Dr. John Christy's testimony before congress –

Hot on the heels of Nature’s editorial about not linking Global Warming to extreme weather, we have this testimony today from Dr. John Christy.

‘Extreme events, like the recent U.S. drought, will continue to occur, with or without human causation’     

‘These recent U.S. ‘extremes’ were exceeded in previous decades’ — ‘The expression of ‘worse than we thought’ climate change as documented in [James] Hansen’s OpEd does not stand up to scrutiny’

Excerpts of his testimony follow. h/t to Marc Morano of Climate Depot.


John R. Christy, PhD

Alabama State Climatologist

The University of Alabama in Huntsville

House Energy and Power Subcommittee

20 September 2012

For full text of testimony see here.

Selected Excerpts: To put it simply, Andreadis and Lettenmaier (2006) found that for the Midwest, “Droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, less severe, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century.” In other words, droughts have always happened in the Midwest and they are not getting worse.

Another extreme metric is the all-time record high temperature for each state. Theoccurrence of the records by decade (Figure 1.1 below) makes it obvious that the 1930s were the most extreme decade and that since 1960, there have been more all-time cold records set than hot records in each decade. The clear evidence is that extreme high temperatures are not increasing in frequency. The recent claims about thousands of new record high temperatures were based on stations whose length-of-record could begin as recently as 1981, thus missing the many heat waves of the 20th century. So, any moderately hot day now will be publicized as setting records for these young stations because they were not operating in the 1930s.

About 75 percent of the states recorded their hottest temperature prior to 1955, and, over 50 percent of the states experienced their record cold temperatures after 1940. Overall, only a third of the records (hot or cold) have been set in the second half of the whole period. One could conclude, if they were so inclined, that the climate of the US is becoming less extreme because the occurrence of state extremes of hot and cold has diminished dramatically since 1955. Since 100 of anything appears to be a fairly large sample (2 values for each of 50 states), this on the surface seems a reasonable conclusion.

Then, one might look at the more recent record of extremes and learn that no state has achieved a record high temperature in the last 15 years (though one state has tied Energy and Power Subcommittee 16 John R. Christy, 20 September 2012 theirs.) However, five states have observed their all-time record low temperature in these past 15 years plus one tie. This includes last year’s record low of 31°F below zero in Oklahoma, breaking their previous record by a rather remarkable 4°F. If one were so inclined, one could conclude that the weather that people worry about (extreme cold) is getting worse in the US. (Note: this lowering of absolute cold temperature records is nowhere forecast in climate model projections, nor is a significant drop in the occurrence of extreme high temperature records.)

I am not using these statistics to prove the weather in the US is becoming less extreme and/or colder. My point is that extreme events are poor metrics to use for detecting climate change. Indeed, because of their rarity (by definition) using extreme events to bolster a claim about any type of climate change (warming or cooling) runs the risk of setting up the classic “non-falsifiable hypothesis.” For example, we were told by the IPCC that “milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms” (TAR WG2, After the winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11, we are told the opposite by advocates of the IPCC position, “Climate Change Makes Major Snowstorms More Likely” (http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/climate-change-makes-snowstormsmore-likely-0506.html).

The non-falsifiable hypotheses can be stated this way, “whatever happens is consistent with my hypothesis.” In other words, there is no event that would “falsify” the hypothesis. As such, these assertions cannot be considered science or in anyway informative since the hypothesis’ fundamental prediction is “anything may happen.” In the example above if winters become milder or they become snowier, the non-falsifiable hypothesis stands. This is not science.

The evidence above suggests that climate models over-react to greenhouse gas increases. Also there is a lack of evidence to blame humans for an increase in extreme events. One cannot convict CO2 of causing any of these events, because they’ve happened in the past before CO2 levels rose.


Christy’s full testimony available here.

Related Links:

Climatologist Dr. John Christy: ‘I’ve often stated that climate science is a ‘murky’ science. We do not have laboratory methods of testing our hypotheses as many other sciences do’ — ‘As a result what passes for science includes, opinion, arguments-from-authority, dramatic press releases, and fuzzy notions of consensus generated by preselected groups. This is not science’

Climatologist Dr. John Christy: ‘Oil & other carbon-based energies are simply the affordable means by which we satisfy our true addictions – long life, good health, plentiful food…’‘…internet services, freedom of mobility, comfortable homes with heating, cooling, lighting and even colossal entertainment systems, and so on. Carbon energy has made these possible’


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Another target for a hate-fest. You are in good company, Anthony.

