Last week a new record warm temperature was recorded in a place we usually associate with snow, ice, penguins and cold temperatures. Hope Bay, on the Trinity Peninsula, a part of the continent of Antarctica recorded an all- time warm temperature of 65 degrees. Scientists have also found record warm water surging under an Antarctica glacier.
All of this at a time when Antarctica ice is melting faster than at any time in recorded history. The Peninsula where Hope Bay is located has warmed by over 5 degrees in the past 50 years. Ten families reside in the settlement of Hope Bay as well as the first native born resident, Emilio Palma who was born in 1978. According to NOAA, climate change is heating up Antarctica and the Arctic faster than any other regions of our planet.
Not all of the continent was warm that day. Vostok, a Russian research station recorded a temperature of 50 degrees below zero. On July 21, 1983, Vostok recorded the lowest temperature ever reported on our planet at -128.5 degrees.
Closer to home, the city of Miami faced with rising seas lapping at its door and causing sunny day flooding has made its first significant commitment to address the cause of climate change. The city plans to be 90% carbon neutral by the year 2050; a commitment that will change everything from what the city employees drive to how the city builds, and how it will power itself. Miami is already very vulnerable to rising seas and is already raising roads to make properties more valuable. Studies have found that if the roads around a property are higher, the property is worth between 5 and 10 percent more. Elevated homes are also worth between 8 and 12 percent higher.
One community, Sunset Harbour, has escaped 84 tidal floods because of its pumps and newly elevated roads. Of course this only works for new construction. For an older home of 2500 square feet, to raise it five feet would cost $200,000.
The news these days is full of articles on climate change. A recent USA Today article reported that 45% of voters said a candidate’s position on global warming will be important in deciding their vote and 6 out of 10 registered voters say they would support a president who declares global warming a national emergency. Up 17% since last April. The rapidly shifting views on climate change are the result of a dire series of scientific reports illustrating how the world isn’t moving fast enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a frightening number of catastrophic floods, fires and storms the past year.
According to NOAA, last year was the second hottest 12 months on record and the past decade the hottest since 1880. Something to think about on these gloomy days while we await the return of spring.