Climate

How hot is it? So hot that 8 countries in Africa and Asia set all-time high temperature records

And the Tea Party postponed their Las Vegas convention

Before getting to the irony of the anti-science Tea Partiers canceling their big convention because the weather is too hot, let’s look at some of the staggering extreme weather events around the globe.

In China, “The Southern Daily said over 600 millimetres (24 inches) of rain fell in Guangdong’s Huilai county over a six-hour period on Friday, a 500-year record.”  That’s two feet of rain in 6 hours!

As Dr. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told me earlier this month:

There is a systematic influence on all of these weather events now-a-days because of the fact that there is this extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future.

The latest record-smashing U.S. superstorm was two weeks ago in Oklahoma.  Now we know it was even more record-setting than initially thought “” see Capital Climate’s update “Oklahoma City Paralyzed By Flash Floods“:

The final daily rainfall for Oklahoma City is 7.62″. This breaks the all-time daily rainfall record for any day in any month.

The Weather Channel reported:

Oklahoma City Micronet (OKCNET) reports that a rainfall observation of 10.21″ in OKC has exceeded the 1-in-500 year rainfall total for a 12 hour period.

Moreover, the 9 inches that fell in 6 hours meets the requirements for a 1 in 500 year flood event.

That’s almost as impressive as Tennessee’s 1000-year deluge.  As with Tennessee, New England, and Georgia, what makes OK’s deluge doubly remarkable is that it was not the remnant of a tropical storm (see “Weather Channel expert on Georgia’s record-smashing global-warming-type deluge“).

As for the heat, meteorologist Jeff Masters reports:

Extreme heat wave in Africa and Asia continues to set all-time high temperature records

A withering heat wave of unprecedented intensity and areal covered continues to smash all-time high temperatures Asia and Africa. As I reported earlier this week, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Chad, Niger, Pakistan, and Myanmar have all set new records for their hottest temperatures of all time over the past six weeks. The remarkable heat continued over Africa and Asia late this week. The Asian portion of Russia recorded its highest temperate in history yesterday, when the mercury hit 42.3°C (108.1°F) at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004. (The record for European Russia is 43.8°C–110.8°F–set on August 6, 1940, at Alexandrov Gaj near the border with Kazakhstan.) Also, on Thursday, Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.

We’ve now had eight countries in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, that have beaten their all-time hottest temperature record during the past two months. This includes Asia’s hottest temperature of all-time, the astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) mark set on May 26 in Pakistan. All of these records are unofficial, and will need to be certified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). According to Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, the only year which can compare is 2003, when six countries (the UK, France, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein) all broke their all-time heat records during that year’s notorious summer heat wave. Fortunately, the residents of the countries affected by this summer’s heat wave in Asia and Africa are more adapted to extreme high temperatures, and we are not seeing the kind of death tolls experienced during the 2003 European heat wave (30,000 killed.) This week’s heat wave in Africa and the Middle East is partially a consequence of the fact that Earth has now seen three straight months with its warmest temperatures on record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. It will be interesting to see if the demise of El Ni±o in May will keep June from becoming the globe’s fourth straight warmest month on record.

Note:  Masters updated his post, so I have updated this one.

I know that, for the anti-science crowd, this is all a coincidence, but when you smash so many records in huge countries or entire continents, at the same time that NASA reports that globally it was easily the hottest spring “” and Jan-May “” in the temperature record (and NOAA, too), well maybe some major media outlet somewhere will make the link.  No it probably won’t be the Washington Post.

I previously discussed the record-breaking temperature sweeping the nation (see “Record heat sweeps DC, nation, and world“).

tempspring

Total number of daily high and low temperature records set in the U.S., data from NOAA National Climatic Data Center, background image © Kevin Ambrose.  Includes historical daily observations archived in NCDC’s Cooperative Summary of the Day data set and preliminary reports from Cooperative Observers and First Order National Weather Service stations.  All stations have a Period of Record of at least 30 years.

Finally, the Tea Party story is just too ironic not to report.

The Tea Party crowd famously doesn’t believe in global warming (see “Virginia AG mocks dangers of CO2, telling Tea Partiers to hold their breath and make the EPA happy“).  They even invite the most extremist disinformers and purveyors of hate speech to their events (see “Irony-gate 2: Modern day Tea Partiers outsource denial to Lord Monckton “” a British peer!“).

As TPM Cafe reported yesterday in their story, “Tea Party Convention Postponed — Vegas In July Is Too Hot!”

A planned “unity” convention for tea partiers is being pushed to the fall, with organizers scrapping a major gathering with just 19 days before it was scheduled to go off. They cited heat….

Tea Party Nation announced in an email to members this weekend that their “unity” convention, planned for July 15-17 in Las Vegas, would be delayed….

Full email below:

“This week, there were several meetings of the Executive Planning Committee for the convention. We concluded it would more advantageous to hold the convention in the middle of October just prior to the November elections….

