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This summer is 'what global warming looks like'

By Seth Borenstein

AP Science Writer


WASHINGTON >> If you want a glimpse of some of the worst of global warming, scientists suggest taking a look at U.S. weather in recent weeks.

Horrendous wildfires. Oppressive heat waves. Devastating droughts. Flooding from giant deluges. And a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho.

These are the kinds of extremes climate scientists have predicted will come with climate change, although it's far too early to say that is the cause. Nor will they say global warming is the reason 3,215 daily high temperature records were set in the month of June.

Scientifically linking individual weather events to climate change takes intensive study, complicated mathematics, computer models and lots of time. Sometimes it isn't caused by global warming. Weather is always variable; freak things happen.

And this weather has been local. Europe, Asia and Africa aren't having similar disasters now, although they've had their own extreme events in recent years.

But since at least 1988, climate scientists have warned that climate change would bring, in general, increased heat waves, more droughts, more sudden downpours, more widespread wildfires and worsening storms. In the United States, those extremes are happening here and now.

So far this year, more than 2.1 million acres have burned in wildfires, more than 113 million people in the U.S. were in areas under extreme heat advisories last Friday, two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, and earlier in June, deluges flooded Minnesota and Florida.

"This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level," said Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. "The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about."

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palani wrote:
Ho, boy, there you go again. "Sometimes it isn't caused by global warming. Weather is always variable; freak things happen." But let's not have that caveat stop us from making a dubious, unscientific association.
on July 3,2012 | 06:24AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
He didn't. And there was MUCH more of a truthful disclaimer than that.
on July 3,2012 | 06:54AM
false wrote:
Here's the way media works in our society: We're peppered with info, opinions, and data, an overload of information, really. Unfortunately, what sticks is, too often, what catches the eye. Headlines capture the eye. This article is headlined by an our-and-out falsehood, unproveable, unknowable. This is a favorite devise of our disgraceful media, AP especially, a way of lying and telling the truth simultaneously. Seems like the Obama administration has mastered this device as well.
on July 3,2012 | 01:10PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Critical thinkers take everything in context and make up their own minds. The headline and the article, taken fully in context, tell the truth. If someone is misled, they aren't reading very carefully. It doesn't say that the current weather is the result of global warming or climate change, it states that this is what higher temperatures look like. True.
on July 3,2012 | 02:05PM
false wrote:
Oh, sure. The point of the article is to remind us that hot is hot. I stick with my "shout the lie, whisper the truth" theory. Happens all the time and the nefarious purpose is crystal clear.
on July 3,2012 | 04:49PM
Manoa2 wrote:
First, there is disagreement over whether human activity and greenhouse gases cause global warming. BUT, there is virtually no disagreement whether the earth's temperature is rising, ocean temperatures are rising, and the ice caps are shrinking. So global warming is fact-- how to explain that fact and what to do about it is what is in political dispute.
on July 3,2012 | 09:48AM
false wrote:
Well, something may be happening(not so sure the Antarctic is shrinking, by recent reports) for some reason, reason not quite clear, but engaging the parking brake on the entire global economy is not a rational solution.
on July 3,2012 | 10:46AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Political dispute yes, but not by the vast majority of the scientific evidence.
on July 3,2012 | 02:06PM
warriorrebel wrote:
What happens in America isn't a sign that the planet is doomed, please stop the madness and practice common sense and proper conservatism not over-hyped enviromentalism.
on July 3,2012 | 06:42AM
kainalu wrote:
The concept of "global warming" isn't directly related to "heat". It includes weather extremes - hotter hot season, colder cold season, wetter wet season, dryer dry season, etc. And every couple of years or so, we set new records on these extremes - new "coldest day ever" and new "driest season ever" etc. But I don't need no science report, I recognize the change in weather just by observing - I've lived in the same home for over 40-years now. 40-years ago, Campbell Highschool would close several times a year due to rain-out - the campus would get flooded. I doubt that Campbell has canceled classes due to rain in the past 25-years - Ewa Beach is seriously dry now. Otherwise, the records kept by NOAA show the changes in writing.
on July 3,2012 | 07:10AM
control wrote:
