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Mother Nature is Just Getting Warmed Up: June 2011 Heat Records Crushing Cold Records by 13 to 1

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"Mother Nature is Just Getting Warmed Up: June 2011 Heat Records Crushing Cold Records by 13 to 1"

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Stanford climate scientists forecast permanently hotter summers

The tropics and much of the Northern Hemisphere are likely to experience an irreversible rise in summer temperatures within the next 20 to 60 years if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, according to a new climate study by Stanford University scientists….

“According to our projections, large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years,” said the study’s lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh,

That’s from the Stanford release for a new Climatic Change study (PDF here).  The study, based on observations and models, finds that most major countries, including the United States, are “likely to face unprecedented climate stresses even with the relatively moderate warming expected over the next half-century.”

As a taste of things to come, much of the United States has just been hit by a monster heat wave. Steve Scolnik at Capital Climate analyzed the data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and found, “U.S. heat records in the first 9 days of June have outnumbered cold records by an eye-popping ratio of 13 to 1″ — 1609 to 124:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-yPpkRZg_Wdg/TfKGl13-RwI/AAAAAAAACOI/S3b047Gg1AM/s1600/temp.records.060911.jpg

Monthly total number of daily high temperature and low temperature records set in the U.S. for June 2010 through June 9, 2011, data from NOAA.

I like the statistical aggregation across the country, since it gets us beyond the oft-repeated point that you can’t pin any one record temperature on global warming.  If you want to know how to judge whether the 13-to-1 ratio for the first 9 days of June is a big deal, here’s what a 2009 National Center for Atmospheric Research study found over the past six decades (see “Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.“):

 

temps

This graphic shows the ratio of record daily highs to record daily lows observed at about 1,800 weather stations in the 48 contiguous United States from January 1950 through September 2009. Each bar shows the proportion of record highs (red) to record lows (blue) for each decade. The 1960s and 1970s saw slightly more record daily lows than highs, but in the last 30 years record highs have increasingly predominated, with the ratio now about two-to-one for the 48 states as a whole.

NCAR explained their 2009 findings in a news release:

Spurred by a warming climate, daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows over the last decade across the continental United States, new research shows. The ratio of record highs to lows is likely to increase dramatically in coming decades if emissions of greenhouse gases continue to climb.

Climate change is making itself felt in terms of day-to-day weather in the United States,” says Gerald Meehl, the lead author and a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). “The ways these records are being broken show how our climate is already shifting.”

The scientific paper itself is here (subs. req’d).  And NCAR posted a video of lead author Meehl discussing his findings here.  The study looked into the future and found that “if nations continue to increase their emissions of greenhouse gases in a ‘business as usual’ scenario, the U.S. ratio of daily record high to record low temperatures would increase to about 20-to-1 by mid-century and 50-to-1 by 2100.”

So the 13-to-1 ratio for early June 2011 is indicative of a major heat wave.

Let’s go back to the new Stanford study, “Observational and model evidence of global emergence of permanent, unprecedented heat in the 20th and 21st centuries.”  The release notes the severe impact of even moderate warming:

This dramatic shift in seasonal temperatures could have severe consequences for human health, agricultural production and ecosystem productivity, Diffenbaugh said. As an example, he pointed to record heat waves in Europe in 2003 that killed 40,000 people. He also cited studies showing that projected increases in summer temperatures in the Midwestern United States could reduce the harvest of staples, such as corn and soybeans, by more than 30 percent.

Diffenbaugh was surprised to see how quickly the new, potentially destructive heat regimes are likely to emerge, given that the study was based on a relatively moderate forecast of greenhouse gas emissions in the 21st century.

“The fact that we’re already seeing these changes in historical weather observations, and that they match climate model simulations so closely, increases our confidence that our projections of permanent escalations in seasonal temperatures within the next few decades are well founded,” Diffenbaugh said.

The study itself isn’t online yet, but Diffenbaugh sent me a copy.  It concludes:

First, imminent, permanent emergence of unprecedented heat in the tropical regions is likely to result in substantial human impact, particularly given previous humanitarian crises associated with severe heat, and the synergies between environmental and development challenges. Second, the fact that areas of the United States, Europe and China also show permanent emergence by the mid-21st century highlights the fact that nations with developed and emerging economies are also likely to face unprecedented climate stresses even with the relatively moderate warming expected over the next half-century. The fact that global climate models are able to capture the observed intensification of extreme heat globally and over many regions strengthens confidence in the model projections. However, where model biases do exist, they predominantly serve to decrease occurrence of unprecedented heat. Further, actual GHG emissions over the early 21st century have exceeded those projected in the SRES scenario used here, suggesting that our results could provide a conservative projection of the timing of permanent emergence of an unprecedented heat regime.

