How hot is it? Masters reports nine countries have smashed all-time temperature records, “making 2010 the year with the most national extreme heat records.”

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"How hot is it? Masters reports nine countries have smashed all-time temperature records, “making 2010 the year with the most national extreme heat records.”"

It’s so hot the Washington Post almost gets the story right!

A heat wave of unprecedented intensity has brought the world’s largest country its hottest temperature in history:

Globally, NOAA just reported that June is the fourth month in a row of record global temperatures, and the first half of 2010 is on a record pace.  This is all the more powerful evidence of human-caused warming “because it occurs when the recent minimum of solar irradiance is having its maximum cooling effect,” as a recent must-read NASA paper notes.

If the planet as a whole is busting global records,  you wouldn’t be surprised if national temperature records were dropping like overheated flies.  And they are, as uber-meteorologist Jeff Masters reported last week:

A withering heat wave of unprecedented intensity brought the hottest temperatures in recorded history to six nations in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, in June 2010….

The heat was the most intense in Kuwait, which recorded its hottest temperature in history on June 15 in Abdaly, according to the Kuwait Met office. The mercury hit 52.6°C (126.7°F). Kuwait’s previous all-time hottest temperature was 51.9°C (125.4°F), on July 27,2007, at Abdaly. Temperatures reached 51°C (123.8°F) in the capital of Kuwait City on June 15, 2010.

Iraq had its hottest day in history on June 14, 2010, when the mercury hit 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Basra. Iraq’s previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F) set August 8, 1937, in Ash Shu’aybah.

Saudi Arabia had its hottest temperature ever on June 22, 2010, with a reading of 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. The previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F), at Abqaiq, date unknown. The record heat was accompanied by a sandstorm, which caused eight power plants to go offline, resulting in blackouts to several Saudi cities.

In Africa, Chad had its hottest day in history on June 22, 2010, when the temperature reached 47.6°C (117.7°F) at Faya. The previous record was 47.4°C (117.3°F) at Faya on June 3 and June 9, 1961.

Niger tied its record for hottest day in history on June 22, 2010, when the temperature reached 47.1°C (116.8°F) at Bilma. That record stood for just one day, as Bilma broke the record again on June 23, when the mercury topped out at 48.2°C (118.8°F). The previous record was 47.1°C on May 24, 1998, also at Bilma.

Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history on June 25 when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.

The Asian portion of Russia recorded its highest temperature in history on June 25, when the mercury hit 42.3°C (108.1°F) at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004. (The record for European Russia is 43.8°C–110.8°F–set on August 6, 1940, at Alexandrov Gaj near the border with Kazakhstan….

All of these records are unofficial, and will need to be verified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO.) The source for the previous all-time records listed here is the book Extreme Weather by Chris Burt. According to Mr. Burt, the only other time as many as six nations set their all-time highest temperature marks in a single month was during the European heat wave of August 2003.

Then on Monday, Masters reported on the brutal record-smashing heat wave hitting Russia:

A heat wave of unprecedented intensity has brought the world’s largest country its hottest temperature in history. On July 11, the ongoing Russian heat wave sent the mercury to 44.0°C (111.2°F) in Yashkul, Kalmykia Republic, in the European portion of Russia near the Kazakhstan border. The previous hottest temperature in Russia (not including the former Soviet republics) was the 43.8°C (110.8°F) reading measured at Alexander Gaj, Kalmykia Republic, on August 6, 1940. The remarkable heat in Russia this year has not been limited just to the European portion of the country–the Asian portion of Russia also recorded its hottest temperature in history this year, a 42.3°C (108.1°F) reading at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record for the Asian portion of Russia was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004….

Moscow on track for its hottest July in history
According to the Russian weather service, the first fourteen days of July in Moscow averaged 6.2°C above average. The record hottest July, in 1938, had temperatures averaging 5.3°C above average, so Moscow is on track to set the record for its warmest July in history. The past four days, Moscow has averaged 8.2°C above average. The heat wave peaked on July 17, when the mercury hit 35.0°C (95°F). Moscow’s hottest temperature of all-time is 36.6°C (98.2°F), set in August, 1920. With the wunderground.com forecast for Moscow calling for high temperatures between 31 – 38°C (88 – 100°F) for the coming week, no end to the heat wave is in sight. Weather records for Moscow extend back to 1879.

Russia’s remarkable heat wave has led to a state of emergency to be declared for 19 of Russia’s 83 provinces, and record number of Russians have been drowning in swimming accidents as they take to the water to escape the heat. Over 1200 Russians drowned in June, with another 233 dying between July 5 and 12. The heat has also created dangerous levels of air pollution in Moscow, and severely impacted agriculture.

The Xinhua News Agency reports, “Heatwave drives Russians to the verge of panic purchases”:

Russia may face the artificially created shortage of basic foods because of the widespread rumors that current heatwave destroyed crops across the country, RIA Novosti news agency reported on Tuesday….

According to the Russia’s Agricultural Ministry, by mid-July the crops have been destroyed on 9.6 million hectares of 48 million hectares under crop. This year’s harvest forecast has been lowered by 5 million tons, to 85 million.

Still, Russia has significant grain stocks, so there is no actual short-term shortage of food — for now, that is (see Ponzi redux: Scientific American asks “Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?)

Globally, Masters explains the unprecedented nature of the global heatwaves:

As I commented in Friday’s post, six nations in Asia and Africa set new all-time hottest temperature marks in June. Two nations, Myanmar and Pakistan, set all-time hottest temperature marks in May, including Asia’s hottest temperature ever, the astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) mark set on May 26 in Pakistan. Last week’s record in Russia makes nine countries this year that have recorded their hottest temperature in history, making 2010 the year with the most national extreme heat records.

That’s not only news, it is precisely what you would expect in what is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, which itself  is the inevitable result of the long-term human-caused warming trend.

