Explaining (?) extreme events of 2011 from a climate perspective

by Judith Curry

The latest issue of the Bulletin of American Meteorological Society has published a collection of papers that illustrate different methodologies for attributing causes of recent extreme weather events.

Attribution of extreme events shortly after their occurrence stretches the current state-of-theart of climate change assessment. To help foster the growth of this science, this article illustrates some approaches to answering questions about the role of human factors, and the relative role of different natural factors, for six specific extreme weather or climate events of 2011. – TC Petersen, PA Stott, S. Herring

The collection of papers can be found online at this [link].   From the abstract:

Not every event is linked to climate change. The rainfall associated with the devastating Thailand floods can be explained by climate variability. But long-term warming played a part in the others. While La Niña contributed to the failure of the rains in the Horn of Africa, an increased frequency of such droughts there was linked to warming in the Western Pacific– Indian Ocean warm pool. Europe’s record warm temperatures would probably not have been as unusual if the high temperatures had been caused only by the atmospheric flow regime without any long-term warming.

Calculating how the odds of a particular extreme event have changed provides a means of quantifying the influence of climate change on the event. The heatwave that affected Texas has become distinctly more likely than 40 years ago. In the same vein, the likelihood of very warm November temperatures in the UK has increased substantially since the 1960s.

Comparing climate model simulations with and without human factors shows that the cold UK winter of 2010/2011 has become about half as likely as a result of human influence on climate, illustrating that some extreme events are becoming less likely due to climate change.

The titles and authors of the papers are (note: there are no abstracts for the individual papers):

Introduction – Peter Stott et al.

Historical context – Francis Zwiers et al.

The absence of a role of climate change in the 2011 Thailand floods – Geert Jan van Oldenborgh

Exceptional warming in the western Pacific-Indian warm pool has contributed to more frequent droughts in Africa – Chris Funk et al.

Did human influence on climate make the Texas drought more probable? – David Rupp et al.

Contribution of atmospheric circulation to the remarkable European temperatures of 2011 –  Julien Cattiaux et al.

Have the odds of warm November temperatures and of cold December temperatures in central England changed? – N. Massey et al.

Lengthened odds of the cold UK winter of 2010/2011 attributable to human influence – Nikolaos Christidis and Peter Stott

Conclusions – Peter Stott et al.

Some excerpts from the Conclusions:

The section on historical context summarizes the evidence that human influence has affected trends and long-term behavior of temperature and pre- cipitation extremes around the globe, thus altering the types and frequencies of punches for which our boxer must train. This is to be anticipated from theo- retical expectations of a warmer world. The recent IPCC SREX report  concluded that “it is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperature at the global scale” and that “there is medium confidence that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme pre- cipitation at the global scale.” But even if human influence is making a particular type of event more likely on average, because of natural variability it does not necessarily follow that its likelihood is greater every year. So while it has been argued that in the anthropocene all extreme weather or climate events that occur are altered by human influence on climate (Trenberth 2011), and although it is difficult to prove that a particular extreme weather or climate event was not in some way influenced by climate change, this does not mean that climate change can be blamed for every extreme weather or climate event. After all, there has always been extreme weather.

The contributions in this article examining some of the specific extreme weather or climate events of 2011 demonstrate the importance of understanding the interplay of natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change on their occurrence. We should not expect that climate change plays the major role in every extreme weather or climate event and indeed the rainfall associated with the devastating Thailand floods was not especially unusual. In this case, nonclimatic factors such as changes in land use and water management probably played a bigger role in the disaster. Thus attribution of the impacts of weather-related events to climate variability and change requires careful consideration of possible confounding factors not related to climate (Hegerl et al. 2010).

While much work remains to be done in attribution science, to develop better observational datasets, to improve methodologies, to make further progress in understanding and to assess and improve climate models, the contribu- tions in this article demonstrate the potential that already exists for meaningful assessments of the connection between specific extreme weather or climate events that occurred in a particular year and climate change. Whether readers react with excitement at the possibilities already demonstrated, or with irritation at the gaps and limitations still present, our hope as editors is that this initial selection of investigations encourages further de- velopment of the capability to produce timely and reliable assessments of recent extreme weather or climate events. Such an enterprise is much further advanced for climate monitoring—as shown by the maturity of the annual State of the Climate report —but even there important uncertainties exist and new assessments of past years will emerge, just as they will for attribution as understanding develops. By developing the scientific underpinning, the ability to put recent extreme weather or climate events into the longer- term context of climate change should improve as each year goes by.

JC comments:  This is an interesting collection of papers, and the synthesis in the Introduction, Historical Context, and Conclusions is valuable. While I have some quibbles with the methods used in a few of the studies, this collection reflects a maturing of the extreme event attribution field in terms of examining the historical record, comparing regional simulations from models with observations, observed atmospheric circulation patterns and sea surface temperature anomalies, and consideration of confounding factors.  All of these factors should be considered when attempting to explain the causes of an extreme event, and whether AGW played a role in increasing the odds of the event.

170 responses to “Explaining (?) extreme events of 2011 from a climate perspective

  1. Is there a global average temperature at which extreme events are at a minimum? Facetious question – I know.

    I do wonder why the Holocene climate optimum is called that since it was apparently warmer than now and new we consider any warming to be REALLY BAD.

    • RobertInAz | July 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm |

      That’d be approaching 0 Kelvin. :)

      Facetious Physics strikes again.

      I don’t know who’s considering any warming to be really bad; I’m all for optimal rates of warming. If you know what you believe the optimal warming rate would be, please make your case for it.

      Myself, I believe a more rapid warming rate is less optimal, as it’s costlier to adapt to.

      No one alive today had to pay anything to adapt to the Holocene climate optimum.

      • “No one alive today had to pay anything to adapt to the Holocene climate optimum.” —> Good point which raises more questions for me – all probably unanswerable.

        Assuming that the Little Ice Age was bad for the global economy, has anyone estimated the impact? Were there areas that benefited from the LIA? Assuming that the initial period of the temperature climb-out from the LIA was “net good”, when would the temperature increase be considered “net-bad”? How would we create a framework in which to make these value assessments?

      • You raise an excellent question.

        There’s too little data about the LIA by far to begin to address the questions. As the LIA was something we didn’t make happen, it’s a moot point, I think.

        But we do have LIA-like natural examples, as furnished in the paper in question, to ponder. When Thailand’s floods are probably ‘natural’, and the UK’s more-extreme-because-climate-change-makes-it-less-likely ‘natural’ winter are considered, we still have plenty of opportunity to consider frameworks for thinking about the very same question (minus the problems of proxy data reconstruction).

        From my point of view, it’s not for me or for us to decide the answer. We have a framework, a mechanism, for making these decisions democratically and in a way we know is inevitably the optimum outcome. We use the mechanism of the Market. We use Capitalism. We do this by privatizing the Carbon Cycle, which is what determines the level of CO2.

        IF the level of CO2 has no connection to welfare of individuals, the Market will discover that. If it does have such a connection, then by the Law of Supply and Demand the price fixed on CO2E emission as a fee and delivered to all shareholders in the resource (each citizen, per capita), will redress the cost. See? Simple.

      • The Secret of the Golden Flower shows how to de-hypnotize ourselves. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_of_the_Golden_Flower

        That might help:

        a.) Skeptics remove the illusion of power that we foolishly assigned to governments, Al Gore, Nature, Science, PNAS, the Nobel Prize Committee, Big Brother, the UN’s IPCC, the US NAS, the UK’s RS, etc.

        b.) AGW believers restore contact with the reality Copernicus discovered at the center of the Solar System in 1543.

        http://tinyurl.com/7qx7zxs

        Big Brother’s power is like that of a champion Philistine named Goliath in a historic battle about 3000 years ago (~1000 B.C.) described in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament of the Christian Bible and the Koran:

        “He was over nine feet tall . . . had a bronze helmet on his head . . . a bronze javelin was slung on his back . . . wore a coat of armor weighing ~ 125 pounds . . . the iron point on his spear weighed ~15 pounds . . . and he shouted”

        ‘This day I defy the ranks of Israel (Reality, Truth, God, Spirit of the Universe, etc.)’.

        David’s reply, “Who is this man that defies the name of the Lord Almighty (Reality, Truth, God, Spirit of the Universe, etc.) ?

        That is exactly the question we need to ask postmodern scientists who today defy Reality, Truth, God, Spirit of the Universe, etc. !

        Oliver K. Manuel
        http://www.omatumr.com
        http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-284

      • This is absurd. We already have myriad examples of the market’s failure to control negative externalities. Climate change is another — “the biggest market failure in history” (Stern Review).

        Overconfidence in markets — a cult, really — is one of the diseases of our time.

      • David A, market failure is much less common than some suggest – normally a claim that a market has failed is made by someone whose vested interest has suffered from competition. Government failure is more common and has worse effects. If there is a genuine market failure, then it better to clearly define and address that failure than for government to seek to out-perform markets. I’vep osted more on this previously, so will leave it at that here.

      • David Appell | July 12, 2012 at 8:20 pm |

        I don’t at all disagree that we’re seeing exactly a failure you almost correctly identify.

        Where we appear to disagree is whether fixing it by internalizing that very _artificially_ externalized factor, by privatizing the Carbon Cycle, is absurd.

        The Commons only remains so once it is excludable and administrable by the choices of government. Either the government enlarges itself by retaining command and control over the Commons, or it enlarges the Market by privatizing it and yielding control to the democratic choices of buyers and sellers.

        So if this is a failure, it is a failure of command and control regulation and those statists who prefer regulation over capitalism.

      • This is a bunch of philosophical jibberish that says nothing. We have already experienced several market failures in other areas, such as traditional air pollution and water pollution. They were failures precisely because not everyone is a participant in a market (so they have no influence over it), not everyone is effected equally by market “decisions,” and because not all things have a market price.

