Long hot summer of fire and floods fit predictions

Aug 12, 2010 By CHARLES J. HANLEY , AP Special Correspondent
These two satellite images provided by NASA taken on July 28, 2010, left, and Aug. 5, 2010, right, shows the Petermann Glacier in Northern Greenland. A giant ice island, seen in image at right, has broken off the Petermann Glacier. A University of Delaware researcher says the floating ice sheet covers 100 square miles (260 sq. kilometers) _ more than four times the size of New York's Manhattan Island. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says the weather-related cataclysms of July and August fit patterns predicted by climate scientists, although those scientists always shy from tying individual disasters directly to global warming. (AP Photo/NASA)

(AP) -- Floods, fires, melting ice and feverish heat: From smoke-choked Moscow to water-soaked Pakistan and the High Arctic, the planet seems to be having a midsummer breakdown. It's not just a portent of things to come, scientists say, but a sign of troubling climate change already under way.

The weather-related cataclysms of July and August fit patterns predicted by climate scientists, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization says - although those scientists always shy from tying individual disasters directly to global warming.

The experts now see an urgent need for better ways to forecast extreme events like Russia's heat wave and wildfires and the record deluge devastating Pakistan. They'll discuss such tools in meetings this month and next in Europe and America, under United Nations, U.S. and British government sponsorship.

"There is no time to waste," because societies must be equipped to deal with global warming, says British government Peter Stott.

He said modelers of climate systems are "very keen" to develop supercomputer modeling that would enable more detailed linking of cause and effect as a warming world shifts jet streams and other atmospheric currents. Those changes can wreak weather havoc.

The U.N.'s network of climate scientists - the Intergovernmental Panel on (IPCC) - has long predicted that rising would produce more frequent and intense heat waves, and more intense rainfalls. In its latest assessment, in 2007, the Nobel Prize-winning panel went beyond that. It said these trends "have already been observed," in an increase in heat waves since 1950, for example.

Still, climatologists generally refrain from blaming warming for this drought or that flood, since so many other factors also affect the day's weather.

Stott and NASA's Gavin Schmidt at the Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, said it's better to think in terms of odds: Warming might double the chances for a heat wave, for example. "That is exactly what's happening," Schmidt said, "a lot more warm extremes and less cold extremes."

The WMO did point out, however, that this summer's events fit the international scientists' projections of "more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to ."

In fact, in key cases they're a perfect fit:

RUSSIA

It's been the hottest summer ever recorded in Russia with Moscow temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees C) for the first time. The drought there has sparked hundreds of wildfires in forests and dried peat bogs, blanketing western Russia with a toxic smog. Moscow's death rate has doubled to 700 people a day. The drought reduced the wheat harvest by more than one-third.

The 2007 IPCC report predicted a doubling of disastrous droughts in Russia this century and cited studies foreseeing catastrophic fires during dry years. It also said Russia would suffer large crop losses.

PAKISTAN

The heaviest monsoon rains on record - 12 inches (300 millimeters) in one 36-hour period - have sent rivers rampaging over huge swaths of countryside. It's left 14 million Pakistanis homeless or otherwise affected, and killed 1,500. The government calls it the worst natural disaster in the nation's history.

A warmer atmosphere can hold - and discharge - more water. The 2007 IPCC report said rains have grown heavier for 40 years over north Pakistan and predicted greater flooding this century in south Asia's monsoon region.

CHINA

China is witnessing its worst floods in decades, the WMO says, particularly in the northwest province of Gansu. There, floods and landslides last weekend killed at least 1,117 people and left more than 600 missing, feared swept away or buried beneath mud and debris.

The IPCC reported in 2007 that rains had increased in northwest China by up to 33 percent since 1961, and floods nationwide had increased sevenfold since the 1950s. It predicted still more frequent flooding this century.

ARCTIC

Researchers last week spotted a 100-square-mile (260-square-kilometer) chunk of ice calved off from the great Petermann Glacier in Greenland's far northwest. It was the most massive ice island to break away in the Arctic in a half-century of observation.

The huge iceberg appeared just five months after an international scientific team published a report saying ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet is expanding up its northwest coast from the south.

Changes in the ice sheet "are happening fast, and we are definitely losing more ice mass than we had anticipated," said one of the scientists, NASA's Isabella Velicogna.

In the Arctic Ocean itself, the summer melt of the vast ice cap has reached unprecedented proportions. Satellite data show the ocean area covered by ice last month was the second-lowest ever recorded for July.

The melting of land ice into the oceans is causing about 60 percent of the accelerating rise in sea levels worldwide, with thermal expansion from warming waters causing the rest. The WMO'S World Climate Research Program says seas are rising by 1.34 inches (3.4 millimeters) per decade, about twice the 20th century's average.

Worldwide temperature readings, meanwhile, show that this January-June was the hottest first half of a year in 150 years of global climate record keeping. Meteorologists say 17 nations have recorded all-time-high temperatures in 2010, more than in any other year.

Scientists blame the warming on carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases pouring into the atmosphere from power plants, cars and trucks, furnaces and other fossil fuel-burning industrial and residential sources.

Experts are growing ever more vocal in urging sharp cutbacks in emissions, to protect the climate that has nurtured modern civilization.

"Reducing emissions is something everyone is capable of," Nanjing-based climatologist Tao Li told an academic journal in China, now the world's No. 1 emitter, ahead of the U.S.

But not everyone is willing to act.

The U.S. remains the only major industrialized nation not to have legislated caps on carbon emissions, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week withdrew climate legislation in the face of resistance from Republicans and some Democrats.

The U.S. inaction, dating back to the 1990s, is a key reason global talks have bogged down for a pact to succeed the expiring Kyoto Protocol. That is the relatively weak accord on emissions cuts adhered to by all other industrialized states.

Governments around the world, especially in poorer nations that will be hard-hit, are scrambling to find ways and money to adapt to shifts in climate and rising seas.

The meetings of climatologists in the coming weeks in Paris, Britain and Colorado will be one step toward adaptation, seeking ways to identify trends in extreme events and better means of forecasting them.

A U.N. specialist in natural disasters says much more needs to be done.

Salvano Briceno of the U.N.'s International Strategy for Disaster Reduction pointed to aggravating factors in the latest climate catastrophes: China's failure to stem deforestation, contributing to its deadly mudslides; Russia's poor forest management, feeding fires; and the settling of poor Pakistanis on flood plains and dry riverbeds in the densely populated country, squatters' turf that suddenly turned into torrents.

"The IPCC has already identified the influence of climate change in these disasters. That's clear," Briceno said. "But the main trend we need to look at is increasing vulnerability, the fact we have more people living in the wrong places, doing the wrong things."

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User comments : 38

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Sancho
Aug 12, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
anonperson
1 / 5 (4) Aug 12, 2010
It's the end of the world as we know it. And, as humans, our most common reaction to adversity is often worse than the problem... we as a species, are in big trouble.
kevinrtrs
1.1 / 5 (15) Aug 12, 2010
The earth is evolving, no doubt about that. It's under threat/attack by a the human viral agent and is taking corrective of its own.
That should make a lot of sense to evolutionists.
Bog_Mire
3 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2010
Sancho, Here in Perth, Western Australia we have just had the driest and warmest winter on record. When will you be satisfied that 99% of the scientific community is correct?
kevinrtrs
Aug 12, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 12, 2010
The earth is evolving, no doubt about that. It's under threat/attack by a the human viral agent and is taking corrective of its own.
That should make a lot of sense to evolutionists.
No, only to mathusians and morons. If we become less fit for this environment it will be due to the actions of people such as yourself.
Shootist
2 / 5 (16) Aug 12, 2010
""Long hot summer of fire and floods fit predictions"

Well, except for the Left coast of the United States.