The Washington Post almost gets the story right, except for a gratuitous nod to false-balance in the lede:

First half of 2010 sets heat records

Just as climate skeptics cited this winter’s snowstorm as evidence that global warming was overhyped, some environmental activists might be tempted to point to this summer’s heat waves to bolster their case.

Instead, they’re pointing to a less-anecdotal measurement: The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies reports that the first six months of 2010 are the warmest on record, both in terms of atmospheric data and in combined atmospheric/ocean readings.

In some cases the atmospheric readings for some of the first six months of the year are between 1.8 and 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above what they were in previous years. And on top of that, last week Arctic sea ice extent hit the lowest level ever for June.

“The 2010 temperature data is evidence that the planet is continuing to warm,” said Rafe Pomerance, a senior fellow at Clean Air Cool Planet. “The absolute numbers indicate that the Earth’s climate is moving into uncharted territory, as reflected by the massive retreat of Arctic sea ice.”

What precisely is the point of the  glibly misleading first sentence?

It is true that climate skeptics cited this winter’s  snowstorm is evidence that global warming was overhyped, but the Washington Post must know that was pure disinformation.  More intense snowstorms not only aren’t evidence against human-caused global warming,  they are actually a prediction of climate science:

And more severe heat waves are  also a prediction of climate science.  Moreover, these aren’t ordinary heat waves.  These are heat waves that have smashed the all-time temperature records in nine different countries.

Stay cool —  which is not something I have to worry about since I’m in SF where it is absurdly cool.   Everybody quotes the line  attributed to Mark Twain, “The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco.”  But snopes says he never said it.

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56 Responses to How hot is it? Masters reports nine countries have smashed all-time temperature records, “making 2010 the year with the most national extreme heat records.”

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    In this video http://climatecrocks.com/2010/07/20/schneider-is-the-science-settled/ starting at around 1:27:00 Prof. Stephen Schneider explains extreme events with the bell curve – frequency low/high amplitude analysis. “Non linear tipping points matter.” – so how will the bell curve behave with further climate change? And than you get the red events like 3 cat 5 hurricanes in one season … Wildfire increased four fold in the last 30 years.

    Climate system uncertainties and risk management ends his lecture.

    Schneider “We can invest massively into clean energy now but still more emissions growth, due to initial inertia. So what happend the last 10 years? We had higher emission growth than the emission scenarios! So how will the “fan” of uncertainty react – we can create policy which would change the high to the low emission scenario. Calculating the range of warming. The second “fan” is the climate system uncertainty – depending on the emission scenario.”

    The anomalies we observe today offer a glimpse of catastrophic climate change we face with current pathway of emissions in 2010 with 0.7C temperature increase.

    ps.
    Maybe someone provides the talk slides (he passed a few at end of talk).

  2. Ben Lieberman says:

    Thanks for the depressing update, though most media outlets are still covering this as an ice cream and pools story. At least Senator Voinovich is not worried. He thinks it’s ‘cynical’ to tackle climate change right now.

  3. catman306 says:

    Isn’t it WAY past time for the media to start getting this story right? Will it take the disintegration of the Greenland Ice Sheet for the press to pay this story some serious attention?

    Lincoln’s Third Law of Propaganda states clearly, that even in a nation of fools:

    You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  4. Peter Mizla says:

    Most ‘sane’ nations of the world look at climate/change with great seriousness- it is considered a real threat.

    It amazes me that many however in this country consider climate change still to be a leftist/socialist plot to deprive Americans of their heritage and the destruction of the capitalist system.

  5. Prokaryotes says:

    About crop speculation

    Trading in death: Rapacious bankers are making fortunes by forcing up the price of food and leaving millions to starve http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1296068/Trading-death-Rapacious-bankers-making-fortunes-forcing-price-food-leaving-millions-starve.html

    When this was artificial in the past it may be not in the future.

  6. paulm says:

    THis guy thinks we are having global cooling…btw looks like they moved him off the US blog for some reason…:)

    http://www.accuweather.com/ukie/bastardi-europe-blog.asp?partner=accuweather

  7. Peter Mizla says:

    The Commodities markets are now the ‘place to invest’ so say some market mavens- Grains, (wheat, barley, oates–etc)

    The insurance companies are also taking no chances- many insurance companies are no longer writing polices along the CT Shoreline- especially south of I 95—-

    those who still write polices have increased premiums exponentially.

  8. John C says:

    May want to invest in beef futures.

    Kansas heat wave has killed 2,000 cattle
    CHICAGO (Reuters) – The intense heat and humidity that blanketed central Kansas since late last week have killed more than 2,000 cattle and one state official called the heat-related losses the worst in his 17 years on the job.

  9. Prokaryotes says:

    DailyMail is wrong “On the brink: There are fears that the current situation in West Africa will develop into a famine”

    Is is happening already.

    Millions facing hunger in Niger

    “The drought in Niger is an unfolding catastrophe for millions of people and we are struggling against time to scale up quickly enough to reach the escalating number of hungry,” said Josette Sheeran, executive director for the U.N. agency.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/07/20/niger.hunger/

  10. Prokaryotes says:

    Solution would be great with BECCS.

    Africa looks to vast forests for carbon credit
    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news/international/Africa_looks_to_vast_forests_for_carbon_credit.html?cid=17979902

    But if the people die from famine, malnutrition and illness or become climate refugees, they cannot help the world to fight climate change on the local level and will just make the situation worse when flooding “our” borders and using the lowest means to survive – i.e. eating those last rhinos.

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    In the meantime, Shell

    Shell appeals N15.4bn oil spill penalty
    The Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, has said it is not willing to cough out N15.4 billion as oil spill penalty since the spill in question was caused by the Nigerian troops during the Nigerian civil war. http://www.vanguardngr.com/2010/07/08/shell-appeals-n15-4bn-oil-spill-penalty/

    And Greenwash Ofc.

