Hot enough for ya?
We're looking at you, global warming deniers.
How extreme does the weather have to become before you acknowledge, "Hey, maybe -- just maybe -- the vast majority of climate scientists are on to something here"?
Heat waves, droughts, derecho storms, melting ice caps, heavy down pours, Snowmageddon in 2010, the "winter that wasn't" (unless you count the freak Halloween blizzard) last season -- these are the extremes scientists warned would result from human-caused global warming.
And it's happening now.
Scientists last week announced July was the hottest month ever recorded in the continental United States, breaking a record set during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, according to The Associated Press.
Another example: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration combines the heat and other weather indicators to create the U.S. Climate Extreme Index, which dates to 1900. The average is 20 percent.
But for the first seven months of the year, the index was 46 percent, beating the old record from 1934.
Critics of global warming evidence tend to either discount it altogether -- nothing more than the usual ups and downs -- or admit the planet is warming but deny we're the cause of it.
It could just be a coincidence that the Earth has warmed approximately 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century, when we began burning fossil fuels with real gusto.
But the mounting evidence to the contrary converted one well-known skeptic last month.
U.C. Berkeley scientist Richard A. Muller wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times, detailing his research into previous climate studies.
"Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming," he wrote. "Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I'm now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause."
Despite the evidence, despite the consensus of most of scientists, whose ranks are growing as skeptics like Muller see the light, some people will continue to view global warming as a hoax.
Is it possible so many are wrong and so few are correct? That the extremes we're seeing are nothing to be alarmed about?
Sure. However unlikely, it's certainly possible.
And if we take action and the majority are mistaken, we'll have spent years trying to avert a catastrophe through sound public policy that leaves us with a cleaner environment and maybe a little more energy independent.
But if we take no action and the skeptics are wrong, we'll only have catastrophe.