As Oklahoma Swelters Under Record Heat and Drought, Inhofe Bails on Heartland Denier Conference: ‘I am Under the Weather’

You may recall last year that Senator Inhofe’s grandchildren built an igloo to mock a killer snow storm, calling it ‘Al Gore’s New Home’.  Of course, extreme precipitation is precisely what we expect from human-caused global warming, but the story still got a lot of play in the media.

What’s more ironic is that the Senate’s leading climate denier bailed on the annual Heartland climate science denial conference this morning — saying “I am under the weather” (!) — just as his home state is being slammed by a record-smashing heatwave and a drought more severe than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Yes, I know, it’s just coincidence, not a karmic backlash.  But then again climate science projects a permanent dust bowl for the Southwest if we keep listening to Inhofe.  It also projects that by century’s end, the state will be above 90°F for 135 days a year!

What’s also ironic is just yesterday I pointed out that the Texas drought is so bad, “In Austin, They are Praying for a Hurricane.” Incredibly, meteorologist Stephen Mullens, aka Oklahoma City Weather Examiner, in his Wednesday post, “Heat wave records fall: No relief in sight,” writes

It seems the only hope of rain would be for a hurricane to hit the Texas coast and travel northward to Oklahoma. That path is a fairly common one. Fortunately, the scientists at Colorado State University have predicted a 50% probability that the Texas coast will be hit by a hurricane this year.

No, I don’t think one should use the word “fortunately” to describe a hurricane hitting Texas.  But it is a measure of the desperation felt by a state that is three quarters covered by severe drought and that has been above 90 for the entire month.

Here are some of the amazing statistics of this Oklahoma heat wave:

Today marks the 29th consecutive day over 90. That is a record.

Today is forecast to be the 10th day above 100 in June. That is a record.

Today marks the 34th consecutive day above normal.

June 2011 set or tied single-day record high temperatures on the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 27th. Those record temperatures were 103, 104, 101, and 103 degrees, respectively.

This exceptional heatwave (and drought) would in fact be a rather normal June in the second half of this century if Inhofe and his ilk continue to succeed in duping the nation into inaction, as the 2009 NOAA-led impacts report projected:


Back in October, the National Center for Atmospheric Research published a complete literature review, “Drought under global warming: a review.” That study makes clear Dust-Bowlification may well devastate the mid- and south-west even on a moderate emissions path, as the figure below suggests (click to enlarge, “a reading of -4 or below is considered extreme drought”):

drought map 4 2090-2099


The PDSI [Palmer Drought Severity Index] in the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl apparently spiked very briefly to -6, but otherwise rarely exceeded -3 for the decade (see here).  NCAR explains:

The large-scale pattern shown in Figure 11 [of which the figure above is part] appears to be a robust response to increased GHGs. This is very alarming because if the drying is anything resembling Figure 11, a very large population will be severely affected in the coming decades over the whole United States, southern Europe, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Chile, Australia, and most of Africa.

NCAR adds “By the end of the century, many populated areas, including parts of the United States, could face readings in the range of -8 to -10, and much of the Mediterranean could fall to -15 to -20. Such readings would be almost unprecedented.”

For the record, the NCAR study merely models the IPCC’s “moderate” A1B scenario,” atmospheric concentrations of CO2 around 520 parts per million in 2050 and 700 in 2100 (up from 390 now).  We’re currently headed somewhere between the A2 and A1FI pathway, which would takes us to 850 and 1000 ppm by century’s end.

Politico reports of Inhofe today:

The senator has canceled his planned appearance at the Heartland Institute’s Conference on Climate Change today on account of illness, a spokesman tells POLITICO.

The man who is doing more than anyone else to put the entire country under extreme weather said he couldn’t come because he is “under the weather.”  Seriously.

TPM reports:

He couldn’t make it, but did make sure some words got through. “It is my hope that over the next two days you will take a little time to note the tremendous successes we have enjoyed,” Inhofe told attendees in a statement. “Today the mood in Washington is significantly different.”

What Inhofe labels as “tremendous successes” are his efforts to kill bills aimed at preserving a livable climate, thereby increasing both the likelihood and severity of future catastrophic climate impacts for billions of people at home and around the globe.

This amoral hubris won’t result in any punishment by the gods of Greek myth, but it will in all likelihood render his home state a super-hot, deserted, uber-dustbowl for a long, long, long time (see NOAA: Climate change “largely irreversible for 1000 years,” with permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe).


Below are the earlier comments from the Facebook commenting system:

Mike Roddy

Inhofe is quite a character, and makes the annual lists of Dumbest Senators and Most Corrupt Senators every year.

He will never change his mind about anything, even if Oklahoma turned into a furnace and was abandoned. This would be blamed on the enviros who resisted nukes and gas.

June 30 at 12:43pm


How long does it take for the government to go after the people who threaten the survival of the species?

June 30 at 12:51pm

Dave Hamilton

Depends on how many of them are running the government.

June 30 at 2:19pm

Colorado Bob

Tennis-ball-sized hail hits Oklahoma City.
Published: June 15, 2011 at 3:03 PM.

Read more:​s/US/2011/06/15/Tennis-bal​l-sized-hail-hits-Oklahoma​-City/UPI-54031308164586/#​ixzz1QmQ6EdsN.

June 30 at 1:06pm

Colorado Bob

Apr 8, 2011 – 3 S Breckenridge [Garfield Co, OK] trained spotter reports HAIL of tennis ball size (M2.50 INCH) at 06:08 PM CDT …

June 30 at 1:09pm

Colorado Bob

‘Baseball-sized hail’ batters Oklahoma
Watch a video of giant hailstones pummeling an Oklahoma City home
posted on May 19, 2010, at 5:56 PM​/index/203124/baseball-siz​ed-hail-batters-oklahoma

June 30 at 1:13pm

Colorado Bob

May 17, 2010 – Some Oklahoma City residents were repairing damage Monday from a severe thunderstorm that dropped softball-sized hail.

June 30 at 1:14pm

Tom Gray

Be sure to watch the video until about 2:30–it’s remarkable.

June 30 at 3:56pm

Barry Saxifrage

It’s about time the Dust Bowl got its own corporate moniker like the region’s Hyndai Sun Bowl and AT&T Cotton Bowl get. Oh, I don’t know, something like the “Senator Inhofe Dust Bowl” perhaps? Seem important to give credit where credit is due.

June 30 at 1:09pm

Colorado Bob

” This Drought Sponsored by Big Carbon ”

June 30 at 1:39pm

US Uncut – Oklahoma

OMG BOB love it

June 30 at 6:06pm

Colorado Bob

5.25.2011 –

A total of 10.43 inches of rain fell in Vinita from 10:30 p.m. Sunday to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Oklahoma Mesonet, a statewide network of monitoring stations operated by the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

June 30 at 1:18pm

Colorado Bob

Downpour triggers flash floods in Oklahoma City.
The city receives about 10 inches of rain and more is on the way. In Arkansas, rescuers find a 20th victim in a remote flood zone.
June 15, 2010.

June 30 at 1:20pm

Karen Marlar-Scholle

No we did NOT get 10″ of rain!!! I live by the airport and ONE day in June, we got 4″ of rain…….. just little sprinkles since. The source of your info is wrong!

July 24 at 8:37pm

Timothy Hughbanks

I hope future contenders for Inhofe’s seat are out collecting video recordings of the statements of farmers and ranchers. As we come out of the solar minumum, the weather is likely to only get hotter and when Inhofe runs again in 2014, even the rednecks in Oklahoma might be ready to listen to someone who runs against Inhofe’s idiotic views.

Note: Somewhere in the second figure (the US map), you need to indicate that map shows the number of days above 90 ˚F.

June 30 at 1:23pm

US Uncut – Oklahoma

thats a good thought, but have you ever spoken to the rednecks they love them some gop even tho they are so not GOP in teh eyes of teh gop just the GOP suckers that are to closed minded to belevie facts even if they areliving them met tons for 99ers that are still gop lovers even ones whos home are gone because for the loan frauds and job losses of teh last 5 yrs. It weird they seem to think the GOP will save them when its the GOP they are needing saved from

June 30 at 6:04pm

US Uncut – Oklahoma

it a GOP sheep army
plus teh white pride gop in oklahoma would never vote for a person of color or non christain

June 30 at 6:06pm

Charlotte Westbrook McDaniel

Sad…and true. Very disappointing.

July 16 at 1:48pm

Colorado Bob

Jay H. Lehr, Ph.D. Director of Science at the Heartland Inst –
Page 11
” Message from Jay Lehr.
To: All Ground Water Profes-
sionals Everywhere
From: Jay H. Lehr, Ph.D.
Re: Summary of the activities.
that led to my imprisonment by the.
federal government and my firing.
by the National Water Well Associ-
ation. ”


June 30 at 1:32pm

Richard Brenne

Inhofe’s quote: “It is my hope that over the next two days you will take a little time to note the tremendous successes we have enjoyed.”

Inhofe’s revised quote (my words, not his, at least yet):

“It is my hope that over all eternity you will take a little time (and you will have it) to note the tremendous successes we have enjoyed, enriching ourselves and our fossil fuel cronies, permanently corrupting the democratic process and promoting an absolutely horrific climate that will ensure our immediate descendant’s suffering and starvation locally as well as that of all children globally. We have earned the right to enjoy our time here, including customized golf hats, pants and shoes for our horns, tails and cloven hooves.”

June 30 at 1:44pm

Richard Brenne

“Inhofe’s Ilk” is a great new moniker for this super-smart group, as in “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Inhofe’s Ilk’ (actually, Senator, there are two).” Re-electing this guy every 6 years and unleashing him on the rest of the nation and world isn’t exactly fighting the Dumb Okie stereotype.

And my heart goes out to every Oklahoman (the University of Oklahoma has a great atmospheric science department, especially in the study of extreme weather like tornadoes) who accepts climate change and is suffering under this heat. Now imagine what that will be like with far less irrigation and water due to the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer (depleting most seriously under the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, especially relative to Nebraska) and the lowering of the rest of the water table, as well as parched rivers and streams due to less snowmelt, earlier run-off and increased evaporation of all kinds, including the drying of soils that creates a positive feedback for drought and heat to continue and intensify.

Lastly, since the richest who can most afford to pay taxes literally and stubbornly refuse to (cratering our global credit rating if they refuse to raise the debt ceiling as they did every year but two under both Reagan and Bush), our infrastructure is crumbling and that includes the electrical grid that will someday collapse if it is not upgraded and made green. This is guaranteed along our present course. So imagine what you’re experiencing and far worse for far longer, without access to water or air conditioning. Nobody goes to hell, but some construct it for themselves.

June 30 at 2:13pm

Peter S. Mizla

The lower great plains face the most bleakest climate assessment in the future. Oklahoma will see months of 90 degree weather with drought from this year on, not 2050. Can Inhofe be this stupid?

June 30 at 3:23pm

Tom Gray

You know, my answer is always the same: Politicians will keep doing whatever they are doing as long as it works and they keep getting elected.–Tom Gray, Wind Energy Communications Consultant

June 30 at 3:49pm

Cassie M. Weldon

Yes….yes he can….

July 16 at 12:34pm

Mary Beth Wrenn

Peter, I live in Oklahoma. Have for years. (Living blue in a red state.) The short answer to your question is….YES!

July 16 at 12:36pm

Betsy Rosenberg

And don’t forget the irony in Texas Gov. Rick Perry (and potential presidential candidate) begging Obama to declare his state in emergency due to prolonged drought and fires! As the glaciers melt….

June 30 at 3:28pm

Mike twotwo

I wish there was a way to explain to people that this is their mid century future, and from there it gets bad, then worse. Forecasts from the CPC are showing continued hot and dry, so for now these states are getting a look at their future, their kids’ future.
Texas + Exodus = Texodus.

June 30 at 4:03pm


Obviously God is very, very angry with the South for the huge numbers of climate-change deniers (and racists). Why isn’t Pat Robertson bringing this up?

July 1 at 8:47am

Seth Brigham

It’s hot out!

July 1 at 9:54am

Joan Savage

If the conference were held in Oklahoma City instead of Washington DC, it might be obvious that it was time to change the name to HEATland Institute.

July 1 at 10:11am

Debra J. White

Senator Inhofe, live long and swelter.

July 1 at 12:22pm


Under the bus, not the weather.

July 1 at 4:56pm

Jean Mcmahon

Mary Fallin Gov of OKlahoma is encouraging people to go to Grand Lake.She claims she is going there this weekend…How low can they go?

July 2 at 12:45am

Johanna Tuberville

did it connect the dots between warming and killer algae?

July 2 at 1:50am

Linda Pootinella Christy

If we’re lucky…NO!

July 16 at 12:35pm

John Scaife

We wonder how great and prosperous civilizations so mysteriously disappear. They fail to recognize the effect they have on their environments and their dependance on that same environment for their own survival.

July 16 at 1:17pm

Charlotte Westbrook McDaniel

Exactly what I’d expect…don’t saddle our future generations with debt…saddle them with an enviornmentally hostile planet! Pathetic rhetoric…

July 16 at 1:43pm

Patricia Norwood

I hate to say it but Inhoffe is not a favorite son of Oklahoma no matter what he might think. Oklahomans by and large either ignore his rantings or chuckle at how preposterous they seem to us… except for his devoted followers of course… since everyone has some few who think we can do no wrong. Former VP Al Goire has had it right on target about climate change all along.

July 18 at 11:11am

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