Is Weather Weird, Breaking Records, All Over Earth?
|February 21, 2014||Posted by Staff under Environmental|
This 2014 excerpt of Ecoshock, Feb 19, is by Alex Smith (no relation).
Despite snow-storms on the East Coast, or relentless cold in Wisconsin or Winnipeg, the planet is much too hot in other places.
If the temperature is below zero, can we call it a heat wave? We can if we are talking about the Arctic circle in winter.
You probably heard it was warmer in Homer Alaska one day in January than it was almost anywhere in the lower 48 states. The same Polar Vortex that brought snow storm after storm to the central and eastern part of North America kept a big sweep of Hawaiian air running over Alaska. World-known dog sled races were cancelled or shoved somewhere else. A series of avalanches – that’s melting unstable snow in January – closed down major highways. Places like Nome, Seward, and Homer hit all-time record highs. Kids all over Alaska were out in shorts. Backyard barbecue parties returned.
That was all part of the same weather system that delivered the drought to California and record high temperatures. San Francisco was more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than a normal January. On the 15th and 16th, the temperature rose to 73 degrees, 22 C. Sacramento set more record highs in January 2014 than at any time in it’s history.
Elsewhere in the North …
All-time-record monthly warm temperatures have been observed at many sites in the Siberian states of Yakutia and Kamchatka. Oymyakon (various spellings) saw its temperature rise to a February record high of -12.5 °C (9.5 °F) on February 9th. Oymyakon is normally the coldest permanently inhabited place on earth, – 67.7 °C (-90 °F) set on February 6, 1933 (almost exactly 80 years ago).
It was the same in January on the other side of the world (where it’s summer).
Australia had day after day over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, 38 degrees Celsius. Nights that don’t get much cooler. The resulting bushfires spread became so big they created their own weather systems complete with dry lightening storms, causing more fires. At least 400 people have died from this recent heat wave. Heat is now a leading cause of death in Australia.
Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo experienced its warmest January on record with a daily average maximum of 31.9 °C (or 89.4 °F). Normal is about 28 degrees C for that time of year. Then it got hotter in Feburary, around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or 35 degrees C every single day for the first week. That’s before you figure in the high humidity which made it all unbearable.
In Buenos Aires, it was above 30 degrees C, at least 86 degrees Fahrenheit, every day of December, and most days of January. With the humidity, it felt like the mid-40′s, or 113. In late January the temperature adjusted for the humidex reading was 47 degrees, or 116.
The world has not warmed by much, as a global average. But the poles have warmed more than anywhere else. When there is a smaller difference between the poles and the equator, there is less to drive the Jet stream from West to East. Instead the Jet Stream takes huge bends, almost blowing north to south. It gets stuck in those bends.
In Great Britain, a satellite photo shows a series of giant lakes where the southern English countryside used to be. The high winds and record-setting storm surges are changing the British coast line. A couple of weeks ago, an amateur fossil hound uncovered the remains of dinosaurs, formerly embedded in a sea side cliff. Others found evidence of humans living in Britain at least 800,000 years ago. Two weeks later, rising tides swept those footprints away.
Ocean currents change speed. When fast and choppy, they capture some air and its carbon; when slow they release carbon. This process and the melting methane clathrates could bring on an even bigger warming jolt as soon as later this year.
Ed. Notes: Since humans have taken most of the buried carbon (fossil fuel) and stuck it into the atmosphere, something had to give. How could anyone think that altering the composition of the atmosphere would have zero effect? That’s what’s caused global climate change before, over the past hundreds of millions of years.
The good news is, what humans have broken they may be able to fix. How? It’s not relying on techno-fixes like solar panels and fuel cells. It’s relying on social justice, specifically economic justice, meaning a just distribution of the economy’s output. Don’t tax the wages of labor. Don’t subsidize the operations of capital. And do recover and share the value of land.
When owners must pay Land Dues or land taxes, they take less and use what they take more wisely. When residents receive a rent share or Citizen’s Dividend, they’re enabled to invest their talents in discovering new efficient machines and new waste-free lifestyles of more play and stronger human ties. Geonomics is not widely known yet but these blinding snow-storms could open more eyes.