The Kevin Trenberth / Seth Borenstein aided fact free folly on the USA heat wave

I cringe every time I see stories like the one being pushed in the Associated Press today by AP science writer Seth Borenstein.

My Way News – This US summer is ‘what global warming looks like’

Even Drudge picked it up.

The amount of unsupported speculation trying to be passed off as science is nothing more than the classic appeal to authority. In this case, the “authority” is NCAR’s Dr. Kevin Trenberth, a man with so much hatred for alternate viewpoints that he refused to remove the holocaust word “denier” from his keynote address to the American Meteorological Society.

This reminds me of the Russian heat wave of 2010.

The same people made essentially the same comments, then months later the peer reviewed literature (published by NOAA researchers no less) said that it was caused by natural variation…a blocking high pressure pattern.

That was followed up by another paper saying the same thing:

We have essentially the same thing happening here, a persistent quasi-stationary weather pattern, part of the normal natural variation.

As for the derecho, it is hardly new. The word was first used in the American Meteorological Journal in 1888 by Gustavus Detlef Hinrichs in a paper describing the phenomenon and based on a significant derecho event that crossed Iowa on 31 July 1877. Further, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has catalogued them through the years. According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, climatology, the Washington DC area gets a derecho about once every four years:

Image from NOAA Storm Prediction Center

As I said in my essay, The idea that the recent derecho is linked to global warming is pure folly spun by people that wish to exploit any remotely plausible situation for political purposes. It happens on a regular basis, for example when they try to link tornado outbreaks to global warming: The folly of linking tornado outbreaks to “climate change”.

Or how about the disparity in “weather is not climate except when we say it is” blame game:  New York Times Blames 2009’s Record Cold on Natural Factors — But Blamed Record Warmth in 2000 on Man-Made Global Warming!

Given how badly global warming is faring in the minds of the public according to the last Washington Post/Stanford poll:

Global warming no longer Americans’ top environmental concern, poll finds

…it is clear they are desperate to sell any connection because the public will probably not hear about the science studies that will follow.

It is another shameful attempt to do just that by Dr. Kevin Trenberth aided by Seth Borenstein’s media bully pulpit. I will give Borenstein at least one credit though, he asked Dr. John Christy what he thought about it and printed it:

‘…history is full of such extremes, said John Christy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He’s a global warming skeptic who says, “The guilty party in my view is Mother Nature.”‘


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I think that the sheer numbers of local record high temperatures, rather than any one event make the better case for global warming. The ratio of high to low records is a useful statistic. In any case the drought in the midwest and fires in the west make this a really bad year for climate and weather. Taxpayers are going to be paying a lot of crop insurance fees to farmers in the midwest corn and soybean belts.

John W. Garrett

The propagandists and opportunists are out in full force. NPR, in particular— as usual, continues to serve as a willing broadcast platform engaged in full-blown indocrination.

The thrust of the story doesn’t matter one bit. Headlines sell newspapers. Period


And we are told when its a cold winter that ‘weather is not climate ‘ funny how that changes when a weather event can be used to support ‘the cause ‘ and yes we been here before with Russia
As for Trenberth any scientists that wishes to reverse the hull hypotheses because their case is so weak it cannot stand review , can be regarded ass a joke but not the funny kind.

Trenberth, as some will recall, is wont to speculate on things outside his expertise, case in point his Hurricane chapter in the last Climate Bible, where he forges ahead despite the literature that torpedoes most of that chapter’s content. Kommandant Rajendra made sure, of course, that he offered as much support to Old Kev as was needed. Thus armed, and certain he can do no wrong, he leaps derecho into the line of fire once again, running smack dab into the blocking high that would impede a mere mortal’s intellectual progress. But Sir Kevahad is vastly superior, and immortal.
Geniculate liberally, for thou art the Mainstream. Dareth not question the Druid, for the climate, in changing, drags literally everything in its wake vortex.

Borenstein is a hack, and Trenberth is an idiot. I can’t think of a better combination to represent the kitchen physics version of science than those two. Remember, Trenberth is the dummy that wanted to destroy science by reversing the null hypothesis.


