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July was world's hottest month on record, WMO says (cbc.ca)
97 points by reddotX 73 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 64 comments



Frightens me to think of the impact this is going to have on agricultural production over the next ten years. In cooler countries, there's sometimes benefits to warmer seasons, though biotic stresses like more insects / fungal diseases tend to dampen that.

In hotter countries (many of which are developing), abiotic and biotic stresses can easily combine with bad weather events to wipe out an entire region's production. The political instability that this can and likely will cause is the greatest short-term climate change issue in my opinion. I really don't see how it can be avoided, given trans-national institutions which may have helped buffer these impacts are also at their lowest ebb since WW2.


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I highly doubt many people want to drop nationalism completely (I don't). If however agencies like the UN can no longer raise a peacekeeping force to stop conflict spreading, that becomes a serious issue. Climate change is the trigger, but our tendencies for war are what'll bring the disaster when climate change really kicks in.


I wouldn't have guessed that humanity would fail to coordinate on global warming by this point. Blimey! How would we fare when faced with actually hard technical challenges?


How is coordinating on global warming not a hard technical challenge? Politics is inherently a hard problem. And even if we were able to extricate politics from the discussion, it's a hard problem to define the optimal benchmarks and criteria for emissions reduction, across all countries and jurisdictions.

(by definition, defining these criteria for the world would necessarily involve politics)


I meant that took global warming itself is not a difficult challenge to solve with the technology currently available. Capturing carbon is energy intensive but not impossible.

But politically, the coordination problem is unsolvable. Until the effects of the warming become big enough that one of the more powerful agents involved has a clearly positive inventive gradient to actually expend that energy at a personal loss, without the cooperation of others. (Say, for instance, if a majority of US territory becomes uninhabitable due to semi-persistent fires, persistent droughts, etc, I'd expect the US to actually solve the problem irrespective of what the other powers are doing.)


I think it's simply a matter of priority. We still haven't figured out how to feed large portions of the human population and the impact of that is much more immediate.



Coordination on a multi-national level (outside ad-hoc corporate arrangements) is an ideological non-starter for most of the world's governments.


A lot of people are only concerned about the time they are alive on this planet. To them, global warming is free to kill the earth after they are long gone.


Lots of things might happen due to increased temperatures. The Earth dying is not one of them (hint: it has been much warmer in the geological past).


It's quite clear that "kill the earth" is figurative language. Being pedantic like this doesn't really add to the conversation.


Except that this type of language is endemic in climate discussion and is often enough accepted at face value and not recognized as hyperbolic language. In my experience there are people who view this language as an accurate description of what global warming models predict (with a high level of confidence) -- the end of life on Earth and runaway greenhouse effect resulting in the Earth turning into another Venus.

Even in the realm of "figurative language", it is ridiculously over the top and over used. It adds nothing to a discussion that is chock-a-block full of over the top assertions.


It's satisfyingly close for all intents and purposes.

The change of there being a collapse of most of the significant ecosystems isn't trivial. The change of mass migrations and conflicts over resources unlike anything we've ever seen before are no longer trivial.

Out of all the hills to die on in the "debate" over climate change, this is about the most ridiculous, pedantic, and useless. How many millions of dead people would you like before considering it adequate language?


So you don't thing it was "figurative language"? You view my dystopian description as "close" to your understanding of what is predicted? [edited because I made the mistake of thinking the parent was the author of the comment I originally commented on]

You seem to be working from the assumption that the apocalyptic predictions are a certainty and that humanity will be unable to adapt, that climate change is an existential threat.

I tend to think that a linear (or worse) extrapolation of warming trends is unscientific and unlikely, that the effects of current modest warming will not be apocalyptic (which still leaves plenty of room for various catastrophes), and that human ingenuity will be able to mitigate the worst effects. In short I don't think global warming is an existential threat to humanity or the Earth.

The problem with apocalyptic, existential threat language is that it can be leveraged to advocate for or justify extremely radical private and public actions as well as governmental power grabs. I'm more worried about radical "ends-justifies-the-means" people and the side-effects of giving government more power than I am of the effects of global warming.

Sure, I could be wrong, but over 100 million people have been killed by misguided governments historically and to me that is a much more tangible threat.


> I tend to think that a linear (or worse) extrapolation of warming trends is unscientific and unlikely, that the effects of current modest warming will not be apocalyptic (which still leaves plenty of room for various catastrophes), and that human ingenuity will be able to mitigate the worst effects. In short I don't think global warming is an existential threat to humanity or the Earth.

Wait so now you're more of an authority than the already-conservative IPCC models which do not account for the ever worsening effects of sea ice and the methane feedback loop?

We're already observing in real time the loss of many ecosystems due to climate change, and we're far from the temperatures proposed by the BUA scenarios.

You're saying that a linear warming trend is unscientific when the entirety of the evidence at hand is showing that an increase way above linear is most likely, and already being observed. So what, you're expecting that the continued, non-linear increases in CO2 concentrations are going to magically not work with all the known feedback loops?


Where did I say I was an authority? I'm just sharing what I think based on what I've read.

I was saying that the "extrapolation" of current trends into the future without bound is unscientific. Perhaps that isn't quite right. I could have made it clear that they are unproven hypothesis at this point. So just an element of the scientific process, but not a conclusive scientific results.

Positive feedback loops are very unusual in nature and so that is one reason I said "unlikely".

In any case treating the predictions of climate models as equivalent to the confirmation of hypothesis via the scientific method is just wrong by definition. They are different things.


The linear predictions and feedback loops aren't speculation. It is known, at least to an order of magnitude, the amount of sequestered carbon in boglands and clathrate deposits. Same thing with trees in places vulnerable to wildfire.

We know the amount of ice in places vulnerable to climate change, and we have a solid understanding of the albedo effects of Arctic sea ice.

The correlation between CO2 and atmospheric temperatures isn't just empericial, but can be well modeled with today's forecasting supercomputers. The predictions that were made 40 years ago are in line with what we are observing today, and the ensemble modeling system we use to look at different climate scenarios shows the ample world of possibilities.

None of those things indicate that there's any reason why there should be a _better_ case than the already conservative predictions, and all point towards those feedback loops being substantially more dramatic.

For the record, the "extrapolation" isn't unbounded; there are limits to atmospheric temperature determined by atmospheric radiation, ocean albedo, the effects of temperature on cloud formations, etc. It's just that the limit is high enough that there will be literally no ecosystem able to adapt and our capacity to grow food is out of the question at the point.


Do we know for sure that there is no life on Venus? (The planet itself is far from “dead.”)


Well that was as close as I could get to a dead planet without describing something like the demise of Vulcan in the Star Trek reboot, which seemed like a bit much even in the realm of hyperbolic descriptions.


That is a technically correct but useless statement. If life continues to exist but human civilization is wiped out (a possible outcome) is that good?


Of course it isn't good but my point was that hyperbolic language doesn't add information to the conversation and I think it actually causes people to do things that are dangerous. Claiming human civilization is going to be "wiped out" is just another version of crazy over the top language that isn't connected to reasonable predictions about climate change. But radical people will latch on to that language and use it to justify all sorts of craziness.


Really? You should attend some local government meetings, when only small dollar amounts, and ego is at stake.


Why would you reach any other conclusion? We are a bloodthirsty, competitive, barbaric species that can't go very long without killing large numbers of ourselves in the name of various things we create and twist to fit our tribal tendencies. Certainly people can learn otherwise but it seems any institutions dedicated to peace, civility, helping others or expanding knowledge eventually get co-opted to serve baser instincts, if they aren't created under a subtext of them at the outset.

Humanity is not faced with a problem. Humanity is the problem.


Humanity is only the problem from the point of view of some humans, and perhaps other species.

The earth itself has no moral view on what should happen.


We are now at 415 consecutive months with global temperatures above the 20th century average. That's like flipping a coin 415 times and getting heads every time.


What about the, let's say past 4.5 Billion years? Is there a slight chance that this is a scam? Do elites and their governments throw bombs on innocent civilians? Is there a slight chance they could be lying about climate change? Do SO many climatologists really agree on man-made climate change? Many don't.

Still, we must protect our environment. Pollution is horrible and it needs to be addressed.


What is more likely? That some climate scientists are scamming the whole world and making enemies of the most powerful governments in North America, Europe, Saudi Arabia and the rest of OPEC + all the billionaires and corporations and investment funds invested in Coal&Oil&Gas&EnergyUtilities, and they have somehow maintained this lie for decades out in the open, somehow managing to fool everyone, and with convenient climate change all over the world to somehow coincide with their lies?

Or the other option, that your political understanding of the world is lacking?


> What about the, let's say past 4.5 Billion years?

That's not really relevant, is it? The issues with the climate change happening now is that it is man-made, and that we've built most of our civilization around the assumption that the climate was either not changing, or was changing very slowly.

If something was causing increase flooding in, say, Nebraska, would you bring up that Nebraska was hundreds of meters below water 100 million years ago? If an arsonist were setting wildfires in your your near inhabited areas, would you bring up that there have been wildfires for hundreds of thousands of years due to lighting?

And yes, we know that most of the present day climate change is man-made, because we know that most of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere during industrial times is man-made. We know that because CO2 that comes from burning fossil fuels and plants has a different isotope makeup than CO2 that comes from other sources.


Yes, actually. 98% agree on man-made climate change. 2% (not many) don't.

The higher the expertise of the climatologist the more likely they are to agree as well. Or, only the incompetent ones disagree.

https://web.archive.org/web/20151106083011/http://tigger.uic...

https://skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-conse...


Not doubting the monthly stat, but I don't think it makes sense to use the coin flip analogy from a pure mathematics point of view.

Coin flips are independent events. Daily temperatures are not.


I was going to say something like, "Or, if <X> is right about climate change, it's like 415 consecutive coin flips that are all heads", where <X> was one of the politicians or parties that claims the climate isn't warming, but thought that might get too political, so decided to leave that part of it implicit.


I'd love to see a source for that.


Check out NASA's page on surface temperature analysis:

https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v4/

Click the sub-heading for "Monthly Mean Global Surface Temperature", which will show the line graph/data for the temperature difference for a given month compared to the mean for 1951-1980.


Ya.. ok. but 1951-1980 isn't the 20'th century. It's 29 years.


Here you have the last 100 years, it's not better:

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/...



Sorry, I don't work at NASA nor am I a scientist in this field, but it should be obvious there's more to their data and analysis than just what's found on that URL. If you can click around their page and site, you can find a layperson FAQ where they give a broad explanation of their methodology (if you don't want to click through to the cited research papers). Here's the FAQ question relevant to why the 1951-1980 period is chosen:

https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/faq/index.html#q102

> Q. Why does GISS stay with the 1951-1980 base period?

> A. The primary focus of the GISS analysis are long-term temperature changes over many decades and centuries, and a fixed base period yields anomalies that are consistent over time.


Any average temperature comparison that excludes the 1930's and the Medieval Warm Period is most likely being deliberately deceptive.


From the GISS FAQ:

https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/faq/index.html#q202

> Q. Why does GISS show no data from before 1880?

> A. The analysis is limited to the period since 1880 because of poor spatial coverage of stations and decreasing data quality prior to that time. Meteorological station data provide a useful indication of temperature change in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics for a few decades prior to 1880, and there are a small number of station records that extend back to previous centuries. However, we believe that analyses for these earlier years need to be carried out on a station by station basis with an attempt to discern the method and reliability of measurements at each station, a task beyond the scope of our analysis. Global studies of still earlier times depend upon incorporation of proxy measures of temperature change like tree rings, ice core data, etc.


