Published on August 8th, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer16
US Breaks Heat Records as Republicans End Record-Keeping
August 8th, 2011 by Susan Kraemer
According to US Weather Records Archived by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, July temperatures nationwide broke at least 30 years of daily temperature records in so many data centers around the country that simply by plotting them all on a map, a nearly complete image of the US is created.
Almost 9,000 daily records were broken or tied last month, including 2,755 highest maximum temperatures during the day and the 6,171 highest nighttime temperatures. This image plots how many times a heat record was broken or tied in a given location. Some cities reached daily high temperatures 19 out of the 31 days in the month.
The largest concentration of these records occur in the southern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast which were gripped by a series of heat waves pushing heat indices well into the 100’s (Fahrenheit) for many days and nights at a time.
The US is not the entire world of course, and so it is possible for one region to break heat records, while in another region, cold records can be broken. But what climate scientists have found is that the data provides evidence that there has been a rise in the average global temperature. So what is an average?
The average global temperature is the sum totaling up all those “plus” numbers and “minus” numbers from around the globe – even though it might be colder in your town, if the next two are hotter, the average is hotter. That data, gathered around the entire world is what has convinced 97% of climate scientists to agree that the evidence shows an overall higher average temperature, globally, as predicted beginning twenty or thirty years ago, based on increasing carbon dioxide concentrations.
Regionally, climate scientists had predicted that the US would increasingly see more summers like this, and worse, over the next decades, with longer periods of higher temperatures becoming the new normal.
Over the last few months the fossil-fueled GOP congress has attempting to defund the collection of such data. They passed funding cut-offs in March for NOAA, in the House. In July, the Republican-held House Appropriations Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill which baldly states “It is the Committee’s intention that no funds shall be used to create a Climate Service at NOAA.”
But it is not just one defunding bill. This is among more than 100 bills shutting off climate science and anti-pollution bills passed by the House Republican majority.
If they get these through the Senate with the procedural tricks and last-minute brinksmanship the party has shown itself to be only too good at leveraging, they will succeed in shutting down data collection such as has been provided by NOAA for decades, through both Republican as well as Democratic administrations. In that case, 2011 could be among the last years of climate data collected for the US.
Instead of confronting the challenge, as the US enters a decline into a new Dark Ages of self-imposed ignorance, we will see more mendacious Republican governors leading their hapless states in prayers for rain.