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7 Months of Record Heat

From the NYTimes. It’s short, so I’ll quote it in full:

The first seven months of 2006 were the warmest such stretch in the continental United States for any year since climate record-keeping began in 1895, federal scientists said. Scorching temperatures in July, particularly strings of hot nights, were almost certainly related in part to the continuing buildup of heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases linked to global warming, said Jay Lawrimore of the National Climatic Data Center. “The long-term trend we’re seeing cannot be explained without the influence of greenhouse gases,” Mr. Lawrimore said.

22 Responses to “7 Months of Record Heat”

  1. Heartless Libertarian Says:

    Or, the fact that we’re roughly 150 or so years into a warming period that started around 1850 or so. That followed a long period of cooling-aka the “Little Ice Age.”

    800-1000 years ago, the Vikings were farming in Greenland. If it gets warm enough to do that and keeps getting warmer, then I’ll be a bit concerned.

  2. Rustmeister Says:

    . “The long-term trend we’re seeing cannot be explained without the influence of greenhouse gases,”

    So what if it is? We of the world aren’t gonna stop driving or using electricity/gas/oil any time in the next few decades, even if we decide to go 100% nuclear for domestic power and 100% hydrogen for vehicles.

    If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d say that’s what’s behind all the energy issues today. I mean, BP is trying to tell me they have no repair parts on hand for the single biggest financial asset they have in the reigon? They haven’t checked their pipline in seven years? That’s like not checking the air in your tires for seven years, it just doesn’t happen.

    Once we hit the tipping point, the EPA will go away and nukes and refineries will sprout up like dandilions, conspiracy or not.

    Sorry I got off track, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about recently.

  3. Phelps Says:

    And in 1665, the plague could not be explained without the influence of demonic possession.

    Color me unconvinced.

  4. Brutal Hugger Says:

    Sure, we’re not going to stop driving and using oil. But we could replace some of the dirty stuff with cleaner stuff, find cleaner ways to burn oil, make more efficient devices, etc. There’s lots of ways to improve in this area without radically changing the way we live.

    All these things we could do would have the added benefit of making the air we breathe cleaner, moving to sustainable energy, and reducing our foreign oil problems. Imagine if we could turn our backs on the Middle East like we do in Africa.

  5. Rustmeister Says:

    I agree 100% BH. The only way to do it is to become oil-free though.

    Then we could just throw millions of dollars at the reigon and have it go only to the corrupt government officials, like we do in Africa.

  6. medicman Says:

    Um, it’s the New York Times. With their record, why would anyone believe what they report?

  7. robert Says:

    The Martians are having the same problem with their icecaps melting, only they don’t have the New York Times to report it.

  8. tgirsch Says:

    I love that reasoning that says that since there’s no easy magic bullet to solve the entire problem in one shot, we should forget about it and do nothing.

    Of course human activity has no important impact. Why, in all other areas of physics, energy is free and comes without cost or consequence! Why shoud this area be any different?

    /smarm

  9. Reason Says:

    DO something. For the children!! Why bother actually demonstrating a causal relationship between our actions and the outcome… We just have to DO SOMETHING!!

  10. Josh Says:

    So, why all of a sudden? Suddenly, you’re telling me that the cumulative effects of this so-called “global warming” evidenced themselves in the first half of one year of a 100yr trend? I remain unconvinced. I still believe that the perception of global warming is due mostly to local conditions, such as urban heat centers, Santa Ana winds and other geographically isolated occurances. But, as Reason said, we must first do something, only to later ask ourselves if it was necessary whilst in the midst of another cooling trend.

    The arrogance of man to assume that he can predict shifts in the climate is astounding. We can’t even get 5-day forecasts right, let alone predict the effects of a chaotic system on a global scale.

  11. tgirsch Says:

    Josh:

    It’s stunning ignorance like what you’ve just displayed that makes the job of the global warming deniers oh-so-much easier.

    For the record, the cumulative effects have been “suddenly evidencing” themselves for quite some time. This year only continues the upward trend that, with the exception of the unusually warm El Nino year of 1998, has been unmistakable.

