Scorching Global Temps Astound Climate Scientists
As wildfire rages in California, flooding affects millions in India and China, and eggs are fried on sidewalks in Iraq, scientists say global climate catastrophe is surpassing predictions
Scorching Global Temps Astound Climate Scientists
Southern California's years-long drought has resulted in one of the "most extreme" wildfires the region has ever seen. (Photo: Nick Ut/AP)
By Nika Knight / commondreams.org
Jul 28, 2016

Record global heat in the first half of 2016 has caught climate scientists off-guard, reportsThompson Reuters Foundation.

"What concerns me most is that we didn't anticipate these temperature jumps," David Carlson, director of the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) climate research program, told Thompson Reuters Foundation late Monday. "We predicted moderate warmth for 2016, but nothing like the temperature rises we've seen."

"Massive temperature hikes, but also extreme events like floodings, have become the new normal," Carlson added. "The ice melt rates recorded in the first half of 2016, for example—we don't usually see those until later in the year."

Indeed, extreme weather events are currently wreaking havoc around the world.

In Southern California, firefighters are battling one of the "most extreme" fires the region has ever seen. The so-called sand fire had consumed 38,346 acres as of Wednesday morning and forced the evacuations of 10,000 homes, and one person has died.

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus reported on the unusual fire last Friday in Pacific Standard:

The fire, which started as a small brush fire along the side of Highway 14 near Santa Clarita, California, on Friday, quickly spread out of control under weather conditions that were nearly ideal for explosive growth. The fire doubled in size overnight on Friday, and then doubled again during the day on Saturday.

"The fire behavior was some of the most extreme I've seen in the Los Angeles area in my career," says Stuart Palley, a wildfire photographer based in Southern California. "The fire was running all over the place. … It was incredible to see." There were multiple reports of flames 50 to 100 feet high on Saturday, which is unusual for fires in the region.

Time-lapse footage filmed on July 23 showed the fire's tall flames and rapid growth:

"Since late 2011," Holthaus explained, "Los Angeles County has missed out on about three years' worth of rain. Simply put: Extreme weather and climate conditions have helped produce this fire's extreme behavior."

The fire is an omen of things to come, according to Holthaus: "Even if rainfall amounts don't change in the future, drought and wildfire severity likely will because warmer temperatures are more efficient at evaporating what little moisture does fall. That, according to scientists, means California's risk of a mega-drought — spanning decades or more — is, or will be soon, the highest it's been in millennia."

As University of California professor Anthony LeRoy Westerling wrote Tuesday in theGuardian: "A changing climate is transforming our landscape, and fire is one of the tools it uses. Expect to see more of it, in more places, as temperatures rise."

Meanwhile, in India's northeast, Reuters reported Tuesday that over 1.2 million people "have been hit by floods which have submerged hundreds of villages, inundated large swathes of farmland and damaged roads, bridges and telecommunications services, local authorities said on Tuesday."

Reuters added that nearly 90,000 people are currently being housed in 220 relief camps.

"Incessant monsoon rains in the tea and oil-rich state of Assam have forced the burgeoning Brahmaputra river and its tributaries to burst their banks—affecting more than half of the region's 32 districts," the wire service reported.

Local officials also told the media that "more than 60 percent of region's famed Kaziranga National Park, home to two-thirds of the world's endangered one-horned rhinoceroses, is also under water, leaving the animals more vulnerable to poaching."

An unusually heavy monsoon season has also devastated communities in northern China,AFP reported Monday, with nearly 300 dead or missing and hundreds of thousands displaced after catastrophic flooding hit the region.

And in Iraq, temperatures last week reached such unprecedented heights that a chef literally fried an egg on the sidewalk. The TODAY show tweeted footage of the incident:

Stateside, the heat dome continues to inflict scorching summer temperatures across the country. In one Arizona locale, for example, meteorologists are predicting a scorching high temperature on Wednesday of 114° Fahrenheit. One Arizona resident posted a videoTuesday desperately asking people to pray for the state as it faces more hot weather. "It is still six billion degrees," the resident lamented. "Lord, we need you."

Yet there appears to be little relief in sight: for the first time ever, USA TodareportedTuesday, the U.S. federal government's climate prediction center is forecasting hotter-than-normal temperatures for the next three months for "every square inch" of the country.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 24,366 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 15,839 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 11,571 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 9,087 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
Stunning Small Homes Form Part of a Communal Compound for Best Friends
Lighter Side · 6,392 views today · If you’re lucky enough to have longtime friends even as an adult, then you know probably already know how much it means to be able to spend time together. Maybe you even have a...
Voices of Standing Rock
49 min · 3,874 views today · Short stories told by water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Part 1 - Introduction: Since mid-August 2016, thousands have set up camp near the Standing Rock Sioux...
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 3,475 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong
6 min · 3,223 views today · What causes addiction? Easy, right? Drugs cause addiction. But maybe it is not that simple. This video is adapted from Johann Hari's New York Times best-selling book 'Chasing...
Charles Eisenstein: The Two Great Stories That Give Meaning to Our Lives
6 min · 2,841 views today · What matters in life? Who are we? Every culture has answers to these questions. And the way we answer them has profound effects on the health of people and planet. This is a...
Redneck Revolt Presents: A Message to the Patriot Movement
6 min · 2,786 views today · Over the past few weeks, Redneck Revolt has been communicating with a former member of a III% Patriot Militia based out of Ohio. Peter made contact with our organization after...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 2,626 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Films for Action's Public Film Screening Guide
Tim Hjersted and Matt Toplikar · 1,801 views today · This guide will give you step by step instructions on how to host Films For Action sponsored film screening events in your city. It is intended primarily for people who have...
Artificial Ethics and the Search for Intelligence
5 min · 1,644 views today · How to stop a robot turning evil.  It's 2027 and Mental Endeavours Ltd has a problem with their flagship robot Günther. How do you program an intelligent machine not to...
Philippine Vigils Against Vigilantes - The Reign of Terror in the President's War on Drugs
7 min · 1,366 views today · The war on drugs waged by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has taken more than 7,000 lives since its inception. It took the killing of a South Korean businessman by police...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 873 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 855 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 841 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
The Lessons of Standing Rock
Michael Emero · 797 views today · In mid-November of 2016, I was a Water Protector at Standing Rock. At first my goal was to play investigative journalist; documenting then writing about every detail for my...
Two Ways to Build Global Community
Dan Hind · 752 views today · A platform co-operative approach to information, rather than the models of Facebook and legacy media, provide reason for optimism, writes Dan Hind.
System Change Will Not Be Negotiated
Nnimmo Bassey · 698 views today · We frequently hear calls for system change, at public mobilisations, in conference halls and even in negotiation halls. The calls come as slogans, they come in anger and they...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Scorching Global Temps Astound Climate Scientists