Global Warming: Converging Lines of Evidence

The link below provides a nice example of converging lines of evidence from different scientific disciplines leading to the same conclusion: the planet is warming. Two weeks ago, NASA announced accelerated melting of ice in Antarctica, and this week it was reported that biological researchers “who looked at 366 species of butterfly and 107 kinds of dragonfly, observed a clear pattern of change between 1988 and 2006. In warmer, sunnier southern Europe, the light-coloured varieties are doing well, and the darker kinds have migrated northwards. The southern migrant hawker dragonfly (Aeshna affinis), the scarlet darter (Crocothemis erythraea) have moved to Germany, and in 2010 the dainty damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum) was seen in England for the first time in 50 years.”

In other words, darker Mediterranean insects absorb more solar radiation than lighter Mediterranean insects, and so are more sensitive to rising temperatures. They are akin to the proverbial canary in the coal mine: they’re the first to register a change that causes them to depart. And where these insects are going is north, not south, to places that are ever more Mediterranean-like in climate–Germany and England. Think about that. Germany and England are north of the Mediterranean and yet are increasingly suitable for Mediterranean insects. How could that be, logically, if the planet was, on average, cooling instead of warming? It it was cooling, these darker insects would be moving south, looking to capture with their wings more solar radiation. But they’re not. They’re going north, trying to get away from the heat. And when they reach further north, they find the same sorts of Mediterranean conditions that they’re most familiar with, and to which they are best adapted. And yet they’re in Germany and England, places we tend to think of as generally chilly, not Mediterranean, in climate.

So when the below article’s title declares, “Insects Get Light Relief from Warming,” what is meant is that they get relief from warming by moving north, away from the heat. That’s an unmistakable sign of global warming, not cooling.


Insects Get Light Relief From Warming

“As European summers get warmer, research reveals that lighter-colored insects are thriving—while milder winters in the Southern Hemisphere are restricting the growth of some shrubs and trees. […]” – 2014/05/31

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to Global Warming: Converging Lines of Evidence

  1. colinhutton says:

    My experiences of that city suggest that London would be greatly improved by a Mediterranean climate 🙂

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Yes, of course. My wife is British and has a sister moving to Dover soon. We’re looking forward to a warm visit there when we go for a visit. : )


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