Groundhog Decade: We’re stuck in a bad movie, where it’s always the hottest decade on record


Somewhere on a Hollywood movie set for Groundhog Day, Part 2: Bill Murray wakes up to find he’s just lived through the hottest decade on record, just as he did in the 1990s, just as he did in the 1980s.  And he keeps waking up in the hottest decade on record, until he gains the kind of maturity and wisdom that can only come from doing the same damn thing over and over and over again with no change in the result.  Ah, if only life were like a movie.

Somewhere in PA:  Punxsutawney Phil saw the shadow of unrestricted fossil-fuel pollution from Homo “sapiens” sapiens today.  That means global warming for another six thousand weeks — and then some (see NOAA stunner: Climate change “largely irreversible for 1000 years,” with permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe).

If we keep listening to the siren song of delay, delay, delay from the anti-science crowd, then eventually people aren’t going to go through this elaborate charade of wondering whether some large rodent in Pennsylvania can predict the weather — the forecast will always be the same, “bloody hot”:

And, as noted, those scientific projections are simply business-as-usual warming.

Under the plausible worst-case scenario of high emissions, high carbon-cycle feedbacks, marmota monax and homo “sapiens” experience much worse by mid-century (see UK Met Office: Catastrophic climate change, 13-18°F over most of U.S. and 27°F in the Arctic, could happen in 50 years, but “we do have time to stop it if we cut greenhouse gas emissions soon”):

If we get anywhere near that outcome, I seriously doubt anybody is going to care about what Punxsutawney Phil thinks about whether it’s going to be an early spring or not.

[And yes, I thought the original Groundhog Day was a great movie, but then, it had a happy ending….]


27 Responses to Groundhog Decade: We’re stuck in a bad movie, where it’s always the hottest decade on record

  1. mike roddy says:

    That bar chart is an excellent visual, Joe. I hope it gets around.

    Not much Watts and McIntyre can do with it. Maybe they’ll claim it’s the wrong color scheme, or NOAA is also in on the grant seeking cabal.

  2. Ben says:

    You think that Groundhog Day was a bad movie? That’s the most dumb-assed thing that I’ve ever read on a climate blog, and that’s saying a lot in a space inhabited largely by cranks, crooks and cronies.

    [JR: You can’t friggin’ finish reading a short blog post? That’s the most dumb-assed thing that I’ve ever read on any comment on any blog, and that’s saying a lot in a space inhabited largely by cranks, crooks and cronies.]

  3. PSU Grad says:

    Seems the deniers are getting more shrill and illogical (and also unable to read plain English).

    Just today I saw one poster elsewhere discuss the water vapor study done by Dr. Susan Solomon and how it means the recent warming was also caused mainly by water vapor. Somehow, they forgot to mention this quote from Dr. Solomon:

    “This doesn’t alter the fundamental conclusion that the world has warmed and that most of that warming has to do with greenhouse gas emissions caused by man,”

    You see, that wouldn’t be convenient to their “cause”. Yet another dim bulb, who regularly fancies himself as a strong supporter of the military, called global warming a “hoax”, but has yet to respond to the fact that the Department of Defense describes the challenges of a warming planet in the Quadrennial Defense review (pages 84-88).

    They’re clearly getting desperate.

  4. agree with Mike Roddy… the first chart is an excellent graphical representation… conveys a lot…

  5. NathanS says:

    Awesome post Joe.

    [JR: Thanks!]

  6. Glad I wasn’t in the midst of a beverage when I first encountered this post — my sinuses don’t need such an aggressive cleansing!

    (Do you suppose Anthony Watts will learn to play the piano by the time this has repeated itself enough?)

  7. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    You want movies “Back to the Future 4”

    “A new model for mass extinctions at the end of the Permian period 251 million years ago and the end Triassic 50 million years later explains how intense global warming could trigger deaths in the sea and on land. Trouble begins with widespread volcanic activity that releases enormous volumes of carbon dioxide and methane (1). The gases cause rapid global warming (2). A warmer ocean absorbs less oxygen from the atmosphere (3). Low oxygen (anoxia) destabilizes the chemocline, where oxygenated water meets water permeated with hydrogen sulfi de (H2S) generated by bottom-dwelling anaerobic bacteria (4). As H2S concentrations build and oxygen falls, the chemocline rises abruptly to the ocean surface (5). Green and purple photosynthesizing sulfur bacteria, which consume H2S and normally live at chemocline depth, now inhabit the H2S-rich surface waters while oxygen-breathing ocean life suffocates (6). H2S also diffuses into the air, killing animals and plants on land (7) and rising to the troposphere to attack the planet’s ozone layer (8). Without the ozone shield, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation kills remaining life (9).” Scientific American October 2006 Peter M Ward Impact from the Deep

  8. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Now that is a worst case scenario.

