By Dr. David Deming
[Author’s note: this article was originally submitted as a “letter to the editor” to the Bellingham Herald, a newspaper that published an attack on Dr. Don Easterbrook. The Herald refused to publish my rebuttal. The executive editor, July Shirley (email@example.com) explained “We only print letters from residents of Whatcom County. We are not publishing your letter."]
Letter to the Editor by Dr. David Deming
I write in rebuttal to the March 31 letter by WWU geology faculty criticizing Dr. Don Easterbrook. I have a Ph.D in geophysics and have published research papers on climate change in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. In 2006 I testified before the US Senate on global warming. Additionally, I am the author of a three-volume history of science.
I have never met Don Easterbrook. I write not so much to defend him as to expose the ignorance exhibited in the letter authored by WWU geology faculty. Their attack on Dr. Easterbrook is the most egregious example of pedantic buffoonery since the Pigeon League conspired against Galileo in the seventeenth century. Skepticism is essential to science. But the goal of the geology faculty at WWU seems to be to suppress critical inquiry and insist on dogmatic adherence to ideology.
The WWU faculty never defined the term “global warming” but described it as “very real,” as if it were possible for something to be more real than real. They claimed that the evidence in support of this “very real” global warming was “overwhelming.” Yet they could not find space in their letter to cite a single specific fact that supports their thesis.
There is significant evidence that would tend to falsify global warming. The mean global air temperature has not risen for the last fifteen years. At the end of March the global extent of sea ice was above the long-term average and higher than it was in March of 1980. Last December, snow cover in the northern hemisphere was at the highest level since record keeping began in 1966. The UK just experienced the coldest March of the last fifty years. There has been no increase in droughts or wildfires. Worldwide hurricane and cyclone activity is near a forty-year low.
One might think that the foregoing facts would raise doubts in scientists interested in pursuing objective truth. But global warming is not so much a scientific theory subject to empirical falsification as it is a political ideology that must be fiercely defended in defiance of every fact to the contrary. In the past few years we have been told that not only hot weather but cold weather is caused by global warming. The blizzards that struck the east coast of the US in 2010 were attributed to global warming. Every weather event hot, cold, wet or dry is said to be caused by global warming. The theory that explains everything explains nothing.
Among the gems in the endless litany of nonsense we are subjected to are claims that global warming causes earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Last year we were warned that global warming would turn us all into hobbits, the mythical creatures from J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels. I am not aware of any member of the WWU geology faculty criticizing these ridiculous claims. Their vehemence seems to be reserved for honest skeptics like Dr. Easterbrook who advance science by asking hard questions.
At the heart of the WWU geology faculty criticisms was the claim that peer review creates objective and reliable knowledge. Nonsense. Peer review produces opinions. Scientists, like other people, have political beliefs, ideological orientations, and personal views that strain their scientific objectivity. One of the most disgusting things to emerge from the 2009 Climategate emails was the revelation of an attempt to subvert the peer-review process by suppressing the publication of work that was scientifically sound but contrary to the reviewer’s personal views.
The infamous phrase “hide the decline” refers to an instance where a global warming alarmist omitted data that contradicted his personal belief that the world was warming. This sort of bias is not limited but pervasive. Neither is science a foolproof method for producing absolute truth. Scientific knowledge is always tentative and subject to revision. The entire history of science is littered with discarded theories once thought to be incontrovertible truths.
The WWU geology faculty letter asserted that technological advances arise from application of the scientific method. They claimed that airplanes were invented by scientists. But the Wright brothers were bicycle mechanics not scientists. The modern age of personal computing began in a suburban California garage in 1976. The most significant technological advance in human history was the Industrial Revolution in Britain that occurred from 1760 through 1830. When Adam Smith toured factories and inquired as to who had invented the new machinery, the answer was always the same: the common workman. Antibiotics were not discovered through the rigorous application of scientific methodology but serendipitously when Fleming noticed in 1928 that mold suppressed bacterial growth.
Dr. Easterbrook’s contributions have furthered the advance of scientific knowledge and the progress of the human race. It matters not if a multitude of professors oppose him. As Galileo explained, it is “certain that the number of those who reason well in difficult matters is much smaller than the number of those who reason badly...reasoning is like running and not like carrying, and one Arab steed will outrun a hundred jackasses.”
