IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events

by Judith Curry

The IPCC has just published the Summary for Policymakers from the forthcoming Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX).


Well, it is a bit difficult to judge this based only on the Summary for Policy Makers, but I know this literature pretty well, so I will jump in and provide an assessment of their assessment.

Things I like

The character and severity of impacts from climate extremes depend not only on the extremes themselves but also on exposure and vulnerability. In this report, adverse impacts are considered disasters when they produce widespread damage and cause severe alterations in the normal functioning of communities or societies. Climate extremes, exposure, and vulnerability are influenced by a wide range of factors, including anthropogenic climate change, natural climate variability, and socioeconomic development.

JC comment:  finally, recognition of things other than AGW.

To accurately convey the degree of certainty in key findings, the report relies on the consistent use of calibrated uncertainty language, introduced in Box SPM.2.

JC comment:  many of the conclusions characterize confidence by specifying both dimensions (e.g.  high agreement, medium evidence).  This provides a little bit more information than what the IPCC has previously done.

Climate Change: A change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.

[INSERT FOOTNOTE 2: This definition differs from that in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where climate change is defined as: “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.” The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes.]

JC comment:  finally, a useful definition of climate change

A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events. Changes in extremes can be linked to changes in the mean, variance or shape of probability distributions, or all of these (Figure SPM.3). Some climate extremes (e.g., droughts) may be the result of an accumulation of weather or climate events that are not extreme when considered independently. Many extreme weather and climate events continue to be the result of natural climate variability. Natural variability will be an important factor in shaping future extremes in addition to the effect of anthropogenic changes in climate.

Trends in exposure and vulnerability are major drivers of changes in disaster risk (high confidence).  Understanding the multi-faceted nature of both exposure and vulnerability is a prerequisite for determining how weather and climate events contribute to the occurrence of disasters, and for designing and implementing effective adaptation and disaster risk management strategies.  Vulnerability reduction is a core common element of adaptation and disaster risk management.

JC comment:  the issue of vulnerability was pretty much glossed over in IPCC AR4 WGII, and this seems to be the key issue.

Projected precipitation and temperature changes imply possible changes in floods, although overall there is low confidence in projections of changes in fluvial floods. Confidence is low due to limited evidence and because the causes of regional changes are complex, although there are exceptions to this statement. There is medium confidence (based on physical reasoning) that projected increases in heavy rainfall would contribute to increases in local flooding, in some catchments or regions.

JC comment:  this seems reasonable to me (unlike most of the other projections, see below).

There is low confidence in projections of changes in large-scale patterns of natural climate variability. Confidence is low in projections of changes in monsoons (rainfall, circulation) because there is little consensus in climate models regarding the sign of future change in the monsoons. Model projections of changes in El Niño – Southern Oscillation variability and the frequency of El Niño episodes are not consistent, and so there is low confidence in projections of changes in this phenomenon.

E. MANAGING CHANGING RISKS OF CLIMATE EXTREMES AND DISASTERS

JC comment:  this whole section is pretty good.

 

Points of concern

There is evidence from observations gathered since 1950 of change in some extremes. Confidence in observed changes in extremes depends on the quality and quantity of data and the availability of studies analyzing these data, which vary across regions and for different extremes. Assigning “low confidence” in observed changes of a specific extreme on regional or global scales neither implies nor excludes the possibility of changes in this extreme. Extreme events are rare which means there are few data available to make assessments regarding changes in their frequency or intensity. The more rare the event the more difficult it is to identify long-term changes. [3.2.1] Global-scale trends in a specific extreme may be either more reliable (e.g., for temperature extremes) or less reliable (e.g., for droughts) than some regional-scale trends, depending on the geographical uniformity of the trends in the specific extreme. The following paragraphs provide further details for specific climate extremes from observations since 1950.

JC comment:  60 years is not sufficient for drawing any confident conclusions related to the impact of natural variability on extreme events.

There is evidence that some extremes have changed as a result of anthropogenic influences, including increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. It is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures on the global scale. There is medium confidence that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme precipitation on the global scale. It is likely that there has been an anthropogenic influence on increasing extreme coastal high water due to increase in mean sea level. The uncertainties in the historical tropical cyclone records, the incomplete understanding of the physical mechanisms linking tropical cyclone metrics to climate change, and the degree of tropical cyclone variability provide only low confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences. Attribution of single extreme events to anthropogenic climate change is challenging. 

JC comment: The attribution of extreme events to AGW depends on a credible attribution of global climate change to AGW.  At best, we have “very likely” of “most” (>50%).   How that uncertainty is integrated into extreme event attribution here is not at all clear.

Confidence in projecting changes in the direction and magnitude of climate extremes depends on many factors, including the type of extreme, the region and season, the amount and quality of observational data, the level of understanding of the underlying processes, and the reliability of their simulation in models. Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios5 generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame is uncertain. For projected changes by the end of the 21st century, either model uncertainty or uncertainties associated with emissions scenarios used becomes dominant, depending on the extreme. Low-probability high-impact changes associated with the crossing of poorly understood climate thresholds cannot be excluded, given the transient and complex nature of the climate.

JC comment: This is fine, except they forgot about natural variability, and the fact that climate models don’t do a very good job with this.

There is high confidence that changes in heat waves, glacial retreat and/or permafrost degradation will affect high mountain phenomena such as slope instabilities, movements of mass, and glacial lake outburst floods. There is also high confidence that changes in heavy precipitation will affect landslides in some regions.

JC comment:  this statement does not account for uncertainties in future projections of heat waves, glacial retreat, and permafrost degradation.

Extreme events will have greater impacts on sectors with closer links to climate, such as water, agriculture and food security, forestry, health, and tourism. For example, while it is not currently possible to reliably project specific changes at the catchment scale, there is high confidence that changes in climate have the potential to seriously affect water management systems. However, climate change is in many instances only one of the drivers of future changes, and is not necessarily the most important driver at the local scale.

JC comment.  What a mangled statement.  What is the point of a statement like this:  There is high confidence that changes in climate have the potential to seriously affect water management systems.

 

Things I don’t like

Overconfidence in future projections:

Models project substantial warming in temperature extremes by the end of the 21st century. It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur in the 21st century on the global scale. It is very likely that the length, frequency and/or intensity of warm spells, or heat waves, will increase over most land areas. Based on the A1B and A2 emissions scenarios, a 1-in-20 year hottest day is likely to become a 1-in-2 year event by the end of the 21st century in most regions, except in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, where it is likely to become a 1-in-5 year event (See Figure SPM 3A). Under the B1 scenario, a 1-in-20 year event would likely become a 1-in-5 year event (and a 1-in-10 year event in Northern Hemisphere high latitudes). The 1-in-20 year extreme daily maximum temperature (i.e., a value that was exceeded on average only once during the period 1981–2000) will likely increase by about 1°C to 3°C by mid-21st century and by about 2°C to 5°C by late-21st century, depending on the region and emissions scenario (based on the B1, A1B and A2 scenarios).

It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase in the 21st century over many areas of the globe. This is particularly the case in the high latitudes and tropical regions, and in winter in the northern mid-latitudes. Heavy rainfalls associated with tropical cyclones are likely to increase with continued warming. There is medium confidence that, in some regions, increases in heavy precipitation will occur despite projected decreases of total precipitation in those regions. Based on a range of emissions scenarios (B1, A1B, A2), a 1-in-20 year annual maximum daily precipitation amount is likely to become a 1-in-5 to 1-in-15 year event by the end of the 21st century in many regions, and in most regions the higher emissions scenarios (A1B and A2) lead to a stronger projected decrease in return period. 

It is likely that the global frequency of tropical cyclones will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged.

JC comment:  this relies on climate models, which are worth a grain of salt when it comes to tropical cyclones (see my previous post)

It is very likely that mean sea level rise will contribute to upward trends in extreme coastal high water levels in the future. There is high confidence that locations currently experiencing adverse impacts such as coastal erosion and inundation will continue to do so in the future due to increasing sea levels, all other contributing factors being equal. The very likely contribution of mean sea level rise to increased extreme coastal high water levels, coupled with the likely increase in tropical cyclone maximum wind speed, is a specific issue for tropical small island states.

JC comment: this  ignores the other factors that determine local sea level change, which may very well dominate a predicted mean sea level rise (whose future magnitude is highly uncertain).

 

JC conclusions:

This report is better than I expected, although I suspect that some of their conclusions are based on weak arguments  (we will have to wait for the full report).  The two most important aspects IMO are the recognition of the importance of natural variability and also vulnerability.  The dominance of natural variability for the past 40-60 years  in determining extreme events makes the AGW extreme events attribution exercises (see here) seem even more pointless.  The weakest part of the report is the high confidence level of the future projections (including  one “virtually certain.”)  I suspect that different authors worked  on the “Observations” section than those working on the “Future” chapter; too bad the “Future” authors didn’t read the “Observations” section first.

212 responses to “IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events

  1. Willis Eschenbach

    The report says:

    Climate Change: A change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.

    [INSERT FOOTNOTE 2: This definition differs from that in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where climate change is defined as: “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.” The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes.]

    Judith says:

    JC comment: finally, a useful definition of climate change

    While this is a better definition (in that it leaves out the “attributed to human activity), I still find it hopelessly vague.

    PROBLEM 1. For example, it says that a change has to persist for “an extended period, typically decades or longer”.

    So if it “typically” lasts that long, how long does it last atypically?

    PROBLEM 2. This mythical “change” is to be identified by “statistical tests” on the mean and/or variation of its properties. The problem with this definition is that it assumes stationarity. It assumes that normally the climate doesn’t change, and so we can identify periods of no climate change, and other periods of climate change through “statistical tests”.

    But the climate is always changing, to the point where many people say that it is not a stationary process … and if we are talking about a non-stationary process, Judith …

    … then what is the significance of it changing? What kind of tests can we apply to see if a non-stationary process is “changing”? When would a non-stationary process not be “changing”?

    Finally, I object to the term “natural internal processes”. This is climate-scientist-speak for “we don’t have a clue”. Climate scientists have adopted the terminology to obscure the limits of their knowledge. Instead of saying “we don’t know why it warmed” they say “natural internal processes” and everyone nods like they’ve said something wise.

    So while you are right that this definition is much better than the previous one (which assumed human responsibility for the changes), it is still far from a useful definition. It does not deal with the hard questions (what tests might show a “climate change” in a non-stationary variable). It doesn’t specify time frames (is a change after one decade valid? two decades?). It doesn’t deal with the issue of non-stationarity in any manner.

    In short, it’s more IPCC handwaving. Color me totally unimpressed. They have not grasped the nettle of what “climate change” means in a climate that has always been changing.

    w.

    • lemiere jacques

      well the problem may be that the normal state of climate doen’t exist.
      Climate is always changing so what is a climate change?
      So , the question : what is the normal state of climate regarding variability..?
      This definition is tricky it makes the assumption that we can define the state of climate, it is no obvious to me. The understanding of climate must be total .

    • I think that one of the problems is that the very concept of “climate change”, whether anthropogenic or otherwise implies a “normal” state of stasis. This is psychological, rather than logical. Put another way, change is normal, but people have to actually think before realizing that.

    • “Finally, I object to the term “natural internal processes”.”

      Would it work to say “natural internal processes that are poorly understood because the scientific study of them is in its infancy?” These natural internal processes include ENSO, PDO, the whole raft of such items, and then there are some unknown unknowns.

    • Willis, your post is good (that is I agree), except for the following: Finally, I object to the term “natural internal processes”. This is climate-scientist-speak for “we don’t have a clue”.

      For the first, natural internal processes is a complementary category to externally forced (e.g. by solar changes) changes and human forced changes. Second, they have clues: ENSO, PDO, AMO, etc. They lack complete understanding, but they have partial understanding.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Theo and Matt, thanks to each of you.

      My point is that naming something is different from understanding something. Sure, we can say that (to make something up) North American rainfall is correlated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). But that’s just correlation and naming. It doesn’t explain the rainfall. Similarly, we don’t know why the PDO and the AMO have different frequencies. We can relate them to El Niño and a host of other things with letters … but we can neither explain nor predict any of these multi-decadal swings.

