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Runaway Climate Change Is Here

By Dr Andrew Glikson

09 August, 2010

The spate of floods and fires around the globe: manifestations of runaway climate change

PDF Version

2010 is shaping up as the warmest in the instrumental record, as recorded by the National Climate Data Centre (NCDC – the worlds largest active archive of weather data), NASA Goddard Institute of Space Science (GISS), Hadley-Met/Climate Research Unit, Remote Sensing Satellite survey (RSS) and  Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU), and as shown by the plot (Figure 1) below http://www.remss.com/msu/msu_data_description.html , http://www.ssmi.com/msu/msu_browse.html

According to NOAA (July 15, 2010): ( http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100715_globalstats.html )
June, April to June, and Year-to-Date Global Temperatures are Warmest on Record Last month's combined global land and ocean surface temperature made it the warmest June on record and the warmest on record averaged for any April-June and January-June periods … Worldwide average land surface temperature was the warmest on record for June and the April-June period, and the second warmest on record for the year-to-date (January-June) period, behind 2007 ”. The monthly analysis from NOAA is based on records going back to 1880”.

But you will not read about it in much of the media.

A string of extreme weather events monitored by NASA portrayed on http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/ tells the story, including:

1.  Last month saw the hottest temperature on record for Asia, with 53C in Pakistan. The mega-floods in this part of the world are the result of the increased capacity of the warming atmosphere to hold moisture, precipitated when the humid air masses rise above the Himalaya.

2.  Moscow has also been recording temperatures of 37.4 degrees C, the monthly anomaly will be a record of around +7.5 degrees C, with a death toll reaching 2000 people. Extreme temperatures, reaching 40 degrees C in Moscow, have set large parts of Russian forests and wheat belts on fire http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-wildfires-2010-8#more-first-just-294-miles-south-of-moscow-7   *

3.  Beijing had it hottest day on record earlier in the month, 40.6C. 

4.  Japan scored a 39.4C on 22nd July.

5.  Hundreds of maximum and minimum temperature records have been broken across the U.S. and Canada in the last two months. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records.php?ts=daily&elem=
; http://blogs.sacbee.com/photos/2010/07/roasting-under-a-hot-summer-su.html

6.  Raging wildfires broke out July 29 just south of Los Angeles, CA, forcing mandatory evacuations and major firefighting response. http://www.businessinsider.com/big-breathtaking-photos-of-california-burning-2010-7#-5#ixzz0vseD4yf6

*  The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 chokes Moscow with smoke for a third day

Smoke from wildfires cause by the worst heat wave in Russia's history are choking Moscow for a third straight day today, bringing air pollution levels to three times the safe level and forcing cancellation of dozens of flights. However, air pollution is not quite as bad as it was yesterday, when carbon monoxide levels peaked at 6.5 times the safe level. Visibilities at Moscow's airport were higher today (500+ meters), but temperatures still hit 97°F (36°C). The past 26 days in a row have exceeded 30°C in Moscow, and there is no relief in sight--the latest forecast for Moscow calls for high temperatures near 100°F (37.8°C) for the majority of the coming week. As I reported in Friday's post , the number of deaths in Moscow in July 2010 was about 5,000 more than in July 2009, suggesting that the heat wave has been responsible for thousands of deaths in Moscow alone. I would expect that by the time the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 is over, the number of premature deaths caused by the heat wave will approach or exceed the 40,000 who died in the 2003 European Heat Wave. As seen in Figure 3, the Russian heat wave of 2010 is more intense and affects a wider region than the great 2003 European heat wave.

A comparison of August temperatures, the peak of the great European heat wave of 2003 (left) with July temperatures from the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 (right) reveals that this year's heat wave is more intense and covers a wider area of Europe. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL .

From: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1570


It has been very warm across northern, north-western and some inland parts of Australia over recent weeks. We broke quite a few minimum temperature records- including Darwin, which broke its July minimum record by 1.5 degrees C.

Though most of what you would read about in the media is the manufactured CRU E-mail story, which tries to obfuscate climate science and cast doubt on the integrity of climate scientists. This is despite recent investigations showing climate scientists right, as stated:

“On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.” … ''We did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.'' http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/you-wouldnt-read-about-it-climate-scientists-right-20100725-10qev.html .

The newspapers that gave greatest play to the allegations tended to give less attention to these findings. The columnists who gave greatest vent to their indignation have not made any revisions or corrections, let alone apologised to the scientists whose integrity they so sweepingly impugned.

Those who would like to see themselves as “sceptics”, but commonly present climate plots which inexplicably depart in essential detail from original datasets measured by the worlds premier climate research organizations, as well as ignore the basic physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, would suggest the current extreme weather events are “natural” and not to do with human Carbon emissions.

By contrast, consistent with the Stefan-Boltzmann and Krichhoff laws of infrared radiation  ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefan%E2%80%93Boltzmann_law ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirchhoff's_law_of_thermal_radiation ), these events manifest the increase in energy (temperature) levels of the atmosphere and oceans, consequent on the emissions of about 370 billion tons of carbon since 1750, currently at a rate of about 2 ppm per year, reaching 391 ppm, namely near 40 percent higher that during the last 10,000 years, when agricultural cultivation became possible thanks to stabilization of the Holocene climate.

Figure 1.  Global surface temperature anomalies

Dr Andrew Glikson
Australian National University
Canberra, A.C.T. 0200

Climate Change Institute /
School of Archaeology and Anthropology /
Planetary Research Institute /

E-mail:    (W)  Andrew.Glikson@anu.edu.au
               (H)  Geospec@iinet.net.au
mail:       P.O. Box 3698 Weston A.C.T. 2611