Hottest Year on Record?
I realize not everybody believes in “global warming.” And it isn’t the point of this blog to plunge into that academic and/or scientific debate. But the flurry of headlines this past week over our nation’s record temperature deserves some reflection. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced that 2012 was the hottest year on record for the United States. According to their calculations the average daily temperature in our nation last year was 55.3 degrees—which, as it turns out, is one degree higher than the previous record in 1998, and 3.2 degrees more than the average temperature of the 20th century. Apparently the rise of even one degree is startling, given that national averages usually rise or fall in tenths of a degree. Coupled with this headline is a report a week ago that snowfall this season is already lagging. According to climatologists, recovery from last year’s withering drought necessitates at least eight feet of snow this winter, with some estimates placing our snow need as high as 150+ inches. Will we get it? Fifty degrees this weekend doesn’t make this winter seem very promising! Even the mighty Mississippi River is protesting. Some officials are worried that because of the drop in river levels, barge traffic south of St. Louis could possibly be halted. The Army Corp of Engineers is dredging the river this winter to keep it passable for deep-keeled vessels. Then there’s all the talk last year about Antarctica and Greenland experiencing unprecedented ice sheet melting. But review the various studies posted over the last couple months and it’s clear scientists aren’t agreed on the magnitude of that loss, or even its causes. As these weather headlines come and go, I must confess that tucked away in the back of my mind is that apocalyptic description of an endtime earth in Revelation: “Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat” (Revelation 16:8-9). I’m certainly not suggesting that this spate of weather headlines is proof we are experiencing the fourth plague! But it is intriguing that an apocalyptic description of earth at the end of time is not one of a new spreading Ice Age, but rather a depiction of intensifying and destructive solar heat. All of which is simply a reminder that all of us earth children are truly dependent on the Lord of Nature for our daily sustenance and survival on this planet. Our nearest star and the seasons it regulates are under His omnipotent control. And when one day earth becomes the last battleground between the dark knight and the Morning Star, for His friends God promises: “The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night” (Psalm 121:6). So let the weather patterns continue to perplex meteorologists. Whatever 2013’s temperatures turn out to be, our hope and trust this New Year is in the One who used to walk on the storms when He was here.