Bureau Of Land Management and some media outlets now claim, based on police reports, that some fires were sparked by target shooters. Not sure how that would work, since, well, modern guns don’t really work like that, but it fits into the narrative.

The two fundamental drivers in a reimagined notion of human thinking for the new economics of Green Growth are to ground it thoroughly in emotion and feelings and to make it visual. I may be writing that this is coming but elements are already here and have been coming in through education for about 20 years. I may have figured this out methodically but the typical marketing exec knows just how much education has changed the filtering mindset they are marketing to. They know it has changed the habits of viewers when they do tune into the news. They know how important the behavioral sciences are to their business. We taxpayers and parents are the ones with the missing details.
I have been watching the network evening news for just that reason. The visuals are so manipulative on what is usually the lead set of stories you almost have to be watching from a meat locker freezer not to break into a sweat from the stories shown.
With all these media stories that are based on bad science notice how much visualization and emotional imagery dominate. And think of the impact on the typical fact free viewer. Who just KNOWS that ALL the glaciers are melting. Isn’t that what causes the calving seen on the cruise? And remembers the poor Polar Bear on the ice floe.
Play to the misinformed beliefs deliberately cultivated with “just enough content knowledge.”


Of the all-time high temperature records for each US state, only 3 have been set since 1998. Of the other 47 record highs, more than half (24) were set in the 1930’s. How is this year “what global warming looks like”?
Do climate scientists and their journalistic sycophants actually take a class in Texas Sharpshooting?

Willis Eschenbach

BillD says:
July 3, 2012 at 9:21 am

I think that the sheer numbers of local record high temperatures, rather than any one event make the better case for global warming. The ratio of high to low records is a useful statistic.

During a time of generally rising temperatures (say for example the last three centuries or so), the ratio of high to low records is a useless statistic without some serious calculations to back out the effect of the rising temperature.
But somehow, people never seem to get around to making those calculations … must be a coincidence …


I keep wanting to yell at the TV every time someone says that their bowline storm was so rare or unheard of. We get them all the time out here in the Midwest on the plains. There’s always a bowline echo on the radar somewhere during a severe storm outbreak. They just got unlucky that it was pointed their way instead of over lots of open farmland.

TG McCoy (Douglas DC)

John H-the 1930’s were worse than the current period. Dust bowl? The Tillamook Burn.
“Grapes of Wrath?” Gone unoticed is the cold, wet spring here in the Pac NW, England, parts of
Europe, and the Southern Winter..
The fires are due to very bad mangement of the forest and fire fighting resources..
But it is nice to blame somethng else…


I came across this cool website about what may have happened at the end of ice age. Sounds bad compared to what is being promoted by by Trenberth, et al.


Trouble with all this BS its still ain’t warming *Global mean temperatures
see AMSU satellite temperatures
So these fires and Derechos are due to?


Meanwhile large parts of the country are suffering from power outages, which will lead to more deaths than without A/C. But the policies supported by CAGW folks will result in less electricity and more power outages, which will also cause more deaths in both summer and winter.
Then some of them have the nerve to say that CEO’s of power/oil companies should be put on trial. I really hope that those that advocate policies that cause deaths have to pay the piper some day and are held accountable for the deaths that they cause. Maybe a civil suit to take back some of their millions in speaking fees they get for peddling scare stories.


BillD says: “The ratio of high to low records is a useful statistic.”
“Useful” is an excellent description-it’s a tactic which has a certain goal in mind: get a signal and then totally obscure what is actually going on. When you see a ratio change, it gives no indication of whether the denominator changed, the numerator, or both, nor does it tell you, if both, which one contributed more to the ratio change. Moreover, if the denominator drops toward zero, it inevitably causes the ratio to skyrocket toward infinity. Big changes can appear alright! Even if the numerator stays constant…
Useful is a good word, or euphemism, indeed.


