Evidence of absence versus absence of evidence

By Judith Curry

Does global warming make extreme weather events worse?

 

The IPCC SREX found limited evidence of global warming worsening extreme events. Nevertheless, there are a lot of climate scientists that think global warming is worsening extreme events.

RealClimate

A post at RealClimate argues:

Here is the #1 flawed reasoning you will have seen about this question: it is the classic confusion between absence of evidence and evidence for absence of an effect of global warming on extreme weather events. Sounds complicated? It isn’t. 

The two most fundamental properties of extreme events are that they are rare (by definition) and highly random. These two aspects (together with limitations in the data we have) make it very hard to demonstrate any significant changes. And they make it very easy to find all sorts of statistics that do not show an effect of global warming – even if it exists and is quite large.

The fundamental issue here is not even one of attribution – rather it is detecting a meaningful change.  For record high temperatures, it is fairly straightforward to expect more records as average temperatures increase.  But this is much more difficult for drought, hurricanes and other extreme weather events.  The RC post argues that physical reasoning is sufficient, e.g. warmer sea surface temperatures drive more intense hurricanes.  The RC post concludes:

While statistical studies on extremes are plagued by signal-to-noise issues and only give unequivocal results in a few cases with good data (like for temperature extremes), we have another, more useful source of information: physics. For example, basic physics means that rising temperatures will drive sea levels up, as is in fact observed. Higher sea level to start from will clearly make a storm surge (like that of the storms Sandy and Haiyan) run up higher. By adding 1+1 we therefore know that sea-level rise is increasing the damage from storm surges – probably decades before this can be statistically proven with observational data. -

With good physical reasons to expect the dice are loaded, we should not fool ourselves with reassuring-looking but uninformative statistics. Some statistics show significant changes – but many are simply too noisy to show anything. It would be foolish to just play on until the loading of the dice finally becomes evident even in highly noisy statistics. By then we will have paid a high price for our complacency.

The RC post seems in part motivated by Roger Pielke Jr’s 538 piece:

If an increase in extreme weather events due to global warming is hard to prove by statistics amongst all the noise, how much harder is it to demonstrate an increase in damage cost due to global warming? Very much harder! A number of confounding socio-economic factors clouds this issue which are very hard to quantify and disentangle. Some factors act to increase the damage, like larger property values in harm’s way. Some act to decrease it, like more solid buildings (whether from better building codes or simply as a result of increased wealth) and better early warnings. Thus it is not surprising that the literature on this subject overall gives inconclusive results. Some studies find significant damage trends after adjusting for GDP, some don’t, tempting some pundits to play cite-what-I-like. The fact that the increase in damage cost is about as large as the increase in GDP (as recently argued at FiveThirtyEight) is certainly no strong evidence against an effect of global warming on damage cost. Like the stranger’s dozen rolls of dice in the pub, one simply cannot tell from these data. 

538

Nate Silver invited Kerry Emanuel to respond to Roger Pielke Jr’s essay on damages from extreme events [link to Emanuel's post].  The main points of Emanuel’s essay are:

I’m not comfortable with Pielke’s assertion that climate change has played no role in the observed increase in damages from natural hazards; I don’t see how the data he cites support such a confident assertion.

There is an even more significant problem with Pielke’s analysis. In a nutshell, he addresses trend detection when what we need is event risk assessment. The two would be equivalent if the actuarial data was the only data available pertaining to event risk. But that is far from the case; we often have much more information about risk.

This does not mean that there is no underlying change in the risk, and the priors we have in this case point to a significant increase in such risk. One would be foolish to make plans that have to deal with U.S. hurricane risk without accounting for the evidence that the underlying risk is increasing, whether or not actuarial trends have yet emerged at the 95 percent confidence level.

This is particularly so when one accounts for another form of prior information: theory and models. While some disagreement remains about projections of the weakest storms, which seldom do much damage, both theory and models are now in good agreement that the frequency of high category hurricanes should increase, as should hurricane rainfall and the flooding it produces.

Emanuel makes essentially the same argument as the RC post.

And Then There’s Physics

And Then There’s Physics has a relevant post entitled Emergence timescale for trends in U.S. tropical cyclone loss data.  While not directly germane to the points I want to make, the article is worth reading and concludes

The emergence timescale of anthropogenic climate change signals in normalized losses will be around 200 years from now. So, Roger Pielke Jr is right.

Dan Hughes

In a post on previous thread, Dan Hughes argued that

Existence of potential is not evidence of existence of outcome.

For examples:

The potential for increased atmospheric temperature to retain increased water is not evidence that the atmosphere contains increased water.

The potential for increased atmospheric water content is not evidence that extreme rainfall events will occur.

The potential for increased atmospheric temperature to lead to increased strength and frequency of topical storms is not evidence that topical storms have increased in frequency and strength.

Radiative energy exchange balance at the top of the atmosphere implies energy-exchange balance ( not limited to radiative exchange ) at all the interfaces between the sub-systems within the Earth’s climate systems. The potential for radiative energy exchange balance at the top of the atmosphere is not evidence of energy exchange balance at sub-systems interfaces.

JC reflections

There are two fundamental issues here regarding reasoning about the impact of AGW on extreme weather events:

  • the utility of physical reasoning and models in assessing this impact
  • the choice of a null hypothesis

When it comes to extreme weather events, climate models are inadequate at simulating them; exercises in attribution that turn the anthropogenic impact on and off are of little use if the models have inherent problems in simulating the extreme events of interest.

With regards to the physical reasoning, as an example I’ll tackle the canard whereby global warming increases hurricane intensity (for a review of this topic, see this previous post).  Simple physical reasoning suggests that increased sea surface temperatures will increase hurricane intensity.  But what about circulation changes associated with global warming, that might provide more or fewer El Nino events? That might change wind shear?  That might change subtropical dust emissions? Etc.  There is no way to reason through the complex changes that might occur to complex atmosphere and ocean circulation systems and their impact on extreme events.  There is observational increase of hurricane intensity in the North Atlantic and the North Indian Ocean since 1980.  In the Atlantic, with such a short data set, there is no way to sort out whether this increase is associated with the transition to warm phase of the AMO, or to AGW.

Recall the dueling papers on Climate Null Hypotheses by myself and Kevin Trenberth [link].   Depending on which null hypothesis you select as a default position when conducting research:

  1. Humans have no influence on extreme weather events
  2. Humans are influencing extreme weather events

you approach the problem in a different way.  For #1, the null would be rejected if you find evidence of a human influence.  In the absence of such evidence, #1 is not rejected.  This is what RP Jr argued.  For #2, the null would be rejected if there is evidence of no influence.  RC and Emanuel essentially that the data is insufficient, so they argue from ‘physics’ and state that there is no evidence of absence.

To me, the ‘no evidence of absence’  argument is rather fatuous given that simple thermodynamical reasoning is not really useful in elucidating the impacts of AGW on extreme weather events.

So, how to answer the question Does global warming make extreme weather events worse?  Just say we don’t know.  There is no evidence even of a trend in most extreme events; attributing any trend to AGW is extremely difficult.  We can say that it is possible that global warming will make extreme weather events worse, but the evidence is theoretical.

Bottom line is that RP Jr took a very defensible position in his essay.   Kerry Emanuel’s response was interesting, but he puts forward a theoretical scenario of worsening extreme events with global warming.  The theoretical scenario is convincing to people who adopt as a null hypothesis and starting point for their reasoning that AGW is worsening extreme weather events.  It is not convincing to people looking for empirical evidence.

 

 

479 responses to “Evidence of absence versus absence of evidence

  1. Give it long enough and weather will make climate change.

    • Aren’t RC essentially arguing something exactly like what they claim is the problem with the statistical approach in the face of high signal-to-noise?

      They complain once you recognize there is no clear signal one can retreat into arguments that support your own opinion. This includes the argument that an incomplete physical model is sufficient to explain what is happening now and what will likely happen in the future.

    • If as RC point out, the effect is so small as to be indestinguishable from the ‘noise’ of natural variability why should we worry?

      If it’s going to take 200 year before it’s detectable, we seriously need to ask ourselves whether this is really one of the biggest problems likely to be facing humanity in the next 200 years.

      A quick look at the history of the last 200 years suggests many DETECTABLE problems may arise well before that time elapses.

    • As Emanuel points out, the risk depends on the total number of storms, whether they made landfall or not. If the total number increases, that increases risk, and will be detectable more quickly. A better measure for risk is the ACE index that also accounts for lifetime and strength, not just numbers.

      • GLobally, the number of TC’s has been dropping, along with ACE (see Ryan Maue’s work). Only in the North Atlantic has there been an increase. The increasing number of Atlantic storms hasn’t resulted in more landfalls, since the storms are forming further east (because the warmer water extends further towards Africa) and then turn North into the open Atlantic. So is the risk increasing? Not in the near term.

        Climate model simulations project decreasing numbers of TC’s under AGW. Emanuel is the only person (to my knowledge) that is arguing for more TCs under AGW.

    • Judith,

      Yes, there is a projection of a decrease in the total number of hurricanes, but a significant increase (doubling) in the number of very intense storms, with an overall increase in potential damage.

      Bender et al. 2010. Modeled Impact of Anthropogenic Warming on the Frequency of Intense Atlantic Hurricanes.

      • Imagine how sensitive — how discriminating — a model must be to correlate an increase in atmospheric CO2 around the globe — measured in ppm — with an increase in the frequency of Intense Atlantic Hurricanes.

        I can imagine it. But, who would believe it. Believers are the same people who said, you can keep your doctor and who claimed just yesterday that, 7.1 million people have enrolled in federal or state exchanges for health care coverage.

  2. Rob Bradley

    I am reminded of what climate economist Robert Mendelsohn wrote in his 1999 AEI booklet, The Greening of Global Warming (p. 12):

    “There is an unstated myth in ecology that natural conditions must be optimal. That is, we must be at the top of the hill now. Of course, given the wide distribution of temperatures across the earth, that cannot be true for everyone.”

    (For more on Mendelsohn views from this booklet, see http://www.masterresource.org/2010/11/fighting-climate-alarmism-1999/)

    • It seems to me we have observational evidence that it is global cooling that leads to much worser weather –e.g.,

      “…after about 1300 solar activity declined and the world began to get colder. It was the beginning of the episode we now call the Little Ice Age. In this cold time, all the Viking settlements in Greenland disappeared. Sweden surprised Denmark by marching across the ice, and in London the Thames froze repeatedly. But more serious were the long periods of crop failures, which resulted in poorly nourished populations, reduced in Europe by about 30 per cent because of disease and hunger.”

      (While the sun sleeps, Translation approved by Henrik Svensmark)

    • Robert I Ellison

      The quite openly stated assumption is that anthrpogenic changes to natural systems is sub-optimal with regard to biological productivity and diverstity at least locally.

      It extends from putting concrete down to more dispersed impacts from sediment and nutrients.

      It is far from a myth. This is not to say that we shouldn’t put down concrete but minimising the dispersed impacts at least is probably reasonable.

      • David Springer

        CO2 is plant food. Literally. It’s their source of carbon and indirectly it is your source of carbon. Photosynthetic plants are the primary producers in the food chain. What’s good for plants is good for all living things. Evidence is overwhelming and theory physically sound that CO2 preferentially warms higher latitudes in the winter as its longwave infrared absorption bands are overlapped by water vapor and so it is less redundant where there is less water vapor which is a characteristic of cold winter air. Additionally plants lose less water during transpiration under higher CO2 concentration making them more drought tolerant and/or requiring less irrigation for cultivated crops.

        CO2 is a pretty phucking far cry from impervious ground cover. Try again.

    • Robert I Ellison

      So instead of a broad analysis more generally applicable to anthropogenic changes to natural systems – we focus in on a few simplistic notions of effects of CO2? The reality is that CO2 – like nutrients in downstream systems – changes the ecological balance of sytems adapted to specific conditons. This might be by selective fertilisation or changing soil nutrient status leading to one or other species being competiively advantaged and displacing others. It may be by changing the terrestrial hydrology (less water transpiration) and thereby the structure of plant and vegetation communities. Lower recruitment as juveniles struggle to establish in a drier environment, a shift to deeper rooted or more drought tolerant species. Any changes to conditons – conditions that ecological systems are adapted to – that change the physiological stressors in systems tend to result in the loss of sensitive species and reduced biodiversity – and tend in complex ecological systems to have domino effects.

      A priori changing the atmosphere of the planet is an experiment with uncertain outcomes. Arguing that the outcomes are not uncertain – that we have accidentally engineered more productive and diverse natural systems – is an argument from ignorance that seems ultimately very unlikely.

      • David Springer

        Actually the “experiment” is an ice age CO2 level below 1000ppm. Out of the last 500 million years CO2 has been below 1000ppm for about 0.5% of the time and it’s the most recent 3 million years. 99.5% of the that virtually all the modern phyla have existed evolution has been optimizing them for far higher CO2 level than today’s which is danger-close to so little that plants cannot survive. At 150ppm, a scant 130ppm below pre-industrial interglacial level, and a mere 50ppm above glacial level, plants are starved and dying. Evolution simply did not equip them to survive in such conditions. Three million years is not nearly long enough to replace basic cellular biochemistry in plants. Get a clue.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Plants are adapted to varying varying levels of CO2 through stomata control – and you will find that CO2 in micro environments – near to the ground, under canopies – are higher than in high latitude ice cores. Which themselves miss the peaks and variability. Ecological communities are adapted to specific conditions that prevail at any time – even as little as the Holocene – as individual species fail or flourish.

      Springer is no stranger to argument from ignorance.

    • Thanks David Springer for your comments.

    • Better yet Mosher, just don’t open your pretentious piehole…

    • Robert I Ellison

      So we are certain that we are making things better by adding CO2 to the atmosphere aye Teddy? To echo springer – get a clue.

      • David Springer

        “So we are certain that we are making things better by adding CO2 to the atmosphere aye Teddy?”

        Thanks for asking.

        We are certain that we are making things more like they were during 497 million of the past 500 million years.

        There has only been an ice age once during that time, the ice age has been the past 3 million years, and CO2 levels during the ice have been danger-close to the minimum that green plants need to survive.

        Is there some part of the paragraph directly above you dispute? Are we certain this is making things better? That depends. Do you think an earth without polar ice caps that is green from pole to pole is better? If so then yeah, it’s making it better. If you think humans avoiding the consequences of building permanant structures near ice-age sea level is reason to want the ice age to continue and greening of the earth from pole to pole not worth the trade of relocating as the ocean rises then no it’s not making it better. I call people who want the poles to remain frozen “ice huggers”. Are you an ice-hugger Ellison?

      • David Springer

        FYI

        I must correct myself. There last ice age before the modern one is the Karoo Ice age and it ended 270 million years ago. 270 million years is a lot of time for evolution to shape life to the environment. The past 3 million is not. It is controversial whether even a single new species evolved during that time going by the biological rule of species which is absolute inability to produce fertile through interbreeding. Certainly no new genus emerged. Evolution goes slow. Calling its pace glacial isn’t slow enough.

        It is thought that rising CO2 is what ends ice ages and returns the earth to it’s normal state of no polar ice caps.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_age#Position_of_the_continents

        The geological record appears to show that ice ages start when the continents are in positions which block or reduce the flow of warm water from the equator to the poles and thus allow ice sheets to form. The ice sheets increase the Earth’s reflectivity and thus reduce the absorption of solar radiation. With less radiation absorbed the atmosphere cools; the cooling allows the ice sheets to grow, which further increases reflectivity in a positive feedback loop. The ice age continues until the reduction in weathering causes an increase in the greenhouse effect.

        There are three known configurations of the continents which block or reduce the flow of warm water from the equator to the poles:[citation needed]
        A continent sits on top of a pole, as Antarctica does today.
        A polar sea is almost land-locked, as the Arctic Ocean is today.
        A supercontinent covers most of the equator, as Rodinia did during the Cryogenian period.

        Since today’s Earth has a continent over the South Pole and an almost land-locked ocean over the North Pole, geologists believe that Earth will continue to experience glacial periods in the geologically near future

        So best case we’re ending the ice age early by accelerating the process of CO2 build-up and greening the earth from pole to pole. Worst case is the ice returns and it’s overdue already.

        You don’t know a fraction of what you think you know, Ellison. The dearth of links in your screeds here about biology and evolution is evidence of it. The stream of consciousness about what you think you know but are actually wrong about is neither impressive nor able to hold up under scrutiny.

      • David Springer

        As I have been saying for years the tropics, the poles, and the ocean connecting them act analogously like an automotive water cooling system. The tropics are the engine where the heat enters the system. The global ocean is the fluid which absorbs excess heat in the tropics and moves it to the poles to radiate away. The pole is the radiator. Our southern radiator is blocked off and the northern one has coolant flow very restricted.

        Clouds limit the ocean surface temperature everywhere to a maximum temperature of 32C according to Ramanathan 1991 “Cloud Thermostat Hypothesis”

        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v358/n6385/abs/358394a0.html

        Thank God for that or the tropics would boil like an overheated engine even as the poles are in a deep freeze because the coolant flow is blocked from them.

        I’m all for ending the ice age. I hate ice. I’ve seen plenty of hard northern winters with plants dead and animals starving. That’s not my idea of a green earth. It’s a dead earth. Ice huggers aren’t playing with a full deck. Is Ellison an ice hugger?

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘Indeed, as Sara Sjoling, a microbiologist at Sdertörn University College (Huddinge, Sweden), noted, bacteria can thrive in conditions that would be detrimental to larger organisms. She studied microbial communities in the Baltic Sea, which has decreased in oxygen content as a result of the decay of excessive plant life—stimulated by humans discharging minerals and nutrients into the sea. Some coastal areas and nearly half of the Baltic Sea bed are effectively depleted of oxygen, or are too polluted to support higher eukaryotic life. However, bacteria are thriving, with some new species having the potential to treat effluent and clean polluted waters.’ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852758/

      Evolvution can occur fairly rapidly in repsonse to changing ecological conditions. But the point really was the change in community structure that isn’t reliant on genetype selection but on the success or otherwise of individual species. It seems apparent that human pressures are changing ecologies globally – and that species are being lost at relatively high rates. Although this does seem to provide new opportunities for some species, to selectively change phenotypes and to select for different genotypes. CO2 has the potential to change terrestrial hydrology and soil and water chemistry globally – this is another selective pressure to which species and communities will respond. When this happens – vulnerable species are lost and biodiversity declines.

      There is a difference between dogmatic assertion based on superficial gleamings from Wikipedia and decades of study in environmental science. It seems resonable to at be aware of the potentials when environments are changed rather than insist that it is all good.

      The ice age peregrinations are another odd instance of the it all good line of reaoning. We are of course in an ice age – for the last 2.58 million years. Antarctica frooze long before that as South America separated from the Antarctic Peninsula. The current pattern of glacials and interglacials was estalished with the closure of the Isthmus of Panana. Neither of those is going to change any time soon. Glacial inception seems to start with changes in North Atlantic thermohaline circulation in periods of low NH summer insolation – a process related to freshwater runoff and increased precipitation in high latitudes. The question that Wally Broaecker has asked – is can warming precititate these feedbacks?

      e.g. http://web.vims.edu/sms/Courses/ms501_2000/Broecker1995.pdf

      Of course Springer argues that climate isn’t chaotic – with characteristic dogmatic certainty.

  3. Most interesting post and argument. In Australia a common reason for high summer temperatures is the existence of a high-pressure system to the south of the continent that moves very slowly. The slower its passage the hotter we all get. The recent summer high temperatures were attributed to ‘climate change’, but to the best of my knowledge it is not obvious how ‘climate change’ causes high-pressure
    systems to move slowly, or more slowly than they once did. Is any reader able to supply a physical cause?

    • blocking is the key issue in heat/cold waves. No evidence that AGW is changing blocking patterns, and wrt climate models, you need a really high resolution simulation to capture the blocking patterns correctly.

    • Don

      Similar occurrences in the Aus SH winter, with the centre of the high more directly over the centre of the continent and blocked from moving east with any rapidity

      This results in weeks, or months in some years, of persistent cool sunshine conditions

      In summer, these highs are generally shifted by the advent of northern monsoonal-type events. In winter, by weak extrapolations of Antarctic storms (SW winds)

    • Interesting question and note about blocking. But is blocking considered a “weather” phenomenon? I’ve also noticed that blocking events are responsible for extremes in weather (was the vortex in the US considered a blocking event last winter?) I did not know whether climate models were able to simulate these kinds of events. Can weather forecast models predict them? Or maybe it is between weather forecast models and climate models.

  4. “Why has Earth’s temperature stayed so stable? Global temperature has stayed within a narrow band for at least the last half billion years. During that time the planet has seen meteor strikes, and millennia long widespread volcanic eruptions, and huge forest fires, and oceans disappearing as continents were lifted out of the sea, and huge changes in the land cover, and all manner of good, bad, and ugly events. Each of these events had a large effect on the forcings. Despite all of that, despite all of the variation in the forcings and the changes in the losses during all of that geological time, the earth’s temperature hasn’t moved around much at all. A few percent. And the variation over the last 10,000 years has been less than ±1%. For a system as complex as the climate, this is amazing stability.” ~Willis Eschenbach

    • Steven Mosher

      Narrow band?.
      Not.
      From snowball to alligators at the north pole.
      Not narrow.
      Plus narrow isnt even a relevant term

      • So now you don’t care at all about average global temperatures? That’s sort of funny.

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher will argue (badly) for food.

        Wagathon specifically stated the last half billion years. There hasn’t been a snowball earth episode during that time, dopey. Read harder. Check your facts before opening your pie hole.

    • “Why has Earth’s temperature stayed so stable? Global temperature has stayed within a narrow band for at least the last half billion years. During that time the planet has seen meteor strikes, and millennia long widespread volcanic eruptions, and huge forest fires, and oceans disappearing as continents were lifted out of the sea, and huge changes in the land cover, and all manner of good, bad, and ugly events. Each of these events had a large effect on the forcings. Despite all of that, despite all of the variation in the forcings and the changes in the losses during all of that geological time, the earth’s temperature hasn’t moved around much at all. A few percent. And the variation over the last 10,000 years has been less than ±1%. For a system as complex as the climate, this is amazing stability.” ~Willis Eschenbach

      For most of this time, the upper bound is set by trying to evaporate all the oceans. You just cannot do that with earth in this orbit location and our current energy balance. Earth radiates with temperature to the fourth power. The lower bound is set by trying to freeze all the oceans. You just cannot do that with earth in this orbit location and our current energy balance. During the past million years, the Polar Ice Cycles developed and tightened the temperature bounds by snowing more during warm times and adding ice and albedo and snowing less during cold times and letting ice and albedo reduce. The most recent eleven thousand years was most tightly regulated because the ocean levels got just right and the ocean currents got just right and the refined Polar Ice Cycles turn the snowfall on and off with small changes to ocean temperatures. It snows more when it is warm and it snows less when it is cold and it can’t get too hot or too cold.

    • Narrow band ie meaning capable of sustaining life as we know it. areas of the earth have had to have stayed below 100 degrees Celsius to do this so there is an upper band.
      Guess the earth in orbit is very stable at the right distance and the sun’s temp is in a narrow band so it all takes care of itself.

    • Mosher is beginning to sound more and more like Joshua, just arguing for the sake of arguing.

    • For most of half billion years, the upper bound was set by trying to evaporate all the oceans. You just cannot do that with earth in this orbit location and our current energy balance. Water Vapor is abundant and it radiates with a temperature to the fourth power.
      The lower bound was set by trying to freeze all the oceans. You just cannot do that with earth in this orbit location and our current energy balance.
      This temperature was bound in a ten degree range.
      During the past fifty million years, the Polar Ice developed and used albedo to lower the upper bound for temperature. During the past million years Polar Ice Cycles evolved and regulated temperature by snowing more during warm times and adding ice and albedo and snowing less during cold times and letting ice and albedo reduce. The last half million years was very cold most of the time, with some major warm periods in between the longer, very cold, major ice ages.
      The most recent eleven thousand years was most tightly regulated, within a 4 degree range all the time and within a 2 degree range most of the time, because the ocean levels got just right and the ocean currents got just right and the refined Polar Ice Cycles turn the snowfall on and off with small changes to ocean temperatures. It snows more when it is warm and it snows less when it is cold and it can’t get too hot or too cold.
      The difference that changed the old wider bounds into the new modern bounds is the development and perfection of the Polar Ice Cycles. This part of temperature regulation is really this simple.
      Occam’s Razor does hold true again.

  5. 1. Yep. Who gets to establish the null hypothesis gets a big, possibly insuperable, edge in debates like the Climate Wars.

    2. One man’s “basic physics” is another’s “handwaving argument”.

    3. IMO Freeman Dyson makes sense:

    …there’s only one subject that I’ve been controversial, which is climate. I spend maybe 1 percent of my time on climate, and that’s the only field in which I’m opposed to the majority. Generally speaking, I’m much more of a conformist, but it happens I have strong views about climate because I think the majority is badly wrong, and you have to make sure if the majority is saying something that they’re not talking nonsense.

    What I’m convinced of is that we don’t understand climate, and so that’s sort of a neutral position. I’m not saying the majority is necessarily wrong. I’m saying that they don’t understand what they’re seeing. It will take a lot of very hard work before that question is settled, so I shall remain neutral until something very different happens.

    • Hans von Storch, Question: What is the subjective element in scientific practice? Does culture matter? What is the role of instinct?

      Roger A. Pielke, Sr., Reply: Science needs to advance by following the scientific method. This needs to be independent of culture or any other external influence.

      (Interview, AGU Newsletter, September 5, 2010)

    • David Springer

      gs | April 1, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Reply

      1. Yep. Who gets to establish the null hypothesis gets a big, possibly insuperable, edge in debates like the Climate Wars.

      The null hypothesis isn’t chosen in statiscal inference. It’s predefined.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_hypothesis

      In statistical inference of observed data of a scientific experiment, the null hypothesis refers to a general or default position: that there is no relationship between two measured phenomena,[1] or that a potential medical treatment has no effect.[2] Rejecting or disproving the null hypothesis – and thus concluding that there are grounds for believing that there is a relationship between two phenomena or that a potential treatment has a measurable effect – is a central task in the modern practice of science, and gives a precise sense in which a claim is capable of being proven false.

      A rise in extreme weather events due to anthropogenic CO2 is, at best, a statistical inference. The null hypothesis is there is no relationship between aCO2 and extreme weather. This is no different than a claim that megadoses of certain vitamins increase health. The null hypothesis is that there is no relationship between health and megadoses of vitamins. While producers of snake oil would certainly prefer that the null hypothesis is that their product claims are true just as the global warming snake oil producers would prefer their claims are as well.

  6. Well, I thought the argument has always been increased extremes from more energy in the system vs decreased extremes from a decreased polar/equatorial temperature gradient. Both have a physical argument.

    I’m amused that they are countervailing, that they may both act, and that the net may be so near neutral as to be immeasurable.

    How about this for a null? We’ll never settle on a null.
    ===================

    •  

      Null hypothesis: All worser weather can be explained by natural causes.

      After the catastrophic deluge of the Great Flood, how bad can it get?

    • 5. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
      6. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
      7. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
      8. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

      H/t, blame, and a useful null, from a moth eaten old text.
      ====================

  7. No.

    Next question.

    • With over a hundred years of adequate observation, and increasing observational capability, the lack of trend is enough to tell us it’s not worth worrying about.

  8. Chap from the Met office on BBC news a few nights ago, explaining how the extreme rainfall we’ve had recently is because warmer air holds more moisture.
    Didn’t explain, or even question, why, if that’s the case, we don’t have even more extreme rainfall in the height of summer, when the air really is much warmer.
    It’s like they’re making it up as they go along – and they wonder why people have stopped believing them.

  9. Science does not progress by advancing a theory and then claiming it has been proven if there is not evidence to disprove it. Repeating a claim continually over a period of years is not proof. So far the hypothesis that human industrial production is causing catastrophic climate change is unproven, and the predictive value of that hypothesis is the only “null” thing about it.

    • David Springer

      Good one.

      +1

    • David Springer

      re; Celestial Teapot

      Perfect. +1 again

      Bonus points for equating climate science to religious dogma.

      +2

    • David Springer

      re; Celestial Teapot

      Perfect. +1 again

      Bonus points for equating climate science global warming science to religious dogma.

      +2

      Had to correct that. I decided a month ago that hypothetical anthropogenic global warming no longer deserves the veneer of respect afforded a recognized (however recently) scientific discipline. It’s no longer climate science it’s global warming science.

  10. “By adding 1+1 we therefore know that sea-level rise is increasing the damage from storm surges – probably decades before this can be statistically proven with observational data.”

    More than twenty decades, in fact. It’s odd how a phenomenon dating back to the late 1700s can be tied in with AGW. There again, sea level rise even seems to ignore Arctic ice levels and temps, so I guess it’s anybody’s to use and abuse to prove what they like. Not knowing anything about it is quite handy, really. Obama made the oceans slow their rise…about a hundred years before he was born, just to be on the safe side.

    Our new Creationism?

