As 2007 draws to a close it appears that it will be the hottest year on record in the northern hemisphere. U.S. weather stations broke or tied 263 all-time high temperature records. England had the warmest April in 348 years of record-keeping there. It wasn’t just the temperature. There were other oddball weather events. A tornado struck New York City in August, inspiring the tabloid headline: “This ain’t Kansas!” In the Middle East, an equally rare cyclone spun up in June, hitting Oman and Iran. Major U.S. lakes shrank; Atlanta had to worry about its drinking water supply. South Africa got its first significant snowfall in 25 years. And on Reunion Island, 400 miles east of Africa, nearly 155 inches of rain fell in three days ? a world record for the most rain in 72 hours.Thats almost 13 feet of water. Enough to fill most swimming pools to capacity. Worst of all ? at least according to climate scientists ? the Arctic, which serves as the world’s refrigerator, dramatically warmed in 2007, shattering records for the amount of melting ice. 2007 really brought some of the naysayers over to the fact that the earth is heating up and we apparently are the cause of it. Al Gore won an Oscar for “An Inconvenient Truth” plus the Noble Peace Prize for his work in trying to get the message out that we need to be doing something about it and real soon, if it is not already too late. Al Gore was vindicated by these awards , now maybe those who poked fun at him with nicknames of “Owl Gore” and others as they were denying there was anything going wrong with our climate. They have for years denied the fact that the earth is getting warmer or said it was a natural phenomenon.

Through the first 10 months, it was the hottest year recorded on land and the third hottest when ocean temperatures are included. Setting new records was all too common, especially in August. At U.S. weather stations, more than 8,000 new heat records were set or tied for specific August dates. More remarkably that same month, more than 100 all-time temperature records were tied or broken ? regardless of the date ? either for the highest reading or the warmest low temperature at night.

Across Europe this past summer, extreme heat waves killed dozens of people. And it wasn’t just the heat. It was the rain. There was either too little or too much. More than 60 percent of the United States was either abnormally dry or suffering from drought. I know here in the upstate of South Carolina we were begging for rain all summer long as fields and gardens suffered through the near drought conditions. Though I get my water from a well and do not get it from the two pristine lakes that feed Greenville I do know that both of these lakes are low and needing rain to fill them back up. Atlanta‘s main water source, Lake Lanier, shrank to an all-time low. Lake Okeechobee, crucial to south Florida, hit its lowest level in recorded history in May, exposing muck and debris not seen for decades. Lake Superior, the biggest and deepest of the Great Lakes, dropped to its lowest August and September levels in history. Los Angeles hit its driest year on record.

Lakes fed by the Colorado River, which help supply water for more than 20 million Westerners, were only half full. Australia, already a dry continent, suffered its worst drought in a century. On the other extreme, record rains fell in China, England and Wales. Minnesota got the worst of everything: a devastating June and July drought followed by record August rainfall. In one March day, Southern California got torrential downpours, hail, snow and fierce winds. Then in the fall came devastating fires driven by Santa Ana winds.

The time for action is now. We must act to save the world as we know it. The polar ice caps are rapidly melting – something that could raise the sea levels by dozens of feet – something that would put most major sea side ports and cities under Water. Even places like the Whitehouse could become inudated by water.If sea levels were to raise that much the world as we know it would change. I hope that it doesn’t ever come to that and we have managed to slow down the greenhouse gases that are leading this heat wave.

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