Fruit, and vegetables, not ripening due to unseasonably cool temperatures. Coldest summer in decades. yada.

If its too hot where you live . . . move.

If sea level is rising where you live . . . move.

If you live on the Gulf Coast and don't like hurricanes . . . move.

If you live in Topeka, and don't like tornadoes . . . move.

krundoloss
4.2 / 5 (11) Aug 12, 2010
"But the main trend we need to look at is increasing vulnerability, the fact we have more people living in the wrong places, doing the wrong things."

This seems to make more sense than anything else. Yes we are having climate change, which has happenned alot on this planet. Why is it such a big deal now? 7 Billion People, thats why. With people almost everywhere, ofcourse every flood kills and every drought causes starvation. We are just more vulnerable to these changes than we were in the past.

And as far as the "Just Move" attitude of Shootist, that doesnt always apply. After all, you cant "Just Move" billions of dollars of infrastructure.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.9 / 5 (9) Aug 12, 2010
""Long hot summer of fire and floods fit predictions"

Well, except for the Left coast of the United States.

Fruit, and vegetables, not ripening due to unseasonably cool temperatures. Coldest summer in decades. yada.

If its too hot where you live . . . move.

If sea level is rising where you live . . . move.

If you live on the Gulf Coast and don't like hurricanes . . . move.

If you live in Topeka, and don't like tornadoes . . . move.


And when there's no where left to move to?
marjon
1.9 / 5 (14) Aug 12, 2010
With people almost everywhere,

Every person in the world cold fit into an area the size of TX and have ~1000 ft^2 to himself.
There is a LOT of empty land on the earth.
marjon
1.7 / 5 (12) Aug 12, 2010
"But the main trend we need to look at is increasing vulnerability, the fact we have more people living in the wrong places, doing the wrong things."

This seems to make more sense than anything else. Yes we are having climate change, which has happenned alot on this planet. Why is it such a big deal now? 7 Billion People, thats why. With people almost everywhere, ofcourse every flood kills and every drought causes starvation. We are just more vulnerable to these changes than we were in the past.

And as far as the "Just Move" attitude of Shootist, that doesnt always apply. After all, you cant "Just Move" billions of dollars of infrastructure.

If here were no government programs like FEMA rebuilding houses in disaster prone areas, maybe there would be fewer disasters.
aennen
3.3 / 5 (7) Aug 12, 2010
Every year has some aspect of weather thats unusual, just depend if it fits your agenda as to how much is made of it. Sick and tired of the doom sayers and people who believe they can predict mother nature.
gunslingor1
3.7 / 5 (9) Aug 12, 2010
""Long hot summer of fire and floods fit predictions"

Well, except for the Left coast of the United States.

Fruit, and vegetables, not ripening due to unseasonably cool temperatures. Coldest summer in decades. yada.

If its too hot where you live . . . move.

If sea level is rising where you live . . . move.

If you live on the Gulf Coast and don't like hurricanes . . . move.

If you live in Topeka, and don't like tornadoes . . . move.



What the hell is the "left cost". Are you 12?

I'm on the east coast, we've had tripple digit days for the past three mounths.

The west coast is in a serious drought. This is why there are so many wild fires out there.

What are you talking about dude?

Anyway, your right... we have 6 billion people on the globe... a lot will move this century due to climate change and pollution. So, your solution is to move everyone to the few remaining nice places and let everything else go to hell. That'll be fun.
GSwift7
2.6 / 5 (10) Aug 12, 2010
"The IPCC has already identified the influence of climate change in these disasters. That's clear,"

whew, that's a relief! Now we can cut off all the funding and stop the research, since they've already got their results. right??? Since global warming is so well understood and we already have such good predictions and measurements, I guess we can just use that money for something useful, like free Twister mats for the poor. Has there ever been an environmental piece on this site that doesn't quote some moron like this guy? I could swear that the IPCC actually refused to say anything of that nature. I don't remember where I read that... oh yeah it was in this article!
newsreader
2 / 5 (4) Aug 12, 2010
What do we do when there is not enough food to go around?
Caliban
1.9 / 5 (8) Aug 12, 2010
""Long hot summer of fire and floods fit predictions"

Well, except for the Left coast of the United States.

