As nation, Russia, and world swelter under record-smashing heat waves, The New York Times sets one-day record for most unilluminating stories

Posted on  

"As nation, Russia, and world swelter under record-smashing heat waves, The New York Times sets one-day record for most unilluminating stories"

temp.records

Globally NOAA just reported that June is the fourth month in a row of record global temperatures, and the first half of 2010 is on a record pace.  This is all the more powerful evidence of human-caused warming “because it occurs when the recent minimum of solar irradiance is having its maximum cooling effect,” as a recent NASA paper noted.

Globally nine countries have smashed all-time temperature records, “making 2010 the year with the most national extreme heat records,” as meteorologist Jeff Masters has reported.

This is a serious abnormality. The Russian weather service has never measured such temperatures in Moscow in July,” said Dmitry Kiktyov, Deputy Director of the Hydrometeorological Center of Russia.

Daily highs outpaced daily lows across the United States nearly 5-to-1 in June and over 3-to-1 in July — whereas the ratio for the decade of the 2000s was 2.04-to-1, up from 1.36-to-1 in the 1990s (see below).

Sunday, the New York Times dedicated six stories on the weather across the country.  Six!  There were four regional “human interest” stories:

You learn such important pieces of news as “Contrary to what one might expect, extremely hot days are no good for ice cream truck drivers.”  Oh, and LA had slightly below normal temperatures:  “Among the pleasures of living in Southern California, none may be as wonderful as the climate, and the ability of residents to use it as a meteorological bat against the collective heads of their fellow Americans.”  All the news that’s fit to print, folks.

But wait, the fourth story reports:

Stan Cox, a hometown author and agricultural scientist, describes these kinds of temperatures as “thermally hostile” in his recent book, “Losing Our Cool,” which argues for reduced dependence on air-conditioning for the good of the environment and for overall health.  “In response to record-breaking summers, we’re relying more on air-conditioning, which produces greenhouse emissions that make the summers hotter,” he said. “It’s a cycle that makes you wonder: How long can it go on?”

Well, it may make Cox and many other Americans wonder, but not the NY Times.  Their main story was “The Heat Goes On, Scorching Much of the Nation,” which opens:

When people in the nation’s capital talked about an endless summer this week, they did not mean surfing or margaritas (though they surely craved them). Throughout the mid-Atlantic states, from New York to Georgia, and out through the Great Plains, the heat this spring and summer has been relentless, causing clothes, hair and spirits to wilt well before the dog days of August.

Saturday, as one meteorologist had predicted with scientific precision, was “one of those just downright awful summer days.”

The slight mocking tone toward science would be harmless, except the story goes on to say:

It is not that any one day has set an all-time heat record, but a large area of the country has been assaulted by a succession of heat waves. Washington in June recorded the highest average temperature for the month since record keeping began in 1871 “” including 18 days of 90 degrees or more. July is on its way to a similar unwelcome record.

Well, actually, lots of days have seen all-time heat records around the country, as the data above from Steve Scolnik of Capital Climate shows.  For new readers, here’s the caption:

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.

I like the statistical aggregation across the country, since it gets us beyond the oft-repeated point that you can’t pin any one record temperature on global warming.  If you want to know how to judge whether the 2010 record highs-to-lows ratios are big deals, here’s what a 2009 National Center for Atmospheric Research study found for “1,800 weather stations in the 48 contiguous United States” (see “Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.“):

temps

Now the NY Times can certainly choose to ignore the story, or maybe do one piece, but if they are going to do five heat wave pieces they really ought to have a more substantive “big picture” than this:

The stifling heat blanketing the mid-Atlantic this summer seems to be part of a global trend. So far, 2010 is on track to overtake 2005 as the warmest year ever recorded for the planet, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In Germany, a French fry crisis is looming: the length of fries may decline by nearly half an inch because heat and drought have cut the harvest of larger potatoes, Reuters reported.

But even the endless summer of 2010 cannot compare to the hottest year of all, said Stephen Fybish, a weather historian in New York. In a class by itself, he said, was the Dust Bowl summer of 1936, when 15 states set records for heat that stand to this day.

