Bill Gail: Don’t let climate debate hinder the economy

by Judith Curry

Nature’s deviations disrupt our lives and businesses more than we should accept. – Bill Gail

Bill Gail has superb editorial in USA Today – Don’t let climate debate hinder economy.  Full text below:

Super hurricanes, mega droughts and 1,000-year floods have made big news in the months leading to this week’s climate talks in Paris. Everyone wants to know how global warming has contributed and whether we should prepare for a future of weather on steroids. The science community races to provide clear answers.

Yet we need not wait for additional science, or resolve contentious policy debates, to recognize one simple truth. Natural climate variability itself — even absent human influence — disrupts our lives and businesses to a far greater extent than we should accept. Research suggests that the U.S. economy suffers half a trillion dollars or more in lost growth annually due to unforeseen climate variations: unseasonal cold spells, prolonged drought, unusually stormy months and much more.

To be clear, this column is not about human influence. Plenty has been published on that divisive topic, within these pages and elsewhere. This is a story about nature’s own climate uncertainties, and the economic consequences of not understanding them better. We — on every side of the climate debate — are holding our economy back. We have allowed disagreement over human influence to push aside what should be a non-controversial goal: improving our understanding of nature itself. Congress has even threatened to slash what research we already do. We must fix that.

Why should Congress — or any of us — care about natural climate variability? Because it creates enormous inefficiencies in our economy. A 2011 report in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society showed that state by state economic output due to climate-related supply and demand disruptions, such as flood-delayed deliveries, averages more than 3%. In states such as California, Ohio and New York, it is more than 10%. Shocking! And that doesn’t even include the high costs of catastrophic weather events, such as the 2012 Superstorm Sandy’s $65 billion tab that almost equaled New York City’s budget.

The causes of this variability are no mystery. Unexpectedly low or high seasonal temperatures routinely lead to higher energy prices. Drought, such as that plaguing the Southwest, places enormous economic pressure on farmers. Abnormal spring flooding in one place or another disrupts businesses each year. We all understand this. Deviations from normal climate were cited by The Wall Street Journal as a major cause for the gross domestic product drop of 2.9% in the first quarter of 2014. Can nature really push around our nation’s great economic engine so easily?

We don’t have to accept this. A significant portion of this inefficiency can be recovered as economic growth through better information technology. Doing so would be a huge boost to the nation’s welfare. Improving our ability to anticipate climate fluctuations provides one lever to grow the economy faster — an elusive goal these days.

None of this stops at U.S. borders. If the impact of climate variability on the U.S. economy is large, the global impact is far larger. In a connected world, increasingly dependent on global trade, climate matters — even far beyond where it is happening. Anything we learn that reduces our vulnerability in the U.S. can be leveraged to grow international business opportunities as well.

Businesses must anticipate climate at multiple time scales. Retailers plan inventory for weather-sensitive consumers months in advance. Being wrong is costly. Farmers decide a season or more ahead which crops to plant and how tight water resources might be. Food prices often soar when farmers are incorrect. Companies must anticipate climate decades in advance when planning infrastructure. Those throughout the Southwest, for example, need to know how soon the drought will end and when it will re-occur.

Improving the information that helps us anticipate, adapt to and price in nature’s variability would seem a wise, non-partisan goal. Much of what we need originates in basic research, funded by government agencies such as NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S.Geological Survey and the National Science Foundation. The challenges are large: understand Earth in all its complexity, including the interactions among atmosphere, ocean and lands. We have learned from the difficulty of predicting specific phenomena such as El Nino just how much new science this takes. Succeeding requires ongoing commitment.

Yet this commitment is at risk. In the complex process of creating the 2016 budget, Congress has threatened to cut NASA Earth science funding by 18% to 32%. Some say this is because these agencies research both natural and human-caused climate variability. We may choose to debate the policy response to human influence, but we should not let it hamper other business needs. Improving our ability to predict natural climate is too important to accept this sort of political fallout.

Working to understand natural climate variability is a no-brainer. This variability imposes a 3% economic tax we can help eliminate. The business community gets it. Let’s enable our businesses to outsmart climate variability, not make them collateral damage of the climate debate. It is too important to our economic growth.

William Gail’s book Climate Conundrums: What the Climate Debate Reveals About Us was recently published. He is the former president of the American Meteorological Society and co-founder of Global Weather Corporation in Boulder, Colo.

JC reflections

What a colossally sensible op-ed.  Who is Bill Gail and why would he write something like this? (I’ve been called ‘denier’ for writing tamer stuff.)  Bill Gail comes from the private sector; originally in the aerospace sector and now in private sector meteorological services.  So he is not an academic, or a climate researcher that is dependent on federal funding or the acceptance of ‘peer’ researchers.

Bill is also a recent past President of the American Meteorological Society, and is chairing the AMS’s Centennial Visioning Committee (I am a member of this committee also).  Because of its unique membership profile that includes large percentages from the private sector as well as academia and government, I have regarded the AMS as making a uniquely important contribution to our science and its applications.  And I have substantial confidence in the executive leadership (e.g. Keith Seitter and Bill Hooke).

Back to natural climate variability.  We remain extremely vulnerable to weather and climate disasters, that have nothing discernible to do with human caused climate change.  These are being ignored by policy makers – somehow the expectation seems to be that reducing CO2 emissions will reduce the frequency/severity of these events, even though there is next to no evidence (e.g. IPCC SREX) of discernible influences of AGW on these extreme events.

I differ a little bit with Bill Gail in thinking that the primary solution to this is more funding for NASA, NOAA, NSF and USGS.  I have discussed this issue on a previous thread – Pasteur’s Quadrant.  With regards to  research funding, there is and outsize imbalance between funding for climate research (a lot) and weather research (not much).  And too much of the climate funding goes to applications of climate models (on topics for which the climate models are not up to task) and for  what I call ‘climate taxonomy’ — characterized by endless analysis of IPCC climate model runs and projection of ‘dangerous impacts’ .

There is too little research on fundamental weather and climate dynamics that provides the foundations for better prediction models as well as better applications of the model forecasts.  In particular, there is essentially no funding for applied research needed for companies, emergency managers, etc.  to apply these forecasts to their risk management problems.

Bill Gail and I share a common strategy in addressing the applications gap – forming private sector weather companies with strong ties to academic research (Bill’s company is strongly tied to NCAR).  There is a tiny bit of government support for such efforts in the form of SBIR/STTR grants.  But the economic impact (not to mention humanitarian impact) of improved weather and short term climate forecasts could be huge, if we can bridge the applications gap.

In any event, it seems that the tide may be turning (with the Republican Congress) to provide more support for improved weather and short-term climate forecasting (and while they are at it, I sure hope that the spend funds to maintain and improve the global observing systems).

 

155 responses to “Bill Gail: Don’t let climate debate hinder the economy

  1. Pingback: Bill Gail: Don’t let climate debate hinder the economy | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. Judy- I agree. Excellent article by Bill Gail. Your summary is also excellent!

    One fundamental message that we continually need to emphasize is that “climate” and “weather” should be the emphasis, not just the myopic focus on predcited “changes in climate statistics” (i.e. “climate change”), or even more narrowly a change in the global climate average heat content, which is where so much of the available research funding is being focused.

    I look forward to your testimony on Tuesday.

    Roger Sr.

