Martin Hoerling on James Hansen’s ‘game over’ thinking

This is a word document prepared by Dr. Martin Hoerling of NOAA and provided to the New York Times is response to Dr. James Hansen’s “Game Over for The Climate” essay. Since much of the full response has not seen daylight, I asked Dr. Hoerling if I could republish it here and he graciously agreed.  – Anthony

Guest post by Dr. Martin Hoerling

Several scientific conclusions and claims were expressed in the NYT OpEd piece by JHansen (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/opinion/game-over-for-the-climate.html?_r=1) with which I raised concerns and objections on a scientific basis. While allowing for imprecision in how nuanced climate change science is sometimes communicated in such venues, there were nonetheless statements in the Hansen NYT piece that drew my attention because they stood contrary to peer-reviewed literature. Some of these claims could also be tested and/or falsified by simple tests using data available in public domain, examples given below.

The Hansen NYT piece asserts:

” Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.”

To which I replied:

“I am unaware of any projection for “semi-permanent” drought in this time frame over the expansive region of the Central Great Plains.  He implies the drought is to be a phenomena due to lack of rain (except for the brief, and ineffective downpours).  I am unaware of indications, from model projections, for a material decline in mean rainfall. “

Supporting Material for My Statement

The peer-reviewed study by Milly et al. titled “Global Pattern of Trends in Streamflow and Water Availability in a Changing Climate (Nature, 2005) used the IPCC CMIP3 simulations to diagnose the relative change in surface runoff for the period 2040-2060 compared to 1900-1970. A version of their published Fig. 4 is shown below. Runoff is a holistic indicator of surface water balance that integrates the effects of changes in mean precipitation and its characteristics, and also changes in temperature via evapotranspiration. These published results indicate no appreciable change in surface water availability over the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas, or for the Midwest as a whole, within this ensemble of CMIP3 simulations. The authors point out the various uncertainties in such regional scale projections, not the least of which one must also include the uncertainty in the consequences of changes in land cover and land use.

The recently published report by the U.S. Global Change Research Program titled “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” provided a synthesis of the current understanding of probable regional climate change impacts [http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts]. This synthesis document states, in the section on Water Resources on pg. 45, “Precipitation and runoff are likely to increase in the Northeast and Midwest in winter and spring”. Drawn from such works as the Milly et al. study, this synthesis is clearly quite contrary to the assertion made in the Hansen NYT piece. Regarding flooding that is mentioned in the Hansen piece, it is important not to confuse heavy downpours with hydrologic flooding on a river basin scale, for instance. The IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX, 2012 http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/) states a low confidence for both observed and projected changes in the magnitude and frequency of floods.

Summary

The claim in the Hansen NYT piece that the Midwest would be a dustbowl in coming decades thus runs contrary to peer reviewed literature and recent assessments by the U.S. Global Research Program that emerged from the synthesis of current understanding by an expert team of scientists.

Figure 1. The relative change in runoff in the twenty-first century expressed as the ensemble (arithmetic) mean of relative change (percentage) in runoff for the period 2041–60, computed as 100 times the difference between 2041–60 runoff in the SRESA1B experiments and 1900–70 runoff in the 20C3M experiments, divided by 1900–70 runoff. Based on Fig. 4 from Milly et al. (2005). [Milly, P, K. Dunne, A. Vecchia, Nature, 438, 2005, doi:10.1038/nature04312]. Left-side illustrates runoff change for drainage basin scale, and right side for geopolitical state scales.

Regarding observed changes in climate of the Great Plains, I stated:

“Indeed, that region (Great Plains) has seen a general increase in rainfall over the long term, during most seasons (certainly no material decline).  Also, for the warm season when evaporative loss is especially effective, the climate of the central Great Plains has not become materially warmer (perhaps even cooled) since 1900.  In other words, climate conditions in the growing season of the Central Great Plains are today not materially different from those existing 100 years ago.  This observational fact belies the expectations, from climate simulations, and in truth, our science lacks a good explanation for this discrepancy. “