Professor of Arts & Sciences
University of Oklahoma
email: ddeming [at] ou.edu
Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
The hemispheric snow extent for the November to March snow season was the second highest on record behind only 1977/79. 3 of the top 5 snowiest such periods have occurred in the last 5 years amazingly.
Month by month:
November was the 5th snowiest (47 years):
December was the snowiest
January was the 6th snowiest
February was the 16th snowiest
March was the 16th snowiest
And it continues into April.
Alarmists who had predicted boldly that global warming would make snow a rare occurrence in years ahead, but with like so many other failed predictions, they quickly scramble to take credit for the opposite extreme. You an expect them to attempt to convince the clueless and compliant media this is due to a demise of the arctic ice with open water introducing heat and high pressure to the polar atmosphere. But the low ice in September quickly gave way to a rather normal ice coverage this winter. It is more likely the result of the warm AMO which trims the eastern edge of the ice and feeds blocking high pressure aloft AND the low sun which has caused each of the last 7 years to show a strong stratospheric warming. These are mainly observed near solar maxes and mins. We have solar max but one with very low sunspot numbers and geomagnetic activity - a throwback to the cycle 5 in 1798 at the start of the Dalton Minimum. Note the stratospheric warmings and the QBO (Quasi Biennial Oscillation) in this diagram from Labitzke et al. 2011/12 had a warming but it was biased to the eastern arctic (why North America was so warm and Eurasia so cold). Note the continuing low solar activity.
Drew Shindell of NASA shows in 1999 how the low solar of the Maunder Minimum led to cold like we have seen in recent years in Europe and at times North America and favored blocking in the Atlantic. As the sun declines into the minimum of cycle 25 the next 5 years, we might expect more snowy cold winters.
By RIch Lowry
There are few things sadder than the “climate denier.” He ignores the data and neglects the latest science. His rhetoric and policy proposals are dangerously disconnected from reality. He can’t recalibrate to take account of the latest evidence because, well, he’s a denier.
The new climate deniers are the liberals who, despite their obsession with climate change, have managed to miss the biggest story in climate science, which is that there hasn’t been any global warming for about a decade and a half.
“Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar,” The Economist magazine writes. “The world added roughly 100 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750.” Yet, no more warming.
The Economist has been decidedly alarmist on global warming through the years, so it deserves credit for pausing to consider why the warming trend it expected to continue has mysteriously stalled out.
The deniers feel no such compunction. They speak as if it is still the late 1990s, when measurements of global temperature had been rising for two decades. In his State of the Union address, President Obama said that “we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it’s too late.” In a passage devoted to global warming, though, he didn’t mention the latest trend in global warming.
A denier feels the same righteous sense of certitude now, when warming has stopped, as he did a decade ago. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson recently opined that “sensible people accept the fact of warming” - but apparently not the fact of no-warming. He scorned those “who manipulate the data in transparently bogus ways to claim that warming has halted or even reversed course.”
Does he include James Hansen, the famous NASA scientist, among these dastardly manipulators? No one this side of Al Gore has warned as persistently about global warming as Hansen. He nonetheless admits that “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”
None of this means that the Earth didn’t get hotter in the 20th century, or that carbon emissions don’t tend to create a warmer planet, or that warming won’t necessarily begin again. It does mean that we know less about the fantastically complex global climate system than global-warming alarmists have been willing to admit.
The Economist notes the work of Ed Hawkins of the University of Reading in Britain. He has found that if global temperatures stay the same for a few more years, they will fall below the range of 20 climate models. In other words, the scientific “consensus” will have been proven wrong.
Why the stall in warming? According to The Economist, maybe we’ve overestimated the warming impact of clouds. Or maybe some clouds cool instead of warm the planet. Or maybe the oceans are absorbing heat from the atmosphere. Although the surface temperature of the oceans hasn’t been rising, perhaps the warming is happening deep down.
James Hansen thinks new coal-fired plants in China and India, releasing so-called aerosols into the atmosphere that act to suppress warming, may be partly responsible for the stasis in temperatures.
Hansen writes that knowing more about the effect of aerosols on the climate “requires accurate knowledge of changes in aerosol amount, size distribution, absorption and vertical distribution on a global basis - as well as simultaneous data on changes in cloud properties to allow inference of the indirect aerosol forcing via induced cloud changes.” Is that all?
