Climate

Hottest* July in RSS satellite record, record floods swamp Pakistan, U.S. set 1480 temperature records in past two months, and 2010 breaks 2007 record for most nations setting all-time temperature records

Hell and High Water hits hard as Time asks: Will Russia’s deadly heat wave change its stance on climate change?

What’s happening with the planet’s climate right now needs to be a wake-up call to all of us, meaning all heads of state, all heads of social organizations, in order to take a more energetic approach to countering the global changes to the climate.”

That’s Dmitri Medvedev, President of a country that has been mired in even more disinformation about global warming than ours, as Time notes.  On Friday, Medvedev said that in 14 regions of Russia, “practically everything is burning”:
Russia

And so we have Hell and High Water, with Pakistan’s record flooding displacing millions“The disaster has killed 1,200 people and there are fears that the death toll will rise steeply. There are reports of cholera outbreaks among some victims as doctors treat a number of waterborne diseases”:

As NYT blogger Andy Revkin put it in a post, “Fire and Water on a Hot, Turbulent Planet“:

Today’s images show the scope of two unfolding disasters “” involving excessive fire and water “” related to extreme climate conditions that are projected to become more frequent in a heating world.

That is a clever way of making the connection between the record-smashing uber-extreme weather we’ve been seeing and human-caused global warming.  You can find how leading climate experts and meteorologists talk about the connection here:  “We’re having a heat wave. New daily high temperature records beat new cold records by nearly 5 to 1 in June.”

Records are breaking everywhere.  After the hottest decade on record, it’s the hottest year on record, and we may be at record low Arctic sea ice volume.”  Now we see that the RSS satellite dataset shows last month just beating 1998 for hottest July on record.

Note:  I no longer think that the UAH satellite dataset should be relied on for monthly comparisons.  Roy Spencer et al. are simply rejiggering and adjusting the data too much — so much so that the plot of July temperatures I graphed last week (see “After the hottest decade on record, it’s the hottest year on record, hottest week of all time in satellite record* and we may be at record low Arctic sea ice volume),” cannot be reproduced if you try to graph it now (here).  This might all be legit, but if NASA or NOAA tried something like this, Watts and McIntyre and Spencer would be trashing them daily.  And Spencer and Christy simply have not earned anybody’s trust about this sort of thing (see “Should you believe anything John Christy and Roy Spencer say?“).

Large parts of United States continued to swelter through record smashing temperatures.  To put the heat waves into a national context, I use the statistical aggregation from Steve Scolnik of Capital Climate:

Records July 2010 final

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.

The ratio of daily highs to daily lows in the last two months is 3.9 to 1, nearly double the ratio of the last decade.

Globally, it has been equally remarkable, as meteorologist Jeff Masters reports:

Ukraine ties its record for hottest temperature in history
On August 1, Ukraine tied its record for hottest temperature in its history when the mercury hit 41.3°C (106.3°F) at Lukhansk. The Ukraine also reached 41.3°C on July 20 and 21, 2007, at Voznesensk. Sixteen of 225 nations on Earth have set extreme highest temperature in history records this year, the most of any year. The year 2007 is in second place, with fifteen such records.

Five major U.S. cities record their warmest month in history during July
July 2010 was the warmest month in history for five U.S. cities:

Las Vegas, NV: 96.2°F (old record: 95.3°F, July 2005).
Atlantic City, NJ: 79.8°F (old record: 78.7°F, July 1983)
Washington, D.C.: 83.1°F (tied with July 1993)
Baltimore, MD: 81.5°F (tied with July 1995)
Trenton, NJ: 80.5°F (tied with July 1955)

Also, in June, Miami, FL recorded its warmest month in history: 85.6°F (old record: 85.4°F in June 1998.)

Masters has a good discussion of whether or not the urban heat island effects impact these records.

I just listened to NBC news spend several minutes on the extreme weather in the United States, Russia and Pakistan with no mention at all of the record global temperatures or long-term global trend caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.  Pathetic.

I guess things are going to have to get as bad here as they are in Russia to wake up this country, since both countries have been equally mired in disinformation.  As Time explains:

Two months before Copenhagen, state-owned Channel One television aired a documentary called The History of a Deception: Global Warming, which argued that the notion of man-made climate change was the result of an international media conspiracy.  A month later, hackers sparked the so-called Climategate scandal by stealing e-mails from European climate researchers. The hacked e-mails, which were then used to support the arguments of global-warming skeptics, appeared to have been distributed through a server in the Siberian oil town of Tomsk, raising suspicion among some environmental activists of Russia’s involvement in the leak.

But now things may be changing in the world’s largest country:

“Broadly speaking, the Russian position has always been that climate change is an invention of the West to try to bring Russia to its knees,” says Vladimir Chuprov, director of the Greenpeace energy department in Moscow. Case in point: when Medvedev visited Tomsk last winter, he called the global-warming debate “some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects.” That was two months after the Copenhagen talks. But Medvedev’s climate-sensitive comments on Friday, Chuprov says, could finally mark the start of a policy shift. “You don’t just throw comments like that around when you are the leader of the nation, and if you look at what is happening with this heat wave, it’s horrible. It’s clearly enough to shake people out of their delusions about global warming.”

The heat wave first started alarming authorities in June, when local officials recorded abnormally high fatalities on Russia’s beaches. At the same time, a devastating drought was withering Russia’s crops. As of July 30, some 25 million acres (about 10 million hectares) of grain had been lost, an area roughly the size of Kentucky “” and growing. Then last week, fires that had been ignored for days by local officials began spreading out of control. By Aug. 2, they had scorched more than 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) and destroyed 1,500 homes in more than a dozen regions, some of which declared a state of emergency. Scores of people have been killed in the fires, and in the outskirts of Moscow, burning fields of peat, a kind of fuel made of decayed vegetation, periodically covered the city in a cloud of noxious smoke, making it painful to breathe in parts of the Russian capital.

Medvedev has not been the only person in Russia to link the ongoing heat wave to climate change. Alexei Lyakhov, head of Moscow’s meteorological center, tells TIME it is “clearly part of a global phenomenon” that is hitting Russia. “We have to start taking systemic measures of adaptation. It’s obvious now. Just like human beings at one point took steps to adapt to the Ice Age, we now have to adapt to this,” he says, citing cuts to carbon emissions as one of the necessary adaptations.

Still, change in Russia will require Medvedev to show the kind of leadership that president Obama has so far eschewed:

Russia’s largest circulation newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, ran a headline on July 31 that asked, “Is the Russian heat wave the result of the USA testing its climate weapon?” The daily’s answer was “Yes, probably.”

But if Medvedev stands by his pronouncements, there may turn out to be a bright side to Russia’s devastating weather: one of the nations most responsible for driving climate change may finally start trying to do something about it.

