Clothesline in Winter

Clothesline in Winter

Friday, April 20, 2012

Climate on Steroids: March 2012

  •  I'm sweltering.
    • It's no wonder, with all those blankets you've got on.
  • There you go, talking about blankets again.  I’ve been hot lots of times before.
    • Yeah, but you’ve never had this many blankets.
  • When I was a kid, we had a summer so hot that we spent every day in the pond.
    • Right.  I heard about that.
  • And what’s more, I may have a fever.  There are lots of things that can make you hot, you know.
    • Like, for example, a bed piled high with blankets?
  • Enough with the blankets!  At my age, people have hot flashes all the time. You’ll see when you’re older.
    • Some things, you learn with age.  But it’s common sense that a bed with more and more blankets will make you hotter.
  • Oh yeah?  Common sense? All kinds of things can make you hot, Sherlock.  There’s no breeze tonight. The smog is sealing in the heat. All that new pavement absorbs heat all day long, so our nights are oppressive.  The humidity is terrible. Ever heard of El Niño? Your simplistic notions! It’s more complex than you think.
    • So you don’t think all these blankets you’ve been adding have anything to do with it?
  • Of course not.  Don’t be silly.
    • Well . . . okay. Maybe you’re right. Hmm. I always thought blankets made you warm. But maybe. . . .
  • . . . .
    • . . . .
  • I’m sweltering.

Here at Good Hand Farm, we’ve never seen a winter and spring like this.  On Tax Day, all our windows were wide open.  The peas are already climbing their trellises.  The garlic is already wilting in the summer-like heat.

Climate skeptics can't seem to agree about what is causing the warming – except that it must somehow mainly be something other than human CO2 emissions.

More blankets every year...
Meanwhile, the earth’s natural atmospheric blanket of CO2 is thicker and thicker every year.  Last month, CO2 concentrations reached 394.45 parts per million, up from 200-280 ppm for more than the last million years, and up a steady 3 ppm every single year.

And while we pile up an ever-thicker carbon blanket around the planet, last month we saw some devastating weather records:

  • Last month was the hottest March in the U.S. on record, after 118 years of measurements.
  • The March heat was spread across the entire country. 25 separate states recorded their all-time record highs, and another 15 ranked March among their ten hottest.
  • NOAA reports “there were 15,272 warm temperature records broken in the U.S. in March.
  • It was so hot that March heat records crushed cold records by over 35 to 1, and top scientists and meteorologists said that global warming loaded the dice.
  • There were 225 tornadoes in March, triple the March average of 74 tornadoes. This  tornado rampage cost 40 American lives and more than $1.5 billion in damage.
  • And it wasn’t just one month:  Twenty-five states, all east of the Rockies, had their warmest first quarter on record.
March heat: Red tones are hotter than average; deep red is +15 degrees F.

Of course, climate scientists will tell us that no single weather event can be attributed to climate change with certainty – and we agree with them.  But the overwhelming consensus now is that the combination of these thousands of events could not occur unless we were in fact changing the climate.  Here’s a great short clip from The Weather Channel that sums up our weird weather, and its tragic consequences.

Not everyone believes this.  Like the sweaty guy under all the blankets, many will look for any answer whatsoever, other than the relatively obvious fact that we are pumping out more greenhouse gases year-by-year as we burn more and more coal, oil and gas.  The earth hasn’t seen these CO2 levels in a million years.  And the climate system is faithfully responding to its Creator's laws.

In the stifling heat, it’s hard to remember that this is still early spring.  Give me a month or two, and then look for my post updating you on the weather at Good Hand Farm.  I’ve already picked out the title: I’m Sweltering.

Thanks for reading, and may God bless you.

J. Elwood


  1. Climate change; statistics, difficult for most people.
    In the Netherlands we're having a rather chilly april, and warmer weather is not expected for sometime.
    It's the warmest april in 15 years.
    But then: what is fifteen years?
    When one looks back one hundred years, it's clear that the weather is changing.

    For me personally the changes in wintertime in the Netherlands are most clear: far less possibilties to skate outside, on 'real'ice.
    That also isn't a scientifical robust statement, but the KNMI ( Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute) is clear in its statements: part of the changes in the weather in the Netherlands is happening due to human influences. Probably not all: the position of the Netherlands on the globe, with the sea nearby, and the Gulf Stream, make it difficult to decide which is due to human behaviour, and which is because of the position of the Netherlands on the globe.

    1. Tineke: Well said. Actually, Atlantic currents concern Europeans more than anyone, because you are the beneficiaries of the warmth brought from the South Atlantic by the Gulf Stream (or the "thermohaline circulation" system).

      Netherlands is on the 52nd parallel north. On our side of the ocean, that runs though frozen Labrador in Canada and the Alaskan islands in the U.S. Those places are scarcely habitable. The warm Atlantic currents come your way on the thermohaline, and give you a pleasant, temperate climate. But water density determines how the thermohaline works, and as Greenland melts, North Atlantic waters get fresher and less dense all the time.

      Change may not happen next year, but with enough Greenland melting, Europe may well yet discover what Labrador feels like. I hope not, but it's happened before (millions of years ago).

  2. Yeah, I know, about the Atlantic currents and its influence on Europe, and the 52nd parallel.
    When I first realized that it really made me think!