The model biases make the results more conservative.  So does the choice of emission scenario.

As is common in such analyses, the authors based their simulations on the ‘middle of the road’ emission scenario, A1B. In 2100, A1B hits about 700 ppm with average global temperatures “only” about 3°C (5 F) warmer than today. In fact, on our current emissions path, a 3C temperature rise will happen much sooner (see Hadley Center: “Catastrophic” 5-7°C  warming by 2100 on current emissions path and M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F — with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F).   And remember, the  worst-case scenario is that this happens by mid-century (see Royal Society special issue details ‘hellish vision’ of 7°F (4°C) world — which we may face in the 2060s!)

I haven’t yet interviewed Diffenbaugh about his new study, but I interviewed him for my book, Hell and High Water, and in 2008 wrote about his earlier work in a post I reprint below:

When can we expect very high surface temperatures?

Sure glacier melt, sea level rise, extreme drought, and species loss get all the media attention — they are the Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Barack Obama of climate impacts. But what about good old-fashioned sweltering heat? How bad will that be? Two little-noticed studies — one new, one old — spell out the grim news.

Bottom line: By century’s end, extreme temperatures of up to 122°F would threaten most of the central, southern, and western U.S. Even worse, Houston and Washington, DC could experience temperatures exceeding 98°F for some 60 days a year.

The peak temperature analysis comes from a Geophysical Research Letters paper published two weeks ago that focused on the annual-maximum “once-in-a-century” temperature. Researchers looked at the case of a (mere) 700 ppm atmospheric concentrations of CO2, the A1b scenario, with total warming of about 3.5°C by century’s end. The key scientific point is that “the extremes rise faster than the means in a warming climate.”

The results, depicted above (in °C), are quite remarkable, especially when you consider that this is, again, just the A1B scenario.  On our current emissions path, these record temperatures could be seen closer to 2060 than 2100:

… values in excess of 50°C [122°F] in Australia, India, the Middle East, North Africa, the Sahel and equatorial and subtropical South America.

As you can see from the map, extreme temperature peaks are only slightly lower over large parts of this country. The study notes:

Such temperatures, if lasting for some days, are life threatening and receive relatively little attention in the climate change debate.

So now the question is, has anybody done an analysis of what global warming could do to intense heat waves that last very long times, weeks or months? The answer is yes, and the results of that study are more worrisome — and it also received relatively little attention.

The November 2005 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Fine-scale processes regulate the response of extreme events to global climate change,” found that “peak increases in extreme hot events are amplified by surface moisture feedbacks.” The study looked at the A2 scenario (about 850 ppm in 2100) in the second half of this century (from 2071 to 2095). It examined temperature rise projections, plus “fine-scale processes,” such as how local warming is affected by loss of snow cover and loss of soil moisture. I interviewed the lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh, of Purdue University, for my book.

Houston and Washington, DC would experience temperatures exceeding 98°F for some 60 days a year. Oklahoma would see temperatures above 110°F some 60 to 80 days a year. Much of Arizona would be subjected to temperatures of 105°F or more for 98 days out of the year–14 full weeks. We won’t call these heat waves anymore. As Diffenbaugh told me, “We will call them normal summers.”

And again, that’s not even the worst case, since it’s “only” based on 850 ppm.

The definitive NOAA-led U.S. climate impact report from 2010 warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year with 850 ppm.  By 2090, it’ll be above 90°F some 120 days a year in Kansas — more than the entire summer. Much of Florida and Texas will exceed 90°F half the days of the year.  These won’t be called heat waves anymore.  Again, it’ll just be the “normal” climate.

On our current emissions path, we may well exceed the A2 scenario and hit A1F1, 1000 ppm (see here).  In a terrific March presentation, Climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe has a figure of what the A1F1 would mean (derived from the 2010 NOAA-led report):

Mother Nature is just warming up.

The time to act is yesterday.

