Climate change is a myth invented by the Chinese government to undermine U.S. manufacturing, at least according to Donald Trump.
If so, those Chinese are tricky dudes. Among other things, they’ve apparently hacked into computers at NASA, which has announced that globally, July of 2016 was the hottest month ever recorded.
That followed June of 2016, which was the hottest June ever recorded, just as May was the hottest May and April the hottest April. Every month since last October has been the hottest such month ever recorded, and once the data are final, August may become the 11th consecutive month to join that list.
In addition, NASA points out, the rate of warming far exceeds anything in the planetary records going back some 800,000 years. Using data from petrified tree rings, glacial ice, sedimentary rock and other sources, they estimate that the planet is warming 10 times faster than in previous, naturally caused warming. If the warming continues as predicted, it will exceed 20 times the natural pace.
The evidence doesn’t stop there. Last year, 2015, was the hottest year ever recorded globally. The previous champion had been 2014. According to Gavin Schmidt, climatologist and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, there’s a 99 percent chance that 2016 will top both of them, producing three consecutive years of record heat globally.
And a global phenomenon is being felt locally as well.
Down along the Georgia coast, rising sea levels are causing widespread alarm from officials who had previously denied the existence of climate change. Scientists at Climate Central predict that under moderate sea-rise assumptions, record flooding of at least three feet above high tide will strike the Georgia coast by 2040, affecting billions of dollars in property and more than 170,000 acres.
“Under high-range projections, floods exceeding 4 feet – a level not seen in the past 100 years – become every-year events by 2060” all along the Georgia coast, the study warns. Savannah, Sea Island, Tybee Island — all would be threatened.
In south Georgia, longtime farmers report weather patterns never before witnessed, and researchers warn that native plants and animals will have to migrate northward, and quickly, to escape the heat. “A lot of them are going to have a hard time,” says Jenny McGuire, a research scientist at Georgia Tech and co-author of a new report on climate-change adaptability. “For plants and animals in the East, there is a higher potential for extinction due to an inability to adapt to climate change. We have a high diversity of amphibians and other species that are going to struggle.”
And of course, the drought has returned. Climate models have long predicted that global warming would create more intense drought and fewer but more intense rain events here in the Southeast, and that’s the pattern that seems to be occurring.
Those models also predict that higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would keep the heat from dissipating at night, producing many more evenings in which the air conditioners keep humming. Through Sept. 13, we have experienced a record 58 consecutive days in which overnight temperatures have remained above 70 degrees, according to the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City. The last time we enjoyed temperatures in the 60s was on June 21. Here in Atlanta, we’ve so far endured 82 days of temperatures exceeding 90 degrees. The annual average is 37 days.
In short, we have a whole world of evidence — literally — that global climate change is real and serious. And yet sheer cussedness still stifles effective action.