"Ain't No Denying It ... Climate Change Is Here to Stay"
But how much worse are we going to allow it to become?
December 2014 to February 2015 was the hottest meteorological winter ever. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that this winter was a remarkable 2.03°F above the 20th century average. The earth’s landmasses were so hot in February that NOAA reported:
The February globally-averaged land surface temperature was 4.16°F (2.31°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for February in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous records set in 1998 and 2015 by 1.13°F (0.63°C).
Yes, this statistic should have sounded the alarm bell for all across the globe. But - did it?
2015 Weather and Climate Disasters
Because of such scorching heat 2015, it’s no surprise that a number of weather and climate disaster events occurred across the globe. Here in the U.S., there were 10 weather and climate disaster events, each with losses that exceeded $1 billion:
(1) Droughts in the summer and fall of 2015 that hit western states, with the most severe conditions occurring in California for all of 2015.
(2) Two flooding events that hit South Carolina and the east coast, and Texas and Oklahoma.
(3) Five severe storm events, including severe storms across the Midwest and Ohio Valley in April; severe storms across the south and southeastern states in April; tornadoes across the southern plains states in May; severe storms that hit the central states in June.
(4) Western and Alaskan wildfires in the summer and fall that burned over 10.1 million acres across the U.S. in 2015, surpassing 2006 for the highest annual total of U.S. acreage burned since record-keeping began in 1960.
(5) A large winter storm and associated cold wave impacted many central, eastern and northeastern states in February.
These events resulted in the deaths of 155 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted.
What Can We Expect Next?
If we don’t continue to sharply reverse global emissions trends immediately, our current extreme weather will become the norm by mid-century - and is likely to be considered mild by century’s end.