Related Post:

 

Below are the earlier comments from the Facebook commenting system:

 

Mauri Pelto

So I have spent 30 years examining the Britney Spears of climate change. It is often those simple heat waves that can have a profound impact on a glacier. In 2009 such a heat wave struck the Pacific Northwest and <a href=”http://glacierchange​.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/​mass-balance-of-the-easton​ -glacier-2009/”>Easton Glacier </a>developed in a matter of weeks, two bedrock knobs amidst the ice that had not been evident before.

June 11 at 11:35am

me

Oh please, we love your work, which is vital! Seems like tags aren’t working here. Just moseyed over to your site and being a layperson, found the timelapse videos on this recent post compelling, particularly Extreme Ice, 350, and world glacier retreat ones after the first couple, which were also great. Thanks.
(me=Susan Anderson)

June 11 at 2:03pm

me

shoot, meant to include the link:

http://glacierchange.wordp​ress.com/2011/06/02/columb​ia-glacier-past-present-an​d-future/

June 11 at 2:04pm

Richard Brenne

me = Susan Anderson – I appreciate learning your iidentity via algebraic equation, and no wonder I like me’s comments so much – she’s you.

June 11 at 5:28pm

Peter S. Mizla

When will temperatures rise high enough, ice melt fast enough- to convince a somnolent population that we have a problem that human civilization is on the brink.

And by then will it be beyond the point anything can be done. Unfortunately I see the worst case outcome—

June 11 at 11:52am

Climate Portals

Its amazing that it isn’t plain to more at the moment.
Just goes to show how blinkered humans can be….today in the uk dailymail….

http://www.dailymail.co.uk​/debate/article-2002239/Ni​gel-Lawson-says-Coalitions​-absurd-energy-policy-dama​ging-industry.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk​/debate/article-2002316/Br​itain-afford-green-madness​.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk​/news/article-2002333/Nige​l-Lawson-says-Coalitions-a​bsurd-energy-policy-damagi​ng-industry-adding-hundred​s-pounds-familys-fuel-bill​s.html

June 11 at 9:57pm

Colorado Bob

13 to 1″ — 1609 to 124.
These are the max numbers, the min numbers -
1450 to 225.
6.4 to 1.

June 11 at 12:50pm

Richard Brenne

Because global warming increases the likelihood of the kinds of heat waves much of the nation including the Northeast has recently experienced (before Thursday’s storms), one could say that in a very small way global warming has helped the Boston Bruins defeat the Vancouver Canucks in their two Stanley Cup Final games at home. Okay, they probably would’ve won anyway, outscoring the Canucks 12 – 1 in those two games.

Still, record or near-record warm temperature and humidity levels (a record-tying 91 F Wednesday, 20 degrees above average, with an overnight minimum of 69 F) in Boston during the games that night and less dramatically Monday night made the ice bad and the puck jump over more sticks, hurting Vancouver’s greater speed, finesse, open-ice and passing game and helping Boston’s game which is more physical and about controlling the puck along the boards, where bad ice can actually help rather than hurt.

Of course Canuck Andrew Rome’s (no relation to Joe Romm, though oddly their last names are pronounced the same) hit on Bruin Nathan Horton (no relation to Willie) that put him in the hospital and Bobby Orr waving Horton’s jersey flag in an emotional pre-game ceremony and Bruin goalie Tim Thomas giving up onlys 1 goal in 79 shots compared to Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo giving up 12 goals probably had more to do with the results than global warming alone. As a Canucks fan I need to point out that skating through sour grapes is difficult as well.

Vancouver, B.C. (well, both Vancouvers) has had a cool, wet spring but even that, like all weather, has an element of global warming involved. During May Portland, Oregon where I live had an average temperature within a degree of that of Fairbanks, Alaska. Because global warming has warmed the far north including Fairbanks (just a few hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle and someplace I’ve hung out, and not just with my good friend Sarah Palin) more than anyplace, the jetstream isn’t as vigorous west to east, but instead often meanders more north to south. This can bring cooler weather from places like Fairbanks to places like Portland, but this can also create a blocking pattern where places like Texas receive little moisture while on the other side of the blocking pattern five states along the Ohio River have their wettest April’s on record, the primary cause of the Mississippi River flooding.

This isn’t the primary reason the Canucks beat the Bruins for the third time last night to lead the series 3 games to 2, it’s more that they have the more beautiful, athletic style of play and despite Tim Thomas’ heroics, Luongo has out-dueled him in two 1-0 classics where both goalies have stood on their head, whatever the hell that hockey cliché means.