Yes.  I admit it.  The USA has a climate weapon:  The greatest cumulative emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases of any country in the world with no political backbone to do anything about that for the foreseeable future.  It may prove to be the most devastating weapon ever devised by the mind of man.  Sadly, though, it ain’t a test.

Seriously, let’s hope this extreme weather not only ends Russia’s doubts about global warming — but also the myth that warming might actually be good for that country or any other.  The fact is, with the kind of warming we face on our current path of unrestricted emissions, global warming will be a global disaster — see “An introduction to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water.”

79 Responses to Hottest* July in RSS satellite record, record floods swamp Pakistan, U.S. set 1480 temperature records in past two months, and 2010 breaks 2007 record for most nations setting all-time temperature records

  1. Rick Covert says:

    Joe,

    I’ve been giving this momentary defeat for climate legislation some thought. I also watched “The Age of Stupid” over the weekend on HULU. In the movie George Monbiot said something that really resonated with me. He advocated civil disobedience along the lines of the slavery abolition movement, the sufferagettes and the civil rights movement. It seems that it takes the fire hoses unleashed on the public to gather public attention.

  2. Friendly Smith says:

    There are less thermometers where it gets very cold. Peru is nasty cold.

  3. David says:

    Yeah, kind of hard for the Kremlin to continue denying global warming, when Moscow is in the throes of a two month long heat wave and no relief is in sight – in fact, it’s supposed to get much worse. Check out the forecast for the next seven days for Moscow — highs between 102 and 105 every day!

    http://www.tutiempo.net/en/Weather/Moscow_Domodedov/UUDD.htm

  4. Dappledwater says:

    Rick @1 – yeah, I came to that conclusion (civil disobedience) some time ago. One can easily imagine, that even after the powers that be are finally convinced, there’ll much dithering and then bickering over what exactly to do. All the while, vested interests will be proclaiming it’s too late to do anything.

    Looking at the RSS data, interesting to note that the temperatures for the last 12 months surpass those of the same period in 1997 – 1998.

  5. Lore says:

    I watched most of this tonight on the Nightly NBC, without a mention of the possible connection to climate change.

  6. Leif says:

    In light of the above report, it is hard not to come to the conclusion that “Push is coming to Shove.”

    My observation on President Obama’s actions: Without overwhelming support from at least one strong segment of our society he feels that climate bill will be a loser. There is too much at stake and without capitalism and/or corporations throwing in the towel, he would loose. He is hanging on by a thread as we speak. However if he can come to the table with Russia and perhaps even China attending? India has had some record highs as well. The hottest part of the year is yet to come, is it not?

    At least we know who’s side he will be on.

    Now you have a hand that you can play against the likes of EXXON, BP, & GOBP.

  7. Prokaryotes says:

    Yuri Izrael, a scientist who is both a global-warming sceptic and a senior adviser to Prime Minister Putin, has tested the effects of aerosol spraying http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727696.100-an-evil-atmosphere-is-forming-around-geoengineering.html

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    Yuri A. Izrael is known for being Vladamir Putin’s most influential scientific adviser, and was widely criticized following the Chernobyl nuclear accident for “slow and inaccurate monitoring” and for “allowing air pollution throughout the USSR to reach unprecedented levels.” He is a climate change skeptic with ties to ExxonMobil through the Heartland Institute. He spoke at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change sponsored by the Heartland Institute. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Yuri_Izrael

  9. Stuart says:

    If there aren’t any thermometers how do you know it’s cold? You do realize that climate change does not mean permanent summer everywhere, don’t you?

    I know, I know. DFTT. Sorry.

  10. Steve Bloom says:

    To a certain extent climate scientists have themselves to blame for the reticence of the media to ascribe weather events to climate change, since they’ve spent years instructing reporters to not do that. This advice always lacked the needed nuance that once an anthropogenic increase in global temperature had been detected circa 1990 it was proper to say that *everything* was affected, the only question being how much. Waiting to raise the alarm until substantial numbers of individual weather events begin to exceed the range of natural variability in obvious ways is waiting too long.

  11. Steve Bloom says:

    If “Friendly” were to stop and think for a moment s/he would realize that this is the time of year when absolute records get set, hot in the summer hemisphere and cold in the winter one. The thing to pay attention to is the change in the proportion of hot ones to cold ones.

  12. Steve Bloom says:

    The cynical view is that we’ll need our own climate disaster here in the U.S. to change the political equation much. I don’t think that even a near-total melt of the Arctic sea ice will be enough to do the job.

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    Steve Bloom, #12 “I don’t think that even a near-total melt of the Arctic sea ice will be enough … ”

    Large quantities of methane are stored in the Arctic in natural gas deposits, permafrost, and as submarine clathrates. Permafrost and clathrates degrade on warming, thus large releases of methane from these sources may arise as a result of global warming

    Sea ice loss is correlated with warming of Northern latitudes. This has melting effects on permafrost, both in the sea, and on land. Lawrence et al. suggest that current rapid melting of the sea ice may induce a rapid melting of arctic permafrost. This has consequential effects on methane release, and wildlife. Some studies imply a direct link, as they predict cold air passing over ice is replaced by warm air passing over the sea. This warm air carries heat to the permafrost around the Arctic, and melts it. This permafrost then releases huge quantities of methane. Methane release can be gaseous, but is can also be transported in solution by rivers. NewScientist states that “Since existing models do not include feedback effects such as the heat generated by decomposition, the permafrost could melt far faster than generally thought.”

    There is another possible mechanism for rapid methane release. As the Arctic ocean becomes more and more ice free, the ocean absorbs more of the incident energy from the sun. The Arctic ocean becomes warmer than the former ice cover and much more water vapour enters the air. At times when the adjacent land is colder than the sea, this causes rising air above the sea and an off-shore wind as air over the land comes in to replace the rising air over the sea. As the air rises, the dew point is reached and clouds form, releasing latent heat and further reinforcing the buoyancy of the air over the ocean. All this results in air being drawn from the south across the tundra rather than the present situation of cold air flowing toward the south from the cold sinking air over the Arctic ocean. The extra heat being drawn from the south further accelerates the warming of the permafrost and the Arctic ocean with increased release of methane. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_methane_release

  14. Mike#22 says:

    Yet another terrific post.

    “It may prove to be the most devastating weapon ever devised by the mind of man.” Sad. True.

  15. “There are less thermometers where it gets very cold. Peru is nasty cold.”

    Irrelevant to anything in this post. Places get cold. Places will continue to get cold. Just not as often. And there are just as many sweltering hot places with sparse data sites… your assertion is silly.

  16. Prokaryotes says:

    The models used in the new study show that when you greatly increase methane amounts, the OH quickly gets used up, and the extra methane lingers for hundreds of years, producing enough global warming to explain the LTPM climate. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/8/2/747924/-Revealed:-the-secret-evidence-of-global-warming-Bush-tried-to-hide

  17. Bob Wallace says:

    Friendly doesn’t stop and think. Or at least is totally ignorant about the ways of science. Clearly has no idea how sampling works….

