Monday, May 28, 2012

A Longer Summer

Hours ago a tropical storm, nearly a hurricane, came onshore in northeast Florida. The risk of flooding from this storm will continue for the next three days in three states. It is only May, and already there have been two Atlantic tropical storms. The more typical pattern would be for the second tropical storm of the season to occur around the end of August, but the mild spring weather and especially the June-like weather in March may have advanced the start of the hurricane season. Closer to home, everyone I know who has a swimming pool has the pool already opened or will open it today. The usual start of the swimming pool season in southern Pennsylvania is around the middle of June, but this year, people have been out swimming since the second week of May.

The weather of any single year is not an indication of climate change, but the changing climate is expected to look like this someday, with long summers in places that previously experienced short summers. This will have good qualities, such as a reduced need for energy to heat buildings, and bad qualities, such as an increase in major storms that cause flooding.