Posted on | augustus 10, 2012 | No Comments
With its heatwaves and drought, the summer of 2012 has been hot. In fact, the Northeast has experienced the hottest period from January to July ever recorded and July 2012 was the hottest month ever in the contiguous US. Although the weather has been balmy this year, extreme heat and drought are not anything new.
According to an EPA report, seven of the top ten warmest years on record for the continental U.S. have occurred since 1990. The frequency of heat waves have also steadily risen since the 1960’s and the percentage of the US population experiencing heat waves has also increased. Perhaps most convincing is the fact that seventeen of the warmest years in recorded history have occurred over the last twenty years and the warmest years on record occurred in the most recent decade.
The summer of 2011 was one of the hottest on record and the summer of 2010 saw record-setting temperatures in more than a dozen nations. There were record-breaking temperatures all around the world in 2010 and a new record was set for the second highest average global temperature over a 12 month period. In 2011, the U.S. experienced widespread record-breaking heat waves and droughts, which along with other extreme weather events, have been linked to climate change.
In 2010, China recorded the second highest temperatures it had ever seen, and India recorded its warmest year ever. Many heat records were also set in the U.S. in 2010. According to NASA, 2010 was tied for the hottest year ever in the U.S. and NASA’s temperature record showed that it was the hottest January to April in recorded U.S. history. In the U.S. there were more than 4000 daily high temperature records that were tied or broken in June. There were also 159 reports of record high temperatures for June and 42 reports of all-time record hottest temperatures.
The Great Russian drought of 2010 prompted fires and destroyed 25 million acres of crops. Thousands died around the globe as many parts of the world suffered under the record-breaking heat. More recently, the Amazon faced its second “hundred-year drought” in the past five years.
Even before 2010, the evidence for a warming trend was building. Researchers have been pointing to a link between weather and climate for decades. Eight years ago, a study published in NatureNews indicated that global warming was partially responsible for the deadly heat wave that scorched Europe in 2003. Hurricane Irene pushed the U.S. yearly record for billion-dollar natural disasters to 10 in 2011, smashing the 2008 record of nine.
The extreme heat and drought we are experiencing in 2012 looks increasingly like the years that preceded it. We may very well be dealing with global weather patterns that have been permanently changed by global warming.
AUTHOR: Richard Matthews
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