Forecasting Change: How much our planet has changed since the first Earth Day in 1970

The globe has warmed almost 2.5 degrees in the past 51 years

Earth as seen from space. (Image: NASA) (NASA 2021)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Way back in 1970, April 22 was selected as the first “Earth Day.”

It is designed to be a day when focus can be placed on what is happening with the Earth: What issues are we facing and how can we make it better?

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This year you should be aware of how much our planet has changed since that first Earth Day.

Take a look at the temperature trend for the USA in the past 51 years.

National Warming Trend (1970-2020)

In that period, we have had a temperature increase of almost 2.5 degrees.

Here in Orlando, we are just below the national average with an increase of 1.3 degrees.

We have warmed, just not as much as the average.

Orlando Warming Trend (1970-2020)

Our Interstate 4 neighbors have not been able to stay as cool.

Check out the rate of the warming in Tampa.

Tampa Warming Trend (1970-2020)

The trends are impressive, or scary, no matter how you look at them.

The temperature of our atmosphere will continue to rise as if we keep on pumping carbon dioxide into our system.

Temperature and Carbon Dioxide Trends (1880-2019)

Sometimes people say, “How can you be sure this carbon and the rise in temperature is related?”

We have known for years that carbon in the atmosphere produces a warmer environment. That is not new. What is new is that we have never been at these levels in our lifetimes.

And the numbers from last year are higher than ever.

A New High for CO2

In coming weeks we will discuss The Paris Agreement, global emissions and other ideas and steps being taken to change this warming trend. In the meantime, be kind to yourself and to the planet.

Happy Earth Day 2021.

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About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.