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The National Climatic Data Center, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, recently reported this data for the month of May, 2012:
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for May 2012 was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F). This is the second warmest May since records began in 1880, behind only 2010.
  • The Northern Hemisphere land and ocean average surface temperature for May 2012 was the all-time warmest May on record, at 0.85°C (1.53°F) above average.
  • The globally-averaged land surface temperature for May 2012 was the all-time warmest May on record, at 1.21°C (2.18°F) above average.
  • ENSO-neutral conditions continued during May 2012 and sea surface temperature anomalies in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean continued to warm. The May worldwide ocean surface temperatures ranked as the 10th warmest May on record.
  • For March–May (boreal spring) 2012, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.59°C (1.06°F) above average—the seventh warmest such period on record.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for January–May 2012 was the 11th warmest on record, at 0.50°C (0.90°F) above the 20th century average.
And now, finally, comes this:
Climate change researchers have been able to attribute recent examples of extreme weather to the effects of human activity on the planet's climate systems for the first time, marking a major step forward in climate research.

The findings make it much more likely that we will soon – within the next few years – be able to discern whether the extremely wet and cold summer and spring so far experienced in the UK this year are attributable to human causes rather than luck, according to the researchers.

Last year's record warm November in the UK – the second hottest since records began in 1659 – was at least 60 times more likely to happen because of climate change than owing to natural variations in the earth's weather systems, according to the peer-reviewed studies by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US, and the Met Office in the UK. The devastating heatwave that blighted farmers in Texas in the US last year, destroying crop yields in another record "extreme weather event", was about 20 times more likely to have happened owing to climate change than to natural variation.

This doesn't mean that every extreme weather event is caused by anthropogenic climate change, but it does mean that specific extreme weather events are finally being scientifically attributed to anthropogenic climate change. This will change the way responsible meteorologists discuss the weather. It will penetrate a public consciousness that already is well ahead of the politicians.

The scientists, once again, are saying what the Republicans deny and the Democrats accept but don't talk enough about. It's time for the Democrats to talk about it.

(For more discussion, see the post by Lefty Coaster)

Originally posted to Laurence Lewis on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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