    Steve – if ‘feels’ to me as if we’re reaching a climate change tipping point in the US. People are less panicked over the economy and now able to take on other concerns. The message about record rain/snowfalls arising from warmer air is starting to be heard. Clearly people are paying attention to heat waves around the world.

    I’m looking forward to the next couple of Gallup polls on public sentiment.

    Arctic melt took a significant downturn in the last couple of days. We might yet break the 2007 record low ice measurement. Record heat waves, record flooding, record ice melts – it all adds up.

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

  18. Brit says:

    I am a convert after reading Straight Up…
    can you tell me where I can get good info on the connection between warm air and floods etc ? Thanks.

  19. Prokaryotes says:

    Melting glaciers main cause of floods: Prof Khan

    “I have warned everyone about the floods in Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera due to the global warming in my previous interviews but nobody took notice and the result is before us”, he said.
    He remarked that the pace of melting glaciers in Pakistan is faster than any other country and rains could not be held responsible for the recent floods solely.
    “It is the glaciers which are adding fuel to the fire and due to the melting of glaciers the flood situation is aggravated”, he added.

    Responding to a question, Iqbal Khan said that in Perma Frost situation, the earth at 15,000 feet high from the sea level is in a frozen state.
    He added that there was never a melting process at 18,000 ft but now this level has reached to 20,000 ft which is alarming.
    He said “the situation is how much worst, it is before us that the glaciers upto the height of 20,000 ft have started melting and depleting thus our frozen water reservoirs are diminishing rapidly”.
    Khan stated that over 50 per cent of frozen water resources have been lost and warned that there would be severe water scarcity in coming years.
    About the recent rain spell in the country, Professor Iqbal said the pattern of rainfall has also changed which added to the situation.
    He said earlier, the route of the monsoon rains used to start from the Bay of Bengal and then it routs through Lakhnow, Delhi, Shimla, Northern Areas, Chitral, Peshawar and then other parts of the country.
    He added that the recent rains have changed its route and shifted towards South to Urisa, Maharashtar, Rajputana, southern Punjab, eastern Balochistan and Sindh and as the system was strong it reached to the mountainous areas of Pakistan. http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=111419&Itemid=2

  20. Prokaryotes says:

    West Africa Records Heaviest Rain

    The 2010 rainy season in West Africa has opened with hail storms in Guinea and the heaviest rain in 50 years in northern Chad. Floods have killed at least 80 people and destroyed homes, bridges, septic tanks, livestock, crops and food stocks; dams have broken, and wells and latrines and have been submerged. http://news.peacefmonline.com/social/201008/66433.php

  21. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    According to the US CDC, Europe lost around 70,000 people due to the week-long heatwave of 2003. We had neither the intense smoke of wood and peat fires afflicting Russia, nor the prevalence of alcohol-related drownings, nor the incineration of entire remote villages, nor the sheer duration of extreme temperatures.

    If Russia releases the final death toll from its present climate chaos, it seems likely to be well over 100,000, perhaps over 200,000. Medvedev doubtless has a provisional estimate on his desk showing by far the greatest disaster in Russia since WW2. Thus his abrupt turn on the need to address climate destabilization is entirely predictable – and we’ve yet to see the equally predictable externalization of blame.

    Stand by to see US intransigence in the UNFCCC further isolated as Russian diplomacy is re-orientated.

    Obama’s decision not to make a single speech on climate to support the senate bill has been noted in every nation’s capital. The US negotiator Pershing now promising to “use the tools available” to provide the 17% cut off 2005 doesn’t begin to compensate, as the goal is itself remains derisory. – With the legal UNFCCC baseline of 1990 (on which Bush reneged & Obama followed suit) 17% off 2005 equates to just 3.67% off 1990. Of that, the recession has already cut ~2%, leaving a cut of about 1.67% as the US target for the next 10 years. – Less than the margin of monitoring error.

    For comparison, consider the EU’s current discussions of advancing its unilateral cut from 20% to 30% off 1990 by 2020 (which would entail the UK goal rising from 34% to 42%). That contrast is the measure of US intransigence under Obama – and the real indicator of the foreign policy imperative as to why domestically he chose to do nothing to support the senate bill, knowing that without his leadership it could not pass.

    The arrant folly of the Whitehouse position lies in its refusal to accept liability for its historic emissions, believing that liability to be ruinous. Yet it has, apparently unrecognised, the affordable option of funding the US share of the requisite global carbon recovery program, by which that ongoing liability could be massively reduced over time.

    As for his discredited fig-leaf of ‘republican resistance to climate action’, we’ll know he’s serious about changing course when he pulls the rug from under the deniers’ corrupt funding. All it will take at the outset is a single call to the FBI, followed by global warming being formally classified as “a real and present danger” to the USA.

    Until then, his errant policy is compounding what the Joint Chiefs told him: Global Warming is a threat multiplier to US interests.

    It’s been posted that Joe was furious at his brother’s house being lost to Katrina – So try to imagine having your whole village wiped out by wildfire, or by landslide, or by flood, or by slow starvation, due largely to decades of US fossil-fuelled corruption. How angry are you ?

    I suggest its time Americans got very angry indeed with Obama’s inherited, incompetent and reckless international climate strategy.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    Lewis, #21 “How angry are you ?”

    None. Humanity is flawed, and to say that obama is to blame because he didn’t had his speech – is pretty naive :) People keep BURNING fossil stuff – pollute the earth and no real action, it will just get worse.

  23. Charles Becker says:

    Peru’s capital Lima seems to be enjoying moderate temps., between 55-65F. Not exactly brutal.

  24. Bob Wallace says:

    Lewis – how about aiming your anger toward those who have prevented a climate bill from being created?

    Presidents do not write legislation, Congress writes legislation and presidents sign legislation into law afterward.

    If you want a villain to attack might I suggest Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell? McConnell and his party of NO! are 100% responsible for us not addressing climate change.

    There is no speech that anyone can give that will override the decision of the Republican Party to block energy and climate action.

  25. From Peru says:

    My country has been named.

    Yes, it is freaking cold in Lima, Peru(it’s Winter). But one neeeds the bigger picture. Check these maps of NOAA:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/fnl/sfctmpmer_01b.fnl.html

    There is a very cold area in Argentina and Bolivia, heading to Peru.

    At the same time there are WARM ANOMALIES IN ANTARCTICA.

    It seems that something similar to the 2009-2010 boreal winter has happened here: cold polar air left the polar circle, causing cold snaps in the temperate and subtropical regions, while warm air enters in the Pole.

    At the same time, there is La Niña, with cold waters in front of the Peruvian Coast:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/sst/sst.anom.gif

    It is remarkable that TEMPERATURES ARE SO HIGH WORLDWIDE DESPITE THE COOLING EFFECT OF LA NIÑA

  26. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Prokaryotes –

    You miss the point.

