'What global warming really looks like' – Michael Oppenheimer FAIL

Well, I warned everybody yesterday. That briefing was put together by Climate Nexus, an advocacy and communications group. An accompanying report on heat waves and climate change was released simultaneously at climatecommunication.org

The usual suspects put that document together. See below.

Expert Reviewers:

Now with a telephone press conference, Climate Nexus seer Michael Oppenheimer says he knows “what global warming looks like”, and it apparently is a hazy yellow-orange.

“It looks like heat, it looks like fires, it looks like this kind of environmental disaster… this provides vivid images of what we can expect to see more of in the future.”

In Colorado, wildfires that have raged for weeks have killed four people, displaced thousands and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Because winter snowpack was lighter than usual and melted sooner, fire season started earlier in the US, with wildfires out of control in Colorado, Montana and Utah.

The high temperatures that are helping drive these fires are consistent with projections by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said this kind of extreme heat, with little cooling overnight, is one kind of damaging impact of global warming.

Others include more severe storms, floods and droughts, Oppenheimer said.

The stage was set for these fires when winter snowpack was lighter than usual, said Steven Running, a forest ecologist at the University of Montana.

Full article here h/t to reader Alwyn Poole.

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I wonder, did global warming look like this same yellow-orange hazy hellfire back in 1988 before Jim Hansen turned it into a cause?

Above – The Fires at Yellowstone National Park, 1988 when CO2 was at the “safe level” of approximately 350 parts per million according to Dr. James Hansen in this non peer reviewed declaration.  Image from yellowstonecountry.org

The NPS talks about fire history of the region in the context on 1988:

Such wildfires occurred across much of the ecosystem in the 1700s. But that, of course, was prior to the arrival of European explorers, to the designation of the park, and the pattern established by its early caretakers to battle all blazes in the belief that fire suppression was good stewardship. Throughout much of the 20th century, park managers and visitors alike have continued to view fire as a destructive force, one to be mastered, or at least tempered to a tamer, more controlled entity. By the 1940s, ecologists recognized that fire was a primary agent of change in many ecosystems, including the arid mountainous western United States. In the 1950s and 1960s, national parks and forests began to experiment with controlled burns, and by the 1970s Yellowstone and other parks had instituted a natural fire management plan to allow the process of lightning-caused fire to continue influencing wildland succession.

We are living in the age of crazy.

UPDATE: Here is some important data to counter these crazy claims. From SOS Forests who writes:

The founder and purveyor of Watts Up With That, the premier climate realist website and blog (twice the winner of the Best Science Blog), the estimable Anthony Watts, has posted some of our fire graphs [here].

But they are outdated (my fault). Here are the latest:

Data are from the National Interagency Fire Center.

There are some evident trends.

1. Total acres burned has increased from the 1960’s to this Century, from an average of 4.6 million acres per year to 6.8 million acres per year.

2. Average acres per fire has also increased, from a low in the 1970’s of 21 acres per fire to 83 acres per fire in this Century.

3. Number of fires per year has decreased from a high (1975-1984) of nearly 190,000 fires per year to 83,000 fires per year this Century.

Fewer but larger fires this Century, and more acres burned in total.

To me this suggests a legacy of poor fuel management rather than “global warming”.

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The EPA is doing in putting its support behind global warming alarmism–empowering overreaching Leftists to take full advantage of credulous and thoughtless dimwits. The EPA is hiding the truth, hiding the decline, hiding the immorality and the harm to the public and to the culture and to all the kids in the dropout factories whose futures are being wiped out.
http://evilincandescentbulb.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/lies-damn-lies-and-the-epa/

A. Scott

We passed simply the “age of crazy” a long time ago.
We now live in full on “batshit crazy” times …

LearDog

And they wonder why they’re losing credibility with the public…. These people are (at best) delusional. Useful idiots..?

Occam's Blunt Razor

Mate, that looks like summer in Australia – and we normally have these massive Sikorski Sky Crane Helitankers flying around that we lease from somewhere – the US of A I think.