Fruit, and vegetables, not ripening due to unseasonably cool temperatures. Coldest summer in decades. yada.

If its too hot where you live . . . move.

If sea level is rising where you live . . . move.

If you live on the Gulf Coast and don't like hurricanes . . . move.

If you live in Topeka, and don't like tornadoes . . . move.



@Shootist,

Where do YOU plan to move, when you can no longer endure the stench of your own hypocrisy? Or are you en route to Topeka right now?

Moron.
marjon
1.5 / 5 (10) Aug 12, 2010
What do we do when there is not enough food to go around?

We have yet to unlock the potential of food production.
If every family in the world had a garden and there was still not enough food, then, maybe start worrying.
But by then, orbiting greenhouses, floating green houses, etc. might help.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.5 / 5 (11) Aug 12, 2010
What do we do when there is not enough food to go around?

We have yet to unlock the potential of food production.
If every family in the world had a garden and there was still not enough food, then, maybe start worrying.
But by then, orbiting greenhouses, floating green houses, etc. might help.

You're being an ass and making ignorant statements. There are only so many nutrients on the planet. We will eventually hit a point where our food production doesn't meet our needs. Some countries are already feeling that very thing right now.
moebiex
3.8 / 5 (5) Aug 12, 2010
Those continuing to subscribe to the superiority of their belief(s) in the face of the increasing contrary evidence might want to ask why they pretend to a scientific outlook. My guess is it's easier to be a critic than creatively propose solutions. Sad but easier.
bamfarooni
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 13, 2010
Whoops. 7e9 people.
10e6 sqkm * 10e6 sqft/sqkm / 7e9 people ~= 15k sqft/person.

Still an awful lot of people on this planet.

Bob_Kob
2.7 / 5 (11) Aug 13, 2010
Dumb dumb dumb! Why is it everytime its a little warmer BAM global warming for you and then at the same time everybody just turns their heads when its cooler than usual...
mikiwud
2.3 / 5 (9) Aug 13, 2010
I notice no mention of Bolivia were a cold spell of upto 10 degC below normal has killed millions of fish and not a few turtles etc in 4 rivers were the temperature dropped to a level they could not survive.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (5) Aug 13, 2010
What the hell is the "left cost". Are you 12?


Probably he is watching too much TV. Or is from the East Coast.

The west coast is in a serious drought. This is why there are so many wild fires out there.


Which doesn't change the temperature. We always have fires in the summer. Some people say Southern California has no seasons. I say they are ignorant. We have three season. The rainy season, the pleasant season, AND the Fire Season. That last one comes whether we have a lot of rain or a little because a lot of rain means there is more to catch fire in the Fire Season.

It has been a cool summer so far. At least to me. One short hot spell and its already August which is often in the high 90's and low hundreds most of the month.

Some real ranting to come
jsa09
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 13, 2010
Program says seas are rising by 1.34 inches (3.4 millimeters) per decade, about twice the 20th century's average.


It is either 3.4 mm = .134 inches or it is 1.34 inches = 34 millimeters.
Ethelred
3.4 / 5 (10) Aug 13, 2010
Still most of Shootist's post was the usual Denialist garbage.

Water levels getting too high? Move! you cretinous liberal scum! Take all your damned liberal cities and move them to high ground. Cities are cesspits of liberalism anyway. Let them all drown. Its only trillions of dollars of VILE LIBERAL infrastructure like EVIL COMMUNIST harbors that ship commie Chinese products and beaches where VILE ACTORS and ACTRESSES dance almost NAKED on sand. If everybody would just worship the ground Rush Limbaugh walks on and use outhouses instead of Commie Pinko toilets everything would be perfect.