“This was not a spur of the moment decision contrary to anyone’s opinion or thoughts….

“We were so excited about the tremendous success of the first convention, we jumped into this second convention without considering the timing. The heat in Las Vegas in July is keeping many who would like to participate from attending…..”

Seriously.  Nobody told the Tea Partiers that it’s hot in July in Vegas?  True their have been two June mini-heat waves in in Vegas.

LV

But in fact, temperatures are only running “3 to 6 degrees above normal,” so this isn’t even the record smashing stuff that I normally write about.  No, this is merely the kind of hot weather any group capable of rational planning would have to anticipate.  Jumping into things without actually thinking them through at all is a perfect metaphor for the Tea Party crowd, though.

If this kind of warmth chases away people from Vegas now, I wonder how many people are going to show up in the summer down the line if we stay anywhere near our current emissions path if you like it hot, you ain’t seen nothing yet (see Our hellish future: Definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year “” and that isn’t the worst case, it’s business as usual!“).

In a terrific March presentation, Climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe has a figure of what business as usual (A1F1 or 1000 ppm) would mean (derived from the NOAA-led report):

US100f

Who knows, maybe they’ll put a dome over the entire city and try to air condition that with, say, Concentrated solar thermal power Solar Baseload “” a core climate solution.  Absent that, one would expect a mass migration up to the north and northeast.  By century’s end, what happens in Vegas, in the summertime, may not be very much at all.

Note:  In response to a query, extreme weather expert Chris Burt emails me (via Jeff Masters):

The Chinese (and world) record for a 6-hour rainfall is 33.07″ at Muduocaidang, Inner Mongolia on Aug. 1-2, 1977. I have never been able to locate this place, but being transliterated from Chinese it is hard to tell what the ‘real’ name might be or if the name has changed since 1977. The “500-year record” is a hydrological statement (such a rainfall has a once in 500-year return period for that location) not that it broke a 500-year old record.

A withering heat wave of unprecedented intensity and areal covered continues to smash all-time high temperatures Asia and Africa. As I reported earlier this week, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Chad, Niger, Pakistan, and Myanmar have all set new records for their hottest temperatures of all time over the past six weeks. The remarkable heat continued over Africa and Asia late this week. The Asian portion of Russia recorded its highest temperate in history yesterday, when the mercury hit 42.3°C (108.1°F) at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004. (The record for European Russia is 43.8°C–110.8°F–set on August 6, 1940, at Alexandrov Gaj near the border with Kazakhstan.) Also, on Thursday, Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.

We’ve now had eight countries in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, that have beaten their all-time hottest temperature record during the past two months. This includes Asia’s hottest temperature of all-time, the astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) mark set on May 26 in Pakistan. All of these records are unofficial, and will need to be certified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). According to Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, the only year which can compare is 2003, when six countries (the UK, France, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein) all broke their all-time heat records during that year’s notorious summer heat wave. Fortunately, the residents of the countries affected by this summer’s heat wave in Asia and Africa are more adapted to extreme high temperatures, and we are not seeing the kind of death tolls experienced during the 2003 European heat wave (30,000 killed.) This week’s heat wave in Africa and the Middle East is partially a consequence of the fact that Earth has now seen three straight months with its warmest temperatures on record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. It will be interesting to see if the demise of El Ni±o in May will keep June from becoming the globe’s fourth straight warmest month on record.

39 Responses to How hot is it? So hot that 8 countries in Africa and Asia set all-time high temperature records

  1. mike roddy says:

    An early indicator in the US will be the Palm Springs/Indio area, shown as a dark dot on the map. It’s not only getting hotter, in the low 120’s, but golf course irrigation spray brings the humidity up to 45%. Summer activity is strictly indoors.

    When it creeps up to the high 120’s in the next few decades, like much drier Death Valley, it will be abandoned in summer, which will have other consequences. Uncooled buildings will degrade seals and warp floors. This is all being kept very quiet there, since the area depends on tourists. Palm Springs may end up like Detroit. Phoenix will be next.

  2. Dave Yuhas says:

    I suspect the real reason for the postponement of the Tea Party convention is to spare Ms. Angle the embarrassment of appearing in front of the national media.

  3. Ani says:

    The extra moisture in atmosphere looks like its becoming a very significant part of AGW. I like a lot of others check the asu temps daily and this year does look like it could set a record, but living in Florida, what I notice this year is the temp doesn’t seem much higher but every day the heat index makes it feel around 100. This is making it hard for anyone to work outside in the afternoon.

  4. Peter Mizla says:

    It is becoming warmer – when this heat becomes a cultural & economical problem- is this when the media and Governments of the planet begin to notice- is that time near?

  5. Wit's End says:

    Nobody ever answered my question the last time I asked – what is going to stop average temperatures from climbing and climbing until the earth is uninhabitable? The CO2 already in the atmosphere is, according to Susan Solomon, going to persist, trapping heat, for 1000 years. So earth is going to keep heating up, and probably at an accelerating rate as CO2 sinks become saturated, like the oceans, or disappear, like the forests…even if we did (haha) eliminate emissions.

