The muted light during the eclipse of the sun about a week ago was still bright enough to shine on the spiraling prices at the gas pumps.

This wasn’t the eclipse that awed millions when the moon’s shadow covered the sun, lowering the level of light in Minnesota during the early afternoon on Aug. 21. Instead, this was about two weeks later when the sunshine was muted by wildfire smoke drifting in from southwest Canada and the Pacific Northwest. The smoke, which came in several waves, muted the direct sunlight, created some gorgeous sunsets, but also triggering air quality alerts in parts of Minnesota.

The rising prices at the gas pumps in area communities also had a distant source. Hurricane Harvey hit the center of the nation’s energy production in Texas, temporarily shutting down 10 percent of the nation’s refining capacity.

These instances show how connected we are – what takes place half a continent away can still have a dramatic effect on us.

The interconnectedness of our planet includes humans, who the vast majority of scientists say are altering the climate. It would be unfair to say the hurricane and wildfires are directly related to climate change, but extreme weather that has become all too common is a consequence of global warming.

The scientific uncertainty of the ramifications of climate change leads many people to ignore — or even deny — the reality. It is human nature to embrace certainty and distrust ambiguity, even when backed by scientific theory.

The scientific certainty of the eclipse caused by the moon’s shadow led many people to make travel plans to locations that would see total darkness. The rare phenomenon resulted in awe and reverence for our natural world.

The eclipse created by distant smoke that is likely in some way tied to the scientific certainty of climate change resulted in mere shrugs and indifference.

We know with great certainty when the sun and moon will line up to provide a unique celestial event on a day we know is coming years in advance.

We don’t know whether climate change will bring us torrential rain or wildfire-producing drought. There is no explanation why our recent early summer in southeastern Minnesota was hot and wet while August, typically the hottest month, was fall-like.

However a long-range view, the kind that creeps up on people without creating the awe of a particular event, shows our climate is undergoing dramatic changes in Minnesota and around the globe.

Minnesota’s average temperature has risen about half a degree every decade since 1970 while the average temperature in winter is rising even more rapidly — 1 degree per decade for the months December through February.

Average precipitation has also been increasing every decade since the 1970s. It also rains more often: Southeastern Minnesota has had a 5 to 15 percent increase in average rainfalls from the first six decades of the 20th century compared to recent decades.

The precipitation is also more severe. Mega-rains, defined as those with at least six inches of rain over an area of 1,000 or more square miles with at least eight inches in the core of the storm, are more frequent. In the 100 years from 1866 to 1965 there were just four (including Aug. 6, 1866, when 15 people were killed in Fillmore County). In the next 33 years, there were three. In the first 14 years of the 21st century, 2000 to 2014, there were five, including the one that hit Rushford in 2007.

Even just big storms, larger than usual but not mega, are more frequent. In southeastern Minnesota, 37 percent more rain falls in heavy storms than was true 50 years ago.

These changes in Minnesota are also making an impact on wildlife territories, hardiness zones for trees, growing seasons, spread of Lyme disease, allergy seasons, even insurance rates due to more claims.

Yet, we barely notice, unless there is a severe storm, as the day-to-day changes are so slight. Sometimes they even appear to reverse as happened with our cool, dry August that just ended.

Still, the evidence is all around us. It may not stick out like a total eclipse for a few minutes on a specific day, but the ramifications of climate change are visible for all to see.

Pope Francis, speaking on the subject of climate change Monday after the latest monster hurricane hit Florida and the Caribbean, said the scientists “speak very clearly” that global warming is caused by man-made activities. He added that individuals had a “moral responsibility” to do their part in reversing course.

When asked about people who deny the existence of climate change, he said, “When you don’t want to see, you don’t see.”