Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Hotter and more

New Zealanders have been complaining about the heat lately, and for good reason. New Zealand had the second-warmest year on record in 2018, and the warmest was 2016. January 2018 was the warmest month ever recorded in New Zealand. January of this year promises above average temperatures, too.

The biggest concern with all this is that climate change is gaining momentum, which has very specific dangers: Extended drought, dangerous heat, extreme storm events, among other things.

I’ve noticed this as much as anyone else has. January was hot, as I said at the time. We had a bad storm that same month, plus a far, far worse near cyclone storm in April.

We’ve had frequent minor flooding outside our house, in April of 2017, and also in August 2018, and in the same spot again just last month. All of these have been caused by “unusual” weather, even “once in a century” storms. Those are becoming more common.

The issue now isn’t just about how to be able to sleep on hot nights, it’s about how we’re going to adapt to what looks like permanent changes to our climate. This may be the new normal.

This is what will be keeping us awake at night, regardless of what the weather is doing.

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