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August 07, 2012


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Corrupt they are. But then isnt corrupt stupid.

Dont know if U all have listened to the climate change stuff on PBS. There was a scientist on a few days ago that said climate change is at the point (talking heat) that U do not have to be a scientist to get it.

Sorry to tell U this Jon but one of the few remaining Japanese garden parcels on Baseline at 40th Street just fell to a 36 pump Circle K and behind it what looks like a private religious school. And at 28st and Southern in a mixed agriculture area is another private school finishing completion in time for a September opening. All that is missing in this old Heard/Bartlett ranch area is a private prison.

Could be that the 3rd option besides corrupt or stupid is "ACCEPTING" . . with a resigned attitude . . . doubting that we can do much. To me, this borders on "lah-di-dah", but that's how some relatively intelligent but self-absorbed folks go through life, isn't it?

It may be more complex for some people, but corruption or stupidity or a little of both is always part of the answer. For a micro view, I can use my family as an example. Being descendents of mostly Mexican heritage, we witnessed the gradual climb of our grandparents and parents in socioeconomic status. My grandmother started in the fields, eventually obtaining a vocational education and retiring after working in the aircraft industry in Goodyear. My parents never had to work in the fields and I rarely saw a field up close except from a car window.

Now that later generations are wealthier, at least for some of the population especially those of us many generations removed from agricultural work, selfishness makes it hard to give up what we've worked hard for. We have nice cars and we now can get upset with white mechanics if they screw up our alignment. We can tell white landscapers that if they fail to get the grass to grow we'll just have to call someone else. Now we are being told some that we can't have what whites enjoyed when our grandparents did the work?

Because of that there is some disconnect and disengagement with politics since many of us are enjoying our turn. At least that is the sentiment I get from some of my relatives (generally the over 35 crowd). This may help explain why so many of them just don't vote. Those of us under 35 are moving away from the suburban illusion of comfort and many of my younger relatives refuse to live outside of Tempe or Central Phoenix or choose to live in other cities like Chicago.

Although I sense attitudes with older family members changing, I'm not sure it will get them to engage long-term. I hear often that they couldn't change a thing anyways because too many people have taken over Arizona. And because of that our political leadership will say what they need to win and get funding to run their campaigns...even if it means betraying their beliefs for a while because getting reelected depends on saying what people want to hear.

This election year will determine whether or not many of my relatives, and I suspect many minorities, will remain involved. If Romney wins, or closer to home, if Arpaio is reelected then it may confirm their suspicions and it will be harder to get them to do it all over again. I have a strong feeling that Arpaio will lose reelection in 2012; therefore, we may have a little more truth in politics...just a little. And it would benefit Phoenix, Maricopa County, and ultimately Arizona if the voters remove him from office rather than the courts. Perhaps those politicians that lie and deny will finally feel the heat.

Now thats as un optimistic as I have ever observed PHXSUNFAN. Maybe U should get a divorce.

However U did end on an optimistic note about the MCSO election. Hard to believe that Penzone can beat Arpaio but then U never know whats likely to happen in a race between Italians. To bad no one could talk David Gonzales (the Federal Marshall) or Frank Milstead (Mesa Police Chief) into the election.

Glad to have U back aboard phxsunfan. Gives an old man hope for YOUR future.

A recent post I saw was a "white" family giving thanks to Jesus for the food on thier table. And Jesus very graciously said DENADA.

Sinema sounds liberal but is a lawyer and good friends with Russell Pearce and Cherny and Shapira are both career politicians too. In short, they are the servants of their corporate masters and will be rewarded as such. Thinking that they will do anything for us is beyond wishful, it is maniacal. This same mania will result in the poor persecuted Sheriff Joe getting re-elected (sorry pSf).

Eclecticdog, I strongly disagree that Arpaio will be reelected for a few reasons...none greater than the fact that Arpaio is not running in a legislative district that strongly leans Republican but in an entire county. A county that has become more diverse. So all those Hispanics that registered to vote in Maryvale and South Phoenix and Guadalupe will be counted when they send in their ballot or show up at the polls.