    If you’ve seen your family and your friends and your way of life destroyed, due to climate events you believe result largely from decades of US pollution, which even the new US president has done nothing significant to halt, you are liable to be profoundly angry.

    Maybe that’s hard to imagine while sitting in a comfortable computer chair ?

    Obama’s decision not to make a single speech on climate to advance the senate bill was in my view negligent of his duty of office – and to the extent that current US international climate policy is inherited, incompetent and reckless, Obama, as president, is blameworthy.

    But perhaps you share the not uncommon assumption that while a US president’s domestic policy may be flawed, his foreign policy is above criticism as it is automatically ‘serving American interests’? Certainly I can count on one hand the posts I’ve seen on US sites criticizing US international climate policy. Something to do with those daily childhood sessions ‘pledging allegiance to the flag’ perhaps ?

    As for “no real action” the global problem of global warming demands a global focus on a global treaty committing all nations to comensurate action. Getting the latest electric car, or converting your cess pit to an anaerobic fermenter, however fashionable, is no alternative to that real global action.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  27. flip out medicine and water tablets says:

    Time to preemptively deploy disaster assistance to Pakistan, no? Unless there are special security concerns. Check out the long range forecast for Peshawar.

  28. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Bob Wallace –

    Had he chosen to apply them, the president had many avenues for action to get the bill past the senate, of which speaking on the issue clearly, determinedly and often was only one.

    There was no garantee of success, but had he pulled all the levers, there was a very good chance. Had he done so, then regardless of the senate vote, the deniers could have been largely discredited by now, and the US public would be far better informed, and the republicans would thus be starting to split over the issue.

    As it was, he chose to do nothing much at all, while knowing full well the heavy political damage the bill’s dying-snail demise would do to democratic prospects in November – and thus to future congress & senate votes.

    And you still believe that not even trying was his best option for domestic political reasons ?

    Regards,

    Lewis

  29. Eve says:

    In reference to the comments about civil disobedience – where are the
    youth of America? An earlier generation marched for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam. Why dont we see hundreds of thousands of
    demonstrators in the street?

    In reference to the proportion of heat records to cold records in the
    summer of 2010, I hope Dr. Rommm will follow up on this when the summer is over. It also seems to me that there have been more major floods
    in recent years – any stats on this?

  30. Bob Wallace says:

    Lewis – This claim, I think, requires some sort of proof…

    On Obama’s failure to give THE speech that would have created a climate bill – “There was no garantee of success, but had he pulled all the levers, there was a very good chance.”

    I’d like to see your calculations of how a rip-roaring speech would have crumbled the will of the Republican Party.

    And “As it was, he chose to do nothing much at all, while knowing full well the heavy political damage the bill’s dying-snail demise would do to democratic prospects in November….”

    Please explain how Democratic prospects in November will be hurt by the lack of a climate bill? Do you think disappointed Democrats will vote for Republicans in an attempt to get a climate bill next year or the year after?

    Is it not possible that a climate bill might hurt Democrats in November? Might it be possible that political calculations were made and it was decided that there was enough to explain this fall with the finance and health bills. That trying to get the good news about those bills out to voters over the tops of Republican lies would be task enough?

    Might it have been that there are things which need to be included in a good climate bill that would have been usable by the Republicans as weapons against the Democrats this fall? And that it was decided that giving them these elections could mean loss of control in Congress and then two years of getting nothing done.

    I don’t know why the decision was made to not go forward with a climate bill at this time, perhaps it was clear that there was zero chance of passing until after the election. And that unsuccessful efforts on the part of the president and congressional leaders would paint a picture of failure.

    There could even be a deal with the more centrist Republicans to vote a bill through after November when they won’t have to immediately face their party’s voters.

    Now, I’ve laid out a whole range of possible explanations of why the decision was made to cool it for a while. I did so because I find myself unhappy with your attempt to make the bill’s failure due to the lack of a speech or a few speeches by President Obama. Life just is not that simple.

    That Barrack Obama chose not to jump up and down in the bully pulpit for a climate change bill was almost certainly an active decision and not a failure to act on his part. He’s just too damned smart to let stuff like that slip by unnoticed.

  31. MarkB says:

    Posted something similar at Revkin’s blog:

    Both wildfires and extreme precipitation events are indeed projected to increase with global warming. But it’s not just a matter of projections and anecdotal evidence. It’s a matter of trends over the 20th century as well. The United States has seen an increase in extreme precipitation events (see U.S. Climate Extremes Index), global warming has been indisputably linked to more wildfire activity.

    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2006-07-06-climate-fires_x.htm

    Here are some direct quotes from the IPCC report:

    Russia observations:

    “Decreasing rain and increasing temperature by over 1°C have caused droughts”

    “An increase in occurrence of extreme weather events including
    heatwave and intense precipitation events is also projected in
    South Asia, East Asia, and South-East Asia (Emori et al., 2000;
    Kato et al., 2000; Sato, 2000; Lal, 2003; Rupa Kumar et al., 2003;
    Hasumi and Emori, 2004; Ichikawa, 2004; May, 2004b; Walsh,
    2004; JapanMeteorologicalAgency, 2005; Kurihara et al., 2005)
    along with an increase in the interannual variability of daily
    precipitation in theAsian summer monsoon (Lal et al., 2000;May,
    2004a; Giorgi and Bi, 2005).”

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter10.pdf

    And the events that are happening now will seem like nothing compared to later this century. We have roughly half of our politicians obsessed with short-term interests and fossil fuel lobbyists, some flat-out denying science, while thermostat is slowly turned up.

  32. villabolo says:

    Joe says:

    “Note: I no longer think that the UAH satellite dataset should be relied on for monthly comparisons.”

    Forgive my ignorance on this matter but whom is Roy Spencer answerable to and how can he be removed from his position?

  33. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Bob –

    “Had he chosen to apply them, the president had many avenues for action to get the bill past the senate, of which speaking on the issue clearly, determinedly and often was only one.”

    The above makes no claim that a single speech could have been enough. On the contrary, it remarks the many avenues for supportive action, of which speaking (often) was only one.

    Damage to democratic prospects was not in my view due to the lack of a climate bill as you suggest, but to the long-drawn spectacle of “the bill’s dying-snail demise” with all its successive fruitless compromises, farcical bipartisan ‘supporters’ and managerial fumbling. Without the president’s clear unequivocal backing, democratic senators became steadily less keen to speak out on its merits, leaving them looking increasingly feeble to the electorate as the deniers made hay. I gather that “Americans don’t like losers” ?

    I’d agree that Obama’s inaction was entirely intentional – had he wanted a bill this year, he’d have begun a public education effort long ago, and also have seen to it that the deniers’ corrupt funding was exposed to public scrutiny. With those two seminal changes and a limited bill achieved, the massive global climate damages now ongoing could have been emphasized as unequivocal confirmation of the need for action, to very good effect in November.

