Storm surge hockey stick (?)

by Judith Curry

“The results show that the extreme sea levels observed during Hurricane Katrina will become ten times more likely if average global temperatures increase by 2°C”, said Dr Jevrejeva. That would mean a storm surge of Katrina proportions every other year. – Alex Kirby

This PNAS paper received a lot of press in March, but I didn’t get around to doing a post.  With the North Atlantic hurricane season just about underway, consideration of this paper is timely.

Projected Atlantic hurricane surge threat from rising temperatures

Aslak Grinsted, John Moore, Svetlana Jevrejeva

Abstract. Detection and attribution of past changes in cyclone activity are hampered by biased cyclone records due to changes in observational capabilities. Here, we relate a homogeneous record of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity based on storm surge statistics from tide gauges to changes in global temperature patterns. We examine 10 competing hypotheses using nonstationary generalized extreme value analysis with different predictors (North Atlantic Oscillation, Southern Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Sahel rainfall, Quasi-Biennial Oscillation, radiative forcing, Main Development Region temperatures and its anomaly, globaltemperatures, and gridded temperatures). We find that gridded temperatures, Main Development Region, and global average temperature explain the observations best. The most extreme events are especially sensitive to temperature changes, and we estimate a doubling of Katrina magnitude events associated with the warming over the 20th century. The increased risk depends on the spatial distribution of the temperature rise with highest sensitivity from tropical Atlantic, Central America, and the Indian Ocean. Statistically downscaling 21st century warming patterns from six climate models results in a twofold to sevenfold increase in the frequency of Katrina magnitude events for a 1 °C rise in global temperature (using BNU-ESM, BCC-CSM-1.1, CanESM2, HadGEM2-ES, INM-CM4, and NorESM1-M).

Published online by PNAS [abstract].  This paper is based upon a data set that was described in a previous paper:

Homogeneous record of Atlantic hurricane surge threat since 1923

Aslak Grinsted, John Moore, Svetlanta Jevrejeva

Abstract. Detection and attribution of past changes in cyclone activity are hampered by biased cyclone records due to changes in observational capabilities. Here we construct an independent record of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity on the basis of storm surge statistics from tide gauges. We demonstrate that the major events in our surge index record can be attributed to landfalling tropical cyclones; these events also correspond with the most economically damaging Atlantic cyclones. We find that warm years in general were more active in all cyclone size ranges than cold years. The largest cyclones are most affected by warmer conditions and we detect a statistically significant trend in the frequency of large surge events (roughly corresponding to tropical storm size) since 1923. In particular, we estimate that Katrina-magnitude events have been twice as frequent in warm years compared with cold years (P < 0.02).

[link] to abstract

Critiques of this paper can be found at:

The latest online issue of PNAS has a letter (comment) [link] by Andrew Kennedy et al. and response from Grinsted et al. [link].  Kennedy et al. argues that:

Because the Pensacola elevations are so low (<2 m NAVD88), their use by

Grinsted et al. (2) degrades the Katrina standard to such an extent that it becomes possible to conceive of multiple Katrina events per decade; this would not be possible using more appropriate surge values. The danger of using spatially distant measurements to represent the magnitude of surge events thus becomes clear. Inappropriate comparisons with Hurricane Katrina have their own unique dangers, as this storm has great emotional resonance. Instead of a Katrina-magnitude event, the authors computed the probabilities of far more moderate surges.

Grinsted et al. respond (my mind boggles):

If Kennedy et al.  are correct that our measure of storm surge for Katrina magnitude events is too low, then we can examine the implications of choosing a more extreme benchmark. One of our results is that the most extreme surges are also the most sensitive to warming, in agreement with many other hurricane studies. Thus, we would have projected an even greater relative frequency increase if a more extreme benchmark for Katrinas had been chosen [as argued by Kennedy et al.].

I agree with all of these critiques, and have a few additional criticisms of my own. What I object to most is their turning their rather dubious analysis into alarming predictions of future storm surge activity:

Statistically downscaling 21st century warming patterns from six climate models results in a twofold to sevenfold increase in the frequency of Katrina magnitude events for a 1 °C rise in global temperature

I find the reasoning to get to this prediction to be mind boggling.

Deep uncertainty in long term hurricane risk

The key issue of concern is the future risk from major hurricanes and storm surges.  A much better perspective on this problem is provided by the following paper.

Deep uncertainty in long-term hurricane risk:  Scenario generation and implications for future climate experiments

Nicola Ranger and Falk Niehorster

Abstract. Current projections of long-term trends in Atlantic hurricane activity due to climate change are deeply uncertain, both in magnitude and sign. This creates challenges for adaptation planning in exposed coastal communities. We present a framework to support the interpretation of current long-term tropical cyclone projections, which accommodates the nature of the uncertainty and aims to facilitate robust decision making using the information that is available today. The framework is populated with projections taken from the recent literature to develop a set of scenarios of long-term hurricane hazard. Hazard scenarios are then used to generate risk scenarios for Florida using a coupled climate–catastrophe modeling approach. The scenarios represent a broad range of plausible futures; from wind-related hurricane losses in Florida halving by the end of the century to more than a four-fold increase due to climate change alone. We suggest that it is not possible, based on current evidence, to meaningfully quantify the relative confidence of each scenario. The analyses also suggest that natural variability is likely to be the dominant driver of the level and volatility of wind-related risk over the coming decade; however, under the highest scenario, the superposition of this natural variability and anthropogenic climate change could mean notably increased levels of risk within the decade. Finally, we present a series of analyses to better understand the relative adequacy of the different models that underpin the scenarios and draw conclusions for the design of future climate science and modeling experiments to be most informative for adaptation.

Published in Global Environmental Change [link]

From the Discussion:

From this series of arguments, we conclude firstly that the direct use of single or sets of current GCMs in risk management, without an appropriate treatment of uncertainty, could lead to potentially costly maladaptation and unnecessary risks.

This research has suggested a number of specific lessons for the design of future climate modeling experiments and climate analyses to meet these needs; firstly, the importance of better understanding the role of natural cycles (and therefore, climate change) in driving variability in tropical cyclone activity and the climate of the Atlantic.

There is a need for more study of the adequacy of models. There are many fundamental questions that need to be addressed: for example, does the fact that current GCMs are unable to fully represent historical co-variations of MDR SSTs and windshear  suggest an inadequacy for forecasting future conditions for tropical cyclone formation and evolution? Is it sufficient for a model to represent current tropical cyclone climatology and multiannual variability, even if there are suggestions that they are right for the wrong reasons? From such questions, one might be able to define a set of necessary, not sufficient, tests for model adequacy for a given application. Such analyses may in time enable one to exclude certain scenarios or estimate relative confidence and therefore, refine adaptation decisions.

