Killer heat wave breaks Dust Bowl-era records

It's "folly" to blame the killer heat wave blanketing the eastern United States under misery on global warming, says climate change denier Anthony Watts, because, after all, the entire globe isn't suffering a heat wave. No, seriously:

The is weather, not climate. It is caused by a persistent blocking high pressure pattern. In a day or two, that red splotch [denoting heat] over the eastern USA will be gone.

Countless scientists disagree. Leading the pack on-line is Dr. Jeff Masters, who offers Chicago in 2012 as an example of a persistent change, and not a hiccup in the passage of weather patterns:

Chicago, IL hit 103° Friday, which was just 2° shy of their official all-time high of 105° set on July 24, 1934 (the unofficial Midway Airport site recorded 109° on July 23, 1934, though.) Friday was the third consecutive day with a temperature of 100° or hotter in Chicago, tying the record for most consecutive 100° days (set on July 3 – 5, 1911 and Aug 4 – 6, 1947.) Historically, Chicago has 15 days per summer over 90° and 1 day every 2.3 years over 100°. Under a higher-emissions scenario, climate change models predict that Chicago could experience over 70 days above 90° by 2100 and 30 days over 100°. With summer less than half over, Chicago has seen 18 days over 90° and 4 over 100° in 2012. The record number of 100° days in Chicago is 8, set in 1988. The heat wave in Chicago comes at the end of a nine-month period of record warmth in the city, including the warmest March on record. As a result, Lake Michigan has heated up to the warmest levels ever seen this early in the year. Temperatures of 80°–fifteen degrees above average–were measured at the South Buoy on Lake Michigan on Friday. 

And he points out that if we don't reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it will get markedly worse: Chicagoextremeheat

[Graph from the Union of Concerned Scientists.]

Blogger/thinker/writer Matthew Iglesias puts it another way, on Twitter

There’s a conceptual error in asking whether global warming causes unusual heat waves when the issue is that it consists of them.

And then adds:

It’s like arguing about whether hurricanes cause high wind speeds.

Have we been thinking about this all wrong?

Futurist Alex Steffen, also young, is not so philosophical:

We are waging an undeclared war on the future. 

Can't help but note the irony here: For p.r. reasons, apparently, right-wing political action committees, or CAPs, routinely reference the future. It's so uniform that they've taken virtually all the obvious names: Restore Our Future (Romney), Winning Our Future (Gingrich). American Crossroads (Rove).

A duo of young Democratic political operatives, determined to start a PAC of their own, discovered this, as chronicled in a NYTimes magazine story:

It took several weeks for Burton and Sweeney to come up with a name for their start-up [PAC]. To their irritation, every slogan they considered had already been trademarked by Republicans. “We gave our lawyer 10 more names,” Burton recalls. “Then like 50. We’re literally trying every combination of whatever. You can’t come up with a name that has the word ‘future’ in it that the Republicans don’t control. Romney’s Restore Our Future — that doesn’t even make sense, and that’s probably why they were able to get it.”    

It's so perfectly Orwellian. If you wish to have a free hand to destroy our future, it's helpful to at first take the word itself hostage. 

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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