Supporting Material for My Statement

The lack of a warming trend over the central United States during the past century, sometimes called the U.S. “warming hole”, has been especially noted in the peer-reviewed literature (e.g., Kunkel et al. Journal of Climate, 2006, Knutson et al. Journal of Climate 2006). Particularly striking has been a cooling trend in summertime temperatures at many meteorological observing stations located between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains over the period 1901-2010 (Fig. 2, top). This region of summertime cooling has generally coincided with a region of summertime mean precipitation increase (Fig. 2, bottom). The data is the monthly Global Historical Climate Network data available at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ghcnm/v3.php

To date, these regional patterns are not well understood on physical grounds. This, and other regional examples of climate trends, illustrate the need for a more comprehensive assessment on the causes of regional and seasonal differences in climate trends that considers multiple possible contributing factors, including atmospheric dynamics and coupled ocean-atmosphere processes, land surface and biological processes, atmospheric chemistry and aerosols, and human-induced climate change.

Summary

The certainty language expressed in the Hansen NYT piece about the coming dustbowl fate for the Great Plains region and Midwest is contrary to the low confidence of regional climate change projections for coming decades as documented in USGCRP and IPCC reports. Not only are various regional patterns of trends that have been observed over the last century poorly understood, but the projections of regional changes in coming decades are highly uncertain.

Figure 2. The 1901-2010 trends in summertime (June-August) daily averaged surface temperature (°C/110 yrs; top) and rainfall (% of change over 110 yrs, bottom). Trends are plotted at available station sites, using the GHCNv3 data. Cooling (warming) trends shown in blue (red), and increased (decreased) rainfall shown in blue (red).

The Hansen NYT piece asserts:

“The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather…”

To which I replied:

“This is patently false.  Take temperature over the U.S. as an example. The variability of daily temperature over the U.S. is much larger than the anthropogenic warming signal at the local, weather time scales. Depending on season and location, the disparity is at least a  factor of 5 to 10. I think that a more scientifically justifiable statement, at least for the U.S. and extratropical land areas is that — Daily weather noise continues to drum out the siren call of climate change on local, weather scales. “
Supporting Material for My Statement

Weather—as experienced on a daily basis and at any particular location— is highly variable, but the challenge offered in the Hansen NYT piece is that the noise of such variations are now being drowned out by the global warming signal. Debating this latter point should not, of course, be confused with opening a debate about the rise in global mean temperatures. The IPCC (2007) has stated that warming of the climate system is unequivocal. The unequivocal rise in global average temperature and the attribution that most of this rise is due to the rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, owes to the small natural variability of global mean temperatures compared to the large magnitude of the human-induced warming signal in global averaged temperatures. In other words, for global mean conditions, the signal is much louder than natural variability of globally averaged temperatures. The science is clear, we know that the planet has warming over the past century, and we are very confident as to why such warming has (and continues) to occur.

But that appears not to be the point of the NYT piece, as implied by the subsequent context of Hansen’s statement regarding extreme local weather events. The “random weather” called out in the NYT piece is unlikely meant to refer to the variability in global mean temperature, but rather to the local conditions we regularly encounter in our own backyards and that swing back and forth across a range of conditions. This range (the random noise, as per Hansen) is in fact not smaller than the global warming signal, as shown from several lines of evidence below.

The recent published peer-reviewed study by Hawkins and Sutton (2012, Geophysical Research Letters) diagnoses the so-called “time of emergence” of climate signals from the noise of random variability at a local level. Their analysis compares an estimate of a human-induced change in surface air temperature against an estimate of its natural variability for seasonally averaged data. For a signal-to-noise ratio of two (signal being double the magnitude of the noise), they find that the time of emergence is after 2050 for most midlatitude regions during cold and warm seasons. The tropics, where noise of temperature variability is less than in midlatitudes, the time of emergence is appreciably earlier.

But even that analysis is not quite germane to the Hansen assertion regarding the noise of random weather. Figure 3 presents an analysis of the intensity of the variability of daily averaged surface temperature across the United States.

The data is daily temperature at Cooperative observing stations, which is available at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/gdcn/gdcn.html. The top panel is the intensity of daily temperature variability during 1901-2010, averaged across the 12 calendar months January-December. On average, daily temperature variability is about 5°C over North Dakota, to as small as 2°C over Florida. The recent update, by NCDC, of the annual mean global mean warming signal is +0.51°C (for 2011 relative to a 20th Century reference). It is thus evident that daily surface temperature variability is on order 5 to 10 times greater than the global warming signal (see Fig. 3, bottom). Consistent with the published work of Hawkins and Sutton, it is obvious that the time of emergence of the global warming signal from this weather noise is far in the future under the assumption of continuing global warming.

