Is Extreme Weather Linked to Global Warming?

by Judith Curry

Yale Environment 360 has just posted  a  forum with the same title as this post. I along with 7 other scientists provided a 250 word response to the question:

Do you think there is growing evidence that human-caused global warming is contributing to an increased incidence of extreme weather ?

The eight experts were:

  • Kevin Trenberth
  • Andrew Watson
  • Roger Pielke Jr
  • Kerry Emanuel
  • Judith Curry
  • Laurens Bower
  • Gabriele Hegerl
  • William Hooke

The individual essays are worth reading.  I reproduce my own response below:

Judith Curry, chair of Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
The substantial interest in attributing extreme weather events to global warming seems rooted in the perceived need for some sort of a disaster to drive public opinion and the political process in the direction of taking action on climate change. However, attempts to attribute individual extreme weather events, or collections of extreme weather events, may be fundamentally ill-posed in the context of the complex climate system, which is characterized by spatiotemporal chaos. There are substantial difficulties and problems associated with attributing changes in the average climate to natural variability versus anthropogenic forcing, which I have argued are oversimplified by the IPCC assessments. Attribution of extreme weather events is further complicated by their dependence on weather regimes and internal multi-decadal oscillations that are simulated poorly by climate models.

I have been completely unconvinced by any of the arguments that I have seen that attributes a single extreme weather event, a cluster of extreme weather events, or statistics of extreme weather events to anthropogenic forcing. Improved analysis of the attribution of extreme weather events requires a substantially improved and longer database of the events. Interpretation of these events in connection with natural climate regimes such as El Nino is needed to increase our understanding of the role of natural climate variability in determining their frequency and intensity. Improved methods of evaluating climate model simulations of distributions of extreme event intensity and frequency in the context of natural variability is needed before any confidence can be placed in inferences about the impact of anthropogenic influences on extreme weather events.

296 responses to “Is Extreme Weather Linked to Global Warming?

  1. Thanks, Professor Curry.

    In my opinion, extreme weather is probably and long-term climate are both probably controlled by Earth’s unstable heat source – the Sun.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

    • Joe Lalonde

      My opinion, is that it is pressure changes generated by the atmospheric stretching which has changed the salinity in the oceans.

      • Thanks, Joe.

        Extreme weather will remain a mystery until the scientific community “gets real” and addresses experimental observations that show Earth’s heat source is:

        The violently unstable remains of a supernova that exploded 5 Gyr (5 x 10^9 years) ago, ejecting all of the material that now orbits the Sun – planets, comets, meteorites, asteroids, moons, etc..

        Fortunately for us, a blanket of waste products has accumulated around the unstable pulsar, almost – but not completely – insulating Earth from the violent spasms of the pulsar.

        Experimental evidence – from space and nuclear rest mass measurements – are summarized in “Neutron repulsion” [The Apeiron Journal, in press (2011, 19 pages].

        http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.1499v1

  2. The article notes

    “That global air and ocean temperatures are rising, and that human activity is largely to blame, is no longer a subject of debate among the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists.”

    Even if this were true, that the vast majority of scientists no longer debate the subject should not lead one to conclude that the debate is concluded, that we have an answer, or that the science is settled. Much of what we’ve learned suggests that we actually know less than we previously thought we did.

    Trenberth makes me laugh.

    • Simon –
      Much of what we’ve learned suggests that we actually know less than we previously thought we did.

      One of the lessons of science history is that answers don’t lead to certainty, but rather to more questions. A lesson apparently not learned by those who think the “science is settled”.

  3. PDO cooling is more likely the cause for some of the Tornadoes.

    It has been amazingly cold on the west coast of North America creating a cold/warm clash int he tornado areas.

    I do understand that global warming causes cooling (in deranged minds) but warming was not the problem.

  4. Extreme weather and climate changes are linked, because both are strongly influenced by the Sun.

    It will probably be impossible for the scientific community to gasp the influence of the Sun on extreme weather events unless they have first understood:

    a.) The Sun’s influence on Earth’s climate, and
    b.) The Sun’s internal composition and structure

    Several independent studies [Jose, Fairbanks and Shirley, Landscheidt, Svensmark, etc.] had verified point (a) before the UN’s IPCC dismissed the Sun’s influence on Earth’s climate.

    Tallbloke has recently reported new evidence for point (a):

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/what-caused-global-warming-in-the-late-c20th/

    However one illusion is firmly entrenched: The Sun is stable and has no structure – other than that produced by compressing 91% H + 9% He.

    That illusion assures that extreme weather will remain a mystery.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  5. It’s worth noting that Trenberth was talking exclusively about rainfall amounts, related to flooding, and didn’t say anything about extreme winds. I take that as 8 noes on the question of whether greenhouse gases are causing tornadoes, or at least no yeses.

  6. If one reads the entire set of eight responses, what emerges is a fairly convincing conclusion that individual extreme events cannot reliably be attributed to global warming, but that the probability of some types of extreme events – particularly those involving the hydrologic cycle but also heatwaves – is increased by global warming to an extent that is probable in the views of some of the participants and almost certain in the views of others.

    It is not surprising that one of the more certain views was expressed by Kevin Trenberth, whose opinion on this issue was a component of his proposal for a change in the null hypothesis regarding anthropogenic contributions to global warming. Even the less certain participants, however, were clearly inclined to view the change in probability as the most plausible way to interpret existing evidence.

    • 8 people have been designated “experts”, yet not one of them understands the climate system well enough to be able to say anything about future climate. So much for “expertise”.

      To belabor what should be obvious — the person with the best eyesight in a group still lacks what it takes a microscope to see. We could call that person an “expert” or “the best” or the “champ”, but he still can’t see well enough to tell us anything about what is happening at a microscopic level.

      Judy and the other 7 may be as knowledgeable as anyone in the world, but they still don’t know enough to reach any definitive conclusions.

    • Fred, I do not see that in Dr. Curry’s response. Perhaps you can point it out.

      In any case it is the standard AGW view and I don’t see any skeptics on the list so of course that is what they say. An increase in heat waves and extreme precip is either probable or certain, as that is the “change” in AGW climate change. The climate may not be predictable but the alarmists are.

      • I believe all participants conclude that we can’t attribute individual extreme events to global warming. A majority, but not all, appear to conclude that global warming is likely to increase the frequency of extreme events that include the extreme precipitation and the heat waves you mention, to which I would probably add drought, as a reflection of the tendency of warming to accelerate water loss from drought prone regions.

  7. Do you think there is growing evidence that human-caused global warming is contributing to an increased incidence of extreme weather ?

    Answer: No.

    • Max, I agree. But I would go back one step. The question seems to assume that there is such a thing as human caused global warming. Since there is no such thing as human caused global warming, the question is completely meaningless.

    • If anything, there is evidence of negative correlation. Since the tropics are stable and warm, cooling increases the contrast AND the frequency of strong incursions of cold air into the temperate zones (and thus of violent weather), especially during the Spring. E.g., the last few weeks.

      • Brian –
        This is the same type of pattern that occurred leading into the LIA. IOW, nothing’s essentially changed in 700 years. Reference – any good archaeology text that covers the period. Easy reading – “The Little Ice Age” by Brian Fagan.

  8. A few didn’t like the question and tried to answer a question they thought more important since there isn’t any “growing evidence” of incidence.

  9. I found RP Jr.’s closing particularly apt (bolding is mine):

    Human-caused climate change is real and deserves effective policies in response. The making of claims that are scientifically unsupportable will not further that effort.

    • Gene,

      Good eye. RP Jr. Makes a dubious claim and then says he don’t like dubious claims in the very next sentence. lol

      Andrew

      • um, no.

      • Bad Andrew

        Gene,

        Do you mean that you think RP Jr. is being consistent? Because he clearly is not. BTW, if you have ever followed his blog, you’ll see this isn’t the first time, either.

        Andrew

      • Andrew,

        I can’t vouch for his consistency (I haven’t made a study of his work over time), but I disagree that the claim that “Human-caused climate change is real and deserves effective policies in response” is dubious. How much change is very much an open question, but I find it hard to dispute that mankind (via land use as well as GHG and other emissions) has had an impact.

      • Bad Andrew

        “I find it hard to dispute that mankind (via land use as well as GHG and other emissions) has had an impact.”

        What examples do you usually point to as having convinced you of this?

        Andrew

      • Andrew,

        The basic physics (backed by measurements) have been covered here and elsewhere by those far more qualified than I.

        From an empirical standpoint, go outside just after sundown on a summers day and compare how it feels in a parking lot with a grassy area. Admittedly, it’s a local effect, but a discernable one nonetheless. How does that scale up to the global? I don’t know that answer, but I doubt it’s zero.

      • Bad Andrew

        Gene,

        Trying not to be flippant, but…

        Is the local parking lot effect what RP Jr meant when he said “human-caused climate change is real and deserves effective policies in response”?

        Is he suggesting we remove parking lots and replace them with grass?

        Andrew

      • Kent Draper

        Gene, I know it’s a western US thing, but it snowed here in California yesterday. June 1st. Should be 85-90 deg here.
        I’m sorry, but we on the west coast are freezing our rears off and I have burned more wood this year for heat than any other year since 1979.

      • Andrew,

        I can’t answer for RP Jr., but as I understand it, changes in land usage are a part of human impact on climate.

        And as far as effective policies go, I’ve commented frequently on what I feel fit that bill (promoting energy efficiency, encouraging nuclear and gas, reducing methane emissions from landfills, etc.). Replacing paved parking lots with grass wouldn’t (in most cases) work because they wouldn’t hold up to the usage level. If an alternative was found that retains less heat and works as well, then replacement might be an option (depending on cost, etc.).

      • Kent,

        I live on a part of the east coast where it’s easier to pick the winning lottery number than tomorrow’s weather. That doesn’t say much about the long term trend however.

      • Yup … all those thermometers in parking lots should be in grass fields. Then the CO2 claims would be extra laughable.

      • Gene –
        Replacing paved parking lots with grass wouldn’t (in most cases) work because they wouldn’t hold up to the usage level.

        Why not? The “usage level” isn’t that great.

        But tell me – when one moves a thermometer from a grassy area to macadam, do you believe the “adjustment” used for that site should be positive (hotter) or negative (colder)? How many sites have been “adjusted” – and which way”?
        Have you ever been to the surfacestations.org site?

      • Jim,

        We’re wandering way off topic here, but IMHO, trying to use a grass covered field for parking for a busy location (say a shopping center) would be disastrous. In very short order your lot would be mud or rutted dirt depending on the weather.

        As far as what the adjustment should be for a weather station, that’s way out of my expertise and not germane to the original discussion of pavement vs grass between Andrew and I.

      • Gene –
        From your own post –
        From an empirical standpoint, go outside just after sundown on a summers day and compare how it feels in a parking lot with a grassy area.

        I thought you might have gotten the idea that temp measurements are affected by the same differences in locale. And when you replace one with the other it makes a difference in the measurement.

      • Gene and Jim

        “Grass-covered parking lots”?

        Why not?

        We have them in many places here in Switzerland (special tiles with holes allowing grass to grow).

        Problem is getting the cows to graze there, the traffic scares them off.

        Max

      • Jim,

        Andrew had asked for an example that convinced me that humans affect the environment, and the parking lot example was a handy one for land use as an impact. As I told him, I don’t know how much that scales up to the global level, but I doubt that it’s zero. From what I’ve read, RP Sr. seems to believe that land use is a significant factor.

        As far as the siting differences, I’d imagine it would make a difference, though I’ll leave it to those better qualified to determine the specifics.

      • Max,

        We have them in many places here in Switzerland (special tiles with holes allowing grass to grow).

        I hadn’t heard of that…if it’s as rugged as asphalt without the heat retention, chemical runoff, etc. then it sounds like an interesting alternative.

        Problem is getting the cows to graze there, the traffic scares them off.

        Import some Texas longhorns, they’re much less polite than their Swiss cousins ;-)

  10. Rob Starkey

    Question:
    Do you think there is growing evidence that human-caused global warming is contributing to an increased incidence of extreme weather ?

    Answer- No. These claims are clearly made in a dramatic attempt to spur others to implement the actions that certain people BELIEVE is correct although the evidence does not support their beliefs.

    Will the climate change over time-yes.

    Will/do humans have any impact on the climate-yes, but we do not yet understand to what degree.

    Will these changes theoretically lead to some weather event being of greater severity than it would have otherwise been? Statistically, the answer has to be yes, but there is no way of ever knowing the impact to any specific event.

    • Rob, in your last paragraph the term “these changes” is ambiguous. If you mean changes in general, such as the next ice age, then I agree. Or do you mean just human induced changes, in which case I disagree.

      • Rob Starkey

        David
        My statement was a “theoretical” observation of the potential human effect on the climate. I suggest that humanity does have an impact on the climate (this is basically unarguably correct, it is just a question of the degree of that impact and can we notice it in the real world. Humans breathing or walking impacts the climate). Statistically, given that we have an impact, some weather event, at some point in time, will be more severe somewhere than it would have otherwise been. In the real world this is meaningless as the impact might be so small or rare to be unnoticeable, but it is true.

      • Rob Starkey writes “Humans breathing or walking impacts the climate”

        Sorry, Rob, you have lost me. How on earth do humans by breathing and walking impact the climate?

      • Rob Starkey

        Jim
        You already know the answer to this one. A human breathing changes to atmospheric content and wind current to a very small degree. That is an impact however small. Think of the “butterfly effect”

      • Kent Draper

        Rob…..
        “Think of the “butterfly effect”
        I think that was a fiction movie :)

      • Rob Starkey writes “You already know the answer to this one. A human breathing changes to atmospheric content and wind current to a very small degree.”

        I agree that this could cause a very small change in weather, but I fail to see how this can affect climate. How do these effects last long enough to change climate?

      • Rob Starkey

        Jim/Kent- I will acknowledge that the small impacts described would have no effect to the climate. I absolutely do believe that humans overall are impacting the climate to some degree. It seems logical that if we are impacting the climate at all, then there would be SOME point in the future that a weather event would be worse than it would have been.

        That does NOT mean that it makes sense to stop CO2 from being emitted however.

      • Rob Starkey writes “. I absolutely do believe that humans overall are impacting the climate to some degree. It seems logical that if we are impacting the climate at all, then there would be SOME point in the future that a weather event would be worse than it would have been.”

        Fair enough. I am a scientist; a physicist. I believe in Nullius in Verba. When you show me the hard, measured data that proves that humans are having an effect on climate, I will accept it as proof. I try not to believe anything until I see the hard data.

        And I have seen absolutely no hard data whatsoever that proves that adding CO2 to the atmosphere does anything to climate or global temperatures.

      • Kent Draper

        Rob….
        “then there would be SOME point in the future that a weather event would be worse than it would have been”.

        This is where I have issues with CAGW, why would it HAVE to be “worse”????? Why not better??? Why is it everything humans do make it worse to you folks? I think if it warmed it would be BETTER. I despise the snow. One of the reasons I live in Northern California.

      • Rob Starkey

        Kent- The point was one of statistics. You are correct that the majority or virtually all of the changes may be within the norms of the system, but when you change the system there would in all probability be some outlyer event than was made more severe. It was probably a dumb idea for me to have raised.

      • Rob Starkey:

        It seems logical that if we are impacting the climate at all, then there would be SOME point in the future that a weather event would be worse than it would have been.

        In the absence of a parallel universe in which everything is exactly the same except for CC right up to the exact point in time that said event occurs (which is a logical impossibility anyway, as all other things are never equal), nobody will ever know.

      • If the air they breath comes from an A/C or a furnace (depending on the season) then the impact is huge.

        Just expand it a little … clear a lot, build a house, build a road to the house, clear a field to grow crops …. magnified by 6 billion.

