While the blogosphere has been up in arms over a trivial revision to a few years of U.S. temperature data, the country and the planet keep smashing records for extreme weather. The National Climatic Data Center reports:
- “Record warmth in Western US in July”
- Nearly half the country in some stage of drought
- More than 5 million U.S. acres burned by wildfires
- The second warmest January-July globally on record
- The warmest Jan-July over land on record
- “The least [Arctic] sea ice extent in July since records began in 1979″ as the figure shows:
The recent rate of ice loss is stunning. If, as new research suggests, the planet is really going to heat up after 2009, then this rate might continue and the Arctic might soon become ice free during the summer –a condition not experienced for more than a million years.
Why should Americans care about Artic sea ice? Well a 2004 study in Geophysical Research Letters (subs. req’d) found that “future reductions in Arctic sea ice cover could significantly reduce available water in the American west.”
The global climate system is interconnected — and we change it at our peril.