    Of course, people have been questioning this for as long as it’s been studied, at least for the past two or three decades. And the case for human-caused warming has only gotten stronger. But hey, since it’s a complex system, and we’re all too lazy to think about complicated things, and it’s much more comfortable to tell ourselves that since what the vast majority of climatologists say is true also happens to be unpleasant, it must be wrong, ahh the hell with it. Let’s just play the fiddle while Rome burns.

  12. straightarrow Says:

    Human caused global warming is a fallacy. At one time there was almost solid ice pack across the Atlantic as far south as Spain. Well before man had any input. The globe has certainly warmed since then, Thank goodness.

    Yes it has been warmer than ever since we started keeping records, here. The summer of 1215 was much warmer as recorded in Europe. Other full eras, have been warmer as geo-climatological evidence proves, even though there were no records made at the time. So though the statement may be technically true it is intentionally misleading, causing one to believe we are warmer than we ever have been, which just isn’t true.

    None of the models blaming greenhouse gases have even been able to predict what we now have, nor have they been an accurate reflection of fact we know to have happened in past climates.

    The absence of pollution may very well be one of the drivers in the heating up of the earth. Ala, volcanic eruptions, which have been known to cause cooling climates, hence predictions of “nuclear winter” should nuclear war breakout. No particulate matter to absorb or reflect heat back into space could mean that more solar radiation than ever strikes and heats the earth’s surface.

    Our air is now cleaner by orders of magnitude than it was is 1950. Cleaner in all aspects by any measurement you choose for any chemical you choose. Remember the 50’s and 60’s when these same scientific bodies were predicting another and catastrophic Ice Age?

    The only charting that maintains a consistent correlation with what we know has happened with climate is the charting of the output of our sun. It may be argued that that is not a causitive factor, but not convincingly since that is what heats our planet. The sun is now in a higher output mode than in the recent past. It is cyclical and will remain in a higher output mode for several years yet. We just came out of a cooler mode (relatively) some few decades ago. Still too hot to touch.

    As for greenhouse gases, humans produce much less than 2% of all greenhouse gases on the planet. The very large proportion occur naturally.

    All the above are facts.

    Now some thoughts to ponder. The earth’s core is molten rock. It has been molten for centuries. Where does it get the energy to maintain that heat? It must be gathering energy to keep it hot, else in the millennia this rock has existed in a cold vacuum nearing absolute zero, it would have cooled. Is it possible that the energy absorbing capabilities of this rock and the cycles of our sun provide some or all of the explanation?

    Global warming is simply the government grant teat that keeps certain study groups in BMW’s. We had the Malthus theory of overpopulation and starvation, then the New Ice Age and now Global Warming. These are all the same guys or their successors. Gimme a damn break!

  13. Josh Says:

    tgirsch

    Thank you for, once again, beginning a rebuttal with a personal attack. Seems to be par for the course, from what comments I see of yours.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on perspective) your assertations don’t bear scrutiny. This warming trend that you describe is not nearly as “unmistakable” as you’d like to believe. Global data does show unmistakable warming trends of up to 3 degrees centigrade in some places, yet shows cooling of the same magnitude in other areas, and an overall average warming of about a half degree worldwide. These data sets seem to be affected independently of geographic location, yet depend on a variety of factors, such as proximity to urban centers and the amount of undeveloped land surrounding the sample areas.

    It’s naive to say that warming deniers are in fact turning a blind eye to this irrefutable evidence you’d like to believe exists. I’d say it’s quite the opposite actually. But the argument will likely never end, regardless of the plethora of unpredictable and chaotic elements within the system that are barely observed, yet alone fully understood, by these scientists that posit Chicken Little theories that fear mongerers eat up with a spoon.

    Excuse me whilst I remain skeptical. Healthy skepticism is what has advanced scientific theory for centuries. Just imagine a scientific community knee-deep in their own dogma. You have replaced your flat-earth globe and terra-centric solar models, right?

  14. dave Says:

    Josh, you’re wasting your time.

  15. Standard Mischief Says:

    tgirsch Says:

    It’s stunning ignorance like what you’ve just displayed that makes the job of the global warming deniers oh-so-much easier.

