Great way to put it, columnist Eugene Robinson: "Welcome to the rest of our lives." The extreme weather and global warming predicted by climate scientists is here.
And it's only going to get worse unless the world gets off it's denying-butt and starts dealing with increasingly obvious reality.
Here's a compilation of extreme weather events. More are coming. And then more after those. Believe it.
Last night I read a chilling article about global warming, "Running Wild," in a recent issue of New Scientist. Scary stuff.
Climate scientists have long warned that global warming will lead to more heatwaves, droughts and floods. Yet some of these recent extremes, such as the summer in March, are way beyond the predictions of our climate models. And there have been extremes of cold as well as heat. In Rome, ancient monuments are crumbling because of the big freeze that hit Europe this February. And on the northern edge of the Sahara desert, the streets of Libya's capital Tripoli were blanketed with snow.
It seems that our weather is getting wilder - more variable as well as steadily hotter. The big question is why. Is this just a blip, or are we in for even more freakish weather as global warming accelerates over the coming decades?
...So simple physics tells us that global warming should make extreme weather more extreme, from stronger storms to hotter heatwaves, drier droughts and damper downpours. This is indeed what has been happening around the world - except that in recent years, the magnitude of some of the record breakers has been jaw-dropping.
...More and more people are being affected by all this extreme weather. In a recent poll in the US, 82 per cent of people reported that they had personally experienced extreme weather or a natural disaster in the past year, and 35 per cent said they were personally harmed either a great deal or a moderate amount by one or more of these events.
There is little doubt that things are going to get even worse. What is especially worrying, though, is that the rise in extremes can't be accounted for solely by the 0.8 °C warming so far. Events like the 2003 and 2010 heatwaves were projected to occur only after much greater warming, towards the end of this century. And while one or two freak events might be dismissed as simple bad luck, there have been suspiciously many of them in the past decade.
...While no one can say exactly what's going to happen to our weather, all the signs are that we're in for a bumpy ride. "We are seeing these extremes after only 0.8 degrees of global warming," says Rahmstorf. "If we do nothing, and let the climate warm by 5 or 6 degrees, then we will see a very different planet."
l've got a five year old grandchild. I don't want her to grow up in a "very different planet," because different means way worse, not better. The time for dealing with global warming is now (actually, past time).