Great way to put it, columnist Eugene Robinson: "Welcome to the rest of our lives." The extreme weather and global warming predicted by climate scientists is here.
And it's only going to get worse unless the world gets off it's denying-butt and starts dealing with increasingly obvious reality.
Here's a compilation of extreme weather events. More are coming. And then more after those. Believe it.
Last night I read a chilling article about global warming, "Running Wild," in a recent issue of New Scientist. Scary stuff.
Climate scientists have long warned that global warming will lead to more heatwaves, droughts and floods. Yet some of these recent extremes, such as the summer in March, are way beyond the predictions of our climate models. And there have been extremes of cold as well as heat. In Rome, ancient monuments are crumbling because of the big freeze that hit Europe this February. And on the northern edge of the Sahara desert, the streets of Libya's capital Tripoli were blanketed with snow.
It seems that our weather is getting wilder - more variable as well as steadily hotter. The big question is why. Is this just a blip, or are we in for even more freakish weather as global warming accelerates over the coming decades?
...So simple physics tells us that global warming should make extreme weather more extreme, from stronger storms to hotter heatwaves, drier droughts and damper downpours. This is indeed what has been happening around the world - except that in recent years, the magnitude of some of the record breakers has been jaw-dropping.
...More and more people are being affected by all this extreme weather. In a recent poll in the US, 82 per cent of people reported that they had personally experienced extreme weather or a natural disaster in the past year, and 35 per cent said they were personally harmed either a great deal or a moderate amount by one or more of these events.
There is little doubt that things are going to get even worse. What is especially worrying, though, is that the rise in extremes can't be accounted for solely by the 0.8 °C warming so far. Events like the 2003 and 2010 heatwaves were projected to occur only after much greater warming, towards the end of this century. And while one or two freak events might be dismissed as simple bad luck, there have been suspiciously many of them in the past decade.
...While no one can say exactly what's going to happen to our weather, all the signs are that we're in for a bumpy ride. "We are seeing these extremes after only 0.8 degrees of global warming," says Rahmstorf. "If we do nothing, and let the climate warm by 5 or 6 degrees, then we will see a very different planet."
l've got a five year old grandchild. I don't want her to grow up in a "very different planet," because different means way worse, not better. The time for dealing with global warming is now (actually, past time).
All of the changes to life "as we know it" due to global warming will be forced, unstoppable, irresistible, and inevitable. And did I mention a foregone conclusion?
I am not a climate change denier. But what I do deny is that the human existential situation should, or even could, be any different than it is now. My life is essentially behind me and the end of it is in sight, so the impending changes in the environment due to weather patterns can do nothing more than possibly foreshorten the time I have left to breathe.
That air conditioner ten feet behind me has been cranking away for the past two months straight. The only way that it is going to stop is if the power goes out or it breaks down.
And that's the truth. (picture Edith Ann giving you the razz)
Posted by: Willie R | July 18, 2012 at 05:08 AM
" ... The time for dealing with global warming is now ... "
In case you haven't caught it yet, the time for dealing with global warming was around a thousand years ago.
[The rest of your comment hasn't been published, because I have a policy of not contributing to climate denial misinformation -- which includes the inaccurate links you included with your comment.
However, if you include a link to your Facebook page, or other proof of your "real world" identity (name, address, etc), I'll publish the rest of your comment. Because then people would know who you are, and that you proudly stand behind your anti-scientific views.]
Posted by: Russell C | July 18, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Where have we heard this before? Maybe it was the extreme July-August 2010 heat wave that killed 56,000 and led to massive crop failures.
Climate Progress Headline 8/11/2010: “Climate Experts Agree: Global Warming Caused Russian Heat Wave”
NOAA Study 3/09/2011: “Natural Variability Main Culprit of Deadly Russian Heat Wave That Killed Thousands”
Posted by: DJ | July 18, 2012 at 08:03 PM
DJ, if you read those two articles you linked to (rather than just the headlines), you'll find little conflict between them. Climate scientists will come to somewhat different conclusions about the meaning of specific weather events.
But the NOAA article also certainly warns of the dangers of human caused global warming:
While a contribution to the heat wave from climate change could not be entirely ruled out, if it was present, it played a much smaller role than naturally occurring meteorological processes in explaining this heat wave's intensity.
The researchers cautioned that this extreme event provides a glimpse into the region’s future as greenhouse gases continue to increase, and the signal of a warming climate, even at this regional scale, begins to emerge more clearly from natural variability in coming decades. Climate models evaluated for the new study show a rapidly increasing risk of such heat waves in western Russia, from less than one percent in 2010, to 10 percent or more by the end of this century.
“It appears that parts of Russia are on the cusp of a period in which the risk of extreme heat events will increase rapidly,” said co-author Martin Hoerling, a research meteorologist, also from ESRL.
Dole called the intensity of this heat wave a “climate surprise,” expected to occur only very rarely in Russia’s current climate. With the possibility of more such events in the future, studying the Russian event better prepares scientists to understand climate phenomena that will affect the U.S. and other parts of the globe.
Posted by: Brian Hines | July 18, 2012 at 08:35 PM