Still, the news did not bring much relief to Zach Massey, a produce vendor at the Soulard Farmer’s Market in St. Louis. Although business was brisk on Friday, the heat was too much for him, and he was closing his stand early for the day.

“I’ll sell this stuff tomorrow,” Mr. Massey, 19, said as he drew a tarp over the day’s unsold strawberries. “I’m going swimming.”

So the NYT mentions the global trend, but not that this was predicted by climate scientists on the basis of our unrelenting emissions of heat trapping greenhouse gases.  And then it manages to find a statistic to “balance” the global trend, even though it is somewhat at odds with the earlier sentence “It is not that any one day has set an all-time heat record, but a large area of the country has been assaulted by a succession of heat waves.”

And, of course, there is no mention whatsoever of the fact that 2010 is “the year with the most national extreme heat records” — which covers a far larger fraction of the globe than the continental United States.

No, it’s all about human interest for the New York Times — french fries in Germany, a produce vendor in St. Louis.  Or, I should say, it’s about narrow short-term human interest.

One could say the New York Times loves human interest stories about weather but has little interest in the fate of humans in a world of unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions (other than their opinion columnists, that is).

The NYT actually had one more extreme weather story Sunday, “Iowa Dam Ruptures Under Torrential Rain“:

Heavy rain ruptured the Lake Delhi dam on Saturday, sending a torrent into the Maquoketa River below and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of homes and vacation cabins in eastern Iowa. Officials estimated that 8,000 people were affected by the flooding. No injuries or deaths were reported.Unrelenting rainfall “” 15 inches in the past 48 hours, according to Jeremy Sands of the Delhi Fire Department “” caused the early afternoon breaching of the 83-year-old dam. “The dam wasn’t unsafe,” Firefighter Sands said. “It’s just one of those acts of God.”

Yes, God is angry at us — probably for ignoring all of the evidence he is sending our way that our myopic greed is destroying this one-time Garden of Eden.

No need to even mention the possibility that warming leads to more water vapor in the air leads to more extreme deluges.  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.

Wisconsin had its record-breaking “monsoon,” as Capital Climate noted:

Record-breaking rainfall caused widespread flooding across southern Wisconsin on Thursday. In Milwaukee, many roads and the city’s airport were closed by high water. A sinkhole 40 feet wide and 20 feet deep swallowed a Cadillac SUV with the driver inside, along with a traffic light. The driver was rescued, although the fate of the vehicle was less certain.

The 5.79″ of rain at Milwaukee was over 4 times the old record for the date, and it was the second highest daily precipitation of all time, second only to the 6.81″ on August 6, 1986.

The 3.62″ at Madison broke the old record for the date of 2.21″ in 1885.

See, Climate Progress can do human interest — and SUV interest — too!  Gotta love the irony, no?

And speaking of human interest, Russians are still getting slammed. Although the New York Times didn’t see fit to mention this brutal record-obliterating heat wave in its 5 heat wave stories yesterday, Jeff Masters reported a week ago:

A heat wave of unprecedented intensity has brought the world’s largest country its hottest temperature in history. On July 11, the ongoing Russian heat wave sent the mercury to 44.0°C (111.2°F) in Yashkul, Kalmykia Republic, in the European portion of Russia near the Kazakhstan border…..

Russia’s remarkable heat wave has led to a state of emergency to be declared for 19 of Russia’s 83 provinces, and record number of Russians have been drowning in swimming accidents as they take to the water to escape the heat. Over 1200 Russians drowned in June, with another 233 dying between July 5 and 12. The heat has also created dangerous levels of air pollution in Moscow, and severely impacted agriculture.

Now, a week later, RT.com reports:

“This is a serious abnormality. The Russian weather service has never measured such temperatures in Moscow in July,” said Dmitry Kiktyov, Deputy Director of the Hydrometeorological Center of Russia. “According to our calculations, it hasn’t even reached its peak yet.”

UPDATE:  Bloomberg noted yesterday “the number of Russians who drowned trying to beat the heat reached about 2,000″ and “Today’s temperature in the capital was the hottest since records began 130 years ago.”

The Voice of Russia reports, “Russia struck by worst drought in 100 years“:

The heatwave has triggered forest fires and destroyed millions of hectares of crops. Pavel Skurikhin, President of the National Union of Grain Producers, forecasts this year’s grain harvest at 80 million tons, a 20-25% fall on last year, but still quite sufficient to meet domestic demand.

