Climate Actually Changes! Film at 11:00!

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Last month (April 2010), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put out a study called “Climate Change Indicators in the United States” (13 Mb PDF). I read through it … depressingly bad science.

To start with, they parrot the findings of the IPCC as their “evidence” that everything we see in the climate record is human-caused. They say:

The buildup of green- house gases in the atmosphere is very likely the cause of most of the recent observed increase in average temperatures, and contributes to other climate changes. (IPCC 2007)

Despite the “very likely” certainty of the IPCC, I see the current level of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate a bit differently, as shown in Figure 1:

Figure 1. Graph showing our understanding of the climate. Image is the painting by J. M. W. Turner, “Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway”.

Having asserted that all changes are due to humans, they then list a bunch of changes, and consider their case as being established. Here’s how they put it:

The indicators in this report present clear evidence that the composition of the atmosphere is being altered as a result of human activities and that the climate is changing. They also illustrate a number of effects on society and ecosystems related to these changes.

Now, that particular statement is very carefully crafted. It is very painstakingly  worded so that no one can say that they claimed the changes in climate are caused by the changes in the “composition of the atmosphere” … but heck, if you mistakenly were to assume that, the EPA won’t get in your way.

In other words, CO2 is rising and climate is changing … stunning news.

But that’s just the start. The individual parts of the report are marked by plain old bad science.

Here’s one example among many. This is the record of “heat waves”, which they define as follows:

While there is no universal definition of a heat wave, this indicator defines a heat wave as a four-day period with an average temperature that would only be expected to occur once every 10 years, based on the historical record.

This indicator reviews trends in the U.S. Annual Heat Wave Index between 1895 and 2008. This index tracks the frequency of heat waves across the lower 48 states, but not the intensity of these episodes. The index uses daily maximum temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which keeps records from weather stations throughout the nation. Approximately 300 to 400 stations reported data from 1895 to 1910; over the last 100 years, the number of stations has risen to 700 or more.

The index value for a given year could mean several different things. For example, an index value of 0.2 in any given year could mean that 20 percent of the recording stations experienced one heat wave; 10 percent of stations experienced two heat waves; or some other combination of stations and episodes resulted in this value.

Sadly, although they say they use NOAA data, they don’t say where the data that they used is located. Well, no, actually that’s not quite true. They say:

The data for this indicator are based on measurements from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Network. These weather station data are available online at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/coop/what-is-coop.html.

Unfortunately, when you go to that URL, there’s no data. There’s just a description of the Cooperative Station Program entitled “What is the Coop Program?” … but I digress …

Regarding heat waves, they say:

The frequency of heat waves in the United States decreased in the 1960s and 1970s, but has risen steadily since then. The percentage of the United States experiencing heat waves has also increased. The most severe heat waves in U.S. history remain those that occurred during the “Dust Bowl” in the 1930s, although average temperatures have increased since then.

Having said that, Figure 2 shows their data for the Heat Wave Index, the linear trend over the entire period, and the change in atmospheric CO2 during the period.

Figure 2. “Heat Wave Index” (yellow line) and CO2 level (red line, right scale). Orange line is the linear trend for the entire period.

You’d think that the only reasonable conclusions from this chart would be that heat waves and CO2 are not related in the slightest, that there is no overall change in the US Heat Wave Index, and that there appears to have been a step change in the data in 1980 … but this being the EPA, you’d be wrong. This is all part of the ‘CO2 is rising and climate is changing’ mantra.

And you would also think that they would give us drought information to go with this. For example, I showed the change (or rather the lack of change) in the Palmer Drought Severity Index from 1895 to 2009 in my post “Come Rain or Come Shine“.

But strangely, rather than report that drought is no more common now than a hundred years ago, they say:

During the 20th century, many indices were created to measure drought severity by looking at trends in precipitation, soil moisture, stream flow, vegetation health, and other variables. This indicator is based on the U.S. Drought Monitor, which integrates several of these indices.

Why is the U.S. Drought Monitor a strange choice for their analysis? Well, because that particular drought indicator only contains data that goes all the way back to … 2000. Not even one decade of data. And of course, their conclusion is:

Because data from the U.S. Drought Monitor are only available for the most recent decade, there is no clear long-term trend in this indicator.

Well, duh … the USHCN maintains several long-term drought indicators which cover the period 1895 – present, so the EPA chose to only report on an indicator with a nine-year record, and then explains that the record is too short to show a trend.

I could give you many more examples, but my stomach won’t take it. This is the US EPA, however, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. My tax dollars at work …


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135 thoughts on “Climate Actually Changes! Film at 11:00!

  1. So basically, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) abandons the use of real science in lieu of junk-science and speculations. Cut the chase and just call a spade a spade.

  2. US summer temperatures have scarcely changed over the last 80 years.

    Temperatures in Phoenix reached a maximum in the late 1980s, and early 1990s – and have since declined.

    http://phoenix.about.com/cs/weather/a/weathertrivia_2.htm
    122°F on June 26, 1990;
    121°F on July 28, 1995;
    120°F on June 25, 1990;
    118°F on  July 16, 1925,  June 24, 1929, July 11, 1958, July 4, 1989, June 27, 1990, June 28, 1990, July 27, 1995, and July 21, 2006.

  3. It seems to me that the graph tells you two things: First, that there was something exceptional going on in the 30s. The heat wave index exploded during that period. Secondly, if we ignore that event, there has been a long time trend of increase in heat waves. In particular, they are definitely more common now than 100 years ago (around 1910).

    But is it OK to ignore the exceptional events of the 30s? I don’t know, but I’m sure some clever people here can say more about that.

  4. Another first class post from Willis.

    Perhaps the strongest evidence that AGW is a non problem is the lengths that its proponents go to to insist that it is a problem.

    Hey, if “The Science is Settled” then how come they have to use this kind of incompetent manipulation to “demonstrate” it?

    The only concern about AGW is all the ecotards and con men who promote it. And the fact that, up to now, they have called all the shots.

  5. “and that there appears to have been a step change in the data in 1980”

    Can someone explain this thought in more detail? Thanks!

  6. This reminds me of a joke going the rounds in the UK: “who won the general election? … the klingon”.

    Just as Gordon Brown is still trying desparately to cling on to power in Downing street whilst the rest of us know there isn’t a realistic scenario which would leave him in power, so we watch the climategate “scientists” still clinging onto the idea that they can fool the public by their “end to boom and bust science”!

    Now who’s the flat earther** Gordon?

    **Contrary to popular mythology there is little evidence for a common belief in a flat earth before a popular 18th? century book about Columbus wrongly stated the sailors were afraid because they believed in a flat earth.

  7. Willis Eschenbach: “they parrot the findings of the IPCC as their “evidence” that everything we see in the climate record is human-caused”

    Neither the IPCC nor the EPA make such a claim, nor anything like it, as anyone with any understanding of the issues and desire to comment fairly would acknowledge.

  8. No, the climate is not changing and has not changed significantly in the Holocene.

    The weather changes, and there are occasional storms, heat waves, cold snaps, etc. There have been some extended droughts. But by and large the climate has not changed over most of the globe.

    Yes, the Vikings planted some crops in Greenland during a hot spell. But that was fluky and didn’t last. During most of the Holocene Greenland has been icy cold, and it still is. Florida has been hot and humid. Oregon has been rainy. Arizona has been dry. Those climates have not changed.

    Perhaps global temps have gone up 1 deg F since the little Ice Age. And perhaps global temps have fallen 5 deg F since the Climatic Optimum. But that’s next to nothing. It’s not a significant change. Generally speaking, over most of the planet, the climate hasn’t changed in ~11,500 years.

    Before then there were some significant climate changes, some radical swings, continental ice sheets, tundra where there is now forest, etc. Yes, the climate has changed almost everywhere since the depths of the Wisconsin Glaciation. But in recent millennia, the climate HAS NOT CHANGED.

    I know, I know. You don’t want to make dogmatic statements like that. You want to mollify the Alarmists; you don’t want them calling you names. But I don’t care who calls me what. I look outside and the climate where I have lived over the last 60 years is exactly the same as it has always been.

    The emperor is naked. The EPA is wrong. Every alleged climate change phenomenon is either weather or folderol. You can’t grow palm trees outdoors in Minnesota. Ain’t gonna happen, not in this lifetime, not in this millennia, not in the next 10 million years. The climate isn’t changing. Period. Sorry if you just can’t stand to admit it, but I can and do.

  9. It’s quite possible the same people responsible for that EPA report also moonlighting for the AGW protagonist arm of the UK government…

  10. I recently found a CIA document, available on the net at http://www.climatemonitor.it/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/1974.pdf that is very interesting. It’s about [a different] climate change in the 70’s. I was particularly interested in finding the following:

    “The governments and people of northern Europe once struggled to survive in an environment of persistent crop failure and declining population. On the other hand, Spain, Portugal, and Italy enjoyed a golden age. Their climate assured them of a reliable base for food production. The German states, Russia, the other Slavic nations, and to a certain extent even England and France, lived in the twilight of permanent winter.”

    I would recommend reading the whole CIA document!

    Ecotretas

  11. Your stomach is much stronger than mine. I won’t even try to read it.

    I do have an off topic question. It would seem that the evaporation/condensation cycle is in effect, a global air conditioner and should quite literally dwarf any other effect. It should also be possible to calculate this effect from world wide precipitation records. I haven’t yet found any evidence that this has been done. Am I somehow on the wrong track? It does appear to be a process that ties in quite well with your thermostat theory.

  12. Can’t believe I didn’t spot that Turner under the pie chart. Probably because you covered up the locomotive. Maybe some of his Venice works, as Venice is sinking into the sea doubtless due to climate change. Burning of the Houses of Parliament would be a nice background, though.

    Have a data source for the pie chart?

  13. Heat waves are very dear, I love heat waves. Got 48 ºC in the shade around here in the 2003 one. It wasn’t like Iraq at noon, usually 51 ºC they say.

    Anyway, cold kills a lot more. Here and here for starters.

  14. They must realise, surely, that your average, interested person would work out the defects in their analysis for themselves. Do they think we’re all completely stupid? Or do they believe that nobody will question or object to this in any organised, aggressive form? Either way, it’s really alarming how it easy it appears to take us all for a ride, and precipitate us all into economic and energy disaster by trying to fix a non problem and feeding us all lies, misinformation and bad science. Can’t anyone take this nonsense by storm and shake it apart?

  15. The key word in Environmental Protection Agency is “Agency” — it’s a bureaucracy. Any resemblance between it and a scientific establishment are pure coincidence.

    A more accurate description if the EPA would be EPR — the Environmental Protection Racket…

  16. Maybe what we know and what we know we don’t know ought to swap places when you consider that known unknowns include undersea vents and volcanoes, clouds and aerosols, ocean dynamics and chaotic weather patterns.

  17. Another excellent expose by Willis.
    This EPA ”study” would deserve to be flunked in a junior high science class.
    The fact that our tax dollars paid for it in a time of massive Federal deficits makes it doubly outrageous. Only in the government (__). . . . .

  18. We have had a series running on Channel 4, about how the climate has always changed:

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/man-on-earth

    A good opportunity to underline the fact that our present climate changes are entirely natural, like previous changes? Not on your life. The strap-line to this series, is that modern climate change is 100% all man-made (unlike previous changes), but because we can understand past climate changes, we might be able to curb our ‘current problem’ by reducing CO2.

    Talk about bending the facts to fit the approved propaganda.

    .

  19. Don’t give up!
    Simply continue with your crack down!

    You’re doing a wonderful job!

