Hot Enough For Ya? Extreme Weather Events Consistent With Climate Change Science

Fri, 2012-07-06 19:00Farron Cousins
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Hot Enough For Ya? Extreme Weather Events Consistent With Climate Change Science

Large portions of the U.S. are on fire. Record droughts currently encompass massive swaths of America. The areas not experiencing droughts have been inundated with flooding. Winter weather in many areas was almost non-existent. A few years ago, an Academy Award-winning film called “An Inconvenient Truth” warned wary Americans that all of these events would become the new normal due to climate change. But these are no longer warnings – this is the reality that we’re living in now.

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to ignore the evidence of extreme weather that surrounds all of us. And it isn’t just the United States. Every corner of the globe is experiencing the direct effects of climate change in some form or fashion. And again, we were warned that all of this was going to happen.

My hometown of Gulf Breeze, Florida feels like it's been a petri dish for climate change disaster stories. In the past month, we’ve had two separate droughts that were both ended by flash flooding. In between these events, we avoided a hit from pre-season tropical storm Debby, which turned eastward and drenched central Florida with torrential rains. Last weekend we had a heat index of 112 degrees, and I awoke this morning (again, after weeks of drought) to find half of my yard underwater due to coastal flooding.

In the U.S., the reality of climate change has certainly been an eye opener for many Americans.
  

This year has been like none we’ve ever seen. It began in the winter, when snowfall dropped to near-record lows, whereas the previous year had given us record amounts of snowfall. Some areas did see an increase in snowfall, but that was quickly offset by record-breaking high temperatures. Springtime also brought us record-breaking temperatures, and has now become the hottest Spring season on record. In March alone, a staggering 15,000 high-temperature records were broken. For the entire year, as of July 3rd, we’ve broken more than 40,000 high-temperature records in the U.S.

In January of this year, the U.S. witnessed at least 70 tornadoes. Since then, almost 800 additional tornadoes have been reported in the country.

And, for once, most of the media is actually paying attention. Here’s a recent piece from the Associated Press, via Huffington Post:

Among the extreme events…record-breaking wildfires in the West in the past two years, including in Colorado, where blazes recently damaged or destroyed nearly 350 homes and killed two people.

Last spring was the warmest in the Unites States since 1895, when records were first kept. For only the third time since hurricane records started in 1851, two hurricanes formed over the North Atlantic before the season officially began June 1.
 

Think Progress reported on several NBC affiliates that have sounded the alarm over the extreme weather events we’re seeing:

NBC Meteorologist Bill Karins said on Friday , “We’ve never really seen a heat wave like this in the month of June.” Sadly, in a few decades this will just be considered a normal June.

How hot is it? It is so hot that NBC Washington’s Chief Meteorologist, Doug Kammerer, explained on air “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.”
 

CBSNews.com ran the following:

The United States is parched, with more than half of the lower 48 states experiencing moderate to extreme drought, according to a report released today (July 5).

Just under 56 percent of the contiguous United States is in drought conditions, the most extensive area in the 12-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The previous drought records occurred on Aug. 26, 2003, when 54.79 percent of the lower 48 were in drought and on Sept 10, 2002, when drought extended across 54.63 percent of this area.
 

There are countless stories online quoting experts who are proclaiming “this is what climate change looks like.”

But that’s just the online print world. The mainstream media is a different story all together. According to Media Matters, the idea of “climate change” has been absent from most of the reporting on the devastating wildfires that have engulfed Colorado: The major television and print outlets largely ignored climate change in their coverage of wildfires in Colorado, New Mexico and other Western states. All together, only 3 percent of the reports mentioned climate change, including 1.6 percent of television segments and 6 percent of text articles.

These findings are on par with a previous Media Matters report from earlier this year, that showed that coverage of climate change and related issues fell by 90% on Sunday morning talk shows between the years 2009 and 2011, and by 72% on nightly news programs.

The recent extreme weather events have done little to sway the hardcore climate deniers, but the American public seems to be paying attention. They are starting to realize that this is no longer an issue where we can bury our heads in the sand. Climate change is happening, and that’s the sad reality in which we now live.

Comments

Leave it to a lawyer to crop a map to only show about 1/2% of the planets surface. lol OK Illinois is part of this cherry pickers map and I am very knowledgeable about Illinois so I checked to see if Illinois is in fact experiencing unprecedented heat. The answer is no and is evidenced (lawyers like evidence right?) in long term records. I looked at the monthly temperatures for the 118 year temperature record in Illinois and found much hotter temperatures in the past. In fact it was hotter 116 years ago in Illinois:

April 1896 was hotter than April 2012

May of 1896 was hotter than May 2012

Then there is the trend in the NOAA summer data that has Illinois cooling.

Summer (Jun-Aug) 1930 - 2011 Trend = -0.19 degF / Decade

I have looked at other states and find similar patterns so there is yet no evidence or trend in the data to support the notion that this “heat wave” is anything unusual. If you under 30 and ignorant of temperature data you might be fooled into thinking this is unusual but you will find no climate scientist willing to stake his reputation by saying this heat wave is proof of anything. 

It certainly is not a global event so I’m not even sure how anyone can consider it a sign of global anything. For example, yesterday’s NCEP satellite measurement of the global surface temperature anomaly, you know the other 99.5% of the planet the author/lawyer chose to crop out of the photo and ignore, was negative anomaly at -.007 degC. He is confusing short term weather anomalies occurring on a tiny portion of the planet with long term global climate. The long term temperature data and Palmer drought index contain warmer and drier periods in past US weather. Anybody who takes the time to examine temperature records for themselves knows that there is no mathematically discernable significance for unusual weather yet. If you have found any please provide evidence supported by peer reviewed papers showing the maths.

Since windy is either too lazy or too incompetent to actually look for and find papers, he assumes that they do not exist:

“Anybody who takes the time to examine temperature records for themselves knows that there is no mathematically discernable significance for unusual weather yet.”

Here is a link to one:

http://tinyurl.com/859pksv

windy, pay particular attention to Figures 8 & 9.

“In this article, we argue that the conventional methodology for normalizing economic loss is problematic since it normalizes for changes in wealth over time, but fails to normalize for differences in wealth across space at any given point of time. We introduce an alternative methodology that overcomes this problem in theory, but faces many more problems in its empirical application. Applying, therefore, both methods to the most comprehensive existing global dataset of natural disaster loss, in general we find no significant upward trends in normalized disaster damage over the period 1980 to 2009 globally, regionally, for specific disasters or for specific disasters in specific regions. Due to our inability to control for defensive mitigation measures, one cannot infer from our analysis that there have definitely not been more frequent and/or more intensive weather-related natural hazards over the study period already. Moreover, it may still be far too early to detect a trend if human-induced climate change has only just started and will gain momentum over time.”

The key point because you missed it:

“Applying, therefore, both methods to the most comprehensive existing global dataset of natural disaster loss, in general we find no significant upward trends in normalized disaster damage over the period 1980 to 2009 globally, regionally, for specific disasters or for specific disasters in specific regions.”

No statistically significant trend. I have also read Pielke Jr. work on this too and he also finds no statistically significant trend and adds that it will take at least 132 years for any human signal to emrge in disaster loss data.

You have not read the paper, you may have read the abstract. I specifically told you to look at Figures 8 and 9. Did you? What do they show?

Did you actually manage to read and understand what they meant by “alternative normalization method”? I didn’t think so. Their alternative normalization method can be simplified as normalization = actual-to-potential-loss ratio. In their figures where they show a decrease in normalized costs they sum the yearly APRs.

Figures 8 and 9 as I explained earlier shows the information which you originally requested:

“If you have found any please provide evidence supported by peer reviewed papers showing the maths.”

This paper does not support your conclusions, in fact all you have done has been to show:

1. you didn’t read the paper

2. if you did read it you just didn’t understand it

or 3 you are being a completely dishonest denier who uses the normal denier tools of misinterpretation, obfuscation, cherry picking and dishonesty.

Honest and intelligent readers will be able to accurately tell which categories characterize your behaviour.

refuting figures 8 and 9 but DaSmog didn’t publish it so you will just have to go on being misguided.

