A January ride and climate change

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By Bob Best
Executive Vice President
Jones Lang LaSalle

Last weekend I went for a bike ride here in Chicago. I haven’t done that here in January in over ten years.

One day does indicate a trend, but a decade does. I decided to take a quick look at temperature trends over the last ten years. I was stunned with what I found.

Scientists at NASA and U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report that 2012 marks the last year of the warmest decade on recor. Last year was the ninth warmest year in modern history.

Is there still anyone out there who doesn’t think our climate is changing?  Or, that it’s not having an impact on our lives? Here are a few glaring take aways from this month’s draft U.S. Global Change Research Program report.

U.S. average temperature has increased by about 1.5°F since 1895. More than 80% of this increase has occurred since 1980.

There is strong evidence to indicate that human influence on the climate has already roughly doubled the 37 probability of extreme heat events like the record-breaking summer of 2011 in Texas and Oklahoma.

These and other climatic changes have affected and will continue to affect human health, water supply, agriculture, transportation, energy, and many other aspects of society.

While I enjoyed my surprising mid-January bike ride, I would honestly have been happier with a big snowfall and cold temperatures, indicating that the climate is not changing.  But it is.

-Bob

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