    But these are might have beens. Obama’s focus on stonewalling the international negotiations is the critical global issue, for all few Americans seem to recognize it as being remotely significant to their lives.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  34. Leland Palmer says:

    Well, if the Russians think that they are being harmed by global heating, they ought to file a civil suit against ExxonMobil, in my opinion. Since ExxonMobil’s products have produced roughly five percent of all historical CO2 emissions, several trillion dollars in real damages ought to cover it.

    Not to mention punitive damages, of course.

    Countries, corporations, and individuals who think they have been impacted should sue, IMO. ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal should be on the top of the list.

    If American assets are protected by the President or the Congress, countries should start seizing assets that reside within their borders, IMO, or suing in foreign courts.

    If ExxonMobil or the other oil and coal corporations run out of money, the investors such as the Rockefeller family shold be held liable.

  35. Prokaryotes says:

    Lewis, as Bob Wallace notes
    “I’d like to see your calculations of how a rip-roaring speech would have crumbled the will of the Republican Party.”

    It’s just Stall, Stall, Stall …

  36. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Prokaryotes –

    as I wrote to Bob in a post now in moderation –

    “Had he chosen to apply them, the president had many avenues for action to get the bill past the senate, of which speaking on the issue clearly, determinedly and often was only one.

    The above makes no claim that a single speech could have been enough. On the contrary, it remarks the many avenues for supportive action, of which speaking (often) was only one.”

    Distorting what has been said to make it easier to critique appears to show a lack of cogent counter-arguments. Why bother ?

    Regards,

    Lewis

  37. MarkB says:

    Roy Spencer is answerable to Rush Limbaugh. According to Limbaugh, Spencer is his “official climatologist”. If Spencer steps out of line and declares global warming to be a serious problem, Limbaugh dumps him in an instant.

    In all seriousness, I don’t think Spencer’s poor track record involving a series of mistakes in his data product is immediate cause for dismissal. It makes his work less credible, but scientists are human, and make mistakes. The fact that essentially all of the major corrections to his data have been in the warming direction is suspect, I suppose, and it could be said that Spencer’s approach to measurement is assuming it’s cooling until proven otherwise. But I also think there is a role for contrarians in science, as kind of a way for scientists to verify their own work and see if anything has been missed. Where the Spencer types become problematic is when legions of fanatics take them too seriously, propping them up as supreme experts, blissfully unaware of their dubious scientific track record or obvious bias.

    I find Spencer’s cozy relationship with Limbaugh to be of greater significance. Mistakes can always be good faith errors. There’s no good reason to assertively provide regular talking points to Rush Limbaugh, ranging from policy talk to downplaying the oil spill in the gulf.

  38. Prokaryotes says:

    Lewis, i agree with you he could and “still” can do more. And that’s what i expect to happen as i noted the other day. To just blame the president misses the political situation, because the main reason why we do not have a clean economy is because of the oil/gas lobby – republicans for the most part. And Obama is speaking about the implications of fossil energy – just it isn’t this urgency – you and i would like to see.

  39. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Prokaryotes –

    thanks for your response. I well agree that he can and at some point will do more; where we differ is over the reasons for his inaction to date.

    You see the circus of republican opposition as the reason,
    while I find that hysteria insufficient to explain it,
    particularly as it has extended even to the lack of any effort at all on public education or exposing the deniers’ corruption, both of which must be done before serious action will become feasible with the public.

    For many years I’ve been focussed on the development of the necessary treaty, and have watched US policy of deferment of action in its various stages. Post Clinton, the outright brinkmanship began, with the bigotted buffoon Bolton placed in the UN to demonstrate utter disinterest.

    Under Obama the policy’s appearance is more civilized but it is still an utter stonewalling in function – take the US offer at Copenhagen, whereby in 2050 each American would have had around three times the emissions rights of each Chinese – 40 years hence !

    The stakes for the US, as a great power passing its peak of dominance are of course immense, so it is scarcely surprising that little movement is seen. But in view of those stakes, running the policy of a brinkmanship of inaction actually demands just that domestically – near total inaction. Thus for Obama to have campaigned hard enough to get a senate bill would have conflicted directly with that paramount requirement to face down China: it would have signalled an end to stasis.

    As I see clearly the reasons for the US to get beyond brinkmanship, in terms of accelerating climate risk, rising Chinese clout, and falling international support for US delays, explaining US adherence to its outdated strategy is not easy to do.

    – Nationalism, which Einstein described as “the measles of humanity” [i.e. a childhood ailment] has a lot to answer for I think.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  40. Peter Mizla says:

    All very interesting posts- I continue to learn about climate science and the present day threats of AGW. I first began to read about climate change back in 1997-98- -over the last months I have had to reeducate myself and learn again,

    On Methane Hydrates- after reading ‘Storms of my Grandchildren’ Hansen says they are now totally replenished after the PETM – 55 million years ago- if these can be released by a ‘positive feedback’ we are in even deeper trouble then we already are- what amount of warming will trigger these.

    As for the continued denial of science by the Media – they are still under the impression we face no great threats currently from AGW- They do not understand that CO2 levels this high are becoming increasingly dangerous. The media has made the wrong decision in downplaying the growing number of worldwide droughts, floods and record high temperatures as ‘ordinary News’, Their silence is deafening and unfortunate.

  41. fj2 says:

    Off-topic but, once civilization no longer requires high-energy densities cars and many other wasteful practices will become a thing of the past.

  42. Leland Palmer says:

    Here in California, it has been unseasonably cool this summer, along the coast.

    All up and down the coast, the usual June glooms have not given way to the usual bright days of summer in July.

    The water off the California coast is very cold, for this time of year. There hasn’t been such a huge cold water anomaly off the California coast for about 10 years. Surfers, weather forecasters, and oceanographers have noticed this anomaly, and have been puzzled by it, all up and down the California west coast.

    I wonder myself about he melting ice in the Arctic, and wonder if that cold water is being brought south by the California current. It could also be a naturally occurring anomaly, or perhaps something connected to El Nino.

    So long as we have icecaps and cold deep water in the oceans, at least, there are going to be places where it’s “freaking cold”. There are going to be heavy snowfalls, in the winter, due to increased water vapor in the atmosphere.

    I don’t know if the water off the California coast is colder because of melting ice in the Arctic or not, but that cold water does have to go somewhere.

