2017 is set to break records around the world for extreme weather

With so much happening in the news in 2017, it can be hard to realize that this year’s weather patterns have been perhaps the strangest on record. It’s seen 6 major hurricanes including Harvey and Irma, which both caused mass destruction and devastation. And that’s not all; in a rare event, a hurricane hit Ireland.

The storm system formerly known as hurricane Ophelia is said to be the most severe storm in Ireland in half a century. It brought 120 mph winds and massive waves. Ophelia tore off roofs and ripped trees out of the ground. The storm resulted in 3 fatalities and thousands of homes and businesses lost power.


Though Ophelia has not been as destructive as other storms, it is very unusual. It is the farthest east and farthest north a major hurricane in the Atlantic basin has been recorded since satellite technology began. Ophelia actually resulted in satellite forecast images being cut off, due to it being out of normal tracking range.

Typically, waters that far north are too cold to result in a storm this strong, but as sea surface temperatures continue to warm as a result of climate change, the region of the Atlantic that can support tropical storms will expand.

It’s no coincidence that 2017 has seen the highest upper ocean heat content on record in the tropical Atlantic. Just another reason to take action on global warming.


Moving on from hurricanes, the huge surges from hot to cold have also been unique. In Oklahoma, for example, the town of Mangum recorded an all time high February temperature of 99.4 degrees fahrenheit. Then, three days later, on Valentine’s Day, the town saw snow. Stories like this have been repeated throughout the world.   

Another sobering thought is that it isn’t over yet. There are still almost 2 months left of 2017. Who knows what other records will be set? While hurricane season usually ends around 30th November, this year it’s impossible to predict what will happen.

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