NBC Meteorologist On Record Heat Wave: ‘If We Did Not Have Global Warming, We Wouldn’t See This’

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"NBC Meteorologist On Record Heat Wave: ‘If We Did Not Have Global Warming, We Wouldn’t See This’"

Tweet of the heat wave, from the National Weather Service:

It is friggin’ hot!

How hot is it? It’s so hot that all-time records are being set in June: “Nashville has reached its hottest temperature on record…109 degrees at 314 pm. The previous all time record was 107 from July 27th and 28th of 1952.”

UPDATE: Meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters has more all-time heat records:

109° Columbia, SC (old record 107° on two previous occasions)
109° Cairo, IL (old record 106° on 8/9/1930)
108° Paducah, KY (ties same on 7/17/1942
106° Chattanooga, TN (ties same on 7/28/1952)
105° Raleigh, NC (ties same on 8/21/2007 and 8/18/1988)
105° Greenville, SC (old record 104° 8/10/2007 although 106° was recorded by the Signal Service in July 1887)
104° Charlotte, NC (ties same on 8/9 and 10/2007 and 9/6/1954)
102° Bristol, TN (ties same on 7/28/1952-this site now known as `Tri-State Airport’)
109° Athens, GA. This is just 1° shy of the Georgia state record for June of 110° set at Warrenton in 1959.

Here is a great graphic via Capital Climate:

The U.S. surface temperature map from Unisys at 4 pm, June 29,2012, shows 100° temperatures stretching almost continuously from California eastward to the Carolinas.

NBC Meteorologist Bill Karins said on Friday , “We’ve never really seen a heat wave like this in the month of June.” Sadly, in a few decades this will just be considered a normal June (see below).

How hot is it? It is so hot that NBC Washington’s Chief Meteorologist, Doug Kammerer, explained on air “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.”

Like a baseball player on steroids, our climate system is breaking records at an unnatural pace (see “March Came In Like A Lamb, Went Out Like A Globally Warmed Lion On Steroids Who Smashed 15,000 Heat Records“).

As Climate Central explains in its post, “Scorching June Heat Wave Puts 50 Million in U.S. on Alert”:

During the June 22-to-28 period, there were 2,132 warm temperature records set or tied in the U.S., compared to 486 cold temperature records. This includes 267 monthly warm temperature records, and 54 all-time warm temperature records.

For the year-to-date, warm temperature records have been outpacing cold temperature records by about 7-to-1.

In a long-term trend that demonstrates the effects of a warming climate, daily record-high temperatures have recently been outpacing daily record-lows by an average of 2-to-1, and this imbalance is expected to grow as the climate continues to warm. According to a 2009 study, if the climate were not warming, this ratio would be expected to be even. Other studies have shown that climate change increases the odds of extreme heat events and may make them warmer and longer lasting.

All-time records set Thursday included several in Kansas, where Norton Dam recorded a high of 118°F, beating the old record of 113°F set just a few days earlier. Dodge City, Kan., set a daily high temperature record with a mark of 108°F. That came one day after that town recorded its all-time highest temperature of 112°F, breaking the old record of 110°F, which had been recorded just two days earlier, on June 26.

Since the science of attributing extreme events to global warming is still emerging, scientists still disagree to what extent a specific event like this heat wave is driven by global warming. But two of the leading experts explain at RealClimate why even small shifts in average temperature mean “the probability for ‘outlandish’ heat records increases greatly due to global warming.” Furthermore, “the more outlandish a record is, the more would we suspect that non-linear feedbacks are at play – which could increase their likelihood even more.”

Here’s a Stanford release for Climatic Change study (PDF here) I wrote about last year:

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 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, 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.”

I interviewed Diffenbaugh for my book, Hell and High Water, and in 2008 wrote about his earlier work in a post titled, “When can we expect very high surface temperatures?

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. And that’s not even the worst case, since it’s “only” based on the A2 scenario, 850 ppm.

The peak temperature analysis comes from a Geophysical Research Letters paper that focused on the annual-maximum “once-in-a-century” temperature. The key scientific point is that “the extremes rise faster than the means in a warming climate.”

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.  It’ll just be the “normal” climate.

And remember, high heat means dry areas become drier and humid areas become intolerable.

On our current emissions path, we may well exceed the A2 scenario and hit A1FI, 1000 ppm (see here).  In a 2010 presentation, Climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe has a figure of what the A1FI would mean:

Mother Nature is just warming up.

The time to act is yesterday.

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88 Responses to NBC Meteorologist On Record Heat Wave: ‘If We Did Not Have Global Warming, We Wouldn’t See This’

  1. JoeSnow says:

    He`ll be looking for a new job soon.

