Meteorological March Madness

by Judith Curry

Nature’s exuberant smashing of daily high temperature records [in the U.S.] in recent weeks can only be described as “Meteorological March Madness”. Conditions more fitting of June than March prevailed east of the Rocky Mountains since the start of the month.  NOAA’s National Climate Data Center reported that over 7000 daily record high temperatures were broken over the U.S. from 1 March thru 27 March. 

My favorite extreme weather attribution group at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (led by Martin Hoerling) has a new report on the weird weather this past March in the U.S.   To see all the cool graphics, you will have to link to the report.  Here are some excerpts:

1. What were the meteorological conditions associated with the heatwave?

It is first useful to place the heatwave into a Northern Hemisphere context . The heatwave was clearly regional in scope and was not part of a pervasive hemisphere-wide warm regime. Rather, widespread cold conditions at the same time occurred over the western U.S., western Canada, Alaska, eastern Asia, and southeast Europe. In a similar context, it is useful to recall that the prior month of February 2012 which was generally very warm over the U.S., was very cold over Europe, and global land temperatures ranked 37th warmest in over a century, representing the coolest February since 1994 (

Over the Eastern United States, select time series of daily temperatures reveal the timing and magnitude of the maximum warming. A peak warming in the upper Midwest spans roughly a 12-day period from 12 – 23 March.

2. What physical processes contributed to the heatwave’s magnitude?

Much of the heatwave magnitude in the lower troposphere can be reconciled with the nearly horizontal transport of sensible heat, along the 850mb surface, from the Gulf Coast region to the Canadian border. The 850mb vector wind anomalies were strongly southerly across a corridor of the eastern Great Plains from Louisiana to the Canadian Prairie .  Resulting air parcel transit times from the Gulf to the Canadian border would be roughly on the order of 1-2 days.

An appreciable fraction of the magnitude of the warming is thus reconcilable with a simple transport of heat from Gulf Coast region northward.

The 850mb and 500mb anomalies during 12-23 March 2012 are characteristic atmospheric features of variability, ones that are effective in inducing poleward heat transport and strong temperature variability over the northern U.S. They were, however, extreme circulation anomalies in terms of magnitude and perhaps persistence.

Have these features of the time-averaged atmospheric circulation become more “energetic” in the sense that the current 2012 unusual intensity of atmospheric dynamics might be related to an increase in variability over time? Perhaps the explanation is “weather weirding”, “weather on steroids”, or an extreme non-linearity to assert how the atmosphere may be responding to increases in greenhouse gases? Such explanations can be tested with data and modeling experiments. Here we present some preliminary analysis of March daily and monthly means. In summary, our diagnoses provided below show no support for the supposition that there has been enhanced variability, at least to date for the particular variables of immediate relevance for the March 2012 heatwave. Neither the monthly or the daily data reveal appreciable increase in the variability of March weather, though this does not negate the possibility that such patterns may change in the future. And, while finding no evidence for a change in variability, it is nonetheless evident that the anomalies in 850mb temperatures, 850mb winds, and 500 mb heights related to the heatwave were quite likely of historic proportions for this time of year, with departures during 12-23 March 2012 on the order of 5 times the magnitude of typical variability.

As shown by our analysis of observational data, an explanation that this heatwave was an outcome of a strong nonlinear feedback associated with a climate change induced reduction in snow cover or dry soil conditions must be rejected based on evidence and physical understanding regarding conditions associated with this particular heatwave event.

First, as noted above, much of the region which experienced record heat does not normally have snow cover in March, thus this mechanism does not apply for most of the area that experienced record March heat.

Second, the North American trend in March snow cover has been upward, not downward. The principal decline in snow cover extent emerges in late spring, when the climatological snow extent pushes well north into Canada. March and May snow cover changes have been materially different from each other over North America, and indeed of opposite sign in recent decades.

So, while a quantification of the snow impact on the current heatwave magnitude cannot be precisely discerned without further diagnosis, it is very likely that changes in snow were a response to the heatwave, not a cause for its extreme magnitude.

3. Was this extreme March 2012 U.S. heatwave event anticipated?

Here we explore the evidence for a substantial human influence on the March 2012 heatwave, both on its magnitude and on the probability of such an extreme event occurrence. There is no doubt that there exists an influence of human-produced greenhouse gases on evolving weather and climate conditions, as the IPCC reports have clearly enumerated. Yet, while acknowledging that climate change plays a role in every weather event begs the issue of the direction of that impact and the magnitude of its effect. Unfortunately, when claims are made that a event “would not have happened without human produced greenhouse gases”, the incorrect conclusion is all too often drawn by the public and media that an event was caused, in some de novo manner, by human climate change. The pitfall of such framings is apparent from the well-known nature of chaotic weather and climate systems. In that paradigm of a nonlinear system, no event today or tomorrow would have happened owing to the smallest flap of a butterfly’s wings. But is there any predictability, and in particular, could the March 2012 heatwave have been anticipated?

Regarding the connection of greenhouse gases and extreme weather, the matter of predictability has often been cast in the context of changed probabilities. As employed in the study of the 2003 European heatwave (Stott et al. 2004) and also the 2010 Russian heatwave (Dole et al. 2011), the question posed is how increased greenhouse gases changed the percent probability of reaching a particular record (or event) threshold. Of course, this is only one aspect of early warning. In the case of the current heatwave, we wish to understand the extent to which GHG forcing offered any of the specificity that characterized the event, namely that it happened in March, that it happen in 2012, that it happen in the Upper Midwest/Ohio Valley region, and that the event had such extreme magnitude. 

What is also important to recognize is that the GHG warming signal for March 2012 offers few of the attributes that are required of a meaningful early warning. First, it fails to anticipate the event happening in 2012, since a similar warming signal existed in 2010 and 2011 (and is again anticipated in 2013), Second, it fails to anticipate the particular monthly occurrence in March, since a similar warming signal exists throughout the annual cycle. Third, it fails to anticipate the specific location of the 2012 heatwave over the Upper Midwest/Ohio Valley region since the magnitude of the GHG signal is not materially different for the western U.S., central U.S., and eastern U.S., or for that matter for Alaska, and Asia which, during this period, experienced severe cold. And, the GHG warming signal fails to explain the extreme magnitude of the heatwave event, which achieved daily departures of +20°C, or about 20-fold greater than the estimated background warming signal. Our physically based analysis explored the possibility for strong nonlinear amplifying feedbacks or highly nonlinear dynamical sensitivity to GHG forcing, and these models which represent such process in their integration of the coupled climate system, are consistent with that empirical assessment that such processes were unlikely of primary significance over the U.S. during March 2012.

The weak overall contribution of GHG warming to the magnitude of the March 2012 heatwave notwithstanding, a signal of about +1°C warming appreciably increased the odds of a record March heatwave occurring. Such a signal corresponds approximately to a 0.5 standardized shift of the probability distribution toward warmer conditions. There are, however, statistical challenges in estimating how such a shift in distributions would alter extreme event odds, especially of the intensity observed in March 2012 whose magnitude was likely on the order of 4 – 6 standard deviations. The limited length of the available data records makes it difficult to discern the nature of the frequency distribution from which our extreme March 2012 heatwave event was drawn. Compounding the difficulties is the extreme sensitivity in estimating changes in probabilities of threshold exceedences to the assumed background distribution. The typical assumptions of a normally distributed (Gaussian) temperature distribution does not hold for daily values in particular. Nor do they generally hold for monthly averaged data when considering the extreme tails of distributions. This issue of estimating reliable statistics of extreme, rare events continues to be a matter of active research. The assumption of Gaussianity is more defensible, however, if considering a threshold of more moderate magnitude. Here we consider the changing odds of exceeding a threshold for a 2 standard deviation departure (~4°C) March temperature condition. This is roughly akin to a 1 in 40 year event magnitude. For a 0.5 standardized anomaly of GHG warming (+1°C), the exceedence probability increases roughly by 50%, and somewhat less than a doubling in the probability.


A black swan most probably was observed in March 2012 (lest we forget 1910). Gifted thereby to a wonderful late winter of unprecedented balmy weather, we also now know that all swans are not white. The event reminds us that there is no reason to believe that the hottest, “meteorological maddest” March observed in a mere century of observations is the hottest possible. But this isn’t to push all the blame upon randomness. Our current estimate of the impact of GHG forcing is that it likely contributed on the order of 5% to 10% of the magnitude of the heat wave during 12-23 March. And the probability of heatwaves is growing as GHG-induced warming continues to progress. But there is always the randomness.

Robin Webb of NOAA sent me this figure of the 1910 heat wave in the midwest U.S.  March_1910_20cen   (sorry i couldn’t insert it into the post, you can click on it to open).

