Sunday, July 18, 2010
THE ENDLESS SUMMER
Where are all the talk show hosts, conservative pundits, and global warming naysayers who were crowing incessantly this past winter when it was snowing like no tomorrow? Back in February, as we shoveled out from underneath one snow storm after another, there was a lot of talk about how climate change was a left-wing lie. Ron Smith, the WBAL talk show host, poked fun at the on-going weather crisis every day for months on end, ignoring the fact that when all was said and done, the winter of 2010 was one of the warmest on record.
Now that Snowpocalypse is but a fleeting memory, it’s time to turn on the AC, break out the sun screen, and consider the latest weather hit parade from the Department of Commerce’s National Climatic Data Center: “The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for June 2010 was the warmest on record at 61.1°F, which is 1.22°F above the 20th century average of 59.9°F. June 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record (March, April, and May 2010 were also the warmest on record). This was the 304th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with below-average temperature was February 1985. The June worldwide averaged land surface temperature was 1.93°F above the 20th century average of 55.9°F—the warmest on record. It was the warmest April–June (three-month period) on record for the global land and ocean temperature and the land-only temperature. The three-month period was the second warmest for the world's oceans, behind 1998. It was the warmest June and April–June on record for the Northern Hemisphere as a whole and all land areas of the Northern Hemisphere. It was the warmest January–June on record for the global land and ocean temperature. The worldwide land on average had its second warmest January–June, behind 2007. The worldwide averaged ocean temperature was the second warmest January–June, behind 1998.”
Those are a lot of numbers, but the trends and the truth are undeniable, folks. It’s getting warmer every month and every year. And this summer is certainly no exception.
Vadim Seryogin, a department head at Russia's Emergencies Ministry, told reporters Wednesday that 49 people, including two children, had drowned in the last day. More than 1,200 total have drowned, 223 of them between July 5 and July 12.
"The majority of those drowned were drunk," Seryogin said. "The children died because adults simply did not look after them."
The major highway from Poland to Germany melted, along with numerous airport runways. People across Europe have been stranded in sweltering trains that have broken down in the extreme heat. Grains and other food crops are withering away after weeks without rain. Fires have burned thousands of acres. The elderly and the sick are huddling in churches that have been converted into cooling shelters. There have been riots in Finland after stores ran out of fans. And a state of emergency has been declared in many parts of Europe.
Meanwhile, back here in the Land of Pleasant Living, ten people in Maryland have dropped dead from the heat this summer and a wide range of other problems have arisen, including the MARC trains having trouble staying on the rails, Code Red days with dangerously high ozone readings, plummeting oxygen levels in the Bay and the Dead Zone dramatically expanding. Tempers are rising with the temperature. The grass and trees are fading fast. Water levels are getting dangerously low. And BGE keeps warning that the power grid is maxed-out.
Now, after the hottest June ever, it would be easy to play the conservative’s game and poke fun at George Will, Rush Limbaugh, and several of “Bay Weekly’s” climate change critics who took exception this past winter when I said we were facing a climate crisis. But I am going to take the high road. The rising temperature of the planet earth manifests itself in many ways, but a rise in temperature of one degree can not be noticed by us in any real sense. Perhaps that is why we continue to pretend it does not exist. The way it makes its presence known to us is through strange and extreme weather, like August in June, multiple blizzards, more hurricanes, droughts when it should be wet, rains when it should be dry, tornados in Wisconsin, and the ice caps melting at an alarming rate.
So, let’s pull our heads out of the proverbial sand and start doing our part to save the planet before it’s too late.
Posted by Steve Carr at 3:25 PM