Groundhog Decade: Were stuck in a bad movie, where its always the hottest decade on record


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

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

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

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

Figure 7.

Projections of global warming relative to pre-industrial for the A1FI emissions scenario” — the one we’re currently on. “Dark shading shows the mean ±1 s.d. [standard deviation] for the tunings to 19 AR4 GCMs [IPCC Fourth Assessment General Circulation Models] and the light shading shows the change in the uncertainty range when … climate-carbon-cycle feedbacks … are included.”

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

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

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

Note:  If NOAA has updated the top figure to include 2010, let me know.

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31 Responses to Groundhog Decade: Were stuck in a bad movie, where its always the hottest decade on record

  1. Peter M says:

    Extreme weather events are increasing..’Storms’ of my Grandchildren.

    whats next?

  2. JCH says:

    This is exactly how Little Ice Age scientists predicted the future would be (ever warmer decades starting approximately when Arrhenius published his CO2 paper,) right?

  3. Wes Rolley says:

    First, tweet on this story has a bad link. Got that before RSS feed showed in my reader. Rather frustrating.

    [JR: My bad. I fixed it.]

  4. Prokaryotes says:

    Joe i think you looking for this graph

    This also impressive, Precipitation Anomalies
    Overall, since records begun

    Just December Anomaly

  5. Lou Grinzo says:

    Once again, I have to conclude that our only hope is for a Climate Hiroshima Event. The West Antarctic Ice Shelf collapses, or an ARkStorm turns CA’s Central Valley into a new inland sea, or a Cat 5 storm that dwarfs Katrina does unprecedented damage to Houston or Miami or WDC or NYC — something so huge that it completely dominates the news cycle in the US for weeks and forces the media to put people like Hansen, Alley, Schmidt, Serreze, Mann, Santer, et al. on the air as much as possible to explain things.

    And if such a terrible event should happen, I can only hope that the experts tell the hosts and the audience that they’ve been projecting such things would happen if we kept warming the planet, and we did so here we are, with no easy way to undo this mess. The public not only needs a wake up call that’s loud and painful enough to get their attention, but it needs to be scolded for not listening decades ago. Collectively, we’ve acted like spoiled brats who insisted we could skip school for weeks at a time without feeling any repercussions.

    I would love to see someone like Hansen do an interview in which he pulled out piles of printed reports and thumped them onto the desk one at a time, reciting the year of publication for each one, and then put the appropriate amount of blame on the media for screwing up their role in communicating such a critical issue to mainstream consumers and voters.

    It sickens me to think this way, but I see no way for anything short of such a nightmarish event to yank us out of our complacency. The EU heat wave of 2003, New Orleans in 2005, Russia and Pakistan in 2010, food riots in various countries, and Australia in 2011 are all “independent events” that are seen as nothing more than unlucky rolls of the dice.

    I have no doubt that we will learn the lesson, eventually. The only question is how much hell and high water will we commit ourselves and our children and ensuing generations to before we connect the dots and take action.

  6. Prokaryotes says:

    Annual Surface Mean Temp Anomalies Land/Ocean, Ocean, Land

    [JR: I need decadal.]

  7. Jimalakirti says:

    What will it take before our fearless leaders act? First we have to convince the masses of people who, for whatever reason, simply refuse to understand what is going on. How the hell do we do that in time?

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    The decadal are updated Jan 14, 2011. But finding both plotted …

  9. Prokaryotes says:

    Groundhog’s Day blizzard pounds U.S.; Category 4 Yasi hits Australia

    Today’s blizzard had stronger winds than Chicago’s other two record snowstorms, and thus this storm is probably the worst snowstorm ever to affect the city, as far as impacts on travel go.

  10. Robert In New Orleans says:

    How about Lady Gaga singing “caught in endless climate debate”. :)

  11. paulm says:

    Re 11,

    It is astounding that even the medical bodies has effectively ignored this problem. The single most impacting issue for the health of humans probably even now.

    “Had the climate epidemic been a “real” epidemic, the WHO would long ago have enabled its Global Alert and Response System and the shock reactions would have generated a series of crisis meetings among the world’s political leaders. The world press would day after day have been dominated by news reports, analysis and data on the new “black death”. The public would have been informed of and engaged in the necessary countermeasures in preventing the epidemic from spreading. An example: less than a year ago the swine flu was the object of a massive attention, politicians, media and the public were on a heightened state of alert. All of this, despite the fact that the swine flu resulted in far fewer deaths than a normal flu season. “

  12. 350 Now says:

    Joe: Brilliant connections to Ground Hog Day film.

    Another indication of being caught up in a bad movie?

    (which made the Huff Post’s front page instead of the typical Green Page and surprisingly 2700+ comments by noon.)

    Rocket Fuel Chemical in Drinking Water, To be regulated by EPA

    And what a shill for T. Boone Pickens to downplay the fracking danger in last week’s interview with Jon Stewart.–boone-pickens

  13. 350 Now says:

    Conservation International FB page today features a cutesy chance to vote for your favorite rodent for Groundhog Day.

    Too bad they didn’t feature mug shots of the dirty rats sponsoring the dirty air bills in the House today, pictured on the NRDC poster at:
    Marsha Blackburn R-TN/state of denial;
    Ted Poe, R-TX/state of denial;
    Shelly Moore Capito, R-WY/state of denial and
    John Carter, R-TX/state of denial

  14. Michael Tucker says:

    We will not act in time. To avoid catastrophic weather events, to avoid melting at the poles we would have had to have already started. With many reasonable people willing to delay (not just the deniers) we will not see any meaningful action for many years to come.