  11. More important to the public policy decisions regarding whether to retain our nation’s current policy of costly unilateral CO2 emissions regulations, how does one make an accurate and well-informed cost vs. benefit decision of what to do about atmospheric GHG? I think we should be looking at a wider array of options to find more certain and cost effective remedies for potential problems such as slowly rising sea levels, whatever the true root cause(s). Unilateral CO2 emissions control by the USA will not prevent damage from rising sea levels. Sea levels are rising slowly enough so that local sea walls can be built in time, where needed. Why are we US citizens bearing the costs of unilateral USA CO2 emissions regulations when other growing world economies in China and India have no intention of controlling emissions and European nations are quickly realizing the folly of their green-energy initiatives? Unilateral USA CO2 GHG emissions control is a lose-lose situation regardless of what Null Hypothesis you support.

    • Stephen Segrest

      Dear Dr. Doiron — When you say “retain our nation’s current policy of costly unilateral CO2 emissions regulations” — what are these costly regulations? The only thing I’m aware of is coal — but, I wouldn’t say these regs are currently costly, not with the capital and operating costs of natural gas. Thanks.

    • David Springer

      @Segrest

      Vehicular fuel economy standards come to mind. Subsidies for everything from solar panels to attic insulation. Federal tax credits for purchasing appliances with Energy Star certification. Cash for clunkers. And now the EPA beginning January 2nd, 2011 is regulating CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act by mangling the definition of pollutants to include CO2.

      Thanks for asking.

    • Stephen Segrest

      David — Dr. Doiron used the quote “costly unilateral CO2 emissions regulations”. I’m only aware of only 1 national reg specifically targeting CO2 — the prospective reg on new coal fired electricity generation (where coal is not currently cost competitive with natural gas generation anyway — straight up). The U.S. has no federal “Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard” — all the renewables are being approved at State levels (where Texas, a pretty conservative place) has been approving a lot of wind projects. Clearly, Gov. Perry (a prominent Republican) isn’t approving wind energy to comply with some CO2 objective. The vehicle fuel standards currently in place were not driven by CO2, but foreign oil imports. I don’t think some tax credits for renewables are driving our economy into the ground — compared to say a decade’s worth of military spending in Iraq.

      • David Springer

        Well now you know about more ways that CO2 is emission is limited. A polite person would thank me for the information.

        I live in the capital city of Texas where Perry lives, by the way. Perry doesn’t approve wind projects. Perry is a free market proponent. Wind farms in Texas are free market enterprise. Perry doesn’t distort the market by giving out taxpayer money to some energy producers and taking money away from others.

        But I certainly do agree that Texas has the right answers and Perry their champion. In a nutshell the right answer is for government to get the phuck out of the way by minimizing regulatory burdens.

        Austin is the fastest growing city over 1 million population in the US by the way.

        http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/27/real_estate/fastest-growing-cities/

        Go Austin. Go Texas. Rick Perry for President 2016.

        Thanks for bringing up one of my favorite subjects. Texas is awesome and Rick Perry being the longest serving governor in its history is a big reason why it remains awesome today.

    • Oregon’s power company PGE (not pg&e) has been legislated to be more green by some percent in some period of time. This necessitated a purchase of crappy Oregon windfarms originally paid for by subsidies. You need to look more carefully, the signs are everywhere. You can look up Oregon C02 legislation and the effects on energy industries here, and transportation. Our governor agrees with the EPA that C02 is a poison.

    • Stephen Segrest

      Dear DayHay — Again, Dr. Doiron’s quote was “retain our nation’s current policy of costly unilateral CO2 emissions regulations”. You are certainly entitled to your opinion on Oregon, but this isn’t a National (Federal) policy in the context of Dr. Doiron’s quote.

    • David Springer

      Segrest you’re being disingenuous. The US has costly current regulations to reduce the chances of spoiled canned foods on grocery store shelves. If I said that the US has costly current policies to reduce salmonella poisoning you’d argue that it doesn’t because there is no specific program targeting salmonella. Dufous.

    • David Springer

      This is you, Segrest?

      http://votesmart.org/candidate/political-courage-test/121617/steve-segrest-sr/

      If so you’re poisoning your own well. Your position is far to conservative to win any progressive votes but your position on g a y marriage, g a y military, and baby killing are enough to turn conservatives away guaranteeing you won’t win any elections. Even I wouldn’t vote for you and I’m a conservate USMC veteran and your top priority is veterans. Try convincing yourself that abortion on demand is not the high road in morality, convince yourself that forcing taxpayers whose religious beliefs exclude abortion on demand to subsidize abortion on demand through tax dollars is wrong, and convince yourself that the Pentagon is the best judge of what policies work best to form and retain a fit fighting force. I’d vote for you with those issues resolved provided you also stopped talking out of your ass about politics in states where you don’t live i.e. wind farms in Texas and Governor Perry’s actions in regard to them.

  12. Which branch of physics tells you how to model a system you do not understand, for which you don’t know the initial conditions, and for which you aren’t even sure whether some feedbacks are positive or negative?

    The one thing the GCMs are good at telling us is, the consensus doesn’t understand the physics well enough to model the climate as far as predicting temperature.

  13. Relevant here is Stefan Rahmsdorf’s item
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/11/on-record-breaking-extremes/
    They showed that since the Moscow region’s mean temperature has risen by more than 1 C in 30 years, their July 2010 record was five times more likely to be broken than in a stationary climate, so they can attribute the new record to the warming trend with an 80% probability. They are careful to say this is not a CO2 attribution because separate studies have to connect the warming trend to CO2, but it does show that in fast-warming areas, these records have significantly increased probabilities. This is also expected when just shifting a Gaussian distribution. For example just shifting a Gaussian by 1 standard deviation (not broadening it), typical of what has happened for summer seasonal average temperatures, since the 1951-1980 baseline, means a 3-sigma extreme, relative to the baseline, goes from 1/200 to 1/10 in probability and a 2-sigma extreme in the current climate. It is, of course, common sense that warming increases the likelihood of records or extremes relative to older baselines, but this shows how it can be quantified. A 20-fold increase in the probability of an extreme 3-sigma summer, means when it happens it can be attributed 95% to the intervening warming.

    • There are two ways of expressing the change.
      – saying that equally likely extremes are hotter by 1 C or some other estimate close to the change in the average temperature of the season.
      – saying that a given high temperature is more likely. To quantify this the shape of the tail must be known. It’s certainly not Gaussian, and Gaussian gives often highly exaggerated relative changes due to the smallness of the estimated lower value.

      • David Springer

        It’s well empirically well established that aCO2 warming is greater in winter in higher latitudes than elsewhere. The theoretical underpinnings are that CO2 and water vapor have overlapping IR absorption bands so CO2 becomes increasingly redundant as water vapor increases. Sub-freezing temperature reduces water vapor drastically.

        So while Moscow might have 1C mean annual temperature increase most of it is during the winter not the summer. So the statistical increase in summer temperature which might be considered burdensome at times must be weighed against of the benefit of winters that are warmed more than summers.

        Thanks for playing. There’s a lovely consolation prize waiting as you exit stage left. It’s a book on critical thinking which in your case Jim D is very badly needed.

    • Pekka, I know you don’t like the Hansen study, but his probabilities were consistent with shifting of a Gaussian, a 20-fold increase in the 3-sigma area for a given year. I have yet to see someone re-do this study. It should be simple to confirm or not.

    • Jim,
      Using more realistic fat tails for the distribution would reduce the relative change in probability very much. I cannot give a number, but the effect is really essential.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Jim D, the thing that you don’t seem to recognize is that such concepts as a “3-sigma extreme” only have meaning when the dataset is stationary, meaning that its e.g. mean and sd don’t vary over time.

      But when you say “shifting a Gaussian by 1 standard deviation (not broadening it)”, you are explicitly specifying a non-stationary dataset … and at that point, any further claims about the odds of occurrence are very suspect.

      w.

    • Steven Mosher

      Jim d
      Hansen agreed with our criticism of his paper.
      Read it

    • A roman or medieval or modern warm period is supposed to be warm. A cold period in between these warm periods is supposed to be cold. More 3-sigma summers happen in the warm times and more 3-sigma winters happen in the cold times.

      This is how it does work. You can like it or not. We are in a warm time that is well inside of natural variability and we are have warm events that are well inside of natural variability. We have these events because we are warmer, but it was going to be warmer now. We just came out of the little ice age. What did you expect. Oops, you expected natural variability to stop, like the Consensus Climate People told you was supposed to happen this time. Well, natural variability does not stop just because someone has an new bigger, faster, computer.

    • Jim D
      posted this over at TTP
      ” thank you for pointing out what we all should know in his debate.
      That trying to link current weather events to AGW is not possible on short time scales of 20-50 years.
      No one has any right to attribute current weather events to global warming if it exists as they cannot show up in a provable way in the next 20- 50 years . Trying to prove arguments on this only lessens the character and reputation of people on both sides of the debate.”
      some relevance to your comment.
      He is being commiserated on for making such an egregarious posting so I felt he needed some support, he is slowly coming round to a skeptic in my opinion

    • Jim D, that same methodology can be used to predict an increase in the incidence of heat waves at the South Pole.
      Think about it.

    • …or use a 1C increase at the South Pole to predict a heat wave in Texas

    • Steve M and Pekka, the statistics in Hansen’s work on the probability of 3-sigma extreme summers going from 1/200 to 1/10 still stand, as I have seen no one dispute this aspect, and to me this has always been the most important part of the loaded-dice paper. As I said, I wish someone would repeat this to put the subject to rest, or perhaps they have and found the same result, so it wasn’t worth publishing. Here again is the relevant part of the abstract:
      “An important change is the emergence of a category of summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations (3σ) warmer than the climatology of the 1951–1980 base period. This hot extreme, which covered much less than 1% of Earth’s surface during the base period, now typically covers about 10% of the land area. It follows that we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small. “

    • angech, what is TTP?

    • ceresco kid

      Jim D

      But is the runup in temps in the Moscow region any different than they were during the runup to the Medieval Warm Period? Is the current experience unprecedented? If you can figure that out you may have something.

    • Jim,
      It does not stand. The arguments I made above are well known. I’m pretty sure that no-one knowledgeable of statistics of extreme events disagrees on those. Some people just prefer to neglect that, and present the wrong statements when they serve their purposes well.

      It’s not possible to tell, what the correct ratio is, but it’s certain that it’s much less than 20. My guess is that it might around 5, but that’s just a guess that illustrates the scale of the well known error. The advantage of the value based on the Gaussian distribution is that it can be calculated, but the disadvantage is that it’s known to be totally wrong.

    • ck, Moscow and its region had more than a 1 C warming trend in the last 30 years, and this is verifiable with thermometer readings. I don’t know if the MWP had equivalent rises or heatwaves. There is an absence of evidence for that one, which may be evidence of absence. It must be tough for your skeptical guys to get Russian records for 1000 AD that you would trust not to be just anecdotal individual years or places versus a regional trend. I don’t envy that task.

    • Pekka, it is a well defined statistical problem to take a baseline period, define a standard deviation from it, plot the areas each year that exceed 3-sigma, and see how these expand with time. So far only Hansen has shown these plots, so I go with that until and unless someone else does it better.

    • It’s a well known process, but using Gaussian tails to give those numbers is seriously wrong, and this is also well known.

      How could it be right to tell the result 20, when it’s certain that the right result is less than 10, probably much less.

    • Hansen’s relevant figure is this one.
      http://blogs.agu.org/wildwildscience/files/2012/08/Screen-Shot-2012-08-09-at-03.17.56.jpg
      It makes no assumption about Gaussians and shows the growth of the 3-sigma area with time. Here very hot is 2-sigma, and extremely hot is 3-sigma.

    • “For example just shifting a Gaussian by 1 standard deviation (not broadening it), typical of what has happened for summer seasonal average temperatures, since the 1951-1980 baseline, means a 3-sigma extreme, relative to the baseline, goes from 1/200 to 1/10 in probability and a 2-sigma extreme in the current climate.”

      A pointless arguement – you are stating the bleeding obvious, that moving a guassian curve right along the X axis increases your chances of hitting a spot that was previously on the upper tail. Thanks Sherlock, what was your first clue? Increased risk of extremes means a different curve shape, not moving the same curve! Sheesh…

    • Kneel,
      The paper of Hansen and his coauthors did originally claim that the curve shape changes, but it was soon shown that this conclusion was based on erroneous statistical analysis. Thus there was no evidence for the conclusion that extreme heat events are getting more common for any other reason than shift in the curve. This is a conservative assumption, and I consider it well justified and probably pretty accurate for temperature changes of the size global warming has produced up to now.

      The point that I don’t accept is the estimate of the probability of the occurrence of rare temperature before the shift. In very many fields the probabilities of extreme events do not follow the Gaussian distribution. Weather events have many properties that make it virtually certain that they belong to the class, where the tails of the distribution are fat, i.e. large deviations much more common than for the Gaussian distribution. Events of more than 3 standard deviations from the average to a specified direction have a probability of 0.135 % according to the Gaussian distribution, but a much higher probability in distributions that typically apply to extreme events. Is the right number perhaps 1% or something else, is not possible to say. Moving even a little beyond 3 standard deviations the relative difference between the Gaussian value and a more correct distribution grows very rapidly. 4 standard deviations is virtually impossible according to the Gaussian distribution, but quite possible according to actual experience in many fields.

      The point that I consider misleading is using the low Gaussian estimate for the earlier probability in the denominator. The new value in numerator is not any more in the far tail, and may be close to the true value, but the excessively small denominator leads to an essentially wrong ratio.

    • Kneel, yes, exactly the point, you would think it is obvious, but there is resistance by people like Pielke when this kind of idea was used to say that there is an 80% chance that the Moscow record was due to warming. He and Rahmsdorf fell out over this. Sometimes it is hard to tell what can be considered obvious to a “skeptic”. I might say that a 0.9 correlation between temperature and CO2 is obvious, but no, they will have none of that. Just coincidence in that case. I think the key is that if it mentions CO2 in any way, it is not obvious to them, however obvious is actually is. We get a lot of agreement just attributing extremes to global warming, and let individuals make the further connection to CO2 for themselves.

    • JIm D TTP is And Then There’s Physics blog the ex anti WUWT site.
      Now to demolish Mr Rahmsdorf’s Falseclimate item which has also be used to justify AGW at Realclimate.
      If one has a rise in temperature for a period of time , temperatures at the end of that time have to be higher than at the start compared to a stationary climate Records are far more likely to occur at the end of that time than at the start by about how much? Oh, 5 times amazing . It is like saying that 7 of the last 10 years are the hottest in the last 5 decades. Even when we have had no warming for 17 years. It is a glib trick to sound convincing , why not just say its 1 degree hotter in the first place over 30 years.
      The fact that hotter weather events or colder weather events occur even over 30 years is not proof of AGW (as they were careful to say ) because come the next cold spell you will have to become an ice age evangelist.
      I leave you with some tweets
      Australia’s hottest year was no freak event , humans caused it and US cold wave implies nothing about global warming this has nothing to do with Elaine McKewon and Willis

    • Jim D, a heat wave happens when you get a blocking pattern which allows a local build-up of heat to well in excess of normal daytime temperatures. It has nothing to do with average temperatures, and isn’t governed by the same mechanisms.
      Trying to attribute these extreme events to an increase in average temperature is like trying to attribute tsunamis to sea level rise.
      And how do we know that extreme heat events have increased?
      Do we know how often they may have happened in the past over some remote regions like the Sahara, where they might not even have been detected?
      Do we know how often they occurred over the oceans, where, similarly, they might not have been detected?
      Do blocking patterns have a similar effect over the oceans to what they have over land?
      And how is extreme heat defined? If it’s merely greater than three or six-sigma then the definition could change dramatically depending on latitude, time of year etc? Do we get extreme heat at the South Pole, for example?
      Is it even possible that a lot of the measured increase in surface temperatures can be attributed to the fact that we’re now measuring extreme events in areas where we weren’t even measuring before?

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Jim D

      “An important change is the emergence of a category of summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations (3σ) warmer than the climatology of the 1951–1980 base period. ”

      Any particular reason for choosing 1951-1980 as the base period? Other than the obvious fact that that was the period when the MSM headlines, in particular 1970-1980, were awash with stories about the onrushing ice age (anthropogenically driven, of course), and that we were all going to freeze/starve if the Government Didn’t Take Action Immediately?

    • phatboy and angech represent the range of typical skeptic responses to quantifications of the increase of extreme events which can be used to statistically attribute them to warming. On the one hand, they say things about blocking patterns and try to hide statistics in other details, and on the other, they say it is just a political ploy, or attention-seeking, to do this attribution. Implicitly they agree that the probability of extreme events has increased when the background has changed, whether it be temperature or sea level. I can see that attribution of extreme events to global warming doesn’t help them, because most of the public connect global warming to CO2 automatically these days, and even if not mentioned, it does their cause harm to say anything about attribution. On the warmist side, saying this or that event is 95% likely due to global warming is just as good as saying it is anthropogenic, as far as the public perception is concerned, so it is great that they can say things that aren’t controversial for skeptics and still get the point across.

    • Bob Ludwick, this was Hansen’s reason.
      “We choose 1951–1980 as the base period for most of our illustrations, for several reasons. First, it was a time of relatively stable global temperature, prior to rapid global warming in recent decades. Second, it is recent enough for older people, especially the “baby boom” generation, to remember. Third, global temperature in 1951–1980 was within the Holocene range, and thus it is a climate that the natural world and civilization are adapted to. ”
      The paper also looked at other baselines.

    • phatboy, to answer another part of your question, it only makes sense to define extreme heat events regionally, so when they are mentioned, they are extreme based on that region’s history.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Jim D

      “We choose 1951–1980 as the base period for most of our illustrations, for several reasons. First, it was a time of relatively stable global temperature, prior to rapid global warming in recent decades. Second, it is recent enough for older people, especially the “baby boom” generation, to remember. Third, global temperature in 1951–1980 was within the Holocene range, and thus it is a climate that the natural world and civilization are adapted to. ”

      Fourth, it was a period during which the PLUMMETING Temperature of the Earth was inspiring a continuous deluge of warnings about the imminent ice age (anthropologically driven) and what the government could and MUST do to avoid the coming catastrophic freezing/starvation that was otherwise inevitable.

    • David Springer

      Does Moscow suffer more from heat in the summer or cold in the winter?

      Given that AGW is greater in winter than summer in regions with cold winters the increase in mean temperature in winter will be greater than mean increase in the summer.

      I suspect that the beneficial effect for Moscow of warmer winters is greater than burdens imposed by warmer summers. Of couse that’s just my opinion based on facts and common sense. Jim D’s opinion, being based upon fantasy and global warming alarmism, may differ of course.

    • Sadly for DS, it was the July temperature in the Moscow region that has risen by more than 1 C. If he had actually read the Rahmsdorf PNAS paper, he would have seen this, but no, just spout wrongitudes here instead. It is much easier. No one will check.

      • David Springer

        Sadly for Jim D, Dole 2011 (GRL)

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2010GL046582/abstract

        found no rise in temperature for Moscow in July in the instrumental record. Rahmsdorf found warming by using raw, unadjusted instrumental data notably ignoring the downward adjustment for Urban Heat Island effect.

        Thanks for playing. There’ s a consolation prize waiting as you exit stage left. It’s a link to a free online university text in Physical Oceanography so you might actually understand the climate a little better and maybe stop talking out of your ass so much.

    • This whole debate is disingenuous, especially from Jim D’s POV.

      He is arguing that the math says what it says. Parts of it are technically accurate. But that is not what this is about. What does a normal reasonable uninformed person think when he hears this statement?

      “A 20-fold increase in the probability of an extreme 3-sigma summer”

      He hears we are going to get 20x more extreme heat waves, not that “average summer temperatures are 1C hotter than 50 years ago in this one region” (and the temperature distribution remains unchanged).

      The first is an ideologically tainted analysis to create a scary talking point. The second conveys the actual information in a much clearer manner. But it is not so scary, right?

      If you understand the math, then to say one without the other is being intentionally misleading, being an unabashed advocate squawking out talking points. Make that argument if you want, but it only hurts your credibility to those who understand the mathematics.

    • Jim D, as you can’t be bothered to answer any of my points, instead resorting to hand-waving and veiled insults, I will no longer be bothered with anything you say.

    • Tom Scharf, yes a 20-fold increase in probability can be explained better for the average person. One way is to say that extreme summers that were 1 in 200 odds before are now 1 in 10. Most people understand odds. Hansen used the loaded dice analogy in that paper to explain the odds. In the baseline period, you have two red, two white and two blue sides, representing hot, average and cold summers. Now four of the sides have become red in large parts of the northern hemisphere.

    • Willis thinks you can’t do this unless the baseline period is stationary. As mentioned above, one reason for the 1951-1980 baseline was it wasn’t in a large-trend period. Even if there was a trend, that would artificially broaden the distribution making extremes harder to achieve, and his conclusions would be conservative, if anything, with this extra broadening. In the paper, they also investigated detrended distributions to see its effect and it wasn’t much.

    • But it’s dishonest to explain that the odds have changed by 20 when it’s known that the number is incorrect.

    • Pekka, I showed the graph in my 5:43am post. It is hard to tell if it is 20 times, but you can tell that the area change is very large.

    • The number of 20 is not based on the data just because the does not tell the answer, it’s based on a distribution that’s not expected to be correct on the tails. To give a well justified number the shape of the far tail must be known, but it’s not. Theories tell that it’s not Gaussian, but is more likely to follow some power law over the relevant range as most comparable distributions seem to follow power laws for reasons that are partly understood. Benoit Mandelbrot is a well known name behind these arguments.

      All the more likely shapes of tails give lower values than Gaussian.

      Furthermore I don’t agree that it would be more difficult for people to understand the statement that this hot spell had been probably about one degree less hot without global warming. That’s a very easy statement to understand.

    • Yes, but the term “3 sigma extreme event” is kind of sexing up the reality of the fact that (all) heat waves will now be 1C hotter than they used to be on average.

    • Jim,

      More importantly the figure that you presented is also erroneous. It’s distorted by the same error that distorted the other results of that paper. it’s really seriously in error.

      • David Springer

        Rahmsdorf had to ditch the urban heat island adjustment in standard time/temperature series to make his case that July in Moscow is 1C warmer and January is not 1C warmer. It’s not kosher to do that.

        See here:

        http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110309_russianheatwave.html

        They also found that western Russia has not experienced significant climate warming during the summer season over the 130 years from 1880-2009, despite significant warming of globally averaged temperatures during that time. Such a “warming hole” is not unique to that region and is not entirely unexpected, as the Earth is not uniformly warming and experiences distinct geographic areas that may be warmer or cooler than the average trend.

        “We know that climate change is not taking place at the same rate everywhere on the globe,” said Hoerling. “Western Russia is one of the parts of the world that has not seen a significant increase in summertime temperatures. The U.S. Midwest is another.”

        When taxpayer funded consensus science outfit in the US like NOAA publishes a statement saying that global warming isn’t happening everywhere and one of the places that isn’t warming is Moscow then you can rest assured that Moscow is not warming. NOAA would rather poke a sharp stick in its eye than admit this so it must be pretty indisputable in this case.

    • “Kneel, yes, exactly the point, you would think it is obvious, but there is resistance by people like Pielke when this kind of idea was used to say that there is an 80% chance that the Moscow record was due to warming.”

      No Jim, you miss my point – when you make such a claim, it’s a “true but misleading” one. 80% chance that an increase of 1C in average temperature “caused” a particulat, fixed value to be broken? Sure. IMO, >80% chance there still would have been a heat wave without the 1C, but max temp would have been 1C less. To me, this doesn’t argue that extreme events are more likely – just that their absolute value is shifted; hence the “obvious” tag.
      The counter would be the recent cold in the USA – with a similar shift, it should have changed by a similat amount, but in the other direction, right? Will you now argue that because this cold event went from 1/10 to 1/200 yet still happened, this somehow “proves” extreme events are more likely, and hence global warming is responsible for a cold extreme too? Despite the fact that your priors include the same distribution of events pre and post warming? Despite the fact that decadal averages prior to 1950 also changed similar amounts to post 1950?

    • Several here now have said in common that they don’t like how Hansen defined extreme events from a baseline, and then checked how the probabilities of those extremes changed more recently. They haven’t yet stated what else they would do instead, so I am waiting for a better simple method to come forwards.
      It is like saying that the odds of a specific mean summer temperature in a region, say exceeding 20.7 C, went from 1 in 200 in the baseline period to 1 in 10 in the current period. This might be in a region where the mean went from 18.0 C to 18.9 C with a sigma of 0.9 C, and the new 3-sigma would be 21.6 C.
      Hansen is trying to convey that the shift affects the odds of high extremes more than other values. He would also say that even though this is just looking at past data, such shifts are continuing into the future, with this being just a fraction of the expected warming, so the effect demonstrated is actually small compared to what it will be going forwards, and this would be the purpose for drawing attention to it. What we see as extreme summers today, will be that much more commonplace by mid-century. The mid-century distribution may easily move by 2-3 standard deviations relative to the 1951-1980 baseline so that there is little overlap with the baseline’s normal summer range, and this would have obvious consequences for crops, natural ecosystems, people, etc., that are acclimatised to the baseline range.

    • Jim

      The problem is that the baseline did also contain “random fluctuations”. Those add to the difference between the present and the baseline. That’s a serious enough error to make all the results virtually worthless. That paper is not suitable for use in any argument, because it’s impossible to correct for the errors made in it, while it’s certain that the errors are large. That applies to every quantitative result of the paper and all graphics shown in it.

      It’s better to forget the paper totally.

      Doing the analysis more correctly weakens the statistical significance of the analysis as the number of unknown variables essentially doubles. In that analysis all recent data were compared effectively to one baseline, in correct analysis every point has it’s own independent baseline.

      The statistical significance of the correct analysis is very likely too weak to add to the present understanding. It’s very likely that the results are consistent with fixed shape of the temperature variability. That allows for many analyses, but it’s not right to assume that the far tails are Gaussian as I have discussed. As extreme temperatures are by definition rare, their frequency distribution cannot be determined empirically far to the tail. Therefore it’s not possible tell changes in the probability of some extreme temperature level.

      It’s better to stick to what data and theories can tell us than to create new values using models that are either known to be seriously wrong or at least not very likely to be correct enough to give essentially correct results.

    • Pekka, obviously you are not going to agree, but while smaller areas with few stations would be noisy. For example a single station’s 30-year baseline won’t give a good distribution with 30 points of data. Take a region with 100 points, and now you have 3000 data points, and the 30-year distribution will look smoother. The paper shows smaller areas like Europe are more noisy than the NH as a whole. It is looking over the whole hemisphere that the area-change signal becomes clearest, as the figure showed.

    • The signal becomes the clearer the more it’s erroneous. That’s the unfortunate fact on that paper.

      When a paper is known to be based totally on an erroneous method, and when it’s known that the error is large in comparison to what the paper presents as new results, science allows only one conclusion. The results cannot be used until the analysis has been done correctly. There should not be any question on that.

    • Pekka, I am still waiting for this “correct” analysis. Let’s phrase the question. How do we define extreme events from a monthly/seasonal gridded temperature record, such as GISTEMP? How do we define a baseline period to use and adequate region sizes to do this for, to get robust statistics? How do we evaluate the odds of these extreme events then and now in an independent period?

    • Jim,

      Every climate scientist has had the change of presenting a correct analysis. When the paper was shown to be wrong, the immediate reaction of the original authors should have been, and probably was, to find out whether they can make the analysis correctly. The motivation of presenting a correct analysis has been high also for other scientists. My interpretation of the current state of matter is that nobody has succeeded in getting results that are interesting enough for publishing based on some correct method.

      You should not expect that I can present such an analysis. If i could, i would surely publish it.

    • Pekka, what I am asking should not be difficult. I would think every US state climatologist, and probably national centers too, have a baseline climatology of monthly and seasonal temperatures and variances. These are usually based on 30 years of data, and are updated every so often. They can go back to past baselines, and compare them with current baselines to get the kind of statistics I was referring to. Maybe they also already have a definition of an extreme event in terms of their baselines, perhaps phrased in terms of return periods, or probability curves. None of this is new. It is just presenting the relevant statistics for the effects of climate change on extremes.

    • Jim,
      The straightforward approach determines separately both the average and the standard deviation for every separate measurement station, and compares how those change over time. Determining the standard deviation is much less accurate than determining the average. It’s very likely that combining all those separate analyses would lead to highly inconclusive results.

      Trying to combine the data in other ways to improve statistical power introduces errors of similar nature as those of that paper. Perhaps not as serious, but serious enough to make the results suspect.

      This is just one of the very many examples of how difficult it is to extract more detailed information from the data than GMST and other simplest aggregates.

    • I can also phrase the problem this way. Given 100 stations in Oklahoma, and their June-August averages from 1951 to 1980, how confidently can a statistician come up with a temperature corresponding to, and a probability to exceed, three standard deviations for a station? You would probably have to assume they share the same distribution shape, perhaps with different mean values, to get enough statistics, but then you may have enough points to define these properties well enough to see if the current decade has changed much.

    • Curious George

      Jim D – I just looked at Prof. Rahmstorf’s article at realclimate. Do you actually believe him? To do him a justice, he did not use any sigmas; he just used one single event to derive a lot of probabilities. What a genius! Why he uses a Monte Carlo simulation instead of real data is totally beyond me. He also published a celebrated sea-level-rise article which assumes an unlimited supply of water.

    • Jim D,

      I think you are making an assumption that temperatures in July – August in the area are all independent of each other. They are not, they share heat waves and other local weather patterns. You probably won’t get smooth PDF’s here because that is not how it works. Higher numbers will likely only replicate existing patterns and add no useful information.

      For tail statistics, if the distributions were very narrow, say only +-2C, and the median shifted 1C, then the tail statistics you are attaching so much meaning to change dramatically, the numbers get real big. Conversely if the distributions were +-50C, then a 1C shift would result in much smaller tail statistics. But they both only shifted 1C.

      A 1C shift upward in temperatures is just that, it would seem intuitive all things equal that highs increase 1C and lows increase 1C. You can search for interesting ways to express this with sigmas and odds, but that doesn’t change the fact that all that really happened was a small shift right of the entire distribution. It’s just not that exciting.

    • Tom Scharf | April 2, 2014 at 8:39 pm | +1 for
      “Jim D
      A 1C shift upward in temperatures is just that all that really happened was a small shift right of the entire distribution.”
      At ATTP discussing RP jun which is relevant here I said
      There is a difference between trending and truth, and a difference between probability and truth.
      You may well be able to point out a trend in 20-50 years, there will always be a trend up,down or flat. But imputing significance to it is another matter.
      A discernible upward trend in that time interval is only 10 % likely to be correct, 90 % likely to be wrong.
      Given 98 years on your figures you are 50 % likely to be right! at 247 years you are 95% likely to be right.
      If we extrapolate this to surface temps we could say that the IPCC is 90% wrong to be advocating action on climate change based on a small 20-50 year trend in temperature changes particularly when the trend is now flattening rapidly due to the pause.
      You could say the same thing about your little area of Russia Jim D
      Judith is this correct that 10% right is 90% wrong on ATTP’s figures hence we should be 9 times out of 10 better off taking no action on presumed globval warming?

    • Jim,
      A correct statistical analysis must take into account correlations between the stations as well as autocorrelations in the temporal variability. Because of that 100 stations in Oklahoma are unlikely to have much power in such an analysis.

    • Curious George, good that you tried to understand the Rahmsdorf Realclimate tutorial. Also check out the linked published PNAS paper on this method, to help you follow its application to this case. These are statistical methods, so you don’t have to know any science at all to follow it. Now, you seem to find it unbelievable that a 1 C in 30 years trend can make it four times easier to break temperature records, but this paper shows you how that happens. I am not as surprised as you apparently are by this finding.

    • Tom, Pekka, and all, I am trying to break this down into simpler pieces. The first part is to use the baseline period to determine a map of standard deviations. I would think 30 years of data can give a reasonable standard deviations for summer (JJA) mean temperature. Hansen provides such a map, and it is typically near 1 C over the central US. He used a 250 km analysis rather than stations, so it would be smoother. Now with the standard deviation, we are free to define an extreme as 3 standard deviations, expecting it to be rare. We can then look for the actual frequency of these events in the baseline period, over a large enough region, and compare this frequency with one from the current decade, either regionally, where it would be expected to be noisy, or by the whole NH land, where it is less noisy and starts to show a significant trend. My understanding is that these are the plots that Hansen provided, and there are some noisy ones there for smaller regions, as you would expect. Furthermore global maps of 3-sigma deviations for a given year delineate areas of extreme local events quite well.

    • angech, according to CRUTEM4 the land trend since 1980 is 0.3 C per decade. In a century a linear continuation of this trend would add up to 3 standard deviations in the summer-mean temperature. If you imagine two distributions centered 3 sigma apart, they have almost no overlap, so we can expect the climate of 2051-2080 to have no overlap with what was a normal summer of 1951-1980 in the majority of land regions. It really is a different climate.

    • Jim,
      I go back to the actual explanation given by Tamino on the apparent error in the analysis.

      The observed rate of change in temperature over the period considered varies between different locations (as defined after smoothing). That variability is significant relative to the average change. Part of that variability is due to factors like arctic amplification and other persistent effects that will be observed over different intervals, and part is due to “random” variability, i.e. the particular area just happened to be relatively cool or hot during the reference period, but not during the later period. These random variations in the average temperatures are significant and contribute to the apparent heat waves. If that applies to the later period, it’s really part of the heat wave, but if it’s due to exceptionally low temperature during the reference period, it’s not.

      These effects take place over fairly wide regions, while the global variability is considered separately.

      What I wrote concerns the average temperature, but similar issues enter also in the determination of the standard deviations. Some regions have much more variable temperatures than other areas. Telling what part of the changes over long term are due to variability and which to the background warming trend is not really possible making estimating variability very uncertain. This is the attribution problem, which is more severe for the detailed data than it is for the GMST. As is acknowledged by IPCC it’s rather bad also for GMST (uncertainty range of the estimated TCR is wide).

      This is the generic problem behind most controversies. Empirical data on most well defined specific issues is too uncertain for reaching statistically significant conclusions. Higher confidence can be stated for the easiest issues like the overall warming within an uncertainty range like -50% – +100% relative to a likely value, or something like that.

      The balance of evidence from all disparate sources tells more, but the evidence is complex and sparse. The nature of that evidence does not allow for well understood statistical tests, but remains subject to subjective expert judgement. It would be nice to have more objective data, but unfortunately that’s not the case for most issues.

      That applies also to heat waves. For them the assumption that the expected maximum temperatures go up as much as regional average temperatures for the same season (and for the same time of day, if that’s part of the consideration) is plausible and the best that can be considered highly likely. That’s not proven, and there might be some amplification. Hansen et al thought that they found evidence for that, but they didn’t as an erroneous analysis is not evidence. Based on what we know right now, it’s not possible to find conclusive evidence for any stronger effect than that from following the relevant average.

      I do not think that any credible model tells that we should expect that the heat waves have changed significantly more than the averages. They may tell that much stronger warming leads to amplification of heat waves, but probably not at a level important with the present warming.

    • Pekka, for people to understand an analysis it has to be simple. If it has nuances that can mislead, they can be addressed as long as the basic method is understood. Hansen’s definition of extreme hot summers is simple, being 3 local standard deviations above the local mean, using a baseline period. Given this simple definition, you can look at how its probability changes as you move out of the baseline period. I would argue that defining extreme hot summers in this way should be uncontroversial. However, choosing which decades you do it for, affects the results. Hansen chose these decades because people still remember them. He could have chosen the last three decades where rapid climate change broadens the distribution unless it is also detrended (as he shows too). Obviously defining extreme summers from the last three decades is going to show a less impressive 3-sigma signal today, than his preferred baseline, so there is some subjectivity here, and I get that it can be misleading unless you have kept track of what Hansen has done. Conversely, he could have chosen a baseline from a century ago, and produced a bigger 3-sigma effect. Maybe better methods would be ones that are independent of baselines, somehow. For example you can define a detrended variance from the whole time series, which gives you a magnitude of 3-sigma variation that is independent of baseline, but requires being applied to the trended mean. This would answer a different question, which is whether the distribution is broadening anywhere, and that is a more controversial subject to get into. I don’t see any reason why summer distributions should be broadening, so this could be unproductive.

    • Jim,

      It’s not simple. It’s so difficult that even he didn’t understand it.

      That’s the reason for error in the analysis.

    • Something that appears to be simple, but is wrong is worse than anything correct.

      What’s the value of being understandable, when what’s supposed to be understood is totally wrong.

      The increase of 1 C (or some other estimated value) in the temperature of the heat wave is also understandable, and it’s probably correct, when the estimate is done properly.

    • Pekka

      Your 6.11. is the Quote of the week.

      tonyb

    • Pekka, does this mean you even disagree with the loaded dice analogy, where two sides red in the baseline is now four sides red? What used to have a 1/3 probability now has a 2/3 probability.

    • I disagree using such an analogy implying quantitative significance, when the stated values cannot be supported by science.

      The basic idea that climate change increases the likelihood/severity of several types of extreme weather events is correct. It’s correct to tell that.

      Making such quantitative claims as results of science that cannot be supported by science is, to say it bluntly, lying.

    • The loaded-dice analogy is a coarse-grained version of the other points in the paper, but it should be robust and defensible to say that the same temperatures that used to be in the top one third of the distribution, now occupy the top two thirds, including the mean. This realistically conveys the effect of a shifting distribution, and is easily illustrated for the public. The title of the paper was “Perception of Climate Change”, and is trying to get across the effect of a shifting distribution in common terms.

    • I haven’t checked, whether one third has changed to two thirds.

      Such numbers are not significantly affected by the extremes. Thus just shifting the Gaussian distribution is a valid method in estimating the change in probabilities that are so large.

      It would perhaps be better to do the analysis separately for several large regions, as the results may differ substantially between most tropical regions, dry extratropical regions, and cooler regions. Both the shift in the temperature and the width of the temperature distribution are likely to differ significantly from region to region.

    • Jim,

      Looking at the paper again, the shift from the probability of 1/3 to 2/3 seems to be relatively robust as it corresponds to a change of less than one standard deviation in the temperature. The value depends, however, on choices that could be done differently. One such choice is deciding on the gridding of the original data. Using more narrowly local data would widen the distributions making the change in probability smaller. Basing the analysis on single station data might change the result significantly. it can be argued that this would correspond better, what any individual observes as local weather.

      There are also other choices that affect the estimate of the standard deviation. The paper has checked some of the alternative approaches, but there are more. Telling quantitatively, how much any of the alternative choices would affect the conclusion would require going trough the original data.

      There might be some further caveats that I haven’t noticed.

      Very briefly: The result of the paper is reasonable on this point, not unique, but good enough.

    • Pekka, there are grey-shades as you divide the distributions into smaller and smaller sections. For example, the next step would be to use deciles, and see how those change, and the final fine-grained approach is the one you objected to. Perhaps there is an optimal resolution such a distribution can be represented by, that can convey information about extreme events up to some limit.

    • Jim,

      I started to think again about the informative value of the following sentences for normal audience.

      1) The temperatures are now on the average 1 C higher than before.

      2) The probability of having a temperature that was earlier exceed a third of time is now two thirds.

      As these two sentences are assumed to describe the same situation, which one tells the change better?

      How much better the change is understood, when both formulations are available?

      Remember that we are discussing really common and typical temperatures in the formulation (2). Nothing to the least uncommon, let alone exceptional.

    • Jim D,

      If you want to go crazy on tail statistics and create numbers for “maximum impact”, that is fine with me….

      …as long as you also clearly state that what really happened is all temperatures (highs and lows) have increased by 1C over the time period in this region.

      20x more probable 3 sigma extreme events = an increase of 1C in high temperatures.

      State both, is that acceptable?

    • An increase in precipitation in the outer regious and dry air of the interior. Dry air would lead to more sublimation.

      Also, does the satellite data differentiat snow and ice, is there an increase in snow that simply hasn’t been compacted to ice?

    • Hansen’s extreme events being worse are based on Hansen’s Theory that the warm periods in the past did not happen.

      We all, well, most of us know that the warm periods in the past did happen and we are just having one more like the others..

      Not even the IPCC still uses Hansen’s Hockey Stick. Only Hansen and his extremist loyalists still use the fraudulent Hockey Stick. Hansen has nothing without his Hockey Stick. Hansen has nothing.

  14. Charles Hart

    Judy,

    Regarding the physics of AGW and hurricanes.

    AGW theory implies the poles will warm faster than the tropics. This is due to the expectation that increasing co2 will have more effect in cold dry air than warm most air. (co2 and moisture have overlapping absorption/radiating bands.)

    Temperature differences drive storm intensity (all heat engines). Pole temps rising more than tropical temperatures (even with tropical temperatures are rising) implies less intense storms.

    The physical theory of AGW does not support the idea that rising ocean temperatures will drive more intense storms (because the pole temps are rising even faster).

    Bottom line. There is no physical theory nor observational data to support the notion that rising co2/temps will drive more intense storms.

    • But the expansion of the tropics would lead to more warmer water, and more room for development, with longer tracks.

    • The temperature difference that drives the engine is between tropical surface and extratropical upper troposphere. Polar surface has little role in that.

      • David Springer

        Hypothetically aCO2 warming is characterized in the tropics by more warming in the mid-troposphere than at the surface. That’s the notorious “fingerprint” of AGW. Strong convection is powered by the difference in temperature between surface and mid-troposphere not by the absolute temperature of the surface. So if the mid-troposphere is warming faster than the surface in the tropics this actually reduces the power available for strong convection.

        Few people bother to do much critical thinking around here. Pekka Pirila, unlike Jim D, seems capable of understanding how work (physics definition) is accomplished in heat engines and should also understand the convective cells (including hurricanes) are heat engines. Maybe Pekka simply cannot juggle enough facts in his head to make the connection between AGW fingerprint in the tropics reducing the temperature gradient and hence the amount of work that can be done by tropical convection.

    • Charles Hart

      Jim D, it is not the warm water in the tropics that drives storms. It is the difference between the warm water and the air from the poles. Hurricanes are in the mid latitudes not the tropics because that is where cold air and warm water meet.

      • David Springer

        That’s wrong, Hart. Hurricanes die very quickly over land. The temperature gradient between land and ocean is much larger than adjacent ocean areas so according to your ill-informed hypothesis hurricanes should strengthen not weaken over land. In fact hurricanes are powered by vertical convection and wind sheer that sets up a twist. Once the source of water vapor to power the convection is gone the hurricane’s motive force is gone too. Get a clue.

    • Charles Hart

      Pekka,

      All temperature gradients are ultimately driven by the tropic/pole difference or differences in elevation. AGW theory also says dry cold air at high elevation will warm more than warm humid air at sea level. As the tropic/pole or high/low elevation difference diminishes, all temperature gradients will diminish.

      A world warming due to AGW theory will not lead to stronger storms.

    • All warming need not lead to stronger storms, but the argument based on polar amplification as a mitigating factor is simply wrong.

      The main driving cells are the Hadley cell (the Walker cells have also a role), Ferrel cells are driven by the Hadley circulation, and thus consume work. Polar cells are not an essential part of the overall generation and dissipation of work, neither do Arctic and Antarctic surface temperatures have strong influence on the circulation of the low latitudes.

      Adding CO2 leads to a larger temperature difference between surface and the parts of the troposphere where emission to space takes place. The natural consequence of that is a more efficient “atmospheric heat engine” based on the increased Carnot efficiency.

      How that’s reflected in storms is, of course, a much more complex issue, but the physically well known principles suggest a stronger circulation with stronger winds.

      • David Springer

        Hurricanes forces all happen well below the free emission altitude which is some 20 kilometers up. Surely you know that. The choices for why you’d write some contrary BS are stupidity, dishonesty, or sloth. You don’t seem stupid so that rules out the first choice. I’d prefer to think it’s sloth. Is that it? You just don’t devote enough time to thinking things through?

    • Charles Hart

      Pekka,

      “Adding CO2 leads to a larger temperature difference between surface and the parts of the troposphere where emission to space takes place.”

      Adding co2 reduces troposphere emissions to space. How can this lead to a larger temperature difference between warm surface temps and the troposphere?

    • “AGW theory implies the poles will warm faster than the tropics. This is due to the expectation that increasing co2 will have more effect in cold dry air than warm most air. (co2 and moisture have overlapping absorption/radiating bands.)”
      ———
      There are several significant other reasons the polar regions are warming faster than lower latitudes. Increased advection of energy toward the poles via both the atmosphere and ocean is a major one, but also positive feedback from any warming that does occur in those regions.

      • David Springer

        No the polar regions (plural) are not warming faster than elsewhere. The south polar region is cooling. Surely you knew that. If you didn’t you’re too ignorant to participate in the science debate and if you did know it you’re too dishonest to participate. Either way you should take a hike and let the informed honest adults have the debate.

    • Charles Hart, the insulation analogy works here. When you add insulation to your roof it prevents heat loss more. Since the heating is inside the house (at the earth’s surface), the whole house gets warmer, so that the heat loss from the roof returns to its original value, but the temperature gradient between the roof and house is now larger due to the extra insulation. The key is that the heating is inside the house, and that is maintained constant, but the house gets warmer.

      • David Springer

        Jim D’s ignorance is on display as usual.

        Here’s a nice survey of literature on the topic:

        http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/09/06/papers-on-tropical-troposphere-hotspot/

        In a nutshell GCMs predict that there is more warming in the tropical mid-troposphere than on the surface from increasing aCO2. Whether such a hotspot actually exists is controversial. But you have just a couple of choices in relating this to hurricane strength. If the models are correct that mid-troposphere warms faster than the surface in the tropics then there is less energy availabe to power strong convection such as tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes. Heat engines rely on temperature gradients between a hot and cold side. Convective cells are heat engines. Tropical troposphere warming faster at altitude than at the surface decreases the graidient.

        So either hurricanes have less power available or the GCMs are wrong. Those are your only two choices. Pick one and stick with it. I believe the GCMs are correct in this the error is in magnitude of the effect. They exaggerate the effect due to improper modeling of clouds. The hotspot is thus controversial because it’s too small for our instrumentation to unabiguously detect and measure.

    • Don Monfort

      There is a small problem with the insulation analogy, jimmy dee. You have kept piling up insulation in your attic, but for the last 17 years your house ain’t getting any warmer. Unless the missing heat is hiding in that old trunk stored down in your basement.

    • The insulation analog is correct.

      More CO2 in the troposphere means also that less of the outgoing radiation originates at the surface or at low altitudes in the troposphere. Because the total amount must remain approximately equal to absorbed solar SW, that means that more must be emitted at high altitudes. The average height of emission increases keeping the effective radiative temperature constant.

      The surface has warmed and more CO2 will add to that warming effect also in the future. The point of emission of OLR move up up and maintain nearly the earlier distribution of temperatures. That leads to a more efficient atmospheric heat engine that drives stronger circulation on the global level.

      • David Springer

        “That leads to a more efficient atmospheric heat engine that drives stronger circulation on the global level.”

        Wrong. It leads to a decreased lapse rate and less efficient heat engine. For global circulation it is well established that higher latitudes are warming more than lower latitudes which decreases the horizontal gradient powering horizontal circulation.

        You can’t seem to get anything right, Pekka. Engineering isn’t one of your talents. Writing BS papers that have no practical application to display their dearth of correct physics is all your do, huh? You’re a bs-engine. A creator of just-so stories. You fit right in with global warming science that’s for sure.

    • Yes Pekka, the insulation analogy is serviceable for the purpose of crude illustration. But insulating your attic typically does not cause a strong positive water vapor feedback that leads to dangerous warming in your living space. Analogies always suffer from the same defect. They are only analogies.

    • David Springer said:
      “No the polar regions (plural) are not warming faster than elsewhere. The south polar region is cooling. Surely you knew that. If you didn’t you’re too ignorant to participate in the science debate and if you did know it you’re too dishonest to participate. Either way you should take a hike and let the informed honest adults have the debate.”
      ____
      Your caustic nastiness is in tact, as is your complete ignorance about what is actually going on at the poles. For those who want to see Mr. Springer’s complete ignorance (i.e. his insistence that the south pole is cooling), let’s take a look at the actual reports from scientists working at the south pole:

      http://antarcticsun.usap.gov/science/contenthandler.cfm?id=3003

      Really Mr. Springer, what is the basis for your ignorant nastiness?

    • “You have kept piling up insulation in your attic, but for the last 17 years your house ain’t getting any warmer.”
      ____
      Your insistence on equating the climate “house” with the thin and relatively low energy of the troposphere is your undoing. By many metric (more broad and scientifically honest), the climate system has been gaining energy for many decades:

      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-011-0121-x

      The first clue for me that someone is being scientifically dishonest about what is actually happening with the climate system is their attempt to equate the Earth or the Globe or the Climate system with the low energy and low thermal inertia of the troposphere. Can someone explain why the fake-skeptics think this is scientifically honest?

    • Charles,
      The differences cannot diminish. The surface warms, and the efficient temperature of emission must stay essentially constant to maintain energy balance. That has only one solution, an increasing temperature difference.

      And again, what happens at high latitude surface is a very small factor in this, well isolated from the main driving circulation.

    • Rgates

      Your 12.12. I am not here to referee your disagreements with David Springer but merely to observe that as an honest sceptical warmist you would want to correct the misleading impression you gave with your link. It led to an item on the West Antarctic peninsula which is well known to be warming. However the situation is more complex than that in as much most of antarctica is cooling not warming.

      From Wikipedia

      “A rebuttal to Crichton’s claims was presented by the group Real Climate:[5]

      Long term temperature data from the Southern Hemisphere are hard to find, and by the time you get to the Antarctic continent, the data are extremely sparse. Nonetheless, some patterns do emerge from the limited data available. The Antarctic Peninsula, site of the now-defunct Larsen-B ice shelf, has warmed substantially. On the other hand, the few stations on the continent and in the interior appear to have cooled slightly (Doran et al., 2002; GISTEMP).

      At first glance this seems to contradict the idea of “global” warming, but one needs to be careful before jumping to this conclusion. “A rise in the global mean temperature does not imply universal warming. Dynamical effects (changes in the winds and ocean circulation) can have just as large an impact, locally as the radiative forcing from greenhouse gases. The temperature change in any particular region will in fact be a combination of radiation-related changes (through greenhouse gases, aerosols, ozone and the like) and dynamical effects. Since the winds tend to only move heat from one place to another, their impact will tend to cancel out in the global mean.

      [5]
      The leading author of the research paper, Peter Doran, published a statement in the New York Times[6] stating that “… our results have been misused as “evidence” against global warming by Michael Crichton in his novel “State of Fear”… Our study did find that 58 percent of Antarctica cooled from 1966 to 2000. But during that period, the rest of the continent was warming. And climate models created since our paper was published have suggested a link between the lack of significant warming in Antarctica and the ozone hole over that continent. These models, conspicuously missing from the warming-skeptic literature, suggest that as the ozone hole heals — thanks to worldwide bans on ozone-destroying chemicals — all of Antarctica is likely to warm with the rest of the planet. An inconvenient truth?” He also emphasized the need for more stations in the Antarctic continent in order to obtain more robust results.

      According to a NASA press release:[29]

      “Across most of the continent and the surrounding Southern Ocean, temperatures climbed… The temperature increases were greater and more widespread in West Antarctica than in East Antarctica, where some areas showed little change or even a cooling trend. This variability in temperature patterns across Antarctica complicates the work of scientists who are trying to understand the relative influence of natural cycles and human-caused climate change in Antarctica.”[1]

      As a complement to NASA’s findings, the British Antarctic Survey, which has undertaken the majority of Britain’s scientific research in the area, has the following positions:[30]

      Ice makes polar climate sensitive by introducing a strong positive feedback loop.
      Melting of continental Antarctic ice could contribute to global sea level rise.
      Climate models predict more snowfall than ice melting during the next 50 years, but models are not good enough for them to be confident about the prediction.
      Antarctica seems to be both warming around the edges and cooling at the center at the same time. Thus it is not possible to say whether it is warming or cooling overall.
      There is no evidence for a decline in overall Antarctic sea ice extent.”

      —— ——

      I hope this provides a more balanced view than your link as you would obviously not want anyone to get the wrong impression. It seems that David Springer is more right than wrong and you are more wrong than right

      tonyb

    • Tony,

      Respectfully to you, Mr. Springer is not “right”, as the net ice mass loss accelerating from Antarctica would be impossible if the region were cooling. This is basic physics. Yes, the situation is complex, and thus, stating the region is “cooling” is incorrect. You cannot have net ice mass loss in a region that is cooling. Oddly, some of that “cooling” is related to an increase in fresh water on the surface of the ocean, causing an increase in sea ice, and a lower latent and sensible heat flux from ocean to atmosphere in the region, which is causing effects in ocean circulation, ocean heat retention, etc.:

      http://www.livescience.com/43805-global-warming-changes-antarctica-ocean-currents.html

      Of course, Mr. Springer completely ignores the topic of the north polar region, and the clear warming that has occurred in that region.

      But my other big gripe with Mr. Springer is that he instantly strays from the science to caustic ad homs, which is completely unnecessary. Go back and look at the sequence of his posts and see if there was really any justification for his being so nasty and so caustic. I am not the only person who he launches these on.

    • Don Monfort

      Gatesy erroneously alleges: “Your insistence on equating the climate “house” with the thin and relatively low energy of the troposphere is your undoing.”

      You are confused again. I am not insisting on anything, gatesy. I allowed that there could be missing heat hiding in the trunk in the deep abyss of the basement. Try to work on your reading comprehension-fu.

    • R Gates:

      You cannot have net ice mass loss in a region that is cooling.

      Yes you can. You can get ice loss during the summer, which is subsequently not replaced by sufficient snowfall in winter, even though the overall trend is cooling.
      I’m not saying that is what’s happening, but that it could happen.

    • Rgates

      Doran days that 58% of the continent is cooling. BAC say that Antarctica seems to be both warming around the edges and cooling at the center at the same time. Thus it is not possible to say whether it is warming or cooling overall.

      So, overall it is more tending to the cooling than the warming, although there is no definitive answer as yet and therefore your posting a link to one article saying it is warming, without the sceptical and objective balance, was a little unfortunate.

      P.s (by the way BAC would have said ‘centre’ not ‘center’.)
      tonyb

    • Tony,

      Two things. First, do you not see the internal contradiction in your statement:

      “Thus it is not possible to say whether it is warming or cooling overall.

      So, overall it is more tending to the cooling than the warming, ”

      Second, basic thermodynamics will not allow net ice mass loss of a continent if that region is cooling. The physics just won’t allow it. The change of state from ice to water simply means that more energy is coming into the system, which is “warming”. Now, no doubt there are regional differences around Antarctica with some perhaps showing cooling- but taken as a whole, the continent is losing ice mass which means a warming, just as there are glaciers around the planet that are growing, the majority are contracting, which, again, implies a net warmer world, by basic physics.

    • Rgates

      Sorry, but you have not been following the quotes. There is no contradiction on my part as it was the BAC itself that said it was not possible to say if it was warming or cooling. It was doran who said that 58 percent was cooling.
      You are attributing too much certainty when scepticism would be more appropriate.

      Tonyb

    • Tony,

      I quoted you exactly from your post. Sorry if it seemed like I wasn’t following something.

      You do understand that AS A REGION, it is impossible for there to be a net ice mass loss if the region is cooling, right? Even if “58% is cooling” (a statistic that is questionable in itself), then there still cannot be net ice mass loss if there is not more net energy coming into Antarctica. Glaciers are very good gauges of net energy in a system or a region. It is here, by the way that “Pope’s Climate Theory” fails, as it is the net energy, across the entire year, that matters for glacial ice growth. Even if more snow falls in the winter (which implies warmer winters by the way), then for glaciers to grow, you’d need cool summers. If all the snow melts in the summer, glaciers just can’t grow.

    • Tony B

      A study on Swiss Alpine glaciers by Schlüchter pointed out that glaciers are simply slow moving rivers of ice.

      Just like the swells of a river of water, they shrink if more ice flows out or melts at the mouth than is formed in the interior.

      Most alpine glaciers are shrinking in mass today. This has been attributed to the fact the global temperature has been a fraction of a degree warmer than it was in 1850, when they reached their highest extent for several thousand years.

      Yet the glaciers were smaller than today during the MWP and Roman times, as has been evidenced by carbon-dated remains of vegetation found under receding glaciers today (Schlüchter, Patzelt).

      But, while temperature may play a role, an equally important factor is the amount of annual snowfall, which feeds the glacier. As a result, a few landed glaciers are growing today, despite warmer temperature.

      Now to Antarctica.

      As far as I know, the only long-term study covering the entire Antarctic Ice Sheet was that by Wingham et al. in 2006. This study used 24/7 satellite altimetry measurements over a 10+ year period (1993-2003), which covered around 72% of the entire ice sheet and estimates based on other spot measurements using different techniques for the remaining 28% (polar and coastal regions that could not be captured by satellites). The conclusion was that overall the AIS was gaining mass over this 10-year period.

      Since around 2005 there have been GRACE measurements, which indicate an overall mass loss, but this method has had major startup difficulties and the time period is too short so it is too early to tell whether or not the AIS is currently gaining or losing mass. Shepherd and Wingham published a follow-up study, which concludes than net glacial ice outflow (not melting) might be larger than interior snowfall, and that if this trend were to continue, the AIS could shift from gaining mass to losing mass.

      As a self-proclaimed skeptic, I’m sure that Gates (like me) is waiting for more data before he makes up his mind whether the AIS is still gaining mass or has shifted to losing mass.

      Max

    • R. Gates

      See my comment on glaciers to Tony B.

      Glaciers can grow even if temperature has cooled slightly.

      Glaciers can also shrink even if temperature has warmed slightly.

      This may sound counterintuitive (and it is), but glaciers react very slowly to slight overall changes in global temperature but rather rapidly to increased snowfall in the interior.

      Think of them like a river. If it rains more the river swells and outflow increases. The same thing happens with glaciers, only the process is much slower, so that today’s temperature “blip” may result in a change several years down the road, with a lot of other factors at play beside simply the temperature.

      That’s why we should remain skeptical of claims of the future demise of the Greenland or Antarctic Ice Sheet resulting in meter high SL rise within the next several centuries.

      Max

    • Mac

      That was my point. The evidence is ambiguous and deserved far more scepticism than Rgates showd by linking to a study that gave a very one sided view.

      I have a lot of time for R gates, but if you bill yourself as a sceptical warmist you need to be more even handed than he has been in recent months.

      Tonyb

    • R Gates, in case you missed my earlier comment – it is entirely possible to have overall ice loss despite the region cooling, if the summer ice melt is not matched by winter snowfall.
      And, conversely, it’s also entirely possible to have overall ice gain despite the region warming.

    • “As a self-proclaimed skeptic, I’m sure that Gates (like me) is waiting for more data before he makes up his mind whether the AIS is still gaining mass or has shifted to losing mass.”
      _____
      A true skeptic never “makes up their mind” but simply chooses the most likely from a list of alternatives. For Antarctica as a whole, regarding net glacial ice mass, here are the possible alternatives: (note: no complete certainty in any of them:

      1) Most likely losing net mass
      2) Most likely gaining net mass
      3) Most likely staying the same
      4) Not enough data to hold an opinion

      From the sum of my net reading of all the available data, and specifically some of the latest research being done, I hold to number 1. You can use Google Scholar to find all the research yourself if you actually care. Make sure you really only look at the most recent, as this is an area where new data has been coming forth almost monthly. I suggest you limit your search to the past 4 years at most. For starters, see:

      http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2011AGUFMPA23B1753R

    • Robert I Ellison

      http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20120013495

      What are the processes and what does it mean – are the scienitifc questions.

    • R. Gates

      Thanks for tip.

      But being just a bit more skeptical than you, I have not limited my search to studies published in the last four years, as you advise.

      Instead I have tried to find studies that cover a significantly long period of time to be meaningful.

      For Antarctica that study was the one I cited by Wingham, which covered the entire AIS over a 11-year period of time, from April 1992 to April 2003. Most of the AIS was covered by continuous satellite altimetry and the portions that could not be measured by satellites was estimated based on different spot observations. So the study was not only comprehensive in time span but also in scope covered. In fact, it was the only study which covered the entire time span and the entire AIS with continuous measurements. I have noted that there were many spot studies, such as mass-budget calculations based on very small differences between very large numbers, ATM and ATM/IceSat measurements covering short time spans, etc..

      I am aware that GRACE studies are now showing a net loss. But there are two problems with these studies. First, they only started in 2005, so still do not cover a very long time span. And then there have been some serious problems with the method used being sensitive to estimates of bedrock vertical motion and thus giving erroneous results; again, being just a tad more skeptical than you, I am not sure that these have really been de-bugged as yet (or whether this inherent flaw even can be de-bugged).

      There are a lot of data out there, Gates, and some of these data are conflicting.

      At this point I have concluded that the AIS may either be gaining mass or losing mass on balance, and I remain rationally skeptical of whether we really know which it is.

      Since the Antarctic sea ice is gaining extent over an extended time period, according to NSIDC data, I’d suspect that the AIS may be doing the same. But that’s just a hunch.

      Max

    • Max,

      Here’s another must read article on this subject. Exceptionally fascinating:

      http://www.the-cryosphere.net/4/621/2010/tc-4-621-2010.pdf

    • “R Gates, in case you missed my earlier comment – it is entirely possible to have overall ice loss despite the region cooling, if the summer ice melt is not matched by winter snowfall.
      And, conversely, it’s also entirely possible to have overall ice gain despite the region warming.”
      ——
      I suppose it would potentially be, but I’d have to think through the unusual conditions that would lead to such a situation over a period long enough to actually form a glacier or melt a glacier.

    • Gates and Chief

      Thanks for links to papers. Had not seen either one.

      The recent short-term (2000-2008) look (Bamber & Riva 2010) at Greenland, Antarctica and other Arctic glaciers is interesting. Thanks, Gates. This shows they are currently all losing mass at a relatively small rate.

      Thanks to Chief for the longer-term look at the Antarctica surface mass balance (Frezzotti et al. 2013). This study is more interesting to me because it concentrates on Antarctica and covers a longer time frame.

      It shows that

      the SMB changes over most of Antarctica are statistically negligible and that the current SMB is not exceptionally high compared to the last 800 yr.

      A major problem for the large ice sheets (especially in Antarctica) is that we have a pretty good idea of melting, ice flow or ablation along the coasts but a more limited picture of snow accumulation in the vast interior.

      So it looks like there is still a lot of uncertainty about the development of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

      Max

    • I think it was the case for awhile with Greenland. Increased precipitation brought more snowfall above the snow line, so the ice sheet grew despite warming temperatures, both atmosphere and ocean, pummeling the edges of the ice sheet. The the snow line came under assault, and the situation reversed.

    • JCH

      That’s right.

      As Johannessen et al. (2005) and Zwally et al. (2006) showed based on 24/7 satellite altimetry, the Greenland Ice Sheet gained 11 Gt/year overall net mass over the period April 1992 to October 2002. Curiously, the colder half-year October 2002 to April 2003 was truncated from the record and, since there are considerable seasonal swings in the mass, the overall mass gain was most likely understated as a result.

      This occurred because the snow mass gain in the vast interior was greater than the loss near the coasts due to melting and ablation.

      It appears that this trend may have reversed itself since 2003.

      Max

    • R Gates

      I suppose it would potentially be, but I’d have to think through the unusual conditions that would lead to such a situation over a period long enough to actually form a glacier or melt a glacier.

      Glaciers are a different matter.
      Glaciers, like rivers, are profoundly affected by upstream precipitation, or lack of, although over a much longer timescale (decades to centuries) Just like rivers can dry up, glaciers can also shrink.
      But due to their slowness, glaciers can also melt if temperatures increase. However, we need to be careful to distinguish between melting due to recent higher temperatures, and shrinking due to past periods of low precipitation – the two can be confused.
      BTW, lower temperatures can’t cause glaciers to grow – only higher precipitation can do that.

    • “BTW, lower temperatures can’t cause glaciers to grow – only higher precipitation can do that.”
      ——-
      Once more, this over simplifies the physics and dynamics. If I get 5 meters of snow over the winter in a high alpine valley, but it all melts in the summer, I will get no glacial growth, whereas if I get 3 meters of snow over a winter in the same valley but a cool summer only allows 2 meters to melt before new snow starts falling on it the next winter, I get the beginnings of glacial growth. This is more typical if how glacial growth occurs.

    • Rgates

      Back to Volcanoes. I spent 5 hours at the Met Office archives yesterday looking once again at the references they have for the 13th century. In essence there are five independent sources which include monasteries, farmers, crop records, estate owners etc.

      As I have said to you before, the 1257/8 eruption clearly shows up in the records but none of the five sources note the effects as being any longer lasting than a few seasons. It certainly did not cause problems for years.

      The other very large eruptions also show a similar lack of impact other than for a season or two. I believe observations from people physically affected by adverse weather and resultant crop failures rather than ice cores or tree rings. I would suggest that this continual density of emissions from around 1200 to 1880 is an artefact of models, not reality

      tonyb

    • R Gates

      Studies of Alpine glaciers have shown that, over longer periods of time, glaciers respond to warming/cooling cycles by shrinking/expanding; however over shorter time periods that the principal cause of change in glacial ice mass is change in precipitation.

      So, according to studies by Swiss glaciologist, Christian Schlüchter, alpine glaciers were at a lower extent than they are today over most of the past 10,000 years. They were also smaller than today during both the MWP and Roman warm period, as evidenced by carbon-dated remains of trees and vegetation recovered under receding glaciers today. During the LIA the glaciers expanded again, reaching their highest extent of several thousand years around 1850, when modern measurements began. Since then they have generally been retreating. In other words, glaciers have responded to earlier climate change, no different from what is occurring today.

      As Schlüchter advises, one should think of glaciers as slow moving rivers of ice, which ebb and flow over short-term time periods as more or less precipitation falls upstream, just as a river does the same. Longer term impacts can be seen based on long term cycles in temperature, as have been seen over many thousands of years.

      The studies by Schlüchter and his team show that there were extended periods of time during the past 10,000 years when there were almost no glaciers in the Alps, so the current shrinking is not unusual at all.

      Max

    • More precipitation in the outer regions and colder and dryer interior air would mean more sublimation.

    • Yes, more precipitation further from the pole is very likely a sign of cooling as well is decreasing ice mass in the interior as there would be a decrease in interior precipitation and increase in sublimation.

    • In addition the pressure and plasticity of ice would allow continued movement toward the outer region.

    • It is here, by the way that “Pope’s Climate Theory” fails, as it is the net energy, across the entire year, that matters for glacial ice growth.

      Nope, it matters how much snow falls. When enough snow falls, it does not all melt. One foot, Two feet, Three feet, Four Feet. The energy can only melt so much. If not enough fell, it will all melt. If more than enough fell, some will become multi-year ice. We have more than enough in years with warm oceans and open Arctic. Just watch the data as this plays out.

  15. Doug Badgero

    If we are going to rely on first principles as evidence that hurricanes should get stronger, then we must also concede that tornadoes should become weaker and less frequent based on those same first principles. I find both arguments simplistic and unconvincing.

  16. The RealClimate article says “we described a statistical method for calculating the expected number of monthly heat records given the observed gradual changes in climate” followed by “Our paper was attacked with astounding vitriol by Roger Pielke Jr.,” with a link to Roger’s blog.

    I’ve read through all the blog comments and can’t seem to find anything that a reasonable person would class as vitriolic. Roger seems, to me at least, to maintain a level approach and a sense of humour throughout.

    So why the claim of “vitriol”?
    Projection?

  17. George Turner

    Them people is as dumb as a box of rocks.

    Higher sea level to start from will clearly make a storm surge (like that of the storms Sandy and Haiyan) run up higher. By adding 1+1 we therefore know that sea-level rise is increasing the damage from storm surges – probably decades before this can be statistically proven with observational data.

    Back when I was growin’ up, during the depths of the ice age, the sea level wasn’t just a few inches lower, it was 60 fathoms lower. By them folks’ reasoning, those amongst us living along the old sea shore couldn’ta been be much hurt by a hurricane or typhoon because the storm surge would need to be 300 times bigger than Katrina to swamp our little camp.

    They need to stay in school past the 1 plus 1 equals 2 class and get some more learnin’.

    .

    • Say, GT, r u a serf? )

    • George Turner

      No, but I like your posts. :)

      I had to get in character to match the simple-minded stupidity of the logic. Obviously they didn’t run any simple logical tests on their reasoning, like “Sea levels have been rising since the end of the last glaciation period, so sea surges must be getting bigger and bigger!”

      Also of note, the deadliest hurricanes in Atlantic history occurred during the Little Ice Age, and three hurricanes from 1770-1780 killed a total of about 32,000 people when population densities were still very low.

    • David Springer

      Rising sea level means the ocean, and surges too, encroach more and more onto land with people and buildings and docks and stuff like that built when the ocean was lower.

      True or false, George?

  18. The theoretical scenario is convincing to people who adopt as a null hypothesis and starting point for their reasoning that AGW is worsening extreme weather events. It is not convincing to people looking for empirical evidence.

    Indeed. The user of the analysis is the one, who selects the null hypothesis.

  19. The trouble with the AGW zealots is they never admit the obvious:

    All good weather is caused by climate change.

  20. Professor Curry,

    May I respectfully submit that your null hypothesis number 2 – humans are influencing extreme weather events – may be true without having to invoke the spectre of global warming.

    Briefly, if you accept the theory of chaos, and accept that the work of Lorenz, Mandelbrot and Feynman, amongst others, is valid in respect to chaos theory, then global warming is in no way necessary to explain extreme weather events occurring as the ultimate result of the existence of humans.

    I accept that this statement may well expose me to a barrage of criticism of one form or another, but if I am right, continued jawboning about causes, pauses, gravity warming, oscillations, skyfalls and all the rest can be abandoned, and we can all become needlessly agitated about the next pointless fad.

    To anyone who says that arbitrarily small changes to a deterministic dynamical system cannot result in unpredictable arbitrarily large changes to outputs, I cannot prove otherwise. However, like many theories, confirmation may take an extremely long time, or a theory may remain just a theory for ever.

    This does not necessarily detract from its utility. You can probably think of many such theories for yourself for yourself.

    Merely an opinion, but one which which will ultimately prove to be correct, if my assessment is correct.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

    • Sorry about the typo – although it possibly makes sense in a weird sort of way!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  21. JC reflections:

    The theoretical scenario is convincing to people who adopt as a null hypothesis and starting point for their reasoning that AGW is worsening extreme weather events. It is not convincing to people looking for empirical evidence.

    So then we get to politics and policy. Given that there are two large, vocal camps, and neither is going away, what are politicians to do?

    There is also a much larger camp than either of these two. It is those that are interested in the well-being of themselves and their families in the near term. These people comprise (my guess) 97% of the world population. They want, water, food, health, education, law and order, freedom of speech etc. All this is best delivered by an improving global economy – improving as fast as possible. So, Politicians have to focus on this.

    From my perspective the technical problem is not all that ‘wicked’. But the political problem is and that’s because of the greenies religion. They are blocking progress. They’ve been blocking progress for 50 years. They are the anti-enlightenment people. the ones who want to send us back to the dark ages.

    The solution is to focus only on ‘no regrets policies’. They include bot adaptation and mitigation – but only if they deliver improvements to the economy irrespective of any GHG emissions reduction. This could, of course, be achieved by allowing cheaper, and better electricity supply to be delivered to more people in or countries. And this could be done with small modular nuclear power plants. See ‘Introduction to SMRs‘ here: http://www.smrnuclear.com.au/images/Documents/AN_INTRODUCTION_TO_SMALL_MODULAR_REACTORS_Feb_2013_FINAL.pdf.

    Also Slide 5 here: http://www.smrnuclear.com.au/images/Documents/2013_May_EA_SMR_IRWIN2.pdf of eleven small modular reactor designs in various stages of development from USA, Argentina, Korea, Russia, China, Japan

    The politicians have to satisfy both camps – the doomsayers and the deniers – and the 97% who are not interested in CAGW but just want their and their children well-being to improve. The politicians can deliver the best for all by implementing ‘no regrets’ policies only. Rational people from the doomsayer and denier camps and all in between can help by thinking economically rationally. IMO, it would be best to continually ridicule the extremism and irrational policies advocated by the environmental NGOs )Greenpeace, WWF, FoE, Concerned (non) Scientists, John Holdren, etc.

  22. Fear of global warming was for the most part the product of the coldest and most inaccessible parts of the world being assigned a temperature that at the most was supposedly warming (at least, on paper) –like going from -40°C to -30°C was evidence of global warming. Following that technique, perhaps we may conclude that global warming causes worse extreme weather events (at least, on paper) based on winds on mountaintops, blizzards at poles, freakishly-large rogue waves on distant oceans and finding that deserts are drier than they’ve ever been (oops, deserts are greening).

  23. “Simple physical reasoning suggests that increased sea surface temperatures will increase hurricane intensity. But what about circulation changes associated with global warming, that might provide more or fewer El Nino events? ”

    It seems we will have increase in hurricane intensity, simply because we have had higher hurricane intensity in the past and we are currently at what seems a low level.

    But if examine the longer past, say during last interglacial period, where we had warmer oceans, does physical reasoning suggests that we would increased hurricane intensity at this time?

    Or since most of last 500 million years we have had ocean much warmer than present cold oceans, does it suggest Earth most of the time normally
    has much stronger hurricane then we have now?

    If want to divide the world between human and nature, one could say nature
    has little concern about what we could reasonable assume is a problem related to hurricane intensity. Particularly in regards to hurricane intensity
    over ocean, where most the hurricanes are. The fishes aren’t much bothered, though corals may relate to hurricanes as trees do to forest fires- though forest fires are probably more of relative significant.

    So in terms of hurricane intensity, it’s important in terms hurricane land fall,
    or ships in ocean which caught in them due to mostly lack of being able to predict hurricanes. With satellites generally, being of great use for ships in regard to hurricanes. So we have humans living in the coast and storm surges of hurricanes being significant element. In terms of the wind, what seems particular lethal is flying debris. So it seems far more dangerous to live in neighborhood with badly constructed buildings then an area with buildings able to withstand high winds.

    So it seems will likely have higher hurricane intensity in the future, just we will have bigger earthquakes and neither have anything to do with global warming.

  24. pottereaton

    “Just say we don’t know.”

    And if you don’t know, then don’t waste time, energy, and money on trying to prepare for what you do not understand and cannot quantify, much less predict.

    It’s the same with CAGW. If you don’t know what the problem will look like, wait until the problem begins to define itself. Warmists will say it already has begun to do that, but we don’t really know that, do we? Have these problems revealed themselves as problems, or are the slight perturbations and deviations we’ve seen just natural climate changes that could be attributed to other forces?

    Just because some statistical measurements are not heeding to some mythical norm, it doesn’t mean that the changes are anthropogenic.

    • Just as it is better being poor in a rich country than in a poor one it is better living in fear of that global warming may be worsening extreme events than having to face the privations that global cooling will bring.

    • Ah! pottereaton … this is just not any ordinary “mythical norm”, this is an artificial manufactured mythical norm !

    • JC says “Just say we don’t know.”, and that should have been advice to Pielke too. He used a short period to say he does know that normalized losses have not changed, when the data support neither change nor none. As Emanuel points out, normalizing damage by GDP is not automatically correct in any case. Countries with less GDP can have more damage from a given storm than those with high GDP, completely counter to Pielke’s central assumption of a direct correlation. It’s just not that simple. Be skeptical.

  25. Obama makes the oceans slow their rise,
    generations on from now will recognize
    that this was the moment, this the time!
    Now there’s a shaman worthy of following,
    kinda’ like Canute holding back the tide…
    of sea-rise, weather, information or whatever.

    Obama’s Democratic Nomination Speech 2008.

    • This is not the end of global cooling.
      It is not even the beginning of global warming.
      But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning of warming.

  26. I don’t really understand how higher atmospheric temperatures, which means more water vapor will be held in atmosphere, can cause sea level rise. It takes a huge amount of energy out of the air to raise sea water temperatures to cause any expansion of sea water. More water vapor in the atmosphere means less in other places.

  27. Matthew R Marler

    A post at RealClimate argues:

    Our old friend Fred Moolten chimed in on that one.

    If a theory predicts something to occur or to exist, and if a search guided by the theory finds no evidence that it occurs or exists, then that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Not proof, as Fred notes, but evidence. The classic example is the Michelson-Morley attempt to estimate the effect of moving through Maxwell’s luminiferous aether.

  28. Well it seems to me that the climate changes almost every day, hot, cold, rain, dry sunshine; this is not so with a term like “‘Global Warming”‘ which is apparently conclusion once you use that designation. All over the world, Prime Ministers, and Governments ,seem to be spending money against the existence of major Global Warming (and I suppose climate change). Science takes through many stages, fact and fiction, consensus or speculation, but it may fail us in the hours of panic and controversy. We need urgent and accurate answers, from all the climate scientists we know.

    • Climate Science is a relatively new field. Many Climate Scientists have been educated in an extremely Biased, Consensus, system. One Climate Scientist who lectured our NASA Alumni League said not of us would pass his most basic climate class. He is right. We question everything and he does not tolerate that. The questions as to why the Models are always wrong when compared to actual data, will not be answered by the Consensus, Biased, Brainwashed People. The answers must come from outside the clique. Scientists who have broken the bonds and become Skeptical, Scientists who acknowledge there is some uncertainty, beyond one or two or three percent, Scientists in other fields, will make the difference.

    • David L. Hagen

      Ramesh Sujanani
      Re: “Need accurate answers”
      In the TRUTHS project, Nigel Fox at NPL shows that satellite accuracy can be improved by an order of magnitude which would reduce the detection period threshold by ~3x.

  29. Matthew R Marler

    With good physical reasons to expect the dice are loaded, we should not fool ourselves with reassuring-looking but uninformative statistics. Some statistics show significant changes – but many are simply too noisy to show anything. It would be foolish to just play on until the loading of the dice finally becomes evident even in highly noisy statistics. By then we will have paid a high price for our complacency.

    The statistics are part of the process of testing whether the physical theory is complete and accurate. It is a part of testing whether the asserted physical reasons are “good physical reasons”. But public policy requires a very thorough testing process, lest we pay a high price for jumping to a premature conclusion.

    After the radiative energy transfers are described and the absorption/radiation spectra of CO2 confirmed, the rest of the theory of human CO2-induced global warming pretty well falls apart. It would be a shame to spend $trillions on behavioral and technological “solutions” that have no impact because we acted on a theory that was full of holes and mostly untested.

    • Simply apply the Precautionary Principle to the Precautionary Principle. Now we’re getting recursive.
      =================

  30. Bob Ludwick

    @ Dr. Curry

    “It is not convincing to people looking for empirical evidence.”

    People who want to remain ‘Climate Scientists in Good Standing’ should probably look for empirical evidence in private, with the lights off. And make sure that the word doesn’t get out.

    We’ll use your experience with ‘following the data’ to serve as a warning to others so inclined.

  31. “…One would be foolish to make plans that have to deal with U.S. hurricane risk without accounting for the evidence that the underlying risk is increasing…”

    Huh?

    1935 is a long way off for the U.S., as is 1938 for New York. Of course, one should prepare for hurricanes of that intensity…but all the money and attention seems to go toward climate fetishism and dogma, not climate preparedness. Did Bloomberg campaign against dumping rubble in the mouth of the Hudson when the Twin Towers were going up? It’s a lot easier to be an “activist” than to be active.

    Only a few storms have measured below the extreme number of 880 hPa. As far as I know, three were in the 1970s and one in the 1950s. Does anybody know why? Does anybody know when Tip will be exceeded? Is anyone willing to use the above factoids to claim a “pause” in sub-880 typhoons? Anyway, Sandy (like Thelma) is proof enough you don’t need no stinkin’ category. You just need the wrong tide in the wrong place, and a populace happy to forget their metropolis has been built near sea level in a notorious hurricane belt.

    What we can know is that flood mitigation such as what was done on Leyte post-Thelma with the help of the Japanese means that more humans get to survive when a Haiyan comes along.

    Okay, so climate science stands where medical science stood when it was controversial for surgeons to wash their hands. You can still pin a roof down and stop a hillside from sliding, can’t you?

  32. Pokerguy (aka al neipris)

    The opportunity to blame every so called extreme weather event along with its attendant human suffering on global warming, is a propagandists dream. Expect such ridiculous statements like bill McKibbens “(tropical storm) Irene has a middle name and the name is global warming” to continue, no matter how scant the evidence. This is no longer about the science. It hasn,t been for a very long time.

    • Al Gore stayed in Divinity School just long enough to learn how shamans manipulated the populace with fear and guilt over weather.
      ==================

  33. If you don’t care for Wikipedia, you might care for Yale university:

    “Most of the Earth’s geological and geophysical activity occurs because our planet is cooling to space, thereby inducing currents of cold sinking and hot rising material, otherwise known as convection. Convection in the Earth’s mantle is the engine of plate tectonics and gives rise to the creation of ocean basins and continents; similarly, convection in the Earth’s liquid-iron outer-core powers the geomagnetic field. Understanding how the Earth has been evolving in this way is one of the many aspects of studying the physics of the Earth’s interior. Geophysical research is fundamentally multidisciplinary, and here at Yale we employ a variety of observational, experimental, and theoretical approaches to investigate the structure and dynamics of the Earth from atomic to global scale”

    Geophysicists, unlike mathematically trained jugglers, appear to employ the methods used by real scientists to understand Nature.

    Warmists apear unable to accept that the planet is cooling. Slowly, inexorably, relentlessly. This fact may not be apparent when you are basking in the Sun, or even on a daily basis. If the rate is a millionth of a degree per year – and no, I haven’t actually measured this, so forgive me – then it is imperceptible to the inhabitants.

    It is quite irrelevant if you have just been incinerated by a volcanic eruption in the vicinity of Pompeii, but it is true nevertheless.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

    • Curious George

      Mike – yes and no. “Our planet is cooling to space” means in this context “Our planet is losing heat to space from its interior”. Our planet is also heated by a decay of radioactive elements in its interior. Whether the two are balanced is anybody’s guess; insufficient data. The last time I checked (some years ago) a heat flow through the Earth’s mantle was estimated at 70 mW/m2, but I suspect it is more of a guess than an estimate.

  34. I think Dr. C. hit the nail on the head. CAGWers tend to focus on step one, backradiation from increased levels of CO2, but then ignore step 42. Step 42 is much, much harder to prove than Step 1.

  35. Dr. Curry’s null hypothesis IS the prevailing null hypothesis and scientifically makes the most sense. You have to start from the standpoint of status quo, not change. Trenberth is arguing for a change, but has no scientific basis for it. He has a very political basis for it. Should he magically get the null hypothesis become a reality, then they do not need to prove AGW. The test becomes to prove it is not. Yet that flies in face of basic science. You do not add a compound to a mixture and then call it normal to test if there is no effect.

    I believe putting the 2 nulls in the same paragraph is a mistake. Trenberth has proposed. Dr. Curry is simply stating.

  36.  D C   

    Want another April Fools Day joke to play on your politicians? Try the greenhouse effect …

    The argument that planets are still cooling off, or are somehow generating internal energy that maintains their existing temperature is not valid because …

    (1) Every planet cools on its dark side at a rate which could easily have enabled it to cool right down (even in its core) to about the temperature supported by any external radiation. Venus cools about 5 degrees in 4 months, Earth cools by about 10 degrees in 12 hours etc. In other words, if the Sun existed but emitted no significant energy, it would appear that all planets in our Solar System could have cooled down close to absolute zero.

    (2) So it must be energy from the Sun which is maintaining the existing temperatures on all planets and satellite moons, even down to their cores, and it must be doing so by raising the temperatures back up again by the amount equal to the cooling the night before. Why, for example, is the core of our Moon so much hotter than the surface ever is?

    (3) Hence we require an explanation as to how the necessary energy gets into the lower troposphere, the surface and even below the surface of a planet or moon in order to maintain the current temperatures. In general, radiation from a colder atmosphere cannot actually add net thermal energy to a warmer surface and thus contribute to raising its temperature, because that would decrease entropy. This is established by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    (4) The original NASA net energy budgets for Earth did not show radiative energy transfers by the atmosphere to the surface, but they then found that the radiation from the Sun alone does not explain the mean surface temperature when using Stefan-Boltzmann calculations. Such calculations are inappropriate anyway, because what is effectively “the surface” is a very thin layer (let’s say 1cm thick) and about 70% of this thin 1cm layer is transparent water. A black or gray body is not transparent by definition, and so S-B should not be applied to a thin 1cm layer of transparent water. The mean temperature of the ocean thermocline (all of which is absorbing the solar radiation but not back radiation) is about 8 to 10 degrees below the mean surface temperature.

    (5) Whilst for Earth climatologists and IPCC authors then claimed to overcome this shortage of direct solar radiation by adding back radiation, you cannot possibly imagine that this would “work out” on Venus. Such back radiation cannot participate in any raising of the temperature of the Venus surface and, even if you think it could, you would have to explain how it could be over 16,000 watts per square meter, somehow multiplying the energy in the incident solar radiation (20 watts per square meter at the surface) by nearly 1,000-fold. If you shine a light such that it reflects multiple times between parallel mirrors, do you create more energy? That is what the radiative greenhouse conjecture is implying can happen with radiation back and forth between the surface and the atmosphere.

    (6) Between the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere and the TOA there is a mean thermal gradient which is very close to the usual calculated value (for the “Dry adiabatic lapse rate”) which is the negative quotient of the acceleration due to gravity and the weighted mean specific heat of the gases. On Venus (as on Earth) the effective (environmental) lapse rate (thermal gradient) is reduced by about 25% to 35% by inter-molecular radiation between carbon dioxide molecules on Venus, and water molecules on Earth, together with some release of latent heat on Earth which may play a small part in producing the “wet adiabatic lapse rate” though not the major part. So, why is it so? Is it just a coincidence that the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere is 320K (hotter than Earth’s surface) which is just the right amount for the correct thermal gradient to exist in the 350Km of troposphere above, such that the temperature at the so-called radiating altitude is just right at around 60K? Likewise on Venus and other planets?

    • DC,

      1. Could, would, could, if the Sun emitted no significant energy. Mebbe, mebbe not.

      2. Why is the core of the Moon hotter than the surface? Because the surface has cooled more quickly than the core. Seems reasonable, given what we think we know.

      3. As geophysicists point out, the Earth is still cooling. You have probably also noticed that radiation from the Sun penetrates to the ground, and warms it. The deeper you go into the Earth, the hotter it gets. Likewise, the Sun, the Moon, Venus etc. No mystery here.

      4. I agree. Some NASA employees seem to be confused. But then again, aren’t we all, from time to time.

      5. Back radiation is about as important as front radiation, side radiation, or up a little and a bit more to the right radiation. Emitted radiation tends to move away from the body from which it was emitted in straight lines. Reasonably well understood physics applies.