He ruefully notes that the launch of a satellite with a sensor to measure all of this failed, with no followup mission planned.
Hey, but don’t worry. The science is all “settled.”
What is beginning to seem more likely is that the “sensitivity” of the global climate to carbon emissions has been overestimated. If so, the deniers will be the last to admit it.
Ron Arnold. Portions appearing in the Washington Examiner
Anonymous hero who exposed the global warming emails tells the world why he did it and releases a huge final trove of secret conversations.
“What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably.”
“What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably.”
This private musing between two climate scientist colleagues first surfaced along with a whole raft of embarrassing material in 2011, when the anonymous Climategate leaker who calls himself “Mr. FOIA” leaked his second set of emails from Britain’s disgraced Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. Now, Mr. FOIA has emerged for a third time, sharing with the world not only his entire batch of 220,000 encrypted emails and documents but also, for the first time, his thoughts.
Mr. FOIA had previously released two batches of 5,000 files each in 2009 and 2011. This enormous third batch went to a network of friends for decoding, sorting and publication.
The first and second email batches contained conversations among “scientists” who appear to have dishonored a once respectable discipline, documenting that their claims of a “man-made global warming crisis” look exactly like deliberate contrivances for academic career gain, research funding and positions of political power in “the cause.”
Some big-name players are playing games with people’s lives and livelihoods.
Biggest Player. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the scientific panel whose reports contain the work of Climategate figures and are highly politicized and publicized to increase fear of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW): “imminent catastrophic man-made climate change.” Many horrendously expensive and needless local, state, federal and international policies have flowed from IPCC’s flawed reports.
Most Powerful Symbol. Professor Michael Mann’s “Hockey Stick Graph” was featured prominently in the 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report. It alleged that global temperatures were flat for a thousand years before 1900, but then radically increased because of AGW. The chart looks like a hockey stick, a long straight line that bends sharply upward at the end. With recent IPCC admissions that temperatures have not increased for at least the past 16 years, the curve has now plunged downward to become as flat as the rest of the hockey stick, which is where public trust in climate science is headed.
The Game. “The game is communicating climate change; the rules will help us win it,” says an astounding, horrifying UK government funded booklet leaked by Mr. FOIA titled “The Rules of the Game: Evidence base for the Climate Change Communications Strategy.” Written by the UK public relations firm Futerra for six UK agencies including The Carbon Trust for use by ethics and public relations tone-deaf scientists.
“The Rules” teaches sophisticated behavior change tactics, including: “Climate change must be ‘front of mind’ before persuasion works” ..."Link climate change mitigation to positive desires/aspirations"..."Beware the impacts of cognitive dissonance” and “Use emotions and visuals” (e.g., scare people with the Hockey Stick Graph). It treats the public like gullible idiots who can be frightened and manipulated by seemingly trustworthy scientists to believe in AGW. For a long time, it worked.
The Team. Phil Jones, head of the CRU; Peter Thorne of the UK Met Office (the national weather service, originally the Meteorological Office) was joined by Kevin Trenberth,climate analysis section head of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR); TomWigley, also of NCAR; and the litigious Penn State University Hockey Stick originator, Michael Mann.
James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute, sums their actions up this way. The team consciously distorted and actively suppressed critical knowledge, then furiously tried to hide their actions by conducting a vicious smear campaign to discredit critics.
Consciously distorted: NCAR’s Wigley once complained to Mann, “Mike, the Figure you sent is very deceptive ...there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC...”
Peter Thorne of the UK Met Office warned Phil Jones, head of the CRU: “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere, unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary. I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it, which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.”
Suppressed critical knowledge: Phil Jones wrote, “I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working on the IPCC 5th Assessment Report would be to delete all emails at the end of the process. Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder [the U.S. Department of Energy] in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.” The U.S. government was colluding with the hiders, who received tens of millions of dollars over the years.
Jones wrote to Mann, “Mike, can you delete any emails you may have had with KeithBriffare AR4 [the IPCC 4th Assessment Report]? Keith will do likewise...We will be getting Caspar Ammann to do likewise.”
Tom Crowley, a key member of Mann’s global warming hockey team, showed crass disregard for the lying and hiding: “I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching, if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.” It’s more important to keep the career back-scratching team happy.
