Friday, July 30, 2010

How Hot Is It?

The 1980s were the hottest decade on record for planet Earth. Until the 1990s.

The 1990s were the hottest decade on record. Until the 2000s.

The 2000s are the hottest decade on record. This year is hotter. 2010 is on pace to be the hottest year on record--and last week was the hottest week on record.

It's not just the hot summer in much of North America, or the very hot summer in Russia, or just the more violent storms and floods in parts of the U.S., or the fires in southern California and the drought in the southwest, nor even the melting Arctic. The surface of the planet itself is hotter, on average.

It's called global warming, a term that will shortly be 35 years old. It means in terms of statistics and phenomena, that everything gets exaggerated. The El Nino effects are greater because of it, for example.

How hot is it? In what may be the worst news of the year for the human future, its hot enough to kill over an estimated 40% of the ocean's phytoplankton, the very basis of the ocean's food chain, which also produces half the world's oxygen and devours a lot of CO2.

It may not seem like much. But it's like the bees--few people even notice these little creatures, but if they died off, human life would probably end within months, if not weeks. If this ocean finding is confirmed, it raises the Climate Crisis to yet another level of urgency and portent.

How hot is it? Hot as hell. And not as hot as it's going to be.

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