See Comments down arrow

It's never just summer anymore

10 Jul 2024 | News Roundup

The weather forecast as of the time of writing is for a blast of hot weather along the US west coast, possibly hot enough not to be mere weather but you-know-what. Alas for Canada we’ve had to make do with mere weather: the Weather Network threatened highs of 35°C for Canada’s national capital during the week of June 17, several degrees above what really happened. And as of June 26, the prediction for the approaching Canada Day weekend included a single-digit overnight low (9C) for June 27-28 and on the actual Canada Day (July 1, and yes it used to be Dominion Day and still should be) a high of 24 and a low of 14. And in case you all live in the United States of Imperial, that would be 75 and 57, with that 9C figure working out to 48. Just weather, mind you. Including that “A ~5am temp of 6.5°C brought #Ottawa within 0.4°C of the lowest ever recorded on June 28th.” Some all-time deathly heat wave this one’s turning into.

As the Weather Network put it sourly on June 26:

“A lack of extreme warmth will be a key theme this holiday weekend… The Canada Day long weekend will be as changeable as spring, but with more comfortable temperatures for all.”

Of course if you’re looking for it you can find it. Ottawa Weather Records noted on June 23, as the heat broke, that:

“After 4 consecutive June days with maximum humidex ≥35 in #Ottawa, the maximum humidex was only 24.9 Friday. We made it to 4th place, only 2 days behind the record.”

Oooh, scary, kids? Not really. And not only because the record was set decades ago. Because the stretch was four days, tied with a whole bunch of other years, and the record is six. Plus what’s “humidex” anyway, other than a method for making it seem hotter than it is? (Ottawa temperature records go back into the 1870s; humidex ones only to 1952.)

If the climate crisis is hard to find, don’t worry. Attribution science exists precisely to find it whenever, wherever, right away, and bypass all that tedious science where they check hypotheses. As a Canadian Press story celebrated, “When heat waves strike, Environment Canada can link it to climate change – fast”. Er, that should be quickly, the adverb, not fast the adjective meaning permanently attached. Then again the way the science works, maybe fast is appropriate after all.

And never mind all that silly journalistic skepticism of yore, let alone the idea that scientific analysis is aimed at finding the truth. We’re doing activism now. As that story says toward the end:

“Rapid attribution tools are best used as a call to action, said Rachel White, an assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of British Columbia, who uses climate models to study extreme weather events.”

Curiously, this call to action was written after the hot weather had gone away to be replaced by some totally irrelevant cold weather. But climate change lingers on because climate change:

“While the unusually high temperatures have now relented, fundamental questions remain: just how much more likely was that heat wave because of climate change? And how much worse did it get because of it? Within a few days, researchers at Environment and Climate Change Canada are expected to have the results. The data would mark the public debut of Canada’s new rapid extreme weather event attribution pilot program. Environment Canada will be able to say, within about a week of the end of a heat wave, whether and to what extent climate change made it more likely or intense. Environment and Climate Change Canada is believed to be one of the first government offices in the world to publicly roll out such a tool and automatically apply it to heat waves across large parts of the country.”

Whatever do you suppose the finding will be? Right. Guilty as charged:

“Climate scientists have long detailed how planet-warming emissions are making weather extremes – from heat waves to heavy rainfall – more likely and severe across Canada. Temperatures that would have been virtually impossible without burning fossil fuels are becoming the new extreme, scientists say, while extremes are becoming the new unusual.”

So scientists already know what scientists won’t know for a week. But the thing is, we must run in circles scream and shout NOW NOW NOW:

“Studies of those specific heat waves or floods can, however, take months to make it into a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. By then, decisionmakers may have debated how to rebuild or where to relocate after a devastating flood, for example, without a clear indication of climate change’s role. Public attention and the news cycle has shifted elsewhere.”

If only. But now, hooray:

“Rapid studies, popularized over the past decade by trailblazing international research groups, look to inject climate science into the discussion when it’s most relevant.”

Just like this news story. And countless others. Thus Kate Allen, “Climate Change Reporter”, informs readers of the Toronto Star:

“As the GTA and much of Eastern Canada swelters through a third straight day of extreme heat, a few questions reliably pop up: Is the splashpad open? What’s the least sweaty way to get to work? How much ice cream is reasonable for a single adult to consume over a 24-hour period? And then the big one, the one that rattles around so often these days: is this climate change? A new, prototype rapid extreme weather attribution system piloted by Environment and Climate Change Canada will be getting a workout in the coming days as it processes reams of data to identify the fingerprint of human-induced warming in the current heat wave. The team joins a growing group racing to identify the involvement of climate change in the immediate aftermath of extreme weather, from floods to wildfires to droughts. While these programs are run by research scientists, their primary audience is not academics: it’s you, the public. “Attribution science” is intended to break through the disconnect between the global, gradual shifts of climate change and our lived reality on the ground.”

Oh, would that be the one where we had some heat in midsummer then it cooled off? What does attribution science make of lows of 9 or 14? Not much, apparently:

“Event attribution ‘can help people understand how climate change is impacting us here in Canada,’ said Megan Kirchmeier-Young, a Toronto-based research scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada’s climate research division. ‘If we talk about global temperature increases, it can seem a bit disconnected from our everyday lives. But it’s definitely not — we are feeling the effects of climate change, and through extreme events like this, this is a way to understand that.’ Meteorologists on Wednesday warned that this week’s heat wave is very rare for so early in the summer, and risks breaking multiple records. It’s also very dangerous.”