Meanwhile, Russia’s grain export potential has been downgraded from 20 million to 15 million tons.

“Certainly, such a long period of hot weather in unusual for central Russia. But the global tendency proves that in future, such climate abnormalities will become only more frequent”, says Alexey Kokorin, the Head of Climate and Energy Program of the World Wide Fund (WWF) Russia.

RIA Novsti reports:

On Friday, a source in the city’s meteorological bureau said July 2010 had become the hottest month on record in Moscow….

According to environmentalists, the heat wave in Russia has been caused by man-made global warming.

You go, “Russia’s leading news agency in terms of multimedia technologies, website audience reach and quoting by the Russian media.”  That’s not exactly what the enviros said to RIA Novsti:

A blistering heat wave in Russia has been caused by man-made global warming, WWF Russia and Greenpeace Russia said on Wednesday….

Many farmers are on the brink of bankruptcy, while a state of emergency has been declared in 17 Russian regions. Nearly 10 million hectares of crops have been destroyed by drought.

“Such long periods of summer drought have been registered before, for instance, in 1936, but over the past few years they have become more frequent,” Alexei Kokorin, the head of WWF Russia’s climate program, told RIA Novosti.

“This is a reaction of the climate system to man-made changes in atmospheric chemistry,” he said.

But kudos to Russians for not being afraid to talk about the link of global warming to extreme weather.

Record-smashing temps are precisely what scientists have been predicting.  As the UK’s Royal Society and Met Office (the UK’s National Weather Service [i.e. meteorological office], within the Ministry of Defence) said in their must-read statement on the connection between global warming and extreme weather:

We expect some of the most significant impacts of climate change to occur when natural variability is exacerbated by long-term global warming, so that even small changes in global temperatures can produce damaging local and regional effects.

So we have the lingering effects of the El Ni±o coupled with the long-term trend of human-caused global warming.

For other ways scientists and some in the media talk about the link, see “We’re having a heat wave. New daily high temperature records beat new cold records by nearly 5 to 1 in June.”

« »

41 Responses to As nation, Russia, and world swelter under record-smashing heat waves, The New York Times sets one-day record for most unilluminating stories

  1. glen says:

    JR, you forgot to mention Paul Krugman’s op-ed yesterday, “Who Cooked the Planet?”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/opinion/26krugman.html?hp

    “So it wasn’t the science, the scientists, or the economics that killed action on climate change. What was it?

    The answer is, the usual suspects: greed and cowardice.”

    [JR: On my list.]

  2. Prokaryotes says:

    More doom (permafrost)

    Fog from peat fires blankets Moscow amid heat wave http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10762921

  3. Prokaryotes says:

    “Doctors say Muscovites should keep their windows closed and wear gauze masks to avoid inhaling ash particles.”

  4. Prokaryotes says:

    Triple digit heat wave hitting AC units hard

    The extreme heat is taking its toll on air conditioning units across the Heart of Carolina. Homes are heating up and cars aren’t cooling off.

    So many units are breaking down in the triple digit heat wave that technicians say they have to prioritize who they help first. http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=7575964

  5. Prokaryotes says:

    Official: climate change changes wildfire behavior
    “Fires are burning hotter, and they are more intense,” … Mountain snowpacks are melting earlier, and fire seasons are lasting 30 to 45 days longer across many areas of the West, Tidwell said.

    “The type of fire behavior is very different from what we had even 10 years ago,” http://www.azdailysun.com/news/state-and-regional/article_59c40a1d-d6e6-587c-8b22-78d2560d572b.html

  6. Paulm says:

    With tiping actionkicking in this is what to expect over the next couple of year from now on… You just get the feeling that. This level or near enough of heating is now going to be the norm from this year on…

    Stormy weather…
    http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/07/stormy_skies.html

  7. Doug Bostrom says:

    The useful “Knight Science Journalism Tracker” has a link and a comment today that raised my eyebrows and left a question.