The distortion, spin, suppression and smear campaign went on for years. In fact, the revelations sparked a furious “hide the lies” denial campaign that ironically calls skeptics “deniers.” What the skeptics actually deny is that there has been much honest science involved in the IPCC process; that there is any evidence to support claims that we face an imminent climate crisis; and that humans are primarily responsible for weather and climate variations that have always been controlled by hundreds of complex, inter-related natural forces and processes.
“Hide the lies” generated lawsuits between climate science “believers” (what kind of real science requires belief?) and skeptics of “dangerous man-made planetary warming” along with ridiculous conspiracy theories such as “Big Oil hired evil hackers in a plot to discredit angelic climate scientists.”
Mr. FOIA denies these absurd allegations in his 3.0 message."I took what I deemed the most defensible course of action, and would do it again,” he said. “That’s right; no conspiracy, no paid hackers, no Big Oil. The Republicans didn’t plot this. USA politics is alien to me, neither am I from the UK. There is life outside the Anglo-American sphere.”
“The first glimpses I got behind the scenes did little to garner my trust in the state of climate science, on the contrary,” Mr. FOIA continued. “I found myself in front of a choice that just might have a global impact. Reveal what he had discovered, or keep it to himself and let the lies continue?”
Didn’t he fear discovery? “When I had to balance the interests of my own safety, the privacy and career of a few scientists, and the well-being of billions of people living in the coming several decades… millions and billions already struggling with malnutrition, sickness, violence, illiteracy, etc....the first two weren’t the decisive concern.”
Why did he do it? His answer was both angry and anguished: “Climate science has already directed where humanity puts its capability, innovation, mental and material ‘might’ .... The price of ‘climate protection’ with its cumulative and collateral effects is bound to destroy and debilitate in great numbers, for decades and generations,” he wrote. “We can’t pour trillions in this massive hole digging and filling up endeavor and pretend it’s not [taking] away from something and someone else.”
That’s the most important statement so far in the decades-old climate debate: You’re forcing us backward into poverty and ignorance for nothing, except to further your careers, funding and power.
Less than a week later, London’s Mail on Sunday newspaper ran an outraged feature based on the British Meteorological Office’s recent admission that global surface temperatures haven’t risen in more than 15 years. Citing a chart of predicted and actual temperatures, the Mail noted: “Official predictions of global climate warming have been catastrophically flawed. The graph on this page blows apart the ‘scientific basis’ for Britain reshaping its entire economy and spending billions in taxes and subsidies in order to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. The chart shows in incontrovertible detail how the speed of global warming has been massively overestimated. Yet those forecasts have had a ruinous impact on the bills we pay, from heating to car fuel to huge sums paid by councils to reduce carbon emissions. The eco debate was, in effect, hijacked by false data.”
Is it improper to label the people responsible for this costly, miserable catastrophe as “eco-thugs”? And should we worry that the latest no real energy “energy security” proposal from the White House is telling us that President Obama has become America’s “Eco thug in Chief,” who will continue to peddle fraudulent science and nearly worthless renewable energy to further his agenda? It’s worth pondering.
A set of pro forma “investigations” claim to have exonerated PSU’s Mann. The internal PSU inquiry with no impartial truth-seekers involved was not going to harm their grant-getting cash cow Mann; instead, it whitewashed the evidence to ensure the preferred conclusion. Professional science groups that relied upon public funding for their financial survival fell in line behind a huge Tom Sawyer campaign of “exoneration.” There was no exoneration.
Summaries presented in court filings for the case of American Tradition Institute v. University of Virginia and Michael Mann which demands release of Michael Mann’s emails say, “Mann has never been exonerated. Exoneration requires investigation; investigation requires pursuit aimed at discovering material facts. Mann’s employer since 2005, Penn State University, has conducted no such thing. Neither has the University of Virginia.”
The same conclusion applies to the UK’s Muir Russell and Oxburgh inquiries, which didn’t even mention Mann, because they were “investigating” only employees of the CRU.
I asked Christopher C. Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and attorney in the ATI v.UVa/Mann lawsuit for his take on the leaker’s message. He told me, “Whatever prompted ‘Mr. FOIA’, I take it as a statement that, so far, the courts have failed us, as have our political institutions and he has concluded that those in the public who have resisted the climate industry agenda should now have a chance to review these taxpayer-financed records, which are the subject of a remarkable campaign to subvert transparency laws.”