    Shell Dialogues hosting “future of energy” webchat July 22nd
    http://green.autoblog.com/2010/07/19/shell-dialogues-hosting-future-of-energy-webchat-july-22nd/

  12. Prokaryotes says:

    GMO Seed Refused in Haiti
    http://www.justmeans.com/GMO-Seed-Refused-in-Haiti/19951.html

    The surviving people in Niger have apparently no choice to become guinea pigs.

  13. Colorado Bob says:

    The water level behind the Three Gorges Dam has risen 4 meters in the last 24 hours.
    China’s Three Gorges dam battles mammoth flood waters
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-10696394

  14. Prokaryotes says:

    Heat of the moment: How much global warming are we willing to take?

    The average temperature of the planet for the next several thousand years will be determined this century—by those of us living today, according to a new National Research Council report which lays out the impact of every degree of warming on outcomes ranging from sea-level rise to reduced crop yields.

    “Because carbon dioxide is so long-lived in the atmosphere, it could effectively lock Earth and future generations into warming not just for decades and centuries, but literally for thousands of years,” atmospheric scientist Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration http://tcktcktck.org/stories/climate-news/heat-moment-how-much-global-warming-are-we-willing-take

  15. David says:

    I complained about this article to USA TODAY: http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2010-07-15-heat-record_N.htm

    They interview two skeptics without a background in climate science to refute the one climate expert. But then they allow Joe D’Aleo to make an intentionally misleading and just re-print as if it is fact. The .43 (actually .44) is in degrees Celsius and based on a base period 1979-2000 (not to mention it’s only based on the UAH analysis, the RSS analysis was a full .10C warmer). The 1.22 cited from NOAA is in degrees Fahrenheit and based on a base period of 1901-2000.

    The deniers like to pretend they don’t understand the concept of a base period or the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius. Actually, corrected for base period and placed on the same 1979-2000 base period, the satellites were warmer last month!

    [JR: Also, the satellite data quoted is usually not the ground, but the lower troposphere. That is a dreadful USA Today article.]

  16. David says:

    Paul #6,

    Joe Bastardi’s claim isn’t even true. Look at the new chart from the AQUA satellite for Channel 5 – this July has been at or above the record value for the whole month. This despite the rapid cooling in the equatorial Pacific and the deepest solar minimum in over a century.

  17. Al says:

    Well, of course there are two headlines to every story: DesdemonaDespair’s gloomy “Russia swelters in heatwave and worst drought in 130 years — Many crops destroyed”, http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2010/07/russia-swelters-in-heatwave-and-worst.html

    and the NZ Herald’s upbeat “Bikini weather in Moscow”, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10659416

  18. “Washington Post must know that was pure disinformation.”
    No, they just don’t have a clue. Despite abundant evidence that Spin City is on a trajectory well above all 3 of the previous hottest summers, they continue to sleepwalk with Metro articles such as the one from Saturday saying, “The mercury soared again in Washington on Friday, a fitting start for the 12-day period during which the city’s temperatures generally reach their peak.” Just hot summer temperatures, nothing to see here, folks, just move along. No mention of the record hot June or the pace for a record summer.

  19. Peter Mizla says:

    The Media believes that climate science is not science but some kind of political story- that needs ‘equal coverage’- so they feel a need to present both sides of the issue to be ‘fair’.

    This perception is actually a cop-out on the media’s part- as an act basically of cowardice- and their inability to comprehend that climatescience is a science- not some kind of political story.

    This coupled with a plethora of advertisers not sympathetic to climate science- the Post and NYT- and others still no not see climate change as a threat despite the mounting evidence that shows otherwise- Printed and TV Media treat climate change as a ‘theoretical possibility’- that warrants little coverage.

    I know locally there is no coverage on climate change- in the media- The Hartford Courant- nothing. Last evening on local TV- fisherman in Long Island Sound- and he nearby Atlantic where interviewed and said more fish from southern waters where entering the regions waters from warming water temperatures- and that ‘changes’ where happening- still no mention of global warming or climate change.

    After the warmest Spring in Connecticut history, and the warmest June ever- there has been no mention in local newspapers or the TV Media about climate change- the continued hoodwinking of the public by a media held hostage by special interests is mind boggling.

    The Boston Globe does a fair job however in addressing the issues of a changing New England climate.

  20. BBHY says:

    The snowstorm was on the east coast of the US. At the same time the west coast of Canada, where the Olympics were being held, there was barely any snow.

    The heatwave is across multiple continents in different hemispheres; North America, Africa, and Asia.

  21. Colorado Bob says:

    Jakobshavn Glacier Second Calving ?

    Jakobshavn South appears to have recently calved a similar amount also, some time between the 10th and 16th of July 2010.

    http://www.science20.com/chatter_box/jakobshavn_glacier_second_calving

  22. Esop says:

    Local temperature records are smashed, and much more important, the global average temperature is at a record level. Spool back 16 months and the collective denier society assured the world that global warming was over and a rapid cooling was beginning due to low solar, negative PDO and other natural forcings. Were the deniers (including prominent “skeptic” “scientists” lying then or are they lying now, or do they simply have no clue whatsoever about what they are talking about?

  23. Kern Woodin says:

    We have record snow and freezing deaths south of the equator. I am sure this will be mentioned. Watts covers highs and lows.

    [JR: Record snow? Seriously. You belong at Watts.]

  24. Colorado Bob says:

    Patrick Lockerby provides 3 animations of the Jakobshavn Glacier in #21 post.

    In addition to the catch he may have observed , notice the movement of the entire ice sheet in the July 6 & 7 images , pretty dramatic movement of a large mass of ice .