    • Tom L says:

      And his new job won’t be at GE’s Weather Channel either.

      • Steve says:

        Tom L: Technically, Comcast owns The Weather Channel, not GE, since Comcast’s NBCUniversal division has 51% ownership stake of The Weather Channel.

        GE holds a 49% ownership stake.

        I wouldn’t say I’m splitting hairs, either, as majority ownership, even by 2 percentage points, means ultimate power and control.

        • Tom L says:

          Fair enough but the denialist agenda remains the same as far as I can tell.

          • Steve says:

            Tom L– Wait. Are you implying that he wouldn’t get a job at the Weather Channel because he may actually not be hesitant to say out loud that he believes that anthropogenic climate change is real and happening right now?

            If so, that’s silly. The Weather Channel’s very own senior meteorologist, Stu Ostro, himself is on record with his conviction that AGW is indeed real and in progress. He’s written quite widely of his change of thought within the past couple years.

        • Dawn says:

          Bain owns part of the weather channel, too. They were the ones who bought TWC with NBC universal and the Blackstone group in 2008.

        • Tom L says:

          Yes Steve that’s exactly what I’m implying. So Stu Ostro makes the exectutive decisions at the weather channel does he? That’s beyond silly and misleading. Just this week weather channel broadcast reports blaming (global) beach erosion on sand deprivation and the current heat wave on the urban heat island effect with a specific denial that GW had anything whatsoever to do with it. Lets talk about the morals of corporate media ‘people’ who feign concern for victims of weather extremes then turn around and boldly and outrageously lie about the real cause of their suffering. So school us on the weather channel’s outstanding climate coverage, we must be missing something.

          • SqueakyRat says:

            The point was, I suppose, that Stu Ostro still has a job at WC, so why shouldn’t another sensible meteorologist get one?

        • Mike says:

          30% ownership is considered a controlling share, as this is the common “red line” whereby the amount of capital withdrawn from the company upon selling your stock (back to it) would bankrupt it’s treasury…

          Frankly once you’re past that 30, it doesn’t matter who has more because you still call the shots.

    • catman306 says:

      I hope we will be advised if he does lose his job.

    • prokaryotes says:

      ROFL, that’s exactly my thoughts :)

  2. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    I’ve filed that #tnws tweet under the category: If we lose our sense of humor we’ve lost our sense altogether.

    100 degrees in Chicago Thursday, and it was miserable. I can’t imagine 109 degrees.

  3. ecoshewi9 says:

    Give that guy a medal! Finally, someone brave enough to call a spade a spade. We need more of this guy’s honesty. When people start connecting the dots between fossil fuels, extreme weather and climate change, we’ll be able to make progress toward a greener, cleaner, livable future.

  4. bobby says:

    GE’s Weather Channel either?

    • Tom L says:

      GE owns NBC. NBC owns The Weather Channel.

      • Tom says:

        Comcast owns NBC. You must not watch 30 Rock. My local nbc station weather dude is the most stubborn climate change denier imaginable.

  5. michael says:

    That totally sucks. Wake up people.

  6. Nothing nutty weatherwise here in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. But after reading about that freak thunderstorm in Washington DC, plus the insane heat in much of the US, I sympathize. While you cant say these one off events are caused by climate change, its the little events that add up, that make you think. I am worry about winter time though… Hope Winnipeg will get a winter this year with snow!!

    • catman306 says:

      Just remember that you want that snow in the winter, not in the early fall, or late spring. Climate disruption, not getting seasonal weather when you expect it, is another expensive consequence of global warming.

      • Thank you Catman306. Late snowfall in early spring is not good because it could produce flash floods. Meanwhile, a big dump of snow in mid to late october and nothing else besides that would cause dry conditions the spring after.

    • FatherTheo says:

      Winnipeg can’t expect to the centre of climate disaster attention every year. Seems to me you had a 300 year flood in Manitoba last year along with an (increasingly badly named)hundred year flood, the third in the last 14 or 15 years.

  7. Michael Valentine says:

    Bring on the Keystone Pipe line …

    Sorry couldn’t resist the snark. It’s like we are little puppies crapping all over the box we live in.

  8. tom says:

    Here in Denver, it’s still happy talk on our local news channels with no mention of global warming. May they spend eternity in hell or on earth.

  9. I live up in the Seattle area. No heat wave here. When I moved to this area back in 1999 I still didn’t know what to think of global warming, whether it was happening or why. I had no idea how solid the science is, that the physics behind the greenhouse effect is essentially the same as that which warms a burrito in a microwave oven. Looks like I may have made a good choice of homes despite my ignorance.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      And the climate refugees from the torrid, uninhabitable, zones will look upon Seattle with relish, too.

      • Rabid Doomsayer says:

        I think we can expect border protection to become a bigger issue with more and more extreme measures proposed. That still leaves huge internal migration, Does Oregon have room for all the Texans and Oklahomans?

        After Mitt gets his third term, and the Capital is in the mountains of Oregon internal migration might be banned.

      • Rakesh Malik says:

        It rains a *lot* more here than it used to. Hopefully that will help us keep the riffraff out.

    • Jean Netherton says:

      I moved to Portland OR because of climate change. I did not want to be stuck in Florida. I am a climate change refugee.

      • kermit says:

        If I have to take in climate refugees, either as more neighbors or on my living room couch, I’d much prefer folks who recognize the value of science for explaining the world around us. rather than people who deny the importance of empiricism, and who will still be blaming this all on “the liberals” even as they pack up and move north.

        I am another one of those who moved to the northwest for personal and unrelated reasons. My wife and I now think that we are accidentally situated as well as can be for growing old in an increasingly chaotic and dangerous world.

        I really do not want to be in an overcrowded lifeboat, pushing swimmers back into the water as arrive. But can the lifeboat sustain us all?

    • prokaryotes says:

      If i would had to pick a city to live in Seattle would be on top of that list :)

    • ANGRY BADGER says:

      Tim,

      Even though it’s not hot where you are, the shellfish industry is feeling the heat from the ocean pH change our emissions are causing. It’s my hope that this issue will surface amongst the public soon.

  10. Yes, and while you lot are basking in heat, spare a though for the UK where we’re suffering a cool wet summer with record rainfall.

    This of course is why global warming as it affects weather is now usually referred to as ‘climate change’.

  11. Joan Savage says:

    I encourage climate scientists to continue to share more connect-the-dots information with the meteorologists and journalists, so the newscasters can make a comment like the one we saw here, and defend it in simple terms.

    What known features of global warming affect the severity of the heat wave?

    Warmer nights didn’t give a reprieve from daytime solar heating. (The GHGs limit night-time cooling.)

    Atmospheric and land surface temperatures are on average warmer to start with, before the weather pattern. (Show records.)

    There was a kink in the jet stream that contributed to holding the heat wave in place for a while. (Jet stream kinks are affected by the warmer Arctic.)

    Are there other ‘plain talk’ climate change elements that can be linked to this news story?

    It was a breakthrough when the 4% increase in moisture in the atmosphere become more common knowledge. That is an inspiration to keep up public conversation with a simple common language about how climate change acts.

    • Dick Smith says:

      Joan, thanks for another good comment. I should start saving them.

      I’ve found it also helps to have a simple answer to why “it’s not the the sun.”

      My “elevator answer” is, if it were the sun, average global temperatures would be increasing more in daytime, in summer and in the tropics instead of at night, in winter, and at the poles. No technical terms there.

      If their eyes haven’t glazed over, I’ll usually add that, if it were the sun, we’d expect uniform warming in the atmosphere instead of what we actually see–increased temps below the greenhouse gas concentrations nearer the earth and falling temps higher up in the atmosphere where the greenhouse gases have blocked some heat. (I try not to say troposphere or stratosphere, but sometimes I slip up on that.)

      Anyway, I am in heated agreement with the idea (and challenge) of your comment.
      Dick

  12. Bleekerstreet says:

    A couple of years ago the summer heat here in New Orleans was just getting brutal when a newspaper picture caught my eye. It was a buckled street that had just ‘popped’ into being from the heat (three feet high). It happened in milliseconds like a firecracker. If this can happen on a residential street then what dangers are we facing on interstate highways and bridges? Especially with the infrastructure in such bad shape to begin with.

    • Jeanne says:

      My brother told me that he read the higher temps would bring things similar to your buckling of a street. He said that as the temps rise the climate growing zones change. The pines in the west will no longer be able to grow in the hot climates and will combust starting forest fires.

    • Joan Savage says:

      Asphalt expansion joints are supposed to keep concrete pads from buckling, and on hot days we get the bump-bump-bump when the asphalt bulges out of its trough.

      Many specs for concrete and other materials should be re-evaluated.
      The railroad tracks are made of tempered metal with expansion joints, but on really hot days the sections of track can buckle, causing ‘sun kinks.’

      According to Jeff Atkinson in 2010, “To prevent buckling railroads often heat existing track in an effort to condition it to high temperatures. In the South tracks are typically treated to withstand up to 100-degrees. While a 90-degree temperature is used in North.”
      http://www.wbtv.com/global/story.asp?s=12783322

      With temperatures at 109, clearly that wasn’t enough tempering.

  13. John says:

    12/21/12 is the end of a World Age. There have been 4 World Ages prior.
    At the end of each World Age, weather turns extreme, just as we see it now.

  14. Mark says:

    “NBC Meteorologist Bill Karins said on Friday , “We’ve never really seen a heat wave like this in the month of June.” Sadly, in a few decades this will just be considered a normal June (

    It is so hot that NBC Washington’s Chief Meteorologist,
    Doug Kammerer, explained on air “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.”

    Much thanks to both these me.

  15. Paul Hoover says:

    I used to live in the Imperial Valley in California. One of the reasons why I moved was to get away from the brutal summers.

    Too bad more aren’t admitting the obvious.

  16. Dale Top says:

    For the first decade of this century we have been in what is known as a solar minimum. This is a natural cooling cycle. It is why global warming appeared to slow down. However if you interpret the numbers accurately you would know; We should have seen extreme cooling. Instead we just saw a slow down in the heating. That represents a serious change in trends. Many of us warned that when the minimum ended we would see incredible warming. That is what we are seeing now. It’s going to get a lot hotter. THis is what we have been warning you about for the last twenty years. Start listening to the scientist and tell the deniers to STFU!

    • Mark E says:

      Agreed, except if you look where most of the heat goes (the ocean) it didn’t slow down.

    • Jack Burton says:

      Bingo Dale! Your comment is right on the money! The last few years should have been cooling if we take natural cycles into account, instead we saw slowed warming. Now the natural bias is back to normal or favoring warming and presto, we see a blast of warming that is impossible not to notice.
      I have noticed as well that the major deniers are being very quiet as firestorms, record rain falls, heat records and just about any weather extreme you can think of is hammering the USA and the world.
      Now the heat is on, and should El Nino develop, then the heating will be even more extreme.

    • prokaryotes says:

      The denialosphere is a threat to the national security.

      But as long the public is not demanding real actions and everybody is driving his gas-guzller’s – they ( the skeptic think tanks) can get away with it.

      Our system fails when it comes to response time of events which likely happen in the future. Humans are adapted to adjust to ongoing situations.

      It’s a bit like a self fulfilling prophecy…

  17. Zorya says:

    I live in the Nashville area. It was 113 in a few places in the region yesterday. Welcome to climate change.

  18. Deborah says:

    Just tell me whatour government can do to reverse the trend. We need to make this a priority. Many Scandinavian countries are stepping up, aren’t they?

  19. Duane Daum says:

    The simple answer is God is pissed that the stupid Republican House voted to hold Atty General, Eric Holder in contempt of court.

  20. thanes says:

    I think we need to be ready to strike when the iron’s hot. This summer will give us an opening. The public is figuring out the truth about how serious global warming is. Don’t let up. Always bring it up. We have until 2015.
    We can’t let this first serious opportunity pass. A carbon tax seems impossible now, but just wait. In a year it will seem to have been inevitable.

  21. SecularAnimist says:

    Joe quoted NBC Washington’s Chief Meteorologist, Doug Kammerer: “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.”

    I hope he is prepared for the death threats.

  22. Peter M says:

    Historic fires, heat of a magnitude never seen across the Midwest, south and Great Plains, drought, extreme storms in a Derecho in the Mid Atlantic. All seems to fit into the puzzle perfectly of something called AGW.

    As the scientists have long predicted. And all this before July 1st. In 10 years this will be a normal June- dreadful thought.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      And the denialist industry will simply say, ‘Look, it’s just an ordinary June, like last year’. And the brainless boiling frogs, croaking in the shallow end of the gene pond, the Dunning-Kruger horny toads, why they’ll just keep thinking and acting as their thought controllers tell them.

  23. Robert says:

    Everyone always seems to forget the real problem of this weather is the damage it does to our FOOD supply. I grow a garden, I have fruit trees, etc. My neighbors have hay fields and livestock, and we are all noticing how the way this heat is starting to destroy our crops. Even with good watering, and tlc, the first cutting of hay (which has always been the best and biggest cutting of the year) has been about half of the normal amounts. But then again, the fruit trees have faired a little better when the freezes we always worried about never happened. There is a good fruit crop now, but we are seeing drought at the same time and we are worried about having enough water to keep the trees alive until colder weather hits. I don’t know what this all means, but after 40 years of living here, what we are experiencing is not our normal state of weather, and we still have to wait and see what winter brings next.

    • Tommy Wright says:

      I live in Alabama and we’re really catching the heat right now. It’s stressing everything, especially the crops. I have a small forest, and what the drought cycle does is; it stresses the trees to the max in the Summer, then along comes a late frost or hard freeze in the early Spring, which can actually kill large oak and other deciduous trees. The trees are our buffer from the heat and deforestation is as much to blame as the carbon we’re releasing. So, it becomes a tumbling down, or domino effect, heat and extremes kill more and more trees which produces more heat and extremes and kills even more. I see it first hand on my land. Not to worry though, the Earth will take care of itself. Humans, that’s another story. Plant a tree. Water the root, enjoy the fruit. It’s simple, why can’t we learn this simple easy way to comfort and survival? More importantly, why do we take more and more, and give less and less back? Why indeed?

    • Wit's End says:

      Robert I believe you are correct that there should be far more emphasis on the consequences to our food supply.

      In addition to the insane weather thanks to climate change, you may want to consider that there have been many controlled fumigation experiments in the US and Europe that have proved over and again: plants exposed to elevated (over natural) ozone – which is a pollutant derived from reactive nitrogen whether from burning fuel or artificial fertilizer – become significantly damaged. The first effect is that root systems shrink because the plant has to repair injury to leaves or needles. This makes vegetation less tolerant of drought. Another major effect is that plants lose their immunity to insects, disease and fungus.

      Thus, the now-ubiquitous persistent background level of tropospheric ozone is THE ultimate reason that trees all around the world are dying off, even though foresters and scientists are wont to blame whatever localized pest is most apparently attacking them. For some reason, they don’t want to recognize that we have a catastrophic, global decline of vegetation.

      Plants are damaged internally before visible injury appears, but it’s just about ubiquitous now that you can see symptoms on leaves even of plants being watered in pots – tropical plants used to heat. I encourage you and anyone interested in this issue to go outside and look at leaves and needles. Ozone interferes with photosynthesis so they lose their normal color and eventually turn brown and shrivel up.

      We are having unprecedented fires and storm damage – and can expect far worse because vegetation is dying off from exposure to air pollution. Many people believe air pollution isn’t a problem anymore because the visible component of smog – SOx – has been reduced. However, the background level of invisible tropospheric ozone is inexorably rising, even in rural areas, and it happens to be quite toxic to vegetation, including annual agricultural crops. Trees that have cumulative injury are more vulnerable to insects, disease and fungus.

      According to a report referenced here at Climate Progress, ozone is responsible for the loss of 30 million tons of crop yields annually (an underestimate because it only includes major annuals like grains, corn and soy – not fruits and nuts from trees, or perennials), which begs the question, how much wild vegetation is being lost?

      Link here:

      http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2012/06/inferno-ignites.html

      A free book on this topic can be downloaded here:

      http://www.deadtrees-dyingforests.com/pillage-plunder-pollute-llc/

  24. wili says:

    For some reason, I keep thinking about those reports of Arctic seas “bubbling as if boiling” with methane last year.

    Joe likes to point out that GW is like putting the climate on steroids.

    This summer looks to me like GW on steroids.

    We had very extreme heat in March, now this. And I here the GIS has just crossed a tipping point.

    Methinks something beyond incremental GW may be at work here.

  25. shelli in colorado says:

    very good discussion. as someone who was raised in colorado, moved to the east coast for 24 years and then came back to colorado 2 years ago i am astonished at the change in the climate. higher temps are amazing. and thank you, thank you, for the link to mike nelson’s blog.

    as for the “political science” of big oil — it’s actually “bottom line science.” i know two geologists, both with master’s degrees, who work for oil companies. the stories they trot out to deny anthropogenic climate change (they can’t deny climate change) are the same: it isn’t proven that co2 is a greenhouse gas, the very tiny email scandal among climate scientists in great britain, and my favorite — all the climate scientists are just trying to get government funding — so they gin up the data!!! i don’t think it’s coincidence that the talking points about the climate scientists and federal funding — it must be a big oil talking point. meanwhile, my best friend works at ncar in boulder (national center for atmospheric research). scientists aren’t in it for the money (speaking as an ex-scientist). so this talking point from guys who make a lot of money is rich indeed. so as i watched hunks of colorado springs burn last week, and then saw my “other” home, washington, dc, get slammed with a massive 600 mile wide storm, i just sit in astonishment at the climate change deniers. jim inhofe is one of the worst.

  26. HeartlandLiberal says:

    Here in Bloomington, Indiana, we are topping 100 degrees daily, a few days ago we recorded 103 here at home, at our weather station which is shielded in the shade to get accurate readings.

    I just checked, and basically what is happening here in Indiana for most of the time since the first heat wave in very early spring is a daily temperature pattern running TWENTY (20) DEGREES F above average. That is a LOT of heat.

    Worse, we will probably have another non-winter, with not a single night with a temperature getting into the zero digits. What that means is that the insects, e.g., infesting the famous tulip poplar trees this year will NOT die out in sufficient numbers, but larvae will survive in such number that next year, in phase two of the population explosion, they will start killing the tulip poplars.

    We got the first rain in over six – 8 weeks last night. All of Indiana is in drought conditions. Try raising corn and soy beans to feed the nation and world when you have no rain? It sort of does not work.

    Up in Michigan, 80% of the fruit and nut crops were destroyed by early heat followed by frosts. Here in Indiana, every one of my dozen fruit trees were blasted, not only destroying the fruit, but on some trees, destroying much of the new branch and leaf growth that started prematurely.

    When people discover that this rapid change in climate has broken the food chain and making it impossible to grow enough crops to feed them, maybe they will wake up to the problem.

    • JP White says:

      Please note while we suffer dry and hot weather way above normal, England at the very same time is experiencing colder, windier and wetter conditions than normal. A few months ago it was the reverse.

      Industrial revolution started in 1750. There were two very cold periods of the ‘little ice age’ around 1750 and 1850. The little ice age seemed to ignore what man was doing at the time.

      To think man can effect the weather in such a dramatic way is egotistical at best.

      • David Goldstein says:

        This is an easy reply! Ready?…
        “You are Wrong.”
        Brought to you by every national science academy in the world, the Pentagon and an overwhelmingly huge majority of climate scientists. Thank you for your attention!

      • Peter M says:

        The C02 entering the atmosphere currently is unprecedented in the its amount- and its rate of speed- We have the possibility of seeing enough carbon enter the atmosphere and raise temperatures as much as 4-5 degrees by 2090.

        In earths past geologic history this would take at least 10,20 thousand years- if not far more.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        JP, what is happening is that anthropogenic GHG emissions and the myriad other assaults by humanity on the biosphere have destabilised the climate, disrupting the relative stability that, over the last few millennia, has allowed human civilization to grow. Both record wet and cold, and record heat and flooding deluges, at the same time, in different parts of the planet, are evidence of that destabilisation. They most certainly do not cancel each other out.

        • David Goldstein says:

          Ha!…I’ve noticed and enjoyed your gravely barbed comments on this site. Now that I get just a little bit snarky, you follow with such a reasonable and even handed response?…okay, I am willing to play bad cop!

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            David, you don’t see the nasty ones that I reject when I read them back. Until confirmed as a denialist, I think it better to treat what may indeed be honest ignorance (and we are all ignorant in one way or another)with restraint. If someone refuses to engage in honest intellectual intercourse, why then of course, they can go and get….ignored.

  27. JP White says:

    Why is the warming trend attributed to CO2? Why isn’t increasing CO2 attributed to higher temperatures? I have seen no evidence of cause and effect being proven one way or the other. H2O is a bigger green house gas, but to say water vapor causes higher temperatures makes no sense, so why would we say the same for CO2?. Wouldn’t it make more sense that hotter air is able to absorb more moisture and carry more CO2? Something is causing temps to rise,but I doubt it is the presence or absence of water vapor or CO2.

    • David Goldstein says:

      Though this may well be an ‘innocent question’, it is also an example of what drives many of us crazy. This is one of the more fundemental dynamics of climate science that anyone can research for themselves quite easily if they are genuinely interested. The rational default for a non climate scientist (such as myself and, I assume, yourself) is to assume the climate scientists have EXTREMELY thoroughly researched these dynamics and have taken them well into account. If, after some researching (perhaps google: ‘h20 as feedback to CO2’and ‘Milankovitch cycle, CO2, interglacials’) you still can’t find the answers, please repost and I will be glad to provide the information.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      JP-you’s just been looking in the wrong places. Turn off Fox News, shove the Wall Street Journal into the bottom of the parrot’s cage, cancel your membership of the ‘Heartland Institute’ and visit Skeptical Science or any of dozens of blogs. They’ll explain it all in quite simple terms that even you ought not have difficulty with.

    • EDpeak says:

      Agree with Goodstein but a very short and simplifying answer is: you have set up a false either-or. Because for planet earth higher co2 will lead to higher temperatures AND higher temperatures will lead to higher CO2 (all other things being equal, and there are other factors, and the spiral does not go off to infinite or unbounded heights, but within these kinds of modifiers yes, BOTH happen)

      Do you have any idea what CO2 levels are today,a nd what they have been over the past 800,000 years?

