What's New and Cool
Sep 14, 2017
Despite Harvey and Irma, science has no idea if climate change is causing more (or fewer) storms

By Ross McKitrick

Update: WeatherBELL video on why this season was so active

---------------------

After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, it didn;t take long for climate alarmists to claim they knew all along it would happen. Politico’s Eric Holthaus declared “We knew this would happen, decades ago.” Naomi Klein stated “these events have long been predicted by climate scientists.” Joe Romm at ThinkProgress wrote, “the fact is that Harvey is exactly the kind of off-the-charts hurricane we can expect to see more often because of climate change.”

According to these and other authors, rising greenhouse gas levels are at least partly to blame for the occurrence and severity of Harvey, and probably for Hurricane Irma as well. But after-the-fact guesswork is not science. If any would-be expert really knew long ago that Harvey was on its way, let him or her prove it by predicting what next year’s hurricane season will bring.

Don’t hold your breath: Even the best meteorologists in the world weren’t able to predict the development and track of Hurricane Harvey until a few days before it hit.

This is why the idea of climate science being “settled” is so ludicrous, at least as regards the connection between global warming and tropical cyclones. A settled theory makes specific predictions that can, in principle, be tested against observed data. A theory that only yields vague, untestable predictions is, at best, a work in progress.

The climate alarmists offer a vague prediction: Hurricanes may or may not happen in any particular year, but when they do, they will be more intense than they would have been if GHG levels were lower. This is a convenient prediction to make because we can never test it. It requires observing the behaviour of imaginary storms in an unobservable world. Good luck collecting the data.

Climate scientists instead use computer models to simulate the alternative world. But the models project hundreds of possible worlds, and predict every conceivable outcome, so whatever happens it is consistent with at least one model run. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, some climate modelers predicted such storms would be more frequent in a warmer world, while others predicted the opposite, and still others said there was no connection between warming and hurricanes.

image
Enlarged

What ensued was an historically unprecedented 12-year absence of major (category 3 or higher) hurricanes making landfall in the United States, until Harvey, which ties for 14th-most intense hurricane since 1851. The events after 2005 were “consistent with” some projections, but any other events would have been as well.

The long absence of landfalling hurricanes also points to another problem when opinion writers connect GHGs to extreme weather. Science needs to be concerned not only with conspicuous things that happened, but with things that conspicuously didn’t happen. Like the famous dog in the Sherlock Holmes story, the bark that doesn’t happen can be the most important of all.

It is natural to consider a hurricane a disruptive event that demands an explanation. It is much more difficult to imagine nice weather as a disruption to bad weather that somehow never happened.

Suppose a hurricane would have hit Florida in August 2009, but GHG emissions prevented it and the weather was mild instead. The “event,” pleasant weather, came and went unnoticed and nobody felt the need to explain why it happened. It is a mistake to think that only bad events call for an explanation, and only to raise the warming conjecture when bad weather happens. If we are going to tie weather events to GHGs, we have to be consistent about it. We should not assume that any time we have pleasant weather, we were going to have it anyway, but a storm is unusual and proves GHG’s control the climate.

I am grateful to the scientists who work at understanding hurricane and typhoon events, and whose ability to forecast them days in advance has saved countless lives. But when opinion writers tacitly assume all good weather is natural and GHGs only cause bad weather, or claim to be able to predict future storms, but only after they have already occurred, I reserve the right to call their science unsettled.

Ross McKitrick is a professor of economics at the University of Guelph and an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute.

Aug 30, 2017
Texas Major Hurricane Intensity Not Related to Gulf Water Temperatures

Dr. Roy Spencer

August 29th, 2017

As the Houston flood disaster was unfolding, there is considerable debate about whether Hurricane Harvey was influenced by “global warming”. While such an issue matters little to the people of Houston, it does matter for our future infrastructure planning and energy policy.

Let’s review the two basic reasons why the Houston area is experiencing what now looks like a new record amount of total rainfall, at least for a 2-3 day period over an area of tens of thousands of square miles.

1) A strong tropical cyclone, with access to abundant moisture evaporated off the Gulf of Mexico, and

2) Little movement by the cyclone.

These two factors have conspired to create the current flooding catastrophe in Houston. Now let’s look at them in the context of global warming theory.

1. Are Texas major hurricanes dependent on an unusually warm Gulf?

I examined all of the major hurricane (Cat 3+) strikes in Texas since 1870 and plotted them as red dots on the time series of sea surface temperature variations over the western Gulf of Mexico. As can be seen, major hurricanes don’t really care whether the Gulf is above average or below average in temperature:

image
Enlarged

Red dots indicate years of major hurricane strikes in Texas, plotted on average SST departures from normal by year over the western Gulf of Mexico (25-30N, 90-100W).