    They are turning the USA into the former USSR with this crap.
    It has to be stopped.

  20. I just had to throw up…. Are we meant to just swallow this propaganda?

    God help us.

  21. “While there is no universal definition of a heat wave, this indicator defines a heat wave as a four-day period with an average temperature that would only be expected to occur once every 10 years, based on the historical record.”

    Does that mean that five warm days counts as two heat-waves?

  22. What’s the EPA doing in the climate business anyhow?

    But, if they are going to get into th eclimate biz, then I say we let the do a demonstration project first. Let’s give them Peoria Illinois and see if they can keep it at a nice year-round temperature of 80F with rain on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. (Oh, and snow only during the last week of December, in particular bout 4-5″ on Christmas day.)

    When they can figure out and control all of the variables to maintain those conditions in one place, then we’ll talk about the rest of the country.

  23. Brilliant posting, Willis.

    I am puzzled by the Klingons. How is it that we have not swept them away? The sceptics have the clarity, the integrity, the wit and the wisdom to see through the AGW myth. And yet they continue to monopolise multinational organizations and government agencies.

    I think their success is founded on their political and advocacy skills, about which the laws of physics care not one jot. Climategate hasn’t derailed the AGW gravy train. Will it roll for decades more?

    I see only two solutions: mimick the warmists’ political activism (this ain’t going to happen: normal folks don’t have the required monomaniacal fury) or demolish the codswallop science.

    If clever blokes like you can prove that there is no Tipping Point, and that CO2 is a useful trace gas not a diabolic pollutant, we stand a chance of dynamiting the scientific underpinning that keeps this hoax standing. The battlegrounds are twofold: Feedback and Sensitivity. Go get ’em, tiger!

  24. This reminds me of a report they wrote in the 1970s about acid rain, and all of the dire consequences to follow if we did not immediately reduce sulfur dioxide emissions-extinction of the Bald Eagle among them (because it feeds on the fish that would be extinct, of course). SO2 emissions are down something like 90% (not a bad thing for many other reasons) but you can check acid rain’s progress at the NAPAP/USGS website. In the most “threatened” areas, the acidity of rainfall is not appreciably different from 1979. Most people’s electric bills are substantially higher. Good science has not been among EPA’s many talents for a long time.

  25. I don’t understand why the CO2 trend goes flat from about 1935 until about 1948. I realize that The Great Depression was responsible for shutting down about one third of the US economy and that undoubtedly had a negative impact on CO2 emissions. However, at the same time, there was rapid industrialization going on in the Soviet Union, Germany, the Empire of Japan, and probably elsewhere. All of this growth was being driven by massive amounts of fossil fuels. So what is the source of the EPA’s CO2 data? Is this coming from ice core samples?

  26. When you delve into uncharted science, society and especially scientists treat you as a fruitcake even if the evidence, science and math are rock solid.
    The big missing part of climate and science in general is the understanding of the mechanics of how and why the atmosphere operates.
    Just starting up the barbecue and watching the heat rise is not good science.
    When that science bubble of knowledge is broken, it cannot be published as it falls out of the bounds of the current “PEER REVIEW” system. We still are using 300 year old theories as our base in science knowledge.
    This science base has been passed down generations and ingrained as absolute when in actual fact, you apply good science and math, they totally self distruct.
    Now this would effect the whole educational system.

  27. Ecotretas May 8, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Thanks for the link to http://www.climatemonitor.it/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/1974.pdf. Very interesting reading.

    Here’s a brief sample:

    Since the late 1960s, a number of foreboding climatic predictions has appeared in various climatic, meteorological, and geological periodicals, consistently following one of two themes.

    A global climatic change was underway.

    This climatic change would create worldwide agriculture failures in the 1970s.

    Most meteorologists argued that they could not find any justification for these predictions. The climatologists who argued for the proposition could not provide definitive causal explanations for their hypothesis.

    Early in the 1970s a series of adverse climatic anomalies occurred:

    The world’s snow and ice cover had increased by at least 10 to 15 percent.

    In the eastern Canadian area of the Arctic Greenland, below normal temperatures were ecorded for 19 consecutive months. Nothing like this had happened in the last 100 years.

    The Moscow region suffered its worst drought in three to five hundred years.

    Drought occurred in Central America, the sub-Sahara, South Asia, China, and Australia.

    Massive floods took place in the midwestern United States.

    Within a single year, adversity had visited almost every nation on the globe.

  28. mb says:
    May 8, 2010 at 12:48 am
    It seems to me that the graph tells you two things: First, that there was something exceptional going on in the 30s. The heat wave index exploded during that period. Secondly, if we ignore that event, there has been a long time trend of increase in heat waves. In particular, they are definitely more common now than 100 years ago (around 1910).
    But is it OK to ignore the exceptional events of the 30s?

    plm – since no one else has wasted their time on this: look mb: ok, ignoring the ’29-’38 heat spike (with almost no CO2 spike) and by selectively hacking up the graph: 1) there is evident a decrease in the heat wave index from 1890 – 1968 as there is an opposing and noticeable increase in CO2 level over the same period, while 2) one can observe an increase in the heat index from ’68 – ’07 coinciding with the increased incline of CO2 levels.
    So, what’s the point? That there is both a same period increase and a same period inverted relation between CO2 and heat index from 1890 through 2008 if you dissect the graph, while eliminating a fantastic heat spike in the ’30s? The beginning and ending temps (1890, 2008) for each slope happens to result in 0 differential (through mixed slope). Meanwhile CO2 only increases about 105 ppm or 35%.
    mb, are you willing to base any kind of conclusion on such selective anecdote? Should the IPCC or EPA base the annihilation of the U.S. economy on such ridiculous self-contradictory, inconclusive, insignificant time period non-evidence? Personally, I want my tax money back and appeal for immunity from future incompetent policy influences.
    mb, please, it is really not necessary to ask someone else to explain this. Have a nice weekend.

  29. kmye says:
    May 8, 2010 at 1:08 am
    “and that there appears to have been a step change in the data in 1980″
    Can someone explain this thought in more detail? Thanks!”

    Man’s impact on the composition of the atmosphere has been a gradual thing.
    If one looks at much of the data there was a ‘step up’ around 1980, rather then a gradual rising slope.

    I.E. If ones banks balance hovers around zero for years then suddenly changes to hovering around $10,000 it’s probably not the paltry cost of living raise one gets on a annual basis that caused it, there is probably some ‘event’, like a promotion or inheritance, or change in life style that caused it.

  30. By the very content of your pie chart, Willis, the proportion of each sector is a guess. It is impossible to assign a percentage to what we don’t know we don’t know.

  31. Gilbert says:
    May 8, 2010 at 2:25 am
    Your stomach is much stronger than mine. I won’t even try to read it.

    I do have an off topic question. It would seem that the evaporation/condensation cycle is in effect, a global air conditioner and should quite literally dwarf any other effect. It should also be possible to calculate this effect from world wide precipitation records. I haven’t yet found any evidence that this has been done. Am I somehow on the wrong track? It does appear to be a process that ties in quite well with your thermostat theory.”

    The cycle is called the Hydrologic Cycle – and you are right it dwarfs the effect of the so called ‘green house gases’. It is convection and the hydrologic cycle that spread the Sun’s input heat energy around the world from the tropics up to the poles in giant convective cells which generate the winds and weather. More heat energy is carried to the tropopause by convection and the hydrologic cycle than by radiation.

    Nevertheless, the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis depends on using the hydrological cycle only as a positive feedback and more than that a sensitive feedback – hence the talk of tipping points and runaway effects. However, research has been showing continually that the feedback is neutral or negative indeed even some work at NCAR is now showing that low clouds provide a strong negative feedback to warming.

    Unfortunately, science now takes a back seat to a voting system or consensus – yet scientific advances occur when the consensus is proven wrong. Insistence on majority voting turns science into a religion with unassailable postulated tenets.

  32. Regarding flat eathers, very few people in the Western world believed in a flat earth after the Classical Greek period. Various acneint Greek scholars worked out the curvature of the earth and found it was a sphere. It seems likely that they got the idea from sailors, who noticed that they could see mountains behind the coast earlier than the coast. The story of sailors being afraid to sail off the edge of the world really is slander.
    Bernard of Clairvaux, amongs others, in the twelth century mentioned the globe of the earht quite casually in semons to the peasantry. If the peasants could be told such things without explanation, they must have known about it even if it had to practical meaning to them.

  33. That paper (the EPA) is not science, it’s religion, and you have committed the sin of doubting their prophetic pronouncement. For that, Willis, you will be damned to live in the overheating tropics forever, trapped there by ever increasing jet fuel prices.

  34. Figure 1. Graph showing our understanding of the climate. Image is the painting by J. M. W. Turner, “Rain, Steam and Speed”.

    Would you please give a reference for the data shown in Fig 1.
    Thanks

    \harry

  35. One thing I notice about the AGW community is how much effort is spent telling us there is a truly dangerous, unique problem despite the absence of the same.

  36. You have a graph where you can’t explain the biggest pike. And since you have only one of those pikes, you know your record is probably very short. How can you link a small variation at the end of this graph to CO2? How can I trust this kind of agencies?

  37. Turner’s painting is a good choice to illustrate the results of good science and engineering as opposed to science without proof and review resulting in legislation, regulation, investment and less prosperity.

  38. 1) Where is this document referred to as a “study”? As mentioned on page 1, this is a “report”. I’m surprised that such a literate group wouldn’t know the difference, as this document is very clearly providing a synthesis of existing data, indicators, etc. Where do they give the impression that this is original science? Does every government document need to be a comprehensive analysis of climate science intended to satiate every audience? This document is clearly intended as a decision support tool for non-scientists.

    2) If the EPA attributes environmental changes to CO2, you get mad. If they don’t, you get mad. Classic.

    3) http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/coop/what-is-coop.html. It’s like that link on the left that says “Local Data” is hidden or something.

    4) On page 27 they discuss their selection of the U.S. Drought Monitor data and rationale for excluding other historical datasets. They also provide a citation for one of many studies discussing drought indices.

    5) “This is the US EPA, however, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.”

    And you shouldn’t be surprised that when a company contaminates soil or water supplies, EPA steps in makes the company pay for clean-up, not the tax payers. Or that EPA is the reason we all enjoy safe drinking water. Or more generally, that EPA is checking every single chemical used in every industry to make sure the harmful ones aren’t discharged in a way that is risky to the biological systems of the US, including humans.

    I could give you more examples, but I need more coffee.

  39. Also, did you know a heat wave is based on historical records. So if the whole summer is pretty hot, your body will get accustomed to this heat. Now a heat wave based on historical records won’t affect you as much. But it would still count as a heat wave.

    So are you surprised they have more heat wave on hot year? Science could easily prove that heat waves are less dangerous in a hot year breaking the warmists fear stories.

  40. Harry Lu says:
    May 8, 2010 at 6:54 am:

    “Would you please give a reference for the data shown in Fig 1.
    Thanks”

    Willis explains in the article that the pie chart is his personal opinion:

    Despite the “very likely” certainty of the IPCC, I see the current level of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate a bit differently, as shown in Figure 1:

    The pie chart makes the point visually, and does it very well.

  41. Willis’ pie chart makes an informed guess on the state of climate knowledge. My guess is that the two smaller pieces would be invisible at the scale shown.

  42. I think guys could say, “What we don’t know we don’t know about girls.”

  43. So what was it again that caused that spike in the 30’s? What we don’t know that we don’t know.

  44. “While there is no universal definition of a heat wave, this indicator defines a heat wave as a four-day period with an average temperature that would only be expected to occur once every 10 years, based on the historical record.”