Sure - if you disregard the 50 billion months before you started counting your flips.


At one point it was difficult to flip because things were really cold.


What did life look like during these months?


Earth Temperature Timeline - https://xkcd.com/1732/


Doesn't it wave around a lot, and then the scary "current path" is basically a huge extrapolation?


The optimistic and best case scenarios are also scary.


Yes, and annoyingly it only goes back 20,000 years. Going back 400,000 years would tell a much more interesting story.


Extrapolation is when you have one wife on your wedding day and decide you will have thirty wives next month: https://xkcd.com/605/

What we have with climate is more like your neighbor appearing with two wives two months ago, with thirty wives one month ago, and today he has sixty wives and maybe a few husbands. Still waiting to verify if something is not right?


The "current path" is not "a huge extrapolation", it what is going to happen if we continue to do what we do (it includes our currently made and actually planned measures):

https://climateactiontracker.org/global/temperatures/

The current political "climate" makes very improbable that we'll achieve "only 2 deg in 2100" target that the politicians mention but don't do enough -- compare with how much easier were had we started in 2000:

http://folk.uio.no/roberan/t/global_mitigation_curves.shtml


Surprised it would be July, rather than January, which iirc is when the earth is closest to the sun... I'm concerned as to what that might mean for January, when we in Australia will have our Summer.


January is also when the southern hemisphere is closest to the sun, the southern hemisphere has a lot more water which regulates things. Which hemisphere is in summer when we're close to the sun is one of the things that's driven natural climate change in the past and one of they ways we know the current warming is an unnatural aberration.


The difference in distance to the sun is much less relevant than the effects of albedo and regional features for temperature.


someone should sponsor a big budget hollywood movie with A list stars and a top director to make a compelling movie about the disastrous potential of climate change. Will do a lot to raise awareness.



The premise of Interstellar is precisely this.


Being in Florence two weeks ago when it was 104F was downright unpleasant. The locals I was with said they don’t remember it being this hot for this long either.


I can confirm the whole Mediterranean region near Italy is going through successive heatwaves. Previously, it is not uncommon to have 40C days in the summer. But it is just a few random days. It is almost normal week/heatwave week now.

Tomorrow temperature around Tunis will be in the 41-45C range. That's very uncommon for this coastal city.


And it was snowing in Denver on Memorial day.

Weather is not climate, yada yada.

What is it going to take to get a global consensus that we'd like to have unadjusted temperature data, not controlled by adjusters that have a funding agenda?

What would it take to get a little raw data up in the house?


The fact that you even claim that this is a problem means that you have no interest in a debate and are just another mindless denier, because even a cursory study of the topic at hand shows that issues of measument calibration are completely unimportant.


Ummm. You said what?

I've been keeping track of data monthly for 30 years, and syncing with government sources of same, and you besmirch yourself.

The fact is: this could well be a crisis. But governments covering data for political reasons does nothing to inspire confidence, regardless of the squealing of pantywaists.

To wit- you don't spend trillions of other people's money on your night terrors


So... do you doubt the data? Do you doubt that the warmest years on record have happened in this past decade? Are you implying that calibration errors actually explain anything when the facts in question are obvious?


It's probably out there. I imagine most Meteorological agencies have it available.

The UK's Met Office historic has raw station readings going as far back as the station. Some go back further than others, unsurprisingly.

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/maps-and-data/...


There's a strong political bias here, but the data is compelling: https://realclimatescience.com/ he compares a lot of raw data to "adjusted" data. He claims that the reported temperatures are fraudulent: https://realclimatescience.com/understanding-noaa-us-tempera... I'm not an expert, but what I see there is pretty compelling, I've never really found a good refutation anywhere.


What’s the motive for reporting inflated temperatures?


Hear Hear! A little raw data up in here please!




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