Heidi Cullen at Senate EPW: ‘73% increase in heavy downpours’ not supported by data


While watching her handwaving argument on the webcast with Senator Vitter, I was easily able to find data contradictory to her statement in Dr. Roger Roger Pielke Jr. submitted testimony.

What the data says:

5. Floods have not increased in the US in frequency or intensity since at least 1950.


Figure 5. One measure of flood frequency from the USGS, percent of US streamguages above “bankfull streamflow.” The USGS explains: “The bankfull streamflow is defined as the highest daily mean streamflow value expected to occur, on average, once in every 2.3 years.”

Xiaodong Jian, David M. Wolock, Harry F. Lins, and Steve Brady, Streamflow of 2012—Water Year Summary, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, May 2013.

Live video here:  Live Webcast – Flash

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July 18, 2013 9:02 am

If anything it would look like the overall amount has dropped the last 20 years

July 18, 2013 9:08 am

@Forrest: congratulations, you have discovered a new signature of global warming!

Dudley Horscroft
July 18, 2013 9:19 am

What did she mean by a “heavy downpour?” My understanding of a heavy downpour is that the amount of rain in a few minutes, or even perhaps an hour or day, is large. Perhaps 520 mm in 24 hours as we had a few years ago, I would class as a heavy downpour, or 100 mm in two hours, or 10 mm in 2 minutes. The first created a minor flood, but certainly did not notably raise the river level above its banks, as it took far longer for the water to get to the river/sea from the drain. The others would not create a flood, unless the topography was particularly suitable for this.
One could define a “heavy downpour” as one that forces motorists to stop as they can’t see where they are going, even with windscreen wipers going full tilt. Visibility reduced to 20 yards or less.
If she means floods – as you have interpreted it – why didn’t she say “Floods”?

July 18, 2013 9:21 am

There has been an ever increasing increase in infrastructure that diverted water to streams that typically would have been absorbed into the local landscape. Urban growth covers the landscape, water is diverted to whatever streams are left and other storm drainage is built.

July 18, 2013 9:23 am

The steamgage chart above is tracking the Multivariate ENSO index.

Tom Elliott
July 18, 2013 9:24 am

funny that the 70’s seem to be higher as those were drought years in much of the U.S.

July 18, 2013 9:25 am

It’s definitely dropped since 1997.

July 18, 2013 9:31 am

Try that again, but start at plotting ay 2000 and leave off the current year. Then what does it look like!

Mike Reese
July 18, 2013 9:40 am

Drought!!! Dooooom!

July 18, 2013 9:44 am

Here we go again. A microdatum is cited. There is no meteorological or statistical definition of a ‘down pour’. Does she mean ‘heavy rain” or “violent rain”? How does she know there is an increase? There are no recurring statistics kept, merely precipitation records and in some very few places river depth gauges..
So it is virtually impossible to refute her claim without exact preparation. This is a pattern with The Climateers, and points to politics instead of science.

July 18, 2013 9:46 am

Seems to me the true believers have been listening to too much Naughty Boy lyrics:
Hush, don’t speak
When you spit your venom, keep it shut I hate it
When you hiss and preach
About your new messiah ’cause your theories catch fire
I can’t find those silver linings
I don’t mean to judge
But when you read your speech it’s tiring ,
Enough is enough
I’m covering my ears like a kid
When your words mean nothing, I go la la la
I’m turning off the volume when you speak
Cause if my heart can’t stop it, I find a way to block it I go
La la, la la la…
I find a way to block it I go
La la, la la la…

July 18, 2013 9:48 am

73 percent of what?
In what time period?

July 18, 2013 9:51 am

73 % of all statistics are made up on the spot.

July 18, 2013 9:52 am

Clearly, Mann needs to get in there and start cherry-picking streamgauges.

July 18, 2013 9:53 am

KevinM says:
July 18, 2013 at 9:31 am
Why should we do that?

Bernie McCune
July 18, 2013 9:57 am

See the pdf of her presentation here:
If you look carefully at the data she shows in most of the figures, the actual data seems to prove many of her statements wrong. The data she used for increase in heavy downpour shown in her Fig 7 is obscure (Kenneth Kunkel) and about 20 years of it precedes any possibility of satellite data collection. I am not sure what her point of catastrophic rainfall is when here in the desert SW of New Mexico we are in a severe drought with CO2 at “record” levels of 400 ppm.
Some of her points that show trends use data that begins in 1970. Since PDO and AMO cycles tend to be 60 year cycles, I would rather see data promoting these trends that are perhaps 80 years or more in length. Present sea level height increase data does not support her speculative “projections” in Figure 10. Definitely a lot of hand waving here.

