Since 1968, we’ve been in a global cycle of WIDE WEATHER ‘EXTREMES’
that’s been the strongest such cycle in more than 1,000 years, since the
days of Leif Ericsson, the mighty Norse Chieftain.
It remains the opinion of this climatologist that this 70-year cycle of
extremes won’t peak until at least 2038. We will continue to see
long-standing weather records broken worldwide on an accelerated scale.
Just this week, NASA announced that we’re seeing "unprecedented melting"
of the Greenland Ice Sheet, even surpassing the melting that occurred 123
years ago in 1889. This type of sudden melting in Greenland occurs about
once every 150 years and is a ‘natural cycle,’ not the result of manmade
It was caused by a huge wave of much warmer than normal air that washed
across the entire continent. It started on July 8 and ended four days later
on July 12. While some ice melts every summer on Greenland, the 2012 melting
has been unusually widespread covering nearly 97 percent of the huge ice
sheet. But, most of the thick ice remains and is still several miles deep at
the center of Greenland.
About the same time that the melting peaked in mid July, a giant iceberg
broke off from the huge Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland flooding the
ocean with enormous chunks of sea ice.
I believe that this Greenland melting is directly related to the worst
drought and heat pattern in the U.S. Midwest Corn and Soybean Belt since at
least the infamous ‘Dust Bowl Days’ of the 1930s. A whopping 45 percent of
the 2012 U.S. corn crop was rated "poor-to-very poor" by the U.S.D.A. on
Monday, July 23. Soybeans were rated a record "33 percent poor-to-very
There have been two gigantic high pressure systems parked over the
Northern Hemisphere this spring and summer. One has been locked in place in
an ‘Omega pattern’ over the drought-parched, heat-baked central U.S., and
the second high pressure ridge has been over Greenland producing unusual
warmth and abnormally rapid melting on the continent.
Ironically, between the two ridges, we’ve seen record rains, abnormally
chilly temperatures and gusty straight-line winds called ‘Derechos’ that
caused extensive property damage and power outages in late June and early
July along the Mid-Atlantic coastline of the U.S. The Pacific Inland
Northwest had an extremely wet June and early July.
There have been major floods in recent weeks in Japan, Russia, India,
Bangladesh and Chile. The 20 inches of rain in a single day in Japan broke
records dating back to the 1500s. Beijing, China this week had its worst
flooding in 61 years. At least 77 people were killed by a downpour of more
than 10 inches in 4 hours which swamped downtown Beijing.
Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, broke its all-time heat record with a 51.4
degrees Celsius (124.5 degree Fahrenheit) reading being observed at 4:10
p.m. on June 2. It was likewise extremely hot in Iraq on the same day, 50.5
degrees Celsius (122.9 degrees Fahrenheit) at Fao. On June 7, Kakinada in
India broke its all-time record high with a scorching 47.3 degrees Celsius
(117.3 degrees Fahrenheit). In the U.S., on June 30, Hill City, Kansas
soared to 116 degrees, also an all-time high reading. Indianapolis, Indiana
hit 105 degrees on July 2, likewise a new all-time record maximum.
But, for every extreme record high, there’s also a record low extreme
somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere on the planet.
For example, record cold in Australia has kept plumbers busy fixing burst
water pipes. Temperatures dipped to as low as -5.2 degrees Celsius this past
week in Alice Springs in the ‘heart’ of this dusty continent. That’s a
frigid 22 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale. For central Australia, this
winter has been "the coldest since the 1970s," according to local weather
Record cold winter temperatures have likewise been seen in recent weeks
in both Chile and Peru in South America and in parts of South Africa, where
record snows blocked some of the main highways on July 15 trapping hundreds
of people in their cars. Two persons died of exposure as temperatures
plunged to as low as -11 degrees Celsius, 12 degrees Fahrenheit.
I should mention that even tropical Fiji reported record low temperatures
in mid July as did much of New Zealand. This has been Anchorage, Alaska’s
coldest July on record as of this July 26 writing.
What’s ahead weatherwise is anyone’s guess. Expect the ‘unusual,’ and
you’ll undoubtedly be right.