    Very imprecise wording, according to this definition a four-day period of anomolously LOW temps would also qualify as a heat-wave. It would be interesting if they compared a cold snap to heat wave index.

  45. kmye says:
    May 8, 2010 at 1:08 am

    “and that there appears to have been a step change in the data in 1980″

    Can someone explain this thought in more detail? Thanks!

    Isn’t this about the time that homogenization cools older temps. I think that might lead to a step change. Or is that just GISS?

    In addition, UHI would seem to affect these numbers as well.

  46. Brent Hargreaves says: May 8, 2010 at 4:47 am
    How is it that we have not swept them away? The sceptics have the clarity, the integrity, the wit and the wisdom to see through the AGW myth. And yet they [Klingons] continue to monopolise multinational organizations and government agencies.

    When they have the chance to amass billions of dollars — literally — and control people’s lives, they have everything to gain and nothing to lose by playing their game as long as they possibly can. And if changing the rules in mid-game, putting extra men on the field, and hitting their opponents below the belt will allow them to win, they’ll do that, too.

    There’s no money to be made nor power to be accrued in the *absence* of a crisis.

  47. Phil M. says:
    May 8, 2010 at 7:14 am

    And you shouldn’t be surprised that when a company contaminates soil or water supplies, EPA steps in makes the company pay for clean-up, not the tax payers. Or that EPA is the reason we all enjoy safe drinking water. Or more generally, that EPA is checking every single chemical used in every industry to make sure the harmful ones aren’t discharged in a way that is risky to the biological systems of the US, including humans.

    I agree, the EPA provides many good services. However, I suspect there are many branches of the EPA. The local offices are probably unaffected by the politics and continue to do the job as they have for decades. The central office is very political and are most likely responsible for this kind of nonsense.

    This is not unusual in government organizations.

  48. @Slioch says:
    May 8, 2010 at 1:29 am
    “Willis Eschenbach: “they parrot the findings of the IPCC as their “evidence” that everything we see in the climate record is human-caused”

    Neither the IPCC nor the EPA make such a claim, nor anything like it, as anyone with any understanding of the issues and desire to comment fairly would acknowledge.”

    Of course they do. That is why we’re having this discussion. If their assertion was “stuff happens”, then we’d all nod our heads in agreement. Rather, their assertions are that the climate is basically static and the changes in the climate are human caused and bad. As a reaction to the assertion, we have summits such as Copenhagen essentially sponsored by the UNs IPCC, where world leaders attempt to cease the alleged human activities which cause climate change. Or the G8 meeting where our leaders promised not to raise the earth’s temp by 2 degrees C. But you knew all of that already. This is also why the EPA has now classified CO2 as a toxin but, “anyone with any understanding of the issues” would know that already. Sorry for the curtness, but I’m only on my second cup of coffee and I’ve little tolerance for people that coyly attempt to deny reality.

  49. Martin Brumby says:

    Perhaps the strongest evidence that AGW is a non problem is the lengths that its proponents go to to insist that it is a problem. Hey, if “The Science is Settled” then how come they have to use this kind of incompetent manipulation to “demonstrate” it?

    Because they’re scientwists?

  50. {RockyRoad says:
    May 8, 2010 at 6:50 am
    By the very content of your pie chart, Willis, the proportion of each sector is a guess. It is impossible to assign a percentage to what we don’t know we don’t know.}

    I don’t know about that RR!

    :)

  51. Figure 1 is a good representation of one of the largest gaps and most vulnerable points in the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming narrative. Climate scientists claim that they have figured out one of Earth’s most complex systems, to such a high degree that they can accurately predict Earth’s average temperature and climactic conditions 50 – 100 years in the future. We don’t understand how the sun works (Though Leif and company seem to be making progress), we don’t understand how the clouds work (Though Spencer and company seem to be making progress), we barely understand how the oceans work and volcanic activity is a complete wild card. Our understanding of Earth’s climate system is rudimentary at best.

    When looking at the myriad of variables involved in Earth’s climate system;
    http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7y.html
    http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/pd/climate/factsheets/whatfactors.pdf
    it is clear that this is an astoundingly complex system and it is absurd to assign “very likely” certainty to what is essentially guesswork.

    The hypothesis that humans can effectively control Earth’s temperature by simply adjusting the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is fanciful and delusional. The individuals who have propagated this flimsy hypothesis as proven fact are either deluded or charlatans.

  52. Smokey: May 8, 2010 at 7:21 am

    In a posting suggesting that data is lacking else where, it is surely wrong to include plots (indicating to the masses that it is researched info) that are one persons personal view?

    Phil M. says:
    May 8, 2010 at 7:14 am
    EPA is the reason we all enjoy safe drinking water.

    In America do you not have the freedom to drink contaminated water if this is what you want?! It will save all that money EPA costs you after all!

    \harry

  53. I posted this on the “Decrease in upper ocean heat content” thread. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~David Ball says:
    May 7, 2010 at 12:53 pm
    Interesting post. Indicative of the vast voids in our knowledge and data gathering. Neither side knows how little we know, but at least most on this side are willing to admit the huge gaps in our understanding of the mechanics of climate. That is as it should be, because that is the reality. Posters here understand that mankind is nowhere near being able to say conclusively that Co2 is the cause. Climate science may no longer be in it’s infancy, but we sure aren’t out of the diaper stage yet. Take a big whiff, proponents of CAGW.

  54. Phil M. says:

    ‘1) Where is this document referred to as a “study”? As mentioned on page 1, this is a “report”. I’m surprised that such a literate group wouldn’t know the difference, as this document is very clearly providing a synthesis of existing data, indicators, etc. Where do they give the impression that this is original science? Does every government document need to be a comprehensive analysis of climate science intended to satiate every audience? This document is clearly intended as a decision support tool for non-scientists.

    ‘2) If the EPA attributes environmental changes to CO2, you get mad. If they don’t, you get mad. Classic.

    ‘3) http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/coop/what-is-coop.html. It’s like that link on the left that says “Local Data” is hidden or something.

    ‘4) On page 27 they discuss their selection of the U.S. Drought Monitor data and rationale for excluding other historical datasets. They also provide a citation for one of many studies discussing drought indices.

    ‘5) “This is the US EPA, however, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.”

    ‘And you shouldn’t be surprised that when a company contaminates soil or water supplies, EPA steps in makes the company pay for clean-up, not the tax payers. Or that EPA is the reason we all enjoy safe drinking water. Or more generally, that EPA is checking every single chemical used in every industry to make sure the harmful ones aren’t discharged in a way that is risky to the biological systems of the US, including humans.

    ‘I could give you more examples, but I need more coffee.’
    ———–
    Don’t you mean more Kool-Aid? If you are not an EPA employee, or relative of one, I’d be surprised. I live in Florida where your glorious EPA did not to prevent the poisoning of the Everglades by sugar manufacturers. But, that’s beside the point, as are most of your comments.

    The EPA puts out these reports/press releases endlessly for political reasons. The EPA is attempting to regulate CO2, and has vested interest in pushing the AGW scare. But, neither the EPA nor the IPCC has provided a single shred of evidence supporting the AGW hypothesis, so it doesn’t even quality as a theory. It’s a belief.

    Note that the head of the EPA has financial interests in carbon trading; so does our president and his cronies. So does the former VP Gore and his cronies. These crooks are using federal laws to enrich themselves and their associates, and instead of speaking out against their abuse of power, citizen’s watchdog groups are revealingly silent.

    Look at how they live, and try to tell us that they really believe in AGW.

  55. Someone needs to send them a photo of the September 2009 Arctic ice extent, as apparently theirs only goes to 2007.

  56. @Willis

    Beautiful graphs!

    You should collect up all your graphs someday into a hardbound coffee table book.

  57. paullm> Thanks for comment.

    I think that the connections between heat waves on one side and CO2 and the vicious taxman on the other hand are secondary. On the other hand I believe that it is rather uncontroversial that the Earth as a whole has warmed up since 1890, especially after 1960. I and others might suspect that CO2 emissions has something to do with it, you and others might doubt this, but the fact remains that the Earth has been heating up.

    At this point we are not discussing whether AGW exists or not. I agree with you that the graph on heat waves do not in itself constitute an argument for the existence of AGW. We are discussing what effect – if any – the global warming has had on “heat waves in the US”. If there is such an effect, the connection must clearly be complicated, since the spike in heat waves in the 30s does not correspond to a similar spike in global temperature. The events of the 30s seem to be due to the local situation around North America. I don’t know why or how, perhaps other people here do know.

    As you say, during the period from 1890-1965, before the global temperature started to rise rapidly, there is a small tendency towards fewer heat waves. But the main impression is one of great internal variability (local conditions?). After 1965, global temperature and heat wave index have been rising simultaneously. But even if we exclude the 30s the rise is smaller than the variations of the earlier period, so its not clear to me if it is means anything at all.

  58. How can you make the claim that CO2 is causing an increase in heat waves when you have ‘an issue’ with the 1930s? Earth=1 Credibility=0.

  59. PhilM

    “And you shouldn’t be surprised that when a company contaminates soil or water supplies, EPA steps in makes the company pay for clean-up, not the tax payers.”

    I know a guy who used to be a lawyer for the EPA. The big polluters have more lawyers then the EPA, so the EPA goes after small polluters who don’t have money for lawyers to make their ‘conviction rate’ look good.

    Once in a while they go after a ‘big fish’, but not often.

    They are no different then many police departments who spend all their time handing out traffic tickets for going 2 or 3 MPH over the limit, while the real criminals operate untouched.

  60. mb says:
    May 8, 2010 at 12:48 am
    It seems to me that the graph tells you two things: First, that there was something exceptional going on in the 30s. The heat wave index exploded during that period. Secondly, if we ignore that event, there has been a long time trend of increase in heat waves.

    The spike in heat waves of the 1930s is exceptional and would likely fall under the category of ‘weather’. If you reduce the exceptional nature of those spikes and look at the graph, what you see is a nearly perfect correlation to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Compare that to the correlation to atmospheric CO2. Okay there is no correlation.

    The real question is: Why would the EPA try to assert a correlation to heat waves and increasing CO2 when the data does not support it, while ignoring the obvious correlation with a natural climatic cycle (the PDO)? The answer to that question is complex, rooted in everything from fundamental philosophies to funding, and would likely take a book or two to decipher. There is no question, however, that the EPA is currently engaged in massive cognitive dissonance (a willful embrace of the irrational).

  61. The generation of scientists who graduated during the 1960’s and 1970’s gained control of most scientific bodies and government science agencies during the 1990’s. Like so many of the college graduates of that era, they were greatly influenced by the political and social upheaval that was centered in the academic world.

    They now control what is perceived as the truth in academia and the civil services of most western nations. They control who is funded and who succeeds and will likely continue to do so as long as they remain in control.

    I find it interesting that resistance to their control is coming from two directions. The remnants of old order (plus few mavericks) and the new order that is beginning to rise in the post-normal world. In a way it mirrors the generational change in science that began in late 1940’s and 1950’s .

    The problem with generational change though, is that it occurs slowly. Too often the people in charge are still reacting to the issues of the present using the ideas that fit better the situations of the past. In the climate policy realm this means they are trying to apply solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist any more.

  62. Since by definition climate is a dynamic, even chaotic system, “change” is an inherent concept in the name.

    Using the phrase Climate Change is like saying “Water Wet”.

    But I guess the eco-grifters were desperate to change the channel from “Global Warming” when the warming stopped and just came up with the quickest new tag line they could in an attempt to keep the scam going.