      Which is why I said that “we don’t know” is much more honest than saying “natural variations”.

      w.

    • “My point is that naming something is different from understanding something.”

      But by naming something, we can get government funding to study it, or even “treat” it. And this is not limited to climate science either. Collect a bunch of physical symptoms, attach the word “syndrome’ (preferably with a nifty three letter acronym), and presto chango, you get government research funding to search for a “cure,” and state bureaucrats requiring insurance companies to pay for “treatment.”

      The Earth has AGW syndrome, get out the checkbook.

    • Willis:

      Which is why I said that “we don’t know” is much more honest than saying “natural variations”.

      Here’s someone who seems to agree with you:

      Mike
      Here are some of the issues as I see them:
      Saying it is natural variability is not an explanation. What are the physical processes?
      Where did the heat go?

      That’s how Kevin Trenberth starts his famous ‘missing heat’ email on 14 Oct 09.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      That’s hilarious, Richard, many thanks.

      w.

    • Also — logic says that a decrease in the number of extreme events is also a measure of “climate change”. Things could just get benigner and benigner, y’know?

      That would be a sure sign of Global Warming, actually.

  2. I commented on this report in the previous thread, but it’s probably more suited to this one, and so I’ll take the liberty of reproducing the comment below. The one thing I would add beyond that is a recommendation to particularly focus on the Tables at the end of the report, which provide good summaries of both past and projected extremes regarding high temperatures, heat waves, coastal flooding, regional droughts, and the uncertainties regarding the balance between natural variability and anthropogenic climate change over some future intervals, as well as the different levels of confidence appropriate to each of the impacts:

    “It’s interesting that the Defense Science Board has arrived at a comprehensive analysis of observed and potential future climate impacts, and that coincidentally, an overlapping set of findings is emerging from an IPCC Special Report on Managing the
    Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation
    [this is the same link as given by Dr. Curry in her post] . At this moment, only the SPM is available, but one reason for providing the above link to it is that some news media and blogs appear already to be engaged in cherry-picking of items that advance their respective positions, and so the SPM is probably worth reading even before the full Report becomes available..

    I didn’t find any major surprises. With varying degrees of confidence, the SPM referred to evidence for increasing warm days and nights and high temperature extremes, vulnerability to coastal flooding, extreme precipitation events, regional droughts (but reduced drought elsewhere), and vulnerability to monetary losses due to increased population density in vulnerable areas. Uncertainties were emphasized over the magnitude of future natural variability that might dominate over anthropogenic climate change during some future intervals, and the analysis of uncertainty itself received some attention as the IPCC struggles with quantifying this concept.”

    • Since 1950?????

    • To add to the above, Dr. Curry noted that the SPM acknowledged natural variability as falling within the purview of climate change, which results in an improved definition of the latter. It’s also worth noting that natural variability includes natural forcings (mainly solar and volcanic) but also internal climate fluctuations. The latter are distinguishable from forced anthropogenic or natural temperature change because the internal fluctuations represent a transfer of heat to one climate component (e.g., the surface) from another component (e.g., the oceans), so that warming of the one entails cooling of the other in accordance with the First Law of thermodynamics. In contrast, forced warming results in warming of both the surface/atmosphere component and the oceans. Over very short intervals, the distinction may be difficult to make in practice, but it becomes apparent when multidecadal intervals are considered, as exemplified by the predominance of forced warming (mainly anthropogenic) as a net effect over the past 60 years or so despite interim ups and downs..

    • Mars got warmer in the last 30 years too. Not as a result of internal heat shifting on Earth though.

    • Is that a “very likely”, an “extremely likely” or a “virtually certain” Martian warming, tallbloke?

      (Gotta compare apples with apples…)

      Max

    • A very telling reply from tallbloke.

      Can you answer it, Fred?

    • Shouldn’t we be as skeptical about warming on Mars as many are about warming on Earth? I certainly hope no self-proclaimed skeptics accept this as truth without plenty of heavily scrutinized data to back it up…

    • Jen – I was a little bit surprised by Tallbloke’s comment, because I had thought we had passed the point where anthropogenic warming on Earth was being challenged on the grounds that temperature changes occur on Mars – is this still something being touted on the Internet?

      Temperature changes on Mars may or may not parallel the direction of changes here, depending on interval, but they are related primarily to albedo changes on Mars resulting from fluctuations in dust storms that strongly affect the brightness of the surface.

    • Fred,

      Your referred to the Defense Science Board’s report as “comprehensive.” Did it examine in what circumstances or areas warming might have a positive effect in terms of U.S. military readiness or strategic goals?

    • Yes (for example see Figure 3.6). However, in terms of readiness, it focused more on how to respond to changes that would increase national security threats, because on balance, it concluded that threats overall are likely to increase.

  3. Hirsch, R.M. and Ryberg, K.R. 2011. Has the magnitude of floods across the USA changed with global CO2 levels? Hydrological Sciences Journal DOI:10.1080/02626667.2011.621895.
    200 long stream gauges (87-127 yrs long) — no region showed statistically significant increase and Southwest slight negative trend (less flooding).

  4. Models project substantial warming in temperature extremes by the end of the 21st century. It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur in the 21st century on the global scale. It is very likely that the length, frequency and/or intensity of warm spells, or heat waves, will increase over most land areas.

    Virtually certain is an almost surely statement ,and models is an almost never statement there is an incompatibility in the proposition.

  5. Hi Judy- Excellent summary of their report as usual! i have a briefer post on one aspect of a news report based on the report at

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/the-latest-report-from-the-ipcc-is-seeking-to-rationalize-the-failure-of-global-multi-decadal-climate-models-to-skillfully-predict-extreme-events-in-the-next-few-decades/

    i have e-mailed to Chris Fields to invite him to clarify his viewpoint further. Your post would be a good reference for him also, and I will forward to him.

    Roger Sr

  6. The telling sentence for me is
    “Models project substantial warming in temperature extremes by the end of the 21st century”
    We all know about model “Projections” don’t we?

    • Yes, the models project rising global temperatures. Some people who don’t like models project without models, and their results show the globe will cool, or stay like it is, or just warm up a teensy bit. These “no-model” projections are amazingly easy to make, but don’t backcast worth a hoot.

    • Anyone with an excel spreadsheet can backcast with equal or better accuracy than the 20 top climate models, and forecast future climate with equal or better probability of accuracy.

      This is not a bold claim, just a simple statement of fact.

    • ferd, you should be able to forecast with a high degree of accuracy after the fact. All my ex-post forecasts are perfect.

    • Have you read Roger Snr’s response above? According to Reuters, quoting Chris Fields, one of the authors:

      Sceptics have questioned the models the IPCC uses to make its climate predictions, but Fields defended the science: “There are many cases in which just from observations, we’ve seen a change,” he said.

      “Climate models are only some of the tools used to make future projections. Some … are based on projecting historical data forward or what we know about the physics of the system. Lots of observations are built in for us to test how they work.”

      Which makes your comment somewhat asinine, doesn’t it?

    • That was a reply to M.carey (?sic) by the way.

  7. I finished reading the summary for policy makers earlier this morning.

    What I find very interesting in how some of the media sites such as Scientific American are summarizing the summary. At unScientific American the headline is:
    “Climate Change Will Worsen Extreme Weather”
    The actual report did not state that. It stated:

    “Extreme events are rare which means there are few data available to make assessments regarding changes in their frequency or intensity.”

    Isn’t it interesting how the cAGW propaganda machine is working?

  8. Earth does not have a stable temperature. The temperature data is never flat for very long. It is always warming or cooling. The temperature of Earth is in a stable cycle. It warms, then cools, then warms, then cools.
    Look at the ice core data for the Arctic and the Antarctic. Earth is always warming or cooling. It is like the heating and cooling system in my home. Concentrate on the most recent ten thousand years. When it is warm, it always changes to cooling. When it is cool, it always changes to warming. There is powerful negative feedback to temperature that always works. The Medieval Warm period was warm and then it cooled into the Little Ice Age and then warmed into the modern warm period that we are in now.
    Modern Climate Theory and Models do not include any powerful negative feedback to temperature. That does mean that they are missing a major forcing that is the key to a stable temperature. That stable forcing is very simple. When the oceans are warm, the Arctic Sea Ice Melts and the Arctic water is exposed to the atmosphere and it snows like crazy, like it did last year and like it has already started to do this year. The snow increases the Albedo of Earth and does cool the Earth. The Earth cools and the oceans cool until the Arctic water freezes. This stops the atmosphere from sucking water from the Arctic Ocean and then, for lack of snowfall, the ice melts and retreats and Albedo decreases and Earth warms and the cycle repeats.
    The Medieval warm period melted the Arctic ice and caused the snow that brought on the Little Ice Age.
    The Little ice age froze the Arctic Ocean and stopped the snowfall and the ice melted and retreated and brought on the current warming.
    The current warming is causing the snow that will bring on the next cooling.
    Look at the data. It is clear that we are in a stable cycle that always repeats and is repeating now.
    You cannot melt all the ice because when the oceans are warm with no ice, it snows more. Modern Climate Theory has ice albedo as a positive feedback. It is, until it starts snowing and then it is the powerful negative feedback that cools the earth.

    Read my Pope’s Climate Theory http://popesclimatetheory.com/

    • NOAA’s Greenland Ice Core Data shows that Snow Accumulation is higher with warmer temperatures and Snow Accumulation is lower with cooler temperatures. This is opposite to Consensus Climate Theory. They build max ice volume while Earth is very cold. Their Data and their
      Theory disagree.

      http://popesclimatetheory.com/page11.html

    • Hello Herman.

      I don’t think that the albedo changes from ice cover alone are sufficient. In any event there is a causation issue. So far as I can tell, the air circulation changes that result in more snowfall when the Arctic Ocean has less ice are global phenomena in both hemispheres affecting both polar and equatorial regions.

      Also, those global air circulation changes occur before the additional snowfall increases ice cover.

      I think cloudiness is the key to albedo changes and not ice cover. Around 2000 cloudiness began to increase again after a period of decline and global albedo increased again after a period of decline.

      There was no sudden increase in ice cover at the same time.

  9. I agree with Willis

  10. I still don’t understand how ‘most’ came to be defined as ‘>50%.’

    If you ask your child whether they’ve finished their homework and they answer ‘most of it,’ do you assume they’ve written one more word than 50%, or do you take ‘most’ to be ‘almost all?’ In my 57 years, ‘most’ has meant ‘almost all,’ not ‘a majority.’ When you say ‘most of X is caused by Y.’ you imply that at least 85-90% of the cause is explained.

    • Yeah, but, you could also say that Gonzalez or Young got the most hits in American baseball in the 2011 season, but the both of them together only got 1% of the total hits that season.

  11. Before making prognoses for the end of the 21st century, they first need to come up with a model that can at least get the next 5 or 10 years right. So far they haven’t. Until they can do that, any model prognoses beyond that aren’t worth the recycled paper they’re printed on.

  12. I am not clear how the stated connections between climate change and extreme weather events can fit with Robert Ellison (Chief Hydrologist) view of climate as a product of non-equilibrium, non-linear and converging oscillatory forcings. The view that at points of oscillatory convergence, abrupt changes in climate, and presumably weather events can occur resulting in hot to cold, wet to dry over periods of less than a decade. It would seem difficult to segregate such abrupt changes from what was derived from a 60 year observational periods and labeled extreme events.
    If we assume that the current drought in Texas has similar origins (ENSO) to the drought of the 1930′s, the dust bowl era, why is 60 years (since 1950) rationalized as being sufficient to extracting the extreme events connections the task force declared?

    I can only speculate upon the thinking of the task force that their climate change view is unlike Robert Ellison’s; which brings me to what makes the task force climate change views more believable and actionable than any other speculative body, models?

  13. Dr. Curry

    See, your “Things I like” section, I’m in pretty near complete agreement with, which puts me in the position of having to recalibrate how great our differences of opinion.

    But then, the formulation of the problem isn’t typically where I find divergence in views with you.

    “60 years is not sufficient for drawing any confident conclusions related to the impact of natural variability on extreme events.”