    It’s funny that you global warming people tend to completely ignore all kinds of evidence of climate change through prehistory, climate change that could not had been caused by the actions of mankind. (and I gave a bunch of examples here)

    It’s also funny that I never hear anything back from you guys when I ask for pointers to data that shows how those very heavy freon molecules somehow drift all the way up to the upper atmosphere (where they need to be to cause ozone damage)

    But if we’re in a global warming trend right now, can you tell me how much co2 emissions we need to curtail if, say, our sun is getting a bit warmer?

  16. Rustmeister Says:

    I’d even go so far as to concede that we may have contributed to warming, somewaht. But, as others have said, it would be happening even if there were no humans on Earth at all.

    And, my first comment wasn’t meant to say “don’t do anything because it’s not an easy fix”. I said (or meant) that regardless of what actions we take now, it will be decades before they would be implemented.

    One of the main reasons we have the pollution we do is because the anti-nuke crowd blocked any new reactor construction. Can you imagine three decades of coal-fired energy plant emissions being removed from the air? That’s what could have been, had more pragmatic heads prevailed.

  17. tgirsch Says:

    Josh:
    Thank you for, once again, beginning a rebuttal with a personal attack.

    No, a personal attack would have been to call you a moron or a dick. To point out ignorance where I see it is not a personal attack, it’s merely an observation. 🙂 To be fair, my tone was harsh, and perhaps that was uncalled for. I’ll try to get back on my meds. But I do think the “ignorance” moniker was fair.

    For example, conflating the climate with the weather is a common misunderstanding, rooted in ignorance, and often exploited by the global warming deniers. You talk about the “perception” of global warming, something that isn’t even meaningful in the scientific debate. You talk about urban heat islands and Santa Ana winds, despite the fact that no one seriously argues that these can account for any more than a small fraction of the measured temperature increases.

    Hell, in calling your post “ignorance,” I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. Because the alternative is that you were being deliberately misleading.

    Healthy skepticism is what has advanced scientific theory for centuries.

    Emphasis on “healthy.” At some point, a case becomes compelling enough that it must be accepted, at least in part if not in total, by the intellectually honest. But ultimately, it comes down to a question of what would convince you that you’re wrong? In my case, three or four consecutive years of cooling (not accompanied by a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions or dramatic increase in particulate pollution) would be enough to make me think I’ve been barking up the wrong tree. What would it take to convince you that you might be wrong?

    I’m not entirely sure I’m the one who should be accused of believing in a flat earth. After all, I’m the one who’s siding with the latest, best scientific consensus. It is you, not me or they, who reject the latest findings.

    As with so many other things, it’s entirely possible that I am wrong (and that, by extension, the existing scientific consensus is wrong). But the evidence weighs pretty solidly on my side, and if I were a betting man, I’d put good odds on my side. Even uber-skeptic Richard Lindzen won’t take that bet.

    straightarrow:

    A lot of what you post does a great job of illustrating the type of obfuscation and misdirection that is common among global warming deniers. Yes, there are natural cycles, and yes, there have been naturally occurring periods of warming and cooling. But it does not follow from this that human activities have no impact or negligible impact on the cycle! As I’ve pointed out repeatedly before, the evidence for human impact has only gotten stronger over the past few decades, despite the best efforts of some to dismiss it all as part of some kind of natural progression.

    Mischief:
    global warming people tend to completely ignore all kinds of evidence of climate change through prehistory

    Ignore? Hardly. See my above point to straightarrow. A great deal of study has been done on whether natural causes can explain recent warming trends, and the consensus that has come back is that they cannot. It’s not that natural climate change has been ignored, it’s that it has been largely ruled out as a cause of what we’re currently seeing.

    As to your linkfest, I have no doubt that you can find plenty of links that tell you what you want to hear. That neither makes them correct, nor the prevailing wisdom.

    Rustmeister:
    regardless of what actions we take now, it will be decades before they would be implemented

    So what? Assuming the actions are worth taking (an assumption you’ll likely not grant), then that’s all the more reason to start sooner than later. What we’re talking about combating here is a long-term problem, in need of long-term solutions. While a quick-fix magic bullet would certainly be nice, it ain’t gonna happen.

    Can you imagine three decades of coal-fired energy plant emissions being removed from the air? That’s what could have been, had more pragmatic heads prevailed.