Thirdly, the need to explore the full range of uncertainty in future states. In the main, climate modelers have attempted to generate projections that represent a ‘best guess’ conditioned on a particular model structure. Recently, some studies have set out to more fully explore the range of uncertainties in future climate projections. We argue that while these studies represent a significant step forward in exploring uncertainty, they still do not explore the full range of uncertainties because they are conditioned on one (or a handful of nonindependent) GCMs. This means that uncertainties associated with model structure are not explored. We suggest that to inform adaptation, climate experiments include analyses that leave the confines of current GCM structures and attempt to explore the range of possible outcomes, for example, using simple models or considering theoretical limits.

Empirically derived scenarios of future hurricane activity

Arguments for using a broader range of scenarios than those provided by climate modes were made on this previous post Alternative approach to assessing climate risk.

In the work that I am starting to do on empirically-based scenario development for future hurricane landfall impacts, I have been looking at the following frameworks for developing  scenarios on decadal time scales (out to 20 years) :

  • Climatology: The simplest climate scenario assumes that the tropical cyclone climatology for the next two decades is the same as that for the previous 30 years.
  • Persistence: A persistence-based scenario applies a trend or other statistics using a shorter period than climatology that was selected using some physical rationale.
  • Dynamic climatology: Use teleconnection indices (e.g. AMO, PDO) and the expression of Atlantic hurricane characteristics to construct future scenarios, accounting for uncertainty in length of regime periods and timings of regime transitions.
  • Secular global warming: Additional scenarios are created based on the other scenarios by including (as a multiplier effect) possible impacts from secular global warming: small secular increase in tropical cyclone intensity and the percent of category 4 and 5 hurricanes, decrease in the ratio of U.S. landfalls to total Atlantic hurricanes, increase in rainfall, and a small secular sea level rise.

Several years ago I conducted a study for World Bank Latin America, “Potential Economic Impacts of Hurricanes in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean ca. 2020-2025” that used a similar empirically-based scenario approach.

Specifically with regards to storm surge.  In addition to the frequency and intensity of hurricanes at landfall, a key factor is the horizontal size of the hurricane, which was a major factor in the storm surge magnitude for Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.  How hurricane horizontal size changes with climate is a new topic that is being studied by several group.

JC summary

The historical record for U.S. landfalling hurricanes since about 1900 is pretty robust, and storm surge can be estimated fairly reliably using models in locations and periods where storm surge observations were lacking.  Tide guage measurements  at a limited number of locations (where it is impossible to separate out hurricane induced surges from other causes) are a very poor proxy for hurricane activity.  Erroneous inferences from the tide guage measurements combined with dubious applications of climate models produces a faux storm surge hockey stick.

Ranger and Niehorster correctly argue that climate model based scenarios of future hurricane activity have numerous problems and also do not introduce a sufficiently broad range of scenarios.  On decadal timescales, I think that generating empirically-based scenarios is a far better approach.

Based upon my understanding, here is what I think is the most likely  scenario.  North Atlantic hurricane activity will remain high until the transition to the cool phase of the AMO.  Sometime during mid-century (when the temperatures start rising), North Atlantic hurricane activity will calm down, analogous to the 1970s and 1980s. While intensity may show some increase with rising temperatures, U.S. landfalls could be less if the hurricanes continue to form more frequently in the eastern Atlantic, and curve northward on the open ocean.

131 responses to “Storm surge hockey stick (?)

  1. Don’t they yet know that the best way to be not believed is to use a Hockey Stick. Chicken Little, there is no real data that says the sky is falling, other than rocks from space.

    • David Springer

      Sure to cause much bedwetting amongst the usual suspects.

    • Based on the science of global warming alarmists, Cuban communism and Floridian mobile home parks are hurricane magnets.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘While the Arctic region has been warming strongly in recent decades,
      anomalously large snowfall in recent winters has affected large parts of North America, Europe, and east Asia. Here we demonstrate that the decrease in autumn Arctic sea ice area is linked to changes in the winter Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation that have some resemblance to the negative phase of the winter Arctic oscillation. However, the atmospheric circulation change linked to the reduction of sea ice shows much broader meridional meanders in midlatitudes and clearly different interannual variability than the classical Arctic oscillation. This circulation change results in more frequent episodes of blocking patterns that lead to increased cold surges over large parts of northern continents. Moreover, the increase in atmospheric water vapor content in the Arctic region during late autumn and winter driven locally by the reduction of sea ice provides enhanced moisture sources, supporting increased heavy snowfall in Europe during early winter and the northeastern and midwestern United States during winter. We conclude that the recent decline of Arctic sea ice has played a critical role in recent cold and snowy winters.’

      The problem with the Pope narrative is that it has some basis in reality.

      ‘At the other pole, the great Maurice Ewing, then director of Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, and William Donn followed Scott even if they did not cite him. They proposed (1956) that ice ages are triggered by Arctic warmth removing sea ice, to feed huge snowfall on land. However, Ewing and Donn had to arm-wave away the data, which showed reduced Arctic sea ice when land ice was also reduced during mid-Holocene warmth; they instead suggested based on no evidence that the field workers had the ages wrong, with open water during the cold part of the ice age…

      But, warmer air also speeds melting. Even the snowiest places on Earth give only about 10 m of ice per year, but any decent mid-latitude parking lot can melt more than that by June. The physical controls on melting of natural ice are somewhat involved, but across a great range of glaciers, mass loss increases by roughly 30-40% per degree Celsius (e.g., Oerlemans, 2001, p. 128; Alley, 2003), with some glaciers going as low as 20% or so and others above 50%. Typically, a small warming causes a much larger increase in melting than in snowfall, and the glacier retreats.’

      ‘Though the time at which the Eemian interglacial ended is subject to some uncertainty (it was probably around 110,000 years ago), what does seem evident from the sediment records that cross this boundary is that it was a relatively sudden event and not a gradual slide into colder conditions taking many thousands of years. The recent high-resolution Atlantic sediment record of Adkins et al (1997) suggests that the move from interglacial to much colder-than-present glacial conditions occurred over a period of less than 400 years (with the limitations on the resolution of the sediment record leaving open the possibility that the change was in fact very much more rapid than this).

      Following this initial cooling event, conditions often changed in sudden leaps and bounds followed by several thousand years of relatively stable climate or even a temporary reversal to warmth, but overall there was a decline. Northern forest zones retreated and fragmented as the summers and winters grew colder. Large ice sheets began to grow in the northern latitudes when the snow that fell in winter failed to melt, and instead piled up from one year to the next until it reached thousands of metres in thickness.

      As the cold grew more severe, the Earth’s climate also became drier because the global ‘weather machine’ that evaporates water from the oceans and drops it on the land operates less effectively at colder temperatures and when the polar sea ice is extensive. Even in areas that were not directly affected by the ice sheets, aridity began to cause forests to die and to give way to dry grassland, which requires less water to survive. Eventually, much of the grassland retreated to give way to deserts and semi-deserts, as global conditions reached a cold, dry low point around 70,000 years ago (this is called the Lower Pleniglacial). By this time, most of northern Europe and Canada were covered by thick ice sheets.’

      So we have both cold and the largest ice extent and warm and the smallest ice – regardless of the precipitation potential. Ice albedo is the major effect in glacial/interglacial transitions – and the changes are abrupt and episodic – but the control is probably summer melting in the NH and the feedback is runaway ice feedbacks. Despite ‘Pope’s Climate Theory’ I doubt very much that there is any proof that this is the interglacial to end all interglacials.

      • David Springer

        Thanks for your opinion. I must say I’m duly impressed that you quoted scientists from 1956 which is the year of my birth but I’m a bit puzzled as you chastised me for quoting something written 30 years ago.

        At any rate is there some kind of near term testable buried in your diatribe or was it the unadulterated hand waving that it appears to be?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Your much admired Pope’s theory is the 1956 theory of Ewing ad Don. You are such and a shallow and inconsequential idiot.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        …that is Ewing and Donn…

      • David Springer

        Chief Hydrologist | May 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm |

        “You are such and a shallow and inconsequential idiot.”

        Coming from someone whose whole country is shallow and inconsequential I’ll take that as a compliment. Thank you.

      • David Springer

        P.S. Ellison

        If you had a triple digit IQ you might have figured out by now that I’m tossing compliments at Pope just to see your jealous reaction to it. Works like a charm every single time. ROFL I play you like a fiddle.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You are such a liar and a fool. Do you really believe what you say or is this just your peculiar brand of insanity? The only one you are playing with is yourself.

        I thought it was time that someone said that first there is some actual science from Judith Curry and colleagues no less – around ice states in the Arctic and snowfall. And second that the relationship is no means as such as to provide a comprehensive explanation for the nature and extent of climate changes.

        In general I ignore your peculiar brand of bombastic and simplistic analysis. It is you seem to follow me about with your self lauding narrative, juvenile insults and nonsensical complaints.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Just to make clear – you quoted a 30 year old Mother Earth news article on no-till farming. I quoted a talk by Richard Alley from this year who discussed – and rejected – the Ewing and Donn theory of 1956.

        Again – shallow and inconsequential seems to sum it up.

  2. The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

    Dr. Curry,

    You are an expert in this area, and so your final summary paragraph carries great weight IMO, though I remain very skeptical about the exact nature of the next “cool phase” of the AMO. Certainly the Atlantic basin has shown some of the highest increases in OHC of all the basins (except for the Indian). The warm phase of the AMO certainly is part of this.

    Question I find of interest:

    1) How might continued decrease in Arctic Sea ice affect or be affected by this “cool phase”? i.e. What if blocking patterns in the atmosphere really are increasing in frequency? Might these affect the timing and severity of the cool phase?
    2) What if we actually get our first ice-free Arctic and a series of seasonally ice free summer Arctics before mid-century? How might this affect the AMO and/or hurricane activity?
    3) What are the interactions between increasing GH gases and natural cycles such as the PDO and AMO?

    • Hi Gates
      There is a degree of correlation between past Arctic atmospheric pressure and the N. Atlantic hurricane ACE index
      How this may work it is not exactly clear, but it may be associated with slow flowing of the ‘cold current’ return leg of the ocean conveyor belt.

    • SkW, these are definitely good questions

    • Add in the QBO ( ) for example, to the list of oscillations that formerly were thought (why?) reliable.

      As weaker, shorter oscillations are generally the first lost to shifts in complex systems and then lead to a cascade of effects that further contort larger repeating patterns, the QBO (like the Hale cycle in the 1950’s) is canary in the coalmine (excuse the expression) stuff.

      And then there’s ENSO’s tenuous relationship with the PDO etc.. so many ways that can go south, and the evidence for correlation to warming/cooling phases so weak already, we’re in trouble there. The last time CO2 was at 400 ppmv, 3 million years ago, it wasn’t ENSO, but EP (El Padre – all warm, all the time, no oscillation) that dominated.

      Would that the fraction of wasted money that went to broken 1970’s satellite technology and broken, 1870’s political interference, had gone to better research and data collection sooner, we _might_ be in a position to trust weather forecasting is even built on the right framework of climate assumptions. But we don’t have that, so we have Uncertainty of the Third Kind – Uncertainty because of people just making up jack.

  3. It is physically appropriate that hurricane models contain a lot of spin.

  4. Judith, you write “Sometime during mid-century (when the temperatures start rising), ”

    If adding CO2 to the atmosphere has a negligible effect on temperatures (as many of us believe), and the upcoming Eddy minimum turns out to be a Maunder type minimum, then by the middle of this century global temperatures will be significantly cooler than they are at present.

    • But the solar influence on global temperature is indistinguishable from zero.

      Also no-one has empirically proven the sun affects global temperature. Name an experiment that measures the effect of the Sun on global temperature.

      • lolwot

        Name an experiment that measures the effect of the Sun on global temperature.

        Admittedly, these were not “experiments” under controlled conditions, but how about the Maunder, Dalton and Spörer Minima?

        According to Wiki:

        Like the Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures.

        Three times in a row is coincidence?


      • “Admittedly, these were not “experiments” under controlled conditions”

        Then we don’t have sufficient proof to say the sun affects global temperature.

        “but how about the Maunder, Dalton and Spörer Minima?”

        bad correlation doesn’t equal causation.

        We have to conclude that the null hypothesis that the Sun doesn’t affect global warming hasn’t been disproven.

      • lolwot

        Nothing regarding solar influence on past climate has been “disproven”.

        As a matter of fact, as the sole source of energy into our climate system, the “null hypothesis” remains that the sun drives our planet’s climate.

        This “null hypothesis” has not (yet) been falsified.

        Admittedly, “correlation does not provide evidence of causation” but, in addition to the undisputed fact that the sun is the source of all heat entering our climate system, the three examples I cited are evidence of a good historical correlation (actually much more robust than the correlation between CO2 and temperature).


      • you still haven’t provided empirical proof that the sun affects global tempreature.

        The null hypothesis is that it doesn’t affect global temperature.

        You can’t just assume it does based on faith! That’s not how science works!

      • lolwot, you write “Also no-one has empirically proven the sun affects global temperature. Name an experiment that measures the effect of the Sun on global temperature.”

        Touche (with an acute accent over the e). My statement was wrong. I should have stated that I believe that global temperatures will be less than currently by mid century..

      • lolwot

        You and I can argue until we are both blue in the face about whether or not the “null hypothesis” is that the sun influences our climate.

        It is a fruitless argument.


      • how can you believe that when you have no evidence to base it upon? The sun’s influence on global temperature being indistinguishable from zero.

      • David Springer

        With an as yet to be determined appenage lolwot opines that the null hypothesis is the earth is not made warm by the sun.

        Got it. I even wrote it down. ;-p

      • R gates

        The article says the temperature rose 2 degrees c in 1850. Do you really believe that co2 was such a magnifier of temperatures 160 years ago? If so it surely means man can not live on his planet without affecting it catastrophically.

        Fortunately I have as little faith in plankton studies as I do in tree rings but would be interested to have your answer to my question as to the extent of mans effect

      • DIdja know that the way the greenhouse effect works is IR radiation from the sun?

      • David Springer

        lolwot | May 24, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

        “but how about the Maunder, Dalton and Spörer Minima?”

        bad correlation doesn’t equal causation.