Why is that? It’s because hurricanes require a unique set of circumstances to occur, and sufficiently warm SSTs is only one. (I did my Ph.D. dissertation on the structure and energetics of incipient tropical cyclones, and have published a method for monitoring their strength from satellites).

The Gulf of Mexico is warm enough every summer to produce a major hurricane. But you also usually need a pre-existing cyclonic circulation or wave, which almost always can be traced back to the coast of Africa. Also, the reasons why some systems intensify and others don’t are not well understood. This is why the National Hurricane Center admits their predictions of intensity change are not that accurate. Lots of thunderstorm complexes form over warm tropical waters, and we still don’t understand why some of them will spontaneously form a cyclonic circulation.

2. Does global warming cause landfalling hurricanes to stall?

I don’t know of any portion of global warming theory that would explain why Harvey stalled over southeast Texas. Michael Mann’s claim in The Guardian that it’s due to the jet stream being pushed farther north from global warming makes me think he doesn’t actually follow weather like those of us who have actual schooling in meteorology (my degree is a Ph.D. in Meteorology). We didn’t have a warm August in the U.S. pushing the jet stream farther north.

In fact, I dare anyone to look at the August temperature anomalies to date in the U.S. (courtesy of Weatherbell.com) and tell me, exactly what pattern here is due to global warming?

image
Enlarged August 2017 (through Aug. 28) surface temperature anomalies around North America (NCEP CFSv2, courtesy of Weatherbell.com).

The flooding disaster in Houston is the chance occurrence of several factors which can be explained naturally, without having to invoke human-caused climate change. We already know that major landfalling hurricanes in the U.S. have been less frequent in recent decades. But once one forms, if it stalls near the coast (a rarity), it can be expected to cause a flooding disaster… especially in a flood-prone area like Houston.

NOTE: If you like my writing on this subject, please check out my new e-book, An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy.

Aug 28, 2017
Why Houston Flooding Isn’t a Sign of Climate Change

August 28th, 2017 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

In the context of climate change, is what we are seeing in Houston a new level of disaster which is becoming more common?

The flood disaster unfolding in Houston is certainly very unusual. But so are other natural weather disasters, which have always occurred and always will occur.

Floods aren’t just due to weather

Major floods are difficult to compare throughout history because the ways in which we alter the landscape. For example, as cities like Houston expand over the years, soil is covered up by roads, parking lots, and buildings, with water rapidly draining off rather than soaking into the soil. The population of Houston is now ten times what it was in the 1920s. The Houston metroplex area has expanded greatly and the water drainage is basically in the direction of downtown Houston.

There have been many flood disasters in the Houston area, even dating to the mid-1800s when the population was very low. In December of 1935 a massive flood occurred in the downtown area as the water level height measured at Buffalo Bayou in Houston topped out at 54.4 feet.

image
Enlarged Downtown Houston flood of 1935.

By way of comparison, as of 6:30 a.m. this (Monday) morning, the water level in the same location is at 38 feet, which is still 16 feet lower than in 1935. I’m sure that will continue to rise.

Icecap note: it reached 39 feet dipped then rose before declining.

image
Enlarged

Are the rainfall totals unprecedented?

Even that question is difficult to answer. The exact same tropical system moving at, say, 15 mph might have produced the same total amount of rain, but it would have been spread over a wide area, maybe many states, with no flooding disaster. This is usually what happens with landfalling hurricanes.

Instead, Harvey stalled after it came ashore and so all of the rain has been concentrated in a relatively small portion of Texas around the Houston area. In both cases, the atmosphere produced the same amount of rain, but where the rain lands is very different. People like those in the Houston area don’t want all of the rain to land on them.

There is no aspect of global warming theory that says rain systems are going to be moving slower, as we are seeing in Texas. This is just the luck of the draw. Sometimes weather systems stall, and that sucks if you are caught under one. The same is true of high pressure areas; when they stall, a drought results.

Even with the system stalling, the greatest multi-day rainfall total as of 9 a.m. this Monday morning is just over 30 inches (Dayton 39.72 inches), with many locations recording over 20 inches. We should recall that Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979 (a much smaller and weaker system than Harvey) produced a 43 inch rainfall total in only 24 hours in Houston.

Was Harvey unprecedented in intensity?