you are right. the term is a misnomer that the flat earth society types are unable to comprehend. The overall warming of the earth's athmosphere changes global wind patterns and ocean surface evaporation. Those two forces control a large part of our weather and it causes weather extremes globally. No amount of political spin is going to put out the wild fires or prevent intense storm damage and flooding. It will, however, put a hugh financial strain on many local and state govt who continue to be in denial.
on July 3,2012 | 07:46AM
HD36 wrote:
Check out videos on you tube by user: fidockave213 ; This user has condensed world events on a month to month basis. He hasn't even done a video for July yet, but if you watch the previous months, weather events are happening at record levels not seen before in our history. It seems this stuff is not caused by global warming but more likely record setting CME on the sun.
on July 3,2012 | 07:46AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Another sensationally misleading headline from the dying religion of global warming, or is that now officially "Climate change". And yet the planet hasn't warmed, by scientific measurement, if any of the data can be taken seriously, since 1998. I find it impossible to read this tripe anymore, so some of you GW disciples may want to scold me for not noticing the reference to the dust bowl in the 1930's as a pre-warming example of weather extremes such as we are having, in a relatively mile form this Summer. Not included in the article? Didn't think so. So, why the headline? Why the hysteria? Is it just reflex like the twitching of a severed lizard's tail? If it is, Warmists, twitch away. Common sense has prevailed. Time to move on.
on July 3,2012 | 08:28AM
Kuokoa wrote:
Really? Then why is it cooler than normal for this time of year in Hawaii? The sky is falling, the sky is falling!
on July 3,2012 | 08:32AM
control wrote:
yep, the flat earth society is alive and well.
on July 3,2012 | 05:33PM
ufried wrote:
on July 3,2012 | 08:38AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
In other news, Al Gore flew his personal jet to the airport, got in his armored SUV and went to his 11,000 square foot all-electric home where he sat down and wrote a screed about the need to reduce our carbon footprints.
on July 3,2012 | 09:01AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
So? His hypocrisy does not negate the evidence that climate change is happening.
on July 3,2012 | 02:07PM
HD36 wrote:
Global warming doesn't explain the record numbers of earthquakes above 6.0 worldwide.
on July 3,2012 | 11:18AM
HD36 wrote:
Global warming doesn't explain the record amount of earthquakes over 6.0 in the past year.
on July 3,2012 | 11:29AM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
You want to talk "political?" How's about the scientific community that claims to be free from the political climate and only propogating "the facts." Go try and get a grant to study climate change or anything else you might find of interest. You will be playing more politics than any politician in DC. No scientific study (or their findings) can ever be totally free from politics. Not saying global warming isn't happening, but I think we should all be more critical any time a scientist claims to have discovered the truth about anything.
on July 3,2012 | 03:43PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Absolutely...ALL studies SHOULD be questioned. That is why journals and GOOD science is questioned and peer reviewed constantly. The preponderence of evidence is that climate change is happening. There are those well funded interests that refute the politics, but very few scientists disagree and offer little evidence to back up their point.
on July 3,2012 | 04:26PM
false wrote:
Peer review in this case has failed miserably and left academic credibility in tatters. Many scientists disagree. The failure to correctly apply statistics and the slipshod methods of climate modeling have been reported repeatedly. There are well funded interests on BOTH sides of this matter.
on July 3,2012 | 04:55PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
It is not "many" scientists, it is a very small minority. Just because the same debunked refutations (and they have CLEARLY been debunked) of climate change keep getting repeated, that does not make them true. But since the strategy of the oil and money interests is to repeat the big lie and sow enough obfuscation, those same bogus talking points will keep getting repeated and will continue to convince some. Most people are smarter than to believe it... especially those who have looked at the full issue and the actual science instead of the vocal, well-funded minority that lives and breathes talking points.
on July 3,2012 | 05:03PM
false wrote:
And what of the strategy of the carbon traders and UN politicians? The models are shaky, the data is questionable, the scientific integrity (climategate) is horrible, the planet hasn't warmed since 98 (provisional on data integrity) in spite of C02 increase, and , finally, science is not settled by majority vote or politically correct pressure.
on July 3,2012 | 07:29PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Casrbon traders and UN politicians are not scientists. ALL scientific data is questionable (it is the nature of experimentation), but there are degrees of acceptance and once again, the preponderence of evidence shows the climate is changing and even more rapidly than the earlier models suggested. And yes, the planet has warmed, despite your claim. As I said, living and breathing the talking points of the deniers and constant repetition does not make it true.
on July 3,2012 | 09:39PM
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