Let’s call it for what it is: climate change is here… welcome to the anthropocene


A close view of 3.6-million-year-old hominid footprints at Laetoli in Tanzania. (1)

The events in Russia, China, Pakistan and around the world are prompting commentators to ask: is it climate change?

Is this what the future is going to be like?

Michael Tobis over at “Only in it for the gold” is perhaps the first to make the tentative claim:

Are the current events in Russia “because of” “global warming”? To put the question in slightly more formal terms, are we now looking at something that is no longer a “loading the dice” situation but is a “this would, practically certainly, not have happened without human interference” situation?

…Can we phrase it more formally? “Is the average time between persistent anomalies on this scale anywhere on earth in the undisturbed Holocene climate much greater than a human lifetime?” In other words, is this so weird we would NEVER expect to see it at all?

Maybe, maybe not… but then he hazards a guess:

But right now I feel like hazarding a guess. As far as I understand, nothing like this has happened before in Moscow….

…The formerly remarkable heat wave of 2001, then, is “the sort of thing we’ll see more of” with global warming. But it may turn out reasonable, in the end, to say “the Russian heat wave of 2010 is the first disaster unequivocally attributable to anthropogenic climate change.”

MT’s comments were picked up, and given further support:

Like Dr. Tobis, Carver [Meteorologist Rob Carver, the Research and Development Scientist for Weather Underground] believes that manmade global warming has fundamentally altered weather patterns to produce the killer Russian heat wave. “Without contributions from anthropogenic climate change,” Carver said in an email interview with the Wonk Room, “I don’t think this event would have reached such extremes or even happened at all”:

I agree with Michael Tobis’s take at Only In It For the Gold that something systematic has changed to alter the global circulation and you’ll need a coupled atmosphere/ocean global model to understand what’s going on. My hunch is that a warming Arctic combined with sea-surface-temperature teleconnections altered the global circulation such that a blocking ridge formed over western Russia leading to the unprecedented drought/heat wave conditions. Without contributions from anthropogenic climate change, I don’t think this event would have reached such extremes or even happened at all. (You may quote me on that.)

Gareth over at Hot-topic is musing similar thoughts:

The last few weeks have seen some extraordinary weather events around the world: relentless extreme heat in Russia, biblical flooding in Pakistan and devastating landslides in China. Tens of millions of people have had their lives disrupted and thousands have died, and — beyond reasonable doubt — global warming is playing a part in creating these extremes…

…As the years go by and the warming continues, those extremes are only going to get worse. To me, it looks very much as though it won’t be a gradual warming that causes us the biggest problems, it’ll be the direct and indirect effects of increasing weather extremes.Hot years are going to be hard years for humanity.”

While the World Meterological Organistion is pulling no punches:

Several regions of the world are currently coping with severe weather-related events: flash floods and widespread flooding in large parts of Asia and parts of Central Europe while other regions are also affected: by heatwave and drought in Russian Federation, mudslides in China and severe droughts in sub-Saharan Africa. While a longer time range is required to establish whether an individual event is attributable to climate change, the sequence of current events matches IPCC projections of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming.

Time to call it for what it is…

Being a blogger frees me from the usual reticence and qualified statements scientists usually (for good reason) make.

I may appear very foolish for saying this, but its time to call it: we’ve well and truly passed a threshold.

Call it climate change, or global warming. Or perhaps you could rename the planet as Bill McKibben suggests (Eaarth). Actually the name really doesn’t matter.

This is the new normal.

Even if we stopped all CO2 emissions tomorrow, there’s more than enough warming “in the pipe” for future “climate disruption”.

The Greenland ice sheet?

Most likely gone.

The Great Barrier Reef.

Most likely gone.

2010 is the year in which the climate news is getting worse: hottest year on record; the ocean’s phytoplankton dying off; the Russian heat wave; the floods in Pakistan…(2)

Welcome to the anthropocene.

Climate change is a marker of a new age

Nobel laureate, Paul Crutzen suggested that humanities impact on Earth’s ecosystems was such that it constituted a new “geological age”:

“…Considering these and many other major and still growing impacts of human activities on earth and atmosphere, and at all, including global, scales, it seems to us more than appropriate to emphasize the central role of mankind in geology and ecology by proposing to use the term ‘anthropocene’ for the current geological epoch. The impacts of current human activities will continue over long periods. According to a study by Berger and Loutre (14), because of the anthropogenic emissions of C02, climate may depart significantly from natural behaviour over the next 50,000 years.