    60 years is not sufficient for drawing confident conclusions related to the impact of natural variability on some extreme events. For others, there are enough distinct regional basins with enough similarities to produce ensemble figures for certain natural variabilities common to all, which multiplies that 60 years ten or fiftyfold, depending. That is mathematically enough time, and statistically verifiable.

    60 years is more than enough to draw confident conclusions related to the impact of anthropogenic forcings on some extreme events too, however. Hydrologists do this all the time with damns and irrigation. It’s well understood in acid rain and smog levels. It’s certainly measurable in UHI.

    So I agree with caution, but caution also against overgeneralization of constraints.

    “The attribution of extreme events to AGW depends on a credible attribution of global climate change to AGW. At best, we have “very likely” of “most” (>50%). How that uncertainty is integrated into extreme event attribution here is not at all clear.”

    Argues a tautology. AGW and anthropogenic extreme events are inextricably the same.

    Proof of one proves the other.

    Lower confidence proof of both types increases the net confidence of the mutual hypothesis. As ‘warm’ is only one thing in so many people’s minds (regretably), and there are countless varieties of extreme events, even medium confidence in — for instance — warming and thirty measures of extreme events would be ample argument for high confidence. So long as we do not engage in circular reasoning by counting ‘warm’ or any ‘extreme’ twice in our logical progression among our predicates, Bayesian analysis can narrow our uncertainty by consilience.

    “This is fine, except they forgot about natural variability, and the fact that climate models don’t do a very good job with this.”

    I don’t follow your reasoning here?

    this statement does not account for uncertainties in future projections of heat waves, glacial retreat, and permafrost degradation.

    Fixed by, “In changes in heat waves, glacial retreat and/or permafrost degradation, there is high confidence of high mountain phenomena such as slope instabilities, movements of mass, and glacial lake outburst floods.”

    That’s a very subtle hair to split, but I agree the original statement allows an ambiguity on skeptical reading.

    “What a mangled statement. What is the point of a statement like this: There is high confidence that changes in climate have the potential to seriously affect water management systems.”

    One imagines the point is to make clear that discussion of water management systems policy is germaine to climate impacts, and thus within the scope of future discussions. Also, to allow attribution of risks due effecs within water management to anthropogenic climate change. It establishes the tort.

    Your “Things I don’t like”, I take a different approach. As one expects a rational reader to approach all projections with greatest skepticism appropriate, and to distinguish ‘projection’ from ‘prediction’, it would seem redundant to caution against overconfidence yet again when there are such frequent cautions internal to these documents in their prefaces.. that is reduntant, except so often even people who sign off on the cautions turn around immediately and make predictions in public based on the projections.

    I regret experience teaches I must agree with you here.

    Also, there’s a bit of a double negative going on. If models project reduced tropical cyclones or no change, and models are worthless, do you believe this affects the expectation of changes in tropical cyclones, or the uncertainty of future tropical cyclone expectations?

    “this ignores the other factors that determine local sea level change, which may very well dominate a predicted mean sea level rise (whose future magnitude is highly uncertain).”

    Argues an implied negative feedback of local sea level change, if one considers only the sign of the change or the magnitude of the risk.

    If one isn’t disputing the sign of the change, it’s a wash.

    If one is disputing the magnitude of the risk in the absence of negative feedbacks, then some natural variability leaves some locations for some spans of time at the status quo, and other natural variability contributes to worsening the magnitude of anthropogenic change — hardly comes out in favour of the counterargument you seem to be making.

    So.. is there any reason to expect a negative feedback in sea level?

    Also “may very well” is speculative and imprecise.

    Your conclusions are a mixed bag that seem to me somewhat weak, though not all wrong, and at least mainly express due skepticism.

    We have to agree, the document you’re working from is not enough to draw strong conclusions about.

    Certainly, if the improvements in this summary are carried on in future, then future IPCC releases will be of greater quality and utility, and both will be better foundation for policy discussions and serve their designated function better.

  14. Careful analysis aside, there are the mainstream headlines, which is all most people will ever read.
    From http://old.news.yahoo.com/topics/climate-change-and-global-warming

    Climate change warning: brace for hotter heat waves, stronger storms
    The Christian Science Monitor – 4 minutes ago
    Nobel-winning climate science panel to world leaders: Get ready for a wilder weather future
    Washington Post – Fri Nov 18, 7:40 am ET
    Science panel: Get ready for extreme weather
    MSNBC – Fri Nov 18, 12:31 pm ET
    Warnings On Extremes In Weather
    DTN / The Progressive Farmer – Fri Nov 18, 8:14 am ET
    Science panel: Global warming means more wild weather
    Minnesota Public Radio – Fri Nov 18, 8:31 am ET
    Extreme weather to worsen with climate change, says UN
    GlobalPost – Fri Nov 18, 9:47 am ET
    Report: Climate change means more frequent droughts, floods to come
    Washington Post – Fri Nov 18, 5:30 am ET
    Climate scientists: More extreme weather coming
    CBS News – Fri Nov 18, 8:59 am ET
    Climate change key driver of extreme weather: UN
    AFP News via Yahoo! Singapore News – Fri Nov 18, 10:37 am ET
    Get ready for extreme weather, science panel says
    New Orleans Times-Picayune – Fri Nov 18, 9:54 am ET
    United Nations panel: Get ready for extreme weather
    The Post-Standard – Fri Nov 18, 12:46 pm ET

    • This is where the failure of journalists really costs all of us:
      They sell out their credibility for what? The newspapers are dying, and journalists are down near televangelist level of credibility. Reporting like that only underscores why.
      It costs those of us who pay taxes, because our lazy reactionary politicians will knee-jerk their way into paying AGW promoters more and may actually pass some of the idiotic laws the AGW community keeps demanding.
      it costs opportunity in that now more time will be wasted finding out this is yet another mis-statement by the media.

    • I agree. The coverage of this has been ABYSMAL.

  15. “It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur in the 21st century on the global scale.”

    Looks like another way of saying “the science is settled” to me.

    • Me too, Gary.

    • Not necessarily. This is bell curve stuff. Those statements can be literally true, and at the same time, it’s no big deal. Lubos Motl has a recent post on a similar (but breathless and hysterical) paper by Hanson on the same subject, where he went into detail about why this is.

    • GaryM

      “Looks like another way of saying “the science is settled” to me.”

      Agreed. Since IPCC communications required contrarian translation, swap places with the increases and decreases and you have the correct prediction.

  16. Oh boy, another blockbuster from the IPCC. Just in time because nobody gives a flying fig what the IPCC says, thinks, does or claims.

    Worrying about Climate Change, nee Global Warming, only happens when citizens and countries are in their fat & lazy phase. Right now citizens and countries are in the economic collapse mode and couldn’t care less about faux hysteria designed to stampede the herd.

    • Fred, most people will focus on the “here and now” rather than the future, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but ignoring or denying the future can result in being ill prepared for what lies ahead (e.g, an aging America’s drain on the economy).

    • M. Carey,
      True believers flatter themselves that their faith in AGW is way to care about the future.

    • Do I detect the hint of envy? Rather than wish you had something to flatter yourself about, hunter, just love yourself for what you are.

  17. –>”… Climate extremes, exposure, and vulnerability are influenced by a wide range of factors, including anthropogenic climate change, natural climate variability, and socioeconomic development…

    Could use some editing–e.g.,

    Climate exposure and vulnerability are influenced by a wide range of factors, including [but not limited to] anthropogenic climate change, natural climate variability [nominally caused by solar activity], socioeconomic development [and insufficient energy and limited resources and a failure to adequately prepare for unexpected and unpredictable but nontheless inevitable harsh weather conditions due to a cultural hegemony of secular, socialist, self-defeating nihilim that is bringing about the fall of Western civilization in a single generation. It happens].

  18. So to sum up it looks to me like they’ve covered themselves with the “natural variability” factor over the next 30 years ….which covers them no matter how cold and snowy it gets during that time…while doubling down on their avowed certainty: “It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur in the 21st century on the global scale.”

    This is nothing but more of the same. Only worse.

    • Exactly what level of statistical significance is “virtually certain?” They may be saying that it is–e.g., ‘absolutely certain in a virtual world’ which may be a roundabout, IPCC-speak way of saying–e.g., ‘we still know little or nothing about the real world.’

    • What’s most important to me is how these statements will be interpreted in the MS. “Virtually certain” are powerful, resonant words.

    • Then again most people are absolutely that the quality of the education n this country is virtually nonexistent so despite the thousand points of light 99% of schoolteachers are incompetent. Any parents with two nickels to rub together sends their kids to private school so who but the dropouts who can’t occupy a desk are even listening to these fearmongers anymore?

  19. Wag, I understand your relentless desire to spin this in a more palatable way but sadly, plenty of people are still listening. More important, this gives renewed license to the professional zealots (establishment climate scientists, politicians, journalists) to continue waging their war on truth.

    • Nothing will ever put a stop to that. Even so, I think we may be approaching a pivotal time in American history: there will either be a consensus of opinion that we as a society will no longer continue to reward those who stab us in the back or we will simply go the way of dead and dying Old Europe. Either way, the global warming hoax and scare tactics become irrelevant.

    • pokerrguy, the truth is the so-called climate skeptics are as a group the biggest assembly of dishonest people in America, excepting the inmate population. They also are the nuttiest, excepting the institutional population.

      But theses self-indentified skeptics do cut across demographic lines. Some, for example, are old coots who can’t deal with new ideas, and have an affinity for geezer scientists like 87-year old Fred Singer and that other real old scientists who claims he can find gold with a forked stick. Many others are young libertarian loonies who see measures to control CO2 interfering with their freedom to be nuisances.

    • M. Carey,
      I would suggest you go hang out with the most exciting group of AGW believers in America right now, the OWS movement for a few days and get back to us about your choice of who is nutty.
      As to your assertion that we skeptics are the most dishonest people in America, I don’t see skeptics getting inside deals and loans from the Obama administration for bogus alternative energy scams, and I think that perhaps it is best to just write off what you say as bit of histrionics in moment of weakness, and not the ignorant slander it comes across as.

    • hunter, the so-called deniers indulge in hyperbole, so I see no reason why I can’t.

    • And you do it with the best of ‘em!
      Now to check in with my boss.
      Cheers and ‘night’night

    • Sounds much like secular, socialist bureaucrats riding the backs of the productive like ticks as they look down their effete snob noses at those who actually provide something of value to society.

    • Hyperbole is fun !

    • Like the global warming catastrophism memes about CO2 Thermageddon.

    • no hyperbole is the funnest thing ever in the entire history of mankind

    • the truth is the so-called climate skeptics are as a group the biggest assembly of dishonest people in America, excepting the inmate population.

      I think you’d have a hard time making the case that the skeptics are a bigger assembly of dishonest people than are the AGW cohorts petitioning the government to fund AGW alarmism and AGW-based wealth transfers.

  20. I would classify Winter as an extreme event that happens every year in parts of the globe and results in excess mortality.

    Ignoring the fact that winters are getting colder in the USA over the last decade … if the world actual warmed (RSS and UAH are essentially at zero so it hasn’t) would the IPCC actually ever admit that less winter would be a very good thing?

    • As Philip Stott observed, If humans really could control climate it would be as risky for humans to do something about it as to do nothing.

  21. Based on the A1B and A2 emissions scenarios, a 1-in-20 year hottest day is likely to become a 1-in-2 year event by the end of the 21st century in most regions

    The following is the comparison of short-term projection of the IPCC with observation.


    Since IPCC’s first report in 1990, assessed projections have suggested global average temperature increases between about 0.15°C and 0.3°C per decade for 1990 to 2005. This can now be compared with observed values of about 0.2°C per decade, strengthening confidence in near-term projections.

    Actual observation:
    http://bit.ly/rYp5OM

    This observation demonstrates IPCC’s “confidence in near-term projections” is unwarranted.

    When IPCC’s short-term projection has been found to be wrong, how could its projections for the end of the 21-century be correct?

    It is just “voodoo” science.

    • Leftists in this country will put their faith in anything before they will put their faith in the a individual liberaty and personal freedom.

    • Wag, I got plenty of liberty. I do whatever I want, after asking the boss. She’s pretty good about letting me exercise my personal freedom.

      Whats’s your problem? Are you tied to a pole?

    • Liberty is political and freedom is personal. The liberties of all Americans are under assault by liberal fascism which is the reason the global warming debate goes on. It’s the only reason.

      AGW has long since ceased being about scientific discovery. It’s all about politics. That’s why we now see global warming playing itself out as a Democrat v. Republican issue.

      Global warming alarmism showcases the self-defeating and anti-American intolerance that is symbolic of the tyranny of the Left. Americans have many rights: some are specifically enumerated and some are acknowledged to have been granted to all of humanity by God, a Judeo/Christian God—i.e., human rights that are personal to free individuals that cannot be diminished by contractual fiat.

      Additionally, Americans have many other rights — penumbral rights emanating from the Constitution – rights that are not specifically enumerated but are nonetheless fundamental to the American experience. These rights are what the Leftist-libs would destroy from within and from without.

      The Leftist-libs would use their democratic freedom to deprive others of their liberty: using the democratic process to prevent others from employing their own mental, physical and psychic vitality as their own personal and individual interest shall dictate. The Leftist-libs’ undermining of personal freedom and individual liberty is what global warming and Liberal Fascism is all about.

    • I’ll file this one in my scrapbook under CRACKPOTS.

    • With a flag suitable for wearing on your ass.

    • Look, if the CO2 from your tailpipe or smokestack crosses state lines, then the government has the constitutional authority and duty to regulate.

      You do not have the right to emit CO2 that crosses state lines.

      It is not a democrat vs republican issue.

    • Liberty is political and freedom is personal.

      AGW has long since ceased being about scientific discovery.

      Wangathong, so consider this, hot off the press.
      http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/11/multiscale-variance-analysis-and.html

      So yes, I do have the freedom to pursue scientific discovery on my own dime. You must really hate me for my personal freedoms :)

    • There is a multiplier effect. But, it is an analogy: spend a dollar and it multiplies through the economy; however, tax the productive and give it to bureaucrats and that also multiplies through the economy and creates more bureaucrats who come up with more justifications to take from those who who actually provide value that people pay for voluntarily.

    • Think about it: A bigger and bigger liberal fascist government demands that business take taxes out of paychecks in pay it over to the government before employees even see their weekly check. It’s like the ritual bleeding of a ceremonial hog before slittng it’s nick. And, School teachers from California to Greece are teaching it is okay.

  22. 60 years is not sufficient for drawing any confident conclusions related to the impact of natural variability on extreme events.

    They chose 60 years in order not to explain what happened about 70 years ago!

    THE DUST BOWL


    The most visible evidence of how dry the 1930s became was the dust storm. Tons of topsoil were blown off barren fields and carried in storm clouds for hundreds of miles. Technically, the driest region of the Plains – southeastern Colorado, southwest Kansas and the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas – became known as the Dust Bowl, and many dust storms started there. But the entire region, and eventually the entire country, was affected.

    The Dust Bowl got its name after Black Sunday, April 14, 1935. More and more dust storms had been blowing up in the years leading up to that day. In 1932, 14 dust storms were recorded on the Plains. In 1933, there were 38 storms. By 1934, it was estimated that 100 million acres of farmland had lost all or most of the topsoil to the winds. By April 1935, there had been weeks of dust storms, but the cloud that appeared on the horizon that Sunday was the worst. Winds were clocked at 60 mph. Then it hit.

    “The impact is like a shovelful of fine sand flung against the face,” Avis D. Carlson wrote in a New Republic article. “People caught in their own yards grope for the doorstep. Cars come to a standstill, for no light in the world can penetrate that swirling murk… We live with the dust, eat it, sleep with it, watch it strip us of possessions and the hope of possessions. It is becoming Real.”

    The day after Black Sunday, an Associated Press reporter used the term “Dust Bowl” for the first time. “Three little words achingly familiar on the Western farmer’s tongue, rule life in the dust bowl of the continent – if it rains.” The term stuck and was used by radio reporters and writers, in private letters and public speeches.

    In the central and northern plains, dust was everywhere.

    http://bit.ly/XCX7i

    • Herman Goertzen remembers chickens going to roost in the middle of the day because the dust storm made it so dark the chickens thought it was night.
      http://bit.ly/tWzAq9

      Harvey Pickrel tried to buy a tractor – the only trick was he would have to dig it out of the dust before he could take it home.
      http://bit.ly/uZFje4

    • What happened about 60 years later?

      THE BIG FREEZE

      Why had the rain turned white? Startled millionaires wintering in their baronial mansions in West Palm Beach, Fla., peered closer last week at the miracle that was falling from the skies and discovered—could it be?—yes, the substance was snow, the first ever reported there. Since mid-November, pedestrians in Dallas, unaccustomed to such hazards, have been slipping on sleet-slicked sidewalks. Meanwhile, a series of blizzards has smothered Buffalo this winter with an astonishing 126.6 in. of snow.

      http://ti.me/wgigI

    • Extreme Events

      1910s=>PROSPECTS OF ANOTHER GLACIAL PERIOD.
      http://bit.ly/pasb43

      1940s=>MELTING POLAR ICE CAPS TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF SEAS AND FLOOD THE CONTINENTS
      http://nyti.ms/6vk7O6

      1970s=>THE COOLING WORLD.
      http://bit.ly/X403E

      2000s=>GLOBAL WARMING
      http://ti.me/3mfXpA

    • Girma

      Thanks for posting the past “cooling/warming” scare articles.

      Plus ça change…

      Max

    • This sounds like a “if nature can cause it , man’s activities can’t cause it” logical fallacy.

      Logical fallacies appeal to weak minds.

    • That’s a warmist logical fallacy. So, warmists are weak minds?

    • Logical fallacies appeal to me.

      I frequently peruse lists of them for entertainment, finding some amusing, some thought-provoking, and some that prompt the mind to a state of estrangement from what has gone before that transcends zen.

      And yet, I’m not sure I’ve understood what “warmist” means, if warmists are in possession of the Fallacy of False Choice about attribution of effects in climate.

      Isn’t the very defining paradigm of a “warmist” the precept that what formerly only nature caused, now man too may cause?

      Certainly, it would be difficult to hold that logical thinkers would construct a framework that held what formerly nature didn’t cause, now man causes. What else would these warmists, (the -ist ending indicating a belief of causes and effects, hence anthropogenic warmist attributes warming to humans) believe had been the -ism prior to human causes?

      Do you subscribe to the belief that there are huge numbers of people seriously proposing that no climate happened at all before human causes, as would logically follow from a belief in no other causes?

      The very existence of warmism demands a prior compatible cause of climate; which would tautologically be natural variability.

      So how does this Fallacy of Exhaustive Hypotheses of climate come to belong to the party proposing a new, additional and compatible cause of climate change, instead of to the party that holds there is only one cause and it precludes all others?

      So, no. You have your fallacy misattributed.

      Though it’s hardly surprising (and tempts one to the Fallacy of Falsum in Uno, Falsum in Omnibus), given that in addition to subscribing to False Dichotomy, you follow this mistaken attribution with an example of proceeding from the effect to the cause (Boys like candy. Pat likes candy. Therefore Pat is a boy?), or Dicto Simpliciter, using the Converse Accident that you believe the fallacy to be warmist, therefore all warmists must have weak minds.

      Well done! Two birds with one stone.

    • Hi Bart,

      I meant that M. carey’s argument was fallacious (strawman) – he/she is misrepresenting Girma’s argument.

      Skeptics’ argument is that nature causes climate change all the time and all the time includes the late 20th century. Period.

      No nature can, man can’t. That’s a strawman and a distraction.

      I see the convinced using this fallacious argument very often. That’s why I said warmist.

    • Edim

      I’m conversant with Girma’s arguments.

      I argue with Girma rather a lot. ;)

      M. carey’s objection is a fair reading (though not the only one possible) of Girma’s line of argumentation, as Girma chose to develop it.

      If you wish, you can take up with Girma ways to clarify what he means so even those skeptical of Girma’s case — and thus more likely to read his statements more freely — will obtain from them the sense Girma intends.

      If indeed M. carey misread; which is not certain from the context.

    • M. carey

      No.

      It’s “if nature can cause it, the ‘null hypothesis’ should be that nature caused it”.

      Get the difference?

      (No more logical fallacy. Just good science)

      Max

    • Max, I get that you have even less understanding of the null hypothesis than this old plow boy, which is next to nothing.

      A null hypothesis can be what the experimenter chooses it to be, but choosing it to be “nature causes global warming,” leaves you without an experiment.
      Specify one you can do something with.

    • Before rattling on about “sound science” I would urge you to actually understand what a null hypothesis is and how hypothesis testing works. How can you make such claims of “sound science” when you can’t even get this one right? Don’t you think that your limited knowledge about statistics make it possible, that you are just wrong?

    • The dust bowl would seem to me to provide a very good example of why we should be concerned about AGW. Some skeptics are very fond of pointing out that the warmest year on record in the 20C was 1934, although they usually omit the fact that this just refers to the US – the dust bowl therefore provides a very good example of the dangers of unusually high temperatures in that part of the world.

    • “The dust bowl would seem to me to provide a very good example of why we should be concerned about AGW. ”

      Because AGW could distract us from dealing with something like a dust bowl?
      We could safely assume the dust bowl had nothing to do with greenhouse gases.
      There no evident of greenhouse gases causing something like a dust bowl [despite the many clueless claim].

      One might assume that global economic problems were a factor- that case could be made [unlike greenhouse gases being a factor].
      Greens and the AGWer are driving the world towards slower economic growth. Obama has driven us into a ditch. Greens oppose development such dams. Bureaucracy is mis-managing or mangling everything within their grasp. And generally trying to most of money to the government is more than a little stupid.
      It seems the best people involved with preventing another dust bowl is farmers. Not farmers trying to get wind mills subsidized, but farmers wanting to be able to grow crops even if there is a drought or two.
      And in the out control group in Washington these farmers are the “little people”.

    • So the fact that the dust bowl occurred at the time the US was experiencing its hottest years of the century is just a coincidence?

    • No, I am saying it could be managed better.
      It’s a drought and/or temperature we could experience in the future
      but that doesn’t mean we have to have Grapes of Wrath type epic.
      Probably if handled correctly one would still have losses of farming but
      the human toll and lost of farmable areas could be comparatively small.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      andrew adams | November 21, 2011 at 7:24 am | Reply

      So the fact that the dust bowl occurred at the time the US was experiencing its hottest years of the century is just a coincidence?

      Andrew, you need to remember that correlation is not causation.

      Since

      a) the decade of the 90′s was about the same temperature as the 30′s in the US and there was no dust bowl, and because

      b) in the geological record droughts are more common in cold times (a warmer world is generally a wetter world),

      I’m going with coincidence.

      So, although I certainly admit the possibility that the high temperature caused the drought, and I also admit the possibility that the drought caused the high temperatures … I don’t think they are causally linked in either direction.

      w.

  23. Similarly, as described in the literature in theis excerpt from…

    There are two paths ahead; each marked with a “Danger” signpost by ames A. Marusek, 2-APR-2009, as follows:

    A few decades after the Dalton Minimum In the spring Eliza, a slave, carrying her young son, fled from Kentucky by crossing the Ohio River on foot. The river was “swollen and turbulent, great cakes of floating ice were swinging heavily to and fro in the turbid waters.” She leaped from one chunk of ice to the next until she reached freedom on the Ohio shore. [Source: Uncle Tom's Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in Cincinnati, Ohio from 1832 to 1850. In 1851, she wrote “Uncle Tom's Cabin”. Her life in Ohio was intertwined in this work of fiction.]

  24. Excerpt (see, Ibid.)::

    During the Dalton Minimum

    The Hudson River at the New York Harbor froze, enabling people to walk across the ice from Manhattan to Staten Island. The Hudson froze over completely during particularly brutal winter of 1779/1780, when the surface was solid for five weeks straight and the British rolled cannons over the ice. In 1821, taverns were constructed in the middle of the river to offer warmth and refreshment to pedestrians. [Sources: When New York Harbor Froze Over, 1779-1780 and F.Y.I.]

  25. Excerpt (see, Ibid.):

    During the Maunder Minimum

    During the Great Frost of (1683–1684) in England, the River Thames was completely frozen for two months, the ice was 11 inches thick at London. Sea ice was reported along the coasts of southeast England, and ice prevented the use of many harbors. The sea froze, so that ice formed for a time between Dover and Calais, joining England and France. (It is more likely that the shorelines froze and a great mass of densely packed icebergs, some 11 feet thick, built up along the coastlines fusing into a semi-rigid structure that may have connected the two shorelines together.) The Thames was recorded to have frozen over at London during the Impact years: 1649, 1655, 1663, 1666, 1667, 1684, 1695, 1709, and 1716. [Sources: River Thames Frost Fairs and Historical Weather Events 1650-1699] [See also: The Great Frost of 1683-4 and Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide]

  26. Excerpt (see, Ibid.):

    During the Spörer Minimum

    By 1518, early explorers made significant progress in probing and surveying the New World. They described North America as a “land of frozen seas, horrid, barren and scarcely habitable for cold”. “In the New World, cold predominates. The rigor of the frigid zone extends over half of those regions which should be temperate by their position. Countries where the grape and the fig should ripen, are buried under snow one half of the year; and lands situated in the same parallel with the most fertile and best cultivated provinces in Europe, are chilled with perpetual frosts, which almost destroy the power of vegetation.” [Source: The History of the Discovery and Settlement of America by William Robertson, 1826]

  27. Marischal Museum (Aberdeen, Scotland) has over one hundred Inuit objects, coming from many different collectors. These range from arrowheads to toys, furs and carvings. This kayak was found off the coast at Belhelvie, Aberdeenshire c. 1720 with an Inuit man aboard, who died shortly afterwards.

    Where did he come from!?

    http://www.abdn.ac.uk/museums/connecting_collections/Arctic_connections.shtml

  28. The ocean natural variability is usually quantified as fluctuations up to 0.2 degrees when averaged over decadal scales, so it doesn’t have much influence regarding climate change itself, being too small. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that it is left out. Climate change should probably be defined as one to several degrees in magnitude, and even the LIA was about 0.5 to 1 degrees, making it a marginal climate change.

  29. Here are a couple charts showing a tally by year of when US monthly extreme temperature records were set for the 50 states. Data ends with 2008.
    US highs. http://i39.tinypic.com/rs8vhf.gif
    US lows. http://i41.tinypic.com/mk7ih.gif

    The 10 years period 1980-1989 has the most low records with 87. The most high records are during 1930-1939 with 117.

    • That may not been clear to all. What I mean is the record high or low temperature for an individual day during each month.

  30. Bob, NCAR data for the U.S. shows the trend is to higher low temperatures and higher high tempeatures, which seems in conflict with what your linked charts show. I wonder what explains the difference?

    http://www2.ucar.edu/news/1036/record-high-temperatures-far-outpace-record-lows-across-us

    • I know statistically this means nothing but I have been tracking the record high and lows in my city in Michigan for a year and the overwhelming highs and lows are from over 100 years ago as well as many highs in the 1930s. Almost none in the last 20 years. Go figure/.

    • You are not a Climate Scientist. You have no business meddling in matters that you are unqualified to have an opinion about. And you have clearly not applied the Union of Concerned Climatologists Approved Upward Undocumented Corrections to the temperatures you erroneously think you have measured.

      I suggest that you empty your mind of any such heretical thoughts until you receive the official notification from the UCC of what our models tell them the temperatures in Michigan should be. Once this minor administrative step – purely there to ensure consistency of observations across NA – has been taken, you will be free to discuss the officially approved adjusted statistics as much as you like.

      But until then, STFU.

      Warmest Regards

      The Central Committee

      UCC.

    • M. carey,

      Big differences shouldn’t be unexpected since they threw away the first seven decades of data allowing them to start with a convenient down-trend in temperatures. 19% of the monthly state high temperature records are still being held by the 1930′s. No reason to think their daily records wouldn’t look somewhat the same had they included those years. Cropping those early decades from their data allows them to claim record extremes in recent times that really aren’t extreme when examining the record since 1880.

      They say 1800 stations with 365 daily high/low records. That’s 657,000 total high extremes and the same for low. They claim they set 291,237(44%) of their high extremes in the last 9.75 years of the record. They also set 142,420(22%) of their low extremes in that same time period. I don’t see how that is possible without some nifty new breakthrough counting method. Over a six decade period how can such a large percentage of low extremes occur in the warmest decade?

      I’m not surprised by the chartsmanship effort though. That UCAR page was published Nov 12th, 2009 which was just before Copenhagen and climategate. Maybe that says it all.

  31. Judith, I’m surprised you didn’t consider “Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame is uncertain. ” worth bolding.

    • actually the bolds in the quotes were bolds in the SPM

    • Silly me – now I’m not so surprised:-)

    • Corporate Message

      Perhaps they are thinking of extreme events including extremes of MILD weather.

    • :-)

      I liked this:

      “Attribution of single extreme events to anthropogenic climate change is challenging.”

      I think their WP package must have a custom dictionary where “impossible” becomes “challenging”. I guess it could be called the “optimist dic.”

  32. All these tales about extreme weather remind me of my childhood on the farm.

    Winters were so cold I had to run backwards when peeing to keep an icicle from forming on my … you know what.
    Summers were so hot we got hard boiled eggs right from hens’ nests.

    High winds made standing up impossible, so we crawled everywhere, and the dust was so thick we were reduced to drinking mud.

  33. My read on this is that AGW is “virtually certain” but the specifics for specific extreme event types are uncertain. The reason is that AGW is based on the modeling and the modelers dominate the climate community. But the extreme event types have their own scientific communities, who are relatively skeptical. Nor do these events model well.

    The ongoing hurricane debate is the prime example here. When the AGW folks started claiming that hurricanes were getting worse some experts rebelled.

  34. Judith Curry

    You have given a pretty concise and complete critique of the IPCC report, although I see that it is not critical enough to satisfy many of your denizens.

    You have written that ”we will have to wait for the full report” regarding the strength and validity of the arguments. OK, let’s see, when it comes out. [I find it strange that IPCC persists on issuing the "summary" before the details behind it - is this a "switch and bait" tactic?]

    Recognition of “natural internal processes” as a driver of climate change is a major improvement, provided it is not seen as a small, insignificant sideshow to AGW. We have seen recent reports that appear to grudgingly admit that there is such a thing as natural climate variability, but most of these downgrade this as being of short-term duration only and of no real significance in the long-term picture (which is postulated to be dominated by AGW). What I also miss is more details on what these “natural internal processes” really were and how they impacted our climate. Hopefully, there will be more on this in the detailed report.

    Vulnerability (to climate change caused by AGW) is a new aspect, perhaps, but in the eyes of most readers it is not the “vulnerability” but the “AGW” that is the prime culprit. This could simply be a hidden justification for “climate damages” to be paid by the industrially developed nations to the more “vulnerable” underdeveloped world for past CO2 emissions.

    The statement that ” A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate events” is a nonsequitur (i.e. “changing climate leads to changing climate”). This statement is fundamentally different from “global warming leads to an increase in the frequency…etc.” The extreme weather attribution to AGW is a weak point, as you write. What is needed here are robust attribution studies, not just “expert judgment”, as was the case in AR4; let’s see if these will be a part of the detailed report or not. If not, the postulation can be ignored.

    You point out that the attribution of increased tropical cyclone frequency due to AGW is based on model simulations, which are next to worthless in this regard.

    Emphasis on “past 40 to 60 years data” is a critical weak point, as this proves nothing. We have a 160+ year temperature record, a CET record and other data that go back even further, fairly good records of extreme weather events at least since 1900, plus estimates of atmospheric CO2 content based on ice core data prior to 1958 and good records thereafter. Using a “40 to 60 year blip” as evidence in a record with multi-decadal warming and cooling cycles is cherry-picking.

    The attribution of “most of the” warming since 1950 “very likely” to AGW still suffers from the lack of traceability as well as no real information on the impact of “natural internal processes”, as you have pointed out earlier.

    The sea level section is based on bogus science. The purported acceleration in rate of SL rise is based on changing the method and scope of measurement from tide gauges (which show large multi-decadal swings but no such acceleration) to satellite altimetry; tide gauges measure the SL at selected coast lines (where people live) while satellites measure the whole ocean except coast lines and polar regions, which cannot be measured by satellite altimetry – apples and oranges.

    You point out that IPCC still hasn’t been able to shake its bad habit of overconfidence, especially with regard to future projections. Scientists may see these as being of secondary interest, but future predictions are basically the only thing that “policymakers” (or the general public) are interested in. So if these are overstated based on overconfidence, an incorrect picture is being presented; if this is done intentionally, it amounts to deception.

    You have concluded, in effect, that the report is not as bad as one might have expected it to be. Fair enough.

    It appears to me that the whole report should be taken with a large grain of salt (at least until the full backup report has been published), and the “Future” chapter should best be ignored entirely (as poorly founded fear-mongering?).

    Max

    • The SPM precedes the report to get two bumps in the press. Plus they leak the report first, to get 3 bumps and build suspense. It is always thus. Advocacy is all about PR.

    • Yep, they get their “three bumps” – although this time they did it a little differently (compared to the release of the SPM of the SRREN last May).

      SRREN: One press release after WGIII approved (although it was wrongly claimed that the IPCC had approved – before the Panel had even been convened. According to the IPCC “rules” the Panel can only “accept”, not “approve” in IPCC-speak!) Another when the Panel accepted (even though it was again wrongly claimed that it had “approved”) … and there’ll be another one when the full report is published (which was supposed to be in October, then changed to November … but they didn’t say which year!)

      SREX: As you had noted, a “leak” (which some might call a trial balloon!) This allowed them to skip the press release after the actual approval of the SPM (by WGs I & II – in which gov’t representatives can participate if they attend**) and went straight to Nov. 18 Press Release which contains the false assertion that the Panel had “approved” the SPM (when in effect, according to the “rules”, the Panel can only “accept” the actions of the WG(s) at which the SPM was actually approved).

      It is worth noting that by the IPCC’s very own numbers, less than 50% of eligible governments were represented at the WGIII session at which the SPM for the SRREN was approved. We won’t know how many were in attendance at the Joint Session of WGs I & II (at which the SPM of the SREX was actually approved) until they release their “draft” report of the IPCC Panel meeting (which they call a “session”). If IPCC performance in this regard is similar to that of their May “session” – we won’t see this until two or three months from now. And, even if recognized, who’s going to remember to check, eh?!

      ** For the record of their performance wrt approval of the SPM of the SRREN, pls see Of IPCC reports and press releases in which they “hide the declines.

      This sleight of phrasing is also evident in the SREX’s not so subtle confusion-causing “redefinition” so that “climate events” and “weather events” are sometimes (but sometimes not) defined as the same thing. So it seems that when it’s convenient, climate and weather are different, but when it’s more convenient, they’re one and the the same!

      And we’re supposed to trust these experts?! Oh, wait a minute … I almost forgot in the latest and greatest Pachauri-speak the “experts” have been downgraded to “objective, transparent, inclusive talent”. But I guess we’re still supposed to trust ‘em!

  35. “It is likely that the global frequency of tropical cyclones will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged.” From sheer ignorance on my part but I was under the impression that previous IPCC predictions called for more cyclones or stronger ones. Is this statement a contradiction to previous forecasts or am I missing something?

    • More were predicted by some, with wide press, but maybe not the IPCC per se. Others may know. Some in the cyclone community objected and apparently the consensus is now that they have not increased, but I think this is still controversial. Hence this IPCC statement which is indeed new and an important concession. Not that the press has noticed it, that I can see.

    • Gore hyped Katrina, for example.

    • The new report reaches essentially the same conclusions about tropical cyclones as AR4, with similar degrees of uncertainty – the same or fewer TC in general, but with an uncertain probability of greater intensity of the strongest of these storms.

    • My general understanding was that with AGW, the increase in wind shear would lead to fewer cyclones, but the increase in tropical sea water temperatures would lead to stronger cyclones.

    • The question is rather what the TAR and SAR said. I do not have time to look it up. More hurricanes was for a time the leading anthro climate change threat. But the threat tends to follow the news. Whenever we get a disaster (heat wave, hurricane, snow storm, flood, drought, etc.) the threat follows it.

  36. Earlir IPCC report
    The revised AMO index (Trenberth and Shea, 2006) indicates that North Atlantic SSTs have recently been about 0.3°C warmer than during 1970 to 1990, emphasizing the role of the AMO in suppressing tropical storm activity during that period. The AMO is likely to be a driver of multi-decadal variations in Sahel droughts, precipitation in the Caribbean, summer climate of both North America and Europe, sea ice concentration in the Greenland Sea and sea level pressure over the southern USA, the North Atlantic and southern Europe;(Trenberth and Shea, 2006). Walter and Graf (2002) identified a non-stationary relationship between the NAO and the AMO.
    During the negative phase of the AMO, the North Atlantic SST is strongly correlated with the NAO index. In contrast, the NAO index is only weakly correlated with the North Atlantic SST during the AMO positive phase.

    In this report I couldn’t find a single reference to the AMO or the NAO.
    Has the IPCC abandoned idea that the natural oscillations have any role?

    It appears to me that the understanding North Atlantic Oscillations with which the above events were previously associated, and now apparently discarded, is incomplete.
    I did detailed analysis of the AMO-NAO relationship and found number of important elements either not known (hopefully not ignored) by the IPCC contributors.
    The results via my web-page: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/theAMO.htm
    most important result can be found on the page 10.

  37. Going into the SREX report more deeply, here is the lead-in paragraph:

    “The character and severity of impacts from climate extremes depend not only on the extremes themselves but also on exposure and vulnerability. In this report, adverse impacts are considered disasters when they produce widespread damage and cause severe alterations in the normal functioning of communities or societies. Climate extremes, exposure, and vulnerability are influenced by a wide range of factors, including anthropogenic climate change, natural climate variability, and socioeconomic development.”

    A more complete and objective formulation would have been.

    [Add] Our planet’s climate has changed dramatically over historical and geological time, mostly as a result of natural factors, many of which are still unknown to science. These changes have included many climate extremes.

    [OK as is] The character and severity of impacts from climate extremes depend not only on the extremes themselves but also on exposure and vulnerability. In this report, adverse impacts are considered disasters when they produce widespread damage and cause severe alterations in the normal functioning of communities or societies.

    [Add] Beneficial impacts of climate change are not considered in this report, although it is virtually certain that there have been some of these in the past and very likely that there will be some in the future. Whether or not these will outweigh the possible negative extremes covered in this report, is unknown to science today.

    Climate extremes, exposure, and vulnerability are influenced by a wide range of factors, including anthropogenic [add]and naturally caused longer-termclimate change, [add] shorter-termnatural climate variability, and socioeconomic development.

    This would have been a better start for a scientific summary report rather than a sales pitch.

    Max

    • You forgot to add in
      “And becuase we keep ignoring History and let these disasters happen again and again.2

  38. “Climate extremes, exposure, and vulnerability are influenced by a wide range of factors, including anthropogenic climate change, NATURAL CLIMATE VARIABILITY, and socioeconomic development.”

    I can’t wait for Steven Mosher to condemn this report for including non-explanations.

    Andrew

  39. I think this is a real synthesis (in the Hegelian sense) consequent upon the various critiques of so-called ‘denialists’ ie we sceptics (I was going to say ‘we free spirits’ a la Nietzsche!) and one should be rightly proud of, as they say in my part of the country, and the climate science community grateful for, the result of these constructive imports. It’s a pity the Renewable Energy Report hadn’t, also, been so constructed!

  40. There’s a saying regarding advertising: “The large print giveth, the small print taketh away.” The same can be said of this IPCC report.

    If you are a parrot or a cheerleader, you just mindlessly mouth the headlines. If you are actually a journalist or an analyst, you have to read the fine print and think about the implications.

    For instance, consider some statements down in the fine print:

    Climate extremes, exposure, and vulnerability are influenced by a wide range of factors, including anthropogenic climate change, natural climate variability, and socioeconomic development.

    Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.

    The uncertainties in the historical tropical cyclone records, the incomplete understanding of the physical mechanisms linking tropical cyclone metrics to climate change, and the degree of tropical cyclone variability provide only low confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences. Attribution of single extreme events to anthropogenic climate change is challenging.

    Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame is uncertain. For projected changes by the end of the 21st century, either model uncertainty or uncertainties associated with emissions scenarios used becomes dominant, depending on the extreme.

    Many headlines are being attached to this report. For example, of these two which is the more accurate (spins less, is less biased)?
    1) Climate change key driver of extreme weather
    2) Natural Variability to Dominate Weather Events over Coming 20-30 Years.

    Inquiring minds need to know, and dare not trust others to do the work.

    • In answer to your last question, I would say natural variability gives way to climate change in time spans of 20-30 years. You only have to look at the difference between now and 20-30 years ago to see this. It is a signal to noise issue that still applies going forwards even as the climate signal is getting stronger.

    • Jim D,

      Nice burst of meaningless assertions.

      Andrew

  41. Excerpts from a Philadelphia citizen’s diary:

    July, 1816, a month of heavy frost and ice. On the 5th ice formed as thick as window glass. August, ice formed half an inch thick and everything green was destroyed.

    January, 1790, 12 degrees above normal. The midday temperatures were frequently 70 degrees in the shade, and boys were often seen swimming in the Delaware.

    The whole winter of 1780 was intensely cold. The Delaware was closed with ice from December 1st to the 14th of March, the ice becoming 2 to 3 feet thick.

    The winter of 1779 very mild. Trees in bloom in February.

    December 31, 1764, the Delaware river was frozen completely over in one night; continued cold till last of March, snow 2-1/2 feet deep.

    The winter of 1756 very mild. No snow till March 18th.

    Do IPCC models correctly hindcast past temperature extremes for Phildelphia during the 1700′s? Projecting from the beginning of the temperature record circa 1850′s backwards to the 1750′s seems an interesting thing to do (in addition to forecasting from the end of temperature record to end of the 21st century). Temperature extremes at this location seem to have decreased as the average temperature increased. Why will a further increase in average temperature be accompanied by temperature extremes? Not a rhetorical question, just puzzled why it is a “virtual certainty”.

    • The natural variability of weather is the biggest sticking point for the AGW community.
      Many believers reject the concept of natural variability in preference for a deterministic idea of climate.

    • No it isn’t and no they don’t

      Strawmen

  42. Hate to be a one note charley, but the claim of “virtual certainty” is absurd on its face. I just find it laughable. It’s hard for me to understand how honest, self-respecting scientists can lend their names to such a claim.

    They’re essentially saying that they KNOW what’s going to happen over the next century, which is to say the science is indeed settled. This is Al Gore stuff.

    • I think virtual certainty is a video game version of real certainty. You’re just reading the term wrong. Virtual certainty is the certainty that you get from computer models in the same sense that virtual reality is the reality inside your wii.

    • Seems in a practical sense, that is in terms of how this will be picked up by the MSM, a distinction without a difference.

    • Which is probably intentional on their end. Clever.

  43. “There is medium confidence that, in some regions, increases in heavy precipitation will occur despite projected decreases of total precipitation in those regions.”

    I read this as meaning that there is medium confidence that the projections for some regions are wrong and / or the uncertainty in projections will lead to this effect. The wording, however, is very misleading, implying that the error distribution is single tailed. In context, “It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase in the 21st century over many areas of the globe.”, it seems they are discounting projections which contradict their finding.

  44. As of now the Washington Post gets the Yellow Green Journalism headline award for this IPCC story, with their “Nobel-winning climate science panel to world leaders: Get ready for a wilder weather future.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nobel-winning-climate-science-panel-to-world-leaders-get-ready-for-a-wilder-weather-future/2011/11/18/gIQADjaVXN_story.html?wprss=rss_national

    The Nobel prize in question is of course the Peace (or activism) Prize, not a science prize.

    How can we stop this junk journalism?

    • David – I think the headline was written by WaPo editors, but the story came from the Associated Press. If you compare the story with the actual IPCC SREX report, they match fairly well, in discussing climate and weather extremes, but the story fails to capture IPCC caveats about uncertainty. It also has a few statements that were misleading by implication although not actually false. For example, it refers to more intense precipitation extremes in regions already prone to flooding, but the SREX report, while estimating that the precipitation extremes will be more common, doesn’t translate this into an inevitable increase in fluvial flooding, because the latter depends on many factors in addition to rainfall intensity.

      In any case, now that the SREX report is online, it makes sense to read it directly rather than second hand via the descriptions by others.

    • The fundamental problem is the science by press release agenda ie publish summary (menu) where there is not validating information or a substantive meal to feed on.One suspects that that very little will be brought to the table, as there is little in the pantry eg Ghil 2011.the proof will be in the pudding.

    • (I apologize in advance.)

      Now there’s food for thought. Chew on that for awhile. It’s hard to swallow.

      Andrew

    • In the same 24hr period we saw the US house of representives reaffirming that Pizza is a vegetable,and the EU empowering legislation that can have you imprisoned for saying that water prevents dehydration,one may ask are the maniac’s loose in the community.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/5993939/Pizza-a-vegetable-says-US-Government

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8897662/EU-bans-claim-that-water-can-prevent-dehydration.html

    • As a side note, especially after the recent brouhaha with Muller, it should be completely evident that scientists need training on how to talk to the press, even if this means simply don’t, and let the press relations pros do it.

    • Fred, you have completely missed my point. The headline is all that most people read. To repeat, my question is How can we stop this junk journalism? I don’t see how I can be any clearer.

      While the rest of you while away the hours arguing about IPCC phrasing, my concern is how this bogus message is spreading around the world. Wake up folks.

    • In the US, with the First Amendment explicitly referring to freedom of the press, there are no legal remedies. This yellow-green journalism will eventually shrink to a niche market, as the dead tree media fades away. The more interesting question is whether we can maintain a free electronic media.

      We’re returning to the kind of media market that existed in the 19th century, and still exists in the UK, where they don’t pretend to be objective; they just have different media for different political preferences. For better or for worse, this is where it’s all headed. You can’t outlaw junk science.

    • I am not after a legal remedy. 100 letters to the editor might help. Is there an ombudsman? Blog noise would help. Headlines should fit stories.

    • It’s merely my opinion that that would be a waste of time. The media industry and culture are what they are. Sometimes they try to be balanced by hiring a heretic to balance the prevailing culture, but it’s beyond the realm of possible that they can actually change the culture enough to right things. Again, that’s my opinion, after watching this in other contexts over a period of years. They are what they are, and asking them to not spin the news is like asking a bear to become vegan.

      I could elaborate, but this is getting off topic.

    • Nothing to be done? Then why are we here?

  45. I take that question seriously. That’s truly where the battle lies.
    I don’t think there’s much any of us lay people can do as individuals. But skeptical, rspected scientists can, if they’d only be willing to make the effort. WHy aren’t they writing letters? Why aren’t they submitting guest columns? Why aren’t they calling up Paul Krugman at the NYT’s, and Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post and begging, cajoling, demanding an hour of their time?

    Blogs aren’t going to do it. You have to reach the MSM directly. No one seems to want to make the effort.

    • No one is going to “reach” the MSM and make them somehow less progressive. Someone who is a progressive, is a progressive first, and everything else second.

      Progressive journalists aren’t interested in getting the facts out.They are interested in having an “impact.’ And the only impact that concerns them is pushing the country/world in a more progressive direction. Do you really think the Krugman’s and Friedman’s of the world are just honestly mistaken, and if you could just get the right information to them, they would see the error of their ways?

      Or that all the other sycophantic progressives in the MSM just need to get the right info from the right source to see the error of their ways? Nonsense, their greatest desire is to become the next Krugman or Friedman, and live in their estate while bemoaning the evils of capitalism.

      “Blogs aren’t going to do it?” Balderdash. Blogs, the internet in general, talk radio, Fox News, you know, all the conduits of conservative thought that progressives, “moderates” and “independents” have been taught to ridicule and hate, have already broken the MSM monopoly on the dissemination of information.

      The 2010 US election did not happen because Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric suddenly decided to be journalists. They happened because the MSM no longer gets to exclude conservative viewpoints from the debate.

      The NY Times, Washington Post et al are on the verge of bankruptcy. In part because their business model is becoming the latest horse and buggy story of the western economy. But also because they cater to only a very small segment of the society – the truly committed, who cares what the truth is, progressive left.

      If you see the battle as depending on changing the attitude of the MSM, you might as well rent a cave and become a hermit. But the only battle that counts is at the ballot box, and in that fight, we have them on the run.

    • “Blogs aren’t going to do it”

      pokerguy – I’ve been struggling with this issue personally since engaging in blog discussions over the past year. I might be considered one of the “respected scientists” you refer to, but only in the sense I’m a scientist familiar with the climate science literature in dozens of journals and knowledgeable in climate science – I’m not a professional climate scientist,. My perception of the science, reached independently of IPCC or other official sources, is not “skeptical” in the sense you intend, but rather one that sees the mainstream conclusions as well established in most areas – or at least those areas I understand well. I’ve tried to provide the reasons for this perception in many comments in this blog and elsewhere.

      Does what I say have any larger impact than to register with a few blog participants – probably in ways that have little effect on strongly held pre-existing views? I’d like to think so, but my guess is that I’ve had only a marginal influence. I’ve occasionally commented in the comments section of MSM articles or in science news articles in Nature, but my perception is that those comments are solicited mainly to give readers the illusion of importance and not because they influence public opinion. I’ve had one or two letters to the editor published in local newspapers, and I’ve given climate change talks to the general public, college audiences, and science teachers.

      I’ve seen a few articles by scientists who actually do climate science for a living, but these too have not appeared to alter public opinion much. They typically involve contributions that advance the political agenda of the particular news organization – Richard Lindzen’s articles in the Wall Street Journal are an example.

      My sense is that public opinion on anthropogenic climate change is only fluid at the margins but not radically alterable by what any of us communicates via public media. A Gallup poll cited here a few months ago showed that worldwide, most individuals who had heard of global warming agreed that humans were contributing to it, and that this proportion has probably increased slightly in recent years (despite Climategate), although it has dropped in the U.S. and UK. At the same time, fewer individuals are now eager to do anything about it right away, perhaps reflecting their preoccupation with the economic downturn.

      Even if you and I have different viewpoints, I am interested in understanding how any one of us can communicate with the public, and whether blogging is having any effect. I would like to see some objective evidence on the latter, but that may be hard to come by.

    • “I might be considered one of the “respected scientists”

      Oh. Absolutely, Fred. Absolutely.

      Andrew

    • It seems to me that scientists are writing pieces in the MSM that make a difference. The problem here has to do with the disfunction of climate science as a discipline. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to speak out with skeptical ideas. It’s rare for a junior scientist to do it. Their future depends on the opinion of their peers. In modern science, collaboration is essential to success.

      Even from generally dull and encyplopaedic types like Fred Moolton, you occassionally hear that a paper “shouldn’t have been published.” You know the remedy for speech is contradictory speech, not the eternal human tendency to gatekeeping and respect for authority. There is evidence that this is changing to some extent because there are a lot more smart people paying attention.

      There is a further problem with what I will call the Real Climate mode of doing science. You look really bad when you turn out to be wrong. There is lots of that going on, but a lot of those at the forefront of the “communication of science” business almost never admit error or correct a previous statement. Steve McIntyre recently had an interesting example about the “hot spot” and Schmidt’s failure to correct some earlier posts on RC denegrating some work that didn’t measure up to Schmidt’s no doubt stratospheric standards, but mostly just didn’t say what Schmidt wanted the finding to be. McIntyre should be a model for scientists in that his statements are always corrected if there is a need.

      However, blogs do make a difference, if for no other reason than that usually scientists feel the need to respond to critical blog posts and rethink things at least to some extent. Blogs have helped I think make a lot of scientists more aware of the potential problems with the IPCC and climate science and to at least give it some thought.

    • David – I think that on rare occasions, climate blogs have made a difference, but mainly through the efforts of those who run the blogs rather than those who comment within them when the latter are not climate scientists themselves. There are probably exceptions, but not many.

      My larger question related to whether any of us who comment in blogs run by others have much influence on the public. I’d like to think we aren’t completely wasting our time, but I’d also like to see some evidence on this, preferably more than anecdotal..

    • Good question Fred. Ironically we have the same problem in showing the impact of scientific communication on science (and society), which is my present research field. In a way it is the same problem. The process is one of diffusion so tracking is not possible. It is an “attribution” problem!

      The best evidence is the 10+ point drop in poll numbers following Climategate. The MSM largely ignored Climategate but it spread widely and rapidly through the blogosphere. (But the stalemate at Copenhagen also played a big role.)

      But your distinction between the bloggers and the public may be the problem. We are the public. For any issue the public leaders are just those people who take an interest in the issue. Social network research shows that the general population is led by those members. We are they.

    • David -

      The best evidence is the 10+ point drop in poll numbers following Climategate. The MSM largely ignored Climategate but it spread widely and rapidly through the blogosphere. (But the stalemate at Copenhagen also played a big role.)

      Seeing as how your present research field is related to this question, perhaps you could show some actual evidence of a causal link between climate blogs, climategate, and this drop of which you speak? The poll numbers have fluctuated in the past without climategate, the majority of Americans have no detailed knowledge of climategate, it seems that the vast majority of those who do consider climategate important most likely already didn’t consider AGW a problem prior to climategate, and polls on AGW belief produce varying results even now. Please provide some data that are controlled for the impact of short-term weather phenomena and trends in media coverage.

      Thanks in advance.

  46. Fred,

    “They typically involve contributions that advance the political agenda of the particular news organization – Richard Lindzen’s articles in the Wall Street Journal are an example.” And did the WSJ publish Muller’s BS to advance their political agenda? Maybe your influence is marginal, because your bias is so obvious. Most skeptics are quite familiar with the party line and are not likely to be influenced by your droning, however eloquent it may be.

    • Don – I try not to be biased, but that’s for others to judge. Readers can also judge whether the WSJ over the years has tended to select articles on climate change that promote their political views – that is certainly my impression.

      I reject your accusation that I am eloquent. Can you please cite a few examples to support that claim, or else retract it?

    • On many other threads I have cited examples of Fred’s eloquence, but rather than clutter up this thread with repeats, I invite readers to use the excellent search feature here at Climate Etc. and decide for themselves.

    • Fred, you have to admit you are pretty dang eloquent, even for a Libra :)

    • Fred,
      When even those who disagree agree you are something that is good, just chill and accept it.
      You are what you are, no matter how much you might try to change ;^)…..

    • Fred, eloquent? Tirelessly verbose, perhaps, but not eloquent.

    • You are too modest Fred. In fact, too modest to the point that your protestations are very likely a false modesty. And your bias is perfectly confirmed by your singling out of the WSJ, as having a tendency to select articles that promote their political views. You passed over all the far worse offenders in the dominant left-stream media. The examples are too numerous and too obvious to mention. All your favorites, Fred.

    • Well, Don, you’re probably right, and so I shouldn’t be so modest. Dallas said I was “pretty dang eloquent”.and so the least I can do is admit that I’m pretty, even if I’m not yet ready to go with eloquent.

      If you want to be serious, I had a serious question in my longer comment above – are we who comment here having any influence on public understanding and opinion, and if so, how much? Since I spend some time and thought on what I say here, I want to know whether I’m using my time wisely.

    • Comments that address the larger question rather than discuss me and my views personally will be welcome.

    • Little dog’s nose is behind the curtain. You know what comes next.

  47. Bored…so I figured I’d mess with Wordle. Now keep in mind words like “November”, and “reply” aren’t going to matter. …but it is interesting about the differences, perhaps..?

    Here’s this topic in a word-cloud as discussed on ClimateProgress
    http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/4445082/Romm_IPCC

    Here’s what it looks like on Climate, Etc.
    http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/4445098/CurryIPCC

    Here’s what it looks like on WUWT
    http://www.wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/4445100/WUWTIPCC

    Enjoy…

  48. And so it continues. From Google News:

    “According to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is “virtually certain” that the 21st century will see more hot day and fewer cold days.”

  49. And the IPCC said, “There will be weather” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

  50. Maybe I’m just burning out on the issue. Discouraged. Half-baked science, lazy, complicit media, gullible public. ON and on it goes. I become more convinced all the time that until some folks with real scientific cred stand up in a very visible, very public way, nothing will change.

    • The other side of that coin is that while polls show a thin majority believing that humans are causing global warming, other polls consistently show climate change as an issue as dead last in priority. People will start worrying about it when the economy recovers, and the troops come home, etc. And therein is the dilemma for the policy wonks.

    • Pokerguy,

      I know the feeling. It comes around now and again as the years go by. When it does, and I feel discouraged, I take a moment and think that I can’t be doing anything else other than trying to get at the truth. Some people I trust say, “Be Not Afraid”, so I chuckle at myself and remember that’s not the kind of person I am, to let things go. So I don’t.

      Andrew

    • Thanks Andrew. Sincerely. It helps to know I’m far from alone. I often want to let go of this stuff, but like you I can’t. I go through this periodically. It passes. In fact, I think it’s time for a couple of nice big cold ones. That’ll help. After all, it’s hard work, all this being a denier stuff. I figure I’ve earned ‘em. :-)

    • pokeryguy, do not lose hope – but instead, rejoice! Consider this, the IPCC and the scientists behind it have to run up trial balloon drafts of their up and coming pronouncements because they are reacting to yours and my and our skepticism. They won’t come out and say it directly “you were right, we were wrong”. But that shouldn’t discourage you, because politics and democratic process is messy and sloooow! Even when things appear to be getting worse (such as Australia’s recent legislative madness), you just need to be patient because you can be confident that those missteps will be corrected in the long run. Why do kids go to protests? Because they think things have to and can be changed “NOW”. But then once you settle down you realize that influencing the future is much more tedious and looks like hard work. And it is, so go enjoy a few tall ones. Tomorrow, we go back to work! And hat’s off to Judith for getting down and hanging out with us lowly climate plebes.

  51. Fred,

    It is not believable that one who is as learned and intelligent as yourself, would not have the ability to recognize one’s own obvious eloquence. The false modestly does not help you make your case. Maybe you should drop it. Trust us on this one. The next time someone praises your eloquence, just say thank you.

    Are you using your time wisely? Depends on your motivation. If you are trying to redeem ‘skeptics’, the answer would be no. The knuckle-dragging heathen denier-skeptics are willfully impervious to your eloquent sermons on the consensus climate science dogma. The more evolutionally advanced lukewarm-skeptics have heard it all before, and you are not plugging any of the holes in the consensus story. If you are attempting to serve as an example of civility and ecclesiastical competency to the likes of Joshua, Robert, and M. carey, then you will need to increase your efforts.

    Should you continue to spend time posting here? I am sure that most of us hope that you do. We don’t necessarily read all your stuff. But we like you, and we are praying for your redemption.

    • Don – On the topic of eloquence, I hope you realize I was pulling your leg. On the larger issue of our influence (not only mine but yours and others’ as well), I’d like to know what evidence is available, if any, that comments in climate blogs make a difference to public understanding and opinion.

      I’m not trying to redeem anyone. In general, my comments are aimed less at those who express opinions here than at bystanders who come here with an open-minded interest in reading what intelligent participants have to say. How many such people are there? Is there any way to estimate this? How do they evaluate what they read? I see this as a topic of increasing importance, because of the increasing role of the Internet in public communication for better or worse.

      I have anecdotal evidence in the form of emails from readers who appreciate my analysis of climate topics, but that’s clearly a small and selected group. If no-one has yet tackled the issue of climate comment influence on a larger scale, I think it would be worth trying..

    • Fred,

      I’m shocked to find that leg pulling is going on here.