Summary

The global warming signal is much smaller than the typical daily variability of surface air temperature over the United States. Most of the magnitude of daily weather extremes owes its causes to natural internal fluctuations and not to global warming. A possible exception could be imagined if global warming were also to increase the variability of daily temperatures (and not just increase the mean temperatures), but no compelling evidence to such effects has been shown. While globally averaged temperatures have risen during the past century, the cause for which is very likely human-induce climate change, the signal of this change is still barely audible among the loud noise of daily, backyard weather fluctuations.

Weather, of course, is more than temperature variability. While this discussion has involved temperature, weather involves rain, storms, winds, severe convection, clouds among others. In this regard, it is important to reiterate the statement in IPCC SREX (2012) in their Executive Summary which states that “many weather and climate extremes are the result of natural climate variability”, and that “even if there were no anthropogenic changes in climate, a wide variety of natural and weather extremes would still occur”.

Figure 3. The daily surface temperature variability during 1901-2010 averaged for all months during January-December (°C, top), and the ratio of that daily variability to the magnitude of the observed global warming signal (nondimensional). The variability is the standard deviation of daily temperature fluctuations calculated for each calendar month, and averaged across all months. The global mean warming signal of +0.51°C is derived from the NCDC analysis of the 2011 annual mean global averaged surface temperature departure relative to a 20th Century climatology (see http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2011/13)

The Hansen NYT piece asserts:

” We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change.”
To which I replied:

“Published scientific studies on the Russian heat wave indicate this claim to be false.  Our own study on the Texas heat wave and drought, submitted today to Journal of Climate, likewise shows that that event was not caused by human-induced climate change. These are not de novo events, but upon scientific scrutiny,one finds both the Russian and Texas extreme events to be part of the physics of what has driven variability in those regions over the past century.  Not to say that climate change didn’t contribute to the those cases, but their intensity owes to natural, not human, causes.”

Supporting Material for My Statement

The principal conclusion by Dole et al. (2011, Geophysical Research Letters) is that the extreme magnitude of the 2010 Russian heat wave was mainly due to internal dynamical processes (associated with atmospheric blocking), and that it was very unlikely that warming attributable to GHG forcing contributed substantially to the heat wave’s magnitude. Rahmstorf and Coumou (2011, PNAS) concluded that a strong warming over western Russia (which they attribute primarily to GHG forcing) multiplied the likelihood of a record heat wave. They estimated an 80% probability that the 2010 July heat records in Moscow would not have occurred without climate warming. Barriopedro et al. (2011, Science), on the other hand, conclude that the magnitude of the 2010 event was so extreme that despite GHG warming, the likelihood of an analog over the same region remains fairly low at this time. This is consistent with estimates in Dole et al., which showed a very low probability of an event of this magnitude in 2010, but a rapidly increasing likelihood of crossing given thresholds in future climate, based on results from CMIP3 model runs.

Toward attempting to reconcile these conclusions, Otto et al (2012, Geophysical Research Letters) conclude that there is no substantial contradiction between studies by Dole et al. and Rahmstorf and Coumou, in that the heat wave “can be both mostly internally generated due to magnitude, and mostly externally-driven in terms of occurrence-probability”. Further discussion on this matter including an extensive list of recent published work on the Russian heat wave is available at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/csi/events/2010/russianheatwave/index.html

Summary

Analysis of various forced model simulations indicates that human influences did not contribute substantially to the magnitude of the Russian heat wave. Even accounting for a possible stronger warming signal, as suggested by Rahmsdorf and Coumou, these were still appreciably smaller than the peak magnitude of the event (which reached 10°C over Moscow during July). Barriapedro et al. (2011) conclude that the magnitude of the 2010 event was so extreme that despite an increase in temperatures due to human climate change, the likelihood of an analog over the same region remains fairly low until the second half of the 21st century. These results are thus consistent also with the Hawkins and Sutton (2012) results regarding the time of emergence of a climate change signal at local scales.

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40 Responses to Martin Hoerling on James Hansen’s ‘game over’ thinking

  1. Coach Springer says:

    Dr. Jim is more or less forcing alarmists to confront the harsh fact that not even consensus means what they think it means.

