Last week was an alarming week in weather and climate news.
Hurricane Sally bore down on the Gulf Coast with fury and flooding, while four other tropical storms churned away simultaneously in the Atlantic. This is only the second time ever, and first since 1971, when such prolific tropical storminess has characterized the Atlantic basin.
In the northeastern Arctic, a 42-square-mile section of the Greenland ice sheet broke off and was set adrift. Locally, our sunsets and sunrises have been substantially more orangey as a consequence of smoke in the skies from the record western wildfires that are raging nearly a full month before their usual annual peak. These fires, part of a prolonged hot and dry spell that has resulted in what might be the world’s highest recorded temperature ever — 130 degrees on Aug. 16 in Death Valley, California — and a record high of 121 degrees in Los Angeles on Sept. 6 are manifestations of the climate change about which we have been warned for several decades.
In the face of such devastating evidence, President Donald Trump asserted last week “it will start getting cooler” and, regarding climate change, “I don’t think science knows, actually.” Thousands of hard-working, intelligent and dedicated scientists do know, actually — the planet is warming and the consequences of that warming are increasingly becoming headline news with devastating effects to millions of people around the globe.
Disrespect for hard-fought scientific expertise costs lives — a lesson that our nation seems reluctant to acknowledge six months into an unending pandemic, even while other alarm bells loudly ring.