    I think we are going to see temperatures spiking beyond our worst imaginings, and soon. I can’t even imagine what 24″ of rain in 6 hours would do.

  6. PeterW says:

    I just don’t understand why people don’t get this? This one post alone should wake people up. But you don’t have to read this, weird weather seems to be the new normal.

    My 86 year old neighbor, who grew up on a farm, is always telling me how different the weather and planting season is now. She was stunned that local strawberries showed up at the farmer’s market in late May. They usually arrive around the first of July in our area.

    Every time I think of what’s coming and the crappy world my daughters are going to live in, I get very angry. What will it take for people the morons to realize Global Heating dwarfs everything? Why can’t the tea party idiots be angry about this?

    Sorry for the rant. I needed to vent.

  7. Richard Brenne says:

    Surfing the web about the Middle Eastern, Asian and African heat waves of the last two months (the Tennessee 1000-year rainstorm also came within the last two months), it’s fascinating how with such access to all media how little has been written about this – the majority of reporting in English appears to have come from Climate Progress and Jeff Masters.

    But in Gulf News (the Persian Gulf – most Americans seem to think there’s only one Gulf) while weathercasters tell their viewers “not to panic” there is desperation in the comments from those around the Persian Gulf who have suffered temperatures as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit, stressing the electrical grid to the point where 8 Saudi power plants went off-line, unable to meet the air conditioning demand.

    The only way this saves money is that we don’t need to invest in time travel to see our future, especially in places like Phoenix and Las Vegas. As energy gets more expensive and scarce, there is absolutely no way in hell Phoenix and Las Vegas will be able to meet all their energy wishes indefinitely.

    So while we don’t care about what happens to “them” in “that other Gulf” today, the same will surely visit us tomorrow. Only chickens being fried in place on 150 degree sidewalks will prevent them from coming home to roost.

  8. Peter Mizla says:

    From my location Wits End in eastern Connecticut we have already had 7 days of 90 or better temperatures- the average here currently is 19.

    Next week on July 4th & 5th both forecast to be above 90-so we are going to be hardly into summer- and we reached one half the days we are projected to be 90 degrees or above.

    the Union of Concerned Scientists says for Hartford Connecticut from 2010-2039 we will see 23 days of 90 or above temperatures-under a low emission scenario- under a high emission scenario-26 days.

  9. Marcus says:

    Wit’s End: The key is that as temperatures increase, outgoing radiation increases approximately as temperature to the 4th power. So for any given level of CO2 concentrations (increasing trapped radiation by a certain amount), there will be an equilibrium temperature at which the outgoing radiation matches the new level of incoming radiation.

    Think of it like lighting a fire in a cold room: it takes a while to warm up, but it once it does, it stops getting warmer.

    (unlike a fire, there are positive feedbacks, such that in addition to the radiation you are getting from the CO2, you’ll also get some extra radiation from increased water vapor: plus, possibly some increases in methane from wetlands: but this just increases that new equilibrium temperature)

    (under very special circumstances, which we don’t think the Earth meets, feedback processes can be large enough to start “runway warming”: eg, a critical threshold at which a small increase in CO2 leads to enough warming that more and more and more water vapor keeps evaporating)

  10. GFW says:

    It can’t climb to “uninhabitable”. Outgoing radiation from the earth scales as absolute T^4. So, it would be hard to see a scenario, even with catastrophic feedbacks including a massive methane blow-out, that goes beyond a 10C increase. Of course, the book “6 Degrees” points out that such an increase would be catastrophic to perhaps the majority of species over the majority of the globe. Still not “uninhabitable”.

    More realistically, with a (Charney) sensitivity of 3C, and mainstream guesstimates of beyond-Charney feedbacks, we’re guaranteed at least 2C, with human stupidity/intransigence probably taking us to 4-5C. Again, very bad, but not a self-annihilation level of bad.

  11. Raul says:

    In the southwest the Indians used to live in mountain retreats.
    The whole city was built into the side of the mountain.
    It was always cool and comfortable there in the hillside.
    Using modern ways a radiant barrier paint would work well
    on roofs and walls to reflect infrared heat.

  12. Esop says:

    The global average temperature for June should be rather interesting. For some strange reason the 20 year record is no longer shown at the AMSU site.

  13. Bruce says:

    Meanwhile, in New England:
    Strawberries are earlier (as PeterW said):
    http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2010/06/09/short_season_makes_strawberries_taste_sweeter?mode=PF
    Maples aren’t as sappy:
    http://www.boston.com/business/ticker/2010/06/vt_maple_crop_d.html
    and (cue Jaws theme) … dunh dunh dunh dunh dunh dunh dun dunh
    Sharks are hanging around!
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/06/29/cape_cod_conditions_may_draw_more_great_whites?mode=PF

    I think some denialist claims have jumped the shark.