      6. Yes, the situation on Uranus is coincidence. As you say – close to the calculated value. I think even Pekka Pirila will agree with me that gravity has no effect on the calculated lapse rate given certain conditions. He has posted the calculations previously. You may not agree, but that’s life.

      I notice you stopped at 6.

      I’m happy to provide answers to any further questions you may have, if I can. If I am factually incorrect anywhere, let me know, and I’ll obviously change my thinking.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Sorry, but I just don’t cotton to your argument…

  37. With good physical reasons to expect the dice are loaded, we should not fool ourselves with reassuring-looking but uninformative statistics. Some statistics show significant changes – but many are simply too noisy to show anything.

    A rather ridiculous argument in my opinion.

    The physics? It simply supplies the mathematical logic behind the theory.

    Statistical methods are all about identifying a meaningful signal from the noise: – there is either detectable change or there is not; you cannot keep claiming that the theory is proof in itself.

  38. It is a rare event indeed in climate science or for that matter any form of science for an admission to be made by those scientists involved in the research that their attitudes and thinking processes towards their subject are shaped by the circumstances, the time lines and events of both their early and recent past life.
    Scientists universally like to suggest they are supposedly impartial and free from those life shaping circumstances of the past and therefore their pursuit of the scientific truth is impartial and unaffected by their own particular human flaws and weaknesses which they have suposedly neutered by their self imposed impartiality towards the subject.
    Unfortunately for this self congratulatory view of self imposed impartiality by scientists, they are just human like all the rest of us deeply flawed specimens of humanity and their research and it’s resulting outcomes are just as biased and flawed as any from those employed in any other profession or trade in our society.

    So where does this lead to?

    A bit of self reflecting on some 76 years of my past life and how it has coloured my attitudes towards climate change or extreme weather or whatever it is called in the last couple of weeks.

    The first 60 years of my life were spent as a small child and then as a grain farmer on the vast flat open grain producing plains of western Victoria.
    Since 1998 I have retired to live in Horsham, a small regional city of 13,000 people situated in the very climate benign western Victoria in the SE of Australia.

    I took up power flying in 1959 and then moved onto gliding in 1963.
    Gliding because of it’s mental challenges and it’s personal aspects became my chosen sport and still is after some 50 years and 3000 hours of gliding.
    Consequently weather and climate in all it’s hour by hour,day by day and week by week and seasonal aspects became personally all important to me and and was closely followed and studied both from a farming, income earning aspect and from a sport/ gliding viewpoint.

    So I personally experienced and lived in and by the weather and climate and all it’s myriad variations and extremes, both income earning and in my sport for all of those first 60 years of my life.
    From those 60 years and like just about every farmer I have known through all those years, the idea that weather and climate are doing anything unusual or extreme outside of the normal course of weather and climate events just does not register as having any sense when measured up against the personal experiences of our own lives and the tales told by our farming forebearers of times pre our birth.

    My 50 years of experiencing flying / gliding weather also fully supports the notion that weather and climate aren’t doing anything different to the often sharp and large variations and changes in weather and seasonal patterns, the droughts, floods, heat, cold, storms and etc that have always been during my lifetime and for the 200 years of white settlement at least here in Australia.

    The last 16 years of my life have been spent in retirement within the city environs of Horsham and this is where I have experienced a very marked change in my thinking on extreme weather and climate and the realisation of what drives the thinking processes of all those scientists and advocates of the current claims of extreme weather due to the so called climate change.

    In the flat open plains north of Horsham where even an american from the Great Plains states told us that he had never been so cold as he as on a strong wind straight off the Antarctic some 3000 kms south, mid winter day out on those plains [ as a youth in the pre chemical weed control days I use to sit for 8 or 10 hours at a time on an open tractor in early to mid winter cultivating that land to kill the weeds prior to seeding ] we were exposed to the full gamut of weather and climate in all of it’s most benign as well as it’s more extreme forms.

    The now so called “extremes” in weather were pretty much just accepted, run of the mill type stuff for the first 60 years of my child hood and farming life.

    Now after some 16 years living in Horsham surrounded by houses and buildings that protect one from the extremes of wind and cold, plus the UHI effect of a city of 13,000 people I find myself to be far more sensitive to the forecasts of strong winds and cold and heat than I was when living out in the exposed countryside.
    Predictions of rainfall and amounts of course in this 400 mm winter rainfall belt [ sometimes! ] were always of the very first consideration.

    A trip out to the airfield soon convinces me that nothing much has changed in the weather and climate as airfields are somewhat notorious for a location where one will seem to experience the most extreme forms of weather and climate.

    So thats where the BOM puts it’s recording stations!

    What this personal experience leads me to is that unless a climate researcher has lived out in an open weather, non city situation for much of their lives and have a true perspective and hard experience of what real time weather and climate actually feels like and consists of, their thinking on climate and particularly weather extremes are deeply colored and influenced by their concept of weather and climate from the highly regulated and climate controlled office and computer centre in the ivory towers of academia.

    I would suggest that many of those same researchers poring over their climate prediction models and analysis of [ modeled ? ]research data will have rarely and personally experienced the outdoor environment and weather for most of each working week.
    That limited outdoor experience being the walk from the air conditioned office and computer rooms to the car park with even the automatic garage doors never requiring the researcher to experience that protected city environment and UHI affected weather before he enters his abode.

    The researcher’s personal and most of their life long isolation from the often harsh real world weather and climate outside of the protected environs of even a city, deeply colors the outlook and beliefs of the researchers and therefore introduces deeply ingrained and inherent biases and prejudices into their research and it’s predictions and outcomes.

    I think this is a major factor in the biases being expressed by these cosseted, ivory towered, inexperienced and unfamiliar with real world weather climate researchers in their constant and repeated refrains based on their [ inadvertently and mentally biased ] programming of their climate models to expect more extreme weather and climate events in the future.

    Something that anybody who has spent a life time living out there in that real world weather and climate and has seen and lived through and experienced the extremes that weather and climate can throw at us will know is pure bulldust and does nothing to enhance the already low standing of climate science amongst those who live in the real world of the wide open spaces and real time weather and climate.

    • “What this personal experience leads me to is that unless a climate researcher has lived out in an open weather, non city situation for much of their lives and have a true perspective and hard experience of what real time weather and climate actually feels like and consists of, their thinking on climate and particularly weather extremes are deeply colored and influenced by their concept of weather and climate from the highly regulated and climate controlled office and computer centre in the ivory towers of academia.”

      Quite so. I’ve seen similarities with academic economists immersed in numbers and not appreciating the real world impacts. This is compounded in Australia at the political level, which is increasingly dominated by those who engaged in student politics and have been part of the political machine ever since. So the ignorant are advising the ignorant. The best hope is that the hoi polloi can cut through the nonsense sufficiently to demand commonsense policies.

    • Thank you ROM.

    • Faustino,

      The best hope is that the hoi polloi can cut through the nonsense sufficiently to demand commonsense policies.

      I’d suggest, what is really needed, is fort more involvement from business people. They have a far better understanding of the real world, and including what is going on internationally. They simply have a far better understanding of the real world than the academics and bureaucrats.

      The Howard government (the previous conservative government in Australia) got a lot of input from business and this is one of the reasons they were so much more competent than the Rudd-Gillard-Brown-Milne) (Labor and Greens) government we had from 2007 to 2013. Hopefully the new conservative government will be good like the Howard government. They have an enormous hole to dig us out of. They’ll need to remove the impediments to business that are destroying Australia’s international competitiveness (we’ve slipped to 128th of 145 countries on Burden of government regulation ref WEC “The Global Competitiveness Index data platform” http://www.weforum.org/issues/competitiveness-0/gci2012-data-platform/ and choose ‘Series; 1.09)

    • We have a lot in common ROM. I am 74 ex broad acre farmer from Western Australia and always interested in weather as it is a vital ingredient of whether farmers do well or not so well.

      With only 200 years plus of recordings in Australia there is simply not enough data to draw conclusions of where our climate is tracking.

      Many of the academics as with city people, appear to lead cloistered lives in air conditioned offices and homes with no real sense of climate in the areas where they live.

    • ROM,

      Well said.
      /humour on

      The last time I was in Horsham I very nearly succumbed to heat stroke as I battled my way down the main street to the local stockmans’ outfitters to buy a new hat. Apparently, you had pinched all the cold air to cool yourself down whilst relaxing on your tractor, all the while contemplating the bounties that Nature hands out willy-nilly.

      Might I suggest that next time you trap some of the cold with CO2, and leave it in a convenient place for use by passing wayfarers to cool their sweaty brows.

      But seriously, I don’t know why you would complain about the weather in Horsham. I believe the temperature ranges between -2C, and 45C, so the average is a very comfortable figure approximating the scientific definition of room temperature. You should obviously stay in the room!

      Take a teaspoon of cement and harden up!

      /humour off

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  39. I think the point that is being missed here is that if extreme weather events are barely perceptible statistically, the huddled masses can’t be suffering to any meaningful greater extent. Obviously they can be hoodwinked into believing so.

  40. Well, climate extremes cluster at the beginning and ending of interglacials, so if we eventually do detect greater climate extremes, well, Katie, Bar the Door.
    ============

    • kim

      Climate extremes also cluster at exceptional periods within inter glacials.

      The transition period between the mwp and the first phase of the lia around 1200 to 1340AD showed some extraordinary extremes far beyond what we see today. there seems to have been another cluster during the 15th century as the climate turned down again

      That is not to say that extreme events can not happen at any time in any climate state, just that the transition period and the LIA itself seems to have had more than its fair share compared to the warmer mwp and the modern warm period.

      tonyb

    • King Lear :

      ‘Blow winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
      You cataracts and hurricanes, spout
      Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks,
      You sulphurous and thought- executing fires,
      Vaunt – couriers to oak – cleaving thunderbolts
      Singe my white head! And thou, all – shaking thunder,
      Strike flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
      Crack nature’s moulds, all germens spill at once
      That make ungrateful man.’

      Supposed to have been written soon after 1600, post a
      LIA freezing of the Thames,1595 … jest sayin’. (

  41. Temporal lobe epilepsy can give a condition called an absence fit.
    These can come on with no warning and often do not result in harm as the person is able to go through a basic semblance of function but is unaware of their actions and sayings at the time.
    A bit like driving your car to work and not realizing what happened on the way.
    Professor Kerry Emmanuel [he] seems to have had an absence from logical thought but it was very difficult to rebut RP presentation given that he is the only one[s] doing research in this area of note hence there was no material to fall back on to rebut it.
    It reminds me a bit of the same attack on RP after his Senate evidence with the same sort of sniping.
    It must have gone up because the evidence shows it is flat therefore it cannot have gone down? sort of line

  42. You start out with:

    “Does global warming make extreme weather events worse?”

    Why bother? There is a high probability that global warming does not exist and any effort expended on this is a waste. It is equivalent to trying to figure out how many angels can dance on the tip of the needle. You have to be certain that there are angels before you start attributing behavior to them. I have explained before why there probably is no warming but a quick review should be beneficial to all. The warming the IPCC says is coming is greenhouse warming, or more accurately, enhanced greenhouse warming, because it refers to warming from addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The source of it is burning fossil fuels and we have an accurate record of how much of it is in the air at any given time from the Keeling curve and its extensions. If you look at that curve for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries you will note that it is extremely smooth except for a seasonal wiggle caused by loss and regrowth of leaves. That is not true of the global temperature history. Laws of physics demand that whenever you want to start a greenhouse warming you must simultaneously add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. We do know of such warming periods in historic times. There was a warming that started from scratch in 1910, raised global temperature by half a degree Celsius, and stopped very suddenly in 1940. There was also another short warming that started in 1999, raised global temperature by a third of a degree in only three years, and then stopped. An examination of the Keeling curve tells us that no carbon dioxide was added to the atmosphere in either 1910 or in 1999. Hence, it follows that neither one of these warmings can possibly be caused by the greenhouse effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This is as basic as physics gets. There simply was no greenhouse effect and the twentieth century is greenhouse free. The twenty-first century is easier. There has been no warming whatsoever for the last 17 years, a fact well hidden by the pseudo-scientists who write IPCC reports. And this despite the fact that there is more carbon dioxide being added to the atmosphere today than ever before. This makes both the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries greenhouse free. There is no greenhouse warming now and there never has been any in recorded history. This is not a mystery but comes from adhering to the wrong greenhouse theory. The theory they use that predicts warming is the Arrhenius theory that goes back to late nineteenth century. The correct greenhouse theory is that of Ferenc Miskolczi. which they have been suppressing since 2007. The Miskolczi greenhouse theory (MGT) is the only one that can correctly explain the existence of the 17 year pause in warming we are currently living through. Why only 17 years? You might ask. That is simply because any previous warming called greenhouse was simply mislabeled by over-eager warming advocates, anxious to point to the object of their study. Come to think of it now, I really don’t know of any actual warming they positively identified as greenhouse warming.

  43. Climatology is where it is now because the ersatz Phlogistonians of climate change couldn’t pull off hiding the MWP, LIA, historical climate patterns and even the collapse of global warming hysteria that was ushered in by a long global warming hiatus and the current global cooling trend. That Western academia was so successful, initially, is amazing but also revealing, scary and disappointing knife in the back to realize just how far they are willing to go to perpetuate a hoax for self-serving and ideological purposes.

  44. It does seem that simple counting shows that there has been no increase in tornados or hurricanes over the last century, in the US anyway. The argument that “physics” says it will happen is rather tenuous.

    On another note, I have noted at ATTP an atmosphere of desperation and increasing name calling and sarcasm with regard to WGII. That I think means that common sense is beginning to overwhelm the mitigation imperative. Mitigation has been a manifest failure and that I’m sure makes people of a certain frame of mind desperate and causes them to search for scapegoats. Skeptics are a convenient one even though they have little to do with the reasons for our current situation. Mitigation is a little like virginity was in the Middle Ages. Purists say that they are alarmed that there is not more of it, as long as someone else has to actually do it.

  45. Kerry Emmanuel demonstrates his ignorance, or his dishonesty. Which is it?:

    While some disagreement remains about projections of the weakest storms, which seldom do much damage, both theory and models are now in good agreement …

    The theory and the models are in agreement? Really? Who’d a thunk it?

    Why does Emmanuel make that statement as if it is an example of independent lines of evidence converging?

    Is it because he does not understand that a model is the numerical embodiment of a theory, and thus the two must (unless the programmer is incompetent) agree?

    Or he simply promoting reasoning he knows to be false?

    • Always the same question, the same question; ignorant, or disingenuous. I don’t think Kerry can claim ignorance, but I claim his audience is even more ignorant than they were before.
      ====================

    • JJ

      I seriously doubt that Kerry Emanuel is astute enough to realize that what he stated is total gibberish.

      Fortunately, many of those who read it are a bit more astute.

      Max

    • kim

      I do not believe we necessarily have an “either/or” situation here.

      “Absence of evidence” of either stupidity or dishonesty goes not equal “evidence of absence” of either or both.

      But the statement is blatantly stupid, even if it was meant honestly.

      Max

    • Thanks, JJ; ‘both theory and models are now in good agreement’ is a remarkable thing for him to say, and I got a big laugh over it yesterday. So parse it a little. Does the ‘now’ mean they previously were not in good agreement? Does Emanuel think no one will notice the lack of empiricism in his formulation, or does he not notice it himself? Is he as bound up in the viability of the alarmist meme as he seems bound up in the imaginary world of models.

      I dunno. What I do know is there is a massive load of pathology there, and I can smell it all the way over here.
      ==================

    • Kim,

      If Kerry wants to claim ignorance, be gracious.

      Let him have it.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Yes, let’s be charitable. There is great need.
      ================

    • I think it’s just precious the way he holds it up like a new found bright bauble. We’ve got ‘good agreement’! Aren’t we amaaaaazing?
      ===============================

    • Oops, eleemosynary gave way to elementary risery.
      ============

  46. Dr. Curry says:”There is no evidence even of a trend in most extreme events; attributing any trend to AGW is extremely difficult.”

    Alarmist dogma Drs. say: “Thanks a lot, Jody. Well if there had been a trend, it woulda been caused by AGW.”

    The alarmist mob would have been better of without the 538 rebuttal. I read all the comments. Their worst nightmare is to have an open debate. They never come off well. I haven’t wasted any time looking at the discussion on realclimate. I bet the alarmists won that one.

    • PS And the model outputs confirm the model inputs…

    • Superb amd typical, denier logic from Don;

      ” Their worst nightmare is to have an open debate…”
      ” I haven’t wasted any time looking at the discussion on realclimate”

      Ah, such commitment to “open debate”!

    • Real Open Debate.
      ==============

    • Michael

      RealClimate is not the site to search for “open debate”.

      Dissent gets censored out by Schmidt.

      Max

    • Mikey is a realclimate drone. He doesn’t really know what’s going on there. He only lands there for re-programing and refueling.

  47. Let’s try out a bit of simple logic.

    Absence of evidence (in a court of law) = innocence (by definition)

    Because the “null hypothesis” = innocent until proven guilty

    Absence of evidence (in climatology) allegedly does not equal evidence of absence.

    HOWEVER

    It is a pretty good indicator of absence

    And, since the “null hypothesis” (following Occam’s Razor) = absence (until evidence can be provided):

    Absence of evidence (that global warming will cause more severe weather events) = lack of observed correlation (between global warming and severe weather events)

    Lack of correlation = evidence of lack of causation

    THEREFORE

    Absence of evidence (in climatology) = evidence of absence.

    Looks pretty straightforward to me.

    Max

  48. I don’t believe you accurately summarized the post by the anonymous author of And Then There’s Physics. A longer excerpt paints a somewhat different picture.

    “So, Roger Pielke Jr is right.

    “Or is he? What this analysis is illustrating, I think, is the time at which virtually all models show an increased trend. So, yes, this is the time at which we would almost certainly see an increased trend (assuming the assumptions are appropriate) but it doesn’t tell you how likely it is to see an increased trend at an earlier time.

    “… It may well be more than 200 years before we’re virtually certain to be able to detect an increased trend in normalised losses, but there’s a 50% chance that it will occur before 2100 and about a 15% chance that it will occur before 2045. I would certainly argue (assuming I haven’t made some silly mistake) that this is relevant. Surely it’s not simply when we’re virtually certain to detect an increased trend, but also how likely such an increased trend is in the coming decades.”

    • Editor

      There is “absence of evidence” to demonstrate that RP was not correct in his essay.

      Your speculation does not change this.

      Max

    • Manacker,

      “Your speculation does not change this.”

      What speculation? I said that Prof Curry’s excerpt did not well describe the post at And Then There’s Physics — and gave an excerpt from that post as evidence.

      As for Pielke’s articles at 538, I wrote a post defending it. And received some high-profile attacks in reply, including one by Brad DeLong (Professor of Economics, Berkeley). I wrote about the response to Pielke’s article:

      The Left stages a two minute hate on Nate Silver, Roger Pielke Jr (& me)
      http://fabiusmaximus.com/2014/03/29/nate-silver-538-66954/

    • I also felt that the quote from Then There’s Physics was by no means the “conclusion”.

      • Miker,

        I assume you meant the quote in Prof Curry’s original article (at Climate Etc). I agree.

        This is why re-posting material takes almost as long as writing an average post. Checking the citations, formatting, adding graphics and supporting material — it all takes time.

        I often wonder if it’s worthwhile, as a reading the web suggests that most people want mostly snark — snark that confirms their child-like view of the world as good guys vs bad guys.

    • Editor

      Read it through again.

      Got your point.

      The comment you quoted is written in a rather obscure and indirect way and (IMO) it is loaded with all sorts of hypothetical probabilities which appear to have been pulled out of thin air.

      It points out that there are great uncertainties in any projections of “normalized losses”, but other than that I’d say it’s not worth wasting much time on.

      Maybe our hostess saw it the same way.

      You’ll have to ask her directly.

      Max

      Max

  49. ” Kerry Emanuel’s response was interesting, but he puts forward a theoretical scenario of worsening extreme events with global warming” – JC.

    Um, no.

    Emanual also referred to other similar studies that had longer data runs, and they found a discernible increase, hence his query about RPJ’s being possibly too short.

    Emanual also recently wrote this relevant piece, fo rthose who are having trouble understanding risk assessment; http://climatechangenationalforum.org/tail-risk-vs-alarmism/

    • Michael

      Emanuel blew it all with his truly stupid remark that the “models were confirming the theory”

      How stupid can you get: the models ARE the theory. Duh!

      That’s the problem with the whole CAGW premise. It is based on circular logic.

      And Emanuel no more understands risk assessment than the man in the moon. He’s a climatologist – not an insurance assessor.

      Max

    • Michael,

      Might I suggest that whoever concocted the pointless analogy contained the piece might consider reality.

      Try the exercise. Walk up to little girl waiting to cross the road, and attempt to walk off with her. Risk? Surely not! Just tell the Judge you were only trying to help her to be safe.

      Risk of being affected by future weather events? It’s part of the risk involved with life. Can you name anyone not brain dead or deluded who believes that the future is risk free, or that they can change the weather?

      Possibly more appropriate advice might be to take an umbrella with you, if you think it is likely to rain, or don’t build your house in the middle of a dry riverbed.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • “Try the exercise. Walk up to little girl waiting to cross the road, and attempt to walk off with her. Risk?” – mike

      Huh?

    • “And Emanuel no more understands risk assessment than the man in the moon. He’s a climatologist – not an insurance assessor.” – Max

      Curious how none of the ‘skeptics’ managed to notice that RPJ is no “insurance assessor”.

      At least Emanual seems to have a grasp of some basics – RPJ seems to think that only likelihood matters and consequences can be ignored.

    • Bear maulings and little girls in traffic. Is he a born propagandist or does he need help?
      ============

    • Mike Flynn

      Offer her a piece of candy first…

      Max

    • Michael

      No. You’ve got it wrong.

      Emanuel has what is known in psychiatry as a “fat tail fixation”

      Pielke does not.

      Max

    • Is he a born propagandist or does he need help?

      Both.

    • Michael,

      As you seem to have difficult comprehending risk assessment, I offer the following quote from your link:

      “But here there is very little downside to walking the girl up the street to where there is a traffic light.” – See more at: http://climatechangenationalforum.org/tail-risk-vs-alarmism/#sthash.6K0H8erV.dpuf

      If you believe that there is very little downside, you probably also believe that the absence of global warming proves that it exists.

      Might I respectfully suggest that providing useful examples to support your contention in future might engender more respect than irrelevant analogies.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Mike,

      Could you be less clear?

  50. The distinction without a difference is whether 10 people roll the dice a 1000 times or whether 1000 people roll the dice 10 times. The distribution is the same but one side aggregates the rollers, the other aggregates the rolls. each represent the same data.

  51. Water is abundant. Water, in all of its states, regulates the temperature and sea level of Earth.
    CO2 is a trace gas. Man-Made CO2 is a fraction of that. CO2 does likely have a fraction of at trace of influence.

    Water is abundant. Water, in all of its states, regulates the temperature and sea level of Earth.
    CO2 is a trace gas. Man-Made CO2 is a fraction of that. CO2 does likely have a fraction of at trace of influence.

    Water is abundant. Water, in all of its states, regulates the temperature and sea level of Earth.
    CO2 is a trace gas. Man-Made CO2 is a fraction of that. CO2 does likely have a fraction of at trace of influence.

    Water is abundant. Water, in all of its states, regulates the temperature and sea level of Earth.
    CO2 is a trace gas. Man-Made CO2 is a fraction of that. CO2 does likely have a fraction of at trace of influence.

    Water is abundant. Water, in all of its states, regulates the temperature and sea level of Earth.
    CO2 is a trace gas. Man-Made CO2 is a fraction of that. CO2 does likely have a fraction of at trace of influence.

    Water is abundant. Water, in all of its states, regulates the temperature and sea level of Earth.
    CO2 is a trace gas. Man-Made CO2 is a fraction of that. CO2 does likely have a fraction of at trace of influence. No More!

    I cannot say this enough times to reach everyone.

  52. “Losing the fat tail”

    Reminds me of the lady that backed into a meat grinder:

    Disaster!

  53. “The IPCC SREX found limited evidence of global warming worsening extreme events. Nevertheless, there are a lot of climate scientists that think global warming is worsening extreme events” – JC

    Judith, you seem to be suggesting there is a contradiction here?

    There is none.

    Mavericks usually start at a point of limited evidence and through insight, inference and hard work, end up advancing our knowledge in a significant way.

    • Even better if ‘hard work’ includes following emerging evidence.
      ===============

    • Michael

      There may not be a “contradiction”, but there certainly is a “contraindication”.

      And I’m sure you are not implying that Emanuel is a “maverick”, are you?

      Max

    • Max,

      There was a recent post begging for mavericks.

      That imples new ideas/innovations – new ideas don’t just spring forth fully formed and fully supported.

      Hence, there is no problem with “limited evidence” and climate scientists thinking that AGW is worsening extreme events.

      All it takes is a simple change of emphasis in Judith’s statement to see that;
      “The IPCC SREX found some evidence of global warming worsening extreme events. Therefore, there are a lot of climate scientists that think global warming is worsening extreme events”

    • Heh, simple change of words, complex change in meaning. April Fools Day is over Michael.
      ==============

    • Michael,

      I assume there is some point to your sentence –

      “Mavericks usually start at a point of limited evidence and through insight, inference and hard work, end up advancing our knowledge in a significant way.”, but I unable to determine what your point is.

      Pardon me if I’m wrong, but this seems like a pointless Warmist statement, devoid of meaning, or, alternatively supporting whatever meaningless Warmist statement is currently being promulgated.

      What are you trying to say, and why?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Yeah, Michael.

      You can change a word or two in a sentence and totally change its meaning.

    • kim

      Maybe Michael is commenting from California, where the April fools still have a couple of minutes to do their thing…

      Max

    • mike,

      The point was in my initial comment, with the quote;

      “The IPCC SREX found limited evidence of global warming worsening extreme events. Nevertheless, there are a lot of climate scientists that think global warming is worsening extreme events.” – JC

      All of an hour ago.

      I worry for you.

    • Maybe Michael is the Michael of April Fool’s day, in the same way that Michael Mann is the Michael Mann of climate science.

      I know, I’m being ungracious. I apologise.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Michael,

      Thank you for your worry. I’m not sure what to do with it, but it would be churlish of me not to accept, even though it appears to be of no value whatsoever.

      If I am in error as to the value of your worry, please let me know. Please be assured I will not burden you with the thought that I might, in turn, worry for you. I won’t.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • MIke,

      At your age, such forgetfulness I thought worth a little worry.

    • Michael,

      Maybe you are referring to something other than the quoted text. If so, I apologise. If not, any normal non Warmist person would no doubt be as nonplussed as I.

      ““The IPCC SREX found limited evidence of global warming worsening extreme events. Nevertheless, there are a lot of climate scientists that think global warming is worsening extreme events” – JC

      Judith, you seem to be suggesting there is a contradiction here?

      There is none.

      Mavericks usually start at a point of limited evidence and through insight, inference and hard work, end up advancing our knowledge in a significant way.”

      The last sentence has no connection with the preceding ones. Possibly there is some secret Warmist message. As an unbeliever, you will have to help me out a bit here. If I have misconstrued, please elucidate.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Mike,

      Apologies for expecting too much of you.

      Judith contrasts “limited evidence” with scientists believing that AGW leads to more extreme events.

      Not ‘no evidence’, just limited. And I believe I’m correct in perceiving an implicit critique in this.

      Nevertheless, she wants more ‘mavericks’. Mavericks aren’t joining the consensus when it’s all beyond doubt. They are typically at the fore-front of knowledge – you know, when the evidence might be initially “limited”.

      Hope this joins the dots.

    • Michael,

      I apologise for not being able to properly absorb the incandescent radiance of your vast intellect. It’s hard to perceive candlelight when you are blinded by the intensity of a carbon arc.

      Here is my train of thought. Please correct me where I err.

      JC made two statements. You have not demonstrated either to be false, so I make the assumption that you accept they are both true.

      You then proceed to compose an apparently declarative sentence expressing an opinion on Judith’s reason for stating two facts, if indeed they are such. Unfortunately, by terminating the sentence with a question mark, you indicate that the sentence is interrogatory, rather than declarative, even though the structure is declarative rather than interrogatory.

      After either posing a question or not – depending on what you intended, rather than what you said – you provide an answer to a question which does not logically follow from JC’s initial statements, if both are true.

      You then proceed to add a comment about mavericks, which may or may not be true, and may well have been dealt with at another time in another place, but standing alone as it does, serves merely as a one legged stool which collapses without additional support.

      Which dots need to be connected? Maybe I should follow your example and provide the answer I prefer – none!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • As the day wears on we find out that it simply becomes more child play when scientists never want to show us their work. Why?

      http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/04/02/EPA-Conducted-Pollution-Experiments-on-Children#disqus_thread

      How many of these scientists used their own kids for this study?
      Double blind?

    • “JC made two statements. You have not demonstrated either to be false…” – Mike

      Mike,

      Given that I made no suggestion that they were false, or claimed I could demonstrate such a thing, everything that follows seems rather pointless.

  54. Dear Professor Curry,

    “So, how to answer the question Does global warming make extreme weather events worse? Just say we don’t know.”

    That is the conclusion that I have come to about climate change theories in general. I am unconvinced that anyone really knows what they are talking/screeching about. I don’t find that disturbing per se: I think we are often stumbling around in the dark when trying to explain complex real world phenomena. I do find it strange and disturbing that so many are willing to swear they know the truth and that it is worse then we thought.

    Do you really think that these people, who have created their careers by claiming they know what is happening, can admit they don’t? I’m dubious but would be delighted to be proved wrong.

  55. Fat tail, my a—!

  56. Basic physics tells us hat the CO2 molecule has many excitation modes and its heat absorption therefore depends on which modes are excited. The singularity in 1940 provides an excellent example of that. This on /off nature can only be explained by these different excitation modes. By proper experimental observation on samples of CO2, it should be possible to predict which mode will turn up next, thus a model can be built with some hope of success.

    I still believe modelling is the way to go but models that treat climate dynamics as a continuous process will never succeed. Coefficients in the differential equations must be allowed to take on values as determined from the above experiments..

  57. This is simply to distract the public by creating yet more confusion.

    It’s an irrelevant discussion with trivial conclusions. It comes as no surprise that climate scientists would be interested in promoting these ideas since it takes the heat and focus away from the core issue, attribution of warming.
    Engaging in this discussion reaffirms the completely false notion that we have “some idea” about what has caused recent warming. I’m afraid we are nowhere near that level of certainty. The science is not mature enough. It’s simply not a logical discussion.

  58. Pingback: Weather, climate change, the risk to our expensive infrastructure – and our lives | Fabius Maximus

  59. Follow the logic trail:

    It has been warming very slowly, in fits and spurts, for quite some time

    CO2 levels have also been increasing since measurements started, at a fairly constant exponential rate with no fits and spurts

    We think human CO2 should be causing some warming, but aren’t sure how much

    We aren’t real sure why warming appears to have stopped recently despite continued unabated human CO2 emissions

    We don’t have any evidence that extreme weather events have increased

    We also do not have any evidence that they should increase with warming

    But just because there is no evidence doesn’t mean that human influences could not cause a future increase in extreme weather events

    Anyone who disagrees is a “denier”

    Huh?

    • I once thought that if I ever had a rock group, I’d call it the “Should-be Band.” The desperate warmistas are now demanding that the likes of you and I “should be banned” from our pernicious undermining of the gospel truth of CAGW.

      It used to be that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel. Now it’s die-in-a-ditch insistence on CAGW.

  60. Pingback: ¿De verdad que se aumentan los extremos climáticos, por culpa del hombre pecador? | PlazaMoyua.com

  61. Judith,

    You say that the post at ATTP concludes

    The emergence timescale of anthropogenic climate change signals in normalized losses will be around 200 years from now. So, Roger Pielke Jr is right.

    But that’s not the ultimate conclusion of the article, it then says “Or is he?” and goes on for several more paragraphs where he provides a rather more nuanced analysis.

    • Andrew adams

      Read it all again.

      Slowly.

      The “ultimate conclusion of the article” is that there is a lot of uncertainty in any future projections of “normalized” losses. (Makes sense)

      The “nuanced analysis” conjures up all sorts of vague probability statistics that are pulled out of thin air. (Makes no sense.)

      Max

    • Max,

      I have read it, I think it’s a prettty good post but that’s not really the point.

      The point is that whether one agrees with ATTP’s conclusions the way Judith represented it as supporting Pielke’s argument was not correct.

  62. Extreme events? Not here in the CET area: none this winter, few floods in the southwest (anyway outside the CET – area ) mainly due to the human negligence, belatedly now they are putting right.
    In the early November I commented :
    “Daily CET max & min temperatures suggest that forthcoming winter may not be as cold as the last one”
    http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/10/the-52-consensus/#comment-411393
    while the Met Office forecast was of severe cold, NHS was getting ready for increased pressure, power companies were increasing fuel prices, there was talk of the gas supplies running out, etc..
    Now winter is well over, spring is in the air, question is: how did we do in the CET area?
    Nicely, thank you very much, winter on average was about 1.5 C above its 20 year average, and about 2-2.5C above the previous winter’s temps, see here:.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-dMm.htm
    No NHS crisis, gas supplies were adequate and the fuel prices are edging down.

  63. “absence of evidence”

    There seems to be a absence of evidence that temperatures are still continuing to rise.

    http://climatedatablog.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/hadcrut-giss-rss-and-uah-global-annual-anomalies-aligned-1979-2013-with-gaussian-low-pass-and-savitzky-golay-15-year-filters-1979-on.png

    The real question is for how long that can continue to be the case and, if we manage to reach say 20 years without any warming what will be the response?

  64. Paul Dunmore

    Are there no statisticians hanging around at the moment? Dr Curry, you have been sucked in to a false equivalence: your hypothesis 1 is a possible null hypothesis, but 2 is not a null hypothesis at all; it is an alternative hypothesis, which is a fundamentally different animal.
    A null hypothesis is a statement which is precise enough to be statistically testable, in that – assuming provisionally that it is true – the distribution of some test statistic can be calculated. Then the evidence can be gathered, and the test statistic observed. If the observed value is highly implausible under the null hypothesis, then the null hypothesis is rejected. That is, the evidence leads us to reject the null hypothesis as inconsistent with observation. If the observed value is not implausible, then this piece of evidence is consistent with the null hypothesis. That does not prove the hypothesis true, since some future evidence (perhaps of a different kind) may cause us to reject it. But for the time being, we do not have strong evidence against it (“absence of evidence”).
    But for this to be a possible argument, the null hypothesis has to be specified precisely enough that we can tell what evidence would be inconsistent with it. Hypothesis 1, “Humans have no influence on extreme weather events”, is of that kind (with a bit of tidying up). Hypothesis 2, “Humans are influencing extreme weather events”, is not of that kind. It might, for example, mean that human influence has caused the frequency (or intensity, or energy dissipation, or whatever) of category 5 storms to double since pre-industrial times. It might, however, mean that human influence has caused the frequency (etc) to increase by 0.01% since pre-industrial times. Both of these, if true, carry the meaning of hypothesis 2. But the distribution of test statistics under these different interpretations is wildly different (in fact the second interpretation, while consistent with hypothesis 2, is for all practical purposes indistinguishable from hypothesis 1). Hypothesis 2 is a shell game, not a testable hypothesis: if the evidence is inconsistent with some formulation of the hypothesis, then the hypothesis can be reformulated, and this can go on indefinitely. The demand for “evidence of absence” can never be satisfied, because “absence” can be redefined to be arbitrarily close to zero. An alternative hypothesis, such as hypothesis 2, can never be rejected because it can never be tested.
    Roger Pielke Jr understands this, and has properly presented a testable null hypothesis (which, so far, the evidence does not appear to reject). I have never quite decided whether the people at RC do not understand it, and really believe that hypothesis 2 is a testable proposition, or whether they understand it perfectly well and are deliberately advancing an argument that is irrefutable by construction.
    But please don’t play their game. A testable null hypothesis always has a magnitude or parameter value of some kind attached (for hypothesis 1 the magnitude is “0”). The evidence might be consistent with that magnitude, or inconsistent and suggesting a larger or smaller value. But any statement that does not have a magnitude attached to it is not a valid null hypothesis, and no honest argument can treat is as worthy of the same respect as a proper null hypothesis.

    • Steven Mosher

      “But please don’t play their game. A testable null hypothesis always has a magnitude or parameter value of some kind attached (for hypothesis 1 the magnitude is “0″). ”

      Yes. Now, go to a skeptic site and explain to them that their Null
      ( natural variability explains everything) is not a testable null.

    • Steven Mosher

      Let’s apply some basic logic to this discussion.

      The two “null hypotheses” that were presented by Judith are not the only ones that could be considered.

      In fact, they themselves are already a combination of two separate “null hypotheses”

      1. Humans are causing perceptible global warming through GHG emissions (primarily CO2). [Or, conversely, humans are not causing perceptible global warming through GHG emissions (primarily CO2).]

      You write that “perceptible” has to be defined numerically in order for this to be a valid hypothesis (which I doubt), but let’s say we define “perceptible” as “causing more than 2C warming for a doubling of CO2″, just for the helluvit. [If you like another numerical definition, please state it.]

      2. Global warming will result in increased extreme weather events. [Or conversely, global warming will not result in increased extreme weather events.]

      Here we do not need a numerical definition, as I’m sure you would agree.

      Null hypothesis 1 can be validated if it can be demonstrated with empirical evidence a) that warming has been observed and b) that human GHG emissions (primarily CO2) have been the direct cause of this warming.

      As far as I know, a) has been confirmed but b) has not yet been verified empirically (only by model simulations), so null hypothesis 1 has not yet been tested empirically (neither validated nor falsified). [Jim Cripwell's position]

      However, one could argue that the model simulations, the laboratory data on CO2 absorption characteristics and the long term correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature are sort of a validation, provided we have an in-depth understanding of what all the other (natural) factors could be, which influence global temperature. We don’t today, so “more work needs to be done” before we can either validate or falsify null hypothesis 1.

      RPJ accepts that null hypothesis 1 is not rejected, based on the evidence at hand. Our hostess agrees.

      Null hypothesis 2 is in deeper trouble than 1. There is no evidence that extreme weather events have increased (either in frequency or intensity) as global temperature has risen. This, in itself, is a direct falsification of the hypothesis. Absence of correlation = evidence for absence of causation.

      Supporters of the hypothesis (like Emanuel) may say that the past record of 160 years or so is too short to really tell, and “what if the future temperature increase is several times the one in the past?”, etc. This is all interesting talk, but the fact remains that there is no evidence a) that there has been an increase in extreme weather events or b) that warming has caused an increase in extreme weather events.

      So the null hypothesis 2 is falsified for now. And Emanuel was wrong.

      As with all hypotheses, new empirical evidence could conceivably come to light, which could falsify the falsification (a “paradigm shift” of sorts). But this is highly unlikely and can be discarded for now.

      RPJ was right. And so was our hostess.

      This is my opinion. If yours is different, I’d be interested to hear it.

      Max

    • Paul Dunmore

      Steven Mosher: “Yes. Now, go to a skeptic site and explain to them that their Null (natural variability explains everything) is not a testable null.”
      News flash: Someone is WRONG on the Internet! (https://xkcd.com/386/)
      The discussion concerns a dispute between two scientists (Curry and Trenberth) about how to interpret data. Offering a comment on this dispute does not, thank goodness, require me to address every fallacy on sites run by non-expert skeptics, truthers, birthers, anti-vaxxers, gold bugs, or proponents of the Loch Ness monster.
      Second, “natural variability explains everything” is not a null hypothesis, and it is wrong for a different reason. It was actually true for climate variation in the 17th and 18th centuries; it is not, however, consistent with the data for the last 100 years (or, not as consistent as the anthropogenic explanation). But saying that “humans are influencing extreme weather events” is a null hypothesis is a logical fallacy: it is wrong regardless of any possible data, because this is not what the words “null hypothesis” mean in statistics; and the words have the meaning they do because of the role that the null hypothesis plays in drawing valid inferences from data. So both statements are incorrect, but at a fundamentally different level.
      If Dr Curry accepts that her hypothesis 2 is a null hypothesis at all, she allows a fallacy to be introduced into the heart of the discussion, and it will be impossible to proceed to draw correct conclusions from whatever data is being considered. In logic or mathematics, if you accept a false premise, then you can prove anything at all. This is why it is so important not to grant “null hypothesis” standing to a statement that is actually an alternative hypothesis.

  65. While statistical studies on extremes are plagued by signal-to-noise issues and only give unequivocal results in a few cases with good data (like for temperature extremes), we have another,

    Guilty until proven innocent!

    we have another, more useful source of information: physics
    There is nothing to learn here. Move along, move along.

    By adding 1+1 we therefore know that sea-level rise is increasing the damage from storm surges – probably decades before this can be statistically proven with observational data. -
    Small numbers times not very large numbers yields a still small number. So what. Magnitude is important.

    I’m not comfortable with Pielke’s assertion that climate change has played no role

    Would you be comfortable claiming climate change has a meaningful role? If so, pony up. If not, shut up. I wonder if Pielke would be comfortable with the “No role” claim. I suspect not, because that’s not possible to prove, now is it. So no one should be comfortable with “No Role.”

    What rubbish.

  66. Regarding the hypotheses
    1. Humans have no influence on extreme weather events
    2. Humans are influencing extreme weather events

    Really these are combining two logical steps. The first is these hypotheses with the word Humans replaced by Warming.

    1a. Warming has no influence on extreme weather events
    2a. Warming is influencing extreme weather events

    The second step is that Humans are causing most of the Warming, which if true leads back to the original (2).
    Here for the modified hypotheses, even skeptics would agree that (1a) Warming has no influence on extreme weather events, is nonsense, and (2a) is somewhat obvious. So the main question becomes the second step. The skeptics baulk here, because they see that accepting it leads to a slippery slope in attribution.

    • -Regarding the hypotheses
      1. Humans have no influence on extreme weather events
      2. Humans are influencing extreme weather events

      Really these are combining two logical steps. The first is these hypotheses with the word Humans replaced by Warming.

      1a. Warming has no influence on extreme weather events
      2a. Warming is influencing extreme weather events

      The second step is that Humans are causing most of the Warming, which if true leads back to the original (2).
      Here for the modified hypotheses, even skeptics would agree that (1a) Warming has no influence on extreme weather events, is nonsense, and (2a) is somewhat obvious. –

      Well following same logic, instead replacing humans with warming
      we could also replace warming or humans with summer. So:
      1c. Summer has no influence on extreme weather events.
      2c. Summer is influencing extreme weather events.

      There is actually a direct relationship between Summer and the Atlantic hurricane season. As we can say such things as there is a start of Hurricane season and a end of Hurricane season and summer is always in the middle of it.

      We don’t think humans are causing summers, and we don’t know if humans have increased global warming. And what is relevant point about Atlantic hurricane season is another cycle called the Southern Oscillation:
      “La Niña causes mostly the opposite effects of El Niño, above-average precipitation across the northern Midwest, the northern Rockies, Northern California, and the Pacific Northwest’s southern and eastern regions. Meanwhile, precipitation in the southwestern and southeastern states is below average. This also allows way above average hurricanes in the Atlantic and less in the Pacific.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Ni%C3%B1o

      So in terms of Atlantic hurricanes which is one type of extreme weather events, one could say the Southern Oscillation is somewhat predictable
      in terms of causation of Atlantic hurricanes.
      And one might ask have human affected the Southern Oscillation, and if so
      how?

    • gbaikie, summer cannot logically replace warming in this context unless you are saying that some dispute that summer exists significantly or say it will cease to exist in the future, or some others say that it is anthropologically caused. See what I mean? Not the same. Also winter or Tuesday, before you try those.

    • Matthew R Marler

      JimD: 1a. Warming has no influence on extreme weather events
      2a. Warming is influencing extreme weather events

      The second step is that Humans are causing most of the Warming, which if true leads back to the original (2).
      Here for the modified hypotheses, even skeptics would agree that (1a) Warming has no influence on extreme weather events, is nonsense, and (2a) is somewhat obvious. So the main question becomes the second step. The skeptics baulk here, because they see that accepting it leads to a slippery slope in attribution.

      In 1a substitute human generated CO2 for “warming”

      in 2a substitute human generated CO2 for “warming”

      Then you get the hypotheses that are the subject of the debate.

      As to “warming” itself, where is the evidence that it is occurring? That we have warmed since the end of the LIA isn’t much in doubt. But is it continuing? Even with warming, there isn’t much evidence for increased cyclonic storm energy release. A study published in Nature showed that there had been a 7% increase in maximum rainfall over 50 years in the US between the Appalachian Mountains and the Rockies, but that was one of few studies that was even well done, and the effect was mild.

      So you have three sets of theoretical statements that are full of holes: showing that “warming” is continuing; linking extremes to warming; linking warming to human sourced CO2.

      I don’t see any “balking” by skeptics. I see them jump enthusiastically into the discussion reminding everyone of the existence and importance of scientific details that warmists ignore outright or slight.

    • Wouldn’t the appropriate null hypothesis have to start with “There has been no statistically significant increase in extreme weather events? With the exception of record high temperatures, I am not sure that evidence is sufficient to reject this null hypothesis.

    • Wouldn’t the appropriate null hypothesis have to start with “There has been no statistically significant increase in extreme weather events? With the exception of record high temperatures, I am not sure that evidence is sufficient to reject this null hypothesis.

    • Appropriate for what?

      Every technically correct null hypothesis is appropriate for some question, and everyone basically only for the question, whether the null hypothesis can be disproved or a rephrasing of this.

    • “Appropriate for what? Every technically correct null hypothesis is appropriate for some question, and everyone basically only for the question, whether the null hypothesis can be disproved or a rephrasing of this.”

      Let’s consider this a little more carefully. I can easily see a statistical test that would allow one to test the null hypothesis: “there has been no statistically significant increase in extreme weather events” with “extreme weather events defined in whatever way one chooses (e.g. increased hurricane intensity, increased tornado frequency, etc).

      I cannot see a statistical test that would allow one to test the null hypothesis that “warming has no influence on extreme weather events”. Statistical analysis does provide a method to address issues of causation. At best one would could identify a correlation between “warming” and “extreme weather” events, but as everyone knows “correlation does not establish causation”

      Any argument that “warming causes an increase in extreme weather events” would have to be based on an “argument to best explanation” based on principles of physics, but that is not a “statistical” argument.

    • Matthew Marler, I don’t think you are opposed to my hypothesis 2a, that warming influences extreme weather events, but it has to be defined which weather events because it doesn’t clearly affect them all. The main work I have seen is extreme monthly average (Rahmsdorf) and seasonal average temperatures (Hansen), which is the most obvious case where this hypothesis is true. There is circumstantial evidence in some areas of precipitation increasing with warming, or even tropical cyclone numbers, but these would be tough hypotheses to confirm because of the large background variability from year to year that may exceed the signal of decadal trends. For temperature, the trend has been large enough compared to the variability that statistical quantification of the effect on extremes is possible.

    • - Jim D | April 2, 2014 at 7:45 am |

      gbaikie, summer cannot logically replace warming in this context unless you are saying that some dispute that summer exists significantly or say it will cease to exist in the future, or some others say that it is anthropologically caused. See what I mean? –

      I see what you mean.
      You saying warming must be human caused as the starting premise of your logic.
      Btw, some could dispute that summer exists significantly- if they are living closer to the equator- and/or they if they were to retire to the the tropics they could say it will cease to exist in the future.
      But I wasn’t saying this.
      Nor was I saying that humans can move somewhere and thereby change their weather, and that this thereby, would be anthropologically caused.

      I find it unlikely that human are causing much global warming.

      Or that human caused warming will ultimately cause cooling and/or “climate change”

      I think if we were paying for a vast government program [which costs trillions dollars] which had the purpose of increasing global CO2 so as warm the Earth- and increase crop production.

      And if we had been doing this for last 50 years.
      That the current evidence would tend to indicate it’s working in terms of adding to crop production, but has been failure in terms of measurably increasing global temperatures.

    • Jim D

      Naw, Jim.

      There are two separate “null hypotheses” (see my comment to Mosh).

      The first (humans cause “perceptible” global warming through GH gases) cannot be rejected, but has also not yet been validated by empirical evidence (too many unresolved uncertainties regarding natural impacts).

      The second (warming causes more extreme weather) has been falsified by the record which shows warming but no evidence of increase in extreme weather.

      As a result the “combined” hypothesis (humans cause more extreme weather through GH gases) has been falsified by the evidence at hand.

      Pretty simply, actually, when you break it down logically.

      Max

    • gbaikie, no, I was not saying warming had to be caused by humans. Read what I wrote again. I was saying this hypothesis was really two questions, and the second was whether the warming was mostly anthropogenic. The first is whether warming increases extreme events. Anyway read it again, and it may become clearer second time through.

    • manacker, why not go back a step, and phrase the null hypothesis as whether adding CO2 can or ever has caused any warming, rather than man? This makes it a more academic question, and removes it from political viewpoints. That is your real question after all, isn’t it?

    • -Jim D | April 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm |

      gbaikie, no, I was not saying warming had to be caused by humans. –

      That’s good, because no one believes this.
      Some may think the future warming might be largely caused by humans-
      but they are incorrect.

      -Read what I wrote again. I was saying this hypothesis was really two questions, and the second was whether the warming was mostly anthropogenic. –
      Most think most people would agree that the warming since end of Little Ice Age has not been mostly anthropogenic.

      -The first is whether warming increases extreme events. Anyway read it again, and it may become clearer second time through.-

      I also think most would agree that weather during glacial periods tends to be more severe than during interglacial periods.
      Also, that the weather near the very hot surface of Venus is extremely calm.

      And it seems as general principal, that if the air of atmosphere were to get warmer as compared to a temperature of the surface, one would have less severe weather.
      As it seems generally one needs to get energy from the surface rather than energy from the atmosphere in order to get most severe weather

      In terms of extreme example, if we had tropical conditions in the polar region one would should get less severe weather.
      So at times long before humans existed at times when Earth was far warmer and there was near tropical conditions at the polar regions, I would expect that, generally, there was far less severe weather events.

      I think a propaganda campaign based upon less surfing waves, would more successful than compared to lack of snow for skiing.

    • Jim D

      Your point of changing the “null hypothesis” to “atmospheric CO2 causes global warming of the atmosphere” is a further breakdown of Dr. Curry’s “null hypothesis”, but it misses the point.

      The point is that HUMANS are allegedly causing an increase in extreme weather (according to the “null hypothesis”)

      And that this is happening as a result of AGW.

      Max

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim D: Matthew Marler, I don’t think you are opposed to my hypothesis 2a, that warming influences extreme weather events, but it has to be defined which weather events because it doesn’t clearly affect them all.

      You have made a reasonable case that “warming” causes temperature increases, though that might be tautological rather than causal. You have made no case, nor has anyone, that warming has caused increased extremes of other events. An unusually large cyclonic storm, for example, in a season of reduced ACE is not evidence that warming has caused increased cyclonic storm activity. Kerry Emmanuel produced simulations whose results do not conform with the recent trend, such as it has been, so that is not evidence.

    • manacker, there is a certain reductio ad absurdum with null hypotheses. First you can go from Man causes more extreme weather, to warming causes more extreme weather, to Man causes warming, to CO2 causes warming, to CO2 causes a greenhouse effect, to GHGs cause a greenhouse effect, to CO2 affects IR radiation, and so forth back to basic physics. For each question some people will say that is too obviously true to be used in a null hypothesis, and some will disagree.

    • -manacker, there is a certain reductio ad absurdum with null hypotheses. –
      Yes.
      First you can go from Man causes more extreme weather,
      [So you must burn witches]

      to warming causes more extreme weather,
      [always bring your portable storm shelter during summer time]

      to Man causes warming,
      [Don't leave the door open]

      to CO2 causes warming,
      [A hypothesis of casual factor of glacial periods]

      to CO2 causes a greenhouse effect,
      [without CO2 Earth would be frozen solid]

      to GHGs cause a greenhouse effect,
      [If substitute Earth with ideal blackbody Earth would have uniform
      temperature, than add some modifiers to it, and this 5 C uniform blackbody temperature becomes -18 C *average* Earth temperature, and only radiant factors of atmosphere can increase this average temperature up an average temperature of 15 C. Only the Greenhouse effect causes this +33 C of warming]

      to CO2 affects IR radiation,
      [CO2 (and other gases of earth atmosphere) prevents telescope observation of heavens of certain wavelengths and large portion of this is in the IR spectrum]

      and so forth back to basic physics.
      [Only greenhouse gases "trap heat" {can be warmed, can cause warming)]

      For each question some people will say that is too obviously true to be used in a null hypothesis, and some will disagree.

    • Jim D

      Agree that we are getting into semantics here.

      But I simply reiterated what you proposed in the very beginning of this exchange:

      Regarding the hypotheses
      1. Humans have no influence on extreme weather events
      2. Humans are influencing extreme weather events

      Really these are combining two logical steps. The first is these hypotheses with the word Humans replaced by Warming.

      1a. Warming has no influence on extreme weather events
      2a. Warming is influencing extreme weather events
      The second step is that Humans are causing most of the Warming, which if true leads back to the original (2).

      So, using your proposed breakdown of the hypothesis into two logical steps, we have:

      – A plausible (but not yet empirically validated or falsified) hypothesis that “Humans are causing most of the Warming”

      coupled with

      – A hypothesis that “Warming is influencing extreme weather events”, which has been falsified for now by the observation that there is an absence of evidence of increased extreme weather despite evidence of increased warming.

      Max

    • There is a not yet proven hypothesis that warming influences extreme weather events, unless you count the obvious example of heat waves being 1 C warmer because the climate is 1 C warmer, and a new July record being broken in Moscow, for example, being likely (80%) due to warming. On the other hand, the warming is only beginning, and it is expected to have other effects on extreme events. So, the hypothesis is proven in the limited case of temperature events. There may be other extremes connected to sea level and coastal damaging events that are at their root tied to warming too.

    • An ideal blackbody at Earth distance from the Sun would have an uniform
      temperature of about 5 C.
      It has uniform temperature of about 5 C because part of this imaginary substance we calling ideal blackbody which has as a property of being a perfect conductor of heat, so heat gained from sunlight would be transfer to the night side where there is no heat from the sunlight.
      So it’s quite basic, one takes the energy of sunlight which hit the disk of a sphere and divide by 4.
      So 1360 watts per square meter would hit a the disk area at Earth distance and divide this by 4, give 340 watts per meter which radiate from the area of the sphere.And if something is radiating about 340 watts per meter it is about 5 C.

      But what if we change the ideal blackbody from having the properties perfect conductor of heat, to having a perfect insulator of heat and ask the question what would a sphere’s average temperature be?
      Btw, our Moon is fairly similar to an ideal blackbody which has property of perfect insulator, because mostly covered by fine layer of dust which is in a vacuum.
      So on the Moon at the equator the regolith warm up to nearly 400 K and during night it cools to below 100 K. And 500 K divided by 2 is 250 K.
      Were the moon to not to slow rotate, and instead one side of the Moon was always in night time, the night time temperature would instead be about 30 K. And would no difference in daytime sides temperature of almost 400 K. So it would be 430 K divided by 2 = 215 K.
      And we can assume if the Moon rotated as fast as Earth rotates, it’s average temperature would higher than 250 K [-23 C].
      One can also say that rotation act sort of like a conductor of heat or it’s uniformly spreading the energy of sunlight across most of the surface.

  67. I went back and checked again, what RPJr really said at 538. I tried to read the real message of the article as I would expect a thinking non-expert to understand it.

    On the highest level the main message is:

    Disaster losses have increased, but the main reason for that is not a change in the natural events, but in vulnerability as measured by the dollar value of the losses.

    I do think that he is right on that. The main reason is elsewhere, and we don’t even know for sure whether any significant part of the observed increase is due to changes in natural occurrence. My interpretation of KE’s response is that he might agree on this as well.

    RPJr writes some sentences that claim more like:

    When you read that the cost of disasters is increasing, it’s tempting to think that it must be because more storms are happening. They’re not.

    He cannot support that as strictly true. He can only say that there’s no conclusive evidence for the not. (And he could argue that there’s very little of weak evidence as well.)

    Many people have stated that there are other factors that he has dismissed. Modern constructions survive more severe storms. it’s, however, difficult to say, how that reflects in the insurance statistics. Even if the structures survive pretty well, there may be some high costs from lesser damage.

    For most part RPJr has been careful in keeping to facts, but that is by no means a proof that his overall message is balanced. I don’t think that it is. He’s selective of his methods and subjects of study in a way that emphasizes what he likes to emphasize. It’s easy to present a biased message keeping to facts on everything presented.

    • Pekka,

      Did KE stick to the facts and present a balanced message? Did KE’s rebut of RP Jr kick butt?

    • Pekka Pirilä

      There is absolutely no doubt that an area that is completely developed and inhabited will suffer more damage from a storm than a sparsely populated and only partially developed area.

      This is not a matter of conjecture, but just plain common sense backed by statistics.

      Let’s take the community of Myrtle Beach, SC (data from Wiki)

      – Prior to 1940 Myrtle Beach was totally undeveloped, with just a few beach houses.
      – By 1950 there were 3,345 inhabitants, a military airport (from WWII), a few beach houses and one or two hotels.
      – By 1990 Myrtle Beach had grown to a population of 24,848.
      – Today (2010) there are 27,109 inhabitants, over 14,000 housing units, a boardwalk, numerous hotels, shopping malls and an international airport.

      In 1822 a strong hurricane hit the area, wiping out the three settlements there, killing all 18 inhabitants.

      Hurricane Hazel hit just north of Myrtle Beach as a Category 4 hurricane in 1954. It brought storm surges of 18 feet and destroyed 80% of the waterfront properties in Myrtle Beach. There were fatalities in other regions, but none directly in Myrtle Beach. The damages in and around Myrtle Beach were estimated at $25 million.

      Hurricane Hugo hit just south of Myrtle Beach in 1989, also as a Category 4 hurricane. It caused 35 fatalities in the region and left nearly 100,000 homeless. Over 3,000 single family homes were destroyed, as was a lot of the infrastructure and damages were estimated at $5.9 billion.

      Now explain to me, Pekka, why the increased damages were not to a large extent the direct result of the increased development as RPJr has stated.

      You can’t, because such an explanation would be downright silly.

      Max

  68. As a limited observation about statistical practice, may I just observe that some of the issues around null hypothesis bias can be ameliorated to some extent by citing the actual p-value obtained for a test of H0. A high p-value is some evidence for H0 being true (subject to power considerations etc). Concentrating on some unspecified concept of ‘significance’, possibly p-value less than 0.05 or 0.01, may make for good propaganda (or not), but is probably not good statistics (if there is such a thing!).

  69. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Faustino is hopeful  “The best hope is that the hoi polloi can cut through the nonsense sufficiently to demand commonsense policies.”

    There is good news for you Faustino!

    The “hoi polloi” of nature-minded citizen-scientists appreciates — by the plain common-sense evidence of their own eyes! — that the earth’s climate-changes are real, serious, and accelerating, and moreover this same “hoi polloi” appreciates too the economic and moral bankruptcy of juvenile short-sighted juvenile far-right faux-libertarian ideologies

    This growing citizen-appreciation and foresighted economic and moral responsibility is *GOOD* news, eh Faustino?

    Corollary  Far-righties who “hunker in the bunker” of self-sealing “bubbles” of insular denialist cognition, are scarcely aware of this accelerating revolution!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  70. michael hart

    “The RC post argues that physical reasoning is sufficient, e.g. warmer sea surface temperatures drive more intense hurricanes.”

    It’s a bit of shame then that Trenberth thinks his missing heat is skulking more than 2000 meters below the surface, isn’t it?

  71. Stranger here

    The value of insured losses has been rising,
    (according to the insurance industry).

    This could be caused by be more disasters, or by more insurance.

    Anybody know the value of losses as a percentage of total insured value? How has the ratio been changing for various categories of disaster?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Stranger here asks [in effect]  “Are claim-rates rising?”

      The short answer is “yes”.

      For Insurers, No Doubts on Climate Change

      Natural catastrophes across the United States pounded insurers last year, generating $35 billion in privately insured property losses, $11 billion more than the average over the last decade.

      Most insurers, including the reinsurance companies that bear much of the ultimate risk in the industry, have little time for the arguments heard in some right-wing circles that climate change isn’t happening, and are quite comfortable with the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels is the main culprit of global warming.

      “Insurance is heavily dependent on scientific thought,” Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, told me last week. “It is not as amenable to politicized scientific thought.”

      Once the denialist quibbling and spinning and cherry-picking is stripped away, the common-sense truth is mighty plain, eh Climate Etc readers?

      It’s evident to cold-hearted hard-nosed actuaries, *THAT* certain!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Stranger here,

      I must freely acknowledge that I don’t know the answer. However, my admittedly limited knowledge of human greed would lead me to the conclusion that people in general will endeavour to recover from an insurer more than premiums paid.

      It is in the insurers’ commercial interest to minimise disbursements. If an excuse to refuse parting with premium income can be found, then it will be used. To do otherwise is commercial suicide.

      I suggest that this may obscure any impact of climate change, either real or imagined. What are your thoughts?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • “Any climate alarmist will tell you that climate change is increasing extreme weather events, but liberal billionaire Warren Buffett easily destroyed that argument.

      Buffett told CNBC March 3, that extreme weather events haven’t increased due to climate change, saying that weather events are consistent with how they were 30-50 years ago. Buffett, who is heavily invested in various insurance markets, said that climate change alarmism has simply made hurricane insurance more profitable, driving up premiums without increasing risk”

      Buffet is a careful smart in ester. Fan is incorrect. The short answer is no

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      LOL … anti-science denialists just *LOVE* markets … up until the very moment that markets say climate-change risks are real.

      Then denialist cognition automatically switches-channel to “It’s a scam! It’s a conspiracy!”

      The world ponders!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Global warming may not be causing more extreme weather, but it is causing more oilcar rail accidents.

    • Fan–

      You deny the reality of basic economics. Inflation has resulted in an increase in insurance costs.

      Adverse weather has always occurred and always will.

      The differences in the infrastructure needed to protect people against the weather driven by an AGW influenced “climate” is not vastly different from the infrastructure needed to protect people in a non-AGW influenced climate.

      The bigger question is whether people will invest in the construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure around the world. Some nations do this better than others.

      If you deny that, you are a true denier.

    • Larry,

      I have lived in Florida the past 20 years, and I can confirm wind damage insurance has spiked with no change in losses. The rates basically doubled after Katrina and the bad years in the mid 2000’s based on a switch of determining rates from historical records to estimates from models.

      Thank you Kerry Emanuel. I’m a believer that climate change costs money now, just not in the way most people think.

      A Pulitzer prize was awarded to a Herald-Tribune investigative reporter in 2011 for exposing this fraud.

      “The formula: A hotel room, four hours and a dubious hurricane computer model

      RMS, a multimillion-dollar company that helps insurers estimate hurricane losses and other risks, tabbed four hand-picked scientists (NOTE: Emanuel was one of these) and rewrote hurricane risk modeling, creating an $82 billion gap they tried to fill by raising rates”

      Florida insurers rely on dubious storm model
      http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20101114/article/11141026

      For the record:
      * For the decade of 2000-2010 hurricane disaster losses in Florida were right at historical averages.
      * For 2010-2013 things have been extraordinarily quiet.
      * Wind damage insurance rates are still very high

    • I studied risk management. I used to read financial engineering news for several years. Lip service was always given to the possibility that storms could increase with global warming. They’re part of an industry with products to sell. People created analytical tools to sell, but they never showed any change in events. They always hinted at a future threat.

      That was about 12 years ago. An actionable change should have been detected by now. There are lots of people, a lot smarter than most climate scientists, with big money riding on seeing weather changes, and not finding them.

    • To complete the Florida insurance story:

      State regulators balked at the insurance premium increases and model changes. Attempted to disallow huge rate increases.

      Response: Most insurers left the state and/or stopped writing policies in counties on the coastline. About 1/3 of people in Florida get their insurance from the state now (Citizens Insurance).

      I’m a capitalist so I believe that is their right to not do business. The insurers obviously were acting in concert though (reinsurance increases), leaving little choice to regulators. Homeowners only option was to pay off their house and forgo insurance completely. It is actually not legal to purchase a catastrophic only policy in Florida (state mandated coverage).

      Property insurance is a pretty ugly industry in Florida. Most companies in today’s environment are not structured to make an average profit over 25 years with some perilously horrible year due to random disaster spikes.

    • Fan, you can pay more for insurance if you want, but evidently you’re just making the insurance companies wealthier.

    • Stranger here

      Hi all, thanks for the feedback, but the question wasn’t really about total damages or premiums.

      I do not doubt that the total price of damages is rising.

      (Insurance companies like to talk about paying damages and disbursements – when they are talking to customers. It sells insurance and justifies higher premiums.
      When they are talking to shareholders, I suspect they use a different prong of their tongue.)

      RPJ attributes rising damages mainly to our having more property, and more valuable property, that gets destroyed.

      The question is – how do you neutrally account for increased value of our stuff?

      Might a simple metric be the ratio of total payouts to the total insured value of property? Basically, what proportion of our stuff gets destroyed each year?

      (assuming that human greed and other market forces are relatively constant over time)

      If the proportion of destroyed value to total value is showing an upward trend over the years, then the case could clearly be made that something is getting worse.

      it would be pretty easy to graph, if i could find the numbers.

    • That is a good way of thinking, but it is still not that simple. The geographic location of the also matters. We’ve been concentrating wealth in risky areas.

      One problem insurance has had is misapplication of risk models as we move to more risky terrain. We moved into areas for which we didn’t know how to calculate risk. The is also the problem that some of our building affect changes the risk for other areas (e.g. in NY/NJ building on buffer zones not only creating more property at risk, but contibuted to flooding in other areas). The risk that insurance companies are trying to increase premiums for isn’t actual new risk, just miscalculation. This, driving up percieved risk, and likely lack of competition are what are driving premiums up.

  72. A passing thought. Many of the scenarios for weather extremes might be better quantified in terms of mean square gradients of temperature, pressure, …, and it might prove an interesting exercise to analyze differentials between geographic stations in contrast to homogenizing their data. Has anyone had a go this?

  73. “But there are no such things as water-babies.”

    How do you know that? Have you been there to see? And if you had been there to see, and had seen none, that would not prove that there was none… And no one has a right to say no water-babies exist till they have seen no water-babies existing; which is quite a different thing, mind, from not seeing water-babies; and a thing which nobody ever did, or perhaps ever will do.

    The Water Babies (1863) Charles Kingsley

    • Berényi Péter

      The reason there are no water-babies is given quite clearly in the text itself.

      Now little Ellie was, I suppose, a stupid little girl; for, instead of being convinced by Professor Ptthmllnsprts’ arguments, she only asked the same question over again.

      “But why are there not water-babies?”

      I trust and hope that it was because the professor trod at that moment on the edge of a very sharp mussel, and hurt one of his corns sadly, that he answered quite sharply, forgetting that he was a scientific man, and therefore ought to have known that he couldn’t know; and that he was a logician, and therefore ought to have known that he could not prove a universal negative—I say, I trust and hope it was because the mussel hurt his corn, that the professor answered quite sharply:

      “Because there ain’t.”

      Which was not even good English, my dear little boy; for, as you must know from Aunt Agitate’s Arguments, the professor ought to have said, if he was so angry as to say anything of the kind—Because there are not: or are none: or are none of them; or (if he had been reading Aunt Agitate too) because they do not exist.

      Professor Ptthmllnsprts, with his very ancient and noble Polish name, performed as one would only expect from a true Climate Scientist, either hurt or not by mussels, especially when dealing with the Public, a bunch of stupid little girls, I suppose.

  74. Engineers: Show me the data:
    Climate Science: The data doesn’t matter, trust us.

    Aaaaagghhhhhh!!!!!!

    I really have mixed feelings on this latest talking point about extreme events. On one hand the argument is so counter-intuitive and mathematically invalid as to make one want to simply ignore it, on the other hand any sane individual can read right through this BS.

    TREND
    There IS “evidence of absence”. It’s called a flat trend, or near zero slope. A flat trend is not “no trend” or “no data” or “we don’t know” what the trend is. We do know, and it shows no evidence of change. This is as important as an increasing or decreasing trend. It is direct evidence.

    NULL MODEL
    The selection of the null model here is obvious. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Claiming that power plant and tailpipe emissions are changing the weather is an extraordinary claim. It must be proven, not dis-proven.

    SIZE OF THE AFFECT
    RC appears to claim that even though no emerging trend can be detected, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t “quite large”. This is clearly wrong. If the rate of hurricanes had already increased 10x, we would see this trend clearly emerging. It is simple signal processing to show that smaller effects require longer trends to emerge in noisy data. If the temperature had only increased 0.01C over the past century, we wouldn’t be able to detect it yet.

    MAKING THINGS WORSE
    What I find particularly interesting is how we are lectured about how difficult it is to detect changes in noisy trends, and then we are shown SUBSETS of this too noisy data (e.g. hurricanes in the North Atlantic basin) as a demonstration of detected trends. Subsets of noisy erratic data are even noisier and more erratic, prone to false correlation.

    CIRCULAR REASONING
    Emanuel” “both theory and models are now in good agreement”. Exercise for the student as to how this is circular reasoning. Do models even simulate and produce hurricanes at all?

    MODELS ARE NOT REALITY
    Dismissing observations and pointing to your theory and model is not good science. There exists a chance that observations are just “unlucky” and the model is correct. That argument can be made, but you need to state that is what your argument is. The argument must be made in light of the increasing chance your model or theory is wrong.

    MAYBE LATER, NOT NOW
    The original claims that extreme events may increase later was OK. They jumped the shark when they claimed it was already happening. They had all the available trends in front of them when they changed their stance (apparently for political expediency). They had to know they were making unsupported claims. Criticism was a certainty.

    IT’S NOT ABOUT GDP
    RPJ’s adjustment of disaster losses with global GDP was a response to the claim that increasing disaster losses were proof that extreme events were getting worse. Disaster losses is a poor measure for many reasons. It isn’t hard to count and trend extreme events. Examine the actual data.

    End.Of.Rant.

    • Steven Mosher

      Engineers: Show me the data:
      Climate Science: The data doesn’t matter, trust us.’

      ###################

      Hey engineer. show me the data with regards to your claim that
      Climate Scientists say
      1. the data doesnt matter
      2. Trust us.

      In my experience, in my papers, its all about the data.
      And its all about proving that methods are correct and work.

      Now, you will find cases, as in ALL SCIENCE, where data and theory are in conflict. And you will find people who tend to choose data over theory and those who choose theory over data and those who stress uncertainty.
      What you won’t find is a universal rejection of data as you claim. You claim to be interested in “data”, but you make a claim ( climate science says the data doesnt matter) that is not supported by the data. To prove your case you need to find an essay, paper, quote, article where “climate science” says exactly what you claim. You are an engineer. Exactness matters.

      On trust. You will find people who appeal to consensus. That appeal works like this. If you are not a scientist. If you dont understand the science. If you cannot figure it out for yourself, then you have two choices:
      A) say you dont know and make no other statement.
      B) find someone you can trust
      if you are looking for someone who you can trust you have many things to consider. One of those things is trusting the largest group of experts.
      Another approach is trusting the most highly regarded experts.
      You

    • Steven Mosher,

      Don’t take it personally. You misunderstand or I wasn’t clear. I am referring directly to the specific topic of this post, the Real Climate post and the Emanuel response to RPJ on climate extremes, specifically hurricane trends, as should have been clear from the rest of my post.

      As for your request for quotes, here they are:

      RC:
      “These two aspects (together with limitations in the data we have) make it very hard to demonstrate any significant changes. And they make it very easy to find all sorts of statistics that do not show an effect of global warming – even if it exists and is quite large” (trust us, it’s there)

      “Drought is another area where it is very easy to over-interpret statistics with no significant change” (trust us, it’s there)

      “With good physical reasons to expect the dice are loaded, we should not fool ourselves with reassuring-looking but uninformative statistics” (the data doesn’t matter)

      Emanuel:
      “Thus it is hardly surprising that the upward trend in U.S. hurricane damage is of only marginal statistical significance” (the data doesn’t matter)

      “both theory and models are now in good agreement that the frequency of high category hurricanes should increase, as should hurricane rainfall and the flooding it produces” (trust us)

      For the record: I have found that WG1 data is usually pretty decent, and for the most part what the scientists actually say is OK, but what many people and the MSM “say the scientists say” is many times not accurate. Unfortunately climate science tends to only makes an effort to correct inaccurate data in one direction in my experience.

      And yes, I do have the ability to read and understand a hurricane or temperature trend all by myself without help from RPJ or RC or anyone. Appeal to authority is rarely effective with most engineers. I can make judgments on what they write and if it makes sense, as I imagine you do. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s my right.

    • Steven Mosher

      Well, Tom
      for an so called engineer you were less than clear.

      “Engineers: Show me the data:
      Climate Science: The data doesn’t matter, trust us.”

      The position here is unqualified. Engineers need to be precise.

      Second, the quotes you used do NOT support

      “the data DOSENT MATTER”, trust us.

      kerry’s argument is different than that. Be PRECISE.

      1. The data does matter.
      2. They looked at the data.
      3. It;s hard to interpret.
      4. Theory suggests the signal will emerge

      In no case did he argue that the data didnt matter. His behavior in every case demonstrates examining data. If data didnt matter they would not look.
      Next, the issue is not trusting THEM, the issue is trusting theory. Not them, the theory. Again, you are an engineer. Rant less and read harder.

      Next

      “Unfortunately climate science tends to only makes an effort to correct inaccurate data in one direction in my experience.”

      Then broaden your experience. As an engineer I would expect you to be more precise in this claim. lets start with the most important parameter of all climate science. The first estimate was 5C per doubling.
      That has been improved and corrected over time.
      Which direction?
      That’s right the direction OPPOSITE of what your ‘experience’ would suggest. I would say you do appeal to authority. the authority of your own experience. Cherry picked and limited.

      Next

      ‘I can make judgments on what they write and if it makes sense, as I imagine you do. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s my right.”

      you form opinions, no one can stop you. But you present them as facts. No engineer would do this. An engineer would lay out all his assumptions. The data he used. The various ways it can be interpreted and then and only then he would present a measured judgement.

    • What is this, a patent court, or a discussion forum?

      As I stated, I don’t have a problem with the theory that things may get worse later. I have a problem with claiming they are already worse when the data doesn’t support it.

      I would stipulate what Emanuel said here is more reasonable than RC’s take. It is my opinion that Emanuel discounts contradicting observations.

      Emanuel is on record for “it’s already happening”, expecting near term significant hurricane loss increases in 2005. Didn’t happen. So I do hold a bit of a grudge due to my Florida property insurance rate increases:

      http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20101114/article/11141026?p=4&tc=pg

      “The rock star in the room was Kerry Emanuel, the oracle of climate change from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Just two weeks before Katrina, one of the world’s leading scientific journals had published Emanuel’s concise but frightening paper claiming humanity had changed the weather and doubled the damage potential of cyclones worldwide.”

      “Thus, the long-term reality of 0.63 major hurricanes striking the U.S. every year yielded to a prediction of 0.90.”

      Fair disclosure:

      “But Emanuel said he entered the discussion in 2005 “a little mystified” by what RMS was doing.

      He now (Note: 2011) questions the credibility of any five-year prediction of major hurricanes. There is simply too much involved.

      “Had I known then what I know now,” Emanuel said, “I would have been even more skeptical.””

      So he changed his stance, good for him. I don’t trust his theory now because he was demonstratively wrong with his 5 year forecast then and continued observations aren’t helping him. Prediction skill leads to model and theory credibility. Nobody remembers Emanuel’s old predictions and he is still the go to guy on hurricanes.

      Here’s where you need to read a little harder to what I said and not jump to conclusions. I was stating that climate science occasionally corrects media inaccuracies, but typically only those that question AGW theory. Alarmist propaganda is abundant in the MSM and rarely questioned for accuracy.

      Thank’s for the advice on how to be an engineer.

    • Tom Scharf | April 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm |

      Wow.

      How about advice on how to be a trendologist?

      Data interpretation is a weakness for some engineers, who expect all textbooks always had the numbers exactly right and from a higher authority (generally an earlier engineer).

      Scientists don’t need to be shown the data by such earlier interpreters, they have the skill to gather and interpret data faithfully and objectively for themselves. Now, it’s well known that Steven Mosher and myself disagree vehemently on tons of stuff in the arena of climate; however, Mosher has a well-established track record as a diligent observationalist, one who will admit of data that contradicts his opinions with dispassionate objectivity. When Mosher speaks on this subject, dismissing him out of hand is a mistake. Even if he’s wrong; he’s not very wrong in this case.

      The fact is, as Emanuel clearly demonstrates, where there is too little data then a ‘flat’ (WTH do you see any FLAT anything, btw?!) trend isn’t a flat trend; it’s nothing at all yet. Not ‘zero’, as in that integer value between -1 and 1, but nothing, as in an absence of meaning at all.

      So.. you’ve produced not just ranting, but igno-ranting.

      At some point, the ‘null hypotheses’ changes in Science. Personal Incredulity is a type of fallacy, and calling your personal incredulity the ‘null model’ doesn’t make it not a fallacy. For radiative transfer to behave in a special and exceptional way convenient to fossil fuel industry profits but entirely inconsistent with the rest of Physics is the extraordinary claim which requires extraordinary proof.. and Pielke Jr. does not deliver.

      Btw, not to be a grammar cop, but it’s the size of the Effect. Affect means something like a put-on act, for instance. And again, Emanuel’s bears in the woods analogy shows clearly why size of the Risk is the sensible measure, not size of the inadequate sample of actual outcomes.

      While I do sympathise with your noise and subsets claims, they appear to come out of a twisted understanding of ‘type’ and ‘category’. While the statistics about all the fruit in the world might be noisy, the numbers of apples to apples or oranges to oranges could be reliable. One is simply not a very good observationalist if one don’t grasp this. But then, it’s not particularly a valuable skill set for engineers who go by textbooks written by earlier engineers.

      Your ‘igno-rant’ appear not to understand what ‘circular reasoning’ means, if it confuses that fallacy with synchrony or correlation, independent confirmation or other like phenomena. The only circular reasoning I can detect in this is, well.. your argument’s.

      It also seems very selective of what it calls observation: those observations that are in disagreement with your views, your ‘igno-rant’ dismisses without reference to them at all; those shown rationally to be insufficient in sample size but which lend some comfort to your preconceived views, you embrace refusing to let go.

      You keep harping on models in ways that Emanuel doesn’t; his data is more than sufficient to make his case; his case merely doesn’t disagree with what Physics predicts, unlike Roger Pielke Jr.’s.

      If you don’t think later is now, it’s later than you think.

      It ought be about GDP. Increasing GDP produces a learning effect, the stability of an high GDP nation is expected to be exponentially greater than of a low GDP one; RPJ has adjusted for GDP in the wrong direction, based on the Capitalist view of Economics.

      Why do you and RPJ deny Capitalism?

    • The null hypothesis changes every time the question to be answered is changed.

      As many null hypotheses are always relevant as there are questions of interest that can be answered by statistical testing.

      • True. But we are dealing with one question, which has not changed. So the null hypothesis will not change until disproven.

        There is not one answer (such as 42) for every question. But the Null hypothesis does not change because of political whim.

    • philjourdan | April 8, 2014 at 7:26 am |

      With all due respect to Pekka, who is wiser in these matters by far than you and I and almost any dozen other denizens combined, that explanation of data by inference which is most simple with regard to assumptions, most parsimonious of exceptions, most universal of application to all observations is held to be accurate or very nearly true until fresh observation require the explanation be amended.

      Thereby, the fallacy of personal incredulity which forms the basis for the so-called obvious null model, can be dismissed. Even if it couldn’t be dismissed, the fact that the null in this case can be handily rejected at 99.5% confidence makes the objection invalid in and of itself. Tailpipe and power plant emissions do of course provably change the weather; you can’t have particulates rain down on you with the exact same isotope profile as those in emissions and not reject the null. You can quibble that Tom Scharf | April 2, 2014 at 9:38 am | means “change the weather in the way and to the degree the IPCC says is probable”, but if he meant that he ought have said it, and in any case, once we reject his null we cannot accept any other null short of the IPCC’s, rationally.

      And the IPCC null — the one that is simplest, most parsimonious and most universal — you have not even begun to dislodge as the most accurate, therefore most nearly true, explanation.

      • If the null can be rejected with 99.5% confidence, you should have no problem providing evidence to back up that contention. While we hear about 95, 97, 98% figures in this field all the time, none are based upon scientific evidence or any rigorous scientific evidence. They are either opinions, or beauty polls with no merit.

        The Null hypothesis stands. it has yet to be disproven. And the test is the disproving of it. Once that has been done, we can quibble about esoteric things like the color of the drapes for its funeral.

    • Choosing a null hypothesis is choosing the most basic thing that you can accept may be true. Choices of null for various skeptic groups would be
      – Man has no effect on climate
      – CO2 has no effect on climate
      – Man has no effect on CO2
      – CO2 has no effect on infra red radiation
      -Greenhouse gases have no effect on infra red radiation,
      etc.
      You can go down the list in a reductio ad absurdum type of exercise. Skeptics can decide for themselves which of these they accept and which make no sense, being too obviously false, then they can examine why they draw the line where they do. Examining their own belief-in-science limits in this way could be informative.

  75. Judith, did you say that you’re working on an ENSO/PDO post? How’s that going?

  76. Berényi Péter

    This is particularly so when one accounts for another form of prior information: theory and models. While some disagreement remains about projections of the weakest storms, which seldom do much damage, both theory and models are now in good agreement that the frequency of high category hurricanes should increase, as should hurricane rainfall and the flooding it produces.

    Global ACE is not increasing. Case closed.

    If it should have increased according to “theory and models”, that is, if theory is inconsistent with lack of increase, then it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science.

    • Yes, a good case of how even if there is influence in increasing global T it is marginal compared to natural variability.

      People conceive of tropical cyclones as part of convective instability, but I was quite surprised to examine the data and see only slightly positive CAPE ( Convective Available Potential Energy ) values around even major hurricanes. The values were far less than those routinely occurring in the Great Plains. The reason is, of course, the intense convergence and intense convection of TCs mutually feedback, even without much instability.

      When a given cyclone passes over warmer waters, it incurs increase instability and does intensify, but this is a spatial occurrence.

      Ironically, if the models were actually correct, the tropical upper troposphere is supposed to warm more than the surface. This would actually make the tropics more stable ( reduce instability ).

  77. We have plenty of evidense, and it does not support the hypothesis.

  78. Initially we were asked to support the findings of a failed government-education complex to save the world from global warming caused by Americans and all who would use a free enterprise system to engage in the business of living. Claims of looming catastrophe where everywhere but as the loony science of climate forecasting matured the actual threat to us all has been refined: now we’re being asked to continue the funding to prevent worser weather.

  79. Several thoughts:

    I read Pielke’s article and the comments it elicited. The comments were similar in tone to the comments one might expect if a website devoted to evolutionary biology invited a young earth creationists to be a contributing writer. This tells me something about the current debate. If the Realclimate and its followers think the views of Pielke, Jr are beyond the pale of reasonable debate, they must be living inside a small pup tent.

    Second, I understand that sometimes it is reasonable propose policy on the basis of a physical model that has not yet been confirmed by empirical evidence. Forgive me, however, if I get my scientific terms mixed up: is a physical model that has not yet been confirmed by empirical evidence sometimes referred to in the scientific literature as a “hypothesis”?

    Of course, politicians and policy advocates propose actions on the basis of a “hypothesis” all the time. Doing so, however, involves risks that sometimes get them in trouble (e.g. in foreign policy: “we have good reason to believe Iraq possesses WMD, but this has not been confirmed by empirical evidence”; or in medicine: “What we know about physiology suggests that it is a good idea to give hormone replacement therapy to post-menopausal women”)

    Scientists are free to join their ranks of policy advocates, if they please. However, when a scientist advocates policy on the basis of a hypothesis, he should be clear that he is doing this. In my view, he is crossing a line between his role as a scientist and his role as a policy advocate.

    My last point concerns the idea of reversing the null hypothesis. Scientists as policy advocates are free to do this, but should again provide full disclosure. One of the reasons the public trusts scientific findings is because rejecting the traditional null hypothesis requires a high standard of evidence. Reversing the null hypothesis substantially lowers that bar. Scientists, acting as policy advocates, should disclose the evidentiary standard upon which their recommendations are based.

    • Forgive me, however, if I get my scientific terms mixed up: is a physical model that has not yet been confirmed by empirical evidence sometimes referred to in the scientific literature as a “hypothesis”?

      In the scientific literature, yes. In the climatology literature, no.

      In climatology literature, it is far more common that models and their results are referred to as “data” and “findings”.

      Similarly: In science, the verification of models is performed by comparison of model predictions to observations. In climatology, models are verified by comparison to theory, and by oblique but condescending references to “basic physics”.

      Two very different beasts, science and climatology.

  80. A quick review of the Primitive Equations:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_equations
    reveals that temperature only appears in the equation of state and hydrostatic approximation. All other references are of temperature derivatives.

    Difficult to make the case that increased temperature matters much to motion ( dog days of summer, anyone? ).

  81. b4llzofsteel

    Reminds me of the discussion between the atheist and the believer: “Can
    you proof that God exists?”, where the believer answers: “Can you proof he doesn’t?”.

  82. Schrodinger's Cat

    It seems that for many people, expected climate change and its expected consequences has become a study with endless possibilities and countless dramatic modelled outcomes.

    The only problems I have with this is that they call it science and believe the hype.

    Most, if not all, dramatic climate events are not unprecedented even within our miniscule recorded history of detailed observations. Attribution these days, is more to do with maintaining global warming alarmism when the warming itself seems to have departed.

  83. David Springer

    “Simple physical reasoning suggests that increased sea surface temperatures will increase hurricane intensity.”

    Engineering reasoning suggests that’s only true so long as atmosphere aloft warms less. Work is accomplished across temperature gradients. No work can be done if there is no gradient. You know that Dr. Curry. Don’t be slothful in your thinking.

    • It is also the case that for increased sea surface temperatures to increase hurricane intensity, they have to coincide with the path of the hurricane at the time of the hurricane’s development.

      Pointing to a temporally and spatially aggregated net increase in sea surface temperature and blaming it for a particular storm’s parameters is not simple physical reasoning. It is simplistic aphysical reasoning.

  84. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Eunice says  “Temperature only appears in the equation of state and hydrostatic approximation.”

    Yes. That’s why warm-water season is hurricane-season. Because hurricanes are heat-engines.

    David Springer says  “Work is accomplished across temperature gradients.”

    Yes. That’s the physical reason why heating-the-oceans means intensifying-the-storms. Because the temperature gradient is between a hotter-and-hotter heat-reservoir (the oceans) and a cold-sink of fixed temperature (3°K outer space).

    Tom Scharf says “Attempts to disallow huge rate increases [resulted in] most insurers left the state [Florida] and/or stopped writing policies in counties on the coastline.”

    Gosh, Tom Scharf, ain’t that how markets are *supposed* to work?

    `Cuz reinsurers and actuaries cannot *afford* to respect denialism’s spin, quibbling, cherry-picking, and willful scientific ignorance!

    Observation  The denial-sphere’s spin, quibbling, and willful ignorance are intensifying even faster than heat-driven storms and rising-sea floods!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • It is absolutely true that the record setting heat content of the IPWP helped to fuel the equally record setting deadly typhoon in the Western Pacific that took so many lives last year. Now one may argue whether or not the equally record setting high GH gas levels helped to add all this record setting energy to the climate system, but Occam’s razor and basic physics would lead to that as the most likely explanation.

    • “record setting”
      “record setting”
      “record setting”
      “record setting”

      “Stuck record setting.”

      Andrew

    • Well Bad Andrew, had our Australopithecus ancestors been able to keep accurate climate records around 3.2 million years ago in the mid-Pliocene, I’m sure some of their climate records would have exceeded our modern instrument records. But yes, the planets climate ‘s changing fast, and during such periods of rapid change, many “record setting” events (by modern instrument standards) will be set.

    • “the planets climate ‘s changing fast, and during such periods of rapid change, many “record setting” events”

      R Gates,

      Have you ever heard of Chicken Little?

      Andrew

    • Bad Andrew, yep, but the sky is not falling in the case of anthropogenic climate change, unless you want to considering the cooling and contracting stratosphere as “falling”.

    • R Gates, Or perhaps the ‘record-setting’ warm pools are the ocean equivalent of heat waves, caused perhaps by ‘blocking currents’ or equivalent causing local build-up of heat?
      Or perhaps you’d like to advance your hypothesis as to how the greenhouse effect leads to localised hot-spots in the ocean, atmosphere, or anywhere else for that matter?

    • “…perhaps you’d like to advance your hypothesis as to how the greenhouse effect leads to localised hot-spots in the ocean, atmosphere, or anywhere else for that matter?”
      ____
      Areas such as the IPWP and IOWP are well studied and among the most important climate energy reservoirs on the planet. They occur because of the prevailing winds and currents at the equator typically drive warm water toward the west across the Pacific and then into the Indian Ocean where it “pools” to create the largest concentration of energy affecting weather all over the planet. I don’t need to “advance a hypothesis” about these regions, as many excellent studies over many decades have already done so. You don’t hear about these regions much on “skeptic” blog sites because they have been retaining energy so consistently for so many decades (yes, withou pause), that they only support the basic energy balance concepts of AGW, and thus, “skeptics” would rather talk about the relative puny, low thermal inertia region of the lower troposphere to support their memeplex about AGW.

    • If you had spent the time to actually read all the way to my next sentence you would find:

      “I’m a capitalist so I believe that is their right to not do business.”

      The facts are that the reinsurance industry changed to model based predictions, expecting an increase in damages. 7 years later, it hasn’t happened.

      In fact we are in the longest period of a CAT3 hurricane not making US landfall in over a century. Imagine a world where we were in a record period of the most CAT3 US landfalls in a century. Do you think this would be trotted out as evidence of AGW affecting weather extremes?

    • R Gates:

      They occur because of the prevailing winds and currents at the equator typically drive warm water toward the west across the Pacific and then into the Indian Ocean where it “pools” to create the largest concentration of energy affecting weather all over the planet.

      That’s what’s been happening since the year dot.
      It’s not caused by the greenhouse effect, much less the ‘enhanced’ greenhouse effect.
      And if you think that localised warming is caused by the greenhouse effect, then you have to explain how a warm ‘pool’ of water somewhere on the planet can communicate with a cool ‘pool’ of water somewhere else on the planet, so they can agree between themselves on how much energy to absorb so as to keep the average somewhere close to equilibrium.

    • “the sky is not falling in the case of anthropogenic climate change”

      As I always suspected. Why are you here, then, making noise?

      Andrew

    • “It is absolutely true that the record setting heat content of the IPWP helped to fuel the equally record setting deadly typhoon in the Western Pacific that took so many lives last year”

      That would even sound convincing if it weren’t for the fact that
      Typhoon Hayan passed over anomalously cool waters before intensifying
      and making landfall:

      http://climatewatcher.webs.com/Typhoon.png

    • “That’s what’s been happening since the year dot.
      It’s not caused by the greenhouse effect, much less the ‘enhanced’ greenhouse effect.”
      _____
      The gains or losses of net energy in the IPWP over longer periods of time is a very good proxy for net external forcing on the climate system– far better than, for example the relatively small energy in the troposphere. Yes, winds and currents naturally create the IPWP, but the longer-term fluctuations (especially reflected in the expansion and warmer temperatures) are consistent with the external forcing from higher GH gas levels.

    • Eunice (and Everyone Else),

      Let’s set the record straight on the basic facts:

      1) The IPWP has been steadily gaining energy for many decades through both expansion and higher temperatures overall.

      2) Super Typhoon Haiyan was created right over these anomalously warm waters of the IPWP.

      See: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/super-typhoon-haiyans-intensification-and-unusually-warm-subsurface-

      Now, the really important thing is whether or not we can make a link between the anomalously high GH gas levels we’ve seen over the past few centuries, the anomalously high (and growing) energy content of the IPWP and the anomalously high energy absorbed from the IPWP and then unleashed by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Occam’s razor and basic physics might indicate the three are closely related.

    • “anomalously high”
      “anomalously high”
      “anomalously high”

      sigh

      Andrew

    • ““anomalously high”
      “anomalously high”
      “anomalously high”

      sigh”
      _____
      It is hard to be a fake-skeptic when there is certain consistency of logic and science against your recalcitrance, eh?

    • Gates –

      Look at the WunderBlog SST graphic.

      It’s for OCTOBER!

      Now look at the one I made overlaying Hayan’s path over the NOAA SST:

      http://climatewatcher.webs.com/Typhoon.png

      It’s for NOVEMBER 4, 2013 – the day Hayan reached Hurricane strength.

      Hayan intensified, at least in part, over anomalously COOL waters.

      This should make you question Masters.

    • Gates, let me set you straight on some physics.
      There’s more than enough energy impinging on the tropical oceans on a sunny day to boil away the top 10cm of water.
      The fact that this doesn’t happen is because most of that energy leaves almost as quickly as it arrives by way of mostly convection, evaporation, conduction and a small amount of net LW radiation.
      So there’s always more than enough energy to create large pools of very warm water – this is governed chiefly by currents and winds, and the greenhouse effect has precious little to do with it.
      There’s always a humongous amount of energy moving about in the system, and always has been, and the relatively tiny amount of added energy has a proportionately tiny effect on this.

    • “It is hard to be a fake-skeptic when there is certain consistency of logic and science against your recalcitrance, eh?”

      R. Gates,

      Why don’t you just repeat the above quote three times, click your heels together and see if the good fairies appear?

      Andrew

    • Wait.
      The upper 100m for October were anomalously warm.
      The surface on November 4 was partly cool.
      They are not mutually exclusive, I guess.

    • Eunice,

      You should read the article posted by Masters a bit more closely. You find this bit:

      “When looking at actual measurements made by the Argo float data in early November, the temperatures in the layer 100 meters below the surface under Haiyan were about 3°C above average, not 4 – 5°C, according to Dr. Lin. As the typhoon stirred this unusually warm water to the surface, the storm was likely able to feed off the heat, allowing Haiyan to intensify into one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever observed.”
      _____

      Typhoons and cyclones churn the water, and grow stronger if the SUB-surface water has a lot of energy. SST’s are not the best indicator of the potential energy available for growth once the storm starts to churn up the sub-surface waters. Thus, OHC, or ocean heat content, below the surface starts to be a big factor in creating Super-Typhoons, and as I’ve been illustrating, the OHC of the IPWP has been steadily growing for decades. Thus, the notion that somehow higher OHC’s are just harmlessly diffused throughout the ocean depths is completely incorrect, and goes against what we see happening in creating Super Typhoons, as that energy from well below the surface is transferred rapidly (through churning an latent and sensible heat flux) into the atmosphere and growth of the storm, and then that energy is unleashed on land, people, buildings, etc.

    • Matthew R Marler

      R Gates: record setting deadly typhoon in the Western Pacific that took so many lives last year.

      What, you mean biggest in decades during a below average ACE season? At best you have evidence that the heat in the ocean is not uniformly distributed.

    • So you’re saying that the greenhouse effect causes the ocean to heat up a lot more than it would have, only to give up all this pent-up energy in a massive storm?
      Why should that be, rather than the small amount of extra energy being gradually released in proportion to the rest?

    • R. Gates blathers (thankfully, not in triplicate)

      “The gains or losses of net energy in the IPWP over longer periods of time is a very good proxy for net external forcing on the climate system– …”

      Oh look, Gates has made a bald assertion as fact. If ya can’t support a conclusion, just assume it, eh Gates?

    • RGates, if the “record setting typhoon” was caused by AGW, why didn’t you predict it then? It seems you suffer from confirmation bias. If there are no “record setting” typhoons for the year, I guess that just means the invisible gardener didn’t show up, eh? But when there is one, you take that as definitive proof of CAGW. Can you see the problem? The world ponders.

      o^o <3 ???
      T

    • “RGates, if the “record setting typhoon” was caused by AGW, why didn’t you predict it then?”
      ____
      A: There are more factors involved in typhoon formation and strengthening than just ocean heat content. That is a necessary but not sufficient condition. It may supply the base energy, but especially winds and upper level wind shearing is also critical. You must have perfect conditions to create the perfect Super Typhoon.

    • phatboy erroneously said: “The fact that this doesn’t happen is because most of that energy leaves (the ocean) almost as quickly as it arrives by way of mostly convection…”
      ____
      I believe this assertion is incorrect. Most of the energy flux from ocean back to atmosphere is through latent heat (evaporation to you). You get much more convective activity over dry desert areas for example as the air itself moves heat from the surface to higher levels of the atmosphere. In essence though, the top layer of the ocean does “boil away” during high solar input days at the equator as the water molecules at the surface are turned to vapor, rise in the atmosphere to condense as clouds (releasing latent heat to the atmosphere), and then often that moisture falling back to the ocean as rain. The many different forms of energy that initial sunlight striking the ocean takes during this simple water cycle is amazing and includes sensible, latent, gravitational-potential, kinetic). Have you ever stopped for a moment to consider the kinetic energy of raindrops? You maybe have not, but some scientists have:

      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13131-013-0372-7

    • “So you’re saying that the greenhouse effect causes the ocean to heat up a lot more than it would have, only to give up all this pent-up energy in a massive storm?”
      _____
      One typhoon hardly makes a dent in the energy available in the IPWP. Even an El Nino does not take all the extra energy away but simply a small portion. A higher amount of energy in the IPWP simply provides one of the necessary conditions for Super-Typhoons to form, which means that as the IPWP has slowly been gaining energy over the past 60+ years, that one of the necessary conditions for Super Typhoons to form is in place far more frequently.

    • maksimovich

      Have you ever stopped for a moment to considered the kinetic energy

      The transformation of solar forcing potential to kinetic is around 2% ie it is very inefficient in a gravitational field (Peixoto &Oort).

      The additional agw component will add about the same ratio.

    • “The transformation of solar forcing potential to kinetic is around 2% ie it is very inefficient in a gravitational field (Peixoto &Oort).”
      ____
      Ah! So you have! Very good. The point is, it is just one form that the net energy in the climate system takes at any given time and that even comparing tropospheric sensible heat to ocean heat content one sees the vast difference between the two in terms of total energy in the climate system, with OHC dwarfing sensible tropospheric heat. Of course, the net kinetic energy of raindrops around the planet is far below either, but far from zero, and you need an accounting of all three (along with net planetary glacial ice mass) to get a good feel for the energy content of the Earth climate system.

    • ceresco kid

      Gates

      1281 AD Japan 66,000 deaths
      1699 AD Bangladesh 50,000 deaths
      1737 AD Bangladesh 300,000 deaths
      1584 AD Bangladesh 200,000 deaths
      1789 AD India 20,000 deaths
      1839 AD India 300,000 deaths
      1822 AD Bangladesh 200,000 deaths

      I could go on and on and on. Show me the proof that in the absence of AGW, the latest of a long long history of typhoons would not have happened. Just like all the other attempts to show causation and only being able to show correlation, the arguments fail. Not only do they fail, but they fail big time.

    • Eunice, I am sure you won’t believe me, but this is far more important data for predicting the potential growth of Super Typhoons:

      http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/oceanography/wrap_ocean_analysis.pl?id=IDYOC006&year=2013&month=11

      Note the high sub-surface temps right along the path of Haiyan. The storm churns the water, bringing up even more energy from deeper water to power and grow the storm.

    • R Gates:

      I believe that asssertion is wrong. Most of the energy flux from ocean back to atmosphere is through latent heat

      What do you think evaporation is?
      Anyway, I didn’t list those things in order of importance.

    • R Gates:

      One typhoon hardly makes a dent in the energy available in the IPWP.

      My point exactly. There’s a humongous amount of energy in the oceans, and always has been. There was more than sufficient energy around 60 or more years ago to warm the IPWP more than sufficiently to create super typhoon after super typhoon.
      It has much more to do with the way the energy is distributed than a relatively small amount of added energy.

    • phatboy,

      You did in fact list the way energy is removed from the ocean in an order of importance when you said:

      “The fact that this doesn’t happen is because most of that energy leaves almost as quickly as it arrives by way of mostly convection,”

      This is incorrect, and convection is not evaporation, which is the actual way that most energy leaves the ocean surface.

    • Ok, so I could have worded it better.
      But that doesn’t detract from my main point that other factors can have a far more profound effect on temperatures than small radiative forcing changes

  85. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    The book “Coles, S., 2001: An Introduction to Statistical Modeling of Extreme Values” has been referenced by the authors of the “Special Report. Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation (SREX)” as a way to study extreme weather.
    Is it appropriate to apply the theory of extreme values to extreme weather? (If you give me an interesting reply it might be incorporated into the version 2 of my “Refuting…” document).

  86. While shopping for a used car I am reminded about the similarities between the scientists of weather and climate doom and the sales person telling me that the car that I was looking at was driven by a little old lady who only drove it to church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. No sale. I prefer to purchase the car directly from the little old lady who drove her car only on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings

    Of course, I have to first locate the little old lady willing to sell her beloved transportation. This means a lot more work on my part, looking for estate sales as the little old lady now has had her car keys taken away as she is joining others in an extended care facility.

    Similarly, when I read about Anthropogenic Global Warming causing extreme weather and then we sashay through a benign and totally unpredicted Atlantic hurricane season missed by models and experts alike, and an equally unpredicted, nay, a bitterly cold winter predicted to be mild and balmy, almost 5 inches of snow as an April Fool’s joke in Washington DC (models wrong), and our glorious global surface temperature pause that is or is not real and in any case totally missed by the current crop of climate models, I find I have to work harder seeking out those, in the Autumn of their careers, who have an enormous amount of experience, and for them to point me into the twists and turns of the literature so that I can find things out for myself. I prefer it that way.

    If I am going to drive a used car, I don’t want to have any illusions or missed assumptions as I plunk down my cash. To do that, I don’t go to the used car sales lot, I avoid the harangue of the salesman who cold calls or emails me, and I certainly don’t buy into his/her spiel.

    I’m a patient man; reading through paper after paper, trying to figure out on my own which of many realities may have a plausible explanation or actionable alternative; what is the cost effective purchase.

    • RiHo08,

      You advocate a sane and rational approach. The Warmists will no doubt characterise you as a mentally defective fake skeptic denialist.

      Will you not buckle under the weight of the Warmist opprobrium?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Mike Flynn

      I confess my knees are weak, and my back, once strong cannot stand the loads once managed. Today, guile and wit are my retorts, foils from experience; contesting those whose message is weak, their voice strong only in cacophony, and their vision of what is yet to come distorted by what they believe rather than what they see.
      My message, be careful to whom you listen, test their counsel well.

  87. Even if you believe that the null hypothesis should be that AGW is true, it does not follow that the frequency of extreme events must be increasing. It is possible that the system with a higher mean value also has a smaller variance, or a probability distribution with lighter tails. Playing a shell game with the null hypothesis doesn’t address any of this.

  88. The whole issue strikes me as silly as how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? The world’s climate appears to go through shifts from one “meta-stable state” to another. These appearances may be deceiving, but let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that they’re correct.

    Each of these “meta-stable states” is associated with a specific probability of each particular extreme event in each location. A new “state” will be associated with new probabilities for some number (probably most) of these localized extreme events.

    Given the natural human tendency to predict the future based on the past, expectations for such localized extreme events will be based on past “states”, especially the most recent. When the world’s climate changes to a new “meta-stable state”, the probabilities change in each location, subjecting each to a new, larger risk of unexpected localized extreme events.

    As far as I can see, this logic would apply to both gradual and abrupt changes in “state”, whether caused by anthropogenic factors or natural. Even if the mythic “global average temperature” doesn’t change, for that matter even if the “average temperature” in every region stays constant, a shift of probabilities of localized extreme events would result in higher risk. (Since increased probabilities in unprepared regions would increase the risk more than decreased probabilities in prepared regions would decrease it.)

    This is intuitively obvious to me, although a satisfactory demonstration with numbers might make it more convincing.

    The problem is that attributing such changes to any factor, anthropogenic or not, is not really possible at our level of understanding. Correlation may suggest causation, it doesn’t prove it. Or even demonstrate it.

  89. It seems to me a lot time was devoted in the past to drawing a big distinction between ‘weather’ and climate.’ It is that difference that excuses the lack of forecasting capability of GCMs (e.g., they will be right on but we can’t know for another 50 years–trust us!).

    But now it it’s the ‘weather’ that should worry about because today’s worrisome ‘weather’ will be reflected in tomorrow’s global warming (that we’re predicted today but need to wait enough years to see we’re right).

    It’s a con job. Just keep the argument going as if that if the fate of the Earth is in the balance. All the while, keeping funding rolling in is all that academia really cares about.

  90. Statistical HypothesisTesting requires a specific measurable assertion to be made first. This could be
    (a) Surface temperatures have risen higher than has been seen during the past 150 years
    (b) Surface temperatures will rise at a faster rate each decade than has been seen during the past 150 years

    Then the Null Hypothesis, that (a) the temperature and /or (b) the rate of rise is equal to or less than the largest value found during the last 150 years.

    So the alarmists just need to adapt assertion (b).

    And they’re getting problems because folk point out that temperatures have been warming for ~500 years (with occasional slow drops in temperature for 30-50 years at a time)

  91. Robert I Ellison

    ‘Of these anomalies, one of the most recent to be discovered takes place in the Indo-Pacific warm pool. This body of water, which spans the western waters of the equatorial Pacific to the eastern Indian Ocean, holds the warmest seawaters in the world. Scientists found that, over a period of roughly two decades, the warm pool’s average annual temperatures and dimensions increase and then decrease like a slowly pulsating beacon.

    The effects and origins of these oscillating waters, however, remain something of a mystery. For the past three years researchers based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, led by atmospheric scientist Vikram Mehta, have been trying to unravel some of the questions surrounding the warm pool. They have been poring over atmospheric and sea surface temperature data from the western Pacific to the eastern United States looking for answers as to why the warm pool oscillates and what effects this oscillation may have on the world’s climate. What they found is that the warm pool’s vacillations may be felt as far away as Arkansas and may be powerful enough to broaden the extent of El Niño.’
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WarmPool/

    It is doubtful that even recent warming (1976 to 1998) can be distinguished against natural variability. The attempts to do so rely not merely on not knowing what the global energy dynamic at top of atmosphere is but of actively discounting – when it is not convenient – the available satellite data. Convenient is the brightness models of Harries and others – inconvenient is the ERBS edition 3.

  92. It is getting easier to see what Western academia’s global warming alarmists are up to –e.g.,

     
    Chicago Just Had Its Coldest Winter In History. Here’s Proof… of global warming!

  93. Evidence for positive feedbacks missing.
    Top of atmosphere data giving warmists
    no satisfaction.
    Could it be, me friends, the answer is hiding
    in the oscillating heat of the equatorial ocean?

    … Oh, the sea, the sea! Three quarters of
    our planet, it covers yet.

  94. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    •  Super El-Nino gaining strength

    •  Stupendous Kelvin-wave amplitude

    •  Re-insurerers reject denialism

    Question  With the troposphere-pause now foreseeably ending, and both the business community *AND* Pope Francis embracing Hansen’s climate-change world-view … what is denialism’s Plan B?

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • AFOMD,

      Plan B is the same as Plan A.

      Derisory laughter aimed at any fool who confuses the future with the present, and attempts to use a future fact which doesn’t yet exist to bolster a spurious present argument.

      Does that answer your question? I am only an unbeliever. The Warmists can’t seem to define denialism, so I assume that you take a denialist to be anyone who disagrees with you.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • I don’t know about denialists–in fact I don’t know many denialists at all through my reading of this weblog. As it’s a term of hate speech, it is unfit for a discussion of this type.

      But for those who think the climate consensus is far more political than scientific, your conflation of those three factors is quite interesting.

      Because you personally predict the end of the pause in temperature rises in the near future, you think your opponents need to change their plan?

      Because the companies that profit from fears of climate change through higher rates support political claims of future climate change, you think your opponents should change their plans?

      Because the temporal leader of a religion agrees with the political consensus, you think your opponents should change their plans?

      Excuse me, but I thought this was a discussion about something else…

    • Great – we need the rain.

    • Wait, we’re supposed to recoil in fear when a man in a pointy hat agrees with a man who reportedly tampered with temperature readings to make the early 20th century appear cooler and the latter part warmer?

      Order up another pointy hat!

  95. Curious George

    In particle physics, one has to accumulate an experimental evidence of 5 sigma for a 95% confidence. 2 or 3 sigma “signals” may easily be noise. How do you measure sigmas in climatology? Via proxies? Who selects proxies?

    • nottawa rafter

      It is based on who has the most votes in Committee. All about power politics. All of it is. True science is an afterthought.

  96. Fan oh Fan,
    With the troposphere -pause-pause now foreseeably ending ….
    point is-how-come-it-was-there-in-the-first-place?
    A serf wonders. )

  97. There would be intelligent life on Venus if not for gravity. Go it!

  98. DC,

    Would you be able to direct me to the experimental work which demonstrates heat creep within normal quantum electrodynamic processes?

    Can I, for example, boil water for my tea by exposing my kettle to the rays of the Sun, and waiting for the heat to creep into the water? Will the contents of the kettle eventually creep up to the surface temperature of the Sun? Should I take precautions to avoid my kettle melting if too much heat accumulates therein?

    Thinking about it a bit more, does the heat from the surface of the Sun creep back into the interior of the Sun and make it hotter – the heat that is – or having crept out already, merely creep back at the same temperature at which it crept out?

    To proceed along the same line, why would the heat creep away from the surface to space if its natural tendency is to creep below the surface in the first place?

    I am rapidly becoming ever more confused. The whole matter appears mysterious, even creepy.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

  99. Off thread I know, but possibly relevant to the model obsessed.

    “Professor Luis Garicano, from the London School of Economics, said the economic models used to predict inflation seem to be breaking down, leading to serial misjudgments. “They need to take very serious action,” he said.” – Guardian 3 April 2014.

    Maybe the fact that the models seem not to be working is due to a hiatus, or pause, and that expected accuracy will resume shortly.

    But don’t worry, your financial future is in safe hands. The modellers say so.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

  100. Maybe it’s has been discussed elsewhere, but is ANY extreme weather event not caused by a mixing of cold and hot?

  101. And Then There’s Physics has a relevant post entitled Emergence timescale for trends in U.S. tropical cyclone loss data. While not directly germane to the points I want to make, the article is worth reading and concludes
    The emergence timescale of anthropogenic climate change signals in normalized losses will be around 200 years from now. So, Roger Pielke Jr is right
    ATTP makes the points that there is only a 10 percent chance of seeing a positive signal trend emerge in 20-50 years [actually 15% in 41 years] , It will take 98 years for a 50% chance and 247 years for a 95 % correlation!
    At ATTP discussing RP jun which is relevant here I said
    There is a difference between trending and truth, and a difference between probability and truth.
    You may well be able to point out a trend in 20-50 years, there will always be a trend up,down or flat. But imputing significance to it is another matter.
    A discernible upward trend in that time interval is only 10 % likely to be correct, 90 % likely to be wrong.
    Given 98 years on your figures you are 50 % likely to be right! at 247 years you are 95% likely to be right.
    If we extrapolate this to surface temps we could say that the IPCC is 90% wrong to be advocating action on climate change based on a small 20-50 year trend in temperature changes particularly when the trend is now flattening rapidly due to the pause.
    You could say the same thing about your little area of Russia Jim D
    Judith is this correct that 10% right is 90% wrong on ATTP’s figures hence we should be 9 times out of 10 better off taking no action on presumed global warming?

  102. “both theory and models are now in good agreement that the frequency of high category hurricanes should increase”

    Emanuel is very misleading here – unless some new model has come along then there is only Knutsons very flaky modeling efforts about which he said high category hurricanes ‘might increase’ rather than Emanuels version ‘should increase’. Knutson later made it clear that it was basically a 50/50 shot. He should really have said ‘I dunno’ but press officers built it up this 50/50 to a possibility which Emanuel now converts into a certainty. How typical of climate scince that progression is! In fact, the only consistent modeling result is that there will be fewer hurricanes overall. How many times do we read about that in the papers?

    And as for the theory, the prior that warmer temperatures increase hurricane intensity was later countered by priors that wind shear and local temperature differences, not absolutes, were more important. Both Emanuel and Schmidt know this so clearly the cite-what-you-like barb was a perfect description of themselves.

    In any event there is no doubt in the literature with the twin facts that overall landfalling hurricanes are decreasing in number and that the higher damages have come about because there are now far more people in harms way. All studies that did not take account of these facts were later disregarded even by the authors. That is why the SREX represents the current state of knowledge far better than the fringe alarmists Trenberth, Mann, Schmidt and Emanuel. Imo Elsners work linking hurricanes to solar activity is as valid as anything else and more in agreement with obs.

    On the broader front, well they at least finally admit that the statistics actually back Pielke up rather than just calling him names and pretending Pielke had made mistakes when he was faithfully presenting the current state of the science.

    Also on the broader front about weatehr extremes and physical reasoning. Well there is no theory whatsoever linking warming to extreme weather beyond the textbooks which still state that we’d expect to get fewer. There is also no link whatsoever between the jetstream or Enso which cause most of these extremes. So to talk about physical reasoning without the physics supporting the argument is to talk nonsense. What Schmidt really means is pessimistic outlook, or ‘gut feeling’, not physics or reasoning.

  103. “Higher sea level to start from will clearly make a storm surge (like that of the storms Sandy and Haiyan) run up higher. By adding 1+1 we therefore know that sea-level rise is increasing the damage from storm surge”

    Is the above statement by the delinquent teenagers at UnReal Climate garbage or am I missing the point.
    If the sea level has risen four inches the damage from a storm surge will not increase to any great extent.
    If the sea level increases by three feet then the damage has been done before the storm surge.
    If I’m wrong is this the first time the delinquents have been right?
    Someone ought to tell them to stop bawling about Dr Pielke Jnr’s successful articles? They will never be respected as he is and they would do well to remember this.

  104. But AGW proponents have argued that urgent action is required to avoid harm. Now they are going to argue that urgent action is required to avoid the prospect of not being able to prove that we haven’t been harmed?

  105. This is easy:

    Weather and climate have acted naturally by definition in the past, as they are a part of any definition of ‘nature’.

    This IS the explanation until someone demonstrates that weather and climate are acting unnaturally.

    Good luck with that.

    Andrew

  106. I think it is absurd to suggest that the null hypothesis could be that humans are affecting the climate. The null hypothesis is intended to be the argument that nothing is different from what we know already. The null hypothesis is the argument that is closest to “null”, “nada”, “zero”, etc.

    Secondly, the argument that theory is enough to go on, that flies in the face of the history of science, flies on the face of the scientific method, and flies in the face of what any successful scientist would have experienced first-hand. You cannot be sure about something without verifying it. You simply cannot. Models, theories, guesses, dart-boards, extrapolations, etc, these things are never enough. Never. No matter how sure you may be, if you have not verified it by making predictions that are verified by either observation or experiment, then you simply cannot make any conclusions at all. The smartest people on earth know this – this is what has always been experienced and advocated by the greatest scientists. The fact that supposedly intelligent people would advocate otherwise is absurd.

  107. Which global warming are we talking about here? The one with Gore, Hansen, Mann and esp Obama (mopping his brow on sunny day in Rose Garden), derived from only baseless simulations causing them to act like it’s reality or the global warming of barely a few tenths of a degree in 150 years that no one can actually feel or notice?

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  110. Pingback: Worst case scenarios versus fat tails: a discussion about climate change | Fabius Maximus