Oh good. fire fighters refer to New England as the “Asbestos Forest” because we usually don’t get dry enough for serious fires. It looks like we won’t be seeing global warming here. 🙂

The most destructive forest fire ever recorded (in the world) was in 1871 in Wisconsin. 1200 people died.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshtigo_Fire
In fact, the top 5 worst forest fires in terms of loss of life are all pre-1920 and all in N America.

SteveSadlov

Broad brush … droughtyness in the Western US always looks like Global Cooling to me.
La Nina (at least up until recently) – check.
Negative PDO – check.
Weak solar cycle – check.
Any questions?

Interstellar Bill

If the Colorado fires are because of global warming, which Obama says he wants to fight, then why did he cut back the tanker-plane fleet? Answer: isn’t Colorado leaning Republican?

cui bono
R. Shearer

Are people any more crazy today, than say a couple of hundred years ago when the most commonly used medical treatment was blood-letting?
By the way, there has been at least a brief respite in the Colorado heat. It’s currently 83F with scattered showers.

Pamela Gray

Oregon was ablaze at the turn of the 20th century. We don’t come close to what it used to be. This “We are all going to burn!” is a prime example of drumming up scary stories to convince weak minded folks to let their pockets be picked on a global scale.
Given the recent Supreme Court decisions in the US, if we the people don’t take back control over our own destiny, we are in for worse than the scary story this post highlights.

Bob in Castlemaine

“In Melbourne the day opened with a scorching north wind and an unclouded sky. Under the influence of the fierce sirocco the city was soon enveloped in blinding dust, and by 11 o’clock the thermometer marked 117 degrees ( 47.2 Celsius ) in the shade.
By midday, rolling volumes of smoke began to converge on the city, and outdoor life became intolerable. The streets were almost deserted, a dull sense of suffocation oppressed even those who cowered in the coolest recesses of their homes, and anxiously asked what it meant. Fortunately no fires broke out near the city, for had it once done so, in all probability the whole place would have fallen.
With sunset came a change of wind to the south, and anxious crowds gathered towards nightfall on the summits of Batman’s Hill and the Flagstaff Reserve to note with awe and wonder the red glare that marked the Dandenong Ranges and illuminated the whole of the northern horizon.
The change of wind relieved them from all fear for the city, but it was not until two or three days later that the extent of the devastation became even approximately known.“

This is a passage from H. G. Turner’s “History of the Colony of Victoria “.
The devastating fires Turner refers to are the Black Thursday fires which took place in 1851, on 6 February and subsequent days. The extent of land burned, 5 million hectares, has not come anywhere near being equaled by any other Victorian bushfire event since European settlement. Victoria also suffered significant flooding events during that same year.

David McKeever

Mr. Watts, it is reaching the point where more people are reading the cagw point of view on here than through their press releases. You are (unintentionally) propagandizing the alarmist position, and you have been doing this since the Heartland forgery incident. I liked it better when the website was more purely focused on the science.

Bob in Castlemaine

Link in my above post corrected:
http://home.iprimus.com.au/foo7/fire1851.html

Johnny Terawatt

Never let a good crisis go to waste.

Gerry Parker

Regular controlled burns would make a big difference too (under proper moist conditions), but the smokey bear mentality that all fires are bad would have to be overcome. Alas, I regret this requires a higher thought process than the masses have been able to achieve.
Gerry

Lady Life Grows

Oh come on, Anthony. The fires are disasters, aren’t they? Of COURSE they are caused by Global Warming–just like droughts, floods, sea level rises, hurricanes, earthquakes, record heat, record cold, warm winters, cold winters and about 200 other items on that list you are keeping.

Goldie

Couldn’t agree more Anthony – there are just too many confounding factors to link this simply to climate. The Western Australian experience is that 1) there are more fires during school holidays 2) Wildfires are commonly due to changes in fuel control – though the last major one was caused by a fuel control burn that got out of hand and 3) People’s memories are short so after a while without a wildfire, fuel control becomes less important to people.
However, in 1978 there appears to have been a step change in global rainfall, which inevitably will have led to a steady drying out of the environment over time. Some of the rise in acreage could be caused by that. One would still need to make several links to see this as a product of AGW though.