Mythbusters had a bit where they shot full gas tanks with a collection of weapon and ammo types including tracer rounds from an M16. They were unable to get a fire or any explosions. On the one hand, that is not sience, on the other hand they took the time to test instead of relying in the theory that “bullet going through metal creastes spark that ignites tank”.
I’ve hit the posts at the target range enough to know you get a splattered wad of copper, but no sparks. I agree: “does not work that way”

That a fascilitator of state sponsored propaganda would call his enemy the deniers is so WW2ish. GW fought about as hard as any president ever has to save the country from authoritarians like Trenberth.


“Edohiguma says:
July 3, 2012 at 9:31 am
Bureau Of Land Management and some media outlets now claim, based on police reports, that some fires were sparked by target shooters. Not sure how that would work, since, well, modern guns don’t really work like that, but it fits into the narrative.”
There is a pyrotechnic round called Dragon’s Breath which absolutely could start a fire (money shot is around 4:40 of the video).
An Arizona fire is being blamed on it.

If it is said on the PBS NewsHour, it must be so.
(AIR DATE: July 2, 2012 What’s Causing Unusually Hot Temperatures in U.S.? )
KEVIN TRENBERTH: ” … there is no parallel to this. We’re now breaking records….
JUDY WOODRUFF: And when you say — you used the term no parallel. You literally meant that?
KEVIN TRENBERTH: I don’t think there has been anything quite like this before. … The odds are changing for these to occur with climate change, with the global warming from the human influences on climate.


aharris says:
July 3, 2012 at 9:54 am
You describe an outflow boundary. They can create their own weather.


During the “Little Ice Age” climate scientists would have had ample “data” to predict with utmost reliability that earth was entering a new ice age similar to those earth had previously experienced and that, say, within 50 years at the onset of “no summers” massive ice sheets would once again cover much of the Northern Hemisphere (and Southern Hemisphere?).
Of course, they would have been totally wrong. Yea it was damn cold, but there was no ice age.
You CANNOT extrapolate 10 or 50 or 100 or even 200 years of data and make the claim that “sufficient evidence exists” that shows………whatever it is you claim.
Statistical studies of climate are NOT PREDICTIVE OF FUTURE CLIMATE because you cannot predict the behavior of all the variables (extra-terrestrial + earth-generated), that affect and control the climate. And these variable are not predictive because they still do not understand how they interact nor what affects the variables that, in turn, control climate.
Climatic statistical models, as with those produced by economists to “predict” economic activity, are inherently flawed because they all assume that the future will unfold as the past (as in coin flipping or tossing dice).
Well guess what, it does not.
If it did, we would today know the weather 4 weeks hence and yea, economists can tell us what the interest rates and GDP will be 1 year from now.
Yea right.


Today’s LA Times has an even more ridiculous editorial in which they imply the UHI effect in the LA basin is due to AGW:,0,4512793.story
Give these people enough rope, . . .

Another Gareth

Give the lack of energy when people are in need of it in particular places you can refine the headline a little to make mischief: This is what global warming policy looks like.


The article I saw said the shooters were using so called “flamethrower” shotgun rounds.
From Wikipedia Dragon’s Breath;
“A dragon’s breath usually refers to a zirconium-based pyrotechnic shotgun round. When the round is fired, sparks and flames shoot out to about 15 m (48 feet) away from the gun.[1]
While its tactical uses are very limited, the visual effect it produces is impressive, similar to that of a short-ranged flamethrower. The rounds are often used as a distress signal, similar to an emergency flare gun. They can also be used as means of intimidation to the opposing forces. The pyrotechnic shell is expensive compared to other shells, costing around 5 US dollars per shell. There is little to no record of its use in actual combat. Because it is a very low-power round, it cannot be used in an automatic shotgun; it does not produce enough recoil energy to cycle the next shot, causing the mechanism to jam. An additional reason for use only in a manually operated firearm is the fact that the round shoots at least a little flame for 3–5 seconds. This would cause a hazard if a shell still emitting flame were to be ejected from an automatic shotgun.”
These would definitely have the potential to start a fire in dry conditions.

R. Shearer

I guess the “Dust Bowl” never happened. Anyway, maybe we could get Gore to jet around the center of the country to promote AGW.


I don’t understand what climate change has to do with the holocaust. Al Gore and his buddies can use the word denier if they want to use it. This has nothing to do with the holocaust or denial of the holocaust. Very few people in this country deny the holocaust. Those who are fixated on the holocaust use any and every excuse to talk about the holocaust. Something that they always seem to forget about is the 55 million people who were killed in WWII who were not Jews. The Jews make up only about 10% of those who were killed in WWII. We never hear about the other 90%. Is this a denial that non Jews were killed ? Or is it simply an affirmation that to some people have very little regard for anyone other than a fellow Jew ?
[REPLY: Two points, “Jimbo”. This appears to be your first posting here. The screen name “Jimbo” is already being used by a long-time poster here. If you would be kind enough to change to a different, unique screen name, it would be appreciated.
Second: The Jews were not among the majority of those killed in WWII, but their experience was unique. One does not have to be a Jew to recognize that. People who minimize The Holocaust are not welcome here. -REP]


I think this will be difficult for many of your readers to accept but the USA weather isn’t the global weather. In the UK the period April to June has been the wettest and coldest on record. Is this part of Dr Trenberth’s apocalyptic scenario


That fellow Seth Borenstein is really not very smart.


Regarding the U.K. weather. It is indeed art of their apocalyptic scenario. Too much rain, too little rain, too much wind, too little wind, too hot, too cold. It’s all caused by Global Warming, don’t you know that?


“I think that the sheer numbers of local record high temperatures, rather than any one event make the better case for global warming.”
Pardon me, but the numbers of local record highs is a function of how many stations readings are taken in a given area. It is meaningless. I have to agree with Wills. One might consider quantitatively equalizing the data on the number of stations per square mile.
Then there is airport temperatures that are not representing anything other than what is happening very locally.
Example of heat islands: Nellis AFB, temp: 124 F. Temp on the flightline: 145 F
Additionally, there is little attention to exceptional cold areas globally. It’s just the weather, no significant change in climate.


Re “pyrotechnic round called Dragon’s Breath ”
Yeah, that sure could make a fire. Would you call that target shooting?


“This US summer is ‘what global warming looks like”
…Did summer end already I just didn’t know it. I though we were only in the second week of summer!? I am curious to see what the majority of this US summer WILL look like. Next 5 days are encouraging for Colorado.
HPC 5 day precipitation forecast.

Tom in Indy

“global warming skeptic” Borenstein left out the “man made” part. As I have pointed out many times before, the public has been brainwashed to associate “global warming” with “man made”.


Just had a look at the Borenstein article and the Trenberth interview. Fascinating. These guys party like there’s no tomorrow.

We cannot use local cold spurts to disprove global warming; however, we must use local storms, heat waves, and anything else possible to prove AGW! I think I finally get it!!

Rich Horton

Someone call Ringling…. they are obviously missing clowns Borenstein and Trenberth.
Just four months ago here in the upper Midwest morons were talking about “1000 year droughts!”…and then the floods came.
Same ol’, same ol’.


You would not expect Trenberth as a New Zealander doing such things and be a central piece of the Hockey Team. New Zealand is such a small country and people have trust in each other and talk to each other – well, except for the Greens, of course.


Anthony, the weather is always going to be influenced by natural variability or natural forces. To say that a heat wave isn’t influenced by GW because it was shown to be due to a natural factor is silly.. Exactly how are you expecting GW heat to show itself? Through some new weather pattern never before seen? Heat spells are always going to be caused by the same patterns they are today.. Blocking pressure, variability in jets, etc… GW Is only going to add to the pattern additional heat.. Right… In other words the el niño will just be a bit hotter but you can’t day it’s not due to GW because enso is just natural pattern….

Well, I’m sorry but I call B.S. on your comment. Here’s some historical perspective from a time when CO2 was much lower. – Anthony

Heatwaves were much worse in the past in the US. It is important that climate experts honor history, rather than deny it.
Lebanon, Missouri is ground zero for the 2012 heatwave. They have seen five days over 100F this year. By contrast, during 1936 they had forty-one days over 100F. During the past decade, they have had 31 days over 100F, compared to 152 days during the 1930s. Extremely hot days were five times more common during the 1930s.
The 1950s had 58 days over 100 degrees, including the all-time record high of 113 degrees. Bottom line is that the US saw much more severe heatwaves in the past when CO2 was below 320 ppm. Not only was the duration of the heatwaves longer, but the intensity was greater. The climate was hotter in the past.
Blaming CO2 for heatwaves defies history and science, and is nothing more than superstition. The 1990s had unusually cool summers after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, and that gap has blinded people to the longer term record.