We ourselves can’t avoid blame for the science disaster uncovered by Mr. FOIA. As Peter Foster of London’s Financial Times noted, we didn’t heed President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning. “Most people are aware of Ike’s warning in 1961 about the military-industrial complex,” Foster wrote. Our fatal error was to ignore what he said next: “In holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” [emphasis added]
Americans won’t take captivity. It’s time to demote our climate masters to our humble servants. We won’t kill them. But we should sentence them to prison or Siberia, where they’ll wish the climate was warming.
Dr Roy Spencer
Ryan Maue at weatherbell.com has this CFS v2 global February analysis.
I thought you would enjoy Dr Roy Spencer's analysis of the February data and the links to ENSO. The climate world admits to the ENSO influence, but dares not talk about the multidecdal PDO and AMO because that would raise the possibility of someone realizing global temperatures change naturally due to variations of these cycles. it they blame the lack of warming since 1998 on the PDO, then they can't not admit the warming from 1979 to 1998 could be largely doe to the +PDO and dominiance of El Ninis (3 to 1 over La Ninas). It is very clear in the US and arctic temperatures.
Global Microwave Sea Surface Temperature Update for Feb. 2013: -0.01 deg. C
March 4th, 2013
The global average sea surface temperature (SST) update for Feb. 2013 is -0.01 deg. C, relative to the 2003-2006 average: (click for large version)
The anomalies are computed relative to only 2003-2006 because those years were relatively free of El Nino and La Nina activity, which if included would cause temperature anomaly artifacts in other years. Thus, these anomalies cannot be directly compared to, say, the Reynolds anomalies which extend back to the early 1980s. Nevertheless, they should be useful for monitoring signs of ocean surface warming, which appears to have stalled since at least the early 2000’s. (For those who also track our lower tropospheric temperature ["LT"] anomalies, these SST anomalies average about 0.19 deg. C cooler over 2003 to 2006.)
The SST retrievals come from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), and are based upon passive microwave observations of the ocean surface from AMSR-E on NASA’s Aqua satellite, the TRMM satellite Microwave Imager (TMI), and WindSat. While TMI has operated continuously through the time period (but only over the tropics and subtropics), AMSR-E stopped nominal operation in October 2011, after which Remote Sensing Systems patched in SST data from WindSat. The various satellite datasets have been carefully intercalibrated by RSS.
Despite the relatively short period of record, I consider this dataset to be the most accurate depiction of SST variability over the last 10+ years due to these instruments’ relative insensitivity to contamination by clouds and aerosols at 6.9 GHz and 10.7 GHz.
Our Version 5.5 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for February, 2013 is +0.18 deg. C, a large decrease from January’s +0.50 deg. C. (click for large version):
These large month-to-month changes are not that uncommon, especially during Southern Hemisphere summer, and are due to small variations (several percent) in the convective heat flux from the ocean surface to the atmosphere.
The global, hemispheric, and tropical LT anomalies from the 30-year (1981-2010) average for the last 14 months are:
YR MON GLOBAL NH SH TROPICS
2012 1 -0.134 -0.065 -0.203 -0.256
2012 2 -0.135 +0.018 -0.289 -0.320
2012 3 +0.051 +0.119 -0.017 -0.238
2012 4 +0.232 +0.351 +0.114 -0.242
2012 5 +0.179 +0.337 +0.021 -0.098
2012 6 +0.235 +0.370 +0.101 -0.019
2012 7 +0.130 +0.256 +0.003 +0.142
2012 8 +0.208 +0.214 +0.202 +0.062
2012 9 +0.339 +0.350 +0.327 +0.153
2012 10 +0.333 +0.306 +0.361 +0.109
2012 11 +0.282 +0.299 +0.265 +0.172
2012 12 +0.206 +0.148 +0.264 +0.138
2013 1 +0.504 +0.555 +0.453 +0.371
2013 2 +0.176 +0.369 -0.016 +0.169
Tropical SSTs Since 1998: Latest Climate Models Warm 3x Too fast
February 21st, 2013
Following up on yesterday’s post, I’d like to address the more general question of tropical sea surface temperatures since 1998. Why haven’t they warmed? Of course, much has been made by some people about the fact that even global average temperatures have not warmed significantly since the 1997/98 El Nino event.
