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Climate Report: Not Good

In a week full of climate-related terrors, don’t expect to find much good news in the American Meteorological Society’s annual report card on the state of the planet.
The long, hot summer: A firefighter in Portugal battles a wildfire as extreme heat in Europe continues.
The long, hot summer: A firefighter in Portugal battles a wildfire as extreme heat in Europe continues.Pedro Nunes/Reuters

For the past 28 years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) has published a “State of the Climate” report, an exhaustive accounting of the planet’s vital signs and weather-related trends for every region worldwide. But this year’s installment of the 310-page report, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society with contributions from 524 scientists in 65 countries, feels a little different, according to NOAA’s Derek Arndt, one of the report’s three lead editors.

“When I started as the lead of this report, we were documenting global temperature and ocean heat content and all of the numbers like you would get in an annual physical,” said Arndt, who’s worked on the last nine years worth of reports. “Now we’re documenting things like loss of coral reef, coastal erosion, and inland flooding—things that are actually tangible and visible and affect the quality of our collective lives.”