Is the Weather Getting Weird Enough For You?


A flooded street after a heavy rain-storm. Analysts have said recent extreme weather events could be a preview of a changing climate in the future. Photo Source: DEUTSCHE WELLE: http://blogs.dw.de/ice/?p=11207

Is the weather around the world lately getting weird enough for you?

Record breaking high temperatures literally smashing old records to smithereens across the United States. Places that normally that don’t get 100F temperatures often (roughly around 38C in Canada) in the summer have seen consecutive 100F weather in the past two weeks. As of July 6, Washington D.C. had temperatures reaching nine consecutive days of temperatures reaching 95F or above (35C). So far, the US is on record pace to have its hottest summer, ever.

Wildfires in Colorado, thanks to the winter that never came, is charred much pristine forests, while gutting people’s homes in the Colorado Springs area.

At the same time, thunderstorms with a Spanish kick to them, moving almost as fast as a world-class on June 29 from the mid-west U.S. to the eastern seaboard. The derecho thunder-storm knocked out power to nearly a million people in the D.C and Maryland area. That same day, temperatures reached over 100F.

In June, Duluth, Minnesota, from June 19 to 20 received 7.2 inches (or approximately 182.88 millimetres) of rain, breaking a previous two-day record in July 20-12 1909 of 6.7 inches (170.18 millimetres). The interesting thing was much of Minnesota went from the potential of severe drought to little risk of drought, thanks to heavy rains during this period.

Ok, so is the weird weather within North America in the past month STILL not weird enough for you?

Earlier this year, in North America, March temperatures smashed records across the board. Winnipeg alone on March 19 this year reached an amazing 23.7C, with evening thunderstorms. I could even recall my local Safeway having the air conditioning on. Over 15,000 warm temperatures records were blown out of the water in March, 2012 across the U.S alone!

Add to late February and early March’s  off the wall tornadoes that ripped apart parts of Indiana and Illinois, due to unseasonal thunderstorms from unseasonably warm conditions.

Ok, so you still want more “Hard core weather” that has gone on across the planet this year?

March temperatures were 10C above normal across the United Kingdom. Aboyne, Scotland, on March 27 got up to near 23.6C (74.5F), the highest temperature ever recorded for Scotland in March.

And the weirdness is not just confined to record-breaking warmth.

Meanwhile, much of Europe saw the opposite end of extreme weather this year, as much of Europe was in a deep freeze, with Kussamo, Finland reaching as low as -39.2C (-38.6F) in February. Places that normally would not get lots of snow got lots of snow, including Rome Italy.

Climate scientists during this heat wave said this may be a preview of what could come, given the warming climate. The extremes will continue to get hotter, the cold colder. The rains become more heavier, as a warmer atmosphere holds in more water vapor, causing the likelihood of more one time heavy rainfalls. The dries become more drier as a hotter climate will make dry land more arid. Bottom line, the extreme will get more extreme.

Maybe it seems like some great science fiction movie from the mid to late 1980’s or early 1990’s that tried to predict what the early 21st century would look like at this time. You know, Blade Runner, Back to the Future II, Split Second?

What we are seeing right now is similar to a science fiction movie. Unfortunately, it is not a science fiction movie.

Environmental author Bill McKibben in a recent article from the Daily Beast put it very nicely, about what we are seeing going on across the globe.

“Still, you have to admit: for a hoax, it’s got excellent production values.

Consider the last few weeks. Someone turned on the rain machine up in Duluth, Minnesota, where they broke all their old rainfall records (and in an excellent cinematic touch flooded the city zoo with so much water that the seal escaped and swam down the road. You can make this stuff up). And when that was over, the production team hastened to the Gulf of Mexico, turning on the giant fans to conjure up Tropical Storm Debby—the earliest fourth storm of the season ever recorded, which dumped “unthinkable amounts of rain” on central Florida. (Giveaway movie moment: the nine-foot gator that washed into a Tampa swimming pool).

The special effects guys were doing their best in Colorado: first they cranked up the heat, setting a new state record at 115 degrees. And then came the fire stunts! They looked real enough—one Waldo Canyon resident wrote a harrowing account of driving his SUV across soccer fields to escape the blaze, with “a vision of hell in his rearview mirror.” But there were giveaways it was all faked: for one, the “flames” perfectly framed the famous chapel of the Air Force Academy, and on the very day the new cadets arrived. And really, the producers took it a bit too far: they staged a firestorm near the Boulder campus of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, forcing the evacuation of the planet’s foremost climate scientists. I mean, c’mon.”

I honestly don’t care for Mckibben’s anti economic growth, hyper local solutions. I come from the school of Thomas Friedman, who believes in taking advantage of globalization in bringing down the cost of renewable energy, and making affordable for the poor and creating new jobs. That would be a lot more realistic and credible solution in mitigating the problem of climate change.

However, McKibben is at least good at diagnosing the problem that still causes confusion.

You can take this all at face value folks. You can admit that the weather is getting weird. You can admit the weather is going to get more wackier, and you can admit to yep, we may have a problem.

Or on the other hand, you can sit back on your couch, watch The Weather Network, (The Weather Channel if you are in the US) or the cable news networks, with a Diet Pepsi and a bag of popcorn, thinking this is James Cameron’s latest greatest science fiction hit movie. Viewer Discretion is advised.

Is this weather STILL weird for you yet?

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