With the heat wave across much of the country during the month of July, the topic of anthropogenic global warming received a little greater focus. There was a lot of push and pull from opposite sides of the debate. There was a lot of discussion how many record high temps there were. According to the NCDC there were a little over 2,700 daily record high temps in the U.S. during the month of July. There was at least one new record high temperature in all 50 states. We had one record high tied in our viewing area. Some people made a little hay about the record highsby stating the fact that there were only a couple dozen record highs during the month of July, but these were “all time” record high temps, which is still rather significant. If we broke our all time record high in Wausau (107), it would be a very significant event, even if it was the only one in the country.
In addition to the heat, we also had a record for the amount of exceptional drought in the U.S. according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Many AGW theorists have predicted more drought (and, well, pretty much more of every “bad” weather phenomenon) in the future. That being said, the exceptional drought is mainly confined to the Deep South, Texas, and New Mexico and it is only a record since the Drought Monitor started 12 years ago. We have had more widespread drought across the country in the recent past, just not as much exceptional drought. Also, it is most likely that exceptional drought was greater during some of the other famous droughts in the country’s past, such as in the early to mid 1950s the 1930s. La Nina was the primary cause of the drought in the south this year, as it has been in the past.
Speaking of La Nina and El Nino, after the super El Nino of 1998, many AGW theorists predicted more and more devastating El Ninos in the future (because of the warming atmosphere). After further analysis, it appears that the central Pacific ocean-atmosphere circulation will continue to vary quite a bit between La Nina and El Nino.
Whether or not El Nino and La Nina continue to cycle back and for, if the ocean warms up a bit more, it could cause more rapid melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets - if the historical record is any guide. Rapid melting has occurred in the past. The difference today is that so much expensive human infrastructure is near sea level. Even if the ocean only rises a foot or two, which doesn’t sound like much, billions of people along coastal areas will be hopping mad.
In addition to these news items, there is some other controversy brewing in regards to AGW “mascots” and rebel scientists – which I will have to get to tomorrow because of all the severe weather and flooding rain occurring this morning. As of 10am, the rainfall total in Wausau was getting close to 2 inches. The record rainfall for Wausau is only 2.45 inches so it might be a record day. Thankfully the storms should taper off by late afternoon and it looks like mainly dry weather for Wednesday and Thursday.
Have a good Tuesday. Meteorologist Justin Loew.
This post was written by jloew on August 2, 2011