Drought, Fire, Flood: In the News

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 5:22 AM GMT on July 12, 2011

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Drought, Fire, Flood: In the News

I have been writing about a variety of issues that I know are of interest to only a small number of people – U.S. science organizations, climate model software, and validation of climate models. I am going to move away from that arcane set of subjects for a while and spend a little more time in the climate mainstream. In this entry I want to touch on several subjects – starting with my garden.

My garden is in the flat land that is the western edge of the Great Plains, just east of Boulder, Colorado. Weather wise, it is a complex and difficult environment: more than 5000 feet above sea level, reliant upon water from the winter snow pack in the mountains, huge swings of hot and cold. In terms of climate types, I have seen region defined as both arid and semiarid. In the last week, we have had three or more inches of rain – hard driving rain with much lightning. There is water standing between the rows in the garden. The week of July 4 it was so dry there was a fire ban, and many firework fires.

Last summer in Boulder we had the Fourmile Fire, which burned thousands of acres and dozens of houses. With this rain, we have mudslides, rock slides and flash floods (Longmont Times Call). It all makes you appreciate the importance of the weather and the climate. Wet and dry. Hot and cold. ( 485 Billion Dollar Impact of Weather)

Boulder is a microcosm of what is going on in the U.S. There have been overwhelming fires in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. (Texas Fires). Dangerous drought and heat is spreading all across the southern half of the U.S. The dust storm last week in Arizona was reminiscent of pictures of the Dust Bowl. (more here). We were overwhelmed not long ago by the Mississippi River flooding. I have almost forgotten about the Missouri River flooding.



Figure 1: From KFAB Omaha News Radio. Photo Credit AP: Missouri River flood of Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant.

We see here the persistence of weather, climate, snow cover, drought, floods - one extreme after another. Jeff Master’s wrote an excellent summary of 2010-2011 as being a year of the most extreme events since 1816 – the year of Mount Tambora, a definitive and understood climate anomaly. Jeff writes that June 2011 continues the run. July 2011 is looking strong. It has been more than 300 months since there was a “below average” mean temperature. That’s a little compelling.

We are being handed one case study after another, where we see the impact that weather and climate have on us. And what is that impact? We see vulnerable people losing their homes, their crops. But where is the real threat? What does it mean that 213 counties in Texas are primary disaster areas?

Energy, economy, population – markets. We all know that the weather affects our economy. We rely on a stable climate. We see here and now an interconnected world, where extreme heat kills thousands and destroys crops and send food prices soaring. We see multiple billion dollar liens placed on our economy by floods, droughts, and tornadoes. These costs come at a time when economies all around the world are weak. There is a debt crisis, and the weather is demanding more loans. Right here and now the world is providing one climate disaster after another. The weather and climate are showing the need for more planning, for building resilience and recovery strategies. The weather and climate are revealing our vulnerabilities. While there is the obvious, the family fleeing the flood, the destroyed Joplin, Missouri hospital, there is also the accumulated impact felt through markets, higher food prices, emergency relief, things that will not be fixed, people relocating.

We are being offered lessons. I have written this far and not strung together the words “climate change” or mentioned “global warming.” This is the weather in our warming climate. The take away message from climate models, Be Prepared.

r

Rood on To the Point

Open Climate Modeling:

Greening of the Desert

Stickiness and Climate Models

Open Source Communities, What are the Problems?

A Culture of Checking


Organizing U.S. Climate Modeling:

Something New in the Past Decade?

The Scientific Organization

A Science-Organized Community

Validation and the Scientific Organization

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Quoting iceagecoming:


Couple of nice sites to start.

Link


The Eemian was an interglacial period which began about 130,000 years ago and ended about 114,000 years ago. It was the second-to-latest interglacial period of the current Ice Age, the most recent being the Holocene which extends to the present day. The prevailing Eemian climate is believed to have been similar to that of the Holocene. The Eemian is also known as the Sangamonian Stage in North America, the Ipswichian Stage in the UK, Mikulin interglacial in East European Plain, the Valdivia interglacial in Chile and the Riss-Würm interglacial in the Alps.
Global temperatures

The Eemian climate is believed to have been about as stable as that of the Holocene. Changes in the earth's orbital parameters from today (greater obliquity and eccentricity, and perihelion), known as the Milankovitch cycle, probably led to greater seasonal temperature variations in the Northern Hemisphere, although global annual mean temperatures were probably similar to those of the Holocene. The warmest peak of the Eemian was around 125,000 years ago, when forests reached as far north as North Cape (which is now tundra) in northern Norway well above the Arctic Circle at . Hardwood trees like hazel and oak grew as far north as Oulu, Finland.

At the peak of the Eemian, the northern hemisphere winters were generally warmer and wetter than now, though some areas were actually slightly cooler than today. The Hippopotamus was distributed as far north as the rivers Rhine.



Link


And?

There's an obvious denialist blind spot to this one salient point, because they always choose to not address it when it's brought up, or they quickly change the subject to something else: another area of climate, something they read on WUWT, an ad hominem, a reference to Al Gore. Whatever. I shall try yet again regardless:

Yes, the planet has been warmer before. However, as far back as scientists can see, rapid climate changes--up, down, or sideways--have always led to major disruptions to the biosphere. Always.

Case in point: the PETM--in which temps rose 6.C over 20,000 years, a geologically "rapid" pace--saw mass extinctions. And the current pace of warming due to CO2 is an order of magnitude faster than it was during the PETM.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13442
Quoting Neapolitan:

Rusty, proofs are for mathematicians and distillers.

The ridiculously repetitive and increasingly lopsided record high to record low ratio across the U.S. and elsewhere isn't "proof" of man warming the planet, no. In fact, it's not even evidence of that. What it is evidence of is increasing warmth.

About your constant comment about CO2 making up only 0.039% of the atmosphere: did you know botulinum toxin is lethal at just 0.00000000000001%? Of course, CO2 and a deadly toxin aren't the same--but even a person unfamiliar with science can see that the "what" is just as important as the "how much", so attempting to make direct comparisons is just silly and wrong. Also, did you know that not all air particles are equal? CO2 is a greenhouse gas; it absorbs heat and doesn't allow it to escape into space. Therefore, all other things being equal, the more CO2 there is, the hotter the earth gets. Period. And those CO2 levels have risen by more than a third since the dawn of the industrial age. That is, they're growing from our burning of fossil fuel.

I'd like to politely suggest a list of basic climate science primers for you to read. There are some excellent ones that start with the fundamentals. Perhaps if you and a few others took time to study them, we coul quit clogging the blog with inane ramblings and Charlie Sheen-like hashtags, and instead talk about actual science as it relates to climate change.


Basically the blanket is getting thicker and the thicker it becomes the warmer you get.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
Quoting Ossqss:


Ok, please forgive me :)

)for entertainment purposes only(



Remember, we have entered a new level of computing power.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-20059716-260.ht ml?tag=mncol;txt


Then the FAQ

The Tri-Gate '3D' transistor.
(Credit: Intel)



Look familiar,


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:

Rusty, proofs are for mathematicians and distillers.

The ridiculously repetitive and increasingly lopsided record high to record low ratio across the U.S. and elsewhere isn't "proof" of man warming the planet, no. In fact, it's not even evidence of that. What it is evidence of is increasing warmth.

About your constant comment about CO2 making up only 0.039% of the atmosphere: did you know botulinum toxin is lethal at just 0.00000000000001%? Of course, CO2 and a deadly toxin aren't the same--but even a person unfamiliar with science can see that the "what" is just as important as the "how much", so attempting to make direct comparisons is just silly and wrong. Also, did you know that not all air particles are equal? CO2 is a greenhouse gas; it absorbs heat and doesn't allow it to escape into space. Therefore, all other things being equal, the more CO2 there is, the hotter the earth gets. Period. And those CO2 levels have risen by more than a third since the dawn of the industrial age. That is, they're growing from our burning of fossil fuel.

I'd like to politely suggest a list of basic climate science primers for you to read. There are some excellent ones that start with the fundamentals. Perhaps if you and a few others took time to study them, we coul quit clogging the blog with inane ramblings and Charlie Sheen-like hashtags, and instead talk about actual science as it relates to climate change.


Couple of nice sites to start.

Link


The Eemian was an interglacial period which began about 130,000 years ago and ended about 114,000 years ago. It was the second-to-latest interglacial period of the current Ice Age, the most recent being the Holocene which extends to the present day. The prevailing Eemian climate is believed to have been similar to that of the Holocene. The Eemian is also known as the Sangamonian Stage in North America, the Ipswichian Stage in the UK, Mikulin interglacial in East European Plain, the Valdivia interglacial in Chile and the Riss-Würm interglacial in the Alps.
Global temperatures

The Eemian climate is believed to have been about as stable as that of the Holocene. Changes in the earth's orbital parameters from today (greater obliquity and eccentricity, and perihelion), known as the Milankovitch cycle, probably led to greater seasonal temperature variations in the Northern Hemisphere, although global annual mean temperatures were probably similar to those of the Holocene. The warmest peak of the Eemian was around 125,000 years ago, when forests reached as far north as North Cape (which is now tundra) in northern Norway well above the Arctic Circle at . Hardwood trees like hazel and oak grew as far north as Oulu, Finland.

At the peak of the Eemian, the northern hemisphere winters were generally warmer and wetter than now, though some areas were actually slightly cooler than today. The Hippopotamus was distributed as far north as the rivers Rhine.



Link

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cyclonebuster:


I get less than 800 miles of pipe line to do the job how did you get Many hundred thousand miles?


From you on the previous blog. How long is each run again? L8R

Quoting cyclonebuster:


How about 25,50,100 or 200 feet in diameter and enough of them to span the entire width of the Gulfstream or Yucatan current at a depth of 1,100 feet. If they are 200 feet in diameter we need about 1,020 of them and if they are 100 feet in diameter we need about 2,040 of them and so on.
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting RustyShackleford:


Wheres the attack?

Or your proof of man warming the planet?

#noproof
#.039%

Rusty, proofs are for mathematicians and distillers.

The ridiculously repetitive and increasingly lopsided record high to record low ratio across the U.S. and elsewhere isn't "proof" of man warming the planet, no. In fact, it's not even evidence of that. What it is evidence of is increasing warmth.

About your constant comment about CO2 making up only 0.039% of the atmosphere: did you know botulinum toxin is lethal at just 0.00000000000001%? Of course, CO2 and a deadly toxin aren't the same--but even a person unfamiliar with science can see that the "what" is just as important as the "how much", so attempting to make direct comparisons is just silly and wrong. Also, did you know that not all air particles are equal? CO2 is a greenhouse gas; it absorbs heat and doesn't allow it to escape into space. Therefore, all other things being equal, the more CO2 there is, the hotter the earth gets. Period. And those CO2 levels have risen by more than a third since the dawn of the industrial age. That is, they're growing from our burning of fossil fuel.

I'd like to politely suggest a list of basic climate science primers for you to read. There are some excellent ones that start with the fundamentals. Perhaps if you and a few others took time to study them, we coul quit clogging the blog with inane ramblings and Charlie Sheen-like hashtags, and instead talk about actual science as it relates to climate change.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13442
CB and CW

Not all the bouys are inaccurate.

You avoided or denied the success of the coral restoration projects.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10077
How did June 2011 Stack Up Globally?
Jul 7, 2011; 11:24 AM ET

June 2011 ranked in the top five for warmest on record globally in the satellite record.

According to Remote Sensing Systems or RSS, June 2011 was the fifth warmest June in the satellite record, which goes back to 1979.

June 2011 ended up averaging .277 degrees celsius above normal for the lower troposphere, according to RSS.

Image courtesy of RSS.

Link
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
Quoting nymore:
temp anomaly 0.48 C through may 12th warmest on record according to ypur own post number 51


It is July now.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
temp anomaly 0.48 C through may 12th warmest on record according to ypur own post number 51
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2253
Quoting nymore:
2011 is not even over


And it is above 2005 and 1998 now. See how hot it is?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
2011 is not even over
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2253
Quoting nymore:
Run the numbers yourself 2001 to 2010


2005 and 2011 still beat 1998 so the planet warms.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
Quoting Ossqss:


I am still thinking about that myself. Many hundred thousand miles of 100'diameter pipe in the water is quite a challenge to engineer. Then, what would that do the to climate up the East coast if it was do-able and we took all that available energy away from them ?

Just sayin ~ ?

L8R >>>>>


I get less than 800 miles of pipe line to do the job how did you get Many hundred thousand miles?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
ok
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2253
Quoting nymore:
Not according to the last decade of data by the GISS maybe the global temp rise has slowed to a crawl


You keep thinking that.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
Quoting cyclonebuster:


Can it computer model my idea?


I am still thinking about that myself. Many hundred thousand miles of 100' diameter pipe in the water is quite a challenge to engineer. Then, what would that do the to climate up the East coast if it was do-able and we took all that available energy away from them ?

Just sayin ~ ?

L8R >>>>>
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Not according to the last decade of data by the GISS maybe the global temp rise has slowed to a crawl. I am talking global not usa
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2253
Quoting ChrisWinson:


That would be nice, but aside from giant sunshades between the Earth and the sun I don't think we can.


There is a way.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
Quoting Ossqss:


Ok, please forgive me :)

)for entertainment purposes only(



Remember, we have entered a new level of computing power. The Tri-Gate '3D' transistor.
(Credit: Intel)


Can it computer model my idea?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
Quoting ChrisWinson:
From Science Daily Average temperatures in the USA rose by 0.5 F in the 1981-2010 period versus the 1971-2000 period.

That means since the 1981-2000 period was included in both that the 2001-2010 period was 1.5 F warmer than the 1971-1980 period! Half a degree warmer per decade.


