Extreme Temperature Diary- Thursday April 16th, 2020/ Main Topic: Earth Day Turns 50 via Climate Central

Thursday April 16th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: Earth Day Turns 50 via Climate Central

Dear Diary. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day will be held next week on Wednesday April 22nd. Instead of festive celebrations this will be a somber time in my book since the planet is sick, and I’m not writing this because of COVID-19. We have not put a fundamental dent in the climate crisis with carbon in the atmosphere rising near 2.5 parts per million per year since the first Earth Day in 1970. The Earth’s population has continued to rise too fast and not stabilize around 7 billion such that it gradually falls to a more sustainable level below 2 billion going into the 22nd century. Species continue to become extinct at our hands at a very alarming rate.

All of the factors that I mentioned will make our quality of life very poor during the second half of the 21st century after so much progress has been made since the dawn of the 20th. I wonder how we will be celebrating Earth Day 2070? Will we even get the chance due to political instability that may eventually be caused from this pandemic and societal stresses coming as seas encroach upon our coastal cities, with famine striking our food supplies? Will desperate nations refrain from using nukes when global resources start to run short?

These are now the big, fundamental existential questions of our time, some being asked as early as the 1940s and certainly during 1970, the year of the first Earth Day. Looking at dystopian movies such as Soylent Green, which came out in 1973 involving, God forbid, cannibalism, a person from the 1970s might be surprised to see that civilization is doing this well in 2020. But like in 1970 there is still hope as of 2020. The future is not set in stone, so let’s all work to make the centennial of Earth Day in 2070 a truly happy celebration…and we have the knowhow and green tech to do it!

Here are some of Climate Central’s observations and data for Earth Day 2020.


Earth Day Turns 50

El Día de la Tierra cumple 50 años

Apr 15, 2020

Temperature trends since the first Earth Day, as well as resources for climate solutions reporting and Environmental Education Week.

La próxima semana es el 50 aniversario del Día de la Tierra. Siga leyendo para conocer las tendencias de temperatura desde el primer Día de la Tierra, así como los recursos para informar sobre soluciones climáticas y la Semana de Educación Ambiental.

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  • As COVID-19 has shown, we are all connected on one Earth. Science-guided information and swift actions are essential, both individually and collectively—key lessons for climate change too. 
  • One way to advance solutions is to talk about them. This Earth Week, the Covering Climate Now initiative is hosting a “Joint Coverage Week” for climate change solutions.
  • We’ve also updated our popular city trends package, plotting annual temperatures since the first Earth Day 50 years ago.
  • And for those looking to engage audiences from afar, we’ve compiled some content that’s fit for Environmental Education Week (also April 20-24) and beyond. 

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Local: annual average temperature trends

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National: annual average temperature trend for the contiguous U.S.

National: map of temperature trends by state

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With the global response to COVID-19, it’s clear that we really are all connected on one Earth. Today’s global impacts foreshadow the accelerating and compounding hazards that climate change poses to our health, economy, and ways of life. But current events also show what our world can do when we work together to solve an issue, using the power of science-based guidance—both at the individual and collective levels. 

Earth Day’s 50th anniversary is a fitting time for these reflections. On the first Earth Day in 1970, involvement from 20 million people paved the way for cleaner air, cleaner water, and more protected land. If similar efforts reduced human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, we could “flatten the curve” of rising temperatures as well. 

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Temperature trends aren’t flattening yet. In the above graphics, we show how annual temperatures have changed since the first Earth Day, locally and nationally. Temperatures have risen in 98% of the 242 cities analyzed, while the contiguous U.S. has warmed 2.4°F in those 50 years. Reno, Nev. leads this year’s cities with an increase of 7.4°F, followed by Las Vegas, Nev. (5.5°F) and El Paso, Texas (4.8°F). Many of the fastest-warming cities are in the Southwest, where spring is also the fastest-warming season. For more info, see our methodology or full rankings.  

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This Earth Week, Covering Climate Now is encouraging climate solutions stories in a “Joint Coverage Week” with more than 400 partner media outlets. Aside from the perk of spreading optimism in these difficult times, solutions stories have many benefits. According to research from Solutions Journalism Network, these stories can capture viewers’ attention for longer and are more likely to be shared. They also increase understanding and involvement in the issue itself (see more in a past webinar).

Here are some solution-based resources from our searchable media library.

And from our partners at Project Drawdown, which ranks solutions by their projected global impact: 

To become a Covering Climate Now partner, click here.

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In this time of social distancing, many are embracing the chance to enjoy nature—whether from a window or on a walk (where it is safe to do so). Below are some nature-focused Climate Matters releases to engage your audience. In addition, check out the many resources for National Environmental Education Week from NEEF, including suggested home activities like virtual park and museum visits, activity guides, and citizen science projects. 


Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:

Here is more climate and weather news from Thursday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)

Here is an international ET:

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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