  43. Do hope that time prooves me wrong but it’ll be a long time before official Russia is clearly outspoken on the global warming and is ready to reduce it’s emmissions in any meaningful way.
    I happen to be a native Russian speaker and when watching the news reals on the official tv channels( there are no independent ones, mind you, except on the web) there was not a single mention of such a callocation as “global warming” or “greenhouse gases” or “climate change”. Not a single time!
    I wonder if the quotes by Medvedev in the article above and made to a foreign audience will ever leak into national media. Besides the country is still half a century behind with its delapidated infrastructure.
    The billions it makes in petrodollars are only going to support extravagant lifestyles of the oligarchs and mainly settle at swiss accounts and with their kids and wives living in London. These barons just regard the godforsaken country as their raw materials ethel and thievedom (pun intended).
    Besides all the farse and lunacy that is happening on foxnews etc. is nothing compared to what the public are stuffed with and forced to believe in Russia.
    It’ll be at least a quarter of a century before the new net-generation takes over but then again most of the sane ones emmigrate to London, Berlin and the like.

  44. Mark says:

    Here’s a good of example of what Obama can do when he wants something:

    remember his health care triumph?

    “On Monday, Obama flew on Air Force One with Kucinich to a health-care rally to the lawmaker’s home state of Ohio. During the flight, Obama pressed Kucinich on the merits of the bill. Obama also brought Kucinich to the White House along with other members of Congress, though Kucinich left that meeting indicating he would still oppose the bill.

    Obama’s ability to sway Kucinich undermines the White House’s longstanding position that it couldn’t get a public option through Congress because it didn’t have the votes. The president, it turns out, does have the ability to sway a member of Congress, even one as committed to a position as Kucinich.

    “He’s always persuasive,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who was also on Air Force One with Kucinich and Obama.”

    quite a bit different than the do nothing approach Obama took to the climate change failure.

  45. Mark says:

    In Canada the Provincial premiers are meeting, today, as forest fires wreak havoc in B.C., and Saskatchewan is drowning.

    Climate change,…… not on the agenda.

  46. Peter Mizla says:

    Obama did something that every President has failed to do since FDR-who wanted health care bundled with Social Security, and Harry Truman who wanted nationalized health care in 1946-with his ‘Fair Deal’.

    JFK attempted to pass medicare-but fell 2 votes short in the Senate- with the sweeping Democratic landslide in 1964-LBJ helped pass medicare in 1965.

    Nixon wanted to reform health care but failed- Carter failed- and Clinton failed- the GOP after Nixon basically has been against health reform.

    With climate change-Obama realizes the primary concern for most Americans is the economy. Yes we here, and other blogs have a strong fundamental understanding of the growing risks we face- very dangerous as they are with a CO2 levels not this high in millions of years- and rising rapidly.

    The President and his advisers know what we know-perhaps more- they realize we are in deep trouble. However convincing many in congress of the dire situation we face will prove more difficult.

    There are large segments of the American populace who have little or no understanding that they, their children and grandchildren have the prospects of a hellish future that will transform our civilization.

    The time when the public demands action could be a year away-a few years away or a decade away- its like ‘waiting for the big hush’ when a cascade of dominoes falls- and creates a seminal point in global history.

  47. Brooks Bridges says:

    #29 Eve says:
    “where are the youth of America?

    I don’t think it will be long before it’ll be “Shoot anyone over thirty” when they wake up to how badly the older generations have ruined the planet.

    And there is a federal agency which has been collecting statistics on extreme weather events for like 100 years. And yes, they’ve shown a pattern very similar to temperatures – trending increasing in magnitude and frequency (both I think). I don’t know the name and must get moving.

  48. Friendly Smith says:

    I encourage Americans to vote on cap and trade. Yesterday Citizens in Missouri expressed their opinion on Obamascare.

  49. AlanH says:

    I’m starting to wonder if “the powers that be” and the ultra-wealthy are actually looking forward to global warming. They would be the ones in the best position to adapt (assuming the entire planet doesn’t become uninhabitable,) and they might be seeing this as the golden opportunity to remake the world to their liking.

  50. Peter Mizla says:

    #49 Brooks Bridges

    where is the youth of America? Wrapped up in their I Pods and other assorted wonders- they could care less that their futures are so endangered—when the junk really begins to affect the whole of society- the 21st century till 2050 will take on a very dark tone.

  51. SecularAnimist says:

    Friendly Smith wrote: “I encourage Americans to vote on cap and trade. Yesterday Citizens in Missouri expressed their opinion on Obamascare.”

    I encourage you to develop the capacity for independent thought and stop being a mental slave of Rush Limbaugh.

  52. thethinkingman says:

    So why aren’t you all pushing for a world wide nuclear power generation program?

    It solves a huge slug of the CO2 issue with available technology and means that many villages in the third world can be connected to the grid and so reduce deforestation for cooking.

    What’s the hold up if this thing is so urgent?

    [JR: Huh? We have been pushing as hard as possible for low carbon energy. Not sure why we should pick the most expensive one, but in any case, I prefer the market pick the cheapest.]

  53. Prokaryotes says:

    AlanH “they might be seeing this as the golden opportunity to remake the world to their liking.”

    I’m not saying there isn’t such agenda, but any scenario we going to approach will disrupt current way of life. Meaning you have to live in shelters for 10.000 – 100.000 years. With inaction we miss the chance for globalized action, maybe the only chance we got. Lovelock says to settle at the poles – but there you will have methane bubbles hovering the surface and uptake in seismic activities.

  54. Mark says:

    Tim L. says:
    August 4, 2010 at 9:03 am
    Bill McKibben nails it with his piece in today’s L.A. Times.

    http://www.latimes.com/ news/ opinion/ commentary/ la-oe-mckibben-climate-20100804,0,7179186.story

    just read that, thanks. He’s right, time to get angry. The time for politeness is long past.

    maybe partly a response to the challenge issued here by Joe Romm after the Harry Reid, Kerry, Obama, Emmanuel and the rest of the appeaser -duds slunk off to their lairs to hide and work out excuses, and add up their donations from oil/coal.

  55. NeilT says:

    #54, the UK has taken that decision. The contracts are signed (well they were in 2009), EDF is on the case and is ramping up to do the job. We’ll see the first one come on line in………….. 2018 – 2020.

    Secondly we’ll hit peak Oil about 2030 to 2040 and still have enough resources to see us through to the next century. If we snapped our fingers and changed over to Nuclear tomorrow we would hit peak Uranium (reactor compatible), by 2020.

    It just doesn’t make sense. Nuclear is NOT renewable, has horrendous by-product and is a constant threat to our environment if anything should go wrong. OK Chernobyl really pushed the boat out to blow the reactor up (I read the IAA report), but the point is the potential is there.

    HDR Geothermal, on the other hand, is viable and everywhere. OK they have to get their heads out of their backsides on how to transfer that energy in a renewable fashion, but it’s 24×7, there and viable NOW.

    If we were to push 20% of the cost of Nuclear into HDR Geothermal we would have baseload power in a decade. Oh and the source energy is free, we just have to pay for the mechanics of recovering it…….

