skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

Meteorologists Say Current Heat Wave Is Sign Of Climate Change

Evening Edition

Alex Tardy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, and Daniel Cayan, a research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, talk to KPBS about the heat wave.

Aired 8/14/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Alex Tardy, Meteorologist, National Weather Service

Daniel Cayan, Research Meteorologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography


Frozen yogurt at Swirls at the Del Mar Highlands Town Center during the Augus...
Enlarge this image

Above: Frozen yogurt at Swirls at the Del Mar Highlands Town Center during the August 2012 heat wave.

As temperatures reached into the high 80s on the coast and 100 inland for the second straight week, some fondly remembered recent San Diego summers that never seemed to arrive at all.

While San Diego was largely spared from the extreme heat plaguing the country in July, local temperatures this August are on pace to break some records, said Alex Tardy, a meteorologist, National Weather Service.

Tardy said another heat wave is building this week, and added San Diego should have "one more good heat wave" in September.

"We'll hold our breath that we don't have a lot of wind during our normal fire season," he added.

Daniel Cayan, a research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography said the recent heat wave and droughts are "undoubtedly" linked to climate change.

He said while this heat wave is "certainly not the only one we've ever seen," "it's likely that climate warming from greenhouse gases is playing an incremental role."

A climate model Cayan created with colleagues predicts that by 2060, these conditions may be the new normal. That means a heat wave like this one will be even more intense, he added.

The California Department of Water Resources predicts that by 2050, at least 25 percent of the Sierra snow pack will be lost, one of the state's most important sources of urban, agricultural and environmental water.

In addition, weather patterns are becoming more variable and more severe, causing more violent weather events like floods and drought. Eventually, these new patterns will cause a rise in the sea level, which thus far, has not impacted Southern California.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 14, 2012 at 3:02 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

There is a difference between **climate** and **weather**.

I believe anthropogenic climate change is real because of the conclusions reached by the majority of climate specialized scientists who have evaluated billions of data points and also because it's common sense that all the pollution we throw into our air, water, and soil isn't happening in a vacuum.

**THOSE** are the reasons I believe in global warming (or as I think is a more accurate term anthropogenic climate change), *not* because we are in the middle of a heat wave.

Even if it were 10 degrees below normal right now, the same evidence of anthropogenic climate change would hold true.

Don't be like the Fox "news" incompetents who run out on cold days and start saying "see, global warming doesn't exist".

It doesn't work that way, my dears.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'llk'

llk | August 14, 2012 at 3:30 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

But what if those same scientists were the ones drawing the link between extreme weather and climate change?

"Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change."

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Willard'

Willard | August 14, 2012 at 5:04 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Global climate change is real except on Fox and Texas based KUSI news' leading climate science denier weatherman John Coleman. John and Lord Monkton against most scientists in the world.Many scientists believe that the global, catastrophic climate events of the last few years are just the tip of the ice-berg

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Claire Trageser'

Claire Trageser, KPBS Staff | August 14, 2012 at 5:14 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Peking Duck, our guests were saying the current heat wave is just one of many signs of climate change. They did not directly equate hot weather with global warming--they are more informed than that. Thanks for watching!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'TLAdamsjr'

TLAdamsjr | August 14, 2012 at 6:10 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

To deny climate change is absolutely foolish for sure. It's obvious that climate change is a real. Equating specific weather to climate change is a stretch. If you want to look at it that way you can say that climate change has an "incremental effect" on all weather around the globe. There are too many variables to start screaming about climate change just because it's hot for a few weeks. And though I don't doubt this man's credentials. He's a meteorologist, not a climatologist. They may seem close but the field of study is not. Basically, not an expert in the field of climatology which makes his argument lack some of it's scholarly credibility.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 14, 2012 at 6:52 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Thanks Claire for the clarification, I'm watching now.

I love Amita Sharma's necklace by the way, it' fabulous!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 15, 2012 at 11:21 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Forget the necklace! I love A . . . err . . . never mind I might get deleted! lol

No, but seriuosly, we've had heat waves before. What makes this one attributable to "climate change"? I think TSAdams has a strong point on sentence # 2.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | August 15, 2012 at 11:26 a.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Yep, the climate is changing. Just like it has been fluctuating since the beginning of Earth, as evidenced in ice cores and fossils.

It is funny how many people are duped into thinking humans cause climate change. There weren't very many humans driving cars around 100,000 years ago, but the climate still changed. People get lead around by the nose, buying their "green" devices etc, creating billions in profit for the green industry.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'llk'

llk | August 15, 2012 at 2:12 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

It is funny how JeanMarc does not understand that humans do not necessarily cause, but rather, through greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate climate change to a rate at which ecosystems cannot adapt. That is, in fact, what makes "global warming" (or anthropogenic climate change) distinctly different from the nature of Earth's relatively slower climate changes throughout geologic time.

This is a fundamental concept that is imperative for anyone to grasp before deciding to offer their opinions on this issue.

Furthermore, what's wrong with profit, provided it's spent wisely?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Willard'

Willard | August 15, 2012 at 2:20 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Conservative thinking-"green"profits bad "dirty"profits good

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 15, 2012 at 4:45 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago


Think about this logically. It's a scientific fact that the emissions from volcanoes directly impact climate, in some cases for years. There are documented cases of volcanic eruptions that had significant impact on global climate patterns.

Do you really think that the billions of tons of pollution human beings are pumping into our air, water, and soil on a DAILY basis is not having ANY impact on our climate? Why would the instability caused by volcanic emissions have a profound effect on climate, but the emissions from human-created pollution not? It simply doesn't make sense.

You are correct that non-human climate change has been occurring forever, and continues to this day. But that simple fact does not prove that humans are not also contributing to climate change as well.

As ILK points out, nobody is saying humans alone are causing climate change, but the science shows humans are contributing to, increasing the severity of, and accelerating the onset of otherwise naturally occurring climate shifts.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'AndrewSanDiego'

AndrewSanDiego | August 16, 2012 at 5:55 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

You just have to love how the catastrophe-mongers and their willfully ignorant dupes like to toss around "science" and "climate scientists" like a hippie's mantra. To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, "Those words do not mean what you think they mean".

Science is what comes from those who follow the Scientific Method. The promoters of CAGW have repeatedly demonstrated their open contempt for real science. In deliberate and direct violation of actual scientific principles, they REFUSE to allow independent verification of their "studies". Their data and workings are SECRET.

But when that data and code is forced out of hiding, like Mann's CENSORED ftp directory with his Hockey Stick data series, or Briffa's Yamal data, it is easily shown that theses "climate scientists" have engaged in fraud.

Any one who wants to dispute me had better be prepared to document where they have objected to the corrupt, anti-science conduct of Michael Mann, Keith Briffa, Phil Jones, Kevin Trenberth, David Overpeck, James Hansen and all the other promoters of Imminent! Global! Catatrophe! for which there is only two solutions: Government takeover of energy supplies; and more taxpayer money for "climate scientists".

A final question, one asked on Judith Curry's blog a year ago by a real scientist, Willis Eschenbach: "When members of your scientific community lie, cheat, and steal to further their own ends, should other members refuse to say anything bad about the wrong-doers?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 16, 2012 at 8:09 p.m. ― 4 years, 7 months ago

Andrew, cases of fraud do not negate the work of others done properly that has reached similar conclusions.

Even when you extract the instances of improper method by a few, you are still left with the vast majority of climate specialized scientists in consensus that anthropogenic climate alteration is indeed occurring.

For someone criticizing the scientific method you seem quick to condemning the majority for something a small minority did.

And let's not forget the fraud on the other side, including forged petitions by "scientists".

In short, you seem to be cherry-picking your fraud to fit your political agenda.

( | suggest removal )