    Won’t someone think of the children!?

  14. Richard Brenne says:

    This is an interesting pattern, where commenters 1-8 feel we’re headed toward catastrophe (myself included at number 7), Marcus (#9), GFW (#10) and Raul (#11) somewhat counter that conclusion with intelligent responses.

    Climate Progress typically has the posters and commenters who are most concerned, while RealClimate, DotEarth and others often have commenters who are well-educated like Marcus, GFW and Raul, intelligently showing less concern.

    I think the concern should be great, no matter the level of catastrophe climate change achieves.

    Here is the paragraph at the bottom of page 236 of Jim Hansen’s book, “Storms of My Grandchildren”:

    “After the ice is goen, would Earth proceed to the Venus syndrome, a runaway greenhouse effect that would destroy all life on the planet, perhaps permanently? While that is difficult to say based on present information, I’ve come to conclude that if we burn all reserves of oil, gas and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty.”

    I’ve recently discussed this paragraph with other great climate scientists including Brian Toon and Warren Washington in person, and Kevin Trenberth via e-mail. None of them completely agrees with Hansen about this, but you’ll remember that Hansen is often considered the most highly-regarded of all atmospheric scientists, first of Venus and the last few decades of Earth. He is often a decade or two ahead of what atmospheric scientists come to agree about, so he is at the very least worth listening to.

    In their most candid moments these and many other scientists will all say that they expect a massive die-off of our species, and for the majority of species to go extinct due to our actions (habitat loss due to agriculture and all other development, introduction of foreign species, pollution of all kinds, monoculture, overfishing and overhunting are other reasons in addition to climate change, which will continually move up the list until it is by far the largest killer of all).

    If the vast majority of all people die prematurely, then the odds are that any individual and quite likely their family and quite likely everyone they know might also die prematurely, with starvation being among the most awful ways to die.

    In such a scenario it doesn’t really matter that much to each individual whether every other person also dies and our species goes extinct or not, because to them their world will have become extinct.

    The more we learn, the more the range of scenarios goes from positive outcomes, which now seem hopelessly outdated and the product of wishful thinking, to more of the range from Mark Lynas’ “Six Degrees Can Change the World” to James Lovelock’s “few breeding pairs living north of the Arctic Circle” to Jim Hansen’s dead planet.

    Even if any of these most dramatic scenarios took hundreds of years, this would be our legacy to all future generations just as the U.S. founders, Renaissance or Greek artists, architects and philosophers left infinitely more positive legacies to us.

    Everyone will be judged by all future generations – for as long as generations exist – as being part of the problem, or as the very few but hopefully growing number of people like Climate Progress commenters, as part of the solution.

  15. Wit's End says:

    NPR had a story, soliciting comments from women to themselves, at age 20.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/storyComments.php?storyId=128194886&pageNum=2&pPageNum=2

    Here is mine:
    I have some brutal truths I would like to impart to my 20 year old self.

    First, you do not have a functional, happy family, and you never will have. Stop making the creation of one your top priority. Even though you want to have children, DON’T. They are going to come of age in a time when you will learn their future will be hellish, from climate change. This will break your heart, so first, DON’T marry that guy and start a family (he’s going to cheat on you and you’ll divorce him anyway) – even though he’s brilliant and ends up famous with his own wiki page.

    Instead here is what you should do: Stop being afraid. Forget about owning stuff, it is meaningless. Travel the world with a light footprint – see and experience every beautiful location bursting with wildlife that you can before it is destroyed by the ecosystem collapse that will begin in earnest in 2010. Make friends and be kind. That is the best you can make of this life.

  16. James Newberry says:

    Oil is not an energy resource.

    Mined fossil materials come in the three phases of matter because they are material resources. Several billion years of evolutionary life sequestered the carbon dioxide once existing in prehistoric atmosphere to give us our life-sustaining climate. By oxidizing them we revert the climate to pre-glaciatial, with oceans hundreds of feet higher.

    Do our pathetic politicians and corporatists care at all? Or should we just enjoy our ride toward global corporate fascism and recurring disasters?

  17. mike roddy says:

    Good ones, Richard Brenne. I wish we could enable public opinion to cross a threshold, instead of showing for the record that our warnings were correct.

    Someone needs to have a very long talk with James Cameron, and persaude him to make a movie about our future in documentary style. Allegories and aliens are more fun, but we need to look at the future straight in the face, including showing how we got there. I fear that if we have to wait for events like abandonment of Phoenix and Dallas, it will be too late.

  18. PurpleOzone says:

    Curious that the Tea Party can cancel a (large?) convention at the last minute. They have money enough to ditch a contract? How many attendees have refundable airline tickets?

    I’m guessing they weren’t getting enough attendance. Did the people who attended the 1st get bored or satisfied their interest already? Aren’t there a fresh crop of devotees?