To assign a more specific date to the onset of the ‘anthropocene” seems somewhat arbitrary, but we propose the latter part of the 18th century, although we are aware that alternative proposals can be made (some may even want to include the entire Holocene). However, we choose this date because, during the past two centuries, the global effects of human activities have become clearly noticeable. This is the period when data retrieved from glacial ice cores show the beginning of a growth in the atmospheric concentrations of several ‘greenhouse gases”, in particular C02 and CH4 (7). Such a starting date also coincides with James Watt’s invention of the steam engine in 1784…

…Without major catastrophes like an enormous volcanic eruption, an unexpected epidemic, a large-scale nuclear war, an asteroid impact, a new ice age, or continued plundering of Earth’s resources by partially still primitive technology (the last four dangers can, however, be prevented in a real functioning noosphere) mankind will remain a major geological force for many millennia, maybe millions of years, to come. To develop a world-wide accepted strategy leading to sustainability of ecosystems against human induced stresses will be one of the great future tasks of mankind, requiring intensive research efforts and wise application of the knowledge thus acquired in the noosphere, better known as knowledge or information society...”

I’m going to suggest we’ve well and truly entered the anthropocene, and that anthropogenic climate change is but one of the markers of this new era.

While we can debate the intricacies of the science, I’ll leave the final words to the poets:

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear:

`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

And our centuries greatest troubadour:

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?

And what did you hear, my darling young one?

I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’

Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world

Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’

Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’

[1] Image sourced from The Getty

[2] At this point I suggest deniers can head on over to Watts up with that? or Andrew Bolt’s blog for the soothing sounds of “It’s not happening!” Set your intellect to pause and bask in the warm, comforting illusion of denial. Meanwhile, we’re off to start on the hard work of adapting to the new conditions of the anthropocene. We’ll see you when you catch up with reality…

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40 thoughts on “Let’s call it for what it is: climate change is here… welcome to the anthropocene

  1. JeffT says:

    Just love the part of this threads title:
    “Welcome to the Anthropocene”
    Exactly the same as the title of a lecture by Professor Will Stephan to the
    The Australian Fabian Society
    described rather obscurely as a ‘Left Wing Think Tank’.

    Back to the topic:
    From the University or Reading UK.
    On the formation of jetstreams.
    It has the obligatory ” If & Climate Change ” as the last paragraph.

  2. Possibly the greatest post I read all year =D

    Warm regards

  3. Pete Ridley says:

    Mike, perhaps it will help if I provide you with a link to that NOAA report (Note 1). You say that the cold period (1942-51) was due to war industries working overtime. Perhaps you’d like to provide a link to the evidence supporting this claim. My recollection is that scientists have only suggested that a claimed cooling of mean global temperature during the 40s/50s may have arisen from pollution of the atmosphere with aerosols as industrial activity increased. “During this period, the CO2 warming (a smaller forcing at the time) was temporarily overwhelmed by other factors, perhaps foremost among them an increase in human particulates and aerosol pollution. Pollution regulations and improved technology saw a decrease in this latter kind of emissions over the ’60s and ’70s, and as the air cleared, the CO2 signal again emerged and took over” (Note 2). The two articles on Realclimate that Coby Beck links to do not give me the impression that this part of the global temperature puzzle is “Well known and understood”.

    I recall discussing this issue over one year ago on Dr. Jeffrey Glassman’s Rocket Science “IPCC’S FATAL ERRORS – INTERNAL MODELING MISTAKES BY IPCC ARE SUFFICIENT TO REJECT ITS ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING CONJECTURE” thread (Note 3). You may find my comment and r. Glassman’s rsponse helpful.

    Eyeballing the graphs of claimed mean global temperature change for the Northern Hemisphere with the July temperature graph from the NOAA report suggests to me that the Western Russia periods of hotter and cooler temperatures arise from quite different causes to the claimed cooling in 1855-65, 1900-1920 and 1940-70 and warming in 1870-85, 1930-45 and 1975-2000.

    Whilst checking up on this I came across Alan Cheetham’s “appinsys” blog (Note 4). Alan has some very informative threads (Note 5) that you should take a look at, particularly about those attempts to measure mean global temperature and the IPCC’s claimed level of positive feedback from water vapour..