  25. Esop says:

    #23: Increase the heat and the humidity content of the atmosphere increases. This results in increased precipitation in the shape of rain in the summer and snow in the winter.
    If we were setting global average low temp records, cold local temperatures in the winter would be interesting, but when we are breaking average global high temp records, the fact that some places in the southern hemisphere are cold in the winter (yes, they actually have winter now) is not so interesting.

  26. Peter Mizla says:

    #22

    Where are the freezing deaths and record snow?

    The southern hemisphere has far smaller land areas then the northern Hemisphere. It is winter in the following stations below.

    Is the record cold and snow in sub equatorial Africa? Or Australia? Or South America?

    South America? Buenos Aires this week- highs mostly mid 50s lows- 40s

    Rio- mostly upper 70s by day- 60 by night

    Santiago Chile- 50-57 by day- 26 to 30s by night-not terribly unusual for winter at this Mediterranean station. Mostly Sunny.

    Capetown SA 50s-60s by day 40s by night
    Johannesburg SA 60s by day- 40s by night

    Melbourne AU 50s by day 40s by night

  27. Josh Kaplowitz says:

    Will these heatwaves finally convince Democrats to talk about the science, rather than just pushing the national security and green jobs angles? I don’t think we will get a climate bill until the party in power makes a concerted effort to persuade people that the events they see around them (heat, floods, snowstorms, hurricanes, dead trees) are consistent with global warming.

  28. Doug Hunt says:

    The most stunning number I saw on NOAA’s monthly state of the climate was

    “This was the 304th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with below-average temperature was February 1985.”

    304 consecutive months ….. of course this, as we all know, is just “normal variability”

  29. Peter Mizla says:

    Josh

    I agree with you-however the Democrats are still cowering in fear of the far right (and their perceived power) Until the Democrats grow some stones- along with the President nothing is going to be done.

    When the erratic weather you described become even more common- and increases in intensity- hindering agriculture- with water shortages, droughts, floods etc to a degree when they can no longer be ignored by the Media Merchants of ‘Head in the Sand’ crowd and the politicians inside the pockets of special interests and lobbyists…….well 3 degree C rise before 2050 is easily possible.

  30. Dibble says:

    Peter Mizla @4.”It amazes me that many however in this country consider climate change still to be a leftist/socialist plot to deprive Americans of their heritage and the destruction of the capitalist system.”

    What could be more liberating to an economy than a reduced reliance on expensive imported energy and a switch to universally available renewable resources on a household and national scale? I’m happy to admit that economics and politics aren’t my particular field of interest but I can’t see why any frenzied Freidmanite wouldn’t see energy independence as a desirable goal for any truely ‘free market’.

  31. Colorado Bob says:

    China to spend $738 bln on clean energy

    (AFP) – 3 hours ago

    BEIJING — China has said it plans to invest 738 billion dollars developing clean energy over the next decade, as part of efforts to reduce the nation’s heavy reliance on coal and slash carbon emissions.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gHjWgsJfiyVbZqXMAU1f9TF-kvdA

  32. Peter Mizla says:

    Dibble #31

    I agree- innovation would provide countless opportunities for the American economy for energy independence and economic growth.

    Some see staying tied to the past-with the toxic outcome of fossil fuels a ‘better’ choice.

    Perhaps the liberal viewpoint has the future in mind for a ‘recovering’ planet with new money being made that will outstrip the energy ideas of the past.

  33. Lou Grinzo says:

    In this thread as in many other discussions, we keep coming back to the topic of the media and their absolute refusal to connect the bright red flashing dots.

    I think there are several factors at work here. Advertisers don’t like to see those dots connected, obviously, and many traditional media outlets, besieged by economic times and the Internet, are willing to accept and promote the role of being arms merchants in the war of words. As long as conditions don’t make those dots blink too brightly, they will continue to be on the trailing edge of awareness of what’s happening. It’s brute force economics, pure and simple.

    When do we hit the tipping point, though? When are there so many red lights flashing that it becomes blindingly obvious this isn’t merely another cycle or normal variability, but, golly!, those scientist people like Hansen and Serreze and Solomon and Hayhoe and all the others whose work we read constantly were right all along? My guess is that the current resistance to the blatantly obvious will persist right up to a tipping point, and then suddenly climate change will be portrayed as Real Beyond All Doubt (And Nobody Told Us), and the deniers will be swept into the same dustbin as the moon landing hoax and “HIV doesn’t cause AIDS” camps. The deniers will still find a media home on their own sites and places like Alex Jones (who recently interviewed Monckton), but in the mainstream they will be seen as a special interest and sycophantic kooks.

    What will cause that media tipping point? Sadly, I think it will have to be something truly horrific, at least where the US media is concerned. A strangling drought in Africa that kills many thousands or millions won’t even jiggle the needle here. Similarly, another massive heat wave in Europe, like the one they suffered through in 2003, won’t even make it onto our radar screen. It will take something happening to the US, and it will have to include a high body count and almost unimaginable infrastructure and economic damage.

    In other words, a Climate 9/11 or even a Climate Pearl Harbor won’t be enough. It will take a Climate Hiroshima.

    And by then we’ll have lost so much time and incurred so much damage that I shudder to think what it will be like trying to overcome the immense momentum of a CO2 level of (by then) 410 to 430 ppm.

  34. Prokaryotes says:

    we just lived through an incredible 30-day period. According to the local National Weather Service Office in Chanhassen we experienced 395 severe storms between June 17 and July 17. That compares to 120 severe storms in all of 2009! So in a mere 30 days we saw more than 3 TIMES more severe weather than we did all of last year. Unbelievable. http://www.diigo.com/annotated/3a39a5ff826eea33b8cc3dae8b249620

    The bell curve …

  35. Peter Mizla says:

    Lou

    great post-but 400ppm is 4-5 years away

    we are all in deep trouble-our kids even worse.

