As weather extremes continue to batter and baffle us, climate change deniers continue to point to them, especially cold-weather events, to paint global warming a hoax, saying “There’s nothing to worry about.”
As we discussed, yesterday, as Dr. Holden, Science Advisor to the President of the United States, put it, “No single weather episode can either prove or disprove global climate change.” Individual “climate anomalies” as the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) calls them, don’t say much for or against climate change. For example, Maniitsoq, Greenland, measured its highest temperature ever observed in that country on July 30, 2013, at 25.9°C (78.6°F). Australia recorded its warmest year on record, and even had to update their temperature color maps to reflect it.
High temperatures are only part of the story. Extreme storms, such as Typhoon Haiyan, which struck in early November, 2013, generated wind speeds as high as 315 kmh (196 mph), the second-strongest tropical storm on record, only just shy of 1969’s Hurricane Camille, which sustained winds estimated at 200 mph. Heavy rainfall in Eastern Russia flooded over 140 towns with the worst flooding in over 100 years. Climate change is making these anomalies more frequent and severe every year that passes.
Still, the anomalies, those extreme events that strike far from the average, when taken as a whole, speak of the instability that climate change is driving. Isolated incidents are one thing, but when isolated incidents are spread all over, it can’t be anything other than a clear indicator that something is seriously wrong with the climate. Even having such a rudimentary understanding of what is happening, however, doesn’t seem to correlate with an understanding of what we need to do, as a species, to adapt to what is happening, or make an attempt to reverse it.
Image © FreeDigitalPhotos.net / NOAA