    1) see http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/csi/moscow2010/
    2) see http://www.grist.org/article/what-about-mid-century-cooling
    3) see http://www.rocketscientistsjournal.com/2009/03/_internal_modeling_mistakes_by.html
    4) see http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/GW_About.htm
    5) see http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  4. Watching the Deniers says:

    Re cold period (1942-51) due to war industries working overtime. Well known and understood.

  5. Pete Ridley says:

    Sundance, thanks for that link to the NOAA report. As far as The (significant human-made global climate change) Hypothesis is concerned its use of “may” and “could” reflects my repeated emphasis upon that word “uncertainty”.

    I find that graph of “Time series of July near surface temperature anomalies averaged over the area 50-60N and 35-55E” interesting. Have you any thoughts on those extended hot periods in 1885-1893, 1930-42 and 1995-2004 and those cold periods 1942-51 and 1988-95?

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

    • Sundance says:


      I have no specific comments to add to the CSI NOAA report on the historic July near surface temperature record. I do however have another brand new link in which the CSI team from NOAA confirms that 100 years of data indicates that the 2010 Russian heat is a “black swan” event. This in effects

      “In other words, the 2010 situation isn’t following on the heels of a progression of more and more of these things happening either over Russia, or frankly over any other place that we can see over the Northern Hemisphere. So it stands out as a . . . black swan. It comes out of the blue in terms of its severity. It does not follow on the heels of a progressive increased frequency.”

      see http://www.cejournal.net/?p=3503

      • Pete Ridley says:

        Sundance, thanks for that contribution although I do not regard the Russian drought as a “black swan” event in the full sense of “First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory). Yes, “an outlier”, no to the “because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility”. I think that it is almost certain that at some unpredictable time in the future the severity of the recent weather event in Western Russia will be repeated and even exceeded. For such weather events I would perhaps change that definition to “convincingly assign a probability to a recurrence”.

        Best regards, Pete Ridley

  6. Sundance says:

    Just a follow up note regarding the original question that this thread was based on, “The events in Russia, China, Pakistan and around the world are prompting commentators to ask: is it climate change?”

    In the case of Russia, The Physical Science Division of the Earth System Research Laboratory(NOAA) has released its analysis of Russia’s warming and report that Russia’s warming was not influenced by man made green house gasses. The Tobis offering, that human interference is contributing to Russia’s warming, was completely debunked by this ESRL report. So yes in the case of Russia let’s indeed call it what it is, a weather anomaly.

    From the report:

    “…..greenhouse gas forcing fails to explain the 2010 heat wave over western Russia. The natural process of atmospheric blocking, and the climate impacts induced by such blocking, are the principal cause for this heat wave. It is not known whether, or to what extent, greenhouse gas emissions may affect the frequency or intensity of blocking during summer. It is important to note that observations reveal no trend in a daily frequency of July blocking over the period since 1948, nor is there an appreciable trend in the absolute values of upper tropospheric summertime heights over western Russia for the period since 1900.”

  7. Pete Ridley says:

    Mike, I was looking for information on positive feedback and came across this relevant “Climate, Cycles, and Change” thread “NASA’s GISS: Moscow Is Burning – Human CO2-Induced Unprecedented Global Warming Is To Blame, Not” (http://www.c3headlines.com/2010/08/nasas-giss-moscow-is-burning-human-co2induced-unprecedented-global-warming-is-to-blame-not.html). It concludes “To summarize, the July warming has happened before and it will happen again – oh that’s right, sane people call that weather” – enjoy.

    While you’re at it have a look at some of the other articles on this excellent sceptics blog, including the “about”.
    C3 really does “call it for what it is climate – change is here” and always has been.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  8. Pete Ridley says:

    Fred (ref. your comment of 12th @ 14:56:35, “ .. climate is not the same” as what? Which of the global climates are you talking about? I have lived in the UK for most of my 73 years and recognise no significant change in the climate other than that it may be just a teenie-weenie bit warmer (but nothing to get excited about).

    BTW, I’m very interested to hear your response to my comment of 16th @ 10:55:41 on the “Geust Post .. “ thread.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  9. Pete Ridley says:


    Mike, just because the Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev sais “Unfortunately, what is happening now in our central regions is evidence of this global climate change, because we have never in our history faced such weather conditions in the past” does not make it so. Medvedev is a politician who studied law not science.

    The WMO has a different take on the droughts and floods that are occurring at various places around the world. On 11th August they stated “Several regions of the world are currently coping with severe weather-related events: .. ” (http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/news/index_en.html) i.e. weather not climate change.

