2005: A Year of Broken Records
Vol: 51 Issue: 21 Wednesday, December 21, 2005
We are only ten days from 2006, and it may take all ten of them to adequately review the events of 2005. One might call 2005 the “Year the of Broken Records”
In 2005, all the warnings about drastic climatic events became reality. 2005 was the warmest year on record. It was the most destructive Atlantic hurricane season on record. It was the first year ever that the National Weather Service ran out of names before it ran out of storms.
Record-breaking rainfall in the Southwest brought flooding and devastating mudslides to California and the Pacific Coast. Record-breaking drought resulted in disaster declarations in all or parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Texas and Wisconsin.
Drier-than-average conditions contributed to an active wildfire season that burned more than 8.5 million acres in 2005 4.5 million acres consumed in Alaska alone. That broke the old record set in 2000 for acreage burned in a wildfire season for the United States as a whole.
Record precipitation fell in the Northeast during the fall with three storm systems affecting the region in October. Nine states in the Northeast had their wettest October since 1895, and the October snowfall record on Mount Washington was shattered when 78.9 inches of snow fell during the month.
Another notable snow storm in 2005 was the Blizzard of 2005, which brought more than two feet of snow across much of southern New England in late January. This storm ranked as the seventh most extreme snow event in the Northeast.
Globally, the story is the same. The global annual temperature for combined land and ocean surfaces is expected to be very close to the record global temperature that was established in 1998.
The largest temperature anomalies were widespread throughout high latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere and included much of Russia, Scandinavia, Canada and Alaska.
A new record was established in September for the lowest Arctic sea ice extent since satellite monitoring began in the late 1970s.
One could add to the list; severe drought in parts of southern Africa and the Greater Horn of Africa, extreme monsoon-related rainfall in western India (including a 24-hour rainfall total of 37.1 inches in Mumbai), the worst drought in decades in the Amazon River basin, severe drought in large parts of western Europe, and a record warm year in Australia.
It isn’t our imagination . . .
There remains a huge debate raging over global warming.
Actually, it isn’t even accurate to call it a debate over global warming. Few are arguing that global warming doesn’t exist. Some are arguing that it is merely a normal part of global weather pattern cycles, but those arguments are rapidly losing credibility in the face of empirical evidence to the contrary.
What is at the heart of the debate is the cause. Most blame the United States and insist that it accept responsibility for its cleanup, as demanded by the Kyoto Treaty.
An equally strong argument exists for laying the blame at the Soviet Union’s doorstep. It used Eastern Europe as a toxic waste dump. It polluted with impunity for sixty years, then left the mess untouched after its collapse.
China is among the world’s worst polluters today, along with having one of the world’s largest populations to clean up after.
But global warming and pollution don’t account for the rest of the planetary upheaval of 2005; the earthquakes, solar flares, changes to the earth’s magnetic fields, and so on and so forth.
The earthquake that ushered in 2005 was so powerful that it reshaped the earth’s surface, disrupted the Earth’s space-time continuum; — the entire planet was still vibrating like a tuning fork as the ball came down at Times Square.
There were 23,617 earthquakes world-wide in 2005 that claimed more than 83,000 lives. That is up from 16,612 in 1990, and part of an upward trend that is still continuing.
Geopolitically, 2005 was a year of belligerency and war. There is the Iraq War. The Afghanistan War. The war on terror. The culture wars. The Red/State Blue/State political war. The Iran nuclear crisis is 2005’s offering for the ‘rumor of war’ category. And where open war hasn’t erupted, ethnic unrest threatens to spark it at almost any moment.
Bird flu made its appearance in Asia in 2005 and with it, the specter of a global pandemic that the experts estimate could kill tens — and maybe hundreds — of millions of people. Of those infected so far, more than half have died, giving it a mortality rate of almost 60%.
Jesus was asked by His disciples what ‘signs’ would be given in advance of His return.
He spoke of wars and rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, saying, “And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.” (Luke 21:11)
He warned, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26)
He said to the generation that would witness these warning signs, “when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
As 2005 draws to a close, I am struck with renewed awe with how perfectly 2005 conformed to Jesus’ outline for a single generation, somewhere in time. While these events have always been part of the human condition, with each passing year, new records shatter like glass.
The global sense of fear is palpable. The cry for ‘something’ to be done echoes from the rooftops — not just in America, but world-wide. Hoping against hope, but gradually recognizing that there is really nothing that CAN be done.
And, according to the Bible, it is no longer in our hands, anyway.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:33-34)