  2. lurker, passing through laughing. says:

    Hansen is [snip - facts without evidence] irrational. And most of all, wrong.

  3. Dr. Elliott Althouse says:

    He works for me and I cannot fire him!

  4. Menth says:

    Looks like there may be a new “divergence problem” in climate science.

  5. Harold Pierce Jr says:

    I use this simple formula for computing “weather noise” (WN) :

    WN = AD – RT

    where AD is the classical averged deviation of the mean and RT is the resolution of the thermometer.

    At the weather station at Quatsino, BC, WN = 1.4 deg C for Tmax and Tmin for the sample period 1895-2009.
    This result was obtained by doing multi-decadal anaylses for a sample interval of 11 days centered on the spring and fall equinoxes and on the summer and winter solstices. I used a short sample interval so that sunlight is essentially constant.

  6. Doug in Seattle says:

    Dr. Jim is the CONSENSUS for many, particularly those associated with the left in American politics. Any less than full agreement with Dr. Jim results in banisment to Denierland or at the very least to social ostracism.

  7. No, Coach, it means what is has always meant. Of course, among people who are demonstrably wrong on any particular issue, there’s a strong consensus among them that they are in fact right. So it means what it always meant, it’s just that it never mattered one bit either way.

  8. David L. Hagen says:

    Dr. Hoerling clearly applies the scientific method supported by published peer reviewed evidence to expose the invalidity of Hansen’s assertions. Such public rebuttal is a major step towards restoring the integrity of climate science.

  9. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    Hansen’s prophecy is suspiciously like that of a certain Mr Flannery in Australia. I suspect that it will be as completely wrong when the facts come in. Has he mentioned building desalination plants yet? My consensus is that Hansen is still batting zero when it comes to climate predictions.

  10. Thank you for this heavy counterpunch against Hansen’s doomsaying. As a former resident of an Iron Curtain country, I shouldn’t be surprised when scientists stray from the path of science and into the realm of ideology, but I must confess that sometimes writings such as Hansen’s still knock me off my feet. How easy people sell their souls…

  11. tallbloke says:

    “but upon scientific scrutiny,one finds both the Russian and Texas extreme events to be part of the physics of what has driven variability in those regions over the past century.”

    Martin Hoerling needs to read the Novgorod Chronicles running from 1016AD:
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/russian-thermageddon-a-historical-perspective/

  12. kwinterkorn says:

    For Post Normal Scientists like Hansen, the facts are not what matters, only the direness of the predictions.

    If a dire prediction is made, with huge consequences for humanity and life on Earth in general, then action must be taken, regardless of the improbability of the prediction and the weakness of the traditional science on which it is based. The Precautionary Principle requires a response, based on the possibility, not probability, of events and the magnitude of potential harm.

    If Chicken Little says, “The sky is falling!”, Post Normal Science says, “Run for your lives!”

  13. Gav Jackson says:

    Sadly in Australia our climate minister made “dust bowl” claims only to see the country face some devastating flooding . Of course that too was blamed on AGW
    Hoping USA doesn’t face the same climate karma!

  14. Ian W says:

    As I have said before this post should be titled:
    “Martin Hoerling on NASA’s ‘game over thinking

    The attribution to an individual who developed something in NASA’s time while paid by NASA and the taxpayer is not correct. The recent extremely successful landing of ‘Curiosity ‘on Mars was correctly attributed to ‘NASA’ the agency and JPL – not to any of the team leaders.

    “NASA’s 7 minutes of terror tonight – more than a curiosity

    and

    UPDATE: Touchdown confirmed! Congratulations NASA! First image received. Will post as soon as I have something to show you.

    All of the output of individuals in NASA’s time paid by NASA is NASA’s even when it is unscientific hyperbole based on cherry picking and poor statistics.

  15. highflight56433 says:

    Hansen and company are heavily invested in coastal real estate and he et al are using his public position to create a wave of exodus from the mid-west to coastal properties to create higher demand driving up prices.

    Which reminds me. I have some swamp land for sale…should be dry in a few decades. Just ask Hansen et al.

    Nicely done Dr. Hoerling.

  16. Jay says:

    Well, Hanson predicts a dust bowl in the midwest…but the models don’t show it.

    Hmm, what do we believe, reality, or a bunch of models?
    I guess those models are not that good after all?!!?