In this case, we didn’t have just a tropical storm like Claudette, but a major hurricane, which covered a much larger area with heavy rain. Roger Pielke Jr. has pointed out that the U.S. has had only four Category 4 (or stronger) hurricane strikes since 1970, but in about the same number of years preceding 1970 there were 14 strikes. So we can’t say that we are experiencing more intense hurricanes in recent decades.

Going back even earlier, a Category 4 hurricane struck Galveston in 1900, killing between 6,000 and 12,000 people. That was the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history.

And don’t forget, we just went through an unprecedented length of time - almost 12 years - without a major hurricane (Cat 3 or stronger) making landfall in the U.S.

So what makes this event unprecedented?

The National Weather Service has termed the event unfolding in the Houston area as unprecedented. I’m not sure why. I suspect in terms of damage and number of people affected, that will be the case. But the primary reason won’t be because this was an unprecedented meteorological event.

If we are talking about the 100 years or so that we have rainfall records, then it might be that southeast Texas hasn’t seen this much total rain fall over a fairly wide area. At this point it doesn’t look like any rain gage locations will break the record for total 24 hour rainfall in Texas, or possibly even for storm total rainfall, but to have so large an area having over 20 inches is very unusual.

They will break records for their individual gage locations, but that’s the kind of record that is routinely broken somewhere anyway, like record high and low temperatures.

In any case, I’d be surprised if such a meteorological event didn’t happen in centuries past in this area, before we were measuring them.

And don’t pay attention to claims of 500 year flood events, which most hydrologists dislike because we don’t have enough measurements over time to determine such things, especially when they also depend on our altering of the landscape over time.

Bill Read, a former director of the National Hurricane Center was asked by a CNN news anchor whether he thought that Harvey was made worse because of global warming. Read’s response was basically, No.

“Unprecedented” doesn’t necessarily mean it represents a new normal. It can just be a rare combination of events. In 2005 the U.S. was struck by many strong hurricanes, and the NHC even ran out of names to give all of the tropical storms. Then we went almost 12 years without a major (Cat 3 or stronger) hurricane strike.

Weird stuff happens.

I remember many years ago in one of the NWS annual summaries of lightning deaths there was a golfer who was struck by lightning. While an ambulance transported the man to the hospital, the ambulance was stuck by lightning and it finished the poor fellow off.

There is coastal lake sediment evidence of catastrophic hurricanes which struck the Florida panhandle over 1,000 years ago, events which became less frequent in the most recent 1,000 years.

Weather disasters happen, with or without the help of humans.

Aug 15, 2017
Heat has been declining for decades despite government reports

Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, AMS Fellow

In the embarrassing NCA model-biased government report leaked by the NYT the threat of model based future heat issues is greatly exaggerated. We live in the atmosphere not in a model world.

The trend towards heat in the real world is clearly DOWN not up. The number of state all time record highs peaked in the 1930s (23 states), 38 occurred before 1960. The number of days exceeding 100, 95 and 90 degrees in 1200 US stations have declined since the 1930s.

image
Enlarged

The headlines from the mainstream media and Soros funded alarmist science organizations want you to believe heat is increasing and has become or will soon become deadly.

image
Enlarged Courtesy of Tony Heller

Except in the west and despite a few brief intense heat spells most notably in July in the central, this summer has been relatively cool across the nation. Numerous friends and acquaintances from Colorado, Wisconsin, Georgia and the northeast have remarked at different times ‘it feels like fall’.

image
Enlarged

I asked Tony Heller to plot the number of 90, 95 and 100F days for the nation’s USHCN stations year to date. He did it for January through July.

Note 16% of the days in the nation in 1934 had 90F for that period. It was running 7% at the end of July this year.

image
Enlarged

9% of the days in all U.S. stations reached 95F. We are running under 3% through July in 2017.

image
Enlarged

5% of the days in all the stations reached 100F in 1936. We were just over 1% the end of July.

image
Enlarged

These all fit the plot of the number or state all-time record highs. The data and some of the charts in earlier versions of the government report that have been purged because they raised questions by anyone who might want to go by the cliff notes headlines which the lead authors want the media to focus on (very similar to the UN IPCC process).

Given how cold August has been outside the Pacific Northwest, this year should dip more the end of this month.

image
Enlarged Courtesy WeatherBELL Analytics LLC

Some hot days are still possible in September but the 46 day forecast extending to near the end of the month does not see big time heat returning.

image
Enlarged Courtesy WeatherBELL Analytics LLC

We may not be able to beat out 1904 but it appears we will rank among the least hot summers. The claims of increasing heat is shown to be not supportable by real world data. These data plots support the GAST research report findings recently published.