People who have never fought a forest fire should be prohibited from commenting on their cause. We have only spent 100 years fighting and trying to prevent all wildfires. Mom Nature is striking back for our hubris. Does anyone remember Yellowstone 1988?

pat

Rather it is a window into the minds of charlatans.
Colorado has been cooling for decades.
These forests thrived because of increased cooling and rainfall. Like the artificially managed forests in California, often Eucalyptus and non native pines rather than the indigenous oak, these forests are dangerous in summer.

We can expect to see more forest fires in the future? Wow, no kidding? Thanks Einstein.

Keith Pearson, formerly bikermailman, Anonymous no longer

I was in Jellystone last fall, and signs of the ’88 fires are all over. But there’s tons of new growth in those same areas, as is the design for forested areas. As for the above mentioned controlled burns, they’re doing them from Alaska to New Mexico, but they’re far behind the curve. Good on em for getting started on it though.

Marian

Don’t you just get sick of these Alarmist Opportunists. Turning any event into a GW PR Propaganda Spin.
Had that down here in NZ/OZ during those large bushfires in VIC a few years back.
Bushfires to be more extreme because of GW.
Of course those bushfires were mainly a result of Arson, carelessness and stupid ECO-green laws making it worse. Due to not allowing proper fire breaks around properties, etc. SO GW wasn’t the real cause.

Manfred

ALL scientific evidence supports the opposite, warmer times were greener and wetter.

timc

Alert, be wary of those photographs.
Reuters. Using handouts and what do we see…
http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20120627&t=2&i=623835964&w=&fh=&fw=&ll=700&pl=390&r=CBRE85Q1H4Z00
“A Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130 drops fire retardant on a section of the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs, Colorado on June 26, 2012.”
US Air Force handout mentioning fire retardant, orange water?
If the link works this is the reuters slideshow containing the above and the headline photo at WUWT.
http://www.reuters.com/article/slideshow/idUSBRE85L1DD20120627#a=8
On technical examination that photo looks dodgy. Can’t see a competent camera doing that
with the channels. Compare with the other photos. (look at the RGB values)
Can any of you confirm?

Tom in Florida

Can someone tell me how a supposed AGW caused increase of 2C in global average temperatures can ignite a fire? Thank you in advance.

TRM

No that is what a colder, drier planet will look like. I love the visual on this page near the top:
http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html
The World 18,000 Years Ago vs Our Present World
Click on the images to get the full size. I love to show that to people. Most have no clue that we have been so lucky.

Grey Lensman

Are these fires fueled with dead and dying Lodge Pole pines planted en mass about 90 years ago?

If these forest fires (as intense as they are) are largely on government-owned land, then it only serves to demonstrate that government is a lousy forest manager. Rather than listen blindly to the eco-greenies who tell us to leave the forests alone, we need to take a cue from Native Americans from ancient times and practice the thinning of the forests to minimize the impact of forest fires:
http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/06/forest-management.
The above article also says that this would allow more water from melting snow and rain to flow into waterways where it would become available to the people of a parched West.

