By Joe Romm on Jun 27, 2012 | With select comment threads
SUGGESTED BY Woody NinetyNiner Konopak, member, Links for the Wildly Left 3 July 2012
You know how ol’, grouchy Woody’s always saying shit like “Nobody HAS to control WHAT you think if they can control what you think ABOUT and what words you use,” and other dumb shit like that? Well, here’s prime example of how influencing how people talk ABOUT a “story” also shapes the “reality” which the CorpoRat/SCUM “press” is under severe instructions to create. If the Axis of Feeble (ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS) never use the words “climate crisis,” then they aren’t part of the story, and you’re accused of inserting politics into a news story if you try to do so.
If a tree burns down in a globally-warmed forest but the media doesn’t report why, does it make a sound?
Record-setting heat waves, wildfires, and deluges – at the same time — just what climate scientists have been forecasting for decades. That’s why I titled my 2006 book Hell and High Water.
The scientific literature increasingly says it’s happening now goosed on by human emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (see “Must-Read Trenberth: How To Relate Climate Extremes to Climate Change“). See also study (4/12) finds Arctic warming favors extreme, prolonged weather events “such as drought, flooding, cold spells and heat waves.” And see study (9/10) finds global warming is driving increased frequency of extreme wet or dry summer weather in southeast, so droughts and deluges are likely to get worse.
Dr. Kevin Trenberth, former head of the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research told the NY Times, “It’s not the right question to ask if this storm or that storm is due to global warming, or is it natural variability. Nowadays, there’s always an element of both.” At the same time, the wildfires in the west, which include the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, are being fueled by climate change.
UPDATE: After flying over the Waldo Canyon blaze, Governor John Hickenlooper said:
“It was like looking at the worst movie set you could imagine. It’s almost surreal. You look at that, and it’s like nothing I’ve seen before.“
But here’s the PBS story, “Tropical Storm Debby Saturates Florida, Extreme Heat Fans Fires in Colorado,” with nary a mention of global warming. Same for the ABC Evening News story last night on the Colorado fires and Midwest heatwave (“we’re rivaling some of the warmest temperatures on the planet right now”) and their morning story (“temperatures never seen before in that region”). Same for the ABC Evening News story last night on the Florida floods (over two feet of rain in places — “disaster by a million raindrops” and don’t miss the part about the snakes and balls of fire ants in the water!).
ABC now even has an “extreme weather team.” It would be great if they included some experts discussing how global warming has “juiced” the climate, as if it were on steroids, as, for instance, ClimateWire (subs. req’d) did in its story, “Minn. floods, early tropical storms fuel questions about changing climate”:
Rains ‘juiced’ by climate?
Experts observing from a greater distance say the intense rainfall and localized flooding may represent a new normal for places like northern Minnesota, where climate change is expressing itself in a variety of ways, including hotter summers, milder winters, a shift in species composition, and a general trend toward more frequent intense storm events.
“This type of storm reminds us that climate is changing in Minnesota. Not only in terms of quantity of precipitation, but in the character of precipitation as well. In recent decades a larger fraction of our annual total precipitation is coming in the form of intense thunderstorms,” Mark Seeley, an esteemed meteorologist and climatologist at the University of Minnesota Extension Service, wrote in his weekly “WeatherTalk” newsletter last week.
Meteorologist Paul Huttner, Minnesota Public Radio’s resident weather expert, wrote on the network’s “Updraft” weather blog that a “rearview mirror” reading of the Duluth storms allows observers “to look back and see how it fits into the overall picture of climate change in Minnesota.”
While downplaying any cause-and-effect relationship between climate change and the Duluth storms, Huttner said, “what we can credibly say is the extreme rainfall events are increasing in frequency in Minnesota, and that climate changes favoring a warmer wetter atmosphere may have enhanced or ‘juiced’ rainfall totals in the flood.”
Meanwhile, Paul Douglas, a well-known Twin Cities meteorologist and founder of the online publication “WeatherNation,” said in a recent blog post that he had little doubt the record rainfall in northern Minnesota last week was related to climate change.
“The question keeps coming up — people want to know if a warmer atmosphere somehow contributed to the mega-flood that may ultimately cost Minnesota well over $100 million,” Douglas wrote.
“My answer, after teeing this up with climate scientists I trust, is yes,” he continued. “People who say ‘you can’t link any one event with climate change’ are missing the point. Climate and weather are now hopelessly intertwined, linked — flip sides of the same coin. It’s basic physics: a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor. If there’s more water floating overhead you increase the potential for these extreme rainfall events. You may argue over how much is ‘natural’ vs. man-made, but there’s no debating the fact that Minnesota is a warmer place than it was 30-40 years ago.”
How much rain has fallen in Florida thanks to the slow-moving Tropical Storm Debby?
The National Weather Service in Jacksonville provides these staggering totals in inches:
How hot has it been in the Midwest?
Capital Climate reports that “Dust Bowl Era” temperature records are now falling:
Hell and High Water. Get used to it.