        It’s better correlated than global average temperature and atmospheric CO2. My double standard meter just pegged off the scale.

    • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist, etc.

      That’s a very very big “IF” Jim. If the proper font size for the “IF” was used in relation to this page, the entire page would fit just within the “I” on “If”

      In contrast to what many who think like you, there are many who think that natural ocean cycles such as the PDO and AMO can mask (or accentuate) AGW during certain periods, but that there remains an underlying warming from the continual accumulation of GH gases in the atmosphere, and that warming will not stop until the human carbon volcano stops erutpting with such high annual ppm of GH gases being added to the atmosphere.

      • R Gates

        But where is your evidence? It is difficult to see the impact of man to date in 350years plus of records.

        Are you talking solely of expectations for the future or evidence from the past?

      • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist, etc.

        Hi Tony,

        You know exactly what this argument comes back to, and exactly how much more important the oceans are than the troposphere in term of driving the climate. You possibly saw this post I did over at Neven’s:

        But this is all current information, albeit shows my dislike for judging the warming of an entire Planet based on the variability of the smallest sphere of energy storage of that planet, i.e. the troposphere. But you also know that I love to combine current theory and data with the proxy paleoclimate data, since that data by default, already contains all the feedbacks that we will never be able to completely get right in the models. Studies such as this one lead me to conclude that indeed, the oceans are their warmest now in thousands of years, and morever, the rapid GH gas concentration rise from human activity is at least partially responsible. See:

      • R Gates

        I think you posted a link a few days ago that demonstrated that the overall warming of the oceans is so trivial that it would take many hundreds of years for the total depth of ocean to warm up by a noticeable fraction of a degree.

        And don’t forget that unless you are a merman it is the land we live on and not the sea.
        BTW I went out of my way to compliment you on your article at Nevens but you obviously didn’t see it.

      • R. Gates, Skeptical Warmist, etc.

        Thanks Tony, I didn’t see your comment on the post I did (though I did see Steven Mosher’s), but thank you for that.

        In regard to ocean warming, warming the entire ocean is not the issue, but rather, the warming of the sections that can impact other parts of the Earth system is what is important. You might enjoy this rather lengthy, and most excellent post that Neven did related to measuring the heat flux into the Arctic ocean, and how critical and difficult this process is. A HIGHLY recommended read, with lots of excellent illustrations and links to scientific studies:

      • R gates

        Sorry, this landed in the wrong place so have repeated it here

        The article says the temperature rose 2 degrees c in 1850. Do you really believe that co2 was such a magnifier of temperatures 160 years ago? If so it surely means man can not live on his planet without affecting it catastrophically.

        Fortunately I have as little faith in plankton studies as I do in tree rings but would be interested to have your answer to my question as to the extent of mans effect

      • r gates

        Yes, nice article, but again it’s looking at too narrow a time scale. The article says about Warmer conditions in the arctic observed since the early 1990’s.

        No, they have been observed since 1918 to 1949 when the colder waters Then returned as was documented by many dozens of science articles in my last article. The studies were made at the time of the warming together with many from the decades following. Ice extent in 2007 and 2012 were low even compared to the earlier period but the previous warming was very well documented and was substantial.

        The warming in the 1818 to 1850 era was also substantial as was the period in the early to late 1500’s when the northern sea route was possibly traversed for the first time. It’s the subject of a future article after I make my second visit to the Scott polar institute for further research.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Tony, I remain open to the possibility that humans have been affecting the global climate for many centuries. It is a matter of degree– no pun intended. How much the anthropogenic signal has been mixed with other natural signals over the years is certainly “the” topic to be determined I’d say. And the ratio of this mix could be changing year by year, decade by decade, and even century by century. Separating out purely natural signals from purely anthropogenic is difficult in the extreme, and certainly, with so many different potential interactions between the natural and cyclic and the anthropogenic, the problem is compounded further.

        Unlike you, I do trust MULTI-proxy and MULTI-location paleoclimate studies and think this resource is just too valuable to dismiss with a hand-wave. It is the best opportunity to see what the sum of all forcings and all feedbacks actually looks like in reality– something climate models can never give us.

      • R gates

        last year I ploughed through a whole book on plankton proxies and over the years many more on tree rings. As temperature proxies that give us a useable set of parameters I don’t think they fit the bill. Tre rings can certainly provide indicators of moisture and age. As reliable temperature proxies? I don’t think so

      • R. Gates, “Unlike you, I do trust MULTI-proxy and MULTI-location paleoclimate studies and think this resource is just too valuable to dismiss with a hand-wave.”

        Pardon my interjection, but “trust” is a bit strong for paleo. The same complex mixing of the polar gyre makes paleo just as complex. Paleo is useful, but without the ocean models to interpret the paleo, you have to remember that the average ocean core paleo reconstruction has a margin of error of about +/-1 C which is roughly +/- 4 Wm-2 depending on location. There is much too much uncertainty to draw any definitive conclusions.

        Even the “surface” anomaly data is accurate to only +/- 0.2 approximately for the modern era increasing to +/- about 0.5 C at the start of the record, and a large part of that uncertainty is in the north hemisphere land data, where we supposedly have the best data.

        Remembering the uncertainties, that is a reconstruction of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool, the hot side of ENSO, spliced to the HADCRU4 tropics “surface” temperature anomaly. That is a pretty good fit btw. Because the tropics do not have the huge range in Tmax to Tmin, they appear to be fairly accurate.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)


        Yep, proxies have their issues, with each one having its own unique set, and so too, each location the proxy is gathered at can have its own unique set of issues, so that’s why I like the triangulation of 3 different approaches to looking at past climates:

        1) Basic physical theory
        2) The dynamics and extreme number crunching power of models
        3) Multi-location and Multi-proxy data

        To these, to the extent that it is recent history (i.e. within the past few thousand years) it would of course be nice to add a fourth approach– your historical human record.

      • R gates

        Yes those four elements should be working together and each would be strengthened by the evidence provided by the others

        Please send a large grant so I can compete on equal terms…


      • Brandon Shollenberger

        R. Gates says:

        Unlike you, I do trust MULTI-proxy and MULTI-location paleoclimate studies and think this resource is just too valuable to dismiss with a hand-wave.

        And yet, just a few weeks ago he dismissed Climate Audit “with a hand-wave.” Apparently it isn’t okay to dismiss those reconstructions with a hand-wave, but it is okay to dismiss criticisms of them with one. I guess when data is really valuable, we apply different standards to it.

        Lower ones, at that.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)


        If only you could find something our Australopithecus ancestors left behind a few million years ago of historical value so we could use it to match up with the paleoclimate data of the time and what the theory and models tell us the climate would be like with an Earth at near 400 ppm CO2 and all the continents approximately where they are today.

        Find that historical document from Pliocene and Australopithecus, and you’ll get all the grant money you want!

    • Jim Cripwell you seem to oscillate between it all being a hoax and pseudoscience to statements of certainty about the most speculative aspects of the science. You are starting to sound like a parody.

