Your Participation is Not Optional

December 28, 2015


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It is late December, Washington, DC, suburbs and things are out-of-whack. Roses and azaleas blooming in the garden with cut flowers adorning the dining room table and enough lettuce coming up that we’re looking toward fresh salad from the garden for a New Year’s brunch.


Let me tell you: this is not normal.  Actually, correction: this was not normal and sadly is likely a sign of ‘the new normal’: weird weather, with new extremes of all types, amid a warming global ecosystem.

Washington is warm — record-setting warm.

Even the cherry blossoms are confused, looking like mid-April rather than December.


Lettuce emerges in a DC area garden, late Dec. 2015

High temperature record, after record, along the U.S. east coast are getting shattered

And, while it gets warm during the day, it isn’t cooling at night.


This isn’t just DC.

“According to preliminary data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), at least 2,693 record daily highs were tied or broken across the U.S. during the first 23 days of December. An additional 3,912 record-warm daily low temperatures have been set during the same time period,” the Weather Channel reported. “By comparison, just 147 daily record lows and 140 additional record cool highs were set in the same time frame.”

Let us be clear, for a moment, this is not isolated either temporally nor geographically. Here, for example, is Minnesota with the question “what is happening to winter?” In the UK, daffodils are blooming at Windsor Castle.

Temperatures are going up globally — writ large — year to year. Decade-to-decade, ever more warm temperature records are getting broken than cold ones (for daily highs and warm minimums, and for average temperatures). And, this is happening globally, with 2015 blasting through the record books and surpassing 2014 as the warmest year on record.


It was the day the floodwaters inexorably advanced across the Pennines, leaving much of the north of England sodden and beleaguered. From Greater Manchester in the north-west to parts of North Yorkshire some 50 miles to the east, Boxing Day 2015 will be remembered as the day the rains came.

With fields and fells already saturated after more than four times the average monthly rainfall falling within the first three weeks of December, there was nowhere left to absorb the rainfall which has cascaded from fields into streams and rivers. Flooding was inevitable and by yesterday morning the first warnings were issued.

The Environment Agency said that, in anticipation of the floods, 85% of the country’s temporary flood barriers had been sent to Cumbria, where rainfall had smashed records earlier this month and where yesterday’s storm was expected to hit.

However, the deluge was unleashed slightly to the south. “Lancashire is experiencing the rainfall expected in Cumbria and a further 50mm to 80mm may fall in the next six to nine hours,” police said. Yesterday the 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, which had been helping communities in Cumbria on Christmas Eve, moved to Lancashire to help evacuate residents.

In Walsden, Abbi Blackburn was left stranded in her home after five feet of water poured into her cellar. “We’ve lost two freezers, my washer and dryer. It’s at least five feet deep down there. The Environment Agency rang up and said something about evacuation, but we’re not leaving, we’re staying put.”


9 Responses to “Your Participation is Not Optional”

  1. neilrieck Says:

    Some of the current weather is due to the latest El-nino. That said, someone should do a trend analysis of all the previous El-nino events to show to deniers.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Neil’s suggestion is a good one, and it is highly likely that it would reinforce all the “trend lines” that show AGW is occurring and exacerbating “natural variability”.

      Was visiting family just inland from Atlantic City, NJ, for Christmas, came back to NO VA yesterday. May need to mow some of the sunniest areas of my lawn one last time (if and when it dries out a bit), and that will be a new “latest date mowed” record for me since moving here in 1969. A big crop of weeds is growing out of the cracks in my brick patio—and that hasn’t happened in December the 43 years I’ve lived in this house.

      One plus is that this may help get the attention of the deniers and more of the general public—-even more weird weather and a big increase in temperature in 2016 from the effects of the El Nino is not something they can continue to ignore. .

      • freggersjr Says:

        If it does get the attention of the deniers, they will simply deny that the warming is human caused. Instead, they will insist that it is just part of a normal trend or cycle.

    • For historic records sorted by El Niño / Normal / La Niña years, trend lines for each set show continuous warming for each of 0.15 to 0.17 ºC per decade with no sign of any pause in recent years. See

      “Accounting for the El Niño/La Niña influence clarifies that human-caused global warming continues unabated.”

    • rlmrdl Says:

      I don’t disagree that such an analysis would be grist to the mill, but anyone who is currently a denier is not susceptible to evidence, not of any kind. For everyone left in that camp, the non-existence of GW, never mind AGW is an act of faith, the reversal of which poses an existential threat.

      And the analysis has already been done, that’s why the climate people already know that a) this is the most intense El Nino of record and b) that the weather it affects will be more extreme than in the past. The general effect of this year’s event was predicted months ago, but the fact that they could not predict whether your house a 45 Dickwad Avenue would be under 1m or 3m on Christmas day gives the deniers an out.

    • andrewfez Says:

      I heard Senator Inhof is having to store his snowballs in a high efficiency Sundanzer Freezer Chest ( ) to prepare for his upcoming speeches.

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  3. addledlady Says:

    Way over here on the other side of the world, we’re getting pretty warm too. I live smack in the middle of that very hot spot on the 18th December map of the South Australian coast. Despite what people say about Australia, it _isn’t_ boiling hot all the time. We’re accustomed to warm weather at this time of year with occasional hot days. The _really_ hot heatwave style weather is normally reserved for later summer and early autumn, from late January through to mid-March.

    Today was a reasonably warm 34C, but it’s predicted to be 38C (100F) for each of the next 3 days. This is waaaay over the normal for this time of year. Husband will be pushed out the door early in the morning to water the avocados and the fruit trees … again.

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