Forget Tornadoes. Lets Talk--Unendingly--About Heat Waves and Global Warming

Earlier this year, I grew uncomfortable with attempts to link the massive tornado destruction that we saw in the U.S. to climate change. As I explained then—based on an interview with Harold Brooks, one of our top experts on tornadoes and climate—the evidence just doesn’t support this assertion. We can’t show that tornadoes have gone up, or gotten worse. Nor can we show that the theory or models predict that they should in a warming world.

However, we’ve just experienced a staggering U.S. heat wave (visual here), and that makes it seriously time to talk about the link to climate change, and not shut up any time soon.

First, let’s review the heat wave, thanks to the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang:

Nationally, 1,966 daily high maximum temperature records have been broken or tied so far this month (through July 23). Sixty-six of those records were all-time maximum temperature records.More impressive, however, are the figures for highest minimum temperature records. Because of the extremely high humidity levels during this heat wave, a whopping 4,376 record highest minimum temperature records were broken or tied through July 23. Of those minimum temperature records, 158 were all-time records.

While the tornado-global warming linkage is among the hardest of cases to make, the heat wave linkage is among the easiest. It is just fricken obvious that on a warming planet, the chance of greater heat extremes goes up, because the dice are loaded in their favor. NOAA itself reports that overall, the U.S. was .5 degrees Celsius hotter from 1981-2010 than it was from 1971-2000, leading the agency to talk about a “new normal” for U.S. temperature.

Similarly, the IPCC says of U.S. heatwaves unequivocally:

Severe heatwaves, characterised by stagnant, warm air masses and consecutive nights with high minimum temperatures, will intensify in magnitude and duration over the portions of the U.S. and Canada where they already occur (high confidence) (Cheng et al., 2005). Late in the century, Chicago is projected to experience 25% more frequent heatwaves annually (using the PCM AOGCM with a business-as-usual emissions scenario, for the period 2080 to 2099) (Meehl and Tebaldi, 2004), and the projected number of heatwave days in Los Angeles increases from 12 to 44-95 (based on PCM and HadCM3 for the A1FI and B1 scenarios, for the 2070 to 2099 period) (Hayhoe et al., 2004).

Then there’s NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt, who told Media Matters that it’s

…very probable that any particular heat wave happening now will be shown to have become more likely because of global warming…Of all the different extreme events that can happen, the partial attribution of heat waves to ongoing climate change is one of the easier connections.

What this means is that now—not during the May peak of tornado season—is the time to once again try to rally the public to care about climate change.

The seasonality of public concern is annoying, or even downright irrational, but it’s also very real. Just look at the public opinion data from Yale and George Mason: When people are asked either about whether “The record heat waves last summer in the United States strengthened my belief that global warming is occurring” or whether “The record snowstorms this winter in the eastern United States make me question whether global warming is occurring,” their answer is, basically, “Yes.” Actually, to be precise, 54 percent somewhat or strongly agree with the former, while 47 percent somewhat or strongly agree with the latter—and they’re surely not all the same people. Still, this just hints at the pliability of public opinion on this issue when the weather changes.

That’s why summer is always the time to talk to the public about global warming, and we need to recognize that other parts of the year probably aren’t as good.

And lest you think this too obvious to bear mentioning, never forget: In 2009, the IPCC held an absolutely critical meeting in a snowy December in Copenhagen. 


The IPCC did not hold that critical meeting in Copenhagen - it was the UNFCCC. Wow the level of ignorance in these comments is staggering.. Do a little research at least.

… is looking in the wrong place. It is looking for all-time heat records, not daily.

Try this link instead:[]=US#records_look_up

July 17 - 18 records broken, 28 tied for high max.
July 18 - 30 broken, 41 tied.
July 19 - 36 broken, 33 tied.
July 20 - 75 broken, 65 tied.
July 21 - 133 broken, 73 tied.
July 22 - 191 broken, 72 tied.
July 23 - 183 broken, 64 tied.

The fact that there are still ALL-TIME records being broken is even more alarming. It’s still early in the summer.

They’ve been unsurprisingly quiet about this heat wave on watts up with that, so I’ve just googled what they had to say about the 3rd largest snowfall on record, last winter:

“Where’s all the warming?”

At least WUWT are more predictable than the weather!