    James Kelleher, Kay Henderson, Karl Plume, Andrew Stern: Flooding, tornadoes in Midwest as storms continue ; No mention, correctly, of global warming. But there is an awful lot of moisture in the air. Intense heat and humidity equals RAIN by the BUCKET.

    The “No mention…” portion is by Charlie Petit, running Science Journalism Tracker, no skeptic, but apparently a journalist sensitively tuned to the so-called “Overton Window” as perhaps partially determined by cranks commenting on newspaper websites. This is a popular site with journalists, in fact being a journalist is a requirement to register to make comments so it’s not unfair to say a lot of writing will take cues from Mr. Petit’s generally excellent pointers.

    The question I’m left with is, when would it be appropriate to drop so much as single line to the effect perhaps that such events are consistent with predictions in such a startling report as the one Mr. Petit cites? After all, the article mentions 7.5″ of rain in Chicago in a single day, similar regional problems.

    Let’s say that in 10 years we’re seeing 10″ of rain falling in a day in Chicago. Does that merit a connection to warming? What if several more dams in the Midwest collapse due to off-the-chart storms over the next few years? Appropriate for a connection at some point, maybe on the 5th event? Or is this going to be a matter of continued beat-downs of the press by skeptics to the point where all journalists are terrified of making any connection whatsoever between unusual weather events and climate?

  8. RoySV says:

    Bravo Joe, I got a good laugh from the headline — bare-knuckled wit of the best kind. Further, I had also noticed this spat of “Oh gosh ain’t that in’eresting” articles and was hoping someone would post the wake up as you have done.

    Thanks :*)

  9. Lore says:

    I see WUWT is pushing some Geophysical Research Letter’s research on last winters snow.

    ————————
    “New peer reviewed paper refutes claims of blizzards of last winter being driven by “global warming”

    Paging Joe Romm:

    “In fact, this record-breaking snowstorm is pretty much precisely what climate science predicts. Since one typically can’t make a direct association between any individual weather event and global warming, perhaps the best approach is to borrow and modify a term from the scientific literature and call this a “global-warming-type” deluge.”

    “This paper explains what happened, and why global warming was not really involved. It helps build credibility in climate science.”
    ————————

    Of course the last senstence wasn’t from the study but David Robinson, a climate scientist at Rutgers University who was not involved in the research. Watt’s is adapt at this kind of weaving of comments as part of the fact shenanigans.

    [JR: Yes, I saw the latest WUWT disinformation. I'll get to it Tuesday.]

  10. From Peru says:

    Look at this :

    “Russian farmers suffer ‘catastrophe’ in baking summer”

    “Twenty three of Russia’s 83 regions, mainly situated in the European part of the country, have declared a state of emergency over the drought.

    According to the ministry of agriculture, 10 million hectares of land have been destroyed by the heatwave, equivalent to around 20% of all of Russia’s arable land”

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2010/07/russian-farmers-suffer-catastrophe-in.html

    at the “Climate Change: The Next Generation” blog
    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    China says air pollution worsening

    China’s air pollution increased this year for the first time since 2005, the environmental protection ministry has said, due to sandstorms, a rise in construction and industrial projects, and more cars.

    The ministry found that the number of “good air quality days” in 113 major cities across the nation had dropped 0.3 percentage … These cities had not recorded a fall in the number of good air quality days since 2005 … The ministry also found that more than a quarter of surface water in China was contaminated, and fit only for industrial or agricultural use.

    Acid rain was also a problem in the first half of the year — out of 443 cities the ministry monitored, 189 suffered from the harmful precipitation. And in eight cities, including a district of Shanghai, the rain that fell for the first six months was constantly acid http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100727/wl_asia_afp/chinaenvironmentpollution

  12. Lore (#9):
    As usual, WTFUWT is cherry picking. Even the conclusion of the cited paper says, “There seems no evidence that it had anything to do with climate change and should not be exploited to make arguments, one way or another, about the reality of that (which we do not doubt) or how to tackle it.” [Emphasis added]

  13. Correction, the quote was from a summary by one of the authors, not the paper itself.

  14. Prokaryotes says:

    Heat Wave: 2010 to Be One of Hottest Years on Record

    Overall, the long-term warming trend can be compared to riding up an escalator, Arndt added, while natural variables such as El Niño and La Niña are akin to a person jumping up and down during the steady ascent.