  19. Chad says:

    A couple of weeks ago, my little (conservative, rural) hometown lost 75% of its historical records in a flood that vastly exceeded anything in the memories of our eldest elders. Too bad these people refuse to put two and two together.

  20. Raul says:

    Richard Brenne Even if it gets too hot a little, I would
    rather have the comfort of the radient barrier. Being up in
    an attic putting insulation in during the heat of summer
    was no fun and knowing that I was the “it”s just him” was
    no fun either. I lived with it and now a days I don’t just
    suffer the heat if I can help myself.
    I saved my money and bought solar, then saved some more and
    bought an elec. bike. My fight hasn’t been physical except
    to make myself do what I’m supposed to do.
    I admire that so many on this website write about what they
    think is the right thing to do.
    And thank you for talking of me but there is more for me about
    the warming thing than just talk or saying things about others
    when I don’t know but only highly suspect that they only took
    their heads out for a breath of air.

  21. Mossy says:

    My greatest fear is that our burning of fossil fuels will create an anoxic ocean, causing hydrogen sulfide to bubble up in such great quantities that no oxygen-loving creature will be able to survive. This is called a Canfield ocean, as has existed in the distant past.

  22. mike roddy says:

    Wits End, very wise advice, thank you.

    I met some young men at a bar a few years ago near Joshua Tree. They were rock climbing bums, but obviously well read and educated. I told them they were doing the right thing by spending their youths outside.

    I did the same on whitewater rivers, and it wasn’t a good “career” choice, but I have no regrets.

  23. Richard Brenne says:

    Wit’s End (Gail, #15): What a candid, vulnerable, honest, wonderful piece of writing! Those heartfelt sentiments are exactly what we need, in all mediums! Keep up the good work!

    Mike Roddy (#17): As always, I agree with you completely. I’m working on just such a project and would love to work with you on it. I’d still love to get together with you, Gail, Leif, Richard Pauli, Karen (if she cares to sail down) and any others of Romm n’Legions this July in Seattle.

    Although I haven’t found any funding or institutional support for a public event with Joe Romm in the San Francisco Bay Area around July 20, I’m still open to producing an event, even if it’s a meeting among a number of us to discuss just such projects. In the Bay area I’d invite Richard Heinberg (ultimate peak oiler and energy expert), Asher Miller, director of the Post-Carbon Institute, Ben Santer, the ultimate outside auditor of all climate models at Lawrence Livermore, Stephen Schneider and Paul Ehrlich at Stanford, and of course All-Star Romm’n Legionnaire Jeff Hughes.

    You can let me know your interest in meeting in Seattle and/or the San Francisco Bay Area by e-mailing me at rabrenne@hotmail.com.

    Raul (#20), your insulation, solar panels and electric bike are all great. So is educating and talking about this. We need all of it, not one at the expense of the other. Whenever I hear people denigrate talking about climate change or other important issues because they want action, it sounds like another mechanism of denial to me. It also seems like a gung-ho soldier who hears about Pearl Harbor and says, “No talking, just action” and straps a rifle to his shoulder to swim out to meet the Japanese. What FDR, Churchhill and their governments needed to do was spend countless hours gathering intelligence, studying it and talking, then developing a plan, educating the public about the threat and the general plan to get them behind it, transform our economy from a peacetime to a wartime economy, then enlist the aid of everyone they could to execute their plan.

    That’s what we need to do know with an infinitely more dangerous and complex threat now. We need action just like yours, multiplied by many billions, and at the same time we need to talk about it, right here and right now, just as we’re doing. What we most need is to educate the public about the dangers of climate change so that all take the actions you’ve taken, and we need to use every tool imaginable, including the free market and legislation. Developing consensus here that we then take beyond here is extremely valuable, so please don’t disparage useful discussion.

  24. paulm says:

    The ultimate CCS is fossil fuels!

    Gaia has worked hard over the ages to maintain its equilibrium. Fossil fuels are buried deep and dispersed around the earth. This sucked out the excess Carbon for life to evolve as the sun got warmer. Now man has efficiently found and released all this pent up Carbon back in to the system! We are toast. Game over.

    Previous carbon emissions probably did not involve the trapped buried fossil fuels to any extent. Ocean Methane was recycled, but the deep coal, oil and gas unlikely. This is why the Anthropogenic CO2 is Game Set and Match in terms of Hot Planet. It is additional Hot House gases that were out of the system cycle for eons and are now back in play. Did I mention we are toast!

    In geo time, if you observed the earth from afar in infrared, the current warming event should look like an explosion, with a rapid flash of heat emanating from the earth. Only it doesn’t cause of the green house blanketing effect. The only solution on reflection to this is the extraction the Hot House Gas at a similar rate in which they were injected.

    We are more than very likely moving to a Venus Hot House state. It think that even Gaia is threaten. Our only hope is probably geo engineering for life as we know it. Toast. Toast. Toast.