    I’m sure the Energy companies would *love* Nuclear though……

  56. Hi Joe,

    To illustrate the increasing frequency of extreme high temps in a warming world, Climate Central performed a statistical analysis and created “postcards from the future” graphics that you and your readers may find useful. You can find them at: http://www.climatecentral.org/gallery/collections/july_heat

    Cheers,

    -Andrew

  57. SecularAnimist says:

    My last two comments posted to this site (one yesterday on the Volt thread, and one earlier today on this thread) that were “awaiting moderation” never appeared. Was there something wrong with them?

  58. Robert says:

    “Yes. I admit it. The USA has a climate weapon: The greatest cumulative emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases of any country in the world with no political backbone to do anything about that for the foreseeable future. It may prove to be the most devastating weapon ever devised by the mind of man. Sadly, though, it ain’t a test.”

    There may be a grain of truth in this, as pointed out by AlanH #51. The US is well armed and one of the main benefactors of the burning of fossil fuels. It has a relatively low population density in an overpopulated world. If emissions continue on their current path the US will be best placed to win wars and generally pick up the pieces as the deteriorating climate wreaks havok around the globe.

    p.s. I’m a Brit!

  59. Bob Wallace says:

    Lewis – wrote a reply but it’s disappeared into moderation. Along with a reply to Eve.

  60. SecularAnimist says:

    thethinkingman wrote: “So why aren’t you all pushing for a world wide nuclear power generation program?”

    Because it is an extremely ineffective way to reduce CO2 emissions, and would achieve that extreme lack of effectiveness at tremendous cost, and in addition brings massive toxic pollution and grave dangers of nuclear weapons proliferation.

    Fortunately there is no need for a “world wide nuclear power generation program” since we have vast solar and wind energy resources that are far more than sufficient to produce all the energy we will ever need, forever, at much lower cost, with none of the very real dangers and harms of nuclear power.

    In short nuclear power is unneeded, ineffective, costly and dangerous.

  61. MapleLeaf says:

    SecularAlarmist@58,

    Almost all my long comments go to moderation. One of my comments was in limbo for quite some time (a day?), but did eventually come through. I’m thinking it is more an issue with the blog software than the content of your comments, which if I recall, are very reasonable. And/or Dr. Romm is just extremely busy and misses some.

    Maybe email Dr. Romm and ask?

  62. SecularAnimist says:

    thethinkingman wrote: “Nuclear is the cheapest, not the most expensive …”

    Absolutely false.

    thethinkingman wrote: “If you are seriously concerned about CO2 the only quick and inexpensive solution is nuclear.”

    Absolutely false. Nuclear is neither “quick” nor “inexpensive”.

    thethinkingman wrote: “As for the market, it will choose nuclear before wind , solar and the like because it is cheap and viable.”

    Again, absolutely false. “The market” has already chosen wind and solar over nuclear power.

    “The market” has already concluded that nuclear power is an economic failure. It could not compete with coal and natural gas in the past and it cannot compete with wind and solar today.

    That’s exactly why “the market” won’t even touch nuclear power — and the nuclear industry’s own advocates admit they won’t stick a shovel in the ground to build even ONE new nuclear power plant unless the taxpayers and ratepayers are compelled to pay all the costs up front and absorb all the risks — including the risk of economic losses if the plant turns out to be unprofitable to operate once it is built.

    Meanwhile tens of millions of dollars in private capital are pouring into wind and solar every year, which are the fastest growing sources of new energy generation in the world, growing at record-breaking double-digit rates year after year. Wind and solar together already account for more than half of all new electricity generation capacity being built in the USA.

    With all due respect, you really don’t know what the hell you are talking about. You are repeating scripted talking points and you don’t have a clue about what is actually happening in the real world.

  63. AlanH says:

    @thethinkingman:

    Nuclear plants can take a decade to build. They cost billions of dollars, which of course is transferred to ratepayers and taxpayers. Every weld, bolt and yard of concrete is supposed to be inspected and signed off on due to the radiation hazard. The fuel has to be mined, processed and transported. There would have to be hundreds built in the US alone to replace conventional power plants. The waste storage problem would grow by orders of magnitude. And after all that effort, you would still have to transition to wind, solar and other renewables after the available fuel runs out. It just doesn’t make sense. As a part of the puzzle perhaps, but it’s not the solution.

  64. James Newberry says:

    To thethinkingman, #61: “you have the right to your own opinions but not your own facts”

    Atomic fission is just the other side of the disaster of fossil “fuels” in the 21st century and some of it’s problems were nicely sumerized in the previous comment.

    Even a corrupt Wall Street won’t touch it without gaming the finances again by raiding the US Treasury (and risking socialized meltdowns in more ways than money).

  65. Michael Tucker says:

    Nuclear is a very poor choice and I for one hope the US will continue to build more wind and solar but the sad fact is: “The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported on July 27 that only 700 megawatts (MW) of wind power was added in the second quarter (Q2) of 2010, and painted a cloudy picture overall. AWEA noted that Q2 wind power installations dropped by 57% and 71% from 2008 and 2009 levels, respectively. The total installed U.S. wind capacity is now more than 36,300 MW. The trade group also pointed out that manufacturing investment lags below 2008 and 2009 levels.”

    And, even thought “Wind and solar together already account for more than half of all new electricity generation capacity being built in the USA.”, wind and solar together only account for 1% of all US electricity generation. What percent still comes from fossil fuel?

    Since we have no leadership on energy policy at the national level, since we have no plan and since no enthusiasm exists among our national leaders to put a plan in place, the US will continue to fumble along. Without a plan the US will continue to make costly and environmentally dangerous energy choices and further delay the real action that must be taken.

  66. It is impossible to observe what is happening worldwide and what is happening in the Arctic and the sea level’s inexorable rise along Florida’s coastline without recognizing that the worst case scenario has already begun and before the end of this century something really horrendous is going to happen to humankind on the Earth.

    It is impossible to watch democracy fail in the United States (polluting corporations own the government, Republican and Democrat inclusive), diplomacy fail worldwide, and desperation economics as the world slowly slides into terminal decline without realizing that humankind has indeed run out of time and the species has exhausted every opportunity to avoid extinction.

    It is impossible to look at this planet as it has suffered globally from pollution, environmental destruction, extinction, resource depletion and overpopulation without realizing that extinction is a perfectly just fate for a species which is so devoted to violence and destruction that it cannot ever break from those habits even when disaster looms on the horizon.

    I’d say I’ve thoroughly given up … fortunately I do live in a beautiful place and love beauty.

  67. NeilT says:

    A while back I took some time off to do a few small calculations on wind and solar energy.

    I calculated out the average vaibility of the wind farms in the UK (28%) against the largest and highest power wind turbine and the landmass of the UK.

    I found that to produce 50% of the baseload power being generated in the UK today we would need one wind turbine at 100 yds separation on every single square mile of the UK.

    Then of course it only generates power when the wind blows. And Solar only generates power when the sun is shining. The UK is often a wet, dreary, windy and cloud covered nation.

