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07/02/2012

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Bill Hicks

I thought it was quite fitting that the radar images of Friday night's "derecho" made it look like a giant arrowhead aimed right at the nation's capital. Just since the beginning of 2010 this area has had several major blizzards, a 1000-year flash flood, a hurricane, an unprecedentedly powerful October Nor'easter, the hottest March on record, the hottest June day on record and now the derecho--and yet remains a hotbed (so to speak) of politically motivated climate change denialsm. We are well and truly fucked.

Alexander Ač

Thanks Dave! And let me add that ongoing Russian wildfires are much worse compared to USA wildfires, see this recent MODIS snapshot of the inferno:

http://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=78406

Alex

Jack Leonard

They we're reporting the other day that the fires were 40 to 45% under control? Is that because 60 to 65% of the readily combustible stuff has already burnt? There seem to be few reports of wild fires in Arizona and New Mexico this year as compared to last year when there were huge fires, does that mean there is little left to burn and with the severe on going drought nothing has grown back? And is this the trend of the future? Drought enables huge fires, drought prevents any renewal of new growth and dry states become true deserts.

James

I don't know that all of this can be attributed to global warming, even if it is probably attributable to human influence. From what I understand, much of the wildfire problem results from controlling small fires (which allows a surplus of old an weak trees that are more susceptible to wildfire) and increased human expansion into formerly undeveloped areas (which increases fire risk and costs). Kind of like how floods are more dangerous because more people move into flood areas while also messing with the natural water flow (especially drainage).

Not that it makes the end result any better. And the trigger conditions may very well result from macro climate changes. And Jack's point is very chilling- without adequate hydration, there is no recovery of the flora. Which then leads to topsoil erosion. Yadda yadda....

Wanooski

Oddly enough out here on the northwest coast, the weather has been rather calm, although it has been unusually rainy for a June, Which seems to be killing the usual summer fire risk. We'll see if it continues through the rest of the summer. It is kind of a bummer that we haven't really had much typical summer weather, but I guess if it means we can avoid having our forests burn away, I'm okay with it. Overall it's kind of like it never stopped being spring.

Eric

@Jack Leonard
Connect to http://inciweb.org/ and you can see a long list of wildfires.

Remi

In the same way that you cannot link any one weather event to climate change, you can also argue that all weather events are related to climate change. Climate change is here and it is having an effect. Who knows what the weather would be without climate change, it would be different.

John D

I think many of these wildfires are aided by all the dead trees killed off by the ash borer and such. Invasive insects are also a symptom of our ecology gone out of control.

Ben

George Carlin on The View

George Carlin: And these people with the fires and the floods and everything, they over build they put nature to the test, and they get what is coming to them. That's what I say.

Joy Behar: Well that's a little harsh George.

George Carlin: That's what's happening, and I can't wait for the sea levels to rise. I can't wait for some of these cities to disappear. There are places that are going to go away, the map is going to change ...

The cast of The View: laughter!

Joy

Based on climate models which may or may not be accurate, New Zealand could actually get a bit cooler and wetter with climate change. However, the extreme NZ weather takes the form of "hundred year floods" happening with increasing regularity, like every year or two. Not a dramatic form of doom yet, unless you bought the farmhouse by the river, then you are well and truly fracked.

Mike Roberts

Joy,

Weren't we promised wetter weather in the west and drier weather in the east (of NZ)? In general, it seems to be happening in reverse (difficult to discern a long term trend over the short term, of course). Still, we seem to be getting frosts earlier, where we are, though that might be my poor memory.

Dave,

That link to the article about a study of extremes included this: "The high amount of extremes is not normal, the study said." Hmm, I think "the study" needs to read this blog.

Raintonite

I know this isn‘t a great analogy, but anyways.

I'm reminded of a fella who was given a "special" lecture on investing in one my classes. He was touting tobacco companies. Someone took him up on the ethics of investing in tobacco, and he claimed with a straight face that there was no medical evidence that smoking causes cancer, for example. No one could point to a given cigarette that caused one single incidence of cancer.

Of course, there is plenty of large scale population data with enough long-time scales which produces evidence that tells us that smoking is harmful.

Willfully polluting one’s lungs is not a good idea. It can cause serious harm to the smoker and those surrounding the smoker.

Willfully polluting your home, I would tend to think, is not a good idea either.

Do I really need to wait for 50 years of data, climate related or not, to tell me that?

I also would like to share a quote I picked up on another site:

“Laissez les bons temps rouler: “Profits reign so supreme now that if we have to choose between earning 50 cents and educating a student, or making 51 cents and telling the kid to go to hell, we’ll gladly give the kid directions.”

Sums up Westernised society rather neatly I think.

Mister Roboto

Wanooski: It sounds as though you had the sort of spring this year in the Pacific NW that we had last year in the northern Midwest. This year it has been hot and dry here, switching to very hot and very humid but still with no significant rain.

Gretchen

It's not just climate change, the area in Colorado Springs that burnt so badly is a perfect example of the problem with humans living in the wildland/urban interface. Yes, it's nice to have nature in your backyard while still having access to city life, but homeowners have refused to take responsibility for their properties. For 30 years they have been building these subdivisions and only last year, 2011, began to implement a 10 year program to mitigate - cut back shrubs, grasses, plants and dead trees within a 30 foot radius around these homes that is providing such an incredible fuel source. Coupled with dry winters the last few years and record breaking heat and dryness, you've got the recipe for disaster.
What I can't understand is why Obama cut 380 C-130 firefighter jets, leaving only 8 to serve the whole of the US, well now only 7 since the crash yest. Now is not the time to make such drastic changes. If there had been C-130's available on the first day to put the Waldo Canyon Fire out, none of this damage would have happened.

D

Ok,

I will grant that the weather has been more extreme over the past few decades, but not from man-made global warming of CO2 emissions.

To this day, what man contributes in CO2 yearly into the atmosphere amounts to a pinprick from what the oceans do all on their own. Take a flight sometime that goes over Houston in its route, which has one of the largest refinery complexes in the world or lookout sometime you are over a major freeway during rush hour and you will notice that at 10,000 feet or more; those things add up to nothing compared to all the CO2 eating plants and trees in the area. You want to also consider the volume of air particles from sea level to 30,000 when you are looking down at that freeway and consider just how little those cars are adding compared to the volume of air.

Everything I have read, and I read enough to put a chapter of my book on global warming; so definitely more than probably 99% of the world; says climate change's main culprit of solar activity and weather patterns.

If you guys will read, you will find the sun is actually going thru a period that may last another 10 years or another 40 of weakening. That doesn't make sense in the US these days; but suprisingly; the area from portland, OR down is considered to be immune from this weakening period and with the weather patterns of last summer remaining again this summer; it stays really hot. If you will step out of your shoes for a minute, you might notice that Europe(which is mostly north of the US) has had record cold and snow this spring. Also, you might remember that record cold was killing manatees just 2 winters ago. So, this all ended; never to return starting in 2011 ?

Thank you, I will stick with the be all, end all of our solar system; the sun; to be in charge of climate and weather patterns over my jeep or a few thousand acres of refineries in Texas over the 2,263,962,240 billion acres making up the US.

Dave Cohen

I put up D's long, confused global warming denier comment to remind all DOTE readers that my policy continues to be--

one strike and you're out

That person is now banned from making further comments on this website.

-- Dave

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