Global boiling fuels disasters in nuclear nations

Masters: “The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 continues…. Thousands of deaths, severe fires, and the threat of radioactive contamination”

Prior to this year, the hottest temperature in Moscow’s history was 37.2°C (99°F), set in August 1920. The Moscow Observatory has now matched or exceeded this 1920 all-time record five times in the past eleven days, including today….

soil moisture in some portions of European Russia has dropped to levels one would expect only once every 500 years.

That’s meteorologist Jeff Masters writing about “One of the most remarkable weather events of my lifetime.”  The impact of the decline in soil moisture, along with the epic heat and fires, has been devastating, causing Russia to ban wheat exports.  Coupled with extreme weather around the globe, it has helped nearly double wheat prices since June.

Sharp and long-lasting declines in soil moisture over much of the planet’s habited landmass are a major prediction of climate science, something I’ve called “DUST-BOWL-IFICATION” (since readers pointed out to me that many deserts really aren’t so bad).  Here’s what the recent scientific literature says we face in the second half of the century if we stay anywhere near our current emissions path:


Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research projects moderate drought over half the habited land, plus the loss of all inland glaciers that provide water to many tens of millions.

The unexpectedly rapid expansion of the tropical belt constitutes yet another signal that climate change is occurring sooner than expected,” noted one climate researcher in December 2007. A 2008 study led by NOAA noted, “A poleward expansion of the tropics is likely to bring even drier conditions to” the U.S. Southwest, Mexico, Australia and parts of Africa and South America.”

In 2007, Science (subs. req’d) published research that “predicted a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest” “” levels of aridity comparable to the 1930s Dust Bowl would stretch from Kansas to California. And they were only looking at a 720 ppm case! The Dust Bowl was a sustained decrease in soil moisture of about 15% (“which is calculated by subtracting evaporation from precipitation”).

A NOAA-led study similary found permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe on our current emissions trajectory (and irreversibly so for 1000 years). And as I have discussed, future droughts will be fundamentally different from all previous droughts that humanity has experienced because they will be very hot weather droughts (see Must-have PPT: The “global-change-type drought” and the future of extreme weather).

I should note that even the “moderate drought over half the planet”³ scenario from the Hadley Center is based on 850 ppm (in 2100). Princeton has done an analysis on “Century-scale change in water availability: CO2-quadrupling experiment,” which is to say 1100 ppm. The grim result: Most of the South and Southwest ultimately sees a 20% to 50% (!) decline in soil moisture.

We risk such high emissions concentrations on our current emissions path (see U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: “Recent observations confirm “¦ the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised” “” 1000 ppm).

See also Australian Scientists: Contrary to media reports, “our paper does not discount climate change as playing a role in this most recent drought, the ‘Big Dry’. In fact, there are indications that climate change has worsened this recent drought.”

More from Masters on Russia:

Thousands of deaths, severe fires, and the threat of radioactive contamination
The extreme heat has led to thousands of premature deaths in Russia. According to Yevgenia Smirnova, an official from the Moscow registry office, “We recorded 14,340 deaths in Moscow in July, that is 4,824 deaths more than in July, 2009.” Undoubtedly thousands of additional premature deaths have occurred in the rest of Russia as a result of the heat. The heat has also caused the worst drought conditions in European Russia in a half-century, prompting the Russian government to suspend wheat exports.

The drought has caused extreme fire danger over most of European Russia (Figure 3), and fires in Russia have killed at least 50 people in the past week and leveled thousands of homes. The fires are the worst since 1972, when massive forest and peat bog fires burned an area of 100,000 square km and killed at 104 people in the Moscow region alone. Smoke from the current fires spans a region over 3,000 km (1,860 miles) from east to west, approximately the distance from San Francisco to Chicago. Dozens of flights were canceled at Moscow’s airports today, thanks to visibilities of 300 meters in smoke. Also of concern is fires that have hit the Bryansk region of western Russia, which suffered radioactive contamination from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in nearby Ukraine. There are fears that fires may burn through the contaminated area, releasing harmful radiation into the atmosphere.


Finally, Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson writes“Fueled by the buildup of fossil fuel pollution, the world’s out-of-control climate is destabilizing many of the nations that control nuclear weapons, including Russia, China, North Korea, India, and Pakistan. Thousands have died in fires and floods, millions left homeless, and crops failed in the withering heat, the greatest the modern world has ever faced:”

RUSSIA Moscow has reached 102.2° F, after never before even breaking the 100-degree mark in recorded history. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev have flooded the airwaves in response to outrage over the wildfires and droughts caused by the global heat wave, as officials are forced to admit the situation is out of control. The Russian government has recommended people evacuate Moscow, banned wheat exports, diverted flights, fired senior military officers, and warned the fires could pose a nuclear threat if they reach areas contaminated by Chernobyl. Medvedev called the linked disasters “evidence of this global climate change,” which means “we need to change the way we work, change the methods that we used in the past.”

CHINA The worst flooding ever recorded in northeast China, caused by weeks of torrential rain with no end in sight, has caused nearly $6 billion in damage to water projects there, In addition, “52 people are reported to have died and an additional 20 are missing following rain-triggered floods in central China’s Henan Province.” “In the southwestern province of Yunnan, at least 11 people died and 11 were missing following a landslide caused by heavy rain.”

INDIARecord temperatures in northern India have claimed hundreds of lives in what is believed to be the hottest summer in the country since records began in the late 1800s.” “The death toll in flashfloods that hit the remote mountainous region of Ladakh in Indian-held Kashmir has risen to 103.”

NORTH KOREA “Flooding last month caused serious damage in North Korea, destroying homes, farms, roads and buildings and hurting the economy,” the secretive dictatorship of North Korea admitted yesterday. “About 36,700 acres of farmland was submerged and 5,500 homes and 350 public buildings and facilities were destroyed or flooded,” the official Korean Central News Agency said. “The news agency had previously reported heavy rains fell in the country in mid- to late July, but those earlier reports did not mention flooding or damage. State media in the impoverished, reclusive nation often report news days or weeks after an event takes place.”

PAKISTANIslamist charities, some with suspected ties to militants, stepped in on Monday to provide aid for Pakistanis hit by the worst flooding in memory, piling pressure on a government criticized for its response to the disaster that has so far killed more than 1,000 people.” “Thousands of people are fleeing Pakistan’s most populous areas as devastating floods” that have already affected more than 3 million people “sweep towards the south.” Fatima Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto’s niece, lashed out: “The floods are just the latest, most tragic example of how inept the Pakistani state truly is.”

As warming-fueled disasters grow more intense and more frequent, they put greater pressure on the governments of these nuclear states. This threat to global security was brought to the White House’s attention as far back as 1979, when top scientists warned that global warming “would threaten the stability of food supplies, and would present a further set of intractable problems to organized societies.” As the CNA Corporation wrote in 2007, “climate change is a threat multiplier in already fragile regions, exacerbating conditions that lead to failed states “” the breeding grounds for extremism and terrorism.” The Pentagon’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review recognized that global warming impacts and disasters will “act as an accelerant of instability or conflict.”

In Bonn, international climate negotiations have stalled. Record global temperatures, forest fires in Russia, lethal floods in Pakistan “are all consistent with the kind of changes we could expect from climate change, and they will get worse if we don’t act quickly,” said US negotiator Jonathan Pershing.

116 Responses to Global boiling fuels disasters in nuclear nations

  1. Michele R. Moretti, Esq. says:

    Ironically, this predictable disaster rebuts the ridiculous argument that global warming would be beneficial by creating more arable land or longer growing seasons.

