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

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
What's Next
Trending Today
This Short Film Plays Out Like an Epic Movie That Will Shake Your Soul - But the Movie Is Real, and We are The Actors
6 min · 8,672 views today · For next year, we need a resolution capable of confronting the crisis we face, and making a future worth fighting for. This short film looks back on the crisis and confusion...
The Daily Show's Trevor Noah Talks With Conservative Host Tomi Lahren
14 min · 8,200 views today · "Tomi" host Tomi Lahren gives her take on the Black Lives Matter movement and explains why she lashed out against Colin Kaepernick for his national anthem protest.
Escape! From the Cult of Materialism (2016)
50 min · 3,564 views today · Does the philosophy of materialism work to destroy our identities, experience, and environment? Join narrator Daphne Ellis on a radical romp through the evidence and decide for...
Bernie Sanders: Carrier Just Showed Corporations How to Beat Donald Trump
Bernie Sanders · 2,774 views today · We need a president who can stand up to big corporations, not fold to their demands.
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 2,690 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 2,679 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Who's Really to Blame for Fake News? Look in the Mirror, America.
Neal Gabler · 2,505 views today · Consider for a moment the oxymoronic concept of “fake news,” which we have been hearing so much about lately. This isn’t your typical disinformation or misinformation —...
South Koreans Are Really Good at Protesting
2 min · 2,036 views today · South Koreans organize some of the largest and most peaceful protests in the world. Here's what makes them so good at protesting.
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,671 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Corporate Giants' "Sustainable" Palm Oil Revealed as Sham
Nika Knight · 1,431 views today · Nestlé, Kellogg's, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and others are linked to child labor and forced labor in Indonesia
Why We Need Big Picture Activism
Helena Norberg-Hodge · 1,222 views today · Despite the countless grassroots projects already under way, the global economic juggernaut can seem too powerful to stop. But because more and more of us are becoming aware of...
The Most Mind-Altering Photograph of All Time
4 min · 1,196 views today · Carl Sagan narrates the story of the Pale Blue Dot, the one place we all call home. 
93 Documentaries to Expand Your Consciousness
Films For Action · 1,101 views today · There are over 800 documentaries now cataloged in our library of social change films. That's probably way too many for any mortal to ever watch in a lifetime, let alone a few...
How a Land High in the Western Himalayas Can Help Us Understand The Crisis of The Modern World
9 min · 1,005 views today · This is a clip from The Economics of Happiness. Watch it here. It's a brilliant film that was easy to put at the top of our list of the top 100 documentaries we can use to...
A Tribe Called Red and Saul Williams Offer a Powerful Prayer for Standing Rock and Beyond
5 min · 946 views today · Music video for "The Virus" by A Tribe Called Red, featuring Saul Williams and Chippewa Travellers.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 911 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Social Media Echo Chambers: Here's How Most of Us are Living in One
2 min · 903 views today · Americans are blocking out the friends and news sites that won't confirm their views.
The 6 Grand Illusions That Keep Us Enslaved
Sigmund Fraud · 842 views today · For a magician to fool his audience his deceit must go unseen, and to this end he crafts an illusion to avert attention from reality. While the audience is entranced, the...
The Difference Between Empathy and Sympathy
3 min · 629 views today · What is the best way to ease someone's pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic...
The Truth About the Alt-Right
11 min · 541 views today · Our comprehensive investigation into the Alt-Right movement, including its origins, its relation to the Trump campaign and broader implications for the future. Read more: What...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Scorching Global Temps Astound Climate Scientists