Hot hot hot: the heat wave vs global warming

Yes it’s too hot. Hotter than normal.

More than 200 record highs were broken on Friday throughout the Midwest and along the East Coast. And more records fell on Saturday.

Meteorologists said the recent hot streak, though not unprecedented, was unusual because of how early in the summer it struck and its duration.

Dozens of people have died.

…at least 46 deaths were tied to the heat over that period, according to a list compiled by the Weather Channel.

Fish are dying: Another sign of the (heat) times: thousands of dead fish – U.S. News.

In lakes and rivers across parched areas of the U.S., heat and lower water levels are reducing oxygen levels — and killing fish populations by the thousands.

At one lake in Delaware, up to 6,000 dead gizzard shad and 600 perch were found floating this week.

Tracks are warping derailing trains.

A “heat kink” is to blame for the Friday afternoon derailment of a Green Line inbound train en route to West Hyattsville Metro, according to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials.

Repairs are still in progress Saturday after the train derailed about 4:45 p.m. as a result of the “heat kink” where a section of the track expanded under high temperatures, according to a WMATA release. Temperatures reached as high as 98 degrees in Hyattsville, according to the National Weather Service website.

But here is a piece that argues WHY the current weather is not climate.

Weather 10 or twenty degree above normal isn’t global warming. A heat wave, even a massive epic heat wave, isn’t proof that global warming is real, any more than an epic cold wave or blizzard is evidence that global warming is fake.

This summer may be incredibly hot, and we had an unsually warm winter before it – but we really shouldn’t try to use that as evidence of global warming. Because if you do, when some colder-than-normal weather occurs somewhere, the cranks and liars that want to convince people that global warming is an elaborate fraud will use that the muddle things – and when they do, it’ll be our fault when people fall for it, because we’ll be the ones who primed them for that argument. As nice, as convenient, as convincing as it might seem to draw a correlation between a specific instance of extreme weather and global warming, we really need to stop doing it.

Source: Multiple

Now, what we CAN say is that this is what the world might be like if we continue on the current trend of rising average temps. It’s ugly. Native plants are dying, indigenous animals are having trouble. Crops may fail. We will have difficulty in adapting to overall increases in temps. But a blistering summer does not exactly mean it’s always going to be like this. Explanations for what is happening is a bit more complicated than “welcome to the newly warmed world”.

  3 comments for “Hot hot hot: the heat wave vs global warming

  1. spookyparadigm
    July 8, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    It may not be connected, because that’s not exactly how it works. We should be accurate for the sake of being accurate. But anyone who thinks that being honest will do anything to win over those who think climate science is a giant hoax, is a fool. At this stage, I can’t see anything short of an obvious disaster of far beyond epic proportion (something on the scale of a hollywood movie) winning over most conservative Americans, and even then some would likely then chalk it up to a conspiracy involving HAARP or chemtrails. If you don’t think so, go look at the polls about birtherism.

  2. Travis
    July 9, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    It’s patently true that no one extreme weather event is “proof” of global warming. But consider this: if we keep issuing this disclaimer (as is usually the case), what people selectively hear, over and over, is “not global warming.” The point to emphasize is that the FREQUENCY of extreme events increases with global warming, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing. People need to make that connection!

  3. Phil
    July 10, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    I do find it odd that your contrarian viewpoint is from a math blog. If your op-ed was from a climate scientist blog (and not a climate denial blog) it would be more believable.
    A several blogs have pointed out, a steady climate would have a 1:1 ratio in highs to lows. This present heatwave of 10 highs to 1 low is disturbing when you consider this is the start of the summer season and that fire season won’t even begin until September.
    Is this heatwave evidence of climate change? It certainly isn’t evidence against it. But rather like the incoming tide, we await future winter and summer weather. Of course by that time, it may be a bit late.

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