        Like I wrote, the all-market-all-the-time philosophy is a cult. Markets have their places in certain spheres, where they work quite well (but never perfectly), but not in all spheres.

      • Woollen garment makers and firewood suppliers did well, others didn’t.

      • Dave Springer

        BartR

        You want your rapid warming in the winter in higher latitudes. Nobody there (practically nobody) likes a harsh winter while practically everyone likes spring to come early and winter to come late.

        What’s particularly bad is late frosts in springtime and early snow in the fall which wreak havoc on crops.

        Isn’t is just friggin’ amazing and wonderful (some might say blessed or God given) that so-called global warming is asymmetric in exactly the way we might wish it to be – i.e. more of it in the colder months in the higher latitudes?

      • Dave Springer | July 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm |

        I’d wager that I’ve spent far more time at higher latitudes than you, and I think the definition people in higher latitudes have for harsh winter may differ from yours.

        Studies I’ve cited in the past week here show that as growing season shifts, frost-free dates shift only a third as much. This means that plants will be farther along when the killer frost hits them. Growers know this makes the difference between plants rebounding and getting a growing season in, and plants giving up and going dormant or dying. So we do get more, not fewer havoc wreaked on crops, even as AGW continues to increase.

        It’d be nice if the world was all simple and cozy, and you could turn the knob to ‘better’ or hit the ‘EASY’ button, and everything would be right. But that’s not how it works. In general, uncontrolled accidents through negligent conduct — which is frankly what CO2 emission amounts to — is going to lead to worse, not better, outcomes.

        The confirmation bias of seeing as wonderful every possible outcome, the pronoia, is so thick it’s amazing we can wade through it around here without getting stuck and sinking in it.

      • Not accidental, deliberate. Not negligent, necessary. B projects pronoia because he suffers from the inverse.
        ===============

      • Bart, nobody holds a gun to the heads of the growers and forces them to plant earlier than they used to.

      • Peter317 | July 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm |

        Bart, nobody holds a gun to the heads of the growers and forces them to plant earlier than they used to.

        Leaving aside orchards, biennials, vernalized plantings (for the layman, you put it into the ground before winter), crops that benefit from frost or cold (e.g. ice wine), pressures from shifts in availability of water.. do you have the vaguest idea of what you’re saying?

      • Trees may smarter than some people.
        You talking early cool conditions, trees flower later in the season.

      • Ok, I’ll bow to your superior knowledge of things agricultural, provided you acknowledge that there are large areas in which your knowledge is somewhat limited.

      • Peter317 | July 13, 2012 at 10:22 am |

        Ok, I’ll bow to your superior knowledge of things agricultural, provided you acknowledge that there are large areas in which your knowledge is somewhat limited.

        Acknowledge it?! I gloat about it. To be fair, though I grew up agricultural, I haven’t been hands-on since a teenager. There’s a lot about agriculture I’m beholding to others for any information about at all.

        The more I learn, the less I know. And pretty much all I know, Science provides a skeptical method for testing. If only I knew more of Science.

      • Bart R,

        So why don’t you get yourself cooled down to 0 Kelvin? I understand they have large tanks of hydrogen at about 3 K at that CERN place in France/Switzerland. You could jump in and live the ideal life Lefties aspires to. You might even meet God (particle) there :)

    • Robert
      I have examined thousands of weather references back to 1000ad. I wouldn’t want to put this forward as a scientific proposition as I was looking for other things during my research but generally the more extreme events seemed to occur during the known cold periods such as the various bursts of the little ice age. This was when temperature differential was often greatest with very cold winters and summers pretty much as they currently are. The modern warm period smooths out the temperature differential and the energy potential is reduced as are extreme events
      Tonyb

    • Yes, when the system is stationary since extreme events are described with respect to the climatology, and if the climatology is not changing the system is not likely to produce new extremes. This, btw was Andy Lacis’ point that the climate is not a random walk but is bounded by conservation of energy

      • Are you seriously suggesting that, for example, a stalled high pressure system over one part of the planet is going to take the temperature on the other end of the planet into account when deciding how long it’s going to last?
        Conservation of energy is something that tends to average out over time as well as space.

      • What Eli said is correct. The bounded statistics is known as a Ornstein-Uhlenbeck random walk. The physics interpretation is an energy well that places drag on excursions.

        An external forcing can overcome some fraction of the energy well. The last million years we have seen it residing in the bounded trajectory caused by fluctuating forcings.

        The forcing has increased and we are watching what happens.

      • But weather isn’t climate, as you guys never tire of telling us.

      • I realise my previous reply may have been a bit flippant, so can you please:
        a) quantify the bounds
        b) show how extreme events have exceeded these bounds

      • The statistics of weather is climate. Hansen, Sato and Ruedy have a paper about how the statistics have shifted substantially

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Eli Rabett: This, btw was Andy Lacis’ point that the climate is not a random walk but is bounded by conservation of energy

        That leaves open the possibility that climate is a random walk with reflecting boundaries.

      • No, because the natural variability has AR(1) type noise not a sharp boundary

        FWIW Ray Pierrehumber has a poem
        With AR(1) I had just begun
        With AR(2) it was still brand new
        I use AR(3) for rings of a tree
        And AR(4) for much, much more
        Then with AR(5) I was really alive
        But that AR(6), it’s just clever as clever
        I think I’ll use AR(6) forever and ever

  2. Some policy implications of this paper:

    For the UK winters example if the models are to be believed, we see halving the expected frequency of extreme winter precipitation in the UK doesn’t mean the expense of winter extremes is halved. Milder winters have a generally higher ‘excess winter death’ mortality associated with them due higher activity of harmful microbes and their vectors. Likewise, milder winters leave many more insect and fungal pests to damage plants. There is all the same investment in equipment and preparation, much of the same cost of insurance, and — as drivers learn from experience of conditions — about 80% of the same traffic incidents due inexperience. Certainly, the direct costs are largely lowered, except for the case of vernalized plants that require the occasional hard winter to thrive.. for those whose livelihoods depend on winter activities.. for those Dickensians who long for white Christmas and sledding with their children, and so on.

    So the benefits, where there are some, are seldom pure benefits.

    The costs, likewise, aren’t always pure costs. Some benefit arises from the droughts in the USA. I hear church attendance and donations are way up, as are prayer, subscriptions to religious magazines and websites, and faith healings and hymn singing. All good things, I’m sure we all agree.

    And with both, there’s the increasing shakiness of the hand applying each extreme, the increasing Uncertainty of one or the other polar opposite, or of whether an extreme will be avoided. (Extremes usually are avoided; hence the name ‘extreme’. But what do we do when what had been extreme becomes commonplace? Do we just call the change climate?)

    • David Wojick

      Very funny, Bart.

    • Dave Springer

      You were being sarcastic but I’d argue (because I’ll argue anything until proven wrong) that adverse events which draw people together and remind them that life isn’t a bowl of cherries once in a while is probably healthy for our species. Darwin needs his pound of flesh from us somehow if we’re to keep our self-absorbed self-image of being at the top of the food chain. The stupid will die young and the remainder are better off for it. If you really believe climate change is a bigger risk than financial collapse, CMEs, epidemic disease, super volcanoes, and things of that nature then by all means I encourage you to buy land in Siberia for your grandchildren. You have options. If you’re that sure wouldn’t you be stupid not to protect yourself in some way that doesn’t rely on the establishment of a peaceful one-world government with everyone being honest and fair? ROFLMAO – you’ve got to be kidding. There is nothing going to unite the world into any effort at controlling the climate that has a snowball’s chance of hell of doing anything significant. Adaptation as it happens is the only thing that’s going to happen. Get used to the idea and plan accordingly.

  3. David Wojick

    Unfortunately they all seem to assume AGW going in. Hence they are scientifically worthless. How sad.

    • David Wojick | July 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm |

      David, you’re incorrect. To assume, they’d have to have no proof for a logical basis for their position.

      As there is plentiful evidence amounting to scientific certainty in proof of their starting position, the word ‘assume’ doesn’t apply.

      Please see Newton’s Rule 4 from Principia, for reference on how this all works.

      • David Wojick

        Bart, if you think that AGW is scientifically certain, or proved, then we disagree. Assuming a point in controversy is an assumption, last I looked.

      • David Wojick | July 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm |

        Assuming a point is a controversy is an assumption, last I looked.

        There. Fixed that for you.

        I can disagree all day long with people who didn’t pay money to see John Carter of Mars. Doesn’t make it controversial that it’s the greatest action adventure film of all time.

        Okay, perhaps not a great example of what you’re trying to say. But maybe it captures a bit how you’re saying it.

      • David Wojick

        I think you have made my point Bart. Claiming AGW is proven is exactly like claiming that a film is “the greatest action adventure film of all time.”

      • Rob Starkey

        David

        For someone to rationally disagree about the concept of AGW isn’t it necessary to be able to at least suggest what other forcings would negate the impact of CO2 on a permanent basis? Otherwise, it is just an issue of the rate of warming and not a disagreement about the pretty undisputed basis physics. Imo, the rate of warming and what happens as a result of the actual rate is the key issue and the difference between AGW and the feared cAGW.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Rob Starkey: For someone to rationally disagree about the concept of AGW isn’t it necessary to be able to at least suggest what other forcings would negate the impact of CO2 on a permanent basis?

        You didn’t ask me, but I would argue that the answer is “No”. You can point to the limitations, inaccuracies, simplifications etc in the theory and conclude that what we have is too much ignorance. For example, the models of radiative heat transfer are unable to account for the amount of energy transferred from lower troposphere to upper troposphere by non-radiative processes; unable to model the effect of CO2 changes on those processes; unable to predict whether increased CO2 will lead to increased or decreased cloud cover; and so on.

