June 13, 2012

Is the old 'hot' the new 'normal'?

We all know it was mega-hot in the U.S. this spring, as U.S. measurements of five-month/year-to-date temperature reports from NOAA make clear.

More here on how hot it's been, over the last 12-18 months, too, as also illustrated by the graphic. The background behind the graphic is detailed by NOAA; every one of the states in red had its hottest 12-month period since record keeping began.

A lot of those anomalous (or what used to be anomalous, perhaps) temperature reports have at least three full sigmas of variation from the norm. And, the "degrees above normal," take note, is just from the years of 1981-2010, after we really started seeing temperature rises.

But, maybe that's part of why I said what I said in the header may be true. Perhaps a just "hottish" year like, say,  2007 now seems "normal." It's perhaps on the high side of average for the last 30 years, but it's not 1998 or 2005.

Of course, a year like this year, or last year, can be played like a cheap violin by global warming denialists. If 2013, for example is "just" a 2007, then it's an easy claim to say, "it's not that hot."

Meanwhile, a lot of the burden's going to hit the Southwest, including Texas, per NPR. Since this area depends on dams for a lot of its water, with lakes that evaporate more the hotter it gets (setting aside the likelihood of climate change cutting precipitation in much of this area, and cutting snowpack in the Colorado River drainage), it's going to get uglier in some boom states.

My suggestion? Move the hell out of Phoenix and Las Vegas. Move back to Des Moines, St. Louis and Cleveland. Where the water is.