This Summer is What Global Warming Looks Like
A few months ago, as the La Nina event was drawing to a close, I commented on a friend’s blog that maybe 2012 would be the year that the weather got so bad that North Americans would have to admit that our climate was changing. (Not that 2011 was all that wonderful.) Of course, I would never wish horrible weather on anyone, but, I figured that at some point, it would get so bad in North America that “we” would no longer be able to ignore what scientists had been telling us for decades.
Well, it seems that I may have been right.
It all started during the “winter that wasn’t really a winter. In the US, winter 2011-2012 was the fourth warmest and the third least snowy since records began. Canada’s winter was even more spectacular being the third warmest (see image below) and second driest in our recorded history. That’s according to Environment Canada. (Hey, people still work at Environment Canada?!?) And just in case you thought this past winter was simply a “freak accident”, according to the graph below, Canadian winters have warmed 3,2 degrees Celsius (!) over the past 65 years.
Then came the incredible heat wave in March, when a great big chunk of North America saw temperatures in the high twenties and thousands of temperatures records where broken – some by double digits.
The winter and spring alone would have been enough to get people asking questions, but then summer reared its head. While early June saw massive flooding in Minnesota and Florida, late June and early July have brought record heat to both coasts of the US. Here is a quote from Climate Progress:
The U.S. is getting hit by a range of powerful extreme weather events this summer. Record droughts in the West and Midwest are fuelling historic wildfires, putting pressure on farmers, and driving up crop prices. Extreme “hurricane-like” storms took eastern states by surprise over the weekend, knocking out power to millions of people and leaving them sweltering in an ongoing heat wave. Across the country in June, more than 3,000 heat records were broken.
Eastern Canada (more specifically southern Ontario and Québec) were also hit by a heat wave in mid June when temperatures where reaching the low 30′s, with humidex readings in the low 40′s! And that’s in June…
Luckily, news organizations are connecting the dots between climate change and this incredible weather we are experiencing. Here are a couple headlines that I have come across on the web:
- From the Associated Press: This US summer is ‘what global warming looks like’.
- From CBC: Climate change linked to recent weather extremes.
And take a look at this NBC meteorologist making the connection to global warming on the air:
If a silver lining is to be found among the disastrous weather of the past two years, it is that public understanding of climate change is increasing. Maybe now there can be enough pressure on the “powers that be” to do something about it.