      • HR, you write “You are starting to sound like a parody.”

        As I have pointed out to others, I use my real name. I live in Ottawa Ontario, Canada. I am proud of what I write. I take absolutely no notice of people like yourself who are rude, while you hide behind a cowardly pseudonym. I suggest that if you want to get into the game of being rude to people, that you will get a lot more respect and attention if you use your real name

      • David Springer

        +1 Jim

      • David Springer

        Does HR stand for Hirsute Rectum or would the aptness of it be purely coincidental?

  5. Since CO2 spreads the heat more evenly it should make storms milder according to Thermodynamics !

    • NetDr | May 24, 2013 at 1:38 pm |


      Thermodynamics tells us nothing about storm intensity or global heat distribution, for the simple reason that basic Thermodynamics (which appears to be what you are referring to) begins with a set of assumptions and never speaks to rate of heating or cooling, hence can never tell us how evenly distributed global temperature will be on a rotating sphere between equator and pole, surface and TOA.

      Further compounding, the breakdown of the former jetstream regimine creates new, but fickle, more intense blocking patterns.

      Since there is a nonlinear relationship in heat distribution (to the fourth power), and heating effects on for instance long Arctic nights are essentially null from GHEs after dissipation of the prior day’s warmth, the gradient is steeper with more heat due CO2E, not shallower. This property applies as well to altitude (for parallel reasons), land/sea differences, warm sea/cool sea differences, ocean depth/surface differences, and so forth. Where these differences coincide, they coincide additively with an effect that is a derivative of the ratio of a 4th power to a second power, ie exponential to the 3rd power.

      Thermodynamic that in your storm surge pipeline.

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)


      Perhaps eventually, at much higher temperatures this would happen, but the question is: would this thermally “flat” and rather hot and bland (from a weather perspective) world be the sort of world that could support a vibrant ocean teaming with life and land that could grow crops necessary to feed 7+ billion humans? The Holocene (or Anthropocene) has been pretty good to humans up to now.

  6. Rud Istvan

    Since my permanent residence is Floida, I wish you great success in your scenario efforts.
    But it will be a difficult task. Take storm surge, which depends not only on storm size and intensity, but angle of attack and shore topology. Sandy got amplified by New York harbor, and would have been worse but for the left hook into central New Jersey. The Florida nightmare is a strong hurricane tracking up Tampa Bay, topographically flat and very built up. There was a near miss back in 2004 or 2005 with a cat 2. About the most one can hope for (absent building codes and restrictions–better after Andrew, but not great) is tighter forecast tracks (cone of uncertainty) and intensity, so clearer, timelier evacuation warnings. Good that NOAA got the recent weather forecasting computing upgrade. Bad that it is still a fraction of what has been wasted on the computing horsepower for problematic climate models.

    • Rud, we have a new project with Florida Power and Light, we hope to help mitigate the power outages with better forecast info.

    • Australia’s Cyclone Mahina of 1899 (sorry, current climate exceptionalists!) is still recognised as having produced the world’s highest known surge, but there’s not much doubt the topography of Bathurst Bay and other factors besides size and force had much to do with the “record”.

      Mind you, Mahina was an absolute brute. They were picking dolphins off the cliffs.

  7. Interesting Judith, as it sounds like you’re expecting a decades long “pause.”
    As an expert in this area with great credibility, I hope you’ll consider making a a public statement when the alarmist loons and shameless propagandists get to work after the next big east coast hurricane strikes…very possibly this year.

  8. There seems to be a rule in climate science – when you can’t get it published, send it to PNAS. The review process seems to consist of running one’s hands over a sealed envelope containing the manuscript.

  9. What I object to most is their turning their rather dubious analysis into alarming predictions of future storm surge activity.

    Coming from our hostess here, that’s a pretty strong statement.

    On the other hand, quite apart from any discussion of “climate change” impacts from AGW, which are probably inconsequential, it makes sense for regions in hurricane locations to be better prepared and have better early warning and forecast information.

    • manacker | May 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm |

      How is that pretty strong?

      It’s what Dr. Curry says about her pancakes for breakfast.

      It’s her commonest criticism of anything, ever, prefaced by something about Italian Uncertainty being understated.

      Replace “storm surge activity” with “warming”, “extreme events”, “sea level”, “melting”, “consensus”, “cloud”, etc.. and you have a Climate Etc. topic generator.

      • Who has made alarming predictions of catastrophic clouds?

      • Bart R

        You ask of Dr. Curry’s statement I quoted:

        What I object to most is their turning their rather dubious analysis into alarming predictions of future storm surge activity.

        How is that pretty strong?

        Bart, if you have to ask that question, then you are obviously not paying good attention.

        But let me help you out.

        “dubious analysis” indicates that Dr. Curry considers the analysis to have been of “dubious” value.

        Turning this “dubious analysis” into “alarming predictions of future storm surge activity” indicates that bad data are being used to arrive at bad projections for the purpose of fear mongering.

        Sounds like a pretty strong criticism to me.

        (One that I would consider applies for a big part of the CAGW premise, as outlined by IPCC in its AR4 report).


      • Yes, Bart. Big surprise. When essentially the same error is made over and over again,, you might expect the criticism of said error to be essentially the same as well…

        Man, Joshua thinking at its best.

  10. To help Dr. Curry with her concerns:

    a.) The mathematical property of commutativity of multiplication gives confirmation of Grinsted et al.’s conclusions arithmetically and statistically. I know this area is a typical weakness in analyses you’ve done in the past, so glad to help with the technical math portion.

    b.) Katrina-level does tug the heartstrings, doesn’t it? While what Grinsted et al say is not false, if you have problems with emotions when reading about the death of 3,000 people, perhaps either replace “Katrina” with the name of some more innocuous hurricane you’re familiar with (as most laypeople can’t think of a lot of hurricane names with any type of appreciation of scale of effects), or maybe a more abstract field of science is more appropriate for your talents?

    I know you’re better at climatology than to fall prey to such criticisms, and I apologise if I sound adversarial. There have got to be valid criticisms, ways to improve the paper, to talk about.

    Talk about those.

    • Read the criticisms that I linked to by Pielke Jr and in the Dotearth post. The study has too many flawed premises to talk about improving their approach.

      • curryja | May 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm |

        Pielke Jr.’s analysis, though a bit point-missing, is informative and valuable.. and different from what you say in such passages as “ (my mind boggles)” or “The historical record for U.S. landfalling hurricanes since about 1900 is pretty robust“.

        How is the record for hurricanes pretty robust?

        You’ve said before that the record of named hurricanes is fairly useless, and Ryan Mau’s demonstrated pretty conclusively that ACE is essentially a measurement of nothing useful at all.

        A historical record of the names, and even strengths, of systems making landfall ought be judged on some reasonable premise. Grinsted et al have attempted to fulfill that unsatisfied need with a proxy. Statistically, the proxy appears to be more meaningful than a list of named storms.

        If storm surges do create a statistically significant correlation with damage where lists of named storms making landfall does not, then that’s interesting and worth further examination. Pretending the storm surges must ‘equate to’ named storms making landfall is patent nonsense. We know the former list ought _not_ equate to the latter in the equivalency that would lead to it having simply the same trend.

        Pielke Jr’s 18′ tall metaphor is thus flawed. Closer would be if Grinsted et al claimed caloric intake were a better indicator of performance in school for children than the number of different items they brought to school in their lunches. (Which is true, btw).

        The problem of faulty premises appear to haunt Pielke Jr. and other critics at least as much as they hinder Grinsted & co.

        Mathematically, Grinsted doesn’t appear shakey. Statistically, Grinsted doesn’t appear shakey. If you have issues with the _premises_, that’s entirely cool. Speak to those. But if you’re arguing the math, you’re just plain in the wrong.

        I have issues, myself. There _are_ false equivalencies some are drawing from Grinsted’s conclusions. These will make a difference for policy planning, and I imagine for prediction. A 2-7 (or more) multiplication of frequency of storm surge and a 46% chance of that same multiplication in any one year of frequency of damaging landfalling storm systems makes for a much wider and less predictable range of outcomes than previously.

        This is an entirely different profile than what most discussions are reporting, however is not a better outcome in many senses.

        Speaking of. Longer storm mean path length and longer duration of hurricanes spent north of their former range equals multiplication of odds of Frankenstorms. While they _might_ arc off harmlessly into Europe (well, harmless to America), they might also repeat something more like the Sandy path, too. How is this a cheery thought?

      • Bart,

        The record of U.S. landfalling hurricanes is pretty robust for the past century. The data set of global tropical cyclone frequency is useful only since about 1970, and data on global intensity is useful only since about 1980. To see how bad Grinstead’s data set reflects U.S. landfalling hurricanes, see Pielke Jr’s critique referenced in the main post.

        My issue with the U.S. data is with tropical storms, not hurricanes. There have been substantial issues with observing and classifying tropical storms that introduce substantial heterogeneity into the data.

        Note, tropical storms are not associated with large storm surges.

      • David Springer


        LANDFALLING hurricane record is robust since 1900. That’s because, like duh, the entire US coastline at risk of hurricane landfalls has been continuously inhabited since 1900. Every single one of them is eyewitnessed. Storm surges on the other hand can come from hurricanes that don’t make landfall and even more often from unorganized storms at sea. The long and short of that, Pielke Jr. notes, is that storm surges suck as hurricane proxies or as Pielke jokingly says storm surges roughly indicate hurricanes like he is roughly 18 feet tall.

      • David Springer | May 24, 2013 at 9:08 pm |

        Robust is equal to quantity and intensity?

        So, you’d say those emails you’re always getting from Nigerian princes are robust information, then?

      • David Springer

        No. The record is robust because all the entries for landfalling hurricanes were actually landfalling hurricanes witnessed by observers on the scene. Are you willfully ignorant or does it come naturally?

      • curryja | May 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm |

        To clarify.

        A named tropical storm becomes a named hurricane. Tropical storms may not cause storm surge, but landfalling hurricanes have to have been treated as hurricanes to be counted as something other than just severe storms. The modern treatment, which is dubious, correlates with the practice of naming, which is also dubious.

        Thus, trusting a list of landfalling hurricanes, when we know the list has a dubious foundation, is likely at least as wrong as going with an index that produces interesting correlations.

        Likewise, we know the ‘hurricane season’ is a dubious construct. While most years, hurricanes stick to the seasonal pattern, in some years they don’t.

        So the objections to the study on these bases amount to points in its favor.

    • Bart R

      Your offer to “help” Dr. Curry in her analysis, since “this area is a typical weakness in analyses [she has] done in the past”, is not only laughable, it is arrogant.

      Who the hell are you?

      Bringing in the “death of 3,000 people” as a justification for a flawed study used to promote fear mongering is a blatant misuse of a human tragedy to get across your point of argument.

      Don’t write such silly drivel, Bart – just makes you look goofy.


    • John Carpenter

      “Tide guage measurements at a limited number of locations (where it is impossible to separate out hurricane induced surges from other causes) are a very poor proxy for hurricane activity.”

      You coulda run with this one Bart, but instead you went for what looked like the red meat.

      Mathematically, Grinsted might be ok. If the proxy data the analysis is based upon is not very reliable, what difference does it make if the math was done right?

      • John Carpenter | May 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm |

        I coulda run with that one, but that one’s not really mine to run with.

        See, qualitatively, almost all hurricane data seems to be a very poor basis for modelling.

        Grinsted et al’s choice, and their approach, seems to be achieving rather better statistical outcomes than other proxies and bases.

        Rate all the potential bases for Grinsted et al to have used to index hurricanes on a scale of least to most reliable, and come back and tell me how ‘very poor’ their choices are relative to the whole gamut.

        Of course, to me, I’d be wondering why the heck no one’s thought to say, “Hey! We should be rationally tracking this information to the best of our abilities instead of leaving it to statisticians to try to find some sorta-kinda indices decades after the fact!”

      • John Carpenter


        “Grinsted et al’s choice, and their approach, seems to be achieving rather better statistical outcomes than other proxies and bases.

        Rate all the potential bases for Grinsted et al to have used to index hurricanes on a scale of least to most reliable, and come back and tell me how ‘very poor’ their choices are relative to the whole gamut.

        Of course, to me, I’d be wondering why the heck no one’s thought to say, “Hey! We should be rationally tracking this information to the best of our abilities instead of leaving it to statisticians to try to find some sorta-kinda indices decades after the fact!”

        Perhaps it’s true that tide gauge proxies are of better ‘quality’ data than the rest of the gamut. But if the quality is still low, the quality of the information coming out of the data might (probably) be low as well. Your last point is the most important one. The problem is, everyone has 20/20 hindsight wrt what we should have done. The problem is, we usually don’t have the data we really want at the time we need it to help determine the size/scope of the problem. So it is completely normal and correct to look for data that was collected during the time of the problem and see if it gives us meaningful information. An analysis was run on the available data, it apparently says we should be experiencing big storm surges in the near future, much bigger than any we have experienced before. At this point the authors have a choice. 1). Evaluate the quality of the result with a perspective of whether the result seems plausible. 2). Sound the alarm bell again.

        From reading only the information provided, the abstract in particular, it appears to me they opted for 2. I think this could be another example of ringing the alarm bell before we really know it is necessary to do so. But hey, it sure is fun to ring.

      • John Carpenter | May 25, 2013 at 6:31 am |

        See, your way: the most accurate and nearly true explanation is abandoned if it doesn’t meet the standards of any single objector, and all must proceed from ignorance, which always advantages those who are in the wrong. We will always be led to policy by the wrong to do wrong.

        Isaac Newton’s way: the most accurate and nearly true explanation is treated as the right answer until such time as new observations require refinement of the explanation or adoption of a new most accurate and nearly true explanation. We will all proceed knowing the explanation must be questioned but treated as correct until replaced. We will never be led to ignorance by those advantaged by mistake to policy by the wrong to do wrong.

        Get how that works?