Using the Tropical Rain Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI) SSTs available from Remote Sensing Systems (all 15 GB worth), here I will statistically adjust tropical SSTs for El Nino and La Nina activity, and see how the resulting trend since 1998 compares to the latest crop of IPCC CMIP5 model runs. We will restrict the analysis to 20N to 20S latitude band, which is the usual latitudinal definition of “tropical”.
The resulting TRMM TMI SST anomalies since January 1998 through last month look like this:
The up and down variations are clearly related to El Nino and La Nina activity, as evidenced by this plot of the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI):
We can then plot these SST and MEI data against each other…
...and use this statistical relationship to estimate SST from MEI, and then subtract that from the original SST data to get an estimate (however crude) of how the SSTs might have behaved without the presence of El Nino and La Nina activity (the blue line):
Note that I have now averaged the monthly data to yearly, and this last plot also shows an average of 35 CMIP5 climate models SSTs during 1998-2012 for the same (tropical) latitude band, courtesy of John Christy and the KNMI climate explorer website. Also note I have plotted all three time series as departures from their respective 1998/99 2-year average.
The decadal linear temperature trends are:
un-adj. SST: = -0.010 C/decade
MEI-adj. SST: +0.056 C/decade
CMIP5 SST: +0.172 C/decade
So, even after adjusting for El Nino and La Nina activity, the last 15 years in the tropics have seen (adjusted) warming at only 1/3 the rate which the CMIP5 models create when they are forced with anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
Now, one might object that you really can’t adjust SSTs by subtracting out an ENSO component. OK, then, don’t adjust them. Since the observed SST warming without adjustments is essentially zero, then the models warm infinitely faster than the observations. There.
Why Have the Models Warmed Too Fast?
My personal opinion is that the models have cloud feedbacks (and maybe other feedbacks) wrong, and that the real climate system is simply not as sensitive to increasing CO2 as the modelers have programmed the models to be.
But there are other possibilities, all theoretical:
1) Ocean mixing: a recent increase in ocean vertical mixing would cause the surface to warm more slowly than expected, and the cold, deep ocean to very slowly warm. But it is debatable whether the ARGO float deep-ocean temperature data are sufficiently accurate to monitor deep ocean warming to the levels we are talking about (hundredths of a degree).
2) Increasing atmospheric aerosols: This has been the modelers’ traditional favorite fudge factor to make climate models keep from warming at an unrealistic rate...a manmade aerosol cooling effect “must be” cancelling out the manmade CO2 warming effect. Possible? I suppose. But blaming a LACK of warming on humans seems a little bizarre. The simpler explanation is feedbacks: the climate system simply doesn’t care that much if we put aerosols *OR* CO2 in the atmosphere.
3) Increasing CO2 doesn’t cause a radiative warming influence (radiative forcing) of the surface and lower atmosphere.
I’m only including that last one because, in science, just about anything is possible. But my current opinion is that the science on radiative forcing by increasing CO2 is pretty sound. The big uncertainty is how the system responds (feedbacks).
Steve Goddard, Real Science
Paul Homewood brought this to our attention yesterday - NOAA’s climate extreme index is a complete fraud.
They show that temperature extremes were very rare during the 1930s, and very common now.
U.S. Climate Extremes Index enlarged
In fact, it is the exact opposite. The graph below plots the number of all-time daily temperature records set or tied at all USHCN stations which have been continuously active since at least 1920. It is almost exactly the opposite of NOAA’s claims.
Temperature-wise, 1936 was by far the most extreme year in US history - and NOAA shows it as being one of the least extreme. Unbelievable.
February, 1936 was the coldest month in US history, and July 1936 was second hottest month in US history after July, 1901.
Either NOAA knows nothing about US climate history, or they are intentionally deceiving the public.
By Roger Pielke Jr.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration keeps a tally of “billion dollar disasters” which have occurred in the United States. The number of disasters which exceed the billion dollar threshold has increased since 1980. This increase has been often cited as evidence that the climate has become more extreme and is attributable to emissions of carbon dioxide. A new peer-reviewed paper from NOAA pours cold water on both claims.
Adam Smith, of NOAA, and Rick Katz, a statistician and former colleague of mine at NCAR, have a paper just out in the journal Natural Hazards in which they take a close look at the index. What they find reinforces conclusions found in earlier work on disasters and climate change. Specifically, if you are looking for climate signals in extreme events, look first at climate data. If you are looking at loss data, avoid aggregated, non-normalized loss records.
