Frozen in Time
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:


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 and tell me, exactly what pattern here is due to global warming?

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

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.

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.


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.


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.

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’.


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.


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


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


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.

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.

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. 


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

Aug 09, 2017
Seriously flawed Obama imbed government report gets leaked to New York Times

Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, AMS Fellow

The New York Times published an unreleased draft of the report Monday. The 543-page report was written by scientists from 13 federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It concludes that temperatures in the U.S. have risen sharply, by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit, over the last 150 years and that it is “extremely likely that most of the global mean temperature increase since 1951 was caused by human influence on climate.”

“Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” the report states. “Thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; disappearing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea level; and an increase in atmospheric water vapor. Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate changes.”


This politically and ideologically driven report is nothing but a rush job rehash of the former government junk science reports by scientists trying to save their funding, their positions and undeserved reputations and try and put the train back on the track to take us to their path of globalization and control over over every aspect of our lives.

This report like all recent government assessment reports fails in its attribution. The models have predicted up to 3 time the observed warming.  The only model among the 100 plus models used that comes close is the one that minimizes the greenhouse effect and improves ocean interaction.


Now some of the findings in the report are correct about extreme weather trends. There is no trend in drought or flood. We are at a record lull in landfalls of major hurricanes in the US (4300+ days), strong tornado trends have been down since the 1970s even with better detection, sea level rises have slowed to 4 inches/century worldwide on average according to our best sea level experts using tide gauges in areas where the land is not rising or sinking. Snowfall is increasing not decreasing in autumn and winter for the Northern Hemisphere with records for amounts in major cities of the east where records go back in places 150 years. Arctic ice has gone through cycles before with even less ice in the 1920s to 1950. 

Katharine Hayhoe, a report author from Texas Tech University, noted that the report found no alternative explanations for why climate change is happening other than human influence.

All changes to temperatures and extremes are cyclical and explainable by cycles in the oceans and on the sun and volcanism (as shown in this research report which unlike the government report strictly followed the scientific method w/r to attribution).  These natural cycles explain all the changes in the period back to 1950. We proved what I had found here and here.The Assessment says they can rule out natural factors in causing temperature changes and extremes and that their analyses proves thus that greenhouse gases are to blame.

Most all the changes in temperatures layered on top of the natural cycles are in the land use and urbanization factors and in adjustments - continuous changes to the data to better fit the models and minimize the cyclical nature of the data (shown in this peer reviewed research report) and even then no rise is seen globally in nearly 20 years.

In the model-biased government report, 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.


The biggest warming is found in cities and due to the urbanization, which Tom Karl (with Gavin and Kukla) in 1986 noted “The average difference between trends (urban siting vs. rural) amounts to an annual warming rate of 0.34C/decade.” Karl used this finding to include a UHI adjustment in the first USHCN data set in 1990. When it was seen this adjustment had the US temperatures not showing the warming in the cruder global data sets, it was removed in version 2.

One of the authors of this new government report, David Easterling, while Chief of the Scientific Services Division at NOAA in one of the NASA FOIA emails noted: “One other fly in the ointment, we have a new adjustment scheme for USHCNV2 that appears to adjust out some, if not most, of the ‘local’ trend that includes land-use change and urban warming.”

I and many of the climatologists who have worked with data for may decades believe virtually all the warming is urban warming, with most all stations now at urban or airport locations. This is supported by the fact all the warming is at night, which is consistent with UHI and with the lack of increasing daytime heat. See all the reasons why we can’t use the GAST as analyzed to detect small changes over time here.

A long list of authors, multiple agency involvement (after the agencies have been purged of any doubters) and scary, hugely exaggerated and some patently false headlines does not make this a work of science that will stand the test of time, just like prior recent government assessments. The UN proved that 5 times.

The great scientists I have been privileged to know over my long career including Namias, Willett, Landsberg and Gray and the great men who championed the scientific method like Feynman, Popper and Einstein would be appalled by this report and the overall decline in the sciences and the alarming peer review failures that allows bad and dangerous science like we find in this report to propagate and be used to support harmful policies. I believe that the only part of the government climate work in recent years and the conclusions made in this work that is ‘extreme likely’ is that future scientists and historians will look on it as a low point in the history of climate science.


While the late night comedy talk show hosts (dark and not funny anymore) lose their mind over Trump, the late great comedian Groucho Marx got it right about establishment progressive politics.

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”



Politico in a very flawed and inaccurate summary gave its take. Former NASA scientist and well know sea level expert Tom Wysmuller summarizes some of the biggest nonsense points.

Folks, thought that you would like to see how well the Administration is controlling the climate facts going to the public, It’s sickening!

NOAA’s report, released Aug. 10, is the most comprehensive look at climate impacts released thus far by the Trump administration. [I’m not sure it should be characterized this way.  Perhaps released “during the Trump administration” is closer to the truth, as I suspect that Obama holdovers are largely responsible for generating this.

Politico summarizes some of the key findings in the NOAA report:

Greenhouse gas concentrations are higher than ever recorded. From 2015 to 2016, carbon dioxide concentrations saw their biggest annual increase in the 58 years on record, reaching peaks not seen in ice-core measurements representing the past 800,000 years.  [I personally believe that this is a huge plus - good for the world and abetting our ability to feed a hungry planet]

Global surface temperatures are the highest on record. [Only after violent adjustments were made to past records, erasing the 1930s warm(est) period].  Check out what was done to the Reykjavik record:  The first is the new version, the second is the historical version.



Sea levels are the highest they’ve ever been since record keeping began. Global seas are about 3.25 inches higher than the 1993 average when satellite recording began. 2016 marks the sixth year sea levels have risen. [Of course, they are using “adjusted” (some say “fabricated") satellite data, but here is a look at the past 7 years of Portland, Maine’s tide gauge:


Only in Never-Never Land can one find that “...2016 marks the sixth year sea levels have risen.” - the numbers on the right scale are CO2 levels measuring the green line at the top of this excerpted graphic.  See my two “over the top” posters attached - one for the NYC region and one for the Gulf of Maine. Check the last 6 years in each!



Precipitation cycles are becoming more extreme.  [ Wow!  Has this been pulled out of thin air (I can think of other places too).  How do they measure “Precipitation cycles” - a new meteorological term?  Or define “extreme” for them.  World Precipitation has been flat for over 100 years, mainly due to atmospheric moisture carrying capacity.

The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world. No surprise here, when HadCRUT4 adds about 400 stations to the record, most of which are in northern urban heat islets, and connects them over vast unpopulated stretches of the Arctic region.  Of course there’s much more, but it is well known that far less heat input is needed to warm an area one degree at 30 below, than one degree at 30 above.

Antarctic sea ice levels are lower than ever recorded.  [& recently were the highest ever recorded!]

Alpine glaciers have declined for 37 consecutive years. Glaciers shrunk an average of 2.8 feet. [Their percentage of total world ice is so minuscule that it borders on being unmeasurable]

There were more tropical cyclones, with 93 storms in 2016, compared with an average of 82 between 1981 and 2010. [But look at the ACE numbers (Accumulated Cyclonic Energy).  There’s a 15 year downturn approaching the lowest ever recorded]!  There may be more cyclones, but they are decidedly weaker!!!

And landfalling major hurricanes have not made landfall in the United States now in over 4310 days - more than double the prior record.


Page 7 of 279 pages « First  <  5 6 7 8 9 >  Last »