Or, rather, we’ve only warmed about a degree and a half Fahrenheit in the past century. We are on track to warm five times times that or more this century, assuming we keep listening to the do-little or do-nothing crowd.
So there will never be a normal to get used to any more. It’ll just keep getting warmer and more extreme through the century. We ain’t seen nothing yet!
- Network News Coverage of Climate Change Collapsed in 2011
- Trenberth on media miscoverage of extreme weather: “I find it systematically tends to get underplayed and it often gets underplayed by my fellow scientists. Because one of the opening statements, which I’m sure you’ve probably heard is “Well you can’t attribute a single event to climate change.” But 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.”
Select Responses to Hell And High Water Strikes, Media Miss The Forest For The Burning Trees
- Dan Ives says:
I live here in CO, and indeed the media reports on the fires are frustrating. One thing I have yet to see reported is how the pine beetle epidemic (caused by global warming) is a further ingredient that is compounding these destructive fires. We have drought, record heat, and plenty of extra dead trees from the beetles that make nearly every lightning strike capable of igniting the next blaze. With more thunderstorms forecast over the coming days, it’s likely only going to get worse for us Coloradans.
- Mark E says:
That’s what I’ve always thought too. Earlier today I spotted this from the Denver Post, where science is having trouble documenting the (supposedly) obvious connection.
Disclaimer, I have not read the actual paper itself, just the news account about it.
- Mulga Mumblebrain says:
In Australia, during the last few years of record rains and great floods,(coning straight after dire decade-long drought)the words’ anthropogenic climate change’ almost never passed the lips of the MSM stooges. The fault was entirely that of ‘La Nina’, and the very occasional mention of climate change was the cue for previously unknown minor academics from minor institutions to rant in denial. The brainwashing in the MSM to all Rightwing ideological positions, no matter how absurd, is absolute-careers depend on the proper recitation of groupthink.
See realtime coverage
32K told to flee as Colo. Blaze doubles in size http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57461483/32k-ordered-to-flee-as-colorado-blaze-doubles-in-size-air-force-academy-partially-closed/
Forest which burns today will release carbon for at least the next 10 years. So this is a positive feedback – especially worrying when you have record breaking events.
“It was like looking at the worst movie set you could imagine,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said after flying over the 9-square-mile fire late Tuesday. “It’s almost surreal. You look at that, and it’s like nothing I’ve seen before.”
Good he mentioned climate change….ohw, wait a minute…
- Ken Barrows says:
Climate change ain’t Hickenlooper’s thing. Oh, he’s a Democrat. (I live in Denver.)
- David Goldstein says:
Here’s a wondering: is the pervasive Media omitting of climate change due to
1) Basic ignorance about the ‘secondary effects’ of extra atmospheric energy?
2) Unconscious denial and dread of what is happening? (Perhaps as the symptoms such as wildfires are right there in our faces-the denial ratchets up even higher)
3) Dictates from the corporate ‘higher ups’ that they simply not mention climate change?
or, likely, a combination of all 3 factors?
- Doug Bostrom says:
Add in the problem of editors and reporters being viciously attacked w/verbal abuse by a volunteer goon squad every time climate change is mentioned. This will have an effect; ask yourself how brave you’d be?
- Tom L says:
That’s probably a bigger problem at the local level. Celebrity reporters in the national media are attacked ruthlessly every day for just about every percieved bias,tone of voice or hair out of place. Celebrities of all stripes get death threats and violent sentiments thrown their way on a regular schedule by true nut jobs. I’m not sure a another threat over a climate report would make any difference to Bryan Williams or any of the others. I’m afraid the threats they fear most come from their bosses.
- Tom L says:
#3 mostly. It’s a cover-up, it’s deliberate, intentional and not the result of pure ignorance. The public is connecting the dots without the help of the media or the president which says a lot about the glaringly obvious obfuscation the media is engaged in. The big boys running the show know exactly what they’re doing.
- Mulga Mumblebrain says:
I’d add (4) Conscious denialism as Rightwing ideological requirement, from a MSM that is populated entirely by Rightwingers, after years of ideological cleansing.
- Tramey says:
I don’t think most reporters are right wing. I do believe that they have been trained in the “false equivalence” technique of reporting, and also have been burned by the heavy hand of climate deniers. Would you really like to go through what Michael Mann has endured as a climate change scientist?
Must see vid of fire… woa were in trouble…
US Airforce Pilot Calmly Films Massive Wildfire From His Home
Conflagration! Waldo Canyon Fire, Colorado Springs June 26 2012-Airforce Pilot Calmly Films Massive Wildfire From His Home
- David Goldstein says:
wow!…what a video. It is only enhanced by the fact that it is an Airforce pilot narrating. He keeps his cool, but you can tell he is ‘impressed’. It is THIS kind of footage that may start to ‘creep’ the dialogue on climate change forward. Clearly, hard science is not enough.
ACHTUNG! ACHTUNG! (Hmm…that got your attention, uh?)
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