  63. I’d be curious to know if we defined “cold snaps” the same way as heat waves (but in reverse) and graphed them, what we would get. Meaningless as heat waves I suspect, but if they’re going to do one, should not the other be looked at as well? (and I’m living in a cold wave right now, WELL below normal temps for last several weeks).

  64. “Harry Lu says:
    May 8, 2010 at 6:54 am
    Figure 1. Graph showing our understanding of the climate. Image is the painting by J. M. W. Turner, “Rain, Steam and Speed”.

    Would you please give a reference for the data shown in Fig 1.
    Thanks

    \harry”

    Harry, you don’t seem to understand irony. Willis used the pie chart the same way the “climate change professionals” use plots to persuade the masses of their conjecture. Remember they call their future scenarios “projections” not “predictions”. Why? Because a prediction can be verified. See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prediction#Scientific_hypothesis_and_prediction

    What worth has a theory that cannot make a prediction?

  65. The EPA and IPCC are beaurocracies, and they are in the business of making policy and proclamation.
    They don’t care if they are right or wrong, it’s a matter of adding enough ingredients into the pot to make for confusion, tossing the half-stirred mixture onto a political canvas, and calling it science.
    Nightmare:
    You have to be rushed to the hospital.
    The nurse prepping you for surgery is Lisa Jackson, who is supposed to start you on IV, has no formal training in the subject, and grabs the first pouch of fluid on the shelf.
    The doctor operating on you is Pachauri.
    He didn’t bother to read the diagnosis sheet and today is more interested in the lastest chapter of his newest steamy novel.
    Hope you get better soon.

  66. Jim Clarke> I don’t see a nearly perfect correlation between the heat wave index and PDO, you can find a graph of PDO here.

    I don’t know that the data does not support a link between global warming and heat waves in the US. I agree that the graph we are discussing is NOT conclusive evidence. But it could be that the EPA has more up it’s sleeve.

  67. Doug in Seattle says:
    May 8, 2010 at 10:07 am
    __________________
    Sooooooooooooo Truuuuuuuuuue!
    It’s difficult to find independent thinking within any generation, especially if they liked to snif glue, smoke pot, take lsd, drink, smoke anything, make love and war, picket everything, surf, grow long hair, wear tie-died t-shirts and bell bottoms with sandles and a rope belt……… what’s the use.
    We were terrible!!!
    And, we didn’t seem to do very well by our kids and their kids did we; as a generation?
    Shame all those Pied-Piper folks we followed are pretty much all dead. Be kind’a nice to…
    you know… (snip, snip, snip, snip, snip). Wouldn’t it? Well if those Guru’s were right, we’ll be back again and again until we get it right.

  68. I guess we need to expect this kind of public relations claptrap from agencies like this. It is and always has been the way of the world. I still don’t like it though.

    From my essay “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly or Faith Rules Reason” (written with other misinformation in mind) ….Advocacy and sophistry can not and do not produce knowledge, only information. Since advocacy, propaganda and sophistry, like faith are not in a position to add knowledge, only incomplete and often misleading information, they are one step further removed from wisdom. Cooking the books, introducing a bias or hiding data and so forth can not produce knowledge either. Such activities dishonor all those who use or accept the results of such activities. We do not rationally expect honor from sophists and propagandists or advocates of faith. We do expect honor from those who profess to seek the rational truth. Some will say Nikols is only angry that his expectations have not been met. Not so, Nikols is angry that they have been.

    It would appear that honor has a price. That price has been set far to low by my standards. This is little more than a failure of how we have allowed our society to be organized. When our grant funding depends on producing the results expected or pattens, not the unbiased results of the scientific activity, can we expect anything other then dishonor and hypocrisy? We know our politicians have a price. Ask any lobbyist, in any capital. Why are we surprised that hypocrisy abounds in every other part of it. Apparently money and power are able to dishonor all else.

    For those who think they, their cause or their efforts are above this. I suggest you think again and read my essay, “High Moral Ground”. Since these essay are about the application of Philosophy to and of Science, I repeat again as demonstrated in several other essays: “the end, no mater how noble, can not ever justify the means.” This is only possible in Mythos, it is impossible in Logos. It is usually done by those who have faith they know that which they do not.

  69. Phil M. says:
    May 8, 2010 at 7:14 am

    1) Where is this document referred to as a “study”? As mentioned on page 1, this is a “report”. I’m surprised that such a literate group wouldn’t know the difference, as this document is very clearly providing a synthesis of existing data, indicators, etc. Where do they give the impression that this is original science? Does every government document need to be a comprehensive analysis of climate science intended to satiate every audience? This document is clearly intended as a decision support tool for non-scientists.

    OMG, I referred to a “report” as a “study”, how thoughtless of me, I am so wrong, wrong wrong … I should have recognized immediately that it was not a “study”, it clearly was a “decision support tool”. But wait, how dare I call a report a decision support tool, on first reading I didn’t see that you said it was an analysis. No, hold on, I’m sorry, I meant you said it was a synthesis.

    So according to you, this is a synthesis report analysis decision support tool, and under no circumstances should I call it a “study” … got it. I won’t make that mistake in future.

    2) If the EPA attributes environmental changes to CO2, you get mad. If they don’t, you get mad. Classic.

    Not sure what you mean here. They attribute virtually all environmental changes to CO2, that’s the thrust of their synthesis document analysis report decision support tool … where is it that you think I am getting mad that they don’t attribute environmental changes to CO2?

    3) http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/coop/what-is-coop.html. It’s like that link on the left that says “Local Data” is hidden or something.

    Went there before posting this thread, looked at that, you should too. It has data that goes back a whole month or so … please do your homework, you are so eager to bust me for some trivial offence that you end up making meaningless and untrue accusations. I tried following all paths I found from that page, and didn’t get to 1895-2009 historical data. It may be there somewhere, I mean you can get to any site from any given site on the web by following enough links, but my point was, they didn’t give the source of their data. It may well be somewhere hidden under the “Local Data” button, but if so, why didn’t they just give the correct link? And why didn’t you give us the correct link, if you know so much about what I’m doing wrong?

    4) On page 27 they discuss their selection of the U.S. Drought Monitor data and rationale for excluding other historical datasets. They also provide a citation for one of many studies discussing drought indices.

    Of course they have a “rationale” for picking some pathetic dataset. That’s not surprising. What is surprising is that you think that their rationale for picking a dataset spanning only a pathetic nine years is a rational rationale …

    5) “This is the US EPA, however, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.”

    And you shouldn’t be surprised that when a company contaminates soil or water supplies, EPA steps in makes the company pay for clean-up, not the tax payers. Or that EPA is the reason we all enjoy safe drinking water. Or more generally, that EPA is checking every single chemical used in every industry to make sure the harmful ones aren’t discharged in a way that is risky to the biological systems of the US, including humans.

    As a long-time conservamentalist, I was around and I applauded when the EPA was created. I agree with and have supported for decades the EPA’s role in keeping pollutants out of the environment.

    For you to conflate that with the EPA’s decision to go into the climate business is deception on a par with the EPA’s claims in their docunalasystudy, or whatever you’d prefer I’d call it. And for you to accuse me of not caring about pollutants in the environment because I oppose the EPA trying to do the King Canute job of regulating the climate is despicable.

    I could give you more examples, but I need more coffee.

    Thanks, I’ll pass on further examples if those are a sample.

  70. @davidmhoffer says: May 8, 2010 at 10:22 am
    ‘I’d be curious to know if we defined “cold snaps” the same way as heat waves (but in reverse) and graphed them, what we would get.’

    A large party of really embarrassed males?

  71. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    “decision support tool”. Outstanding description. Quote of the week material.
    Judge, Jury & Executioner, take a back seat to the toolbox of policy implementation without representation.

  72. James Sexton:
    May 8, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Oh dear. So, James believes the nonsensical assertion made by Willis Eschenbach that the IPCC claim that “everything we see in the climate record is human-caused”.

    How sad that people allow themselves to be so deluded. The IPCC makes explicit reference to non-human causes of climate change. To deny that is just silly.

  73. When they start governing by fiat, which is essentially what obamacare and the epa finding represent, you know there is trouble ahead.

  74. Willis,

    If you don’t want to distinguish between a synthesis of existing scientific research, and original research, you may want to reconsider your little hobby of commenting on other folks’ research. I can suggest some reading if you’d like to familiarize yourself with the different styles and voices of scientific writing. If you’re going to continue to comment about other scientists publications, you may want to consider taking me up on my offer, as you’re missing some very well-known and accepted distinctions.

    I must have misunderstood this statement:

    “I could give you many more examples, but my stomach won’t take it. This is the US EPA, however, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. My tax dollars at work …”

    To me, this sounds like you have a problem with the EPA, in general. If you have time, would you mind explaining what you really meant by those two sentences?

    I’m sure you could contact the authors for the data they used. I’m also sure they would be happy to discuss the details of their selection process. Of course, that means an actual EPA employee would have to spend time helping you with your request. Your tax dollars at work…

  75. “Anton says:

    Don’t you mean more Kool-Aid? If you are not an EPA employee, or relative of one, I’d be surprised. I live in Florida where your glorious EPA did not to prevent the poisoning of the Everglades by sugar manufacturers. But, that’s beside the point, as are most of your comments.”

    Go to any professional meeting that discusses water quality regulations and there will be a parade of industry “scientists” claiming that water regulations are too restrictive. I would feel safe in assuming that nobody at EPA decided on their own to look the other way while the Everglades were contaminated. But, that’s beside the point.

  76. Willis,

    Sorry to be picky, but the full title of the painting by J.M.W. Turner that you used in your posting is:

    “Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway”

    For those folk not familiar with railway history, the Great Western Railway (G.W.R) was the line built by Brunel from London to Bristol, completed in the summer of 1841. So Turner’s painting is of some of the latest technology of his day – shown in ages-old British weather: driving rain.

    “The Great Western Society” is a preservation society dedicated to the G.W.R – and its centre at Didcot has a reconstructed version of a locomotive similar to the one painted by Turner: “Firefly”:

    http://www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk/

    The G.W.R. certainly contributed its fair share of CO2 to the atmosphere – all those steam engines burning all that coal…

  77. James Sexton said:
    May 8, 2010 at 7:56 am

    “Rather, their [EPA and IPCC] assertions are that the climate is basically static …”

    This is NOT the assertion of EPA or IPCC. The assertion as that an anthropogenic signal is embedded in the otherwise highly variable climate system.

    “This is also why the EPA has now classified CO2 as a toxin but…”

    The EPA did NOT classify CO2 as a toxin. They determined that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 posed a danger to human health, via environmental change.

  78. I like that graph, The Current State of Climate Knowledge. The unknown unknowns do indeed oevewhelm everything else. But I think the known unknowns, the red wedge, should be at least as large as the known knowns. We know that we don’t even know the temperature trend through the last century with anything near a decent level of certainty. How much more basic can the known unkowns get?

    http://tinyurl.com/2l98x2
    Brief excerpt:
    […]
    It was no easy task to arrive at the most cited original estimated rate of increase of the mean global surface temperature of 0.5 C in 100 years. As with any evaluation of a global spatio-temporal average, it involved elaborate and unreliable grid size dependent averages. In addition, it involved removal of outlying data, complex corrections for historical differences in measurement methods, measurement distributions, and measurement frequencies, and complex normalisations of different data sets – for example, land based and sea based measurements and the use of different temperature proxies that are in turn dependent on approximate calibration models. Even for modern thermometer readings in a given year, the very real problem of defining a robust and useful global spatio-temporal average Earth-surface temperature is not solved, and is itself an active area of research.