    Ironically, that this didn’t happen actually slowed global warming. Aerosolized particulate pollution (from sources like coal-fired power plants) reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface, and as such counteracted (to some extent) the warming effects of greenhouse gases. As those particulates have been cleaned up — and there are plenty of health reasons to do so — the greenhouse effect is becoming a more important factor.

  18. Rustmeister Says:

    Tom,

    (an assumption you’ll likely not grant)

    I don’t know why you’d assume that, I’d love to see all domestic energy produced by non-polluting/renewable sources.

    Add to that the political and tactical advantage we’d have, and I’d be happier than a duck in water.

    As to coal fired power slowing global warming, I don’t buy it. Sure, there would be the particulate thing, but it wouldn’t have been needed if we’d not put all them gasses in the air in the first place.

  19. Standard Mischief Says:

    Ignore? Hardly. See my above point to straightarrow. A great deal of study has been done on whether natural causes can explain recent warming trends, and the consensus that has come back is that they cannot. It’s not that natural climate change has been ignored, it’s that it has been largely ruled out as a cause of what we’re currently seeing.

    Hmm, OK so when the idiot box spews something saying this is the hottest decade on record, what it’s really telling me is that it’s actually the hottest decade on record, adjusted to rule out non-manmade causes, right? Sorta like saying a particular hurricane causes the most damage, compared to saying a particular hurricane causes the most damage, adjusted for inflation. In the statistics I’ve looked at, I just haven’t been seeing the proper fine print. The reason I’m calling BS here is because we don’t know what caused the past ice ages, so how can the statistics you quote only report manmade causes? How exactly do they know?

    Please keep in mind also that when they say “hottest decade on record”, that’s since 1861 or thereabouts. Before that we only have core samples and tree rings and such. Not that data like that isn’t useful, but it’s not going to tell us the what the temperature was at noon, August 10th, 1306 AD

    As to your linkfest, I have no doubt that you can find plenty of links that tell you what you want to hear. That neither makes them correct, nor the prevailing wisdom.

    I’m going to give you another chance here. The “linkfest” in that old comment linked to, merely showed a bunch of examples of climate change during and before the times where the only manmade greenhouse gases were being produced by a few livestock and campfires (pre-industrial revolution). Sure, I can probably google up all the opinions I want, but the general consensus was, that we did have ice ages, and that we did have periodic global warming periods. I don’t think you are denying the existence of ice ages. right?

    You’re probably not evoking it on purpose, but saying “global warming deniers”, evokes “Holocaust deniers”.

    So are they still saying what the enviro-demented people said ten years ago, that we had “ten years to save the planet/oceans/whatever”? What exactly are the statistics to back that statement up?

  20. tgirsch Says:

    Rustmeister:
    Sure, there would be the particulate thing, but it wouldn’t have been needed if we’d not put all them gasses in the air in the first place.

    That’s a good point. It may well be that not burning coal at all would have had a greater net impact. I don’t have the numbers in front of me.

    As to nuclear power, unfortunately, that comes with its own problems. Look at the current problem of the accumulating radioactive waste that nobody’s quite sure what to do with. It may not generate greenhouse gases, but it’s not “clean” either. Nothing in life is free, as they say.

    Personally, I’d like to see some combination of wind, wave, solar, and hydroelectric power helping to reduce fossil fuel consumption. And maybe even nuclear, in limited use, if the storage problems can be solved (and I’m not sure using Nevada as a dumping ground constitutes a “solution”).

    Mischief:
    Hmm, OK so when the idiot box spews something saying this is the hottest decade on record, what it’s really telling me …

    …is that it’s the hottest decade since we started keeping records. Nothing ambiguous about that statement. They’re not saying it’s the hottest decade in human history, or the hottest decade in the history of the planet. They’re saying it’s the hottest decade on record. Which it is.

    The reason I’m calling BS here is because we don’t know what caused the past ice ages, so how can the statistics you quote only report manmade causes?

    Because we have a good handle on what natural forces are in effect right now — even most global warming skeptics don’t deny this — and they are insufficient to explain the changes. Is it possible that there’s some magical mystery cause out there, that we don’t know about? Sure, it’s always possible. But the fact is, human fossil fuel use fits the bill remarkably well. When you see hoofprints in the sand, look for horses, not zebras.