  36. P. G. Dudda says:

    re: #3 – catman306 – about collapse of Greenland’s ice sheet:

    I’ve been checking http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/modis.uk.php regularly. I’ve noticed that the ice cap west of Qaqortoq has been melting rapidly, and also that the Frederkishab glacier near Paamiut has been undergoing very fast changes. Are these precursors to a collapse in the southern portion of the ice sheet?

  37. Prokaryotes says:

    Overcome by Heat and Inertia
    The most efficient way to begin attacking the global swelter is no mystery. It involves raising the price of carbon emissions, which are warming the planet, and then letting the private sector find innovative ways to use less dirty energy. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/business/economy/21leonhardt.html?_r=1&src=twt&twt=nytimes

  38. Prokaryotes says:

    Peter Mizla, #36, maybe Lou meant Co-2 equivalent?

  39. Lou Grinzo says:

    No, I meant that by the time the Big Event happens we’ll be at a CO2 level (“by then”) of 410 to 430. In other words, I’m “predicting” (to use too strong a word) that we’re roughly 10 to 20 years from such an event.

  40. PSU Grad says:

    Lou @ #34: “What will cause that media tipping point? Sadly, I think it will have to be something truly horrific, at least where the US media is concerned. ”

    100% agreement. I recently challenged two reporters at two different newspapers to investigate further the background of some climate deniers they’d eagerly quoted (what’s their scientific background…who funds them…etc). I heard nothing from either. When it comes to climate change, they’d apparently rather take the word of an ad hominem throwing former accountant from North Carolina than climate scientists.

    However, I do think these deniers have enough gall to tell everyone they tried to warn us when the day finally comes. Fortunately, their words will be an easy Google search away.

  41. Esop says:

    #34: I think an ice free arctic will have a pretty solid impact, even in the US. That could very well happen in less than 10 years.

  42. Esop says:

    #40: When the monumental tipping point arrives, there will probably be made a great effort to delete webpages that are now declaring hoax/cooling/growing ice/and whatnot. Probably a good idea to save some of these now.

  43. Lou Grinzo says:

    Just to elaborate a bit, I think when we hit the media tipping point, we’ll see some truly amazing displays of chutzpah. Fox and similar outlets will scream about how it’s the climate scientists’ fault that we’re in such bad shape because “they didn’t tell us!”, while others, like the NY Times, will claim that there really was all this doubt, ya see, and they were just being good journalists by doing straight-up reporting.

    If we do manage to pull off the astounding feat of getting really good public policy in place, we’ll get a weird combination: In the first 10 or 20 years, while climate change continues, we’ll hear the deniers and some parts of the media say, “See? We made all these changes and the planet is still doing what it wants — this PROVES CO2 wasn’t a problem!”. And when these policies finally have the desired effect we’ll hear claims that, “the cycle reversed itself, and we could have been driving SUVs all this time!”

    NEVER underestimate the ability of financially and ideologically driven special interests to sell ridiculous, blatant lies to their followers and the ill-informed.

    Oh — and the suggestion from Esop to start saving web pages is a good idea. The lies about who said what and when will be just as bad as the lies about the basic science.

  44. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Lou at 34 –

    “In other words, a Climate 9/11 or even a Climate Pearl Harbor won’t be enough. It will take a Climate Hiroshima.”

    America has already suffered, and ignored, its ‘climate Pearl Harbour’ when an unprecedented amplification of a moderate hurricane entering the GOM empowered it to swamp New Orleans.

    Last I heard they’d got over 1,800 bodies out and over 6,600 were still missing. And these were mostly Americans, not foreigners, who were killed.

    If America is lucky, it will get a highly energizing event in parallel with the existential Dunkirk event for Britain. In that, with a 400k British army trapped by German forces on the French coast, there seemed no prospect of saving them from death or capture, with near-unopposed invasion of Britain as a consequence.

    Churchill (translates as “dun-kirk” in old British) had only weeks before become prime minister of a coalition government, and he pulled every stunt to discredit and disempower defeatists and appeasers in cabinet who wanted him to surrender Britain.

    Having beaten them in cabinet, he chose to reserve much of the airforce (small and badly battered) for the expected invasion, and to pour in naval forces to try and get the troops home before their defensive perimeter collapsed. But they could only get to the beaches to take men off in their gigs and whalers, which was far too slow, so another approach was tried – A call went out nationally for seaworthy small vessels to be brought to the south coast immediately to ferry troops off the Dunkirk beaches and onto RN vessels.

    In the event, despite greivous naval and small boat losses to mines and Luftwaffe, in a few days over 300,000 were brought off, and immediate invasion was deterred. An utter defeat was thus transformed into an exceptional national victory in the public mind, on which was built the national determination to fight for a final victory over nazism.

    It is worth noting that without the radical strategy of recruiting civilians driving pleasure cruisers, invasion would have been swift and certain, and there would have been no safe haven for America to prepare its formidable if belated entry into the war, and there would have been no base for the re-supply of Russian forces resisting on the eastern front. I.e. – without radical policy and absolute determination to reject defeatism, the war’s outcome would have been reversed.