    • Judith: And I’ll agree with Roger, Sr. The post by Bill Gail and your comments are both excellent.

      We’ve wasted decades focusing on a hypothetical problem called anthropogenic global warming.

      Cheers.

      • Agreed! I regard Bill Gail’s editorial as evidence the AGW story is faltering rapidly and clever folks like Bill Gail are now abandoning a sinking ship. Congratulations, Professor Curry, for your role in defending the integrity of climatology.

    • NPR had a report recently about Senegalese farmers that demonstrated to me how the word “climate” has been substituted for “weather” in many official outlets. The story was actually about traditional variability in seasonal and annual weather conditions. But at NPR, the funding is for “climate” stories so it is “climate” stories that we get.

      It is actually a great story about using technology to improve agricultural output.

      http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/12/03/456194983/this-peanut-farmer-turns-to-a-cellphone-and-prayer-for-a-top-crop

      As the old saying goes, you can’t do anything about the weather — but we can apparently do something about the climate as long as we spend LOTS of money.

      • I heard that one and started to laugh.

        First, because the wonderful tool of agriculture was a smart phone, brought to all by fossil fuels.

        Second, because the actual magic process mentioned later was – fertilizer – also brought to all by fossil fuels.

        Somehow, just mentioning the word climate is enough to coat-tail on to the discussion.

  3. What debate?

    Anyway, should anyone be so inclined, nominations are open for Climate Prat of 2015 and may the farce be with you.

    https://thepointman.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/the-pratties-2015-the-race-is-on/

    Pointman

    • It’s a bumper crop prat year Pointman. This is another of the many “water is wet” observational articles that Dr. Curry find revealing. It avoids focus of the main point of the climate change political cult, the new left 60’s vision channeled through a grotesque “green” sales culture.

      Prats and Prat domination cost more then all the bad weather in history combined. The comedy often distracts from the criminal nature of the Greenshirt left or what is being attempted in Paris.

  4. The climate debate isn’t hindering the economy but Leftists are.

    • Exactly, worse then economic loss of course are the totalitarian trappings mainstreamed in the process. Aside from all the crony greed and affirmation they seek they punish their enemies and silence speech.

      They’re over there in Paris planning another iron boot of NWO expansion on a scale of the Keynesian monetary authority and debt expansion abuse. Every elite will get paid off, the poor of the world go under the bus both economically and their freedoms are put in chains.

    • Apologies if I’m OT, mod you are free to delete. The US “left” (far right by absolute standards) welcomes immigration which is almost always a growth factor, except in the UK of course where the immies don’t come to work, they come to scrounge i.e. zero-sum. Welfare safety nets are great. When large numbers of your citizens are dying of starvation your economy tends to choke.

  5. I am all for trying to improve our understanding of climate.

    But no matter how well we understand the climate, we are still going to have economic losses from snow days (I live in Minnesota).

    Understanding climate will not eliminate winter.

    Now at some point in the far future, maybe information technology could eliminate the need to drive to work. But somehow I don’t think Bill is talking about that.

    How much of that 3% loss Bill is referring to is avoidable with better info tech?

    I am a bit skeptical.

    • Richard Arrett wrote, ” … no matter how well we understand the climate, we are still going to have economic losses from snow days (I live in Minnesota).”

      With better forecasts a company like Delta Airlines could make reasonable and rational decisions about long term plans for their MSP hub in order to minimize their economic losses.

    • Richard,

      It might be only a small percentage which could be avoided, but even 1% of 3% is a large number in dollars.

      I suspect accurate regional weather forecasts ranging from 1 to 3 months out would lead to larger savings than 1%.

      • Given the chaotic nature of the system I do not think such forecasts are possible. Beyond a week or two (or less, depending on conditions) the weather is probably intrinsically unpredictable.

    • You apparently did not get the memo. According to warmunistas, all we need to do is decarbonize out society to control our co2 output. Doing so will enable us to control the climate so that we will have, as yet not fully defined, a climate utopia where the climate is stable and all severe weather events will be a thing of the past. Who needs to understand trivial things like natural variability when we already know the contro knob is co2.

  6. “somehow the expectation seems to be that reducing CO2 emissions will reduce the frequency/severity of these events”

    I’d really like to see this quantified. Usually when a policy is implement, there is some sort of audit with a measuring stick to see if the policy decision was a good one or not.

    One would think that bigger the implications of the policy (e.g. cost, affect on people, etc.), the more stringent the attention to assessing the effectiveness would be.

  7. How climate change advocacy reached critical mass:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-find-a-link-between-low-intelligence-and-acceptance-of-pseudo-profound-bulls-a6757731.html

    Socializing public education formed both the advocate culture (campus left for example) and wiped out critical thinking in vast populations over generations. The weakest minds being the first to go.

    People really need to be told natural variability of climate has costs and may largely have nothing to do with co2 regulation?

    Article confirmed, my claim confirmed.

  8. “We remain extremely vulnerable to weather and climate disasters……These are being ignored by policy makers…” -JC

    Well, that’s some hyperbole for rhetorical effect. NOAA continues to do lots on weather – have you seen Wether Ready Nation? – and there’s bill on improving foecasting winding it’s way through the senate (last i saw).

    Your arguments would actually be stronger if you didn’t feel compelled to play a zero sum game.

    • You would point that out, it’s natural.

    • The Senate cannot mandate improved forecasts if forecasts cannot be improved. In the US we may well be at the chaotic limit as far as forecast accuracy is concerned. As a farmer (horses) I follow the weather closely, including multiple forecasts, radar and satellite. The NWS provides a nice discussion, updated several times a day. They often explain why we cannot know what is going to happen, because storm tracks are intrinsically unpredictable.

      If we are at the limit of predictability then increasing resilience may be possible, but that is really expensive, not to mention intrusive. Is the government going to require me to buy a bigger tractor, to plow out the possible 30″ snow faster? This whole discussion seems confused to me.

  9. So, what if increased CO2 is actually a benefit to ‘climate’ and humans for the next century?

    Since fluid flow of the global atmosphere is not predictable beyond roughly a week, this can be speculative. But one of the obvious cognitive biases of the IPCC and everyone in Paris it the gravity toward disaster and ignorance of benefit.

    If you accept increase in CO2 means increased warmth and increased absolute humidity, it’s quite possible that would also mean:
    reduced temperature variability because increased latent heat transfer reduces the amount of sensible heat required for balance. ( Manabe raised this in 1980 paper ). This certainly occurs spatially ( tropics are much less variable than polar regions ).
    reduced mid-latitude storm intensity because of reduced gradients
    increased precipitation over land would seem to be a benefit for humans already using more fossil water than is being replaced

    Given dynamic uncertainty, these benefits are hardly given, but they are based on first principles.

  10. I agree that the Republican led effort at defunding NASA’s earth-pointing satellites is misguided to say the least, and more of the skeptic community needs to tell them that, because those are the only people they listen to. On the issue of understanding natural variability as opposed to anthropogenic influences, I disagree. We should be looking at the total climate change, and anthropogenic forcing has by far quantitatively dominated solar and volcanic influences on global climate in the last half century. When he talks just about “natural” variability, he is missing an important component, and almost could be said to be deliberately wanting to avoid the fact that the global climate is only changing in one direction for the foreseeable future, and that is far from “natural”.

    • Jimd

      There has been very little disruptive volcanic influences this last half century so it hasn’t really been a major factor in climate, as claimed for example for the 1258 super volcano.

