Strategies of Communication on Climate Change

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hansen's dice are rolling

Image from ThreeOak

By Alexander Ac

In a changed world all weather events are created under different conditions than before the Industrial Revolution. A weather that is on steroids, we could say. Or, as climatologist James Hansen calls it, we are "loading the climate dice" towards more extreme climate and weather. Not surprisingly, it is increasingly harder and harder for more and more people to simply "adapt" to weather extremes. Just consider the weather reports from around the planet during the the last few days. They may not by unusual separately, but together they give a picture of quite rapidly destabilizing Holocene climate. The calendar summer of 2013 on the Nothern Hemisphere has just started!

Consider this:
  • Arizona Governor declares a state of emergency in Yavapai County due to fast growing forest fire:

  • Numerous wildfires are currently spreading also in Colorado and this state already contained its most destructive wildfire in history earlier this year, while the previous one occured in 2012.
  • Fires are also raging in Alaska, which recently experienced record temperatures, while California is preparing for the worst fire season in at least 100 years.
Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
  • Record pollution is choking Singapore as a result of forest fires in Indonesia:
  • Canadian Alberta is suffering the worst floods in at least 90 years:
  • Strong rains caused flash floods in parts of Southwestern France:
  • Strong wind and gulf ball sized hail surprized Switzerland:

  • Much needed monzoon rains came to India, unfortunataly more intense than usually, already killed about 1000 people and caused a lot of damage:

We really need to listen more carefully to what our planet is telling us. And act accordingly. Now.

(h/t to recent events goes to Fire Earth blog and Desdemona Despair blog)

*Correction: As pointed out by a reader, forest fires in Indonesia are primarily caused by human activity and might NOT necessarily be related to climate change. Even worse, they may have been intentionally started by palm oil companies to grow "biofuels", which are supposed to "offset" fossil fuel emissions. See the "moth effect".


  1. "We really need to listen more carefully to what our planet is telling us. And act accordingly. Now."

    In other words, we need to abandon flood plains, deserts, and most coast lines. Since that's not going to happen, we need to brace for massive numbers of climate refugees. And that's going to happen either.

    Things are going to get worse and worse and never get any better. And that's what we need to prepare for.

  2. This post is probably a good example of how not to communicate on Climate Change. There are many claims about "increased intensity" without any kind of backing by data. Those interested in knowing how a warming climate is expected to impact rainfall in North America are advised to read the IPCC report.

    Regarding the Indonesian fires, this post shows that the author is not really interested in informing the public but rather on mystifications.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      thanks for comment, and also for the reference to IPCC report, which I recommend as well. As usual, any weather event is a result of multiple factors. Indeed, we had a weather before Anthropogenic Climate Change. But now the atmosphere is hotter, "prepared" to affect in some whay every weather event. Usually for the worse -- in terms of duration, frequency, or intensity of occurence. Even human caused forest fires in Indonesia might have been less sever if there was less drought or lower temperatures - factors which are affected by ACC.

      So yes, I am interested in scientifically correct way of relating weather events to climate change - even though scientists dont know everything, but that is not the problem here.

      Hope that helps.