No I did not get carried away. The water isn't that high yet.

Maybe I have looking at too many comments on YahooLand lately.

Ethelred
jsa09
3.9 / 5 (7) Aug 13, 2010
@marjon
Every person in the world cold fit into an area the size of TX and have ~1000 ft^2 to himself.
There is a LOT of empty land on the earth.


If the world government was a total dictatorship with a powerful police force maybe we really could shift everybody to Texas and provide enough housing.

Not sure that I would enjoy living in a giant city the size of that state. wonder where all the food would come from - I suppose it would get shipped in some how from a the state controlled agricultural belts and fresh water for all those people would be pumped in through pipes from the dammed Mississippi River. Perhaps we would all be wired in to a super computer and kept asleep like in Matrix?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (6) Aug 13, 2010
Program says seas are rising by 1.34 inches (3.4 millimeters) per decade, about twice the 20th century's average.


It is either 3.4 mm = .134 inches or it is 1.34 inches = 34 millimeters.

Or they meant centimeters and the editor was taking a nap.
_nigmatic10
2.3 / 5 (9) Aug 14, 2010
So how many years of wrong predictions have we seen now before they got one right?
marjon
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 14, 2010
@marjon
Every person in the world cold fit into an area the size of TX and have ~1000 ft^2 to himself.
There is a LOT of empty land on the earth.


If the world government was a total dictatorship with a powerful police force maybe we really could shift everybody to Texas and provide enough housing.

Not sure that I would enjoy living in a giant city the size of that state. wonder where all the food would come from - I suppose it would get shipped in some how from a the state controlled agricultural belts and fresh water for all those people would be pumped in through pipes from the dammed Mississippi River. Perhaps we would all be wired in to a super computer and kept asleep like in Matrix?

7 billion people would fit into an area 1000 km x 1000 km with the density of Singapore, 7000/km2, or 2600 x 2600 km with density of Bangladesh, 1000/km2.
Caliban
3 / 5 (6) Aug 15, 2010
@marjon
Every person in the world cold fit into an area the size of TX and have ~1000 ft^2 to himself.
There is a LOT of empty land on the earth.


If the world government was a total dictatorship with a powerful police force maybe we really could shift everybody to Texas and provide enough housing.

(...)pumped in through pipes from the dammed Mississippi River. Perhaps we would all be wired in to a super computer and kept asleep like in Matrix?

7 billion people would fit into an area 1000 km x 1000 km with the density of Singapore, 7000/km2, or 2600 x 2600 km with density of Bangladesh, 1000/km2.


Mangy- why don't you run on out there and get started on that. You could be an "Entrpreneur" just like in your fantasy, and, since you would be "creating" a new market, you could charge whatever you wanted!

Come get us when it's ready.
Ethelred
4 / 5 (8) Aug 15, 2010
7 billion people would fit into
Half the space that the 14 billion that would be living twenty years later if Marjon was in charge.

the same for the 28 billion twenty years on.
56
112
224 in just one century and still Marjon would say KEEP BREEDING otherwise Rush's descendants would cry.

A small roundoff and twenty years later
450
900
1800
3,600 billion or 3.6 TRILLION in just two centuries. And still Marjon would be crying about liberal pinko Nazis that would like population control should should shut their progressive mouths and become one with unreality.

No I am not making this up. I have done this before all the way to human race matching the total mass of the universe in a fairly short time. And he still refused to admit that there should be some point where Something Should Have Been Done.

So Marjon, have you become even vaguely rational on this yet?