Tim Walker

Yes, some words of clarity and reason amongst the garbage out there. I expect someone is working on a petition to keep him from testifying again.


I hope Dr. Christy sends a copy to the PBS Ombudsman.

Dr. Bob

I suggest that readers of WUWT send letters of support (or otherwise) to their representatives about discussion of all sides of a scientific issue. We cannot allow the vocal few to shout down open discussions such as happened on PBS NewsHour. I expressed my opinion there and will also contact my Representatives in Congress about this issue. As a publicly funded organization, I would think Congress would be interested in knowing if PBS failed in their duty to present a balance view on such an important topic.

“Telling like it is” does not sit well with the Warmistas.
The truth, the WHOLE truth and NOTHING but the truth must be the only rule followed despite what the ‘believers’ want so desperately to hide. Slowly but surely the scientific method, as opposed to pseudo-scientific dogma, is gaining ground.
Watts, Christy, McIntyre and many others deserve plaudits for ensuring that the voice of proper science is not silenced completely. The TRUTH will eventually prevail, it always does.

Is it going to be aired on PBS?

David Spurgeon

Dr.John Christy is my all time forever hero. [Sorry Anthony!]

A very good, straightforward exposition of historical facts, along with the same observation
I have had – warmists attribute practically anything that happens to be the result of global warming.
If it could be demonstrably proved that the Earth is cooling, somehow that would be attributed to global warming. A theory which predicts contradictory events, predicts nothing.

Dr. Bob, I am Canadian, and I have already sent the URL for John Christie’s testimony to my Member of Parliament. I would suggest that all of us send it to our elected representatives in all the different bodies that govern our countries.

Brian Adams

There’s an old saying, maybe you’ve heard it – “Records are made to be broken.” I’ve been saying all summer that every day a new temperature record, high or low, is set somewhere on Earth. In my hometown of Lewiston, Idaho (only three hours from the Canadian border) the daytime high temperature record was set at 117 F. – in 1962! Proof positive that the climate has been cooling for 50 years!


Of course it should go without saying that any hypothesis which claims “whatever happens is consistent with my hypothesis.” is not a useful hypothesis and may be freely discarded.


More excellent tetimony from Dr Christy as he tries to save the science from unscrupulous and dishonest messengers of doom. For those who are sincere in Climate Science these comments from Dr Christy will be salve to their ears but from those harbingers of misinformation, it will be words of war.
Like Dr Christy, I hope that the science returns to facts and figures, instead of frauds and fallacies.


Then, one might look at the more recent record of extremes and learn that no state has achieved a record high temperature in the last 15 years (though one state has tied Energy and Power Subcommittee 16 John R. Christy, 20 September 2012 theirs.)
Could somebody parse the part in parentheses?
It looks like one of George Carlin’s partial scores: ” Energy and Power Subcommittee 16″
or maybe it’s a complete one: EPS 16, John Christy, 20?
what then would “September 2012 theirs” mean?

Joe Prins

This Canadian took your suggestion and the first page plus link has been send.

george e smith

I’ve been a fan of Professor Christy, ever since I read his paper in Jan 2001 ; I thing Geophysical Research Letters, reporting results of about 20 years of oceanic buoy records, of simultaneous near surface (- 1 metre) ocean water Temperatures, and near surface (+ 3 metres) oceanic air Temperatures. Historically oceanic Temperatures have been taken from buckets of water hauled from some unknown depth and on a ship’s deck in the wind, or later taken from cooling water inputs, and measured in a hot engine room. Why anyone ever imagined that air and water Temperatures would be the same is beyond my pay grade, given that ocean currents are a few knots, while ocean winds can be two orders of magnitude higher. Also, a ship can return to the exact same GPS co-ordinates six months later, and be in entirely different water due to meandering ocean rivers.
In any case, Christy et al reported that they aren’t the same, and the air Temperatures recorded only about 60% of the increase that the water Temperatures recorded, FOR THAT 20 YEAR PERIOD.
OK so that 150 years of previous ocean Temperature records need to be adjusted to reflect that fact.
SORRY NO CIGAR !, the really important discovery that Christy et al found, is NOT that they aren’t the same but THEY AREN’T CORRELATED.
So it is impossible to correct the previous 150 years of data taken by ships at sea reflecting 70% of the world surface area.
Which is why I say, that it doesn’t really matter whether the GCM models are any good; the data put into those models earlier than around 1980 is bunkum, and can’t be corrected.
Since then Dr John Christy and his side kick Dr Roy, have only grown in my esteem, as rational cool meticulous researchers.