    You claim that “Countries around the world as SMASHING temperature records” but where is the evidence for this claim? Wikepedia has a table of “Highest temperature ever recorded” with dates ranging from 1887 to 2010 and “Other warm records
    * Fastest temperature rise: 27 °C (49 °F) in 2 minutes; Spearfish, South Dakota, 1943-01-22.[4]
    * Most consecutive days above 100 °F (37.8 °C): 160 days; Marble Bar, Western Australia from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924”.

    Another list gives “Lowest temperatures ever recorded” ranging from 1881 to 1999 and a “Fastest temperature drop: 26 °C (47 °F) in 15 minutes; Rapid City, South Dakota, 1911”.

    You say “Disasters have always happened – let’s avoid a future one” but how do you propose preventing a weather event disaster when we have no control over the weather?

    BTW, who are these people who deny that climate change occurs? I don’t recall coming across any. Of course there are plenty of us who can see no convincing evidence that our use of fossil fuels is responsible for any significant global climate change

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  10. Pete Ridley says:

    Mike (40 year information manager in Melbourne) as there wasn’t much happening on your “Geust post: Lord Monckton .. ” thread I thought I’d take a look at others on your blog. I have seen some nonsense in the blogosphere about The (significant human-made global climate change) Hypothesis but the lead article on this thread takes the biscuit. Many of the comments from supporters of The Hypothesis follow closely behind – capped off with yours on 14th @ 09:31:40 “This is a Eurasian climate event, .. 4-6 by centuries end .. ”.

    When speculating that the recent drought in Western Russia, flooding in North West China and Pakistan and other events around the world are a result of climate change you are (deliberately?) confusing climate and weather. There is no convincing evidence that such events are a result of our intensified use of fossil fuels. Similar events have been recorded since well before then.

    According to “Geography of Droughts and Food Problems in Russia (1900-2000)” (Note 1) the “Numbers of years with droughts in the main economic regions of the Russian Federation in 1891-1983” are:
    - North West 21,
    - Central 29,
    - Central Chernozem 32,
    - Northern Caucasus 24,
    - Volga-Vyatka 32,
    - Volga 28,
    - Urals 28,
    - West Siberia 18

    According to “Across the Nations .. the World’s Worsts Disasters” (Note 2), floods occurred in China in:
    - 1642 Flooding takes about 300,000 lives.
    - 1887 The Yellow River overflowed, causing the death of about 900,000 people.
    - 1911 Yangtze River flood – approx: 100,000 deaths.
    - 1931 A flood on the Changjiang River took at least 145,000 people
    - 1935 Another Yellow River flood “caused 27 counties inundated and 3.4 million victims”.

    I’m sure that you get my point by now and there is no reason to believe that the future will be any different.

    Michael Tobis is not a climate expert, he’s a computer programmer who is just another ardent supporter of The hypothesis. What Tobis, Carver and Gareth “think” about the cause of such weather events is pure conjecture. The World Meterological Organistion correctly says that a (much) longer time range is required to establish whether an individual event is attributable to climate change and there is no convincing evidence that IPCC projections of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming are valid.

    I’m not going to bother going through every piece of rubbish you offered because level-headed individuals like klem (12th @ 17:04:39), Otter (13th @ 20:45:15), Sundance (13th @ 21:31:58, 14th @ 09:18:33, 15th @ (01:20:25 & 16:52:12 & 17:04:46), Ray (14th @ 23:57:23, 16th @ 14:57:15) and James (13th @ 16:36:59) have already done some of that. Of course there is more rubbish like yours in the comments from other supporters of The Hypothesis, but that is par for the course.

    I suggest that you were slightly wrong when saying “I may appear very foolish for saying this, but its time to call it: we’ve well and truly passed a threshold” and “This is the new normal”. The word “may” should be removed from the former and in the latter “new” should be replaced with “old”. You suggest “The Greenland ice sheet? Most likely gone” but conveniently overlook what expert Dr. Alun Hubbard says “Certainly, talk of Greenland melting entirely in the near future is nonsense, ‘It’ll take a millennium,’ says Dr Hubbard, and that is assuming the current warming continues” (Note 3).

