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Saturday, November 21, 2015

First Frost..., 11-19-15

That ought to finish off the spud plants in The Garden.  Yeah…, about half of them were still green and hanging in there.  OK…, the monsoon rains had beat them down pretty good…, but they were still green laying there on the ground.

A few very short years ago…, yeah the years are slipping away way too fast these days…, I wrote a piece for The Agonist called, “Biscuits and Gravy and the First Killing Frost”.  It was dated 10/12/09.  A very late first freeze this year…, and a very early spring and summer that helped set off a fire season for the record books in the Pacific Northwest.  The dry spell during the summer browned up our grass pastures here on the Olympic Peninsula to a state that I haven’t witnessed in my 25 years here.  We got some early rain this fall…, enough to green the pastures back up…, but it didn’t seem to cool off that much.  September furnished us with some hot flashes..., but not much out of the ordinary.  October was about average…, during the days..., it seemed.  But I noticed that it didn’t cool off much during the night.

There is a state weather station at the old Quillayute Airport just a mile or so up the road from us and it reports the weather there in hourly increments on the Internet.  During the week I get up about 4:00 am to get ready for the job and I usually check the site…, along with the news…, to see how much it has rained.  But I started noticing that sometimes the temperature would be over 60 degrees through the night and at that early hour…, and it was almost always in the mid to high 50’s overnight.  A few weeks back I was talking on the phone to my brother Larry over in Idaho…, and remarked that though I didn’t think that the daytime temperatures in October set any records…, I bet that the average temperature set some.

Looks like I was right about that.., with room to spare.  And it wasn’t just here in the Northwest..,

The average temperature over land and ocean surfaces was the highest since records began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

And it wasn’t just the NOAA making those claims...,

The planet has not been only record warm this year, it's been so unusually mild that the temperature records themselves have set records of their own. This is the case with October 2015, according to new preliminary NASA data released Tuesday.

The information shows that October 2015 was by far the warmest October on record, dating back to 1880. Not only that, but October also had the largest temperature departure from average of any month on record.The scorchingly hot October seals the deal: 2015 is almost certain to become the Earth’s hottest year since instrument records began in 1880. This means the year will beat out 2014, and become yet another data point showing that manmade global warming, plus natural climate variability, is pushing the climate into new territory.

Importantly, this was also the first time that a single month exceeded the 1-degree Celsius temperature anomaly, surpassing the 0.97 degree Celsius temperature anomaly in January 2007. This is a symbolic milestone, but one that will be broken more frequently as the climate continues to warm due to increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the air because of human activities.

For the year as a whole, global average surface temperatures are likely to reach 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial temperatures for the first time, according to the UK Met Office, NOAA and now NASA as well.

The 1-degree mark means that the world is already halfway to the internationally agreed warming target of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), above preindustrial levels. Since the stated goal of the Paris Climate Summit, which kicks off on Nov. 30, is to craft an agreement that will limit global warming to the 2-degree target or lower, it's clear that diplomats do not have an easy task before them.

Yeah..., when I wrote “... Killing Frost ...” six years ago..., I was concerned about the Great Financial Crisis.  Some say we have conquered it..., some say we have only curtailed it.  There may be room for debate about that issue..., but there is no room for debate about climate change.  We need to take some dramatic action..., NOW.

Let’s hope that they realize that in Paris at the Climate Summit.

As I said in "Birthday Eve Ruminations" back in 2014, “Even if it is just a futile gesture…, I think we owe it to her [Mother Earth] to at least try…, out of respect and in gratitude for what she’s already given us.”

And I better get out there and see how many potatoes she has bestowed on me this year.

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