      If not, please start there, one cannot expect to be able to discuss co2’s effects while not knowing what levesl are today and what they have been historically and prehistorically, see here:

      http://economicdemocracy.org/eco/images/800k.dioxide.co2.jpg

      As far as right now search for the keywords

      esrl noaa global trends loa

      and you’ll find it. Again, higher GHGs (greenhouse gases) lead to higher temps and higher temps lead to (via many mechanisms, that’s a whole post in itself) higher GHG levels..it’s not “either-or”

      If you look at the co2 graphs it’s clear how massively we have spiked

      Less clear, but also true is the rate of the spike (not just its level or ‘height’ on the graph) which is also off the charts – some 60 times faster a rate of co2 increase than any time in the past 800,000 years see 2006 article on BBC, search for “Deep ice tells long climate story” (if I post too many urls it will complain)

      And yes, higher levels of water vapos do lead to the earth absorbing/keeping more heat, (search for “RealClimate: Water vapour: feedback or forcing?”)

    • prokaryotes says:

      Because of the heat trapping properties of Co2

      The Greenhouse Effect – Heat trapping. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RTLU4VTZ9o&feature=plcp

    • Brian Dodge says:

      1 – Because the isotopic signature is rich in C12 compared to C13, indicating it comes from plants, but depleted in C14, indicating that it comes from really old fossil plants – coal, oil, natural gas.
      2 – Because we know that the rate of atmospheric CO2 rise is proportional to fossil fuel consumption, but is less than total emissions – meaning that oceans and the biosphere are natural sinks, not sources.
      3 – Because if warming caused increasing CO2 at the rate we observe, and the Medieval Climate Anomaly was warmer than today, the CO2 in the Greenland Ice cores from that era would be higher than today, and they aren’t. You can only choose one argument, since both can’t be right; since you are arguing that rising temperatures cause rising CO2, you must agree that McIntyre is wrong and Mann’s hockey stick is correct. Mann’s work showing that the temperature we have now is the warmest in thousands of years, and that it’s being caused by human fossil fuel emissions are both consistent and correct.

    • ANGRY BADGER says:

      JP,

      Go look up PBS’ “Earth: The Operator’s Manual”, PART 1 for a great explanation of global warming by Penn State geoscientist Richard Alley. Dr. Alley is delightful to watch: non-confrOntational and straight-up informative. He goes into the nuances of climate, like the changes in earth’s orientation and orbit and the carbon fingerprinting that others have referred to here.
      I sense that you are trying to wrap your brain around this, and that’s to your credit. Better than a lot of other folks I can think of.
      Also, I can’t stress enough that you look up info on ocean acidification. The data and conclusions are irrefutable.
      We need to confront this NOW, not later. I just heard from a friend that John Boehner was at a country club in my neighborhood this last Sunday. That he can play a leisurely game of golf while the country burns is just outrageous.

  28. EDpeak says:

    Goldstein not Goodstein, sorry David!

  29. Joe Kelley says:

    Please read the relevant article on the PETM or Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum within the National Geographic October 2011 issue. This article provides solid paleontological evidence supporting the clear relationship between atmospheric CO2 and direct fossil evidence of global warming. It would seem to be difficult to argue that such a relationship exists today when it is clearly bourne out in this example and other similar ice-free periods of our earth’s history when ocean levels have risen some 200-300 feet higher than their current level.

    Perhaps creating a system of CO2 scrubbers to remove CO2 from our atmosphere should be initiated now to prevent repeating what has already occurred multiple times in our earth’s history?

    Perhaps this will have to be Nature’s way of eliminating those forces which have disturbed the intended equilibrium. I suspect that either we will have to take heed of this equilibrium or be greatly reduced in number.

  30. Darrell says:

    I have a related question(s)and looking for reference materials.

    My experience is that many/most “systems” typically try to reach equilibrium whenever possible. So the way I look at it is GHG’s are not only causing weather changes, but also system instabilities (all inter-related I would suspect). What part, if any, of these instabilities are part of the “system” trying to re-equalize itself?
    So my question is where can I find info about what we should expect from our weather “system” with the type of forces we’re introducing to destabilize it? Additionally, is there any evidence that the efforts of the system to re-establish equalibrium (assuming that’s a valid theory) will be successful eventually or will the continual destabilizing effects be too much for the system to ever re-stabilize?

    And additionally, if the de-stabilizing inputs are reduced/removed/minimized, what are the chances the system will re-stabilize itself?