I know many people who have registered as "Independents" or with no party affiliation because 1)they don't associate strongly with one party or the other or 2)they don't want to be stuck voting in primaries on one ticket or the other (Dem or Rep). The strategy being that registering as an Independent will give them more of a choice until open primaries in Arizona are a reality.

Great column, Jon. As the reader comments indicate, the problems are so massive and threaten the very essence of modern-day Phoenix, that folks who live here just don't want to address them. Fact is, If you were to run on this issue (no matter the party), you'd be shut down or run out of town.

pSf, I've thought a couple times that Joe would go down, but have been sorely disappointed. I hope you are right about the Hispanic and Independent voter turnout, it might make a difference.

I don't believe that "folks who live here just don't want to address" issues that concern us. Instead the problem is that people who are traditionally not part of the political spectrum are unsure how their involvement will impact outcomes.

The trajectory of Arapaio's support has been steadily decreasing since 2000; before pedophiles were allowed to remain on the streets and before his attacks on Hispanic neighborhoods.

He was elected with 66.49% of the vote in 2000 and in 2008 with 55%. With increased voter registration his margin of victory have decreased. The only thing that has increased is the shouting from Kooks out of Sun City and the fringes; but shouting louder doesn't mean your vote counts more than once.

Phxsunfan could prove to be right if the folks who took out Pearce can turn out the vote.

As for Joe's fans I think an apt description is
Cognitive illusions.

Thanks Jon for the NASA's Hansen report. He was on PBS a couple of days ago as I did my exercise walk and gawk and Scottsdale Fashion Mall wearing my ear piece.

also a good piece by Bill McKibben called The Reckoning in the Rolling Stone magazine

Arpaio's approval has taken a beating the past few years but it's still a shade above 50% according to recent polls. He may be vulnerable electorally, though, if Penzone's team can get the Dem vote out big in Phoenix.

As far as sustainability goes, politicians and community leaders are going to be mostly useless because of they are beholden to Big Bidness. If we want anything done we'll have to do the only thing that ever changes anything in AZ: citizen's initiatives.

Climate Change is apparently too abstract for the human race at large to wrap their heads around.

“You almost couldn’t design a problem that is a worse fit with our underlying psychology,” says Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

And so our fate appears to be sealed as long as Humans continue to behave as the creatures they have been since the onset of the Industrial Age and the discovery of fossil fuels, the addiction to which there is no cure. This beast will go down violently. We're Dodo birds with nukes.

"Evolutionary deadends are much more common in the tree of life than many people realize. Extinction is the most general rule of the game." ~ George Mobus

Great post! I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head, although I'm coming closer and closer to the point of view that we are way past the point where we can do anything about climate change in the short run. Any efforts will make today will be for future generations. That is a must, but we will also need to get ready for adjusting the way the live on a planet that may or may not return to what we think of as the "norm."

I was kind of shocked by the statement by Kyrsten Sinema. Could she be any less decisive??

Finally, thank you for mentioning what I've though all along about this Sun Corridor fantasy. Even without considering climate change, the Sun Corridor thing was never going to happen. Unfortunately, as you mention, the misallocation of resources has already been apportioned in many ways. The South Mountain Freeway comes to mind.

Its not like the global warming problem evidence is not out there from Malthus to Abbey and now 99 percent of the scientific community. The 1 percent that are taking money not to understand and denying politicians in charge are from this point on criminals. So whatcha gonna do? Writing about it is good but is that enough?

I want to hear from AZREBEL and Soleri on this issue.


Greenhouse gases acidify the ocean. Ocean acidification not only threatens the food chain from the bottom up, but also decreases the ocean's ability to absorb atmospheric greenhouse gases. This is a feedback loop which could increase the rate and intensity of climate change well beyond current projections, in a comparatively short period (decades).

Additionally, warm air holds more water vapor than cool air. Water vapor is actually a greenhouse gas and accounts for between 1/3 and 2/3 of the greenhouse effect, far more than carbon dioxide (no more than a quarter of the effect, at most). This constitutes another feedback loop, as carbon dioxide increases global temperatures, and this in turn increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, which further warms the atmosphere...

I have to wonder to what degree interaction between these various feedback loops has been properly modeled.

Here's some information about ocean acidification:

"Also of concern is that a large class of plankton, floating in the open oceans and forming a vital component of marine food webs, appears equally vulnerable to acidification. If so, this could be serious not only for marine life that feeds on them -- but also for humans, as it could impair the oceans' ability to soak up increased volumes of CO2 from the atmosphere. This would cause global warming to accelerate."

"The (present) fossil fuel acidification is much faster than natural changes, and so the acid spike will be more intense than the earth has seen in at least 800,000 years."

"Climate change drove coral reefs to a total ecosystem collapse lasting thousands of years, according to a paper published this week (early July) in Science. The paper shows how natural climatic shifts stopped reef growth in the eastern Pacific for 2,500 years. The reef shutdown, which began 4,000 years ago, corresponds to a period of dramatic swings in the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). 'As humans continue to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the climate is once again on the threshold of a new regime, with dire consequences for reef ecosystems unless we get control of climate change,' said coauthor Richard Aronson, a biology professor at Florida Institute of Technology."

"Lovejoy told me that the new ocean acidification study adds new urgency to climate negotiations, by confirming that carbon dioxide does much more than just warm the planet. He explained that researchers now predict that unless people find ways to produce much less carbon dioxide–or, in addition, begin soaking up carbon dioxide by planting vast numbers of trees–the acidity of the oceans will more than double in the next 40 years. This rate is 100 times faster than any changes in ocean acidity in the last 20 million years, making it unlikely that marine life can somehow adapt to the changes."

The evidence is in.
time for the conviction?

Jon I say come back and let's start a nonprofit initiative to return the Valley to the shady oasis in the original SRP footprint you suggest. Having lived here for 55 years, I'm ready to get rid of the folks that think they will build their quality of life by "graveling" over their grass. It is sickening to see this happening in the older green neighborhoods and should be against the zoning laws!


You've lived here 55 years and you haven't noticed "IT'S A DESERT" ???


And U cant even smoke it.

When I lived in the Slope we had natural lawns. Whatever the desert offered. And we didnt have to water or mow it.

Careful REB, I wouldnt want U to lose it and have an opinion. go smoke some grass.

Lesly as much as I liked Teddy, the SRP was a mistake. Roosevelt should have named Arizona and New Mexico a Federal Wilderness.

But I have to admit in 1950 I liked living in Sunnyslope. There was very little (like olive trees) there that made me sneeze. And Phoenix was a nice and quiet almost nocturnal small town.

Interesting set of responses in today's Republic Opinions section in response to a letter criticizing Laurie Roberts' "de-kookify" the legislature campaign. Someone pointed out that Gov. Jane Hull and others have been dissing their party's extremists for some time. Also noted that Jon Talton coined the KOOKOCRACY designation years ago, giving rise to some folks saying some very complimentary things about our friend. Reminds me that the Bible says something about a prophet being without honor in his own country. Jon foretold the "Great Disruption" but the sprawl-meisters were too greedy, stupid and corrupt to read the tea leaves.


Not an opinion, just a startled response. I'm re-reading the conquest of "New Spain" and nowhere in it is a mention of the conquistadors coming across any manicured lawns.

A bit of clarification:

Don't confuse the loss of reef ecosystems with the loss of plankton. The world has, within human history, lost reef ecosystems over subtantially large global regions. Plankton colonies inhabit the ocean independent of reefs, and form the base of the marine food chain.

A plankton die-off would likely be catastrophic, particularly with respect to accelerating climate change. According to a paper in Nature, the world's most highly respected peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary scientific journal, even though plankton "account for less than 1% of the photosynthetic biomass on Earth", phytoplankton absorb nearly as much carbon and carbon dioxide as all the world's land plants combined. "Removing carbon dioxide from water also allows more of it to diffuse in from the air, lowering atmospheric levels of the gas. In these ways, phytoplankton are crucial to the global carbon cycle, the circular path by which carbon atoms travel from the atmosphere to the biosphere, to the land and then back to the ocean."


Note also that plankton are not the only oceanic organisms which absorb diffused carbon. They are, however, generally at the base of the food chain for such organisms. So, the results of a plankton die-off could be even more serious for global warming.

Are plankton vulnerably to ocean acidification resulting from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (from coal and petrochemical burning)?

"New research from the UK and Australia suggests that changes in the ocean's chemistry, as a result of global warming, could threaten organisms such as marine plankton to a greater extent than previously thought. . . Their results suggest that changes in the pH at the cell surface of plankton could adversely affect cellular equilibrium, leading to poor growth if not death. Importantly, the team's work suggests that some of the most critical organisms to the Earth's biogeochemical cycles, such as planktonic calcifiers (coccolithophorids and forams), will be disproportionately affected by this mechanism. These changes could represent a powerful driving force, shaping the composition of plankton communities of the future ocean. 'The implications of our research are profound,' said Professor Flynn. 'They suggest scope for a more serious impact of oceanic acidification upon marine plankton than previously thought.' "


Emil: were you an academic in your former life? The only science that made much sense to me was Political Science, sir! Your audience here might be comprised of individuals who seek a path that can lead us out of our malaise. Your science lectures seem oddly arcane . . .

AZREBEL, I consider your " startled response" a reactionary opinion.
Glad to see you are learning about genocide.

The news from Science is "bad."
To be lead out of Malaise requires more than science. Will the likes of "occupy" and "adbuster" lead the charge. And will the charge be met by corporation bought police acting as thugs. "Blade Runner" keeps popping up in my brain just like the junk on the web. And the popups resemble small hand made paper chickens.

Speaking of science, a population solution is on the horizon. The recent news is that we are almost out of antibiotics for gonorrhea. Unlike humans most bugs (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) they just keep adapting to what ever chemicals we throw at them.

With respect to Phoenix specifically, the last ten years has not been kind. Here is a graph showing the number of days with overnight lows over 90 degrees at Sky Harbor Airport, from 1965 to 2011. Click on "Visualizations (1)" to see the graph:


The data go back further than the graph, and show that from 1948 through 2002 the maximum number of such days per year was three (and there was only one such year, 1993). By contrast, in the decade from 2002 through 2011, 7 of 10 years beat this, with 2003 quadrupling the previous record (12 such days) and double or triple the previous record being common for 70% of the decade.

The Morrison Institute, in its notes under the graph, attributes the historical changes over the life of the graph to the urban heat-island effect. I'm personally skeptical, however, that this alone, or even primarily, could account for the size of the changes over the last ten years, though I should point out that I'm no expert by any means. A comparison between Phoenix and similarly situated (region, elevation, climate, etc.) but non-growing cities over the last decade would help determine whether the urban heat island effect resulting from city expansion is responsible, or whether regional climate changes are.

Another, highly useful indicator for Phoenix is the concept of "cooling degree days". These describe the amount of air-conditioning that needs to be used to maintain a comfortable interior environment. Specifically, each degree the average is above 65 contributes a "cooling degree day"; so if the average temperature over a 24 hour period is 85, that contributes 20 "cooling degree days". (Yep, one calender day can contribute tens of cooling degree days.)

From 2000 through 2011, 82% (9 of 11 years) had more than 750 cooling degree days each. In the 1990s through 1980s the figure was 40 to 60 percent; in the 1970s 30%; in the 1960s 10%; and in the 1950s 10%. Click on "Data" in the following web-page:


"morecleanair" wrote:

"Your audience here might be comprised of individuals who seek a path that can lead us out of our malaise."

In a nutshell: STOP CHINA. I'm serious. Jingoism has nothing to do with it. Read this:

According to Ming Ouyang, Head of the Department of Automotive Engineering at Tsinghua University, the number of cars on China's roads are predicted to triple to 300 million within 15 to 20 years.


So, China will overtake the U.S. in fleet size, and poor emissions standards will result in vast amounts of carbon dioxide pumped out by Chinese autos.

ExxonMobil, in a 2008 study projecting energy trends to 2030, writes:

"From 2005 to 2030, demand (for oil) in developed countries is expected to be essentially flat, reflecting significant penetration by more-efficient vehicles. In contrast,
demand in developing countries is likely to more than double as economies grow and rising prosperity leads to a dramatic increase in personal vehicles."

As for CO2 emissions from all three sources (utilities, manufacturing, and transportation), the prediction is OMINOUS from a climate change perspective:

"Global CO2 emissions are projected to rise by close to 30 percent between 2005 and 2030, even with improved energy efficiency and growth in nuclear and renewable energies.

"Although CO2 emissions are expected to begin declining in the United States and Europe over the period to 2030, these declines will be more than offset by increases in developing countries. For example, by 2030 China is expected to have CO2 emissions comparable to those in the U.S. and EU combined."


As for coal burning in China's comparatively unregulated and dirty power plants:

"Power generation will be the largest and fastest growing energy-demand sector through 2030. China, which today meets almost 90 percent of its power needs with coal, will see its energy demand for power generation more than double by 2030, surpassing U.S. demand by more than one-third."

Exxon Mobil projects China increasing coal usage well beyond today's quantities, even as nuclear and renewables come online.

See the graph titled "Power Generation By Region" on page 12 of the report:


Emil, if you compare Tucson's urban heat island to Phoenix, you will notice a similar increase in avareage temperatures. In Tucson and Phoenix, the average temperature has increased by 5.5° (3.5° increase occurring within the past 30 years). The average night time temperature in Phoenix has increased by 9°. The open desert near the two urban areas have not had such a dramatic increase in temperatures...especially for temperatures at night.


LOL! How I posted the above link I do not know...here is the proper link to the site:


phxSUNSfan, I'm talking about changes affecting the last ten years: your source is talking about (a) changes since 1948 and (b) changes in the last 30 years.

That's why I took pains to draw a distinction between the Morrison Institute's heat-island explanation "over the life of the graph" versus extraordinary changes in the last ten years.

Specifically, I noted changes taking place in the ten year period from 2002 through 2011.

Now take a look at this graph, which shows Chinese carbon-dioxide emissions with a nice, smooth, slight increase from 1968 to just past 2000 reflecting population growth and agricultural activities, then a sudden jump in which Chinese CO2 emissions per capita doubled from 2002 to 2008.


That doesn't tell the whole story, becaues the graph only goes through 2008 and China's emissions have increased by 36 percent relative to 2008; and from 2002 through 2011 Chinese CO2 emissions nearly tripled.

Don't be fooled by the fact that China has a lower per capita CO2 output (7.2 metric tonnes) compared to the United States (17.3). Total emissions from China are much higher because their population is 4.3 times larger than ours.

"According to the annual report ‘Trends in global CO2 emissions’, released today by the JRC and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), the top emitters contributing to the global 34 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2011 are: China (29%), the United States (16%), the European Union (11%), India (6%), the Russian Federation (5%) and Japan (4%)."


This is even worse than it sounds because China's rate of emissions increase has been much faster than ours and is projected to become faster still:

"Although CO2 emissions are expected to begin declining in the United States and Europe over the period to 2030, these declines will be more than offset by increases in developing countries. For example, by 2030 China is expected to have CO2 emissions comparable to those in the U.S. and EU combined."


Sorry, that last link got truncated:


P.S. The remarkable climate changes in the last ten years have been national, not just in fast-growing (pre-recession) Phoenix.

P.S. I just noticed: the Exxon report was from 2008. But as of last year China ALREADY accounted for 29 percent of global CO2 emissions, whereas the U.S. (16%) and the European Union (11%) together accounted for only 27 percent. So, Exxon's report about China equalling their combined output "by 2030" is laughably behind the curve. More reason for pessimism unless steps are taken by the developed nations to curb dirty Chinese production via environmental import taxes and/or economic moratoriums.

"Global Institute of Sustainability"

What about keeping it local, first?

Anything "global" should be immediately suspect. Appending, "institute", should increase suspicion. Finally, including, "sustainability", should convict.

What happens when China's per capita CO2 output catches up to that of the United States, as their economic output does? Or rather, surpasses it, since they lack the United States' regulatory and enforcement overhead.

Right now they're a large export market with a small but growing domestic market. We need to (economically) whack 'em in the kneecaps RIGHT NOW before their domestic demand makes them impervious to export related tariffs and moratoriums.

Sorry if this sounds flinty, but saving the world is just a wee bit more important than building a mammoth new consumer society along American lines (but a lot messier).

"Power generation will be the largest and fastest growing energy-demand sector through 2030. China, which today meets almost 90 percent of its power needs with coal, will see its energy demand for power generation more than double by 2030, surpassing U.S. demand by more than one-third."

So, when China generates 1/3 more power than the United States with no working equivalent to EPA regulations, imagine what that will do to CO2 emissions...

Excellent, Emil.

Of course climate change has meant that temperatures have risen slightly as an average for the nation. But you cannot discount the profound effect that UHI (urban heat island) has on Phoenix. I'm sure you can look up the most recent data from ASU's School of Sustainability. All the data points to huge increases in temps in the last decade caused locally by the UHI.

This is especially true for night time temperatures even when compared to Maricopa, AZ. So while climate change may account for 1-2° increase in the average temperature of the AZ deserts, the UHI account for much more. About 80% of the increase or 8° for overnight lows.


A simple graph showing the disparity between Phoenix and Maricopa is posted above. If I have time, I'll look up more specific data from ASU's climate database. Below is the article from the Tucson citizen (July 2012):


You're still confused, phxSUNSfan.

Nobody ever said that a developed urban area like Phoenix wasn't warmer on average than the surrounding desert. The question is whether changes over the LAST TEN YEARS are primarily from the heat-island effect or from climate change.

If you look at the graph you linked to (which incidentally only goes to 2006 -- whereas I've been talking about changes taking place from 2002 through 2011), you'll see that even though Phoenix summer lows (the red dots) are higher on the graph than Maricopa temps (the blue dots), the SPREAD of the red dots from 2000 onward is not any greater than the spread of the blue dots over the same period, i.e., temperature changes are not larger for Phoenix than for Maricopa over that period.

This means that changes in that stat over this period cannot be attributed to the urban heat-island effect.

Both you and the news article you link to ignore a critical distinction: the National Weather Service analysis cited discusses changes in Phoenix versus Maricopa temps from 1961 onward. OF COURSE the urban heat-island effect is responsible for most of the disparity in the temperature trajectories for Phoenix and Maricopa over THAT period. I'm not talking about that period. I'm talking about the last ten years.

phxSUNSfan wrote:

"Of course climate change has meant that temperatures have risen slightly as an average for the nation."

Risen slightly over what period? Sure, if you include 30 or 60 years of comparative temperature stability, along with the most volatile last ten years, you'll smooth out average changes. So what? That's an error in reasoning. (Or, when cynically employed, a trick.)

If you want to obscure the extent of the problem, by all means continue to use 30 year (or longer) measurement periods, and select statistics that minimize changes.

As I noted in a comment above, discussing the number of days per year in which overnight lows of 90 degrees or more occurred at Sky Harbor, " from 1948 through 2002 the maximum number of such days per year was three (and there was only one such year, 1993).

By contrast, in the decade from 2002 through 2011, 7 of 10 years beat this, with 2003 quadrupling the previous record (12 such days) and double or triple the previous record being common for 70% of the decade."

If you look at this graph, the difference between the last ten years and previous decades in Phoenix will jump out and beat you over the head:


(Click on "visualizations" to see the graph, and "Data" to see the data set. The ArizonaIndicators website of the Morrison Institute seems to be down about half the time, so go back later if at first you don't succeed.)

I also pointed out that "From 2000 through 2011, 82% (9 of 11 years) had more than 750 cooling degree days each. In the 1990s through 1980s the figure was 40 to 60 percent; in the 1970s 30%; in the 1960s 10%; and in the 1950s 10%."

P.S. When I wrote "Nobody ever said that a developed urban area like Phoenix wasn't warmer on average than the surrounding desert", I was of course referring to overnight temperatures (specifically, "average summer lows").

If instead you look at daytime temps ("average summer highs") a graph from the same source shows Maricopa temps higher as a rule than Phoenix temps:


P.S. Another common reasoning error is to average temperatures, not only over periods that are so long that they obscure more recent volatility, but also over geographic areas that obscure regional volatility.

Climate change means that some places will be colder than average, as well as that some places will be hotter. Some places will get more rain than before, and some will get less. To take the average of all this and say, well, changes are slight, is a fundamental error of reasoning.

To be fair to pSf I made some of these errors myself in discussions here not long ago. But in those discussions I also pointed out the potential pitfalls of using averages over too long a period, and said that data covering the last ten years might change my mind (it did).

Emil you are discounting decades of theory from the scientific community regarding local temperatures and the UHI. One reason why night time lows are used to contrast Phoenix temps is because, and historical records must be taken into account for any critical analysis, Phoenix was traditionally cooler than the surrounding desert during the day. This was true because of the cooling effect of irrigation and large scale agriculture in the Salt River Valley.

The last ten years the UHI has further exaggerated temperature extremes in Phoenix through the loss of irrigated agricultural and the paving of the desert. UHI's effect on urban landscapes does not discount the effect of warming trends due to climate change, it actually intensifies the temperatures in the heat islands. So, if metro Phoenix continues to grow in its suburban manner, the UHI will encompass more land and the night time temperature extremes will intensify as well. The reason why data should be included outside of your 10 year limit is due to the inescapable truth that the UHI surrounding Phoenix has had a measured effect on the the city for 50 years.

Not all the data is easily available online for Phoenix's UHI, but it is certainly well researched; incorporated in new research is the UHI's impact on monsoon storms: specifically if the heat island intensifies the effect of storms or if it drives storms away from the urban center. This is complicated by the fact that global climate change is weakening wet weather systems that traditionally bring rain to the Sonoran Desert.


Interesting questions to ask are: 1)If Maricopa's (and the surrounding desert) day time highs in the summer often exceed temperatures in metro Phoenix, what then accounts for the elevated night time temperatures? 2)Are day time highs then impacted by night time lows that continue to inch higher due to the UHI?

I've discounted nothing. I keep trying to point out that you're comparing apples to oranges, but you keep doing it anyway, phxSUNSfan.

The NWS graph and data from your own hyperlinked source do NOT show more changes in Phoenix summer lows over the last ten years (more specifically, from 2000 to 2006 when your graph ends) than they show in Maricopa summer lows. THEREFORE the data that you provide does NOT support your claim that the last ten years of radical climate changes in Phoenix are the result of the urban heat-island effect.

This is the second time I've said this. You're still hynotized by the dominant paradigm and unable even to grasp the outlines of my argument. Please don't keep spouting the same junk.

I just finished a long email argument with Robert Robb in which I cited the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee's own July staff report showing that it will cost the state NOTHING to end the childless adult Medicaid freeze (instead, it will save the state $51 million).

He just kept failing to see what I wrote, and I just kept patiently hammering the same point home over and over. Finally he failed to reply.

The links don't show ALL of the summer time lows the last ten years for Phoenix. Like you said they show up until 2006; a snapshot of the vast data compiled to confirm the UHI's effect on local temperatures. All one needs to do is look up the last 4 years of overnight lows to see that the pattern for UHI's impact on heat is, indeed, a linear correlation.

If we take a look at years 61-66, just after the UHI took hold of Phoenix's temperatures, and compare them to recent years (01-06) we can see a significant difference in temperature ranges comparing Phoenix to Maricopa (averages for overnight lows).

72-77° (01-06) Median Temp = 74.5°
67-73° (61-66) Median Temp = 70°
Difference = 4.5°

80-84° (01-06) Median Temp = 82°
68-75° (61-66) Median Temp = 71.5
Difference = 10.5°

Phoenix Median increase - Maricopa median increase = 6°

There is indeed a disparity that is attributable to the UHI. It is even worse now, I am sure, with overnight lows in Phoenix not falling below 90°.

Even a quick snapshot of the recent heatwave will give us some insight into the disparity between Phoenix and Maricopa. Since August 6-13 (when the NWS's Extreme Heat Warning went into effect) Maricopa's temperatures have ranged from 78-87° for overnight lows. During that same time, overnight lows in Phoenix have often failed to fall below 90°, ranging from 88-94°. Median overnight temperature in Phoenix, 91°. Median overnight temperature in Maricopa, 82.5°. Difference of 8.5°.

In other words, the UHI in Phoenix is the main source of Phoenix's increasing misery and higher temperatures. Now this is an overly simplistic model of what researchers have attributed to UHI on Phoenix, but it follows their patterns.

Some of the rising temperatures in Maricopa is also attributable to loss of agricultural land and an increase in sprawling development.

In 2000 Maricopa had a population of 1,040. In 2010 the population was approaching 44,000.

In my rush to finish my posts above, I listed the wrong figures for median temperature. I used the averages instead. Below are the corrected numbers:

Range:72-77°(01-06) Median Temp =75.05°
Range:67-73°(61-66) Median Temp =69.95°
Difference =5.1°

Range:80-84°(01-06) Median Temp =82.25°
Range:68-75°(61-66) Median Temp =72.1
Difference =10.15°

Phoenix median - Maricopa median =5.05°

For the recent heat wave (Aug. 6-15) the corrected median low temperatures are compared below:

Range:78-87° Median Temp =83.5°

Range:75-93° Median Temp =90°

A difference of 6.5°.

I wanted to see if the high temperatures where drastically different for both Maricopa and Phoenix. It turns out that Maricopa is historically hotter than Phoenix but manages to cool off nicely in comparison. During the recent heatwave, Phoenix temperatures have exceeded Maricopa's ever so slightly, but Maricopa again, manages to cool off considerably more than Phoenix. The UHI no doubt has caused this disparity.

Maricopa - High Temps
Range:106.5-108.5° Median =105°
Range:101.2-104° Median =103.2°
Difference in Median = +1.8°
Difference in Average= +3.04°

Range:106.5-108.5° Median =107.33°
Range:103.5-106.4° Median =105°
Difference in Median = +2.33°
Difference in Average= +2.47°

Average high temps during recent heatwave:

Average: 109.6° Median: 110°

Average: 110.9° Median: 112°

Diff.: 1.3° Diff.: 2°

I am not as good as Emil when posting figures, my apologies: I have used Maricopa's average high temperatures for Phoenix, and vice versa for the 2001-2006 and 1961-1966 comparisons.

Would be nice to have an "edit your post" feature on typepad!

Now that I am home calmly sitting behind my computer I am noticing another mistake with my high average temperature comparisons for Phoenix and Maricopa, so I am just going to post them below:

Maricopa (High Temps)
Range:106.5-108.5° Median =107.33°
Range:103.5-105.9° Median =105°
Difference in Median = +2.33°
Difference in Average= +2.47°

Range:104.9-106.9° Median =105.9°
Range:101.2-104.5° Median =103.2°
Difference in Median = +2.7°
Difference in Average= +3.04°

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