June 11 at 1:00pm

me

Well, I’m not much of a fan, so I can honestly say I thought the Canucks were simply the better team. Sad, as our other teams fizzled so far this year (though hopes w/Red Sox if they can avoid pulling defeat out of victory (a specialty of theirs).

June 11 at 2:37pm

Richard Brenne

I thought you were me because of your name. I’d like to say that you had a great comment on the post about ships on June 8. Really the full-cost accounting we most need to discuss these issues realistically.

I’ve looked into green shipping of all kinds, and they’re called sailboats, canoes and kayaks. The rest is mostly greenwashing to date (and an excuse for mega-yachting, together with private jet travel the most decadent use of fossil fuels in the history of Earth), although I support all green efforts for the most helpful mass transit and shipping.

It’s hard to see how renewables alone are going to power the current fleet that can range up to 160,000 tons as you described. I think the biggest key is that we’re going to have to downscale everything, or Nature will downscale it for us. Thanks again for such a great comment, and I look forward to seeing more, whoever you are or me is.

June 11 at 5:13pm

Capital Climate

Hockey should not be played in June!

June 11 at 6:49pm

Leif Erik Knutsen

Richard, We do not necessarily have to down scale the size of ships as much as down scale the speed at which they travel. Cutting the speed in half more than halves the fuel consumption even when factoring in the added travel time. An aside is that many whales will be saved as the slower speed allows the whales more time to respond and move out of harms way. It is impossible to know the exact number of whales killed each year by ships but but studies have shown that it is not insignificant.

June 11 at 8:31pm

John McCormick

Richard, the future of renewables alone powering 160,000 ton vessels can be destroyed by that one rogue wave that comes out of nowhere with the capability to destroy any ship. Take a look at the following video of how a supertanker went through a rough patch of ocean and imagine those wind sale/solar panels surviving the fury of those waves.

http://www.youtube.com/wat​ch?v=LwKXfc_a4Ag

June 12 at 7:04am

me

this “me” is Susan Anderson

The “me” with the ships comment is something else. The rest of the “me’s” here are mine. I guess it’s some kind of default ID for those like me who are challenged by all this stuff. sorry.

June 12 at 10:31am

Richard Brenne

While I stand by my climate change statements made above, I’ve jumped off the Vancouver Canucks bandwagon, metaphorically twisting an ankle in disgust in the process (I was a diehard Colorado Avalanche fan, coaching 10 seasons of ice hockey in the area when they came and the Denver-Boulder area went from 5 hockey rinks to 30 during that time, and hockey exploded in most of the ski towns as well.).

Congratulations to the Boston Bruins, their fans and their American goalie, Tim Thomas, who played maybe the greatest Stanley Cup Finals by any goalie ever, just as American Ryan Miller played the greatest Olympics by any goalie ever in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

And I agree with Capital Climate that hockey should not be played in June, nor anywhere where natural pond ice doesn’t at least occasionally occur. . .

June 16 at 3:51pm

Colorado Bob

The stations setting new monthly precipitation records -
44 (Broken) + 2 (Tied) = 46 Total.
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/e​xtremes/records/monthly/pr​cp/2011/06/00?sts%5B0%5D=U​S#records_look_up

June 11 at 1:06pm

Leif Erik Knutsen

The GOBP faction often state that no one weather event can be attributed to climate change. However it is clear from the national 10 year average graph above that every other high event can be so attributed. Moreover I would point out that for a record to be a record it must be higher than the previous. This implies that many of today’s “also ran” extreme days could well be higher than those records set 10 or 15 years ago.

June 11 at 1:07pm

Colorado Bob

Torrential rain continued to pound down on wide areas of southern Norway during the night and on Friday, washing out bridges, setting off mudslides and leaving some communities isolated. The Dovrebanen train line was blocked and traffic was a nightmare, just as the long three-day pinse holiday weekend was getting underway.
The sun was shining brightly in northern Norway, but flooding also was a problem there because of rapid snow melting caused by temperatures as high as 30C (86F).
http://www.newsinenglish.n​o/2011/06/10/rain-closes-r​oads-forces-evacuations/

June 11 at 1:11pm

Colorado Bob

England suffered its driest spring in a century last month, leaving fields parched and many rivers at record lows,……………. But Scotland, by contrast, had its wettest spring on record for the three-month period of March, April and May,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/​environment/2011/jun/10/en​gland-driest-may-drought

June 11 at 1:52pm

Colorado Bob

The High Plains of Texas, world’s largest contiguous cotton patch.