      Looking back over the last thousand years of climate it is very difficult to discern mans influence over the last half century! in as much the climate hasn’t been that extraordinary. It has been cooler than today and warmer than today so staying within the bounds of natural variability.

      Mind you, bearing in mind all the theories that greater extremes of rain and storms are the results of a warmer climate, perhaps you can explain why the rather cool 13 th century had so many superstorms and epic bouts of rain, as modern theory seems to suggest that cold and these extremes don’t go together.

      Tonyb

      • The magnitude of forcing variations due to the sun and volcanoes are very well known, and pale in comparison to the 2 W/m2 already added by GHGs, and the possibly 6 W/m2 by 2100. Ignoring GHG changes is really ignoring the elephant in the room when it comes to climate effects and the future climate. It is far from clear why he wants to do this.

      • jimd

        No, the impact of volcanos is not well understood at all. I used to get this from my good friend R Gates, but the observational evidence shows they have a very,limited short term impact, even the larger ones such as the 1258 volcano. If we don’t understand volcano impacts it may well be that our understanding of solar impacts is also wanting

        tonyb

      • The key with volcanoes is indeed that their effects are gone within a decade, while GHGs accumulate forcing over decades. When quantified in long-term forcing, volcanoes do not do much in a century average, while the changing GHG background does.

      • jimd

        much much less than a decade

        tonyb

      • Jim D: “The magnitude of forcing variations due to the sun and volcanoes are very well known”

        No they are not.

        Stop making stuff up.

      • “The magnitude of forcing variations due to the sun and volcanoes are very well known”

        They are not well known, but it is well known that they are very small. You can see some of their little blips in the data.

      • When quantified in long-term forcing, volcanoes do not do much in a century average, while the changing GHG background does.

        No actual data supports that statement.

      • It snowed and there were huge storms in the 13th century because the oceans were warm then. The more rain and snow falls in the times with warm oceans. The warm oceans are rebuilding the ice on earth during that time. Yes, they did have some cold on land because of the more snowfall, but the oceans were warm and these were warm times.

      • tonyb, for example within a decade of Pinatubo, very little effect, if any, was left, and it could be argued that 1998 represented a recovery from repressed Pinatubo conditions that enhanced the El Nino, as the long-term forcing change re-established itself.

    • Jim D, you are completely wrong about the magnitude of solar forcing being “well known.” We have virtually no understanding of the sun-climate linkages. In fact this is a major research area, especially in Europe. NASA tried to get a sun-climate research program off the ground a few years ago and was shot down. Instead we have huge carbon cycle and hydro cycle research programs, which all assume AGW going in.

      • We have had the warmest years in recorded history with the sun at about its lowest activity in a hundred years, and CO2 at its highest measured level. That alone tells you that in the battle between GHGs and the sun, it is the GHGs that win, and the sun isn’t doing anything significant to counter them.

      • Jim D: “We have had the warmest years in recorded history”

        You still believe in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy too, right?

      • We have been emerging from the Little Ice Age, the causes of which (the LIA and the emerging) are unknown but may well be solar in nature. They are certainly not due to CO2. As you well know, a number of solar scientists are concerned that we may be entering another LIA. Or maybe you do not know about this literature. Is that the problem? Your pronouncements are simply simple minded. You sound like you have no grasp of recent scientific debate.

    • When the liars and frauds take sides politically they should expect politicians to notice and respond. If you think the natural pushback to politicized science is a bad thing, you should demand that the liars and frauds stop politicizing science.

    • Jim D,

      To borrow Mosher’s line, read harder. He is not talking about natural variability. He is talking about improving our understanding of weather, primarily with the goal of being better at predicting it on shorter scales than a century out, but longer than the current 10 day forecasts.

      • However, given the chaotic nature of the system, this improvement in weather prediction may not be possible and he does not consider this possibility. What may be possible is to better predict the limits to predictability. That would be very valuable.

    • Well given that for the last 20 years there has been an almost exclusive focus on funding a human causes for global warming, the next 20 should similarly prioritize natural ones.

  11. Dr. Richard Muller of BEST has said the biggest “Game Changer” in understanding Climate Change could be in understanding clouds. Yet it seems clouds are rarely discussed.

    Layman Question: Wouldn’t a better understanding of clouds be huge in our understanding of both climate and weather?

    • Yes, All the relevant papers back to the 1970’s talk about clouds being a game changer but we still do not really understand them.

      tonyb

    • I’d go further and guess there is no rounded understanding of climate and weather without that. And that would only be a start. The disturbing thing is that so much “data” is based on min/max temps, which are often nothing more than a record of how cloud kept the temps up or down at a likely trough or peak time-of-day.

      I sometimes suspect that many collectors and processors of climate data have never even considered this critical point. Incredible as it may seem.

      When I’m in the paddock or the bush or the bamboo I might wonder how much cloud and what sort of cloud is interacting with wind and sun to produce the weather I’m experiencing, and what sort of wind, in what humidity…then I just give up in bewilderment.

      I truly wish good luck and millions of dollars to whoever can really get their head round the fantastically complex flux we call climate. I’d suggest that the mechanistic, kiddie-console approach has not been doing the job.

      • To the ‘we don’t really know their effects’ List I would add the sun, clouds, thunderstorms, cyclones/typhoons/hurricanes , the variability and dirction of winds, the jet stream, atmospheric rivers, ssw and heat plumes. apart from that we know everything…except the things we don’t know about all the other things…

        Tonyb

      • In other words, our climate system is a massively complex, chaotic, nonlinear, coupled system made up of five separate subsystems – none of which scientists claim a full understanding of how those subsystems work, much less, an understanding of the effects of the interactions between those subsystems. Add to that the externalalities like the sun, gravity, polarity, cosmic rays, and who knows how many unknown unknowns. Yet, we know with absolute certainty that a trace gas making up .04% of just one of the 5 subsystems, of which human contribution from burning fossil fuels is something on the order of 3%, is THE control knob. We control co2, and all the other complexities evaporate.

        JimD, JCH, willard, et al, please let me know if I got this right.

        Thanks!

      • “Yet, we know with absolute certainty that a trace gas making up .04% of just one of the 5 subsystems, of which human contribution from burning fossil fuels is something on the order of 3%, is THE control knob. We control co2, and all the other complexities evaporate”

        except the argument is NOT that c02 is THE control knob

      • Mosher, his slide says, “best data today show that CO2 has been “biggest control knob” on Earth’s climate”.

        Teriible presentation.

      • Unintended consequences maybe? Also undercuts their other golden calf(s) – wind turbines and solar panels. For them to be cost competitive requires fossil fuel costs to rise considerably.

      • Thanks mosh, try telling that to jimd, jch, willard and the others who repearedly say just that. Also, not sure what point you were trying to make with the video. Near the end, and I am paraphrasing, the presenter says that co2 overwhelms solar influence. So, let’s do a simple 2 part experiment. Lets pump up the atmosphere to say 50% co2 and turn off the sun. What do you think will happen? Then, lets reduce co2 back to preindustrial levels and turn up the dial on the sun. What would happen then?

      • My unintended consequences comment was intended as a reply to a wegathon comment downthread. Not sure how it ended up here.

      • Mosher > except the argument is NOT that c02 is THE control knob

        It’s the control elephant in the room, we are told above.

