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June 30, 2011

Climate Zombies Don't Stop for Science

Zombie12 Unfortunately for attendees of today's climate deniers conference in Washington D.C., top congressional climate zombie Sen. James Inhofe, who was supposed to give the opening keynote, canceled his appearance. Instead he sent a reassuring note to the conference: "Your efforts have gone a long way to stop the global warming alarmist agenda." it said.

The conference is "funded, like Inhofe himself, by Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil" and sponsored by the Heartland Institute, a typical conservative think tank.

The thing about climate deniers is that it doesn't matter how much scientific evidence you throw at them. They're still going to come at you in zombie-like fashion with their tired rhetoric. But it must be hard for Sen. Inhofe to ignore what's going on in his own state of Oklahoma, where the scars of climate change have taken hold.

The Sooner State is suffering through a massive heat wave with "no relief in sight." Via ThinkProgress: "Today marks the 29th consecutive day over 90. That is a record. Today is forecast to be the 10th day above 100 in June. That is a record. Today marks the 34th consecutive day above normal. June 2011 set or tied single-day record high temperatures on the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 27th. Those record temperatures were 103, 104, 101, and 103 degrees, respectively."

If Oklahoma were a country, it perhaps would end up on an image like this one:
Countries that set record highs in 2010
(image courtesy Climate Central & Weather Underground.)

This graph accompanied an recent analysis that determined 2010 to be one of the most unprecedented in terms of extreme weather events. This year is shaping to be the same, leaving some to wonder if this marks a new normal. In the U.S., it sure looks that way:

Baseline temperature averages issued by government scientists this week indicate that temperatures across the United States were half a degree warmer on average from 1981 to 2010 than they were from 1971 to 2010.

Every state's annual maximum and minimum temperatures increased on average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Center said.

The 30-year averages, known as normals, are used to gain an understanding of how current climate conditions compare with those in recent history. Utilities use them to project energy consumption, and agribusinesses rely on them to assess crop yields and compare them with those in the recent past. The normals are updated every 10 years.

-- Brian Foley

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