This morning my wife and I had to cope with five inches of snow on the ground here in rural south Salem (Oregon). It was weird. I've lived in Oregon for forty-one years. Can't remember a time when the blooming daffodils were crushed by so much snow.
Because our newspapers couldn't be delivered, over breakfast I read a story about the spring storm in the Oregonian online. Turning to the comments, I saw predictable comments along the lines of "Ha, ha, Al Gore is wrong. Can't be global warming if the Willamette Valley got record-breaking snow for this time of year."
That sort of ignorance isn't bliss. It's disturbing. Because if lots of Americans keep on denying the reality of global warming, we're headed for much scarier and much weirder weather.
The global warming deniers who used comments on the Oregonian story to display their foolishness forgot, or ignored, an inconvenient truth: while the temperature in the Pacific Northwest has been unusally cool this month, most of the rest of the United States has been extremely warm.
On the highly recommended Climate Progress blog, check out March Madness: 'This May Be an Unprecedented Event Since Modern U.S. Weather Records Began in the Late 19th Century.' The post starts out this way.
Dr. Jeff Masters: A spring heat wave like no other in U.S. and Canadian history peaked in intensity yesterday, during its tenth day. Since record keeping began in the late 1800s, there have never been so many temperature records broken for spring warmth in a one-week period–and the margins by which some of the records were broken yesterday were truly astonishing. Wunderground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, commented to me yesterday, “it’s almost like science fiction at this point.“
Yesterday, meteorologist Masters published a detailed statistical analysis that concluded, “It is highly unlikely the warmth of the current ‘Summer in March’ heat wave could have occurred unless the climate was warming.”
See that strip of blue on the northern portion of the Pacific coast? In addition to south Texas, that's the only spot in the United States that has been unseasonably cool from March 8-15, 2012.
All that red, including the really dark red? That's record-breaking heat.
Global warming is real. We need to deal with it. Now.