Nothing to see, move along (Part 3)

We’re still on track for the warmest year on record.

Said the UK’s Met Office in December 2009:

Forecasters predict that the annual figure for 2010 will be 14.58C (58.24F), 0.58C (1.04F) above the long-term average of 14.0C (57.2F).

They say the combination of climate change and a moderate warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean are set to drive up temperatures next year.

The current record record is 14.52C (58.14F), which was set in 1998.

“The latest forecast from our climate scientists shows the global temperature is forecast to be almost 0.6C above the 1961-90 long-term average,” a Met Office statement said.

“This means that it is more likely than not 2010 will be the warmest in the instrumental record that dates back to 1860.”

What does this mean for us?

A brief survey of what’s happening around the world…

Capital Climate reports on the record temperatures in Washington:  

More record reports from major reporting locations… [see link for table]

Africa is feeling the heat with record temperatures, as reported by Wunder Blog:

“A withering heat wave of unprecedented intensity and areal covered has smashed all-time high temperatures in four nations in the Middle East and Africa over the past week. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Chad, and Niger all set new records for their hottest temperatures of all time, and several other Middle East nations came within a degree of their hottest temperatures ever. The heat was the most intense in Iraq, which had its hottest day in history on June 14, 2010, when the mercury hit 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Basra. Iraq’s previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F) set August 8, 1937, in Ash Shu’aybah. It was also incredibly hot in Saudi Arabia, which had its hottest temperature ever on Tuesday (June 22): 52.0°C (125.6°F), measured in Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. The previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F), at Abqaiq, date unknown. The record heat was accompanied by a sandstorm, which caused eight power plants to go offline, resulting in blackouts to several Saudi cities…”

But what goes up, must come down….

In China, floods kill more than 200 while millions are displaced:

“Fresh rains have lashed flood-hit southern China, as the death-toll across the 10 affected provinces rose to at least 200 people. The government has ordered the setting up of a rescue and relief centre to coordinate the emergency response. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Jiangxi province in his second trip to flood-hit areas in a week. At least 100 others are missing and an estimated 2.4 million people have been displaced by the disaster. More than 15,000 soldiers have been deployed to aid rescue operations. The disaster has led to power cuts, collapsed reservoirs and widespread damage to roads. Millions are without drinking water supplies…”

In the US, 16 die in flash floods:

“Flash floods have hit a rugged and mountainous area of the US state of Arkansas, leaving at least 16 people dead. About 19 centimetres of rain was dumped on the Albert Pike campground on Thursday night (US time). The Little Missouri and Cato Rivers rose by six metres; in one hour water levels rose more than 2.5 metres. Many campers were asleep when floodwaters gushed in, sweeping away tents and caravans and knocking cabins off their foundations…”

Just one example of floods and record rainfalls that have hit the US. Was this unexpected?

Not according to a 2009 report commissioned by the Bush administration: 

The report stated that “the amount of rain falling in the heaviest downpours has increased approximately 20 percent on average in the past century, and this trend is very likely to continue, with the largest increases in the wettest places.”

At the time of the report’s release, Evan Mills, a Berkley scientist and contributor said: “This is the most thorough and up-to-date review ever assembled of climate-change impacts observed to date as well as those anticipated in the future across the United States.”

The science of climate change and increased flooding is straightforward: warmer temperatures cause increases water vapour in the air leading to heavier precipitation events. More water vapour also feeds severe storms, boosting their strength and severity…”

“A US report commissioned by the Bush Administration in 2007 and released in 2009 warned that the United States would see greater incidences of severe weather and heavier rainfall. The report, which looked at the US regionally, predicted that more precipitation in winter and spring in the Midwest would lead to increased flooding. In addition, the report predicted increases in flooding and severe weather for the Southeast.

Tennessee experienced rainfall and flooding described as a once in a “1000 year” event:

TVA would struggle to control flooding in the face of a massive storm like the one that hit Nashville over the weekend, which the Army Corps of Engineers now describes as a 1,000-year flood event.

Poland has just experienced its “worst natural disaster in history” due to floods:

Prime Minister Donald Tusk told MPs today that the current floods engulfing parts of southern and central Poland are being by many as the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history.

Speaking to the lower house of parliament (Sejm) Tusk said that no-one affected by the floods would be left without assistance. According to the PM, damages so far have been calculated at least 10 billion Polish zloty (2.5 billion euros).

The [cost] will probably top the minimum to activate the so-called EU Solidarity fund. So we are speaking of destruction 10 billion zloty,” he said. “But even in the most dramatic scenario this aid will not exceed 100 million euros and that gives an idea of the burden which we will have to bear in Poland to finance repairs and flood relief.”

Across the world we are seeing record rainfall, record temperatures, extensive property damage and the tragic loss of human life.  

But don’t ask a climate change “sceptic”.  

Nothing to see, move along.

5 thoughts on “Nothing to see, move along (Part 3)

  1. You can graph the previous 12yrs here
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/
    It’s not a pretty picture – but the message is getting louder.
    Here’s hoping change in perspective is also thawing out finally.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Thanks for the link. I note average temperatures at 5k are tracking 1 degree above for the same time last year.

      And I agree, we need that change in perspective.

      If I was to make a prediction: I think the effects of global warming are going to become more apparent. The Gulf situation will also increase public sympathy for environmental issues. This may start to coalesce into an even greater demand from the public for “action” over the next 24 months.

      We shall see – and hope it does.

      I also think the data that link has might make a good widget, like the CO2 a number of us use.

  2. We’re experiencing a strong year of change, there’s little doubt.

    The sad thing is, as I’ve been trying to make clear on my recent posts (and in seemingly endless and pointless discussions with Pete Riley) is that the world has been giving us signs for some time now – it irritates me (in fact is the reason I started blogging) that all these bio-physical indicators are largely ignored over what is one small aspect of a much larger problem – this ridiculous debate over AGW.

    If faced practically and completely, it has great potential for social, ecological wealth. We could start making meaningful changes for a prosperous new world. Still, it’s quite literally on the back burner.

    There is a similar widget, I think..
    http://co2now.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=195&Itemid=1

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Agreed – there are multiple lines of evidence. I was reading McKibben’s Eaarth and he noted several times the concentration of water vapour in our atmosphere is 5% greater than it was 40 years ago.

      Of course, more water more rain. Such a simple fact and one anyone can understand.

      I think the education of the public needs to include such facts – sure talk about the effect of C02, but by broadening the discussion to include the above you make it harder for the denialists to wave away all the evidence.

      To most sensible people they will start to appear conspiracy driven: “So all the data from temp to water is faked huh?”

  3. If you’d like, I’ve got a number of e-papers that discuss a number of biological indicators that are already observed if you’d like to flip through them.
    It’s amazing how quickly denialists wave all this away (I offer it; even paraphrase parts – it’s like they’ve got selective deafness).
    It gets quite frustrating, but I’d also mention that a number of political sways over the past year have shown that even in the general public, there is more concern than scepticism. Maybe we make it worse for ourselves by actively confronting the small group of them making noise on the web.
    That’s not to say that we shouldn’t – especially in the with those that get their rubbish in pop media.

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