2015: The Turning Point Year For Climate Impacts?

After unheard-of rain in Northern California in July and August (including a humid downpour at my house last night), coupled with a completely dry January this year after three years of drought, it definitely feels like the California of my childhood is going away.

Rolling Stone magazine describes the worldwide highlights of our year of “global weirding” so far:

Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state’s Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.

Climate scientists have some optimism though because the solution is straightforward: end fossil fuel usage. Easier said then done, but a political consensus is the precursor, and these extreme weather events may help achieve that outcome — hopefully sooner rather than later.


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