      • David Wojick

        No Rob, it is sufficient to note that AGW is not observed. Why is a scientific question, and a good one. My guess is that it has to do with feedbacks, but that is just a guess.

      • David Wojick | July 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm |

        “Claiming AGW is proven is exactly unlike claiming that a film is “the greatest action adventure film of all time.”

        There, fixed another one for you. No need to thank me.

        Taste in film may vary. It’s a topic that belongs to the field of Aesthetics.

        You’re a Philosopher. You must know the category, and how it differs from the Natural Sciences.

        Anyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

        The observations exist. They meet the requirements of inference to reach a confidence level exceeding 95%, exceeding 97.5%, exceeding 99%, exceeding 99.5%, and growing in confidence practically by the year.

        Dismissing the observations, dismissing the logic, using the language and methods of Aesthetics to do so, is simply irrational.

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      David,

      Once more, your ignorance on the subject is glaringly obvious. Either you didn’t even read them (because you thought them worthless), or you read them with such a jaundiced eye that you missed everything they had to say.

      • David Wojick

        No Gates, I only read the post. For example : “The contributions in this article examining some of the specific extreme weather or climate events of 2011 demonstrate the importance of understanding the interplay of natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change on their occurrence.”

        It is clear from this that they assume that “anthropogenic climate change” is real. I question that assumption. What ignorance are you referring to? Disagreement is not ignorance, far from it.

      • David, you display your ignorance with practically every post you make. Do you think we wouldn’t notice?

      • David Wojick

        Ignorance of what, Louise? I am an expert on the debate. One of the best. Disagreement is not ignorance.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        So you didn’t read the actually papers then. You’ve made up your mind on the subject of AGW, are certain it can’t be happening and can be classified then as a true non-believer. That’s all well and good…so long as we know that you’re not a skeptic and are not posing as one we won’t waste valuable time trying to use reason to converse with you.

      • David Wojick

        Yes Gates, I am pretty certain that AGW is not happening. The satellites show no GHG warming for the last 30 years. The surface statistical models show no warming for the 40 years before that.

        But I think that makes me a skeptic, since a skeptic is one who does not accept a claim. A “true non-believer” is certainly a skeptic. I definitely non-believe in AGW. But I non-believe for good reasons.

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        A true non-believer is the psychological equal of a true-believer, they simply believe the opposite, and hold it as a matter of faith, not fact.

      • Let’s get back to your contention that one part of a cycle from a repetitive cycle, ENSO, heats the atmosphere over a long period of time: up, down, up, down, up, down, up down… even Stevendoes not explain this very well.

        Obviously WFT does not have ENSO.

    • Steven Mosher

      david. In the LIA it is generally held that temperatures were cooler. ( unless you are an LIA denier this week) In a warming world, regardless of the cause, do you expect to see more extreme events? Simple question.

      or lets put it differently. If sun spots vanish and we enter a cooler regime, do you expect more severe events and would you blame them on the sun?

      These are just simple questions about how your logic works. Or rather doesnt work.

      Frankly In a warming or cooling world i would expect some types of extreme events to increase and other types to decrease. The extreme events are not proof of the warming or cooling they are clearly consequences of it.

      • “david. In the LIA it is generally held that temperatures were cooler. ( unless you are an LIA denier this week) In a warming world, regardless of the cause, do you expect to see more extreme events? Simple question.”

        It’s generally accepted that cooler would have more extreme events,
        and generally I think that should be correct.

        “or lets put it differently. If sun spots vanish and we enter a cooler regime, do you expect more severe events and would you blame them on the sun?”

        Less Sunspots should cause more cloudiness, and cooler temperate zones, and more snow. Instead sun, one would tend to blame clouds.
        And should get more severe events.

        These are just simple questions about how your logic works. Or rather doesnt work.

        Frankly In a warming or cooling world i would expect some types of extreme events to increase and other types to decrease. The extreme events are not proof of the warming or cooling they are clearly consequences of it.”

        But a cooler world generally have more extreme events, and warmer world would have less extreme events.

        This because extreme events are related to energy, energy flows. Cooler dense air flows under warm air and warmer air flows above the cooler air. Cools fall. Warm rises.

        A warmer world means less cooler regions. But suppose a warmer world could one where factor are causing cold regions to be more confined. Say vortex at polar regions and keeping the the cold confined to polar region. Whether this has less extreme events depend on the stability of the vortex. One could have a world fairly stable conditions of building cool and warm, which at some point collapse- so in that situation one would have extreme events.

        Also a warmer world would be a world with more water vapor, and water vapor has a lot of energy, it’s a charged battery. So having some way to discharge the stored energy can give an extreme event.
        We get hurricanes in the summer. But Summer and all the seasons not same in tropics as temperate zones. Summer is warmer in Temperate zones, and sun gets higher in sky. Whereas tropics is always summer- sun is always high in the sky. Seasons in tropics is not about temperature, it’s normally about rainfall or patterns of rainfall changing- wet season and dry season.
        It seems reasonably that hurricanes aren’t caused the tropics in isolation but rather much more the effect of temperate zone’s weather impinging on the tropics.
        Tropics are the paradise, in which temperate zones corrupt. :)

        But CO2 doesn’t store energy like battery, it’s uniform around the planet. The idea [apparently] is the warmth is supposed to be trapped [somehow] so deserts or arctic areas should be warmer at nite. If so it seems the warmth from what CO2 is suppose to do should result in less extreme event in general- more uniformity in temperature.

      • Your thinking is so convoluted it’s impossible to follow, and far too complicated. Basic physics says that a warmer fluid has larger temperature fluctuations.

      • “Basic physics says that a warmer fluid has larger temperature fluctuations.”

        As in a river of water as compared to river of lava?

      • David, your statement as stated makes no sense. A fluid per se has no temperature fluctuations. What then is your claim?

      • “Basic physics says that a warmer fluid has larger temperature fluctuations.”

        ?

        A warmer fluid “can” have a larger temperature change downward because it has more energy to lose. A colder fluid could have a larger temperature increase because it can gain more energy. A Goldilocks temperature fluid would have the most temperature fluctuation potential because it has more room to gain or lose energy. So the UAH tropics is closer to a Goldilocks example, not much trend but fairly large fluctuations above and below mean, implying it is near its control point. Of course it depends on the properties of the fluid, but it sounds like you have been studying H. A. Pope’s theory :)

      • Mosher, I do not know where your question comes from, but I have no expectations when it comes to climate change. How could I?

      • Steven Mosher
        Your “simple question” is not the question which was being posed. The key element of the original question relates to whether ‘human factors’ (ie., the A in AGW) are having an influence in climate. So David is correct when he states that the whole discussion is premised on something which may not be true. Whether that makes it worthless or irrelevant we can debate.

        And your statement that you would expect more extreme weather in a warming OR cooling world is bizarre. Are you inferring we are at THE climate optimum right now ? AT least for minimising extreme weather ?

    • Exactly. Worthless.

  4. I bet AR5 will have some significant paragraphs on attribution of extreme weather events.

  5. The latest issue of the Bulletin of American Casino Proprietors has published a collection of papers that illustrate different methodologies for attributing causes of recent winning streaks at roulette.

    “The contributions in this article examining some of the specific extreme roulette winning events of 2011 demonstrate the importance of understanding the interplay of natural physical variability and proper betting management on their occurrence.

    By developing the scientific underpinning, the ability to put recent extreme roulette winning streaks into the longer- term context of proper betting schemes should improve as each year goes by.”

    There is no truth to the rumor that their research is in any way influenced by their desire for a future revenue stream.

    • DA: Mrs. Smith, you understand you have been charged with aggravated threatening of Mr. Dealer. Can you tell us what led to the alleged incident of extreme bad-mouthing, restraint of Mr. Dealer’s trade, and endangering Mr. Dealer’s income?
      MS: Well, you see your honor, Mr. Dealer was selling tainted goods, corrupting the children of my area, polluting their schoolyards and leading them into an unhealthy and unwholesome lifestyle. I complained to the authorities, but it turns out Mr. Dealer had gotten to them first, and had in fact been able to arrange things so they were beholding to Mr. Dealer for their jobs. I went to the press, but it turns out to be owned by a man from a foreign country that supplies Mr. Dealer with his terrible merchandise, so they actually sided with Mr. Dealer. I just didn’t know what else to do.
      DA: I see. So you’re admitting your guilt in this matter, Mrs. Smith?
      MS: But, I’m not the one harming the children, corrupting the government, subverting the media and profiting by illegitimate means backed by foreign governments. I’m just an American.
      DA: Mrs. Smith, I’m afraid that you’ve just plead guilty to perhaps the greatest crime of all. Being an American in this day and age. Why, there’s just no excuse for that!

  6. Another question is how should we think about attribution for extreme events that do not happen? For example, IIRC the ACE index has been in a steady decline. http://www.tropicalstormrisk.com/ace.html. Is that good?

  7. RobertInAz | July 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm |

    I’ve yet to see good evidence that the ACE correlates with, well, anything. It seems to me one of those things that people speculated might be worth measuring, without any actual scientific or rational basis, and now that they’ve started measuring it, they just can’t stop.

    Sort of like the people who score talent on those Simon Cowell reality tv gameshows. It might be there in some amounts, but it doesn’t correspond with much.

  8. When i saw the words ‘historical context’ my interest was immediately aroused. It took some time to read all the papers in detail and historical largely seemed to mean the last 50 years with a few analysis back a century or so. The study on cet, although reaching further back, seemed rather vague and inconclusive.

    In general the records didn’t go back far enough in the studies to see any historical precedence or to see the patterns of natural variability and there seemed to be few references to specific events.

    I will have another look but don’t se these at first reading as being anything special or offering anything insightful

    Tonyb

  9. Rob Starkey

    People like to focus on a particularly severe weather event and then to claim that the change in severity was due to human released CO2. The claim is potentially true- so what??? As a result of climate change conditions will have resulted in some weather events that were worse than they would have been while other areas will have had weather that were less severe than they would have been.

    It will be virtually impossible to ever know that net overall impacts on the severity of weather events that impact the lives of humans and are related to increases in CO2. People simply like to argue about the topic and pontificate.

    There is no rationale argument to be made to suggest that humanity would have been better off if we had not emitted CO2 and it would not matter in any case. What is important is that the CO2 is already emitted and that the total level of CO2 emissions is unlikely to decrease for decades. Given that as a fact, what are reasonable paths forward? Does it make sense to take actions that cost a great deal and yield no results?

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      I like your general thinking here Rob. While I am a warmist, and do think that weather is being altered by human activity, I’m not focused too much on what we should “do” about CO2. There are multiple ways that humans are altering the weather (land use changes, agriculture, UHI, etc.) and CO2 may or may not be the most important. Better to take a wholistic approach and acknowledge the pervasive affects that humans are having on the planet, and get about the process of deciding how we’re going to manage all these effects…i.e. it’s time for some good old Anthropocene Management. In deciding how manage, we need to look at cost versus risk and reward, mitigation versus adaptation. I do think we should try to figure out what the very worst thing that could happen from anthropogenic alteration of the weather and climate, and make sure that we do whatever it takes to not allow that to happen. If it turns out that the the existence of human civilization is actually at stake (Hansen et. al position) then certainly no cost is too much to make sure that doesn’t happen, but it could also very well turn out that we’ve actually simply prevented the next glacial period from happening and we’ve only got to do a bit of adaptation to new weather patterns, or the truth could be somewhere in between these two extremes. Either way, Anthropocene weather/climate management seems to be something we’ll need to develop more, and I’m not talking simply about keeping CO2 in a range, but looking at all human impacts on the planet.

    • There is a rationale argument to be made that says humanity is better off because we did emit CO2. Our standard of living is much better because of it and it makes green things grow better using less water.

  10. Smaller storms cause more damage? Africa and La Nina drought? Weather is what hits you – but climate changes all the time?

    So whats new? :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool:

  11. The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

    I think Judith is right on target when she says:

    “This collection reflects a maturing of the extreme event attribution field…”

    _____
    I agree but think it is only a step forward in the process of maturation of the field. It has gone from being an infant to maybe a pre-teen.

    But one general comment about the notion of attribution. It seems very odd to try and break out events and say this one was made worse and this one had no influence at all, etc. If you take the general position that it is all Anthropocene weather, then all events have some component of the Anthropocene in them– else they would not be occurring in the Anthropocene. One would have to rewind the clock of the climate back to say 10,000 years ago, remove humans from the Holocene, and then see what happens. We might very well be much closer to the start of another glacial advance right now, with CO2 levels at 250 ppm and falling, oceans cooling, etc. The point is, human influence during this particular interglacial is so widespread, that you can’t simply say that x event would have happened in the exact same way without humans. If you agree that the human influence is pervasive, that the Holocene was forever diverged from how it would have evolved sans humans, than you would have to admit that we’re in the Anthropocene, and it is all now Anthropocene weather and that each event varies in some small or large amounts from what it would have been like had the human influence not become so widespread. Individual event attribution becomes a bit pointless.

  12. David W. wrote:

    “Unfortunately they all seem to assume AGW going in. Hence they are scientifically worthless. How sad.”

    We see this all the time. They assume facts not yet in evidence which it seems to me, has to invalidate the conclusions.

    By the way David, I don’t think you saw my reply to re scientific fraud, a discussion from several days ago. If still interested, I think my reply is the last one in the Government-Climate post.

  13. Tonyb, thanks for your insight. I listen to your restained and insightful comments as a guidepost among the name calling bickering posts.

    As the January 1975 National Academy of Sciences report stated in Understanding Climate Change: A Program for Action, “the question naturally arises as to whether we are indeed on the brinkg of a (10,000-year) period of colder climate” and “…we have seen the warmest century in the last millenium, which was part of the warmest 10,000 year period of the last million years, and this odd warmth cannot be expected to last…”

    Interesting experiment we conduct but your post on land forms that connected England and France provided great insight into the potential range of climate changes. Humans, wine grapes, rhinos, and alligaters in England survived all of these. The Earth Abides.

  14. Uh oh, I predict more bad statistics.
    The good: looking at climate ‘change’ as more than just global temperature.
    The bad: assuming all change is AGW (not natural variation) and bad news.

    For all the hype about climate change, I don’t believe anyone has pointed out any place where the climate type has changed in recent history.

    Calculating how the odds of a particular extreme event have changed provides a means of quantifying the influence of climate change on the event.
    Who needs science when you have a bookie?

  15. “Global Warming” (from human CO2) was once posited as a potential serious threat to humanity and our environment.

    Then it stopped warming despite unabated human CO2 emissions and continued increases in atmospheric CO2 to record levels.

    So the “problem” was “repackaged” as “global (anthropogenic) climate change”.

    Now that no one really takes this threat seriously anymore (since “global climate” doesn’t seem to be “changing”), we hear explanations of “extreme weather events caused by anthropogenic climate change”.

    You can only repackage BS so many times before people realize what is going on (as Abe Lincoln noted).

    Max

    • PS The “null hypothesis” on all this is that AGW could very likely have a statistical impact on the relative number of record “high” and “low” temperatures as time progresses, but has no impact on the frequency or severity of any extreme weather events. It’s up to the proponents of such a postulation to provide evidence to support it.

  16. Dave Springer

    Forgive me for asking but…

    If the globe is warming and we get more severe heat waves as a result doesn’t it also necessarily mean we get less severe deep freezes. Who decides which is preferable?

    I’ve been in both and I can’t say which I like less. The deep freeze seems to be the worse for living things without a furnace and however much fuel is required to heat their home in the winter.

    Just sayin’

    • More humans die in winter than in summer.

      Medical studies show that the number human deaths resulting from cold far exceed the number of deaths resulting from heat.

      GH warming is supposed to occur primarily at higher (colder) latitudes and at night (when it is cooler), rather than during the day.

      Go figure…

      • Medical studies show that the number human deaths resulting from cold far exceed the number of deaths resulting from heat.

        Cite?

        Because that directly conflicts with American statistics.

      • Cite a study that proves AGW will extend life expectancy.

      • Cite one that proves it will reduce life expectancy

      • Bart R

        You ask for some references regarding higher cold-weather than hot-weather human deaths.

        A study by Indur Goklany cites data from the US National Center for Health Statistics for 2001-2008:
        http://www.heartland.org/environmentandclimate-news.org/article/26712/Winter_Kills_Excess_Deaths_in_the_Winter_Months.html

        The figure above, based on data from the US National Center for Health Statistics for 2001-2008, shows that on average 7,200 Americans died each day during the months of December, January, February and March, compared to the average 6,400 who died daily during the rest of the year. In 2008, there were 108,500 “excess” deaths during the 122 days in the cold months (January to March and December; it was a leap year).

        Another study by Goklany cites 1979-2002 data from the U.S. Census Bureau ”Statistical Abstract of the United States”, which shows

        8,589 deaths in the USA from extreme heat as compared to
        16,313 deaths from extreme cold

        over this period.

        Deschenes and Moretti (2009) show that mortality in the U.S. is higher in winter than in summer.
        Deschenes, O. and Moretti, E. Extreme Weather Events, Mortality and Migration.
        Review of Economics & Statistics, 2009; 91:4, 659-681.

        A study by Falagas, et al. on the US compared to ten other nations, showed similar seasonal variations in mortality, with higher death rates in winter compared to summer.
        Falagas, M.E., et al. Seasonality of Mortality: the September Phenomen in Mediterranean Countries. CMA Journal, 2009; 181 (13 Oct.) 484-486.

        Another study by Keatinge et al. (for northern and southern European countries) states:
        Keatinge, W. R., et al. Heart Related Mortality in Warm and Cold Regions of Europe;
        Observational Study. British Medical Journal, 2000: 321 (16 Sept.): 670-673.
        http://www.bmj.com/highwire/filestream/375311/field_highwire_article_pdf/0

        We obtained data on daily deaths of men and women aged 65­74 years in north Finland (Kuopio, Vaasa, and Oulu provinces), south Finland (provinces to the south of these), Baden­Württemberg (southwest Germany), the Netherlands, Greater London, north Italy (Imola,
        Bologna, Modena, and Faenza districts), and Athens (Greece).

        and

        Annual cold related mortality was higher than heat related mortality in all regions (table 1). Over the seven regions together, annual cold related deaths averaged 2003 per million compared with 217 per million heat related deaths.

        There is another report I have seen by medical doctor Howard Maccabbee with similar results, but I am unable to find link.

        Can you cite studies showing more hot-weather than cold-weather deaths?

        Max

      • I did not ask for that, Max.

        Let’s see how this works. Say Mr. and Mrs. X, born on the same day and sweethearts since the met their 3rd grade classroom, are both going to die at age 79, Mr. X in the chilly January and Mrs. X in comfy June.

        Their fate changes because of global warming.

        Because the climate is warmer, Mr. X makes it all the way to July. Plunk, he dies. Meanwhile, Mrs. X, who would have died in the cooler summer, instead lives a little longer because of global warming and she dies face first into a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. According to your studies, there are way more Mr. X’s than there are Mrs. X’s, so because of global warming, more people will die in the summer than the winter.

      • Indeed, I did not ask for “some references regarding higher cold-weather than hot-weather human deaths”, but rather a citation of a medical study proving, “the number human deaths resulting from cold far exceed the number of deaths resulting from heat”.

        Correlation is not causation. Indeed, the correlation is against your argument, if you look at correlation of warmer regions with excess seasonal deaths (higher excess in hotter climates) and of warmer winter years with excess winter deaths (higher excess when the winter is warmer).

        The cold isn’t the medical cause of the deaths in general. In most places, the actual incidence of hypothermia or hyperthermia are so small as to fall to almost a rounding error in size. What kills people, more often than not, is microbial; microbes and the things that carry them don’t prefer extreme cold any more than people do. So AGW might reduce some winter deaths regionally, but it’s not a sure thing.

        A draft of a more reasoned and granular approach than Goklany’s can be found in this review document: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=175644

      • And the specific passage from the July 2008 report:

        “There is considerable speculation concerning the balance of climate change-related decreases in winter mortality compared with increases in summer mortality. Net changes in mortality are difficult to estimate because, in part, much depends on complexities in the relationship between mortality and the changes associated with global change. Few studies have attempted to link the epidemiological findings to climate scenarios for the United States, and studies that have done so have focused on the effects of changes in averagetemperature, with results dependent on climate scenarios and assumptions of future adaptation.
        Moreover, many factors contribute to winter mortality, making highly uncertain how climate change could affect mortality. No projections have been published for the United States that incorporate critical factors, such as the influence of influenza outbreaks.”

        Which is what I was really asking for when I looked for citations. Goklany’s stuff was well-known to the authors of SAP 4.6; and it was just as useless to them as it is to us. You got anything new that moves us forward?

      • tempterrain

        ” More humans die in Winter than in Summer” ? This is a questionable statement to say the least. But of course global warming will increase temperatures all the year round not just in any particular season.

        So a more relevant question would be to ask if life expectancy is higher is the warmer countries than the cooler countries on a worldwide scale?

        Do people live shorter lives in Canada than in the USA for example? They don’t. They actually live over 2.5 years longer. Admittedly there are economic factors too which need to be taken into consideration but the evidence that a warmer climate equates to a longer life just isn’t there.

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

      • There are lots of factors to take into consideration. That’s why Lomborg took none of them into consideration. He’s the queen of superficiality.

      • You can argue this whichever way you want.

        1. There are many studies I’ve seen which demonstrate that unusual cold events cause more deaths than unusual hot events. Bjorn Lomborg quotes a figure of seven times more deaths in cold events than warm events (in “Cool it”).

        2. Population density (population per km^2 of land area) increases from pole to equator, showing that people prefer warmer, warmer is more productive or whatever way you want to interpret it.

        3. People prefer warm places to cold places for their annual holidays

        4. In Australia, people migrate from temperate cities to subtropical and tropical cities for a ‘better climate’.

        5. A warmer global temperature will mean little change in the tropics, most change will occur at the polar regions, and in the middle latitudes winters and nights will be warmer but less change in the day time and summer. All this means longer growing seasons, less heating, not much change to air conditioning. All in all an improvement.

        Warmer seems to be not to scary when you look at it objectively.

      • Except the total trend for the UAH LT tropics is 0.07 +/- 0.3 C/decade (95% C.L., no autocorrelation factored in). That’s 50% of the UAH LT global rate. Given the warm conditions already in the tropics, which puts some plants near their limits of heat stress, your conclusions do not follow.

      • tempterrain

        Peter Lang,

        You’re arguments make perfect sense – up to a point. Yes people often prefer warmer climes both for holidays and living.

        That’s fair enough. If that’s the case there is a wide variety to choose from.

        The answer is to move to where you feel most comfortable. There’s no need to change it for everyone else on a worldwide scale.

      • “There’s no need to change it for everyone else on a worldwide scale.”

        Welcome to the dark side :) Regional solutions for regional problems

      • Unless, of course, trying to prevent it with bad policies will do enormous harm and no good. By bad policies I am thinking of high cost, economy damaging policies like CO2 tax and ETS. If applied across the world they will do serious damage and cause tens of millions of fatalities that would not have occurred if not for these policies (similar to banning DDT caused tens of millions of deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been avoided; if you wanted to you could find many other examples.)

        You need to be sure your proposed policies are going to provide a significant improvement and negligible detriment before proving them. That has not been done for the CO2 tax and ETS policies.

      • David Appell,

        I am not sure what your second comment is talking about. My comment was that population density increases from pole to equator which clearly shows human’s preference for higher temperatures (for whatever reason; e.g. land productivity for producing food).

        Your heat stress argument is a case of data cherry picking. Life thrived when the planet was warmer demonstrating that warmer is more productive.

        It strains credulity to believe we happen to be on Earth just when it is at the optimum temperature for life or for us, especially given that the planet is in a rare ‘coldhouse’ phase (only the third coldhouse phase since multi-cell life began). For 75% of this time there has been no ice at the poles and life thrived. So I find it difficult to accept that warming is the serious problem the Alarmists would have us believe.

        The alarmists’ case is not persuasive.

  17. Dave Springer | July 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

    It costs a sweater, a pair of socks, and a blanket to warm a living person 25 degrees. If you’re not picky about fashion, and you’re careful about darning, that’s an investment that lasts years.

    It takes an air conditioner and huge amounts of electricity to cool a home even five degrees.

    “Better” or “worse”, the Market can decide.

    A Market watcher can tell you which is more expensive.

    • Thanks, B, I’ll fastrack that order for little soxies and warmie blankies for all the globe’s crops.
      ========

    • There’s also home insulation as a passive solution for extreme cold. There’s no equivalent solution for combating extreme heat.

      • Funny you know, it would never have occurred to me to have home insulation had you not mentioned it.
        I’ve experienced both extreme cold and extreme heat more times than you can shake a stick at, and I know which one I prefer.

      • Oh how I miss my childhood during the LIA in the Dakotas. Massive snowbanks. Snow plows throwing up mountains of snow for hotly contested games of King on the Mountain. My water glass frozen solid on the stand next to my bed. Tricking kids into licking the flag pole outside the grade school. Gawd it was great. Every day was like the Winter Olympics. Skiing, skating, and ice fishing. And when I got older, girls who loved to get warmer.

      • I came home one Omaha winter day and told my wife I would rather have blazing hot summers than bitterly cold winters. And here we are.

      • Lol. We used to denigrate Nebraska. We called it “the banana belt.” You wusses. Now I live in Texas.

      • lolwot

        Thanks for tips.

        But this doesn’t change the observed fact that more humans die from cold than from heat.

        Max

      • It used to be that far more people died in the summer. Things change. They can change again.

        But show me a scientific study that demonstrates life expectancy will be extended because of global warming.

      • I’d recommend home made air conditioning. :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool:

        Best regards
        Captain (Robbo) Kangaroo

        .

      • I’ve always wanted to do that using propane as a refrigerant. It could be rigged to also work as a furnace. And in the case of a home invasion, you’d have a handy flamethrower.

      • in the UK you have to use reasonable force on intruders. I think a flamethrower would be hard to justify as reasonable force against an unarmed intruder. If you had it to hand at the time you could argue that in the heat of the moment you weren’t thinking straight. Just make sure in court you say “heat of the moment” with a straight face.

      • Yeah. And I gots a generator that’s driven by a motor, and it makes excess electricity. Wanna buy one? How about a magnet for your car’s fuel line that doubles the mileage?

      • Better yet, this will solve all of our energy problems:

    • Do you really think that people were born yesterday and didn’t know how to keep warm until you came along?
      For your info, very few houses in the UK have air conditioning, but the vast majority have both central heating and insulation. And still far more people die in the winter than in summer.

      • tempterrain

        People are still confusing climate and weather. Yes more people die in cold weather than warm weather. More people die in hot weather too, but at least in the more temperate countries that would be less. But not all countries are temperate and certainly in a country like India the situation would be different.

        The only valid comparison is to look at life expectancy in different climates. I’m not saying that, all other factors being equal, warmer climates are necessarily worse but the figures show they aren’t better either.

        Increased life expectancy can’t be used as an excuse to allow global warming.

      • “Increased life expectancy can’t be used as an excuse to allow global warming.”

        Suppose we were at beginning of Holocene, would be saying that natural warming must not be allowed?

        The entire problem from your prospective, seems to be that humans should not permitted to warm [or suppose cool] the planet.
        But most of your tribe, believes that much of the warming in last 150 years was natural and their contention is humans have added to this warming, rather than idea that humans are causing all the warming.

        Some of them think without humans input, the planet might have warmed and then cooled, and this cooling would been around 1 C cooler than present.
        I think it’s better to current temperature, and current CO2 level than compared 1 C cooler and less global warming- It’s improvement of what might have been nature’s dice roll.

      • Temp, other factors are never equal in different climates – least of all the people themselves.

  18. Often the extreme events require more energy, since most of the energy is stored in the oceans it is expected that they would occur at time of the SST peaks; by using the AMO as a guide (Pacific SST peaks often within + – 1 year of the AMO ) strong tidal effects are compared to the long term SST intensity.
    Since no good reference could be found showing direct link between the AMO and the tidal events a simple test is performed: for the 20 largest tidal events for 1860 – 2000 (as listed in the ‘Decadal Climate Variability’, R Ray), 30 year average is calculated and plotted along the AMO index 3yma.
    Test shows that the extreme tidal effects are more frequent during the strong AMO phase, but the cause-consequence relationship is not clear.
    This is contrary to the Keeling’s assertion that ‘stronger tides are associated with cooler surface water’.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/AMO-T.htm

  19. So while it has been argued that in the anthropocene all extreme weather or climate events that occur are altered by human influence on climate […] (emphasis added -hro)

    It would appear that in the post-normal world of “mainstream climate science”, it’s not enough that these “experts” grant themselves “climatic licence” to redefine commonly understood English words (and/or to develop novel usage of statistical methods without running them by those who have the requisite expertise). Now they have extended such licence to bestowing their blessing on a neologism. “Anthropocene” is a hobby-horse that Paul Crutzen (a Nobel laureate – albeit in chemistry, not geology) has been riding for some years.