157 responses to “Meteorological March Madness

    • “As Homer closes in on its own record snowfall this year, it is bound to set new benchmarks with 193.3 inches or 16.1 feet, according to National Weather Service data.”

    • “Marmot Basin shattered its all-time snowfall record today, March 30th, when 25 cm (9.8 inches) of snow fell overnight. The resort’s total snowfall now sits at 560 cm (18 feet), marking the largest amount of snowfall on the mountain to date and breaking the previous record of 542 cm (approx. 17 feet) set in 1998. Marmot is hoping to receive even more snowfall before its May 6th closing date.”

    • Of course sunshinehours1 you realize that over tens of thousands of years, higher snowfall amounts are associated with warmer conditions globally, not cooler, right?

      • Usually cold air and moisture are good for snow. And now you tell me it is warm air.

        What proxy are you using for such a claim? Is there one tree somewhere where magic tree rings point to warm air and snow going together?

      • “sunshinehours1
        Usually cold air and moisture are good for snow. And now you tell me it is warm air”
        Sunshine, you are such an idiot, it’s obvious global warming = more snow, global warming = melting snow, global warming = more droughts and global warming = more rainfall.

        Have you got it now, global warming = any observation,
        Obama has a head cold ? Caused by global warming. Pope has heart attack = global warming. The Whore of Babylon riding a seven-headed Sirrush is sighted in a Motel with Elvis = global warming.

      • Doc,

        You should do a bit more research on the facts before opening your mouth. You might actually then be in danger of learning something.

      • May the Birds of Paradise fly up the forty-two nostrils of your seven-headed Sirrush.

      • The “proxy” in this case are the ice cores from the Greenland ice cap. Greater snowfall accumulation occurs during warmer periods than cooler. Yes, it takes cold and moisture to make snow, and you get both in winter, but you get greater accumulations with more moisture and it takes heat to evaporate that moisture. More heat=more evaporation. Glaciers advance not because of greater accumulation during the winter (which is a common misconception), but because of less melting during the summers. Glacier periods in general are colder and more dry than interglacials such as we are in now. So when skeptics want to point to huge snowfall accumulations as a sign of anything at all, the only thing it could prove is that we are in a warmer and wetter period when compared to a period of glacial advance. For data on this, see:

        In looking at this chart, you’ll see that the very cold period of the Younger Dryas actually had lower accumulation of snow than the warmer period of the Bølling-Allerød interstadial that occurred just before. The difference is that the glaciers advanced during the Younger Dryas because the snow that did fall in the winter did not melt in the cooler summers, and thus, the next season snow fell on top of the older snow and the glaciers grew. You can get large snowfalls in warmer climates, because more energy is available to evaporate the moisture, but then the snow will all melt in the warmer summers and thus you see no glacial growth.

        The bottom line is– if you are a skeptic to AGW, you really don’t want to point to large snowfall accumulations as signs of a global cooling, as larger snowfalls are signs of a warmer climate overall– at least that’s what tens of thousands of years of ice core data quite clearly say.

      • It does snow more when oceans are warm and the Arctic Sea Ice is gone. that snow does pile up and cause the glaciers to advance and cool the earth. It snows more when oceans are warm and earth cools. it snows less when oceans are cold and earth warms.
        Do look at the ice core data. This is all in the data.
        Temperature is bounded by the Arctic Sea Ice Melting point.
        When the Arctic is open the Snow Monster is turned on.
        When the Arctic is closed the Snow Monster is turned off.

      • And, conversely, glacier retreat is more likely to be caused by less winter precipitation than more summer melt.

      • A. C. Osborn

        Alexander, are you suggesting that the Arctic is “Open” at the moment?

      • Having lived both east and west of the US Rocky mountains I’m pretty certain the primary causes of weather West of the Rocky mountains is different then east of the Rocky mountains.

        La Nina and El Nino drive the weather West of the Rockies. We’ve had two ‘back to back’ LaNina’s. We are seeing ‘record’ snows. The prevailing winds off of the Pacific Ocean normally keep the temperature too warm to snow at sea level.

      • Greg Goodman

        R Gates.

        the Alley graph that you provided may support what you are saying if you choose to refer to the difference between glacial and interglacial periods. However, that is not relevant to the current discussion.

        If you look at the variation of the last 5000 years, you will see climate had been generally cooling and snow precipitation steadily increasing.

        In case you have not realised yet, that graph you posted to support what you said actually shows you were wrong.

      • We are cooling, folks; for how long even kim doesn’t know.

      • Greg Goodman,

        The graph I posted shows exactly the facts I’ve presented. Glacial periods such as the Younger Dryas show lower snowfall accumulation than warmer periods. During the colder periods, less snow falls but much less also melts, so you get glacial growth. Many people confuse snowfall accumulation and glacial growth. Very different things….

      • R Gates

        Yesterday you kindly provided a link to an article that was supposed to provide evidence that stuck weather patterns are increasing and of AGW induced climate change.

        “Some current research on blocking high pressure systems, changes in atmospheric pressure gradients and AGW induced climate change:

        Well worth a read.”


        It was paywalled so I went to the Met office library and got a copy. Have you actually read it? What do you believe it tells us? The paper is full of ‘maybe’s’ and suppositions and only deals with post satellite material. I’m glad I didnt pay for it.

        As I illustrated previously there are numerous historic incidents of stuck weather patterns. Why do you think today is different? Please provide evidence that trumps my contemporary obserevations. Thanks.

      • Tony,

        Lucky you are to be able just to walk into the Met office and pick up an article or two! Most of us have to pay, and so pay we do.

        But you asked for some research on potential links between blocking highs (i.e. stalled weather systems) and climate change brought about by AGW, and that’s all that paper was meant to show. Glad you didn’t “waste your money on it” if it wasn’t what you were looking for.

        In general, of course these kinds of extreme events have happened all along in the Holocene. I know of no climate models that would show that AGW will lead to “new” types of weather. You, perhaps more than most, are well aware the the extreme weather events in history. It gets back to the pattern or fingerprint that exists in terms of frequency, duration and, intensity of these events, and then finding plausible forcing mechanisms that might be at work. Simply because something happened before (as almost everything has when it comes to weather) does not mean that the reason it is happening now is either the same, or any less interesting because it happened before.

      • R Gates, how many times do I have to point out to you that as the glacier edges move southward, less moist air can get up to the latitudes those cores are taken from without precipitating as snow before hand.

        The effect is not that colder = less snow, the effect is that colder = more snow in LOWER latitudes blocking moisture and thus snow from getting to higher latitudes. That is a simple fact of thermal dynamics and wind patterns, sort of similar to what’s seen over mountain ranges where altitude can replace latitude.

        The graph you present does not only not support you, but rather refutes you.

      • GED,

        I be curious as to how the graph refutes what I was saying. It clearly does not. The Bølling-Allerød interstadial was warmer than the Younger Dryas and also saw greater greater snowall accumulation, even as the glaciers contracted. Clearly, at the beginning of the Bølling-Allerød interstadial the ice sheet edges still had a great expanse, but we saw the snowfall accumulation at the interior increase, even though the glaciers began to recede rapidly. Clearly the moist air had no problem penetrating to the interior of the glacier and depositing snow. The real mechanism is as I’ve stated– namely, the summers were also warmer during the Bølling-Allerød interstadial and more net ice melted than accumulated.

      • R Gates 12.44

        I spend hundreds of pounds a year of my own money on climate research articles, most of them of indifferent quality. Arctic articles in particular are on the whole poorly written and often tedious. This is in contrast to glacier papers, or indeed those from such as Dr Mann (invariably interesting) or Phil Jones/Briffa. I am reading their book ‘History and climate’ and very good it is too.

        As for the paper I got from the Met office, if someone like you suggests I read it I consider I should do so or I can’t carry on the discussion rationally can I?.

        When I was in the Met office library I noticed they had a complete section on ‘extreme weather so I borrowed a few of the books from there so I can put you in your place if need be :)

        I also took out ‘The climate of the Arctic’ by Przyblak. Hope its not as dull as most of the arctic material I’ve been ploughing through recently for my forthcoming article.

        For sheer cogency and interest its hard to beat the old *(pre AGW) books and articles (Slocums 1955 demolition of Callendars Co2 paper must be one of the most elegant ever written)

        My favourite good read at the moment are the Merle weather diaries from England covering 7 years around the 1340’s which the Met office analysed in 1972. If I was continuing ‘The long slow thaw’ CET record back from the 1538 date I ended at, this would probably be the highest in the record, including todays

        You are quite right when you say;
        ‘Simply because something happened before (as almost everything has when it comes to weather) does not mean that the reason it is happening now is either the same, or any less interesting because it happened before.’

        On the other hand it would be best if many in the scientific community didn’t infer (helped by politicians ) that many climatic effects these days are unprecedented .
        All the best
        Ps How about submitting an article to Judith stating why you believe Global temperatures are still rising, when many other commentators state they have stalled or are declining. Everybody can’t be right


      • Is it true that today is opposite day?

      • R. Gates,
        Are you practicing parody?

      • You just might have a point if the difference in temperature were enough for the Arctic to change from being iced over for most of the year to being ice-free for most of the year, or vice-versa.
        Extra moisture from summer evaporation simply doesn’t stick around long enough to create extra snowfall in winter.
        Besides, you said it yourself – it’s a global effect over tens of thousands of years.

  1. peterdavies252

    Regional weather conditions seem to be offset by opposite conditions being experienced by other regions. How would such offsets affect a global metric?

  2. What a coincidence. 1910 was a year when there was a weak solar cycle that had strong spikes in solar activity between very weak periods. Perhaps its time to take a look at how the polar oscillation and is affected by these rapid changes in solar activity. Perhaps this is a factor in the strong blocking patterns the world has seen in the last 3 or 4 years.

  3. Weather.


    • Yup. My AGW-believing friends told me years ago, when I pointed out that IPCC conference were interrupted by snow and cold, that there is a difference between “weather” and “climate.”

      Unless of course the “weather” confirms the IPCC climate theory, as it turns out.

      • Yes, according the defintion of global climate, what happens this year in any region is not significant.


  4. We had no snow cover in south central Canada for most of the winter, esp Jan and Feb, which is the first time I’d seen or heard of that. It was also very warm. This seems to be the north end of where the March warm air ended up (thanks for that btw!). I have no idea if that is significant, but I don’t think you can dismiss snow cover due to it not being unusual, at least not on the plains. As a random example, here are the three last years of snow cover on Jan 10th – look at those northern states where the warm winds blew through…
    My neighbor was saying that after this totally mild winter he finally appreciates the crazy looks he gets from people further south when he talks about normal winters here : ).

  5. Heat waves and cold spells have come and gone for millions of years, but certainly the frequency, duration, and intensity of them will vary with the climate. At least we have a testable hypothesis with AGW, with the assertion backed by climate models that extreme “black swan” events will increase in frequency, duration, and intensity with continued increases in grreenhouse gases. So we are exactly where Trenberth said we’d be…no single event can be traced to anthropogenic climate change, and in trying to do so is looking at the issue in the wrong way. The only way to see it is in total. Either extreme events will be on the increase or they won’t be, with extreme being measured as something that is 2 or more standard deviations from a mean, and then measuring how widespread the area these events occur in, how frequently such events occur, how far they are from the mean, and how long they last.

    But alas, even if the models show that increases in CO2 and other greenhouse gases will cause these extreme events in increase, and even if the data show that such events are increasing, some so-called skeptics will continue to attribute it to “natural variability” or “odd combinations of circumstances”.

    • John Kannarr

      I am puzzled as to what in climatological theory would lead from greenhouse gas concentrations to extreme “events” greater than 2 standard deviations. Does it have to be some particular events, or just any event will do? What exactly is the relationship that could account for that? Why would it manifest itself in such an odd effect? Are there parallels in other sciences where a theory holds that such and such a change will result in extreme variations greater than two sigma? Or is this just a self-serving claim of chaotic behavior?

      • John Kannarr | April 3, 2012 at 12:02 am |

        It depends on your approach. Since at least the 1970’s, it’s been appreciated that mathematically when a chaotic system experiences a strong external forcing or perturbation it will tend to move to a new state. That ‘new normal’ will have different characteristic frequencies and occupy different orbits.

        Depending on parameters, which I admit I know too little of about climate, it’s possible no particular measured events would appear to change on the records. We’ve only been measuring weather by a very few factors for a very short span in very limited locations, and with some fairly large error bars. All the ‘extremes’ could pass through the filter of our weather tracking unseen.. though this is unlikely. It is, however, a problem as it means we don’t have a very good grip on how and in what way and at what rates the chaotic system is changing. Also, global climate is spatiotemporal chaotic, which means we’re dealing with something that could change on its own anyway, and there’s no value judgement we’re likely able to make about better or worse states other than the vague precept that comes out of our like experiences.

        There are parallels in virtually every chaotic system. Whack a hornet’s nest with a sharp stick, it will tend to swarm more frequently. Watch what happens to an addict’s behavior on crystal meth. Pelt a juggler with eggs. Alter the CO2 in the atmosphere.

        I’m not sure I see “self-serving” in these straightforward observations.

      • One multiplier with temperature is the Boltzmann factor. Even though an average temperature may shift by only 1 degree K in 273K parts on the Kelvin scale, because of the Boltzmann distribution, the activation energy can multiply this to be much more than 1 part in 273.

        This factor, which is a probability, determines the likelihood whether an energy barrier is exceeded such that anything from higher rate of vaporization or higher rate of cloud droplet nucleation can proceed.

        For an activation energy of 0.3 eV, a 1 degree change at room temperature is not 1 part in 273, but more like 10 parts in 273 because of the multiplying factor.

        This is why oil gets less viscous with an increase of temperature. It doesn’t get 30 parts out of 240 less viscous for an increase of 30 degrees, but more like 150% less viscous.

        A small average increase is like slightly lubricating the atmosphere, to put it in layman’s terms.

      • I find that an interesting comment Web. I mostly dismissed the increased variability argument as I couldn’t think of a reason why a warmer world’s jetstream would be any more bendy. Would an appropriate analogy be the difference between shaking a car spring and a slinky?

        Under this scenario I can picture more blocking events, but with a freer flowing atmosphere I would expect the average duration of the events to be of a shorter duration.

        One the other hand, I can’t remember any announcements from the various reanalysis projects that found any long term trends in barometric weather patterns.

      • If there were some finite energy barrier in place preventing a movement of a mass of air, an increase in temperature will reduce that barrier, thus activating or increasing the probability of that transition occurring.

        Phase transitions are based on this basic behavior. Simulated annealing is a computer science application of the mechanism.

        Would an appropriate analogy be the difference between shaking a car spring and a slinky?

        The levels of shaking is what is important. That simulates thermalization.

        What causes the triggering of lightening strikes? A couple of scientists last year (Bell and Rosenfeld) found that increase of pollutants during the work week increased statistically the magnitude of strong thunderstorms. This is just from pollutants emitted by cars driven by commuters. The pollutants affected the energy barriers controlling the nucleation activation of droplets that would turn into hail, which then generate the huge thermal gradients. That microscopic statistical mechanical can effects have on macroscopic phenomena is pretty clear.

        BTW, the statistical certainty of this pollutant effect is overwhelming.

      • John Kannarr

        What would cause the “more bendy” jetstream? A 1975 Science News article blamed global cooling:

        referenced at

        So who are we to believe, alrmists of the 1970s or of the current era?

      • I never understand what Webby is talking about.

        ‘A simple physical model for the liquid-gas phase transformation has been proposed recently.[1] It is suggested that the energy required to free an atom from the liquid is equivalent to the energy needed to overcome the surface resistance of the liquid. The model allows calculating the latent heat by multiplying the maximum surface area covering an atom with the surface tension and the number of atoms in the liquid.

        The enthalpy of condensation (or heat of condensation) is by definition equal to the enthalpy of vaporization with the opposite sign: enthalpy changes of vaporization are always positive (heat is absorbed by the substance), whereas enthalpy changes of condensation are always negative (heat is released by the substance).’

        The enthalpy of vaporisation of water at boiling point is 2.537172337e+23 eV/mol – and unless you’re talking plasma physics (and we’re not you may have noticed) is more usually expressed as 40.65 kJ/mol. As I say – not really sure what lubricating the atmosphere has to do with anything at all.

        Bart’s discussion of chaos is even more disturbing. A chaotic system is more usually chracterised by sensitive dependence on initial conditions. A small change in initial conditions drives a nonlinear change in system response. It can be seen here – – where the left hand side shows diverging values with time for the same system but with slightly different starting points.

        Spatio-temporal chaos simply means that there are both temporal and spatial dimensions to the climate system. The system itself involves control variables – small changes in variables that drive abrupt and nonlinear change in climate through multuple feedbacks.

        ENSO is a chaotic system within a larger chaotic system. Whereas the outcome of hitting a hornets nest with a stick is predictable and thus is not a dynamically complex system – models are intrinsically initial value probelms by the nature of the underlying math and climate is intrinsically dynamically complex by virtue of the number of the feedbacks and the number and strength of the couplings.

