The usually balmy and pleasant weather of Hawaii is seeing records broken, not for how warm it is, but for cold temperatures. Hawaii has posted record low temperatures for the second day in a row, breaking at least four different area records. Pictures of a ice and snow have been run by local news outlets, an unusual site to many with a picture of sunny beaches in their heads. Cold temperatures across the United States have some climate change skeptics crying foul, but others are maintaining that these lows do not mean that global warming is a hoax. Instead, it is all part of the science of climate.
The weather over the last two days in Hawaii has set a new record for low temperatures, breaking the 122 year standard for what counts as cold in the usually sunny state. The new record, as reported by the National Weather Service, is 57 degrees at Honolulu Airport. The previous record was 60 degrees for that area. Records were broken in Honolulu, Lihue, Kauai and Maui all in the space of two days.
In Lihue, the previous record of 59 degrees was set in 2005. On Sunday morning, the new record became 54 degrees. While a five degree drop in less than ten years does not seem extreme, meteorologists say that it is at least significant. A National Weather Service meteorologist in Honolulu, Matthew Foster, noted that conditions were set up perfectly for the drop, but that such an occurrence is considered rare. Tuesday may see another dip in the temperature gauge as another cold front is set to sweep through, but overall it will (somewhat ironically) raise temperatures.
The winter weather means ice and snow at higher elevations, with crews reporting that they are clearing roads to the Mauna Kea summit on Hawaii’s Big Island (pictured above). Rangers have advised that the road will remain closed unless rising temperatures can melt the ice on the roadway. For an area not used to such extreme road conditions, it is probably advisable to prevent accidents by keeping the area closed to vehicles.
For the nation as a whole, however, closing roads and staying home is not an option. Bitterly cold weather and extreme winter conditions have been seen across the United States, not just in Hawaii. The “cold snap” that has many people dreaming of anything but a white christmas has also prompted some climate change skeptics to proclaim it is all a hoax. Pictures of snow in New Mexico and other places have been offered as evidence that is is all made up, but scientists are careful to note that the overall trend is still to the higher parts of the thermometer.
Despite the recent record cold temperatures, the overall trend on the climate change graph is an upward rise to higher temperatures. Mic posted just such a graph in one of their stories. A consortium of over 70 universities known as the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research reports that since 1880, temperatures have risen by 1.53 degrees overall and are still trending upward. While skeptics are giving the record cold temperatures the best run at sarcastic humor they can, the experts in the science behind climate change still maintain their 97 percent consensus and are delivering the scientific data to back it up.
Sunday and Monday saw record low temperatures posted for Hawaii and many are wondering when the cold spell will end, feeling that two days in a row is enough. While Hawaiians may be more than ready to return to their usual warmth and sun, the rest of the country has even worse winter weather to look forward to. Spring is around the corner, but not close enough for the many people shivering while they hum the tune to “Let It Go.” At the same time, however, climate scientists may be wondering when climate change skeptics will “let it go” already. Overall, though, it is a hard winter for everyone and these kinds of records are not making it any easier.
By Lydia Bradbury
Photo by NASA – Flickr License