    All this scare mongering about a measly (claimed but highly uncertain) 1C in 150 years is totally unjustified. As Otter implied in his comment of 13th @ 20:45:15, GULLIBLE is the single-word summary for all of this nonsense. May I suggest that you pay attention to the recommendation that Ray made on 16th then go and read what some sceptical scientists have to say on the subject of The Hypothesis. A good starting point for you might be the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (Note 4) then the International Climate Science Coalition (Note 5). Read and learn.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

    NB: I’ll post my notes separately as I think that they may cause my comment to go into the “spam” box for “moderation.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Happy for you to return and debate.

      As far as I’m concerned it can be a constructive dialogue.

      Yes, the debate can be robust, but I respect your willingness to discuss.

      BTW, I’ve read a great deal of the “opposing view”. I see the deep similarities between climate change denial and creationism.

      Pete, I’d look to Russia’s president as a model.

      He was on record for doubting climate change, until record temps and drought devastated Russia:

      “Everyone is talking about climate change now,” President Dmitri A. Medvedev told the Russian Security Council this month. “Unfortunately, what is happening now in our central regions is evidence of this global climate change, because we have never in our history faced such weather conditions in the past.”

      Right now, 1/3 of Pakistan is under water. Fire/drought in Russia. Floods in Europe and forrest fires across the Europe and the Mediterranean. Countries around the world as SMASHING temperature records.

      Disasters have always happened – let’s avoid a future one.

  11. [...] make the climate change case look ragged. Try: The State of the World mid 2010. Moth incarnate Let’s call it for what it is: climate change is here… welcome to the anthropocene Watchi… Rabett Run: The loaded gun Only In It For The Gold: Moscow Doesn't Believe in [...]

  12. Sundance says:

    Here’s the study:

    A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures Over the Last 1000 Years Reliable?, Blakeley B. McShane (PhD statistics, Asst Prof at Northwestern U’s Kellogg School of Management; bio) and Abraham J. Wyner (Asst Prof Statistics, Wharton), Annals of Applied Statistics, in press.


    Click on the title and download the PDF file (45 pages but an east read).

  13. [...] starting to move past even the loaded dice analogy for relating extreme events and climate change. http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/lets-call-it-for-what-it-is-climate-change-is-her…(via [...]

  14. Sundance says:

    Watching the Deniers – I must assume since you brought up Eurasia that your temperature predictions for a 1-2 degree rise by 2030 are in Centigrade. I need to see the physics (what temperature rise do you use for a doubling of CO2) and model if you are using one with error bands. The problem I see with your prediction is that even the IPCC models place the increase in temperature for a doubling of CO2 at only 3C degrees and for a 2C degree increase by 2030 to occur, CO2 would have increase about 210 PPM (ball park – I’m not in the mood to do a logarithmic calculation) from the current 390 PPM in the next 15 years. So I’m eager to see your work.

    Also have you established any parameters of falsification for CO2 based warming? I have several parameters of falsification that I am following based on NASA and MET office published comments or publications. If you examine the history of CO2 science, you will learn that its warming properties were exaggerated and there have been several downward revisions of its warming potential. That is why I prefer to examine the data and compare it to those parameters of falsification. Model the theory and test the model against parameters of falsification. That is how science should be pursued.

    BTW if you spent any time on physics boards you would know that no one uses the term deniers. You might want to ponder why that is.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Mate, go read the science. I don’t debate it. Nor am I scientist. Like brain surgery or building an atom smasher I assume there are people better qualified than you and I.

      The predictions are mainstream science – the actual consensus

      And for good reason: http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/google-galileo-five-reasons-we-know-your-are-not-a-scientific-genius/

      But what you’ve is side step the questions and data and the opinion of experts.

      Science is not you and I downloading raw data and running it through Excel.

      It’s about working in an established professional community and publishing in the peer reviewed journals. It’s about gaining a PhD or equivalent in the relevant disciplines.

      No blogger or forum poster has every falsified a major scientific theory.

      • Sundance says:

        Watching the Deniers – “Science is not you and I downloading raw data and running it through Excel.”

        Really, how do you think climate models are generated? There are several climate model software packages available for free that can be downloaded. Your rationale for dismissing my pursuit of science just because you choose to be lazy about understanding climate science, is not not a strong argument. While you find comfort and justification for your position in the social science contained within the article you linked, it is silly in my view and provides no insight into climate science nor does it have any relevance to our discussion. Social science is not real science!