    I don’t think you are denying the existence of ice ages. right?

    Of course I’m not. But I’ve already addressed this, in my message to straightarrow. That there are natural cycles involved does not mean that our activities have no effect or negligible effect. The fact that trees fall down all by themselves sometimes does not mean that humans have had no impact on deforestation. Similarly, the fact that warming and cooling cycles happen naturally does not mean that human activity cannot cause or exacerbate those cycles.

    You’re probably not evoking it on purpose, but saying “global warming deniers”, evokes “Holocaust deniers”.

    Actually, I intend to evoke “evolution deniers,” as that’s the far better analog. 🙂

    So are they still saying what the enviro-demented people said ten years ago, that we had “ten years to save the planet/oceans/whatever”?

    I’m not aware that I’ve ever endorsed any statements about how much time we have left to act. I’ve only argued that we have more than enough evidence to indicate that we ought to act, and that sooner is better, and that there are political motivations wholly unrelated to the environment that make acting to reduce fossil fuel consumption a worthwhile objective anyway.

    Frankly, I don’t know if anyone can say with any kind of certainty that we’re going to hit a major tipping point in some specific number of years. Only that such a point may well be out there, and that it would be best not to hit it.

  21. Standard Mischief Says:

    Because we have a good handle on what natural forces are in effect right now — even most global warming skeptics don’t deny this — and they are insufficient to explain the changes. Is it possible that there’s some magical mystery cause out there, that we don’t know about? Sure, it’s always possible. But the fact is, human fossil fuel use fits the bill remarkably well. When you see hoofprints in the sand, look for horses, not zebras.

    OK then, exactly how many tonnes CO2 or other greenhouse gases may we get away with emitting yet still prevent further global warming? I also need a peer revewed cite please.

    Look, I don’t think we’re too far apart here. Both of us admit that the climate naturally changes without human intervention. Both of us agree that greenhouse gases can contribute to global warming. Both of us realize that climate change can cause bad things to happen in some areas. I hope that both of us agree that even if the average temperature goes up, it could also mean that some areas the temps go down, it rains more, etc.

    Also, I’m sure we both know that an increase in CO2 levels actually make plants grow faster. They bump the CO2 levels up all the time in greenhouses. Search Ebay CO2 regulators (for say, MIG welding), and you also get hits on high intensity grow bulbs for some strange reason 😉

    The only big difference I see is that you see the danger of global warming, and then make a “leap of faith” to the conclusion that if we lower our emissions we can negate all of the climate change, including the climate change that’s occurring from influences beyond our control, such as a hotter burning sun.

    Actually, I intend to evoke “evolution deniers,” as that’s the far better analog. 🙂

    You’re comparing the wrong group of people to the Bible Thumpers.

    (BTW, seeing as you are likely a supporter of the Kyoto Protocol, how exactly are you feeling about a whole bunch of brand new nuclear power plants in everyone’s backyard?)

  22. straightarrow Says:

    “As I’ve pointed out repeatedly before, the evidence for human impact has only gotten stronger over the past few decades, despite the best efforts of some to dismiss it all as part of some kind of natural progression.”

    Just how did that happen? The atmosphere is cleaner, pollution is less than at any time since 20 years into the Industrial Revolution or thereabouts. I was alive for the biggest part of the last century, I can tell you this is a much cleaner planet than it was. So, how did global warming become the fault of people. Even though we don’t have nuclear power we have have scrubbers, cooling towers, filters, every area is better than it was, even with the pressure of more population. In this country we have more trees than were here when the continent was first discovered. Fact, not hyperbole, not denial.

    “But it does not follow from this that human activities have no impact or negligible impact on the cycle!”

    But it does follow. We have cleaned up the world, we have lowered emissions, yet according to you global warming is getting worse because of our actions. So should we repeal clean air regs, and do away with pollution controls. Your argument is that we were cooler before we cleaned up therefore it is human activity driven. You don’t say that, but the facts when placed in juxtaposition to your stance does.

    Someone mentioned the hole in the ozone layer. Do you know what creates ozone? If you did all the scientists in the world looking for government funding would not be able to convince you we did it. Same with global warming.