WUWT also didn’t want it’s readers knowing about the state of the arctic either. Or the fact that it has surpassed the lowest 2007 levels.

They have been strangely quiet about the heat up there. But so much a one fresh ice cube lands there, they are all over it.

No AC in 1911 or cooling centres for that matter. ERs did not exist either, nor did bottled water probably, nor did weather warnings and watches advising people to take preventative action. Et cetera…

What is it with the silly trolls on this site citing Goddard? I mean citing someone like Goddard as if he is some authority on the subject is just plain ludicrous and stupid in the extreme. Goddard, or whatever his real name is, was so incredibly bad that even Anthony Watts got rid of him.

I’m still waiting for one of these drones to say something profound or coherent or based on reputable, vetted science. Go on give it your best shot, or was linking to an anonymous ideological blogger your best? LOL.

You drones have nothing and it is showing fellas ;)

I must take strong exception to your notion that the tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest this year were somehow within normal variability, because that is essentially what you are saying.

In April, I was home for a visit to deep southern Illinois where the worst tornado outbreak in U.S. history occurred in 1925. 700 people died. It is not Oklahoma, but we are certainly used to storms and tornadoes there.

The fact that the atmosphere is holding, on average, 4 percent more water vapor, with a higher percentage of that being over land, means that extreme weather events are more likely due to the extra energy.

So, in April, we had not one but TWO tornado outbreaks of stupendous proportions.

It is a disservice to this entire discussion to glibly dismiss the 2011 tornadoes.

They were part and parcel of the entire system that has been warmed – just because it is difficult to attribute the occurrence of a tornado to global warming does not mean there is no relationship.

Sorry, but the experts agree here: there just isn’t enough evidence to definitively link the tornado outbreaks to climate change.

That’s not to say there is no link. Please get that right out of your mind. They’re not denying the possibility. What they’re saying is that there’s not enough science or data there to actually be sure what happened.

Jumping up and down and saying it MUST be related is exactly the kind of half-assed stuff that denialists depend on to undermine climate change. We can’t use it.

Two observations:

1) There is more energy in the climate system due to the modest amount of warming that has occurred so far, as detailed here: . No direct link to severity of tornadoes has been shown, but as you say, certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

2) As the comments here show, deniers are shooting at anything that moves, so that may not be a good criterion. A better one is to stick to good science, as you are urging. – Regards, Tom Gray, Wind Energy Communications Consultant

foolish anon, the correlation is that the probability of extreme weather events has increased. It is not necessary to be able to attribute a single event to global warming.


This site is infested with trolls and drones. If you wish to have an intellectual discussion grounded in reality and rooted in science, then it is best to engage someone who can actually articulate a comprehensible argument. That is, not the trolls/drones.

So how about we have a rational discussion and ignore the juvenile tantrum in the back ground? :)

With regards to the tornado swarm in the USA, I have to agree with Harold Brooks on this one.

They must be drones….the word you are looking for is “correlation”.

“None of the real experts have been able to show a corrolation and they desperately want to.”

A strawman.

Next vacuous statement trolls and Watts groupies….you know, you just keep reinforcing the very well known fact that “skeptics” and those in denial about “AGW” have no interest whatsoever in the science or facts. Much easier to troll and engage in innuendo, distortion and rhetoric etc. So thanks for, yet again, showing this so very nicely.

Meanwhile, back to science. From Jones et al. (2008, JGR):
“We show that hot summers which were infrequent 20–40 years ago are now much more common and that our projections indicate that the current sharp rise in incidence of hot summers is likely to continue.”

I’m sure that the drones will have something very scientific and insightful and compelling to say about the above study ;)

All the energy spent denying.. sigh…

Broken temperature records, growing consumption, compounding factors… warnings, advisories and data.. all denied.

More people on the face of earth than ever before.. they could admit that huh? More energy used than ever before. could they admit that? ‘Free for all’ fire sales everywhere and yet… anyone who wants to truthfully, intelligently know for sure what is happening is a swindler and a con and a gravy train rider… or an eco terrorist.. gheesh,.
I guess this guy can selectively forget that the gravy train’s academic profits are about .0003% of what business is making from tax free, unregulated spew and consumption of resources packaged up with banker and tobacco style ‘bold faced lies’….

