2006 had the warmest temperatures of any year since official record-keeping began in 1895. El Nino was a factor in 2006’s temperatures but according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “[a] contributing factor to the unusually warm temperatures throughout 2006 also is the long-term warming trend, which has been linked to increases in greenhouse gases.” As reported in the New York Times on January 10, this statement is the first time under the Bush administration that NOAA has stated “unequivocally that a buildup of greenhouse gases was helping warm the climate.” Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne also linked greenhouse gases to climate change, proposing in December to list polar bears as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.
I’ve lived in New England my whole life. I have never experienced a winter like this one. One winter does not a trend make, but this year’s dearth of snow and cold temperatures follows a winter in which a most of the snow fell in December. I first visited this lake in early December 1978, in a raging snowstorm. The picture on the left, taken in March 2003, is what winter should look like. The picture on the right was taken yesterday. The climate feels like it is dangerously broken.