Those who are under 30 years old have not experienced the climate I grew up with. In thirty more years, those born today will also be living in a climate that, by fundamental measures, will be different than the climate of their birth. Future success will rely on understanding that the climate in which we are all now living is changing and will continue to change with accumulating consequences.
Residents of New England may understandably look back at 2015 as the year of their never-ending winter. For the planet as a whole, though, this year could stand out most for putting to rest the “hiatus”— the 15-year slowdown in atmospheric warming that gained intense scrutiny by pundits, scientists, and the public. The slowdown was preceded by almost 20 years of dramatic global temperature rise, and there are signs that another decade-plus period of intensified warming may be at our doorstep.
Numerous Category 3 and 4 hurricanes frequently pounded New England during the first millennium, from the peak of the Roman Empire into the height of the Middle Ages, according to a new study. Lead author Jeff Donnelly said, “We hope this study broadens our sense of what is possible and what we should expect in a warmer climate. We may need to begin planning for a category 3 hurricane landfall every decade or so rather than every 100 or 200 years.”
February 2015 was the second warmest February since global record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA and NASA. February 2015's near-record warmth continues a trend of very warm months for the planet--2014 was Earth's warmest calendar year on record, the period spanning the Northern Hemisphere winter (December 2014 - February 2015) was the warmest such period on record, and the past twelve months have been the warmest 12-month period in recorded history.