    Understood many of the references may be theories not fact(yet).

    Thanks,
    Z

  31. Holly Berkowitz says:

    I cannot believe that our “media” are still in the dark ages.

  32. Holly Berkowitz says:

    I cannot believe that those that control most of the media are still claiming that humans do not cause global climate change.

    Does privatized profiteering justify all?

  33. Kent O. Doering says:

    What do we do about it? In Germany, where I live as an Nam era vet- ex-pat- nobody denies anthropogenic climate change, thank goodness.
    And a broad synergy of synergetic Energy Efficiency EE, and Renewable Energy programs are continuously slashing fossil fuel consumption. Germany has already managed to cut its fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 50% since reunificiation, thank you. And these subsidized and or buy back programs pay off in the medium term in the form of reduced fossil fuel imports and ever improving balance of trade figures.
    On nice sunny summer weekend days, solar p.v. already accounts for 50% of power generation needs. 22.000 GWh are already installed, and the mandated buy backs have been extended by another 32.000 GWh- at which time we expect solar costs to be cost competitive and no longer needing mandated utility by back at higher prices. Wind is going up at increasing paces. Nuclear is being converted to hot dry rock deep geothermal. The Desertec program in North Africa is already producing power, carried by High Tension Direct Current – to France and Germany- produced by concentrated solar and wind. (North Sea, Baltic Sea, Western France iberia, and North Africa are getting new wind- ß0ver 27000 units going in- average output per turbine- 3 GWh.)

    Methane has a global warming effect 27 times higher than co². Now, feedlot and dairy operations produce 48% of anthropogenic methane release. Thus, Germany is also embarking on programs to retrofit all of its farms to methane recapture power generation and heat for farm buildings and villages.
    Currently 3000 farms are already equipped with septic-tank sludge-chepped cellulose waste methane disgesters or cattle manure methane digesters – with an average power output per farm (not including heat) of an average of 100 KWh per farm. By 2025, all 200.000 farms will be equipped with it, meaning an additional 22.000 KWH of SMART GRID coordinated baseline power on the grid, in addition to the converted to deep geothermal nuclear – capacities of 22.000 MWh. Frqance is also embarking on manure methane recapture systems. (better to burn the manure emitted methane for heat and power- a bio-fuel- than to release the methane into the atmosphere.) Combined with local, farmer co-op owned inland wind and installed solar- rural regions will generally produce 2.5 times as much smart grid coordinated bio-waste- solar and wind power as they consume. (farmers here are very hip and progressive when it comes to combatting anthropogenic climate change.) And hydroelectric currently only produces about 5% of German power needs, but that will change as old mill races are restored, and older hydroelectric power generators are upgraded to A +++ hydroelectric- boosting hydroelectric to 8% of p.g.. And, then there is the German patented proprietory – “anchored on stream” hydrogelectric with bulge screens protecting aquatic life – and water turbines driving A +++ generators suspending between the catamaran and tri-maran hulls. Three thousand of these, each at an average output of 3 MWh each, will put another 9000 MWh in 24/7 baseline power onto the German grids. There building energy systems such as programs for 1 inche wide vcuuim windo instllation or 3 inch thick face and roof insulation, still going up,
    and others for cutting power consumption with power management systems, and heat- with building energy management systems
    Produciton lines with power management systems and a+++ generators are 50% more efficient than production line drive systems installed in the 90s, and manufacturers are upgrading.
    Something else enables the develolpment of carbon capture-breakdown (not sequestration) etcetra.
    In transportation: rail, commuter rail, light rail become ever more efficient- with imporived motors and brake energy recycling systems. Cars beoome more efficient..
    The point is, w can do a lot to slow down anthropegenic climate change. Germany is leading Europe in that direction.
    Sustainability systems- mean margin. That is what hysterical climate change deniers do not realize. They are money.
    22 megawatts of manure power – by 2025. Cow manure usually contributes to anthropogenic global warming by methane emission. We solve the problem – and save money at the same time.
    There are other technologies that are emergying. all in all, German p.g. will be off fossil fuels by 2025. asw well as most of the energy for building heat. Germany still has 10. million heating oil units which will be displaced by shallow-geothermic-solar heat- supplemented by aqueous aided CHP (combined heat power.) The goal for many communities and urban areas is off fossil fuel in toto for power and building heat – hot water by 2025. And he way things are gearing up, it looks like they can achieve that.
    This year, sustainability will outstrip the automotive industry as the biggest sector in the German economy, and it will be at least 20% by 2020. Germany proves it can be done, and cn be done profitably.