  17. cui bono says:

    Hansen has the op-ed soundbytes and the drama.
    Unfortunately, it is difficult to rebut groovy doomster rhetoric with long-winded evidence-based pieces such as this.
    This is now just an agitprop war, thanks to Hansen and the Team. Science is, as ever, the loser.

  18. ntesdorf says:

    The Hansen Index of Stupidity is reaching unprecedented levels. It’s far worse than we thought.

  19. M Seward says:

    Re Louis Nettle’s posted link to the Joe Romm drivel on drought in Australia, the evidence at the time was also to the contrary of the assertion ( availalble on the Bureau of Meteorology web site at ) . Australia has got WETTER for the last century or so by 20 to 25% continent wide with more in the northern tropics and less in the south. Only Tasmania and SW Western Australia have got drier. Given the king hitting evidence of two successive, extraordinarily wet summers immediately following, Flannery is regarded widely as a fool for his comments and they have been a significant driver of our electorate’s skepticism at least as to carbon taxes and the like.

    There is a very famous poem in Australia called A Sunburnt Country. The iconic verse goes:-

    I love a sunburnt country,
    a land of sweeping plains,
    of rugged mountain ranges
    of droughts and flooding rains.

    Could be the West of the United States. Cheer up, when it rains Hansen, McKibben and co’s public reputations will drown in the flood of reality. I can’t wait for US floods next year.

  20. richardscourtney says:

    Dr. Hoerling:

    Thankyou. You have made an honest statement which needed to be made.

    I agree with you when you say

    The science is clear, we know that the planet has warming over the past century,

    but I disagree with you when you say

    and we are very confident as to why such warming has (and continues) to occur.

    However, I note your use of the word “we” so you are not asserting “the science” in this case. And, of course, the advance of scientific research depends on the existence of such disagreements.

    Importantly, and the reason I now write, is to applaud – and to draw attention to – your statement that says

    To date, these regional patterns are not well understood on physical grounds. This, and other regional examples of climate trends, illustrate the need for a more comprehensive assessment on the causes of regional and seasonal differences in climate trends that considers multiple possible contributing factors, including atmospheric dynamics and coupled ocean-atmosphere processes, land surface and biological processes, atmospheric chemistry and aerosols, and human-induced climate change.

    I sincerely wish that this true statement were loudly supported by others who share your conclusion that you “are very confident” that you understand the cause of recent global warming.

    Again, thankyou. Such honest statements are sadly much too rare in the ‘climate debate’.

    Richard

  21. RoyFOMR says:

    Here’s a repost of a repost that I made on BishopHill. I’ve had no response so probably isn’t worth one but can anyone explain to me ‘why not?’
    “This is a repost of a response that I put on the Josh Cartoon thread at WUWT (small typos corrected)

    I wrote it somewhat tongue-in-cheek but, on reflection, I think I may have stumbled upon a serious point.

    “Give Hansen some credit. If July 2012 was indeed 0.2 F warmer than July 1936 then this means that the anomaly( TM Nick Stokes) from 1850 (approximate end of the LIA) to 2012 is only 0.2 F higher in the 76 years since 1936!
    Assuming that the anomaly up to 1936 was all ‘natural’ and the 0.2 F since was all through anthropogenic greenhouse effects we can calculate that we’re causing a maximum decadal rise of 0.11C over 7.6 decades as 0.11/7.6=0.015 C/decade!
    Thank you Mr Hansen for proving that Man-made global warming is not a problem!”

    I may have cherry-picked the 1850 but not the 1936 and 2012 dates, made a sweeping assumption or two flavoured with pinches of snark but are my calculations ‘robust’?

    Anyone?”

    Anyone?

  22. Louise Nettles got there before me…but you can imagine my disappointment when I arrived in Australia five years ago only to be told that the Murray Darling River system was finished…dang! That mighty river had been around for close on a million years and I missed seeing it it by a matter of months!
    Likewise that great city of Perth, now a ‘Ghost’ metropolis and of course Brisbane wracked with permanent drought.
    Where would we be without visionaries like Dr Hansen and Mr Flannery and their prophecies?
    (sarc)

  23. Chuck Nolan says:

    kwinterkorn says:
    August 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm
    …………….”If Chicken Little says, “The sky is falling!”, Post Normal Science says, “Run for your lives!”
    ——————————
    No, PNS says “Quick, don’t think, tax something and spend lots of money to stop it.”