    To the best of my knowledge, the body that does have the mandate and requisite expertise to make such determination(s) has not yet seen fit to fulfill Crutzen’s dream. But who needs the requisite expertise when the BIG names in climate science are flogging “anthropocene” as though it were an accepted – and … uh … “sustainable” – geological era.

    Historical context – Francis Zwiers et al

    Hmmm … Zweirs is a climate modeller who “specializes in simulations”.

    As an “elected” member of the Bureau, he is currently one of the powers-that-be at the IPCC. Nonetheless, one wonders how, when and where he might have acquired skills and competencies one would expect to find in the CV of the lead author of a paper on “historical context”. Oh, well, perhaps they’ve redefined “historical” and/or “context” as well!

    • Hector Pascal

      Hilary. The relevant body is The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS).

      “[It is] sometimes referred to by the unofficial “International Stratigraphic Commission” is a daughter or major subcommittee grade scientific daughter organization that concerns itself with stratigraphy, geological, and geochronological matters on a global scale.

      It is a subordinate body of the International Union of Geological Sciences—of which it is the largest scientific body within the organisation—and of which it is essentially a permanent working subcommittee that meets far more regularly than the quadrennial meetings scheduled by the IUGS, when it meets as a congress or membership of the whole.”

      It is, quite appropriately, a very conservative group operating by strict rules. “Anthropocene” will not pass muster. The name implies series/epoch (tens of millions of years), so we will have to wait a little while yet. Complex business stratigraphy, best left to the stratigraphers.

      • Thank you, Hector … my comment actually got posted prematurely because I had intended to look up the facts, first – and modify accordingly.

        But I blame it on my cat … she and I had a slight altercation over the position of my mouse (resting on mousepad, my preference, or whipped to the floor – i.e. her preference). During the ensuing battle, one of us “clicked” – without noticing where mouse was pointed … and then life intervened, so I didn’t have a chance to follow-up ;-)

        [The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS)] is, quite appropriately, a very conservative group operating by strict rules. “Anthropocene” will not pass muster. The name implies series/epoch (tens of millions of years), so we will have to wait a little while yet. Complex business stratigraphy, best left to the stratigraphers.

        Ah! So we can rest assured that – unlike the IPCC, for example – there is some oversight to ensure that these rules are always followed.

  20. I have had another read of the various linked papers but my over riding impression remains that there is a general lack of proper historical context and examples. Consequently many of the studies seem to fail to pick up the natural variability, precedents and similarities between weather patterns of the past and of today. My prime interest was in the papers that dealt with CET as that is something I have studied in depth and I frequently visit the Met office archives for material for my research for articles. (I am currently examining original scrolls from the 13th century for weather observations-thank you for asking)

    First some context before my concluding comments. This is CET to 1772, as maintained by the met office;

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/

    There is a further record back to 1660 which provides better context and is the first graph in my article here (note the continued decade long decline in temperatures to today noted in the two graphs)

    https://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

    To obtain the data I spent many happy hours carrying out research in a number of places, including the met office archives, and the references to the article above are linked to here in the form of hundreds of contemporary observations from 1400AD

    Click to access long-slow-thaw-supplementary-information.pdf

    A useful snapshot of the way our weather goes in cycles, if you look back far enough, can be seen in this comment taken from the references;

    “Reginald Jeffery observed in his book ‘Was it Wet or was it fine,’ “By 1708 the middle aged would say where are our old winters?”

    That could have been written today of course, but it was written after the LIA had appeared to end and we entered a period until 1740 that was remarkably similar to today (see graph)

    Now the main point I wish to make is that I noted down dozens of extreme events but didn’t use them in my article as they didn’t directly signal the nature of the season. For example a catastrophic thunderstorm is interesting but tells us nothing as to how warm the entire summer was.

    Britain is blessed with extraordinary records and I felt the Met office paper was rather poor in using them to provide a better balance. If they wanted to they could readily put together a detailed paper on extreme events which didn’t need to rely on models but could use the evidence from our own ancestors that lies in their own archives.

    As I noted in a previous post, my impression (not a scientific analysis) from reading tens of thousands of contemporary observations from the year 1000AD to 1850 was that severe events happened much more frequently during cold periods-such as the LIA- than during the modern warm periods, for example the number of severe floods and storms/high winds is extraordinary and destroyed villages and moved hillsides.

    Whilst there was extreme cold winters (at times) these were married with often warm summers and surely it is this temperature differential that creates the energy that spark extreme events, not the more placid and even temperatures of the modern era or the warm and settled weather (Prof Brian Fagan) of the MWP, which were again remarkable for their dearth of extreme events .

    I’m not sure the papers-or at least the Met office ones- have really expanded our knowledge that much, too much reliance on models and academic erudition and not enough on fieldwork.

    tonyb

    • It repeats the impossibility of saying anything meaningful about long term variability on the basis of records from the 1960’s. Does this mean we don’t have the data? Sure it does. But after all, a true problem properly formulated – and although unsolvable – is better than a wrong formulation falsely promulgated.

      Have a look at this 11,000 year El Niño record. – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=ENSO11000.gif – there is all sorts of ENSO variability long term so how would small changes over a short period emerge from the background signal?

      • Chief,

        As a hydrologist, I expect you would have some thoughts about the Brisbane flood (for non-Aussies, it’s a contentious issue about water releases from the water supply and flood mitigation dam, and how the releases were and should have been managed).

        I understand the cause of the flood can be pinned on the coal miners, according to Bob Brown, the the recently retired leader of the Australian Greens.

        I also understand there were bigger floods in the same catchment in the 1800s. Would you care to comment?

  21. It’s interesting to consider what would happen if at some point in the future an extreme weather disaster occurred somewhere in the world that could be pinned on human activity with high confidence.

    While mulling through this I reached the surprising conclusion that this hugely undermines adaptation as a solution for climate change.

    Adaptation as a strategy only works if either:
    a) the disaster can’t be mitigated (eg natural disasters)
    b) a emotionally-charged disaster hasn’t happened yet.

    My argument is that as soon as an emotionally-charged man-made disaster does occur, the mood of the affected population will strongly turn towards mitigation and adaptation will be shunned, even reviled. Think about what happened with public mood of the affected countries after fukushima and 9/11 for example. The suggestion of simply accepting and “adapting” to future fukushimas or 9/11s was unacceptable and a more stronger form of mitigating action was demanded. In both cases the mitigating action could be regarded as quite extreme – invading one, possibly two countries and shutting down all the nuclear plants in japan respectively (not to mention other countries like germany that shied away from nuclear in response).

    So policymakers should probably be aware of this potential shift in public mood that could occur and sabotage an adaptation solution.

    Following on from this there is a more serious problem of diplomatic relations between affected countries and non-affected countries.

    What if only one country in particular is affected and in an emotional state the country demands mitigation action? The situation would be akin to the aftermath of fukushima where the mood is to shut down all the plants, except that the plants happen to be owned by other countries. What happens then?

    If other countries refuse to mitigate this could be seen as an indirect attack on the affected country. It could turn public mood in the affected country very hostile. Then imagine if another disaster occurred in the affected country, all hell could break loose.

    Like mitigation I suspect adaptation has to be a global agreement. It’s going to start falling at the seams if one, or even more countries turn to demanding mitigation after disasters. At the very least I imagine we would see large sums of compensation switching hands to try and placate affected countries. But I suspect compensation may not be enough to satiate emotions of a population after a disaster that is perceived as being directly caused by the actions of other countries.

    So an adaptation solution to climate change also has take into account the cost of diplomatic breakdowns, which of course impacts on trade and security.

  22. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, and interesting paper. I was concerned, however, by your comment (emphasis mine):

    JC comments: …

    While I have some quibbles with the methods used in a few of the studies, this collection reflects a maturing of the extreme event attribution field in terms of examining the historical record, comparing regional simulations from models with observations, observed atmospheric circulation patterns and sea surface temperature anomalies, and consideration of confounding factors. All of these factors should be considered when attempting to explain the causes of an extreme event, and whether AGW played a role in increasing the odds of the event.

    The part I don’t understand is why you think we should “compare regional simulations from models with observations”, given that even the modelers say that the models are not accurate on a regional level, and given that no one has ever shown that “downscaling” is any better than throwing darts.

    Given that the models are a pathetic joke at the regional level … why on earth would you want to compare them with anything? I thought we were talking about science.

    w.

    • If you compare them with observations, and the comparison doesn’t do well, then the inference is don’t use the model simulations in your analysis.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        curryja | July 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm

        If you compare them with observations, and the comparison doesn’t do well, then the inference is don’t use the model simulations in your analysis.

        Thanks, Judith, but I don’t believe you’ve thought that all the way through. The problem is that that’s just data snooping.

        It’s the equivalent of saying “we’re only going to use the tree ring records that correlate to the temperature record.” The fact that a model gets the regional results (somewhat) right means nothing about their suitability for use in an analysis.

        Or to use another example, suppose that I make a host of predictions based on, oh, I don’t know, lets say sunspots as modified by earth-moon distance just to pick something.

        As you might expect, most of my predictions would be wrong, but some would be right.

        Is it valid scientifically to look at my predictions, and then use the ones that agree with the observations, and throw out the others?

        I say no.

        In fact, if the results from the models contain more misses than hits, that makes it very likely that the hits are random events, and should not be trusted at all. Why? Because we know that they are giving the right results for the wrong reasons … because if they were the right reasons, they’d be right more often than wrong. So it is worse to use them to try to understand the reasons for the observations, than it is to just throw them all out until they start getting it right.

        w.

      • tempterrain

        ?? This sounds like a contradiction of what you said previously!
        Mind you , you’re known for that but just on a slightly longer timescale :-)

      • tempterrain

        PS The above comment should have been addressed to Judith.

      • My point is that if they are going to use models for this, they need to demonstrate that the models are useful for this purpose. Do I personally think the models are useful for attribution studies of extreme events? No.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks for the clarification, Judith.

        I was confused because before you said if the models don’t compare well with your observations, don’t use them in your particular application.

        Now it sounds like you are saying that if the models can’t be shown to do well for explaining extreme events of a particular type, don’t use them for explaining extreme events of that type, which makes much more sense.

        My best to you, and thanks as always for your blog, it is an important part of the ongoing discussion.

        w.

      • Judith

        Making a thorough analysis of the historical context of severe events can’t be done by going back to say 1960 or even 1900.

        When we can use the much derided ‘anecdotal’ observation’ that strectch further back-often many hundreds of years- that should be an integral component of any study such a the ones presented in these papers.

        There is the obvious caveat that the anecdote must have some credibility and can be used in context. For example, one severe thuderstorm two hundred years ago is a one off, but when such events are mentioned regularly we can see the overall pattern.

        Judging from many of an agw persuasion on this site, anecdotes are dismissed. How do the actual climate scientists themselves view them as there is little evidence that the main stream use them as a vital aspect of their modelling?

        A month and a few thousand pounds could produce a comprehensive study of severe events in Britain taken from our records, and it would be much more rooted in reality than the modelling and vagueness I see in the Met reports. I dont mean to disparage them as I invariaby find them helpful and professional, but sometimes I just wish they would take their noses out of their computers and theories and do some field work

        tonyb

      • I agree, 400 yrs would be better. Historial/anecdotal and paleo analysis are needed here.

      • Probably one of the most meaningful exchanges on this blog in weeks

  23. Doug Badgero

    Is the inference of a warming planet from these events any more insightful than the BEST study? While there is certainly some disagreement and uncertainty about magnitude, isn’t there already a general consensus from all involved that the earth has warmed?

  24. Sounds like he is not too sure of much except that, although it is difficult to prove that a particular extreme weather or climate event was not in some way influenced by climate change, this does not mean that climate change can be blamed for every extreme weather or climate event. After all, there has always been extreme weather.

    One man’s fair weather is another man’s disastrous climate change. Superstition seems to be a strong moving force in Westerrn civilization and not in spite of science.

    http://evilincandescentbulb.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/the-bankruptcy-of-leftists-stonkernomics-and-liberal-utopianism/

  25. While much work remains to be done in attribution science, to develop better observational datasets, to improve methodologies, to make further progress in understanding and to assess and improve climate models, the contribu- tions in this article demonstrate the potential that already exists for meaningful assessments of the connection between specific extreme weather or climate events that occurred in a particular year and climate change.

    This is all very interesting, but there is not a mention of the estimates of benefits and costs. From my reading of this, I have the gut feeling that adaption (and steadily improving practices) will be by far the cheapest way to deal with the issues. I cannot envisage how a hugely costly carbon pricing scheme could have much if any effect on mitigating the weather events, but such economy damaging policies will certainly reduce our ability to adapt and retard the world’s development (and the emergence of people from poverty).

    • tempterrain

      Peter Lang,

      Its never a good idea to take too much notice of a “gut feeling”. Try to be more scientific and use your head instead. The human brain has evolved as a highly complex decision making organ. Whereas your guts have evolved for a different function and are often full of **** !

      • Tempterrain,

        Your are so condescending with your personal advice to people about why they should not do what you do all the time (i.e. write your unsubstantiated opinion). And take a look at Skeptical Science to see the personal opinion/bias of the owner and main authors throughout. You need go no further that the titles on the blog threads. So your comment addressed to me is rather hypocritical, don’t you think?

      • Actually, tt, the so-called conscious, rational brain, is only a tiny part of the whole. The so-called subconscious or unconscious brain (which is in fact always conscious) is where the serious action takes place, which is why following “gut feelings” is generally a superior strategy. The minor part of our brain to which you refer is very good at post facto rationalisation of decisions made in the deeper part of the brain.

      • tempterrain

        Faustino,

        You may be right, at least for many of the more froth-at-the-mouth-at-the-mention-of-Al-Gore types, in saying the “rational brain, is only a tiny part of the whole”. The more the froth the tinier the part, I’d say.

        And the “subconscious….is where the serious action takes place” , is it? The so-so called gut feeling ? I’d just question if the word ‘serious’ was an appropriate adjective?

    • Then how about the poor get to emit all the carbon they want, to alleviate their poverty, while the affluent pay for the cost of their carbon. This will incentivize the affluent to perfect noncarbon energy sources, which can then also generate energy for the poor.

      It need not be one size fits all.

      • David Appell,

        Sure. You make an excellent point. Here is how to do it.

        Just remove the mass of government interventions, distortions impediments we’ve imposed on the energy markets over the past 50 years or so (to the extent practicable and beneficial). Then we’d quickly be rid of the really bad policies that support renewable energy and ban nuclear for example. We’d also get to cheap nuclear in time and that would replace fossil fuels across the world (in time). Then your CO2 emissions are basically solved.

        This is how it will happen. its just a matter of time until the socialists, progressives, Left, and so called environmental NGOs, stop their preventing and delaying real progress!

      • Nuclear power, according to most estimates, is just slightly dearer than coal for electricity generation purposes. Its not much, maybe 10% or so but, just like you’d drive past one gas/petrol station which is selling at a slightly higher price than a competitor, its enough to make a difference.

        The idea of market intervention, the price on carbon (C&T or tax) is to make it the other way around. As you say, or imply, the only long term future is nuclear power, first by fission then later fusion, so we may as well go for it sooner rather than later. Before we stuff up the atmosphere and climate rather than after.

        Doesn’t that make sense?

      • Temp, A lot of the cost of nuclear is in the regulations and waste storage. A lot of the cost of coal is in the transportation and the regulations. The biggest reason to not invest in either is the uncertainty about the regulations.

        Fission is cheaper and safer as small modular because, “small” means cookie cutter designs and less decay mass. If processing were allowed in the US or long term storage were allowed any where in reason, nuclear is very competitive if you consider that nat gas will not be dirt cheap forever. The biggest hurdle is the uncertainty of the regulations. Its a lead, follow or get the hell out of the way kinda thing.

      • Tempterrain, I hope you’ll forgive my condescending ton in replies to you, given your propensity to apply that technique in replying to others.

        What makes sense is that your comment displays you have a very minimal/simplistic understanding of both matters – nuclear power and CO2 pricing. Therefore, this demonstrates why you should not be pontificating about subjects about which you know zilch while trying to pretend you do.

        The price of nuclear generated electricity varies greatly from country to country. The price is mostly due to the capital cost and cost of finance. Due to anti-nuclear activism over the past 50 years or so, the costs are far higher than they should and could be. Furthermore, the estimated cost for nuclear in Australia would be about twice what it is in USA and about four times what it is in Korea. There are many reasons for this, e.g.:

        1. Australia’s labour rates are far higher and our labour productivity far lower than in the USA.
        2. Financial risk premium (e.g. due to high risk of industrial disputes before the plant is completed or while in operation)

        Regarding your comments about CO2 pricing, you may have missed my conversation with Pekka Pirila on the previous threads. However, to get an idea of the issue, the Australian CO2 tax and ETS will cost at least $10 for every $1 of projected benefit. But the actua;l costs will be much higher and the projected benefits will not be achieved as explained here: What the Carbon Tax and ETS will Really Cost http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/06/what-the-carbon-tax-and-ets-will-really-cost-peter-lang/

        Also: The ultimate compliance cost of the ETS
        http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13578

        If you’d like more, please look back at the discussion with Pekka Pirila here: https://judithcurry.com/2012/07/10/between-tribalism-and-trust/#comment-217904
        https://judithcurry.com/2012/07/10/between-tribalism-and-trust/#comment-218170
        https://judithcurry.com/2012/07/10/between-tribalism-and-trust/#comment-218186

      • tempterrain

        Peter Lang,

        If you like, you could look at what the nuclear power industry themselves are saying about the relative cost of their energy if you feel I’ve got it wrong.

        They say “The 2010 OECD study Projected Costs of generating Electricity compared 2009 data for generating base-load electricity by 2015 as well as costs of power from renewables, and showed that nuclear power was very competitive at $30 per tonne CO2 cost”

        So, it’s they, not me who are saying carbon costing is necessary to make nuclear power competitive at the present time.

        But, they are just a bunch of engineers after all. What would they know about pricing anyway? They “should not be pontificating about subjects about which [they] know zilch while trying to pretend [they] do.” Should they?
        http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html

    • Shame on you, Peter! I’ve seen claims that Australia’s world-leading anti-emissions policies will lead to 2100 global average temperature being 0.0038C lower than would otherwise be the case! Surely any cost is worth such a fine achievement, for the sake of our grandchildren?

  26. NOAA seems to be going through its 2011 data with a fine tooth come. The recent State of the Climate in 2011 also looks at the impact of ENSO and in particular the double dip La Nina for attribution of extreme events:

    Blunden, J., and D. S. Arndt, Eds., 2012: State of the Climate in 2011. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 93 (7), S1-S264.

    They seem to have found the guilty party, La Nina (the girl child). When in doubt, always blame a women.

  27. comb not come

  28. Beth Cooper

    The rift valley changes in the fading light,
    And in deep caverns, the prince of darkness stirs.
    Against the night the small band make a circle
    At the fire, its yellow flames reflected in their eyes ….
    What is that noise? Who are the hooded hordes
    Emerging from the city walls,
    Their torches flaming, their incandations
    Resounding through the land? ….
    From east to west, from north to south
    The drum beats, the heart pounds,
    Then tribe confronts tribe, few can resist
    The ancient imperative to kill the beast ….
    So it goes on w/in the world of man,
    Closed societies since the world began,
    Tribal chant screw ups –go fer change,
    Let’s start again.

    Jest sayin’

    • Beth Cooper

      I hear ya.
      My mind’s eye sees ya.
      My muscles tense, as if to spring.
      Then Nature emerges from the shadows into the light.
      I relax.
      I can listen and look, considering her willowy-whisp.
      I am ready for her wonders.

  29. Beth Cooper

    I n c an t a t i o n s , nothing ter do with light bulbs!


    • One day, neighbors saw Mullah Nazrudin out in the street searching frantically for something.

      A neighbor asked, “Why are you crawling around in the dirt on our hands and knees under this street light, Mullah? They enquired.

      “I’ve lost my key” replied Nazrudin.

      So, some of the neighbors joined in to help Nazrudin search for the lost key.

      After a long unsuccessful search, one of the neighbors said, “Mullah, we’ve looked everywhere; are you sure you dropped it here?”

      Nazrudin answered, “No, no, no I lost the key over there by my house.”

      “Then why are you searching here?” they all asked.

      “Because the light is better here,” replied Nazrudin.

  30. ‘I am ready for her wonders.’ plus one RiHoO8.

  31. JC comments: “…in terms of examining the historical record, comparing regional simulations from models with observations, observed atmospheric circulation patterns and sea surface temperature anomalies, and consideration of confounding factors. All of these factors should be considered when attempting to explain the causes of an extreme event, and whether AGW played a role in increasing the odds of the event.”
    ============================================

    Dear Judith, dear warmists community, dear victims,

    no, AGW can not play a role in terms of causing any weather event happen.

    You need to take into consideration that AGW is a statistical value, it is a sort of average thing and therefore it does not mean “it is getting warmer everywhere”. AGW is a misleading term because of “G” (global), it implies “everywhere”.

    Just make a little correction of the term “AGW” and call it AGAW or “AAW” (the second “A” for average) and the whole “attribution scheme” will not make sense any longer.

    The average can not affect the parts it has been derived from, it is exactly the other way round.

  32. So 0.8ºc increase since the 1800’s in global temperature, broken down to mostly after the sun sets and in the higher latitudes, and much of which is natural, we agree, is responsible for all this.

    So as to not be called a denier I’ll just say I’m unconvinced. The outpouring of new reports and data (The Fin’s show a temperature decline in Europe over this same period) make it impossible to make a case either way with any convincing authority.

  33. Beth Cooper

    Peter Lang read yr latest figures and estimations on Oz Carbon Tax and ETS which is set to cost at least $10 fer every $1 of projected benefit, but the actual cost will be much higher. After the honeymoon rate, Treasury assumption $13,000 per person, (even little kids, ) the top 500 emitters morphs into “everybody pays.” Phrases from Leonard Cohen songs keep runnin’ through me brain… I sufffer from ‘Cracked Brain’ syndrome, yer know. Robert told me so.

  34. Not only cannot every extreme event be blamed on Anthropogenic Global Warming-type climate change, none can. Because it’s so minuscule as to be of severely dubious reality.

  35. Willis Eschenbach

    Bart R | July 13, 2012 at 4:27 am |

    And the specific passage from the July 2008 report:

    “… No projections have been published for the United States that incorporate critical factors, such as the influence of influenza outbreaks.”

    Which is what I was really asking for when I looked for citations. …

    Bart, here’s Influenza and the Winter Increase in Mortality in the United States, 1959–1999. Since this was published in 2003, I fear your July 2008 report didn’t do their homework in the slightest.

    And not for the US, but here’s England, Wales, and Norway.

    w.

    • “These findings suggest that the cause of the winter increase in US mortality is singular and probably influenza. Weather and other factors may determine the timing and modulate the magnitude of the winter-season increase in mortality, but the primary determinant appears to be the influenza virus.”

      And note how much higher the excess winter deaths level is in the warmer England and Wales than in the colder Norway.

      And how as Norway warmed from 1965-1990 its excess mortality increased?

      Microbes, not cold, cause excess winter deaths; warmer winters and warmer latitudes have higher, not lower, excess winter deaths. AGW will see a correlated rise in death as winters and higher latitudes warm.

      This is not a ‘benefit’ of AGW, except to the mortuary businesses, and of course snake oil salesmen pushing patent medicines on the gullible.

  36. I have an issue with the climate scientists, and the MetOffice in particular, on this particular subject.

    Back at the end of the eighties / beginning of the nineties, the UK regional climate shifted. We moved to a regime of mild but wet winters and “barbecue summers”. The growing season extended, and spring came increasingly early. More and more the majority of months had mean temperatures above the 30 year means, and we had a run of about 20 consecutive months above the average. A MetOffice scientist even wrote an article for The Independent newspaper in the early 2000’s saying this generation of British children would have little experience of snowy winters. This was the modern British climate, and was regarded as a symptom of global warming.

    This changed in 2007; the jet stream (which had been slowly migrating northwards) dramatically shifted south, and the UK climate shifted again: this time to colder, but dryer, winters and “monsoon” summers. The weather-boards were awash with the fact that the modern British climate had gone, that we not only were now able to manage a month with a mean below 3’C, but a whole season, and a sub-zero record breaking month to boot. Where were the MetOffice at this time? Still clinging to the belief that we were in the modern British climate and that a cold winter was a 1 in 20 year occurrence.

    Now of course that we are experiencing the worst and wettest summer for an age, the scientists are trotted out to ponder our weird weather; we are told they can’t yet link these extremes with climate change, but that the jet stream has been too far south this summer, and it might be linked to disappearing sea ice.

    This is not science. This is revisionism for the sake of being able to push alarm. The “modern British climate” was a gift to the climate scientists at the MetOffice, its replacement will also, eventually, be singing from the same hymn sheet. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, it doesn’t matter what the past model predictions ere, if it can be labelled as extreme, or against the long term averages, then it will become global warming. Who cares that science is supposed to make predictions and then test them against reality.

    To plausibly detect and attribute weather patterns and climate regime shifts to global warming, I think we need to be able to do two things:

    1. Have good models of internal variability.
    2. Be able to make skilful regional climate forecasts.

    We can’t do either of these at the moment, so these detection and attribution studies are little more than speculation, dressed up in the language of science, in the name of climate advocacy, to persuade the people the effects are real and happening now.

  37. Stephen Wilde

    Extreme weather events are more likely when the world is in cooling mode because that increases the temperature differentials between equator and poles.

    Changes in temperature differentials with height are of little significance because the tropopause rises and falls to accommodate such changes thereby preserving the lapse rate.

    AGW theory anticipates greater warming at the poles which decreases equator to pole temperature differentials to lead to less extremes overall.

    In practice the incease in extremes during a cooling phase operates via greater meridionality in jetstream behaviour such that individual regions can receive longer periods of both warm and cold anomalies due to more frequent and longer lasting so called ‘blocking’ effects on zonal wind flow.

    Meanwhile a more meridional flow creates a greater amplitude in the latitudinal diversions of the jet streams which increases the length of the lines of air mass mixing causing greater global cloudiness, higher global albedo and less energy into the oceans to fuel the climate system.

    Over enough time the system slowly cools until a more zonal jet stream regime returns.

    The level of solar activity seems to be related to the degree of jet stream meridionaity or zonality and therefore global cloudiness and albedo.

    CO2 quantities seem to have no significant effect compared to other (solar and oceanic) causes of shifts in jet stream meridionality or zonality.

  38. I don’t get it.

    In the last 50 years how much has the temperature risen? 0.3°C? Somewhere in that ballpark. How much for the US lower 48 states? Even less.

    In temperate areas, daily temperature variation (max – min) is typically five to 10°C.

    I am really struggling to see how such small variations can have any measurable effect when compared to the daily variations.

    Now I know that the temperature is going to go exponential any minute now and deliver huge rises to change the world as we know it¹, but until that happens I am puzzled how we can attribute *anything* to climate change.

    Maybe I’m just slow.

    1. See realclimate.com for irrefutable evidence²
    2. Yes, I’m joking.

    • News people’s work is getting a story.
      Talking about the weather is easier work
      But talking about just the weather needs
      something added to it.
      So to get the if it bleeds it leads juice going all they need to do mention global warming.
      Adding this allows them to talk endlessly about the hot weather.
      But to be more helpful to news reporters, global
      warming, has been changed to climate change, therefore allowing
      wider range of weather which can be more easily discussed.

      It should noted the highest temperatures recorded is:
      “In 1922 the temperature reached 136° Fahrenheit (58° C) in Libya.

      Death Valley in California holds the record for the highest temperature in the U.S. at 134° in 1913.”

      So for nearly a century this record in the US has not been broken,
      and for 90 years Libya’s record hasn’t broken anywhere in the world.

  39. MUST READ!!!

    Cliff Mass has posted an article Texas Tall Tales and Global Warming
    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2012/07/texas-tall-tales-and-global-warming.html

    It is a superb takedown of the article in this collection by Rupp et al. This is definitely the weakest paper in the collection, and when I wrote this post I was tempted to critique it but didn’t want to take the time. Cliff Mass has nailed it.

  40. If you’re going to speak comprehensively about extreme weather events you need to follow the agricultural press. Food production is the real thing to watch and think about if one is going to dream up catastrophic scenarios. In 2009 we had a slow growing season and early snows that left corn in the fields all winter. If we had had an early frost in 2009 there could have been a drastic cut in yield that would have made the general news.
    http://www.jsonline.com/business/89815147.html