    This means that determining an average of a quantity (Earth surface temperature) that is everywhere different and continuously changing with time at every point, using measurements at discrete times and places (weather stations), is virtually impossible; in that the resulting number is highly sensitive to the chosen extrapolation method(s) needed to calculate (or rather approximate) the average.

    Averaging problems aside, many tenuous approximations must be made in order to arrive at any of the reported final global average temperature curves. For example, air temperature thermometers on ocean-going ships have been positioned at increasing heights as the sizes of ships have increased in recent history. Since temperature decreases with increasing altitude, this altitude effect must be corrected. The estimates are uncertain and can change the calculated global warming by as much as 0.5 C, thereby removing the originally reported effect entirely.

    Similarly, surface ocean temperatures were first measured by drawing water up to the ship decks in cloth buckets and later in wooden buckets. Such buckets allow heat exchange in different amounts, thereby changing the measured temperature. This must be corrected by various estimates of sizes and types of buckets. These estimates are uncertain and can again change the resulting final calculated global warming value by an amount comparable to the 0.5 C value. There are a dozen or so similar corrections that must be applied, each one able to significantly alter the outcome.

    In wanting to go further back in time, the technical problems are magnified. For example, when one uses a temperature proxy, such as the most popular tree ring proxy, instead of a physical thermometer, one has the significant problem of calibrating the proxy. With tree rings from a given preferred species of tree, there are all kinds of unavoidable artefacts related to wood density, wood water content, wood petrifaction processes, season duration effects, forest fire effects, extra-temperature biotic stress effects (such as recurring insect infestations), etc. Each proxy has its own calibration and preservation problems that are not fully understood.

    The reported temperature curves should therefore be seen as tentative suggestions that the authors hope will catalyze more study and debate, not reliable results that one should use in guiding management practice or in deducing actual planetary trends. In addition, the original temperature or proxy data is usually not available to other research scientists who could critically examine the data treatment methods; nor are the data treatment methods spelled out in enough detail. Instead, the same massaged data is reproduced from report to report rather than re-examined.

    The most recent thermometer measurements have their own special problems, not the least of which is urban warming, due to urban sprawl, which locally affects weather station mean temperatures and wind patterns: Temperatures locally change because local surroundings change. Most weather monitoring stations are located, for example, near airports which, in turn, are near expanding cities.

    As a general rule in science, if an effect is barely detectable, requires dubious data treatment methods, and is sensitive to those data treatment methods and to other approximations, then it is not worth arguing over or interpreting and should not be used in further deductions or extrapolations.
    […]

  79. Daniel H says:
    May 8, 2010 at 5:06 am

    I don’t understand why the CO2 trend goes flat from about 1935 until about 1948. I realize that The Great Depression was responsible for shutting down about one third of the US economy and that undoubtedly had a negative impact on CO2 emissions. However, at the same time, there was rapid industrialization going on in the Soviet Union, Germany, the Empire of Japan, and probably elsewhere. All of this growth was being driven by massive amounts of fossil fuels. So what is the source of the EPA’s CO2 data? Is this coming from ice core samples?

    All of the pre-1959 CO2 data comes from the ice cores, in particular the greenland GISP project cores. The Vostok cores don’t close up fast enough (too little annual snowfall) to show recent years.

  80. Phil M., May 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm:

    After writing two carefully worded submissions to the EPA prior to their preposterous labeling of CO2 as a pollutant, I have zero respect for that organization or anyone in it. My input can be disregarded, but many esteemed scientists said the same thing. All were completely disregarded.

    To the best of my knowledge, not one senior EPA official [or anyone else employed by the EPA, for that matter] has ever publicly disputed, or even questioned the bureaucracy’s scientifically untenable finding. Not one person in the entire organization had the courage to speak out.

    The result is two-fold: first, the country is well on its way to passing a horrendously expensive and completely unnecessary Cap & Trade bill, based on the EPA’s scientifically bogus finding that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant.” And second, EPA employees will continue to ride the taxpayer gravy train, no matter how much their craven silence costs the country. They’ve got theirs, right?

    As an apologist for the EPA and what it has become — an unscientific government propaganda agency — I’m sure you will be happy to pay for the increased cost of everything, and for the new taxes that will result — which will do exactly nothing about a beneficial and harmless minor trace gas, or the planet’s temperature, which is going to do what it’s going to do as always, and regardless of human activities.

    ‘Your tax dollars at work…’ feathering the nests of your kleptocrat pals. I think I need to take a shower now.

  81. Phil M., you can call it “a synthesis of existing scientific research”, or whatever you want to, if it makes you feel better. Garbage is garbage no matter what you call it, and still stinks to high heaven.

  82. Bruce Cobb says:
    May 8, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Someone needs to send them a photo of the September 2009 Arctic ice extent, as apparently theirs only goes to 2007.

    I noted that as well, Bruce, but as I said, my stomach couldn’t take any more. I found it ludicrous and disingenuous that they would use 2007 as a comparison year for ice … bad scientists, no cookies.

  83. Jim Clarke says:
    May 8, 2010 at 9:42 am

    … The spike in heat waves of the 1930s is exceptional and would likely fall under the category of ‘weather’. If you reduce the exceptional nature of those spikes and look at the graph, what you see is a nearly perfect correlation to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Compare that to the correlation to atmospheric CO2. Okay there is no correlation.

    I was gonna mention that in the head post, but I figured we were in deep enough water already … the PDO is well known to affect the rainfall (particularly in the western US), and it went negative (cool) in about 1946 and positive (warm) in 1976-77.

  84. Slioch says:
    May 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    James Sexton:
    May 8, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Oh dear. So, James believes the nonsensical assertion made by Willis Eschenbach that the IPCC claim that “everything we see in the climate record is human-caused”.

    How sad that people allow themselves to be so deluded. The IPCC makes explicit reference to non-human causes of climate change. To deny that is just silly.

    OK, my bad. Replace “everything” with “almost everything”. Happy now?

    Here’s a list of everything that has been blamed on human-caused global warming … so while you are correct that the IPCC didn’t blame all changes on humans, they certainly didn’t make that clear enough.

  85. Ash fall record broken by Eyjafjallajokull : Al’sGW.

    The TimesUK/MSM’s “Ash-free Spain” record falls: “40,000 years” …

    “*As Spanish officials closed Barcelona and a string of smaller airports in the north of the country, there were warnings that airports in southern France may also soon be affected as the westerly airstream pushes the dust further into Europe.”

    Climate or weather?

    Scientists confounded.
    …-

    “May 7, 2010
    Ash-free Spain could become an emergency flight hub

    Spain has been spared falls of ash from Iceland’s volcanoes for much of the past 40,000 years, according to research that suggests the country could serve Europe as an emergency flight hub in the event of another eruption.

    Investigations by scientists at Royal Holloway, the University of London and the University of Oxford have found that while sediments from ancient Icelandic eruptions are abundant in northern Europe, none are known from the Iberian peninsula.

    The results, which were collected during research into climate history, suggest that the pattern of ash dispersal from last month’s eruption of Eyjafjallajokull, which did not affect Spanish airspace, is normal for Icelandic volcanoes.

    This means that Spanish airports could be considered as emergency landing sites for northern European air traffic in the event of a similar event, such as an eruption of Katla, Eyjafjallajokull’s larger neighbour. ”

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/transport/article7118615.ece
    …-

    “*Icelandic volcano will disrupt more European flights over weekend”

    “*As Spanish officials closed Barcelona and a string of smaller airports in the north of the country, there were warnings that airports in southern France may also soon be affected as the westerly airstream pushes the dust further into Europe.”

    “Ash eruptions are ongoing and the area of potential ash contamination is expanding,” European air traffic control monitors Eurocontrol said in a statement.

    In France the national weather service said dangerous concentrations of ash, expected to close Marseilles airport first, were rising to 20,000 feet. There were fears that the ash might not disperse before Wednesday’s opening of the Cannes film festival, when private jets throng Riviera airports. ”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/7696861/Icelandic-volcano-will-disrupt-more-European-flights-over-weekend.html

  86. “Or more generally, that EPA is checking every single chemical used in every industry to make sure the harmful ones aren’t discharged in a way that is risky to the biological systems of the US, including humans.”

    What a crock of shite: just HOW can they “check”? WHAT is the measure of “harmful”? What does “RISKY” mean?

  87. Phil M. says:
    May 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    The EPA did NOT classify CO2 as a toxin. They determined that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 posed a danger to human health, via environmental change.

    No, they did worse than that: They declared it a dangerous pollutant, putting it under the Clean Air Act.
    They might have well said it was a dangerous toxin, as life on Earth is almost exclusively Carbon based and CO2 is part & parcel of the Food Chain.
    And that declaration is being used as a Sword of Damocles to pass Cap&Trade, or else face the Grim Reaper Policy.
    Net effect here, Phil, is to hold life hostage until the ransom is paid.
    Some choice, such pleasant people.

  88. Phil M. says:
    May 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm
    Willis,

    If you don’t want to distinguish between a synthesis of existing scientific research, and original research, you may want to reconsider your little hobby of commenting on other folks’ research. I can suggest some reading if you’d like to familiarize yourself with the different styles and voices of scientific writing. If you’re going to continue to comment about other scientists publications, you may want to consider taking me up on my offer, as you’re missing some very well-known and accepted distinctions.

    Yes, I missed your distinction between a “study” and a synthesis report analysis decision support tool … so sue me.

    As for calling this my “little hobby”, my work has been quoted in newspapers around the world, and I have a couple of peer-reviewed papers, and another which will be published next month, and another one in preparation, and thousands and thousands of people are influenced by and interested in what I write … not bad for a little hobby, wouldn’t you say? Perhaps you should give up your little hobby of making ad hominem attacks, they are immaterial to the question of whether my scientific claims are right or wrong.

    I must have misunderstood this statement:

    “I could give you many more examples, but my stomach won’t take it. This is the US EPA, however, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. My tax dollars at work …”

    To me, this sounds like you have a problem with the EPA, in general. If you have time, would you mind explaining what you really meant by those two sentences?

    Sure, although I already explained it above. I support the mission of the EPA, which is to fight against pollution. However, when they claim that CO2 is pollution, I think they’ve gone way, way off the rails. This is a political decision, not a scientific decision, which shows me that (once again) the EPA is not making decisions the way that they should, based on the science. And the synthesis report analysis decision support tool we are discussing is another example of that. It is pretending to be science, but it is just politics. For another example, notice how they have a section on deaths from excess heat, but no section on deaths from excess cold? That’s politics, not science.

    I’m sure you could contact the authors for the data they used. I’m also sure they would be happy to discuss the details of their selection process. Of course, that means an actual EPA employee would have to spend time helping you with your request. Your tax dollars at work…

    I’m sure I could contact the authors … but that wasn’t my point. I actually expected (foolish me) that when they said the data was from a certain URL, that it would be found at that URL. When it is not there, it makes their synthesis report analysis decision support tool just that much less credible.

    PS – did you ever find the data at that URL? Because you certainly assailed me when you thought I hadn’t noticed the “Local Data” link on the page, and although I invited you to tell us where the data was, I haven’t noticed you referencing it … maybe I missed that.

  89. Mike Edwards says:
    May 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Willis,

    Sorry to be picky, but the full title of the painting by J.M.W. Turner that you used in your posting is:

    “Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway”

    Thanks, Mike, I’ve changed the head post to reflect that.

  90. Like I commented on the Sensenbremmer post on May 6:

    EPA has recently published a report “Climate Change Indicators in the United States”.