        The funny thing is that virtually every possible region of climate phase space is colder and therfore worse by a lot. It could cool down dramatically in Minnisota in as little as a decade for reasons related to temperature increase. Not that we can discern any large effect from carbon dioxide in the satellite power flux. That would end the March madness.

        Best regards
        Captain Kangaroo

      • I don’t think you understand this stuff very well because you haven’t been taught it , or you haven’t educated yourself. What was your background again? A sanitation engineer usually gets to skip the parts where the math gets heavy. Chief still can’t figure out why the toilets swirl the other direction north of the equator.

      • You are talking about Steffan-Boltzmann – which for a grey body is:


        It doesn’t resolve to T^3 if any alternate universe.

        Emissivity is important otherwise in terms of albedo.

        Bose statisitice

      • naw didn’t mean to post that – I was looking for a appalling Webby quote.

      • Everybody’s educational credentials notwithstanding I’m not sure I buy the lubrication analogy and I definitely don’t buy the hornet’s nest analogy though I am not going to address the latter.

        If the primary function of GHGs is to delay the cooling of the surface/troposphere/ocean system, it seems to me that extreme events would to First Order tend to decrease, because potential energy differences drive weather and potential energy differences would tend to decrease. Judith a while ago linked to a book chapter in which she compares planets with and without optically thick atmospheres in terms of a parameter of internal heat distribution vs. load shedding (my bad paraphrase). If you care enough I’ll find it and link it.

        Nonlinearities would totally f* this up though.

      • billc

        Nonlinearities do indeed fix this up; There’s a differences of T^4 relationship, and initial T at a pole in winter in the dead of night remains largely as cold as it ever were over the millennial scale, while T at the height of day at various points not in the Earth’s own shadow tends to be warmer. So, no, you don’t expect lower potential energy differences always; merely sometimes, generally not _convenient_ or predictable times.

      • Can’t believe I am arguing with a couple of civils about the fundamentals of statistical physics. Spare me please ….

      • WHT

        There, there.

        Not every engineer who went civ did it because they couldn’t handle the math, the workload or the reading.

        Some had family obligations, or something noble, keeping them from committing to study and comprehension.

      • But then you aren’t arguing anything really – just hand waving. I was solving fourth order solutions to differential equations when you were in nappies. I just like to see things solved properly – and numbers I like numbers. It’s an engineering thing.

        The energy of a particle is given by: Ei = 1/2mv^2 + mgh – basic kinetic and potential energy. Yet you equate that with an eV value that seems grossly wrong and when I tried to check your source it wsn’t available. Instead you use the Arrhenius equation for the rate of chemical and plug in the Boltzmann constant and God knows what else.

        I think you are a joke.

      • Seriously – stop conflating Boltzmann probability distributions with Arhennius reaction rates. I think you are certifiably insane. You make so many sh_t for brains mistakes that it is just cosmic sh_tstorm of laughable error.

      • Bart,

        Tell me why T^4 makes things worse not better. I’m pretty sure you don’t mean that energy content varies with T^4.

      • billc | April 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm |


        Over time, in the limit the relationship is proportionate to σT^3.

        Sure, there will be many cases where the temperature difference (σT) may reduce, but in the extremes on a rotating planet with seasons, the coldest extremes in the dark and in winter will rise slowly under AGW, while the highs of day and summer will generally rise more quickly.

        Add winds and currents, and the mixing will result in nonlinear rises to the third or fourth power; with feedbacks as stronger winds drive stronger winds to greater shear differences sooner and more often, a more than third or fourth-power effect will be seen more regularly.

        This is worse, not better.

      • The T^4 coefficient and term has to be replaced with the full spectrum profile because Bose statistics are no longer analytically expressible with all the notches due to the GHG concentrations..
        Otherwise that is a viewpoint worth considering, as this is a way of propagating uncertainty to generate margins.

      • You are talking about Steffan-Boltzmann – which for a grey body is:


        It doesn’t resolve to T^3 if any alternate universe.

        Emissivity (e) is important otherwise in terms of the energy budget of the planet.

        Bose-Einstein statistics relate to indistinguishable particles that condense at low temperatures. Statistical mechanics deals with regions in thermal equilibrium – particles in the region have the same statistical properties at room temp as these other indistinguishable particles – but don’t condense. That is there are a number of microstates possible and probabilities of particles being in some energy state or other can be calculated – but really we’re interested in the average state.

        Spectral sorption is important only in that greenhouse gases are resonant at those frequencies – the region warms and reemits according to SB for a grey body.

        You guys have such funny ideas.

      • WebHubTelescope | April 6, 2012 at 2:30 am |

        I used a gross simplification, yes.

        I also left out the deep ocean from the list of deep night and deep winter, and of course deep ice where exposed by slides and break-ups.

        The upshot, even taking into account the nuances, is the change of climate extremes is ‘more than linear’ and ‘worse’.

        Two dozen fortnights a year, the temperature gradient is slightly lower, the weather more stale, pattern of rain or dry more persistent, but those other two weeks per year randomly distributed on the scale of decades will more than make up for the steady times. In some basins, this might be multi-year droughts relieved by cataclysmic blizzards every five years or so, or it might be tornadoes, or floods; in other basins, prolonged temperature inversion layers will concentrate pollutants and smog for weeks or months in places, to be relieved by dry lightning or hot winds.

        There’s no telling, no predicting, no profiling. All of these imaginings are examples that what elementary mathematics may imply. They’re no more aptly called ‘predictions’ in the scientific sense than what GCMs produce.

        But the elementary mathematics is there, and means something.

      • Keep talking Captain Wallaby. You just dig yourself a deeper and deeper hole showing your gross ignorance of all physics and mathematics.

        You are talking about Steffan-Boltzmann – which for a grey body is:


        It doesn’t resolve to T^3 if any alternate universe.

        Sure it can. That is the differential form of S-B. If you wanted to detect the sensitivity against temperature, that’s what you do. You take the derivative of T^4 and you get 4*T^3, just like Bart said.

        Strike 1.

        “Emissivity (e) is important otherwise in terms of the energy budget of the planet.

        Bose-Einstein statistics relate to indistinguishable particles that condense at low temperatures. Statistical mechanics deals with regions in thermal equilibrium – particles in the region have the same statistical properties at room temp as these other indistinguishable particles – but don’t condense. ”

        Tsk, Tsk. More quote-mining on your part with no knowledge of what the physics is all about. Bose-Einstein condensation appears at the top of the list when you Google for Bose-Einstein, but Bose-Einstein statistics is the behavior that ensembles of photons obey.

        Strike 2.

        “That is there are a number of microstates possible and probabilities of particles being in some energy state or other can be calculated – but really we’re interested in the average state.”

        That is what the B-E function is used for! It establishes a probability for any one photon in a particular energy state, and then this is integrally averaged over the entire state space, and that is how the Planck’s Law is derived.
        You seem to just be picking up sentences at random.

        “Spectral sorption is important only in that greenhouse gases are resonant at those frequencies – the region warms and reemits according to SB for a grey body.

        You guys have such funny ideas.”

        You really have no idea of what you are talking about. It has gotten to the point that I can’t even say that I can school you. You have an anti-science agenda and that’s all there is to it.

      • ‘Sure it can. That is the differential form of S-B. If you wanted to detect the sensitivity against temperature, that’s what you do. You take the derivative of T^4 and you get 4*T^3, just like Bart said.’

        So we differentiate SB? d(J*)/dt = 4 eσT^3 ???? Idiot.

        Don’t forget the emissivity term as Bart did.
        “Emissivity (e) is important otherwise in terms of the energy budget of the planet.
        Bose-Einstein statistics relate to indistinguishable particles that condense at low temperatures. Statistical mechanics deals with regions in thermal equilibrium – particles in the region have the same statistical properties at room temp as these other indistinguishable particles – but don’t condense. ”

        No – this is not a quote it is just a common understanding of BEC. As I say at room temperature the statistics are the same but it is not strictly true to call it BE statistics – there are a couple of extra rules. It is moreover hugely irrelevant as we are more interested in the macrostate of the volume and not the microstate.

        ‘That is what the B-E function is used for! It establishes a probability for any one photon in a particular energy state, and then this is integrally averaged over the entire state space, and that is how the Planck’s Law is derived.’

        It is not strictly BE. But I didn’t dispute that statistical mechanics has the same statistics at room temperature.

        ‘You really have no idea of what you are talking about. It has gotten to the point that I can’t even say that I can school you. You have an anti-science agenda and that’s all there is to it.’

        You really don’t have a clue do you. Idiot.

        You seem to think you can belittle me by calling me Captain Wallaby. Idiot.