  2. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    “In Bonn, international climate negotiations have stalled. Record global temperatures, forest fires in Russia, lethal floods in Pakistan “are all consistent with the kind of changes we could expect from climate change, and they will get worse if we don’t act quickly,” said US negotiator Jonathan Pershing.”

    Is that the same Jonathan Pershing who affirmed that the US would use “the tools available” to meet its pledge of a 17% cut off 2005 by 2020 ?

    From the world community’s perspective that is a 3.67% cut off the legal 1990 baseline, of which the recession has already achieved ~2%.
    Which indicates that Obama is content for the EPA et al to do no more than the abortive climate bill proposed, which amounts to a 1.67% cut during the whole of the next 10 years.

    And the talks in Bonn are deadlocked ? Surprise, surprise.



  3. It is amazing to see how the NY Times does report on the extreme weather around the world in June and July and now in August as well, but never never adds a statement like “this weather is consistent with scientists’ climate -model predictions as a result of the increasing CO2 concentrations we have put in the earth’s atmosphere.”

    I suggest that it is time to picket their building in NYC. We need to embarrass and pressure the NY Times more publicly. E-mails, telephone calls, even meeting with editors have not changed what is evidently a policy on their part I suppose is mostly economic (advertising). The NY Times could be a huge help in stopping global warming through their generally excellent reporting and reputation here and abroad if only they would only include climate change and global warming into their field of excellence!

  4. Mark says:

    ““are all consistent with the kind of changes we could expect from climate change”

    how nice. how polite. wouldn’t want to exaggerate or overstate now would we?

    I am tired of hearing and reading this gutless, useless, worthless phrase.

    Set up against the scornful, derisive blathering of the no nothings, it has no effect whatsoever. Really, who is this guy talking to?

    ok. we get it. you understand climate change is happening now to the detriment of all living things.

    now do something about it. All you.

    Does anyone have any idea whatsoever what the mortality rate is for wildlife in these places? catastrophic I expect.

    first direct human ancestors, occurred about two million years ago. average species span, two million years. Natural selection at work here.

  5. Berbalang says:

    How about they use the phrase “We are all going to go extinct.” It avoids reference to Global Warming and yet pretty much sums up the situation.

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    More rain lashes Pakistan, deepening flood crisis

    By ASHRAF KHAN and MUNIR AHMED (AP) – 37 minutes ago

    SUKKUR, Pakistan — More rain soaked flood-ravaged Pakistan on Saturday and even heavier downpours were forecast for coming days, deepening a crisis in which hard-line Islamists have rushed to fill gaps in the government’s patchy response.

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    Floodwaters receded somewhat Friday in the northwest, but downpours in the evening and early Saturday again swelled rivers and streams. Pakistani meteorologist Farooq Dar said heavy rains in Afghanistan were expected to make things even worse over the next 36 hours as the bloated Kabul River surged into Pakistan’s northwest.

  8. Colorado Bob says:

    Pollution from peat and forest fires raging around Moscow surged to new highs on Saturday as Muscovites continued to flee the choking smog that has shrouded the city.

    Officials said carbon monoxide had soared to nearly seven times acceptable levels, the highest since Russia’s worst heatwave in more than a century began,

  9. Colorado Bob says:

    This is a key part of the FT story above :

    ” A new Forest Code rubber-stamped by parliament under Vladimir Putin, then Russian president, in 2006 has come under intense criticism for dismantling a federal safety system, transferring responsibility for safety to regional authorities and tenants such as logging companies, which have performed badly.

    Vladimir Chuprov of Moscow’s Greenpeace office said Mr Putin’s reform had left 70,000 forest guards without work, dismantling a monitoring system that would have been of great help in the current situation. “Now no one even knows exactly where the fires are,” he said. “The 120,000 men from the emergency ministry sent to fight the fires don’t even know how to fight forest fires because they are trained only in fighting fires in cities and industrial objects.”

    Sounds like the Republican Party’s ideas at work.

  10. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Bob at 6 –

    “even heavier downpours were forecast for coming days, deepening a crisis in which hard-line Islamists have rushed to fill gaps in the government’s patchy response.”

    Precisely as forecast over the last year in broadcast warnings to Obama by the Joint Chiefs and a series of senior military, the climatic destabilization of a sensitive nation is gaining pace as a threat multiplier.

    As the fundamentalists gain support, so more American troops will be killed, and American hegemony will be further diminished in line with the receding prospect of a dignified withdrawal from the Afghan War.

    Clinging to the inherited policy of climate brinkmanship with China, and thus stonewalling the climate negotiations, clearly conflicts directly with US strategic interests. There is no longer any rational prospect of getting a net-better deal by further prevarication – So when is Obama going to face any popular pressure to review the failed Bush strategy ?

    Given the strange difficulty of arousing any American interest at all in the US negotiating position, I have to live with that fine old line:

    “Patience is the art of not waiting”



  11. Colorado Bob says:

    WARSAW, Poland — Flooding caused by heavy rains has killed at least six people in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic, officials said Saturday.

  12. paulm says:

    So we are going over the edge of the falls of the torrent of AGW.
    We are at 0.8C GW and heading for certain 2-3C GW more.

    The tipping point is not 450ppm, its 1C for civilization.

    I don’t think that the global society can survive the next 0.2C GW thats coming.
    In fact, will we recover from the current situation now in 2010? Probably not.

  13. Colorado Bob says:

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA — 08/07/10 — Farmers in the Prairie Provinces may lose up to $3 billion as a result of this year’s heavy rains and flooding in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, according to BMO Capital Markets Economics.,1415918.html

  14. Wit'sEnd says:

    I have to hand it to you, JR, you called it with “Hell and High Water.”

    I am still puzzling over how Frank Rich can review Alter’s assessment of Obama’s administration so far, and fail to make climate change policy, the most important part of his legacy, a central issue. Or even a vague, glancing mention.

  15. toby says:

    It’s the Urban Heat Island, I tells ya!!!

  16. Lobo says:

    I hate to say this, but I wish this kind of devastating heat wave that Moscow is suffering were occurring in D.C. and/or in the coal belt states. D.C. has had record-breaking temperatures this year but it hasn’t been enough for the MSM to even suggest GW could be a contributing factor. And here’s a CNN article on the break-up of yet another ice sheet in Greenland which you should critique, Joe: 2010/WORLD/americas/08/07/ index.html?eref=rss_topstories&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_topstories+%28RSS%3A+Top+Stories%29

    Notice how at the end they write “environmentalists say that ice melting is being caused by global warming.” Yes, they do (at least many do) but so do the vast majority of climate scientists, the experts on the topic! It’s as if CNN doesn’t want to acknowledge the scientific basis behind global warming for fear of anti-science flak coming their way. This is all quite depressing, but we have no choice but to press on and try to educate the public of the catastrophes both under way, in the making, and those likely to happen if emissions continue unchecked — all in the face of media irresponsibility.

  17. cr says:

    Andy, Andy, Andy:

    “Ike, there’s no way to conclude that either the Pakistan flooding or Russian heat (or South American chill) is “global warming enhanced.” They’re both rare extremes but neither is unprecedented.

    Hotter heat waves and a higher proportion of monsoon rain falling in heavy downpours are projected consequences of the amplified greenhouse effect. You may have missed this post making this point:…”

    Isn’t Russia’s heat wave unprecedented for Russia?

  18. Colorado Bob says:

    Wally’s World
    Thirty-five years ago this week, Wallace Broecker predicted decades of dangerous climate change caused by humans. Unfortunately, he was all too prescient.