    Trenberth agreed that El Niño and La Niña represent “wiggles,” and “when they’re on top of a rising trend, that’s when you break records.” “It’s not just global warming and not just natural variability—it’s a combination of both.” http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/07/100726-heat-wave-hottest-year-2010-global-warming-science-environment/

  15. Prokaryotes says:

    The non-Ice Age cometh

    The fast-disappearing Arctic ice cap could indicate that Russia is in for more summer heat waves – and winter deep freezes – as climate change creates more instability in global weather.

    That’s the warning from Russian scientists, who say that while global warming is not exactly to blame for the country’s current heat wave, increasingly erratic weather is causing Arctic Sea ice to disappear at an alarming rate.

    And that could speed up global warming.

    “Arctic ice doesn’t impact climate, it is the climate,” climatologist Vladimir Kattsev of the Voyeykov Geophysical Observatory told The Moscow News.

    “Ice in the Arctic is melting very fast,” Alexander Frolov, head of Russia’s Federal Hydro-Meteorological and Environmental Monitoring Service, was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.

    In what is fast turning into a vicious circle, with less white ice area to reflect the sun, warmth will be absorbed by the darker ocean waters, heating up the currents and causing further changes in the weather – and more ice to melt.

    Meanwhile, the sweltering weather that has already made Moscow feel more like Texas shows no signs of abating, with temperatures set to climb as high as 39 degrees Celsius by the end of the week.

    “This summer is noticeably warmer. It’s about 20 degrees right now, with high humidity,” said a spokeswoman for the Solovetsky Gulag Museum on the Solovki Islands in the Arctic.
    “It has reached 30 this summer, which is unusual, and we’re seeing rapid temperature changes,” she said. http://www.mn.ru/news/20100726/187952210.html

  16. Prokaryotes says:

    The weird thing about warming

    Jim Inhofe, the senior senator from Oklahoma, slammed Al Gore and urged him to return the Nobel Peace Prize, which Gore had won for raising awareness about climate change. To mock him, Inhofe built an igloo on the National Mall near Capitol Hill and put up a sign saying, “Al Gore’s New Home.”

    Nevertheless, many experts say that the cold waves and snow storms are not unrelated to global warming. As the temperature over the North Pole rises, the jet stream surrounding the cold air has been weakened and the cold wave moved southward, bringing unusually cold weather all over Asia, Europe and North America.

    It would be a misconception to think of global warming as a long, hot summer and a short, warm winter. Also, heavy snow, heavy rain and extreme drought are occurring here and there all at once. Floods, storms and wild fires have become much more frequent and intense.

    Now, global warming alone is certainly not enough to explain such comprehensive climate changes. So people have started using the newly coined phrase “global weirding.” http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2923725

  17. Prokaryotes says:

    Hot Weather Claims Lives Of Cattle By The Hundreds http://www.kwtx.com/news/headlines/99248774.html?ref=774

  18. _Flin_ says:

    Actually it’s not only french fries that will be shorter in Germany this year, but the whole crop harvest will probably be 10-20% below the year before ( http://www.welt.de/die-welt/wirtschaft/article8590759/Extreme-Hitze-laesst-die-Ernte-schrumpfen.html ). Prices will rise.

    In this article it’s said that last autumn the wintercrops where suffering due to high precipitation, in the long and cold winter (arctic oscillation, not global warming) delayed the seeding. Now wheat is going into “emergency ripening” due to the heat.

    So wheat and corn are looking bad, so do potatoes, so do strawberries and cherrys. Bread and beer prices might remain stable, but prices for meat might rise. The bakers, however, already announced rising prices.

    Nice detail on the side: German farmers invested 7 billion € into renewable energies, especially solar panels and biogas. This year every 10th farm will invest in renewable energies.
    Conservative secretary of farming Aigner warns the farmers to prepare for more imponderabilia due to climatechange.

  19. Preeem says:

    Yeah, the biggest country in the world is losing 20% of arable land and 25% of its production capacities, yeah, Japanese people are dying by the dozen, and yeah, famine is coming back worse than ever in Africa. The French Paris area has to save water and the Western USA face water shortages. The fish are predicted to be extinct by 2050.

