SHANGHAI (AP) – It’s been so hot in China that folks are grilling shrimp on manhole covers, eggs are hatching without incubators and a highway billboard has mysteriously caught fire by itself.
The heat wave — the worst in at least 140 years in some parts — has left dozens of people dead and pushed thermometers above 104 degrees F in at least 40 cities and counties, mostly in the south and east. Authorities for the first time have declared the heat a “level 2″ weather emergency — a label normally invoked for typhoons and flooding.
“It is just hot! Like in a food steamer!” 17-year-old student Xu Sichen said outside the doors of a shopping mall in the southern financial hub of Shanghai while her friend He Jiali, also 17, complained that her Read more…
Death Valley in July. (David McNew / Getty Images / July 14, 2013)
Long before scientists began to study global warming, author Raymond Chandler described the violent effects of dry, “oven-hot” Santa Ana winds gusting through the city of Los Angeles.
“Every booze party ends in a fight,” he wrote in his 1938 story “Red Wind.” “Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband’s necks. Anything can happen.”
While social commentators have long suggested that extreme heat can unleash the beast in man, formal study of the so-called heat hypothesis — the theory that high temperatures fuel aggressive and violent behavior — is relatively new. Using examples as disparate as road rage, ancient wars and Major League Baseball, scientists have taken early steps to quantify the potential Read more…
The seeds of conflict take root.
This is one of the scenarios Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, presented today to members of the United Nations Security Council in New York to show the connection between climate change and global security challenges.
Either rich nations will find a way to supply needy nations suffering from damaging climate effects “or you will have all kinds of unrest and revolutions, with the export of angry and hungry people to the industrialised countries,” Schellnhuber said in an interview.
In the Marshall Islands — site of US nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s and now being lost to Read more…
By Marlene Cimons
As the Northeast digs out from under a mammoth blizzard, it might seem easy for climate change skeptics to point to such intense storms as evidence that global warming isn’t real.
They would be wrong.
“Climate change contrarians and deniers love to cherry-pick individual events to argue that they are somehow inconsistent with global warming, when they are not,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. “As long as it’s cold enough to snow – which it will be in the winter – you potentially will get greater snowfalls.”
The reality is that such snowstorms often don’t occur despite global warming, but because of it. “It’s basic physics, and it’s irrefutable,” Mann said.
The science behind this is Read more…
The last decade has produced record-breaking heat waves in many parts of the world. At the same time, it was globally the warmest since sufficient measurements started in the 19th century. Here we show that, worldwide, the number of local record-breaking monthly temperature extremes is now on average five times larger than expected in a climate with no long-term warming. This implies that on average there is an 80 % chance that a new monthly heat record is due to climatic change. Large regional differences exist in the number of observed records. Summertime records, which are associated with prolonged heat waves, increased by more than a factor of ten in some continental regions including parts of Europe, Africa, southern Asia and Amazonia. Overall, these high record numbers are quantitatively consistent with those expected for the observed climatic warming trend with Read more…
A dry section of the Morse Reservoir in Cicero, Ind., in July.
The numbers are in: 2012, the year of a surreal March heat wave, a severe drought in the Corn Belt and a huge storm that caused broad devastation in the Middle Atlantic States, turns out to have been the hottest year ever recorded in the contiguous United States.
How hot was it? The temperature differences between years are usually measured in fractions of a degree, but last year’s 55.3 degree average demolished the previous record, set in 1998, by a full degree Fahrenheit.
If that does not sound sufficiently impressive, consider that 34,008 daily high records were set at weather stations across the country, compared with only 6,664 record lows, according to a count maintained by the Weather Channel meteorologist Guy Walton, using federal temperature records.
That ratio, which was roughly in Read more…
As scorching temperatures persist across Australia, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology added a new color to its weather forecasting map, extending the range to 54ºC, or 129ºF, from the previous cap of 50ºC, or 122ºF.
The new, deeper purple “dome of heat” swirls above South Australia, indicating temperatures above 50ºC in some areas.
Bureau of Meteorology
The previous all-time temperature record was 50.7ºC, reached in South Australia in 1960.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology says this is the first time Australia has ever recorded five consecutive days of temperatures above 39ºC (102ºF). Nationwide average temperatures on each of the first six days of 2013 were among the top 20 hottest days on record.
This is also the year with the most record days in Australia since 1910, when national records began
Permafrost soils in Canada’s Arctic are melting at a rate that will significantly speed up global warming, according to new research from the University of Victoria.
The study, published this week in Nature Geoscience, predicts that the thawing permafrost will release between 68 billion and 508 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere by the year 2100.
As a result of those carbon emissions, researchers say the Earth’s temperature will rise by more than 0.5 C by the end of the century.
Although seemingly insignificant, that amount is in addition to the two degrees the Earth’s temperature is expected to rise because of global warming from industrial sources.
Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria and one of the study’s authors, warns that once the planet warms by more than two Read more…
By Live Science
- The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s research vessel Knorr docked before its departure on Sept. 6 to study salinity in the mid-Atlantic ocean. (NASA)
By Wynne Parry
Over the past 50 years, the salty parts of the oceans have become saltier and the fresh regions have become fresher, and the degree of change is greater than scientists can explain.
Researchers are heading out into one particularly salty ocean region, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, in the hopes of better understanding what drives variation in salinity in the upper ocean.
Ultimately, they hope, research like this will offer insight on the dynamics behind the dramatic changes in the ocean’s salt content.
Many oceanographers have a hunch about what is going on: Climate change, Ray Schmitt, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, told journalists during a news conference Wednesday (Sept. 5).
“Climate is changing all the time, and some of that change is due to natural variation,” Schmitt said. “The 50-year trend we are talking about, most of us believe is really due to the general trend of Read more…