Not that the incoming administration cares:
Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016 — trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row.
The findings come two days before the inauguration of an American president who has called global warming a Chinese plot and vowed to roll back his predecessor’s efforts to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases.
The heat extremes were especially pervasive in the Arctic, with temperatures in the fall running 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal across large stretches of the Arctic Ocean. Sea ice in that region has been in precipitous decline for years, and Arctic communities are already wrestling with enormous problems, such as rapid coastal erosion, caused by the changing climate.
Since 1880, NOAA’s records show only one other instance when global temperature records were set three years in a row: in 1939, 1940 and 1941. The Earth has warmed so much in recent decades, however, that 1941 now ranks as only the 37th-warmest year on record.
Meanwhile, in Chicago this January week, it feels like March.
OK, traveling tomorrow, reports as circumstances warrant.
Trump has outdone himself with this doozy of a cabinet nomination:
Donald Trump intends to select Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, a senior transition official confirmed to NBC News Wednesday — the clearest sign yet the president-elect will pursue an agenda that could undo President Obama's climate change legacy.
An ally to the fossil fuel industry, Pruitt has aggressively fought against environmental regulations, becoming one of a number of attorneys general to craft a 28-state lawsuit against the Obama administration's rules to curb carbon emissions. The case is currently awaiting a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which heard oral arguments in September.
Pruitt, who questions the impact of climate change, along with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, penned an op-ed in the Tulsa World earlier this year that called criticism they've received "un-American."
Meanwhile, Josh Marshall raises the alarm that having four (or five) recently-retired generals in top national security positions is not normal, for very good reasons. He concludes, "as a pattern, a government dominated by recently retired generals is a very negative development. Even if the nominees in question are not part of his thinking, there's little doubt that Trump's decision to nominate so many generals is rooted in a mix of his own lack of military service and his instinctive inability to think of relations between people or nations as anything but ones of domination."
It just keeps looking more and more like 1933.
Tales in the war against reality waged by Trump and his party:
And yet, James Fallows sees cause for optimism (assuming Trump doesn't blow up the world):
In [the election's] calamitous effects—for climate change, in what might happen in a nuclear standoff, for race relations—this could indeed be as consequential a “change” election as the United States has had since 1860. But nothing about the voting patterns suggests that much of the population intended upheaval on this scale. “Change” elections drive waves of incumbents from office. This time only two senators, both Republicans, lost their seats.
[C]ity by city, and at the level of politics where people’s judgments are based on direct observation rather than media-fueled fear, Americans still trust democratic processes and observe long-respected norms. As I argued in a cover story last year, most American communities still manage to compromise, invest and innovate, make long-term plans.
Given the atrophy of old-line media with their quaint regard for truth, the addictive strength of social media and their unprecedented capacity to spread lies, and the cynicism of modern politics, will we ever be able to accurately match image with reality? The answer to that question will determine the answer to another: whether this election will be a dire but survivable challenge to American institutions or an irreversible step toward something else.
Only 698 days until the 2018 election...
The Illinois State Climatologist reports on the autumn season, which for meteorologists ended Wednesday:
This was the 5th warmest November on record for Illinois, based on preliminary data. The statewide average temperature was 8.6°C, and 2.7°C above normal.
It was also the 2nd warmest fall on record for Illinois. The statewide average temperature for fall was 15.2°C, 2.8°C above normal. Only the fall of 1931 was warmer at 15.4°C The climatological fall months are September, October, and November.
It was an absolutely beautiful season here. That's one of the benefits to Chicago of anthropomorphic climate change.
Despite everything awful happening around the country, here in Chicago we've had unusually gorgeous weather. We've had 81% of possible sunshine this month, well above the normal 43%. And we've also had near-record heat, with today predicted to be 22°C, a whopping 14°C above normal.
Of course, tomorrow a cold front will come through to give us our first freeze since April, but hey, it's November.
Recaps of the debate comprise just a few of the things I haven't had time to read today:
- Who hated Trump's caginess on whether he'd accept the election results if he lost? Everyone: The Economist, The New Republic, The National Review, Talking Points Memo, everyone.
- Trump's debate performance is being compared to book reports by kids who haven't read the book.
- Pilot Patrick Smith says Trump's airline wasn't that bad for customers, but it never made a profit either.
- Meanwhile, the Cubs beat the Dogders 10-2, which means the series will be decided at Wrigley on Saturday or Sunday.
- Looks like Chicago will have a warm-ish November and a normal-ish winter.
- One of the world's largest data centers, here in the South Loop area of Chicago, will soon be a lot bigger.
- Funny statistic: almost all airport noise complaints come from a handful of people—like the one person in Maryland who complained about Washington Dulles 1,024 times last year.
- Finally, "Hamilton," which I saw Sunday, got a rave from the Tribune.
Back to my meetings.
From yesterday's Times: you know how global warming is "just a theory?" Not anymore.
The results are in for meteorologcial summer 2016, and it was, in fact, really warm and soggy in Illinois. Chicago's average temperature of 23.5°C was 1.4°C above the 1980-2010 normal. That period was the warmest in history, however, so the summer that just ended Wednesday was Chicago's 18th warmest in recorded history, putting it at the 88th percentile.
Did I mention wet? For June through August, we got 338.8 mm of precipitation, a damp 32.8 mm above normal—not a record, but still very squishy.
Oh, wait—we did hit a record after all. Illinois' statewide average 175.0 mm of precipitation in August, and 349.0 mm for July and August combined, were both the wettest such periods in recorded Illinois history.
Combine the humidity that produced all that precipitation with the above-normal heat and this past summer was uncomfortable.
September, however, has been delightful. The Tribune reports that yesterday Chicago had 100% of its possible sunshine for the first time since June 21st, and we may have an entire weekend—3 days in a row—for the first time since November 10th.
Day two of Certified Scrum Master training starts in just a few minutes (more on that later), so I've queued up a bunch of articles to read this weekend:
Training begins again...