Is it hot in here or is it just us?
Do you feel it? The mercury rising, the sweat slowly trickling down your face, and the sun’s rays scorching your skin? That, my friends, is global warming working its magic.
This May was the hottest on record since recordkeeping began 137 years ago, according to a newly released report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
But that’s not all. The report also notes, “May 2016 marks the 13th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken—the longest such streak since global temperature records began in 1880.” Overall, this puts 2016 on pace to be the hottest year ever.
The heat isn’t just being felt on land. The globally averaged sea temperature for May was more than 1.3 degrees above normal, which could potentially trigger larger hurricanes in the future.
"Exceptionally high temperatures. Ice melt rates in March and May that we don't normally see until July. Once-in-a-generation rainfall events. The super El Niño is only partly to blame. Abnormal is the new normal," David Carlson, director of the World Climate Research Program, told the World Meteorological Organization. He added, “The rapid changes in the Arctic are of particular concern. What happens in the Arctic affects the rest of the globe. The question is, will the rate of change continue? Will it accelerate? We are in uncharted territory.”
Why is this happening? Simply put, because of us. And 31 scientific organizations agree. On Thursday, the groups, representing thousands of scientists, delivered a letter directly to congress, stating definitively that climate change is real and it’s because of human activity, Mashable reports.
The letter states:
“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science."
The World Meteorological Organization also noted another startling fact: Carbon dioxide concentrations at the South Pole breached the symbolic milestone of 400 parts per million. Pieter Tans, the lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, told the organization:
“The far southern hemisphere was the last place on earth where CO2 had not yet reached this mark. Global CO2 levels will not return to values below 400 ppm in our lifetimes, and almost certainly for much longer.”
But it’s never too late to do your part by helping to reduce your own carbon footprint. Take public transit, walk more, invest in solar energy, eat local, and, of course, recycle. Check out 25 super simple tips to help you help the Earth here.