    On Aug. 8, 1975, geoscientist Wallace Smith Broecker published “Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” in the journal Science, the first time the iconic phrase “global warming” was used in a scientific paper. Broecker — known by all as Wally — was already a prominent scientist by then, having served on Columbia University’s faculty for 16 years. Today, at age 78, Broecker is recognized as one of the fathers of climate science, with more than 450 journal publications and 10 books to his name, ranging from paleoclimatology to chemical oceanography.

  19. John Howley says:

    When I first saw the headline for this post, I thought perhaps it would address the threat posed by rising temperatures to existing nuclear power plants.

    At least one potential problem is shortages of water for cooling operations.

  20. @Lobo: Andy Revkin does point out the link (
    Jason E. Box, a glacier and climate researcher at Ohio State University who forwarded the image above (it was generated by the Canadian Ice Center), sent these reactions before heading into the field:
    “Petermann is a sleeping giant that is slowly awakening. Removing flow resistance leads to flow acceleration…. The coincidence of this area loss and a 30 square kilometer loss in 2008 with abnormal warmth this year, the setting of increasing sea surface temperatures and sea ice decline are all part of a climate warming pattern.”

  21. Colorado Bob says:

    The BBC reported that 115 mm (4.52 in.) fell at Multan, Pakistan in the first 12 hours of Sat.

  22. Peter Mizla says:

    The latitude of Moscow at 55N is higher then the American wheat belt which is at between 37-45N- both regions are far from oceanic influence.

    In Paleo climates from the past- in the Pliocene- 3 mil yrs ago- when the the global climate was 3 degrees C higher- the American agricultural belt of today was a desert- it is certainly fair to draw a parallel of that past- and what may happen in the not to distant future-to the worlds most premier food growing regions.

  23. Bill W says:

    I’m sure this has been mentioned here before, but as for the media linking extreme weather to climate change, Ross Gelbspan wrote (see

    ‘A few years ago I asked a top editor at CNN why, given the increasing proportion of news budgets dedicated to extreme weather, they did not make this connection. He told me, “We did. Once.” But it triggered a barrage of complaints from oil companies and automakers who threatened to withdraw all their ads from CNN if the network continued to connect weather extremes to global warming. Basically the industry intimidated CNN into dropping the one connection to which the average viewer could most easily relate.’

  24. paulm says:

    #14 wits, yes joe – you got it spot on!
    No better summary.

  25. paulm says:

    Joe, how come your not promoting your previous book on this site still?

  26. Colorado Bob says:

    Bill W –

    ABC asked the question last night after it’s reports on Russia and Pakistan.

    I’ll go get it , I think it was all of 45 secs. , and they of course had Inhofe on for “balance”.

  27. fj2 says:

    US negotiator Jonathan Pershing’s statement is probably inaccurate when he says: “they will get worse if we don’t act quickly.” In the near future things will definitely get worse.

    More correctly it should be something like “things will rapidly accelerate further out of control if we don’t act quickly.”

  28. Colorado Bob says:

    It just seems like 45 secs. , far more “in-depth” at 1:54 secs.

    Is Extreme Heat Evidence of Global Warming?
    Clayton Sandell on the link between the hottest year ever and climate change.
    01:54 | 08/06/2010

  29. Peter Mizla says:


    thanks for the CNN information- I feel that this can be said for all the major media- ‘talk about climate change-loose dollars in ad revenue’….

    The corrosion & corruption of American enterprise is reaching a Rubicon.

  30. paulm says:

    #22 Bill, That’s our current media/democracy for you. Obviously, it does not seem to be the ideal setup (mild understatement).

    Climate Change and peak resource are forcing our hand, but is it too late for this round?

  31. Colorado Bob says:

    Joe et al –

    Patrick Lockerby is a really bright fellow , and has a very keen eye . Read this latest from him :

    Spitting On Graves

    There is science, there is bad science, there is propaganda and then there is spitting on graves.

    I recently wrote about Robert McClure, the man who finally proved the existence of a North West passage, in fact the most direct passage out of a number of alternatives.

  32. paulm says:

    “Extreme Weather Experienced Worldwide,” Lester Brown is interviewed by Voice of America’s

  33. I visited Safety Harbor – Philippe Park today and found the beach completely submerged by the high tide and the high tide nearly overtopping the sea wall in various places … so if there is any doubt at all about rising sea levels people should spend some time walking along the coastline.

    Ever notice how so many of those who deny the threat of climate change spend all of their time indoors with the air conditioner on before driving in their SUV with the air conditioner on to visit the mall with its climate controlled by air conditioners? I really think it is absurd to hear so many Americans advocating adaptation to climate change when these same people refuse to live in the climate that they already have.

    If you cannot handle the Earth circa 2010 it is pretty safe to guess that these same people will find the Earth circa 2040 absolutely intolerable. Especially since by that time Peak Oil will have deprived these same entitled people of their cars and Peak Coal will likely deprive them of their air conditioners as well.

    I pity all those people who live in the Southeast and Southwest in the post-air conditioner climate change era. Millions of people will migrate to escape the heat but where will they go? On a planet with 9 billion people there will be precious little space available for climate refugees.

    Peter Ward’s “The Flooded Earth” described Miami circa 2120 A.D. … after reading that chapter that was all I could read of that book. Somehow I think he was a bit optimistic because he imagined that the United States will still exist in some form circa 2120 whereas I doubt that this country will hold itself together for another twenty years given all the stress building up in the American people and an entire bloc of states already bankrupt and insolvent.

    We’re living in the catastrophe right now. There’s no need to talk about some future catastrophe. The future is now.

  34. Wit'sEnd says:

    Wow, #24 Colorado Bob, was that an actual climate scientist on MSM answering the question “Is extreme heat evidence of climate change” with an unequivocal and resounding “YES”?!

    Thank you Dr. Somerville!

    By the way, according to the blog scientists at Friends of Gin and Tonic, it was the Republican consultant Frank Luntz, who initially suggested that new terminology be substituted, because “Global Warming” was scarier than “Climate Change.” (

    Maybe now it’s time for Global Boiling?

  35. mike roddy says:

    Russia and Canada have often been mentioned as future beneficiaries of warming, as if we could just plant corn on former Siberian forest and tundra. Nice to see that rumor put to rest.

  36. Rob C. says:

    I’ve always preferred “catastrophic climate imbalance.” Luntz was urging in his infamous memo to the RNC that they adopt the term “climate change” because “change” had focus tested as a more neutral term than “warming,” if I remember correctly.

    Between the news here, the reports of methane release at the poles and the appalling Nature report on phytoplankton, it is looking like we should call it the Holocene Mass Extinction.

    It seems incredible that anyone would sit back and just let this happen.

  37. Robert says:

    I am puzzled about the BBC’s strategy on climate change. They are faithfully reporting all the wild weather events around the world but of recent months never, ever mention the words “climate change” or “global warming”. It is as if the brand has been irretrievably damaged by the UAE email spat.

    I think maybe their new strategy is to give people the information and let them work it out for themselves, rather than ramming it down their throats and fueling the standard denier reaction. They even dropped the Petermann Glacier breakup into the 10pm news this evening, but again no mention of climate change:

  38. Dan B says:

    It would be valuable to have some simple graphic that shows the location of devastating weather worldwide and the economic price over a year.

    This information would be as valuable as a map of where it’s hotter and colder than normal. For example it’s difficult to make the connection between 3 degrees warmer than normal and devastating forest fires. The human mind doesn’t easily make the connection between seemingly small changes and massive consequences.

    The last piece would be a map of economic costs compared to GDP. I wouldn’t be surprised that the damage in Pakistan and Russia is on the order of 5%, perhaps even 20% of GDP. That would put the cost/benefit analysis dunderheads in their place. (They’re the sort that “can’t put a price on a human life” – or civilization, for that matter.)

  39. Peter Mizla says:

    Any predictions on the next few years-some of the gloomy predictions posted here make me wonder- whats next?

    From my perch in eastern Connecticut-green and quiet, farms, forests, orchards and vineyards. Pleasant small towns, slow pace of life- but close to New York- 135 miles, Boston 85 miles, Providence 62 miles- yet close to Hartford, 17 miles.

    The idyllic setting – a mere 40 miles to Block Island sound, however has still had a hot summer. 23 90 or better days this summer- and 4 more for next week.

    Perhaps Nova Scotia or New Found land is the new ‘escape’.

    For me Vermont, or Maine is in my future.

  40. espiritwater says:

    On the evening news, they said that a huge chunk of ice, 4 times the size of Manhatten broke off of Greenland! Was hoping to hear what CP had to say about it!!

  41. Charles Darwin Jr says:

    #12 Paulm – You don’t think we’ll survive the next .2C? I seriously doubt 1C is a tipping point to extinction. It might mean a lot on a geological timescale, but not anytime soon.

    More people die in traffic accidents than died because of this heatwave.

    Climate Change is going to be a big economic burden and is going to make life harder on us. But we are unlikely to go extinct anytime soon (multiple centuries).

    It is an amazing weather event and is evidence of what is to come, but let’s not get carried away.

  42. Esop says:

    #39: I think you may be right about BBC’s new strategy. Just report every extreme weather event and let people work it out for themselves. When folks start thinking for themselves and the truth dawns on them, it might well have a much greater effect than having the message of AGW repeated for them.

  43. Wit'sEnd says:

    Peter Mizla, there is no escape, not in Vermont, or Maine, or even further north. Look how cool Moscow usually is.

    Extreme weather events from the disruption of climate will occur more frequently across the entire globe. We have only one earth, and living on it has benefited from that fragile balance of biodiversity developed over millions of years of evolution.

    Humans have massively disrupted that balance.

    I think it’s way too late to fix it. I actually think it’s too late to escape it. But, on the theory of “why not?” I do believe we should try.

    That means the first thing we should do is ration the use of fuel that produces emissions to only the most essential purpose.


    We have only one Earth (Eaarth?)

    It’s totally unfair for one tiny minority (that would be, the wealthy, influential, corporations) to control the fate of humanity, not to mention, so many countless other species.

  44. dbmetzger says:

    Radiation Risk: Fires Head for Chernobyl
    The Russian Emergencies Minister is warning of radiation risks, as wildfires get closer to the area affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The fear is that it could disturb the contamination in the ground – and spread it wide.

  45. catman306 says:

    It was predicted, espiritwwater. Just like all the other extreme weather events in the daily news. We seemed to have crossed a threshold. The multi-year ice is predicted to break up and melt, it’s just a question of when. Probably a lot faster than anyone with climatology credentials would care to speculate. That’ll make the news, too.

  46. Robert says:

    “Global climate talks have sunk to a new low after China and the US clashed and rich countries lined up against poor in a refusal to compromise on emission reduction targets.”

  47. David B. Benson says:

    Well, God gave Noah the rainbow sign.
    No more water but the fire next time.

    Doesn’t that make you feel better?

  48. john atcheson says:

    #2 Lewis — I’m afraid you nailed it. Nero had nothing on us — except at least he could play the fiddle!

  49. David B. Benson says:

    Except that from The impact of Miocene atmospheric carbon dioxide fluctuations on climate and the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems by Wolfram M. Kürschner, Zlatko Kvaček, and David L. Dilcher:
    I infer that even some of EAIS is gonna melt.

    Ain’t that grand?

  50. Maria Smith says:

    This web site is afraid to mention the extreme record cold south of the equator. Millions of dead animals. Many more than killed in golf of Mexico.

  51. caerbannog says:

    OT, but a bit more good news for Phil Jones and the CRU crew…

    File this under the (too little but) “better late than never category”:


    The BBC has apologised for ‘ill-judged’ remarks made by Today presenter John Humphrys during the ‘Climategate’ scandal last year.

    Corporation chiefs said the host of the Radio 4 flagship programme should not have accused researchers at the University of East Anglia of ‘distorting the debate about global warming to make the threat seem even more serious than they believed it to be’.

    Mr Mitchell added: ‘I apologise wholeheartedly on behalf of the Today programme. We were dealing with a matter that hadn’t at that stage been fully investigated and which was the subject of widespread comment and conjecture.

    ‘Having spoken to John Humphrys and his editor about it, I can assure you that they too regret that his script was not more precise.’

    He adds the remark was ‘an isolated but significant lapse’.

  52. David B. Benson says:

    Maria Smith — It is probably that none know about that cold spell. Could you provide a link to a report?

  53. Omega Centauri says:

    44: It is certainly true that people who figure something out for themselves will feel more strongly about it then if they’ve been told. But, will they really make the connection. After all there will always be one spot that is suffering from an unusual cold snap -as is happening in parts of south America right now. It requires taking a hard look at maps and numbers to conclude that the warm events are outnumbering the cold ones. And the usual suspects will be putting a spotlight on any unusual cold events (or heavy snow, which is not necessarily a result of unusual cold) to muddy the waters.

    52: Of course climate science predicts occasional outbreaks of unusual cold. This event is occurring against a backdrop of record warm global temperature. As were the unusual snow/cold that hit the US east coast and northwestern Europe last year. The focus has to be on collecting and soberly analyzing all the data, then coming to a conclusion. Most humans get those steps reversed.

    I am in one of those areas having temporary luck. The weather patterns the past few months are bringing an unusual strength to the ocean influence in those areas of California that are influenced by the oceans. So we are having (by our standards) a very cool summer. [Of course for my town, that means our summer is about the same as Moscow is having -minus the fires].

    There will always be some cool spots. It is the strength and size of the various anomalies taken as a whole that matters.

  54. Omega Centauri says:

    53: I have heard about it. But it isn’t in the news. Seems to be off the radar screen. I hope Jeff Masters will cover it. [since his posts get thousands of comments, I never bother to try to comment].

  55. ozajh says:

    #52 Maria Smith,

    I live south of the equator. What extreme cold? We’ve had a normal winter here, with probably a few LESS very cold nights and a bit more (very, very welcome) rain than usual.

    (Where I live, a “very cold night” can be defined as a minimum of -5C or lower. I know that would be considered a mild/warm winter’s night in many parts of the world, and an absolute freak low in many others.)

  56. Leif says:

    There was record cold in Mongolia last winter, Maria S., @ 12, as well. Over 4 million live stock lost. (Still the year looks like it will be the warmest year on record,) Record cold still happens even as the temperature climbs. One difference is that there are twice as many warm records as cold records broken. Another difference it the intensity with which the records are broken. Both hot and cold. Not just by fractions of a degree but stomped on. Indicative added energy in the system. Just like we have been saying all along but you and yours spin it to mean something that you can deny. To see the forest you must stand on a hill and look around.

  57. Prokaryotes says:

    260-sq. km Ice Sheet Breaks Off Greenland Glacier, Largest Since 1962

  58. Prokaryotes says:

    After people are afraid of climate change they will become very angry if no action is taken to prevent further climate change.

