The Daily PlanetWatch for Friday, August 16

Thomas Schueneman

Thinking about the latest environmental news headlines every weekday afternoon from the Daily PlanetWatch
  • Fire and (no) ice. I know, it's getting to be old news. The hottest June on record, followed by the hottest month ever recorded, and heat records tumbling left and right across the globe, on land and sea.

    But lest we become numb to it all (or just trying to beat the heat ourselves), here's one statistic that should get us to stop and think about what's happening on this planet: 

    Data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reveals that on July 26 a weather station in Sweden north of the Arctic Circle reported a temperature o "a stunning 94.6 Fahrenheit" (34.8 degrees Celsius). The reading was recorded in the small, isolated Swedish of Markusvinsa. 

    What isn't isolated is the alarming climactic trends taking place all over the Arctic. From the warmest month ever recorded in the state of Alaska, choking smoke from Fairbanks to Anchorage causing the "12smokiest summer" in the state's history. A 125-mile ring of open water surrounds the state as sea ice retreats every further. The worst wildfire season in the Arctic (so far) released 50 megatons of carbon dioxide in June alone. 

    None of this is normal. All of it are clues to a dramatic and rapid shift in global climate. If ever there was a climate canary in a coal mine (ironically speaking), the Arctic is it.     
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