It’s been hot lately, but not freakishly so. Nor have we suffered destructive wildfires, oppressive droughts, flooding or tornadoes cutting swaths through the South Sound.
We did have a wet spring, but we all expected that, being real Northwesterners.
Other folks across the United States have not been so lucky. They have been deluged with deadly heat waves and wildfires that are killing people and destroying property with alarming frequency.
Scientists are saying this is the face of climate change.
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When environmental scientists started talking about global warming many years ago, there was grave skepticism because, frankly, who doesn’t want a little warmer weather around here, at least once in a while? And, even though we now know that the Earth’s temperature is rising – and that is a fact no matter what reason you might attach to its cause – is it too early to say with certainty that the recent unusual weather patterns are also an effect of climate change?
Scientists are split on the matter. But here’s what we do know: Since January, 40,000 heat records have been recorded in the United States and only 6,000 cold-temperature records. That’s about a 7-1 ratio.
For most of the past 100 years, the hot and cold records were set evenly. That grew to two hots for every cold over the past 10 years. The most ardent of the climate change scientists say the ratio will grow to 20-to-1 within the next 20 years or so.
In our state, the Department of Natural Resources has already issued a burn ban on state lands through Sept. 30.
It is unlikely that the day will come when everyone suddenly wakes up believing that the underlying science predicting climate change is legitimate. It will come bit by bit, one season of freakish weather after another, until it is no longer unbelievable.