        The link I am providing is a peer reviewed study using the null hypothesis test for the Mann Hockey Stick which was offered as evidence by the IPCC consensus that the MWP did not exist. You don’t need a PHD to understand this paper or that Mann’s methodology was severely flawed, but you should ask yourself why all the expert PHD climate consensus crowd were uncritical of Mann’s flawed work which will surely hurt the reputation of Penn State and the IPCC. If you need actual proxy data from Russia that Mann used I have it as it further points to flawed methodology. I have examined it in detail and will be happy to explain it. Here is just one example where in less than 5 years, the consensus view based on historical data used by the IPCC, has been falsified by the scientific process of using null hypothesis. This is why the IPCC models must also be tested against a null hypothesis (which is what I am doing).

        Again good science requires a hypothesis to be tested against a null hypothesis. Science dictates that when the models are wrong the theory is wrong and we will know with certainty if the current models are wrong by 2012. If you want further scientific null hypothesis examples I can detail the flawed model that James Hansen presented to congress in 1988 as being at the 99% level of confidence.

        I am certain the Earth is warming. I am certain that CO2 absorbs and remits photons back to Earth. Beyond that I am not satisfied with feedbacks and forcings and would like a program like CLARREO which would provide real time OLR data and a much greater resolution of surface warming and far greater accuracy than we have in current satellites. I do like the website design as this was my first visit and I thank you for the discussion, although I doubt that either of us will alter our views. Good luck and success to you.

      • Ray says:

        I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.

        Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910)

        Hey Watching the Deniers, fortunately someone has been watching the “scientists” too…..Please do read Sundance’s link.

  15. Ray says:

    “We’re +1 degree now and heading for another 1-2 degrees by 2030. 4-6 by centuries end. ”

    Where do you get those numbers? The observed warming trend based on the past 30 years is 1.4C per century. Less if you go back further.

    “This is a Eurasian climate event, stretching from Japan to central Europe killing thousands, destroying billions in property and wiping out crops.”

    We live on an old planet, to say today is something special is very near sighted. Great North China Famine of 1877–1878 killed an estimated 9.5 to 13 million people. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Famine

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Estimates for temperature rises:

      Australia will be hotter in coming decades

      Australian average temperatures are projected to rise by 0.6 to 1.5 ºC by 2030. If global greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow at rates consistent with past trends, warming is projected to be in the range of 2.2 to 5.0 ºC by 2070. Warming is projected to be lower near the coast and in Tasmania and higher in central and northwestern Australia. These changes will be felt through an increase in the number of hot days.

      CSIRO State of the Climate: http://www.csiro.au/files/files/pvfo.pdf

      Has the climate has changed in the past?

      Of course no one denies that. It changes in response to drivers. The massive injection of CO2 and other GHGs mimics past events that drove climate change. See:

      Trends, Rhythms, and Aberrations in Global Climate 65 Ma to Present

      James Zachos,1* Mark Pagani,1 Lisa Sloan,1 Ellen Thomas,23 Katharina Billups4

      Since 65 million years ago (Ma), Earth’s climate has undergone a significant and complex evolution, the finer details of which are now coming to light through investigations of deep-sea sediment cores. This evolution includes gradual trends of warming and cooling driven by tectonic processes on time scales of 105 to 107 years, rhythmic or periodic cycles driven by orbital processes with 104- to 106-year cyclicity, and rare rapid aberrant shifts and extreme climate transients with durations of 103 to 105 years. Here, recent progress in defining the evolution of global climate over the Cenozoic Era is reviewed. We focus primarily on the periodic and anomalous components of variability over the early portion of this era, as constrained by the latest generation of deep-sea isotope records. We also consider how this improved perspective has led to the recognition of previously unforeseen mechanisms for altering climate.


      Re: China.

      Thanks for the reference to China famine. Having majored in South East Asian history at university and travelled the region extensively I have more than a passing familiarity to China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia…

      That famine was bad enough – now throw climate change into the mix.

      It stuns my that you guys think we know nothing about science and history. Actually it is our deep understanding of the past that prompts our concern.

      Unlike the deniers, we are prepared to learn from history rather than misuse it or cherry pick facts.

  16. Disputo says:

    I have to stick up for the Jim Angel, the Illinois State Climatologist, against the inferences made by the deluded denialist, Sundance.

