Would you put your hand in a pot of boiling water?

Don’t be like Tedy.

Tedy thought it would be an interesting experiment to put his hand in a pot of water and bring it to a boil.

Just like the proverbial frog. (Except that the “frog in boiling water” myth isn’t true.)

Unlike the proverbial frog, Tedy did not boil to death. He stopped the experiment before sustaining injury.

How sensitive are people to temperature change? When the temperature rapidly changes by just 0.1-0.2 ºC, it is possible for people to detect this change with the nerves at the base of the thumb. I find it interesting that, in general, people are more sensitive to cooling than heating.

What happens when temperature doesn’t change very rapidly? People can be unaware of a 8 ºF change in temperature as long as it occurs over at least 8-10 minutes.

So imagine how hard it is to detect 2 ºF over the past 45 years? That’s too little change over too much time for people to notice directly. Fortunately, we have scientific instruments to help with the measurement. Here’s a useful graph circulated recently by Dr. James Hansen:

One interesting feature I noted: there have been only two decades out of the past 14 in which global temperature has dropped by as much as 0.1 ºC. But there has been a steady 45 year trend upwards.

Ready to end this experiment yet? Join SACE as we continue to work towards climate solutions, like clean energy and energy efficiency.

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