Ethelred
Newbeak
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 15, 2010
The answer,at least for food for the 21st century is the Verticrop system,which can be set up in cities where the consumer lives.Longer,hotter summers would just make the system work better.Minimum use of water,no need for pesticide,crops maturing constantly.See: http://www.valcen...rage.asp
stealthc
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 15, 2010
Ethel shows us that indeed there is an agenda out there called eugenics. Ethel, don't you worry -- even you won't make the cut the scientific dictatorship suggests shouldn't be exterminated.
jsa09
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 16, 2010
People get real. Ju8st because theoretically we could make a mega city and put every person on the planet into it does not mean it is a good idea.

We still need to eat, Mine, Recreate, Drink, Breath and excrete and all this stuff comes from and goes somewhere.

Crop yield in the 60's and 70's was improving at about 10% per acre per annum now it is closer to 1%. Oil and gas is running out sometime. Even all the metals on the planet will eventually be in something. 50 years ago books were worried about world population passing 2 billion and now it is at 7 billion.

Granted we may be able to double it again but then what? I do not want to be defending my miserable acre of ground day and night to stop plagues of starving others from stealing my food. Equally I don't want to have to be roaming the night trying to catch someone slower than me for my next meal.
Ethelred
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 16, 2010
Ethel shows us that indeed there is an agenda out there called eugenics.


Never did such a thing. I suppose there are still people into that. I am not one of them. Nor did I make a single statement supporting it.

Nor did you or Marjon say a single thing showing me wrong. So where do YOU draw the line? If you say nowhere then you are DEMANDING that the human race become the entire mass of the Universe. At which point the only thing left to eat would be each other. Is that your limit. Cannibalism? Or would you even stop then?

That was an exceedingly mindless post. Do people come up to you to express concern that you might reproduce? Is that why you see Eugenics where it isn't?

Or is it just that you have no reasoned response and where forced to use unwarranted insults instead.

Ethelred
Skeptic_Heretic
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 16, 2010
7 billion people would fit into an area 1000 km x 1000 km with the density of Singapore, 7000/km2, or 2600 x 2600 km with density of Bangladesh, 1000/km2.

Because mankind does well herded into ghettos, right marjon?
vanderMerwe
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 17, 2010
Yawn! More BS from the warmists.
GSwift7
1.9 / 5 (7) Aug 18, 2010
@jsa09:

I rated your comment 5/5 because it was reasonable and well-stated, on topic, and you didn't call anyone offensive names, like two of the above posts by our usual trolls. However, if you go back and look at population and food supply predictions from the previous three decades, you'll see a patern. The predictions are always exagerated and dire, but the reality is that the predictions were wrong. I don't see any reason to believe that current statistics and predictions are any more accurate than the statistics and predictions of the 70's, 80's or 90's. Human population has a built-in growth rate throttle which varries slightly by culture, but is still domintated by economic pressures. Food production capacity has consistently been underpredicted and growth rates have been overpredicted, just like petroleum estimates and greenhouse gas figures. People are too easy to fool it seems.

If someone lies to me for 30 years, why would I believe them this year? Its the same people.
Ethelred
4.3 / 5 (3) Aug 18, 2010
Human population has a built-in growth rate throttle which varries slightly by culture, but is still domintated by economic pressures.


And starvation. There is quite a lot of that in some parts of the world.

Food production capacity has consistently been underpredicted and growth rates have been overpredicted,


the under prediction is due to going on present changes in production over the short term and not taking into account changes in the technologies used. Like more fertilizer for instance.

The over predictions of population growth, I haven't noticed that myself, is most due the usual causes and NOT purely economic ones. You know, war, disease and the ever popular starvation. Things that hard to predict in specifics but should be expected as they are going on almost all the time for all three and all the time for two of them. War being the one that sometimes doesn't happen.

Plus China has that limit of children allowed and the loss of female infants.

Ethelred
Nartoon
1 / 5 (2) Aug 21, 2010
NOAA just recently (today or yesterday) announced that the fires/heat in Russia have nothing to do with AGW in any way, shape or means.