Here is what the new analysis finds:
1. The number of billion dollar disasters has increased by about 5% per year since 1980, but (perhaps surprisingly) the loss per event has not:
[T]here is no apparent time trend in economic loss from individual disasters. In fact, a least squares trend analysis estimates a very slight decreasing trend of about 0.5 % per year.
So they find more events that exceed the billion dollar threshold, but not more severe events.
2. The dataset is dominated by hurricane, drought and thunderstorm losses which together account for more than two thirds of all events and more than 80% of all losses. As readers here will know well, there are no long-term trends in normalized US hurricane losses, North American drought has decreased and there has been no increase in tornado damage (note that thunderstorm damage also includes hail and straightline winds). This alone provides a strong caution to using the NOAA index for purpose of claims about extremes in general.
3. The new paper warns on the use of crop losses, which are included in the NOAA data in the loss categories of tropical cyclone, severe storm, winter storm, wildfire, drought/heat, flooding and crop freeze—that is to say, in every category. The warning is that:
Given the increasing trends in [crop] yields attributable to technological innovation and given fluctuations in price, it is difficult to attribute any part of the trends in losses to climate variations or change, especially in the case of billion-dollar disasters.
In fact, one of the most important contributions of the paper might be its finding that crop losses have not increased as a proportion of liability (as shown in the figure above from the paper), or as it concludes,""for these three major crops, the trends in losses are comparable in magnitude to the trends in liability.”
The billion dollar loss dataset includes no adjustments for changes in crop value, yield or other relevant factors, nor does the widely cited Munich Re data. The implication of course is that some significant but unquantified portion of the increase in billion dollar losses reflects non-climatic trends in crop production and value.
4. Their paper concludes by noting the the billion dollar disaster database is adjusted only for inflation and has not been normalized to account for other changes. They explain that
The magnitude of such increasing trends is greatly diminished when applied to data normalized for exposure (Pielke et al. 2008).
Smith and Katz have properly identified the severe limitations to the NOAA billion dollar loss database. Any bets as to whether NOAA will issue a press release as a corrective to its earlier hyping of the index and promoting its misuse? Even if they don’t, the new paper is a valuable contribution.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist frequently the target of Republican criticism, announced Friday that he was stepping down in the The latest shake-up of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet. Chu, who disclosed his decision in a letter to Energy Department staff, frequently clashed with GOP lawmakers over gas prices as well as government backing for green-energy companies like the failed firm Solyndra.
In his letter, Chu took aim directly at his critics, saying the clean-energy efforts were a success - and blasted climate-change skeptics as trapped in “the Stone Age.”
“While critics try hard to discredit the program, the truth is that only one percent of the companies we funded went bankrupt,” he wrote. “That one percent has gotten more attention than the 99 percent that have not.”
Chu added: “The test for Americaís policy makers will be whether they are willing to accept a few failures in exchange for many successes. America’s entrepreneurs and innovators who are leaders in the global clean energy race understand that not every risk can - or should - be avoided. Michelangelo said, ‘The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.’”
He also scolded climate-change skeptics and urged a shift from fossil-fuels to other sources of energy.
“The overwhelming scientific consensus is that human activity has had a significant and likely dominant role in climate change,” Chu warned in his letter.
“There is also increasingly compelling evidence that the weather changes we have witnessed during this thirty year time period are due to climate change.”
Chu underlined that China was pushing ahead with clean-energy investments - outpacing U.S. efforts.
“While we cannot accurately predict the course of climate change in the coming decades, the risks we run if we donít change our course are enormous. Prudent risk management does not equate uncertainty with inaction,” he said. “The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones; we transitioned to better solutions.”
In a written statement, Obama praised Chu for giving the Energy Department “a unique understanding of both the urgent challenge presented by climate change and the tremendous opportunity that clean energy represents for our economy.”
Obama added, “And during his time as Secretary, Steve helped my Administration move America towards real energy independence. Over the past four years, we have doubled the use of renewable energy, dramatically reduced our dependence on foreign oil, and put our country on a path to win the global race for clean energy jobs. I wish him all the best.”
Chu will likely stay in his post through the end of February, though it will depend on the confirmation of his successor.