    Thus if America has the luck to face a climate-Dunkirk event, it should make the very best use every scrap of it.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  45. AH1 says:

    Not only did record-breaking snowstorms and cold temperatures hit the United States in the winter, the winter of 2009-2010 was in nearby Canada the warmest and driest winter ever recorded since record-keeping of this sort began in the 1940’s and 50’s. The entire country, the second-largest in the world, was an average of 4C (7.2F) above normal throughout the entire three-month period. This is despite the record cold and some snow that hit the western provinces in November. As a record negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation continued in combination with a negative North Atlantic Oscillation and a strong El Nino Modoki (similar, but different), all the snow hit the US and we had an upside-down winter in North America. Toronto, meanwhile, recorded its least snowfall on record. It was much the same story in Eurasia, where it snowed in southeastern Spain, southern France and northern Italy, record-breaking cold and snow covered Great Britain, Scandinavia, and the Alps. It snowed in Paris, causing children to cry and the adults to don umbrellas. It was colder in parts of the United Kingdom than it was in Moscow, where heavy snow also hit. It certainly looked like I was watching the Day After Tomorrow unfold in reality. The snow even hit some southern Provinces in China, and extreme cold hit Afghanistan, where a deadly avalanche occurred killing over 160, India and Bangladesh. Siberia, however, was warmer than normal, creating the risk of methane clathrate release this summer in the Arctic for the third year in a row. Flooding occurred in parts of the southern US, Haiti, Madeira, Italy, Serbia, Hungary, Romania, Israel, Kenya and Uganda, while drougth occurred in just as many places. The Gulf Stream even briefly diverted to the west of Greenland. In the Northern Hemisphere, where it was winter, it seemed that parts of the hemisphere were below normal, but many areas were warmer than normal. But as expected, the people in the Southern United States started spreading the idea that global warming was a hoax yet again, due to the cold weather there. The Arctic sea ice was also reduced in the early winter, but when the extreme negative AO ended, the ice started building up and the melt season started late, but this didn’t keep it from exceeding the ice melt in 2007 until recently. Yes, global warming can cause localized cooling, as climate change is not linear and can oscillate in sprits and spurts, but some “skeptics” or deniers ignore that. NASA already predicted, based on the data that 2010 will likely be the warmest year ever. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, heat waves hit many areas. Australia saw a category five cyclone and very hot temeperatures, though a rare summer dusting of snow hit the southeastern areas. It also hit South America, when Uruguay recorded a humidex (what it feels like with the humidity) of 58C. Extreme sea surface temperature contrast collided east of Uruguay, and rapidly fluctuating SSTs near Chile due to the El Nino preceded the earthquake. Devastating floods hit Brazil and Peru, while tons of dead fish surfaced off Rio De Janeiro after the floods continued. A giant iceberg collided with the Mertz Glacier in East Antarctica, calving away the ice tongue. Massive hailstorms hit eastern Australia and Perth in March, and even a rare tornado. As winter wove into spring in the Northern Hemisphere, the heat over Canada moved over the Great Lakes and the Northeast of the US, melting all the snow, but leaving the snow above Whistler intact, the lack of which was a problem for the Olympics earlier in the winter. Since January, the global mid-tropospheric temperatures have been above normal, in fact at a record high, despite the El Nino turning to La Nina by April and May.

    Spring is the pre-monsoon season in the Indian subcontinent, and Pakistan recorded the hottest temperature on record in late May. Since early spring, a drought in the south and a dust storm in the east crippled much of China. Snowmelt in the US triggered flooding along many tributaries of the Mississippi River, and much of Eastern Europe was hit by flooding. Drought in Southeast Asia started to come to an end after El Nino subsided, and the monsoons hit India while Cyclone Phet hit the Thar Desert between Pakistan and India, bringing an end to the heat wave there. In South China, however, the drought immediately turned to rain, giving no time to plant or harvest crops in many areas, then a major flood. The flooding is now threatening the Three Gorges Dam after a tropical storm hit South China, and the flooding so far has claimed close to 600 lives, affecting 70 million. Eutrophication off eastern China caused a massive algal bloom, headed towards the coastal resort city of Qingdao. Winter drought in western Canada turned to record flooding and warm temperatures, dumping over 500 millimetres (20 inches) of rain over much of normally-dry southern Saskatchewan, breaking records and ruining crops. However, this did not stop snow from falling in parts of mountainous Alberta in mid-July. By June, the world reached into its fourth consecutive warmest year on record. This was uninterrupted by the VEI 4 volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajokull (pronounced EYE-uh-fee-ATLA-YOH-kuiidl), which grounded flights across Europe and sprayed aerosols into the upper atmosphere. The Gulf of Mexico warmed up after the Main Development Region in the North Atlantic hurricane basin, the area where most tropical storms form, reached a record for warmest sea surface temperatures since February. A tropical wave tracked through the Caribbean from Africa, swallowing the wetter-than-normal air and high precipitation and high temperatures. It became the size of a West Pacific monster typhoon, stretching into the Bahamas, the southern US, the East Pacific, Jamaica, and Panama while it was making landfall on Belize. Once in the Gulf of Mexico, it pushed tarballs from the oil disaster into the Gulf Coast before making landfall in Mexico and bringing a tornado near Brownsville. Mexico and the upriver Rio Grande saw record flooding. The West Pacific had been mostly quiet, allowing more heat to build up. As the Middle East and eastern Russia sweltered under the heat wave, the sea surface was warmed significantly, pushing above 32C in the Persian Gulf, and reaching more than 10C above normal in the Sea of Okhotsk, offshore Russia. Despite the negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation, warm anomalies migrated from the West Pacific into the Kuroshio Current, reaching British Columbia and filling the coast south of Alaska, and warm anomalies from Russia entered into the Beaufort Sea, melting the ice early there as it did in 2007. Much of Hudson Bay, western Greenland, the seas north of Scandinavia, and off Northwestern Canada and Alaska were much above normal. The mouth of the Mackenzie River reached 15C above its average SSTs in July. The tropics quieted down, but not for long. The Atlantic is predicted to be one of the most active seasons on record this year, possibly rivalling 2005. What most people don’t know is, however, that a global heat wave is hitting the Northern Hemisphere, just as unusual cold blasts and snow storms are hitting Australia and Argentina. This heat wave is covering or covered many areas, affecting eastern Canada, the Mideastern and Northeastern US, Texas and Florida, Central and Eastern Europe, European Russia, Kazakhstan, northeastern China, Korea, southeastern Russia, southeast Asia, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, and North Africa. The heat in the Northern Hemisphere arrived in the spring and summer, while the record cold in some areas occurred during the fall and winter. The heat wave has been as extensive, if not more so, than the cold and record snow that hit much of the Northern Hemishere in the winter. It really does help when you have part of the bigger picture, rather than a very minor detail such as the American snowstorms last winter that the hardcore climate skeptics are all stonewalling over, and which they took advantage of to sabotage the Copenhagen Conference and to simultaneously perpetrate the email hacking incident known in the popular media as Climategate. Compare these Wikipedia articles, though both still in poor shape: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Northern_Hemisphere_summer_heat_wave ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_storm_activity_of_2010