Some people dont care if we make it past the next fifty years. Some people will never take or admit responsibility or culpability.. Born deniers…They just cant face reality or do their part to help be safe… sigh.

Thanks for the excellent display of projection. Oh, and for providing yet another vacuous statement, and an ad hom to boot.

Other than that, you have nothing :) :)

Zilch eh. Come on surprise me, say something scientific and compelling :o)

You and Goddard (whoever he is) are betting against physics mate, and only the most naive gamblers do so:

“Only the most naive gamblers bet against physics, and only the most irresponsible bet with their grandchildren’s resources” W. Calvin, 2002.

Consider also,

“Those who will not reason, perish in the act. Those who will not act, perish for that reason.”
W. Auden

I asked you to surprise us and say something “scientific and compelling”.

If your above little rant is the very antithesis of that :) So an epic fail on your part, but thanks for trying.

And for those who are interested in science:

Again, be sure to read the cited peer-reviewed references therein.

“When one of you Alarmists post something seriouly compelling with some tidbit of real fact backed up by indisputable emperical evidence that Climate change is MAN made and not MANN made….. Perhaps I will respond.”

Of course, you’ll respond by trying to claim the source is biased or compromised.

Just like you have with all the indisputable emperical [sic] evidence presented so far.

Chris Mooney quoted:

(warm day = CAGW, Cold day = weather) LOLOLOLOL

This common insinuation–that somehow, human-caused climate change is refuted by the perennial occurrence of bad winter weather–puts us scientific rationalists in a bind. The problem is that unlike many denier talking points, there isn’t really even an argument being put forward here that might be refuted. It’s more of a “nyah nyah,” followed by, “I never believed you to begin with, but this time of year, I just feel sorry for you.”

I mean, sure, we can reply by pointing out the distinction between climate and weather. We can further explain why global warming can actually mean more snow because warmer air holds more moisture–something a few brave souls attempt to get across each winter.

“You just can’t make this silly stuff up…”

Aah, but Goddard, or whatever his real name is, can make up silly stuff (as can Monckton, Carter, Watts, Eschenbach and the other myriad of obfuscators and tricksters) :) In fact, Goddard is very good at it.

Poor Steve and other denialists must be worried, as evidenced by Steve’s plethora of especially BS posts of late :) Oh well, feel free to keep citing BS denier drones… :)

You know what is interesting about Goddards post? There is literally no data there. He pulls a few record high temps from the history books and says, “Look, its been hot before!”

Do you somehow think this passes for analysis? Do you think that it even makes sense in any place except Bizarro world?

Great, more “facts” from ideologically driven blogs. LOL.

And it is not over yet:

Just in case you don’t read the whole thread…

I answered this in an earlier reply. Lots of records have been broken… daily records. The “almost no” records your sources claim are ALL-TIME records… and the fact those are being broken this early in summer is ugly.

Try doing research instead of being a parrot, eh?

Along with a useful comparison of new high temperature records with new low temperature records is provided here: . - Regards, Tom Gray, Wind Energy Communications Consultant

With Chris Mooney, it is talk about normal summer heat waves as “climate” but talk about northern hemisphere globally cold winters as “weather”–where does the demagoguery stop?? Checking NOAA records reveals the recent heat waves as nothing unusual. Checking NOAA records for the past 15 years reveals that the US is COOLING! NOAA records and carefully done peer reviewed scientific reports mean sea level to be stable since 1880 and earlier–except for some small deceleration in the past several years. Chris Mooney’s reports are junk science–no more, no less.

“Checking NOAA records for the past 15 years reveals that the US is COOLING!”

Cherry pick much? Cherry pick area (US, <2% of planet’s surface area) and time window. Regardless, not NOAA, but close enough:

Long-term warming.

Go here:

Select “annual” and plot, long-term trend is up.

Next absurd claim made by those in denial about AGW:
NOAA records and carefully done peer reviewed scientific reports mean sea level to be stable since 1880 and earlier–except for some small deceleration in the past several years.”

Intriguing statement, without any sources to back it up I might add. By “carefully done peer reviewed” do you mean inappropriate data analysis, including cherry picking? Try reading the literature in these including the scientific references therein:

Rational, informed people have figured out by now that the people trolling this site are full of BS, do not back up their ludicrous claims.

