So much for “global warming?”
Despite that incredible heat, you’d be hard-pressed to convince climate change skeptics in North America that world is actually getting warmer.
Parts of the United States are preparing for a major winter storm, just a week after a similar tempest caused a massive ice storm that left people stranded in their cars in the Atlanta area.
And that’s after a January that was particularly brutal for North America.
In the United States alone, the storms of January caused direct economic impact of $3.5 billion, and insured losses of $1.6 billion.
Canada was not hit quite so hard, but winter weather records have fallen like dominos from the east to the west, with Pearson Airport seeing its snowiest Feb 5 ever last week, and the Vancouver airport breaking a one-day cold temperature record reaching all the way back 66 years.
Elsewhere, the worst snowstorm to hit Tokyo in 45 years left 11 dead and more than a thousand injured, while in Europe, France and Germany felt their own winter lash, while a record-setting ice storm in Slovenia which left almost 100,000 people in the dark.
Does this mean the climate isn’t getting warmer? No. One harsh winter does not undo the warming trend of the past few decades, and winters as harsh as this one were once the norm.
In fact, 2013 was the sixth warmest year on record according to a report by the World Meteorological Agency last week – and 13 of the 14 warmest years on record have been in the 21st century, and the rate of severe weather events has been on an upward trend.
Even one drastically colder winter can have an impact – just this week, McDonald’s blamed the unseasonal cold for slumping sales, and the weather can be a severe blow to the economic bottom line.
Maybe this year will improve. But the first six weeks alone have been hard to bear for pretty much the entire world.