In June.

Bill McKibben has an important piece in Rolling Stone about climate change: Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

We probably are having the warmest year ever recorded by science, and one of the warmest years in a couple/few hundred thousand years as recorded by proxyindicators. Bill’s piece talks about three “terrifying” numbers: 2 degreec Celsius, 565 Gigatons, and 2795 Gigatons.

And there are other numbers too:

…The week after the Rio conference limped to its conclusion, Arctic sea ice hit the lowest level ever recorded for that date. Last month…Tropical Storm Debby dumped more than 20 inches of rain on Florida – the earliest the season’s fourth-named cyclone has ever arrived. …the largest fire in New Mexico history burned on, and the most destructive fire in Colorado’s annals claimed 346 homes in Colorado Springs – breaking a record set the week before in Fort Collins. …scientists issued a new study concluding that global warming has dramatically increased the likelihood of severe heat and drought – days after a heat wave across the Plains and Midwest broke records that had stood since the Dust Bowl, threatening this year’s harvest….In the course of this month, a quadrillion kernels of corn need to pollinate across the grain belt, something they can’t do if temperatures remain off the charts.

Go read it.

Comments

  1. #1 Jim Thomerson
    July 19, 2012

    My place received no rain during June. This was not a new record, but ties the record lack of rainfall in June, which has occurred an estimated 376, 845 times during the last 100 million years (made up numbers of course). I had just realized that it is not possible to set a new record for driest June at my place, but only to tie previous records.

  2. #2 Physicalist
    July 19, 2012

    Jim: It’s only a record if it’s recorded.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    July 19, 2012

    Actually, you can do better than tie if you measure the stuff that we measure beyond rainfall. For instance, ground water levels, veg dryness, etc. So this June (or some other june) could be dryer than some other rain-free June.

  4. #4 MadScientist
    July 19, 2012

    I sympathize with McKibben. I’ve done my fair share of screaming at people who pushed the Hollywood scenarios and even those who pushed the “more common and more severe extreme weather events” when there was no evidence for it. I said way back then that the claims were not only absolutely dishonest and not supported by existing data and analyses, but the real problem was most likely to be gradually increasing crop failure due to increasing temperatures. Sure farmers can ‘just switch crops’ – but who the hell can survive on a diet of, say, alfalfa every day? A marine biologist colleague of mine back then once said “I couldn’t care less if global warming were true or not, it doesn’t matter for me because the increasing acidity of shallow water systems is going to wipe out a large and very important food resource”. Between the crop failure which is absolutely guaranteed by rising temperatures and the dying marine (and maybe also freshwater) ecosystems currently observed with increasing dissolved CO2, we’ve got a huge problem brewing which scares the shit out of me more than any stupid Hollywood movie.

  5. […] 3,215 high-temperature records broken or tied in the US [Greg Laden's Blog] (scienceblogs.com) […]

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