In other words the trolls are full of hot air and no substance.

If you ask me as a concerned world citizen ‘What if you are dead wrong about AGW’?

I can tell you I would be very relieved, happy and humbled. I would never be harsh on myself or be embarrassed for being so wrong because it is better to ‘err on the side of caution’, especially when there are no second chances. I feel a real need to learn about the changes I am seeing that we are causing. If you dont believe these changes are real, why are you here being Murdoch foolish with facts, logic and reason?

I like that you care about the money that could be wasted. I can imagine there are some wasted funds out there. Climate understanding wise..probably lots of mistakes have been made too. And, yeah, there are incompetent ‘climate’ sleaze bags around as well. Maybe my concern would have added to some waste and some unneeded research. I might be part of the wasteful ‘concerned’ crowd. Some of the funds are serious and some of them frivolous… Really though, with all the changes afoot, what real harm could all the knowledge about our planet do? So, it’s not a total waste, even if the premise turns out to be wrong. I hope you can understand that.

Ask a denier what he would do if he/she is wrong……. Well, thats when the logic(or seriously lack thereof) is open for all to see. The saving efforts needed later, for denied realities and data of the day, are 100 fold greater..later.. Where will the nay saying deniers be then? Probably in the lifeboats.. pulling a J. Bruce Ismay…

Please continue with the good work good people. Dont let sad, mad people, who dont understand ‘hide the decline’, slow you down or bring you down. After all, if you use a filtered glass to hide the sun’s harmful rays during an eclipse.. the eclipse didnt happen.. crazy…

Thank you anon, for that nice, simple, logical and plainly written testament. So simple even a 2 year old could follow it. Thanks for sharing……
Unfortunately it’s no where near good enough. “Some wasted funds” you say? lol! Talk about an understatement in a time when the US is about to default on all it’s loans and get downgraded and cause interest rates to spike. Make no mistake, if the US defaults it will affect the Global financial world. The US isn’t Greece!
This isn’t about “what real harm could all the knowledge about our planet do”, this is about the biggest scam in the history of the world wasting potentially TRILLIONS of dollars to try to reverse what amounts to a 1.5 degree increase in temperature. Let’s hope people come to their senses before it’s too late for the world economy!

Got to love it when those in denial state opinions as facts. And you especially got to love it when they do not provide one iota of evidence to support their strong opinions.

Multiple, independent lines of evidence point to a best estimate of climate sensitivity to doubling CO2 of +3 C.

And don’t forget about ocean acidification:

Look up the expression “talking through one’s hat”. It applies to you. So does engaging in fear mongering (“too late for the world economy”) and alarmism (“trillions of dollars”).

Just a little tip for you…
No one reads the skepticalscience site, not even serious CAGW folks. It’s almost as bad as Climate Progress (now called ‘Think Progress’?). Find some new links to post if you actually want skeptics to read them, ok?

p.s. nice attempt to turn the tables with the ‘fear mongering’ and ‘alarmism’ angle, lol! ;)

Hello Hank,

“No one reads the skepticalscience site…”

Oh dear, a demonstrably false and alarming statement. Regardless, people do read the peer-reviewed papers that SkS cites. So either way, you are flat out wrong.

“Find some new links to post if you actually want skeptics to read them, ok?”

Hank, I do not expect people like you to read or concern yourself with the science; I am providing those links for people who are true skeptics.

Oh NO! You didn’t just cite Skeptical Science as a source, after complaining about the skeptics sources? Wow! You just cited probably the worst BS, non-science source on AGW.

Worse, you didn’t even know it.

that Skeptical Science really rattles these deniers.

why else would this be written:

‘Oh NO! You didn’t just cite Skeptical Science as a source, after complaining about the skeptics sources? Wow! You just cited probably the worst BS, non-science source on AGW.’

Blanket rhetoric in place of argument.

And its not as if the Emperor of wishfull thinking hasn’t been exposed as having no clothes - he cannot even be honest about the rating of his own blog let alone the non-science he posts.

That’s a big problem for you isn’t it. Events are demonstrating that those of us who have seen the science and understand what’s afoot have been correct all along and all you have to grasp to stop you sinking is straw men and the offerings of cranks. You must like scoffing bubkes.

