Tonight is November 12th. So far this month, every single daytime temperature high has been well above the norm; so have the night-time lows. October was largely the same. Minneapolis just recently broke a streak of 225 days without a hard freeze: a new record. We've had one solid freeze this entire Fall. As I write, there are tornado watches out in the southern third of the state. There have been thunderstorms rumbling there for most of the day.
Now, I normally don't pull the alarmist thing, because, well, there's usually not too much to get alarmed about: Washington is far away, Iraq is further, politicians really can't get into my kitchen without a search warrant. But climate? That's something in my backyard, literally.
If this were the only time this had happened in the last decade, I wouldn't give two rips about it. But let's face the truth: this is the fifth consecutive year in which mild weather has extended well into December. We have not had a real winter since 2000-01, and before that, 1996.
It appears that 2005 will be the warmest on record, and 8 of the 10 hottest years on record occured in the last three decades. I saw a program a couple weeks back on PBS about global warming and it was quite compelling: the polar ice-fields are in rapid retreat, methane gasses are being released in the perma-frost tundra regions, warmer than normal sea temps are spawning more hurricanes. On and on the evidence accumulates.
But what gets me the most is the environmental changes I see with my own eyes. The nights in fall and spring and winter just do not get as cold as they used to. We have trouble maintaining any form of continuous snow-pack around Minneapolis. Every year during the middle of January we get rain. RAIN!
Now as I say, I am not an alarmist. But goddamit, I'm pulling the alarm on this one. There is something seriously wrong with our climate, and it's real and happening all around us. We can stick our head in the sand all we want, but the facts are plain: we are entering deeper and deeper into an era of global climate instability.