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NCDC: Record U.S. heat unlikely to be random fluke

Brad Plumer, Washington Post
As hundreds of local temperature records have been smashed from Atlanta to Colorado Springs, there’s been lots of discussion about whether the recent molten weather can be “blamed” on global warming. Isn’t it at least possible this heat wave is just a random outburst? Or are we really seeing the effects of all that carbon dioxide humans have put into the atmosphere?

Perhaps a chart can help clarify matters. The National Climatic Data Center has just released its “State of the Climate” report for June 2012. The last 12-month period on the mainland United States, it notes, were the warmest on record. What’s notable, however, is that every single one of the last 13 months were in the top third for their historical distribution–i.e., April 2012 was in the top third for warmest Aprils, etc.

“The odds of this occurring randomly,” notes NCDC, “is 1 in 1,594,323.” (Note: This might be a bit high; see the update below.)…
Chart at source
(10 July 2012)

Texas drought, British heat linked to climate change

Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters
Climate change increased the odds for the kind of extreme weather that prevailed in 2011, a year that saw severe drought in Texas, unusual heat in England and was one of the 15 warmest years on record, scientists reported on Tuesday.

Overall, 2011 was a year of extreme events – from historic droughts in East Africa, northern Mexico and the southern United States to an above-average cyclone season in the North Atlantic and the end of Australia’s wettest two-year period ever, scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United Kingdom’s Met Office said.

In the 22nd annual “State of the Climate” report, experts also found the Arctic was warming about twice as fast as the rest of the planet, on average, with Arctic sea ice shrinking to its second-smallest recorded size…
(10 July 2012)

Why Canada’s scientists need our support

Alice Bell, The Guardian
The scientists of Canada are revolting. They marched through Ottawa in their thousands on Tuesday, a sea of white coats making its way up Parliament Hill, carrying tombstones and a coffin to symbolise the “death of evidence”, chanting “What do we want? SCIENCE! When do we want it? After peer review!”

Scientists seem to be forever complaining they’re marginalised so, it might be tempting to roll your eyes. When a group from the UK drove a coffin down Westminster last May they were described as “childish”. This recent Canadian action might look similar, but it was far from childish.

They weren’t simply sticking up for their pay cheques, they were sticking up for the right to ask difficult questions and provide uncomfortable knowledge, in particular when it comes to the Arctic. They were sticking up for the things they research as well as the right to keep doing their research. They were sticking up for the planet. The Canadian scientists who spoke to the Guardian were keen to stress this is less about research budgets versus the rest of the economy, and more simply evidence versus ideology…
(11 July 2012)

‘New McCarthyism’ Described by Climate Scientist Michael Mann

Bill Blakemore, abc news
Following are the video and transcript of an interview with climate scientist Michael Mann of Penn State University, conducted on April 19, in New York’s Central Park.
Long respected by his professional peers around the world, Mann became more widely known as one of the targets of the so-called and now discredited “climategate scandal,” involving hacked emails of several prominent climate scientists.
Mann’s science and professional conduct (and that of others so targeted) have been repeatedly exonerated by independent professional review…

Bill Blakemore: One of the things about your book, “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars,” is you tell … what happened to you and happened to all of your colleagues. And I must say… I’ve been covering it since about 2004, 2005 … and it tells a story I’ve heard often before. And again the phrase comes to my mind — “The New McCarthyism.” Have you not heard that story — that phrase – from your colleagues — “the new McCarthyism?”

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Michael Mann: Well, I have and, and I’ve actually seen editorials written about some of the attacks against me, which you use terms like “McCarthyism” and “witch hunt” and “inquisition.” So, yes, there are a lot of things that have happened to me over the past 10 years since we published our … the so-called “Hockey Stick Graph” back in late 1990s. And my feeling was that by telling my story, I could sort of use the experiences that I’ve been through as a really reluctant and accidental public figure in the debate over climate change to talk about the questions surrounding the issue, the reality of the problem, the threat that it actually represents.
(8 July 2012)