    Add to that the fact that current solar cells have a lifetime of 10-15 years and it takes 10-15 yeras to recoup the investment in putting the solar cells out in the first place and you pretty soon begin to realise that wind and solar are a nice to have.

    There is a reason why renwables are not taking happening right now and why we still have so many fossil fuel stations and why governments are pushing for Nuclear.

    It is the same reason you will never hear me promote any other green energy than HDR geothermal. Because it’s the only green power source that is guaranteed to replace the baseload power 24×7 366.

    If you doubt me, try convincing the Swedes that Solar will provide their energy needs in Winter. In order to have a global solution, we need to think globally. Having a California or Arizona sloution to energy isn’t going to help northern China in winter. Or Alaska for that matter.

  68. SecularAnimist says:

    NeilT wrote: “… current solar cells have a lifetime of 10-15 years and it takes 10-15 yeras to recoup the investment in putting the solar cells out in the first place …”

    Absolutely false. Where do you get this nonsense?

    Modern mass-market photovoltaic panels are typically guaranteed for 25-30 years and they recoup the investment (both the financial cost and the energy invested in their manufacture) in a small fraction of that time.

    NeilT wrote: “There is a reason why renwables are not taking happening right now”

    No, there is a reason why renewables ARE “taking happening right now” — wind and solar are the fastest growing sources of new energy generation in the world, by a long shot, and are growing at record-breaking double-digit rates year after year.

    According to WorldWatch Institute’s Renewables 2010 Global Status Report:

    “… investment in new renewable power capacity in both 2008 and 2009 represented over half of total global investment in new power
    generation … Grid-connected solar PV has grown by an average of 60 percent every year for the past decade, increasing 100-fold since 2000. During the past five years from 2005 to 2009, consistent high growth year-after-year marked virtually every other renewable technology. During those five years, wind power capacity grew an average of 27 percent annually, solar hot water by 19 percent annually … For the second year in a row, in both the United States and Europe, more renewable power capacity was added than conventional power capacity (coal, gas, nuclear). Renewables accounted for 60 percent of newly installed power capacity in Europe in 2009, and nearly 20 percent of annual power production.”

    NeilT wrote: “If you doubt me, try convincing the Swedes that Solar will provide their energy needs in Winter.”

    In 2005 the Swedish government appointed a commission which developed a plan to make Sweden an “oil-free society” by 2020. And how do they plan to accomplish this? “Technical solutions under consideration include the further development of domestically grown biofuels, solar cells, fuel cells, wind farms, wave energy, a major increase in district heating schemes and greater use of geothermal heat pumps.”

    With all due respect, you are quite ill-informed on this subject, and I suggest that you put aside your back-of-the-envelope calculations based on false assumptions and misinformation, and do some reading about what is really going on in the world.

  69. Michael says:

    #43 (Leland Palmer),

    The most likely explanation for the cold water off California is the negative PDO, which, while making it cold there, obviously isn’t having the supposed effect (according to deniers) on the global climate.

    Also, From Peru (#25) mentioned La Nina; the reason it is still so warm is because there is a lag, around 6 months, so we are actually still seeing the effects of El Nino right now, if down from the peak earlier this year. Something similar can be see with the last El Nino-La Nina transition; global temperature anomalies (GISS) peaked in early 2007, then leveled off before dropping at the end of the year and into early 2008. Also, since El Nino lasted longer this year (and was stronger, 4th strongest on record), it can be expected that the temperature peak will also last longer (taking into account the relative anomalies in winter and summer, with the highest global anomalies usually occurring during the NH winter).

    On the other hand, La Nina is already noticeably stronger than at this time in 2007, despite developing later (see here, notice the North Pacific anomalies as well), and I expect that we’ll be hearing a lot from the deniers in 6 months or so…

  70. Paulm says:

    #10 steve, have to agree with you on this.

    When can an extreme event be classified as having be due to the warming we are experiencing?
    I certainly think an event which fall in a given expected pattern is highly probable due to gw forcing and should be attributed as such.

  71. Mike says:

    I still have not found much the connects climate change with the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan. It is still hard for GCMs to model
    regional impacts. While there has been progress on this for some regions, I do not think there has been enough focus on Pakistan. I did find this:

    Daily Times
    Saturday, May 01, 2010
    Climate change may trigger droughts, floods in Pakistan

    ISLAMABAD: There is an urgent need to come up with a national plan to avoid the consequences of climate change, as it will alter the temporal and spatial patterns of precipitation and trigger droughts, mudslides, typhoons, cyclones, and floods in the country.

    This was the consensus reached by speakers at a national conference on “Integrated Water Resource Management to Address Climate Change in Pakistan”, organised by the Sindh Coastal Areas Network (SCAN) in collaboration with the Freshwater Action Network-South Asia (FANSA) under the auspices of the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) at a local hotel on Friday.

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201051\story_1-5-2010_pg7_17

    I could not find primary documents.

  72. Robert says:

    David #68

    Both the current and projected seal level rises are quite modest, as this graph shows:

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Recent_Sea_Level_Rise.png

    I agree with your general pessimism about mankind’s long term future but SLR does not seem to be the most pressing threat. Mind you, I live about 130m above sea level! I would place food and water shortages at the top of my list, due to both climate change and fossil fuel exhaustion.

    [JR: Uhh, no. That graph doesn’t show projected sea level rise, which is now expected to be quite high on our current path of unrestricted emissions, most likely enough to generate over 100 million environmental refugees by century’s end.]

  73. NeilT says:

    @70, I tried to reply twice and was late to bed as a result. Both times failed and I’m not going to spend any more time trying to produce a reasoned response you might take note of.

    I give up it’s not worth it. But I DO know what I’m talking about. As will be proven in the next 3 or 4 year.

  74. johna says:

    NeilT wrote: “If you doubt me, try convincing the Swedes that Solar will provide their energy needs in Winter.

    Sweden has the highest share of renewable electricity among all EU nations – 40% and still growing

  75. Robert says:

    Joe, Thanks for the comment on #74. There is obviously great cause for concern that SLR will accelerate well beyond the modest rises predicted in the IPCC AR4, should rate of melt of the polar ice masses shift into high gear. But David (#68) said:

    “It is impossible to observe what is happening worldwide and what is happening in the Arctic and the sea level’s inexorable rise along Florida’s coastline…”

    This is mostly hype. Right now there is not a lot to observe. The rate has been linear for at least a couple of decades at just 3.2 +/- 0.4 mm/year.

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

  76. Arjen says:

    In this and other posts both here and elsewhere, a record is being kept of the record highs all over the world. It is at 16 and counting, if I’ve remembered correctly. Is someone doing the same for extreme precipation events? We have had quite a few this year and I’m wondering how this year stacks up to others in this respect as well.

  77. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Argen – given that NOAA shows there’s a temperature anomally of more than 20C over central Antarctica at present, I wonder if that should be raised to 17 new records so far this year ?

    Regards,

    Lewis