  25. John Mason says:

    Richard (#14),

    The “Venus Problem” is an interesting one.

    My principal objection to the “runaway effect” is that it did not occur around the time of the PETM, which is a fairly well-documented hothouse phase of climate.

    This isn’t a cause for celebration however – a geologically rapid transition to PETM conditions (i.e. what we are blundering into)would obviously be catastrophic in its own right. We know that. The interesting question to consider is why things didn’t continue to run away beyond that back then. Any suggestions – it’s one question that has bugged me for years!

    Cheers – John

  26. Anonymous says:

    John Mason @ 24.

    It’s quite possible that we’ll experience the collapse of “modern” industrial agriculture due to extremes of heat, drought, flood, and you name it because we don’t know yet everything that could happen.

    Collapse could come to, among others: drinking water, dependable irrigation, insurance (a few cyclonic storms landing on major G-20 cities), and a host of other economic sectors that depend upon months of stable weather patterns.

    It takes little to throw our modern civilization off course. The “Tech Bubble” and the “Toxic Assets Bubble” were primarily driven by two levers – greed combined with slightly minimized regulation, and high expectations.

    It wasn’t bat-shit-crazily wild expectations or lack of regulation that threw the world into an economic tailspin. It wasn’t a major fissure opening high-pressure oil seams into the gulf. It was minor shifts and minor leaks that threw us into near-chaos.

    A few more pushes in the right spots – drought, flood, heat, chaotic weather patterns……..

    Economics would meet the “real” economy. I expect the real will eat academic economics, politics, and civilization for a snack before taking out the rest of us.

  27. Bob Wright says:

    This has been quite a spike of warming related events. Are we also seeing the effect of the recession as “global dimming” particulates have decreased since 2008?

  28. Raul says:

    I’ve been listening to an audio release of a UC Berckley
    energy and natural resources course offered by UTunes.
    The professor goes into the causes and effects of natural
    and human occurrences. It should be en-heartening for
    those who have been waiting for so long for others to
    become enlightened to know that the talk is becomming
    more mainstream. But even in the lectures there is
    also question of the multiple feedback effects. So yes
    my idea of a radiant barrier is only a feel good for a
    short time. The idea that we humans can sequester the co2
    and change the feedback to the negative forcing range
    is a grand idea that should have taken hold 50 years ago
    when solar electric first came on the market. Would be a
    fantacy movie about how the entire world finally started
    using the fresh energy from the sun to power our lives
    instead of the old stale energy of millenia gone by only
    to immediately start with methods of changing the climate
    forcing to the negative warming range. If our leaders
    waited so long to go to the bathroom they certainly would
    have messed themselves by now.
    In other news Pensacola News Journal talks of the oil reaching
    the famously nice sands of Florida.

  29. Raul says:

    Hurricane Alex- Does it count for the 100% probability
    assessment when it formed in the Gulf of pollution, not
    off the coast of Africa.

  30. Keith says:

    I always get a kick (more like a shaking of the head) out of the demographic forecasts for the US that predict continuing high population growth for these Sun Belt states. Even the US Census forecasts appear to be completely oblivious to the reality of global warming. If any of these demographers are reading this blog, I will wager you $1,000 that by the year 2030, assuming no large volcanic eruptions, the growth rates of Detroit and Buffalo will be, minimally, triple the growth rates of Phoenix and Las Vegas.

  31. Raul says:

    NASA has changed the mission to include extended stay on
    the space station. For those who are concerned with the
    concept of mankind as a species continuation beyond the
    limitations of earth as residence and the limitations
    of food to the maintainability of man going to a habitable
    planet, consider the concept of just the best genetics of
    mankind making the trip and upon arrival to the area of
    habitation then the growth of the new adam and eve brought
    up by the best computer controlled space nursery into
    adulthood.
    By doing so, NASA could extend the range of the voyage
    and restart mankind at the appropriate time and place.
    The growth stage would only take 18 or so years of being
    inside the space station and the planners could suspect
    the outcome of the process.

  32. Esop says:

    #27: that is an interesting question. The extreme air pollution that could be seen over places like southern China has improved immensely over the past 2-3 years. There is little doubt that the dimming effect from aerosol emissions following China’s explosive growth after the late 90’s was at least partly responsible for the slower temperature rise that could be observed after 2000, just like aerosol emissions in the West had a cooling effect in the 1950-80 period.

  33. Richard Brenne says:

    Great comments, all!

    Bob Wright (#27) and Esop (#32) – Good question. Most scientists feel the 1940-1976 or so leveling or even slight cooling relative to most of the rest of the last century was due to global dimming, before combustion had been cleaned up in places like the U.S. and Western Europe – which was probably burning more fossil fuels at the time than the rest of the world combined – by things like the Clean Air Act of 1973.

    John Mason (#25) – The negative feedback that curtailed PETM warming is thought to be from the rise of the Himalayas, with the world’s newest and largest mountain range forming especially right after the PETM when the Indian subcontinent collided with Eurasia. New mountains provide new CO2 absorption through weathering.

    The Siberian Traps that could cover the 48 states in a mile of lava 251.4 million years ago created tremendous warming that killed off an estimated 90 per cent of all species, making them extinct. This is by far Earth’s deadliest event since complex life formed during the Cambrian Explosion of life around 540 million years ago. The volcanic activity released its own CO2 but also the lava found coal seams and ignited them as well. Explosive volcanoes might have released enough particulates to prevent the runaway greenhouse then; just as the Himalayan formation might have prevented the runaway greenhouse after the PETM 55 million years ago or so.

    The Siberian Traps volcanism lasted over a million-year period, the PETM warming for at least 10,000, but we’ll be doubling CO2 within at most a couple of hundred years, with most of it coming in just one century. So there’s nothing in the paleo record that can quite compare to what we’re doing now. Other than that, there’s no problem. . .

  34. John Mason says:

    Richard – thanks for that! I need to read up more! If things have not run away towards a venusian situation it’s useful to consider why – realistically, and outside of some of the weirder explanations put forward on WUWT!!

    Agree completely with your points re – timescale: most such events have gone on for an awfully long time in contrast to Mankind’s burning of the fossil fuels. Fossil fuel combustion is closer, in terms of duration relative to geological time, to an asteroid impact than it is to the Siberian Traps.

    Cheers – John

  35. Nick Downie says:

    To Wit’s End, #15: my younger daughter is 28; her (my) family is dysfunctional; and (like you perhaps?) the creation of a happy one is her top priority. She was married last Saturday, and the evening before the ceremony she confided that she’d just discovered she was pregnant. It was a lovely wedding, despite the fact that at one point I found myself wondering if, as a very old man, I might find it necessary to teach my first grandchild, boy or girl, how to use an automatic rifle. Nonetheless I was very happy for my daughter and her new husband.

    This is why.

    A short while before my elder daughter was conceived I was in Afghanistan. It was 1979, months before the Russians invaded. There was heavy fighting in the Hindu Kush. I was with a band of rebel soldiers who had occupied a strategic position on a mountain-top, from which the Afghan government army tried hard to dislodge us. A terrible ten-day battle ensued: we were pounded by mortars, artillery, gunships, and ground-attack aircraft, and suffered repeated infantry assaults. 200 dead and dying surrounded our position. By the last morning we were down to 18 men, a third of whom were wounded – the only drug they possessed was aspirin. After the dawn barrage which presaged a new attack, we scrambled to the cleft in the rocks where one man was listening to the enemy radio chatter. He told us that the assault force was 600 strong. We looked at one another. It didn’t require a computer model, or even a pocket calculator, to tell us this was ‘extinction time’. No one said anything; we simply returned quietly to our defences and waited.

    It would take too long to describe how and why we all survived, but the lesson I learned is that however hopeless a situation looks there is always hope – that one must never give up. So when my girls and I were discussing climate change some time ago, I told them to carry on and do all the things which make life worthwhile – get married, have children, enjoy life, etc – because no one at all can see into the future. We none of us know what this century may bring, let alone succeeding ones. Yes, I too am pessimistic – truly terrible things are going to happen, for sure – but that doesn’t mean we should despair.

    There is also an instructive postscript to my story. Having held the position, the mujahideen then argued for weeks – there were nine corrupt political parties in the valley – but finally 4,000 men were assembled for an assault on the government garrison. The troops inside it had got word out that they would turn on their communist officers if we attacked; the way would then have been open to Jalalabad, Afghanistan’s third biggest city; from there the rebels could have advanced on and taken Kabul; the end of the war was within their grasp. However, as we moved up to the start-line, ready to go in at dawn, word came that two large groups had decided to withdraw and the operation was abandoned. I decided enough was enough – I had my story – so I packed up and went home. I got back late on Christmas Eve. The next day the Russians invaded. The rest, as they say, is history.

  36. Richard Brenne says:

    John Mason (#34) – Thanks right back at ya! Your last statement about being closer to the asteroid impact 65 million years ago (actually a little longer according to an e-mail I just got from Walter Alvarez, who developed the asteroid-killing-the-dinosaurs theory with his Nobel Prize-winning father Luis) is a really good one.

    “Storms of My Grandchildren” by Jim Hansen covers this most completely -all with an eye to our current and future situation – and better than anywhere else I know.

    Nick Downie (#35) – What powerful and perceptive writing also! You must’ve been a journalist writing about Afghanistan? When we briefly lived in Moscow in 1997 we saw many amputees begging in the subway and at intersections who had lost their limbs in the war where you experienced the table of contents I wasn’t aware of. If you had told me that within several years we’d be repeating the mistake the Russians made after they repeated our mistake in Vietnam I’d have said you – and our entire nation – were crazy.

    Nick, I think you’re absolutely right, just as I feel Gail (Wit’s End) is also absolutely right. She’s articulating as well as anyone I know the despair that means she’s one of the few who truly understands our situation. She’s doing so in a thought-experiment involving time travel. I doubt she’d undo the births of her children and such time travel appears unlikely. Living life simply, outdoors, in nature and with wide-eyed appreciate for what we inherited all seem like wonderful things.

    I agree with you that we never give up hope, and fighting for what we know is right, until and maybe even after our last breath here. When we do all the good we can, then I think unexpected good can visit us.

    I kind of took my retirement and spent it being my daughter Sarah’s primary caregiver. People called me a stay-at-home Dad (I was always writing, often until 2 am) but we rarely stayed at home, living in Nepal when she was four, Russia when she was five, exploring and skiing on glaciers on three continents by the time she was seven, and I taught her to Alpine and Nordic ski, ice and in-line skate all when she was two.

    So when she was nine and we’d just summited Mt. Hood and she had on her Alpine boots and skis for the descent and I had 1985 leather low-cut Tele boots with 90 centimeter snowblades (all my money went to her gear, not mine), at one point I found myself falling headfirst on my back pinned by my large backpack, working to figure out how to flip over when suddenly the hand of an angel slowed me to a stop.

    Nine-year-old Sarah had seen my predicament and skied faster than I was falling, threw her skis into a 25 mph sideslip in the moonlight, and somehow knew to reach out far enough to slow me with her hand so I wouldn’t run over her. Soon we were back in the car and Sarah crawled into her booster seat, clutched her stuffed animal to her chest and went to sleep as we drove home.

    That outcome, as with yours, Nick, was totally unexpected. I’d invested a lot in teaching her everything I loved about mountains, nature, glaciers and skiing, and that love was returned to me in a very tangible way. (Despite my stupidest and only fall in almost four decades of mountain adventures – all my friends call me Captain Safety, at least in every situation but this one.)

    When we do our best to care for everything and everyone we love – and by that I mean all of us, of every species – we can be visited by unexpected angels.

    But indulging in all the fear, greed, selfishness and stupidity we’ve indulged in as a species while wishing for angels won’t make them appear.

  37. Raul says:

    #31
    True the concept of space travel to a more sustainable
    planet leads to a concept of original sin.
    Still goes to concept of live for today doing
    what should be right to do.

  38. Nick Downie says:

    Richard Brenne #36: Your daughter’s a very lucky girl! I became the single parent of my two when they were aged ten and eleven, and three years later we all decamped to southern Africa, where they finished their schooling and had a lovely outdoor life on the edge of the Kalahari. I actually differ only slightly from Gail, and I agree with her wholeheartedly about seeing what one can of our beautiful planet before it’s too late. To that end I’m hoping to set off on a long horseback journey of a year or more, next spring. I’ve been talking about it for years, but I’m finally running out of excuses (and of time because of age) for delaying departure any longer.

    I often rack my brains as to why so few people really worry about climate change – even those who acknowledge it seem to think about it only rarely – when the evidence is now so overwhelmingly obvious, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because the vast majority of us live in cities, travel in machines, and are completely isolated from the real world. Even where I live now, in the Spanish countryside, the rural inhabitants are still cut off by their snug houses and SUVs. Last summer the grazing dried up a month early, July and August were blistering, the autumn rains failed, and then we had the wettest winter on record so nothing grew then either – everything was a swamp. Apart from the farmers, who wondered what the hell was going on, everyone else enjoyed the dry autumn and were only mildly inconvenienced by the non-stop winter deluge. It never occurred to anyone that all this was exactly what the models are predicting.

    I think to really come to terms with what’s happening, not only does one need to grasp the science but also, and perhaps more importantly, one has to feel it at a deep emotional level. In my case, until age 45 I spent half my working life living in tents, mud huts, or simply out in the open; out of reach of electricity, refrigeration, modern medicine, proper roads, and any sort of wheeled vehicles. Under those conditions you come to appreciate the power, the bounty and the beauty of our world, and seeing it destroyed is an almost physical hurt. I lived for 2½ years with a tribe of very ‘primitive’ Bedouin (and fell in love with one of them – she was so, so beautiful!) and despite their unbelievably harsh existence they treated their environment and their fellow creatures with infinite respect. In many other ways too, they were the most ‘civilised’ people I have ever come across. Until we all learn to be like them – or it is forced on us – I fear for the future.

  39. Raul says:

    #37 – Part of the concept of the original sin is “a work
    in progress”. That could be evidenced by the later Ten
    Commandments. That there was a later would show progress.
    Science too has progressed, but that the Ten Commandments
    was directed by God shows that mankind might not act with
    the big changes that we should. Will we leave it to God
    to get our attention with new commandments concerning our
    ways and means? If the ways of natural forces on this earth
    do get the attention of mankind, well it might be for the
    betterment of mankind.