Other outlets warned us that it was hot in Saudi Arabia and that elderly people marching long distances in the blazing sun during a summer haj were having health problems. And you’ll never guess:

“The Hajj follows a lunar calendar so it will not always occur during such heat. Still, one study shows Saudi Arabia is heating up much more quickly than other parts of the Northern Hemisphere.”

Indeed, due to runaway global heating breakdown, Saudi Arabia recorded its highest-ever temperature in Jeddah in… um… 2010. (At the airport, of course.) Unless it was in Rafha in 2006. However such things are just weather.

P.S. Pass the noose, because that CP story also said “More broadly, attribution science has also bolstered efforts to hold big emitters, such as oil companies, responsible for the casualties and costs of specific climate-fuelled weather extremes.”

15 comments on “It's never just summer anymore”

  1. The verdict is in, climate crisis guilty as charged.
    Brought to you by the same jury as convicted President Trump.
    34 felonies of being too hot!
    Quote" "we're all gonna die" End quote! 😂

  2. I wonder if ever occurs to journalists, and it has to be said, scientists, that deciding that there is only one game in town is effectively deciding upon the cause before the effect is recorded and interrogated....welcome to the pre renaissance

  3. Under did you know: The Wind Chill does not exist in summer and the Humidex doesn't exist in winter.

  4. They see exactly what they want to see.EnviroCan is especially egregious.The analogy is planting evidence on a suspect to "prove" their guilt of a crime.

  5. Groucho Marx: are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?
    Environment Canada: . “Attribution science” is intended to break through the disconnect between the global, gradual shifts of climate change and our lived reality on the ground.

  6. I was trained to evaluate the veracity of sources. My estimate of Environment Canada's reliability has just gone down, substantially.

  7. The only climate-related hoax CDN believes in is the humidex. "That's just a phony-baloney made-up number designed to scare people into believing in global scorching." Apparently.
    In a reversal of roles, I find myself explaining that the humidex - and the wind chill in winter - really aren't hoaxes. They are measures that try to capture something real in the world: what the weather actually feels like to humans under different atmospheric conditions. "What the weather feels like to humans" is a matter of how quickly the body dissipates calories of heat it generates. The body loses heat more or less quickly at the same temperature depending in the velocity of the air and how much moisture the air contains. Thus it "feels" colder or warmer than the data-point of temperature alone suggests. This is what really matters to people in their day-to-day lives, which is why the humidex and wind chill are the relevant measures for the weather girl on our daily broadcasts to be concerned about.
    The measure may be imperfect - what human invention isn't? - but it tries to capture something real in the world. It is not a hoax. And if you think the hoax isn't in the measure itself but rather in how it is hyped by the media and "scientivists" - well now we are back into the standard conspiracy-theory thinking that CDN eschews.

  8. “Rapid studies, popularized over the past decade by trailblazing international research groups, look to inject climate science into the discussion when it’s most relevant.”
    Hey, I can do that too - I can inject 'climate science' into just about any discussion, and so can anyone else. However, assuming we are still using the standard definition of climate as a 30-year average of relevant atmospheric parameters (temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind velocity etc.) and knowing the wide variation that these parameters can have in any particulat location at any time of the year, then attempting to infer a change in climate from any single weather event is perilously close to mathematical nonsense.

  9. I was born in April 1958,in October of that year, the New York times, had an article that claimed within 10 years that all the ice at the north pole would be gone.

  10. I not so sure how relevant humidex and windchill are Thylacine. Maybe in someone's world but, when the "weather girl" says "tomorrow's high 45C", then I know it's tending towards hoax. Or serious hyperbole at least. These terms may be relevant in the right context but they are seriously abused by the weather girl. Though I can't really blame the weather girl herself since she's generally just following a script. I guess it's an example of "if it bleeds it leads". A practice that CHATGPT rightly claims leads to a distorted view of reality. But using humidex only in summer and windchill only in winter does seem to tend towards hoax. After all, in the winter you don't have to stand in the wind. And the wind can be a nice relief on a hot summer day. Just sayin'. And I guess we should have written "weather person" not "weather girl". Oh well.

  11. When will we start seeing claims that some unusually cold weather has become much less likely because of climate change.

  12. Don’t remember ever looking at the Humidex while I lived in Canada, and I remember Ottawa, for 2 years, having relatively hot, humid summers. According to Wikipedia a Humidex of 35 is mid way in the “some discomfort” range (the second lowest of the ranges, so nothing particularly bad there according to the Canadian government) and could mean a temperature of between 25 and 37 deg C, depending on relative humidity/dew point temp. I.e. it was a moderately warm eastern North America summer day for 4 days, before becoming a fairly cool summer day for Canada Day, at least for Ottawa. Pretty much a normal summer from what I remember, lots of humid summer weather with occasional cooler weather (and never enough of the cool).

  13. The irrational ranting from these women at the ministry of funny walks is impossible to take seriously. How much are we paying these clowns to spout complete nonsense?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *