Before I head to Dulles, I wanted to pass along a couple of really stunning climate stories that have gotten very little media attention.
The first is a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, "Greenhouse Gases Likely Drove Near-Record U.S. Warmth in 2006". The most disturbing nuggets:
The NOAA team also found that the probability of U.S. temperatures breaking a record in 2006 had increased 15-fold compared to pre-industrial times because of greenhouse gas increases in Earth’s atmosphere. [...]As if that wasn't shocking enough, now we have the twin powerhouses of Hurricanes Dean and Felix. Conservatives had been bragging that the until-now quiet hurricane season proved global warming must not be happening. This Jack Abramoff pal even went so far as to say, "A few more hurricanes seasons like these and Americans may begin clamoring for global warming."
The annual average temperature in 2006 was 2.1 degrees F above the 20th Century average and marked the ninth consecutive year of above-normal U.S. temperatures. Each of the contiguous 48 states reported above-normal annual temperatures and, for the majority of states, 2006 ranked among the 10 hottest years since 1895.
Dean and Felix have quickly turned this season from one of "impotency" to a record-breaker:
MIAMI (AFP) — For the first time on record, two Atlantic hurricanes have made landfall at category five in the same year as Hurricane Felix slammed ashore Tuesday at the topmost intensity on the Saffir-Simpson scale, according to data from the US National Hurricane Center. [...]For some reason, the fact that two category five hurricanes have made landfall in the same season for the first time in recorded history isn't seen as an important fact in most of the storm coverage I've read. For example, it's not mentioned until the 24th paragraph of this story on the Washington Post's website.
Its landfall marked the first time two hurricanes hit land at the topmost category in the same year since a storm was first reliably recorded at that intensity in 1928.
Dean, this year's first hurricane, hit Mexico's Caribbean coast at category five on August 21. Its rampage through the Caribbean and Mexico left 30 people dead.
How much longer will we ignore the signs of a climate in crisis? Why are only two Virginia representatives sponsoring climate action legislation in the U.S. House? What are Tom Davis and Frank Wolf waiting for? A category five to come up the Chesapeake Bay? Or to come ashore at Virginia Beach?