Growing up in the 1970s, I can recall many a frigid Pennsylvania winter. The joy of school being closed was tempered by the backbreaking shoveling my brothers and I faced to have the driveway cleared of snow before our father got home. In science class we were taught that researchers believed the next ice age to be a few million years closer than originally thought. Looking out the window on those cold, snowy days was enough to convince us.
How times have changed in 30-some years. Global warming and melting polar ice caps seemed the least of our worries when we were being encouraged to turn down the thermostat and wear more sweaters. I was reminded of those days recently while reading this month's lead story. The Oceanographer/Navigator of the Navy, Rear Admiral David Gove, warns of diminished ice in the Arctic and what that means for our national security, international relations, and global commerce. Global warming does seem a remote concept at times, especially as I write this in mid-January; the high in Annapolis today is 19 degrees although the wind chill makes it feel like 4. Of course that's positively balmy compared to our neighbors in the Midwest.