While climate-change deniers may scoff at the notion of man-made global warming, this has undoubtedly been one hellishly hot year so far. Scorching hot. Miserable hot. Record-breaking hot.
Even some noted global-warming skeptics are changing their tune. Chief among them is UC-Berkeley scientist Richard Muller who, after an exhaustive study, now is firmly convinced that global warming is indeed real and caused by humans and greenhouse gases. However, Muller added that he's unconvinced that this year's record heat is directly tied to global warming, but rather just another symptom of climate change that has been building over the past couple of centuries.
Regardless, the rest of us non-scientists need only look at our thermometers to know that something is out of whack.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C:
"The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6 degrees fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th-century average, marking the hottest July and the hottest month on record for the nation.
"The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4 degrees fahrenheit. The warm July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895."
On top of it all, a majority of the nation is in the midst of a pernicious drought. Drought conditions — from incipient to severe — currently exist in each of South Carolina's 46 counties.
Further, in addition to drought, this has been a year of wild weather extremes that have precipitated raging wildfires, worsening storms, sudden downpours and deluges, and a freak windstorm called a derecho.
So far this year, more than 2.1 million acres have burned in wildfires, more than 113 million people in the U.S. were in areas under extreme heat advisories at the beginning of July, two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, and earlier in June, deluges flooded Minnesota and Florida.
"This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level," Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona, said in a Huffington Post article. "The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about."
So is this year's record temperatures and wild weather proof of global warming or not? Take our poll below and give us your comments.