Opinion: This weather’s great. It also ain’t right

spring

Back on Feb. 2, General Beauregard Lee, Georgia’s prognosticating groundhog, predicted that we’d have an early spring this year. He also predicted the Falcons would win the Super Bowl.

Well, he got it half right. On the map above, the splotch of deep red tells you that for much of the country, including metro Atlanta, spring is indeed coming early, as in way, way early. As in more than three weeks early. Plants are blooming and leafing now that shouldn’t be doing so until mid-March, and the predicted high of 77 today — which would tie a record — will only accelerate that process. In the entire month of February, we’ve had exactly one night of below-freezing temperatures; the daily high this month has never been lower than 52; today will make seven days this month with highs above 70, with more likely.

It ain’t right, and you know it ain’t right. You feel it in your bones when you step outside, and the plants and critters know it far better than we do. Global climate models have long predicted that north Georgia would eventually have the heat-heavy climate of south Georgia and north Florida, driving out plants, animals and aquatic life long native to this region, and that transformation appears to be happening pretty quickly.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its plant-hardiness maps, shifting the zones 50 to 100 miles northward in Georgia, meaning that Atlanta now has the climate that was once natural to Macon. However, that change reflected temperature data compiled only through 2005, and since then we’ve recorded nine of the 10 warmest years on the global record, including 2016, the warmest of them all.

And of course, it’s not just here. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, 5,294 daily high-temperature records were broken nationwide from Feb. 1 through Feb. 20. Only 85 record-lows were set. In Oklahoma, where daily highs this month ought to average 56 degrees, temperatures hit 99 degrees a couple of weeks ago, 43 degrees above normal.¹

In the Arctic and Antarctic, sea-ice levels have never been lower for this time of year. There is open water in areas where there should be solid ice for hundreds of square miles.

“We knew the Arctic would be the place we’d see the effects of climate change first, but what’s happened over the last couple of years has rattled the science community to its core,” says Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. “Things are happening so fast, we’re having trouble keeping up with it. We’ve never seen anything like this before.”

This is the fastest global temperature rise on the scientific record, reaching back tens of thousands of years through ice cores, tree rings and other indicators.  It is the fastest warming by far, many times more rapid than anything we can find, and we’re watching it happen within the span of a human lifetime.

Furthermore, it has no plausible natural cause. There is only one suspect in this crime against nature and human posterity, and it is us.

Enjoy the nice day.

—————————–

¹ Oklahoma is home to U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, the climate-change denier who held up a snowball on the floor of the Senate two years ago as evidence that scientists didn’t know what they were talking about. It is also home to Scott Pruitt, stalwart defender of the oil and gas industry, who was confirmed last week as administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. He is already moving to overturn the agency’s Clean Power Plan mandating lower carbon emissions from power generators.

Reader Comments 0

803 comments
KJM-Brookhaven
KJM-Brookhaven

I love it! I'm working on my tan! 😎 This is the first winter I haven't been depressed or wanted to run away to the Caribbean

Corey
Corey

I though I was dreaming when I awoken one morning in early February to chirping birds that are usually heard in March. It's still winter? Please tells those birds.

ComeOnNowReally
ComeOnNowReally

Jay, you forgot to mention the solution pushed by George Shultz and James Baker (and 6 others), a tax on carbon fuels, where the money is collected and then rebated to households.  This was the poor people can afford the higher prices for gasoline (they would jump it about 35 cents per gallon, then go up 2% a year plus inflation.) It would certainly cut our use of fossil fuels.  The Citizens Climate Lobby group pushed a similar tex or fee, which they would start at 14 cents/gallon, but go up 9 cents per year.  citizensclimatelobby.org 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

VWe had better start working together as a planet to save our planet and ourselves. Just think of your children and your grandchildren. We have no time to keep playing games with the issue of climate change.

The first step, in my opinion, it is to remove Donald Trump as our president by either ineptness to serve or by impeachment for, if proven, collusion with a foreign country to sway the election for himself. I cannot see a President Trump forming egalitarian partnerships with people of peace throughout this world to solve together our common problems for survival, climate change being only one.

quickdigits
quickdigits

100% of the time, I do not agree with you politically, Jay Bookman, but what you say here about our climate in Atlanta Rings Very True! 2016 Had to be The Hottest Summer I have Ever experienced while living in the Atlanta area! The heat, blasting sunshine and humidity were Relentless and Non-Stop! We humans Are the reason for this climate change. Apparently, all the EPA regulations of businesses have not been working. Maybe the problem is pure over-population? Maybe the problem is our overuse of natural resources? Sections of the Middle East are Already too hot for human habitation. No one can exist with daily temperatures over 165 degrees!

stephenbox
stephenbox

Gosh, Jay. Thanks for scaring the bejeezus out of me today. Like the daily news isn't doing well enough... :)

ProudAmerican2017
ProudAmerican2017

TELL ME WHEN WILL TRUMP'S CIRCUS END - Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, had a seemingly uncomfortable moment during the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.  The Reagan Battalion, which claims to be conservative news source, posted GIF of the appearance.  It's been a busy week for the account, which recently took down Milo Yiannopoulous by sharing a video of the personality appearing to sexual relations between "younger boys and older men."  The footage of Priebus and Bannon was not so severe, but it immediately went viral:  In the clip, Bannon reaches over to touch Priebus' leg, Priebus makes a displease face and swats his hand away.  The cringeworthy scene caused a stir because the relationship between the two Trump advisers has always been scrutinized.  Bannon was once president of Breitbart News, which criticized Priebus when he was chairman of the Republican National Committee.  Just last week, Bannon denied any involvement in a piece Breitbart published that claims Priebus may be fired from his job as White House Chief of Staff. 