Dryland cotton crop in West Texas is likely going to be abandoned, said Dr. Kater Hake, Vice President of Agricultural Research of Cray, NC based Cotton Incorporated. We can’t keep irrigating and in some point farmers have to abandon irrigation, said Verett talking about irrigated crop in West Texas.

http://www.commodityonline​.com/news/Drought-to-lower​-US-cotton-supplies-39863-​3-1.html

June 11 at 2:24pm

Colorado Bob

This story is datelined Lubbock, Texas .
This season has produced 7 – 100F plus days so far . 4 came at the end of May.
The forecast this week :
Today 99F
101F
103F
103
99F
102F
102F

“some point farmers have to abandon irrigation, said Verett talking about irrigated crop in West Texas.”

June 11 at 3:33pm

Climate Portals

need to buy a few pairs of jeans now…

June 11 at 9:43pm

Leif Erik Knutsen

Perhaps these folks should join the Alaska First Nations suit against the fossil industry in their attempt to get compensation for moving their villages to higher ground and away from newly melted and eroding exposed coastline. The more the merrier.

June 12 at 9:21am

me

Means, averages, anomalies all come to mind. One problem with reductive (as I see it, one amateur prone to error and boots first at that) science is its inability and/or unwillingness to describe full reality because it is complicated. Complications are part of the picture, but not a good reason to throw out information that is part of a bigger picture. A dataset without extremes, just because the extremes defy description, is not an honest set of data. We need a way to quantify the emerging reality.

And what happened to trusted sources who said next year was going to be the bad one? If this is not the worst (for now) how bad is it going to get in the near future.

Seems to be the most extreme predictions are becoming the new normal rather fast.

me=Susan Anderson

June 11 at 3:10pm

Peter S. Mizla

Since we are on a trajectory for 3.5 degrees C by as early as 2060, I wonder what temperatures will be in 2020 or 2030?

The map shown above for days above 100 degrees F seem conservative- the UCS scientists puts my location near Hartford CT on a higher emissions scenario with 78 days over 90 degrees and an eye popping 28 days 100 degrees. by 2090.

From the map the states of Texas, OK, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, eastern CO- and the deep south look like they will not only be able to support crops and other agriculture they have for 200 years- but also become virtually not habitable for humans or animals because of hear, drought and dust.

The south west, AZ, Nevada, New Mexico, The California Great Valley. the the areas below 4000 feet in the intermontane region look like it will be an inferno also.

The only regions ‘less effected’ are the New England states, extreme upper great lakes, and the Portland to Vancouver BC corridor, and even these regions will see far higher temperatures, in the west more drought, and in the east more extreme weather and precipitation.

Does it seem that the US lower 48 will be a nation that will evolve demographically on the ‘fringes’ geographically?

Will migration to these remaining regions cause problems as well. What about this nations ability to grow enough food— many questions.

June 12 at 5:22am

Leif Erik Knutsen

Just noticed another interesting point about the “2010-2011 US Temperature Extremes” graph. December was the only month with more cold, 1052, days than warm, 688 records. However that was the time when the Arctic was setting numerous record warm spells and struggling to refreeze. Those cold pockets that would of normally been safely tucked away above the polar ice but they were prevented from being their because of the influence of the warm open ocean. They had to be someplace so the continents it is. Without corresponding cold areas the global average would climb faster than the heat sink effect will allow within the current parameters. So in a backward fashion even December is indicative of a warming planet.

June 11 at 4:07pm

Mike Roddy

Susan Anderson: “Seems the most extreme predictions are becoming the new normal rather fast”.

Yep. Rush Limbaugh, meanwhile, has the other side covered- bye bye, nomination for Mitt Romney, since he dared to concede that climate change is here. For Rush, the past year has “confirmed the global warming hoax”.

If the media had been doing its job, Rush could not risk this kind of embarrassment. There needs to be a serious and comprehensive effort to wake this country up, with our without the mainstream media.

June 11 at 5:15pm

Tenney Naumer

Rush wouldn’t last 5 minutes without air conditioning. Someone should pull the plug on him.

