How ‘extreme’ can it get?

by Judith Curry

When might we see Category 6 hurricanes?  60C surface temperatures?

The IPCC Special Report on Extremes (SREX) included the following figure:


This diagram says that the distribution of extreme events in a changed climate can have a shifted (higher) mean, increased variability, or a changed shape.  The shifted shape diagram shows a skewed diagram, with the tail on the right.  Such distributions have given rise to much angst about fat tails (see recent post).

What if the distribution changed in a warming climate to have a ‘snub nose’ on the right, rather than a tail?

At the recent US-UK Workshop on Climate Science Needed to Support Robust Adaptation Decisions Greg Holland gave a presentation entitled How Extremes Adjust to Climate Variability and Change: Extreme Temperatures.  A summary of the presentation is provided below, with selected ppt slides:

Holland Atlanta Symposium 0214-2_Page_01

Before getting to extreme temperatures, Holland first looks at hurricane intensity (recall Holland was a coauthor on the 2005 paper by Webster et al. Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number, Duration, and Intensity in a Warming Environment)


It looks like the original idea of Webster et al. (2005) is holding up, with an increase in the % of category 4 and 5 storms; however the extreme has barely moved.  The presentation also shows hurricane model simulations of the 2012 season, then with imposed changes to the SST, demonstrating that we are nearing a saturation level beyond which there may not be further significant increases in Cat 4-5 proportions.

Holland Atlanta Symposium 0214-2_Page_05

Holland then considers summer (austral) temperatures at two locations in Australia – Giles and Melbourne.  The shape of the distributions for the two cities are quite different, but both have a max near 47C.

Holland Atlanta Symposium 0214-2_Page_06

Looking at the desert location (Giles), the PDF is skewed (snub nosed to the right), with increasing  hot days but no extension beyond the max of 46C.

Holland Atlanta Symposium 0214-2_Page_07

Holland Atlanta Symposium 0214-2_Page_16

Holland then asks the question ‘How high can we go?’  Holland argues that why the distribution may be changing with greater frequencies of more intense tropical cyclones and hot days, the maximum values are increasing very slowly with climate change.

Holland Atlanta Symposium 0214-2_Page_09

Holland makes a thermodynamic argument (see full presentation for details) whereby the overall vertical structure of the tropical atmosphere  precludes big changes to the desert maximum temperatures.


With regards to Melbourne, Holland demonstrates that the temperatures are dominated by advection from other regions, so can experience increase # of hot days as well as increase in extreme value.

Holland Atlanta Symposium 0214-2_Page_18

Holland Atlanta Symposium 0214-2_Page_19

JC comments:  This paper was to me the most surprising one of the Workshop.    It has implications for economic arguments that rely on ‘fat tail’ disasters, as well as for weather/climate predictions of extreme events.

The ideas presented here are particularly relevant to my company’s (Climate Forecast Applications Network) efforts to predict heat waves, especially when models are predicting a record-breaking value, that is outside the range for the recent 20 year period for which we have hindcasts to calibrate the forecasts using observations.

Improved understanding of the historical distributions of different extreme events at different locations is important for thinking about physical constraints that might lead to snub nosed distribution rather than fat tails.


340 responses to “How ‘extreme’ can it get?

  1. Curious George

    Look at the three hypothesized distributions, and one thing becomes clear: the IPCC does not have a clue. It is just wild speculations. It just confirms that IPCC authors are paid by a page produced.

    • It may go to “11”.

    • Yup; they haven’t a clue. In reality there is near zero GHG-(A)GW for well-mixed GHGs. The physics and thermodynamics is blindingly obvious to a reasonably good engineer or physicist.

      The evidence is ice on Lake Superior and today’s Arctic mean temperature, ~3K below average as that residual ice volume and the fact that it’s new ice dominates its local climate:

      Nature is demonstrating truth!

  2. What if? What of? Whatever!
    Hmm. If these weren’t jest simulated models
    I might hafta’ leave town.
    Bts from Melbourne!

  3. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Physiological science teaches that what matters for humans is not desert-type dry heat, but rather wet-bulb temperature.

    Significantly, climate-change can boost wet-bulb temperatures to lethal levels *WITHOUT* altering the raw thermodynamic temperature.

    Already in the US, hypothermic football deaths have tripled:

    Deaths triple among football players,
    morning temperatures thought to play a role

    Heat-related deaths among football players across the country tripled to nearly three per year between 1994 and 2009 after averaging about one per year the previous 15 years, according to an analysis of weather conditions and high school and college sports data. The study found for the eastern US, where most deaths occurred, morning heat index values were consistently higher in the latter half of the 30-year study period.

    “In general, on days the deaths occurred, the temperature was hotter and the air more humid than normal local conditions,” said climatologist Andrew Grundstein, senior author of the study.

    Conclusion  Higher temperatures *AND* higher humidity amount to a doubly-lethal consequence of climate-change, that temperature forecasts alone do not capture.

    That’s solid physiological science *AND* everyday experience (that ordinary families appreciate perfectly well), eh Climate Etc readers?

    latex \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}&bg=bbffcc&fg=0055ff&s=2$
    A fan of *MORE* discourse

    • Football players have continued to get larger and larger. I believe larger people do not tolerate heat and humidity as well as smaller people.

      Warming is not likely responsible for all of the increased deaths. Possibility not any.

    • Also, there are more schools and more teams and more people playing football. That is also a factor. TheY give it all to man-made global warming because they NEED the ALARMISM.

    • AFOMD,

      Ho hum. Call me when the Antarctic is lush and green again.

      Ah, those were the days! It’s all gone downhill since then, eh, AFOMD?

      Wonder no more, lad. Climate Etc readers know the truth. Nature provides fanatics of all stamps, so that the rest of us may appreciate our sanity and enjoy the good things life has to offer.

      Please maintain your fanaticism. We need you, oh how we need you!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Matthew R Marler

      A fan of *MORE* discourse: Higher temperatures *AND* higher humidity amount to a doubly-lethal consequence of climate-change, that temperature forecasts alone do not capture.

      Football lunacy aside, that is an important point. Any increase in atmospheric CO2 that increases DWLWIR ought to increase both temperature and water vaporization, and the mix is to date unpredictable. With alternating warming and cooling, the 3.7 W/m^2 increase can not produce both the equilibrium temperature increase that has been calculated, and the equilibrium water vapor distribution; besides that, the hydrologic cycle increases so that heat is transported from surface to upper troposphere faster than accounted for in the models.

      Empirical measurements definitely should inform this discussion.

    • Steven Mosher

      Control for obesity.

    • The referenced article says increased deaths are probably attributable to fatter linesmen. I would like to add that adaptation seems more practical when we consider the brain damage inflicted by this sport on American youth. The solution is obvious: you should play “soccer” and learn to play without without those pads, helmets and tight ballet outfits.

    • The linked article states:

      “Worst-case scenarios for global warming could lead to deadly temperatures for humans in coming centuries. Researchers for the first time have calculated the highest tolerable “wet-bulb” temperature and found it could be exceeded for the first time in human history in future climate scenarios. A warming of 21 degrees Fahrenheit would put half of the world’s population in an uninhabitable environment.”

      This reference points to an article that is contradicted by the current post.

      Conclusion: 1. The first consequence is highly unlikely. 2. Football deaths are not correlated to warming because the US is getting cooler.

      That’s solid science that contradicts both your points, eh FOMD?

    • Between 1998 and 1999, the World Health Organization revised the international codes used to classify causes of death. As a result, data from earlier than 1999 cannot easily be compared with data from 1999 and later.

    • James the Elder

      2 April 2013 Quentin Margueritte 25 USON Mondeville Margueritte collapsed during a trainings session of his club USON Mondeville. The cause of death was cardiac arrest.[75]
      20 April 2013 Dominik Rupp 23 FSV Hemmersdorf Rupp collapsed during a Saarlandliga game against Saar 05 Saarbrücken. The cause of death was cardiac arrest.[76]
      16 May 2013 Berat Sacipi 31 SV Inter Itzehoe Sacipi collapsed during a Kreisklasse A Steinburg game against ABC Wesseln. The cause of death was cardiac arrest.[77]
      21 June 2013 Alen Pamić 23 NK Istra 1961 Pamić collapsed during a retreat game for MNK Maružini, on a heart attack.[78]
      21 July 2013 Yair Clavijo 18 Sporting Cristal The 18-year-old footballer from Sporting Cristal died during a reserve match against Real Garcilaso on 20 June 2013.[79] The autopsy determined he died from a cerebral edema with brain herniation caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.[80][81]
      27 July 2013 Sékou Camara 27 Pelita Bandung Raya Camara collapsed on the field during his team’s practice session in Bandung. He was rushed to the nearest hospital, but died on the way there. The cause of death was a heart attack.[82]
      30 July 2013 Matthias Viereckl 19 SC Marchtrenk Viereckl died in a friendly game against Union Steinhaus.[83]
      17 November 2013 Alex Marques[84] 20 G.D. Tourizense The Portuguese player Alexandre Marques suffered a cardiac arrest after seven minutes of the match between Tourizense and Carapinheirense.[85][86]
      22 December 2013 David Paul 18 Hibernian The eighteen-year-old midfielder suffered a Sudden cardiac death after a game in the night of 21 to 22 December 2013.[87]
      23 December 2013 Jamie Skinner 13 Tynecastle The thirteen-year-old midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest after a game in the Saughton Park in Edinburgh.[88]
      19 May 2014 Akli Fairuz 27
      300 pounders wearing 40-50lbs of gear seem to have a better chance than skinny little men in shorts. By your rationale, there should be no human life in the Sahara.

    • Gawd you are a dumba$$ Do you believe your crap really I would like to know I read this blog all the time a laugh at your crap ! But if you believe this stamp my feet baby crap put your money where your mouth is I’ll bet you 5000 buck’s your wrong on all !!! I ‘WE” can find someone to hold the money and the loser pay’s to the winners charity fare enough ! Pick who holds the money D–KWad ;>)

  4. IMHO hurricanes will return when solar activity recovers. Just an opinion.

  5. pokerguy (aka al neipris)

    The failure of the IPCC to render fair and objective assessments was preordained (but no less shameful). Bureaucracies exist primarily to serve themselves by extending their own influence and power. In the IPCC’s case, just ask yourself how this might be accomplished.

  6. If I recall correctly, the IPCC in TAR said something to the effect that extreme weather would start to become obviously different (visible in the statistics) around 2040. But that’s a hazy recollection… and as it matches my own personal take on the situation, caveat lector.

  7. A lot of the world has not yet reached Holland’s extreme upper limit, so for most places the shift will be the main thing seen, as it has been already, and very obviously. The shift for summer-mean temperatures between 1951-1980 and the last decade is a whole standard deviation in many land areas now.

    • @JimD:

      You understand that using the standard deviation as a metric for bounded distributions is completely useless, right? It doesn’t even work well for non-bounded non-normal distributions.

      • In climate they look as much at seasonal averages as daily max distributions. Seasonal averages are not very affected by this limit in most areas, if such exists, because it is so rare to hit it.

    • I’d like to read source for that claim please

  8. Scott Scarborough

    Couldn’t the increase in Cat 4 and 5 Hurricanes be due to very few hurricanes hitting the United States? If there patterns have changed so they don’t hit the US then they don’t hit land and break up. They will get stronger out at sea than they would have if they hit the US.

  9. Dr. Curry. Do you believe there is enough data, time-wise, to draw these conclusions?

  10. Alan McIntire

    I’ll go out on a limb and predict the opposite: with increasing temperatures, the incidence of hurricanes will fall, with DECREASING temperatures, the frequency of hurricanes will rise.

    “…trends of the two datasets are significantly correlated (r= 0.71), confirming that the time series reconstructed from historical documentary evidence contains a reliable record of variability in typhoon landfalls. On a decadal timescale, the twenty-year interval from AD 1660 to 1680 is the most active period on record, with twenty-eight to thirty-seven typhoon landfalls per decade. The variability in typhoon landfalls in Guangdong mimics that observed in other paleoclimatic proxies (e.g., tree rings, ice cores) from China and the northern hemisphere. Remarkably, the two periods of most frequent typhoon strikes in Guangdong (AD 1660–1680, 1850–1880) coincide with two of the coldest and driest periods in northern and central China during the Little Ice Age. ”

    On the other hand, maybe there’s not much difference in hurricane frequency whether warming or cooling- maybe only the TRACK of hurricanes changes.

  11. Some may consider this to be on topic (not me) considering the title of the post and the subject of this link. I apologize that it’s really off topic, but pretty Earth shaking. I wonder what it portends? Maybe big things to come. Hopefully, libertarians can get in on some of this action!!
    From the article:

    House Majority Leader Cantor defeated in primary

    Associated Press

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — In an upset for the ages, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, the second-most powerful man in the House, was dethroned Tuesday by a little-known, tea party-backed Republican primary challenger who rolled to victory on a wave of public anger over calls for looser immigration laws.

    • Well! I agree with you!!

      IMO, this man was elected because of Obama’s shenanigans. He has alienated the more conservative Democrats. He has definitely alienated Republicans and libertarians. I’m not sure about independents that aren’t libertarians.

      But whatever, this is a positive development.

      Personally, I’m more libertarian than any other label.

    • James the Elder

      It’s a start, but we missed ousting Lindsey Graham.

  12. John Vonderlin

    Perhaps this posting helps to explain why the hottest temperature ever reliably recorded in the world celebrated its 100th birthday a few years ago. That has always bothered me, increasing my skepticism of carbon dioxide having a predominant role in forcing our climate.
    FOMD, it is hard to disagree with the highly hedged “morning temperatures thought to play a role,” just as it is hard to disagree that rising CO2 levels are thought to contribute to Global Warming. How much, is the question all of us fence sitters are wondering about.
    Please note in the article that increased BMI (muscularity and obesity) were thought to be relevant (86% were lineman.) The total number of young football players certainly must have increased along with our population in the periods compared (almost 100 million since 1980.) The increased intensity of their pursuit of a potential career in the NFL, with its explosive growth of salary and celebrity in the recent decades, certainly must have played a part. There is anecdotal evidence that coaching has also increased in intensity as the prizes for success have explosively increased. Five million a year as a college coach has been shown to facilitate bad behavior in those seeking that as a career goal.
    Part of that increased intensity has brought the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs down to the level of high school and even middle school athletics, where their effects can be particularly damaging to young bodies.
    Lastly, just as with the epidemic of concussions in the NFL, bigger and faster players are just more likely to have negative outcomes when they repeatedly smash into each other. Teasing rising morning temperatures’ role from all the other factors in this sad set of outcomes is probably as difficult as assigning CO2 its role in Climate Change.

    • David Springer

      The highest mean annual temperature ever recorded (34.5C) was set over six consecutive years in a tropical desert in the 1960’s. One might wonder why the record still stands given that CO2 has risen 30% since that time.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “One might wonder why the record still stands given that CO2 has risen 30% since that time.”

        The source from those recorded temperatures, from 1960 to 1966, were published in Meteorological Magazine, v.96, 1967. The location is Dallol, Ethiopia — an abandoned mining settlement that is now a ghost town. It’s one of the remotest location on Earth, only visited by camel caravans to collect salt. I don’t suppose there is an active weather station there anymore.

