also be inferred or imputed. That’s why it’s important to hear the litany of House witnesses who said Trump was repeatedly told that claims that he had in fact won the election were false and that plans to cancellation of elections were not supported by law, Becker said.
A defense that “you’re just too stupid” to realize your actions were illegal has already been thrown out by judges in other Jan. 6 cases.
“Certainly, when someone says to you, ‘Oh, don’t rob the bank, it’s illegal…’ and you do it anyway and say, ‘I didn’t think it was illegal’ — it’s not going to be a defense in a bank robbery lawsuit.”