    But it doesn’t matter, I got my SUV, I can drive to the McDonald’s with the AC on…

    Why do I keep hearing that environmentalists are dreamers who do not have their feet in the “real economy”. Food, life, how much more real does it have to get? Why is money supposed to be more real than basic needs it can buy?

  20. Alessandro F. says:

    Do I detect a certain bias towards hot weather records? What about the extreme cold wave in South America? http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/07/19/latin.america.weather/?hpt=Sbin#fbid=d7mIK4uoqG9

    One more example of extreme weather phenomena, for sure.

  21. Peter Mizla says:

    The Russian authorities have said the record heat is ‘abnormal’

    I have yet to here that in the US. Paul Krugman being the rare exception.

  22. Colorado Bob says:

    Observed event -

    Poison ivy crops up in record levels

    Dr. Paul Epstein, associate director for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, said recent studies show that poison ivy is not only more prevalent across the U.S. but more toxic, too. The rise in CO2 levels strengthens an oil in the plant that triggers itchy havoc when it touches the skin, he said.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-07-21/news/ct-x-n-poison-ivy-0721-20100721_1_poison-ivy-plant-species-elevated-co2

  23. Colorado Bob says:

    ” The higher CO2 levels, he said, also are contributing to an increasing abundance of kudzu, the legendary vine once limited to the South but was discovered lurking in central Illinois and as far north as Canada. “

  24. Esop says:

    #20: cold temperatures in the southern hemisphere winter season is interesting, but of little relevance when the average global temperature is at a record high.
    If the global average temperature had now been at a record low level (as “skeptics” predicted a few years back), the cold temperatures in the south would be a lot more interesting.

  25. Nick Palmer says:

    Possibly the most eye-opening part of your post was in the bit you quoted from Dr. Kevin Trenberth talking about atmospheric humidity:

    “extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount”

    Climate “contrarians” (manners!) often bang on about how CO2 is an unimportant trace gas and how water vapour is far more important. If average atmospheric humidity is measurably increasing world wide as Trenberth says, then that simultaneously shows that global average temperatures must be increasing and, more worryingly, presents us with evidence of a positive feedback in action.

    Isn’t it about time for the complacent contrarians and propagandists to stop gambling with their and our future?

  26. NeilT says:

    You’ll get nowhere with this one Joe. The immediate response is that Peru is having a catclysmic cold snap. It’s summer right?

    Erm, no it’s winter in Peru.

    It’s warm in Peru right?

    Erm, no, according to this bbc article
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-10749124
    It gets down to -20 in the mountains in the south in the winter.

    It’s colder than ever right?
    Erm, not really, temperatures have fallen to -24 (instead of -20) and Lima has recorded it’s lowest temperatures in 46 years. Or in denialist talk “That’s nothing becuase it was colder in 1964″.

    So a country which is in winter is having a colder than normal winter whilst the rest of us fry.

    Just as Australia and Pakistan were frying as the rest of us froze.

    Two sides of the same coin.

    But you’ll never prove it to those who don’t want to listen. There are none so deaf………

  27. Colorado Bob says:

    ” …….. presents us with evidence of a positive feedback in action.”

    The news out of Moscow, only hints at the melting that is occurring in the far north this season . When the field reports begin this fall , we no doubt will see a lot of bubbling lakes all over the tundra. Churchill, Manitoba , is running 10 to 15 F degrees above average this week. Given the heat in the northern latitudes , the fires will be on their way in August,

  28. Colorado Bob says:

    Speaking of Russia & fires -

    Moscow May Break Heat Record as Russia’s Heartland Burns, Drownings Rise

    The temperature soared to a record 37.4 degrees Celsius (99.3 Fahrenheit) in Moscow yesterday, the hottest since records began 130 years ago. The capital is likely to get even hotter today, the All-Russian Research Institute for Hydrometeorological Information said on its website. The air temperature was 34.8 degrees as of 1:50 p.m.