“Leave it to a lawyer to crop a map to only show about 1/2% of the planets surface. lol OK Illinois is part of this cherry pickers map and I am very knowledgeable about Illinois so I checked to see if Illinois is in fact experiencing unprecedented heat. The answer is no “

Windy, is what is happening inthe USA as a whole, coinciding with what we are seeing globaly and what the trends predict? Yes.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2012/5

Global Highlights

  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for May 2012 was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F). This is the second warmest May since records began in 1880, behind only 2010.
  • The Northern Hemisphere land and ocean average surface temperature for May 2012 was the all-time warmest May on record, at 0.85°C (1.53°F) above average.
  • The globally-averaged land surface temperature for May 2012 was the all-time warmest May on record, at 1.21°C (2.18°F) above average.
  • ENSO-neutral conditions continued during May 2012 and sea surface temperature anomalies in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean continued to warm. The May worldwide ocean surface temperatures ranked as the 10th warmest May on record.
  • For March–May (boreal spring) 2012, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.59°C (1.06°F) above average—the seventh warmest such period on record.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for January–May 2012 was the 11th warmest on record, at 0.50°C (0.90°F) above the 20th century average.”

 

and around the globe also what natural variation of a chaotic system predict? Why yes it is.

Yes windy, cherry picking should not be used as a serious argument …

The desmogblog webpage is not intended to provide a forum to discuss whether this or that extreme weather event is related to global warming. But if you look at the headline of the article it asked a provocative question, and made a reasonable statement. Its contents reflects its headline. Your comment does not relate to that but instead makes some typical trolling remarks based on cherry-picked data.

Come back with some useful remarks on the entry’s content after going to this well-known page (i.e. the evidence you claim does not exist)

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/contents.html

and typing “extreme weather” into the search box, then reading up on what the science world agrees to be one major problem of global warming: the increased recurrence of extreme weather events and the associated costs to society as a whole.

 

In fact my air conditioner was only supposed to be used for a few days in summers.  This year, it got fired up just as winter ended.

But I wouldn’t pin that specifically on Global Warming.

What I love is how all the deniers happily jump in the boat of any statement that vaguely sounds like it could support the notion that the world isn’t warming.  There was a news article in the fall that Environment Canada was predicting one of the coldest winters ever for Canada, and the deniers were all over that…   “See… Its all over!”  “Globull Warming!”  (And I don’t lord it up that it was a record warm winter…. )

You have to look at global data, and only global data.  Local Weather events might be the symptom but I wouldn’t bank on it.

We’ve just ended a scorching 10 years… and those ten years had DECLINING solar energy, and some cooling, multi-year La Ninas.

That means we are in line for some record breakers.  I figure next year, but I’m a betting man..  I’m betting this year.

I Googled “extreme weather” and found information that extreme weather today is nowhere as bad as extreme weather in the 2000 years prior to 1850. Not even close. If you read Dot Earth you would already know this as Revkin has provided much evidence of far worse happenings. Historical museums in Illinois document far worse climate in Illinois history. I don’t think that you are tryinghard enoght o be objective.

Real climate has a nice piece on new evidence of Antarctica’s coast being covered with tundra vegetation roughly 15-20 million years ago when CO2 was at preinductrial levels and warmer temperatures than today. This reminds of the dozen or so papers i’ve read about the ice free summers in the Arctic 6K-12K years ago with Arctic ocean temperatures 30 degF warmer than today and when CO2 was also at pre-industrial levels. The science is settled here though right?

I am curious, but why the hyper focus on Antarctica from you guys?  Everything I’ve read goes back and forth on if or when global warming will harm it.  For instance, if the South Pole warms up to -40 in summer, it’ll hardly be affected by a getting 5C hotter, right? That wouldn’t be above freezing right?

Is that why you focus on it?

In the north, that’s we have arctic trend lines measuring ice quantity and thickness day by day.   Global warming is only really visible from the summer melt off.  The winter freeze’s haven’t started retreating yet…  or not by much anyway.

 

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Corporate-controlled media outlets have figured out that debate, or more appropriately heated debate and confrontation, can generate larger audiences than a bunch of people sitting around a table agreeing with one another.  And this can work for some topics, such as the best way to tackle immigration reform or how to reduce the federal budget deficit. 

But when faced with an issue that clearly only has one side, the corporate media continues to parade anti-reality talking heads into their studios, hoping that they can help boost ratings.  That is what has happened...

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