The sharp cold spell due to the ‘polar vortex’ that we had last week, when temperatures plummeted so low that schools and universities were shut in much of the northeast, brought out the tired old ‘jokes’ about what happened to global warming, with Donald Trump among those thinking it was hilarious. But those cold days were rapidly followed by balmy, spring like weather that reached record highs, as this Plain Dealer report from yesterday stated.
Both the Cleveland and Akron-Canton areas on Monday smashed records for high temperatures. At Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, it was 61 degrees, breaking the record of 56 set in 2016. In Akron-Canton, the high of 60 topped the previous record of 55 degrees in 2016. Normal highs for the date are in the 30s.
It also turned out that despite the polar vortex, January was actually unusually warm across the globe.
So far this month, there have been 651 record daily highs across the United States, compared to 321 record daily lows—a roughly 2-to-1 ratio. And that’s just in the U.S.
Globally, the ratio of record highs to lows was about 20-to-1, with new all-time records in Namibia, Chile, and Reunion Island.
We are now on course to see the warmest decade ever.
The world is in the middle of what is likely to be the warmest 10 years since records began in 1850, says the Met Office.
It’s forecasting that temperatures for each of the next five years are likely to be at or above 1C compared to pre-industrial levels.
There’s also a small chance that one of the next five years will see global temperatures temporarily go above 1.5C.
That’s seen as a critical threshold for climate change.
Much as I hate winter, this is not good. Burying our heads in the sand, as the US government is doing, is only going to make things worse.