We won’t mince words: We are in a climate emergency. Our planet is experiencing more frequent and intense wildfires, rising sea temperatures, melting sea ice, ocean acidification, habitat loss, drought, extreme flooding and natural disasters.
Just this year, we’ve seen extreme climate-related disasters and record-breaking temperatures that we could have never thought possible just a few years ago.
Today, we wanted to share a few of these shocking climate facts from 2021 — and offer a few ways you can help combat climate change, because we have a real opportunity to act now to help slow this crisis, before it’s too late.
Extreme heat could become the new normal
No matter where you live, it’s hot outside, and it sure feels hotter than it has in years past. Experts believe these heat waves will essentially become a “new normal” and a fact of life in the coming years and decades.
Here are just a few headlines from this year:
- AP: Heat wave grips US West amid fear of a new, hotter normal
- Yahoo: “The climate scientists have said this is coming.” Extreme heat new normal as 110-degree temperatures blanket region
- Washington Post: Climate change has gotten deadly. It will get worse.
- CBS News: NOAA’s “new normal” climate report is anything but normal
- MSNBC: Extreme Weather Is ‘New Normal’ Thanks To Decades Of Climate Inaction
While these headlines may sound alarmist, some climate scientists believe the heat waves of today will become the normal summer temperatures in just a few years, making this summer actually feel cool.
Pacific Northwest US: Record temperatures higher than Florida or Texas
During the so-called “heat dome” that settled over parts of the Pacific Northwest, blanketing Oregon, Washington and parts of western Canada in extreme heat, temperatures hit once-in-a-millenium record highs.
For example, Seattle hit a steamy 108 degrees F, nearly 10 degrees hotter than the all-time record in Tampa, Florida. In Portland, Oregon, the recent 116 degree heat dome record was 3 degrees higher than the hottest Dallas, Texas has ever been.
How could this have happened? According to experts, “An exceptional weather pattern and climate change have cooked up a heat wave unmatched in regional intensity.”
Canada: Small British Columbia town hits record 121 degrees
Western Canada wasn’t spared from the worst of June’s heat dome. In the small village of Lytton, roughly 60 miles northeast of Vancouver, the temperature hit a scorching 121 degrees.
According to the Washington Post, this heat record — which left scientists speechless — is hotter than any recorded temperature in Europe, South America, or in the contiguous 48 US states outside the Desert Southwest, and the highest temperature observed above 45 degrees latitude.
Arctic sea ice hits record low for July
Earlier this July, existing Arctic sea ice fell to a record low for this time of year, since satellite records have been kept starting in 1979. New studies found “sea ice in coastal areas may be thinning at up to twice the pace previously thought,” that “Arctic ice may be in worse trouble than thought,” and that climate change is playing a role in the record melt.