Appallingly in the NCA report, they can’t find evidence that all the claims they have made about the future are really happening so they invent a pathway to claim success. This problem is solved by a technique they call ”attribution without detection”. In other words “don’t believe your lying eyes, trust us”. An example would be saying that an increase in the probability or magnitude of a heat wave in the southeastern U.S. or Texas or drought in Texas or California was caused by GHG emissions when there’s been no upward trend in temperatures or droughts detected in those regions. 

image
Enlarged

Check out Wednesday’s video for WeatherBELL that talks about the declining heat in the heartland.


Aug 11, 2017
Peter’s Corner Cable TV Series “Winds of Change - Examining CAGW”

Peter’s Corner presents “Winds of Change” Examining Claims about Global Warming /Climate Change

Hudson Cable TV

(Note: Parts are in reverse order; Part VII appearing first; and Part II is preceded by Part I)

Part I: Host Peter Lanzillo and Joe D’Aleo in ”CO2 the ‘Demon Gas’” showed how the demonized CO2 is a trace gas, just 0.04% of our atmosphere. We showed evidence how it has little effect on temperatures but instead is a highly beneficial gas. It is a plant fertilizer that has greatly greened the planet and increase crop yields 3 to 5 fold. CO2 combines with water, nutrients and sunlight to grow plants through photosynthesis. We pump CO2 into greenhouses. As for it being a harmful pollutant, every breath you take emits 100 times more CO2 than the air you took in.

Part II: Host Peter Lanzillo and Joe D’Aleo in ”Taking the Earth’s Temperatures” showed the many issues in attempting to assess what is happening globally. 75% of the global stations were dropped after 1990, up to 90% of the remaining stations have missing months each year, a large percentage of the stations are now not properly sited. Oceans cover 71% of the globe and full accurate global coverage was not achieved until 2004. Dodgy models are used to adjust temperatures. Yet we claim we can assess global temperatures to hundredths of degrees.

Part III: Host Peter Lanzillo, Joe D’Aleo and Michael Sununu in ”Weather Extremes - the Real Story”, we showed though after Hurricane Katrina in 2004, scientists (and Al Gore) predicted devastating storms would be the ‘new normal. Yet since 2005, we have this week surpassed 4300 days without a major hurricane making landfall in the U.S. (more than double the 19th century record). The annual number of strong tornadoes are decreasing. There is no change in flood or drought frequency. Sea level rise globally has slowed to a 4 inch/century rate while models and the movie suggested changes in meters. Polar ice is just going through normal cyclical changes.

Part IV: Host Peter Lanzillo and Joe D’Aleo In the ”Real Natural and Man-made Causes of Climate Change”, we show how El Nino and La Nina cause warming and cooling and how decadal ocean basin cycles lead to a tendency for one or the other to dominate and lead to decadal temperature trends. We looked at the sun, which the climate models ignore, and show how solar cycles and the different solar outputs affect the climate and likely drive land and ocean temperature cycles. Volcanoes have a very strong affect but it tends to be shorter term. Man’s primary influence is through land use changes most specifically urbanization.

Part V: Host Peter Lanzillo, Joe D’Aleo and Michael Sununu looked at the ”Energy at Risk‘ story. We showed how we here in New Hampshire andthe northeast pay, along with California, the highest electricity prices in the nation because of bad policies and how the Paris Accord - by driving the costs of energy to high levels - would devastate our nation’s economy and hurt the poor and middle class and those on fixed incomes the most. We looked at current plans with special focus on Wind Energy.

Part VI: Host Peter Lanzillo, Joe D’Aleo were joined by NASA sea level expert Tom Wysmuller and Professor Larry Gould. In ”Isn’t the Sea Level Rise a Sea Level Ruse?”, Tom Wysmuller confirmed the linear-unchanging and no-sign-of-acceleration of sea level rise globally - in contrast to all models and claims - and addressed the beneficial nature of CO2.

Part VII: Host Peter Lanzillo was joined by Joe D’Aleo, Tom Wysmuller and a college professor, Dr. Laurence I ("Larry") Gould.  In ”Critical Thinking about Dangerous Anthropogenic ‘Climate Change/Global Warming‘“, Larry talked about how - by committing errors in elementary logic as well as by appealing to “authority”, “consensus”, and “code words” - schools, government, and the media have been indoctrinating our young people and the public to support harmful and unnecessary policies.

11 August 2017

Page 1 of 273 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »