“Air Conditioners Cause Heat Waves”, says IPCC

Written by Carl Brehmer

Those who follow the news will have noticed that the wires are abuzz with stories about how many people have died in India over the past couple of weeks because of a pre-monsoon heat wave that certain areas of India have endured. babyLike clockwork these same news stories blame those deaths on anthropogenic “climate change”.

Bluntly stated, your modern lifestyle, which is primarily powered by hydrocarbon energy, is killing people in India—you are therefore committing voluntary manslaughter because your use of hydrocarbon energy is voluntary!

India’s deadly heat wave over the past couple of weeks that is blamed for >2,000 deaths “is a taste of extreme weather conditions that are set to become more common as greenhouse gases heat up the planet . . .” RTCC

Climate change blamed as thousands die in Indian heat” Financial Times

Heat And Death In India: Global Warming’s Direct Effect” ScienceBlogs

This absurd notion is a direct result of the IPCC proclaiming that severe heat waves are being caused by air conditioning and refrigeration and therefore we have a moral obligation to get rid of air conditioning and refrigeration around the globe so that we can prevent such heatwaves from occurring again in the future.

Here is the chain of logic:

1) Air conditioners and refrigerators globally are primarily powered by the energy that is released when hydrocarbons are burned.

2) Burning hydrocarbons produces carbon dioxide as a byproduct.

3) They say that carbon dioxide produces a weak “greenhouse effect” and therefore causes some “global warming”, but not enough by itself to be of any concern.

4) They claim that the small amount of extra “global warming” that is caused by the extra carbon dioxide that is put into the air in order to power air conditioners and refrigerators causes more water to evaporate into water vapor.

5) They declare that water vapor (humidity) is the real problem because it is a “powerful greenhouse gas” that produces a strong positive feedback to any “global warming” that occurs for any reason and if the humidity is allowed to rise unchecked it will cause catastrophic “global warming” (> 2 °C) by the end of the 21st century! It might even cross a “tipping point” and trigger “run away global warming”, which would be an “extinction level event”!

 6) As we can see in the headlines quoted above the IPCC’s supporters assert that “anthropogenic climate change” is already happening because of the increase in humidity that has occurred over the past 150 years and is responsible for the current heatwave in India. “Global climate change is likely to be accompanied by an increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves . . .” IPCC

7) The IPCC’s Solution: Let’s take away India’s and the rest of the world’s air conditioners and refrigerators because they are powered primarily by hydrocarbons and if we burn less hydrocarbons then carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will drop, which will, in turn, cause the humidity to drop. With less humidity in the air the “greenhouse effect” will be weaker and India won’t have any more severe heat waves.

8) Alternative Solution: Help India build up their hydrocarbon powered electrical grid so that they can run air conditioners uninterrupted when they have severe heat waves—heat waves that they have always had from time to time and will continue to have from time to time. Note to the IPCC: No one sitting inside of an air-conditioned dwelling has ever died of a heat stroke.

Let me say this as clearly as I can. The people who have tragically died over the past two weeks in India due to heat stroke have died because India’s electrical grid is underdeveloped. It lacks sufficient energy to run without interruption the number of air conditioners that they need to keep everyone cool during heat waves. If therefore you are seeking to blame someone (other than Mother Nature) for these recent deaths, blame those who are working apace to prevent India from building a stable, fully adequate hydrocarbon powered electrical grid.

What makes the IPCC’s proposed solution exceptionally silly is this: India’s 2015 heat wave was not even caused by an increase in humidity in the first place. Just look around the world where the humidity is the highest and you will see the biosphere teaming with life in a climate that is usually cooler than its arid counter parts.

The fact is, it is well documented that heat waves are usually associated with droughts—periods of low humidity—rather than from high humidity. Here are some example:

2013- Australia: The heat wavei that occurred in Australia in 2013 was preceded by 5 months of unusually low rainfall. Severe rainfall deficiencies persist across most of South Australia and in southern Queensland. This follows below average rainfall across eastern Queensland, central and northwestern New South Wales in December, and persistent dry conditions over southeast Australia since August.”ii.

2012- Central Plains of the United States: The 2012 heat waves afflicted the Central Plains of the United States were brought about by a concomitant drought.iii

2011- Texas: The Texas heatwave of 2011 was also brought on by a drought.iv

2010- Russia: The record breaking Russian heatwave of 2010 resulted from the worst drought in 40 years.v

1976- Great Britain: “. . . from June 22 until August 26, a period of nine weeks, the weather was consistently dry, sunny and hot. It should also be remembered that summer 1976 marked the culmination of a prolonged drought which had begun in April 1975.”vi

1936- North American Dust Bowl: The notorious North American heat wave of 1936 “. . . was caused by severe drought . . .”vii

1923 & 1924 Marble Bar in Australia: “The town is far enough inland that, during the summer months, the only mechanisms likely to prevent the air from reaching such a temperature involve a southward excursion of humid air associated with the monsoon trough, or heavy cloud, and/or rain, in the immediate area.”viii Humidity, clouds and rain were very low during these years.

2015 Indian Heat Wave:

One of the places in the news that has experienced some of the highest temperatures this year in India is Daltongan within the state of Jharkhand. Here is a chart of the average temperature and dew point (the dew point is the temperature at which water vapor condenses out of the air. The lower the dew point the lower the absolute humidity) over the past two weeks compared to the same readings one year ago when there was no reports of a heat wave.

Daltongan, India 2014 2015
Temperature 91 °F 99 °F
Dew Point 73 °F 72 °F

These figures are from the web site http://www.wunderground.com/history.

As you can see, even though there was an 8 °F increase in the average temperature over the past two weeks in Daltongan compared to 2014, there was no increase in the average humidity in that region and in fact there was even a slight decrease in that region’s humidity. Ergo, positive water vapor feedback—the mechanism that is presumed to cause “catastrophic” anthropogenic global warming and “dangerous climate disruption”—simply cannot have been the cause of this year’s heat wave in India. In fact, the news reports concomitantly assert that India’s heat wave has been worsened by a delay in the start of this year’s “cooling” monsoon rains!

India’s brutal heat wave — by one measure the fifth-deadliest on record — has the nation’s 1.2 billion people looking south for some cooling monsoon relief.” USA Today May 29, 2015

A smattering of rain showers has started to infiltrate sections of India as of today, bringing isolated relief. But, overall, the larger Indian Monsoon continues to hold off, delayed at its gates in the Bay of Bengal.” robertscribbler.com

Unfortunately, the developing El Niño­ . . . is probably already disrupting the typical monsoon circulation. The monsoon rains normally arrive on the southern tip of India around June 1, but this year there’s been a delay of several days.” Slate

India’s yearly monsoons are a shift of wind patterns that bring even more moisture up into India from the Indian Ocean. That extra moisture forms into the thunder storms that deliver 70% of the country’s yearly rainfall. So, on the one hand we hear that India’s heat wave is being caused by their being too much humidity in the air (remember the “positive water vapor feedback” mentioned above), which is causing excessive “global warming” via a “greenhouse effect” yet on the other hand India’s salvation is even more moisture from the Indian Ocean.

With the monsoon rains, of course, comes more cloud cover. Is it not possible that the extra heat present in India over the past two weeks is nothing more than the result of less cloud cover than normal? It certainly isn’t because India is more humid this year than it was last year. Who hasn’t been outside on a hot sunny day and noticed the cooling effect of clouds passing overhead?

At any rate, I favor the alternate solution mentioned above. If only the United Nations would direct its political will towards helping India build up its hydrocarbon powered electrical grid then India could run enough air conditioners during severe heat waves to keep people from dying in the thousands. Especially since heat waves have always been part of the Earth’s chaotic weather patterns and will always be and are usually associated with too little rather than too much humidity. As such, the IPCC’s proposal that the human race should give up air conditioning and refrigeration because they are powered by hydrocarbon energy in order to stop severe heat waves is not only silly but also downright deadly.

i http://climatecommission.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/CC_Jan_2013_Heatwave4.pdf

ii http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/drought.shtml

iii http://www.crh.noaa.gov/images/crh/CRROC_Heat_and_Drought_Update.pdf

iv Blanley, Betsy (May 9, 2011). “Texas Drought 2011, State Endures Driest 7-Month Span on Record”, Huffington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2011.


vi http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/philip-eden/The-greatest-drought-on-record.htm

vii http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_Bowl

viii http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/climate/levelthree/c20thc/temp1.htm


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Comments (2)

  • Avatar



    Where I live we have smart WATTmeters. I suggest CAGW believers volunteer to have their power terminated immediately when there is any power shortage for any reason.
    They should also have their available power limited to the % generated by “green” sources. How many takers?

  • Avatar

    Greg House


    Carl, the idea about lack of air conditioners leading to some deaths is a good one, but droughts causing heat waves? This is irrational, sorry.

    The only thing I can see so far is that low humidity slightly changes the heat capacity of the air which is absolutely not a heat wave. If you have something else, please go ahead. I mean clear PHYSICAL evidence, not just some talk around it like you gave over on Joe Postma blog.

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