The causation confusion cycle has played out again as it will many more times in US and to an extent international media over the last week. Whether it's a hurricane hitting Florida or New Orleans or Maryland, failing oyster farms in Oregon to British Columbia, absurd drought in Texas and Oklahoma, or tornadoes spewing record numbers of trailer parts to kingdom come, media entertain The question. Is this global warming? Usually, it gets the same fuzzy answer: It could have happened anytime under any climate regime, but such things getting more frequent is consistent with global warming and buildup of greenhouse gases. So true, so tiresome.
So again with Colorado and western wildfires and most important the recent thunderstorm barrage in the eastern US, its ferocious blackout-spawning winds of the terrifically evocative sort named derechos embedded in an epic, early-summer heat wave.
Of all places it was in Australia that the impact on the American psyche got the most succinct description, from NOAA boss and oceanographer Jane Lubchenco at a conference:
- The Australian - Lauren Wilson: Extreme weather shifts US attitudes on climate; In which the reporter hastens to add, in the lede, that there is "no evidence linking some of the events to global warming." Perhaps she meant to write no proof or no conclusive evidence. But no evidence means zero on the aye side. Even if the preponderance is either abstain or nay, there's gotta be some basis for arguing that without the shifted baselines of climate the chances for such heat and thunderstorms and whatnot would have been way, way smaller. The bulk of the story is fine - and its quote from Lubchenco that there is 'insufficient" evidence for links is clear suggestion there is some.
- AP (Rod Mcquirk? Most pickup lacks byline): US science official says more extreme events convincing many American climate change is real; Late addition. Yes, it's McQuirk.
- AP - Seth Borenstein: Is this what global warming looks like? ; Answer is yes. But looks like and is are not the same. So it's also maybe not causal. But his first source, the reliable Jonathan Overpeck, says "This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level." One assumes if the weather looks like what global warming would do for a long enough time, 'looks like' starts to be 'is'.
- Washington Post - Darryl Fears: Colorado's table was set for monster fire ; With a convincing laundry list of fires, heat, and other events that seem easily pinned on long term trends.
- ClimateProgress - Stephen Lacey: Agriculture Undersecretary On Wildfires: 'The Climate Is Changing, And These Fires Are A Very Srong Indicator Of That" ; a solid roundup at this prominent blogsite, citing media and other reports with links. Next jot down is one newspaper story, found through Lacey's report, that merits special mention.
- Colorado Independent - David O. Williams: Experts warn public policy must change in wake of wildfires ;
- Washington Post (column) Petula Dvorak: Washington's Hell Week puts climate change back on the radar ; Am unsure is this line was meant from its first instant as word play, but it certainly wound up that way: "Apparently, a tree falling on a house hits much closer to home than a melting ice cap." Touche. By the way, check out the Nat'l Snow and Ice Data Center's page. The Arctic ice pack IS melting, faster than ever seen in May and June and on into July. And here's the DC forecast today from Jason Samenow at the Post's Capital Weather gang blogspot - and yes, he goes through reasons the weather may get worse as the years swelter by.
*UPDATE (July 9): A package to which our attention mustered thanks to some modest hornblowing in comments:
- Andrew Freedman: July 2 Heat Wave Continues As Storm Cleanup Drags On ; July 5 Historic Heat Wave Marches On as Drought Expands ; July 6 Ongoing Heat Wave in U.S. Rival Events of Dust Bowl Era ;
As long as we're sitting here on July 9 updating this, here's the latest, welcome news:
- AP - Karen Matthews: US Heat Wave 2012: Midwest And East Coast To Get Reprieve From Hot Temperatures ; 46 deaths. Tagline credit to another seven reporters across the midwest and east.
- Charlie Petit