Friday, July 22, 2016

UPDATED: To State The Obvious

... the world is getting hotter. And now that Southern Ontario, already plagued by drought, is in the midst of yet another heatwave, it seems like the right time to look at some hard numbers.

The Guardian reports that
June 2016 marks the 14th consecutive month of record-breaking heat.

According to two US agencies – Nasa and Noaa – June 2016 was 0.9C hotter than the average for the 20th century, and the hottest June in the record which goes back to 1880. It broke the previous record, set in 2015, by 0.02C.

The 14-month streak of record-breaking temperatures was the longest in the 137-year record. And it has been 40 years since the world saw a June that was below the 20th century average.
To cool the ardour of those climate-change deniers who would like to blame it all on El Niño, Nasa’s Gavin Schmidt has this to say:
“While the El Niño event in the tropical Pacific this winter gave a boost to global temperatures from October onwards, it is the underlying trend which is producing these record numbers,” he said.

Nasa’s Walt Meir said the global temperatures have been exacerbated by extreme temperatures over the Arctic. Warm temperatures there are pushing up the global average, as well a causing record-low amounts of sea ice.

“It has been a record year so far for global temperatures, but the record high temperatures in the Arctic over the past six months have been even more extreme,” Meier said. “This warmth as well as unusual weather patterns have led to the record-low sea ice extents so far this year.”
As another indication of how dire our situation is becoming, consider Alaska:
Alaska has seen a years-long streak of astonishing warmth, with the warmest year-to-date and warmest June capping it off so far this year.

The heat this week in interior parts of Alaska has been particularly extreme, with one noteworthy all-time high temperature record falling.
That record was set in Deadhorse, Alaska, located on the Arctic coast, which rose to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, or 30 degrees Celsius.

Closer to home, there is a heat dome enveloping much of North America that has absolutely nothing to do with the noxious emissions emanating from the Republican Convention:

And so it goes, and so we go, along our merry way, lurching from one climatic crisis to another, sadly and willfully oblivious to the larger picture there for all to see.

Special Note: Special thanks to The Mound, our blogosphere's expert on climate change, for alerting me to some of the links used in this post.

UPDATE: To put perhaps to fine a point on things, there is also this:


  1. Each year, temperatures exceed expectations, Lorne. We are not dealing with an anomaly. It is a catastrophe which keeps gaining speed.

    1. it is a runaway train that no one seems to have the will to slow down, Owen.

  2. At some point, Lorne, the question becomes how we and our governments at all levels, especially provincial and local, will act on adaptation. If, over the next five or ten years, these "heat domes" you're currently experience worsen and become the norm adaptive measures will be essential especially in "heat islands" such as Toronto and the GTA. If summer droughts are recurrent it may be necessary for the agricultural sector to begin switching into heat and drought resistant crops. These things aren't long term answers. They don't solve the problems. They merely buy time. Perhaps we'll manage to get Trudeau or his successor to switch their focus from bitumen and pipelines into the survival of our civilization or is that too much to ask?

    1. I just finished reading an article in the local paper that says our area has gotten just 20% of normal rainfall levels in the past 37 days. Many area farmers, it seems, will have no crop at all this year. Like everything else related to climate change, the idea of food security seems to receive only lip service from the majority of people.

      I don't recall a drought of this duration, Mound. Even though I have drought-resistant perennials only, even they have needed some watering lately, surely a very bad sign of the times.

      Our refusal to take all of the increasing indicators of massive disruptions in climate seriously really does call into question both the likelihood of our long-term survival and our fitness as a species, doesn't it?