There was disturbing news for environmentalists earlier this week as a new report indicates that July was the hottest month ever recorded. According to research conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average temperature across the planet in July was 16.6ºC/61.9ºF, which .08 degrees higher than previous marks, and has been deemed a “significant” margin in terms of weather.
Scientists are blaming global climate change and the El Nino phenomenon for the spike in temperatures, and sadly July wasn’t the only month to see a bump. In fact, the seven previous months for 2015 have also set records for the warmest period recorded as well, with official records dating back to 1880.
Jake Crouch, a scientist at NOAA, says “Now that we are fairly certain that 2015 will be the warmest year on record, it is time to start looking at what are the impacts of that? What does that mean for people on the ground?”
In other words, there is definitely a trend forming, and it is not a good one. The Earth is getting warmer and it will have consequences for how we live within our lifetimes. As the polar caps melt, and the oceans rise, coastlines will be altered dramatically. Droughts will become more frequent and severe, and powerful storms are likely to become more common in their ferocity and duration. Looking around, it is easy to see some of these things already starting to happen, and chances are it is only going to get worse.
Much of this isn’t new of course. We’ve been hearing the warnings from climatologists for some time. And yet despite those warnings, we still have people who refuse to believe what the environmental data is telling us, even as glaciers recede, less snow falls in winter, and rivers and lakes begin to dry up. How these people can bury their heads in the sand and ignore what is happening is beyond me, but since climate change has been turned into a political issue, it seems to be a more common response.
As the debate rages over whether or not climate change is a natural phenomenon or is manmade, I have to wonder if it really matters. Is the cause of these changes really that important? What matters most is what can we do to avoid worldwide catastrophe, and what measures can we take to ensure that we have a future on this planet?
I’ll get off my soapbox now. I mostly wanted to share this story that confirms what many of us already know. Climate change is happening, and it will impact the outdoor spaces that we love so much. Hopefully it isn’t too late to make meaningful changes that can have a positive impact instead.
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