  24. AlaskaHound says:

    Let’s see, we have the IO dipole, the AO, PDO, NAO, Antarctic stream, our star & all its components, species and precipitation along with rifts and volcanic activity which work in many ways at different times and our esteemed climatologists cannot tell us why the planet traverses from glacial to inter-glacial conditions, but know for sure a trace gas needed for life, is going to kill us all.
    These cats are completely out of their realm, and must have super wild imaginations:)

  25. michael hart says:

    “Economic losses would be incalculable.”

    That won’t stop some people from claiming that they can in the hope of making personal economic gains.

  26. Jonathan Smith says:

    Ian W says:
    August 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm
    As I have said before this post should be titled:
    “Martin Hoerling on NASA’s ‘game over thinking”…

    I totally agree with your post. NASA needs to wake up to the damage this clown is causing to the reputation of this organisation. Hansen touts his NASA credentials to give authority to his rantings and they should be labelled ‘NASA’ not ‘Hansen’ when published in the media. Maybe then his employers will take action on behalf of the US taxpayers that are forced to fund this nonsense. We have an analogous situation in the UK with the BBC. Anyone wishing to receive TV signals has no choice but to pay a licence fee. That gives us the privilige of funding the blatant eco-activism engaged in by the likes of Richard Black and Roger Harrabin.

  27. Dale says:

    Sorry, thought for a minute I’d slipped back to 2007 and listening to Tim Flannery make the exact same predictions (ironically just before the wettest 3 years on record).

  28. I still don’t get the assertion that the rise in temperatures is “very likely” due to AGW. That statement gets tossed around as if it were fact, when in reality it is seemingly never accompanied by even a small statement of the supporting evidence, nor the methods used to tease the AGW signal from a natural variability.
    So, while I laud Dr. Hoerling’s public challenge to Dr. Hansen’s over-the-top doomsaying, it appears to me to be disguising a “my AGW theory is better than Hansen’s” sort of posture. The null hype of AGW goes unchallenged.

  29. Dodgy Geezer says:

    Global Warming scares ALWAYS have to come with the included statement that this is ‘the consensus’ of all climatologists. I notice that this statement is absent from the latest warning. Perhaps someone could ask Hansen if his warning is indeed ‘the consensus’ and, if it is, where we can find evidence for this.

    Perhaps the IPCC will also include his statements in their next report – after all they do ‘prove’ that AGW is getting worse, at least according to IPCC standards of proof…..

  30. DEEBEE says:

    73% of the babies are born to “semi-pregnant” women who are “semi-married”

  31. James Hansen is an activist. His activism trumps his science. I hope the average American is at least smart enough to see that.

  32. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @RoyFOMR

    I made the same mental calculation about the ‘rate of increase’ in the past 76 years. You are quite correct to view it that way. That is why the alarmist does not show their work, they show the result which is proclaimed to be ‘alarming’.

    This morning on CBC TV (Canada) they decided to make an announcement about Arctic ice melting. It was given to the weather lady to spin the pitch and she looked like a rabbit in the headlights, reciting the speculation that all the ice would soon disappear from the Arctic in summer as if she was reluctantly complying with some contract condition. It was like watching a novice in a high school play. The CBC does this on a schedule, not randomly. Every so often they have some person with [no] credibility at all make a sweeping pro-CAGW off-the-wall statement about how our CO2 is roasting, melting, changing everything and there is much more to come and it is going to be like this sort of disaster, with the weasel words thrown in to make it sound as if this is a conservatively worded, thoughtful and considerate assessment of the ‘science’. It is invariably unconvincing.

    Today’s GW treat was based on the satellite data of ice thickness – which they did not show. I hope it is covered in a separate thread.

  33. matt v. says:

    Hansen should read the 2011 technical paper in the Geophysical Research Letters by Sumant Nigam et al called “Key role of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation in 2Oth century drought and wet periods over the Great Plains “. The paper is free and available on the internet . According to the authors, AMO is one of the major contributors to the Dust bowl droughts of 1931- 1939, to the 1953 -1956 droughts and the Wet period of 1982-1986. It could be behind the current 2012 US drought as the AMO has been extra warming or going more positive [ now around 0.4 ] since the beginning of the year. AMO seems to alter or displace storm tracks over US and we have seen much of this in 2012.

