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Record hot temps could be a harbinger of things to come

To drive the point home in the Fukushima post below, all power sources have their tragic flaws. Are the record high temperatures afflicting much of the nation a result of global warming driven by fossil fuels? Best answer, maybe:

Miami Herald– This is the point in the column where I’m obliged to insert the disclaimer that no one event — no heat wave, no hurricane, no outbreak of tornadoes or freakish storms — can be definitively blamed on climate change. Any one data point can be an anomaly; any cluster of data points can be mere noise.

The problem for those who dismiss climate change as a figment of scientists’ imagination, or even as a crypto-socialist one-worldish plot to take away our God-given SUVs, is that the data are beginning to add up.

Climate is average weather. Average rainfall, average temperature, that kind of thing. It’s easy to play games with averages, cherry picking data and periods of time is a cottage industry for those who desire a certain outcome.

If this kind of weather happens more often over a period of years, then by definition the climate is changing and getting warmer. If that happens world-wide, then it is global warming. To answer the original question, there have been enough hot records and record hot years globally and locally — at a  ratio of roughly five to one for local hot records  – over the last several decades in the US and world to say yes, North America is being affected by global warming.

Pinning this one heat wave on climate change is like trying to pin one bad roll on loaded dice. Craps players will roll snake-eyes from time to time. Given enough rolls they will eventually even roll it two or three times in a  row.

But this kind of weather could become the norm. Because lately, we’ve been rolling snake-eyes a lot.

Comments

  1. Trebuchet says

    I can’t help feeling a little schadenfreude when these events affect “red” states represented by denialists.

    That Miami Herald quote is great.

  2. StevoR says

    The trend.

    If we look at the larger pattern of warming temperatures this fits in rather clearly.

    We can’t blame any *one* event,any single heatwave or flood or storm or drought or extreme weather event on Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) which is what I prefer to call it.

    But haven’t we had a lot of them lately?

    Is that really co-incidence?

    2010 was the hottest year on record, 2011 the hottest La Nina year on record, almost all of the last decade in that hottest top ten years on record.

    The Arctic ice melt has been dramatic and is currently on track to beat the 2007 record as I speak.

    No, it ain’t just co-incidence.

    Look at all the graphs and data. You can see via NASA and NOAA and the National Snow & Ice Data Centre (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ ) plus all sorts of other sites. Really, check ‘em out they’re good.

    HIRGO is real.
    We’re experiencing it now.
    We’re doing stuff all about it.
    Thermal Inertia is real.
    Worrying.

  3. StevoR says

    @2. busterggi :

    Actually science works fine everywhere in the cosmos.

    It’s just that in some places they try to ignore it -and reality generally – will just go away if they wish hard enough.

    It won’t.

    One day HIRGO will be so undeniable even the Koch brothers will admit it. Too late then. Perhaps too late already.

  4. StevoR says

    Plus it isn’t just patterns of hot weather that can (correctly) be blamed on HIRGO. See :

  5. baal says

    One fun (and I mean fun in the ironic sense) thing to do is google 80′s global warming predictions. We’re ahead of schedule for the adverse climate changes. The best explanation is that various tipping points are getting reached and that’s accelerated certain changes.

    One tipping point example: ice is fairly reflective and dirt tends to absorb solar radiation. Once a glacier starts to melt, the local area has less ice and more dirt. This means that even at the same temperature profile, more light gets absorbed and more ice melts. The cycle then repeats.

    Similar tipping points exist for captured methane (clathrates) and carbon dioxide sequestration rates with the ocean.

  6. says

    How many “harbingers” does it take before you’re convinced of something?

    We’ve been having a couple of decades of harbingers. Seems to me that we’ve long passed the harbinger stage and are smack dab in the middle of “being cooked in our own piss” stage.

  7. Abdul Alhazred says

    Well that settles it.

    It is now scientifically proven once again that we need to be micromanaged by mean spirited bullies.

    Or the world will die.

    Right?

  8. davidmc says

    “We can’t blame any *one* event,any single heatwave or flood or storm or drought or extreme weather event on Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) which is what I prefer to call it”
    It wont be long before someone will be blaming #FTBbullies

  9. davidmc says

    It’s been record breaking pissing it down in the uk for the last few months, global warming is a poor term for it and is usually expressed in similar terms. I have found that people are more receptive to “Climate Change”, especially with those old enough to remember a few nice summers or watch the effin news.

  10. raven says

    How many “harbingers” does it take before you’re convinced of something?

    We’ve been having a couple of decades of harbingers. Seems to me that we’ve long passed the harbinger stage and are smack dab in the middle of “being cooked in our own piss” stage.

    Hasn’t happened yet.

    And this is after we lost New Orleans, a city particularly vulnerable to “climate change”.

    I’m guessing a few million dead people at the least.

    Or when the summer sea ice completely melts in the arctic. Projections have that happening by 2030. Graphs with zigzagging lines can be ignored. A huge open ocean that no one has seen before can’t be.

  11. says

    I am convinced of global warming in the sense I can read a temp graph produced by NASA and follow charts showing the signatures of fossil fuels in carbon compounds. Whether or not this heat wave is due to climate change, and how the climate will settle down when by definition we are introducing a chaotic change, is not so easy.

    Answer, maybe, just like rolling snake-eyes for the third time in a row might really be due to loaded dice. Given a few rolls and an anamoly, we can only say maybe — where one heat wave or a single month of global temps is kind of like one roll. Given hundreds of rolls, where snake-eyes comes up four or five times more often that probability predicts, we can move from maybe to probably to near certainty that the dice are loaded.

    That’s where we are at on climate change. We can’t pin a single event on climate change, it’s the average over time that counts.

  12. violet says

    “Or when the summer sea ice completely melts in the arctic. Projections have that happening by 2030. Graphs with zigzagging lines can be ignored. A huge open ocean that no one has seen before can’t be.”

    I dunno, people seem to have done a great job ignoring the big hole in the sky (ozone layer).

  13. StevoR says

    Oh forgot last night too – this article :

    http://climatecrocks.com/2012/01/23/graphs-of-the-day-global-temps-2011/

    is one that notes 2011 was the hottest La Nina year.

    @12. raven :

    A huge open ocean that no one has seen before can’t be.{ignored -ed.}

    I don’t want to depress you (or myself ) further so I kinda hate to say this but y’know we’ve had the reverse scenario already happen with the whole Aral Sea vitually disappearing and becomng desert land, right? How many folks have really noticed and thought about that?

  14. raven says

    How many folks have really noticed and thought about that?

    True. The Aral sea drying up was human caused though and doesn’t have much to do with climate change. The Soviets made the decision for cotton and against fish.

    The dead enders will never be convinced but they probably don’t matter much.

    After all we still have Flat Earthers around. And 20% of the US population thinks the sun orbits the earth. Don’t they ever wonder how we get our space probes past the sun to the moon and beyond. I guess they think NASA sneaks them past the sun at night or something.

  15. raven says

    It really doesn’t matter any more whether people accept climate change or not.

    We are passed the point where we could do anything and nothing was done.

    The lead time for a carbon capture power plant is 18 years. None are planned in the USA and only one or two in the entire world. A coal burning plant has a life time of 40-60 years.

    Our whole civilization runs on fossil fuels. It’s not at all clear that, even if the political will was there which it isn’t, we could do anything.

    The UN just had the latest in a long series of climate change meetings. They said it was “inconclusive”. Meaning nothing was decided.

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