When the temperature readings started to come through from Antarctic weather stations in early March, scientists at first thought there might have been some mistake.
(The Guardian).- Temperatures, which should have been cooling rapidly as the south pole’s brief summer faded, were soaring – at the Vostok station, about 800 miles from the geographic south pole, thermometers recorded a massive 15C hotter than the previous all-time record, while at Terra Nova coastal base the water hovered above freezing, unheard of for the time of year.
“Wow. I have never seen anything like this,” ice scientist Ted Scambos, of the University of Colorado, told the Associated Press.
But that was not all. At the north pole, similarly unusual temperatures were also being recorded, astonishing for the time of year when the Arctic should be slowly emerging from its winter deep freeze. The region was more than 3C warmer than its long-term average, researchers said.
To induce a heatwave at one pole may be regarded as a warning; heatwaves at both poles at once start to look a lot like climate catastrophe.
Since then, weather stations around the world have seen their mercury rising like a global Mexican wave.
A heatwave struck India and Pakistan in March, bringing the highest temperatures in that month since records began 122 years ago. Scorching weather has continued across the subcontinent, wreaking disaster for millions. Spring was more like midsummer in the US, with soaring temperatures across the country in May. Spain saw the mercury hit 40C in early June as a heatwave swept across Europe, hitting the UK last week.
Scientists have been able quickly to prove that these record-breaking temperatures are no natural occurrence. A study published last month showed that the south Asian heatwave was made 30 times more likely to happen by human influence on the climate.
Vikki Thompson, a climate scientist at the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute, explained: “Climate change is making heat waves hotter and last longer around the world. Scientists have shown that many specific heatwaves are more intense because of human-induced climate change. The climate change signal is even detectable in the number of deaths attributed to heatwaves.”
The Yucatan Times