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/indicators/pdfs/ClimateIndicators_full.pdf

    It is clear from this that their whole case for man being responsible for ‘dangerous climate change’ is based on the IPCC assessment reports. So their proposed regulation of CO2 is based on these ‘dodgy dossiers’, and surely stands or falls with them.

    The EPA report states “Warming of the climate system is well documented, evident from increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level. The buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is very likely the cause of most of the recent observed increase in average temperatures, and contributes to other climate changes.” The reference in the endnote is given as “IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 2007. Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate change 2007: The physical science basis (Fourth Assessment Report). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.”

    Also: “Before the industrial era began around 1780, carbon dioxide concentrations measured approximately 270–290 ppm. Concentrations have risen steadily since then, reaching 387 ppm in 2009—a 38 percent increase. Almost all of this increase is due to human activities.” The reference in the endnote is given as “IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 2007. Climate change 2007: The physical science basis (Fourth Assessment Report). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.”

    Also: “Since 1905, the concentration of methane in the atmosphere has roughly doubled. It is very likely that this increase is predominantly due to agriculture and fossil fuel use.” The reference in the endnote is given as “IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 2007. Climate change 2007: Synthesis report (Fourth Assessment Report). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.”

    For the persistence of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere, EPA uses the 50-200 year figure from the SAR. They state:

    “Data source: EPA uses atmospheric lifetimes and global warming potentials from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Second Assessment Report, as countries have agreed to do under current international treaties within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).” Endnote gives “IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 1995. Climate change 1995: The science of climate change (Second Assessment Report). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.”

    Very telling, however, is that there is NO reference given for the alleged ‘heat trapping’ effect of the ‘greenhouse gasses’, just bald assertions.

  91. Willis
    there are 9 references to CO2 and none of those in the main text!
    There is not even any mantion that man mdae warming caused the droughts from the document you referenced:
    Key Points
    • Heat waves occurred with high frequency in the 1930s, and these remain the most severe heat waves in the U.S. historical record (see Figure 1). Many years of intense drought (the “Dust Bowl”) contributed to these heat waves by depleting soil moisture and reducing the moderating effects of evaporation.7
    • There is no clear trend over the entire period tracked by the index. Although it is hard to see in Figure 1 (because of the extreme events of the 1930s), heat wave frequency decreased in the 1960s and 1970s but has risen since then (see Figure 1).
    • Like the heat wave index, the percentage of the United States affected by heat waves has also risen steadily since the 1970s (see Figures 2 and 3). The recent period of increasing heat is distinguished by a rise in extremely high nighttime temperatures

    \harry

  92. Phil M. says:

    This is NOT the assertion of EPA or IPCC. The assertion as that an anthropogenic signal is embedded in the otherwise highly variable climate system.

    You mean a bit like road kill that gets deeply embedded in the highly variable surface of a highway.

  93. Harry Lu says:
    May 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    In which data sets does the nightime temp rise to extremely high levels?
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/WhatGlobalWarming.htm
    In Winnemucca, NV; Ashland, OR; Red Bluff, CA; Grants Pass, OR; Sitka, AK; Redding, CA; Livermore, CA; Sacramento, CA;
    Roseburg, OR ??
    Is it GISS?
    Is it CRU 91, 94 or 99?
    Is it MET Office?
    Which one is it?

  94. Harry Lu says:
    May 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    In which data sets does the nightime temp rise to extremely high levels?
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/WhatGlobalWarming.htm
    In Winnemucca, NV; Ashland, OR; Red Bluff, CA; Grants Pass, OR; Sitka, AK; Redding, CA; Livermore, CA; Sacramento, CA;
    Roseburg, OR ??
    Is it GISS, or is it CRU 91, 94 or 99?
    Is it MET Office?
    Which one is it?

  95. Harry Lu says:
    May 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Willis
    there are 9 references to CO2 and none of those in the main text! …

    Yes … and there are over 100 references to “greenhouse gases”, and all but three of them are in the main text. So? (or perhaps I should say “So!”)

    There is not even any mantion [sic] that man mdae [sic] warming caused the droughts from the document you referenced:

    Key Points
    • Heat waves occurred with high frequency in the 1930s, and these remain the most severe heat waves in the U.S. historical record (see Figure 1). Many years of intense drought (the “Dust Bowl”) contributed to these heat waves by depleting soil moisture and reducing the moderating effects of evaporation.7

    • There is no clear trend over the entire period tracked by the index. Although it is hard to see in Figure 1 (because of the extreme events of the 1930s), heat wave frequency decreased in the 1960s and 1970s but has risen since then (see Figure 1).

    • Like the heat wave index, the percentage of the United States affected by heat waves has also risen steadily since the 1970s (see Figures 2 and 3). The recent period of increasing heat is distinguished by a rise in extremely high nighttime temperatures

    I think you mean “heat waves” rather than “droughts”, per your following quotes which are all about heat waves.

    What they do say about GHGs and heat waves is:

    The buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is very likely the cause of most of the recent observed increase in average temperatures, and contributes to other climate changes.

    and

    For example, increases in air temperature can lead to more intense heat waves, which can cause illness and death in vulnerable populations.

    Seems pretty clear to me, surely you can connect the dots.

  96. Okay children lets all have a time out. The fact is the EPA like all government organizations are run by politics. It can be no other way, the heads and on down the line, at least two more levels, are political appointees. Rule number one in any bureaucracy is, Never Embarrass Your Boss. It is not the fault of the bureaucrats that work for these organizations. Over the years, all of these groups have been completely politicized. It is the same in Canada and the UK. That does not mean they don’t usually do good and useful work. Nor does it mean critics should not throw a few stones when warranted. The second most important role any of these groups have is delivering the propaganda the politicians require. If you are engaging in propaganda then you are fair game for propaganda rocks from the opposition. That is my model and I sticking to it.

  97. Phil, you don’t need another coffee, you need a dose of reality. The EPA has a fine mission and has accomplished marvelous things; none of this excuses the sheer idiocy of classifying the most important nutrient of the biosphere as a “dangerous pollutant”. Your attempts at slander fall flat if you’re looking for anti-environment wackos look somewhere else, you won’t find many crash-and-burners on this site.

    One of the most important reasons to oppose the EPA’s rulings is precisely because — assuming it has a hope in Hades of actually affecting CO2 levels (it doesn’t!) it would only do harm. There is no evidence that elevated CO2 levels is harmful in any way. There is precious little evidence that CO2 has a detectable warming signal; simple physics indicates that the CO2 increase should provide a very small fraction of the warming that has actually been reported.

    Because the CO2 greenhouse effect acts logarithmically one can expect very mild warming if the CO2 levels double or even quadruple. At what point does CO2 become a toxin? Mild negative effects on animals are detectable in the laboratory around 1500 ppm; serious ones at around twice that amount. But in previous eras the CO2 levels have been above 5000 ppm and fossil records indicate that at those levels both plants and animals thrived; the earth was downright Edenic compared to the relatively barren biosphere of today.

    The agricultural revolution that averted starvation of the increasing human population in the latter part of the 20th century was enabled by three things: improved agricultural practices enabled by modern technology, including the use of farm machinery that burn fossil fuels; a mild warming during that period; and the increase in atmospheric CO2 by about 30%. Today the world is considerably lusher than in 1970 because of the mild warming and increased CO2. Clear evidence shows that this effect will continue up to about four times the current levels, assuming that the climate stays warm.

    If the temperature drops again, as it did 1940-1970, the presence of higher levels of CO2 may help to alleviate the starvation of billions. It is well established in the laboratory that the benefits of increased CO2 in terms of plant growth and harvest are valid in a fairly broad temperature band. CO2 enrichment of the atmosphere is one of the few things we can do to forestall worldwide disaster in case of another climate minimum or mini ice age.

    If you have a shred of interest in the welfare of the biosphere, consider these things carefully and evaluate the EPA’s actions on this basis. The EPA is not sacrosanct, their encyclicals are not divinely inspired. They are fallible. They have failed before, but this is probably their biggest and most disastrous failure. Anyone who cares about the environment ought to be seriously concerned about it.

  98. Dennis Nikols says:
    May 8, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Okay children lets all have a time out. The fact is the EPA like all government organizations are run by politics. It can be no other way, the heads and on down the line, at least two more levels, are political appointees. Rule number one in any bureaucracy is, Never Embarrass Your Boss. It is not the fault of the bureaucrats that work for these organizations. Over the years, all of these groups have been completely politicized. It is the same in Canada and the UK. That does not mean they don’t usually do good and useful work. Nor does it mean critics should not throw a few stones when warranted. The second most important role any of these groups have is delivering the propaganda the politicians require. If you are engaging in propaganda then you are fair game for propaganda rocks from the opposition. That is my model and I sticking to it.

    Nonsense. For many, many years NASA did little but what its name implies, the “National Aeronautic and Space Administration”. They did science. They put men on the moon. They developed the Space Shuttle.

    Then came James Hansen, and now it is one of the most politicized parts of the government.

    The idea that it is all hopeless, that all government agencies perforce must be totally politicized, is pessimism at its worst. If you just throw up your hands and say it’s all too hard because government organizations will always be political, you’ll certainly get your self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Me, I’m more into “Rage, rage against the passing of the light.” I might not get there, but I’ll fight in any case.

    Finally, a Protip™ for you. If you want to get traction in a discussion, opening with “Okay children lets all have a time out” is very, very poor tactics. All that does is piss people off and give yourself the image of a sanctimonious prig. No one likes being called a child, and they like the person doing the calling even less.

  99. mb says:
    May 8, 2010 at 11:43 am

    “I don’t see a nearly perfect correlation between the heat wave index and PDO…”

    “I don’t know that the data does not support a link between global warming and heat waves in the US. I agree that the graph we are discussing is NOT conclusive evidence. But it could be that the EPA has more up its sleeve.”

    I don’t mind spelling it out for you, MB. First of all, the PDO is like a heat pump on a house: it can warm or cool depending on which phase it is in. When it switches to its cool phase, it starts to slowly cool the planet. The cooling trend peaks just as it switches back to its warm phase, or even a little after the switch. Likewise, the warming trend associated with warm phase of the PDO will generally peak as it switches to its cool phase, or a little while after.

    The switch from one phase to another, however, may not be all that abrupt, possibly taking 5 to 10 years, and then several more years to know for sure that it actually happened. Additionally, the PDO can go briefly positive during cool phases and briefly negative during warm phases, but the brief departures from the predominating phase don’t seem to have a significant impact on observable climate. In other words, it is the persistence of the phase that matters, not the fluctuations inside the phase.

    Also, there are other factors effecting climate besides the PDO, likely including solar activity, other ocean cycles, increasing CO2 and things that we have not recognized as yet. The PDO, however, seems to be dominant, because it swamps all the other factors.

    Alright, based on the graph you linked to, the PDO appears to have been in a weak warm phase at the beginning of the 20th Century which increased into a more substantial warm phase during the 20s and 30s, abruptly ending around 1944. The cool phase dominated until about 1977, with another warm phase continuing until recently. The PDO may be shifting to its cool phase now, but it is too soon to tell. Certainly…it is due for a shift to the cool phase and it is showing signs of doing just that.

    If my assertion of correlation is correct, we would expect to find US heat waves to be a little above the median in the early 20th Century, increasing into the 1930s, then dropping off in the 1940s. Heat waves would reach a low point in the 1970s, before slowly increasing again into the 21st Century.

    If US heat waves are allegedly correlated to increasing CO2, we would expect to find a relatively steady increase in heat waves from the beginning of the 20th Century to the present.

    The graph at the top of this article shows almost exactly what one would expect if the PDO was dominating US climate. On the other hand, there is a strong anti-correlation to increasing CO2 during the 50s, 60s and 70s. One can argue that the anti-correlation was caused by sulfate aerosols from pollution, but the anti-correlation is as obvious in the Southern Hemisphere, where the pollution was not significant, as it is in the Northern Hemisphere. That alone eliminates aerosol pollution as the primary reason for the observed cooling and the reduction of heat waves, but there are other good arguments against the aerosol excuse for the cooling that I won’t get into here.

    The bottom line is that the data fits the PDO cycle very well and increasing CO2 not at all, except when the increasing CO2 corresponds to the warm phase of the PDO. That is called ‘curve fitting’ and does not argue for any causality from CO2.

    If the EPA has more up its sleeves, then why not present it? If we are facing a global crisis and the very survival of the human race as we know it depends on getting the cooperation of all of humanity, why try to convince us with shoddy, ill-founded arguments, unless that is all they have? If it is so important, would it not be criminal to hold back the strong evidence? You bet it would!

    It is quite obvious that they do not have anything up their sleeves. This is their best stuff. This is all they can come up with after 10s of billions of dollars has been spent searching for something more convincing, but to no avail. For 20 years, climate scientists have been searching for better arguments, but their arguments today or nearly identical to 20 years ago. They are just as weak and irrational now as they were then. No new evidence has been found for an impending AGW crisis, but the evidence that natural climate variability is dominant continues to grow.

    The EPA does not want to tell you about natural climate variability. It cannot regulate that. In order for the EPA to regulate humans, it must find them to be the cause of a problem, even if one does not exist.

    Don’t worry about climate change. It is the EPA that you need to fear!

  100. Oh dear. So, James believes the nonsensical assertion made by Willis Eschenbach that the IPCC claim that “everything we see in the climate record is human-caused”.

    Right, it’s actually only the bad things we see in the recent climate record that the ipcc attributes to AGW. But then again, according to the ipcc’s “science” that’s just about the only kind there are.

  101. Josualdo says:
    May 8, 2010 at 2:57 am

    Heat waves are very dear, I love heat waves. Got 48 ºC in the shade around here in the 2003 one. It wasn’t like Iraq at noon, usually 51 ºC they say.

    My brother in law was there for a year. It was 135F, (57C) a lot of days. And he had full gear on all the time.

  102. starzmom says:
    May 8, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Most people’s electric bills are substantially higher. Good science has not been among EPA’s many talents for a long time.

    I believe the EPA was Nixon’s idea. I wish a president would come along that had the idea of getting rid of the EPA.

  103. You’ve picked my favourite painting of all time for your background.

    Turner in his later work was an Impressionist well before the movement really started, and the actual painting (in the National Gallery if memory serves) has recently been cleaned, to reveal original details such as the hare running in front of the loco. I’ve spent an hour or three in front of it….

    The GWR is of course the creation of another Victorian giant: Isambard Kingdom Brunel. For epitaph, he aligned the Box Hill tunnel (just out of Bristol) so that the sun shines through it on his birthday. Well, almost, he forgot about refraction at low Sun angles (an unknown unknown, then?), and the end-to-end Sun is a little late.

    Quite made my day, seeing this old friend again.

  104. Jim Clarke > Thanks for long diskussion.

    I think that what the EPA is trying to tell us is that there is a chain of causations and effects, going like

    CO2 emissions -> higher global temperature -> higher local US temperature -> more heat waves in the US.

    One should argue separately for each arrow. Lets leave the first arrow out of the discussion, or we will never get anywhere. Fortunately, I think (hope) we agree on that
    global tempertatures have been rising in this period, so it is not really relevant to the present question, which is : is there an increase of heat waves in US due to higher global temperatures?

    I believe that your suggestion is that the chain is as follows:

    changes in PDO -> changes in temperature in US -> more (or less) heat waves.

    I might be misrepresenting your point of view, please correct me if I am.

    To get a handle on this we could look at the record for all four: We have a chart of the heat wave index in the original posting on this site, charts of PDO and global temperature plotted on the same diagram at the site I linked to earlier . There are diagrams comparing the global temperature record and the US temperature record for instance here (beware that the vertical scale of the graphs of US and global temperature in those two graphs are not the same).

    Bringing these diagrams up on the screen in different windows, it seems to me that the graph for the US temperature record is the best fit we have seen yet to the record of heat wave index, so we reach the rather unsurprising conclusion that if the US temperature increases, so does the number of heat waves.

    Now, I would assume (this is an assumption, but I believe it is rather plausible) that we do have a cause and effect relationship here. The rise in US temperature is the cause, and the rise in the heat wave index is the effect thereof.

    Believing this, we are down to the question: What influences the US temperature? Is it the global temperature (as EPA suggests) or is it the PDO? Well, my guess would be “probably both of them”. The graphs do suggest a general similarity between global temperatures and US temperatures, but they are certainly not identical. The US temperature grows slightly as the global temperature falls slightly at the beginning of the 20th Century. Then, the US temperature soars in the 30s, while global temperature does not vary much. After around 1940, this reverses. The global temperature is constant or slowly decreasing, the US temperature decreases more rapidly. This US cooling dominates until around 1980, followed by another phase where the US temperature increases faster than global temperature.

    This description of the difference between the global and the US temperature fits pretty well with your description of the PDO, so maybe it could be taken as evidence for that the US temperature is influenced by both the cyclically varying PDO, and the global temperature.

  105. Environmental Prognostication Agency
    I thought their job was to keep our rivers, streams and air clean, not to enter into the realm of soothsayer!? “Good evening my name is EPA … for $20 I also read IPCC leaves.”

  106. @Phil M

    3) http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/coop/what-is-coop.html. It’s like that link on the left that says “Local Data” is hidden or something.

    The link you refer to only shows a map of the US with current weather conditions for a handful of cities participating in the COOP program. Please explain how this equates to a detailed 100+ year historical temperature data record for every station in the COOP network (as would be required to reproduce the EPA results). In fact, the archived historical COOP data is not available on the COOP web page but it can be purchased elsewhere on the NOAA site, for example, here:

    http://cdo.ncdc.noaa.gov/pls/plclimprod/poemain.accessrouter?datasetabbv=SOD

    4) On page 27 they discuss their selection of the U.S. Drought Monitor data and rationale for excluding other historical datasets. They also provide a citation for one of many studies discussing drought indices.

    You mean the document entitled A Review of Twentieth-Century Drought Indices Used in the United States? Where is the document referred to as a study? As mentioned on page 1, this is a “review”. Do you know the difference between a review and a study?

    5) …Or that EPA is the reason we all enjoy safe drinking water. Or more generally, that EPA is checking every single chemical used in every industry to make sure the harmful ones aren’t discharged in a way that is risky to the biological systems of the US, including humans…

    You mean like when the EPA mandated in 1993 that MTBE must be blended into gasoline as an additive in order to reduce Carbon Monoxide emissions in major US cities? Do you consider carcinogenic, mutagenic, turpentine-like drinking water to be “safe” for human consumption? Apparently the EPA did. Yes, the massive MTBE groundwater contamination debacle is part of the EPA’s stellar legacy of environmental stewardship, see here:

    http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/9851/EPA_Ignored_Its_Own_Scientists_on_MTBE.html

    …and for Carol M. Browner’s take on the safety of MTBE, see here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/18/business/new-gas-arouses-grass-roots-ire.html?pagewanted=2

  107. R. Craigen,
    CO2 may be even less harmful than you suppose,
    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/14925799/Exposure-to-Carbon-Dioxide-%28CO2%29/

    “Conclusions CO2 is a naturally occurring atmospheric gas that is considered safe at levels below 0.5% according to OSHA standards (CCOHS 2005)”

    That is not a misprint. that is 5000ppm. US Submarines run at that average level for 90 days and only trigger an alarm at 8000ppm, and have lower sickness during those periods than surface mariners, according to a paper I read recently.

  108. Slioch says:
    May 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm
    Phil M. says:
    May 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Yeh, ok, as Willis points out, almost everything. Personally, I don’t fall for the safety weasel dance used in the verbiage of the EPA nor the IPCC in the form of disclaimers. But if one were to employ even remedial deconstruction skills of the message, one can sum up their statements to what Willis previously stated. Or he could have changed it his statement to fit your worlds, “All bad climate change is caused by human activity.” All the proposed fixes for this imaginary problem required a decrease in human activity. No, no way are they blaming climate change on humans. You know, I really wish that were true. But, I know it isn’t the case, Willis knows it isn’t the case, the whole damned world knows it isn’t the case, but you guys would prefer to argue the semantics of their findings. Beautiful.

  109. Mr. Eschenbach:

    I just spent some time perusing the EPA report and noticed that, while your slide copy of the “U.S. Annual Heat Wave Index, 1895–2008” graph features both a CO2 overlay (red) and a linear trendline (orange), the EPA slide does not.

    Also, your slide copy has said graph labeled as “Figure 2”. The EPA report has it as “Figure 1”.

    Did you, hopefully, happen to take a screen-shot of the EPA report page at the time you were reading it and preparing your commentary?

    ps: Love the “What we know, …” pie chart. Nicely done.

  110. MB,

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    I believe that it is pretty obvious that the EPA is trying to communicate that we have an impending crisis with rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Otherwise, why would the EPA even be involved? The evidence they put forth for this impending crisis is the same today as it was 20 years ago: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it is increasing and global temperatures have warmed. Of course, all of that is true, but the debate has NEVER been about that. The debate has ALWAYS been about the magnitude of the CO2 impact, or in other words, the climate sensitivity to increasing CO2.

    The warming over the 20th century has been about 0.6 degrees C. At the same time, atmospheric CO2 is about 40% of the way to doubling the pre-industrial level. Given the logarithmic nature of CO2 forcing, we should have already realized more than half of the warming we are going to get from a doubling of CO2. (Granted, there is likely to be some delay in the warming as the oceans absorb heat from the atmosphere, but I do not believe this so-called ‘heat in the pipeline’ effect is as large as AGW proponents want to think. The greenhouse effect begins in the atmosphere, generating more kinetic energy (heat) in the molecules that make up the air. Most of the energy is transfered through collisions to other molecules and is not mysteriously radiated into the worlds oceans. The AGW crowd appears to be arguing that your stove can not get very hot until the pot of water sitting on it begins to boil, and that is ridiculous.)

    Now, if you concede that the PDO has some impact on global (and US) temperatures, then you have to factor that into 20th Century warming. Early 20th Century warming must have been mostly natural (the PDO) as CO2 was increasing very slowly. Mid 20th Century cooling must have been natural (the PDO), overwhelming the warming effect of rapidly increasing CO2. Late 20th Century warming was a combination of both the warm phase of the PDO and rapidly increasing CO2. While a complete PDO cycle should be temperature neutral, any duration that includes half of a cycle will have a temperature impact, which appears to be around 0.3 degrees C. based on historical records. Since the 20th Century had two warm phases and only one cool phase of the PDO, about half of the observed warming can be attributed to the natural PDO cycle.

    That only leaves 0.3 degrees warming attributable to an active sun and increasing CO2. Let’s forget the sun and give it all to CO2, just for the sake of argument (although we still may find the suns influence much larger than is currently thought). That means that a doubling of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere will lead to 0.6 degrees of warming plus whatever may be ‘in the pipeline’, which can not be very much (because the burner is hot long before the pot of water boils). Amazingly, this is exactly what lab experiments predict. A doubling of CO2 should warm a perfectly clear atmosphere about 1.0 degree C. Throw in the reflectivity of clouds and the number drops to less than a degree.