      • Or the “events” might be less severe than they would have been. Or all impacts might be negligible, infinitesimal.

        It all depends on the assumptions and preferences of the model programmers.

  11. As I said in another thread, extreme events can be said to be linked to AGW in much the same way as getting rich is linked to buying a lottery ticket.

    In any case, regardless of their cause, frequency or intensity, extreme events will happen and, if you’re unlucky, they’re going to affect you.
    For instance, even if the statistical frequency or intensity of tornadoes decreases substantially, you will still get at least one severe tornado hitting the ‘States every year, which may or may not be catastrophically destructive or deadly, depending on its path.
    Yet most people will go through life without being affected by tornadoes, even if their frequency and intensity were multiplied.
    So even if people like KT are right, and even if we could reverse AGW, one would have to be very foolish indeed to stop taking (reasonable)precautions against tornadoes.

    • Alternatively, if the frequency or intensity of tornadoes were to remain constant, just the increased use (urbanisation) of land will raise the probability of humans being in their path and so affected.

      Personally, I don’t think that we will ever get a ‘measurement’ of the total ‘quantity’ (frequency * severity * x / y etc. ?) of severe weather events that could be used to draw any conclusions or form any type of political policy. The climate system, as Judith Curry has said, is a fundamentally a spatio-temporal chaotic system such that we will never get to a point of stability that would enable policy to be meaningful; the global climate system is probably the best random number generator there is (good distribution and never the same number twice); and if the climate did stabilise, either by the time some policy is agreed, the climate will have changed again, or else we wouldn’t need any policy anyway.

      n.b. I didn’t know when reading Trenberth’s reply though whether to laugh or cry, with its ambiguities, contradictions and woolliness.

      • SimonCS:

        Alternatively, if the frequency or intensity of tornadoes were to remain constant, just the increased use (urbanisation) of land will raise the probability of humans being in their path and so affected.

        As, even in densely-populated regions of the world, the ratio of open countryside to populated areas is still quite large, the odds of even a large tornado hitting a populated area are still quite low.
        So it would not be too surprising to see a single F3 tornado causing more death and destruction than a whole swarm of F5s.

      • Quite so. Which means we cannot read anything into any of the recent instances of tornadoes hitting built-up areas.

  12. John Kannarr

    Economist Don Boudreaux published 2 recent entries in his blog, Cafe Hayek, with a bearing on this issue.

    First, at http://cafehayek.com/2011/05/bill-chicken-little-mckibben.html
    on May 24, 2011, he recounted decadal statistics of weather-related deaths, noting specifically that “The average annual number of such fatalities over the full 40 years 1940-1979 was 290” and that “The average annual number of such fatalities over the full 30 years 1980-2009 was 194.” He further noted that:

    “This decline in the absolute number of deaths caused by tornados, floods, and hurricanes is even more impressive considering that U.S. population more than doubled over these 70 years, from 132 million in 1940 to 308 million today.”

    Then, on May 31, 2011, he made the following Julian Simon-like bet with any alarmist taker at http://cafehayek.com/2011/05/wanna-bet.html:

    “I’ll bet $10,000 that the average annual number of Americans killed by tornadoes, floods and hurricanes will fall over the next 20 years. Specifically, I’ll bet that the average annual number of Americans killed by these violent weather events from 2011 through 2030 will be lower than it was from 1991 through 2010.”

    This bet was published in the Wall Street Journal on that same day .

    So, any takers?

    • JP Jr has accepted the bet and they are currently arranging the details.

      Note that the number of victims does not depend solely on the frequency and intensity of the events, but in the degree of preparedness. One example: in Bangladesh a great 1971 monsoon cyclone, hitting about 20 million people, killed 500,000. A very similar cyclone in 2007, directly hitting an increased population, killed only 8000, due to excellent early warning and having most people safely in designated cyclone shelters (local schools and the like) at the time of the event.

      On the other hand, there is no evidence of an increase in frequency or intensity of extreme events on a centennial or longer timescale. In the US, according to JP Jr among others, the harshest 20th century hurricanes occurred in the 1920s and 1930s; except for the solitary Katrina there has been a great lull in hurricanes hitting the US coasts since the early 1990s. The 20th century trend is decreasing. See JP Jr study on hurricane intensity based on a normalized level of population and assets.

      • People who claim extreme weather should read about the dust bowl, which occurred during the ACTUAL warmest decade – the 1930s — and occurred in both the US and Canada.

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

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

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

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

        In the central and northern plains, dust was everywhere.”

        http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/water_02.html

  13. Ron Strong

    This is an exercise that those who fear global warming are bound to win. There will always be weather extremes that differ from what we havve recorded during the very brief history of of meteorology. Without something else to point to as their cause, the cassandras will always point to global warming.

    A better way to approach the issue is to also ask whether good weather is due to anthropogenic causes.

    When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s there were frequent droughts in the midwest areas that produce the largest portion of our grain. It’s been a long time since a major drought in that area. During the late 90s and early this century we had a number of unusually warm winters accross the northern states, saving many lives and tens of billions of dollars in fuel costs. And, of course, there are the longer growing seasons and northward movement of the limits of agriculture.

    With as much effort as has been expended to link bad weather to global warming, I’m sure we can find many other instances of better weather.

    There is little doubt that the climate would now be different without the impact of humans. But that is not the issue – climate change frequently with or without humans. The proper question is whether the net effect is positive or negative. Unfortunately, this is even harder to determine than the issue of whether a particular weather event has anthropogenic causes.

    • Kent Draper

      Ron,
      “With as much effort as has been expended to link bad weather to global warming, I’m sure we can find many other instances of better weather”.

      Better weather makes for lousy new’s reporting and is lot’s harder to tax. When is the last time you heard on the new’s ” What a beautiful day it is today”? Won’t happen, it doesn’t sell papers or can’t be used for leverage.

  14. Is Extreme Weather Linked to Global Warming?

    Seems to me that extreme weather events happen for lots of different reasons, but in general, are linked to shifts in weather patterns. ENSO is the biggy, but bigger than usual changes in the Arctic and Antarctic oscillations can cause them too.

    Typhoons and hurricanes and tornados seem to occur more when the PDO is in the negative phase and the surface is cooling. SO in general, the answer is:

    No.

  15. David L. Hagen

    Connection: 22 year Hale Solar Cycle & South Africa Floods
    In his life work, WJR Alexander showed a significant correlation between the 22 year Hale Solar Cycle and floods in the South African region – which was NOT present in evaporation.
    WJR Alexamder Causal linkages between solar activity and climatic responses, Water Resources & Flood Studies, U. Pretoria, 1 March 2006
    WJR Alexander et al. Linkages between solar activity, climate predictability and water resource development 2007

    Nicola Scafetta and others have shown correlations between solar cycle and global temperatures. e.g.
    N. Scafetta, “Empirical analysis of the solar contribution to global mean air surface temperature change,” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 71, 1916–1923 (2009), doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2009.07.007.

    By inference, there are correlations via solar cycles, between global temperatures and floods in South Africa based on more than 100 years evidence.

    The portion of global warming / climate change attributable to anthropogenic causes is the major issue under scientific evaluation. As anthropogenic CO2 is increasing, that contribution is not synchronous with the Hale cycle, nor with the PDO or other atmospheric/ocenic oscillations. Consequently, the impact of anthropogenic causes on long term extreme weather is presumably discoverable. However that will require extensive quantification of solar variation /galactic cosmic ray variations / terrestrial oscillations. Individual extreme weather events are not yet predictable based on the above (if ever).

  16. James Evans

    That this should be such a wooly issue is surely a rather sad indictment of the pathetic state of the science.

    Rain guages and wind guages have been around for quite a while, I think. So have incidents of extreme weather increased or not?

    Looking at some weather data might be in order. And then do some adding. Do a bit of the maths thing.

    Complicated stuff, I know. Thank god we’ve got the best brains on the planet working on this one.

  17. It seems to me the question of whether there are more extreme weather events now than in past years is testable. The question is more suitably posed to a statistician.

    • Ron,

      You have to be cautious about that…technology has led to a huge improvement in detection of events such as tornadoes over the last 30 years. Going by just the number of events could show a increase where none actually exists.

      • James Evans

        Why not just examine how many strong wind events have been recorded at weather stations? Surely improved technology is irrelevent. Don’t weather stations record wind speeds? Do we have that data? Forget about running around looking for storms – don’t we have wind-speed data just like we have temp data?

  18. The number of victims or the extent of damage does not depend solely on the frequency and intensity of the events, but in the degree of preparedness and the size of the people and assets exposed. One example: in Bangladesh a great 1971 monsoon cyclone, hitting about 20 million people, killed 500,000. A very similar cyclone in 2007, directly hitting an increased population, killed only 8000, due to excellent early warning and having most people safely ensconced in designated cyclone shelters (local schools and the like) at the time of the event.

    On the other hand, there is no evidence of an increase in frequency or intensity of extreme events on a centennial or longer timescale. In the US, according to JP Jr among others, the harshest 20th century hurricanes occurred in the 1920s and 1930s; except for the solitary Katrina there has been a great lull in hurricanes hitting the US coasts since the early 1990s. The 20th century trend is decreasing. See JP Jr study on hurricane estimated intensity and damage, based on a normalized level of population and assets, for hurricanes hitting American territory.

  19. Jack Hughes

    There is also growing evidence for UFOs. Every week there are more reported sightings. :-)

    Does a huge mountain of inconclusive fuzz mean any more than a smaller bucketful ?

  20. The answers are ordered from the ridiculous to the sublime. Mr. Hooke provides the most adult answer. Bad stuff happens, prepare for it.

    It’s important to solve the hard problems you outline to be able to figure out if increased warming will likely cause increased severe weather destruction and havoc. If I was a young climate scientist, that challenge would be very exciting. Unfortunately, scientists like Trenberth are spiking the football at mid field. The fierce defense to preconceived conclusions by the academic leaders serves to stunt the growth of young scientists. The best example of this is Eric Steig. He is obviously a very smart competent scientist who has been pulled strongly to the political center of climate science.

    What a waste of time, money and talent.

  21. A little off topic, but do you guys suppose that establishment climate scientists, in particular the rabid inner sanctum types like Mann and co., are sleeping well these days? On the one hand, the human capacity for denial is well nigh limitless. As Upton Sinclair once wrote, ‘it’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding.’

    But on some level they’ve got to realize they’ve painted themselves into a corner. The depth of their obvious anger would certainly argue so.

    It’s a small story, the fate of a few individuals, given what’s at stake, but I don’t think life will be kind to these guys as the years go by.

    • Rob Starkey

      They certainly can not be happy that Kyoto is effectively dead and that was the only real basis for suggesting that US/EU actions would get other nations to reduce CO2.

    • Latimer Alder

      Seems to me that its the old story of hubris followed by nemesis all over again
      (just like deja vu).

      For a brief moment of history, the Team found themselves in a position where anything they said or claimed was effectively unchallenged – however shoddy or non existent the work behind the assertions. Their Word was seen as the Truth. Nobody objected, nobody checked, nobody asked the hard questions. They were treated like Gods within their own circle. Praise and Glory was upon them all.

      And so, being no more Godlike that any other mere mortal they began to believe their own publicity. Masters of the Universe, they became careless. They didn’t see the small black cloud on their sunny horizon. They assumed that their reign would last forever. Arrogance and bluster replaced whatever limited talent (if any) they may once have had.

      And when disaster came from an apparently clear blue sky..in Climategate, in Amazongate and in the delicious irony of a snowbound Copenhagen, they had no shots left in their locker. They have no way of dealing with hard questions other than endless and frankly pathetic witterings about ‘Big Oil funded deniers’ which even they don’t really believe any more.

      The only course for the whole lot of them is downhill. Built on wishful and blinkered thinking, their Castle in the Air is crumbling.

      After hubris..nemesis.

      I shed no tears for them.

  22. Judith, I have to say your answer sounds like a cop out. I agree with what you are saying about multi-decadal “oscillations” (I prefer variation as an oscillation infers a repetition and therefore relatively stable period). However, I do think that the level of extreme events would indicate whether the climate were “moving” in its behaviour.

    But I’d agree that that analysis could be very difficult given the nature of climate variability. With so much long term noise, it is very easy to misinterpret “noise” as some kind of trend. That is why robust tests for statistical significance are required.

    • Hurricane intensity is increasing. Is this associated with the PDO or with greenhouse warming? Etc etc. So changing levels of extreme events may reflect the shift in the PDO plus the 1995 shift in the AMO, and not greenhouse warming. Sorting that out is the issue and it is very difficult to do with only a few decades of good data on extreme events like hurricanes and tornadoes.

      • Would you agree that as a working hypothesis it is reasonable to expect extreme weather events to increase, given that we know with a high degree of confidence that temperatures and concentrations of water vapor have increased and are likely to continue to increase in the future, and that we also know with a high degree of confidence that temperature extremes and atmospheric moisture are associated with certain kinds of extreme weather events?

        I agree with most of what you are saying inasfar as there may be no signal in the extreme weather data strong enough to be used as independent evidence of global warming. But given that there is strong evidence of global warming already, doesn’t the physics suggest that we are likely to see an increase in certain kinds of extreme weather events?

      • Extreme weather events depend on dynamics also. With a weaker pole to equator temperature gradient, their is no prima facie reason to expect more intense or frequent extreme weather events. With more water vapor in the atmosphere, it is not clear whether there will be more clouds, more frequent rain events, or the same number of rain events with greater intensity rainfall. We just don’t know.

      • I know what the models predict about water vapour but I don’t see much of an increase in the graphs shown here even if water vapour was the sole concern.

      • Robert,
        Yet we have not seen an increase in certain kinds of extreme weather events.
        So to apply your standard to this, does this not mean that the hypothesis that CO2 is causing a worldwide climate crisis is falsified?

      • Judith, the job of the scientist is to present all the evidence and their best interpretation. The problem with climate “science” is that so many people will only present evidence which supports their particular interpretation with the result that the public are increasingly sceptical of all climate “scientists”.

        Totally agree with the few decades of data problem, but personally I’m sick to death of being told … no having it asserted … that this or that “is being caused by”, when I know those saying these things have only the vaguest idea of what that means and are highly biased .. no worse than that … are actively trawling masses of data to find the one bit of evidence that supports their preconceived notions. That’s not science. That’s the kind of rubbish engaged in by politicians and PR consultants.

        What I want to know, is whether there is a statistically significant correlation and if there is a reason why that isn’t a meaningful question, I want to know why.

        To be frank, I just wish there was one climate scientist out there somewhere who could be relied on to “tell it as it is”, no bias, no prejudice, no dumbing down, just plain simple facts with no fear or favour as to whether they support one or other “faction”. So, I’m more than a little disappointed that you didn’t refer to the evidence.

        Back to the extreme weather. The first step is to answer the question: “is there a statistically significant change in the level of … ” e.g. hurricanes. In order to answer that question, you must first have a model of “normality” in order to assess the statistical significance of any apparent change.

        But you instead say: “Hurricane intensity is increasing”. But is this significant? If it’s not a statistically significant change then there’s little or no point trying to identify the cause, if it is, then surely it is fairly simple analysis to determine how likely each possible signal is as the cause of that change.

      • The increase in the percent of cat 4+5 hurricanes since 1980 is large and statistically significant (see my previous hurricane post), although data quality is an issue.
        https://judithcurry.com/2010/09/13/hurricanes-and-global-warming-5-years-post-katrina/

      • Thanks Judith. I’m probably just being grumpy. Perhaps I’m just a bit miffed that I’ve been telling people there’s no evidence of trends in extreme weather and yet again the pathetic nature of climate information means that I’ve been telling them half the truth (which is probably quite good for most climate stories)

        I did once try to start a climate wiki with the intent of outlining all the main evidence in as impartial a way as possible (unlike Wikipedia which is a blatant piece of propaganda). Unfortunately, I found little in climate science that could be relied upon and an awful lot which was blatant opinion/propaganda. Then we had climategate and I realised that I could not even trust the basic temperature data because those involved did not share my ethics that science must be dispassionately impartial and publish all the facts warts and all.

        And, just in case you like the idea let me just explain what I mean by “wiki”. It’s really the format in which information is displayed. This blog is a “compost heap” type structure whereby new stuff is on the top, but quickly gets covered as more stuff is placed on the blog.

        A wiki is a collaborative project in which the information is structured in a permanent way and available permanently. Some wikis are run by individuals, some by closed groups, others by open access and others like Wikipedia climate pages by a closed group of alarmists pretending to be publicly accessible.

        Personally, I’d love to see a wiki where “warmists” and “sceptics” were each allowed to put the evidence in support of their view and each able to direct readers to counter arguments as they read the other view.

        PS. Just in case. I’ve put back online my old wiki at: http://www.haseler.net/wiki/ It’s a bit ropey as it should be running on its own domain, but you can get the idea (although I’ve disabled editing)

      • curryja,
        Now we are down to an alleged 30 year trend in a hurricane basin as proof of a worldwide CO2 caused crisis?
        Is an alternative explanation that we are now measuring and assigning categories whille storms are at sea with technology developed in the last 30 years at least as reasonable as CO2?

      • Dr. Curry,
        Certainly you have some citations for your assertion concerning hurricane intensity?

      • Dr. Curry,
        That is interesting. How does this reconcile with the paleo record?
        One aspect of this dispute consistently stands out: projective studies and short term studies consistently seem to ignore the historic record.

  23. It might be worth looking at what Judith Curry used to say in her more rational days:
    “We formulated the central hypothesis that greenhouse warming is causing an increase in hurricane intensity as a causal chain consisting of three subhypotheses that are individually and collectively more easily evaluated than the central hypothesis. Assessing each of these subhypotheses against logically valid critiques has clarified the support for the hypotheses
    and the outstanding uncertainties.”
    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Curry_BAMS87.pdf

    • I could have answered this in a lot less than 250 words.

      “No. Next question.”

    • If you’re presented with new data that leads to different conclusions, do you change your mind? Or do you throw out the new data and insist that the old data and conclusions are still valid?

      • Leaked emails aren’t new data. There was hardly anything in the CRU leaks about extreme weather events anyway.

        If Dr Curry is disowning what she’s previously written she should write a corrected version as a new paper.

      • Who’s talking about Climategate? I asked a question – you didn’t answer.

        But since you brought up Climategate – there was nothing new in there for many of the skeptics. Anyone who’d been paying attention already knew most of the shenanigans of the Team, but there was no real confirmation – until Climategate.

        OTOH – a LOT of people hadn’t been paying attention. And when Climategate popped up, they started doing so. There was a LOT of new information for those people. It wasn’t just confirmation, it was (as I believe Steven Mosher put it) the equivalent of an atom bomb.

        Your problem seems to be that you think nothing has changed since Climategate. That’s because you haven’t be paying attention. In terms of politics and science, it’s an entirely different world from what it was 3 years ago. And the transformation is just beginning. In 10 years much, if not most, of GW, as presently understood by the consensus, will be one of those things that will be relegated to the trash heap of history. And Climategate was the “breakpoint.” We can go into detail if you wish, but you wouldn’t like the result.

        Is that “10 years” a prediction? Yup. I’ve watched the progression of science for well over two thirds of a century. And that prediction would be valid for ANY branch of science – even if the GW scare had never happened. :-)

        If you don’t understand that, then you don’t understand science.

      • Of course there is new data. There will be additional data for the last 4 or 5 years. Is that really enough to change the picture that Judith Curry painted in 2006?

        I’d be surprised if it were, but that’s not my speciality so I would have to defer to what specialists like Judith Curry write in the scientific press. Peer reviewed. Checked and double checked.

        That’s the correct forum for this type of discussion – not speculation on a blog. Until JC publishes, saying something different, again peer reviewed and double checked, then we have no valid reason to believe that the overall picture is much, if any, different from what it was in 2006.

      • Peer review has nothing to do with “double checking.”

        “Peer review does not replicate and so validate research. Peer review does not prove that a piece of research is true. The best it can do is say that, on the basis of a written account of what was done and some interrogation of the authors, the research seems on the face of it to be acceptable for publication…”

        http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmsctech/writev/856/m02.htm

      • tonto –
        That’s the correct forum for this type of discussion – not speculation on a blog. Until JC publishes, saying something different, again peer reviewed and double checked, then we have no valid reason to believe that the overall picture is much, if any, different from what it was in 2006.</i.

        What can I say – that you haven't been paying attention? No – I already said that, didn't I? But you haven't.

        I told you the world had changed around you and you hadn't noticed. And while Peer review is something that you may believe to still be the Gold Standard – that belief is no longer a universally held belief. Climategate killed the idea that Peer review was THE ULTIMATE in terms of, as you say, “Checked and double checked.”

        Yes, peer review is still a requirement for publication in the journals, which makes it a “necessary” part of the permanent record of climate science. But peer review in no longer, if it ever was, a “sufficient” condition for universal acceptance as truth.

        Several parts to that, the first being that a lot of dirty laundry came out about “pal review”, which then raised a lot of questions about the peer review process. Which, in turn, revealed that peer review was NOT always the squeaky clean intensive scrutiny of the content, techniques, math and data that the public had been led to believe, but was many times nothing more than an editing function that corrected the “simple errors” – kinda like a secretary correcting ones spelling.

        The second part is that many of he “public” realized that, for example, peer review did not – and could not – shortstop massive errors like Mann’s hockey stick that, in turn, perpetrated massive fraud on the public. IOW, that science was NOT error free and peer review was, and is, inadequate as an error correction procedure. Note – my wife was at one time involved in the peer review process for AMS – and you REALLY don’t want to ask her opinion of what came out in Climategate unless you’r wearing your asbestos undies.

        Third – whatever function you believe can/should be served by peer review can be and has been served better, faster and more thoroughly and accurately by the group peer review provided by, for example, this blog. Long ago I was involved in the design of distributed networks for NASA – it’s very similar to the distributed processing function/peer review provided by any diverse group of dedicated, technically competent people on a blog like this one. If you want an example that I don’t think you’ll appreciate, think of the deconstruction of the the news stories that have been termed Rathergate. No one person could have accomplished the exposure of the lies involved in that fiasco, but the application of the skills, intellect and energy of several hundred interested people to the “problem” quickly unravelled the story line and led to … well – a “different disaster” than had been planned by the original perpetrators. Distributed peer review is gonna catch up to you – and the rest of us as well.

        Has the world changed due to Climagate? Betcher sweet patootie. And what I’ve written here is only one very small part of one very small area that has been/is happening. And this isn’t a patch on what’s happened to the political arena.

        And, btw, Dr Curry isn’t obligated to meet your definition of what constitutes science – only her own and that of her colleagues. :-)

      • Jim Owen,

        I usually check and double check my own posts. I still can manage to use “their” for “there”, as I notice JC did too the other day : -) So, no-one is asking for perfection or proof. Just that a proper scientific procedure should be followed which has already been well defined for many years and needs no further input from me, or anyone else, at the moment -that’s for sure.

        Regardless, it is not OK to present a one line in op-eds and blogs such as this, and a different one in published scientific papers. But, it looks very much like Judith Curry is doing exactly that.

        PS What’s a “sweet patootie” that I have to “betcher” ? Blimey , you guys certainly know how to mangle a language!

      • tonto –
        I still can manage to use “their” for “there”, as I notice JC did too the other day

        Heh! I resemble that remark. I try, but I still generate my share (and maybe more) of “writos”.

        Just that a proper scientific procedure should be followed

        Well, we agree on that. Keep in mind, though, that it wasn’t that long ago that peer review was NOT a big deal. And, in fact, not required for scientific papers. Many of them were “self-published”. My point is that requirements, procedures, etc change with time. And given the recent problems with peer review, fraud, voodoo science, etc I expect that future requirements will either change or science will truly go to hell in a handbasket. I’m trying to be hopeful about the situation.

        Regardless, it is not OK to present a one line in op-eds and blogs such as this, and a different one in published scientific papers.

        I would agree – IF the time frame were the same. But it’s not. You’re bringing up 4 year old quotes and comparing them to present day statements. I’ll repeat this because it’s important in this context –

        If you’re presented with new data that leads to different conclusions, do you change your mind? Or do you throw out the new data and insist that the old data and conclusions are still valid?

        If you’re a scientist, you change your mind. Good scientists change their minds whenever the situation warrants. I won’t pursue that to it’s logical conclusion in this context. :-)

        OTOH, if you throw out the new data, you’re something else, but we don’t need to go there.

        Now ask – What new information did Dr Curry acquire in those 4 years? I don’t know, nor do you. And at this point, she may or may not specifically know. I can guess that Climategate was part of it, but that’s all it would be – a guess/assumption/whatever. And I don’t like assumptions – in spite of my all too human tendency to do it sometimes.

        What’s a “sweet patootie” that I have to “betcher” ?

        :-) Well, since I’ve been around this blog, I’ve been sitting on mine too much. :-)

        Blimey , you guys certainly know how to mangle a language!

        Ah, yes, one of the many lessons of linguistics. You wouldn’t believe how many versions of “English” there are – and how few of them are understandable to other “English” speakers. :-)

      • Jim Owen:

        You wouldn’t believe how many versions of “English” there are – and how few of them are understandable to other “English” speakers.

        Ah yes, Britain and the USA – two nations divided by a common language ;-)

      • Peter –
        Ah yes, Britain and the USA – two nations divided by a common language

        I believe you can add Ireland, Jamaica, Guiana, Australia, parts of Africa and a number of others. I’d have to dig out my notes to remember all of the “dialects” that claim British “English” as the root, but it’s a large number. They started as “British” English and diverged until they became incomprehensible to other “English” speakers. Linguistics is a very interesting (and surprising) subject of study. And the linguistics that I studied 2 years ago is far different/more advanced than what I studied in the 1950’s even though there are fewer “living” languages. :-)

  24. I am strictly answering the Yale 180 degrees question:

    “Do you think there is growing evidence that human-caused global warming is contributing to an increased incidence of extreme weather ?”

    The growing evidence seems to indicate MORE uncertainty, which would require a negative response to the question.

  25. Here is a link from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology that shows that, as far as the recent floods in Queensland Australia are concerned, Dr Kevin Trenberth does not know what he is talking about and does not take the time to research what he is claiming nor properly inform himself http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml
    The recent Queensland floods are not an unprecedented event in magnitude nor frequency (there were 5 floods classified as major in the Brisbane basin in the 15 yrs between 1885 and 1900). It is such poor commentary from many leaders in the climate science field that erodes confidence in their assertions. If you are completely wrong on such an elementary point of history ( and then make grand pronouncements based on this) how much more fawed is your judgement on infinately more complex issues. Seems endemic to climate science

    • Bett, Kevin Trenberth said that the flooding in Queensland was unprecedented. You are saying that the flooding in Brisbane wasn’t. I think you might both be right. Last time I looked at the map, Brisbane was just a tiny city sitting in the corner of a huge State!

      So Kevin probably knew what he was talking about after all! Whereas I think you perhaps need to brush up on your Geography.

      • tonto –
        Someplace in the deep dark depths of my computer, I have a chart that illustrates that the Queensland flooding was NOT unprecedented. If I find it I’ll send the link to you. Or maybe someone else has it handy?

      • I’ve just quickly Googled this:
        key words{flooding queensland unprecedented}
        http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/view-image.htm?gid=8107

        Look, I don’t know for sure about this, but I’d just make the comment that before anyone accuses anyone else of not knowing what they are talking about , that they do need to at least make sure they at least have some sort of clue themselves.

      • Tonto52 – I know Queensland mate. I know Brisbane. I know Ipswich. I know Rockhampton. I know where the floods were. I have looked at the history of QLD flooding. Maybe you should get a clue and do the same. Do you think linking to a magazine article showing pictures of the flood proves they are unpreceedented? Magazine says is 1 in 100yr event. Bureau of meteorology records show it was not. Everything is now unprecedented it seems. And yes you certainly do not know for sure

      • Brett,

        I’m not sure that I’m really your mate. But, if you are so familiar with the region, you should have known better than to confuse State and City.

        You’ve shown from your reference that there have previously been major floods in Brisbane but you haven’t explained, and it doesn’t seem to be shown on the graphs you linked to, just how they compare with 2011 they floods so perhaps you could supply some figures.

        And to Trenberth’s point about Queensland as a whole: Can you show when flooding has previously been worse than in 2011?

      • And you do understand what the word ‘unpreceedented’ means don’t you.

      • Here is a graph of QLD rainfall going back to 1900 you will see that around 1950 rainfall equalled the 2010 and that again in the late 50’s and in ’73 almost equalled it again. If you go pre 1900 the ( don’t have the graph handy) you will see even greater rainfall averages for Queensland
        heres the link

      • Tonto you did look at both graphs didnt you? You do know where the floods were centred don’t you? You do know not ALL of Queensland went under water don’t you? You do understand that when someone says “floods in Queensland are unpreceedented” that they are generalizing about location and are actually referring to where the floods in QLD occurred and not implying that all of Queensland flooded. You do understand all that, don’t you

      • Average rainfall for a region does not determine whether or not a flood event is unprecedented.

        The city flood gauge does not determine whether or not a flood event is unprecedented.

        The hydrologists and meteorologists, etc. do that by analysis of the data, and they are not done. But preliminary results indicate:

        Significance of the January 2011 Flood Event

        The January 2011 Flood Event can be categorised as a large to rare event by the􏰀Institution of Engineers Australia (Engineers Australia) national guidelines for the estimation of design flood characteristics (AR&R). The flood level classifications adopted by the BoM also define the Event as a major flood. Relevant statistics that demonstrate this are:

        • At some individual rainfall stations within the Brisbane River catchment, rainfall estimates beyond the credible limit of extrapolation (AEP of 1 in 2,000) were recorded for durations between 6 hours and 48 hours. Rainfall recorded in the catchment area above Wivenhoe Dam indicates the catchment average rainfall intensity for the 72-hour period to Tuesday 11 January 2011 at 19:00 had an AEP between 1 in 100 and 1 in 200. The catchment average rainfall intensity for the 120-hour period to Tuesday 11 January 2011 at 19:00 also had an AEP between 1 in 100 and 1 in 200.

        • On the morning of Tuesday 11 January 2011, water levels in Wivenhoe Dam began rising rapidly in response to very heavy localised rainfall on and close to the Wivenhoe Dam lake area. At the time, the BoM radar indicated this rain was located in an area not containing real time rain gauges. Post flood analysis suggests the rainfall required to reproduce this rise could exceed an AEP of 1 in 2,000 and may be well into the extreme category. Rainfall of this intensity and duration over the Wivenhoe Dam lake area at such a critical stage of a flood event was unprecedented.

        • The volume of total inflow into Wivenhoe Dam during the Event was 2,650,000ML. This volume is almost double (190%) the comparable volume of inflow from the January 1974 flood event, and comparable with the flood of 1893.

        • The inflow into Wivenhoe Dam during the Event was characterised by two distinct flood peaks, with each peak separated by about 30 hours. The maximum flow rate at the first peak is estimated to be around 200% of the comparable flow rate calculated from the January 1974 event, while the maximum flow rate at the second peak is estimated to be approximately 230% of the comparable flow rate from the January 1974 event (Source of January 1974 flow: Brisbane River and Pine River Flood Study, October 1994, Report No. 23a).

        • The peak water levels recorded at gauges in the Brisbane River catchment above Wivenhoe Dam during the Event exceeded the major flood level and in many cases produced the highest levels ever recorded. This situation was repeated along in Lockyer Creek that enters the Brisbane River downstream of Wivenhoe Dam.

      • tonto52,
        Trenberth knows exactly what he was doing when he made his claim about Queensland. And he knew he was not telling the truth.

      • Hunter and Brett,
        Queensland looks like a big place on the map. According to Wikipedia
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010%E2%80%932011_Queensland_floods
        “Three-quarters of the state of Queensland was declared a disaster zone.”
        So the idea that the floods were centred on Brisbane, which, according to my map, is in the SE corner of the State, cannot be correct.
        Furthermore “December 2010 was Queensland’s wettest on record, with record high rainfall totals set in 107 locations [presumably not just Brisbane! -T] for the month. ”
        So just a simple question:
        If the flooding in Queensland (not just Brisbane) wasn’t unprecedented, can you show some evidence of when floods have been worse?
        If you can’t answer this question, it will be obvious it’s you guys who don’t know what they are talking about. Not KT.

      • Tonto do you not look at the information posted for you or simply not understand it or cannot draw inferences from it? Here is a link to the Rockhampton flood history graph
        http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml
        Here is alink showing floods ( yes as measured at the brisbane gauge point) going back to the early1800s

        Notice the flood in 1840 and 1890 dwarfed the recent flood

        Here is a link to the bureau of meteorology graph showing average QLD rainfall going back to 1900. You will notice 1950 equals 2010 with 1956 and 1973 coming in within a few inches.
        Here is the flood history graph from Ipswich guage

        Here is the flood graph for Drapers crossing gauge

        This one only goes back to 1960 but shows five floods exceeding the 2o1o level
        Goes on and on Tonto. The recent floods though large were neither unpreceedented nor that unusual (historically). You and KT are simply wrong

      • Brett,

        These links still look like they are concerned with either Brisbane or Ipswich. Is Ipswich a suburb of Brisbane? It looks very close on the map.
        Your last link looks more relevant to Queensland as a whole, and the last bar shows the rainfall for 2010 to be slightly higher, but I agree that the difference would probably not be statistically significant, than for 1940. But weren’t the floods also in 2011? So we don’t have the rainfall figures for that yet.
        The Australian BOM is reporting the wettest spring (Sept, Oct Nov ?) on record for 2010
        http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/season/qld/archive/201011.summary.shtml
        You’ve still not shown me a credible reference which shows that for Queensland (as a whole and not just in particular towns or cities) that the recent floods weren’t unprecedented, and that KT and Australian Geographic “do not know what they are talking about”.

        Mind you, having said that, I would not go as far as to say that it any particular weather event can be definitely linked to global warming and climate change. I’m not sure that KT is either but I agree that he is speculating on the issue.

        We look to people like Judith Curry to give us the answers to these kind of questions, but she says one thing in her scientific papers and something else in her blogs so uncertainty is probably higher than it need be.

      • Hi Tonto -I cant give you graphs for floods of Queensland as a whole because Queensland itself doesnt flood ‘ as a whole’. I have given you the representative flood guages used by the Bureau that represent SE Qld and Cental QLD . These provide the comparative statistics for various areas. The Brisbane guage represents the entire Brisbane river catchment, The Ipswich guage represents the Bremer river catchment the Rockhampton guage the same . These are the guages used to compare historic and present flood events.The annual rainfall graph for Queensland comes closest to an overall picture of average precipitation and even here 1940/50 matched the recent event. These heavy rains are directly correlated with negative ENSO
        Here is a link to a comparative graph

      • And Tonto Please note the Flood guage readings at the link, pre 1900 (going back to 1840) , absolutely dwarf the 20th c

      • No-one was saying the whole of Queensland flooded. However, three quarters of Qld was declared, presumably by the Australian or Qld government, to be a disaster area due to flooding. Both the Australian National Geographic and KT described this as unprecedented and you’ve accused them of “not knowing what they are talking about”
        You really need some evidence from the Australian BOM or similar to show this may not be a correct statement.
        Keep Looking!

      • Stirling English

        To be ‘declared a disaster area’ is often just a legal requirement that has to be gone through to allow the responsible authorities to spend emergency money. It is a political as well as a scientific judgement.

        Unless you can show that this case was different, whether the declaration of the disaster area was unprecedented or not tells us very little about meteorological events – now or in the past.

      • As a Queenslander, I can echo Brett’s comments. I don’t claim to know the actual details of rain/flood events in Queensland, but it is generally accepted that the 1890s event was the biggest, and it was extensive. Certainly, Brisbane experienced a significant flood (larger than the 2011 event) at that time, and my home town some 250km north experienced it’s all time greatest flood that same year.

        There were significant events around I think 1918, again in the early 50s and again in 1974.

        Typically, rainfall is associated with cyclones or monsoonal influences. Much rain falls east of the Great Dividing Range, causing extensive flooding on the coastal lowlands. However, most large systems end up inland where the land is broad, flat and drained by an extensive river system. Thus any decent system will cause widespread flooding of the Queensland interior following the coastal event.

        Anecdotally, I don’t see the recent flood as especially unusual except for the Toowoomba/Lockyer Valley flash flooding which I must say seems to have been an extreme event.

        Although broadly speaking I don’t observe any major climatic change in Australia (it’s always been a land of drought and flooding rain!), one thing I HAVE noticed which is unusual is an increase in extreme local rainfall events, usually associated with intense low-pressure systems. There have been quite a few of those in recent years and the frequency seems to be increasing. Examples within the past 5 or so years include the system that hit Rainbow Beach/Noosa, one around Newcastle/Raymond Terrace in 2005, the several events in Victoria early this year, the Bega, NSW event in late March this year and the Adelaide SA event last September.

        I’d be interested to hear if other Australians have noted this?

      • Brett – a flood graph that does not include the mitigation effects is nearly worthless. Since the 1893 flood, two major dams have been built that prevent floodwater from reaching the Brisbane city gauge. There may be other mitigation effects added beside the dams, but they are the two big ones.

        The red bar on the graph you linked represents what reached the Brisbane City gauge. In 1840 and 1893, no major dams prevented water from reaching the city gauge. To compare the flood marks on the city gauge, you have to add back the mitigation effects. Preliminary analysis indicates the 2010 flood exceeds the 1974 flood (even with the mitigation effect of one dam added back,) and very narrowly failed to exceed the 1893 flood.

      • A dam can only stem the floodwater until it reaches the full mark – at which point it can no longer stem the flow. In fact, the situation is then exacerbated as they have to release some of the stored water from the dam to prevent damage to the dam, which then adds to the flow.

      • Obviously.

        If the dams had not been there, the flood would have been what? Not as bad? Come on.

      • Without the dams, the floods would have hit Brisbane sooner than they did, although the possibility exists that the water level might not have been quite as high.
        You decide which is worse.

      • The water level would have been significantly higher. Much worse. This is already established.

  26. please excuse typo’s above –should be ‘ infinitely’ and ‘flawed’

  27. Do they teach History any more at Climate Science foundations?

    The extremely violent weather of the past puts the modern era into its proper context with events of profound severity that changed landscapes.

    Nasa and NOAA have digitised vast numbers of historic books on the climate-on the whole events in the LIA seem worse than during the warmer times. The first direcror of CRU-Hubert Lamb-wrote this ;

    “The idea of climate change has at last taken on with the public after generations which assumed that climate could be taken as constant. But it is easy to notice the common assumption that mans science and modern industry and technology are now so powerful that any change of climate or the environnment must be due to us. It is good for us to be more alert and responsible in our treatment of the environment, but not to have a distorted view of our own importance. Above all, we need more knowledge, education and understanding in these matters.”
    Hubert Lamb December 1994
    Foreword to ;“Climate History and the Modern World”
    This is a must read book.

    This link goes to a 1926 climate book which in turn links to dozens of others
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=4PLu8lIfSFEC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

    An easy read is this one by Brian Fagan-The little ice age
    http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=100507374

    No one reading of past cataclysmic events could believe that modern day events begin to compare.

    tonyb

  28. Norm Kalmanovitch

    If CO2 emissions were causing the earth to warm by trapping outgoing longwave radiation we would see a reduction in OLR.
    If there is more energy reaching the Earth causing it to warm we would see an increase in OLR more or less proportional to the fourth power of the Earth’s absolute temperature.
    since we see an increrase in OLR and not the decrease claimed by the IPCC Climate models (0.782watts/m^2 for the CO2 concentration rise from the 337ppmv in 1979 to 390ppmv today) ; it is the sun and not humans emitting CO2 that is responsible for the observed warming which both satellite datasets RSS MSU and UAH MSU as well as all three surface based temperature datasets GISS, NCDC and HadleyCRU show to have ended prior to 2002 with all five datasets showing cooling since 2002.

  29. As far as the MSM and politics are concerned, why let the facts get in the way of a good scaremongering story? ‘Post normal science’ seems to require policy-based evidence.

    Apparently it was common practice for naval vessels to record ‘intake temperatures’ at various locations as they traversed the oceans. Does anyone know if those records have been used in a systematic way? Or are there too many uncertainties in them?

  30. I am still mystified by Trentbert’s 4% more water vapor since the 1970’s. SST prior to the satellite era was very iffy. Since 1980 the mean anomaly is about 0.20 with 2010 about 0.24 degree C. 11 of the past 15 years had higher average sst’s than last year and the start of this year.

    Mann was on the same kick about 4% more water vapor when asked about the tornadoes.

    If it takes that 4% more water vapor to repeat what happened before with 4 to 6 percent less water vapor there is something a touch off.

  31. Various authorities in Australia were banging on last year about how there has been unprecedented drought for the last 8 or 12 years, especially in Southern Oz. Furthermore that all sorts of measures were implemented including expensive desalination plants. That was before we received a great deal of rain so far this year.

    However, according to our Bureau of Meteorology, (being one of the claimants), their own rainfall records seem to contradict that assertion, and of course there is history including terrible stock losses due to drought. See histograms and photos here:

    Recently, Prof David Karoly of IPCC fame, and noted alarmist, was asked on radio why he thought the drought up to 2010 was unprecedented whilst the BOM records contradicted that. He explained that the problem nowadays was that it was also hotter so that there was increased evaporation…. that was what he meant. I hadn’t heard that argument before, and would suggest that when it has not rained for a year or more, the typically poor quality low moisture retaining Oz soils parch out, and once that happens, there is no water to evaporate. There is always some new explanation or new alarm, such as, I heard a few days ago that some Brits had found that Clown Fish, go deaf with higher(?) CO2 absorption in the water.

    • Absolutely correct Bob (see above). Drought history is well documented ( as is QLD flood history). Even poets such as Dorathea Mckella were aware of the nature of Australian climate. What are her classic lines from her poem I Love a sunburnt country ” …I love a sun burnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges, of DROUGHTS and FLOODING rains…” I imagine you will need one of TONTO52’s geography lessons for posting this

      • Brett,
        Yes, Dorothea’s poem of 1904 always brings soft tears to my eyes, when I also need to blow my nose. In the fourth stanza there is this second powerful line:
        “When sick at heart, around us, we see the cattle die”
        But, read it in full by clicking the following link, and to clarify, the first stanza refers comparatively to England.
        http://www.imagesaustralia.com/mycountry.htm

      • Thanks for posting Bob. Of course title is My Country (not I love a sunburnt country as i said) Thats what happens when you dredge stuff up from the depths ( or when you turn 50) Miss Kermode my 4th class primary school teacher would be ashamed of me–cheers brett

  32. Fair enough, Judith, since the actual question was ‘whether they think there is growing evidence that human-caused global warming is contributing to an increased incidence of extreme weather — and to cite specific recent examples’, making the question one of attribution ( of a single event that has already occurred) to human-caused GHG’s, rather than increased risk.

    From the perspective of policymaking on adaptation, it is helpful if we will develop much more specific attribution capacity in the science to improve risk planning in future; however, in terms of climate change increasing the risk of some types of extremes in future e.g., intense heat waves, intense precipitation, we already know something about this.

    You have previously claimed that national assessment reports (domestic science) and science by scientists at Georgia Tech ( not the IPCC) suggest that extreme weather due to human-caused climate change will occur in your own area in the next few decades: that there will be more severe heat waves, more increased heavy rainfall and more severe/ longer droughts. In the same (2008) article, you also argue that “we need to continue with aggressive efforts to reduce carbon emissions” and also that we need to plan to cope with the increase in frequency and severity of weather events that will occur in the next few decades, since the delay in international agreement to cut emissions means we cannot mitigate the near-term effects of climate change . You also make the strong, confident statement that “serious emissions reductions do not harm the American way of life” and “has many benefits”.

    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/pdf/atlanta_rev.pdf

    In this article, you also proudly announce that Georgia Tech, while the “biggest consumer of electricity” in the state, has saved $7.3 million in energy costs thanks to an aggressive plan to reduce their carbon footprint from 1995 to 2004. Very impressive. ;-)

    And that the global need to reduce greenhouse gases is “the single biggest entrepreneurial opportunity the U.S. has known”. Well, that is over the top, but I would agree that it is possible to support and highlight opportunities, and to tie these to doing good. :-)

    • Martha – the 2008 article by Dr. Curry that you link to – both the parts you quote and others that you do not – is striking in its confident assertions about causes, important consequences, and remedial actions related to anthropogenic climate change. The disparity between those conclusions and statements Dr. Curry makes in this post and elsewhere is substantial. The obvious question is why.

      For the record, and based on my own familiarity with the science, I am more in accord with the position she stated in 2008 than with her current position. However, she has no obligation to agree with herself from an earlier time; we each have a right, and at times an obligation, to change our mind. What is critical are the reasons, and I hope she will use your comment as an opportunity to address these.

      What causes me to wonder is the thought that a principal reason might not reside in new scientific evidence or even reevaluation of older evidence, but might instead have been occasioned by disillusionment with the IPCC. In my comment in the “lukewarmer” thread, I emphasized my conviction that the IPCC should not serve as the basis on which a highly competent scientist reaches conclusions about the nature of climate change. There is an immense and growing literature on the subject, in the journals and complemented by information in responsible web sources, and it should be unnecessary, in my view, to depend on IPCC judgments to make one’s own judgments, including those Dr. Curry described in 2008. She knows this, because she has been an important contributor to the literature. At the same time, it would be understandable that the discovery of significant transgressions by prominent members of the climate science establishment with important roles in the IPCC might color one’s perceptions about the entire state of climate science. This blog has seen much emphasis on the concept of uncertainty. Conceivably, this concept has become linked in some manner with personal distrust of others within the climate science community in addition to resting on a more abstract and philosophical basis.

      It is here where clarity is important in distinguishing the science from the scientists – or at least a group of the latter. How should we make that distinction? How has she made it?

      I’m not suggesting that there is a “right answer” to a question involving judgments about the integrity of data when the integrity of several of the data providers is sometimes dubious. Even so, from my perspective, there is an enormity of evidence to choose from, and almost all of it is remote from the personalities of the more notable members of the community, and does not deserve to be deemed tainted by common membership in the same large community of climate scientists. This was true in 2008 and remains true today.

      Most of the above is speculation, and it is certainly possible that neither the views expressed in 2008 nor those in 2011 are strongly related to concerns about the IPCC. In any case, though, I would be eager to understand more about how Dr. Curry’s thinking has evolved, including not only areas of change, but also the parts that remain as solidly grounded as before.

    • For once, Martha has raised an interesting point.

      Like Fred, I would be very interested to hear how Judith’s thinking has evolved since 2008.

      Judith, has your thinking changed since this article and if so how and why?

    • With regards to my 2008 essay, at that time I accepted the consensus expert judgment of the IPCC (both WGI and WGII). Two things happened since then:
      1) Climategate, and I saw what went on behind closed doors in developing the expert judgment
      2) I educated myself better on scientific uncertainty and decision making under uncertainty

      What I described in my 2008 essay was one possible (maybe plausible) scenario. There are other scenarios that should also be considered in decision making.

      • Judith

        Thanks very much for clearing that up for one and all to see.

        Maybe that will put an end to the “you now say X but back in year Y you said Z” nonsense.

        It is said that a “lady” reserves the right to change her mind.

        The same is obviously true of an open-minded “scientist”.

        So in your case it’s a double whammy.

        Max

      • Thanks for the response, Judith. Climategate has reached far indeed. It’s just a pity that other scientists lack your bravery in speaking out.

      • Judy – Your response is appreciated, but it leaves me unsatisfied. I have a sense of the climate science literature that existed as of 2008. The large majority of the contributions (including yours) came from authors with little or no role in determining IPCC conclusions. The large majority also, in my view, supported the position you advanced in 2008 regarding a significant anthropogenic contribution to warming and its consequences (including certain extreme events). The papers I’ve read since that time exhibit the same general characteristics, including the inevitable disagreements about specifics, the challenges by authors with a skeptical bent (Lindzen, Spencer, etc.), and the obligatory acknowledgements of uncertainty – a concept that existed in 2008 as well as today. As far as I can see, the overall state of climate science outside of the IPCC has not undergone a radical transformation, even though individual elements will always undergo modification in any scientific field.

        It troubles me that you now see your 2008 perspective as having been so strongly defined by the IPCC, when much of the same perspective could have been reached independently by someone with your expertise and access to the literature. I can’t help wondering, therefore, whether your current views are not still too strongly defined by the IPCC, except no longer from a vantage point of acceptance but rather from one of perceived betrayal – “This is what they said, and I believed every word, but they betrayed my trust, and so now I will contest every word.”

        It would be terribly unfair for me to think that this type of possible overreaction has been the sole basis for your current opinions, but is it a part of it? If so, should it prompt you to consider whether you still have a distance to travel to free yourself from IPCC influence and arrive at a perspective that is as objective and well-informed as your qualifications warrant. This is also what your readers deserve, regardless of whether they would welcome or disfavor such a change.

      • Fred, I have written about the issue you raise extensively elsewhere. My personal expertise circa 2007 was in cloud forcing and feedbacks, aerosol indirect effect, hurricanes, and sea ice. I had not personally explored the other relevant topics, most notably paleo reconstructions and the whole area of WG II. I trusted the surface temperature datasets and used them extensively. Because I had not personally explored these topics in detail, i deferred to the IPCC consensus: don’t trust what one scientist says, but look at what 3000 scientists have to say. And I venture to argue that most of the consensus support from individuals is exactly similar to my own support, with deep expertise on a few topics, with the remainder of the support going along with the consensus and fighting against those who are allegedly waging a war on science. Taking a deep and thorough look at all of the different topics covered by the IPCC has been done by very few people, I would wager. This is why the hockey stick issue went for so long without being challenged by the mainstream climate community. Taking a deep and broad look at the whole scope is what I have devoted the last 18 months to. I have a much better understanding on a much broader range of topics, but I have not yet achieved the mythical complete understanding of the arguments for and against across the broad range of relevant topics.

      • “I trusted the surface temperature datasets and used them extensively.”

        Surely you were right to do so? Since confidence in them has been nothing but strengthened by the work that has followed?

        “This is why the hockey stick issue went for so long without being challenged by the mainstream climate community.”

        Weren’t a significant number of temperature reconstructions published after Mann (1998), followed by Mann (2008) which revised the approach? I freely acknowledge that you know more about the process of science than I do, Dr. Curry, but it seems to me that all of those reconstructions represented “challenges” to the original hockey stick, some of which were answered in the affirmative by Mann (2008).

        The fact that other reconstructions largely agree with Mann does not seem to me to negate the “challenge” that they represented. It’s simply that the challenges have not been very damaging, because the data largely supports Mann (1998).

        The ensuing decade of warming, too, strengthened the idea suggested by the original hockey stick that magnitude of the recent warming was highly unusual. Or, to put it differently, there might have been more intense “challenges” to the idea that recent warming is unusual had not the following decade continued to be unusually warm.

        While one may be able to challenge aspects of Mann’s analysis, the reason people really care about that paper is its implication that recent warming is outside the recently observed limits of natural variation. And the warming the world gets, the more implausible a serious challenge to that conclusion becomes.

      • In terms of geological timescales, the magnitude and rate of the recent warning is entirely normal. See vostok ice cores.

      • “The fact that other reconstructions largely agree with Mann does not seem to me to negate the “challenge” that they represented. It’s simply that the challenges have not been very damaging, because the data largely supports Mann (1998). ”

        You’re joking right? Moberg appears to be much more informative. Trying to join paleo to instrumental adds a new level of uncertainty to climate science, the WTF factor. The early part of the temperature record is dominated by northern hemisphere data with extremely poor ocean data. While the temperature record is adequate in many respects, joining one level of uncertainty to another multiplies the uncertainty. You shouldn’t become addicted to overly confident, with confidence levels.

      • Robert,
        People using garbage in the same manner as Mann, and getting the same results as Mann, does not mean Mann was right. It only means that gigo is still a valid concept.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        This point is especially relevant since the problem off Mann’s first hockey stick is the exact same problem as the one he made a decade later.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        My life for an edit feature. That should be “of,” not “off.”

      • Judy – Thanks for your answer, which provides a rational explanation for some of the changes in your perceptions.

        However, I would like to ask about a few specifics. You state,
        ” My personal expertise circa 2007 was in cloud forcing and feedbacks, aerosol indirect effect, hurricanes, and sea ice.” I believe you should add radiative transfer to that list in light of your writings on the subject. Do you believe that your areas of IPCC-independent expertise involving clouds, sea ice, and radiative transfer allow you to put some limits on the extreme low or high values possible for climate sensitivity to CO2, even after allowing for the uncertainties, natural climate variation, and spatiotemporal chaos that you have discussed at times in this blog?

        I ask because one of the fallacies I perceive to be common in the blogosphere is what I would term “AGW by default”. It is the notion that anthropogenic warming is what is left over after everything else is accounted for, so that a range of possibilities for other phenomena that might encompass within its limits all observed warming would trivialize or negate any effect from CO2. I expect that you don’t believe that the observed evidence for CO2 direct effects and feedbacks allows for that level of trivialization, but I wonder whether you have thought of assigning some quantitative values to the notion that there are minimum levels of anthropogenic warming that can’t be made to disappear simply by seeking explanations in the sun, internal climate dynamics, or the mathematics of chaos – at least on the multidecadal to centennial timescales of most interest to us, as opposed to intervals when other oscillations may predominate before reversing their course.

        Even if long term CO2 climate sensitivity might be as low as 1C, do you see that as a realistic probability? Even if confidence in the oft-cited IPCC range of 2-4.5 C is overstated by some, is that range cited as the most probable interval for a true value unrealistic? When we are uncertain, are we completely uncertain or merely less than certain, and by how much in regard to the specific phenomena I mention?

      • Knowledge of radiative transfer is no ways sufficient for understanding complex nonlinear feedbacks in a system characterized by spatiotemporal chaos.

      • Exactly. Which means that Fred’s questions do not have the answers they imply. Questions are a form of assertion.

  33. Every time there is a major weather event, such as tornadoes in unusual places, or the third “hundred-year” flood in twenty years, or droughts, fires, record hurricanes, you name it, Joe Public is immediately going to think of climate change, and skeptics end up becoming very defensive. This is a situation where public education about climate science and statistical behavior don’t help the AGW cause, but has to be done anyway.

    • Allow me to finish that properly –

      Every time there is a major weather event, such as tornadoes in unusual places, or the third “hundred-year” flood in twenty years, or droughts, fires, record hurricanes, you name it some scientists or other self-styled weather experts scream CLIMATE CHANGE at Joe Public and the media picks up on the chorus.

      THAT is why skeptics end up become very defensive.

      • I am saying Joe Public doesn’t need any help to come to that conclusion, but some AGW sideline supporters can’t resist the temptation to say “see!”, but those would find it very hard to defend the view scientifically, and most climate scientists resist because of that, as it doesn’t look good if you can’t justify what you say.
        Now you are going to bring up Trenberth, but his view is that since the mean state has changed, every weather event is affected, even if slightly, by global warming already. He also stops short of attributing individual events, but isn’t afraid to list events that might contribute to the statistics.

      • I would say the mainstream scientific position is that no particular weather event can, with certainty, be attributed to climate change but that climate change increases the probability of adverse weather events.

        I would say that some commentators, both on the pro and anti science sides, feel this may be too difficult a concept for “Joe Public ” to understand.

        But there is no evidence of that. For example Joe might have a favorite football team and he would not need the help of any professional statistician to understand that if the best player in his team were to be unavailable for a particular game then the chances of their losing would be higher.

        If the team does lose, Joe will know they could have lost anyway. He won’t say that event X has to be definitely linked to event Y. Joe does understand that.

      • You see by reading these that climate is a collection of events in the form of statistics. Fifty years from now climate scientists might say the number of floods in the first part of the 21st century was significantly more than in the last half of the 20th, and they might attribute it to global warming, but that would say nothing about which individual events happened that wouldn’t have otherwise, nor would it be possible to determine that.

      • Florida had more snow events in 2010 than in any previous DECADE.

        Do you know what happens when you bring that up?

        Some AGW nutcase claims warming causes more snow.

        AGW causes EVERYTHING … which really means it causes NOTHING.

        AGW is like a magical troll that causes all bad things to happen and is used to scare children.

        But AGW is a figment of demented minds.

      • tonto52

        I would say the mainstream scientific position is that no particular weather event can, with certainty, be attributed to climate change but that climate change increases the probability of adverse weather events.

        If you specifically mean “HUMAN-INDUCED climate change” and “adverse weather events” then this “certainty of increased probability” is not supported by any empirical data that I have seen, tonto (even if it may be what you call the “mainstream scientific position”.

        If you mean “climate change in general and all “weather events” the statement is a bit of a no-brainer, i.e. changing climate means changing weather.

        Joe Public is a bit smarter than the authors of these op-eds assume. The articles often lament the lack of public “understanding” of the gravity of the situation, often alluding either to a poor communication job by the scientists or an insufficiently intelligent public.

        But, beside being incredibly arrogant, the authors miss the point entirely.

        It goes back to the old saying attributed to Abraham Lincoln that “you can’t fool all the people all the time”.

        A lot of people were “fooled” by the “dangerous AGW” ballyhoo as little as 18 months ago, but that has changed fairly dramatically as polls across the world have shown.

        Public confidence in climate science and IPCC in particular has eroded largely as a result of all the revelations (Climategate, etc.), helped along by the recent lack of warming, unusually harsh winters across much of the northern hemisphere and the fact that more and more skeptical scientists are speaking out against the IPCC (or “mainstream”) party line. In fact, even the true believers are no longer saying “the science is settled”.

        (BTW, that’s the underlying reason for all these articles out there.)

        Max

      • And as Joe Bastardi was almost raging to emphasize, extreme weather (e.g., tornadoes) is the result of DEEPER COLD penetration into the stable warm air further south.

        The exact opposite of GW or AGW or CACC or any of the other euphemisms.

      • P.S. As he signed off saying, it’s no longer honest disagreement. If it snowed cheese flakes in New York it would get blamed on Global Warming.

        [Which would be a delight to see!]

      • Joe Sixpack

        I’m quite capable of answering for myself, thanks Tonto.

        And I’m pretty good at making judgements about BS.

        Right now I judge that there is a huge amount of BS coming from those who would wish us to believe that thermageddon is just around the corner, that we’re all going to hell in handcart and that the only way to avoid this terrible fate is to change our evil ways. And that such changes will, purely coincdentally make the BS’ers rich and successful.

        This has been the sales pitch of the false prophet and the snakeoil vendor since time immemorial. You guys will have to do a lot lot better before you convince Joe Public that you have something different to say from the long line and inglorious line of vagabonds peddling the same line.

      • Jim Owen,
        You should study what the term “100 year event” actually means.
        Then you would see that getting three “100 year events” in 20 years is not what true believers and AGW promoters say it is.

      • hunter –
        Go back to JimD’s statement and you’ll see that in the context it makes no difference what the definition is. I just reworded his erroneous statement wrt scientists vs skeptics.

    • The definition of a “hundred year flood” is the most severe flood which has occurred in the last hundred years. It is not, and never was, a flood of a magnitude which only occurs every 100 years on average.
      So it should hardly be surprising to get three “hundred year floods” in twenty years, or even five years for that matter, nor should it be surprising to not see another flood of the size of the last “hundred year flood” for the next 2000 years.

  34. Extreme weather is likely linked to global warming and cooling.

    • Extreme weather is linked to extreme weather.

      • That’s very linked!

        What I mean is that there is probably more extreme weather during faster climate changes.

      • Edim,
        Then, by your standard, we are not experiencing fast cliamte change.

      • No, we are not. That’s why I find all the talk about unprecedented change and AGW ironic. 20th century was remarkably stable and constant. Very little change, compared to to other centuries before.

      • Latimer Alder

        Because??

      • Because not one aspect of weather is in reality doing anything differently than it was over the historic past.
        Because the idea that ~1 degree over ~150 years is a big deal is farcical.
        Because the hysteria mongers of AGW are no different form the hysteria mongers of every other social mania in history.

      • Latimer Alder

        @Edim

        You claim

        ‘there is probably more extreme weather during faster climate changes’

        Please explain how – in your opinion – the speed of climate change (a multi-year phenomenon) affects ‘extreme weather’ – a sub-seasonal phenomenon.

        You should include several illustrated examples including qualitative and/or quantitative descriptions of the underlying physical mechanisms. The examples should be chosen from a wide variety of weather events and be based on actual documented observations, (with verifiable citations) not solely on models. They should focus on demonstrating the way in which the *speed* of climate change drives the weather event.

      • Latimer,
        You sort of put the pin in yet another AGW balloon.

      • Latimer Alder

        Hunter

        I really appreciate your remark. We were discussing Oxbridge Entrance yesterday…which led me back to S levels. And that seems like a good ‘sort of S level’ question. In the style of a ‘hard science’

        There seems to have been a dearth of such questions being asked anywhere, and we’ve let the alarmists get away with unsubstantiated blue murder for far too long.

        I also note that neither Edim nor his chums have even attempted to answer it, Perhaps it is too hard for them,

      • If nothing, the extreme is relative and it is extreme compared to the not so extreme or “normal”.

        If there is faster climate change, the weather today will be different than it was few decades ago. People find that extreme.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘If nothing, the extreme is relative and it is extreme compared to the not so extreme or “normal” ‘

        If there was any serious content in that remark, it was so badly expressed that I have missed it.

        On your second point, nothing you have mentioned says anything about the rate of climate change. You could have drawn the same conclusion without any need to mention the rate.

        ‘Climate change means that the climate will be different’

        well zippededoodah and knock me down with a feather………

    • Joe Lalonde

      Not necessarily.
      These are regional events and are not happening exactly all over the world.

  35. The implication is that the real question is “Is Extreme Weather Linked to Human Emissions of CO2?”

    Here’s a cautionary note from Professor Ian Plimer, a member of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide.

    I quote…

    “Are you sitting down?

    Okay, here’s the bombshell. The volcanic eruption in Iceland, since its first spewing of volcanic ash has, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on our planet, all of you.

    Of course you know about this evil carbon dioxide that we are trying to suppress, that vital chemical compound that every plant requires to live and grow, and to synthesize into oxygen for us humans, and all animal life.

    I know, it’s very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense of: driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up till midnight to finish your kid’s “The Green Revolution” science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat, vacationing at home instead of abroad, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle, replacing all of your 50 cents light bulbs with $6 .00 light bulbs…well, all of those things you have done have all gone down the tubes in just four days.

    The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere in just four days – yes – FOUR DAYS ONLY by that volcano in Iceland, has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon. And there are around 200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this crud any one time – EVERY DAY.

    I don’t really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention that when the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in its entire YEARS on earth. Yes folks, Mt Pinatubo was active for over one year, think about it.

    Of course I shouldn’t spoil this touchy-feely tree-hugging moment and mention the effect of solar and cosmic activity and the well-recognized 800-year global heating and cooling cycle, which keep happening, despite our completely insignificant efforts to affect climate change.

    And I do wish I had a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud but the fact of the matter is that the bush fire season across the western USA and Australia this year alone will negate your efforts to reduce carbon in our world for the next two to three years. And it happens every year.

    Just remember that your government thanks to EU pressure, just tried to impose a whopping carbon tax on you on the basis of the bogus ”human-caused” climate change scenario.

    Hey, isn’t it interesting how they don’t mention ”Global Warming” any more, but just ”Climate Change” – you know why? It’s because the planet has COOLED by 0.7 degrees in the past century and these global warming bull artists got caught with their pants down.

    And just keep in mind that you might yet have an Emissions Trading Scheme (that whopping new tax) imposed on you, that will achieve absolutely nothing except make you poorer. It won’t stop any volcanoes from erupting, that’s for sure.

    But hey, relax, give the world a hug and have a nice day!

    PS: I wonder if Iceland is buying carbon offsets?”

    • Latimer Alder

      Can anyone provide the calculations behind these claims? Because they certainly do not gel with the understanding I thought I had arrived at.

      The most recent Icelandic volcano was relatively ‘small’ and short-lived. How is the estimate of the CO2 it emitted derived?

      • I will see if I can find out. I simply passed on his words, as is, which I think were more to set comparative out the scales (human vs. nature) than be precise numbers.

      • Latimer Alder

        Sure. But even so we still need to understand them…very wide error bars though there may be.

        The implication is that the difference is described in orders of magnitude, not just a small variation.

    • Attributed to Ian Plimer:

      “I don’t really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention that when the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in its entire YEARS on earth. Yes folks, Mt Pinatubo was active for over one year, think about it.”

      From the Mauna Loa record of atmospheric CO2 concentrations (including 1991, the year of the Pinatubo eruption):

      Annual CO2 Trend

      Is it possible Plimer is right? Well, I suppose it is, although I doubt it. I don’t have the available data at hand, but we know that volcanoes emit large quantities of water vapor, a greenhouse gas, and perhaps humans “emit” less when they burn oil or natural gas. We also know that water vapor has an atmospheric lifetime measured in days, while excess CO2 concentrations subside on average only over centuries or millennia. We further know that the main consequence of Pinatubo was cooling due to emission of sulfate and other aerosols, with its contribution to atmospheric CO2 at a level one can discern from the Mauna Loa graph only if you have a microscope handy. In fact, volcanic eruptions are equivalent to only a very small fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions on an annual basis – probably about one percent, as can be ascertained from observational measurements and C13/C12 ratios.

      Is Plimer lying (if he was quoted accurately)? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Is he dishonest?

      To use a word I seldom write, this citation, in conjunction with other evidence, shows Plimer to be one of the true frauds among individuals with a scientific background who make claims about climate change.

    • Pat Cassen

      According to Gerlach et al., the Pinatubo eruption produced between 42 and 234 Mt (million tons) of CO2. Annual anthropogenic emissions are about 8 billion tons, so the high estimate for Pinatubo is about 3 percent of annual anthro emissions.

      Eyjafjallajökull was a smaller eruption than Pinatubo.

    • Alexander Harvey

      Ian Plimer discussed the relative magnitudes of volcanic and anthropogenic CO2 on Australian TV here:

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2009/12/15/2772906.htm

      The relevant parts commences whn George Monbiot raises it at ~07:35 in. Monbiot’s challenge is that the USGS figures give the ratio human:volcano as 130:1. I am not quite sure how I could best characterise Plimer’s response other than to suggest that it is indirect.

      He can be heard here:

      (Speaking over a slide show) where he developes his narrative more fully and without being challenged.

      Alex

  36. Are Tornados and Global Warming Linked? You might not like the answer.

    Let us assume that the Earth really has been experiencing Global Warming (whatever its cause) to some limited extent over the past 50 years and it is not an instrumentation problem. So the slope of the temperature line since 1960 is positive.

    Take the NOAA severe tornado history http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/tornado/tornadotrend.jpg since 1960. I’m not even going to bother putting that into a statistical package. The slope of the correlation line is negative. If you do the math, I bet it is significant: slope 95%. (Note 1,2)

    If you believe (A) that Global Warming and severe weather events are linked, then you must conclude:
    1. That Global Warming will lead to a decrease in severe tornado activity in the US., and
    2. That the recent spate of increase in tornados is therefore evidence more consistent with Global COOLING (whatever its cause) than Global Warming.

    If you can accept neither (1) NOR (2), then you must reject (A), otherwise you are cherry picking your data.

    It is possible to accept 1 and treat 2 as a statistical outlier. Then (A) can hold, but Global Warming leads to fewer severe tornados, not more. The Earth may not be cooling, but Global Warming cannot increase tornados in the US if we are to believe all the data.
    Theoretically it is possible to accept (A), (1), and (2) by saying severe tornados are not part of severe weather events. I won’t take that path.
    I do not see how it is possible to reject (1) yet still accept (A) and maintain any credibility as a scientist.
    —-
    Note 1: Of course, if we look at ALL tornado reports, the slope of the line is positive, but the key word is “reports”. The likelihood that any given tornado gets reported has certainly increased with time and with growth in communication and record keeping systems. http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/02/07/science/tornado.graph.gif
    Note 2: Naturally a linear regression is ridiculous. It must be rescaled to be a power law or logrithmic to prevent y<=0 for all t.

  37. Correction to 3rd paragraph:
    If you do the math, I bet it is significant: slope 95%.
    WordPress doesn’t like the AT sign.

  38. For any given context, the weather is always normal. It can’t be otherwise. If the weather is concluded to be abnormal then I suggest we are clueless regarding the context. Today’s weather cannot be anything but what it is, and as the context within which it is generated continues to change, so too will the weather. Context, of course being what we call climate.

    If the weather isn’t what it was it’s because the context has moved on. You can take this to the bank. The weather now is not what it will be – change is the norm.

    It would be fascinating to be around as the solar system leaves the dusty shadows of the galactic plane and we are exposed to the billions and billions of pinprick sources of stellar wind and radiant heat.

  39. Latimer Alder

    Just wanted to say that tornadoes are pretty much unknown outside the USA.

    Any populist AGW advocate who leans heavily on tornado frequency to make their case will get few sympathetic takers in the 99% of us that aren’t located in the midWest.

  40. Brandon Shollenberger

    I’d be careful about saying tornadoes are “pretty much unknown outside the USA.” They are far less common in the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean they are unknown to people. For example, a tornado struck London just a few years ago.

  41. Latimer Alder

    @brandon

    ‘For example, a tornado struck London just a few years ago’

    I’ve lived and worked within twenty miles of the centre of London since 1978. And yet the only time tornadoes have crossed my consciousness was on a couple of extended work visits to Minnesota. Not in London, or in California or Louisiana either.

    When and where did the tornado strike London? Citations please….the Evening Standard (local paper) will certainly have mentioned it.

    • Latimer Alder

      You may be misremembering the events of October 19th 1989 when the tail end of tropical storm unexpectedly struck SE England while the tress were still in leaf and much wind-related damage was done.

      It was nothing at all to do with tornadoes. It was not a tornado. It was a widespread storm.

      It is popularly referred to as a hurricane, but in fact never got beyond severe storm windspeed.

      But a hapless weather forecaster opining that ‘there isn’t going to be a hurricane’ only a few hours earlier marked the beginning of the Met Office’s plunge into reputational derision in UK. Since the recent debacles over volcanic ash clouds it has sunk below derision and into contempt.

      It is also interesting to note that this occurred before the supposed recent ‘global warming’ got into its stride, so warming cannot have been the cause.

      Perhaps it was just an unusual attack of weather? Like has been happening for thousands of years.

      Or perhaps we can draw upon this event to show that ‘global warming’ causes fewer extreme weather events, not more.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      That’s interesting. A tornado struck London only five years ago. A simple Google search for London and tornado would have found plenty of sources for you.

      • Latimer Alder

        Wow!

        Such a big event that it has been completely forgotten five years later. And the article notes that the previous one of similar size in London was in 1954…52 years earlier.

        Tornadoes are not a regular part of London’s weather. We do not have tornado shelters. There are no serious tornado chasers in UK.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Would you quit with the attitude? I said you should be careful saying tornadoes are “pretty much unknown outside the USA.” Tornadoes strike all over the world, so I was pointing out that comment might give the wrong impression. As an example, I pointed out a tornado struck in London. That’s all.

        You make responding to you a real chore.

      • Latimer Alder

        I stand by my remarks.

        Two minor tornadoes in fifty four years counts as ‘pretty much unknown’ in my book. They are not a big weather deal outside the MidWest.

      • It may come as a surprise to you, but London is no longer the center of the world. The “rest of the world” does in fact have tornadoes. Your reluctance to dig into it is limiting you and feeding your very wrong impression. The US does get more tornadoes than many nations – it is far larger than most nations, for example, it has a tropical southern exposure and a frozen north, and the jet stream reliably cascades out of Canada toward tornado alley where it meets the Gulf weather.

        Never the less there have been some spectacular tornadoes in China, for example. Do your own homework. The refutation of your claims is found on your keyboard. And while you’re doing your due diligence, don’t ignore water spouts which affect a large area of Oceania.

      • Stirling English

        I googled ‘torandoes china’ an dthe very first hit is entitled

        ‘torandoes and china’

        Its first sentence is:

        ‘Tornadoes are most frequent in the US, but occasionally occur in other countries’

        I stand by remarls that wheras in US y’all get you knickers in a big twist about tornadoes …and they are seen as a significant part of your weather, this is not the case outside.

        *I* did not raise the obscure fact that a small tornado had struck London six years ago (for first time in over fifty years), and I was not trying to make any point at all other than the general point I have now made several times.

        If I were to mention baseball, I might reasonably make the same point. Big news in USA, not so nearly everywhere else (I except Toronto and Canada). You could suggest to me that cricket is a game played substantially only within the British Commonwealth and that would be a correct remark too.

        Keep calm..I haven’t burnt your flag or sthg.

      • As an example the average annual number of tornadoes in Finland is 14, but most of them fall in the lowest class F1. Class F2 or stronger tornadoes occur every second year on the average.

        The area of Finland is between Montana and New Mexico.

  42. Earlier in this thread is a set of comments initiated by Martha, at Comment 72904 , who linked to a 2008 article by Dr. Curry describing her confident conclusion that anthropogenic warming and its consequences are significant and warrant vigorous efforts to reduce carbon emissions so as to mitigate future harm. In commenting, Dr. Curry explained why her views have shifted since that time. Her explanations strike me as reasonable, but not necessarily complete. The rest of this comment is addressed to Dr. Curry.

    Judy – I do hope you will offer us a far more detailed explanation of how your thinking has evolved than is possible within a thread devoted to a different topic. Perhaps you will start a new thread for that purpose alone. I believe the issue is an important one for this blog and the way it will be perceived by its participants and more generally its stature as an element of Internet communication. Just as you tell us that you depended on the IPCC for some of your previous conclusions (more than I thought would be optimal), many readers of this blog depend on your current views with the expectation that your expertise combined with an objective approach to the science will serve them as illuminating guides to understanding the current state of the science. Perhaps they shouldn’t, but they do, and in fact, I believe that trust in the objectivity of individuals such as yourself is a desirable attitude, because in the complete absence of trust, each human being must rediscover what took thousands of years and billions of humans to learn.

    You have told us why some of your opinions have changed. Your explanation has been totally rational, and that is the problem, because unless you are very different from me and other humans, you arrive at your world view from a combination of rational and irrational forces. I continue to be struck by the possibility that an irrational streak in your evolving perspective is a significant part of the whole, and is related to your anger and disappointment in response to revelations of inappropriate behavior in the higher echelons of the IPCC. I don’t doubt that there can be a rationally negative response to the IPCC revelations, but I am talking about something that goes beyond that – a fiercely emotional reaction that colors your thinking in ways that distort its objectivity.

    Do I know this to be the case? Certainly not. However, the only way to disentangle the rational from the irrational, I believe, and to correct for the latter, is to review the details of how your thinking has changed on individual items, including many that to me bear little or no relationship to the more notorious aspects of IPCC performance.

    Here is one example. In the thread, you stated, “With more water vapor in the atmosphere, it is not clear whether there will be more clouds, more frequent rain events, or the same number of rain events with greater intensity rainfall. We just don’t know.” In 2008, you wrote, “we can expect the frequency and severity of flooding, droughts and forest fires to increase in the coming decades owing to global climate change… Georgia can expect warmer temperatures to be accompanied by more severe heat waves, increased heavy rainfall events, and more severe and longer droughts.”

    I am reluctant to believe that the comment “we just don’t know” in your current perception is entirely rational in its absolutist nature. Surely, we don’t think more atmospheric water will mean only clouds and no change in rain, or that if there are more frequent rains, some won’t be more intense. If the earlier view was too certain, this one strikes me as too uncertain rather than a simple correction to overconfidence.

    But that’s my thinking, and perhaps not yours – and it’s only a single example. For the sake of the stature of this blog, which has a powerful presence on the Web, I would wish for a clearer picture of where rationality ends and irrational reactions to past disappointments begin. I think, though, that what is more important is for you to know this – through some rigorous introspection that will allow you to make any adjustments that are necessary.

    For me to raise these doubts is presumptuous, and I apologize for that, but these doubts that have surfaced since the disclosure of your 2008 article will exist in the minds of perceptive readers even if left unaddressed. It is better for me to raise them than someone with malicious intent, because I respect your intelligence, I believe in your good intentions, your sincerity, and your integrity, and I would hope for this blog to be successful not merely in terms of popularity, but in the more meaningful sense of contributing enlightened and accurate understanding to an audience that seeks it.

    My personal good wishes go beyond that. A few years ago, when I was at an earlier stage of my self education on climate, you took the trouble to respond to an email question from me, an unknown, with a detailed discussion of the issue that some other expert might have reserved for a more prominent figure. I remain grateful for that effort on your part to share your time and knowledge simply out of a desire to be helpful. (The issue, by the way, was Lindzen/Choi 2009, and that paper is still problematic).

    • Fred, this is a good example, about the rainfall. For my 2008 statement, I used the IPCC plus also a paper by Noah Diffenbaugh.
      http://www.pnas.org/content/102/44/15774.long

      I now have a much better understanding of the limitations of climate models, which I spent most of the last summer studying in depth, see my essay “What can we learn from climate models?” https://judithcurry.com/2010/10/03/what-can-we-learn-from-climate-models/. Was I naive not to understand climate models in this way previously? Probably, but nearly all of the people who use climate models do not have this depth of understanding, and some of the people that build climate models do not either, for the establishment view on climate models, see http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/saps/sap3-1.

      Climate models do a poor job on precipitation. They are also not useful for regional climate. The downscaling efforts such as the paper by Diffenbaugh are useful to some extent especially in regions with topography, but really can’t compensate for the broader problems with the global models.

      I do not set myself up as a “truth machine”, in any event I don’t think that any individual scientist should do that. I provide an approach and a forum for critically evaluating the science, and issues arising at the science-policy interface.

      The change in my written views since 2008 is most easily summarized by my rejection of argumentum ad populam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum. I along with many others trusted what the IPCC has done and generally supported the consensus. I no longer substitute the judgment of the IPCC for my own in my written or oral presentations. And if you think I was wrong to do so in the first place, well so do I, but most everyone else was doing it, and I fell for the argument “don’t trust what one scientist says, but trust what thousands of international scientists have to say in a formal assessment process.” The other change has been my serious investigation into the subject of scientific uncertainty, which I think has been woefully lacking in most of the field and certainly the IPCC.

      So as for the issue of irrationality, the primary piece of irrationality in my own thinking has been falling for the fallacy of argumentum ad populam. I do my best to weed out irrationalities in my own thinking, and a key way of my doing so is to consider argument on both sides.

      • Judith
        Thank you for this very honest post. It makes me wonder how many other climate scientists have fallen ino the trap of argumentum ad populum. It demonstrates that if indeed the IPCC process was ‘captured’ by a small cabal of activist scientists, then the consequences for science have been far reaching indeed.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Thank you very much for this post.
        It might be interesting to see a much longer version of this.
        An article or even a book would work very well.

      • “don’t trust what one scientist says, but trust what thousands of international scientists have to say in a formal assessment process.”

        Of course, and as you’re probably aware, the big flaw in that reasoning is that most of those thousands of international scientists will individually be thinking the same – they will each be trusting what thousands of other scientists are saying.

      • This is just plain silly…..no one really knows anything, unless they personally know absolutely everything.

        The gold standard in evidence is the systematic review….which is essentially what the IPCC is.

      • Well, we could get another review from an independent source, some kind of “supreme court” of scientific credibility. Say, I wonder if anyone thought to ask the National Academy of Sciences about global warming?

      • Nah,

        You’re better off getting some politician to hand pick some sufficiently malleable flunky, who can be plausibly called an ‘expert’, to write exactly what you want to be written…..and then call it the Wegman Report.

      • That’s risky, Michael. What if your hand-picked “science-ish guy” turns out to be a plagerist and the journal they published their “findings” in yanks the article and repudiates them? Something like that could help discredit a whole movement!

      • Possibly, but when the adherents of the movement have scant regard for facts, they aren’t likely to swayed much by it.

      • Latimer Alder

        What is a plagerist please?

        I have heard of plagiarism which, for reasons I fail to really understand makes some academic types foam at the mouth, twitch and wet themselves.

        But this can’t be the same because otherwise Robert would have copied it correctly.

        So what is plagerism? From the French ‘plage’ = beach?

        The habit of an author to write while supposedly on summer vacation ‘en famille?’

      • And Latie sees no big deal in copying and using others work unattributed.

        Hmmm…….

      • Latimer Alder

        @Mickey

        1. Its ‘Latimer’ to you, mouseman.

        2. ‘…sees no big deal in copying and using others work unattributed’

        Nope. Not really. It might be a minor transgression of some academic custom, but I don’t really see the problem in general work.

        In examinations, yes. In school homework, yes. In academic papers, yes. In all those areas the primary purpose is to gain personal credit, praise and glory. Or to learn things. You cannot do any of those by falsely claiming others work as your own.

        But if we look at the Wegman report, was its primary purpose any of those? Nope. It was to expose some unpleasant academic shenanigans. It was not an academic paper. It was a report to Congress.

        Would the thrust of the report have been changed if they had said ‘with thanks to Fred Bloggs and Jenny Sixpack’ on the front? Not in the slightest. Would the readers have acted differently? Nope. Did Messrs Wegman et al anywhere claim that it was exclusively their own work?
        Nope. Have any of the people it was written for objected?

        Does anybody outside academe give a monkey’s about any of this plagiarism stuff. Not really. It just seems like arguing about trivia in the hope of avoiding attention from the serious stuff that Wegman shows up.

        It diminishes academics by focussing outside attention on their inability to distinguish the wood from the trees in favour of their own petty concerns.

      • Not really. It might be a minor transgression of some academic custom, but I don’t really see the problem in general work.

        What’s a little fraud between friends?

        I suggest you put the following in your sig line, Lamer:

        “IN EVALUATING THE ABOVE CLAIMS, PLEASE BEAR IN MIND THAT I THINK LYING AND MISREPRESENTING OTHER’S WORK IS NO BIG DEAL.”

        Or if that’s too cumbersome, you could just use:

        “THE ABOVE IS NOT INTENDED AS A FACTUAL STATEMENT.”

      • Robert,
        It’s that kind of mindset which sees sadistic murderers walk – not because the evidence was flawed, but because it was inadmissible.
        Just because someone copies someone else’s words doesn’t make those words any less true (or false)

      • Latimer,
        The believers are going to do anything to avoid the valid points of the Wegman report.
        Notice how the IPCC use of greenpeace and other non-peer reviewed garbage was a minor error but Wegman’s alleged problems mean ignore everything, and additionally, smear all skeptics.
        But the believers are able to still pretend that climategate was nothing.

      • Latimer Alder

        @Robert
        I said nothing about lying or misrepresenting others work.

        Only in academe with your nasty little obsessions about struggling up the greasy pole of advancement via citation indices and co-authorship with a zillion other people does anyone give a toss about this stuff.

        In the commercial world If I ask somebody to assemble a report on a topic for me, I am paying him for the time he takes to do the work. And really I am pretty unconcerned about where the actual boiler plate stuff comes from. If it is well-written and helps me to understand the topic that is good enough for me. If have further questions I can go back to the author for clarification.

        That is the way the world is outside of academe. In industry and the commercial world.

        PS once the report is written, the ownership typically passes to the commissioner and is not retained by the author.

        It may be a different system from the one you are used to, but it works well for the purpose for which it is used.

        Whining and throwing Teddy out of the pram because your tiny academic brain can’t grasp this just makes you appear narrow-minded and incapable of understanding anything beyond your direct cosy experience.

        You need to grow up. And perhaps to check that Momma and Poppa are happy to let you play so much on their computer.

      • Latimer Alder

        Just to add a point that I dodn;t make clearly enough.

        Outside of acdeme,, we are interested in the content of the work, not its provenance. We worry about does it make sense and give sound advice, not exactly whether Joe wrote sentence A or Fred did sentence B.

        Reports and stuff are tools to help us get the proper job done, not trophies to be put on the mantlepiece to impress your like-minded friends. Getting the job done is important. Flouncing around ‘like a big girls blouse’ and squabbling about whose turn it is to play with the Lego is not.

      • Latimer,
        Inside Academia, I don’t care about plagarism, but I do distinguish between the purposes of report commissioning between the public and private sectors. In the private sector, you have to use the report to make a business decision which if wrong affects the business but doesn’t impose the mistake on the general population. In the public sector, if the report is wrong, politicians create the wrong policy and inflict/force it on the general population, to its detriment.
        The IPCC reports are a monumental example of getting it wrong and having political policy, both regulation and taxation, formed from them and forced on us. I do care about that, deeply. This is why the thousands and thousands of ‘sceptics’ as we are labelled protest, that the science is wrong, that the reports are wrong.
        In your private business, I expect your shareholders will care if you use the an incorrect report to damage your business, so think of me and millions like me as the governments’ shareholders. We do care, and extraordinarily so.
        The core of AGW, the ‘CO2 science’ as you call it, is fundamentally wrong, so the answer to this qustion in the form I previously rephrased it, the real question here “Is extreme weather linked to man’s emmissions?”, is “no”, yet governments across the globe and their exective branches (e.g. EPA) did not doubly and independently check the report’s summaries and blindly followed the core (preconceived) conclusion (man’s CO emissions ar wholly responsible for rising temperature) to enact overpowering regulation and heavy taxation that will achieve nothing except make a few of the elite very rich (and provide a few nobel prizes along the way). All at my expense!

      • Asking the NAS “leadership” is one thing – asking the NAS membership might get you a different response. Which would you believe?

      • “…..no one really knows anything, unless they personally know absolutely everything”

        No one is making that argument.

        “The gold standard in evidence is the systematic review….which is essentially what the IPCC is.”

        IPCC is the gold standard? No wonder climate science sucks.

        Andrew

      • Do any of you fools know what a systematic review is?

      • Why don’t you tell us what you understand by the term

      • Michael,

        Yes, we do. We know that attaching “systematic” to “review” does absolutely nothing for the validity of the review.

        Andrew

      • That’s a fail for Andrew.

      • Latimer Alder

        Lets take a guess.

        Systematic = ‘having or adhering to a system’

        I imagine it says that the reviewers will adhere to some form of system. Perhaps they could use the IPCC format. They will handle outright lies on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, dubious stuff on Fridays (ease off a bit before the weekend :-) ), anything with a grain of truth in it between 10:00 and 10:05 on Tuesdays when there is an ‘r’ i n the month, and the rest of the week to play with the computer and make ‘experiments’ and ‘observations’

        Sadly this leaves no time for checking references or anything mundane like that, but I guess that’s not a priority.

        Shame about the voodoo science though. Perhaps the esteemed Dr Pachauri will fit this in when he writes the final version.

        Simples!

      • Lati has no idea either.

        I just would have thought that the armchair experts who hold forth with such confidence on the scientific literature, have at least a tiny clue about assessing evidence and critial appraisal.

        Apparently not.

      • Why don’t you drop the attitude then and tell us?

      • Rob Starkey

        LOL…what a question

      • They chose not to know it. Read your Dickens:

        I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”

        “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

        “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides — excuse me — I don’t know that.”

        “But you might know it,” observed the gentleman.

        For deniers, scientific ignorance is a weapon they use in argument. The trap is to make the goal to persuade them of something; then they rationalize furiously, make utterly absurd claims, and challenge you to prove anything and everything they can think of whilst taking no responsibility for educating themselves in basic science.

        It’s a fool’s game, designed to waste your time and energy. When they succeed in making the discussion about what they accept as true, they will simply withhold acceptance on whatever pretext. It suits them to remain ignorant as long as there are earnest people who will expend their energy futilely trying to secure their acceptance of a basic language of discussion.

        You just have to smile, point out the obvious absurdities, and refuse to help them by participating in their hallucinations. They cannot move the Overton window without our consent.

      • A very illuminating question.

      • You don’t know yourself, do you?

      • Stirling English

        Don’t feed the troll.

      • Peter,

        Just google it.

        It’ll do you a world of good.

      • Michael,
        To call the IPPC the ‘gold standard’ is to redefine ‘gold’.
        While Robert’s snarky attempt at the Wegman report is entertaining for believers, it might be wise to review the list of crap the IPCC published and claimed was ‘gold’.

      • The only way to get to thousands is to include the expert reviewers, including me. In fact skeptics have submitted many hundreds of review comments, all of which have been ignored. (I think the AR4 and TAR review comments are on-line.) The least thing that the IPCC could do to legitimize itself would be to respond to these skeptical reviewer inputs. Even that is too much.

      • Note that this makes a mockery of the claim that the IPCC reports are peer reviewed.

      • I’m a bit puzzled by this subthread. It should have been clear all the time that we may have 50 scientists agreeing on some issue, while their views are based on two or three independent views. Thus those 50 don’t know more than the two or three.

        Reading the actual text of WG1 reports the uncertainties are brought up continuously (very strongly in FAR, perhaps a little less in TAR, but very clearly again in AR4). They are not described coherently or very well, but they are fully visible even so. Reading these reports with the normal skeptical mind of most scientists tells that the reports contain a valuable overview of the existing knowledge, but cannot be perfect as no compendium of that size produced in the way the reports are produced can be perfect.

        Having thought that way all the time, the climategate didn’t bring up anything particularly important for me. Some of the emails were more stupid than I would have expected to see, but that’s not a big issue. The fighting between some skeptics and some scientists on the access to data was already known. There wasn’t much new on that either.

        I can certainly understand that an individual scientist may improve his or her understanding on the significance of uncertainties, and that the improved understanding may significantly influence some conclusions. It’s even more natural that scientists learn more about the interaction of science with the rest of the society and that this learning has profound influence on the public appearance, when the subject goes beyond most narrowly defined scientific work.

      • John Carpenter

        Pekka, though climategate “didn’t bring up anything particularly important” for you, it was “the interaction of science with the rest of the society” that was (severely) damaged by that event.

        Do you agree?

      • Yes it was, and that was partly due to the fact that scientists wrote those emails that I classify as stupid, and partly to the success of the skeptics in taking actively advantage of these emails.

        In that respect the climategate was certainly revealing to those scientists who were willing to learn. Our hostess may well be one of those.

      • John Carpenter

        I think she is.

        Do you feel a higher level of skeptisim about the overall AGW narrative is warrented based on climategate?

      • From my point of view the climategate itself didn’t change much. In general terms I retain my trust in the work of WG1, but that trust has never been complete in the sense that I would take every sentence of the report at face value.

        In the aftermath I have learned more on the deepness of animosity between some scientists and some skeptics, and that’s bad for the science. A scientist involved in that cannot do his scientific work as effectively and without an added risk of bias, when compared to normal working conditions.

      • Pekka,
        Animosity between scientists has always been rife – for example, the animosity between physicists in the early 20th century. How do you think the parody of Schrodiger’s Cat originated, for instance? Not to mention Einstein’s outbursts, like the one concerning God, the Universe and Dice.

      • John Carpenter

        Pekka, you have far more time and knowledge invested into the issue than I do, so I take stock in your view. I come from a very different perspective and travelled a different path. I was ‘unconvinced’ about many aspects of AGW prior to climategate. Climategate re-enforced my bias. Let’s say I have now moved from ‘right’ to ‘center’ on the science in the last several months. In large part due to reading posts and links from you, Fred Moolten, Steve Mosher and of course Judith Curry. I remain ‘unconvinced’ our changing climate can be summed up with higher atmospheric [CO2] as the main driver, but I feel I understand the relevent issues being debated about the science better thanks to yours, Judith’s and the others honest and knowledgable POV’s.

      • argumentum ad populam is “appeal to the masses”. Nobody should be making science, or any, decisions by popular vote, so yes that has to be avoided at all costs. What about argumentum ad verecundiam ” appeal to authority” or “appeal to the respected”. It is regarded as a fallacy, but I find it very hard to reject an argument when people I respect as knowing the science favor it. In fact, it would be idiotic to reject an argument on a subject you know less about that the people making it, so I have never understood why argumentum ad verecundiam is a fallacy. Perhaps it means you should not argue about things you know nothing about.

      • “Nobody should be making science, or any, decisions by popular vote”

        Yes, I wonder why our political process is based on votes. Silly idea.

        Andrew

      • I would qualify “any” as “any complex”. Certain decisions need a knowledge base that the public at large doesn’t have, so a popular vote is not good. I am all for referenda when the vote consequences can be fully explained to the public.

      • And when not?

      • Fortunately for the United States, our founders did not share Jim D’s, and most progressives’, hero worship of “elites.” They crafted a government for men, not for sheep.

      • You would get a country where the people voted not to pay any tax, but there would be no army, highway maintenance, free emergency services or free schools as a result. Some decisions, especially relating to the economy and greater good, are best left to the experts. Off topic, sorry.

      • Bad Andrew

        “You would get a country where the people voted not to pay any tax, but there would be no army, highway maintenance, free emergency services or free schools as a result.”

        Off topic and not serious, either.

        “Free” stuff? This is cartoon imaginging of what the real world is like.

        Andrew

      • I appreciate the candor. Seriously; most totalitarians try to hide it.

      • ‘leaving policy decisions to the ‘experts’ always raises the questions regarding how one is recognized as an expert, and how often expertise and failure combine.
        think of ‘Wall St.’ and ‘2008’, or ‘FNMA’ and ‘political appts.’ for some interesting examples of expertise in action.

      • Latimer Alder

        Old Latimer’s guide to becoming a ‘Climate Expert’

        1. You make a lot of fawning remarks at real climate praising the Team to the skies. Tedious and repetitive but easy.
        2. You write a paper about something obscure, vaguely climate related. A few weeks work.
        3. You ask a member of the Team to fix it so that its published. And to do a pal review. Quick, but costs you a few beers, (and more fawning)
        4. You throw away your data and methods in case of any FoI requests
        5. Bingo…you are a climate expert!

      • From my personal perspective, it was argumentum ad populum. For the general public, I would agree that the term appeal to authority is more appropriate. If you don’t have personal knowledge or the personal capacity to develop that knowledge, then appealing to authority is the best option. On the climate issue, economists and biologists, not to mention geoscientists with narrow expertises have developed strong opinions on the “big picture” of climate change that extend well beyond their personal expertise or investigation; their broader expertise and authority is inferred from their participation in a much larger community and process. Within the climate community, I would say argumentum ad populum is rampant (often referred to as argument by consensus).

      • It comes down to what “masses” you listen to. If you select carefully it is the authority, not the people with stakes in the outcome or the press, which are second-hand. To me the authority are those with publishing records showing past reliability in their correctness and objectivity, while those that have had mistakes in the past or seem to have inherent bias are weighted less.

      • When you rule out those with “inherent bias” I am not sure there is anyone left. How do you do that? Does strong belief equal inherent bias? If you narrow it to those with no beliefs you will probably find nothing but skeptics.

      • Inherent bias leads to the kinds of mistakes we have seen in some well publicized retractions and corrections. It has happened with tree rings too, corrected between AR3 and AR4, but that only affected the MWP, not the subject of current climate change and CO2 which is as solid as it gets from what I have seen, so that is where I stand.

      • Latimer Alder

        Well publicised retractions and corrections? In Cliamtology?

        I think you’ll have to remind us of exactly which you have in mind.

        Because I am struggling with the concept of a climatologist ever making a mistake (surely his work is peer-reviewed and therefore blessed by Saint Mike or Saint Phil)…but even more that he should publicly admit it!

        I was under the impression that giving succour to sceptics by admitting an error would involve having his Fortran licence removed and being banned forever from the sanctum of real climate.

      • The cases I have in mind are where people analyzed their own data wrong. This type of thing is only caught after publication by people trying to replicate their results. The reviewers don’t try to replicate results.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘To me the authority are those with publishing records showing past reliability in their correctness and objectivity’

        Seems to me that in Climatology that should narrow the field quite considerably.

        For starters you can eliminate anybody with connections to the Hockey Team (correctness.objectivity). And all those guys who write models but refuse to validate/verify them (correctness). Anybody who refers to sceptics as ‘deniers’ (objectivity)

        Apart from Judith, is there anybody with ‘cojones’ left?

      • Yes, AR4 corrected the MWP issue that AR3 had with the hockey stick. That is in the past, and shows how the new science of tree-ring climate reconstruction has matured quickly by being under a big microscope. CO2 science on the other hand is mature already.

      • Latimer Alder

        You mean that, despite the best efforts of climatologists everywhere to defend them, the mendacious ‘pioneers’ of tree-ring climate reconstruction finally got exposed as having been ‘economical with the actualite’?

      • CO2 science may be “mature,” whatever that means, but CO2 science is not the issue. In fact my question is why are billions of dollars being directed into CO2 science? What we need to understand is climate change, no CO2 science. We are studying CO2 science to the detriment of climate science. Climate change is not about CO2, but you would never know that from the USGCRP or the UN.

      • Can you present some data to support the claim that billions of dollars are directed into CO2 science?

        Or perhaps you should first tell, what the CO2 science is. I’m unaware that such a field of science exists at all. I know that a few papers have been written over years on the properties of CO2, but that doesn’t make CO2 science.

      • OK, having introduced the term CO2 science, my purpose of this was to distinguish it from that of tree rings. Its basics go back to Arrhenius, and no one has disputed these, only the accuracy of Arrhenius’s early form of radiation data. Nowadays CO2 science gives us the radiative forcing of 3.7 W/m2 for doubling, which is climatically significant. That was what I am referring to.

      • Latimer Alder

        @jim d

        ‘3.7 W/m2 is climatically significant’.

        Why do you think that this number is significant? Please compare and contrast it with other numbers similarly involved with the climate. Show how certain these other numbers are and how 3.7 W/m2 compares with them.

        Please relate the ‘significance’ you perceive to real world problems eg temperature change, sea level changes. Please you actual observations where possible, highlighting any statements that are based on model experiments not observations.

    • John Carpenter

      Fred, thanks for asking this question to Judith in such a thoughtful way, it provoked a more thoughtful reply that helps us all understand how and why people change their views on important matters.

  43. Alexander Harvey

    What climate scientists think about the linkages between Global Warming and Extreme Weather may be neither as interesting nor important as the conclusions that ordinary people come to with regard to a linkage between Global Warming and the Weather.

    I think that this must vary a lot from country to country. I can divide my memories between two significant periods 1950s-1975, and 1976-now.

    In the first the memorable extremities were cold ones, in the second they were hot ones. Also long winters have been replaced by shorter ones.

    I think there are reasons why the UK has been receptive to the notion of Global Warming simply because of this contrast.

    This is neither dependant on any actual linkage, nor on whether the theory is right or wrong. It is largely individually surmised, and certainly not due to the opions of individual scientists on individual events. Actually I am quite hostile to any such attempts at direct linkage as I think it makes experts look pretty silly and unsympathetic.

    I cannot know, but I do wonder to what degree ordinary Americans must be worried about recent extreme events and to what degree they will either make a linkage for themselves or ask others in their circle, who share similar concerns, for their thoughts.

    I am very critical of any that have espoused the idea that the pulbic should be offered scare stories, particularly when they have legitimate concerns. The world is scary enough as it is, and there is ample opportunity for people to make up their own minds on such issues.

    I think that people like to make up their own minds and prefer experts not to give answers before the question has been asked. I think people invest much pride in their own conclusions and are less likely to waiver if they have come to their own judgements.

    I think the UK was broadly aware of the “Greenhouse Effect” by the time of the 1988 BBC documentary of that name. This was followed by ~20 years with weather that largely supported that premise. That is a lot of time in which people could come to their own conclusions. Interestingly it has only really been in the winters since the 2008 Climate Change Act that any adverse indications have occurred. We have had some snow but even so it does not compare to the period prior to 1976.

    Anyone interested in the wisdom of trying to draw the publics attention to direct linkages between extreme weather events and climate change might do well to consider why they are doing so.

    If it is because they think that it will assist in their getting the “message” across, I think that may be counter-productive. Particularly if this advice is given post event. I am not sure that people who are fortunate to be simply worried about hurricanes or tornadoes, let alone those directly affected, are particularly receptive to a retrospective message that implies it was their own fault.

    By all means get the idea out there, out of season, on a slow burn, if you must but I doubt whether giving negative, unasked for information, is wise.

    If there is a connection to be made, people will make it, and if that implies they are in some way to blame they will take that to heart.

    Alex

  44. “Obviously.

    If the dams had not been there, the flood would have been what? Not as bad? Come on.” JCH

    Would a, should a, kud’da… Saw this recently; all about the overlooked overflows…

    http://www.newser.com/article/d9nkacu83/china-drought-resurrects-debate-over-three-gorges-dam-as-engineering-marvels-hit-limits.html

    The smart folks from the World Bank said it was a no-brainer, just move everybody… Next thing you knew it was three five-year plans & a wake-up.

  45. More distinct fingerprints of CO2 would be the Arctic melting and stratospheric cooling that are occurring. The tropical hot spot depends on tropical SST warming,and I suspect it may not be proceeding as fast as expected because of the more rapid than expected response of the Arctic sea ice albedo to the imbalance produced by CO2.

    • Oops, sorry for the non-sequitur. Not supposed to be posted here.

    • Do you have proof that things like Arctic melting and stratospheric cooling didn’t occur prior to the satellite era?

      • The sea ice is on a long-term decline, and Greenland is melting faster now. What else do you want? The stratosphere measurements are consistent with having more CO2 there.

      • maksimovich

        The stratosphere measurements are consistent with having more CO2 there.

        Actually they are inconsitent eg WMO 2010

        New analyses of both satellite and radiosonde data give increased confidence in changes in stratospheric temperatures between 1980 and 2009. The global-mean lower stratosphere cooled by 1–2 K and the upper stratosphere cooled by 4–6 K between 1980 and 1995. There have been no significant long-term trends in global-mean lower
        stratospheric temperatures since about 1995. The global-mean lower-stratospheric cooling did not occur linearly but was manifested as downward steps in temperature in the early 1980s and the early 1990s. The cooling of the lower stratosphere includes the tropics and is not limited to extratropical regions as previously thought.

      • Being near isothermal, the lower stratosphere should be less sensitive to raising its effective emission level. The main radiative effect should be in the layer where temperature increases with height.

      • Jim D is correct when he says the observations are consistent with a cooling effect of CO2. It would be an exaggeration, however, to state that the observations demonstrate such an effect. The problem lies in the fact that stratospheric temperature trends are uncertain because they appear to be occurring at different stages at different altitudes, and there is considerable variation in reported results, so that it is possible to select the result one wishes from the variety available. If the stratosphere is currently experiencing a warming influence (at relevant altitudes) from ozone repletion, and a cooling influence (also at the expected altitudes) from CO2 increases, the net effect would be a flat trend. The exact trends will not be accurately available for at least several years, at which time a putative ozone recovery should be clearly demonstrable if it is occurring. Until then, no definitive conclusions are justified.

      • maksimovich

        Trouble is there is no observable trend in O3 .What should be seen is an accelerated increase in O3 in mid to high altitudes due to CO2 eg WMO 2010

        Global ozone is projected to increase approximately in line with the ODS decline, and the increase is accelerated by cooling of the upper stratosphere.

        Observations however can be reconciled in the mid and uppermost atmosphere if externalities are included ,such as the correct inclusion of the solar cycle, and externalities such as magnetospheric electron loss,GCR and SPE etc.

        Here however we move from macroscopic to microscopic pheonomena (atomic chemistry) and averaging behaviour is a no no. Multiple temporal boundaries, all bounded by lyapunov
        instability ie microscopic temporal chaos

      • I agree that there is no definitive evidence yet for ozone recovery. However, a recent GRL paper by Salby et al provides tentative evidence that ozone recovery may be underway, along with a description of the interannual fluctuations that make it difficult to discern trends. The paper is behind a paywall, but a description and reference can be found at Ozone Recovery.

        My inclination, as before, is to wait for solid evidence over a number of years before drawing conclusions.

      • This non-decline of upper stratospheric temperatures is a significant change from the more or less linear cooling of the upper stratosphere up until the mid-1990s, reported in previous trend assessments. It is also at odds with the almost linear 1 K per decade cooling simulated over the entire 1979-2010 period by chemistry-climate models (CCMs). The same CCM simulations, however, track the historical ozone anomalies quite well, including the change of ozone tendency in the late 1990s.

        http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a913395899

      • Antarctic Sea Ice is doing fine.

        Did you know there is a Southern Hemisphere?

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘The prediction about the tropical SST is , of course, right, but the effect hasn’t been observed because our other predictions were wrong’

      How else can I read this?
      Tropical SST prediction? Fail
      Arctic Sea Ice albedo prediction? Fail

      Is there anything you did get right already? Or is a long stream of failures just concealing that your rate of success is ‘slower than expected’?

      • The climate is adjusting to CO2, but some things are happening faster than others, possibly suppressing them.

      • Latimer Alder

        Translation

        ‘We don’t actually understand it. Our predictions/models have been shown to be wrong’

      • Changes in sea ice are one of the hardest things to predict in climate models.

      • They seem to have a problem with changes in temperature as well.

      • Rob Starkey

        and rainfall amounts in any specific area

      • Latimer Alder

        Doesn’t seem to have stopped climatologists from telling us till we’re sick of hearing it that ‘models show that we’re all going to die three weeks come next Tuesday’ unless we all change our wicked ways.

        And give them extra money for ‘further research’. Or to spend on lawyers so that they can avoid their obligations to show their work to those outside the priesthood.

      • Latimer Alder

        Excellent.

        We can file it in the ‘too hard’ drawer and sack some climatologists. Nobody would care.

      • Did the IPCC predict MORE Antarctic Sea Ice?

  46. Pooh, Dixie

    To the question whether participants think there is growing evidence that human-caused global warming is contributing to an increased incidence of extreme weather. My count is Yes, 1; On-The-Fence, 5; No, 2.

    – Kevin Trenberth: Yes, undoubtedly.
    – Andrew Watson: No, but if asked whether human-caused climate change will lead to more extreme weather events, the answer would be yes.
    – Roger Pielke Jr.: No. Causal attribution to human emissions of GHG are unscientific, perhaps incoherent.
    – Kerry Emanuel: Maybe yes, maybe no. No data
    – Judith Curry: No
    – Laurens Bouwer: Hedged
    – Gabriele Hegerl: Statistically, possibly
    – William Hooke: Unknown; deal with it (adaptation)

    One underlying issue appears to be data: its quality and time span of records. Another, mentioned by Trenberth and Curry, is the impact of ocean oscillations; Tallbloke has an interesting take on that, as do Wyatt, Marcia Glaze, Sergey Kravtsov, and Anastasios A. Tsonis. 2011. “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Northern Hemisphere’s climate variability.” Climate Dynamics (April). doi:10.1007/s00382-011-1071-8. http://www.springerlink.com/content/p1275t4383874p65/

    North American Tornadoes, according to NOAA, occur when a cold air mass meets a warm, moist air mass along a jet stream providing shear. Ocean oscillations may provide the cold air mass from time to time. It would be interesting to see a comparison of tornado frequency and severity to the PDO (an index).
    Rosen, James. 2011. NOAA Scientist Rejects Global Warming Link to Tornadoes. Text.Article. FOXNews.com. April 28. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/04/28/noaa-scientist-rejects-global-warming-link-tornadoes/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fpolitics+%28Internal+-+Politics+-+Text%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo

  47. Pooh, Dixie

    Scanning conclusions, it appears that some participants overlooked ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) of Global Tropical Cyclones. The trend of extreme strengths has been down, not up, for three decades per Dr. Maue.

    Maue, Dr. Ryan N. 2011. Global Tropical Cyclone Activity (2010 Update). Scientific. Florida State University. http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/

    2010 is in the books: Global Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy [ACE] remains lowest in at least three decades, and expected to decrease even further… For the calendar year 2010, a total of 46 tropical cyclones of tropical storm force developed in the Northern Hemisphere, the fewest since 1977. Of those 46, 26 attained hurricane strength (> 64 knots) and 13 became major hurricanes (> 96 knots). Even with the expected active 2010 North Atlantic hurricane season, which currently accounts on average for about 19% of global annual hurricane output, the rest of the global tropics has been historically quiet. This work may be cited as Maue (2009) or Maue and Hart (2011).

  48. According to the UK TV Quiz program “QI”, England has more tornadoes than anywhere else in the world. But they are so mild they are rarely noticed.

    • Latimer Alder

      And according to the host of that programme, Wagner is the greatest composer who ever lived.

      QI is intended as a light entertainment programme for people with A levels. You can see that in the guests..who are mostly comedians by profession. And its does a good job.

      But ‘Mastermind’ it ain’t. Don’t treat it as such.

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