How should we think about the relationship between climate change and day-to-day experience? Almost a quarter of a century ago James Hansen, the NASA scientist who did more than anyone to put climate change on the agenda, suggested the analogy of loaded dice. Imagine, he and his associates suggested, representing the probabilities of a hot, average or cold summer by historical standards as a die with two faces painted red, two white and two blue. By the early 21st century, they predicted, it would be as if four of the faces were red, one white and one blue. Hot summers would become much more frequent, but there would still be cold summers now and then.
And so it has proved. As documented in a new paper by Dr. Hansen and others, cold summers by historical standards still happen, but rarely, while hot summers have in fact become roughly twice as prevalent. And 9 of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000.
But that’s not all: really extreme high temperatures, the kind of thing that used to happen very rarely in the past, have now become fairly common. Think of it as rolling two sixes, which happens less than 3 percent of the time with fair dice, but more often when the dice are loaded. And this rising incidence of extreme events, reflecting the same variability of weather that can obscure the reality of climate change, means that the costs of climate change aren’t a distant prospect, decades in the future. On the contrary, they’re already here, even though so far global temperatures are only about 1 degree Fahrenheit above their historical norms, a small fraction of their eventual rise if we don’t act."
Globally, June was 4th warmest on record, NOAA announced today. And over the Northern Hemisphere, for the second consecutive month, temperatures were as warm as they’ve been in 133 years of records. Notably, the Arctic experienced its largest June sea ice loss since the start of satellite records in 1979.
It was the 36th consecutive June and 328th consecutive month with temperatures warmer than the 20th century average, NOAA said…
The decline of Arctic sea ice is one of the more telling indicators of recent warmth in the Northern Hemisphere. The Arctic lost the equivalent of 1.1 million square miles of ice in June (most on record), its extent falling to 9.8 percent below average, second lowest on record (since 1979).
Snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere, another indicator of temperature, reached its lowest extent in 45 years of June records."
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As our numbers increase, so space for other animals and plants decreases. Our skills and technological ingenuity seem to know no bounds. Having...”