State of Climate Causes A Stir


Thursday: Partly sunny H: near 90°

Friday: Slightly humid. Afternoon thunderstorms possible. H: mid 80s

Saturday: Showers & thunderstorms mainly early with rain ending by the afternoon. H: mid 80s

Sunday: Nicest day of the weekend.  Sunny, warm and dry. H: upper 80s to near 90°

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just announced their ‘State of the Climate’ report of 2011.  Their research shows that it has been the warmest start to any year since the dawn of recordkeeping in 1895.  Also, drought conditions covered 56% of the nation making it “the largest percentage of the nation experiencing drought conditions in the 12-year record of the U.S. Drought Monitor.”  You can read more about the details here.

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Of course, the media had a field day with this news.  Headlines read, “Expect More Weird Weather”, “Recent Heat Related to Climate Change” “Climate Change, Extreme Weather Linked”.  While extreme weather events have been increasing the cause of the events is debatable.  NOAA’s State of the Climate report of 2011 states that “determining the causes of extreme events remains difficult. While scientists cannot trace specific events to climate change with absolute certainty, new and continued research help scientists understand how the probability of extreme events change in response to global warming.”  Climate and weather are easily confused and we have to be careful taking research findings out of context.  For example, the main topic in the report was “two back-to-back La Niñas, each characterized by cooler-than-average water temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, affected regional climates and influenced many of the world’s significant weather events throughout the year.” El Nino and La Nina are natural events not a product of climate change.  The report, however, did touch upon other topics like ozone levels, sea ice cover and greenhouse concentrations and can be read in greater detail here.

After experiencing extreme heat and dry weather the first few days of July, Minnesota’s drought looks to be spreading slightly.  Moderate drought (tan) has increased from 13.63% June 5 to 14.86% July 3.  A small jump, I know, but it’s something to watch.

There may be some truth to the strange stories of northern lights making noise.  Researching have spent 12 years studying the aurora borealis (northern lights) and have concluded that a weird clapping noise occurs in the presence of an intense aurora event.  They don’t know yet what causes the clapping but have ruled out other outside environmental factors.




2 thoughts on “State of Climate Causes A Stir

    • Thanks, Steve! Climate change is an ever-evolving topic. Like many others, just trying to get the facts. Hope to see you on the trails!

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