      • Steven Mosher

        Barnes you guys didn’t listen.

        1. Co2 is not the control knob.
        2. There are many knobs
        3. It’s the biggest knob

        It’s not THE knob. It’s a knob. Without this knob you can’t make sense of history.

      • As Barnes says, the largest control on climate is CO2. This is quantified when IPCC shows the forcing changes in the last century or so and illustrates their relative magnitudes. No one in science disputes these.

      • Jim D | December 5, 2015 at 9:12 am
        “As Barnes says, the largest control on climate is CO2.”

        No it isn’t.

        Stop making stuff up.

      • Thanks again Mosh. You are, however going to have to do better than provide a presentation that starts out with the assumption that co2 is the main culprit. While the presentation included one slide that he claims demonstrates that co2 leads temp change, we know that ice core data show the opposite, and other reconstructions going back several periods do not show a particularly strong correlation. To the average layman who looks at as much info as his feeble mind can process, there seems to be a lot of conflicting information. When one side of the “debate” relentlessly demonizes the other side and uses every tactic they can to shut down discussion and silence the opposition, this layman thinks that weakens their position.

        So, let’s set the clock back a bit and start studying climate and weather from a position other than we know co2 is the culprit.

      • And, actually considering the real benefits of increased levels of co2. That is another position that weakens the CAGW argument. According to CAGW proponents, there are only negative consequences to increased levels of co2. That position is demonstrbly false, yet try having a rational discussion with a true believer in that topic.

      • The pause has made complete fools of a lot of very smart people. Based on first 4 days and 7-day forecast, December GISS projects to as much as 1.20C. The rest of December would have to nosedive to prove the kiddie console folks were anything except dead right. They understand far far more than is being suggested here. And the rest of December is not going to nosedive.

      • As Barnes says, the largest control on climate is CO2.

        Wrong.

        People who have religiously focused on CO2 have redefined what climate is to their own liking.

        Climate involves long term state of the atmosphere including clouds, precipitation, humidity, winds, sunshine and much else. These things are determined by the general circulation, the largest control of which are earth shape, orbit, rotation, size/shape/orientation of the oceans/continents/mountains.

        There is sound evidence that increased CO2 should increase retained heat in the atmosphere, but that is not climate, and falsely claiming so is an indicator of the vacuity of the religious cult of CAGW.

      • The pause has made…

        Monckton is probably an ideologue, but I’m pretty sure the regression drawn here is correct:

      • TE – nice illustration of a pause-made fool.

      • It’s not THE knob. It’s a knob. Without this knob you can’t make sense of history.

        It’s not a “control knob.” It’s an internal linkage within a very complex “machine”. (And more of a lever than knob at that).

        Humans, by their actions, may have leaned into the works and pushed on this lever, but there’s plenty of other things pushing (and pulling) on it as well, and human influence just adds to the complexity.

    • richardswarthout

      Drs Curry and Brown

      Are you familiar with the Barbados Cloud Observatory; founded, I believe, by Bjorn Stevens. http://barbados.zmaw.de/

      Richard

      • Richard

        thanks for the link looks interesting. I will read through carefully.

        Whether cloud is a positive or negative temperature factor is a difficult one. On the whole, in our latitudes at least, I think the cloud is mostly warming.

        We have just had the dullest November since 1929 with a miserable 36 hours of sunshine ( yes, for the entire month) and with a southwesterly wind it was very wet. The net result is that with cloud at night preventing temperatures falling too much, it was also one of the warmest novembers on record. If that weather pattern continues in December we are likely to have a warm winter and it is that season which sets the stage for the year as temperature variability is potentially greatest.

        Did you ever get Hubert lambs book ‘ climate, past present and future?

        There is an illustration in it showing the number of days a year Britain has south westerly winds from 1340 to 1979 . There is a close correlation to our climate whereby lack of them appears to correlate with some of the coldest years of the LIA.

        I am working with the met office to try to update it on a like for like basis to see if there has been a lack of them over the last fifteen to eighteen years which coincides with our cooling climate over that period.

        Tonyb

      • climatereason: “Whether cloud is a positive or negative temperature factor is a difficult one. On the whole, in our latitudes at least, I think the cloud is mostly warming.”

        It can be easily observed that during the day, cloud cover exerts a cooling effect, whereas at night that same cloud cover exerts a warming effect.

        So the effect changes sign twice in a 24 hour period. That should be fun to model…

      • richardswarthout

        Tony

        The Influence of Cloud Feedbacks On Equatorial Atlantic Variability, co-authored by Bjorn Stevens looks interesting; the abstract indicates some answers on quantifying the feedbacks.

        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00495.1

        Note: Perhaps the only way we’ll understand clouds is on a region-by-region basis, using many Barbados-like cloud observatories.

        Richard

      • Richatd

        Agreed. It is logical to think that clouds will have a different impact in different regions/latitudes, which may then vary according to changing weather patterns such as wind direction. The trouble is that we focus too much on looking at ‘the globe’ rather than looking at regions. It’s like temperatures, not everywhere is warming or cooling at the same rate but when it’s averaged out the nuances are lost.

      • richardswarthout

        AK

        Thank you for the link. Looks like there is progress toward understanding clouds, and evidence that it can only be done on a region-by-region basis.

        Richard

    • I believe one of Judith’s first challenges to the climate models was the impact of clouds.

  12. stevefitzpatrick

    “Back to natural climate variability. We remain extremely vulnerable to weather and climate disasters, that have nothing discernible to do with human caused climate change. These are being ignored by policy makers – somehow the expectation seems to be that reducing CO2 emissions will reduce the frequency/severity of these events, even though there is next to no evidence (e.g. IPCC SREX) of discernible influences of AGW on these extreme events.”

    Tilting at windmills a bit Judith. The problem is that “natural variability”, whatever its negative consequences, is morally acceptable to those concerned about human influence on the Earth’s climate and ecology. Human induced change (aka change which is not “natural”) is morally unacceptable to those same people. Nuclear power is ‘not natural’, and though does not emit much CO2 is vigorously opposed by most all of the same groups.

    I do not believe there exists a rational argument about the importance of natural variability which will change this POV, and any publication which focuses on how natural variability, at any temporal scale, compares to human induced change leads to condemnation and cries of “denier” and worse. Any public suggestion that every weather catastrophe, and resulting financial loss, is not directly due to global warming brings out the attack dogs, as many (including you and Roger Pielke Jr) have consistently found. This can only be changed at the voting booth by changing how climate science is funded.

    • Steven Mosher

      Yup

    • They put out an ignorant graph about the Brisbane flood which they purport to prove AGW is uninvolved, and the ignorant graph gets uncritically puffed on this blog, and anybody who points out its ignorance is an attack dawg? Lol.

      Nope.

    • I asked before with no takers, but ‘what if’ global warming reduces natural variability?

      There is a sound principle behind this. Increasing global latent heat content of the atmosphere reduces the amount of sensible heat transfer necessary for equilibrium. Further, maximal warming in the cold ( Arctic & winter & night ) tends to reduce variability as well.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        TE,
        GHG driven warming clearly reduces day/night temperature variability (more warming at night than during the day) and reduces seasonal variability at higher latitudes (more warming in winter than summer). The influence, if any, on extreme events is much more difficult to show. You can argue that smaller temperature differentials should lead to few extreme events, but greater absolute humidity might work the other way. There appear so far to be few if any statistically significant trends.

