It’s easy for me to forget that this past June, I was playing men’s league baseball in suffocating temperatures and cursing Apollo, Greek god of the sun.
Fast forward to bitter-cold January and I’m overhearing conversations on the street that go something like this:
“What is going on, here? I thought we were supposed to be having global warming?”
“I know, it’s freaking freezing! What a crock. Curse Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind and bringer of winter.”
Frankly, I almost find myself nodding along and turning around to say, “Yeah!”
After all, it’s only been a month since the roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapsed from the weight of an extreme blizzard that rampaged through the upper Midwest, and mere weeks since New York City and much of the Eastern seaboard was paralyzed by the 2010 holiday blizzard.
And yet, the year 2010 is now tied with 2005 as the Hottest Year on Record, and the wettest too, according to data just released by the by the National Climatic Data Center. In fact, all 12 of the warmest years have occurred since 1997, and 9 of the ten warmest years have all been in the 2000s.
But, how can it be?
Actually, an interesting op-ed by seasonal forecaster Judah Cohen that recently ran in The New York Times sums it up pretty well: “The not-so-obvious short answer is that the overall warming of the atmosphere is actually creating cold-weather extremes.”
Or, as The Nature Conservancy’s Eric Haxthausen wrote on these pages last month, “low levels of Arctic sea ice during the summer are causing more heat to be absorbed in the Arctic during the fall, and changing atmospheric circulation patterns, driving cold Arctic air into Europe and the Eastern United States and funneling warm air up into the Arctic regions.”
And, the Conservancy’s Sarene Marshall adds in another recent Planet Change post, “Unfortunately, the 2011 forecast doesn’t look much rosier. Current trends overwhelmingly match patterns that scientists have predicted will become more common in a world thrown off balance by runaway carbon pollution from power stations, industrial processes, transportation fuels, and other societal sources.”
I guess with each new all-time warm year I’ll have to get used to nearly passing out on the base-paths in the summer and digging out of my front door in the winter.
Who was the Greek god of carbon pollution? Curses!
Matt Barrett is marketing manager for climate change at The Nature Conservancy
Photo by: Matt Barrett/The Nature Conservancy (Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., during “Snowmaggedon,” Feb. 2010)
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