  59. Brooks Bridges says:

    #43: Charles Darwin Jr
    “It is an amazing weather event and is evidence of what is to come, but let’s not get carried away”

    We have a LOT more warming already in the pipe line. Scientists have identified various non-zero probability positive feedbacks and trends (permafrost melting, ocean acidification, plankton down 40% already) which scare the hell out of informed people. The fact that so much keeps happening so much sooner than anyone predicted should scare the hell out of all of us.

    The more I think about it, the more I think Gore’s choice of title “An Inconvenient Truth” was brilliant. Most of us(and yes, me) keep planning life as usual – vacations, dinner with the whoevers, etc. REALLY doing something would be oh, so inconvenient.

  60. David B. Benson says:

    Here I’ve been affected by the forest fires in interior BC.

  61. Prokaryotes says:

    Floods devastate North Korea
    About 36,700 acres of farmland were submerged and 5,500 homes and 350 public buildings and facilities were destroyed or flooded

    In 2007, the government did seek outside assistance to cope with its most severe flooding in decades. At least 600 people were dead or missing and more than 100,000 homeless after those floods, which destroyed more than 11 per cent of the country’s crops.

    North Korea is prone to floods and landslides due to poor drainage systems and massive deforestation after a famine in the 1990s that is believed to have killed as many as two million people.

    The impoverished country has relied on foreign aid to feed its 24 million people

  62. Prokaryotes says:

    Landslide forces evacuations in western Canada
    geologists speculate melting of a glacier on Mount Meager exposed unstable rock on a dormant volcano that broke free and crashed into the wilderness valley.

    China Landslides Kill at Least 80
    Landslides killed at least 80 people and left an estimated 2,000 missing Sunday in northwest China’s Gansu province, the latest disaster caused by widespread flooding in the country.

  63. Brooks Bridges says:

    #36 Wit’s End:
    My heartfelt thanks for providing the link to the FriendsOfGinAndTonic site.

    The page:
    and others were a great antidote to the gloom and doom above (you HAVE to page down to the BS meter).
    I needed a good laugh.

  64. Prokaryotes says:

    Leif, #57 “Record cold still happens even as the temperature climbs. One difference is that there are twice as many warm records as cold records broken.”

    Another difference is atmospheric circulation turbulence, which brought colder air from the pole and warmer air vis a vis.

  65. Prokaryotes says:

    Russian troops dig canal around Sarov nuclear base as wildfires grow

    Emergency action reported to have ‘stabilised’ situation at Sarov, the closed town where first Soviet nuclear bomb was built

    all explosive and radioactive material had been removed from the nuclear site as a precautionary measure.

  66. Prokaryotes says:

    If i make a movie out of this story, it would start like this


  67. Colorado Bob says:

    Anon @ 58 –

    Thanks for the link. These extreme rain events are hard to keep up with , they’re coming so fast .

  68. Prokaryotes says:

    Car Escaping Forest Fire Russia

  69. adelady says:

    Climate disruption.

    Disruption is the word we need to indicate that it is surplus energy in the system – just like a pan of milk boiling over.

  70. John Mason says:

    Climate Destabilisation – it emphasises the critical point that civilisation has flourished within a window of relatively stable conditions.

    Cheers – John

  71. Prokaryotes says:

    But, are the Russian wildfires evidence of climate change? Patrick Michaels, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and climate change skeptic says no.

    According to Patrick Michaels it’s the jet stream!

  72. Prokaryotes says:

    Heatwave causes fires across Israel
    Fires broke out across Israel on Friday as the heat wave continues, Israeli press reported.

    Firefighters are attempting to control fires in Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and in the Galilee, Israeli daily Haaretz said.

    Temperatures soared throughout Israel on Monday peaking at a scorching 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in the southern city of Eilat in the afternoon.

  73. Prokaryotes says:

    Residents began fleeing Moscow as the worst smog in living memory smothered the city … “Unfortunately the number of fires have doubled in the Moscow region in the past 24 hours because of people playing with firecrackers near forests,” said Vladimir Stepanov, a senior official with the emergency situations ministry.

    “The situation is truly extreme. People are in circumstances under which they should not have to live,” leading Russian doctor Ivan Yurlov of the League for the Nation’s Health group told the Kommersant daily.

    “It’s hellish, all the flights are delayed or cancelled. There are thousands of passengers waiting in the heat and smog and the air conditioning isn’t working,” a passenger trying to flee via Domodedovo told AFP by telephone.

  74. Charles Darwin Jr says:

    #62 Brooks Bridges…….

    You have to factor in the time scale of “what is in the pipeline”…

    I agree, Climate Change is bad on a long timescale. But the “pipeline” urgency is not urgent…it is very worrying…but I am not gonna lay under my bed biting my nails…

    It is not true that scientists understand the feedbacks. They are there and you would be an idiot to ignore them…but they are not well understood…

    There are a lot of variables which none of us are smart enough to figure out.

    I am a big fan of Joe Romm and I read the site every day.

    I think we have big problems…but acting like .2C is the end of humanity is foolish.

  75. Prokaryotes says:

    Production on “The Darkest Hour,” an alien-invasion thriller shooting in the Russian capital, has been shut down due to thick smoke engulfing the area.

  76. Peter Mizla says:

    Southern Hemisphere Winter

    In Australia Adelaide, Melbourne, and Brisbane from my daily observations have thus far seen absolute lows of around 30-35 degrees (all three locations have different climates) Brisbane Humid Sub tropical on the coast; Melbourne, -temperate oceanic, on the coast & Adelaide Dry subtropical (Mediterranean) On the coast. All three cities in their outer suburbs have recorded frost. Daytime highs have range from the upper 40s to 50s (Melbourne) 50s 60s At Adelaide and 60s to 70s at Brisbane.

    South Americas Pacific coast, Peru & Chile have had some chilly weather. In the Peruvian highlands well below freezing at night- but 40s at Lima by night, 50s,60s day.

    Chile has had some cold atypical in the nations central Valley around Santiago- highs from the 40s to 50s near 60 bt day- lows dropping into the mid 20s at times- cold for them.

    Southern Africa has seen a pretty normal winter- Capetown another dry subtropical location has been 50s to 60s by day-40s by night (normal_

    Johannesburg an inland location has seen normal chilly nights in the 30s.

  77. Peter Mizla says:

    Wits End #45

    I agree that there is no ‘escape’ from climate change. However going north as I alluded to in my earlier post is a short term solution for many including myself. In the years ahead- states like AZ may see out migration- and New England see more in migration from those seeking an escape from the growing heat in the nations center and southwest.

    A high emission scenario for New England will have many unpleasant outcomes- many now here- with changing forests, shorter winters, more invasive plant and animal species, sea rise, flooding, intense precipitation events & and other extreme weather like violent storms and possible tropical cyclones.

    This year we have seen historic flooding and precipitation amounts (March) A very mild winter with half the normal snowfall, no spring really, summer began in April, and we could likely see 6 months of summer this year.

    We have had three tornado touch downs in Connecticut (on average; one every 10 years) additionally on one afternoon 5 to 6 funnel clouds seen on weather radar. The cities of Bristol and Bridgeport suffered significant damage.

    This week the heat & humidity are returning- after a 2-3 day respite.

    Vermont & Maine’s climate is changing as well- but they offer at least for now some relief from the heat and increasingly poor air quality of southern New England- and their once long cold and rigorous winters are moderating.

  78. Whatshisname says:

    My parents were Dust Bowl survivors from Oklahoma and I grew up in West Texas during the “Other Dust Bowl” of ’50-57. These events did not introduce themselves. They didn’t knock on the door. Even old farmers who saw trouble coming in the smallest of things never imagined it getting bad enough to force them to abandon their farm. As a partial result we now live in a nation where few people have ever grown even one spoonful of their own food.