  13. I might be more interested in supporting government funding for research if the researchers had not been exposed, repeatedly, as corrupt and dishonest.

  14. Judy: Typo: change “and” to “an” in:

    “With regards to research funding, there is and outsize imbalance between funding for climate research (a lot) ….”

  15. Very thoughtful post. But as to avoidable weather related exonomic losses, I think these are overstated, or at least how much they might be reducable with better info. We knew Sandy was coming. But whether New Jersey shoiuld spend billions relocating people inland to avoid the next Sandy storm surge is debatable, as almost nothing of the sort has been done. There are diminishing marginal returns to ‘weather proofing’. At some point, further ‘resilience’ investment simply does not provide a return, any more than over insuring does, or building center pivot irrigation in areas that might see drought once a decade (although innthe Wisconsin Eiver valley thatnis done on fields planted in hybrid seed crops (corn and soy) because of their much greater value.

    • Actually, NOAA forecasts only gave a few days notice for Sandy (whereas ECMWF gave more than a week’s notice). Better emergency management procedures (supported by earlier warnings) could have gone a long way to mitigating Sandy’s damage and reducing the downtime of the electric power system. So this kind of ‘soft’ adaptation can be very cost effective, and avoids the large sunk costs of hard infrastructure changes. This is the kind of thing that both bill gail’s and my company are trying to address.

      • Good points. I was thinking about hard adaptations like flood defenses or irrigation systems. No question that better forecasting (e.g. Narrower hurricane cone of uncertainty, intensity) enables better soft adaptation.

      • While I agree and support getting more advanced notice out so that people can prepare by shuttering their homes and following an advanced, orderly evacuation plan if deemed appropriate (which also comes with costs) and so that utilities and emergency services can get lined up appropriately, we will still need to accept the simple fact that there will always be damages that will increase with the severity level of the hurricane, tornado, earthquake, sunami, etc. No matter how much advance warning is given, people will not be able to relocate their homes.

        My reason for making this simplistic and obvious point is that we seem to desire some type of risk free world that we can control to assure no negative consequences will ever occur. In addition to taking all rational, reasonable, and hopefully cost effective steps to protect ourselves, part of the discussion also needs to be that there are no guarantees, ever, so prepare for that eventuality as well.

      • Hurricane Rita is a good study. it was to hit the coast southwest of Houston and people did evacuate in all directions. It was then supposed to hit Houston and people did evacuate in all directions. It was then supposed to hit east of Houston and it did and people evacuated in all directions, including the many people who were lurking there from the earlier evacuations. A friend of ours left early and fled to a hotel on the north side of Houston. They closed and kicked him out. The roads were clogged and he could not get out. He did turn back, went home and was fine. Another friend got stuck in the freeway over Houston. It took 12 hours to get to a place to turn around and come home. Early warning did much harm. I heard that there was a traffic light in Giddings, Texas that turned green and let a few cars pass, several hours later that allowed a few cars to move forward in Houston.

      • Popesclimatetheory – my wife’s brother and family lived in Housto at the time and had a similar experience to what you describe. Stuck on congrsted freeways for hours with no real place to go. Then of course, we have the people in New orleans celebrating that they dodged another nullet until the levies failed. There are no easy answers or solutions. One thing is clear however, throwing money down a black hole to prove co2 is the culprit and that wind and solar are the solutions is simply incomprehensible and squanders valuable resource.

        I am with mosomoso, we need to obliterate the climatariate. I am a bit undecided how much to send him right now though to support his cause.

      • Judith,

        Better emergency management procedures (supported by earlier warnings) could have gone a long way to mitigating Sandy’s damage and reducing the downtime of the electric power system. So this kind of ‘soft’ adaptation can be very cost effective, and avoids the large sunk costs of hard infrastructure changes.

        True. However, there is a human overlay we mustn’t forget. You will recall the Brisbane floods: http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/qld-floods/ (hover over the floods to see before and after). Despite BOM’s warnings of severe flooding, the engineers who are responsible for managing the water levels in the dam were reluctant to release water because the climate alarmists (including the climate bureaucrats) had been saying that our long drought was permanent and or dams would never fill again. So the engineers were reluctant to release water when they should have. Some people blame the damage on the CAGW alarmists’ BS.

        So, I’d suggest: “Better emergency management procedures (supported by earlier warnings) could have gone SOME way to mitigating Sandy’s damage and reducing the downtime of the electric power system. “

    • rud – how much money has New Jersey spent to “harden” against severe weather events like Sandy? Any at all? For example, no state that I know of forbids residences on the coast.

      • That’s part of each individual’s risk assessment analysis. I lived near the Jersey shore and was on the board for the Habitat affiliate with a geographic service area that covered 60% of the affected area. While I can not quantify the entire investment for the entire area, I can say that construction codes were put in place for things like home elevation based on, among other things, flood plane analysis. Many of the homes hardest hit were simple bungalos built near the shore 40 to 50 years ago, or longer, in blue collar neighborhoods before building codes were in place that contemplated superstorm sandy type events. One of the delays we encountered when homeowners applied for RREM funding was waiting for new codes to be put in place so we would know the proper elevation when we needed to raise a home. Fortunately, we also received substantial grant money that allowed us to proceed with a lot of other rehabilitation efforts. Our affiliate alone, which was a simple mom and pop affiliate before the storm hit was responsible for putting over 90 families back in their homes, which in a few cases meant razing and rebuilding.

        I recently relocated to northern florida where I was fortunate to find a home I could afford within mayby 500 feet or so of the Atlantic. Not on the beach, but an easy walk to an access point. I pay higher insurance rates and am fully aware of the risks – which I am fully willing to accept in return for living in a very beutiful and peaceful area – where I can easily avoid the kind of congestion I had to deal with in nj and ny.

        The point is, for those of us fortunate enough to be able to choose, we also have to accept the risks associated with our decisions. There was a time, at least I would like to think there was, when people of any economic class could raise themselves sufficiently to make such choices. I am afraid that time may have passed.

      • Thanks Barnes. As long as the people living in a given situation assume the risk, that is fine. But more and more, the people taking the risk expect the rest of us to pay when the risk manifests itself in damage.

      • Jim2

        We are in agreement. It’s a personal responsibility thing. There are a couple of consequences of an increasing nanny state mentality. One is that people increasingly want to be protected from all possible risks, and our politicians continue to make promises to do just that. I am all for reasonable safety nets to help people who can’t help themselves. I just have a problem laying out funds for people capable but not willing to help themselves. One other consequence is the government dictating that we must all live in areas that pose little risk.

      • And, Barnes, this has been happening at least since social security. It covers everyone. The program might have had a chance if it were a true safety net. I might have served a good purpose without dragging down everyone. But of course, that would have made sense.

      • Jim2 – just think how different ss would be if it has been structured differently from the start. It may have taken an initial government investment, but if all money went into individual accounts that were required to provide some nominal rate of return for some portion and allowed individuals to.make relatively safe investment decisions on the remaining portion and never have the funds go to the treasury. Maybe too somplistic, but seems to solve a number of the problems with the current system

      • Steven Mosher

        Stupidly we subsidize fools to live by the ocean.

      • Stupidly we subsidize fools who live in earthquake zones, tornado allys, any area that may be affected by hurricanes (pretty much all of florida and the entire east coast).