      • John Carpenter

        Whaa? How you got that from what I wrote makes so many assumptions about what I think that I can’t believe you really put much thought into it. And equating your apparent beliefs to Newton is a laugh. I’m disappointed Bart, really.

      • John Carpenter


        Your way would advocate selling maps to people in NY as Chicago and when confronted by someone who questions the accuracy you would say, hey its a map of a city with streets and avenues, close enough.

      • John Carpenter | May 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm |

        Uh, no.

        At least so far as I can follow your Chicago metaphor.

        Which is better than the vague handwaving about Newton. See, I don’t mention Newton to refer to his authority, merely to make sure he gets credit for his own ideas.

        If you _do_ have an issue with the reasoning, which is patently valid and appropriate, that’d be great to hear in some clear, possibly non-metaphorical, way.

        After all, my conclusions about what you said are vulnerable to criticism, for getting it wrong. They’re based on the clarity of what you said.

      • John Carpenter

        ok Bart, fair enough.

        You made a logical fallacy of presumption. You made the presumption that I abandoned the conclusion of the study and we must proceed with ignorance. I never said that. What I said was the data set is poor, despite the method used (which may be a perfectly valid method to analyze data), the results are likely to be flawed with a higher degree of error than a better set of data. They used a set of data that appears to bias the results to higher/more damaging storm surges by not filtering out data points that don’t meet the criteria of coming from hurricanes. They claim this tide gauge data can be well correlated to hurricane damage and from there temperature (which is another whole discussion on its own). Based on this claim they claim we should expect Katrina type events 2x to 7x more frequently with 1 C warming. The upper limit of that range does not appear to be plausible. The paper appears to make an over reaching claim.

        I did not say more frequent intense hurricanes would not cause more damage. I did not say there will not be more frequent, intense hurricanes which could cause more damage. For what it’s worth, models predict as much. I did not abandon the most accurate or true explanation. This paper really says nothing new with regard to those topics. The punchline of the article is 2x to 7x more frequent. It’s the 7x that catches ones attention. 7x appears to be implausible. It is ringing the alarm bell yet again based on a biased data set. 2x appears plausible to me, 7x appears to be unwarranted alarm bell ringing.

      • John Carpenter | May 26, 2013 at 8:46 am |

        I see the study slightly differently.

        Statistically, what is the better* index, the conventional indices used in the past, or the new index proposed by the study?

        *Better being a debatable term. The study makes an argument for how to define ‘better’ that seems more parsimonious, simpler and universal than the contortions Pielke Jr. and others have gone through to defend their own definition of ‘better’.

        Also, I see no reason to automatically filter out storm surge data known not to be connected to hurricanes. If these filters produce nothing more than the same erroneous trends that come out of the conventional indices, then it begs the question to apply the filter.

        It may well be that ‘hurricane + landfall’ alone is not a good predictor of damage, and some elements of tendency toward storm surge in a year form a better predictor. That’s what I take away from the study. Not that damaging hurricanes are increased by AGW, but that the risk of damage due hurricane in some seasons increases.

        So 2x to 7x (or more), in perhaps 46% of years seems a likelier interpretation, and I’d be willing to venture you could see this as not merely more plausible than a flat 2x to 7x, but also simply plausible.

        So more frequent by up to 3.5x (or more), but also much more highly variable, per 1C warming.

        If the other problems with the study are overcome.

    • > Read the criticisms that I linked to by Pielke Jr and in the Dotearth post. The study has too many flawed premises to talk about improving their approach.

      The post at Junior’s linkedf to a comment at Andy’s:

      Gabriel Vecchi of NOAA endorsed Knutson’s analysis of the paper finding a hurricane trend through storm surge data: “This is an interesting paper, but I share the concerns that Tom has raised.”

      Ethic comment followed this other one that starts thus:

      Tom Knutson, a climate and hurricane analyst at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, offered this reaction to the PNAS study of storm surge trends as an indicator of hurricane patterns in the Atlantic: “An interesting finding in the Grinsted et al study is the reported statistically significant trend in the series in Fig. 1B (the number of large US tropical cyclone surge events, ~ category 0-5). [...]”

      A bit later, Andy answers Eli:

      Happy to add you to the long and fruitful e-mail exchange that’s resulted between Grinsted, Vecchi and Knutson and that all agree will improve such analysis.

      Our emphasis.

    • So those 3,000 deaths were a direct result of the hurricane, were they?
      Shame on you for gratuitously using human tragedy in an attempt to bolster your argument.

    • David Springer

      The lesson from Hurricane Katrina is never try to evacuate a city just before the welfare checks arrive in the mail. If Katrina had arrived a week later you could have turned New Orleans into ghost town overnight with a dozen school buses and free cigarettes for the passengers.

  11. Prof. Curry…

    I recently ran across the information that the Tropical Easterly Jet may have been evolving back to its 1970 conditions during the last decade, while temperatures were “standing still”. I’m wondering how well the models emulate this unique feature, and what sort of correlations they get between it and storm system genesis. (I did some searching on my own but couldn’t find anything relevant.)

    Is the trend in TEJ reversing over the Indian subcontinent?

  12. Results show that if Publish-or-Perish scientism is maintained, in its present ideal symbiotic partnership with political extortion and trough-swilling, the debasement of scholarship will increase ten-fold in the northern hemisphere, with similar consequences impending for other hemispheres.

    It’s worse than we thought. Or it will be worse than we think. Or worse than we will think. Or…you know what I mean.

  13. If you are afraid to fly don’t fly. Don’t ride a bike in the city if you are afraid of cars. Don’t eat raw oysters if the thought of it makes you cringe. Don’t eat meat if you want to be a vegetarian. And, if you are worried about living on the coast, don’t live there. Personal responsibility starts with facing your fears and not blaming others for not handing you an easy life at their expense. The productive cannot afford to feed yet another generation of professional gadflies who refuse to buy into the system or to provide any value worth a damn to the economy. After the government and lawyer tax on the economy and the Leftist/liberal tax on the culture about all the children of America will have to look forward to is watching Eurocommunism fall first.

  14. How to embolden a wingnut: let them datamine a complex issue until they find a model that proves what they knew all along. Cites 95% significant.

  15. The -1°C over the last 25 years, and counting, is what you’d call an inconvenient fact.

    • Minus One degrees?

      • Let’s look as some recent examples:

        Since 1990 we are looking at 1°C drop in the mean global temperature of the Earth’s surface. (See—e.g., Coming Ice Age… According To Leading Experts…!)

        None other than weatherpersons’ weatherman, Joseph D’Aleo, tells us, “In the first decade since 2000, the 49th state cooled 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit,” and asks the big question: is ALASKA HEADED FOR AN ICE AGE? “It’s most significant in Western Alaska,” D’Aleo reported, based on a paper from UAF’s Alaska Climate Research Center, “where King Salmon on the Alaska Peninsula saw temperatures drop most sharply, a significant 4.5 degrees for the decade.”