    Forest fires blazed in 282 spots across Russia as of 6:00 a.m., covering 52,060 hectares (about 129,000 acres), according to the Emergency Situations Ministry. In all, 575 wildfires were burning, including 34 in peat bogs drained during the Soviet era for agriculture, the ministry said on its website. Since the start of the fire season, 418,000 hectares have burned, the ministry said.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-27/moscow-may-break-heat-record-as-russia-s-heartland-burns-drownings-rise.html

  29. Colorado Bob says:

    Jul 19, 2010; 12:37 PM ET

    BLISTERING HEAT TO THE ARCTIC CIRCLE

    The exceptional heat the hit the “Pole of Cold” during the first half of July caught my eye, as the temperature topped out with 1-2 C of the all-time record high in Verkhoyansk. Verkhoyansk, of course, happens to share with the Yakutiyan sister town, Oymyakon, the top slot for lowest temperature for a permanent settlement.

    Now, we have another heat wave burning northeastern Siberia. This one, however, has unfolded farther east in Yakutia. It has spilled over into neighboring Chukotka and Magadan.

    In Zyryanka, where normal high temperature is 20 C to 21 C, three-straight afternoons (through Monday) reached 34.9 C, 36.8 C and 37.4 C, respectively.

    Also on Monday, Srednekolymsk reached 36.7 C; Korkodon soared to 36.4 C.

    There is reason to believe that any of these sites, even all of them, may have set an all-time record high temperature.

    http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/andrews/story/34215/another_freak_siberia_heat_wave.asp

  30. Colorado Bob says:

    A prediction -
    Given the event that is ongoing in Russia , and the shear size of it, we will see the largest fires ever seen from space in August .

    The water content of the taiga, must be approaching that of kitchen matches, and like many of these events the wind speeds are up.

  31. Colorado Bob says:

    A summer storm that dropped a “humongous” amount of rain on North Battleford and damaged scores of homes is just the latest in long line of flooding woes in Saskatchewan.

    But there’s no pat answer to explain this summer’s wet weather, says Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips.

    Read more: http://www.leaderpost.com/just+luck/3318455/story.html#ixzz0uty7yVil

  32. Lou Grinzo says:

    Doug(7)brings up what I think is a critical point:

    — begin quote ——————————
    The question I’m left with is, when would it be appropriate to drop so much as single line to the effect perhaps that such events are consistent with predictions in such a startling report as the one Mr. Petit cites? After all, the article mentions 7.5″ of rain in Chicago in a single day, similar regional problems.

    Let’s say that in 10 years we’re seeing 10″ of rain falling in a day in Chicago. Does that merit a connection to warming? What if several more dams in the Midwest collapse due to off-the-chart storms over the next few years? Appropriate for a connection at some point, maybe on the 5th event? Or is this going to be a matter of continued beat-downs of the press by skeptics to the point where all journalists are terrified of making any connection whatsoever between unusual weather events and climate?
    — end quote ——————————

    My hunch is that on climate change, at least, the “old model” no longer applies. By “old model” I mean: Scientists think they discover something, so the press reports it is “X is believed by some experts to cause Y”. As the science firms up, the press parallels their evolution and the descriptions eventually land on, “X, which is widely recognized as a leading cause of Y”, or even “X, which is the primary cause of Y”.

    But in our Brave New Media World, we have a very different dynamic. The economically battered mainstream media is so afraid of the focused attacks of climate change deniers (among others) that they stick with the mildest description of the X/Y connection, and even then mention it as seldom as defensible. Eventually, the pressure on them to change will be irresistible, and we’ll see a media tipping point, at least from the outlets with some shred of self respect (e.g. not Fox News, not the WSJ editorial page, etc.).

    But what will cause this to happen? I’m exhausted from trying to guess. Tens of thousands dying in heatwaves in Europe not too many years ago, all the storms and freaky weather we’re seeing in what will likely be the hottest year on record (and at a solar minimum, as Joe would point out), don’t seem to be enough. Perhaps we need something truly jaw dropping, like a piece of the West Antarctic Ice Shelf the size of Portugal breaking off, or a few days of ice-free Arctic summer. Whatever event forces the media to grow a set and report the obvious, it likely won’t happen until we’ve squandered another 2, 5, 10, or ??? years.

  33. From Peru says:

    NeilT:

    In effect it is freaking cold in Lima, Peru. This have caused a surge in pneumonia in the Andes and the Peruvian Amazon.