      • One approach might be to have the government (barf) zone the entire coast commercial. Grandfather in current residents for their lifetime. After that, the property is up for sale to a commercial entity. Since the government is already mandating, let it mandate a minimum price for the property so the heirs still get something.

      • Humans have always lived at the edge and pushed the boundaries on everything. Now, you want human nature to change and have everyone move to where there is no risk. Patrick Henry said “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” I have seen flood and drought and fire, far from the sea shore. Places to live with little risk have little else to offer. People can choose to live in such places, but not many make that choice. We are more likely to die in a car accident, yet we still travel in cars.

      • Since the government is already mandating, . . . . . .

        This is what we are fighting, the government mandating way too much junk.

      • Pope … if you have been following the conversation, the problem is that the people living on the coast want taxpayers to bail them out when their home is destroyed by weather events. If they absorbed their own damages, there wouldn’t be a problem.

      • The people in Galveston County and on Galveston Island pay higher insurance costs than those of us in Harris County. We have had major flooding in Harris County also. My house was hit by lightning and about half of it burned. Insurance helped me and I expect insurance to help the people in Galveston. I expect for some people to always want to live there. There are disasters that can happen anywhere. Insurance rates are being adjusted constantly because we did not plan for everything.

      • Pope – I’m beginning to believe you’re feigning ignorance. Shame on you! I’m talking about home owners expecting TAXPAYER money to rebuild their houses!!! Got it???
        From the article:

        (MCT) — Two years after Hurricane Sandy battered the Jersey Shore, the state has distributed about a quarter of the money allocated by the federal government, as thousands of homeowners await aid to rebuild.

        Of the $3.26 billion the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has provided to New Jersey, state officials say they had paid out $802 million as of Sept. 30. More than half of the money went to homeowners. Some went to businesses, municipalities and housing developers.

        The federal government provided its first allocation, $1.8 billion, to the state about seven months after the storm. The state has yet to distribute any of the $1.46 billion approved by HUD in May. A final round of $880 million is expected next spring.

        http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Hurricane-Sandy-Thousands-Await-Aid-Rebuild-New-Jersey.html

      • jim2 We help foreign countries with our tax money, with all kinds of problems. We bailed the World out of two World Wars. We can help some of our own. It might be us next time. I would rather help people in New York or New Orleans or Galveston, or Oklahoma City, when they need it, rather than spend it on windmills and solar panels. I do help others when I can and others have always helped me when I needed help. I don’t keep track of if I am ahead or behind, but I believe I am ahead and I owe more than is the debt to me. We cannot always exchange help evenly and we should not worry about that.

    • ristvan wrote, “There are diminishing marginal returns to ‘weather proofing’. At some point, further ‘resilience’ investment simply does not provide a return … ”

      Yet it is required.
      Post-Sandy Building Codes Protect Property, Raise Reconstruction Costs
      http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/postsandy-building-codes-prote/26051087

      Some entities respond to predicted weather events. Airlines cancel flights and move aircraft; Power companies send fleets of equipment and personnel close to predicted events; Insurance companies mobilize damage assessors and claims processors. For such companies good forecasts improve service and cut costs. Bad forecasts result in substantial unnecessary expenses.

      • Obviously, there are real but minute possibilities of all kinds of things happening.

        Fully protecting against any long term possible outcome will fully bankrupt anyone trying it in the short term.

      • Very good point. I have a friend who lives in Pt. Pleasant , nj. While parts of pt pleasant were hit hard, other parts were largely spared. She happened to live in an area that was minimally affected – the impact to her was liitle more than a heavy rain. Yet, her entire neighborhood was subsequently deemed to be in a flood area, and for her to be able to continue to buy home insurance, she and her neighbors will be required to elevate their homes – a very costly requirement. The alternative would be to pay exhorbently high premiums. She and her neighbors are fighting this decision. Unlike homeowners who were affected by the storm and received insurance money or were eligible for state ot federal funding, they were not eligible since they incurred no damage. The homes these people live in were constructed according to building codes in place at the time of construction. In this case, exhorbitant costs are being forced onto the homeowner apparently to protect the insurance companies. This neighborhood is not on or even that close to the beach.

        To me, this is an overreaction to the storm.

  16. “Everybody complains about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it.” — Charles Dudley Warner — often attributed to his writing partner Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens )

  17. “There is too little research on fundamental weather and climate dynamics that provides the foundations for better prediction models as well as better applications of the model forecasts. ”

    Yes. That $359 billion** invested in climate change nonsense would support 179 Sandias or 4000 NCAR’s.

    The state of climate models is irretrievably laughable, at least from the standpoint of prediction. Given the right interdisciplinary group building a model that gives decent information even up to a month or two would be an amazing project, truly groundbreaking.

    But the IPCC rails about how ‘we cant predict on short term scales, but long term climate is quite predictable’. Balderdash, nonsense.

    I washed my hands of this nonsense a decade ago and found a job that wasn’t a joke (and paid twice as much) in industry.

    ** http://climatepolicyinitiative.org/press-release/climate-change-investment-totals-usd-359-billion-worldwide/

  18. Better information can only refine expectations about future uncertainty, improve decision making and enhance economic efficiency. But this should probably not be overstated, specifically the following:

    “Deviations from normal climate were cited by The Wall Street Journal as a major cause for the gross domestic product drop of 2.9% in the first quarter of 2014. Can nature really push around our nation’s great economic engine so easily?”

    In fact, on revision, this was a contraction of 0.9% as a consequence of severe winter weather. It seems reasonable to suggest most of this lost output was made up in the two subsequent quarters – growth of 4.6, 4.3% respectively, way above the prevailing trend. Obviously, it depends upon the specific kind of adverse weather how much output is actually lost in the final analysis.

  19. Cutting back on NASA’s Earth Sciences budget is not necessarily an attack on Climate Change research. Over the past decade the percentage of NASA’s budget that has been allocated to Earth Sciences has increases significantly relative to other areas of research at NASA.

    http://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/NASA_Earth_Space_Science-Funding.png

    An argument could be made that the business of NASA is aeronautics and space research and that Earth sciences research should be redirected to other agencies (e.g., NOAA). NASA’s funding that is currently going towards Earth sciences is diverting funds away from other research areas that are perhaps more in line with NASA’s core mission (e.g., the James Webb space telescope).

  20. I am getting bored. The globe can be getting warmer or colder, but the idea that the human contribution from burning carbon fuels has anything to do with it is not only IMHO the biggest political and intellectual fraud ever – but so says the IPCC itself: http://cleanenergypundit.blogspot.com/2011/10/west-is-facing-new-severe-recession.html.

    The ongoing discussion pro and con is becoming akin to the scholastic argument as to how many angels can dance on the head of a needle. Which is, of course, exactly what is intended to achieve worldwide disorientation away from the actual IPCC aims of global de-democratization and helotization through monetary and energy politics – and bringing a whole, if not all, of science into disrepute. Even the UK Royal Society has become Lysenkoist.