    Quoting the authors ” AMO is the dominant contributor (approx. 50% of the signal ) in the Dust Bowl spring droughts and in the 1980′s fall wetness … “

  34. John Blake says:

    Everything Hansen has asserted, implied, projected since 1988 has proven 180-degrees, irretrievably wrong. Let prevaricating media play their foolish games… nothing Hansen says has any validity whatever.

  35. iya says:

    The North American drought follows a ~20 year cycle, as shown in several papers back to the 17th century, e.g., Cook et al. (1997) A New Assessment of Possible Solar and Lunar Forcing of the Bidecadal Drought Rhythm in the Western United States.
    There was also a “megadrought” in the 16th century, so I guess it’s ‘game over’ for 500 years and counting.

  36. wayne Job says:

    Chinks in the armour of the AGW crowd are turning into major cracks, and Hansen with his medaeival born to rule mind set is having problems. The man is a legend in his own lunch time with a following of useful idiots and weenies. Alas and beggora he will not joust with real seekers of truth for he has an untipped wooden lance, feet of clay and armour made of pal review and FOI denial. His truth seeking opponents wear kevlar and the most intrusive and omnipotent weapon, truth. It is interesting that people from his own Kingdom are pointing out that his lance is untipped and totally unlike a hockey stick.

  37. Brian H says:

    Game over for Hansen. 1,000 game misconduct penalty.

  38. Arno Arrak says:

    Here is Dr. Hoerling’s view: “While globally averaged temperatures have risen during the past century, the cause for which is very likely human-induce climate change, the signal of this change is still barely audible among the loud noise of daily, backyard weather fluctuations.”

    This is incredibly loose talk for a scientist. I hate to tell you, Dr. Hoerling, but you as a scientist are not allowed to lump the entire century into one mushy pile and then draw unjustified conclusions from it. Different parts of the century were controlled by different physical processes and you are responsible for explaining all of them. To start with, the early century warming began suddenly in 1910 and stopped equally suddenly in 1940. There was no parallel increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide in 1910 which rules out the greenhouse effect as a cause because radiation laws of physics do not permit it. Bjørn Lomborg assigns this warming to solar influence and I agree with him. Forty percent of the century is now gone without any sign of human-caused change. There was no warming in the fifties, sixties, and seventies either while carbon dioxide increased relentlessly. People then were worried about a a coming ice age and newspapers and magazines had articles about it. There has never been any satisfactory explanation of why this rise in carbon dioxide failed to cause any warming for these thirty years, just contorted hypotheses trying to explain it away. One of them blamed smoke and aerosols from war production for blocking out the sun. And seventy percent of that century has passed without any human-caused warming. There was no warming in the eighties and nineties either, just alternating warm El Nino and cool La Nina phases of ENSO. Hansen imagined that the 1987/88 El Nino meant global warming had arrived and said so in front of the Senate. There were actually five such El Nino peaks during tjios period, each one followed by a cooling La Nina. Global average temperature stayed the same throughout the eighties and nineties as shown by UAH and RSS satellites, Gistemp from NASA, and NCDC temperature data. The period came to an end in 1998 when a super El Nino inaugurated the second warming period of the twentieth century. In four years global temperature rose by a third of a degree Celsius and then stopped. A third of a degree is substantial warming if you consider that IPCC only allocates 0.6 degrees to the entire twentieth century. Its cause was the large amount of warm water carried across the ocean by the super El Nino. It, and not an imaginary greenhouse effect was the cause of the very warm deacade of the 2000-s. This still leaves the Arctic warming to be explained. I am sorry to say, that one is not greenhouse warming either but is caused by Atlantic currents that carry warm Gulf Stream water into the Arctic Ocean. So here is the real global temperature story: there has been no greenhouse warming for the last 100 years. To talk of a human-induced climate change is just totally irresponsible for any scientist who understands what global temperature is actually doing.

  39. Caleb says:

    What irks me most is that, with the PDO turning cold and the AMO warm, there actually is a chance we could return to the semi-Dust Bowl situation of the 1950′s. However, rather than appropriate actions, fools like Hansen would have moving in a foolish direction.

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