It’s too darn hot!
“It’s Too Darn Hot,” the popular number from the famous Broadway musical “Kiss Me Kate,” could very well be the theme song for the kind of worldwide temperatures we saw in July.
But, believe me, no one is singing or dancing after seeing these alarming numbers.
July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. And now here we are in the midst of another heat wave halfway through August.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the average temperature for July was 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 60.4 degrees, or 0.05-degree warmer than the previous record of July 2016.
Representatives through the Paris climate agreement committed their respective countries to prevent the planet from warming more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius).
A Washington Post analysis of 123 years (1895-2018) of NOAA temperature data across the lower forty-eight states and 3,107 counties found that major areas are nearing, at or have already crossed the 2-degree Celsius mark. One of them is Northampton County, whose average temperature during that stretch has increased 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius).
As for the other four counties in the Times News area, Monroe was up 3.06 degrees (1.7 degrees Celsius), Lehigh was up 2.7 degrees (1.5 degrees Celsius), Carbon increased 2.52 degrees (1.4 degrees Celsius), while Schuylkill fared best, but still up 1.44 degrees (0.8-degree Celsius).
Because of July’s numbers and earlier warmer than normal months this year, 2019 is shaping up to become one of the top three warmest years ever. The period from 2015 to 2019 will go down as the warmest five-year period on record since the late 19th century, when record-keeping began, and, probably, well before that, a NOAA spokesman said.
Earlier this month, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres cited preliminary data at a news conference as an example of why more ambitious action to cut planet-warming greenhouse gases is needed.
“We have always lived through hot summers, but this is not the summer of our youth; this is not your grandfather’s summer,” he said, citing these scientific reports as a call to action. He urged countries to rapidly cut their carbon emissions.
Guterres’ plea comes less than two months after the Trump administration unveiled its replacement for former President Barack Obama’s most ambitious climate change regulation: rolling back rules to bolster the declining role of coal in the nation’s power supply.
The record-shattering heat of July should not have come as a surprise to anyone who was paying attention. An apocalyptic heat wave settled over Europe — Paris reached a hottest ever 108 degrees — then Greenland causing hundreds of billions of tons of ice melt. The exceptionally warm year has caused the ice pack in both the Arctic and Antarctic to reach a 40-year low, NOAA reported.
Another troubling sign is that global carbon emissions continue to hit highs, with 2018 having set a record, and 2019 is expected to do the same.
Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of scientists from all over the world, warned that it is critically important to stop global temperatures from warming beyond 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above average, but three of our counties — Northampton, Monroe and Lehigh — have hit or surpassed that number, and Carbon is practically there.
“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, co-chair of IPCC Working Group.
He warned that to reverse the trend, will require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”
We can see the recent trend in our area. According to National Weather Service figures at the Lehigh Valley International Airport, between January and so far in August, each month has been warmer than normal, except for February, which was right at the historical average. April was 8 degrees warmer than normal. It was 5 degrees above normal in July and 6 degrees above normal for the first half of August.
Rainfall for the year is at 44 inches, more than 50 inches in many parts of the Times News area, compared to an average of 28 inches. July was the ninth month in a row with more than average rainfall. Last month was the second highest amount in July in history — 9.55 inches vs. the norm of 4.95 inches. Some rain stations in Schuylkill County measured more than 13 inches in July and more than 55 for the year so far.
The warnings are dire; the data are persuasive and unambiguous, but many of our leaders continue to fiddle around while the planet burns.
By Bruce Frassinelli | email@example.com