    Knowing that there is no escape from THE FOUR LAWS WITHOUT WHICH NOTHING WHATSOEVER IN THE UNIVERSE THAT HAPPENS, HAPPENS – and which cannot be overruled by edicts from whoever, be it Dalai Lama, Pope, Obama, Merkel, IMF, UN, EU, IPCC, PIK, the Supreme Court, EPA, or anyone, I suggest a look at some facts I collected on the subject in my IDIOT GUIDE TO GLOBAL WARMING at http://cleanenergypundit.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/idiot-guide-to-global-warming.html

  21. Judith –

    ==> “In any event, it seems that the tide may be turning (with the Republican Congress) to provide more support for improved weather and short-term climate forecasting …”

    Really? What is your evidence for that comment? Something that Cruz’s staff has told you (in your non-advocacy capacity)?

    The CR is here . According to the House Appropriation Committee’s summary of the bill, the CR funds Operations, Research and Facilities for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association with $454.3 million less than it got in FY2010; this represents a $450.3 million cut from what the president’s never-passed FY2011 budget was requesting. The National Weather Service, of course, is part of NOAA — its funding drops by $126 million. The CR also reduces funding for FEMA management by $24.3 million off of the FY2010 budget, and reduces that appropriation by $783.3 million for FEMA state and local programs.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2011/03/11/gop_s_continuing_resolution_cuts_funding_for_national_weather_service_fema.html

    • Joshua:

      Why are you citing a 2011 story?

      Earlier this year (aka, 2015), the GOP-controlled House passed a proposed 2016 budget which provided that:

      the National Weather Service is funded at $968 million – $4 million above the President’s request.

      I don’t know what the final result is or will be, but your comment does not make any sense to me.

      http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394203

      • Because it was the latest I found. That’s why I asked for more information to explain Judith’s comment.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Really? What is your evidence for that comment? Something that Cruz’s staff has told you (in your non-advocacy capacity)?”

        Ha ha.
        Joshua the question is why did you post a 2011 story?

      • Because it was the latest I found. That’s why I asked for more information to explain Judith’s comment.

      • Looks like in the intervening years, some have been where the final House appropriations were significantly below the President’s request. Not sure that there is a justifiable identification of a trend associated with Republican control of Congress. Do you see one?

  22. “We — on every side of the climate debate — are holding our economy back. We have allowed disagreement over human influence to push aside what should be a non-controversial goal: improving our understanding of nature itself.”

    This is not correct. Skeptics have been desperately pointing out that there is natural climate change and that the AGW hysteria is holding economies back. It is controversial because of the AGW paradigm paralysis.

  23. Deviations from normal climate were cited by The Wall Street Journal as a major cause for the gross domestic product drop of 2.9% in the first quarter of 2014. Can nature really push around our nation’s great economic engine so easily?

    These people are kidding themselves and most everyone else. These climate events are not any kind of deviation from normal climate. These climate events are a part of the normal climate. When did the normal climate not have extreme events?

    This is just more spin on extreme alarmism.

  24. “We have learned from the difficulty of predicting specific phenomena such as El Nino just how much new science this takes. With the teleconnections that El Nino possesses, and the reach into the daily economic lives in the USA, one would have imagined that predicting El Nino would be a high priority on the part of NASA.

    Since last year (2014) didn’t produce the Godzilla El Nino predicted, one would have thought the scientists would be clamoring for monies to develop predictive models for El Nino instead of the effects of CO2.

    From my perspective, the failure to honor our ignorance of El Nino by the Federal spending programs is based upon the influence of Green NGO’s like Sierra Club, Green Peace, World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense Fund in the halls of Congress who won’t vary their CO2 mitigation meme. Supporting natural variation research and understanding El Nino is tantamount to giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    The impediment to funding research that would help our Nation economically is all the billions funneled into the Green Glop NGOs who have made their case and their financial backers will have no truck to any backpedaling.

    The disease is in Washington DC and Green NGOs’ are the vector.

  25. Any devout believer in cause and effect can only conclude that the academia’s monomaniacal pogrom against CO2, capitalism and the productive who pay all the bills has caused the cost of a barrel of petroleum to plummet, making it more attractive than ever to burn oil while lowering the cost to produce the goods and services we all want and demand. Good work.

    • Unintended consequences maybe? Also undercuts their other golden calf(s) – wind turbines and solar panels. For them to be cost competitive requires fossil fuel costs to rise considerably.

  26. “Super hurricanes, mega droughts and 1,000-year floods have made big news in the months leading to this week’s climate talks in Paris.”

    Who thinks that every climate record has already been set and recorded at every location around the world, and that all newly registered records indicate anthropologically caused climate change?

    • That’s what makes it hard to even know if things are changing. Especially given that stats are questionable in previous years.

      If we could trust the scientists, they ought to be able to spend the time to sort these things out within the historical record, but unfortunately, advocate scientists make it hard to accept the results.

    • Steven Mosher

      Nobody.

  27. In view of the current AMS statement on climate change I find it surprising that Bill Gail had so little influence and that there would be many more of his persuasion amongst the meteorologists comprising the main body of their membership.

  28. Very good post and hopefully a positive sign that the MSM is starting to wake up to the fraud of AGW. Time will tell, but I have my doubts. While I appreciate and mostly agree with Mr. Gail’s comments, there is still a bit of equivocation that concerns me.

    I doubt there are many, if any, skeptics who would disagree that more funding should be allocated to understanding of climate and weather as a whole, including anthropogenic influences. One issue is, at least my perception is, that nearly all funding for climate/weather research has been on anthropogenic influences, specifically co2, with little to no research on natural variability.

    Proponents of AGW, and this includes the MSM are too invested in their ideology to willing allow funds to go towards anything that does not “prove” AGW, or CAGW.

    Our only hope for the US thwarting the green mob/blob will be at the voting booth in 2016. If it’s Hillary, the best we can hope for is a stalemate provided congress stays in the control of republicans, and republicans don’t wilt under what will continue to be a withering attack supported by the MSM. Maybe Trump’s influence of basically giving the finger to the media will wear off on other republicans – at least in that way, he will have one, hopefully lasting, positive contribution.

  29. Pingback: Plan and Prepare for Extreme Weather | climateequilibrium

  30. … too much of the climate funding goes to applications of climate models
    … I sure hope that the spend funds to maintain and improve the global observing systems

    If we could directly observe the radiation budget, we wouldn’t need no stinkin’ guesswork oops I mean models.

    So scrap all/most of the funding for models, and put it into empirical R&D.

  31. JC Reflections says “What a colossally sensible op-ed. ”

    I agree.

  32. Comment received via email:

    20151204. Gregg Suhler suhlermo@mediacombb.net
    Bill Gail’s USA Today editorial frames a worthwhile reorientation of weather and climate to the daily, seasonal, yearly, decadal time frames accompanying the economic and social realities of our worlds. Natural weather and climate have impacts at similarly wide ranging spatial scales. Increased accuracy, reliability, and range of future predictions are more likely achieved if they are purposely and actively sought—high standards for high aspirations. A recent publication at PNAS helps point the way, as tipped by Climate Etc Week in Review—science edition of October 31:
    Study explains near annual monsoon oscillations generated by El Nino [link] … to the spacedaily newsclip: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Study_explains_near_annual_Monsoon_oscillations_generated_by_El_Nino_999.html

    From the University of Hawaii, Stuecker, Jin and Timmerman in PNAS 20151019 online paper “El Nino—Southern Oscillation frequency cascade” work through Western Pacific nonlinear/interactive phenomenological oscillations of ENSO with annual cycle. The initially found oscillations are near 24, 16, 10, 8 months–each with its own pressure pattern. The general approach is deterministic, widely scaled, and admits of realizable predictability.
    The paper itself is online (paywall) at http://www.pnas.org/content/112/44/13490

    Gail’s editorial, Curry’s reflections, and numerous commenters beginning with Roger Pielke help make the case for revisiting climate and weather priorities. This PNAS paper by Stuecker, Jin, Timmerman provides a good example of what can and should be done as part of putting science into better service.