    If all fits. The lab experiments, the global observations and the continued dominance of natural climate variability. The AGW theory doesn’t fit at all. It is like trying to put the proverbial square peg into the round whole. There is simply no way to get 3 or 4 degrees of warming from a doubling of CO2. If it was possible, it would already be much hotter than it is and the global cooling of the mid 20th century, along with the lack of any temperature change over the last 10 years, would be impossible.

    If one accepts the significant influence of the PDO, one must reject the AGW crisis theory. If one rejects the influence of the PDO, then one is rejecting overwhelming empirical evidence and is engaged in cognitive dissonance. I use to think that it would be impossible for a scientific community to be collectively involved in cognitive dissonance, but a study of the history of science shows that it is not only possible, but is often the norm. What is happening in mainstream atmospheric sciences today is not unusual, it is just wrong.

  111. Willis, I have no formal education to speak of (although our household growing up provided a better education than any university) . I am an average person who is interested in many varying subjects (AGW does not even scratch the surface). All are fascinating to me. After reading many of your articles, it gves me confidence to know that I am on the correct path in my line of thinking, as it parallel yours. I have many friends who are educated up the wazoo and I can hold my own in any conversation with them. For those youthful readers out there, rebellion only hurts the person who is rebelling. Go the distance with your education, as it is much easier to effect change from the inside of the “system” than the outside. Take my word for that. Thank you again Willis for your posts and the discussions that ensue.

  112. akacg says:
    May 9, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Mr. Eschenbach:

    I just spent some time perusing the EPA report and noticed that, while your slide copy of the “U.S. Annual Heat Wave Index, 1895–2008″ graph features both a CO2 overlay (red) and a linear trendline (orange), the EPA slide does not.

    Also, your slide copy has said graph labeled as “Figure 2″. The EPA report has it as “Figure 1″.

    Did you, hopefully, happen to take a screen-shot of the EPA report page at the time you were reading it and preparing your commentary?

    ps: Love the “What we know, …” pie chart. Nicely done.

    As is my custom, akacg, I used their data and made my own chart. Theirs is … well … too boring, and as you point out, it doesn’t show the CO2. They’d rather we not notice that heat waves have nothing to do with CO2. Sorry for the confusion. The data is theirs … the graph is mine.

  113. Jim Clarke> Thanks for answer!

    I agree with you that EPA has a message they want to bring to us. I don’t want to go into a general discussion about whether the observed global warming is due to CO2 emissions right here and now, since that would probably lead very far.

    It seems to me that we more or less agree on that it seems likely that the US temperature is influenced by rising global temperature and by the PDO. Even without comparing the graphs, it sounds very plausible that the temperature in the North Pacific has a strong influence on the temperature in North America.

    I’m also prepared to believe that PDO has an influence on global temperature, but I don’t see how it can be cumulative. If the PDO is in a warm phase, it will push the global temperature up a little up, I can understand that. But when the PDO falls back to negative, I imagine that the contribution to the global temperature would immediately go negative.

    For this reason, I don’t see how the fact that PDO has been positive for 2/3 of the century could give a net contribution to global temperature. If you compare the global temperature at the beginning of the 19th century with the global temperature now, I don’t believe that the effect of PDO matters much, since PDO is in approximately the same positive state now as it was then. I can’t see why it would influence anything that it has been more positive than negative in between those times.

    About the sun – as far as I know, it is not very active at the moment, so it probably doesn’t contribute much to the warming.

  114. Anton writes:

    “Don’t you mean more Kool-Aid? If you are not an EPA employee, or relative of one, I’d be surprised. I live in Florida where your glorious EPA did not to prevent the poisoning of the Everglades by sugar manufacturers. But, that’s beside the point, as are most of your comments.”

    The people touting the EPA in this discussion read like narcissists with fantasies that the EPA is the Lone Ranger. If you live in America and you have safe drinking water, thank the people who provided it before anyone heard of the EPA and who continue to provide it with no help from the EPA, namely, your local city government. Maybe EPA has come to have some legal authority over local city governments, but the EPA contributes nothing to the daily maintenance of your clean drinking water.

  115. mb writes:

    “Jim Clarke> I don’t see a nearly perfect correlation between the heat wave index and PDO, you can find a graph of PDO here.”

    Thanks for the link to the chart. I do see a nearly perfect correlation. What do I not see?

  116. Bill Tuttle says:
    May 8, 2010 at 3:08 am

    The key word in Environmental Protection Agency is “Agency” — it’s a bureaucracy. Any resemblance between it and a scientific establishment are pure coincidence.

    A more accurate description if the EPA would be EPR — the Environmental Protection Racket…
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Bill, leave out the Environmental. it is a Protection Racket pure and simple. A friend’s brother works for the EPA. He was told to leave the big boys like Mobil and Exxon alone and go after the Mom and Pop businesses. The same thing goes on in the USDA.
    Here is the testimony before the House of Stan Painter, head of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals. It is a very interesting (and shocking) read if you want to see what is actually going on in the bureaucracies.
    http://njcfil.com/b/pdf/stansTestimony.pdf

    And a second House investigation where the USDA fumbled the ball only this time someone died: http://www.marlerblog.com/tags/john-munsell/

  117. Brent Hargreaves says:
    May 8, 2010 at 4:47 am

    Brilliant posting, Willis.

    I am puzzled by the Klingons. How is it that we have not swept them away? The sceptics have the clarity, the integrity, the wit and the wisdom to see through the AGW myth. And yet they continue to monopolise multinational organizations and government agencies…..”
    ________________________________________________________________________
    The Conmen behind the AGW myth OWN the presses they kill any story that does not fit their agenda:

    “The common enemy of humanity is man.
    In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up
    with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming,
    water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these
    dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through
    changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome.
    The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”

    – Richard Haass, Club of Rome Document, 1991, “The First Global Revolution” p. 71,75 1993

    The Club of Rome wants a World Government run by them and they are not about to let a little thing like good science or the truth stand in their way. David Rockefeller was co-founder of the Club of Rome.

    “For more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as “internationalists” and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” – Pg. 405 of David Rockefeller’s Autobiography, 2002

    And again from David Rockefeller when speaking at the UN Business Council in Sept 17 1994:
    “This present window of opportunity, during which a truly peaceful and interdependent world order might be built, will not be open for too long – We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.”

    I think those quotes make it pretty clear who is behind the myth and why.

    David Rockefeller also runs the World Bank through his yearly meeting in Westchester NY and funds Greenpeace and WWF through the Rockefeller Foundations. Maurice Strong went to work for the Rockefellers in the fifties and ran the first Earth Summit in 1972 where he started the whole AGW ball rolling as well as the Environmental Movement. Google those two names for a real eye opener.

  118. If it was a pharmaceutical or cigarette company engaging in these tricks, they would end up behind bars and the establishment would get off on a self-righteous buzz. This behavior by the EPA makes the Nigerian civil service look like a model of integrity. The EPA is simply a gangster cabal.

  119. Hi folks back from my Europe trip. Europe was unseasonably cold. The locals said April / early May is often like that. At any rate if there was Global Warming I didnt feel any effects of it and there was nothing catastrophic except the state of Greece’s (and Potrtugals and Spains) economy and the climate scientists hollering to keep their funds moving in order to perpetuate their myth.

    I read today “Scientists decry “assaults” on climate research”. They said “When someone says that society should wait until scientists are absolutely certain before taking any action, it is the same as saying society should never take action, ..”.

    It occurred to me that some people, at least, are saying not that society should wait not till we are “Absolutely Certain”, but that at least we know a little more than 8% about our climate, before we start predicting catastrophies and the end of civilisation due to our changing climate.

  120. The pie chart was nice. My intuitive notion is that the “what we know we dont know” bit should be several times larger than the “what we know” bit. That it isn’t shown that way suggesst that the degree of “certainty” – the “settled science” – in this subject is a bit premature, to say the least.

    It’s a subtle but very insightful comment on the current state of the entire conversation about climate and science.

  121. This is currently listed as “Uncategorized”. If the EPA continues ot push their ruling and hearings are held, it might be a good ace in the hole to have all of these snippets about EPA’s poor science in one categorized place that can be summarized for reasonable members of the Congressional panel. I’m not sure how y’all organize the joint, I just think this one might deserve a file folder for a year or so in case.

    My $0.02

  122. MB,

    Thanks for the discussion.

    You are right that the PDO should be temperature neutral, that is, it should not produce a ‘long-term’ temperature trend, if you look at complete cycles. The 20th Century contained one and a half cycles, therefore a temperature trend is to be expected from the PDO over that time period.

    We started with the beginning of a warm period and ended at the end of a warm period, which produces a warming trend. Consider it another way. The mid-20th Century cool phase should cancel one of the warm phases, but that still leaves you with a warm phase (about 0.3 degrees of warming) that is strictly the result of the PDO. There is no doubt that the PDO temperature oscillation is superimposed on a warming trend, but the trend is only 0.3 degrees per century when the PDO is figured in correctly.

    As for the sun…I believe the cosmic ray theory has some validity and that solar activity impacts global temperature more from regulating low cloud cover than from changes in total solar radiation (which has been historically very small, thank goodness). But changing the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface by a percent or two is not going to have an immediate impact on global atmospheric temperatures. Most of that additional sunlight energy will be absorbed into the world’s oceans and, therefore, be somewhat regulated by the global ocean cycles.

    I believe that the very active sun of the mid 20th Century reduced the amount of cosmic ray particles reaching the Earth and, in turn, reduce the amount of low clouds forming, thus increasing the amount of sunlight reaching the surface. Most of this ‘additional’ sunlight energy was absorbed into the world’s oceans and did not have a significant impact on the atmospheric temperatures until the ocean cycles entered their warm phases, releasing heat to the atmosphere as they usually do at those times.

    In this sense, the oceans act like batteries, only they do not store electricity, but heat from the sun. The pacific stores this heat in deep waters while the PDO is in its cool phase, then releases it during the warm phase. If the deep waters are being ‘charged up’ when the sun is active and the low cloud cover is slightly less than average, then they will be a bit more ‘charged’ (warmer) than when the sun is inactive and the low cloud cover is a little thicker.

    While solar activity apparently peaked decades ago, the sun has been more active than average through the entire 20th Century. The lull in activity recently may not significantly manifest in cooler atmospheric temperatures for several decades, perhaps showing up as a very weak warm phase of the PDO in the middle of this century.

    It is somewhat ironic to me that AGW proponents argue that a mechanism that first warms the atmosphere (greenhouse gases) will not immediately show up on our atmospheric thermometers because the oceans will absorb much of the heat, yet try to invalidate a mechanism that primarily warms the oceans (cosmic ray effect) because it does not immediately show up on our atmospheric thermometers.

  123. Glenn says:

    May 8, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    “I could give you many more examples, but my stomach won’t take it. This is the US EPA, however, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. My tax dollars at work …”

    $10 Billion of them in one year.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/factsheet_department_epa/

    Precisely. If you pay an organization $10 to find something wrong, it is not suprising they won’t find a problem. Pay that organization billions, and they had better find something to justify that kind of expenditure – reporting ‘nothing is wrong, can we have our money now?’ will raise an eyebrow or two.

    The EPA is like our garbage men: they performed a service we, as individuals, could not do. Now, these garbage disposal experts are dictating what we can throw away, and then dictating what we can consume. They are, after all, ‘experts’ – experts that have overstepped their authority and which demands they be dismantled.

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