Have you felt it? The sweltering summer that has strained the grid? The floods and tornadoes and the hail? The increased humidity where it was a dry heat? The dry heat where it was moist?
The planet has a fever. That's not supposition. The National Climactic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recorded year-to-date combined global and and surface temperatures that are the warmest on record.
• The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for April-June 2010 was 1.26°F (0.70°C) above the 20th century average--the warmest April-June period on record.
• For the year-to-date, the global combined land and ocean surface temperature of 57.5°F (14.2°C) was the warmest January-June period. This value is 1.22°F (0.68°C) above the 20th century average.
• June 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record (March, April, and May 2010 were also the warmest on record). This was the 304th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with below-average temperature was February 1985.
• It was the warmest June and April-June on record for the Northern Hemisphere as a whole and all land areas of the Northern Hemisphere.
• Arctic sea ice continued its annual decline, typically reaching a September minimum. Similar to May 2010, the Arctic sea ice continued to decline at a record rapid rate--the fastest measured for June (more than 50 percent greater than average).
The Journal Nature reports that the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology predicts the Mediterranean region of Europe can expect the worst of record breaking heat waves:
Mediterranean most at risk from European heatwaves
Increased heat and humidity predicted to have biggest health impact in valleys and coastal cities.
Rome is one of the cities where the health effects of climate change will be most severe, researchers predict. A projected increase in heatwaves in Europe would hit low-lying river basins and coastal cities across the Mediterranean the hardest, say researchers.
Russia has experienced a heat wave this year from the normally cool Ural Mountains through their major cities, costing crops, lives and fish who died from the increased temperature of water.
Russian heat wave kills fish, crops
A state of emergency has been declared in 19 Russian regions due to the worst heat wave since the Stalin era. Saturday could see temperatures in Moscow hit 37 C, which would break the previous high of 36.6 C set in 1936. The state weather bureau in Moscow said it expected the heat wave to continue into next week.
Russia is facing its worst drought in 130 years, with little or no rain for weeks across several regions. On Thursday, officials reported that dry conditions have destroyed nearly 10 million hectares of crops. Fish breeders in central Russia have lost much of their sturgeon and trout to a scorching heat wave that continued Saturday. At Volgorechensk fish farm, near the Volga River, farmers say they have been forced to throw away 12 tonnes of fish because of high temperatures.
Hundreds of Russians are reported to have drowned in swimming accidents as they drink to offset their misery and take to unsupervised rivers and streams to escape the heat.
Russians sweltered Friday in record-breaking temperatures as hundreds drowned in bathing accidents often influenced by alcohol.
As many cooled down by swimming in rivers and ponds, often with no lifeguards, hundreds have died from drowning. The emergency ministry said more than 400 people had drowned since the beginning of July, while 1,244 people drowned in June.
The U.S. West Coast has not escaped the sizzle. That last few days have seen record heat in Southern California and NOAA reports that drought conditions in the Southern U.S. is expected to worsen.
NOAA Predicts Drought Conditions in Southwest U.S. to Worsen
NOAA's National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center released its seasonal drought outlook today for the period from August through October. The outlook indicates already dry conditions across parts of Arizona and New Mexico are likely to worsen in coming months. The official outlook calls for current severe drought conditions to persist.
Climate scientists have warned of this for years. The tipping point of 350 ppm in greenhouse gases has been passed and it's given the planet a temperature. The consequences of fossil fuels have shown themselves to horrific measure in the Gulf. What has not been talked about is the methane, twenty times more potent a greenhouse gas than C02, that was released into the Gulf and the atmosphere during the Gulf oil disaster.
Now there is some kind of head-in-the-sand consensus building, amid the heat, that climate change is not real; a lasting impression left by a frenzy of reporting on the theft of climate scientists' emails, dubbed "Climategate," where scientific conclusions were put into doubt through allegations that have since been debunked (with retractions buried on back pages).
'Climategate' fallout may impact legislation
Five investigations into the "Climategate" scandal have now cleared a group of scientists accused of twisting data in an effort to prove the world is getting warmer. But many environmentalists and climate researchers fear the damage has already been done.
British and American investigations have now largely exonerated the scientists, saying they did not warp their studies to reach a pre-determined end. But the public may not buy it. Some polls show the public's belief in the reality of climate change has ebbed, although other surveys disagree.
"Even though the science of climate change hasn't changed, the public perception of it has," Kammen said. "You have less than 50 percent of people strongly believing in something that 99.99 percent of climate scientists agree on."
Perhaps the fifty plus percent who've decided it's more convenient to believe there is nothing wrong should go outside during the next heat wave. Perhaps they should stay there without air conditioning, as do so many around the world, until they realize the planet has a fever of our making and that we are the only ones who can cool it down.
More on this topic at THE ENVIRONMENTALIST