DAVID. Probably an addendum to the transcript. Perhaps # 16.


That was directed at DAV

Jimmy Haigh

John Christy and Anthony would get on any “nicest people of the century” list. Both are pretty smart too.


“Dr. Bob, I am Canadian, and I have already sent the URL for John Christie’s testimony to my Member of Parliament. ”
An excellent idea, done

I happened to meet an American family in Yorkshire a couple of months back, smoking outside the motorway services. Asked them where they were from: Alabama. I said that one of my heros is from the UAH at Huntsville, a guy named John Christy. “Well, it so happens,” says the gent, “that John Christy is a long standing friend of mine.” It made my day.


9/20/12 Subcommittee on Energy and Power Hearing


If weather wasn’t so variable, and at times deadly, we wouldn’t have the records we do.
It is the inherent unpredictabilty of weather, that drives our studies.
I just want to stop taxpayer funded, eco/guilt/political/greed, projects from wasting if not devastating my nations wealth.
So, here we are.


It seems odd to focus so much on max/min temperatures in an region that represents 2% of the Earth’s surface area. Naturally if temps were high locally in the 30’s, there would be less daily records in the decades to follow to present. From this skeptic’s perspective, I much prefer Lindzen, Curry, or even Ridley as a popularizer.


Got it. Thanks. Still looks silly though. I think it’s a typo. What would “Septempber 2012 theirs” mean?
My first name is David. Good guess. ‘DAV’ are my initials. Chock it up to my parents’ sense of humor.

Jon Kassaw MA LPC

I want to commend Dr. Christy’s work and testimony with Congress, bringing some honest rational thought to the “the sky is falling crowd.” We need facts, not panic and it seems all the weather channels want an audience, so they sell ‘doom and gloom’ despite the facts! It was a big blessing to see how little (130 years) is to 10,000 years of climate history. No wonder “they” were attempting to lower the temps in the 1930’s! The facts punch holes in their models and methods to make a buck at our expense!

Gunga Din

And let’s not forget that some of the old records are being “adjusted” by NOAA one station at a time.

Mr. Rush seems to be a little tired and I could barely understand him…. Good lord! How much you want to bet, that was the first time he had read the speech he gave…

Pamela Gray

I have said in comments these very same things (newer stations will produce false positive data in terms of records). Proof that armchair amateurs have the brains to figure this out.


I’ve got to suspend my usual rabid skepticism for a moment. If CO2 is having an effect on mid-latitude temperatures it will be at night when radiation is in control of the cooling rate and backscattered radiation matters. In daytime, convection kicks in and controls temperature, bringing the temperature profile up to the adiabatic lapse rate. Surface temperatures reach their local limit during daylight hours independent of CO2, so looking at daylight temperatures alone would miss the effect of CO2, which is felt at night. Anyway, the effect of CO2, if there is one, would be to reduce the diurnal temperature range, especially at northern latitudes, but the maximum temperatures would not be affected.

Paul in Sweden

Chairman: “Dr. Christy, how do you get along with Dr. Mann?”

At least Chrisy know that science is and is not and not shy to say so. Of course none of this is about or ever was about science in the first place. It is about power, money and ideology. That is not your ideology or mine either the ideology is irrelevant, it the power and money that count.


Robertvdl says:
September 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm
Thank you for this post.
Start at 55:20 for the Cristy part of the video, with audio problems. Go Figure!

Well worth the repost.

Maureen from Canada

I noticed this about the high temperatures over the last couple of summers. I live in Regina (southern Saskatchewan which is in the prime area for 1930s high temp – my mother grew up on a farm in southern SK during that time and she knew heat and dry conditions – it wasn’t call ‘the dry years’ for nothing) and we rarely hit record highs – the records were still mostly in the early 1930s with the period 1911 to 1918 which seemed to be the runner up.
The only thing that has really changed is the increase in humidity in this area over the last 10 years – THAT is different (which is why I’m destroying the climate with the air conditioner I installed about 5 years ago!!!)