        Another fact that may interest you. You’ve often argued that water vapor can’t provide a positive feedback since humid locations often are colder than dry locations at the same latitude. Dallol is very warm, you will concede. It’s also very humid: “Despite his desert climate, Dallol has very high levels of relative humidity, nearly always over 60%, which makes the already unbearable temperatures feel even worse.” –Wikipedia

      • Steven Mosher

        C02 doesnt control the temperature at the surface on a small scale. It controls how radiation leaves the top of the system.
        At the bottom of the system the temperature increase will not be uniform in time or space. overall on a GLOBAL basis the bottom will warm.
        More in some places ( say polar amplification dave) and little or none in others.. like tropics and perhaps deserts.

        write that down.
        polar amplification
        write that down
        heat transport
        write that down

      • C02 doesnt control the temperature at the surface on a small scale.

        Not entirely, but it contributes to determining how overall conditions, including temperature at the surface, evolve “on a small scale.”

        It controls how radiation leaves the top of the system.

        It has an effect on “how radiation leaves the top of the system.” So do many other things, especially clouds.

        At the bottom of the system the temperature increase will not be uniform in time or space.

        And in many places, depending on geography and local weather conditions, that higher temperature, as well as the greater downwelling IR, will have some locality-specific effect on how the weather evolves.

      • David Springer

        No Steve. The impedance to longwave propagating from surface to space increases with increased CO2. This causes the surface to cool slower than it would otherwise. For dry solid surfaces that approximate black bodies it produces what’s called the Planck response where temperature rises until the additional resistance is overcome. It applies equally to all surfaces where the CO2 change in the overlying column has changed by the same increment. Radiation at TOA doesn’t change consistently from place to place either. Your understanding of heat budget distribution is seriously flawed.

        I suggest you study this until you understand all of it.

      • David Springer

        You might to go here first, Steverino.

        This idealized radiative model is where the 1.2C surface warming is calculated. The physics of this idealized model is NOT in dispute by me. Things get more complicated real fast in the real world mostly because radiative physics plays second fiddle to water cycle for heat transport in the lower to mid troposphere on a world covered 71% by liquid water. But you evidently need to start with the basics of how the GHE works.

      • Steven Mosher,

        For once I agree with you.

        You write –

        “CO2 doesn’t control the temperature at the surface . . . ”

        Absolutely correct! I salute you! You forgot to add ” . . . or anywhere else . . .”, so I have added it for you. You don’t need to thank me, I always try to help those who have the misfortune to be less capable than myself.

        If you need any assistance with English expression, or the appropriate use of upper case letters in the English language, please let me know.

        As usual,

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Steven Mosher

        copy editing is all you r good 4

      • David Springer

        Pierre I never said high relative humidity cools anything did I? I’d say nice strawman but they’re ugly things created by stupid people not nice at all. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. Dallol gets 1-3″ inches of rain annually and very few clouds. It’s the water cycle which includes evaporation and precipitation which does the cooling. Write that down and please no more straw men.

      • David, the area around Dallol is full of salt flats, so the temperature needed to support a particular vapor pressure is much higher than in most areas.

      • Pierre-Normand

        David Springer, what I said was that “[y]ou’ve often argued that water vapor can’t provide a positive feedback since humid locations often are colder than dry locations at the same latitude.”
        You now say this a a straw man. Here is what you wrote very recently: “Tropical deserts have higher mean annual temperatures than any other tropical climate type. They also have the least water vapor of all tropical climate types. It seems to follow that water vapor is a negative feedback.”

      • David Springer

        Generally high relative humidity is associated with surface water, evaporation, clouds, and precipitation. Dallol appears to be an exception in that its geography allows a higher level of average annual RH for a tropical desert climate type. See the global precipitation map below.

        You see above the desert climate hugs the eastern shore of the Red Sea. Dallol is on the far southeastern shore of the Red Sea about 40 miles inland. Interestingly the annual average RH gets rather high there

        so it’s indeed exceptional in that it has a high humidity for a desert climate type. The high humidity absent clouds and precipitation undoutebly gives it a leg up for world’s highest mean annual temperature.

      • David Springer

        Err… sorry, *western* shore of Red Sea.

      • Pierre-Normand,

        You wrote –

        “Mike Flynn, the point of the TOA just is that at any level below the TOA the total vertical energy flux can be some combination of sensible/convective, latent or radiative fluxes. Above the TOA, since there is no atmosphere to support convective or latent fluxes, the energy flux can only be radiative. The sources of the radiation are the terrestrial surface and the atmosphere below, and the Sun above. That’s all.”

        More weasel words?

        What nonsense. You haven’t the faintest idea of how to define the TOA in physical terms, but you still insist that at say, one meter below the mythical TOA, you can measure the total vertical energy flux, yet another meaningless Warmist term. Just ignore the energy radiated in all directions apart from that normal to the Earths surface, except that radiation from an inclined surface is not normal to the mythical TOA. What to do? Obfuscate, obfuscate, obfuscate!!

        Use meaningless terms like sensible/convective – grand terms for describing radiation passing through something that has so little mass as to be unmeasurable. And so on. Latent flux passing through the meter of atmosphere below the wonderful TOA? Really? Latent, not sensible? Or has the latent flux suddenly magically become sensible at the notional TOA due to the notional influence of notional CO2 at the TOA?

        It all falls apart, however, when you claim that this farrago explains something that doesn’t exist – the greenhouse effect. The Earth is not warming. All Warmist attempts to make it so are apparently ineffective. Oh well, I suppose explaining the reasons for the existence of global warming when there isn’t any global warming is a fine metaphysical exercise.

        You can of course ponder this while you wait for the missing heat to return from wherever it went missing to. I’m sure it will come back as some combination of sensible/convective, latent or radiative fluxes. Or maybe not. If it isn’t there, maybe the simple explanation is that didn’t exist in the first place. Who knows? You? That really reassures me.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Mike Flynn,

        “What nonsense. You haven’t the faintest idea of how to define the TOA in physical terms,”

        I just did. The flux at the TOA simply is the flux across any closed surface just large enough to fully encloses the Earth and the atmosphere. That’s the only relevance of the term TOA. (The flux across the tropopause also is entirely radiative but since the stratosphere both emits and absorbs IR radiation, and absorbs solar radiation, there is a use for the TOA flux to quantify the total energy gained or loss by the whole system, including the stratosphere.

        “Just ignore the energy radiated in all directions apart from that normal to the Earths surface, except that radiation from an inclined surface is not normal to the mythical TOA.”

        No. The solar energy crosses the boundary in one direction and the IR radiation from the Earth/atmosphere cross the boundary in the other direction. The angle if incidence is irrelevant to the total flux in either direction. It may be tough to measure but something’s being difficult to measure doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or is meaningless.

        “Use meaningless terms like sensible/convective – grand terms for describing radiation passing through something that has so little mass as to be unmeasurable.”

        No matter you can’t understand anything that scientists say! A sensible flux is a conductive flux; nor a radiative flux. If occurs in a solid, liquid or gas whenever there is a temperature gradient. Convection occurs through a fluid that thermally expands; it’s not a radiative flux either. It results from an overturning motion that occurs when a warm fluid expands and rises through increased buoyancy. Those terms do not describe heat transfer through radiation. They certainly aren’t meaningless just because you don’t know what they mean. They are used by meteorologists and astrophysicists, and CAGW skeptics such as Curry, Spencer and Lindzen (who also use the TOA concept).

        “And so on. Latent flux passing through the meter of atmosphere below the wonderful TOA? Really? Latent, not sensible? Or has the latent flux suddenly magically become sensible at the notional TOA due to the notional influence of notional CO2 at the TOA?”

        The latent flux is the transport of heat through evaporation and condensation of water. Since there is no significant evaporation or condensation above the tropopause, then there is no latent flux above this boundary either, let alone through the TOA. I didn’t say that there may be a latent flux one meter below the TOA, only that there isn’t any above it.

      • The flux across the tropopause also is entirely radiative but since the stratosphere both emits and absorbs IR radiation, and absorbs solar radiation, there is a use for the TOA flux to quantify the total energy gained or loss by the whole system, including the stratosphere.

        Granted, Flynn’s simplistic descriptions are nonsense, so it something like this. Or, perhaps not nonsense, but simplistic and simply incorrect. There is considerable transfer of both sensible and latent energy across the tropopause.

        See, just for instance, Cross Tropopause Transport of Water by Mid-Latitude Deep Convective Storms: A Review

      • Pierre-Normand

        Thanks AK. That’s interesting.

      • Vernier et al 2011 is a good paper on tropospheric overshooting based on observations.

      • Thanks AK. That’s interesting.

        The whole tropopause is interesting. I was in a hurry, couldn’t find the paper I actually wanted that, IIRC, described the fine structure of the tropical tropopause. Turns out it’s several kilometers thick itself. Not a thin surface.

      • Identification of the tropical tropopause transition layer using the ozone-water vapor relationship byPan, L. L., L. C. Paulik, S. B. Honomichl, L. A. Munchak, J. Bian, H. B. Selkirk, and H. Vömel (2014), J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 119, doi:10.1002/2013JD020558. Abstract:

        We present a method of identifying the tropical tropopause transition layer (TTL) using chemical tracer-tracer relationships. Coincident ozone (O3) and water vapor (H2O) measurements over Alajuela, Costa Rica (~10°N), in July and August 2007 are used to demonstrate the concept. In the tracer-tracer space, the O3 and H2O relationship helps to separate the transition layer air mass from the background troposphere and stratosphere. This tracer relationship-based transition layer is found to span an approximately 40 K potential temperature range between 340 and 380 K and is largely confined between the level of minimum stability (LMS) and the cold point tropopause (CPT). This chemical composition-based transition layer is, therefore, consistent with a definition of the TTL based on the thermal structure, for which the LMS and CPT are the lower and upper boundaries of TTL, respectively. We also examine the transition layer over the region of Asian summer monsoon (ASM) anticyclone using the measurements over Kunming, China (~25°N), and compare its behavior with the TTL structure in the deep tropics. The comparison shows that the transition layer over the ASM is similar to the TTL, although the data suggest the ASM transition layer lies at higher potential temperature levels and is potentially prone to the influence of extratropical processes.

      • A model study on the influence of overshooting convection on TTL water vapour by M. E. E. Hassim and T. P. Lane Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 9833–9849, 2010 doi:10.5194/acp-10-9833-2010. Abstract:

        Overshooting deep convection that penetrates into the Tropical Tropopause Layer (TTL) is thought to have an important role in regulating the water vapour content of this region. Yet, the net effect of such convection and the dominant mechanisms remain unclear. This study uses two idealised three-dimensional cloud-resolving model simulations to examine the influence of overshooting convection on water vapour when it penetrates into two different TTL environments, one supersaturated and the other subsaturated with respect to ice. These simulations show that the overshooting convection plays a direct role in driving the ambient environment towards ice saturation through either net moistening (subsaturated TTL) or net dehydration (supersaturated TTL). Moreover, in these cases the extent of dehydration in supersaturated conditions is greater than the moistening in subsaturated conditions. With the aid of modelled passive tracers, the relative roles of transport, mixing and ice microphysics are assessed; ultimately, ice sublimation and scavenging processes play the most important role in defining the different TTL relative humidity tendencies. In addition, significant moistening in both cases is modelled well into the subsaturated tropical lower stratosphere (up to 450 K), even though the overshooting turrets only reach approximately 420 K. It is shown that this moistening is the result of jumping cirrus, which is induced by the localised upward transport and mixing of TTL air following the collapse of the overshooting turret.

    • Mosher, this is the second time in two days that you have quite misrepresented the mechanism by which CO2 acts. It has nothing to do with TOA radiation, in terms of energy at least.
      All CO2 does is recycle out going IR radiation. Basically it will decreases the overall rate of cooling, as back radiation adds heat back to the surface, increase the rate of heating, as back radiation adds addition heat back to the surface, and should increase the steady state Tmin and Tmax, with the largest effect on the former.

      Why do you keep up this TOA stuff?

      • DocMartyn, you are the one getting it wrong. Of course, it is TOA where CO2 matters, as much as albedo and solar input there. This explains the 33 C difference between 255 K at TOA and 288 K at the surface. It is textbook, first chapter, climate.

      • David Springer

        English major with delusions of numeracy.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Indeed if, following an enhancement of the greenhouse effect, the upwelling radiation from the surface is offset by more back radiation from the atmosphere, and the colder higher layers from the atmosphere radiates less heat to space, then it follows that there will be a TOA imbalance until the surface and troposphere warm enough. In any case, conservation of energy and the fact that the atmosphere has a small heat capacity ensures that the rate of energy gain at the surface will tend to mach the average TOA imbalance over a long enough period.

      • The heat capacity of the atmosphere has little or nothing to do with the long-term effect. In fact, the small heat capacity ensures that the troposphere heats up and cools down on a daily basis.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Phatboy, the point simply is that when you integrate the variable TOA imbalance over a period of many years, or a few decades, then the result is the net amount of heat gained by the whole climate system over that period. There isn’t any mean for energy to enter or leave the climate system other than radiatively through the TOA. (I am neglecting the average 80mW/m^2 geothermal flux since this is typically 0.1% of the TOA imbalance.) The atmosphere can only typically hold a small fraction of this heat without its temperature changing very much. Hence the heat gain mostly goes into the oceans. That means that the total net amount of energy that has crossed the TOA boundary is close to the total amount that has crossed the surface boundary. This, of course, isn’t true about the variations on very short timescales (e.g. diurnal or even monthly) since, then, the atmosphere indeed has enough heat capacity to take the slack.

      • DocMartyn,

        The TOA is a necessary part of the Warmist religion. The fact that it has infinitely small mass, yet has infinitely large radiative capacity, and transmits energy of certain wavelengths, yet absorbs others, all the time knowing which is which, and travelling in which direction, puts it near to the luminiferous aether in the dictionary of non existent , and therefore unprovable things.

        If I had a bottle of TOA, and a bit of unobtainium, imagine what I could achieve!

        Meanwhile the delusional Warmists conveniently refuse to acknowledge that the globe is refusing to warm in response to their demands. At least it’s good for keeping the vital humours balanced!

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “The TOA is a necessary part of the Warmist religion. The fact that it has infinitely small mass, yet has infinitely large radiative capacity, and transmits energy of certain wavelengths, yet absorbs others, ”

        You are talking nonsense again. The TOA is where the atmosphere ends for all practical purpose. Above the TOA lies the strong vacuum of space — but for some tiny amount of interstellar dust, solar wind or stray molecules that escaped the Earth gravity. It doesn’t “absorb radiations”. The TOA is a notional boundary. Nobody claims that the TOA absorbs radiation. Where this you get that from?

      • Pierre-Normand,

        If the TOA is notional, what’s its point? None at all. It doesn’t exist. Neither does the greenhouse effect. Now that you at least accept that the TOA has no mass, and therefore can radiate precisely nothing at all, you will realise that all the nonsense about TOA radiative balance is complete and utter balderdash.

        Can we stop talking about the non existent TOA now?

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Mike Flynn, the point of the TOA just is that at any level below the TOA the total vertical energy flux can be some combination of sensible/convective, latent or radiative fluxes. Above the TOA, since there is no atmosphere to support convective or latent fluxes, the energy flux can only be radiative. The sources of the radiation are the terrestrial surface and the atmosphere below, and the Sun above. That’s all.

        So, contrary to what you falsely claimed, “warmists” don’t claim that the TOA has a “radiatie capacity” or that it “absorbs” radiation. Those nonsensical claims are products of your confusion alone. The net energy flux imbalance through the TOA simply is the difference between the incoming energy from the Sun and the outgoing IR energy from the Surface and atmosphere. This imbalance is insensitive to the exact location of the TOA boundary as long as — for all practical purpose — it fully encloses the Earth atmosphere. Any close surface that fully encloses the Earth/atmosphere system has the same net radiative flux going through it. This is why I said the TOA boundary is notional. It’s not a material thing. It’s just the recognition of the simple fact that the atmosphere has a limited extent and that beyond that extent the only energy fluxes are radiative.