  46. AH1 says:

    I think it’s clear that some of the climate tipping points caused by
    global warming are happening already. The shift in recent global average temperatures up about 0.2C after 1998 was complemented by a more abrupt shift, of 0.4C from 2000-2009 to 2010 and onwards. The heat is holding despite factors that should cause it to decline, and although a stronger La Nina is predicted for the winter, the heat may continue to build as we enter a solar maximum, to peak around 2012-2013. It wouldn’t surprise me if by then the global average temperatures even pushed past 1C (1.8F) from the 1900 average. The shifts in precipitation patterns, abnormal states of short-term oscillations in which there is no trend, and multiple factors converging to push the global temperatures up and keep it there should be a clear sign that the climate is changing, and if anything, this change is only going to accelerate. First comes the precipitation abnormalities and extremely large tropical cylones (when they predicted more intense and longer-lasting but fewer tropical storms due to global warming, they forgot to mention that the storms could be larger), then comes rapid shifts in global temperature, and not soon after that there may be very little we can do about global warming. Methane clathrate release was first observed in 2008, following the observations of land-based permafrost methane and CO2 release in Siberia in 2004. The clathrates weren’t supposed to be a player in global warming until the end of the century, but neither was a tropical cyclone supposed to form in the South Atlantic until the 2070s, and yet they both occurred in the past decade. Even signs of ocean current shifts are being seen, as the unusual El Nino Modoki phenomenon occurred last northern winter, producing a South Atlantic tropical cyclone just as it did in 2004. Heat is building up in the ocean, on a scale many times over the heat accumulated in excess in the atmosphere, and it’s causing the warmer parts of the ocean to choke off the cooler ocean currents like the Humboldt, the Canary and the California Currents.

    Soon, some of this extra heat and built-up CO2 and methane, as well as the methane stored in subsea deposits and in exploded oil wells could begin releasing into the atmosphere, turning the oceans from a vital carbon sink to a dangerous carbon source. Nobody yet knows when this will occur, but when it does, we’re in trouble. I don’t think there’s any reason left to doubt that global warming is occurring, and even to look for signs that it is each year. Last fall, I observed geese flying north in November. Something is up with the atmosphere and the oceans, and it’s knocking the global climate system out of balance, and we are the most likely main cause. Maybe some yet-undiscovered negative feedback like the reduction of stratospheric water vapour caused by upper atmospheric cooling causing a reduction in tropospheric warming after 2000, discovered in 2009, will save us from having to undergo a climatic catastrophe. Perhaps volcanic eruptions will cool the Earth in a stable manner. Or maybe an even more powerful positive feedback will knock the Earth’s systems out of equilibrium irreversably, as it appears to be starting to occur already, until anything that anybody can do is out of our grasp.

    I doubt it would be wise, however, to wait until we know more about all the oscillations and feedbacks to have a slightly better picture of what to do about this global problem, when time is running close to nil for global cooperation and when conflict is taking over many areas. If there is anything I do not doubt about global warming, however, and there certainly is little I can doubt, it is this. When the global temperature rise exceeds 2C (3.6C), CO2 levels are dangerously high, summer Arctic sea ice is gone, the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets are past their tipping points for collapse, most of the world’s coral reefs are gone, toxic sludge covers the coastal oceans where mangroves used to grow, sea level rise innundates the ports of major cities, numerous new epidemics scour the Earth, oil is close to running out, wars have erupted over environmental migrants, more methane clathrate releases pop up and lighting there spreads soot over glaciers and snow cover, ocean current shifts cause Britain and Scandinavia to freeze, glacial melting-induced volcanic eruptions and earthquakes hit the Arctic world, police begin cracking down on climate protesters to prevent disrputing the peace, floods and droughts hit in rapid succession, making agriculture in international Breadbaskets impossible, deserts and dust storms take over much of Eurasia and the central United States (making the Dust Bowl look puny), the global economy as we know it collapses, the Amazon rainforest and Borneo are under attack from annual fires causing methane release from peat bogs, landsldies and glacial melt cause massive “natural” dams to form that burst and cause 50-metre high river tsunamis, algal blooms form and die off in massive numbers to create gigantic dead zones and release toxic gases, jellyfish blooms choke off nutrients and cause the extinctions of many fish, 30% of the world’s known plant and animal species are extinct, floods devastate cities along major life-sustaining rivers, mountaintops collapse and devastate local farms and forests, massive tropical cyclones level the forests of entire countries, storm surges trigger even more earthquakes, most of the world’s population has acknowledged global warming yet are unable to cope with its immediate effects…there will STILL be a small group of people denying that global warming is real or that we are responsible, or arguing that this is just a natural phase the Earth is going through and that is has happened before. Perhaps they will still be working for a small remaining fragment of the former depleted ExxonMobil-Esso-Western Fuels Association fossil fuel industry megacorporation, or even just for their own self-interest, resorting to denial for the preservation of their own sanity. If this scenario occurs, and it’s certainly possible to set it forth during this century, there will be endless grief and remorse over “why didn’t we do something”. The large corporations that funded the deniers could be charged with crimes against humanity, ecocide, globicide. But it really doesn’t have to be this way. There is still a chance to prevent most of this from happening, to prevent more tipping points from being passed, but it’s important to realize the bigger picture. Earth is the only planet we have, yet we are seeing all these global changes that could be the result of climate change, but ignoring it and even claiming that it’s proof that climate change isn’t real. As we have seen, this IS real, it’s happening and us humans are primarily responsible. However, we’re also innovative, and scientists in recent years have come up with many ways to cut emissions, and even to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_removal . But we have to decide very quickly if we want to prevent a catastrophe. Just think: if our children and grandchildren were the ones going back in time and deciding whether to avert a crisis or simply to sit back to wait and see, which option would they choose?