    • R. Gates,
      You used to be fairly reasonable. Now you are just another true believer.
      So last year’s record snowfall over North America, and this year’s record cold in Europe is also confirmation of AGW.
      And you claim to have a testable hypothesis.
      All you have in reality, I would suggest, is a faith-based thesis that grasps any explanation at all to support it, and has reduced you to rationalizing all evidence as support of your thesis: The opposite, in other words, of a scientific claim.

      • I have as yet, not found, seen, or been shown any solid scientific evidence to suggest that the addition of anthropogenic greenhouse gases to the atmosphere isn’t causing the Earth system to accumulate more energy. All I see on blogs are regurgitated skeptical talking points and hyper-cherry-picked data that have no solid scientific basis. Thus, until I see actual evidence to suggest that the Earth is not retaining ever more energy from the accumulation of greenhouse gases, then I will consider this hypothesis to be open for refutation and still potentially true. If this is unreasonable, then I guess I am unreasonable.

        Along this regard, the Foster & Rahmstorf attribution analysis, the continued accumulation of energy in the oceans, the continued retreat of seasonal Arctic sea ice levels, the contined 11:1 ratio of new high temperature records versus low temperature records all point to, are consistent with an Earth system that is accumulating net energy, and are quite in line with what global cimate models show will occur as the Earth’s atmosphere continues to accumulate more energy through increased greenhouse gas concentrations.

      • I have as yet, not found, seen, or been shown any solid scientific evidence to suggest that the addition of anthropogenic greenhouse gases to the atmosphere isn’t causing the Earth system to accumulate more energy.

        I have as yet, not found, seen, or been shown any solid scientific evidence to suggest that my magic tiger-repellant rock isn’t the reason that I haven’t been plagued by tiger attacks. Ergo, my tiger-repellant rock works! <b>Science!

      • Have you walked into a cage full of tigers?

        Unlike your magical tiger-repellant rock, each passing year brings ever more opportunities for some kind of refutation of the AGW hypothesis. But cherry-picking data, pictures of submarines surfacing in the Arctic, and all the rest of it doesn’t quite cut it.

        As long as all the evidence points to the Earth’s energy system accumuating energy, steadily and continually over at least the past 40 years, and probably longer the AGW hypothesis remains quite intact.

        About all that is left is to find another reason (i.e. a forcing or some combination thereof) that would mimic greenhouse gas accumulation in terms of climate fingerprint.

      • Unlike your magical tiger-repellant rock, each passing year brings ever more opportunities for some kind of refutation of the AGW hypothesis. But cherry-picking data, pictures of submarines surfacing in the Arctic, and all the rest of it doesn’t quite cut it.

        On the contrary, every passing year brings ever more opportunities for some kind of refutation of the magic tiger-repellant rock hypothesis!

        So far, all the evidence points to this magic rock being the thing that’s keeping the tigers away. If you have any evidence to present which refutes the magic tiger-repellant rock hypothesis, please do so, otherwise you should stop all the hand-waving and cherry-picking and be honest enough to admit that the magic tiger-repellant rock works.


      • ‘This paper gives an update on the observed decadal variability of the earth radiation budget (ERB) using the latest altitude-corrected Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE)/Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) Nonscanner Wide Field of View (WFOV) instrument Edition3 dataset. The effects of the altitude correction are to modify the original reported decadal changes in tropical mean (20°N to 20°S) longwave (LW), shortwave (SW), and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s from 3.1, -2.4, and -0.7 to 1.6, -3.0, and 1.4 W m^2, respectively. In addition, a small SW instrument drift over the 15-yr period was discovered during the validation of the WFOV Edition3 dataset. A correction was developed and applied to the Edition3 dataset at the data user level to produce the WFOV Edition3_Rev1 dataset. With this finalcorrection, the ERBS Nonscanner-observed decadal changes in tropical mean LW, SW, and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s now stand at 0.7, -2.1, and 1.4 W m^2, respectively, which are similar to the observed decadal changes in the High-Resolution Infrared Radiometer Sounder (HIRS) Pathfinder OLR and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) version FD record but disagree with the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Pathfinder ERB record. Furthermore, the observed interannual variability of near-global ERBS WFOV Edition3_Rev1 net radiation is found to be remarkably consistent with the latest ocean heat storage record for the overlapping time period of 1993 to 1999. Both datasets show variations of roughly 1.5Wm^2 in planetary net heat balance during the 1990s.’ Depends on what you consider evidence – very few deny the radiative physics entirely just that there is a lot more happening.

      • Please define “accumulate more energy”.

      • hunter,

        Besides the increase in tropospheric temperatures over the past 40+ years, the biggest one is the accumulation of heat in the oceans. Approximately 23 x 10^22 Joules down to 2000 meters has been stored, and hints of even more at yet deeper levels. This is far more than the atmosphere of course, and the atmosphere is far more subject to shorter term fluctuations such as from ENSO, volcanoes, solar (i.e. it is a noisier signal).

      • R. Gates,

        23 x 10^22 Joules is enough to heat the topmost 2000m by approx. 0.08C
        And what makes you think that a significant amount of heat has found its way into deeper waters over a period as short as a few decades? (Hint: look up ‘thermocline’)

      • R. Gates,
        Are you referring to the tropospheric hotspot long predicted and still missing?
        As to heat storage in the oceans, the stats are that it is far less than predicted by the AGW consensus, like the tropospheric hot spot.
        And the 2000 meter level- is that observation or projection?

    • So if the temperature during the day rises by more than .7C, there will be an extreme climate event?

      The perfect AGW theory.

      The day happens and then sh*t happens.

  6. That hot blob in Central/Eastern US was the only one in the world, which was much below normal (excluding the Arctic, whose temperature readings are comprehensively corrupted). I.e., a largish local heating event, offset by a much larger cooling elsewhere.

  7. A Medieval monk could not have written this any better.

  8. According to the GISTEMP maps, March was the fifth successive month with temperatures a few degrees above average in the eastern half of the US and Canada.

  9. What American for ‘It’s pissing down here’ ?
    Houston has been damp, wet, changeable since November, like a warm England.

    • And what tune were you sining last year during the drought? I’ll take the rain.

      • I’m not complaining about the rain, I’m English, complaining about the rain is like complaining about the nitrogen content of the air.
        The weather is a bit odd, killing my joints by the rapid pressure swings and means I always have my wet weather gear in my back pack.
        I am one of two adults in Houston who doesn’t drive and so I cycle everywhere. I think I have worn my waterproofs more often this year than in 2011-2012.

      • DocMartyn,
        As a fellow Houstonian who also bikes when possible, I would like to state my admiration for your bravery in bicycling everywhere. Be careful later today- there may be more stormy weather.

    • I would call that normal Houston weather around the winter solstice, after living there for 18 years. Of course, “normal” varies a lot. :)

    • DocMartyn,
      Don’t do any moonlight bicycling tonight- a bit of a storm is on the way. The western sky is already rumbling.

  10. “Our current estimate of the impact of GHG forcing is that it likely contributed on the order of 5% to 10% of the magnitude of the heat wave during 12-23 March.”

    My current estimate of the impact of CGAW demagoguery is that it likely contributed on the order of 92.43% to 97.64% of baloney to the climate debate during 12-23 March.

  11. There are many dimensions or characteristics to the weather. Let’s list them as a vector of random variables X = (X11, X12,…, X1n, X21, X22,…,Xm1, Xm2,…Xmn), where there are n types of events and n regions.

    Let n and/or m get large, and some component of X must occur at a level outside of CIij = mean(Xij) plus or minus 2*standard deviation(Xij).

    All of this talk is total trash unless the events and regions are determined in advance and tracked over time for the number of events that fall outside of CIij. And that’s being very generous, without considering spatial and time autocorrelations across i and j.

    Gimme a break. Present some minimally interpretable time series across a pre-defined set of regions, or don’t bother me with this meaningless stuff.

  12. “Our current estimate of the impact of GHG forcing is that it likely contributed on the order of 5% to 10% of the magnitude of the heat wave during 12-23 March. And the probability of heatwaves is growing as GHG-induced warming continues to progress. But there is always the randomness.”

    Uh, huh. And yet, there has in fact been no warming for 15 years now.

    • They used a small number for the estimate because pulling anything larger out of that place hurts too much.

    • Pokerguy,

      You are quite wrong on this “no warming for 15 years”. It gets frustrating to see such nonsense repeated (much like a virus) over and over again, but people who ought to know better. Overall, there has been no let up in the overall warming of the planet over the past 5, 10, 15, or 40 years. The net accumulation of energy to the Earth’s system has been constantly increasing over this period.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘The net accumulation of energy to the Earth’s system has been constantly increasing over this period;

        So where is the data that shows this effect? The temperature records don’t show it.

      • R. Gates,
        Tell it to our hostess.
        Your weather chasing and cherry picking is becoming a bit desperate and transparent.

      • Bullsh*t.

        When you add up all the numbers (land temp, sea temp, ocean heat content etc.) you still see warming but of less magnitude.

        All rational analysis includes AT LEAST an increased aerosol (albedo) factor, and that’s for starters.

      • Comin’ the concatenation of cooling phases of the oceanic oscillations, and the consistently fading grimaces on the face of the Cheshire Cat Sun.

      • btw if there’s any confusion, the bullsh*t was for R Gates.

      • I checked, and it was difficult to get confused.

    • Pokerguy,
      Is there a reference or link to demonstrate no warming for 15 years? Since like 1998 when Mann said it is the hotest in 2000 years or so.

  13. Billy in NZ

    R.Gates,so is snow a thing of the past or not?One mr viner said it was because of warming,now you tell me the opposite.

    • Billy,

      Rather than just tagging along with the skeptical talking points, I highly suggest you spend a few weeks reading up on glacial versus interglacial climates in general, and then about the causes of glacial growth. My post earlier in this particular blog about accumulation rates of snow in warm periods is a good general place to begin to really understand that pointing to higher snowfall accumulations is quite nonsensical if you are a skeptic trying to prove that AGW is not occurring. The warmer Bølling-Allerød interstadial had a greater accumulation rate (i.e. larger amounts of snow fell each season) than the much cooler Younger Dryas period that followed it, even though glaciers grew during the Younger Dryas but retreated during the Bølling-Allerød interstadial. This is shown quite clearly in the ice core data. Until you understand why this must be the case, you will not really understand much about snowfall accumulation, glaciers, and the differences in climate between glacial and interglacial (or interstadial) periods.

      • Latimer Alder


        I will summarise R Gates answer for you. It is his standard answer to any hard question.

        ‘I am R Gates. I think I am very clever and I read a lot. But I cannot explain anything. And I hate direct questions. So I just try to baffle you by a lot of waffle and attempted putdowns. I constantly appeal to my own authority’

        He is a bullshi**er. And not even very good one at it.

  14. Billy in NZ

    So,Mr Viner was wrong?

    • People who don’t come from snow have no business talking about snow.

      It makes them sound silly, and it does no one any good.

      It’s like Australians talking about New Zealand.

      Or Americans talking about Australians talking about New Zealand.

      R. Gates has done his reading, and seems to know something about something.

      In the tundra, the coldest years have the least snow.

      • I have spent a fair amount of time living with, hiking on, digging in, sleeping on, sleeping under, shoveling, cursing, blessing, and generally still amazed by snow. I have another fair amount of time studying it, and while I may or may not know something about something, I do know that it takes energy to move moisture from the ocean to the land, and the more energy there is the more that can be moved. It the winter this moisture will often fall as snow, but if there is more energy (i.e. heat) around in the summer that snow will melt. During interglacials, you may get 5 meters of snow that falls in the winter, but all 5 melt on the summer. During periods of glacial advance, only 3 meters of snow may fall in the winter, but only 2 will melt in the summer, and thus the glacier grows.

      • Latimer Alder

        It is faintly possible that he does know something useful.

        But his inability/refusal to explain it – other than snarky remarks like ‘go read the literature and the you might know as much as I do’ merely give me the impression that he is a good old fashioned dyed in the wool 100% snake oil salesman. And very bad at it,

      • Latimer,

        I have explained the dynamics of glacial growth and why more snow falls in warmer climates than cooler in about as simple of terms as possible. Your refusal or inability to grasp it is not something I can correct.

      • Latimer Alder

        Looks like our posts crossed. You can explain something after all. A refreshing change, Keep up the good work!

        But here in UK we are still under the impression – given by Mr Viner of UEA about 10 years ago that snow will be a thing of the past for us because of global warming. i.e the hotter it gets, the less now we will get.

        And the last two winters have been abnormally snowy for us. Is he right or wrong?

      • Latimer Alder


        On reflection you have given a simple bathtub explanation of glacier growth – fair enough…if you not all the snow that fall one winter melts in the summer, then the glacier grows and if the reverse it shrinks. Which is OK for a first level explanation. You do not need to be an on-depth student of the Younger (or even Older) Dryas to work this out…you can do it in the bath as a gedankenexperiment.

        But your discussion of snowfall amounts

        ‘I do know that it takes energy to move moisture from the ocean to the land, and the more energy there is the more that can be moved’

        barely rises above the trite. And seems to contradict the hapless David Viner’s remarks. Because he argues that the warmer it gets, the less snow we will have. You argue the opposite.

        And – leaving snow aside – we should see more rainfall worldwide, not less. Yet one of the predicted outcomes of global warming is supposed to be drought.

      • Latimer,

        Actually I think the predictions are for more flooding and more drought. And we have had neither. Not even more evaporation. If you haven’t heard of the evaporation parodox – it is something to consider.

      • ‘Globally, precipitation can be approximated by surface evaporation, since the variability of the atmospheric moisture storage is negligible. This is the case because the fluxes are an order of magnitude larger than the atmospheric storage (423 × 1012 m3 year−1 versus 13 × 1012 m3 according to Baumgartner andReichel (1975)), the latter being determined by temperature (Clausius–Clapeyron). Hence the residence time of evaporated water in the atmosphere is not more than a few days, before it condenses and falls back to Earth in the form of precipitation. Any change in the globally averaged surface evaporation therefore implies an equivalent change in precipitation, and thus in the intensity of the global hydrological cycle. The process of evaporation requires energy, which it obtains from the surface radiation balance (also known as surface net radiation), composed of the absorbed solar and net thermal radiative exchanges at the Earth’s surface. Globally averaged, this surface radiation balance is positive, since radiative absorption, scattering and emission in the climate system act to generate an energy surplus at the surface and an energy deficit in the atmosphere (Liepert 2010).

        Evaporation, or more precisely its energy equivalent, the latent heat flux, is the main process that compensates for this imbalance between surface and atmosphere, since the latent heat dominates the convective energy flux over sensible heating. The radiative energy surplus at the surface is thus mainly consumed by evaporation and moist convection and subsequently released in the atmosphere through condensation. This implies that any alterations in the available radiative energy will induce changes in the water fluxes.’ Wild – The Earth radiation balance as driver of the global hydrological cycle

        Living in North Queensland – I have extensive experience of snow and glaciers. I didn’t like either. Although I am going to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in the next couple of months. Parts of New Zealand have permanent snow and seasonal snow of more than 3m. Papua New Guinea has the world’s only tropical glacier – – it just goes to show.

        The Alley graph is most interesting – I’ve been thinking about it for years. Precipitation is all about energy as Wild explain – the paper is most interesting and intellectually accessible even for amateurs. But there are other factors involved in the runaway snow and ice feedback that plunges the world into glacials every 100,000 odd years. One of these factors possibly involves thermohaline circulation and the transport of heat into northern climes. It has in the past – – but why?

        The gulf steam far from slowing down in recent times seems to have got faster resulting in super hot temps in the ocean off the eastern coast of North America. – – I have no doubt that we come up with a global warming post hoc rationalisation for a faster Gulf Stream if we try.

      • When the oceans are warm and the Arctic Sea Ice is melted, fierce Arctic Winds pick up water drops, in addition to evaporation, and turn on the Snow Monster around the Northern Hemisphere. This does limit how hot the earth can get.

      • Latimer Alder

        @bart r

        ‘People who don’t come from snow have no business talking about snow’

        Are you you’re not getting a bit confused by this?

  15. Billy in NZ

    Wow Bart,Don’t you think it snows in NZ?Wow,maybe YOU should try a little reading.You still haven’t explained,is Mr Viner wrong?

    • Billy in NZ | April 3, 2012 at 1:26 am |

      I know New Zealanders think they’ve seen snow. 45 cm in a day? What’s that, like eighteen inches? Your record of the century? That’s called a light dusting in Buffalo or Syracuse.

      Some kiwis even think they’ve felt cold. -5C? You’ve suffered as low as 24F? In Minnesota, 40 below is typical in winter. Stop embarrassing yourself.

      But I was referring to your Dr. David Viner’s published views of twelve years ago about the UK (which would be the far side of the planet from you, no?), and not yourself. He wasn’t so much wrong as inarticulate on the subject, speaking to a reporter who was simply snow illiterate. The British understand snow about as much as they understand ice hockey.

      Oh, and a gift:

      Hours of amusement. Enjoy. See if you can find out how much it snows in Buffalo, compared to Wellington.

      • GK: Kind of quiet out there, Dusty.
        TR: Well, it gets quiet in Minnesota in January. People get thoughtful.
        GK: Nobody moving out there. Makes me nervous something bad is just about to happen.
        TR: That’s why you didn’t want to camp under a tree?
        GK: That’s right. Cougars jump out of trees. Anvils fall out of trees.
        TR: What anvils?
        GK: That’s the problem. You don’t know until it’s too late.
        TR: Never heard of an anvil falling out of a tree.
        GK: You never heard of it because the people they fell on couldn’t pass on the word.
        TR: What’s the anvil doing up in the tree?
        GK: Somebody put it there because that’s the last place you’d look.
        TR: You are crazy. You know that?
        GK: Just telling you what I think.
        TR: Loneliness has driven you over the brink into paranoia and insanity, pardner.
        GK: Ha! I’m a cowboy. Loneliness is what I crave. Insanity is what we eat for breakfast. No, sir, solitude is a gift, Dusty. We are cowboys. Lonesome is part of the iconic nature of the calling.

      • That’d be Garrison Keillor, for the culturally deprived. (

        TR: What do you know about marriage? You’ve never been there.

        GK: Visited my brother Larry in St. Louie. Two days was enough to get the whole picture. The man lives with a woman who follows him around pointing out each mistake he makes and explaining to him what he actually thinks rather than what he just said.

        TR: So? You can’t draw big conclusions from one little example, pardner

        And, apt, since “GK: If a man only used words he knew the meaning of, he’d never learn anything..

      • GK: Listen, ma’am. I am a cowboy. I am a fundamental synergistic and iconic element of the American milieu.
        SS: Iconic.
        GK: That’s what I said. Iconic.
        SS: A real cowboy wouldn’t use the word “iconic.”
        GK: A cowboy can talk any way a cowboy wants to talk.
        SS: Not words like “iconic”.
        GK: That’s what I call a shibboleth.
        SS: Ha! Cowboys don’t use words like that.
        GK: Whatever words express the unbidden vicissitudes of our soul.
        TR: Sissy who?
        GK: Vicissitude.
        SS: You don’t even know what it means.
        GK: If a man only used words he knew the meaning of, he’d never learn anything—–
        TR: That’s a vicissitude if I ever heard one.
        GK: What do you mean?
        TR: Got no idea. But it felt good saying it. (BRIDGE)


        GK: Glad we got rid of her. Had to use a lot of big words to do it though.

        TR: Yeah. That last one really threw her.

        Wish I could get rid of you by using big words. Which bit of loquacious didn’t you get? Why do you always need to have snark? You just seem like a very petty – not to mention incoherent – person Bart.

      • A lot of snow, for anyplace, is more than they are prepared to deal with.
        A lot of snow, for anyplace, is more than they generally get.

  16. Billy in NZ

    Sorry Bart,no snow in Wellington,read a bit more.Look up and see how many lambs are frozen to death from the snow in this country.We would actually welcome a few degrees increase here.And I will bet you a pound to a knob of goat shit,(and you can hold the stakes in your mouth)that I spend more time studying global warming than you.

  17. Latimer Alder

    @bart r

    Ironic,then, that the Sea Level Research Group is based in Boulder, Colorado. Elevation 5430 feet. And a long long way from any sea.

    It seems unlikely – on your argument – that anyone based so high up and so far way from their object of interest can know anything at all about it.

  18. Billy in NZ

    Wow bart,you may even benefit from a bit of global warming.Read a bit more about NZ.It doesn’t snow in Wellington.Thousands of lambs die from the snow in NZ every year.NZ needs warmer temperatures.Oh,btw,I must look up what percentage mountains cover NZ compared to the US.I have no idea.
    Let me know if you find out.Be interesting.

    • maksimovich

      The Wellington T anomaly for march 2012 is – 1.5c,at sea level.

    • Billy in NZ | April 3, 2012 at 2:34 am |

      I have no interest in telling you about your mountains, or how to kill lambs.

      You tell me about which years of your life you can recall where you saw it snow every day five months in a row, where you learned to drive a truck on a frozen lake, where your cities have so many miles of enclosed walkways a person could lead a normal life without going outdoors from November to March, and your house in the country has a snow door out the second story so you can get in and out during the winter.. then we’ll all appreciate your expert opinion about snow.

      • Die Zauberflotist

        Bart and R Gates, pay these knotheads no nevermind. They couldn’t possibly know what we know about snow and its cataclysmic implications. Little do these clowns realize, that like many native peoples, we climate seers use several different terms for the substance they call “snow”:

        calefactory crystals
        harbingers of heat
        tribunals of torridity
        fatal flakes and
        white sparkly death

      • Which reminds me of the late lamented “Third Rock From the Sun”
        Those zany aliens knew the dangers of snow!

      • Die Zauberflotist | April 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm |

        I applaud you, sir.

        You could so have written for the original run of Captain America, or at least Batman (Adam West version).

  19. Billy in NZ

    Don’t be too hard on him Latimer,is that 5430 ft adjusted?Geez,much higher he’ll need oxygen.

    • Latimer Alder

      The Boulder elevation is as reported by the University of Colorado Climatology Department Hockey Team. The normal climatological cleaning, ‘adjustment and homogenisation scheme have been applied to the base data – which means we haven’t a clue what was actually measured, what was kept and what was simply thrown away as inconvenient or ‘anti-science’.

      Which may explain why other authorities suggest that it is only at 5200 feet. But they may have been taken before the rise in carbon dioxide levels that has affected academics’ brains so deleteriously.

  20. Billy in NZ

    Hi mak,still don’t know if we are going to freeze or cook here.But we have to pay for the ETS scheme regardless.Wind farm here been put on hold.The one we have is losing money.We need more extreme weather to make the wind blow.It’s not happening.Oh,I see,global warming has stopped the wind blowing in NZ.Got it

    • Come to think of it, if a windmill can’t pay for its keep in Wellington, where on earth can it?

  21. The National Weather Service glossary defines heat wave. Oddly, they don’t define cold wave. Do they consider that term archaic and no longer necessary?
    Heat Wave
    A period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and unusually humid weather. Typically a heat wave lasts two or more days.

    I don’t remember the public complaining about March being uncomfortably hot or unusually humid. Many seemed pleased with the weather in the mid-west. Why is it being called a heat wave? Did Humpty Dumpty provide the NWS definitions?

  22. Billy in NZ

    Hi Bob,a heat wave in NZ is about 28 degrees.I think Humpty Dumpty did set those parameters.Maybe the tooth fairy.Is Bart one of the Simpsons?Don’t see that here,so won’t comment.We have a cold wave here now.Plants are not growing like they should.Too cold.

    • Latimer Alder


      You need to remember the mantra

      Heat wave = conclusive proof of CAGW.

      Cold wave = it’s only weather (which is not climate so irrelevant) and/or well-funded denialist propaganda designed to smear poor hardworking climate scientists.

      Normal weather = just hiding and magnifying the effects of the forthcoming climate catastrophe.

  23. Billy in NZ

    Hi Latimer,got it.Thanks for your help.I now know why it is so cold here now.It’s because it’s so hot.Stands to reason.How could I be so silly?Tell me,I am new at this,Did we find out if viner was right or wrong?Keep up the good work.Where did the warmistas go?Maybe snow bound.Have a good night.
    Cheers from NZ

    • Latimer Alder

      Was Viner right or wrong? The official climatology answer is

      ‘Yes and No. And there is a huge consensus about that.

      Now stop asking difficult questions evil denier scumbag. We are Climate Scientists. We are the only ones permitted to discuss climate’

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Viner quoted in 2000:

        winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.
        “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

        Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. “We’re really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time,” he said.

        So even though it is early to judge, he was wrong because he underestimated the possibility of alleged climate change to cause more winter blocking events. But he didn’t rule out episodes of heavy snow, and he said we’d get caught out by it – well no not really, we’ve been regularly caught out by it already. Heathrow got closed by an inch or so of snow in 2010 while down the road, Gatwick was fine and next door the M25 was running smoothly.

        But since most people only saw this quote once it became embarrassing (the Independent has a circulation in the low hundreds of thousands), few can claim they have got the “wrong impression” from it without being misleading themselves.

      • Which part of, “…will return occasionally” did you not get?

      • …not to mention, “…in 20 years time”.

        Stop trying to defend him. He was wrong at the time and he’s still wrong, regardless of how you try to spin it – deal with it.

      • Latimer Alder

        How can he be wrong? He is a ‘Climate Scientist’. The universe has not been configured to allow for Climate Scientists to be wrong about anything at all. They have achieved Unchallengeable Perfection professionally and personally!

        It is only the evil big oil shill denier anti-science conspiracy (did I forget well-funded and/or shadowy?) that refuses to acknowledge the Truth of All Their Sayings and does not give Due Reverence to their Words.

  24. Ian Blanchard

    It’s not just the US, but the UK as well that has been seeing some odd weather. Last week was like May or June, with even northern Scotland seeing temperatures in the low 20s deg C, to easily set a new record for March.

    Today, the same parts of Scotland have seen a moderate covering of snow, which is forecast to spread into northern England and perhaps as far south as the Midlands by the end of tomorrow. Unusual but not entirely unheard of for early spring in the UK.

    • Ian,
      The “weird weather” meme is very entertaining. The AGW believers cling to this idea that weather is somehow changing like a cheap rosary. As R. Gates and other believers demonstrate above, all they really demonstrate is historical illiteracy.

  25. Philip Finck

    The Attribution Group at NOAA consistently throws cold water on all of the claims of `extreme events’, etc. They actually seem to do some good work, some of which contradicts other stuff coming out of NOAA.

    They are to be commended.

  26. Hunter

    You talk of historical illiteracy. In my article here;

    I explored instances of changing climate through the ages, with partcular reference to warm periods.

    We have numerous contemporary examples of changing climates and ‘weird’ weather. Nothing is new or unprecedented in climatic terms since the start of the Hoocene if you look for it.

  27. Weird weather, rare weather, unusual weather, extreme weather blah blah

    Anyone who thinks any particular heatwave/cold snap hasn’t happened before is either a fool who has no comprehension of time scales or a fraud.

  28. I don’t believe that you are using Bartian techniques almost word for word. Just for clarity – you seem to need it – I have a degree in Civil Engineering specialising in hydraulics and hydrology and a masters in environmental science. Regardless – one of the things I do is treatment and recyling of both sewage and stormwater. I do understand water and although in principle Coriolis forces influence vorticity in toilet bowls it is more realistically determined in the design of the bowl.

    I think I can cope with a simple exponential – 1st order rate kinetics for instance – just can’t figure what this has to do with latent energy, convection, enthalpy of vapourisation, evaporation, precipitation or anything else basically. And especially lubricating the atmophere.

    • This was a reply to Webby that got lost.

      • You are the one that is lost, the biggest poseur/fake around these parts.

        Just last week, the Chief wrote this comment:

        “Note that a rise of 0.1 ºC corresponds to an increase of about 15ppmv in the atmosphere (150ppmv per ºC ~ 300Gt/ ºC carbon). Cumulative anthropogenic emission over the industrial age is estimated at about 140ppmv over two centuries, which is about the same as an ocean warming of 1 ºC.

        I was showing a graph that correlated ocean temperature with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The ocean warms and outgases significantly. The question is what caused the warming and where is this likely to go. “

        Notice that the Chief asserts that a rise of 0.1 C corresponds to an increase of 15 PPM of CO2 in the atmosphere. Folks, that is huge and if it weren’t for the case that he has completely exaggerated the effect, it does point to what I am talking about. It is true that temperature increases actually do accelerate the activity of chemical processes. That is why the slope of this multiplier is defined by a Boltzmann statistics activation energy. The Boltzmann factor causes greater amounts of water vapor and other gases in the air. This leads to more convective currents as masses of the gas rise which sets larger volumes of air in motion. Call this what you want, lubricating or juicing the environment are only metaphorical terms for this accelerated activity, as it happens in everything from electronics to biological activity.

        So Chief has the gall to incorrectly call me out on this observation, when he actually goes way overboard and assumes a number that gives about 10 times as high a value in activity than I am proposing. If that is not an example of a a slight temperature rise stoking the atmosphere, I don’t know what is!

        There is no reason for Chief to say something so aggressively stupid other than to presume that he has no idea what he is talking about, and just randomly copies & pastes quotes that he digs up from other people’s writings. Like I said, the Chief is a big poseur when it comes to intelligently discussing climate science. The sad fact is that there are not enough people reading these comments that can detect a fake.

        After the pseudoscientist thread, I assume that it is now OK for us to point out the crackpots, and the Chief is definitely one of the wackos.

      • It was someone else – -describing a graph from Emeritus Prof Lance Endersbee. No doubt one of those Webby deemed to be a doddering and senile old fool.

        It cross correlates satellite measured SST with CO2 in the atmosphere. How much of the atmospheric CO2 arises out of the oceans as a result of warming as a result of diminishing cloud in the period.

        I can only suggest that if Webby’s mad theories are 10 times less – he mulitply his results by 10. It would make no earthly difference to the nonsensical nature of the calculations. He is I believe a mechanical engineer with delusional maths and no inkling at all about anything oceanographical, meteorological or dynamical. He is in fact a deluded warminista without a clue – but with a peak oil obsession. Fairly typical of the species. Being called a crackpot by him is a badge of honor.

        But I don’t really know who this Chief is. I am Captain Kangarooo – defender of the weak – champion of the poor – climate warrior – smiter of pathetic slimeballs like this who busy themselves calling all and sundry climate clowns – who keep pathetic lists of freedom fighters on ignoble web sites as they snigger nastily to themselves about whatever slimeball comment they have last added. And then have the nerve to complain about harsh treatment. Un merde dans votre chapeau pour vous.

        Best regards
        Captain Kangaroo

      • Tell me why potential energy differences don’t decrease. Of course I don’t mean ALWAYS. Tell me why a warmer world automatically means more extremes.

      • “Tell me why potential energy differences don’t decrease. Of course I don’t mean ALWAYS. Tell me why a warmer world automatically means more extremes.”

        You have got to be kidding me. No natural phenomenon is known to exist whereby energy gaps or potential wells increase with temperature. The nature of temperature is to increase the statistical energy of an ensemble. That fluctuation of energy allows for the greater likelihood of extremes being encountered.

        Let me put it this way: If you can find a natural phenomena whereby an energy well gets deeper with increasing temperature, you will have found a new phase of matter. Or that man has artificially created a device with some sort of contrived feedback. But that doesn’t count because climate doesn’t possess a brain.

      • Hi Webby! How ya hangin?

        CAGW theory states quite clearly that CO2 increases will create warming more pronounced at the poles, and more pronounced in the nighttime low temperature. NOT in the daytime high temps in the tropics, etc. As Freeman Dyson (that pompous ignoramus ;)) has stated, this effect DECREASES the difference in temps between the poles and the equator. Temperature differences are the primary causes of extreme weather events. Trust me, I live in tornado alley, and those things occur when a strong cold front hits a warm, moist air mass coming up from the Gulf of Mexico! The more the temperature difference, the stronger the weather extremes!

        I’m sure you knew that, but don’t have the ethics to say so. CAGW theory calls for LESS weather extremes, as I have explained.

        Go crawl back under your rock. The adults are taking names.

    • Captain K, I do have a humorous real life encounter with a mechanical engineer out of his depth. After a week of redesigning his mistakes on a high profile military project that had something to do with weapons of mass destruction, the you engineer arrived for a project walk through. I pointed out a half dozen system components and estimated the pressure losses for each. He agreed with my estimates. then I ask why the hell he quadrupled each pressure loss in his design?

      He walked away saying that this was a lot tougher than sanitary. :)

  29. Beth Cooper

    This is not really a post because I’m so busy, but who can resist when they have the definitive, authoritative comment?… No one….

    TR: Never camp under trees. )

  30. Beth Cooper

    Setting up base camp under trees?
    But we always do.
    … Flood plains, lava terraces, fervent certitudes.

  31. Pooh, Dixie

    Consider Natural Variation:

    MacMath, Jillian. “What’s Causing All the Warm Weather?” Scientific., March 22, 2012.

    “Though its undeniable that temperatures are far above average in many areas, the debate rages on between meteorologists as to what exactly is causing it.
    “If the proposition is that Earth’s climate is changing – and most people say warming – this is how it might manifest,” he said. But he believes the unusual weather may be caused by a sort of “perfect storm coincidence” related to North Atlantic oscillation, Atlantic oscillation, the Pacific/North American pattern, El Nina and La Nina.

    “What happens in the oceans is undoubtedly very important to what happens on land,” Andrews said. “It may well be that the state of the ocean water temperature surrounding North America is just in an ideal arrangement to maximize warmth over North America.”

    Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski believes it’s a culmination of causes.

    Consult the discussion and animations of Bob Tisdale.
    Tisdale, Bob. “An Introduction To ENSO, AMO, and PDO — Part 1.” Scientific Blog. Climate Observations, August 8, 2010.
    Tisdale, Bob. “An Introduction To ENSO, AMO, and PDO — Part 2.” Scientific Blog. Climate Observations, August 16, 2010.
    Tisdale, Bob. “An Introduction To ENSO, AMO, and PDO — Part 3.” Climate Observations, September 3, 2010.

    As to weather on the Great Plains, re-read the last chapters of “Giants In The Earth”, Ole Rolvaag. 1927.