“Tremendously Anomalous” Climate Events

Forest fire near Moscow, August 2010

Toby Barlow, writing on The Huffington Post (“Let’s Call It ‘Climate Chaos,’ 8/3/10), reports hearing a scientist describe temperature increases in the waters of the Great Lakes as “tremendously anomalous.” In fact, Great Lakes waters are up to ten degrees warmer than usual, so the scientist can hardly be accused of hyperbole.

Climate scientist Peter Thorne, reacting to the National Climatic Data Center’s recent “State of the Climate in 2009” report, remarked, “What this data is doing is, it is screaming that the world is warming.”

Scientists don’t normally talk this way. Their speech is usually very measured. When they start using this kind of language, we know something is happening and that we need to sit up and take notice.

I seem to read at least one report of an extremely anomalous climate-related event every day—record 128-degree temperatures in Pakistan, reduction of phytoplankton (the base of the marine food chain) by 40% since 1950, complete breakdown in (non-farmed) oyster reproduction in Willapa Bay, WA because of ocean acidity, record heat and massive crop failure in Russia, floods, forest fires, melting glaciers…

So I’ve decided to begin keeping a running list of these events—as I happen to catch them—on a separate page. Look for “’Tremendously Anomalous’ Climate Events” in the “Pages” list to the right.

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