      I am sure that there are many who appreciate your eloquent :) defenses of the consensus, and you must have persuaded some. But the vast majority of the viewing public have been bombarded for years with that stuff by the left-stream media, most governments, greenie advocates, the IPCC, and their own children coming home from school crying about the polar bears. I don’t think that you, or any other blog commenter, are having much influence on the price of potatoes, or the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But don’t take it too hard. The feckless Big Climate junketeers will soon prove in balmy Durban that they aren’t doing any better than you are.

      You might want to take about ten years off, Fred. The Big Western Welfare States are the only ones who will ever do anything about C02 emissions and they are going to be tied up for at least a decade trying to deal with the mess created by their policies of pandering and profligate spending. They are showing about as much skill and guts in tackling that problem, as they have shown in their efforts to limit CO2 emissions. Don’t worry, Fred. The PIIGS do not have the means or the intention to pay their debts. The doo-doo will inevitably hit the fan. CO2 emissions will be reduced the old reliable way, by recession, if not depression. Position yourself for the meltdown, Fred.

  52. This is interesting:

    “IPCC chief (Pachauri) Braced for Storm of Denial” over the IPCC extremes report. Seems like it has been fairly well received by skeptics? Joe Romm isn’t crazy about it, tho.

    http://chimalaya.org/2011/11/19/ipcc-chief-braced-for-storm-of-denial/

    • Pachauri has lost any credibility he might have once had. This is from a recent interview (reported on Bishop Hill). Not kidding. The man is positively delusional. He’s not only lying about how long it took to admit the himalayan glacier ‘error,” he’s still insisting it’s true, just slated to happen a few years later.

      “The [IPCC] report included an estimate that “if the present rate [of melting] continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high (IPCC-speak for 90 percent-plus likely) if the earth keeps warming at the current rate.” This prediction came from a 1999 magazine interview with India’s leading glaciologist, Syad Iqbal Hasnain, not an article in a peer-reviewed journal.

      So, yes, a small lapse, and within 24 hours the IPCC had acknowledged it. But how significant was the error? It happened that I had interviewed Hasnain in New Delhi in 2009; he told me that he had slightly modified his projections on the basis of new data compiled over the intervening decade. What he said now was, “If the current trends continue, within 30 to 40 years most of the glaciers will melt out.” It was hard to be more precise, he said, because so much of the affected region in India, Pakistan, and Tibet is off-limits to researchers for national security reasons. So most of the glaciers are very likely to be gone by 2040 to 2050, rather than all the glaciers are very likely to be gone by 2035.

      If I were one of the 1.5 billion Asians whose future survival depends on meltwater from the Himalayas, I’m not sure I’d grasp the fine distinction.

    • “had the chance to sit down with Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC — the man the climate skeptics love to hate.”
      Is love to hate similar to love laugh at? As in the man is walking treasure trove of the absurd.
      Who “never lost his Olympian calm”.
      A distinguished novelist.
      Nice:
      “Indeed, as we sat in his office in the Indian capital last week, Pachauri remained as charismatic a presence as one can imagine, the broad band of white in the center of his dark gray beard as distinctive as Susan Sontag’s white streak. I’ve rarely seen someone project such equanimity in the face of all-out assault.”

      Isn’t Pachauri most like that lovable Baghdad Bob rather than say the Saddam Hussein amateur actor of state movies and playboy mass murder?

      It seem to me Mann has got to be the most hated by skeptics- that guy claims he is a scientist, whereas Pachauri is bureaucrat.
      And for worse bureaucrat category in climate world there is James Hansen. Hansen is member of agency that puts people into space, sends robots to Mars, an agency that actually accomplishes feats. Hansen is marring a fine institution whereas Pachauri
      is bringing humor and color to soulless institution which has no hope or plan to do anything but squander public funds.

  53. M. carey
    The meme about increasing record highs and decreasing record lows, while true, is deceptive. The instrumental temperature record began about 300 years ago with most site records beginning much later. We have had an uneven 300 year warming period with each of the past 3 centuries averaging warmer than the previous. What do you expect after 300 years of warming- more record highs or more record lows? After 15 years of stationary global temperatures, the IPCC finally seems to realize their credibility has been hurt by their previous deceits such as attributing almost all warming since WWII to AGW and allowing journalists to believe their models were evidence of warming.

  54. Dr. Curry, this was a good post on what seems to be quite an improvement.

    About this sentence: Models project substantial warming in temperature extremes by the end of the 21st century.

    If we don’t have much happening in the next couple decades, that gives us time to evaluate the performance of the models before investing confidence in their end-of-century projections.

  55. Pokerguy,
    You expressed my thoughts and frustration perfectly-
    “Maybe I’m just burning out on the issue. Discouraged. Half-baked science, lazy, complicit media, gullible public. ON and on it goes. I become more convinced all the time that until some folks with real scientific cred stand up in a very visible, very public way, nothing will change.” And I’m arriving at this POV as a conservationist, environmental educator, and independent progressive with 60 years of following meteorology and climate science. The greens have hijacked the conservation movement.; the IPCC and “team” scientists and their cheerleaders are disgracing science and scientific method; and people like Wagathon are stereotyping and making pompous, ad hominem attacks on educators and progressives that turn away all my liberal friends who would probably be allies if they they didn’t find so much bluster and secular holier than thou from the ideological right wing.

    • Doug it’s great to see a committed environmentalist see through the sham of CAGW, and that you’d like to share your insights with like-minded friends. But as well as being extraordinarily gullible for not spotting the hoax for themselves, they must be rather thin-skinned if they couldn’t weather the sort of criticism they’ll find here.

      Perhaps if you remind them – as you surely must know – that the people who were contradicting CAGW long before your Pauline conversion were, and still are, subjected to far worse abuse than anything Judith, herself a recent target of late, would permit, and that without their forbearance and sheer spine you would not have this resource to share with them, they might be prepared to overlook the odd intemperate remark?

      You could also direct them to RC to learn the real meaning of “ad hominem”.

    • –> “attacks on educators and progressives that turn away all my liberal friends who would probably be allies if they they didn’t find so much bluster and secular holier than thou from the ideological right wing…”

      The irony is palpable.

  56. Thanks Doug. I’m a progressive guy myself. A lifelong democrat not counting a brief foray into libertarianism… before I understood the dangers of a truly unregulated banking system.

    The whole issue has become so politicized I don’t see how the two sides can ever find a way to communicate with each other. The warmists are convinced that skepticism is just another form of conservative anti-intellectualism, while the “deniers” are certain that AGW is nothing but an excuse to gut capitalism. Because of my general politics in combination with my conversion to AGW skepticism, I think I can see both sides fairly well.

    Don’t give up Doug. Wag’s a good guy. They all are pretty much. Keep trying to get your liberal friends to stop by. It’s really the most open, civilized climate blog I know, despite the occasional rants. No one’s made me feel unwelcome here because of my politics.

    • pokerguy, don’t be afraid of politicization because the alternatives are far worse. On a side note, one reason I don’t see some types of people on blogs is because they haven’t the skills to write well nor have the analytical vocabulary to engage on blogs. I find those people are often very reasonable and do maintain some interest in controversies but they don’t have enough fascination nor the required skill set contribute on blogs like Climate etc.

    • I’m not afraid of it I wouldn’t say, but it certainly gets in the way. My liberal friends simply will not even bother to investigate the skeptical side of the AGW argument, any more than they’d bother to read up on intelligent design. They simply dismiss it out of hand. Which I understand completely. I did the same thing for years. It wasn’t until climate-gate that I really began to smell a rat.

    • pokerguy, When you say this: “My liberal friends simply will not even bother to investigate the skeptical side of the AGW argument, any more than they’d bother to read up on intelligent design. They simply dismiss it out of hand. Which I understand completely.” Where is the inquiring, openmindedness of the tolerant hearted? If you don’t crack the book, you will never know what it says. What do you, understand completely?

  57. Re: On Hurricanes; I also left this comment at RealClimate related to Judith Curry’s point about the hurricane problem being dependent on GCM’s (in “The IPCC report on extreme climate and weather events” thread). Kerry Emanuel also left a comment there on that issue, for those interested.

    //”I do not think there should be much surprise as to why TC frequencies decline in a warmer world, something which seems to me to be something that can be argued on theoretical (at least qualitatively) grounds, and not necessarily dependent on full blown GCMs (as was also implied in Judith Curry’s comment on the SPM).

    The decline in frequency depends on the ratio between the difference of middle tropospheric moist entropy and its saturation value (this difference scales with Clausius-Clapeyron at fixed RH), to the difference between moist entropy of saturated air (with T=SST and surface pressure) and the boundary layer moist entropy. The degree to which the atmosphere is unsaturated increases in a warmer world (at fixed RH), which results in decreases of convective mass flux.

    Of course, the “frequency of hurricanes” is probably not a very useful statistic, either from a human or climate perspective. The TC’s that matter for us are often the “black swans” (to use a phrase of Kerry Emanuel) of hurricanes, those with unusual tracks (esp. with exposed infrastructure), and of course weighted by the intensity of the hurricane. From a climate perspective, I’m not aware of any theoretical argument for why there should be the number of hurricanes per year that we actually observe (remarkably close to 90 every year) but small hurricanes cannot be compared in any meaningful way to big category 5′s (in terms of impacts on energy fluxes, etc). Thus, the thing that matters for us is intensity, but also whether the changed background state provides conditions favorable for “black swans.”

    It is actually not even obvious that N is highly sensitive to various triggering events in the macroscale (e.g., globally and annually averaged) view, as some people like Emanuel have argued only recently (he gave a talk a couple weeks ago at the University of Albany on this), if climate not only impacts hurricanes but hurricanes pose a strong constraint on the climate system (such as the differential climate sensitivity between the Poles and tropics). If one could put a big wall near Africa and prevent AEW’s from forming into TC’s (or to be more realistic, modify the baroclinic-barotropic instability of the African Easterly Jet, perhaps by “greening the Sahara” and altering the meridional baroclinitiy and moisture gradient) then one could initially get a decrease in TC frequency which would then imply a change in the background state that could feedback onto conditions conducive for TC conditions (albeit with a different spatial structure).”//

  58. This report shows how crucial it is to have widespread awareness of climate change impacts in order to ramp up adaptation programmes. Understanding the multi-faceted nature of both exposure and vulnerability is a prerequisite for determining hw weather and cliomate events contribute to the occurrence of disasters, and for designing and implementing effective adaptation and disaster risk management strategies. Vulnerability reduction is a core common element of adaptation and disaster risk management.

    • Nations are already doing as much disaster risk management as they can afford, and have been for a long time. Adaptation is a bogus notion, except the developing countries hope to get guilt money from the developed countries for it. A hundred billion a year or so for the “adaptation fund.” Lots of luck.

    • Completely absent from this kind of talk is any sense of perspective on the time scales of climate effects v.s. engineering response. The notion of raising the height of roads, port facilities, etc. now in anticipation of sea level rise that might materialize in a half century is ludicrous. And yet there are government entities doing exactly that, due to edicts from ignorant political leaders being led by fanatics.

      Nothing in the pipeline, real or imagined, is going to sneak up so fast that there won’t be time for an engineering solution. This policy stuff is solutions in search of problems.

  59. And here is the way the public’s view is changing:

    the rise of skepticism?

  60. In the latest assessment of science by the progressive geniuses in Brussels, comes this gem:

    “EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration

    EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

    Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8897662/EU-bans-claim-that-water-can-prevent-dehydration.html

    File this under “the sun doesn’t cause warming.”

  61. “There is evidence that some extremes have changed as a result of anthropogenic influences”.
    Instead of “evidence” here they actually mean opinion based on zero evidence.

    “There is evidence from observations gathered since 1950″. But zero evidence from observations gathered since 1900.

    “It is very likely that mean sea level rise will contribute to upward trends in extreme coastal high water levels in the future”.
    But is 1.8mm to 3mm per year really something to worry about? Gradual rise is something we have proven we can cope with. Sudden river level surges alas not!

    Do you suppose any hack will notice that hurricanes reducing in frequency is a good thing?

  62. Getting my to comment is often tough, but that post was definitly worthy. I just wish to say hi and tell you that i will be back

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