Solstice of Winter’s Discontent

December 21, 2016

Crystal-clear with bright sunshine this early Wednesday on California’s north coast, and cold, too.
Frosted rooftops in the neighborhood this morning as temps right now just a few degrees above freezing.
No rain until sometime tomorrow afternoon, decent-sized storm expected, though..

Today is also the ‘Winter/December Solstice,’ which actually occurred at 2:44 AM, and “officially” begins the winter season.
And it’s the shortest day of the year, coupled with the longest night.

(Illustration: ‘Earth’s Seasons,’ found here).

According to this chart, anyway, our region here will reportedly received nine-to-nine-and-a-half hours of daylight today.
The word solstice means “sun stand,” or “sun stands still,” which in reality does occur on the poles (via Slate): ‘In northern summer, near the summer solstice, the North Pole gets 24 hours a day of sunlight, and the South Pole gets 24 hours of darkness.’

Another season rolls through is the main take-away — yet the warmth continues despite whatever ‘solstice’ you apply. Although it’s cold as shit, our atmosphere is getting warmer.
Via Climate Central on Monday:

In less than two weeks, 2016 will officially be the hottest year on the books in more than 120 years of record keeping by U.S. agencies.
It will be the third straight record-setting year — and of the 17 hottest years, 16 have been this century — a clear sign of the human-caused rise in global temperatures caused by the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases over the past century.
The world is already more than halfway down the road to surpassing the Paris climate pact goal to limit warming to less than 2°C (3.6°F) by 2100.

November was the second warmest on record (after November 2015), according to NASA data released last week, with an average temperature 1.71°F (0.95°C) above the 1951-1980 average.

One major area of warmth during both November and the year as a whole was the Arctic.
During November, the Arctic saw an almost unprecedented sea ice retreat, capping off a year that has shocked even seasoned Arctic researchers.
The winter sea ice peak was the lowest on record (beating out 2015) and the summer minimum was the second lowest.
Air temperatures in the region have continually been above average by double digits.

And the winter of our discontent, squared:

Another hotspot for November was North America; the contiguous U.S. is poised to have its second-hottest year on record.
Many climate scientists have expressed concern over some of President-elect Trump’s nominees to key cabinet posts, such as the departments of Energy and State.
Rick Perry, the Energy nominee, has dismissed the reality of climate change, and Rex Tillerson, nominee for secretary of state, is CEO of ExxonMobil, which spent decades ignoring its own scientists’ research tying fossil fuels to climate change.
There is concern that with these players, the incoming administration will roll back progress toward combating climate change, causing the world to charge past its goals of limiting warming.

No solace in the solstice…

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