    As a scientist, Angel naturally excepts the reality of global warming. He was just pointing out on his blog a fact, that July 1936 was hotter in Chicago than July 2010, which the dissembling Sundance then cherry picked to imply that global warming is not a reality.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      A denier cherry picking facts? Surely not…

    • Sundance says:

      I reread my post and I don’t see any indication that I ever mentioned Jim Angel and I see no evidence that I spoke or even infered any view that Mr. Angel may have on global warming. I only spoke to the data in an article he wrote and you have over-reacted and jumped to a conclusion. BTW the “blog fact” was that it was WAY WARMER in 1936.

      I said there has been no warming in the 160 record of Illinois. How am I a deluded denier? As you can see for yourself Illinois had warmer temperatures in the 1850s and 1930s than in the 1990s or 2000s. I also suggested that folks here not ignore local and regional impacts to climate. I’m just not that excited about a tenth of a degree per decade of warming or isolated land based events like Russia. Personally I would like to see a few more thousand years of future data before deciding to call this the Anthropocene Era.


      • Watching the Deniers says:

        But it’s not just Russia – Pakistan, China, Tokoyo had it’s highest ever temperature, as did many parts of the Middle East.

        Flooding in Europe (Poland, Germany).

        This is a Eurasian climate event, stretching from Japan to central Europe killing thousands, destroying billions in property and wiping out crops.

        Remember, during the last ice age the globe was (on average) 5 degrees cooler. We’re +1 degree now and heading for another 1-2 degrees by 2030. 4-6 by centuries end.

        Flip the ice age, and you get the picture…

  17. adelady says:

    OK Sundance. I’ll see your Illinois state and raise you a whole Australia country.


    In South Australia where I live we’ve smashed heatwave records in the last couple of years –

  18. Sundance says:

    My state climatologist put up a comparison between July of 1936 and July 2010 with the title.

    July 1936 – Hot in Chicago
    August 11, 2010

    He says, “While this summer has been hot and humid, it pales in comparison to the hottest month in Illinois history – July 1936.” Illinois and most of the surrounding states have seen no warming or little warming in the 116 year records I’ve examined and there has been no warming in the 160 year record for Illinois. How is that well mixed CO2 doesn’t exist to warm the Midwest? Maybe we should be looking at local and regional impacts too.

    I’m not concerned about an isolated Russian heat wave as isolated land temps mean so little in the global scheme. The North of 80 degree Arctic, is headed for a new summer low temperature record since DMI measurements began in 1958 incorporating real thermometer measurements unlike the paperweights who never leave their office and depend on computer models at GISS. Massive deaths from extreme cold are occuring in the Southern Hemisphere. If MT and these other activists were selling global cooling they’d be cherry picking these cooling events as proof. Much ado about cherry picked weather ho hum.

  19. Otter says:

    The opposite of skeptical is GULLIBLE.

    Enjoy your fantasy. In your old age you might begin to figure out that things worked out pretty well- just like they have the past hundred thousand or so cycles of climate change.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      So how was that ice age? Or the Permian Triassic extinction? They worked out nicely.

  20. James says:

    Provacative piece. Glad to see it out there but I think we should be careful in placing too much ephasis on the explicit link between what we’re seeing this summer and global warming. That’s not to say there isn’t one, I’m not in that camp, but as the WMO says, “. . . a longer time range is required to establish whether an individual event is attributable to climate change, but there is no denying that climate change is happening . . .”

    And adelady, my sentiments exactly.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Good points James – indeed, it is about the long term trends (viz WMO comments). However, on the balance of probabilities there is a good reason to argue the current events are partly influenced climate change.

  21. adelady says:

    Oh klem. We’ve all lost.

    You have no idea how much we all wish this wasn’t happening.

  22. jonesy says:

    Any idea what’s causing the change them klem, or are you going with the tooth fairy did it hypothesis.

    • klem says:

      Not really jonesy, but about 15k years ago my home was under 2km of ice. The fact that the ice is not here anymore is evidence that the climate changes, it is not evidence that CO2 is the cause.

      The CO2 thing equates to the tooth fairy hypothesis.

  23. klem says:

    “Not simple mate, species extinction/migration etc. are all clear indications of the impact of climate change.”

    That’s right, they are all evidence that the earth’s climate changes. None of these things are evidence that CO2 is the cause of course, but they certainly are evidence that the earths climate continues to change.

    Climate change is dead. It’s over, go home, you lost.

  24. Fred Orth says:

    All one has to do is pay attention to the life patterns of the creatures and the vegetation on this planet to realize that the climate is not the same. Sorry to be so simple.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Not simple mate, species extinction/migration etc. are all clear indications of the impact of climate change.

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