Harold Pierce Jr

ATTN: Jim Cripwell
Sending an URL to a MP will get you nowhere. Send a printed copy of the testimony to the MP to the editor of the “Goble and Mail”

Paul in Sweden

Earlier today I had dumped Dr. Christy’s written submission into my TTS app and listened through it. Quite extensive. When the video link of the hearing popped up I downloaded it and wondered if I should watch it. Glad I did and thank goodness for Texas and a few others in the house majority. We still own property in Vermont and I vote there via absentee ballot but I am thinking about printing and binding Dr. Christy’s submission and mailing it back home to my Senators & Rep. but I kinda think that they would not bother having any of their staff review it. (this has been a popcorn week in the news 🙂 )


“Energy and Power Subcommittee 16 John R. Christy, 20 September 2012”
That’s the footer from page 16 of the printed testimony. Obviously a typo in the copy and paste of the excerpts in the blog post.

I am having this vision of January 2013. The new President names John Christy as the Director of NOAA and Anthony Watts becomes Director of the National Climate Data Center and….


John Coleman says:
September 21, 2012 at 8:17 pm
I am having this vision of January 2013. The new President names John Christy as the Director of NOAA and Anthony Watts becomes Director of the National Climate Data Center and….


OT, but I just noticed Desmogblog is completely down, It Chris Mooney hasn’t posted anything there since late July.

D. J. Hawkins

u.k.(us) says:
September 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm
John Coleman says:
September 21, 2012 at 8:17 pm
I am having this vision of January 2013. The new President names John Christy as the Director of NOAA and Anthony Watts becomes Director of the National Climate Data Center and….

Talk about getting a tingle up your leg! 😀

I always go back to the Michael Crichton statement: “A theory that can mean anything means nothing.”

“About 75 percent of the states recorded their hottest temperature prior to 1955, and, over 50 percent of the states experienced their record cold temperatures after 1940.”

Someone with a defibrillator please get over to Tamino’s house ASAP, and be sure to swing by Joe Romm’s and John Kook’s as well.
What I want to know is whether any of these statistics have been massaged by James Hansen yet. If not, they soon will be.

Pamela Gray even forecast this extreme drought sometime last winter. Maybe even last fall? I went looking for the comment in the archives but I have got to get some sleep.

Statistically, if you choose a region of the Earth and ACCURATELY measure the temperatures, and by that I don’t mean siting weather stations next to AC outlets or on asphalt islands, temperature records will be broken. It is inevitable that the longer the period of time the measurements are taken, will mean more records broken for temperature extremes, rainfall and wind etc.

This is so simply stated.
Common sense is usually simple.


The “worse than we thought” meme is both testimony to a lack of imagination and a -worse yet- profound lack of awareness about weather history.

Rhys Jaggar

‘It is a privilege for me to offer my views of climate change based on my
experience as a climate scientist. My research area might be best described as building
datasets from scratch to advance our understanding of what the climate is doing and why.
I have used traditional surface observations as well as measurements from balloons and
satellites to document the climate story. Many of my datasets are used to test hypotheses
of climate variability and change.’
1. Measurement.
2. Hypothesis formation.
3. Hypothesis testing.
Science for Politicians 101
@ U. Capitol Hill
Wa, DC

Analysis in Kansas shows that the vast majority of daily record highs were set in the 1930’s and that the last decade is actually below normal.
NCAR did a propaganda piece on record temps a couple of years ago. Surprise, surprise! Their chart starts in the 1950’s!
A similar analysis in Ohio gives similar results.

This is reliable testimony by John Christy. The full transcript is an excellent reference source.
While debunking the global warming and extreme weather myths falsely attributed to rising atmospheric CO2, Christy on page 15 mentions one real environmental issue that, I believe, will have a significant impact on humanity, and that is the decline (drawdown) of the High Plains Aquifer, of which the Ogallala Aquifer is a subset.
With the massive use of ground water for irrigation, the High Plains Aquifer has declined an average of 12.8 ft, with some areas in the Texas panhandle down over 150 ft. The key point here is that the Plains is subject to natural (and sobering) long-term droughts that would very likely tax the current water management system (ground-water withdrawals) while not replenishing the aquifer, producing a situation of reduced agricultural productivity, especially in its southern reaches.
[end of excerpt]
I’ve written on this subject previously, at
Here is a table showing average declines in water levels in the High Plains Aquifer, by state:
Long term drought is not the only threat to the Aquifer. Excessive water withdrawals for irrigation, even with normal replenishment, are causing excessive declines in water levels. The negative implications to food production concern me.
It is especially unfortunate that much of this excess water withdrawal from the High Plains Aquifer has been used to irrigate corn crops devoted to corn ethanol production. I have long maintained that corn ethanol production (food-to-fuel) is environmental and energy nonsense.