      • A sustained imbalance of 1W/m2 is enough to heat up the entire atmospheric column by 3K in less than a year.
        The fact that the tropsphere isn’t rapidly heating (or cooling), and as the tropospheric temperature profile is dictated by the lapse rate, it means that the outward flux at TOA must equal the net outward flux at the surface.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Yes, phatboy, we are in agreement. It is precisely because the heat capacity of the atmosphere is low that the surface and TOA fluxes must track each other when integrated over more than a few months.

      • Yes, agreed up to this point.
        But now we have to seriously consider the direction of energy flow.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Phatboy wrote: “Yes, agreed up to this point. But now we have to seriously consider the direction of energy flow.”

        That one seems easy. Over the last several decades, have the sea levels been rising or falling?

      • “seems easy”, yes, give or take a few assumptions.
        What determines the energy flux from the surface?

    • Jim D, I am so sorry that you have latched on to a particular belief in magic, but there are only two things here, thermodynamics and kinetics.
      We live on a spinning globe which has a cyclical input of shortwave radiation that causes heating. The Earths is losing heat to space all the time, the difference in amount of heat flux, in the form of IR radiation, at daily Tmin and daily Tmax is trivial compared with incoming fluxes.
      The TOA flux is meaningless as anything other than a mental construct. It is only cold, diffuse gas. All the action is lower down.

      Look at figure 2

      Its not complicated, the system doesn’t ‘think’ about what it is doing to ‘balance’, ‘balance’ is an end point of the whole system. Thing radiate due to their temperature and due to their intrinsic physical properties.

      • DocMartyn, long-term it is the balance at the top that matters. If we restrict exiting radiation by adding an absorber like CO2, it is like partially blocking a drainhole in a sink, the level (temperature) rises until the flow rate is restored. It is basic physics. I am not saying anything new here and it is not controversial. There are indeed two things, the energy balance and the lapse rate. You don’t have much to argue against there because these are just respectively from the radiative and thermodynamic parts of the basic physics.

      • Jim D. take a graduated measuring cylinder and make a small hole in the bottom. Attach to a water source that has a constant flow (back radiation) and the water level will come to a steady state whereby the water level is less than zero and the influx of water and efflux of water are equal.
        Now attach a second water source that has a truncated sine-wave form. As you increase the water influx the height of the water column will rise and it will rise until the efflux equals influx, the height of the column determines efflux rate.
        The system is dynamic, you can run it through the same input cycle and it will give the same dynamic reporting of column height.
        Now all you need to do is change the size of the hole. A small hole, lots of GHG’s, means that the water column is higher for the same water influx and a large hole, few GHG’s, means that the water column is lower for the same water influx.
        The response time of water level is FASTER than the change in the cycle of changing influx. The system has no memory of previous peaks and troughs. It responds to the now. The efflux is independent of influx, the efflux is only dependent on water level and the size of the hole. The system ‘looks’ like it is trying to ‘balance’ efflux with influx, but this is just an anthropomorphization. One can demonstrate this by adding a ‘boat’. Placing a wooden baton in the measuring cylinder cause an initial increase in the efflux, but when the system comes to steady steady state, the efflux again equals influx, but, the water level is at a different steady state.

      • DocMartyn, so you understand the faucet, sink, plughole, analogy, but haven’t interpreted the height of the column as the temperature for some reason. One book that uses this analogy is The Long Thaw by Professor David Archer (U. Chicago), a very readable analysis of long-term climate responses to CO2.

      • I have interpreted the water level as Temperature.
        The response time of temperature is rapid. There is no major lag in the system. There is no deficit at the TOA of outgoing vs incoming radiation. Now the TOA is not magic, in the same way the top of the water is not magic; all the water molecules are part of the say system even though the water pressure is different throughout the column.

      • David Springer

        Amazing how the troposphere temperature at pie-hole level over dry land isn’t what’s important anymore. LOL

      • Why do you say the response time is rapid when the ocean takes decades to adjust to a balanced warmer surface temperature? This is why we have an imbalance now. The land can adjust rapidly and is warming at twice the rate, but the ocean is a drag on the system.

      • Wile E. you can argue that to DocM who actually thinks it is instantaneous. Skeptics are all over the place on this, as we see.
        It takes a while, but equilibrium tells you the direction of the change, even if it doesn’t reach it. Several have been confused by this whole equilibrium thing. It is understandable.

      • Wile E. Coyote? )

      • Wile E. Coyote

        The changes in ocean heat closely follow the change in toa flux. It is near enough to instantaneous. Don’t believe the data? Not my problem.

      • How about we look at it this way. We are at equilibrium right now. But there are at least two equilibria. The one that we are in that is weakening, and the one we will likely be in that is strengthening. Figure 4 here:
        shows a progression of equilibria. If you look at the deep right state and think of it as the deep left state, we’d have a climate escalator effect of step warming, with temperatures marching rightward and up.

        With the hiatus, we hear about that equilibrium that we don’t seem to be at. So which is the more correct equilibrium? Now or in the future that we haven’t yet realized? The future one is less certain.

        It’s sort of like saying we should be making money but have not yet. Yet I know we will. To continue to march off the cliff with ‘we are at equilibrium’, yesterday’s is gone. Tomorrow we will have another, as will next week and next year. Which is the correct one to use? Are we just forecasting equilibria?

      • “Jim D | June 12, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        Why do you say the response time is rapid when the ocean takes decades to adjust to a balanced warmer surface temperature? This is why we have an imbalance now.”

        I cannot really tell if you are being deliberately obtuse or are very misinformed.

        Temperature change by month and depth:-

        What ‘lag’ is there in this system? Can you see the cycle?
        It is not an equilibrium!!!!!

      • So now the deniers are out in force with the “equilibrium” sledge hammer.
        That’s a good one … as all semiconductor engineers learn equilibrium statistical mechanics so they can apply it to the highly non-equilibrium regime of device operation. Same goes for every other discipline that uses thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. The usage of the term equilibrium is a crutch because you have nothing else to argue with.

        BTW, sokkkpuppy coyote is actually the chief skippy dingo-boy.. Sad that he has to use handle #67 of his multiple identities to garner grass-roots support for his demented mewlings.

      • Wile E. Coyote

        So we have the ravings of a demented gerbil who has failed to understand yet again the most basic of data – note real data and not globs of narrative – and replies with all the usual crazed denunciations and hand waving about statistical mechanics.

        Stick this up your bum webby.

        ‘Ding, Hui et al, 2013, have made major progress in predicting abrupt climate shifts based on analysis of the 1976/1977 and 1998/2001 climate shifts. Mojib Latif – Head of the Research Division: Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics – Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel has commented publicly on the research. ‘The winds change the ocean currents which in turn affect the climate. In our study, we were able to identify and realistically reproduce the key processes for the two abrupt climate shifts. We have taken a major step forward in terms of short-term climate forecasting, especially with regard to the development of global warming… However, ‘since the reliability of those predictions is still at about 50%, you might as well flip a coin.’ Numerical prediction of climate shifts using powerful climate models is now as accurate as tossing a coin – although perhaps we should not make light of such a difficult problem in climate science.’

        Ding, Hui, Richard J. Greatbatch, Mojib Latif, Wonsun Park, Rüdiger Gerdes, 2013: Hindcast of the 1976/77 and 1998/99 climate shifts in the pacific. J. Climate, 26, 7650–7661.

        This cretin is an absolute waste of time – and if he ever stops being a cartoon caricature I might use my real name again.

      • DocM, do you know what heat capacity means? You can’t warm the ocean instantaneously. Divide its heat capacity by a few W/m2 forcing to get a time scale. This is physics/engineering 101. Talk to engineers if you don’t believe me. For even a few hundred meters of water it takes years to warm up, and it can’t keep up with the forcing change because it has deeper recirculations too when we talk about climate scales. This is the imbalance. We even see the ocean heat content rising at a gradual rate due to this imbalance.

      • Wile E. Coyote

        Yes we heard it the first time Jimbo. No need to repeat it. Apart from anything else – it just doesn’t explain the data.

        Ask yourself why the oceans warm and cool with such regularity.

      • “Jim D | June 13, 2014 at 2:57 am |
        DocM, do you know what heat capacity means? You can’t warm the ocean instantaneously. Divide its heat capacity by a few W/m2 forcing to get a time scale. This is physics/engineering 101. Talk to engineers if you don’t believe me. For even a few hundred meters of water it takes years to warm up, and it can’t keep up with the forcing change because it has deeper recirculations too when we talk about climate scales. This is the imbalance. We even see the ocean heat content rising at a gradual rate due to this imbalance.”

        Fascinating; just answer me this, why is the bottom of the ocean at about 4 degrees, globally, when it has 10,000’s thousands of years to ‘equilibrate’ with the the average sea surface temperature? According to your logic, all that lovey heat at the surface should be diffusing downward and warming the abyss, slowly to be sure. And yet, the bottom is cold and has been cold over the last 600 million years. There is a good reason that you cannot use the equilibrium approximation on dynamic systems.

      • David Springer

        The global ocean abyss (90% of its volume) is 3C not 4C. The average temperature of the global ocean is 4C. Many people make the mistake of saying the abyss is 3C because that’s the point of highest density. But that’s wrong. Fresh water has its greatest density at 3C. Seawater reaches greatest density at the freezing point which is -2C.

        The key question is then why is the average temperature of the ocean 4C. Why not 2C or 6C for instance?

      • Pierre-Normand

        “Fascinating; just answer me this, why is the bottom of the ocean at about 4 degrees, globally, when it has 10,000′s thousands of years to ‘equilibrate’ with the the average sea surface temperature?”

        The deep ocean is cold because of the thermohaline circulation. There is nevertheless a diffusive heat energy flux from the top-down, and also a much weaker geothermal heat flux from the sea floor up, but the deep ocean remains cold because those fluxes are compensated by deep advection of water from the poles. So, there is a cooling advective flux and compensating warming diffusive fluxes that both affect the deep tropical ocean. Those two things balance out over long time scales. Variations in the surface flux balance will also change this balance over long time scales and thus lead the deep ocean to equilibrate at a warmer temperature.

      • Wile E. Coyote | June 13, 2014 at 3:56 am |

        Yes we heard it the first time Jimbo. No need to repeat it. Apart from anything else – it just doesn’t explain the data.

        JC SNIP

        Ask yourself why the oceans warm and cool with such regularity.

        Ummm, like seasons, as shat?

      • P
        ” So, there is a cooling advective flux and compensating warming diffusive fluxes that both affect the deep tropical ocean. Those two things balance out over long time scales”

        Can we language to describe thermodynamics and kinetics as clearly and careful as possible.

        “there is a cooling advective flux”

        Correct, hot, dense brines from the equator move to the poles, cool during the polar night, and sink to the depths. This is why the bottom is cold.

        “and compensating warming diffusive fluxes ”

        A flux is a flux, it is a description of a vectorial movement, do not describe it has having motivation. IT DOES NOT ‘COMPENSATE’ anything. The word ‘compensate’ has a real meaning. The heat flux from the surface is driven by the thermodynamic of the system, no more and no less. The flux from the surface with a temperature of 15 degrees is the same if the deep ocean is at 4 degrees or 14 degrees.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “A flux is a flux, it is a description of a vectorial movement, do not describe it has having motivation. IT DOES NOT ‘COMPENSATE’ anything.”

        Bah… OK, it cancels it unwittingly…

      • DocM, just how effective do you think diffusion is when the water isn’t circulating as part of a current? The answer is not very. The bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is equally cold, and there is no mystery about that either. The parts of the ocean that determine the surface temperature don’t interact with the bottom water in thousands of years, but it still takes hundreds of years for the climate to warm the ocean to any kind of surface equilibrium because of the slow circulations, which is the process going on now. What was your initial assertion? I thought it was something about the TOA radiation budget not mattering for climate, but then you went to the other (wrong) extreme of everything reacting immediately to it.

      • Wile E has rediscovered the well known annual ocean temperature cycle. Good on ya. Nothing to do with climate, however, except its trend.

      • Wile E. Coyote

        Ocean heat follows net toa flux.

        Because it is so close to equilibrium. There is no observable sustained imbalance from greenhouse gases – because it is so small and the natural variability so large.

  13. Fan wrote;

    “Already in the US, hypothermic football deaths have tripled:”

    Holy feces, we went from one death per year 15 years ago to 3 deaths per year recently. Out of a total population of 300 some million, of which perhaps a million are high school football players…. RUN FOR THE HILLS….

    Couldn’t possibly be population growth, demographic shifts to southern locations in the US, less young folks working to support their families so they have more time for sports, etc, etc. NOPE, IT MUST BE CLIMATE DISRUPTION.

    Yet in the whole history of the NFL (coming up shortly on Super Bowl # 50, that would be 50 years, a whole half century) there have been no “heat deaths” among the players, although an inebriated fan did recently wander away from a late season Buffalo Bills game and died from exposure to the COLD (that would be a hypothermic death). A quick review, “hypo” means UNDER (like a hypodermic needle, UNDER the skin). Can’t you folks brush up on your Greek just a little bit, please, it might (just barely) increase your already urine poor reputation.

    Is there anything “climate disruption” can’t do ? I haven’t seen the scientific paper “proving” that “climate disruption” causes more hemorrhoids, but I’m sure somebody applied for a grant already.

    Somebody add “Hypothermic football deaths” to the list of things CO2 can do.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  14. John Smith (it's my real name)

    FOMD – football heat related deaths “nearly” tripled to 3 per year – are you joking? You call this evidence of CAGW? “nearly” – I guess one guy only half died.
    Six weeks ago I couldn’t spell “climate change denier,” now I are one.

    • (it’s my real name)

      Phew. We were about to take you out and shoot you for cowardice.

    • nottawa rafter

      It only gets worse the more you learn. Six years ago I couldn’t spell “climate change denier”. I are one now too. The thought process and deductive reasoning for Fan’s comment is endemic throughout the climate debate. Just like rolling a magnetized bowling ball on a lane of iron dust. Everything gloms onto it.

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      “Six weeks ago I couldn’t spell “climate change denier,” now I are one.”

      Fan has that effect on people :-). .

      In all seriousness, it’s the thing that pushed me over the fence as well….the patent ludicrousness (ludicrosity?) of many of the alarmist claims. Add in a healthy dose of trademark warmist nastiness, along with their refusal to engage with the perfectly reasonable questions and doubts of many skeptics, and I don’t know how any reasonable person can help but start wondering, wtf is up with these guys?

      They ought to pass out T-shirts at alarmist gatherings bearing the famous Pogo cartoon “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

      • 3 converts in an hour. Somebody give that Fan a medal!

      • You don’t get that Pogo, now do you?

        Give me a patent ludicrous claim by any warmist that you find objectionable and I’ll engage.

      • Hi Bob.
        Surely FOMD’s ‘evidence’ fits the bill?

      • bob,

        How about David Archer’s 10 meters of sea level rise?

        Or was that simply him misplacing a decimal point?

      • Timg56,

        Can you dispute anything in this paper?

        Particularly this

        The slope of covariation has been 10-20
        meters per degree C.

        If anything 10 meters is an underestimate.

        I don’t think the we’ll be dead by then argument is of any use.

      • MarkX,

        FOMD gives better evidence than Kevin on the prevalence of football related heat deaths.

        Again, Corey Stringer anyone?

        If it happens to the pros

      • Dispute? How about carbonate released by volcanic ash

      • David Springer

        Maybe increased deaths from heat stroke among football players has something to do with the obesity epidemic amongst young people of football-playing age?

        FYI Korey Stringer weighed 346 pounds the day he died. Even at 6’4″ that’s a body mass index of 42 which is twice a normal BMI of ~20 and far beyond the obesity benchmark of 30. It was his extreme obesity that killed him not climate change. Write that down.

      • Springer,
        The BMI doesn’t work for football players or other professional athletes.
        And I didn’t say climate change killed him either, read the post and pray.
        He also was at his lowest weight of his professional career when he died, maybe weight loss killed him. Obese lineman don’t go to the pro bowl.

        Write that down

      • David Springer

        Droege. Right. A BMI of 42. 346 pounds of pure muscle. With heat fins to move the heat from body core to environment. You should probably stop making crap up.

        Above is adjusted BMI calculator for athletes and extremely muscular individuals. Stringer comes out a 36 instead of a 42. Obese begins at 30.

        Stringer’s weight killed him. His core temperature was 108 when he died.

      • bob,

        I’m ok sticking with arithmatic. As in 3.3 mm/year.

      • Don Monfort

        How many skinny players died that day, bobby?

      • Alright I’ll continue making crap up…

        That is if you can tell me what crap I have made up

        It takes a physically fit person to get their core body temperature up to 108 degrees, I would say Korey Stringer’s fitness had something to do with his death. A less fit person would have passed out before reaching that state. I would look for better than a BMI calculator to determine whether Corey was obese or not. Maybe caliper testing or water weighing to determine total body fat percentage. Though the calculator you cited puts me 1 stinking point form normal.

        2 1/2 hours in full pads, second day of practice, in 90 degree heat and high humidity, from weather underground for the day humidity 63 to 94% which is wet bulb 80 to 89 F. In the first practice of the season which he couldn’t complete the wet bulb was 82 to 87.

        I think 2 hour or longer practices in those conditions were more responsible for Korey’s death than his unconfirmed obesity.

      • David Springer

        The part you made up is that BMI doesn’t apply to weight lifters, wrestlers, football linebackers, etc. There are BMI calculators for people in those categories. Take a look at some pictures of Stringer. You think all that flubber hanging over his belt is muscle? Get real.

      • I said the first BMI calculation you cited didn’t work for football players and then you provided an adjusted BMI for those athletes effectively proving my point.


  15. One by one it all adds up.

  16. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    The website How Hot Is Hot? How Safe Is Safe? is recommended to Climate Etc readers who want to learn more about wet-bulb temperatures, the science of which was pioneered by the US Marine Corps. `Nuf said!

    Suggestion  Perhaps the BEST folks can tease-out wet-bulb temperature trend-lines? Falling? Stable? Steady rise? Accelerating rise? If rising/accelerating, how long till lethal heat is common?

    The world wonders! (and rightly so)

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

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Global humidity anomalies trending upward … same as global temperature … ouch.

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

    • AFOMD,

      The link you provided was interesting. There. I don’t discriminate, all the time.

      I particularly liked the conclusion, as you obviously did –

      I quote –

      “Conclusion: It is our feeling that the great tangle of facts, suggestions and decrees outlined in this article reflect the complexity of the questions, How hot is hot? How Safe is safe? The answers to these questions, it turns out, are situation-dependent and probabilistic. Every day, every competition and every athlete is a casino. We walk into the casino and we make bets. Insightful gamblers, who respect the seriousness of the game and have prepared diligently, will make a vast number of winning bets, and a few losers. Others will flounder. The game cannot be simplified: It is inherently complex. There will always be those who deny this reality, and they will propose simple solutions. Every complex problem will prompt suggestions of simple solutions, and all of those simple solutions will be wrong.”

      I quote again, in case you missed it the first time around – “Every complex problem will prompt suggestions of simple solutions, and all of those simple solutions will be wrong.”

      Once again AFOMD, many thanks for reinforcing what everyone apart from fanatical Warmists needs to know. Oh, how we still need you!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Geoff Sherrington

      And I wasn’t thinking that Holland wrote about desert areas, where humidity and football players are low in number. Why did you try to derail the theme?

    • The us marines seem to approach the problem with the typical American tendency to complicate matters. When I was in East Africa I had a fairly simple rule: all newcomers would train and work between 2100 and 0900 hours on the next day. I gave them an exacto knife and told them to cut off their shirt sleeves and pants legs below the knees to improve their survival chances. They kept on their helmets, and if they got too hot they could drop out and strip naked. We also told them to watch the color of their urine and make sure they were going to the toilet to make sure they were keeping hydrated. This system worked very well, and we never had anybody faint as long as they stuck to the right schedule.

      I give you this example because to me it’s evident many arguments are being made assuming people are incredibly stupid and can’t learn to adapt to what amounts to a few degrees warmer weather. I would be touting sea level change, ocean acidification, and massive flooding due to thicker snow packs rather than mentioning heat stroke, when common sense tells us freezing deaths will fall off proportionally at the other end.

      • Fernado,

        It is a common trait of folks who consider themselfs to be progressive. That most people, particularly those who don’t agree with them, are incredibly stupid and need to be told what to do.

      • Pretty incredibly ignorant, you can get heat stroke without fainting.

        There is no adaptation to repeated exposure to heat stress.

        And another thing, like FOMD cited, the marines change their requirements for activity based on wet bulb temperatures not “a few degrees warmer weather”

        Trivia question:

        In what state of the US holds the wet bulb temperature record for the US?


      • Fernando leanme

        You may get heat stroke without fainting, but the guys I saw with heat stroke always acted stupid, wobbled, and didn’t even react if you insulted their ancestry. That’s what I think you call feeling faint, isn’t it? Do you know what’s stupid? To run around in long sleeve shirts, heavy boots and helmet, and wait for the medic to measure the wet bulb temperature when you are already vomiting.

        Most of what I read about global warming problems is peanuts. One would think you’d learn to focus on sea level rise and other meaningful subjects. Do you really expect normal americans to accept carbon taxes because global warming is killing football players who practice in August?

      • I look at the temperature and humidity before I exercise and use the 70-50 rule. Above both 70 F and 50% relative humidity, I take it easy.

        I used to be a professional painter, for some paints, you need to measure the wet bulb temperature before you apply the paint, if it was too high, the paint wouldn’t dry properly. I mean us ex bubbleheads don’t have a high expectation of a marines smarts but you are trainable. Measure the wet bulb temp before you exercise. And in battle, well the medic has something to do before you engage, right?

        You are right though, sea level is much more important than Vikings dropping dead in practice, If that is what it takes to beat the Bears.

    • Steven Mosher

      The problem is that wet blub temps are not always available, or rather only a subset of locations have the data required to calculate wet bulb.

      A while back we looked at a better metric than wet blub, a metric that is actually in operational use in heat wave warning systems deployed by Larry Kalkstein.

      Did an exploratory study with Larry and his team and we have another proposal floating around. money is tough to find

  17. David L. Hagen

    Beware: Nature is persistent, not random
    Many models assume random variations as red noise. Koutsoyiannis et al., detail how climate is NOT random, but rather shows persistence. Aka. Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics. Consequently, the natural HK standard deviation is about TWICE conventional statistics. E.g. see:
    Markonis, Y., and D. Koutsoyiannis, Climatic variability over time scales spanning nine orders of magnitude: Connecting Milankovitch cycles with Hurst–Kolmogorov dynamics, Surveys in Geophysics, 34 (2), 181–207, 2013. Preprint

    Warning: Many models are NOT significant
    Note the APS Climate Statement Review Workshop Transcript

    p 80 #2-4 Dr. Koonin: “What is the gateway for getting included in CMIP5 ensemble?”
    P 80 #19-21 Dr. Collins “quote . . .’There is no minimum fidelity requirement for inclusion in the ensemble’”. .

    20 year “Pause”
    McKitrick also finds the “Pause” is now running 20 years.
    McKitrick, Ross R. (2014) “Robust Measurement of the Duration of the Global Warming Hiatus” under review.
    Climate persistence strikes again.

    Greater stringency required
    Many reports are not significant. Valerie Johnson recommends much stricter standards.
    Valen E. Johnson, Revised standards for statistical evidence PNAS | November 26, 2013 | vol. 110 | no. 48 | 19313–19317

    Check model basis of “fat tail angst”
    Ross McKitrick exposed serious approximation errors by Weitzman:
    Cheering Up the Dismal Theorem
    Check approximations in other “fat tail” models to ensure they do not have the same serious “dismal” approximation.

  18. What if the distribution changed in a warming climate to have a ‘snub nose’ on the right, rather than a tail?

    Figure b) shows something interesting I think. The line is changing shape to give us more instability. The slopes are softening. I think it would make it more likely we can swap regimes.

    The red blue distribution from the 3 graphs. Knowing the actual distribution would imply what’s going on. Has that been looked at?

    • Summer only unfortunately.

      We do see falling stability – Snub nose.
      Figure c) is the winner with more reds.
      If this continues, in about 300 years the distribution will collapse.
      What can make this change? That’s an interesting question.

    • Another interesting thing with the Hansen graph above. Comparing the blue to the pink line, it shifts right and retains its shape. 2001 is a Tsonis sync date. An upwards step. It would be nice if someone reformatted the time periods Hansen used to 1913, 1942, 1977 and 2001.

    • It is difficult to define a true distribution when there is a background trend that also broadens it. There is controversy whether the distribution is really broadening or just the trend is accelerating. Either way, not good.

  19. Matthew R Marler

    Interesting post. I had not seen actual snub-nose distributions.

    • The distribution of distributions Marler has seen (in real world data) is different from what I would have imagined. That’s a genuine learning point.

  20. Judith, as someone who now lives on the Atlantic in Florida, yet still runs a dairy farm in Wisconsin, these sorts of results matter a great deal.

    I find them unpersuasive. There are a number of reasons. Model PDFs do not adequately describe the possible hurricanes, droughts, and late plantings I have to deal with annually using my checkbook.. They may describe the house odds in Vegas, but do little to help the practical decisions I must make annually about insurance and crops in order not to lose the farm to the ‘house’ (like hybrid corn time to maturity of the seeds we chose to plant, which ranges from 4 to 5 months (faster means less yield) but if guessed wrong means even worse yields.
    And, results for NSW in Australia mean Butkus for southwestern Wisconsin.
    And, as Pielke Sr has published, regional downscaling of GCMs is worse than useless.
    So, when I see general statistical ideals/truisms with respect to probability distributions (as above) combined with highly uncertain model climatology, I react as farmers have always done. Hope last year won’t be that different than next year, and no matter what actually happens persevere.
    A fancy way of saying that until somebody can reasonably forecast next year before it happens, us farmers will just continue with our no regrets conservative policies. Worked for hundreds of years. Even before CAGW.
    And mostly ignore fancy model studies that pretend to have all this climate stuff figured out but without a lengthly historical validation.

    • @ Rud Istvan | June 11, 2014 at 12:21 am

      As a now retired farmer in western Victoria in SE Australia
      100 ++++

    • Rud, the word is bupkis not Butkus

    • Rud, the point of this is surprise about what the distribution actually is. My company is running with this idea for heat wave forecasts on time scales of 1-15 days, 16-32 days, and seasonal forecasts of extremes. We also make hurricane forecasts out 1-15 days, and 16-32 days (the longer range forecasts are relative to climatology, the 1-15 day forecasts are probabilistic (with a pdf).

      We are also working on 1-5 year statistical forecasts of extreme events, guided by the stadium wave and different flavor of ENSOs.

      We have a graduate student applying these strategies to agriculture in the SE US. Peter Webster’s sub seasonal Asian monsoon forecasts are being used in some areas of S. Asia for cropping decision.

      Weather risk management is a booming industry in the U.S. Based upon my experience, energy sector is the A students, agriculture is C- students.

      We should talk offline about more intelligent use of weather info for the ag sector

      • Have you spoken with Drew Lerner –

      • I am rooting for you to succeed with seasonal forecasts, however you might manage to make them. The point about choice of hybrid given the estimate of corn maturation period is real. If one knew you could plant in late April rather than mid to late May, one could pick a longer maturity hybrid ‘designed’ for a more southern region ( south Illinois rather than south Wisconsin) and pick up between 10 and 20 bushels of yield per acre. But unless you know that reliably, you cannot afford the risk of losing 20-30 bushels an acre because fall came before late planted corn had fully matured. We have tractors that can even adjust the planting spacing to microclimate and micro soil conditions (more seeds per square meter in favorable locations). Those systems cost up to $30k extra, and justify themselves on yield increases of maybe 5 bushels an acre. A reasonably accurate seasonal forecast (early or late spring, early or late fall) would be worth much more than that. Same is true for soybeans, but not for wheat.
        Please get some A+ types working on it.. It’s not fair that the energy guys get two week warning with heat wave forecasts in order to plan generating capacity so that people can stay comfy, and farmers just have to muddle through.
        Btw, Steven Jay Gould wrote an interesting essay on why there are no more 400 batting average major league baseball players. Fat tail went to stub distribution. No more Joe DiMaggios, a highly reliable prediction It is the underlying reason that is scientifically interesting, because applies to species evolution also. Maybe some analogies in there somewhere for your own research on this.
        All the best.

      • Matthew R Marler

        curryja: Rud, the point of this is surprise about what the distribution actually is

        Ah. I see Prof Curry defended herself on this point.

    • If only all climate scientists’ pay were determined by the accuracy of their climate predictions. That would clean up climate science within a year or less.

    • Rud Istvan,

      You have my utmost sympathy. Few people seem to accept that everything that goes down our gullets came from somebody doing their darnedest to utilise the Sun, the water, and the soil to produce what we take for granted – food.

      As far as I know, all the computers, all the rhetoric, all the pontificating, are incapable of producing a single grain of rice.

      A farmer can work his whole life, putting up with adversity of all sorts, from unkind Nature to unkind Government, and earn less than someone whose main ability is kicking a leather sac full of air in alternate directions from time to time can earn in a day

      It’s a strange world we live in. Keep farming. Without you, we all perish.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Rud Istvan: I find them unpersuasive. There are a number of reasons. Model PDFs do not adequately describe the possible hurricanes, droughts, and late plantings I have to deal with annually using my checkbook..

      I thought that you missed the point of her post. Which was, I thought, that the empirical distributions are in fact different from the distributions used by the modelers.

      The rest of your post is good: the distributions produced by the models are no improvement over historical records, especially where there are reasonably accurate records for 150 years or so. It is occasionally proposed that we must “believe” or something the standard model until there is a better model, but in fact we already have better evidence available for planning. We could expect that the worst flood, worst drought etc in the next 150 years will not be more that 20% worse than the worst flood or worst drought over the last 150 years. Planners in places that have longer records might take the records further back: the worst flood in CA recorded history occurred in the 1840s or so, and planners occasionally refer back to that as a standard.

      A study published in Nature analyzing the rainfall maxima between the Appalachians and Rockies showed an approximately 7% increase in maximum rainfall since about 1950; they found good agreement between the “generalized extreme value distribution” and the recorded rainfall maxima. That the extremes follow a “generalized extreme value” distribution does not conflict with the idea that the distributions in each region (whence the “extremes” are selected for study) are snub-nosed, because the extreme value distributions are the same no matter what the exact underlying distributions are. Where there is a long enough record of “extremes” to study, statisticians have recently been recommending that the extremes be studied and modeled with “generalized extreme value” distributions.