    • That the papers are already published is some evidence that science is already doing better service. Maybe some day Timmerman and England et al will write about the ill wind blowing in congress.

    • Prof. Curry:

      Apropos your link, perhaps Congress could get serious about prohibiting paywalled publication of publicly funded science?

      Every time technology has been allowed to “democratize” a formerly walled-off sector there has been a corresponding expansion of economc investment and creative invention.

      Kent

      • good point, i will try to squeeze this in

      • Oh boy, let’s borrow more money. Maybe paying for papers is an individual responsibility.

      • Maybe paying for papers is an individual responsibility.

        AFAIK the vast majority of access is institutional. Mostly institutions that get government money.

        Not to mention that if the research itself was paid for out of tax funds, its publication should be generally available.

      • Also, there’s some logic analogous to universal medical care: just as when a disease gets out of control among people who can’t afford good preventive/proactive care it can also affect those who can, when research becomes available to people who can’t afford the high prices to read it, some of their responses will add general value. Even to those who can.

        Of course, such logic would be completely abhorrent to those who consider Science to be a kind of religion, subject to subversion the way the Roman Curia was subverted by “Liberation” theology.

      • The question is, if paywalls are outlawed who will pay the cost of publication, which runs to billions of dollars a year? Do you want to nationalize the scientific journal industry? Who pays? Otherwise there are no journals to read.

        In the US, every research project has to file a final technical report. Some agencies publish these, others do not. All should and that would solve the problem. See my http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2011/09/21/taxpayer-oa-is-already-here-in-principle-in-reports/.

      • David Wojick:

        The question is, if paywalls are outlawed who will pay the cost of publication, which runs to billions of dollars a year?

        You’ve changed the stated proposition from public access for publicly funded research to “banning paywalls.” Not the same thing.

        Do you want to nationalize the scientific journal industry? Who pays?

        At this point I’m wondering if perhaps someone has hijacked your wordpress account?

        In the US, every research project has to file a final technical report. Some agencies publish these, others do not. All should and that would solve the problem.

        This sounds like we actually do have common ground, despite your earlier objections and your false conclusion (it would not, IMO, solve the problem).

        Referring to your linked article, my experience with OSTI (and other government sources) has been much more disappointing than you implied might be the case. You admit there can be long delays in publishing any information at all and I find there is often nothing more than a reference that the research took place. In many other cases I’ve found, the published “work” is an incomplete synopsis of a multi-part, multi-year research effort and appears more like bureaucratic box-checking than an effort to convey publicly owned information. Meanwhile, the full publicly funded research is being given away to profit-seeking science journals.

        I would simply turn your argument around and ask why the taxpayer should continue to subsidize a multi-billion dollar scientific publishing industry? If a federal grant produced the work product, the public has a right to it without having to pay a third party for the privilege.

  33. Matthew R Marler

    We remain extremely vulnerable to weather and climate disasters, that have nothing discernible to do with human caused climate change. These are being ignored by policy makers – somehow the expectation seems to be that reducing CO2 emissions will reduce the frequency/severity of these events, even though there is next to no evidence (e.g. IPCC SREX) of discernible influences of AGW on these extreme events.

    That has often been said and written. Is there evidence that enough people are listening?

  34. Extreme Weather happens. Always has… always will. If people are so damned concerned then allocate the funds and build the infrastructure to mitigate. Stop building in flood plains and coastal areas. Stop insuring people who build in such areas without mitigation.

    As an example, Katrina was such a disaster precisely because the protective infrastructure was allowed to decay.

    As a corollary, infrastructure is expensive, so only an expanded economy powered by inexpensive fuels can make that possible. That should be the Paris Agenda… not some phony, ginned up Climate Catastrophe prophesied to strike a century from now.

  35. The science community races to provide clear answers.
    No one in the 97% races to provide clear answers.

    Climate is an engineering problem, not a science problem.

    If you want to cool something, dump ice on it.

    If you want a lot of ice, thaw a Polar Ocean, make a lot of ice, dump some directly back into the ocean and dump more on land to build up to be released later.

  36. The official climate and the official economy are both fabricated in Hollywood.

    • Since the rest of us don’t live there this comes as no surprise…

      GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN: “Tom you used the phrase ‘policy – good policy’, but I want to unpack that term a little bit. Inside the policy, you need a law, you need a rule, you need the coercive power of government to say ‘do this.’ Now you have to be wise and don’t say something stupid or try to order something stupid, but the fact is the regulations supported by the laws drive innovation.”

      that soon law will be better than any old science, ever hoped to be. For your grand kids.

  37. Judith: Clive Best had two posts lately that beautifully illustrate the dramatic difference between natural variability and global warming. The first is a global movie of 150 years monthly temperature anomalies (HadCruT 4.3) for grid cells on a scale from 0 to +10 degC in increasingly intense shades of red and 0 to -10 in increasingly intense shades of blue – both in increments of 1 degC. Intense swathes of both colors regularly sweep across continents. Recent highly-publicized events like the cold on the East Coast of the US last two winters or the heat wave in Europe in the summer of 2003 are relatively routine events that get lots of publicity because the involve regions with lots of people and press coverage. Similar extreme events occurred before the rise in GHGs: extremely winter 1941/2 when the German army was stopped outside Moscow, July/Aug 1936 in the Central US (Dust Bowl era) or the intense cold in the Northern Rockies in Feb 1936. (The movie has a slower speed that enables the user to stop at these dates.)

    http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=6972

    By contrast, global warming amounts to only 1 degC, the smallest step change visible in this movie! So why do maps of global warming contain so man bright red areas? Clive explains that these maps showing global use a logarithm scale, with the smallest change being step changes being 0-0.2, 0.2-0.5, 0.5-1.0, 1.0-3.0, and 3.0-5.0 degC. Trivial changes are amplified compared with

    http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=6961

    I like to say that no individual has “experienced” global warming, because that change is trivial compared with the typical monthly variation in weather. Even more extreme events occur on the multi-day/weekly time scale.

    I doubt you have time to show a movie as part of your testimony, it would be a dramatic way to illustrate how the importance of a couple tenths of a degree of warming has been exaggerated.

  38. If significant saving could be made by more accurate prediction of economically damaging weather events then there is a case to be made for developing and funding the construction of better computers. While chaos limits accuracy, faster processing enables the reduction in uncertainty about the range of possible weather outcomes and can refine storm tracks etc.

    One side-effect of improving weather prediction skill is it will have a direct effect on GCMs that are used to model climate. They differ significantly only in the timescale and resolution with which they try and simulate the future weather.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/BAMS-85-12-1903

    Adapting to sea level rise however will be a trade-off between the actual rate and the inertia of residence and governments to address the problem. Prediction makes little difference. For instance the Thames barrier was built to a cost, not to a known rate of sea level rise. Only increasing rates might prompt a long-term response rather than short term tweaks to building codes.

    • Izen: “While chaos limits accuracy, faster processing enables the reduction in uncertainty”

      No it doesn’t.

      It just means the uncertainty can be reached quicker.