I would not be exaggerating if I said that this past month has been the busiest in my life. And among the most stressful. So you will (I hope) forgive me for not having posted since September 9th.
It all started with a new teaching position. I decided to change schools (very difficult decision) because it would put me closer to my university (where I am working on my Masters) and would allow my wife and I to carpool (and reduce my carbon footprint! Woohoo!) Unfortunately, getting my foot in the door required teaching many courses I had never taught. And that means a whole lot more prep than I’ve had in years. Plus my classes count 31 and 25 students each which more correcting than I’ve ever done.
I am taking a course, for my Masters degree, titled “Political Ecology”. The professor giving the course has made her way to Prince Edward Island from Tasmania! And so, in order to keep her here as short a time as possible, we have compressed the course so that we have two evening classes per week rather than the usual one. And they are Wednesday evenings and Friday evenings. Yuck! Having said that, the course is very interesting.
Finally, I had another climate change presentation on September 25th. And although this was my fifth time giving the presentation, I had to update and improve it, not to mention practice more than a few times – I hate making a fool out of myself in public… more than I have too 🙂
So here I am. I’m still very busy, but having caught a nasty cold, I’m home sick today. And rather than work an oral presentation for my Masters course, I decided to reconnect with any of you who may be still interested in my little blog. And hopefully, I’ll also have the time to go and visit all of your respective blogs shortly.
Now, what to write about. I have quite the backlog of stories I was hoping to share with you. From ocean acidification, to positive studies regarding the potential for wind power to Sweden’s need to import trash, there is a lot to talk about. And although these are all interesting stories (which you can read about by clicking on the link), I feel that talking about the summer that has just come and gone is more important.
Here in PEI, the summer was very warm and very dry (somewhere around 50% less rain than normal). This has made farmer’s lives rather difficult (along with the unusually wet fall that is making harvest challenging to say the least). However, the US and the rest of the world have had it much worse than PEI. Here is a look at some the headline numbers from summer 2012, courtesy of Climate Progress (click on the link for the full story):
- July 2012 was the hottest month in U.S. history
- June-August 2012 was the 3rd hottest on record for the continental US.
- January-August is warmest such period in U.S. history putting 2012 on track to being the warmest year in U.S. history.
- More than two-thirds of the U.S. experienced drought throughout the summer of 2012, much of it classified as “severe to extreme”.
- January-August 2012 broke the “year-to-date” record for most acreage burned by wildfires at 6,888,342 acres.
Around the world
- August 2012 was the 330th consecutive month that the global temperature was above the 20th century average.
- The last time the world saw a cooler-than-average July was in 1976. That’s three years before my birth!
- Summer 2012 was the 3rd hottest summer on record globally and land temperatures were the hottest on record.
- In September, Arctic sea ice reached its lowest level since satellite monitory began 30 years ago.
And finally, here is a funny-yet-scary video that not only summarizes this blog post rather nicely, but also gives you an idea of what goes on in my head every time I hear someone on the radio or TV talk about how “gloriously warm and dry” our summer has been…