Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stuck in the woods

I'm snowed in today, which you would think might lead to a super special blog post, but I don't seem to be up for it. I will, however, cast the blame for my situation.

The National Climate Data Center has released its report on the global climate in 2010. Break out the champagne, folks, we just tied the record. 2010 was the warmest year the planet has experienced since useful records have been available -- that would be 1880. It's actually a tie with 2005, but hot enough.

Oh yeah -- it was also the wettest, although the wetness was spread around very unevenly. So we had an unusual number of extreme weather events. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, so you get more rain and snow. You also get unusual configurations of the jet stream and other weather patterns, so some places get droughts even while others are getting flooded.

This is for real folks. It's happening now, you don't have to wait until 2030. By the way arctic North America is extraordinarily warm right now, and most of Hudson Bay is ice free. That's really weird. And according to an increasingly popular hypothesis, it drives more cold arctic air south. So there's no paradox here. (Actually it hasn't been all that cold for January in New England anyway.)

How we can get people to focus on this, in the face of a very well-funded denialist campaign and a Fair and Balanced media, I don't know. But I do feel I need to do my own tiny part here, and I will.

No comments: