Groundhog Decade: We’re Stuck in a Bad Movie, Where It’s Always the Hottest Decade on Record

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

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

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

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

Figure 7.

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

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

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

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

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13 Responses to Groundhog Decade: We’re Stuck in a Bad Movie, Where It’s Always the Hottest Decade on Record

  1. Ben Lieberman says:

    Deniers get off way too easily– basically it is socially acceptable to deny global warming and to prevent any action to curb global warming. In our society it’s treated as a minor matter, like not happening to like asparagus or checkers. It’s time to make global warming denial socially unacceptable.

  2. B Waterhouse says:

    ABC network news tonight said climate change was real and scientists “can prove” it’s due to humans. Short segment, but better than nothing.

  3. RepubAnon says:

    I predict that in 2090, Republicans will blame global warming on liberal elites – and claim that the planet’s only hope is massive tax subsidies for the “job-creators” (by then, all taxes on folks in the 0.1% will have been eliminated, so we’ll need to redistribute more wealth upwards…)

  4. Craig says:

    I’m confused about the graph that shows warming projections out to 2100. The light shading indicates the uncertainty range when high carbon-cycle feedbacks are modeled. But the feedbacks don’t add as much warming as I might have expected.

    What am I missing here? I thought rapid feedback mechanisms such as melting permafrost and the saturation of ocean carbon sinks would significantly ramp up warming (not that civilization destabilizing 3.5 C warming by 2060 isn’t bad enough).

  5. Paul Magnus says:

    “I seriously doubt anybody is going to care about what Punxsutawney Phil thinks ”

    He will probably will be extinct….

  6. KenL says:

    One of the several wonderful things about the movie Groundhog Day was the thought experiment it presented to us: What would happen if we were given an unending series of do-overs? Endless mulligans, until we finally “got it right”?

    The movie might have been too optimistic here; I suspect many people would simply end up insane (and it seems the Bill Murray character is indeed headed in this direction at one point).

    Unfortunately the situation with climate change couldn’t be more different. We will not get ANY do-overs: humans will have only one chance to get it right. And at this point, it looks like we are going to blow it.

  7. Raul M. says:

    Auw, poor Punxsutawney Phil, being mostly dumb and modest of his ways, he has no way to relay the alarm.
    As he knows he is taken care for, and knows only the mysterious advantages to requiet his desires of comfort, he is only able to say you hurt me and to show his fears of the one who cares for him. It is a sad situation and someone would have to listen closely to gain a clue.

  8. Raul M. says:

    Sorry should said the hurt that decides you and me.

  9. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    It has been a La Nina year, the sun’s activity is still relatively low and the air is polluted with reflecting aerosols. And despite all that we are at near record temperatures

    The sun is slowly awakening, eventually we will get an El Nino and at some stage in the future the air will clear.

    It really looks as though we are about to go from ups and downs with an upward trend in temperature, to ups and pauses. They will not be able to say the warming stopped in 2012.

    Yet for all that I am concerned about the rises in temperature; it could be the rises in humidity that gets dangerous first. A dry 110 F is less debilitating than a very humid 105 F.

    As much as I have been concerned about power stations loosing coal supplies, drought stopping power stations water could happen much sooner.

    Record heat plus extreme humidity plus rolling blackouts. Might just get peoples attention.

    We have summer and the hot season.

  10. Joe Romm says:

    At the high emissions scenarios, there is only so much more warming one can do this century — 1C extra is a lot.

  11. Craig says:

    Thanks for the explanation

  12. Byron Smith says:

    Someone needs to get the Hadley Centre guys to speak to a graphic designer. Making 6ºC of warming still light green in colour gives the impression that this might be something other than hell on earth. I realise it is difficult when you also somehow need to include the fact that this image also suggests 16ºC warming elsewhere, but when people in, say, Melbourne or Rio see their location is coloured green, they might feel relieved if they don’t actually look at the scale.