Those of us who have lived in the Northeast for a long time can unequivocally say we can't remember such a blistering summer. Around here if it hits mid to high 80s, it's usually not for long and it is not uncommon for the mercury to surpass 90, but rarely does the heat wave last for weeks. In this humid region of the country it is unusual to endure days in the 80s with little cooling at night, for weeks at a time. So after a stretch of unbelievable, unrelenting heat, we begin to wonder: is it me, or is this an unusually hot summer?
Come to find out, NOAA
, the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says we are in the middle of what is, so far, the hottest year on record. Keep in mind that NOAA scientists are not whacked-out treehugger subversives with any particular bias when it comes to climate change. They are climatologists who look at long term data, over hundreds of thousands of years when possible, and then report it as they see it.
According to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)
, "The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for May, March-May (Northern Hemisphere spring-Southern Hemisphere autumn), and the period January-May according to NOAA. Worldwide average land surface temperature for May and March-May was the warmest on record while the global ocean surface temperatures for both May and March-May were second warmest on record, behind 1998."
• It was the warmest May on record for the global surface temperature as a whole, and for the land surfaces of the globe.
• It was the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere and for land areas of the Northern Hemisphere.
• The May 26 high temperatures of 128.3 F (53.5 C) in MahenjuDaro, Pakistan — if verified — may threaten all-time records for the region.
• This was the 303rd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with below average temperatures was February 1985.
Of course as climate models have predicted for decades, climate is chaotic and produces anomalies, such as more intense and unpredictable weather events at specific locations in the world. The report mentions, for example, that Antarctic sea ice increased this spring while global snow cover and Arctic sea ice have disappeared. In the same vein, parts of Europe were cooler than normal in May. But worldwide temperatures have been warmer than normal. We have recently seen tornadoes in Vermont during the past 10 years. I can assure you tornadoes are not native to the northeast!
Can't wait to see what Uncle NOAA says about June and July! Stay tuned. For more on predicted climate change impact on the Vermont-New York Champlain Basin, see my previous article on climate change