    This happen every year, as cold air masses fron Antartica make their way across Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. This is a usual event during the winter, but this time it is specially severe.

    I guess it is because of the current developing LA NIÑA:

    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/enso.shtml

    If only a bit of this cold could go to the NH and some of your heat cold go here!

  34. Dale says:

    Jeez… gripe, gripe, gripe. It’s just the news, people get tired of reading scientifically oriented stories, if they read them at all. It’s a way to continue to connect with people without beating them over the head. If you keep reporting about the heat without saying anything about why, maybe people will begin to _ask_ why, instead of believing what Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck say.

    In fact, climate scientists should do an experiment. They should keep quiet about global warming for three months and see what happens. I would bet good money that all the teabaggers and other deniers would soon be declaiming about a conspiracy to cover up anthropogenic global warming: “Those climate scientists know something about this heat, and they aren’t saying anything! What are they up to?”

  35. MapleLeaf says:

    Looked at the MSU (satellite) data on Spencer’s site today. I think it safe to say that a new record will be set for mid-trop temperatures (ch05) and perhaps also for lower trop-temperatures in July 2010.

    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps

    And those records are being set with a rapidly developing La Nina– that said, global anomalies will likely decrease (less positive) as the impacts of the La Nina manifest themselves over time.

    [JR: Unclear. They dropped 1998.]

  36. MapleLeaf says:

    Hi Dr. Romm,

    Good point, I keep forgetting that– why did they decide to do that? It really does confuse matters.

  37. Prokaryotes says:

    Peat Fires Rage Across Moscow Amid Heatwave

    “The locations are usually remote and hard to access. It’s also hard to maintain a water supply. “It’s now more than four weeks that the temperature has been above average and there hasn’t been a drop of rain.”
    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Moscow-Peat-Fires-Rage-Amid-Record-Heat-Temperatures-In-Russian-Capital/Article/201007415672014

  38. BenjaminG says:

    R.e. #37 where MapleLeaf wrote and Dr. Romm responded:
    ———
    Looked at the MSU (satellite) data on Spencer’s site today. I think it safe to say that a new record will be set for mid-trop temperatures (ch05) and perhaps also for lower trop-temperatures in July 2010.

    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/ amsutemps/ execute.csh?amsutemps

    [JR: Unclear. They dropped 1998.]
    —————————-

    As communicated to Lucia at The Blackboard by Dr. Spencer, the ‘Record highs’ trace on the site linked above does in fact include record days set in 1998 or any other of the 31 years of satellite records. So, according to the raw temperatures reported there, we set a new all-time high absolute temperature this year, on July 17th, and are clearly on track to set a new July record, depending on how final adjustments play out.

    See main story and comments here: http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/channel-5-anomalies-hot-but-not-record-breaking/

    quote: “lucia (Comment#49183) July 17th, 2010 at 5:39 am

    I got an answer from Roy–

    ‘The record highs and lows are based upon the entire MSU MT record back to 1979. To do this, we intercompared our official UAH TMT product, including the average annual cycle added to the anomalies, with just the Aqua averages over the Aqua period of record since mid-2002. This provided an intercalibration between Aqua-only and UAH official. This then allowed us to go back through and use all of the UAH TMT data to find record highs and lows back through 1979.’

  39. Craig Allen says:

    Just to prove that the high temperatures aren’t limited to the northern summer:

    3rd May 2010 – Record warmth for Victoria and Tasmania

    Between May 2009 and April 2010 the Australian states of Victoria and Tasmania both recorded their warmest 12 month period since records began. Temperatures have been consistently above average throughout the 12 month period. Victoria was warmer than normal in all 12 months, while Tasmania recorded above average temperatures in all but one month.

    1st July 2010 – Record warmth equalled for Western Australia

    Western Australia has just equalled its warmest 12 month period since records began. Western Australia’s average temperature during the 12 months to the end of June matched the previous record set between October 2004 and September 2005.

    5th January 2010 – 2009 was the warmest year on record for South Australia

    In 2009 the mean temperature was 1.3°C above average for South Australia as a whole, a record since the area averaged state figures begin in 1910. This is the 17th consecutive year that above average temperatures has occurred.