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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tea Party denialists postpone Las Vegas convention due to heat wave

How hot is it? So hot that 8 countries in Africa and Asia set all-time high temperature records

And the Tea Party postponed their Las Vegas convention

by Joseph Romm, Climate Progress, June 29, 2010

Before getting to the irony of the anti-science Tea Partiers canceling their big convention because the weather is too hot, let’s look at some of the staggering extreme weather events around the globe.

In China, “The Southern Daily said over 600 millimetres (24 inches) of rain fell in Guangdong’s Huilai county over a six-hour period on Friday, a 500-year record.”  That’s two feet of rain in 6 hours!

As Dr. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told me earlier this month:
There is a systematic influence on all of these weather events now-a-days because of the fact that there is this extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future.
The latest record-smashing U.S. superstorm was two weeks ago in Oklahoma.  Now we know it was even more record-setting than initially thought — see Capital Climate’s update “Oklahoma City Paralyzed By Flash Floods“:
The final daily rainfall for Oklahoma City is 7.62″. This breaks the all-time daily rainfall record for any day in any month.
The Weather Channel reported:
Oklahoma City Micronet (OKCNET) reports that a rainfall observation of 10.21″ in OKC has exceeded the 1-in-500 year rainfall total for a 12 hour period.
Moreover, the 9 inches that fell in 6 hours meets the requirements for a 1 in 500 year flood event.
That’s almost as impressive as Tennessee’s 1000-year deluge.  As with Tennessee, New England, and Georgia, what makes OK’s deluge doubly remarkable is that it was not the remnant of a tropical storm (see “Weather Channel expert on Georgia’s record-smashing global-warming-type deluge“).

As for the heat, meteorologist Jeff Masters reports:
Extreme heat wave in Africa and Asia continues to set all-time high temperature records
A withering heat wave of unprecedented intensity and areal covered continues to smash all-time high temperatures Asia and Africa. As I reported earlier this week, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Chad, Niger, Pakistan, and Myanmar have all set new records for their hottest temperatures of all time over the past six weeks. The remarkable heat continued over Africa and Asia late this week. The Asian portion of Russia recorded its highest temperate in history yesterday, when the mercury hit 42.3 °C (108.1 °F) at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record was 41.7 °C (107.1 °F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004. (The record for European Russia is 43.8 °C (110.8 °F) set on August 6, 1940, at Alexandrov Gaj near the border with Kazakhstan.) Also, on Thursday, Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history when the mercury rose to 49.6 °C (121.3 °F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5 °C (121.1 °F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.
We’ve now had eight countries in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, that have beaten their all-time hottest temperature record during the past two months. This includes Asia’s hottest temperature of all-time, the astonishing 53.5 °C (128.3 °F) mark set on May 26, 2010, in Pakistan. All of these records are unofficial, and will need to be certified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). According to Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, the only year which can compare is 2003, when six countries (the UK, France, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein) all broke their all-time heat records during that year’s notorious summer heat wave. Fortunately, the residents of the countries affected by this summer’s heat wave in Asia and Africa are more adapted to extreme high temperatures, and we are not seeing the kind of death tolls experienced during the 2003 European heat wave (30,000 killed). This week’s heat wave in Africa and the Middle East is partially a consequence of the fact that Earth has now seen three straight months with its warmest temperatures on record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. It will be interesting to see if the demise of El Niño in May will keep June from becoming the globe’s fourth straight warmest month on record.
Note:  Masters updated his post, so I have updated this one.

I know that, for the anti-science crowd, this is all a coincidence, but when you smash so many records in huge countries or entire continents, at the same time that NASA reports that globally it was easily the hottest spring — and Jan-May — in the temperature record (and NOAA, too), well maybe some major media outlet somewhere will make the link.  No it probably won’t be the Washington Post.

I previously discussed the record-breaking temperature sweeping the nation (see “Record heat sweeps DC, nation, and world“).
Total number of daily high and low temperature records set in the U.S., data from NOAA National Climatic Data Center, background image © Kevin Ambrose.  Includes historical daily observations archived in NCDC’s Cooperative Summary of the Day data set and preliminary reports from Cooperative Observers and First Order National Weather Service stations.  All stations have a Period of Record of at least 30 years.
Finally, the Tea Party story is just too ironic not to report.

The Tea Party crowd famously doesn’t believe in global warming (see “Virginia AG mocks dangers of CO2, telling Tea Partiers to hold their breath and make the EPA happy“).  They even invite the most extremist disinformers and purveyors of hate speech to their events (see “Irony-gate 2: Modern day Tea Partiers outsource denial to Lord Monckton — a British peer!“).

As TPM Cafe reported yesterday in their story, “Tea Party Convention Postponed — Vegas In July Is Too Hot!”
A planned “unity” convention for tea partiers is being pushed to the fall, with organizers scrapping a major gathering with just 19 days before it was scheduled to go off. They cited heat….
Tea Party Nation announced in an email to members this weekend that their “unity” convention, planned for July 15-17 in Las Vegas, would be delayed….
Full email below:
“This week, there were several meetings of the Executive Planning Committee for the convention. We concluded it would more advantageous to hold the convention in the middle of October just prior to the November elections….
“This was not a spur of the moment decision contrary to anyone’s opinion or thoughts….
“We were so excited about the tremendous success of the first convention, we jumped into this second convention without considering the timing. The heat in Las Vegas in July is keeping many who would like to participate from attending…..”
Seriously.  Nobody told the Tea Partiers that it’s hot in July in Vegas?  True, there have been two June mini-heat waves in in Vegas.


But in fact, temperatures are only running “3 to 6 degrees above normal,” so this isn’t even the record smashing stuff that I normally write about.  No, this is merely the kind of hot weather any group capable of rational planning would have to anticipate.  Jumping into things without actually thinking them through at all is a perfect metaphor for the Tea Party crowd, though.

If this kind of warmth chases away people from Vegas now, I wonder how many people are going to show up in the summer down the line if we stay anywhere near our current emissions path if you like it hot, you ain’t seen nothing yet (see Our hellish future: Definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts warns of scorching 9 to 11 °F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90 °F some 120 days a year — and that isn’t the worst case, it’s business as usual!”).

In a terrific March presentation, Climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe has a figure of what business as usual (A1F1 or 1000 ppm) would mean (derived from the NOAA-led report):


Who knows, maybe they’ll put a dome over the entire city and try to air condition that with, say, Concentrated solar thermal power Solar Baseload — a core climate solution.  Absent that, one would expect a mass migration up to the north and northeast.  By century’s end, what happens in Vegas, in the summertime, may not be very much at all.

Note:  In response to a query, extreme weather expert Chris Burt e-mails me (via Jeff Masters):
The Chinese (and world) record for a 6-hour rainfall is 33.07″ at Muduocaidang, Inner Mongolia, on Aug. 1-2, 1977. I have never been able to locate this place, but being transliterated from Chinese it is hard to tell what the ‘real’ name might be or if the name has changed since 1977. The “500-year record” is a hydrological statement (such a rainfall has a once in 500-year return period for that location) not that it broke a 500-year old record.

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