    Trouble is here again and this time we can see far worse coming on its heels, so where do we go from here? My sand-blasted brain can’t recall if I have posted these comments and suggestions before, but off the top one of the easiest things to do is to stop throwing away seed. I’ve never seen vegetables growing at the city dump, so plant your seed somewhere, anywhere. And while you have your check books out, please consider sending five or ten bucks to the Future Farmers of America now and then. And if you can spare a couple of more bucks send a little to the agricultural scholarship funds at rural colleges and junior colleges. Farming and the science of food production are higher callings for these students and teachers. They understand the urgency, and your money may well save civilization during what sounds like a very difficult transition just ahead. Granted, these are small ideas, but even in a time when weak-kneed politicians and the childless likes of Rush Limbaugh seem to be in control, these small ideas can add up and give the average person a say in the future.

  79. Steven Leibo says:

    Maybe this is a moment for Wikileaks to offer space for journalists and producers to come forward anonymously to indicate whether their own organizations from CNN to the BBC have specifically forbidden them to connect the dots on the “extreme” weather events so many of them are now regularly reporting.

  80. Brooks Bridges says:

    #77 Charles Darwin Jr.

    I believe it’s more like .5 deg. C. And that seemingly small amount seems to be causing some very significant changes – as far as I know, always worse than predicted.

    If you do truly read Joe’s blog every day I’m amazed you appear to be completely ignorant of the whole idea of the possibility that we could already be on a path to extreme climate change. The probability of its happening is very small BUT NOT ZERO. You also seem unconcerned about the inertia built into global warming – what’s already in the pipeline. We’re like the Titanic – by the time we can actually see the ice berg we’ll have far too much inertia to avoid it.

    Stephen Schneider used the comparison of the home owner who buys fire insurance even though the likelihood of a fire completely destroying their house is very low.

    Check out:
    One quote:

    “Greenland had sometimes warmed a shocking 7 deg C within a span of less than 50 years. More recent studies have reported that, during the Younger Dryas transition, drastic shifts in the entire North Atlantic climate could be seen within five snow layers, that is, as little as five years! (From Spencer Weart’s discussion of the history of abrupt climate change.)”

    You also seem oblivious to the fact that it’s the future of our children and grand children you’re willing to gamble with. Unfortunately for them, your gamble becomes their gamble.

  81. PSU Grad says:

    @ #75 Prokaryotes:

    “According to Patrick Michaels it’s the jet stream!”

    And soooooo…..the non-record cold temperatures last February that everyone was hyperventilating about was caused by…….what, sunspots? (Yes, I know, in part Arctic Oscillation, but what is that but a variation of the jet stream flow, hmmmmmm?) See how this works? Remember this next winter when there’s a cold snap and someone hyperventilates yet again. “Where were you back in July/August?”

  82. Wit'sEnd says:

    Written October 2009:

    “Last month, the United Nations Environment Programme concluded we’re committed to an increase of 3.5 C by 2100, thus leaving little doubt about human extinction by then.
    Last week, Chris West of the University of Oxford’s UK Climate Impacts Programme indicated we can kiss goodbye 2 C as a target: four is the new two, and it’s coming by mid-century. In a typical disconnect from reality, the latest scenarios do not include potential tipping points such as the release of carbon from northern permafrost or the melting of undersea methane hydrates. But even the mainstream media know a 4 C increase spells the end of the line for our species. Giving the response I’ve come to expect from politicians, the Obama administration calls any attempt to reduce emissions ‘not grounded in political reality.'”

    from a fellow who doesn’t mince words: click the ink for sources:

    oh why not, the next paragraph:

    “Have you noticed a set of patterns? Each assessment is quickly eclipsed by another, fundamentally more dire set of scenarios. Every scenario is far too optimistic because each is based on conservative approaches to scenario development. And every bit of dire news is met by the same political response.
    Is there any doubt we will try to kill every species on the planet, including our own, by the middle of this century? At this point, it is absolutely necessary, but probably not sufficient, to bring down the industrial economy. It’s no longer merely the lives of your grandchildren we’re talking about. Depending on your age, it’s the lives of your children or you. If you’re 60 or younger, it’s you.”

  83. Ani says:

    OK now 75 brought a chuckle even though I know this is not something to laugh about. I guess the jet stream strength and location have nothing to do with temp differences between air masses. He could have said its not global warming its just the hot temperatures. Now I certainly hope and I think that next year will not be as bad as this year because el nino will not be a factor. Still warm but the atmosphere will be a little closer to equalibrium cutting down on the severe stuff.

  84. Mark says:

    rokaryotes says:
    August 8, 2010 at 2:01 am
    Russian troops dig canal around Sarov nuclear base as wildfires grow

    Emergency action reported to have ’stabilised’ situation at Sarov, the closed town where first Soviet nuclear bomb was built

    “all explosive and radioactive material had been removed from the nuclear site as a precautionary measure.”

    Not sure I believe that last sentence can be true. How would they manage that?

    and, if they did start moving nuclear materials around, what are the implications for diversion?

    uncontrolled wildfires, troops otherwise occupied, transport in disarray, seems like a good scenario for something radioactive to go astray.

    see… Pakistan.

  85. Peter Mizla says:

    Wits end

    I am under 60- I am feeling now- that if I live till 2030- I will face a hellish retirement- I have warned friends of this. I have told friends with young children that their kids are inheriting a dying world.

    The ‘scenarios’ s you say are like a group of dominoes- yet the media and Government here- and mostly abroad stay silent.

  86. Peter Mizla says:


    James Hansen has basically said a 2 degree rise C would still be disastrous for the Planet.

    So, yes a 3 degree rise would be nearly catastrophic- but on the road we are on now- this seems likely by about mid century. Hopefully by then the powers may be, seeing a crumbling world and civilization will end all carbon use- that may limit a rise to 3.5 degrees -still enough to change the planet for thousands of years.

    A most interesting time to be alive- to know this is frightening and dare I say exciting- to be in the dark is sure suicide.

  87. fj2 says:

    “Has A Warming Russia Outpaced The World,” John Collins Rudolf, NY Times, Aug 8, 2010

  88. John Mason says:

    #87 Ani,

    Sure – jetstream variations occur, but I don’t see that as a singular explanation for the broken records of temperature – and to such an extent, too.

    Any Russian/Asian meteorologists viewing this thread who could comment on this? How often is the upper air pattern thus, and why so exceptionally hot this time? I’m confident enough that both the Asian megafloods AND the Russian heat/drought are in line with basic atmospheric physics, but it’d be interesting to read opinions from scientists out there on the front line, so to speak.

    Back here I work with upper longwaves & shortwaves to do a bit of stormchasing from time to time – even in wet old Wales – so it’d be interesting to hear thoughts if any are reading this thread!

    Cheers – John

  89. Paul K2 says:

    I see that several comments have alluded to record cold temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere the last month or so (during the SH winter). I am interested in seeing the background data supporting this, as some sites on the internet have become obsessive with pointing out (in story after mind numbing story) how cold it has been in the SH.

    Could someone link to the site showing the list of countries in the Southern Hemisphere that have set all-time low temperature records during this year’s winter?

    [JR: Just been one. Winters are cold. But this is what the disinformers feed on.]

  90. espiritwater says:

    Exactly, Wit’s End. Have you read the book, “Endgame” by Derrick Jensen? Or his book, “What We Leave Behind”? They are ‘must’ books for anyone contemplating stopping the insanity of this culture/the elite who are screwing us all out of a viable future.

  91. Ani says:

    #92 John you are quite right just to say its the jetstream and leaving it at that seems naïve to me. I too wish more meteorologists would get involved in these discussions. Climate scientists want to get rid of the noise and forecasters are mainly worried about the noise because that’s weather. But I think meteorologists would be the ones to tie warming to local and regional weather and be able to communicate that to the public. And if I’m correct on my geography it looks like Wales is sitting in the long wave trough with shortwaves moving through. Is it a little cool and wet there as Russia bakes under a longwave ridge.

  92. David B. Benson says:

    For some of the effects of each degree Celcius of warming, read

  93. Wit'sEnd says:

    espiritwater, haven’t read Jensen’s books yet – only his interview of David Edwards excerpted here:

    which provided much provocative insights.

    I will have to find his books and read them too, thank you for reminding me!

  94. Charles Darwin Jr says:

    #84 Brooks Bridges

    Thanks for the dialogue Brooks. I do read Romm everyday. I also read William Connelley, James Annan, Eli Rabbett, etc, etc…

    Feedbacks are worrying. Climate Change will be a problem. Human extinction is unlikely.

    We are very unlikely to go extinct because of .5C on any timescale anyone reading this blog will. If we do the worst case IPCC emissions scenarios we will definitely put humans in the second half of this century into some major problems.

    With Peak Oil it is unlikely that we will achieve the Highest emission scenarios.

    Please be clear on my point: Climate Change is a big problem. Don’t lose sleep over human extinction because of a .2C change (see Paulms original post about how we won’t survive .2C)…

  95. Michael says:

    Paul K2 (#93),

    Here is a page (Climate Prediction Center) where you can view temperatures at different stations around the globe over the past 30, 90 and 365 days.

    Looking at various stations in the SH, for the most part, the hyped-up cold is of short duration. Even in Argentina (example), which has been cold for much of the past month, the cold anomalies are smaller in magnitude than some recent positive anomalies. What about Alice Springs, Australia, which had its coldest day on record (record low maximum on July 6) recently? Not so cold overall – in fact, they recently had positive anomalies more than double the record cold anomalies!

    Now, compare those to Moscow.

  96. Charles Darwin Jr says:

    #84 “You also seem oblivious to the fact that it’s the future of our children and grand children you’re willing to gamble with. Unfortunately for them, your gamble becomes their gamble”

    You can tell all that from one comment? My original comment was that we are not going to go extinct because of a .2C change.

    If anyone wants to bet on that I can email you privately?

    I support climate change action. I also support rationality. I don’t see the guys over at Real Climate (real scientists who are in the trenches) panicking about .2C…

    I like Joe Romm because he presents a sense of urgency that is grounded in the science. Throwing out wild speculations about human extinction hurts the cause because the real scientists (who are saying that) get lumped in with the doom and gloom prognosticators and then lose their credibility.

    We need a sense of urgency about climate change that is based on facts. There is enough to be concerned about without wild speculations.

  97. paulm says:

    #99 Charles, I don’t think anyone thinks we are going extinct on a ~0.2C GW rise.
    My speculation of collapse is based on observation of trends of extreme events and the likely hood as I see it on society being able to cope with these events. One does not have to have a PHd to recognize possible outcomes.

    For instant I have second hand experience of hurricane Ivan in 2004 devastating an island in the Caribbean. They have not fully recovered from this even now. If they have another hurricane incident in the next couple of years they will be on the brink of a failed state.

    Hurricane frequency, intensity and size will be increasing over the next 5yrs. and on, the likelihood of another strike is probable in the near future.

  98. paulm says:

    It is going to be a close call…

    The End of Times: Do Scientists and Fundamentalists Concur?

    Sir Martin Rees, Britain’s Royal Astronomer, published a book titled Our Final Century, in which he put the odds of human survival through this century at no better than 50-50. Now, biologist Frank Fenner, who played a key role in ending the scourge of smallpox, says the end is certain.

    Many of the best-informed scientists agree that we have left it too late to prevent anthropogenic climate change from bringing on a global catastrophe. Whether this results in actual extinction or merely the ruin of civilization is a matter they are still debating.

  99. Charles Darwin Jr says:

    #101: “The tipping point is not 450ppm, its 1C for civilization.

    I don’t think that the global society can survive the next 0.2C GW thats coming”

    If I misinterpreted you Paulm, I apologize. You may be right that global society won’t survive as it is. I think Peak Oil is gonna ensure that.

    These weather events, flooding, heat, etc are amazing to watch and not good news for the future. I don’t see any evidence that we are going to all die. We will be more miserable, that seems likely.

    If we all drink a bunch of vodka and jump in lakes during heat waves then some of us will die, for sure.

  100. Prokaryotes says:

    Charles Darwin Jr, explain how you plan to feed the population.

    With this peat fires and permafrost thaw even with 0.7C we can have methane clathrate gun.

  101. Prokaryotes says:

    paulm, #101 from your link: “This does not mean, of course, that we can stop worrying about the Population Bomb, or the consequences of our fossil fuel binge. What it does mean is that we must not give up hope. There are some things in science that are certain. You cannot build a perpetual motion machine, for instance; it’s against the laws of physics.”

    Population Isn’t The Problem

    Thomas Bearden: “The key to over-unity systems was present in the original form of Maxwell’s Equations, and this potential was realized by Nikola Tesla” – or see quantum mechanics and memristor computing.

  102. Prokaryotes says:

    If Air Pollution Doesn’t Cause Sudden Cardiac Death, It Can Drive You to Suicide Two recent studies showing scary, life-threatening trends.

  103. Charles Darwin Jr says:

    #104 Projaryotes..

    I think Climate Change is a problem, I just don’t think extinction is imminent.

    1) .2C warming is going to destroy our food supply? I would be shocked if that happened. At higher temp increases this may be true, but not a .2C increase (not 2C, .2C).

    2) Read this post by David Archer at real climate on Methane hydrates.

    Unless you know something that Archer doesn’t, It is not obvious that the methane clathrate gun thingy is imminent. It takes a long time for the warming to hit the bottom of the ocean where those things are.

    3) Permafrost Thaw is indeed a serious problem as would be burning a lot of peat. No argument here. Not clear that the Russia peat fires will release enough CO2 to trigger methane clathrates?

    I am a 100% supporter of intelligent climate change action. I don’t agree that extinction or the collapse of humanity is guaranteed. That is my only point.

  104. John Mason says:

    Ani #95,

    You gottit – we have a complex upper longwave sat right over us and it’s a wet old morning here!

    I think perhaps the most compelling evidence that distinguishes single weather events from climate trends are the high vs low temperature records being set, that Joe posts on here on a regular basis. However, an interesting additional exercise would to to look at extreme rainfall records in a similar way.

    Here I am keeping tabs on one particular rainfall mechanism we have – the warm conveyor. This occurs when long-fetch sou-westerlies come up from the Azores to the UK associated with low pressure to our NW. We can get stuck within the warm sector of such systems for 48 or even 72 hours at times and the non-convective rainfall is orographically enhanced so that most of it lands on the mountains of Wales, the Lake District, Ireland and Scotland. Such a synoptic setup brought the extraordinary Lake District flooding at the time many were distracted by certain emails in late 2009. Warm conveyors are well worth monitoring in future as gauges of rainfall trends IMO – they are less fickle than convective deluges.

    Cheers – John

  105. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Charles Darwin Jr –

    You’re right to decline the adoption of an outlook that ‘extinction is unavoidable’
    first because it just ain’t true – rapidly ending GHG outputs under a treaty of the atmospheric commons, and then launching the necessary global carbon recovery and sufficient albido restoration programs, would transform our prospects –
    and second because it is the most disempowering message that could possibly be sent to the young people whose activism is now critical to achieving those essential changes.

    Where we differ (as in I think you’re dead wrong) is in the urgency of addressing the jeopardy – most particularly regarding the acceleration of feedbacks. It’s right to say that detailed knowledge of their potentials and schedules is still hazy, but it is clear that they are already contributing significant output in CO2e terms (just the igniting of a gigatonne of dead forest in BC, let alone the scale of Russian forest & peat fires, attest to this).

    -Then add in the CO2-driven peat-decay and “Dissolved Organic Carbon” [DOC] loop – that was first observed in the ‘60s, has grown at ~6%/yr, and on which trend would exceed the entire anthro CO2 output of 2003 by ~2065.
    – Add in the accelerating melt of permafrost, from Alaska to the Himalayas, with its CO2 and CH4 outputs, with lakes in Siberia reportedly bubbling to the extent that some no longer freeze in winter.
    – Add in the burgeoning decline of the cryosphere, with rising rates both of ice loss and of loss of annual snow cover amounting to a significant CO2e albido loss.
    – Then add in the distinct possibility that observed Arctic Ocean clathrate collapse and CH4 emission is not “a normal post-ice-age response” but is in fact an early indication of the recorded marine warming destabilizing the shallower seabed deposits.

    In this context, your view (at 78) that:
    “I agree, Climate Change is bad on a long timescale. But the “pipeline” urgency is not urgent…it is very worrying…but I am not gonna lay under my bed biting my nails…It is not true that scientists understand the feedbacks. They are there and you would be an idiot to ignore them…but they are not well understood…There are a lot of variables which none of us are smart enough to figure out.”
    – is missing the point.

    The pipeline warming –which btw the UK Hadley Center estimates at 0.6C – is supremely urgent because it is liable to drive the interactive feedbacks past any possibility of our control. Their interaction, where the acceleration of one accelerates all, has to date defied mathematical expression, and it is true that there are many variables, such as insect population booms and 1-in-500-yr boreal droughts and glacier’s self-lubrication rates – that are not predictable. But their interaction is real, and increasing, and steadily diminishing our prospects, and its primary driver is the pipeline warming.
    That ‘pipeline’ warming is essentially timelagged past emissions coming into effect – the warming we now see is from around 330ppmv of airborne CO2 (plus other GHGs) in the mid ‘70s. In the absence of appropriate Geo-E, then regardless of whether Peak Oil cuts future emissions (or raises them via say coal-to-liquids and peat-to-liquids) and despite achieving a stringent emissions control treaty, we face at least well over five decades before the warming from airborne GHG stocks, that drives the feedbacks, will start to decline. Viz:

    a minimum of 15yrs of anthro additions to airborne GHG stocks + unquantified feedback emissions + ~35 timelag = > 50 years.

    I too refuse to “lie under my bed biting my nails” but I won’t understate the urgency of action either – which means pressing inexorably for the requisite political changes
    – specifically in terms of ending Obama’s inherited policy of a futile ‘brinkmanship of inaction’ with China, which continues to preclude a cascade of changes,
    – as opposed, say, to raising pressure on the diversionary and tertiary issue of how to get the part of the CO2 cut, as part of the global GHG cut, that non-fossil energy can provide once the treaty is in place.



  106. Charles Darwin Jr says:

    #109 Lewis

    Excellent post Lewis. I agree with a lot of what you say.

    I was simply trying to rebut the idea that we have reached a human civilization tipping point or the human extinction was imminent based on a .2C temp rise or whatever is in the pipeline.

    I am not a scientist so what do I know.

    Here is Dr. Romm’s perspective on if we have reached the point of no return:

    I am 100% for aggressive climate change action. I think throwing out wild speculations about extinction events that aren’t based on the science causes real scientists who are basing their decisions on science to lose their credibility.

    When a legitimate worry (like 40% reduction in phytoplankton) comes along people tune out.

    If my posts didn’t express this I apologize.

  107. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Charles D

    many thanks for your kind response

    and there is no call for an apology.



  108. transpire says:

    anyone with a brain, a memory and a lifespan of at least 10 years will have noticed the changes even without scientific analysis. Scientific analysis is important because it allows for plans to be made based on that research, and initiatives to be pushed to be pushed forward for all those who are in denial about their “gut-feelings”.
    A wise woman once told me first the amphibians will become extinct, then the insects will change as the water rises and the land will dry and then everyone will starve – UNLESS we completely alter way we value the environment…
    That was some time ago, and she wasn’t a scientist or anything like that, but she was wise because she was in tune with the world around her. Scientific proof is only backing up these dreadful warnings that have come from many different sources, recently and historically.
    All obstacles must be abolished and positive action must be taken – NOW!

  109. adelady says:

    CD. I agree with most of what you say with one significant exception.

    You say you can’t see why we should worry about a .2 or .5 rise in temperature. But that’s an *average* – and we’ve already seen how the uneven distribution of warming land masses has affected some areas more than others so far. With more warming we’ll see more discrepancies in which areas are affected worst or first by heat, or flooding, or crop failures, or sea level rise. (Always ignoring the simultaneous effects of ocean acidification.)

    Averages are useful measurements but they can conceal the real differences in impact on different environments.

  110. Whatshisname says:

    @82 (which would be me) — In anticipation that I wasn’t clear I will blame it on the knee surgery and the distraction of warring families (okay, parliaments) of owls right outside my window. (There were enough cats and small children for everyone, so they could have gone and eaten elsewhere.)…… As always, bearing in mind that I never speak as a scientist and am always open to corrections, the lessons of the First Dust Bowl in the 1930’s came late in the game and included the effects of poor soil conservation practices. Those lessons were largely learned by the onset of the 1950’s Dust Bowl when we began massive rainmaking projects with silver iodide before the drought was really even established. At the end of the drought one professional rainmaker actually said the jury was still out on cloud seeding because there had not been enough rain during the seven year period to study. Since then I have seen studies on the effects of excessive pollution nuclei in reducing rainfall. That argument probably may still go back and forth, but what I learned from it was to stop messing with Mother Nature, especially using pollution.

    Guess my main point is that we now know with settled science what is indeed causing this climate change predicament. The naysayers seem to be saying that we won’t be able to do an autopsy until everything and everyone is dead.

  111. Charles Darwin Jr says:

    #113 adelady

    I did not say I wasn’t worried about .2 or .5c increase. I said I don’t believe we will go extinct because of it.

    I am not ignoring Ocean Acidification. In fact, I think Ocean Acidification is one of the great pieces of evidence that the idiots (i mean septics) are ignoring.

    My entire point is let the scientists discuss the facts. Don’t cry wolf about extinction when it is very unlikely to happen anytime soon.

    We can win this battle with just the facts.


  112. fj2 says:

    115. Charles Darwin Jr, ” . . . let the scientists discuss the facts.”

    Scientists deal in frameworks. Forty years ago the numbers in cosmology varied wildly for it not to be a very satisfying science. Now the numbers are much more consistent yet, dark matter, force, and energy are recent unexplained mysteries.

    Biology and medical science has changed dramatically in a similar period.

    The more we know the opportunity there is to look very closely at individual things and realize how little we know. Seeing the big picture is also very important.

    In any case, a functional reality is a necessity.