  21. Judith, you refer to Giles and Melbourne as “the two cities.” The following refers:

    “Giles Weather Station (also referred to as Giles Meteorological Station or Giles) is located in Western Australia near the Northern Territory border, about 750 kilometres (470 mi) West-South-West of Alice Springs and 330 kilometres (210 mi) West of Uluru.[1][2] It is the only staffed weather station within an area of about 2,500,000 square kilometres (970,000 sq mi)[3] and is situated mid-continent and near the core of the subtropical jetstream. This means it plays an important role as a weather and climate observatory for the country, particularly eastern and southeastern Australia, and particularly for rainfall predictions. The station is on the Great Central Road and the nearest township is the Warakurna aboriginal settlement (population 180), 5 kilometres (3 mi) North. Giles is within the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and is in the foothills of the Rawlinson Ranges.

    “A staff of three (reduced from 4 at the end of 2010) operate the remote station on six-monthly tours. A 1,600-metre (5,200 ft) airstrip services the station and the Warakurna community.[4]”

    • Greg Goodman

      Thanks, I’ve spend a fair bit of time in Oz, including a few months working in Alice. I was wondering where this “city” that I’d never heard of was situated.

    • nottawa rafter


      Thanks for sharing. The remoteness astounds me. I have learned a lot about Australia and gained an appreciation for its geography reading CE. I thought our Michigan UP was remote. Not even close.

    • Faustino

      Further to your post.

      The article shows the temperatures for Giles (extremely ‘remote desert manned station) and Melbourne and infers an increasng number of hot days at Giles.

      I wonder if the evidence is great enough to build an entire case around this supposition?

      Giles was established in 1870. It would have used a series of screens to record historic temperatures then, which are routinely cooled by BOM by a degree or two to reflect the likely temperatures then ,if using a modern Stevenson screen. The first link is the same as your one;

      ‘Giles is Australia’s most visited Meteorological Station.’

      Comment by one of the staff;

      ’My wife and I were here for 12 months and we saw six people in 12 months. And I can remember, two of them were the stock agents that helped me get here, and two of my friends, and another two were two tourists. And so there was only the six people we saw in the 12 months. Well, today we get up to 40, 50 coaches a day. So this is how things have changed. And the same with Giles Weather Station – there’s so many tourists coming through now that it’s not isolated like it was. “

      note the large car park, vehicles and buildings and airstrip in the photos.

      ‘Rainfall is highly variable; recorded annual values have ranged from 38.0 millimetres (1.50 in) in 1961 to 843.4 millimetres (33.20 in) in 2001.[8] The periodic southward movement of the monsoon trough and ex-tropical cyclones cause heavy rain events in the wetter months from November to March.[8] Dry spells often occur, particularly in winter; the longest period without rain was 125 days from 17 May to 21 September 1961.’

      I would suggest that looking at the period 1957 to the modern day when Giles evolved from a remote, extremely rural site to one which is a tourist destination could help explain the temperature changes, as would the evolution of rainfall due to the stations position in the core of the jet stream.

      It would be interesting to see the records back to 1870 but whether the Giles connection provides Judith’s ‘Improved understanding of the historical distributions of different extreme events at different locations is important for thinking about physical constraints that might lead to snub nosed distribution rather than fat tails’ is somewhat questionable surely?


    • Possibly Ayres Rock.

  22. 60C? Still haven’t seen anything above 57C, since Libya 1922 got pulled. When will we see 56.7C? 1913. Get in your time machines, warmies.

    Southern hemisphere’s highest was here in Oz, 1960 – quite recent by NH standards. (What’s scary is that the surrounding days were nearly as hot. But it happened 54 years ago and the temps are official, so sssh.) We also have the world’s longest heatwave, but that was 1923-4. Trouble is, with so much southern sea ice and the painfully sluggish sea level rise around our stable Australian coast they don’t really like to discuss this particular hemisphere. (Except those melty bits of Antarctica where party-pooping skeptics claim to have observed volcanism.)

    When will we see Category 6? Just bring back the 1970s and you have a chance. Of course, you might gain another Typhoon Tip but lose a bunch of warming.

    I’m sure there are any number of alarming trends right now. They’ll alarm till there are different or even contrary trends, equally alarming. Steven Schneider and the Vicar of Brae have shown you don’t need to abandon your position. You just face the other way and keep doing what you were doing.

    I note the BoM’s delicious new colour scheme for extreme heat. Should look gorgeous with all the new adjustments…

    Really, just how manipulative and ridiculous is this getting?

  23. Don’t you mean now I is one?

  24. Greg Goodman

    Comparing N.Atlantic SST to accumulated cyclone energy shows striking correlation at both inter-annual and inter-decadal scales

  25. Pingback: ¿Quién puede ser más extremo, el clima o la estupidez? |

  26. I find this interesting and I feel is the problem with using simple statistics to represent averages. Tabulated data is consists of the average and standard deviation to express data. i.e. y = xavg +/- sd. There is no skewness in this number. If someone has a way to express skewness in this simple way, I’d like to know. If I extrapolate this to all data (or model output) treatment, (regressions, etc), skewness is always neglected. It does not surprise me that the very neat, symmetric distribution might be wrong.

    This from wiki:
    “Highly skewed data are often transformed by taking logarithms. Use of logarithms makes graphs more symmetrical and look more similar to the normal distribution, making them easier to interpret intuitively.” Does this not hide the fact that the data is skewed?

    • In these kinds of distributions ( technically they are gamma distributions) both the skewness and the kurtosis are important. Skewness is a measure of lack of symetry. Kurtosis is a measure of ‘peakiness’. The human gestation period may be 40 weeks, but with low kurtosis anything from 37 to 42 weeks is actually ‘average’.

    • Matthew R Marler

      rmdobservations: I find this interesting and I feel is the problem with using simple statistics to represent averages. Tabulated data is consists of the average and standard deviation to express data. i.e. y = xavg +/- sd. There is no skewness in this number. If someone has a way to express skewness in this simple way, I’d like to know.

      Your point is pertinent.

      First, though, note that the point of the article is that the upper tails have less weight than used by modelers; that is not a feature well-addressed by taking logs. If the underlying distribution is snubbed on the right, then taking logs will make the data more snubbed on the right.

      There are no simple summaries. One approach, that I mentioned above, is to model extremes with the “generalized extreme value” distribution. Another is to use “quantile” regression, that is to select some quantiles (you know them as percentiles, probably), and look at the quantiles as dependent variables in regression (e.g. changes across time in the upper quartile and lower quartile.) A good introductory, paperbound, reference is “Quantile Regression” by Roger Koenker, Cambridge University Press, 2005. Quantile regression is available in at least 2 commonly used statistics packages, SAS and R.

  27. Well, given the increased volatility of weather and climate around the transition from interglacial to glacial, if we actually do detect an increase in volatility, it will be a sign of the imminence of the next glaciation.

  28. Geoff Sherrington

    Melbourne, where I live, would be about the worst choice for this type of work. The University of Melbourne, among others, has papers showing UHI up to 7 deg C. Of course, UHI has to be interpreted before jumping to conclusions, but all here know it needs accounting.
    There is danger in using a single site like Giles for illustration. One should show similar patternns from places like Moomba, Woomera, Alice Springs – but not Rabbit Flat, which the BoM has inserted into their Acorn record with stupendous effect.
    You really need to have local knowledge before you assert what Holland has. I don’t draw much of value from his examples.

    • When it’s hot, it’s hot all around Melbourne too. Here is the BoM report for February 2009, when Melbourne had its hottest day at 46.4°C. Avalon, well out of town, hit 47.9. Geelong airport 47.4. Bundoora 46.5. Cranbourne Bot Gardens 46.0. Viewbank 46.7. No sign of 7°C UHI there.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        That’s why I noted it needed interpretation, Nick. Maybe there is a Tmax that is very hard to exceed, and where the stations you quote are pressing the max under UHI.
        Most days Melbourne Regional Tmax is hotter in the Climate Data Online than all or most surrounding stations, even ones plausibly still inside the UHI umbrella. Places like Scoresby, Tullamarine, Essendon, for example. I’ve plotted it up and it’s not a subtle influence. Point is, the examples of Holland should not have been used without reference to UHI and other effects.
        On other effects, to diverge a little, what do we do with the correlation between rainfall at a site and the depression of Tmax? Just note that water cools and move on to more flawed inputs to estimates of sensitivity?

    • Holland is Australian (currently lives in Vic), has spent only about a decade in the U.S.

      • IIRC, BEST have determined UHI doesn’t affect the global temp records. I believe that is also true for the US? Is that because rural land area is so much larger that urban?

      • Steven Mosher | June 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm
        “quoting just the peak?”

        This post is about extremes.

        Your link said of Melbourne:
        “The UHI is predominantly a night time phenomenon caused by differential cooling rates between urban and rural areas.”
        That’s my experience. You have to get out of town to experience a really frosty morning now. But it gets hot all around when it’s hot in town..

  29. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Mike Flynn appreciates  “The link you provided [to the Zunis Foundation’s heat-stress indices] was interesting. … ‘We walk into the casino and we make bets. Insightful gamblers, who respect the seriousness of the game and have prepared diligently, will make a vast number of winning bets, and a few losers.'”

    Your appreciation is welcome Mike Flynn!

    In regard to “winning bets” few institutions (if any) place higher bets and win more often than the US Marines … and in particular, US Marine Corps Heat-Stress Guidelines — per COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS ORDER 6200.1E: HEAT INJURY PREVENTION — might be titled instead “HOW TO DISTILL EFFECTIVE ACTION AGAINST AN UNCERTAINTY MONSTER.”

    After all, Mike Flynn, we are all of us OBLIGATED to place huge bets at the climate-change casino … “Not To Play” is “Not An Option.”

    Like the USMC Commandant’s Heat Injury Prevention order, the AMICI SCIENTISTS BRIEF similarly specifies effective action against the *SAME* heat-stress uncertainty monster that the USMC battles so effectively.

    The USMC and AMICI SCIENTISTS programs both are foresighted, both deal with heat-stress uncertainty, both are effective, both are moral.

    “Toughing it out” in high wet-bulb temperatures doesn’t toughen Marines; instead it decimates them senselessly.

    Similarly “cheap carbon energy” doesn’t generate quick wealth; instead it senselessly decimates our planet’s healthy ecologies.

    That is why the USMC and AMICI SCIENTISTS programs both make sense. Good on `yah, USMC and AMICI SCIENTISTS!

    Thank you Mike Flynn!

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

    • AFOMD,

      You’re welcome.

      I guess you have some means of ensuring the Marines never have to work or fight in adverse conditions. What happens if they meet enemies in hot, humid conditions. You seem to think the Marines spend a lot of time in casinos placing high bets. Have you told the Marines what insightful gamblers you think they are?

      The world and the Climate Etc. readers wonder, eh, AFOMD? Well, maybe not so much, eh?

      I thank you for providing an insight into the interior of your personal bizarrium – of course I’m only joking (I think).

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • Mike,

        A core philosophy of the USMC is “Adapt, Improvise, Overcome”

        fan wouldn’t know anything about that.

  30. Planning for fat tails is a waste of resources. You hold more assets in a non-productive use, that cannot help but dampen growth and prosperity.

    Perhaps that is their end goal. The era of cheap energy and rising living standards are an anathema to the Malthusians who thrive on misery and despair.

    • AFOMD,

      The French lost in Vietnam, and told the Americans why.

      The Americans lost in Vietnam.

      And your stunningly simple explanation is?

      The world wonders, eh, AFOMD?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Mike Flynnwonders  “Americans lost in Vietnam. And  your  USMC-recommended stunningly simple explanation is?”

      …  straight from the USMC Commandant’s professional reading list is H. R. McMaster’s Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam (1997).

      Also USMC-recommended: Neal Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam (1988).

      Conclusion  In both military science and climate science, short-sighted policies justified by willfully ignorant ideology-driven cherry-picking are a reliable recipe for catastrophe.

      That’s common sense *AND* the plain lesson of USMC-recommended history, eh Mike Flynn?

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

      • AFOMD,

        I see. You don’t have any idea, apart from claiming that the US really shouldn’t have lost. I suppose the same reasons are used for all the other defeats – Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan – it wasn’t really a loss, we really won, but civilians cannot comprehend the subtlety of our cunning plan to disguise victory as defeat. This is purely to confuse the enemy.

        And so you write –

        “Conclusion In both military science and climate science, short-sighted policies justified by willfully ignorant ideology-driven cherry-picking are a reliable recipe for catastrophe.”

        I’m curious as to the reason you advocate short-sighted policies justified by willfully ignorant ideology-driven cherry-picking, when you consider them a reliable recipe for disaster?

        It seems that any reasonable person would abandon policies which result in unmitigated military disaster time after time. You advocate following a policy which has proven to be useless, apparently in the belief that performing the same action repetitively will eventually result in a positive outcome. Maybe you believe that putting up big posters saying Mission Accomplished is the same as actually accomplishing a mission.

        I wish you the best of luck, in any case.

        As an aside, why do you consider the study of weather averages a science? I can understand why those with a vested interest, people like Hansen, Mann etc., claim that performing repetitive calculations on historical data, and running endless nonsensical computer programs is somehow a science, but what do you get out of believing such a bizarre concept? Are you obsessed with the colour blue? Have you a fixation with linking to apparently random and irrelevant documents?

        Continue the good work. There isn’t anything wrong with a bit of comic relief from time to time. I’m not really laughing, that’s just an involuntary twitching of my face you can see.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Mike,

        I think you are re-writing history. The war in Iraq had been won when the politicians decided to retreat. Somalia was a humanitarian effort with no objective of winning. And Afghanistan (and Vietnam) are/were wars hyjacked by politicians.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        The USMC’s version of US military history is good enough for FOMD, and the well-considered analysis of the CinC’s 2014 West Point Graduation Address shows him to be a keen student of that military history (and its lessons for climate-change policy):

        “Not all international norms relate directly to armed conflict. We have a serious problem with cyber-attacks, which is why we’re working to shape and enforce rules of the road to secure our networks and our citizens. In the Asia Pacific, we’re supporting Southeast Asian nations as they negotiate a code of conduct with China on maritime disputes in the South China Sea. And we’re working to resolve these disputes through international law.”

        “That spirit of cooperation needs to energize the global effort to combat climate change — a creeping national security crisis that will help shape your time in uniform, as we are called on to respond to refugee flows and natural disasters and conflicts over water and food, which is why next year I intend to make sure America is out front in putting together a global framework to preserve our planet. “

        These interlocking long-range long-term security implications are evident to every thoughtful student of climate-change science and American military history, eh Climate Etc readers?

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

      • The POTUS speaks as if it is by his efforts that the US military is working to curb cyber attacks and pivot to the Pacific Rim. It was doing this under Bush; I know, I was there. The Defense Department hype on Climate Change is all about crony capitalism; follow the money.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        rls recommends  Follow the money.

        Okey-dokey. Thanks for the sage advice, rls!

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

      • “Sage”. Better than some descriptions I’ve received. Although it was meant to be sarcastic, I’ll accept it. Thank you. And by the way, I saw on this blog awhile back that you are an English professor. I very much admire the early authors and the professors who get joy from reading them; from the little I know, they are very insightful in the ways of man.

      • Don Monfort

        The naive civilian CinC reminding the troops that they have to pay lip service to climate alarmism, as long as the naive CinC is in charge of their butts. Can you provide links to some articles on green bullets and thousand dollar a gallon green jet fuel, fannie?

      • It was said in the Gulf War that diesel could cost as much as $400 a gallon when you figured in the combat escorts and security required to get it to where you gassed up the tanks.

      • fan,

        Having an undergraduate degree in history, with graduate course work in Military History and Military Sociology (University of Maryland being one of only 3 schools offering graduate degrees in the latter subject), 4 years of ROTC and 4 more in the service, with a son who is a commissioned Marine officer, and several other family members currently serving, I feel pretty safe in stating that the President’s grasp of military history is on par with your own.