  9. Richard Brenne says:

    Back in my Hollywood screenwriter daze I met Harold Ramis and he said that Buddhists (including Groundhog Day’s screenwriter with the initial idea) and certain kinds of Hindus, Christians and Jews all told him that “You must be one of us, because this is what we believe” – basically that you’re here (or somewhere very much like here) until you get it right.

    I know many spiritual thinkers I respect who believe that when we die we go to a world very much like this one, maybe identical except, oh, I don’t know, this time the salad fork is on the inside of the dinner fork.

    Then I notice in history that certain trends keep repeating themselves. For instance the first Egyptian priests controlled the pharaoh by periodically killing and replacing him. To make this okay they came up with a great story about an afterlife where only the pharaoh got to go (must’ve been lonely, except for a bunch of cats). Then anyone who paid the priests enough got to go. This was revisited in the Catholic indulgences where the rich could essentially buy their way into heaven that revolted Martin Luther to the point of revolt. Now, according to Jim Hansen, these indulgences are called cap and trade.

    So let’s learn what we need to learn, which is essentially to not foul our only nest and home. Let’s individually and collectively get it right so that we can move on to something better.

    Yes Joe, the NOAA-NCDC decadal graph is epic and should be tatooed on each of our foreheads – in some cases figuratively – and this post, as so many of yours are, is equally epic.

  10. It's a shame says:

    It’s too bad we can’t convince the masses to believe the data. Probably because there’s too much false climate data being generated, therefore they don’t know what source to believe. It’s THE problem..

  11. Lou Grinzo says:

    Definitely a terrific graph. Although I’m sure the “but Al Gore once returned a library book late!!!” crowd will find some sort of diversion in their ongoing attempt to get people to ignore reality.

    It’s a shame: Bingo! That’s the strategy in a nut shell. Make so much noise by arguing every little detail, even when you have nothing remotely resembling a coherent argument, plus resort to personal attacks, and you’ll convince a lot of people that there’s a lot of debate over AGW and action isn’t warranted. None of us should forget for a nanosecond that for the deniers every day we don’t do what the science tells us we must is a “victory” for them.

  12. elbarto says:

    Joe a little off topic but I just came across a neat label for AGW deniers on another blog – “PRO POLLUTER”. Pretty obvious, but I don’t think I’ve seen it before on CP.

    I’m sure this has come up many times before but perhaps there needs to be a new term for those skep-dicks, ASSes, deniers, delayers etc that will cut through – PRO POLLUTERS. Calling a “PRO POLLUTER” a skeptic or anti-science whatever might be a tag they’re proud to wear, but I doubt anyone wants to be associated with pollution.

    I think the reason why the anti-science crowd is winning the public relations battle is repetition of simple, dumb messages. Perhaps they need some of their own medicine and being labelled Pro-Polluter might be something that they want to distance themselves from??

    [JR: It’s a good phrase.]

  13. Badgersouth says:

    Joe: You do an excellent job of refuting the Anti-AGW Spin Machine (aka the Borg) on Average Annual Global Temperature. How about ramping up the effort on the myriad of other indicators of AGW?

    [JR: I am working on it.]

  14. Leif says:

    EXXON, PRO POLLUTER of the MONTH! Elected by, ????… thousand virgins, citizen sample, Scientiests, university students??? Different every month?

  15. Leif says:

    We all could vote on line for the Pro Polluter of the Month. Joe Romm’s audience votes for ????, cast your ballet!

  16. Leif says:

    If we felt so inclined we could even back our “vote” with “facts” as to why our favorite should win.

  17. Richard Brenne says:

    Brilliant, Elbarto (#12)!

    I can hear Colbert, Mahar, Romm, McKibben in interviews with deniers: “Why are you so vehemently pro-pollution?”

    By the way in my Groundhog Day reference (#9) I failed to point out that Harold Ramis was the director of that classic movie.

    Punxsutawney Phil never won a spelling bee himself, but delighted in the many losses his name created.

    With global warming it’ll be interesting to see when the legend is changed from six weeks to six more days of winter.

    Brilliant, Elbarto (#12)!

    I can hear Colbert. . .(It’s Groundhog Day)!

  18. cougar_w says:

    I have a local “homeless” (almost) guy comes to my house for breakfast Saturdays. Then he helps with yard work. Rest of the week he does library research, seems like.

    Over breakfast he regales me with all the reason AGW is a hoax. Repeats all the cr4p on denialist blogs. Mostly he frets about the cost to the taxpayers (um… he’s homeless…) and how it’s a rip off.

    I’ll show him this chart and see what he thinks of it. I suppose he’ll just claim I made it up.

    Why would someone homeless be going on like this? Shouldn’t he be frightened? Shouldn’t he be angry at Da Man for ruining everything? I think it shows how deeply ingrained is the sense that the world is unchanging. With that sort of deeply imprinted brainwave, we’ll play h3ll getting the message out.

    +10 deg F here we come.


  19. John Blake says:

    same graph, with notes:

    [JR: Thanks for finding that! I’ll put link in the text.]

  20. amused... says:

    I have to say, if people need ONE good reason to read this blog, it’s….well, it’s because of the science; ok, if people need TWO good reasons to read this blog, it’s to read Joe reply back to snarky/incorrect/etc. comments. They’re always so much fun to read.

  21. #18. Cougar: Never underestimate human capacity for denial.

    This man’s reactions, statements and behaviors have nothing to do with a reasoned evaluation of facts, much less his own best interests. (This latter, of course, being the mythological standarad employed by most orthodox economists.)

    Rather, this fellow’s reactions are driven entirely by ideology, which is itself directly linked to his notion(s) of self-identity. To reject this ideology (this ideology which, by your description, has evidently rejected him in a fairly total way) would entail — IN HIS MIND, not in fact — the complete dissolution of his “self.”

    Now it is certainly the case that, from a rational &/or philosophical perspective, such a linkage not only makes no sense, it is as aggressively irrational as any toxic idea that could ever possibly be imagined. My mistakes are just mistakes; permit me now to correct them while my “self” does nothing but grow and improve from the experience. But for so many people, having made the psychological linkage between self and idea, such that idea loses all logical grounding and becomes pure ideology instead, then the psychological issues entirely trump the logical ones.

    This, I would argue, is the tragedy of the modern period, and I do not know how to fix it. Sad to say, I am a philosopher, not a social psychologist (not that these latter have any more of a clue than I do).

  22. jyyh says:

    I’ll chime to Rabid Doomsayer and state the UK Met Office High-end scenario is a bit too low on Antarctic temperatures, mainly because there have been times there has been no ice in there. Of course by then the underlaying map should be changed.

  23. Doug Bostrom says:

    OT? Maybe not, this is about targeted assassination in the academy, sending a message to scientists that if they do the “wrong” research they’ll be hounded, harassed and intimidated until their curiosity is redirected to less inconvenient paths of inquiry. Data can be dangerous to somebody inadvertently colliding with powerful forces in the course of their research.

    The “Competitive Enterprise Institute” has lodged another FOIA demand with GISS:

    “CEI” (or whatever shadowy entity they may be serving as proxy) are demanding a rather huge response, one that will require a lot of time and attention to service. The deadline is absurdly short, something I think is a fault of the FOIA legislation not anticipated by legislators who did not envision it as a blunt weapon, but wonderful for anybody intending to use FOIA requests as a deterrent to research freedom. This demand is a waste of taxpayer dollars, clothed in hypocritical, sanctimonious language.

    You’ll notice that Gavin Schmidt is named as the first respondent, several times, in an unsorted list of target persons. A case of “the nail that sticks up shall be pounded down”, seemingly.

    As noted on this site*, Schmidt was named as the target of a lawsuit having to do with his free speech activities, centered around Schmidt’s role at Real Climate. Free speech is a problem sometimes, particularly if you are conveying a campaign of lies and deception and do not want your efforts diluted by someone attempting to keep the record straight.

    This has the smell of an escalating campaign of malicious attention, something akin to the sort of pressure that’s exerted by organized criminals.

    This FOIA demand is destructive, smells of part of a scorched earth campaign against researchers and data, will send a powerful message to any scientist working in government whose research happens to touch on climate.

    I don’t think the spirit of the FOIA legislation is captured by CEI’s pogrom, the more so should it turn out this FOIA request and the ones that preceded it are part of a malicious campaign.


  24. J Bowers says:

    The first graphic’s embedded link is wrong (Page Not Found). There’s a space after each forward slash.

    Try this:

  25. It's a shame says:

    I’d approach this name-calling thing cautiously..They know we use this tactic as stated in a Fox article back in Sept..

    September 17, 2009
    The Left Lowers Itself to Name Calling
    By Peter Ferrara


    [JR: Seriously? Quoting a FOXNews attack on progressives? Why not quote Limbaugh or Beck or Palin?]

  26. Max Schadenfreude says:

    “[JR: Seriously? Quoting a FOXNews attack on progressives? Why not quote Limbaugh or Beck or Palin?]”

    Sounds good to me. A little light of right reason is needed on the left.

    [JR: You picked a good pseudonym — you anti-science folks take great pleasure in the suffering of others. I’ve been meaning to do a post on that. Thanks for reminding me!]