Oh come on Lionel! We all know that the skeptical science site’s sole purpose is to be a very low level ‘turn to’ answer site for newbie warmists that are getting their butts kicked on blog answer forums like this one.
They are pure propaganda and you know it. You won’t see anyone linking to that place in the discussions at intelligent blogs such as Judith Curry’s etc (and yes, she’s a warmist of sorts).
Most of the skeptics that post here gave up on Skeptical science a long time ago. H

“Oh come on Lionel! We all know that the skeptical science site’s sole purpose is to be a very low level ‘turn to’ answer site for newbie warmists”

It has peer reviewed papers backing up virtually everyone of it’s posts. Unlike denier blogs, which are sheer opinion &hearsay. It strikes fear into every denier &you know it. You wouldn,t dare go there & get owned worse than you do here.

“getting their butts kicked on blog answer forums like this one.”

Please point to where this has happened, I am yet to see it. Maybe you are experiencing an alternate reality. Even on WUWT the go to place for conservative deniers, they are getting their butts kicked even there. There is no where to hide now for the deniers.

” You won’t see anyone linking to that place in the discussions at intelligent blogs such as Judith Curry’s etc ”

Because it’s a denier blog and denialists simply link to other hearsay opinion denialist blogs?

“Most of the skeptics that post here gave up on Skeptical science a long time ago”


A) They realized saying “warmist” or “alarmist” didn’t constitute as a scientific argument?
B) Deniers realized that they didn’t actually know any science & the “warmists” did?
C) Deniers just got owned from sun up to sunset? Why go somewhere where you are just going to get flogged?
D) Deniers felt safer with their group think buddies on info wars/prison planet?

Deniers &liars for hire :(

Global Warming Hysteric’s Rule #1:

- Weather is not climate!!!! -

Global Warming Hysteric’s Rule #2:

(… except when it’s warm outside.)

As noted above. More details here:

“June 2011 was the 316th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average [for that month]. The last month with below-average temperature [for the month] was February 1985.” -
–Regards, Tom Gray, Wind Energy Communications Consultant

If I understand your comment correctly; you are saying that spending money and effort on research to understand climate is good.

No agrument there, we desperately need a much better understanding of it since the current alarmist rethoric show a ver poor understanding.

The objection to waste is about the mitigation strategies.

Spending trillions on cutting CO2 is just stupid.
It will have an unmeasureably small effect on climate with a hugh effect on economies all around the planet.

With real problems out there that could actually be affected with that money, it is morally repugnant to waste it on AGW.

All pain no gain…

Stupidity at it primal best.


If I am wrong, nothing changes other than the price.
It will go down drastically from what the alarmists want to spend.

Win Win from where I sit.

Either way, the climate will do whatever it is going to do anyway.

And if you take the time to go research that you will find it to be accepted fact even by the most believeing of the AGW scientists.

Wow.. you just cant lose can you? You are really that smart? So, if you’re wrong you’re still right? Wow… simply wow. all those research efforts are in vain, we should have consulted you in the first place. That is unless you’ve gotten you information from unreliable sources…

You sound like the guys who smartly said “The Titanic doesnt need lifeboats.. it’s unsinkable” ’… Or the guy who said “Cars dont need seatbelts.. people will they our cars are ‘unsafe’ if we put seatbelts in them”

Obviously, we’ve come a long way but you feel we should go back there?

Seriously sir… We can be assured that you would have even more bad ideas post crisis…

Some ‘conserve’ in your philosophy might be in order.

I am asking you to consider what you might feel(or do) if your are dead wrong about your understanding of climate change.. Simple question. There wont just be money floating around different circles if you are dead wrong…. please tell us that you are not saying they only difference would be where money floats?

You do understand what 90% of scientists are saying dont you? WHat if they are right? Please, let lose an answer that makes us take you seriously.. seriously!

Ok… Your little diatribe is very difficult to understand.
I can’t really pick out a decisive question.

Are you asking? What if I am wrong and the climate does… What?
Temps go up to…. what?

What do you really believe is going to happen? Lay it out clearly….. What am I wrong about…. What is the majoy catastrophy that is supposedly going to happen?

And your 90% quote? Well the actaul famous quote is 97% and if you look it up it was a complete lie.
It was a cherry picked subset of a subset where 75 of 79 scientists in a small group agreed with each other.

A typical AGW type lie I might add.

Before you ask…

‘Before you ask…’

You do realise who’s blog that is don’t you?

Andrew Bolt’s “Hockey Schtick”: Australia’s most prominent denier inadvertently posts proof of climate change

You people get ever more desperate, hint Bolt has even less of a grasp of science than The Naked ‘Wishful Thinking’ Emperor.

Decisive question? hahah

OK.. yet again…What if you’re dead wrong about AGW? All deniers seem to think there is no decisive, clear question, even if you ‘spell it out’ in block letters. .. I dont how to say it any clearer. Did you see my response to what I think I’d say/do if I were wrong about my conclusions on climate and AGW? What is yours.. that you’d be right anyway? lol!

So, would you try to legislate to help mitigate and transition to a different climate system? Would you prepare for things like dramatic climate events, displacement of people, health issues, water rising, heat waves, dying oceans etc?
Just curious if you can debate both sides.. I can.

If you can answer that simplest of questions, maybe you could explain this side of the debate to me. Most deniers dont deny that human population has risen dramatically in the last few thousand years. If we make a graph, it looks like a hockey stick. Fair enough? Good to go on? If we then make a graph for the daily energy used by humans in the last few thousand years it looks like a hockey stick too!.. fair enough? Are you still with me? If we study the heat generated by each human the same damn hockey stick appears….

Do you think, with these dramatic rises in population and consumption in progress, for all to clearly see, we should dismiss the possibility that we are the ones that may be causing the radical climate changes we see?… BTW, 1.5 degrees is a big deal. If you dont think it is.. you’re probably in the wrong field…

1. 1.5 degrees is trivial.

2. If you really believe there is going to be disasters, then I think you are just nuts.

3. The amount of heat created by humans as a fraction of the total global heat balance is too small to even measure. Again trivial.

4. The hockey stick comments are meaningless. The only one that was signifigant turned out to be a deliberate fraud.

5. if I am completwly wrong about AGW, I would still not support the insane measures suggested by warmists ecause they are clearly ineffective and would cost 10 time more than simply living with the small gradual changes that would come anyway.

Scary… To think of top level GOP extolling this dismissive mantra. Very scary…
The fundamentals of the ecology are strong huh? Ring a bell?

After studying both sides for a while. I realize that the informed, concerned man is learning more and more and more, in sync with the obvious changes. The skeptic is doing his/her job wonderfully however, the demented, denialist, wrong about almost everything, is having to deny all of it.. with increasingly bad excuses, propositions and dismissals…

NOT what we need in the future…sigh.

Way to avoid the obvious question about whether a measly increase of 1.5 degrees is going to bring the world to its knees!
People just aren’t buying the hype. And the more alarmist the hype becomes the less it is believed. Please go read some of the extremely thoughtful commentary from both sides regarding ‘communicating global climate change’ at Judith Curry’s website
You’ll be glad that you did.

‘Way to avoid the obvious question about whether a measly increase of 1.5 degrees is going to bring the world to its knees!’

And you are avoiding the question as to what this 1.5 degrees applies to. That is an increase in the mean global temperature. Which means that some areas are going to rise much, much more. Indeed this has already been happening as the temperatures in higher latitudes are increasing differentially to those in the tropics and mid latitudes.

But of course you follow the stupid so you wouldn’t appreciate that now would you.

So, my advice is to learn something about temperatures and also temperature anomalies (something else The Naked Emperor doesn’t get) and here is a good start:

and in case you missed it here is a page linked to here which more directly answers the particular brand of stupid in your statement quoted above:

Is detailed here: . My feeling is that it isn’t trivial, in large part because of the short time frame in which it is being introduced –Regards, Tom Gray, Wind Energy Communications Consultant

I have a question for you.
You mentioned at one point that there are things happening now that show the effects of Global warming.

Can you tell us about a few?

I ask because; in all my searching, I have not see one single thing that could be refered to as “unpresidented”.

From polar ice melting (again) to glaciers melting (again) to droughts, (like the dirty thirties), to floods like we had in the 50s.

I just can not find anything that has not happened before.

So far, everything is well within natural variability.

So what did I miss? (well me and every other realists)