July 18, 2013 10:06 am

Just seen this on MSN. EEEEkkkkk. This is what global warming/climate change/weather wierding looks like.. It is real and happening now…. everywhere. Except this video reminds me of a summer storm in Northern Ontario in the mid 70’s. We were at the beach when it rolled in. We were in the car and in our driveway in minutes and by that time it was at full fury. We were stuck in the car,the deep ditches were quickly filled and the roof of our school blew off. I remember thinking why such an awesome event as the roof blowing off couldn’t have happened at a more convenient time. Like the day before school started. Have not seen a downpour like that since. Maybe if I had a little more of that green Kool-Aid like this woman Heidi is drinking I could forget all that and be a stupid zombie like her. Nah!

G P Hanner
July 18, 2013 10:13 am

And in the real world, it hasn’t rained in eastern Nebraska for over two weeks now. The corn crop is starting to show stress. The WOWT ENSO meter is again leaning back toward indications of hot and dry for the Great Plains.
Oh, yeah. We did have a big flood in the Missouri Valley a couple of years ago.
Still. Nothing beyond the range of the record books.

July 18, 2013 10:22 am

Agreed. The plot of stream gauges doesn’t mean much without knowledge of the work that has been done to improve stream and drainage flows, flood control, and improvements in storm drainage and flood retention.
The chart is interesting. But it can also be read as, “the Corp of Engineers” are only managing to just stay ahead of increased rainfall and urbanization.
Here is the other problem I have with the chart: 55% of ALL Stream Gauges were out of bank in 2011 and 2012??? How many are we talking about and where are they? What does it take to be overbank on each of them?
There are an awful lot of stream gauges on this map of Houston.
On this site, you can see the historical stream gauges, one by one, chart by chart.
For instance, here is D100 Brays Bayou @ Rice Avenue. The heaviest rainfall was Late April 2013 and at this gauge it was 22 ft above base of channel and about 1 ft below top. The next highest was 9 feet lower.

stan stendera
July 18, 2013 10:24 am

Anthony, shame on you. I come here because it’s fun and entertaining, but you persist in bringing up fools like Heidi Cullen. I have high blood pressure,. I don’t need this. You keep tempting me to make comments that will get me banned. Well, here goes. Heidi Cullen is a self snip, self snip, self snip, and a self snip. There, I feel better. Of course, what I really want to do is meet Heidi in person and tell he face to face what I think of her.

July 18, 2013 10:30 am

Why is it always extreme weather tomorrow? Why not now? I’m sick and tired of waiting for our promised calamity.

July 18, 2013 10:40 am

Isn’t lying to a Senate committee frowned upon?

July 18, 2013 10:40 am

flash back….Cullen says droughts and heat waves to get worse

July 18, 2013 10:40 am

Slight correction to 10:22 am above:
D100 Brays Bayou @ Rice Avenue (in houston) is page 440.
You can also get rainfall, but the time resolution is dependent upon the time window:
2 day window is rainfall by hour
7 day window is rainfall by 1/2 day
Month window is by day
Year window is by month.
Finally, these gauges can be in error. Consider D100 at July 2011: There are three spikes 35 feet above Top of Channel — which isn’t possible. It is simply instrument error.

July 18, 2013 10:41 am

The clear blue sky’s and sunshine that we’re having today must be man-made too /sarc

July 18, 2013 10:43 am

AND due to the jet stream. The UK has been basking under a blocking high (30C) for quite a while now.
Our lawns are starting to go crispy at the edges so when we get a typical English rain, it will cause surface flooding.

July 18, 2013 10:47 am

It rained very hard for 30 or so minutes in Richmond Tuesday evening. One of those thunderstorm things that happen in the evening of a very hot day. Saved me from having to water the lawn. Maybe that’s what she is talking about.

July 18, 2013 10:56 am
Ian W
July 18, 2013 10:57 am

H.R. says:
July 18, 2013 at 10:40 am
Isn’t lying to a Senate committee frowned upon?

I was going to suggest that this committee should be taking evidence under oath. That should reduce the level of ‘certainty’ claimed by those giving evidence.