  47. Jon Jermey says:

    How many countries in South America? More than nine, I believe:

    http://tinyurl.com/25kqboq

    Snow on the beaches? How embarrassing for AGW.

  48. Prokaryotes says:

    The near-record temperatures of 2009 occurred despite an unseasonably cool December in much of North America. High air pressures in the Arctic decreased the east-west flow of the jet stream, while also increasing its tendency to blow from north to south and draw cold air southward from the Arctic. This resulted in an unusual effect that caused frigid air from the Arctic to rush into North America and warmer mid-latitude air to shift toward the north. http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100121/

  49. Prokaryotes says:

    Im still researching if there is now during the southern hemisphere winter an unusual effect that causes frigid air from the antarctic to rush into south america and warmer air to shift toward the south pole.

  50. Prokaryotes says:

    In Antarctica, warm conditions appear in some inland areas and especially over the Antarctic Peninsula. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=44416

  51. Prokaryotes says:

    The Antarctic Peninsula is a part of the world that is experiencing extraordinary warming. Each decade for the last five, average temperatures in the Antarctic Peninsula have risen by half a degree Celsius. Ice mass loss on the peninsula occurred at a rate of 60 billion tonnes in 2006, with the greatest change occurring in the northern tip of the peninsula. Seven ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula have retreated or disintegrated in the last two decades. Research by the United States Geological Survey has revealed that every ice front on the southern half of the peninsula experienced a retreat between 1947 and 2009. According to a study by the British Antarctic Survey, glaciers on the peninsula are not only retreating but also increasing their flow rate as a result of increased buoyancy in the lower parts of the glaciers. Professor David Vaughan has described the disintegration of the Wilkins Ice Shelf as the latest evidence of rapid warming in the area. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been unable to determine the greatest potential effect on sea level rise that glaciers in the region may cause. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Peninsula

  52. Esop says:

    #48:
    Seems like the same thing is happening now in the southern hemisphere that happened in parts of Europe and the US East Coast in January. The Antarctic version of the Arctic oscillation, with a pressure system that dumps cold air at lower latitudes while the pole itself is seeing temps way above normal.
    This is distribution of energy and is in no way embarassing for the AGW theory. What is EXTREMELY embarrassing for the deniers is the very fact that the average global temperature is now the highest in recorded history. This despite the lowest solar activity in more than a century and a negative PDO. Needless to say, the average global temperature is the only thing that matters with regards to AGW or the deniers’ GC (Global Cooling) theories, not local high or low temps.
    As I mentioned in a post above, Watts and other anti scientists loudly declared back in 2008 that the average global temperature would continue to fall like a rock, with Maunder minimum conditions coming up. Yet, in 2010 we are seeing the highest global average temperatures recorded. This even in the UAH record, so even deniers can’t deny it. With the deniers 2008 forecast for the average temp being so humiliatingly wrong, the question that pops up is: did they lie in 2008 or are they lying now? No matter what, the deniers have themselves proven beyond any doubt that have no clue about climate and how it will develop. Even conservative papers like National Post have realized this.

  53. Michael says:

    This despite the lowest solar activity in more than a century and a negative PDO.

    How much longer will they keep bringing those up? Just looking at the temperature record all but rules out any significant effect from the solar cycle; after all, 1998 occurred just after a solar minimum, and doing various smoothing of the data (e.g as to eliminate ENSO and other short-term variation) doesn’t bring out a 11-year cycle. I believe also that Hansen said that the peak-trough variation was equivalent to only 7 years of global warming, or less than one solar cycle (also, since the trend hasn’t changed much over the past decade, if you believe that the solar influence is larger, then that means the underlying warming trend has accelerated, if the overall trend is about the same; e.g. the underlying trend is really 0.4°C if the solar variation is 0.2°C (downwards), as opposed to just a 0.2°C trend). Also, the annual variation in TSI is in the order of 7%, 70 times the solar cycle variation (still about 6.4 times when adjusted for period, 1 year vs 11 years), yet global temperatures show the exact opposite variation, peaking when the Earth is furthest from the Sun, roughly 4°C warmer in July vs January.

    The same can also be said of the PDO, which is defined as a regional pattern of variability; it even says here that the PDO is the pattern left after the global average temperature anomaly is removed – if the PDO really did have a significant effect on global temperature, then they’d be subtracting the PDO from itself! The AMO is also defined after subtracting the warming trend. Sort of like how the Arctic Oscillation/NAO can make it really cold in the U.S. while the Arctic itself is warm (on this subject, it should be noted that the Antarctic Oscillation is currently positive, while the Arctic Oscillation was negative last winter, although it is at all-time record high levels).

    PS: Anybody else notice that Spencer’s AMSU graph page shows all-time daily record highs recently (talking about absolute temperature, not from any one day)?

    [JR: I don’t think AMSU plots 1998 any more.]

  54. Peter Mizla says:

    Great site-I will continue to read at my leisure.

  55. Esop says:

    #54 (Joe’s comment): AMSU still plots 1998 in the channel 4 data (Near surface layer). Data from early August 1998 through the rest of 1998.