June 18 at 9:13pm

Robin Chandler

Seems like moving to Maine for lower emissions is in order. In Boston, we’ve had record summer rains past 2 yrs.-reduced watering/plants, gardens. Winter snow, summer heat increasing intensity. “Normal” may soon be struck from the climate vocab.

June 11 at 6:24pm

Capital Climate

The link to CapitalClimate is for an earlier post (November). The current analysis is at:

http://capitalclimate.blog​spot.com/2011/06/summer-20​11-heat-records-crushing-c​old.html

June 11 at 7:03pm

Joseph Romm

Apologies!

June 12 at 8:32am

Joan Savage

Sections of railroad tracks in the southern US are tempered to handle 100F heat. In the northern part of the US, the rails are tempered to handle 90F heat. When the weather gets hotter than than the tempering value, the rails expand and can buckle, developing “sun kinks.” Trains either have to stay off the tracks entirely or creep along at 40 mph or less to avoid derailment.

June 11 at 7:48pm

Len Conly

REPORT
Climate Change in the American Mind:
Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in May 2011.
George Mason University.
Center for Climate Change Communication.

This study was conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, and was funded by the Surdna Foundation, the 11th Hour Project, and the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment.

http://www.climatechangeco​mmunication.org/images/fil​es/ClimateBeliefsMay2011.p​df

Since June 2010, public understanding that global warming is happening rose three points, to 64 percent, while belief that it is caused mostly by human activities declined three points, to 47 percent.

June 11 at 9:13pm

Keith Eager

By the way, the Stanford paper, “Observati onal and model evidence of global emergence of permanent, unpreceden ted heat in the 20th and 21st centuries, ” Noah S. Diffenbaugh and Martin Scherer, can be downloaded free and in full as a pdf here:

http://www.springerlink.co​m/content/l2371617777412kp​/fulltext.pdf

June 11 at 9:53pm

Joseph Romm

Thanks!

June 12 at 8:31am

Colorado Bob

Ashton said the coming rain could push the Portage Diversion to its limits and that this year’s flooding is unprecedented in recorded history.
Precipitation in northern Manitoba, however, is below average, so Ashton said the province could be dealing with forest fires in the north at the same time as flooding in the south.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/can​ada/story/2011/06/11/manit​oba-flooding-fears.html

June 11 at 10:35pm

huggins.jeff

Don’t Ya Just Love ‘Em (Universities)? and Info on Stanford.

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to Berkeley and Harvard, so some might consider what I’m about to say about Stanford somewhat suspect. That said, I have deep respect and admiration for Stanford (from most standpoints), so I’ll try to be straight when I mention the following. (And anyhow, these sorts of things are reflective of other universities as well.)

Even as Stanford scientists help us understand the global warming problem, and many folks at Stanford are deeply concerned about the various problems we humans face (and some are working hard to raise the issues), it’s also true that:

The second-longest serving member of ExxonMobil’s Board of Directors is Michael Boskin, a professor of economics at Stanford.

Also, one of the two most popular and elite training courses for board members (Directors) of large companies is the “Directors’ College” at Stanford Law School. Coincidentally, the next Directors’ College (at Stanford Law School) begins next weekend and runs for about two days: Sunday June 19 to Tuesday June 21. It’s pretty “exclusive”: the cost is about $7,000. (You heard me correctly.) You can read up about what corporate directors are being taught, and who’s talking to them, and so forth, at the website. Just Google “Directors’ College”, “Stanford Law School”, and you’ll find it. This is one of those places where, for the most part, it’s drilled into people (between fancy meals) how to be very, very, very intent and good at maximizing shareholder value, pursuing profit growth, knowing the current law, and doing everything “right” in order to avoid any liability for any messes caused in that process.

And of course, ExxonMobil frequently touts the fact that it is supporting energy research at Stanford, trying to make the case that they (ExxonMobil) are being good guys, responsible, and trying their best to help “solve the world’s energy challenges”.

So it’s all quite interesting, if you think about it, how “diverse” these sorts of top universities are, and whether they are a “net positive” or “net negative” or “very mixed bag” when it comes to actually helping society improve the human condition. In the case of Stanford in particular, great climate scientists walk down the same paths as an ExxonMobil board member. Indeed, the same climate scientists who did this study could, if they wanted, probably walk a hundred yards or so — or perhaps two or three hundred — from their labs to Boskin’s office, and ask to talk to him about the problem. Why not? Have they? I doubt it.

This is nothing against Stanford. Some great folks are there: e.g., Paul Ehrlich and many others. Some people are trying very hard to help humankind find better paths forward. But many others aren’t. Even as Stanford’s scientists warn us, Mr. Boskin is helping to drive ExxonMobil, and numerous directors of large companies are paying $7,000 each, for about two days, to hear from Stanford Law School and Stanford Business School faculty, and top business leaders, how to maximize shareholder value and avoid liability for any messes made.

Cheers,

Jeff

June 11 at 10:38pm

huggins.jeff

Sorry: the “want” in the first sentence should be “went”, of course. Not that it matters. Cheers, Jeff

June 11 at 10:39pm

Colorado Bob

Rainfall of 8 to 16 inches across Montana, Wyoming and the western Dakotas in May sent a deluge down the Missouri River and upon an Army Corps of Engineers that was not anticipating it.
When the planned peak releases are reached at the Oahe Dam this week……. 150,000 cubic feet of water per second —….
Only three times since the Oahe Dam was completed in 1948 has the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had to release water through its outlet structures in 1997, 2010 and now.
The emergency spillway has never been used. In the two previous releases, flows reached a maximum 60,000 cubic feet per second, less than half what is projected this year. So the dam is in uncharted territory.

http://www.statesmanjourna​l.com/article/20110611/OPI​NION/106110305/Q-How-Misso​uri-River-flooding-develop​ed

June 11 at 10:50pm

Climate Portals

I really don’t understand why states of emergencies are not being declared to tackle an event like this….

http://www.independent.co.​uk/environment/dire-climat​e-warning-locked-in-ancien​t-rocks-2296604.html

“Carbon is pouring into Earth’s atmosphere ten times faster today than during a dramatic event 56 million years ago that raised Earth’s temperature by at least five degrees Celsius “.

Do we really think that we can survive such a pulse?
I think its more than likely not!
Especially if we don’t try……

“The PETM unfolded over a period of at least 10,000 years, more likely 20,000, according to the new research.

That’s a blink of the eye in geological time, but was long enough for animals and plants to adapt. At least most of them – a significant slice of deep sea life went extinct.

What worries scientists is that an accelerated version of this scenario may be playing out today.

“Since life is as sensitive to the rates of change as to the absolute amount of change, fossil-fuel burning is likely disrupting natural ecosystems at a global scale in a way that may have little precedence in Earth history,” Kump said in an email exchange.”

June 11 at 10:51pm

Colorado Bob

Wheat -

“In 32 years, I’ve never seen so many problems in so many places,” said Dan Basse, the president of AgResource Co., a farm researcher in Chicago. “We’re concerned about the world story now,” said Basse, who has been studying agricultural markets since 1979 and expects prices as high as $10 this year.

http://www.bloomberg.com/n​ews/2011-06-05/wheat-field​s-wilt-in-drought-as-parch​ed-earth-spreads-from-chin​a-to-kansas.html

Red hard winter wheat is fetching about $8 a bushel across Oklahoma, according the USDA, compared to about $3.50 a year ago.
When harvesting is finished, the wheat crop is expected to be down about 38 percent from last year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.
Texas wheat growers are expected to produce about a third of the wheat they did last year.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/​business/article.aspx?subj​ectid=47&articleid=2011061​1_46_E1_CUTLIN429233&allco​m=1

June 11 at 11:11pm

Colorado Bob

(CNN) — Russia sent emergency fire-fighting aircraft over Siberia’s Taiga forests and residential areas to battle 200 new wildfires raging over the past 24 hours, the Emergency Ministry said Saturday.

Twenty-two major ones have been reported, officials said. Since summer began, there have more than 5,500 forest fire outbreaks in Siberia, the government agency reported, with 210,000 hectares (518,921 acres) ablaze, three times more than in 2010.
http://edition.cnn.com/201​1/WORLD/europe/06/11/russi​a.fire/

June 12 at 2:07am

Colorado Bob

“Wildfires (in Siberia) are greater in area compared to last year’s fires by more than two times,” he told Russian State TV on Saturday.

June 12 at 2:09am

David Spurgeon

BBC snowed by the whims of nature.

Oh noes!
======

Then, suddenly, this week, in summer no less, nature decides that snowfalls won’t be a thing of the past after all, and makes bozos of the BBC:
SEE TWO REPORTS HERE:

http://wattsupwiththat.com​/2011/06/12/bbc-snowed-by-​the-whims-of-nature/

I hate it when that happens.