johanna

The high temperatures that are helping drive these fires are consistent with projections by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said this kind of extreme heat, with little cooling overnight, is one kind of damaging impact of global warming.
Others include more severe storms, floods and droughts, Oppenheimer said.
——————————————————————
Notice how Oppenheimer slides from the extreme heat/warmer nights thing, which I understand the IPCC has indeed ‘projected’, to severe storms, floods and droughts, which I understand the IPCC is very circumspect about these days? Leaving aside the validity of the IPCC’s claims (which I doubt anyway), why does he misrepresent what they are saying? Not that it is likely any of the scientists or authors whose work he claims to be quoting seem likely to contradict him.
We in Australia know a thing or two about bushfires, and having experienced a massive one, I can assure readers that in hot, dry conditions, with a hot wind blowing, and trees, scrub or grass to burn, no human force can stop it. All the finger-pointing about firefighting resources, reducing fuel loads etc is trivial when you are faced with a mega-fire. The only thing to do is get the hell out of there.
For less than mega-fires, firefighting and clearing can make a difference. But in human terms, the increasing propensity of people to live on the edge of, or in the middle of, heavily wooded areas without large cleared areas around them means that it is only a matter of time before their turn arrives, so the numbers will continue to mount.
Thanks to posters who have reminded us that devastating fires have been occurring, irrespective of human activity, for hundreds of years in the US and Australia that we know of. In Australia at least, millions of square miles of eucalypt forest, much of it in rugged and uninhabited mountain areas, means that we are unlikely ever to prevent mega-fires from wreaking havoc from time to time. What we can do something about is people wanting to commune with nature by being surrounded by fire hazards and then blaming others when the inevitable happens.

Just out of curiosity, then, which of the following fires in Austrailia can be blamed on global warming?
Adelaide Hills bushfires (1939)
Black Sunday bushfires (1955)
Ash Wednesday I (1980)
Ash Wednesday II (1983)
Eyre Peninsula bushfire (2005)
Kangaroo Island Bushfire (2007)
Tasmania
Black Tuesday (1967)
Victoria
Black Thursday (1851)
Red Tuesday (1898)
Black Sunday (1926)
Black Friday (1939)
WW2 bushfires (1943–44)
Ash Wednesday (1983)
Linton bushfire (1998)
Eastern Victorian alpine bushfires (2003)
Grampians region bushfires (2006)
Black Saturday (2009)
For people to take a disaster such as a wildfire, and tie it to CAGW, is insane.
Why didn’t they take pictures from the massive snows in China (February, 2008), and proclaim the same thoughts (“…“It looks like snow, it looks like cold, it looks like this kind of environmental disaster… this provides vivid images of what we can expect to see more of in the future…”
For those who forgot what CAGW looks like, here’s the reminder:
“…Massive Snowstorms Hit China
China’s worst snowstorms in nearly 50 years have brought rain, sleet, wet snow and sharply colder temperatures to most of eastern and central China, including a majority of China’s winter wheat and rapeseed production areas. The snow, which arrived after January 10, covered all of the North China Plain except for Beijing, northern Shandong and northern Hebei, and extended from Inner Mongolia in the north to Guizhou in the south…”

@ D McK
WUWT did not win “Best Science Weblog Awards” by accident. We are faced with a political problem covered with a Faux Science fig leaf. To discuss ONLY science is to ignore the greater problem. As one who volunteered to assist in the 2011 Texas Tri-county fires i saw the largest recorded fire in state history from behind the fire lines. This ~18,000 acre tragedy was from an illegal backyard burn, but given the cyclic nature of droughts there could have been far larger prairie or forest fires prior to recorded history. When the TOP warmists exploit tragedy with NO provable links, then it becomes a topic that must be discussed. If it was only Hollywood pinheads stoking the flames we could ignore the ignorance.

timetochooseagain

Here’s a reconstruction, of Western US Biomass burning over thousands of years:
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b370/gatemaster99/biomassrecon.png
The paper (which naturally tried to spin something scary out of this (sites Mann’s latest hockey stick!) for the sake of providing a scientific reference, and so that the alarmists can wave around quotes from it wherein the authors spin their own results:
http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/wildfires_0.pdf

