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More and More of the Earth Is Getting Hotter and Hotter

More and More of the Earth Is Getting Hotter and Hotter

A new scientific paper says that more and more of the earth is being affected by extreme heat in the summer. Prior to 1980, extreme heat covered less than 1 percent of the earth’s land surface while, in recent decades, it now covers 13 percent. The paper goes on to say that it can be stated “with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies [heat waves] such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.”

The paper, which was published online on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, not only makes a case for  humans’ role in causing climate change, but also goes “beyond the established scientific consensus about the role of climate change in causing weather extremes,” says the New York Times.

In particular since 1980, scientists have noted a rise of 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over land in the past century. At issue is whether the extreme weather events singled out in the paper can be directly and definitely attributed to human activity. The paper’s findings are based on an analysis of statistics and, for these reasons, some scientists have expressed reservations about it. The title of the paper is “Perception of climate change” and, as Martin P. Hoerling, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration whose research focuses on the causes of extreme weather says, it is “mainly about perception” and “perception is not a science.”

James E. Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist, is one of the paper’s authors and, as the New York Times notes, has “discomfited some of his fellow researchers, who fear that his political activities may be sowing unnecessary doubts about his scientific findings and climate science in general.” Hansen has marched, and been arrested in, protests demanding that the government pursue new policies on energy and the climate.

The new paper, Hoerling notes, “confuses drought, caused primarily by a lack of rainfall, with heat waves” but other scientists assert that there is a link between global warming and drought. On Science Blogs, Greg Laden lists a number of studies that argue for a link between recent warming and widespread drought in, notably and tragically, Africa. Using the Palmer Drought Severity Index, one study finds that there has been “widespread drying over Africa, East and South Asia, and other areas from 1950 to 2008″ and that “most of this drying is due to recent warming.” In fact, around the globe, the percentage of dry areas has “increased by about 1.74 percent (of global land area) per decade from 1950 to 2008.”

It may never be possible to directly link particular extreme weather events, like the 2011 droughts in Texas and Oklahoma. But for those of us sweating through summer days on which the mercury has risen to new records (and with the US in its worst drought since 1956), it seems something like folly not to keep pushing for lowering greenhouse gas emissions; for encouraging people to drive less and bike and walk or take public transportation (provided, of course, that public transportation is available); and for government policies promoting sustainable energy alternatives. How hot does it have to get to take serious action?

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87 comments

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9:22AM PDT on Oct 5, 2012

so many people deny that climate change is real, but the facts are right there. and even IF it was all fake, would it be BAD if we tried to help the environment? What are these people worried about? Making the world a cleaner, healthier, better place is GOOD no matter the reason.

8:55PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Obama the green president supports filthy coal companies. Harper the environmental terrorist of Canada continues to use extortion and bribes to peddle his filthy tar sands, the dirtiest oil on earth. Australia, China continue flooding the earth with coal, which is responsible for 40% of global warming. Don't forget the billions of tons of plastic and toxins they choe the oceans with, the clearcutting of earths forests and extermination of earth's life to put the final nail in the coffin. Overpopulated humanity is the stupidest species in the universe and doesn't deserve the oxygen they breathe.

4:04PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

I don't suppose that the HAARP interference with the ionosphere or the constant chemtrails would have anything to do with it? These are factors that never seem to get mentioned.

2:30AM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

And Edo F ~ you are ever so right. I have always said that until the problem, whether it be garbage, flooding, or drought conditions is right at the front or back door of people's houses, they won't care. You hit the nail right on the head. I have watched in horror over the years with all of what you Aussies have had to endure, and my family and I have always kept your Australian peoples, animals, and land in my prayers. A star is on the way....

2:24AM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

You have so much wisdom Michael C ~ God bless you and a star is on it's way.

2:21AM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

And it will continue ~ to the peril of innocent Mother Earth and her animals. Humans suck and it's obvious that climate change deniers have had lobotomies!

4:47PM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Continued from below: I so yearn for a new counter.

I wish I could say that I will see you in 30 years, but that would be planting a lie upon the multitudes that have come before, to become another lie.

All of this reminds me of the words of Nikita Khrushchev, “What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying.” It is Shiva, the Destroyer.

4:44PM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Continued from below:

One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Sagan is "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proofs".

Boy, did we fool them. No, you see that with all the we do, we still leave a carbon footprint, albeit, a baby foot print. Even if all the people on this planet lived as we do, the planet would still remain as it is...DYING. So there you have it, we write, we bitch, we blame the Kock Bros. But it is all of us that are at fault, it is us that condemned our grandchildren to a slow, agonizing DEATH.

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”

Norman Cousins

So next time the grandkids are visiting, hug them, tell them that you love them, even if you do not, hell, they bought all that other crap we fed them for years, like, were are concerned about GCC and we are truly doing all that we can do to solve the problem. Look I recycle, sometimes.
But whatever you do, don't turn your back on them, they are liable to shoot you or sue you for false promises and the years full of lies. So don't let me interrupt, you have a posting to write.

We will not inherit the earth
from our ancestors, we borrow it
from our children. --Native Indian Proverb

I wish I could say that I will see you in 30 years, but that would be planting a lie upon the multitudes that have come before, to become another lie.
Something there reminds me of the words of Nikita Khrushchev, “What the scienti

4:06PM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Well, it is so good to see that so many of you are now endorsing Global Climate Change (GCC), it only took you 30 years, Congratulations.

So I guess that we will have to wait another 30 years for you to actually do something beyond, ty, noted, thanks, thanks for sharing, LOL.

News Flash: It doesn't matter, the one thing that Climate experts will not tell you...Game Over.

Don't worry, the planet will carry on, just in an evolved state, one without Man, so what, what did we ever bring to the betterment of this Big Blue Planet. We are takers, not givers.

We have been off-the -grid, fully solar and wind powered for over 30 years, I have produced my own fuel for 15 years, BioDiesel at $1.00 per gallon, we grow much of what we desire, along with our own fish, Tilapia. We compost, we long ago learned to Reduce, Renew and Recycle.
We produce less than 2.6 lbs of waste every 2 weeks.

When building a new building or structure, we call upon our boneyard, where we store the building materials that we acquire from structures that were being discarded, and there is a lot that going on in Gringoland.

Some many news groups and documentarians have visited our 160 acre experiment and gone away thinking that we are the answer to man's many problems.

Boy, did we fool them. No, you see that with all the we do, we still leave a carbon footprint, albeit, a baby foot print. Even if all the people on this planet lived as we do, the planet would still remain as it is...DYING. So

3:41PM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Watch the climate-change deniers continue to proclaim to the word that they not only suffer from cranium rectumitis on this issue, but are actually PROUD of that fact! Climate change is REAL, with proof that is getting more and more visible each year, yet these knuckleheads continue to blame these extreme conditions on natural heating/cooling cycles, El Nino, or screaming that it's a sign of the Apocalypse and that we need to "get right with Jesus" before it's too late!

Get your heads out of your butts and wake the hell up, people! We need to literally clean up our act already!

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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