If you thought this summer was warm, so did everybody else, from USA Today:
While the USA sweated through one of its warmest summers on record, so, too, did the rest of the globe.
“Considering global land surfaces only, June – Aug. 2012 was record warm, at 1.85 degrees above average.”
Only the summers of 1998 and 2010 were warmer. Records go back to 1880.
The report also states the United States is in a drought, as is eastern Russia and India. There is a possibility the record heat is due to the transition from the cold water of La Niña to the warm water of El Niño, but we are in our 330th month of higher than average temperatures.
Many Mongolians consider the tomb (of Genghis Khan) an extremely sacred place and believe any desecration of it could trigger a curse that would end the world.
“Using traditional archeological methods would be disrespectful to believers,” Albert Yu-Min Lin says. “The ability to explore in a noninvasive way lets us try to solve this ancient secret without overstepping cultural barriers.
Lin investigates sites with a high-tech tool kit that leverages photographs taken firsthand on the ground, images gathered from satellites and unmanned aircraft, GPS tracks from expeditions, and geophysical instruments. “There are many ways to look under the ground without having to touch it,” he observes. Thermal-imaging systems show what lies below by detecting heat signals and patterns emitted from the Earth. Magnetometry uses the Earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint subterranean clues as microscopic as bacteria in decaying wood. Ground-penetrating radar bounces back images revealing subsurface objects or disturbances. Tiny remote wireless sensors collect data from places no human can go.
“These new approaches could benefit all kinds of projects, from gaining a whole new view of regions like Mongolia to tracking animal migrations to mapping the brain,” notes Lin. “The real trick is synthesizing the vast amounts of information we collect into something that can be understood. My colleagues and I use visualization techniques to sort, relate, and cross-link billions of individual data bits. We program it all into a file that allows us to re-render it into a digital 3-D world.”
“This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level,” said Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. “The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about.”
Horrendous wildfires. Oppressive heat waves. Devastating droughts. Flooding from giant deluges. And a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho.
These are the kinds of extremes experts have predicted will come with climate change, although it’s far too early to say that is the cause. Nor will they say global warming is the reason 3,215 daily high temperature records were set in the month of June.
Scientifically linking individual weather events to climate change takes intensive study, complicated mathematics, computer models and lots of time. Sometimes it isn’t caused by global warming. Weather is always variable; freak things happen.
On Friday, a historic, record-setting heat wave covered a sprawling region from the Midwest to the Southeast. All-time high temperatures records of 109 were established in Nashville and Columbia, South, Carolina and tied in Raleigh and Charlotte which hit 105 and 104. Here in Washington, D.C., the mercury climbed to an astonishing 104 degrees (breaking the previous record set in 1874 and 2011 by two degrees), our hottest June day in 142 years of records.
…the coverage and availability of this heat energy was vast, sustaining the storms on their 600 mile northwest to southeast traverse. The storms continually ingested the hot, humid air and expelled it in violent downdrafts – crashing into the ground at high speeds and spreading out, sometimes accelerating further.
Peak wind gusts in the D.C. region include the following:
71 mph near Dulles Airport
70 mph in Damascus, Md.
79 mph in Reston, Va.
65 mph in Rockville, Md.
70 mph at Reagan National Airport
76 mph in Seat Pleasant, Md. (Prince George’s co.)
77 mph in Swan Point, Md. (Charles co.)
70 mph in Ashburn, Va.
69 mph in Leesburg, Va.
In addition, an 80 mph gust was clocked in Fredericksburg. To the north and west, 91 mph and 72 mph gusts were measured in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Columbus, Ohio
The United States recently went through the hottest 12 months ever, since record-keeping began in 1895.
National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration said that for the period from May 2011 to April 2012, the nationally averaged temperature was 55.7 degrees, 2.8 degrees higher than the 20th century average. The national average temperature for April was 55 degrees, 3.6 degrees above average.
To be sure, the higher temperatures haven’t hit every region equally. The Pacific Northwest actually saw cooler-than-average temperatures over the past year, according to NOAA data. Much of California was also cooler than normal; Southern California had an average year.
But record averages for the year scorched central Texas — which saw a horrific drought last year — the upper Midwest, and much of the Northeast.
The last time the globe had a month that averaged below its 20th century normal was February 1985. April makes it 326 months in a row. Nearly half the population of the world has never seen a month that was cooler than normal, according to United Nations data.
In the past 60 years, California has experienced two heatwaves – in 1955 and 2006 – in which temperatures in its urban centers were greater than 37.8 degrees C (100 degrees F) for three or more consecutive days.
A new analysis prepared by other Scripps researchers indicates that by century’s end, those kinds of heatwaves will be the norm. Scripps climate researcher David Pierce said the new data will be assimilated into a major climate report scheduled for release in 2013.
“We’ll start getting these kinds of heatwaves more frequently by 2020 and by 2070, they’ll become common,” Pierce said.
…in all scenarios, not only do episodes of 100-degree-plus temperatures happen more frequently (several times a decade), but events in which temperatures top 100 for seven or more days begin happening at least once a decade by 2060 in all the models.