Hinckley Minnesota Fire of 1894
The story of the Hinckley fire of September 1, 1894, is a tragic saga of destruction, terror, courage, heroism, and death. Hinckley, a logging and railroad center, was laid waste by the inferno that roared through the town, sending hundreds of townspeople in flight for their lives and leaving hundreds dead in its wake. In attempting to escape the fire, people sought safety in wells, swamps, a railroad gravel pit, and the river. Heroic individuals saved many lives.
What caused this historic fire that raced across 480 square miles and burned 350,000 acres? A long drought made for tinder-dry conditions in miles of cut over forests — the wasteland resulting from the unregulated logging practices of the time. A southerly wind blowing over small fires in the area brought in haze and smoking sparks, picking up speed throughout the morning. By mid-afternoon, a large black cloud hovered over the town, and the sound of the wind had grown to a distant roar. A huge fireball set several houses and the depot ablaze, then swept northward through the town and woods toward Barnum. A 37-mile segment of the Munger Trail memorializes the route the fire took between Hinckley and Barnum, the suffering and death it caused, and the devastation it wrought.

dp

I can’t imagine that 0.5º give or take over 100 years give or take, affecting mostly the polar regions and mostly after the sun sets is in any way responsible for a single cinder of this. What I see is failure to allow nature to remove the volatiles in the wilderness as it has since time began.

David Falkner

So this is ‘what global warming looks like’! I thought it was climate change? Well, it’s hot, we can go back to global warming for now. Until winter, anyway.

tango

as a 50 year veteran fire fighter in the NSW rual fire service sydney, we are having more major fires as the greens have put a lot of restrictions on winter hazard reductions .resulting in a huge amount of under growth . in the past lightning strikes would do the job, so we have created this problem NOT GLOBAL WARMING

Low CO2 is a very dangerous thing. High CO2 helps put the fires out. No forest fires on Venus, see?

Whenever anyone tries to compare climate skeptics to Creationists, I like to remind them that the skeptics are not the ones telling people that they are going to permanently inhabit an unbearably hot, fiery realm unless they dramatically change their lives. The Oppenheimer quote helps drive this point home rather nicely.

F. Ross

“…
The high temperatures that are helping drive these fires are consistent with projections by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said this kind of extreme heat, with little cooling overnight, is one kind of damaging impact of global warming.
Others include more severe storms, floods and droughts, Oppenheimer said.
…”
So what? The CAGWers also assert that record cold, record snows, earthquakes, ingrown toenails, etxreme constipation, flatulence and whatever other ills may befall us are “consistent” with global warming projections.
A hypothesis which “predicts” all tragedies after the fact predicts nothing.

Groupthink disorder in action.
These supposed scientists can not apparently recognize geologic timescales…and only superimpose the disasters of the fires (and my heart goes out to the people who lost everything and more) on the urban encroachment of “us”.
It disgusts me that people like Masters are involved in this groupthink disaster. It burns me up, that TAXPAYER funded ones like Trenberth are making their shrill voices known, too.
Pamela, you are correct on the SCOTUS rulings as of late. Dismal record. Time for all of the reasonable liberty-minded freedom-loving Americans (and the rest of the like-minded world across the planet) to coalesce and put a stop to this nonsense groupthink BS.
Fires, droughts, heat ridges, and the like have always occurred. Its just that they are occurring now where millions of people live and hundreds of thousands on a freeway…whereas little to none of them did, a century and a half before.
When oh when oh when will we learn to accept this and figure out a way to adapt as opposed to crying chicken-masters-trenberth-little??
Squawk Squawk….
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

Ken Chapman

Anthony, what role do you see adiabatic winds have in high temperatures and low humidity being experienced today? West coast typically gets hammered when a high pressure system is in the 4 corners area.

davidmhoffer

David McKeever says:
June 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm
Mr. Watts, it is reaching the point where more people are reading the cagw point of view on here than through their press releases. You are (unintentionally) propagandizing the alarmist position
>>>>>>>>>>
That’s the cool thing about blogs. There’s the headlines and then there’s the discussion that follows which is chalk full of everything from whining to conspiracy theories to… and this most of all… facts. Look at all the comments in this thread pointing out past history, issues regarding forest management and so on. Is there some garbage mixed in? Sure. Can anyone with average reading comprehension separate the garbage from the facts, do their own research to verify them, and then draw logical informed conclusions? You bet they can.