        In other words, next to none.

      • Another day, another “skeptic” appealing to self-authority.

      • rls,

        Correct me if I’m wrong. I was under the impression that the US has a civilian government, and that the President commands the armed forces.

        Am I mistaken? Are the military reluctant to follow their orders? If the politicians say the war is won, then there Is no need to remain, I would assume. So the US won in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and all the rest.

        It is interesting that the US method of delivering humanitarian aid consists of the sorts of actions as portrayed in Blackhawk Down. Possibly the intended recipients expected something a little different. The local population simply tossed the Americans out unceremoniously, and continued their traditional way of life. And why not?

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • “It is interesting that the US method of delivering humanitarian aid consists of the sorts of actions as portrayed in Blackhawk Down. Possibly the intended recipients expected something a little different. The local population simply tossed the Americans out unceremoniously, and continued their traditional way of life. And why not?”

        Wow! Butchery by war lords is “their traditional way of life?” Seriously?

        The genocides that occur periodically throughout Africa as European taught socialist demagogues seek to kill their opposition don’t come close to the depredations of European statists themselves in the last century.

        Not sure how tongue in cheek you are being, but your comments about the fecklessness of western foreign policy under progressives smacks of Chompsky style revisionism when it comes to the military.

      • Gary M,

        In answer to your question about butchery, I assume so. Your comment, if I understand you correctly, is that local genocidal practices pale into insignificance compared with the depredations of European statists.

        Maybe the traditional way of life is less lethal after all.

        I don’t know who Chompsky is, and if I have distorted historical fact, that was not my intent. I know from personal experience that Westerners are not universally loved or admired in many parts of the world, for a variety of reasons.

        I have to smile at an answer attributed to Mahatma Ghandi, when he was asked what he thought of American culture. He replied that he thought it would be a good idea.

        I’m certainly not embarrassed about my heritage. A bit of this, a bit of that – who cares? Live and let live – what’s wrong with that? I leave the saving of people from themselves, and the mad compulsion to drive your population into a state of penury by saddling them with vast debts, purely for the sake of killing total strangers at vast expense, to those who enjoy it.

        If this sounds sane and logical to you, might I respectfully ask that you leave me out of your plans? I am happy to defend myself, or not, at the appropriate time. Tell someone else how stupid hey are, you’re wasting time with me – I really don’t care.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • By this (unstated) standard, all wars are losses that don’t end in total capitulation by the other side?

        There are arguably at least two standards here, military victories, and political victories. The US military is not responsible for setting political goals and only indirectly involved in seeing political goals achieved.

        The US military is a blunt force, and when they are deployed, they execute better than any other armed force in the world. This is unquestionable. Go capture Fallujah, done. Pull out of Fallujah, OK. Capture Baghdad, complete in 3 weeks. Throw the Taliban out of power, a few months later, done. Kill Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. Done. Find OBL, not so easy. Liberate Kuwait. Done in 100 hours. Libya. The Balkans. Grenada (just kidding).

        Force a foreign country to submit to our political will and hold hands and sing Kumbaya? Not so easy. It’s like educating a child, you can only setup the conditions for success, and see what happens. Nation building did work in Japan, South Korea, and Germany. The Middle East, not so much. Turns out the Israelis and Palestinians haven’t come to peace yet either.

        Pacifists and the usual hippy types can always move the goalposts and claim failure. As they point out these “losses”, they rarely define what winning would be. These types also never examine the “but for” condition. Would we better off if Saddam was still in power and the Taliban / Al Qaeda had a free run in Afghanistan for the last 13 years? Can’t answer that question, but some people pretend that they can with absolute certainty.

      • Tom

        There are various countries that are so riven with factions that they need a strong leader who in order to keep the populace in check needs to do things we don’t like. Afghanistan Iraq Syria and Libya are just four examples. Iraq is currently in very deep trouble and the government will likely be overcome by a faction even more murderous than al queada within weeks.

        The likely answer is to spread prosperity more widely but the strong leaders siphon it off for their own use.

        Personally, I think the need to look for alternative energy sources rather than be at the whim of suppliers who don’t like us, should have been promoted as a much sounder reason to take action to reduce oil consumption than climate change. It’s a nebulous ill defined concept. Having your oil cut off by Saudi Arabia or your gas turned off by Russia is a much more real threat

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        TonyB opines  “The need to look for alternative energy sources rather than be at the whim of suppliers who don’t like us should have been promoted.”

        Objective  Unleash us from the tether of fuel.”

        Question  “Even if means abandoning $-trillions of in-the-ground carbon assets?”

        Answer  Absolutely yes.”

        Your civil manners and thoughtful perspectives are appreciated (as always) … good on `yah, TonyB!

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

      • Follow the carbon FOMD. Happy trails.

      • Tom Scharf,

        By and large, there are no real winners in a war, these days, in my view. Your point about the US military is true to a degree – never lose a battle, never win a war. A mighty fighter airforce, which proves to be useless against a foe without aircraft. Sophisticated technology, powerless against home made IEDs. And so on.

        I just wonder about the apparent desire of governments in general to indulge in massive pointless expenditure, blowing stuff up and killing people just because they can.

        I served a little, and I certainly believe in defending myself, my family, and my tribe, if necessary. I still can’t see the problem with living a quiet life and appreciating that others may have different norms. The idea that 5% of the worlds population have been granted divine authority to direct the other 95% how to live, what to think, what to say and how to say it, appears to me to be quite simply, bizarre. Even delusional.

        And imposed without consent, with the threat of the application of blunt force, should you demur in any way. It’s interesting watching it all unfold, maybe even unravel – who knows what might happen?

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Mike,

        No disrespect meant, but your summarization of military affairs, abilities, etc, leaves much to be desired. Pretty much everything in fact. For example, air power is more than going head to head with opposing aircraft. Placing ordinance accurately on target has always been a prime role for air power (and one greatly appreciated by the infantry).

        And IED’s are simply another in a long line of tactics which ground forces have learned to adapt for and overcome. They have not prevented US forces from going where ever they have wanted. (In Afghanistan the lack of roads plays a bigger role at denying access than IED’s.)

        And unlike just about every military in the world, the United States military is capable of applying force with a degree of precision that is unmatched. And the application of force, whether precise or blunt, happens all the time and is employed by all sorts of actors. It is being applied right now in Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Nigeria, etc, etc.

        Having family who have been deployed, I’ve learned that in Afghanistan Americans can go to one village (or valley) and be viewed in high regard. Cross the ridge into the next valley and they want to kill you. As much as the term tribalism is thrown around here, Afghanistan is one of those places that can teach people what it really means.

        One can argue over the validity of using military organizations in the role of nation building. It gets argued all the time by the US military. Poll leadership, particularly thast of the US Army, and you will find they have pretty strong thoughts on why it shouldn’t be a task assigned to them. However no other organization in the world is as well organized or has the capabilities to get people and material almost anywhere in the world. Which explains why you see them involved in just about every humanitarian or relief effort around the world. Try asking the recipients their opinion of America’s military.

      • Josh,

        It’s also called experience.

      • It was all just a good lie; to get rid of the draft. Do you feel better now?

      • FOMbs,

        You are such a tedious, pompous gasbag! Once again you offer assertions which are unsupported by the materials you link. The Sheehan and McMaster accounts of group think, confirmation biases, official lies and fatuous malfeasance both would apply more clearly as parallels to the contemporary CAGW bandwagon hysteria (as you would know had you actually read either book).

        Huge poorly analyzed assumptions, careless decisions , refusals to re-consider ineffective policies…. Complacent “experts” and officialdom rushing recklessly into costly ill conceived decisions, while ridiculing and ostracizing anyone who dares to think independently and raise critical questions about evidence, competence, and the efficacy of proposed “solutions”….

        Certainly the analogy you seek to draw with the Vietnam era is not clear or “plain” or “common sense” — it is at the very least highly contentious and disputable — but then we are all accustomed to you splattering these threads with links to material you do not understand. Often it is evident that you have not even read what you link to, unless (the uncharitable inference) your reading comprehension is at around a 6th grade level.

    • Curious George

      It is planning for assumed flat tails. Or does anybody have data?

    • Matthew R Marler

      philjourdan: Planning for fat tails is a waste of resources. You hold more assets in a non-productive use, that cannot help but dampen growth and prosperity.

      Unless the events in the upper tail have high costs, and the distribution actually does have heavy right tails. In that case, the “non-productive” assets curtail large losses. You probably are familiar with this strategy in your own life as “insurance”.

      • Different concept. Insurance is not holding resources in reserve (the insurance companies are not sitting on piles of money). Insurance companies use actuarial calculations to have a small reserve that can cover extreme events. Allowing resources to be concentrated on the more probable and likely daily outcomes.

      • Matthew R Marler

        philjourdan: Insurance companies use actuarial calculations to have a small reserve that can cover extreme events.

        That is what I described.

      • Then we are in agreement. My original statement was PLANNING for fat tails is a waste of resources. Insuring against them is a different matter.

      • Matthew R Marler

        philjourdan: Then we are in agreement. My original statement was PLANNING for fat tails is a waste of resources. Insuring against them is a different matter.

        I still say that it depends on the cost of the destruction should an event in the heavy tail occur. Any prudent people ought to balance the goal of maximal economic growth with the goal of robustness against disaster. What looks like admirable economic growth for a few decades on the Barrier Islands or the waterway to New Orleans can be obliterated by a hurricane. One cannot simply ignore the potential for rare but recurrent disasters of this nature. That is why, for instance, in the fire-prone areas of San Diego County, people not only purchase fire insurance and pay for the firemen and fire-assault aircraft, they also spend extra on flame-retardant roofs. and clear flammable plant life away from their houses. One cay say the same about earth-quake prone areas in Chile, California, Japan and elsewhere: in each city, an earthquake such as hit San Francisco in 1906 is a rare event, but the building codes (that result in the “waste of resources” that you address) can prove valuable when they occur.

        It’s why people are vaccinated against diseases that most of them will never suffer any negative consequences from. Long ago, Poor Richard wrote “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. The ratio is not universally applicable, but the prudent consideration of disastrous losses is.

      • @Matthew Marler – I used the term “fat tail” for a reason. Those are low probability, high cost ventures. IN other words, we could guard against meteor strikes by hardening every structure under a concrete shield – but is the cost worth it? The answer is clearly no.

        So yes, some low probability things can be mitigated on the cheap. But they are not fat tail. And conversely, as Steven Mosher pointed out, a high cost venture like a Tsunami in Japan should be planned for, but that is because it is a relatively high probability.

        I think we are still in agreement. We just are not using the same basis for our mitigation point.

      • Mosh

        The story shows the foresight of someone who knew his history and realised the tsunamis of 1933 and 1896 would one day be repeated.

        We have had a benign last half century and would do well to prepare for the future by looking to the past.


      • Japan and Tsunamis are not fat tail events.

    • ==> “Perhaps that is their end goal. The era of cheap energy and rising living standards are an anathema to the Malthusians who thrive on misery and despair.”

      I can’t speak for others, but my goal is certainly more poverty for those who are miserable and desperate. I try to hide it, but you “skeptics” are just too dang smart.

      • Dirk Darstardly

        Yes – they do try to hide it – when they are not. It depends on the venue. You have to get it out somewhere – but it is always a mistake that alienates most everyone else. An exquisite dilemma of extremist ideology. Hard to distinguish them really. Send them all to Minnesota and let God sort them out I say.

        ‘My three goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with its full complement of species, returning throughout the world.”
        David Foreman,
        co-founder of Earth First!

        ”A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”
        Ted Turner,
        Founder of CNN and major UN donor

        ”The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.”
        Jeremy Rifkin,
        Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

        ”Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”
        Paul Ehrlich,
        Professor of Population Studies,
        Author: “Population Bomb”, “Ecoscience”

        ”The big threat to the planet is people: there are too many, doing too well economically and burning too much oil.”
        Sir James Lovelock,
        BBC Interview

        ”We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
        Stephen Schneider,
        Stanford Professor of Climatology,
        Lead author of many IPCC reports

        ”Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”
        Sir John Houghton,
        First chairman of the IPCC

        ”It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”
        Paul Watson,
        Co-founder of Greenpeace

        ”Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”
        David Brower,
        First Executive Director of the Sierra Club

        ”We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”
        Timothy Wirth,
        President of the UN Foundation

        ”No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
        Christine Stewart,
        former Canadian Minister of the Environment

        ”The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.”
        Emeritus Professor Daniel Botkin

        ”Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
        Maurice Strong,
        Founder of the UN Environmental Program

        ”A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-Development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.”
        Paul Ehrlich,
        Professor of Population Studies,
        Author: “Population Bomb”, “Ecoscience”

        ”If I were reincarnated I would wish to return to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”
        Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh,
        husband of Queen Elizabeth II,
        Patron of the Patron of the World Wildlife Foundation

        ”The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization we have in the US. We have to stop these third World countries right where they are.”
        Michael Oppenheimer
        Environmental Defense Fund

        ”Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.”
        Professor Maurice King

        ”Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.”
        Maurice Strong,
        Rio Earth Summit

        ”Complex technology of any sort is an assault on the human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”
        Amory Lovins,
        Rocky Mountain Institute

        ”I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. it played an important part in balancing ecosystems.”
        John Davis,
        Editor of Earth First! Journal

      • Good for you Joshie. Now discuss what I said. Or are you claiming to be a Malthusian?

      • Fortunately your goal is not providing witty reparte.

  31. John Smith (it's my real name)

    FOMD – try running all day (waddling would be more accurate) in 60 pounds of ballistic plate armor (didn’t exist 20 years ago) in addition to all your other kit – and you’ll understand USMC’s interest in heat related injuries. Seriously, you gotta get out more.
    Trying to be a passive observer, but I just can’t take it.

  32. How extreme can it get misses the point.
    How extreme has it been in the past?
    Very extreme based on the few documents to describe them. Unfortunately very extreme events would usually have no survivors.
    The people of Pompeii would feel they had experienced a very extreme event. The millions of people and animals wiped out by Tsunamis in the past left no records. The Japanese and Spanish fleets wiped out by severe hurricanes might have thought they were category 6 or 7.
    And was it Florida Keys a century ago?
    What hubris, what cheek to think that we are the only ones likely to suffer extreme events and that they only occur in the future because of our actions.
    I confidently expect that in any period of time high and low extreme and non extreme records will continue to be set. Those with an agenda to push will claim each new event as the proof they are right forgetting that these events have happened countless times before and very extreme in today’s terms are minute in comparison to past cataclysms including those of climate and weather.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      angech proclaims [uselessly]  “These events [lethal wet-bulb temperatures] have happened  countless times before  fifty million years ago

      …— during the Paleogene, when mammals were timid shrew-brained creatures who hid underground during the hot daytime.

      Not so different from modern-day denialists, eh angech?

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

      • Go for it Fan, you realise the shrews were your ancestors and survived those very extreme conditions just to produce you (and me so as not to be personal)

      • And no, not 50 million years ago, your words. I mean in the lat 1,000 years and the last 10 thousand years and the last million years.
        You know what a one in a hundred flood is, and one in a thousand? And that’s just one extreme weather event in one very small area of the globe.
        I won’t bother with a one in a million event though they occur and would probably rate as a category 8 hurricane for instance. Your common category 6 hurricane probably happens 6- 10 times in a thousand years, most not impacting on land half in the Southern Hemisphere called cyclones. Our chances of having a very extreme weather event is therefore probably once a year in some part of the world. Perhaps Judith or others with more knowledge can clarify this.

        Caution, reading this might damage Fan’s blades.

    • When Australia was getting its drenching after a half-century of rain deficit, Texas copped that ferocious drought of 1950-57. About as severe as it gets. Why, if it happened now it would be “extreme”, to say the least.

      By the way, enthusiasts of climate change and extremes ought to check out how much rain fell on eastern Australia in 1950, most of it in what should have been the drier times of the year. They should check out the freakish stalling effect which meant that the west of the continent and Tasmania actually copped drought.

      In 1950, Tully in Queensland copped 26 feet of rain! Half a huge continent was suddenly a sponge, though being Oz we still managed to have fires etc in between bucketings. Lots of regrowth to burn! But before we moved into droughtier times in the late 1950s (and Texas into recovery from drought), an inland sea the size of England and Wales formed up to the west of Sydney in the 1955 floods. That’s, er, big.

      Freaky, eh?

      It’s very odd that students of climate change and extremes often show little interest in such things. I think it’s the dates which put them off. Pity.

    • Steven Mosher

      since the question is how extreme can it get, you miss the point

      • I’ll nominate the Texas drought 1950-7 for how extreme it can get. (I know that pre-colonial SoCal was the home of the true whopper drought, but some people just don’t like those real old dates on their extremes. And stuff which actually happened is somehow never “the point”.)

  33. “Antonio Stradivari, the famous violin maker, produced his instruments during the Little Ice Age. The colder climate is proposed to have caused the wood used in his violins to be denser than in warmer periods, contributing to the tone of Stradivari’s instruments. According to the science historian James Burke the period inspired such innovations in everyday life as the widespread use of buttons and button holes, knitting of custom-made undergarments to better cover and insulate the human body, and installation of fireplace hoods to make more efficient use of fires for indoor heating,[32] as well as the development of the enclosed stove, in early versions often covered with ceramic tiles.

    “The Little Ice Age by anthropology professor Brian Fagan of the University of California at Santa Barbara tells of the plight of European peasants during the 1300 to 1850 chill: famines, hypothermia, bread riots, and the rise of despotic leaders brutalizing an increasingly dispirited peasantry. In the late seventeenth century, writes Fagan, agriculture had dropped off so dramatically, “Alpine villagers lived on bread made from ground nutshells mixed with barley and oat flour.” Historian Wolfgang Behringer has linked intensive witch-hunting episodes in Europe to agricultural failures during the Little Ice Age.”


  34. Color me skeptical. I grew up in a very hot and humid climate, Houston, Texas in the 1950s and 60s where 95 degrees (F) and 95 percent humidity (RH) were common. It’s *not* a disaster. It was normal. Much of this was before air conditioned buildings, cars, or homes were common.

    Humans are much, much tougher than the warmists/alarmists would have us all believe.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Roger Sowell believes  “Humans are much, much tougher than the [scientists] would have us all believe …”

      …  but not tough enough to survive the hottest regions of today’s Earth … heat that in fat-tail futures covers half the planet,

      That’s common-sense *AND* the sobering verdict of climate-change science, *AND* sober-minded US Marine Corps heat-stress policy, eh Climate Etc readers?

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      • Fan of more discourse, it is not a good idea to mis-quote an attorney.

        Unless you invite a libel lawsuit.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Scientists are not “warmists/alarmists”?

        Pray argue your case, Roger Sowell, because — as Climate Etc readers are invited to verify for themselves — the evidence stands plainly against that proposition!






        Sure sounds “warmist/alarmist” to me!

        The Amici Scientists provide summaries for young people too! (Part I and Part II of “Young People’s Day in Court”)

        Thank you Roger Sowell, for inviting Climate Etc readers — young researchers and young voter-citizens especially! — to consider the climate-risk depositions of the Amici Scientists fully and carefully!

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      • Matthew R Marler

        A fan of *MORE* discourse: Thank you Roger Sowell, for inviting Climate Etc readers — young researchers and young voter-citizens especially! — to consider the climate-risk depositions of the Amici Scientists fully and carefully!

        I second the invitation. Those depositions are as full of liabilities as other alarmist literature. Anybody other than a true believer who believes Hansen’s nearly 30 year record of alarmist predictions has been accurate can easily find the weaknesses. Hopefully the amicus curiae briefs from the opposing side will have been written by some informed experts, maybe the alert folks at the GWPF.

      • AFOMD,

        I remind you that the legal profession will put any stupidity to paper that you pay them to.

        You may have noticed that with an adversarial system, one set of lawyers must lose. The lawyers encourage lawsuits. It is in their own interest. I’m sure if you sniff around, you will find a lawyer venal enough to take your money and prepare a case based on even your interpretation of reality.

        Of course he will tell you you have a good chance of success. Don’t be surprised if your lawyer asks for advance payment. He might not be quite so sanguine about the chances of success as you.

        Oh well, your money, your choice. Let me know how the case goes.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

    • I call you know what,

      Weather underground says the record dew point temperature for Houston is 82 degrees, a far cry from the 93.65 wet bulb temperature and 93.34 dew point that you get with 95 degrees temperature and 95% relative humidity.
      That would be world record territory.
      Still humid, but not as humid as you remember.

      It’s worse in Wisconsin, but the cows will suffer in both states.

      The price of cheeseburgers will be going up up up.

      • Say and quote any source you like. I know because I was there. Thermometer did not lie, neither did the RH gauge.

        It was frequently hotter than 95, with 100 percent RH. You probably think that’s a lie or a mistake. Go to Houston in the late summer, just after a hot rain. See the sun beat down on the asphalt and concrete, and the waves of steam rise into the air. Look at the thermometer while you try to breathe.

        Or, you could just look at some website and believe their numbers.

        I know which one I believe.

        I lived it, saw it, and breathed it time after time.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        bob droege opines  “Weather underground says the record dew point temperature for Houston is 82 degrees.”

        There yah go again bob droege, with your boring facts, facts, facts!

        Roger Sowell opines  “Say and quote any source you like. I know because I was there […] it was frequently hotter than 95, with 100 percent RH.”

        The Verdict  Ellington AFB/Houston averages 48 hours per year of temperatures in excess of 95° and the mean wet-bulb temperature during those (hottest-in-the-year) hours is 77 degrees.

        Which are yah gonna trust? The internet comments of a lawyer or that lyin’ weather data?

        Hint: the latter information is what cooling-system engineers base their designs upon.

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      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Followup  Contrary to anecdotal assertions, databases used by cooling-system engineers indicate that *NONE* of the following ten cities report wet-bulb temperatures in excess of 79°F (and this temperature is approached for only a few hours per year)

        • Atlanta, GA
        • Billings, MT
        • Dallas, TX
        • Desmoinses, IW
        • Houston, TX
        • Kansas City, MO
        • Las Vegas, NV
        • Los Angeles, CA
        • Miami, FL
        • Phoenix, AZ

        Conclusion  US cities do not presently experience lethal wet-bulb temperatures … hopefully this situation will NOT change!

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      • I’ve been to Houston, its on my list of frequently visited places.

        Dallas is worse. St Louis is bad too, its hotter than Houston but usually less humid.

        I’ve lived in Champaign Ill, and there were some pretty extreme weather events there. I played a tennis match one night, high 80s, extreme humidity, drank a gallon of gatorade and 2 gallons of water during a 3 hour match (********* pusher), but I didn’t pass out till the next evening.
        Don’t mess with heat stress, your brain is not your friend.

        95 F and 95 % relative humidity would be a world record, it hasn’t happened. That is close to the 95 degree wet bulb temperature that is fatal to mammals.

      • nottawa rafter

        Most people have enough sense not to play tennis in hot and humid conditions. I learned that in 6th grade.
        Apparently you didn’t.

      • bob droege,

        As a matter of interest, official records show my localit has a mean annual maximum temperature of 32.0 C, and a mean relative humidity of 71%.

        Obviously, the extremes vary widely on either side of the mean. I find it quite comfortable, although it does feel a little hot and sticky if the air is still, it’s around 37C, and around 90% RH as measured.

        I still wouldn’t live anywhere else.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Nottawa Rafter,

        Some take tennis rather seriously, in the match in question, my team had already lost the match, so my efforts didn’t matter. It didn’t seem that hot, only mid to high 80s, but very humid.

        Don’t ask me what I was doing during this

        I think I have a plaque commemorating my activities.

        Mike Flynn,

        37 C and 90% relative humidity, another skeptic with a report of world record breaking wet bulb temperatures. I don’t think that happened.
        You are overestimating the relative humidity, happens a lot.

      • bob droege,

        I didn’t guess the figures. I don’t estimate a temperature by how hot, cold or uncomfortable I feel. I prefer measurements.

        If you have a problem with the figures, take it up the the BOM. I assume the so called climatologists employed by the Bureau will quickly massage any figures that you find unacceptable. They have declared all pre 1910 records unreliable, so that people can’t bring up inconvenient high temperatures recorded before that time.

        You may be right, for all I know. Certainly, up until a few years ago, my locality was declared unfit for habitation by Europeans – we’re more sensitive, apparently. A generous remote area hardship allowance of the highest grade was paid to civil servants, and officers and their families were reimbursed their full travel costs to return to more salubrious and congenial weather conditions every two years.

        Eventually the Federal Government realised the official comfortability index was stupid. Much to my consternation, the allowances were reduced, or abolished. The Government realised that the prophecies of doom, that civil servants would die or go mad as a result of the unbearable combination of heat and humidity, were nonsense, by and large. I’m not dead, but it could be that I have been unhinged by the heat and humidity.

        I will take your word for it that I cannot survive the conditions you mention.

        I’m still alive, so obviously the official BOM figures are wrong. No problem, I already knew that climatologists just change fact to fit fantasy.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Mike,
        Just give me a cite for your BOM 37 C and 90% relative humidity

        Wet bulb over 95, sorry extreme claims require evidence.

      • This is one of those areas where you can fit the data to whatever side of the argument you want, by how you present it.

        I grew up in DC. Average high temperature in July is 88 – 89 F. August averages slightly lower. Average percent humidity is in the mid 80’s. Note we are not talking average daily temperature, but average high temperature, which is what you should be looking at if the topic is heat stress. Another why to indicate hunidity is dew point or wet bulb. So when one says they experienced 95% humidity or greater, at tempertures above 95 F, as I have, they are not making it up or not offering anecdotal data. Pointing to a dew point temp of 79 F does not counter their point.

        I would normally assume it is just crossed communication. But with fan involved that is never a safe assumption.

      • bob,

        how is relative humidity usually reported? I’m referring to how us ignorant masses get informed on the subject.

        Hint – it ain’t wet bulb temperature.

      • Timg56,

        Wet bulb temperatures are usually not reported, nor are relative humidity figures, we usually get the heat index figure, what it feels like.

        But wet bulb temp is a metric you can calculate from temperature and humidity, and it give a measure of how easily mammals can shed heat, so in my opinion, it is the one number that tells you how lethal the environment is, and 95 F is the limit.

        95 F and 95% relative humidity, please provide cites, so you can convince me you are not making it up.

        By the way, I live in the continental climate, the US midwest, where the extremes of temperature and humidity are indeed extreme.

        And I won’t claim to have observed 95 F with 95% humidity.

  35. Walt Allensworth

    Lets take a step back on the tropical storm thing… The hurricanes that REALLY matter (that cause the most damage) are the ones making landfall. Knowing how few CAT4-5 hurricanes there are, and how many CAT4-5 hurricanes strike the US in any given decade (usually one or none!), can ANYONE say, with a straight face, that the “intense hurricane frequency” chart has statistical significance, i.e. that it is not the result of chance variation, or some curve fitting nonsense? Perchance is this plot somehow another prediction?

    This chart flies in the face of NOAA published data on US Hurricane strikes.
    If one looks at decadal CAT3-5 (strong) hurricane counts it has been decreasing since 1950. There have only been 8 CAT4-5 US hurricane strikes since 1950, and three occurred in the decade from 1950-60!


    I smell a rat, or at the very least simply poor statistical sample support and a lucky outcome by the author from some low-order curve fitting.

    I’m not the only one that has sniffed out this stench.



    • Holland’s chart is for global tropical cyclones (not U.S. landfalls)

      • Walt Allensworth

        Thank you for the note Dr. Curry.
        I suspected this, however, one could still ask the question… given the paucity of CAT4-5 hurricanes (including even those not making landfall) what are the error bars on the data in Holland’s chart? Is it statistically significant, or a statistical quirk?

  36. Walt Allensworth

    Addendum: If you want to look at ALL hurricanes, the story does not really change.

    here’s a graphic:

    How about the number of days between US strikes of CAT 3-5 (strong) hurricanes?

    Getting longer, and longer…


    If you want to take the paucity of data to the ridiculous limit, one could predict no strong US landfall hurricanes by 2050, which is the absurd counterpoint to the absurd point in the “intense hurricane” graph above.

    see Dr. Gray’s chart:

  37. Roger Pielke regularly debunks claims of increasing hurricanes.
    Here is his latest post, showing no increase in US hurricanes, and no increase in the strongest hurricanes.

    • That is US landfalling hurricanes, which is a small subset of both Atlantic basin hurricanes and global cyclones, might not be a complete analysis.

      • bob,

        lets assume hurricanes increase by an order of magnitude, but none make landfall. Would there be reason for concern?

      • @timg56 – are you heartless? Have you no concern for the fish these storms would disturb?

      • yes, because the chips are eventually going to fall.

        Don’t rely on luck too long.

      • Better strengthen your tin foil hat. Eventually a meteor will fall too.

      • You would have to compare hurricane strength over a set time period. Ones that make landfall don’t exist as long as those confined to the ocean. So use the hurricane strength at the same average lifetime of the ones that make landfall.

  38. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    I understand the study of extreme values applied to: athletism, structural engineering, … but It is inappropriate to apply extreme value maths to weather.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Antonio (AKA “Un fisico”): but It is inappropriate to apply extreme value maths to weather.


      • Antonio (AKA "Un físico")
      • Matthew R Marler

        Antonio (AKA “Un Fisico”): Complexity. Visit, 2.4 in:

        So what you you recommend instead, to insurance companies, for example? Quantile regression? Normal distributions?

      • Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

        Insurance companies can use standard statistics, as usual.
        What I am saying is that: in athletism, it is a question of time to break records (so then it is applicable extreme values maths); in structural engineering it is a question of time that the beam of a building gets broken (so then it is applicable extreme values maths).
        But in the case of weather, applying extreme values is arguably appropriate. Imagine that you appy it and it tells you that, in the next century, 10% of hurricanes will reach a wind speed of 100 m/s. Ok, and what? (It could be true or it could be false: 50%). Weather is a complex system and I think that applying extreme values maths is not appropriate within these kind of systems (with so many variables, with so many interdependences). That’s all.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Antonio (AKA “Un fisico”): Imagine that you appy it and it tells you that, in the next century, 10% of hurricanes will reach a wind speed of 100 m/s. Ok, and what?

      Empirically, I doubt you can make a case that some other approach will more accurately model extremes than the generalized extreme value distribution. 100 years in advance? The less gaussian the underlying distributions (like the snub-nosed distributions in the header), the more improvement from using the generalized extreme value distributions.

      • Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

        Matthew: The less gaussian the underlying distributions, the more improvement from using the generalized extreme value distributions.
        In my view about maths this is not true within complex systems like weather. It could be true in athletism and structural engineering because: “breaking a record” or “breaking a beam” only depends of time and of effort (stress). But, as I have refuted the link between CO2 emissions and climate change, there is no control knob of climate (in centenian timescales) or of weather (in decadal timescales). Thus, in my view, weather (climate) system is a complex system with many interdependences and variables; so studying these systems by means of extreme value maths is, in my view, inappropriate.
        I cannot explain myself better. Thanks for the discussion.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Antonio (AKA “Un fisico”): Thus, in my view, weather (climate) system is a complex system with many interdependences and variables; so studying these systems by means of extreme value maths is, in my view, inappropriate.

        I think it is a fair statement that the extreme value distributions can not be derived formally from the study of the complex systems that generate the extreme events. However, in most cases where statistics is used, the fit of distributions to sets of outcomes is determined or tested empirically in any case, and lots of distributions are found to be reasonably accurate in cases where they can not be formally derived. No one derived the generalized extreme value distribution for the rainfall maxima in the regions of the US between the Appalachians and the Rockies from 1950 to 2000, to take the example I have cited but whose reference I have lost, but empirically it was found to fit well, with parameters varying from place to place.

        Even in manufacturing, where the process is man-made and well-understood, the best extreme value distribution can not be computed from an understanding of the process, but must be guessed and evaluated empirically by the quality control folks who advertise such attributes as the “mean time between failure.”.

  39. Phill in Melbourne

    The chart above “Changes to Observed Extreme Temperatures” uses the period 1970 to 2011. Given that we have records going back over 100 years this period is too short. Jennifer Marohasy on her blog has an item today showing that the absolute maximum temperatures across Queensland in Northern Australia have been dropped significantly over the last 12 years by with a linear trend of -8C/100 years. This period is also too short. I would suggest that on these short term time scale these changes are reflecting wind shifts and that whilst the summer wind in Melbourne has swung to the slightly to the north somewhere else the wind will have swung around to be more southerly. Melbourne’s most extreme days, the infamous Black Thursday, Black Friday and Black Saturday are widely spaced with records of 117F (47.2C) in 1851*, 114F** (45.6C) in 1939 and 46.4C** (115.5F) in 2009. It should also be remembered that on each of these occasions large parts of Victoria surrounding Melbourne were on fire! Another way to look at the issue is to take the summer average temperature and standard deviation and use this to calculate the expected absolute extremes. Whilst these maximums remain bounded by what is statistically possible I suggest very little can be concluded. For the 157 year period 1856 to 2013 the Melbourne January average maximum was 25.9C and the s.d. 6.17C. Using these figures and standard normal probability tables gives a 1 in 150 year maximum of around 47.5C and a 1 in 300 year maximum of 48.1C. Of course Melbourne’s summer temperatures are not normally distributed but skewed towards the occasional extreme heat day as can be clearly seen above. Never-the-less this method seems to be in the right zone. Let’s hope it never gets to 48C here, but even if it does what can be concluded?
    Notes: *Newspaper reports presumably from the Old Melbourne Observatory. ** Bureau of Meteorology Climate Data at

    • Phil, I guess you could add 1983, Ash Wednesday, to the list. It remains the worst fire in terms of property loss, but its special factor was the near-cyclonic winds. The melting of metal indicates an intensity like the Dresden bombings.

      Maybe Chicago Peshtigo in 1871 was similar. The Peshtigo firestorm turned sand to glass. In mid-autumn at 45 degrees latitude!

      Of course, 1851 in Vic is likely the world’s biggest known inferno. Amazing what used to go on before we had “extreme” climate.

    • “*Newspaper reports presumably from the Old Melbourne Observatory.”
      The observatory started in 1862. That 1851 number is anecdotal.

      • The early NSW Government kept a series of meteorological observers throughout the then extended colony. The one in Port Phillip, now Melbourne, kept records from 1840 to 1851 when Victoria separated as an independent colony. These records were published regularly in summary form in the NSW Government Gazettes of the time and in the local newspapers. Unfortunately they did not have self registering maximum/minimum thermometers but only kept a register of conditions at set intervals. The presumption is that the quoted temperatures came from this source. Ultimately there is no one around to ask so we will never know unless the details are hidden in some archive. The conditions were certainly extreme. The wiki entry for Black Thursday 1851 has the folllowing. “The weather at sea was even “more fearful than on shore”. The intense heat could be felt 20 miles (32 km) out to sea where a ship came under burning ember attack and was covered in cinders and dust.”

        The key points I think are:

        That any analysis like this must be over the total available period and not some arbitrarily truncated shorter period. Why was the much longer 100 year plus record at Alice Spings not used instead of the 40 year record at Giles? What would this have shown?

        That an event is not truely extreme unless it moves outside what can be expected statistically.

        That some weather records should be treated as outliers and used with extreme caution. Think fire fronts and ember attack. For example all the records in 2009 were set downwind of the firestorm.

      • anecdotal – aka Climate modelling

  40. Pingback: “Extreme” Weather | Transterrestrial Musings

  41. We supposedly just experienced the hottest decade on record. One might expect that a couple of the continental record highs would have been broken:

  42. What would the greenhouse effect look like with 60 C temps?

    Triple to quadruple what the current effect due to water vapor. Would not be pretty.

    The seas won’t boil at that temperature but would evaporate rather quickly.

    Now was that a rhetorical question?

  43. The ideas presented here are particularly relevant to my company’s (Climate Forecast Applications Network) efforts to predict heat waves, especially when models are predicting a record-breaking value, that is outside the range for the recent 20 year period for which we have hindcasts to calibrate the forecasts using observations.

    On hindcasting : it’s just curve fitting. You might as well substitute a polynomial of high degree for the model, unless there’s actual physics (not the made up stuff) in the model.

    Models have knobs for all the unknown parameters, for example “effective viscosity” in fake Navier Stokes solvers.

    There is historical data. These are used to determine the values of the unknown parameters in the model, setting the knobs.

    Consider now Kalman Filtering. It lets you put in a model, and update all the knobs to best accommodate each new piece of data as it comes. It’s typically used in tracking targets, but works for anything. It keeps track of model transitions, variance and covariance of all the measurements, everything you need.

    If model caretakers bothered to find out about it, they’d use it to keep the model up to date, so well does it work.

    Here’s a secret: it just amounts to least squares curve fitting. It’s factored to make updates fast and easy, but that’s all it is.

    So if you’re tuning your model, you’re just doing curve fitting. You have all the predictive power of a polynomial, which is to say, none.

    • Well no that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about historical forecasts using numerical weather prediction models, and calibrating the current forecasts based on errors of historical forecasts (hindcasts) using the same model.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Here’s a secret: it just amounts to least squares curve fitting”

      constrained by physics.

      • Steven Mosher,

        Yet again, I agree with you. If Warmists understood the physics involved, they would have some inkling of why their models produce the results they do.

        Obviously they don’t.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

  44. It’s time to regain an appreciation what prosperity requires: productivity. For example, the first step in understanding climate change is to accept that there no certainty when it comes to predicting future climate.

    The climate is what weather was over the last 100 years (or so) compared to some other period and no one knows what the weather will be. The impotence demonstrated by government-funded climatology is obvious.

    Continuing to pay climatologists to come up with new paradigms and breathe new life into their failed AGW theory is not productive: the more money that is plowed into the government-education special interests, the less we get for our money.

    Public education has become as much an abject failure as global warming alarmist pseudo-science. The country cannot afford to keep wasting money by continuing to ignore the sociological failure of Eurocommunism and politically-correct energy production.

  45. David L. Hagen

    How “extreme”?
    Avoid the Asteroid
    The Earth Impact Database details 183 major asteroid impacts scattered across the globe. The largest are the 160 km wide South African Vredefort and 150 km wide Mexican Chicxulub. An modest asteroid strike is projected to cause an Impact Winter.
    NASA’s Near Earth Object program currently lists 1485 known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs).

    Look out for Large Igneous Provinces (LIP)
    Large asteroid impacts or volcanic upheavals cause large igneous extrusions. Alarmist description: Rapid climate changes more deadly than asteroid impacts in Earth’s past, study shows.
    Formal description: What are Large Igneous Provinces?

    Earth history is punctuated by short duration events (or dramatic pulses in longer duration events) during which large volumes of mainly mafic magmas were generated and emplaced by processes unrelated to “normal” sea-floor spreading and subduction. These Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) are best preserved in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic where they occur as continental flood basalts, volcanic rifted margins, oceanic plateaus, and ocean basin flood basalts. Silicic rocks may also be associated.

    Beware the Black Hole
    Turbulent Black Holes: Fasten your seatbelts — gravity is about to get bumpy!

    Pray we never get close!

  46. Dr. Curry!
    Emergency backup post time! We need a new post to try to get the denizens back on-climate.

  47. Those are some pretty smooth hurricane graphs for some pretty small absolute numbers of high intensity hurricanes. It’s hard to believe this is a significant finding based on how rare CAT4 and CAT5 hurricanes occur. It is easy to dismiss this small of a change as hurricane “noise”, right?

    The technique of graphing proportion instead of absolute numbers will mask changes in the overall trends.

    When you examine global ACE data, overall hurricane power is trending downward.

    Examination of 100 year trends of US hurricane landfalls also show no significant trends.

    Examining the shown hurricane frequency graph and opposing it with how we are currently in BY FAR THE LONGEST EVER RECORDED time interval between a CAT3+ landfall in the US, one has to wonder if this was even mentioned during this presentation as relevant? Don’t have the other slides so I can’t tell.

    It has been 8.6 years and counting since the last Cat3+ landfall in the US. Is anyone out there comparing this to the “more intense, more frequent” predictions circa 2005?

    As mentioned above, because any recent Cat3+ hurricanes do not make landfall, it is logical they will survive longer as Cat3+ over the ocean.

    Nobody seems to ever notice this US “hiatus” except RPJ. I can tell you that all of us who live in Florida are very much aware of this statistic.

    What would be happening it we were in a record setting interval for the most CAT3+ landfalling hurricanes? A climate change propaganda blizzard is my guess. An article every 3 days about climate change hurricane-amageddon, and the reinsurance industry would be more than happy to respond to this…as we saw in 2005. But I’m not bitter….ha ha.

    For the record, my guess is this hurricane hiatus is not particularly significant, as in I doubt it represents a “new normal”. It is more likely just hurricane randomness. The trend data is simply too erratic to draw many conclusions over less than 50 years.

  48. Why are there no error bars on Holland’s plots?

    Hurricanes, for example, are quantised events, so any probability distribution has to be fitted. There are uncertainties on this due to sampling and the assumptions of the fit.

    Secondly, there are uncertainties due to natural variability (although I appreciate these can be difficult to quantify, but at least some attempt should be made).

    Without that information, how can anyone draw any meaningful conclusions from the plots?

  49. FOMD does not know the difference between fat tails and probabilities.

    Perhaps a basic lesson in statistics would educate him.

  50. One advantage of this hypothesis, that extremes have snub noses rather than fat tails, is that it will be easily falsifiable. It is well determined by the data.

    More than one extreme value beyond the snub nose will radically alter the shape of the distribution as the skewness of such plots is quite sensitive to small numbers of extreme events.

  51. Tonyb,

    I think that is very valid point. I certainly began to think that Saddam ruled with an Iron Fist because he had to, not because he was just a thug. He was probably having a good laugh about how easy people thought Iraq was to rule, right up until they hanged him. It may certainly be the case that the Iron Fist is the only way to keep the peace in some places.

    • Tom

      I met sadden in Iraq a year before he became president. He had just got back from France where he had deposited some of the wealth he had creamed off from trade deals. He had a good sense of humour good manners and huge charisma. A real family man he had a Jekyll and Hyde personality that enabled him to ruthlessly keep his enemies in check whilst advancing those that weren’t his enemies. He was secular, enjoyed a drink and championed women.

      So evil obviously, but arguably better than what has replaced him, which includes factions so murderous and ruthless that they will cause us problems for decades.The various strands of religion and the tribes of many parts of the middle east hold grudges for centuries and aren’t likely to be kept in check by westerners trying to introduce alien institutions.


    • Went they write the history, Paul Bremer is (or should be) the one individual who gets responsibility for turning Iraq into a goat f*ck.

  52. I know this isn’t the point of the article (which is very interesting), but the ‘climate’ of Australia is so strongly affected by ENSO that you really can’t ignore it. The fact that Holland’s climate change induced changes almost perfectly match the changing frequencies ( and intensities) of La Nina and El Nino can’t be ignored.

    It’s always puzzled me that one of the things we know has a big impact on extremes (hydrological and temperature), ENSO, seems to always be ignored this type of work.

  53. Fifteen-hundred miles of Med. coastline and a future with water for the people of Libya. Just look what a bum can do with a measly 20 billion.

    At least he had dinner inside a tent when he visited the Pres.

    • Judith

      I demonstrated last year in ‘noticeable climate change’ that the period prior to1850 was more variable than the period after that date.

      Similarly we can see the period around 900 to 1200ad was less variable than the period from 1200 onwards.
      The modern climate is benign.

    • I appreciate Hausfather’s article on land temperature variability. Is this decreased variability from, increased temperatures, CO2 or something else?

  54. How extreme can it get?

    Places that get damaged by volcanic eruptions bounce back and grow with vigor. Example from Mt. Vesuvius

    There is this assumption that humans are deterred by natural disasters. Does is dissuade us from rebuilding in disaster prone locations? Their precarious location have desirable features which balance out the risk

  55. Gumbel’s monograph “Statistics of Extremes” has been in print for more than half a century. Leave it to “climate scientists” to be blithely unaware, while devising their own ad hoc methods.

  56. Sure you can talk about hurricanes in Florida. There have always been hurricanes there. Of course the population in Florida has increased considerably and more people suffer through severe weather. Yet there is more to this ramping up of ‘extremes’ …

    More ability to forecast the weather. More ability to predict disaster, more opportunity to engineer against destruction. More able to persevere and be robust against such extremes. They are even planning to hold the 2022 FIFA world cup in Qatar in air-conditioned stadiums.

    Maybe we are changing the climate. Our ability to thrive in extreme climates is more than keeping pace.

  57. Antarctic Sea Ice will continue to grow until Antarctica is inaccessible by ships.

  58. Berényi Péter

    We know exactly how extreme it can get. With the current configuration of continents (open water around Antarctica &. the Isthmus of Panama closed) we can have a mile thick ice sheet over most of the Northern hemisphere with no industrial interference whatsoever. That’s what I’d call extreme.

    For example, traces of extreme flood are still visible.

    Also, those ice sheets make climate unstable, while sensitivity is much less without them.

    • Walt Allensworth

      Yes, this is very much the teaching of Dr. Alley. Past dramatic climate events has been driven by catastrophic failures of ice dams holding back unimaginable volumes of cold fresh water melting off ice sheets and dumping it into the Atlantic which shuts down the Conveyor and freezes out the Northern Hemisphere.

      The absence of great ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere defuses this situation.

  59. A very extreme weather event normally happens once a year somewhere in the world.
    I would predict a severe hurricane Category 5 to hit Florida in 2017 soon after when we have a Republican Government and three years of increasing Arctic Sea Ice.
    Mind you a Republican President might be considered by some as being an extreme weather event.
    Non Climate but a large Volcano explosion in 3 months in the Northern Hemisphere with earthquakes in Iran devastating millions early 2015.
    Oops, sorry, thought I was on my prediction site.

  60. Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog and commented:
    Fat tails and snub noses…

  61. Limiting to 20 year look backs seem to be a way to not learn from history.
    The energy to have more powerful storms has always been there; storms are very inefficient heat engines and waste a lot. More energy, especially from the trivial amounts of warming we have experienced, is not going to lead to a new category of storm strength. I think the graphs claiming to show increases in so-called extremes are a result of data torture, not goo d research. The climate obsessed typically already know the answer to any research project before it is undertaken. This study looks to be a typical example of that concept.

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