This US summer is ‘what global warming looks like’

Yes indeed. Cherry picking season is here!

Massive number of record lows – In Summer
While the mainstream media screamed about the number of record highs during the last WEEK, they somehow forgot to mention the massive number of records lows.
Here’s a list of record lows in the United States on just one DAY – 27 Jun 2012.

Is a denier someone who does not blame global warming on Jews?

John W. Garrett

Feel free to comment on Borenstein’s propaganda piece at:

The holocaust references are always designed to make it socially illegitimate to challenge their assertions. Trust me, these are people who know how to use the herd instinct to create demand for what they want.
By invoking the Holocaust they push up the models so people will confuse modelling with documented facts. So they win all the way around. At least until the very equivalence becomes the issue and it taints those pushing the point.


@ Babsy, No the outflow boundary is different. It’s a weak-looking little thing on the radar where the radar picks up the gusts of wind coming out of the storm (our local meteorologists sometimes call it a gust front), and it can spark another line of storms ahead of the main one.
The bow echo is where the storm itself shapes into a bow-shaped echo, hence the name. They usually blow in and out pretty quickly with strong, straight-line winds. It looks like a great big backwards “C” shaped wall of red on the radar. It can also be called a squall line. This event was a bad bowecho event, not an outflow boundary.


Isn’t taking a specific that is unrepresentative of the whole and using that specific to promote an hypothesis called ‘cherry-picking’?

BillD said (July 3, 2012 at 9:21 am)
“…I think that the sheer numbers of local record high temperatures, rather than any one event make the better case for global warming. The ratio of high to low records is a useful statistic…”
Statistics are a wonderful thing. Useful is another matter.
Let’s say that you are the first to put up a thermometer in a city, and proceed to keep a record (the first records ever kept in that city). For an entire year, you faithfully record the day’s highs and lows.
Since yours was the first thermometer ever in that city, and the first records ever kept in that city, you could truthfully say that all 730 entries are new daily records for that city (365 new record highs, 365 new record lows). Would that year of record highs and lows in that city (and a ratio of 1:1) mean anything there?
Let’s say for the second year, only 5 days set a new high record, and not a single day sets a low record (5:0). Reverse it. No high records, and five low records (0:5). Useful metric?
Now to today.
Every little town, village and airport has a thermometer. Every single one has been keeping records of their OWN readings. Large numbers of thermometers and local records have been kept. Readings fairly close to each other can and do vary quite a bit. Different records show different record highs for the same day.
So let’s try something. Let’s say that of three individual readings, two show new high records for that day, and one does not. One of the three shows a new low for that day, and the other two don’t. You’re saying that the two-to-one ratio of new high/new low temps has to be a sign of CAGW.
It’s possible that one thermometer is faulty. It’s possible that one is improperly placed. It’s possible that the person reading one thermometer transposed a number. It’s possible that one thermometer didn’t record either a new high or a new low. It’s possible that one thermometer is the one you placed there last year, while the other two have been around for decades.
How does that two-to-one ratio prove anything?

It really will be a disaster if it ever becomes politically incorrect to challenge AGW liberal fascist dogma.

Keith Battye

Even Fox is in on this. I swear you would think that the USA has never had a hot summer.

Earle Williams

A popular shooting target in BLM country is the exploding target made of Tannerite. Despite the manufacturer claims to the contrary, it appears it can start a fire.

Phil C

The amount of unsupported speculation trying to be passed off as science …
Makes me think of a certain website I know …
[REPLY: I think it would behoove us to be a lot more charitable to Real Climate, Skeptical Science and Open Mind. They are trying their best. All commenters should take notice. -REP]