June 12 at 4:12pm

Mark Reinhardt

Help me understand, if most medications primary ingredient is Petroleum Based. What new Chemical Bond does anyone on this board purpose to replace that with? Most of your food safety containers and wrappings have some form of Petroleum. How would you transition away from Oil without Human Beings starving in massive amounts? What viable energy system do you propose to replace Oil with that will keep food from going bad? Which, happens to be viable long term? I understand the need to protect The Environment, how, would you do that while making sure Human Being don’t starve to death in the process? What role do you feel the shifting poles have to do with changing climate? What do people think of the work of Piers Corbyn? I figured, I would through that out there for people to think about.

June 12 at 4:52pm

Mark Reinhardt

*throw

June 12 at 4:55pm

  • mowebb

Hi Mark, the issue isn’t the use of petroleum as an ingredient (not sure what you mean by medications being primarily made of petroleum, but regardless), it’s the burning of fossil fuels which increases the C02 levels in the atmosphere. As for starvation, it seems that’s a certainty unless we take steps to reduce our C02 emissions. Scientists aren’t saying we need to stop using petroleum “for the environment” – they’re saying that if we keep burning fossil fuels at the current rate, we’re in for a world of hurt.

June 12 at 5:16pm

Joseph Romm

Who worries about sequestered petrol in plastics?

June 12 at 5:37pm

James Newberry

Someone warns the people looking forward to a space journey with visiting spacemen in an old episode of Twilight Zone that “To Serve Mankind” is really a cookbook.

The US Economy has petro-fied into a cookbook since we are in the process of being cooked via the influence of human behavior by federal cooked books (including perverse subsidies, externalized liabilities and market costs, and unperceived risk).

Perhaps another actor should yell out the warning “Hydrocarbons are not energy resources. Burn them and you burn yourselves. Your greatest technology – the control of fire – could be your undoing.” Hell on Earth, coming soon to a theater near you. Sponsored by Big Oil (since they have all the money – and they say money is the root of all evil).

June 12 at 8:11pm

Peter S. Mizla

The PETM warming of 56 million years ago occurred on a planet with no ice- The rise of today, though 10 times faster, has been thus far slower in proportion to the long time of that ancient warming.

The warming thus far is taking place in a world filled still with much ice- for now.

The bad news is that sea levels ARE going to rise, ever more quickly and the energy transfer to the cold polar regions ( especially the Antarctic) Is going to become more violent-i.e. stronger climatic movements (storms!).

June 12 at 8:52pm

Nichol Brummer

would it help to plant trees now.. have some cooling shade later when those extreme heat waves hit? Better plant trees that can stand the heat, too.

June 13 at 6:27pm

Karen Fremerman

Needs no comment.

June 15 at 6:05am

charlescarbon29

This whole post is just supposition based around model projections.
I did a quick count of all the words in the post that pertain to supposition:
likely – 3 times.
projections – 1 time.
models – 5 times.
could – 6 times.
projected – 3 times.
potentially – 1 time.
expected – 1 time.
suggestions – 1 time.
scenarios – 6 times.
simulation – 1 time.

As these wretched models failed to predict the last decade of flat to cooling temperatures, how do you expect them to predict anything accurately in the future? (Remember Hansen’s ridiculous Scenario A/B/C predictions?)

Dr Roy Spencer does a good “layman’s” commentary about why global warming models are so wrong.

http://www.drroyspencer.co​m/2009/05/a-layman%E2%80%9​9s-explanation-of-why-glob​al-warming-predictions-by-​climate-models-are-wrong/

Even Hansen admitted the models were wrong and tried to explain it all away by making hand-waving comments about aerosol forcings. Bottom line, the models were wrong.

http://stevengoddard.wordp​ress.com/2011/05/16/hansen​-admits-that-his-climate-m​odels-suck/

June 17 at 11:15am

Tyler Austin

Global warming is an accepted fact in all parts of the world except for the American GOP and various Islamist parties in the middle east who blame it on the Jews.

June 19 at 1:23pm

Derrick Gibson

Just getting warmed up. Apropos.

July 21 at 7:05am

Brett J. Rowley

Love the heat, trading my yotabanger for a hummer, already shut down my alternative fuel production (EPA banned the alternative fuel engines), and keep my thermostat at home on 62 in summer.

July 21 at 9:03am

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