The world isn't ending, not yet. But it is warming. Scientists have a mountain of incontrovertible evidence that the atmosphere, oceans and Cryosphere (Arctic and Antarctic) are warming. But 2023 has brought a sudden spike in temperature that appears to be faster and stronger than anything climate models have been predicting.
Alarmist? If you're not just a little bit alarmed or concerned you may not be paying attention. Here are the Top 5 recent developments that signal a possible tipping point in planet Earth's climate system; "holy crap" moments that have climate scientists and meteorologists increasingly concerned:
1). June was the Hottest Ever Observed, Worldwide.
And July is trending even warmer than June, with atmospheric and oceanic temperatures (literally) off the chart - in all probability this will be the hottest month ever observed, and 2023 will almost certainly be the warmest year on record.
2). The World's Oceans are Warming Even Faster Than Land Areas.
On Monday, water temperatures reached 101F in the Florida Keys. Literally hotter than bathwater. But the warming isn't confined to the coast of Florida.
The warmest sea surface temperatures ever observed are showing up in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, but it's important to step back and look at the broader trends:
Atlantic Ocean sea surface temperatures are literally off the charts. Nature never moves in a perfectly straight line, but these abrupt temperature spikes have many climate scientists very concerned, even scared.
3). Antarctic Sea Ice is Shrinking Like Never Before.
What is happening in the waters off Antarctic has been described as a six-sigma event, a 1 in 7.5 million year event from a statistical vantage point.
4). Melting of Greenland's Ice Sheet is Historically Unprecedented.
Greenland's glaciers are melting 100 times faster than previously estimated, pumping freshwater into the world's oceans, accelerating sea level rise, worldwide.
5). More People are Being Injured and Killed by Extreme Heat.
Scientists estimate over 62,000 heat-related deaths in Europe in 2022 and that number may be higher in 2023. Closer to home Arizona has experienced over 250 heart-related fatalities so far this year, and people are being injured, burned by asphalt temperatures closer to 180F during the afternoon hours. It gets hot in the summer, no question, but this is a whole new level of hot
Daytime highs in Phoenix have topped 110F for the entire month of July; today will be the 25th day in a row above 110F with nighttime lows in the 90s, offering up little chance for relief. So far the grid has been solid with no power interruptions, but experts worry that a power blackout during a heat wave could result in thousands of fatalities. To date we've been more lucky than good.
Minnesota and Wisconsin will get a small taste of the heat dome suffocating much of the southern and southwestern part of the USA. Temperatures peak Wednesday and Thursday, approaching 100F in some spots with heat indices over 1-5 for parts of central and southern Minnesota. Unlike Arizona this will NOT be a "dry heat".
Yes, it's summer, and it gets hot in the summer. But there is nothing normal about the heat gripping the planet this summer. NOAA estimates heat wave season in America's largest 50 cities is now 49 days longer, on average, than it was in the 1960s.
Still skeptical? Keep an open mind and track the changes taking place. Even if you don't believe scientists believe your own eyes. The symptoms of a rapidly warming climate are becoming harder to dismiss and deny.
Our kids and grandchildren are probably hoping we pay attention to what's happening right now.