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.
This animation shows the 2012 time-series of ice extent. The black area represents the daily average (median) sea ice from 1979-2000. Layered over are the daily satellite measurements from January 1 — September 14, 2012. A rapid melt begins in July, whereby the 2012 ice extents fall far below the historical average.
This melting has caused many to reconsider their predictions. A Cambridge scientist in the Arctic believes we could be only 4 years from a North Pole without ice.
Peter Wadhams, who heads the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge and who has measured Arctic Ocean ice thickness from British Navy submarines, says that earlier calculations about Arctic sea ice loss have grossly underestimated how rapidly the ice is disappearing. He believes that the Arctic is likely to become ice-free before 2020 and possibly as early as 2015 or 2016 — decades ahead of projections made just a few years ago.
Chip Yates does not like sitting still. Just a day after piloting his electric-powered Long EZ airplane to over 200 miles per hour – making him the fastest electric-airplane pilot in the world – he had to disassemble the airplane, pack it up and drive 2,000 miles east to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Here at Airventure, Yates continues to be busy answering questions about his record-setting run. And perhaps one of the more surprising answers is that Yates is a not a veteran test pilot. He just got his license in June and has about 58 hours of experience, including the record-setting run last week.
When the electric vehicle pioneer bought the used airplane it had a 118 horsepower, four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine that is fairly standard for a Long EZ. Over the course of several months Yates and his team pulled the four-cylinder engine out of the Long EZ. They then pulled the 193 kW (258 hp), liquid cooled electric motor out of his record setting battery powered motorcycle and mounted it to the back of the Long EZ.
With the very well used (Yates calls it “abused”) lithium polymer battery back from the motorcycle in the back seat, the Long EZ was being prepared as a test bed for some of the technologies Yates needs to develop for his transatlantic flight. But after setting speed records for an electric motorcycle, first up for the Long EZ was a speed run.
God save the queen. And get her a razor for her five o’clock shadow.
The stuntperson who was featured during that showstopping moment in Friday night’s Opening Ceremony when Queen Elizabeth jumped out of a helicopter with James Bond was a better actor than you ever knew. A closer look reveals it was a man dressed as the queen and pulling the cord on the parachute.
Gary Connery, above right, is a 42-year-old stuntperson who has appeared in British television shows and popular movies including the “Indiana Jones” series. He’s a jumping daredevil, having set the record for highest free jump and making close to 1,000 skydives in his career.
Connery was tasked with playing the queen during the ceremony, a role which included jumping out of the helicopter and landing precisely on a nearby bridge and, perhaps more dangerously, wearing a tiara and pearls.
As snapshots through time, Olympic posters provide a fascinating record of our world, a lens through which we can explore links between sports and art, politics and place, commerce and culture. A Century of Olympic Posters offers an intensely visual representation of the modern Games, and shows the evolution of the Olympic Games poster as well, from the first official poster for Stockholm in 1912 right up to the present.
“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.