From the “summer colds are the worst” department
Guest essay by Vijay Jayaraj
A surprising late-June chill broke records for lowest temperatures and made life miserable for many across the world. From Denver, Colorado, in the United States, to Melbourne in Australia, the mercury dropped precipitously.
Many people in Colorado woke up to what would be the state’s coldest first day of summer in 90 years. Up to two feet of snow fell in some places, making authorities issue a winter weather advisory on the first day of summer. Denver especially has been at the center of focus. Record cold caught city dwellers off guard. This year has been the “city’s coldest start to a calendar year since 1983.”
The National Weather Service reported the coldest maximum temperature during the second half of June since 1992 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, and news outlets reported that it was unusual for the windy city to experience such low temperatures in the beginning of summer.
On the other side of the world, Australia saw many cities record their coldest first few weeks of winter. Melbourne, on June 23, recorded its lowest maximum for the date since 1985.
But the cooling observed is not just limited to the surface temperatures.
There has been a remarkable cooling in the global oceans, especially the Atlantic and the Pacific. This was totally unexpected, as scientists had forecast a strong warming in the oceans for this month, a weather condition called El Niño.
Experts are divided on what this cold phase actually points to. It might be just a one-off, localized, short-term weather phenomenon, or it might reflect a longer, global-scale climate shift.
Either way it contradicts alarmists’ claims of a warming world. If it were a mere weather phenomenon, then it would mean global warming would result in cold phases (like those in June, May, and earlier months this year), not warmer phases, as claimed by the alarmists. That means climate change will result in cold phases like the ones we’ve been observing in the past two years.
In contrast, if these cold phases are an indicator of a longer climatic shift, then there is no drastic warming but a global cooling.
We might be headed to what NASA describes as a period of “solar minimum,” with temperatures akin to the Little Ice Age that froze Northern Europe in the 16th century.
In its official June 12 communication, NASA stated, “The Sun’s activity rises and falls in an 11-year cycle. The forecast for the next solar cycle says it will be the weakest of the last 200 years. The maximum of this next cycle – measured in terms of sunspot number, a standard measure of solar activity level – could be 30 to 50% lower than the most recent one.”
Regardless of whether these cold phases are precursors to a longer cooling period or not, late-June cooling (like similar cooling periods in the past two years) certainly runs contrary to the claim that the world is getting hotter or warmer every year.
After the brief spike in temperatures during the El Niño-driven warmth of 2016, temperatures have fallen globally. This post-2016 two-year cooling resonates and coheres with the overall lull in the warming that scientists have observed during the past two decades, in which spikes in global temperature occurred only when El Niño was active.
It will be interesting to observe how the summer plays out and whether the solar inactivity predicted by NASA will make the 2019–20 winter colder than the ones before.
Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Bangalore, India.