May marked the hottest May in 136 years and shattered, for the eighth month in a row, record highs for heat.
Though El Nino may be a contributing factor, the thing having the most impact on temperature, according to climate scientists, is humans. Annually we continue to dump 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These emissions are warming the planet and wreaking havoc on the polar ice caps. Rapid and long-lasting melting of the polar ice caps is changing weather as we know it and is cause for serious alarm.
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is responsible for bringing cold water down from the Polar Regions and sending warm water up to the poles. This conveyor belt of heat is influenced by many things including salinity of water. As the planet warms and ice caps melt, more fresh water is sent into the ocean where it floats atop salty water essentially forming a lid that prevents the warmer, salty water from moving.
Scientists are calling the AMOC slow down or shut down a tipping point. Whereas other changes to climate might play out over centuries, this one could play out in just decades. Which is to say in our lifetime. Which is to say perhaps we should stop debating and start acting.