At that rate the 2090s will be 6 F warmer than the 1970s. Since carbon dioxide emissions are accelerating, along with their rise in the atmosphere, I think a 6 degree rise represents a minimum for average temperature rise between the 1970s and 2090s.


It's time to cool it off a bit now isn't it?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
Quoting DARPAsockpuppet:


The value of humans will continue to decline, warming or not, the transition into a nearly fully-automated technocracy is fast approaching The Singularity is nigh

The Future Doesn't Need Us


Ok, please forgive me :)

)for entertainment purposes only(



Remember, we have entered a new level of computing power.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-20059716-260.ht ml?tag=mncol;txt


Then the FAQ

The Tri-Gate '3D' transistor.
(Credit: Intel)
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Chris I used the global temps sea plus air
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2253
Neapolitan- I must apologize you got me when I took the decade 2001 to 2010 according to the GISS the temp has indeed risen given the level of uncertainty by 0.18 F
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2253
Quoting Neapolitan:

I take it you missed out on the follow up from 2011 where he said there had, indeed, been "statistically significant" warming? I know that Watts tried to lie through his teeth about what Jones said this year, so someone who lives and dies by that site will be, as usual, thoroughly confused. But those who understand science and statistics will get it.


You would not have to vehemently defend your position if people didn't "get it" with such velocity in today's world. Think about it. You have been working hard :)

Many have unanswered questions, uneasy perceptions, too many re-directions, and feel much like this man did (God rest his soul).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Lewis

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting DARPAsockpuppet:


The EPA reduced the value of a human life from $7.9 million USD to $7 million in 2004, now it's well under 7 million and falling fast:

http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/0/34D7 008FAD7FA8AD8525750400712AEB/$File/White+Paper+%28 Dec.+2010%29.pdf


So if we were to change the current warming trend to a cooling one human value would increase again?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
Quoting ChrisWinson:
Why does anyone take seriously what Anthony Watts has to say? He has no academic record beyond his freshman year in college, no diploma, no scientific papers that have withstood peer review.

I think we can all agree than anyone who relies on such a charlatan as source for climate information is either a dupe or a liar.

Hey, don't be so hard on the guy; he was a small-market TV weatherman once, too. If that doesn't shout "climate science credibility", I don't know what does. ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13442
Quoting Ossqss:


Q&A Phil Jones 2-2010

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511670.stm

I take it you missed out on the follow up from 2011 where he said there had, indeed, been "statistically significant" warming? I know that Watts tried to lie through his teeth about what Jones said this year, so someone who lives and dies by that site will be, as usual, thoroughly confused. But those who understand science and statistics will get it.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13442
Quoting DARPAsockpuppet:


Yeah.. for the better!

The Effect of Natural Disasters in Long-Run Growth



http://artsci.wustl.edu/~pantano/Disasters.pdf




What about the life taken?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
Quoting Neapolitan:
First, nymore, you're misquoting even the denialists; even the most ardent ones know better than to claim there's been no warming in the past twelve years. They say ten. But, of course, that's untrue, as well.

Now, if someone chooses the classic cherry-pick of starting a decade at the abnormally hot year of 1998, they could arguably claim "There's been no warming!" But to get an honest and fair picture, one must use decade-long periods starting with different starting years. So: how about the decade from 1997-2006? Warming. How about the decade from 1999-2008? Warming.

Now I ask you this: is it possible that the earth warmed from 1997 to 2006, cooled from 1998 to 2007, then warmed again from 1999-2008? And if your answer is "yes", please explain the physics of this Bizarro World to us all.


Q&A Phil Jones 2-2010

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511670.stm
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting nymore:
once again cyclone a tiny part 12 years is a tiny part


1998 is old hat. The planet has already warmed more since then in 2005 and 2011 so the trend is still up.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20390
Is it warmer than it was 60 years ago yea I don't claim it has not warmed I just say I do not believe it is all man made, co2 continues to rise the the temperature does not why?
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2253
First, nymore, you're misquoting even the denialists; even the most ardent ones know better than to claim there's been no warming in the past twelve years. They say ten. But, of course, that's untrue, as well.

Now, if someone chooses the classic cherry-pick of starting a decade at the abnormally hot year of 1998, they could arguably claim "There's been no warming!" But to get an honest and fair picture, one must use decade-long periods starting with different starting years. So: how about the decade from 1997-2006? Warming. How about the decade from 1999-2008? Warming.

Now I ask you this: is it possible that the earth warmed from 1997 to 2006, cooled from 1998 to 2007, then warmed again from 1999-2008? And if your answer is "yes", please explain the physics of this Bizarro World to us all.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13442
once again cyclone a tiny part 12 years is a tiny part
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2253
NOAA, UK met, Japan show no warming for 12 years are they all wrong and your right
Member Since: July 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2253

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.