Positive H2O feedback is based in increasing CO2 increasing moisture. However, apparently the scientists are now saying that the IPCC is wrong, that increasing CO2 causes decreasing moisture. And since H2O is a more potent GHG than CO2, increasing CO2 must result in a net decrease in temperature. Which means that temperature increase it more likely due to UHI.

Konrad

Michael “Punitive MWP” Oppenheimer appears to need some clarification regarding the sights and sounds to be experienced by activists, journalists, politicians and pseudo scientists like himself who have been adding fuel to this hoax. Note – there will be a short Vale of Tears leading to an endless Outer Darkness where there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Sceptics will never forgive and the Internet will never forget.

TomRude

“It looks like heat, it looks like fires, it looks like this kind of environmental disaster… this provides vivid images of what we can expect to see more of in the future.”
===
That’s what they all do, for fires, floods, tornadoes etc…
Check that one for the Fraser River in BC Canada: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/more-high-fraser-river-levels-forecast-for-future/article4378852/
“When Stephen Déry looks out at the Fraser River sweeping past Prince George and threatening to overflow its banks, he knows he is looking at something British Columbians could see a lot more of in the future.”
Water or Fire, Same BS!

Michael Tremblay

Measuring the intensities of wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or even earthquakes by the loss of human life or the damage to human property does not represent a scientific method for correlation to Global Warming. It is inevitable, because of the growth of the human race and its propensity to inhabit increasing amounts of the earth’s surface, that the loss of life and property due to these events is going to rise.
I remember the predictions of another group of left wing activists that all of the dust and smoke generated from fires due to a nuclear conflagration would result in a “Nuclear Winter”. Maybe all the smoke from the wildfires can reverse some of the Global Warming we are causing or maybe we should have a nuclear holocaust so we can rid the earth of our destructive presence and generate a nuclear winter to reverse all the damage caused by us.

The extremely large canopy fires are caused by man. We have put out the fires for the last 100 years and specifically the last 50, while replacing widely spaced tree forest with new dense pack plantation type of forest of the same exact type of tree.
Mother nature never intended for her forests to build up with fuel while the forests are today. The trees are now closely touching each other. She is going to fix this problem. It has nothing to do with CO2. It has everything to do with USFS & BLM.
Jack Barnes
Former USFS Firefighter
Squad boss on an Initial Attack Handcrew,
Shasta Trinity N.F. 94,95,96,01

timc says:
June 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm
“A Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130 drops fire retardant on a section of the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs, Colorado on June 26, 2012.”
US Air Force handout mentioning fire retardant, orange water?

Technically, the Herk is dumping “slurry” — water with a surfactant dye added to make the water “wetter” and serve as a marker so pilots won’t make multiple drops on the same spot.
The military is allowed to assist in firefighting after all available civilian operators are on site and the fire is still uncontained — I was one of eight Huey pilots in the New Jersey Guard qualified on the 100-gallon “Bambi bucket” between ’85 and ’01. Usual practice was to fill it from the nearest lake, but I worked a couple of fires where dipping into people’s backyard pools was the only fast option to save a cut-off ground team.

johanna

Jack H Barnes says:
June 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm
The extremely large canopy fires are caused by man. We have put out the fires for the last 100 years and specifically the last 50, while replacing widely spaced tree forest with new dense pack plantation type of forest of the same exact type of tree.
Mother nature never intended for her forests to build up with fuel while the forests are today. The trees are now closely touching each other. She is going to fix this problem. It has nothing to do with CO2. It has everything to do with USFS & BLM.
Jack Barnes
Former USFS Firefighter
Squad boss on an Initial Attack Handcrew,
Shasta Trinity N.F. 94,95,96,01
——————————————————————
Jack, you lost me with the ‘Mother Nature’ bit. What do you think happened before there were any people there, or just a few people? Was it OK for ‘Mother Nature’ to have devastating forest fires (aka bushfires) then – is it only when people are living there that it becomes something that ‘Mother Nature’ never intended?
I have huge respect for the work that you and your colleagues do – but pretending that ‘Mother Nature’ never dished out huge, devastating fires before humans began to modify the land is simply untrue.