Skip to Navigation
Skip to Content

Support PSR!

Your membership supports PSR's work to reduce global warming, eliminate toxics in our environment and abolish nuclear weapons. YOU make our work possible. Thank you.

Donate Now »

Take Action

The Paris Climate Agreement puts the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change. Tell President Trump that leaving the accord puts polluters' interests before our health and welfare.

Climate: From ‘hot’ to ‘extremely hot’

Posted by Frederik Lichtenberg on January 31, 2012

This is the second in a series of posts by Frederik Lichtenberg, PSR’s climate intern.

These days, global warming makes spring come earlier and fall later and the period in between to be hotter; summer-like conditions are protracted. For this reason, in his recent article, “Perceptions of Climate Change: The New Climate Dice,” global warming expert James Hansen focuses on changes in summer temperatures.

Hansen and his co-authors point out that it is not only the quantity of “hot” events that has risen but also the quality, which is indicated by a new category referred to as “extremely hot.” This category, which refers to weather events more than three standard deviations warmer than climatology would have predicted, did not exist in the period from 1951-1980. Yet it is quite frequent to find “extremely hot” weather events in the years 1981-2010.

The emergence of this new “extremely hot” category shows that in order to describe the climate of 1981-2010, then-existing categories were inadequate since such extreme temperatures so infrequent during 1950-1981. The land areas affected by these temperatures only covered a “few tenths of one percent” back then. The current figure for the occurrence of such anomalies is 10%, a drastic increase which shows very well just how intensely our climate has shifted towards warmer temperatures in a very short period of time.

The frequent temperatures of this magnitude suggest that well-remembered anomalies such as the summer heat in the Moscow area in 2010 or Texas in 2011 were a consequence of both global warming and specific local weather patterns at the time.

Furthermore, this trend – the climate dice loaded towards extreme heat – is expected to continue.

Comments

Leave your comment

Name
Comment
Enter this word: Change

Action Alerts

More action alerts»

Resources

  • Video: Fracking - Too Dirty, Too Dangerous

    Former executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Catherine Thomasson, MD, presents findings from PSR's report "Too Dirty, Too Dangerous: Why Health Professionals Reject Natural Gas". It is based on summaries of recent medical and scientific studies which clearly convey the health threats that accompany use of methane as a fuel. Read more »

  • Webinar: The Fight for Solar

    Solar energy is one of our best hopes for a clean energy future – yet some utility companies are trying to stifle the spread of rooftop solar. Learn more about the fight for rooftop ("distributed") solar. Read more »

  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Fact Sheet

    RGGI has significantly reduced air pollution from fossil fuel power plants, improving the health of people living in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. Read more »

In the Spotlight

  • November 30, 2016
    Eating for Climate and Health
    PSR's new PowerPoint presentation on how climate change impacts food production, and agriculture's contribution to climate change.