        As for the rest of the country, Joe Bastardi reported, “Second Coldest Start To Spring In US History” and, “The only year when the spring started colder was 1975.” The use of coal is making a comeback in Europe. Perhaps that is why the apple blossoms were late in Washington, DC this year. “There’s less and less investment in the green energy sector and governments have even started to tax renewables,” according to Dr. Benny Peiser who warns that, “The green energy obsession is self-destructive.”

        The background is important. Al Gore is a retired lifetime federal government employee. The federal government is incompetent. And, U.S. Senators are the most out of touch with the real world than anyone else in the world–no one but the devil’s spawn will ever be elected and that is why the Constitution essentially is a document to protect the public from U.S. Senators and every other elected and unelected government bureaucrat who all could care less about anything but themselves. “I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power,” as lover of liberty, James Madison understood and worked so diligently and with such foresight to prevent, “than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

  16. Arno Arrak

    This is a melange of global warming advocates looking for extreme events to blame on warming. They give themselves away when they start speaking of what two degrees of warming might do. And PNAS, the so-called “prestigious” Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences is putting its weight behind it. I would not take any of this as serious science. From the start they say that existing records are biased and they had to create those “unbiased” records that are the basis of their findings. Not just for Katrina but for all the oceans of the world. Whose money is pushing this crap? Shame on PNAS for promoting it.

  17. As a statistical mechanic, one always thinks about temperatures on an absolute scale first. So in that sense, a couple of degrees away from 289 Kelvin is not much of a perturbation. But the reality is that we als should get a feel for how far we are off from the freezing point of water,which is 273K. Then 2 parts out of 16 is much more significant, especially around the boundaries, and with respect to the “polar amplification” factor that is bandied about.

    That’s what has people spooked.

    • Very good Webster. Even though the method was not “universal” the Makarieva et al. method does look good for “special cases” like hurricanes. The difference in the water vapor saturation pressure does give a fair indication of maximum intensity. Wind speed should go up roughly (psw(f)/psw(i))^.5

      The square root of pressure and cube root of energy would need to be considered for changes in wind speed and storm surge with increase water vapor and energy, I would imagine.

    • Don’t you think it more reasonable to use the lowest and highest recorded temperatures?
      So between −23.9 and 55 °C in Africa.
      Or between −67.8 °C and 54 °C in Asia.
      Between −58.1 °C and 48.0 °C in Europe.
      Between −63 °C and 56.7 °C in North America and −32.8 °C and 48.9 °C in South America.

      For the oceans its between -3 °C and 35 °C.

      So, to be truthful, your 2 parts in 16 is quite nonsense.
      Between 1940-2013 the sea surface temperature has risen 0.4 °C, in a dynamic range of 38 °C, one part in 95.
      If we average the dynamic range of the land surface we also get around a 1% change.

      • Yet the so-called polar amplification factor is in there as well so that is important and will add to the 2C warming.

        There are also effects such as hysteresis that can act as multipliers. The changeover from old sea-ice to new sea-ice has hysteresis. Old sea-ice contains less salt and freezes at higher temperatures, while new sea-ice is more salty and freezes at lower temperature. This creates hysteresis as it goes through freeze-thaw cycles. Each year, it becomes easier to thaw the ice as the last-year’s salt content increases proportionally and the surface puddles that can freeze easier are no longer around.

        From the 5th :

        “Because sea ice is formed from seawater it contains sea salt , mostly in small pockets of concentrated brine. The total salt content in newly formed sea ice is only 25–50% of that in the parent seawater, and the residual salt ejected as the sea ice forms
        alters ocean water density and stability.
        The salinity of the ice decreases as it ages, particularly for multiyear ice where melt ponds can form on the surface in summer and subsequently drain through and flush the ice.

      • David Springer

        Paul, Paul, Paul… the Arctic ocean is barely 3% of the earth’s surface. If it rose in temperature 33C it would only contribute 1C to global average temperature. It’s a postage stamp on a legal size envelope. Perspective, boy, perspective. Get some.

      • David Springer

        Paul you’re a scofflaw!

        Every page of “the 5th” is marked at the bottom “Do Not Cite, Quote or Distribute”. Yet you cited it. Naughty naughty. They’ll take your pissant progressive card away if they find out.

    • David Springer

      Tell us more about what has bedwetters spooked. It’s a complete mystery for normal adults.

  18. The storm surge is a comin’
    Swirlin’ is where we’re headin’
    About a minute from hell’s tornado
    Reason lost its value
    The West is worsenin’ more that we ever thought
    Because when it comes to global warmin’
    O’er the last 25 years and countin’
    Global mean at the surface has really been -1°C
    So, now we hear the shoutin’
    0°C is the new 4°C.

  19. Beth Cooper

    Apocalypse ‘Now!’
    … if not later…
    Listen ter us
    fer we are shamen,
    we have Masters in
    E-schat-ology we
    will tell yer what
    ter think concerning
    tempests and
    other forthcomig
    climactic events.


    • Point, game, set, match, championship.

    • Beth Cooper

      Thx MWG and thx fer suggesting a while back
      a while back the little book on relativity which I
      sent for, text by Lillian Lieber and drawings by
      Hugh Lieber (1936).

    • I live for schats like that.

    • The Tempest, an Illusionist conjures up a storm so he can manipulate the politicians of his day and interfere in the power structure of the government.

      Shakespeare predicted CAGW 400 years ago.

      Take that climate models.

    • Hurricanes, storm surge, tornadoes oh my.
      Drought years, and rain years, apocalypse nigh.

    • David Springer

      Scatology is perhaps a better fit than eschatology. There is certainly an abundance of that type of evidence, in the form of scientific papers, being dropped by the usual suspects. Such papers are suitable for placement on the bottom of bird cages which makes them doubly interesting in a scatological context.

    • Michael Mann, Scatologist

  20. “…tempest and other forthcomig climatic events”, a signature phrase if there ever was one. Made my day.

    Not to mention: shamen schämen

    • Beth Cooper

      Shame on ‘em
      who conjure up
      fearful scenarios,
      seeking ter
      bring serfs
      ter their knees
      in fear and
      sub – ju -ga shun.

      Sacrifice of maidens
      has evah been
      a retrogade
      solution ter
      the slings an’
      arrows of
      for – tune.

      tra – la – la.


  21. The magnitude of storm surge recorded by coastal tide gauges is not solely a function of hurricane intensity. It also depends greatly upon the distance to the wind field, its rate of advance, and the intervening bathymetry . In large embayments it also can depend upon the basin’s natural resonance characteristics. Grinsted et al do not take all of these well-known physical factors into proper account in using the tide-gauge records as “homogeneous” proxy time-series for hurricane intensity. Their’s is just another foray into baseless conjecture, so sadly typical of “climate science.”.

    • Sort of like going on a government paid vacation –i.e., paid out of government revenues that have been extorted from a relative few number of taxpayers — the AGW scatalogists know where they’re going and after that there are a lot of ways to get there and since they are not required to hand over much in the way of the details they can pretty much say anything you want as to how you arrived at the correct destination. If it ever is possible to get to the bottom of it all you learn its all bullcrap like the ‘hockey stick.’