    It is clear that, even after the dramatic weather disasters of the past year, no single weather event or series of disasters in a single year is sufficient to motivate people to take action. It will take repeated seasons of disasters. When we have several summers of deadly heat waves so that people dread the approach of the next summer, we may see serious action. It could be several winters of deadly blizzards but that would just confuse many who are waiting for obvious signs of global ‘warming’.

    In the meantime Obama may decide to try to pass a modest GHG limiting bill if he is reelected. Or he may not. He is one of those reasonable people who are not motivated to take immediate and serious action. Then there are a great many who will say they are for action but they want to wait until it is really obvious that we need to burden the economy by increasing energy prices. Many still think of it as global warming and they do not see signs of warming. When will Wisconsin have winters like southern California? When will Hudson Bay become a summer vacation hotspot? They are waiting for that time when “the forecast will always be the same, “bloody hot.””

  15. Adam R. says:

    With many reasonable people willing to delay (not just the deniers)…

    With respect, delayers who pooh-pooh “alarmism” in light of the extreme risks from anthropogenic climate change are not reasonable people.

    A reasonable person does not wait for flames in the kitchen before he tries to buy fire insurance. Here we are already smelling smoke and the delayers are still saying “Wait, we can buy a fire extinguisher later if we really need one.” Reasonable? No: delusional.

  16. Tom Lenz says:

    Sadly, I’m becoming convinced that little short of actual hunger will motivate the average American Doofus to action.

  17. Andy says:

    Unfortunately, Groundhog’s Day was a comedy with a happy ending. What we are witnessing today is definitely a real life slasher / horror film with a really UGLY ending.

    Here in Wisconsin our new Governor (Walker)has already cancelled a Biomass project at UW, rejected 810 million to be used for high speed rail, has moved towards making wind energy more difficult. At the same time he has proposed moving land resource decisions that impact ‘businesses’ from the Department of Natural Resources to the Commerce Department and at the same time passing legislation that is incredibly pro-business. After all our new state motto is “Wisconsin – Open for Business”. All of this in under 1 month – we’re screwed.

    More depressing news – yesterday as the massive snow storm approached I was listening to Al Roker (weatherman) being interviewed on WGN out of Chicago. Al stated that the, YES weather exteremes were becoming more frequent, and YES climate change was partly responsible. Depressingly, he followed that up with saying yes the climate was changing, but the cause was might be open for debate. Please Al, make the connection for the average listener.

    Chins up,

  18. paulm says:

    Re 18, or maybe an imminent threat their freedom…………………to…

  19. catman306 says:

    In addition to a Climate Hiroshima Event, it will need to be easily televised, close to media centers, as were the World Trade Towers. The Greenland Ice Sheet sliding into the ocean overnight, a Climate Hiroshima event, won’t much be on TV. But the worldwide sea coast flooding will fill the media. The human disaster will fill the news, not the message that burning fossil fuels 20 years ago did this.

  20. George says:

    two decades may be long in a person’s life, but I thought it was considered a fairly short time for climate change. Isn’t it the case that you really need many decades of weather to see a clear trend in climate?

  21. Berbalang says:

    The Climate Hiroshima Event would have to hit Washington D.C. while Congress is in session debating whether or not to take action on Global Warming. Then and only then would there be enough pressure be on Congress to act. Anything less and they can’t make the connection.

    I have for years told people that the Global Warming Deniers will deny that Global Warming is taking place even when the Arctic Ice Cap completely melts.

  22. dbmetzger says:

    And than there is the ever shrinking amazon rainforest and people…Uncontacted Amazonian Tribes in Danger from Logging
    Photographs of uncontacted Indians in the border of Brazil and Peru released to draw attention to the risk of illegal logging operations.

  23. Mark Shapiro says:

    I’ll disagree mildly about the “climate Hiroshima” idea. Remember, the deniers invent ways to deny and delay faster than we can knock them down (despite Joe’s and SkepticalScience’s and other’s best efforts). And then they’ll invent ways to blame things on the climate scientists.

    One thing we can ask the deniers and delayers is why they are working so hard for the Koch brothers and for Rupert Murdoch. Let’s always remind them how things get divided up: billionaires get the gold mine, we all get the shaft.

  24. Roger Wehage says:

    Apparently no one is listening. I haven’t noticed any fewer cars and trucks on the road…

  25. Edward says:

    Prokaryotes: Rochester, N.Y. late 1960s: 108 inches [9 FEET] of snow in 24 hours. EVERYBODY got to work on time. When it got to 6 feet, they went home to shovel snow off of roofs. Spare us your complaints about snow flurries. 30 inches of snow is a flurry. I hope you have a second story window and snowshoes.

    Olean, Little Valley [Cattaraugus County seat], Salamanca N.Y. got 450 inches of snow per year in the 1950s and 1960s. Now get only 96 inches of snow per year. Olean schools NEVER EVER had a day off for snow. Some places in Alaska get 100 feet of snow per year. Yes, I meant to say FEET.

    Enough of this 18 inch flurry already.

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    I think there was something lost in translation :)

    This movie misses one scene though. The scene about a special kind of fire, the raging out of control wild fire of anarchy and utter chaos. Throughout the world. The collapse of the society as we know it.

  27. Prokaryotes says:

    Edward the conditions are bad with a chance of massive roof collapse and basic supply shortages. What was is irrelevant, look at the frequency now.

  28. Prokaryotes says:

    In Boston, which has already received more than five feet of snow this winter, the back-to-back snowstorms on Tuesday and Wednesday had some people feeling like they were living in a continuous loop. That it was Feb. 2 — Groundhog Day — was not lost on Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. “It’s Groundhog Day, and literally like ‘Groundhog Day’ the movie,” he said, in a nod to the film in which a day keeps repeating itself.

  29. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Have we now entered the hotter slower and hotter faster period? Strong La Nina and still very quiet sun, sounds like the cold part of the cycle.