Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Unusually Hot Summer May Be in Store for Much of the U.S.

Seasonal Temperature Outlook from National Weather Service, Climate Prediction Center, May 16, 2024

Alan Betts

Forecasting the weather has become very difficult as summer heat waves approach along with the hurricane season. There are many new factors involved, and society is unaware of some of them. So, I will frame some of the issues we face.

The climate on both the U.S. and global scale has gotten warmer essentially every month since March 2023, and our forecasters now admit what lies ahead is uncertain. As I write in the summer of 2024, the science community is still stunned by the new record temperatures reached in 2023. In early 2023, climate scientists started to notice something strange. At the beginning of March, sea-surface temperatures began to rise. By April, they set a new record. The average temperature at the surface of the world’s oceans, excluding those at the poles, was just a shade under 70° F. Typically, the highest sea-surface temperatures of the year are observed in March, toward the end of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. Last year, temperatures remained abnormally high through the Southern Hemisphere’s autumn and beyond, breaking the monthly records for May, June, July, September October and onward. The North Atlantic was particularly bathtub-like. In the words of Copernicus, an arm of the European Union’s space service, temperatures in the basin were “off the charts.” Since the start of 2024, sea-surface temperatures have continued to climb; in February, they set yet another record. In a warming world, ocean temperatures are expected to rise and keep on rising. But, for the last twelve months, the seas have warmed so much that scientists are starting to worry about not just the impacts of all that heat but the theoretical implications. Are there forces at work that have not been accounted for? “We don’t really know what’s going on,” said Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “And we haven’t really known what’s going on since about March of 2023 last year.” He called the situation “disquieting.” This is not surprising as the scientific community has not grasped that the 2021 takeover of the climate system by Mother Nature to save life on Earth means that the rule book has changed in ways we do not understand, which are certainly beyond our historic analyses. As waves of storm systems have come up the eastern coast this winter, Vermont where I live has seen flooding along with record winter temperatures.

The western U.S. had record temperatures last summer, and for the hurricane season the global oceans are now warmer than they have been for a century of more. The climate system is now being actively managed by the Creator to save species on Earth

This climate shift has of course been driven by the massive burning of the fossil fuels, which the oil companies knew would destroy much of life on Earth some 45 years ago. But to protect their profits in the trillions, it was in their interest to bribe politicians and mislead the public not to hold them financially liable.

Indigenous people understand the whole interconnected web of life, and have tried to live in balance with Mother Nature for centuries. Their traditions are incompatible with most societies like those in the U.S. that have the somewhat bizarre, “we are in charge viewpoint” based on capitalism and all our technologies.

This table illustrates the basic choice we must make.

Clash of Realities

Mother Nature

Capitalism/Fossll Empire

  • Indigenous world
  • Human/natural, resources
  • Preserve web of life
  • Exploit people and the Earth for profit
  • She is the Truth that sets you Free
  • Makemoney: SS
  • Power unlimited
  • Use money and lies to bribe, & control
  • Join her: she can help you!
  • “We’re in charge”

Consider this illustration of the transition coming from Mother Nature’s takeover. In late June and into July 2021, the most extreme heatwave ever recorded in the northwest U.S. states and into British Columbia (BC) had widespread temperatures over 40° C (104° F). An analysis suggested it was a 1000-year weather event, made 150 times more likely by climate change. Typically Washington State has summer temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s° F (24-30° C). On June 28, 2021, extensive regions of Washington State reached temperatures above 110° F or 43° C.

To the north in British Columbia in western Canada, the small forest town of Lytton was warmer three days in a row until it reached 49.6° C (121.3° F). Imagine Death Valley temperatures in a Canadian forest. On the fourth day, Lytton simply caught fire and burnt down. This extreme event broke the all-Canadian temperature record, set during a drought in southern Saskatchewan 80 years ago, by an unimaginable 4.6° C. Canada was stunned. The extreme temperatures led to widespread fires that burnt and destabilized hillsides. Mother Nature was still planning ahead. In mid-November 2021, an atmospheric river off the Pacific dumped a month of rain on the BC region in two days. This generated massive mud and debris slides that closed the Trans-Canada Highway and the national railway line. From Mother Nature’s perspective, BC is mining and liquefying natural gas and exporting products from the tar sands of Alberta, all to speed the destruction of life on Earth. Canada has no intention of closing these profitable fossil fuel industries, so disasters may continue. On September 24, 2022, post-tropical storm Fiona with wind gusts still up to 100mph struck Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, leaving them without power. It was the worst storm ever to hit eastern Canada with expected damages approaching a billion dollars.

Essentially the warm hurricane season weather ahead cannot be predicted.

Dr. Alan Betts of Atmospheric Research in Pittsford, VT is a climate scientist. See

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