As the disputes on global warming and climate change rage on at various levels, I checked the minimum, average and maximum temperatures in Istanbul in March 2017. This year’s temperatures seem to be higher than the 90-year averages (1926-2016).
According to the State Meteorological Office, the historical minimum, maximum and mean temperatures were 4.2, 10.9 and 7.7 degrees centigrade. This year, however, these temperatures were 6.194, 14.19 and 10.23 degrees respectively.
This year’s warmer temperatures may not seem to be very meaningful in and of themselves; however, considering that the overall context is a hot issue (no pun intended), there may be enough reason to worry about the higher temperatures of this year, as these may be evidence for the much feared global warming.
This year in November the weather in Istanbul has been quite warm – unusually so. Whether it is due to the hotly debated climate change/global warming or it is simply because we are having a warmer November is beyond my pale. The political climate is certainly reaching the boiling point but that is not what I intend to show here, although I am very much tempted to do so. The United Nations Climate Change Conference started in Paris, and some of the leaders have already made striking statements, indicating the imminence of taking serious measures such as the use of sustainable technology, energy efficiency and innovation. We will have to wait and see, however, if the participants can reach a binding and universal agreement on climate.
In a previous post, “Climatic Anomalies“, I had shown the increasing global temperatures. Given the anomalies that are reported and the Conference being held, I researched the average temperatures in Istanbul. According to the State Meteorological Office mean temperature in November between 1950 and 2014 was 7 degrees Celsius, mean maximum temperature 12.8 degrees and mean low 2.4 degrees Celsius.
This year, however, mean temperature has been 14.17 degrees Celsius, mean maximum temperature 17.13 and mean low temperature 11.27 degrees Celsius. The chart below shows the course of temperatures throughout the month of November.
Given that in many countries total carbon dioxide emissions and per capita emissions have increased in the last couple of decades, and in the face of empirical data, we seem to have good reasons to worry about global warming and its devastating consequences, as already stated by some of the conference participants.
After a long and wet winter here in Istanbul, where grey, dull and gloomy skies are quite typical, and where you feel the humid chill right in your bones, we finally felt it was a blessing to have the spring. Come May, the judas trees, tulips and all the verdure around the city suddenly created an aura of joy and relaxation (save for the political atmosphere), almost imposing an untimely restfulness.
Unfortunately, that did not last very long. Just as we thought we were easing into the summer we found ourselves hit over the head by temperatures hovering around 25 degrees Celcius, almost as oppressive as it usually gets in August.
That is certainly welcome considering the outrageous heating bills or not having to worry about a summer with dwindling water in the reservoirs(the summer of 2007 is still in memory!).
However, as the specialists indicate, weather anomalies cannot be ignored. With global temperatures rising and the arctic ice pack retreating and becoming thinner, and the antarctic glaciers moving into the ocean more quickly than before (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6237/899), here is some food for thought for those who are interested. The chart below indicates weather anomalies based on data from the NOAA. If the trend of the 20th century is any indication, we are heading towards some real hot years.