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

White House blocks hand-picked news organizations from press briefing.

Despicable Donnie Boy and Heil Bannon are attempting an autocratic coup.

Even his brain-dead supporters should be alarmed at this latest development.

This is a democracy, people!


NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

Donnie Boy is going to ramp up government spending with all of his big plans. But, based on his tax write-offs, he is personally not going to help pay for any of it.

Meanwhile, Bubba that voted for him is going to lose his double-wide because he claimed too many mileage deductions running his portable potty business.

Trump is certainly doing everything he can to help the common man.

Ychromosome
Ychromosome

@NativeAtlantan57 I still run into rightwingers who bring up Al Sharpton's tax problems. Heck, at least Sharpton is slowly paying taxes into the government coffers, unlike the guy they voted for. Of course, it was never about the taxes. It was always about one thing. Any guesses?

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

Bruno - checked your link. Here is the updated info from same organization.


"https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf"


"Total radiative forcing is positive, and has led to an uptake of energy by the climate system. The largest contribution to total radiative forcing is caused by the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 since 1750 (see Figure SPM.5). {3.2, Box 3.1, 8.3, 8.5}"

honested
honested

@AvgGeorgian 

What about the 'negative feedback loops', fruit loops, door stoops and cow poops?

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@honested @AvgGeorgian

Yes research has shown cow s are responsible for 99% of CO2 emissions, but  that professional protesters for years have been feeding cows beans in the dead of night to increase CO2 emissions and blame it on coal and gas.

Ychromosome
Ychromosome

I see Trump is dodging the real media. The country has never been so divided. Most people can see that Trump is nuts. Some, however, are so happy that Dems are out of the WH, they don't care. Heck, put Pence in charge. I don't like him, but at least he's not crazy. 

honested
honested

@AvgGeorgian @Ychromosome 

When he can get the sky wizard to show up at any public gathering and speak fluently, I will too......

Until then I put it in the same category as comic books.

honested
honested

@McGarnagle 

If the 'reggggalations' protect anything but profit, they are 'burdensome'....

If anything but profit suffers, it's the 'cost of doing business'.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Never done this before


But fresh sheetz upstairs. 

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

The same bunch that discredits religion on ground its not something they can see, touch or prove...

Speaking of religion………….did you happen to catch the Pope’s address about the abundance of hypocrites within religion? 

Pope denounces hypocritical Christians who 'live a double life'

Pope Francis called out Christians in a sermon Thursday, suggesting it would be better to be an atheist than to lead a double life, exploit people or manage a greedy business.

http://www.ajc.com/news/religion/pope-denounces-hypocritical-christians-who-live-double-life/mN3dvEiwKqWAYmPEU7bOdJ/

TBS
TBS

Well in the short term let's hope the temps get back to normal in March and April.  This current trend continues it is going to be blazing by May. 

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

@TBS Gnats love this crap.  We'll have to pull down our pants to talk this summer...

TBS
TBS

@LordHelpUs @TBS


I used to wake board and ski a good bit up on Lanier.  We would go early spring (but never this early) and into mid fall with wet-suits.  These temps keep up I'm sure there will be some diehards out there.  Might be some already out there with dry-suits. 


LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

@TBS @LordHelpUs I still fish there regularly.  Don't eat my catch anymore, which blows.

We are effing this planet...

honested
honested

@TBS @LordHelpUs 

Not this early!

I've ridden my old stand-up Jet Ski all winter several years in the past......

I guess that's crazy.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 The same bunch that discredits religion on ground its not something they can see, touch or prove...deride folks you refuse to bow to the masters of climate change


What ???


Religion is purely a matter of faith. It cant be proven


This CAN be empirically proven and has been. 


One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

@TBS 

"Uh, Dave's not here."

Thomas "Tommy Chong" Jefferson

Bruno2
Bruno2

PaulinNH: "If being a member of the R tribe required denying Galileo they would be posting how the sun revolved around the earth - it's just common sense, don't you know."

Of course, according to Einsteinian Relativity, no point of reference is superior to any other, such that it is perfectly valid to say that the sun does revolve around the earth.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@Nick_Danger @Bruno2 What??  All motion is relative, that is the heart and soul of Relativity.  Because there is no absolute, universal frame of reference, we are free to choose whichever reference point is most convenient.  For astronomical considerations, it is most useful to pick the Sun as our non-moving point of reference.  For daily activities on Earth, it is more convenient to say that the sun rises and sets.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Bruno2 @Hedley_Lammar @Nick_Danger No, it's what dumasses like you equate with Creationism.


No. Its an argument well known in creationist circles. 


Its perfect for them. Wanna know why. Because it isnt falsifiable. 


Kinda like Religion. 

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

@Bruno2 Well. I suppose I better throw out the calendars now that Bruno says they have no valid basis.

honested
honested

@Bruno2 

Still beatin' that dead horse....

Here let me give you another one to flog, tell me again why it makes more sense to pay insurance companies to do what taxes can do more efficiently.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Bruno2  Actually, they both rotate around the same center of mass - which is within the inside of the sun.  If it were solely a 2 body problem you could use the Relativity statement BUT it isn't.  The relative motions of the sun and earth have been measured against the background stars (of the zodiac, no less) - and that's where the evidence comes for the earth rotating around the sun.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Bruno2 

Only if you want to ignore principles of  gravity, thermodynamics, and a host od other scientific principles.  But sure, you're right.