R. de Haan
July 18, 2013 11:02 am

So Heidi Cullen is lying her pants off in front of the Senate. Now tell me, how is this possible?
What drives a person to tell lies that would undermine our entire civilization and get away with it?
How is it possible that she can tell lies in front of the US Senate without risking jail.
End of career, period.
There are thousands more where she came from.
All nicely protected, rewarded, prized, like Obama who received a Noble Peace Price even before he have achieved anything.
Obama today is according to several sources a war criminal.
Both Cullen and Obama are protected by an almost invisible hand of those mastering the Agenda, rigging the science, rigging our civilization, rigging our communities, our social structures, our way of life.
It’s all staged, from financial crises to climate crises and despite all the evidence we have collected we will never be able to win this struggle if we keep focused watching the puppets instead of the puppet masters.
The puppet Masters are those who have been infected.
They are sick and crazy people.
We’re fighting a disease that we can only overcome if we eliminate the host.
The virus that infected the host is fascism and they, the puppet masters, the fascists, are in control.
The time has come to really wake up and act.
J.B. Morgan for example is just a bank and those in control form an absolute minority of our population.
J.B. Morgan however has been one of the driving forces behind our human history over the past century including the dark periods.
The time has come to end their rule and the rule of their muppet friends.
Let’s pull the plug on our current Government and the Banks. We can do that. They are her for us and not the other way around.
All we need to do is to restore the Glass Steagall Act to break Wall Street, the FED and the banks and… kick Obama out of Office. We can do that.
We have absolutely noting to loose and if we don’t act the next step will be a horrible collapse of our economies or even a nuclear war. Obama is driving the USA into the ground.
He not only creates havoc targeting the people of the US but he also invades countries without declaring war, this despite serious warnings from the Chinese and the Russians.
Obama has become a serious problem, but remember he was hand picked to perform his job.
It’s not us but them who have declared war on our civilization.
The moment the Anthropogenic Climate Change doctrine took off, we were designated to become the cancer of the planet and they started taking our money and rigging our civilization.
Now pick up your phone and call your representative to get the Glass Steagall Act reinstalled.
If this succeeds, Obama is dead meat in terms of his presidency because Glass Steagall is the last thing they want.
Hard time are ahead but….

July 18, 2013 11:02 am

A must read:
“When Iowa State University sociologists polled nearly 5,000 Corn Belt farmers on climate change, 66 percent believed climate change is occurring, but only 41 percent believed humans bore any part of the blame for global warming.”
“National Farm Bureau’s spokesman Mace Thornton puts it: “We’re not convinced that the climate change we’re seeing is anthropogenic in origin. We don’t think the science is there to show that in a convincing way.” (Given the basic physics of CO2 capturing heat that have been known for more than a century and the ever-larger amounts of CO2 put into the atmosphere by human activity, it’s not clear what “science” he’s holding out for.)”

Frank K.
July 18, 2013 11:07 am

Heidi Cullen again? Oh, brother [sigh]…

July 18, 2013 11:09 am

Well then the headline needs to read “…..not supported in government’s own taxpayer-funded data.”

Gary Pearse
July 18, 2013 11:09 am

highflight56433 says:
July 18, 2013 at 9:21 am
“There has been an ever increasing increase in infrastructure that diverted water to streams that typically would have been absorbed into the local landscape. Urban growth covers the landscape, water is diverted to whatever streams are left and other storm drainage is built.”
And farmers have put in tile drainage to cultivate lowlands, get an early jump on planting and dealing with excess rain. The water doesn’t get to stick around long in country or city.

Doug Proctor
July 18, 2013 11:10 am

The willingness to BS when you have a “noble cause” has exploded.
When there is no accountability, i.e. when the non-existence and non-assurance of WMDs doesn’t mean squat, even though you took two major nations to war on their existence, there is no reason to hold back on saying anything that furthers your cause.
Until the powers above hold accountable those below them for the things they say and do, there will be this sort of outrage going on.
There is a reason that Congress and the Senate refuse to move on eco-green items to the level of White House rhetoric and eco-green shouting: the facts are not the same as the promotional claims. It is not politics or money, it is the disconnect between scenarios and observation that hold up action. The non-increase in floods is what stops additional flood response, in this case – or action to prevent floods through CO2 reduction. You have to first show the damage you are about to avoid to justify spending the money when money is scarce.
In a limited financial environment, funding always goes to the priorities. As return goes down, as uncertainty of outcome goes up, the item slides further down the list. Not off the list, but further down while the top priorities are taken care of. If the return doesn’t go up and the uncertainty, down, the item never rises into the “act” portion of the list. Again, it is not politics or ideology. It is the normal and proper response to a limited capacity for funding and activity.
BS as Cullen expresses, puts the uncertainty level higher when it comes to actual project evaluation. The return can’t be quantified if, on examination, the claims turn out to be speculative; the resultant risk factor on benefit kills the project. Although Cullen may speak nationally instead of globally, so her claim is American-specific, individual projects rely on individual statistics: Texas, for example, if being asked to spend X to accomplish Y, looks to what benefit Texas will get. If the data doesn’t support signficiant increases in rain deluges in Texas, Texas will say they are getting not enough for the Texan’s dollar. If each State looks at things this way, and the data is bogus – as this is – then nobody finds the cost personally beneficial. Nobody may say the data is bogus, but everyone might say it must refer to someone else’s backyard, and those are the people who should pay for it.
Of course the eco-green – and Obama – spin this differently. But this is how things actually work. As long as Climate Change remains a statistician’s reality, not a blue-collar reality, nobody should nor will consider it really worth the effort.
In Alberta, we just had a 100-year flood. Major damage, especially to homes and businesses located on the developed floodplain (which is called a “floodplain” for some reason the developers don’t discuss). Of course the call is about Climate Change. The response will be, however, to raise berms (dikes) to protect certain areas better, and (perhaps) finally declare some areas non-developable – as has in a practical way New Orleans dealt with Ward 9 after the Katriana flooding (put major impediments to redeveloping and return of residents). The berms will be built because it makes personal economic sense to do so, regardless of the impact of CO2 on weather patterns. This is the sort of spending and activity we will do, not the type based on possible negative weather in our grandchildren’s lifetimes.
The use of non-legislative regulatory powers to induce activity on non-politically, non-taxpayer supported items is a failure of democratic process as well as principles. This is what we are seeing. It is a failure of competence also, for the technical reviews that would be required to justify actions to the electorate or the political leaders is not done. Regulatory changes don’t need much more than authorization from the mandarins; technical backup is more windowdressing and ass-covering, and we all know how such things – when they really don’t count in the decision-making – can be spun however you wish.
We think globally but act locally. That is how it should be. Totalitarian thinking is global AS IF global and local were the same. Which is why centralized planning imposes so much pain on the public body: global is not local.
Cullen, with here increase in extreme rain events, should – and probably does – understand this. But the Noble Cause in which she has clearly invested heavily, allows her to say whatever is useful. But I’ll bet very locally – her household – she doesn’t actually follow through: I’ll bet she doesn’t follow a “low-carbon” lifestyle or make low-carbon choices about transportation, consumerism etc. any more than the rest of us.

Craig Moore
July 18, 2013 11:12 am

Isn’t the animated description of ‘heavy downpour’ which is contrary to the data, a display of rhetorical ‘spigotry’ against inconvenient facts?

george e smith
July 18, 2013 11:13 am

Well I for one, was mightily impressed with how Dr Roy, conducted his presentation. Hey he also is better looking than I had thought from photographs.
Listening to that last woman witness trying to argue that the models are credible and actually are based on the Physics, yet none of the very large number of them come anywhere near the reality; what a farce.
And as for Sen. Whitehouse basing his entire conclusion on the fact that NASA landed a robot on Mars, so they must know what they are doing.
Hey Senator ! many of us (well me at least) generally agree that the planet has recently (in climate size chunks of time) come through a period of warming possibly since the IGY in 1957/58 up until around 1995, and has (statistically) plateaued since then, with a possible down turn, and good indications of a near future cooling trend.
In mathematics; that phenomenon, is what we call a “maximum”. Just like a freeway overpass; the road goes up, then flattens out, and goes down on the other side. Try making a puddle of water (Sen Whitehouse) on the top of that overpass. Dang ! the water keeps running down the sides. That’s why we call it a maximum; the highest road elevations all occur around the top of the overpass. A cluster of higher Temperature records, can always be found bunched around a maximum.
It’s just WAG, but I would opine, that we might also find a cluster of low Temperature records, bunched around a local minimum, such as we had in the Little Ice Age, for example.
So Senator Whitehouse, from a State of a size that will fit in about 18 different non-overlapping places in The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; a public park in the State of Alaska, wants to make National policy on the fact that Rhode Island fishermen; having depleted the inshore fish stocks in their waters, by overfishing, must now burn more gas to go further offshore to rape the fish stocks out there too.
Hint to Sen Whitehouse; outlaw the selling of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fish oil pills; which are known to cause prostate cancer; and your RI fisheries will rebound naturally, once they stop pillaging all the bait fishes.
I was pleased that Dr Roy, and Dr Pielke Jr seemed to get shunted to last place; but that let them get out the take home message; “Climate Change- It Ain’t Happening !” (well any more than it always does.).
I don’t exactly understand how the Satellite Tropospheric Temperature sensing works;; I know Dr Roy has explained it many times; some Oxygen microwave thing; but I don’t hear any clamor that it is not robust; so I believe he and Prof John Christy know what they are doing, and Spencer’s note that it obviates the anomalous surface readings due to Urban Heat Islands, which are known to bias the surface sensing, was something of note.
And we have Anthony to thank, for showing how SNAFUed the surface sensing is (along with his volunteer army).
Senator Sessions seemed on a par with Whitehouse. I was sorry to not see Sen. Imhofe; but Sessions did ok.
Thanks Dr Roy; we owe you one.

July 18, 2013 11:20 am

Is this a sign that the recent global warming was not enough to create a trend in rising water vapour in the atmospere? If yes, then doesn’t this put a spanner in the works? Just askin.
Here are 3 papers from 2011 on the extreme meme – worldwide.

Conclusion – 2011
Long-term properties of annual maximum daily river discharge worldwide
Analysis of trends and of aggregated time series on climatic (30-year) scale does not indicate consistent trends worldwide. Despite common perception, in general, the detected trends are more negative (less intense floods in most recent years) than positive. Similarly, Svensson et al. (2005) and Di Baldassarre et al. (2010) did not find systematical change neither in flood increasing or decreasing numbers nor change in flood magnitudes in their analysis.
Abstract – 2011
Fluctuations in some climate parameters
There is argument as to the extent to which there has been an increase over the past few decades in the frequency of the extremes of climatic parameters, such as temperature, storminess, precipitation, etc, an obvious point being that Global Warming might be responsible. Here we report results on those parameters of which we have had experience during the last few years: Global surface temperature, Cloud Cover and the MODIS Liquid Cloud Fraction. In no case we have found indications that fluctuations of these parameters have increased with time.
Abstract – 2011
The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project
It is anticipated that the 20CR dataset will be a valuable resource to the climate research community for both model validations and diagnostic studies. Some surprising results are already evident. For instance, the long-term trends of indices representing the North Atlantic Oscillation, the tropical Pacific Walker Circulation, and the Pacific–North American pattern are weak or non-existent over the full period of record. The long-term trends of zonally averaged precipitation minus evaporation also differ in character from those in climate model simulations of the twentieth century.

July 18, 2013 11:33 am

Heidi Cullen’s “73% increase in heavy downpours” must have missed the streamgauges.

Abstract – Published online: 24 Oct 2011
Statistical relationships between annual floods at 200 long-term (85–127 years of record) streamgauges in the coterminous United States and the global mean carbon dioxide concentration (GMCO2) record are explored. The streamgauge locations are limited to those with little or no regulation or urban development. The coterminous US is divided into four large regions and stationary bootstrapping is used to evaluate if the patterns of these statistical associations are significantly different from what would be expected under the null hypothesis that flood magnitudes are independent of GMCO2. In none of the four regions defined in this study is there strong statistical evidence for flood magnitudes increasing with increasing GMCO2. One region, the southwest, showed a statistically significant negative relationship between GMCO2 and flood magnitudes. The statistical methods applied compensate both for the inter-site correlation of flood magnitudes and the shorter-term (up to a few decades) serial correlation of floods.

J WIllis
July 18, 2013 11:36 am

Can anyone point me to a study(s) (peer reviewed preferred) that shows an increase in extreme weather events of any type in any area of the world? I haven’t been able to find one through an engine search tool which are the limits of my research expertise.

David Russell
July 18, 2013 11:37 am

I’ll bet more than 73% of Heidi’s statistics are made-up.

July 18, 2013 11:44 am

She didn’t say floods.

July 18, 2013 11:48 am

Does NOAA or anyone else for that matter, keep statistics on “heavy downpours”? First, a heavy downpour would have to be defined. Secondly, since heavy downpours are limited to small local areas, nothing other than a nation-wide rain collecting and measuring series of monitoring stations would be able to collect such data. I guess anecdotal evidence established the 73% ?

July 18, 2013 12:05 pm

Ian W says:
July 18, 2013 at 10:57 am
@H.R. says:
July 18, 2013 at 10:40 am
Isn’t lying to a Senate committee frowned upon?
“I was going to suggest that this committee should be taking evidence under oath. That should reduce the level of ‘certainty’ claimed by those giving evidence.”
Yep, Ian. Under oath, you could drive the space shuttle crawler through the error bars ;o)

July 18, 2013 12:11 pm

This looks like it would be governed by a Bernoulli Distribution. Streamgauges either above full bankflow (1) or not (0).
Mean = 0.45, variance = .45*(1-.45) = about 0.25. No significant trend.

July 18, 2013 12:11 pm

If I recall correctly, one of Nietzsche’s aphorisms was, “When everyone can read, then no one will be able to think.” Obviously OTT, but I can’t shake off the sense that there’s something to it. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be, “As more and more people can read, there are proportionally fewer and fewer who can think.” i suspect it has to do with handling abstract ideas without losing your moorings in the world around you. People like Ms. Cullen are evidently not capable of this. And since there are more people like her every year, there is an ever-increasing volume of inane discourse.

July 18, 2013 12:34 pm

It’s hard to listen to someone like Heidi and not also recall that UNESCO has deliberately brought in the media to disseminate its desired message. The one that does not care of the globe is warming or not if the theory is successfully used to shift political, economic, and social systems. So when the UN wants to use education and the media “to decisively influence our psyche and character” we should see blatant misstatements of fact and science through that lens. When we are dealing with media personalities.
I explained the UNESCO pursuit of this in order by their own admission ti get to a new Marxist Humanism here. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/decreeing-the-interdependence-of-environment-economy-society-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-21st/
Remember Princeton is where the World Order Models Project was hatched in the early 70s by Richard Falk. It’s also where Robert Tucker taught political science for many years. He may have written openly about his MH, small c hopes for the West in the early 60s but by the 80s he saw the Club of Rome and Sustainability as the method to get at the same result. Princeton is also where the noosphere, Global Consciousness Project, is located. A ready home for a Climate project seeking the same end results.

Chad Wozniak
July 18, 2013 12:39 pm

Obviously, Ms. Cullen thinks hand-waving creates enough evidence to support her arguments What do you call that, argumentum per manibus volantibus?
What an illiterate nematode. How can anybody that just plain dumb and dense get a Ph.D.? Oh, but unfortunately I know the answer – just be a good lefty, nowadays, and to hell with any actual learning.

Chad Wozniak
July 18, 2013 12:42 pm

@Robin –
Interesting that Princeton is also the home of that brave skeptic warrior, Dr. William Happer.
Too bad Dr. Happer wasn’t on the witness list – he would have made shrimp cocktail out of those alarmist numskulls,

Theo Goodwin
July 18, 2013 12:49 pm

KevinM says:
July 18, 2013 at 11:02 am
Go to Judith Curry’s website and see what the resident Alarmists know about farming. LOL

July 18, 2013 1:10 pm

Wait, I thought they were going to discuss the science. This lady has absolutely no study backing up anything she said!

July 18, 2013 1:13 pm

KevinM says:(Given the basic physics of CO2 capturing heat…”
“Capturing heat” hey. What does it do with the heat once it is captured? And how does it go about this “capturing heat”. Curious.

July 18, 2013 1:15 pm

“Andyj says:
July 18, 2013 at 10:43 am
AND due to the jet stream. The UK has been basking under a blocking high (30C) for quite a while now.
Our lawns are starting to go crispy at the edges so when we get a typical English rain, it will cause surface flooding”
Exacerbated by tarmacking where we shouldn’t do so.

July 18, 2013 1:17 pm

Chad-just making a point about amenability to ideology among certain high profile faculty members over decades. And the noosphere project came out of Gaia interest.
That World Order Models Project was almost frightening to read about. Full of influential people and funding.

R. de Haan
July 18, 2013 1:19 pm

Andyj says:
July 18, 2013 at 10:43 am
AND due to the jet stream. The UK has been basking under a blocking high (30C) for quite a while now.
Our lawns are starting to go crispy at the edges so when we get a typical English rain, it will cause surface flooding.
Just tell me, how are those wind mills doing… not much I suppose as high pressure means no wind.
Your electricity under these circumstances will come from STOR diesel powered generators in the near future. I am glad I don’t have to pay your electricity bill.

R. de Haan
July 18, 2013 1:24 pm

Andyj says:
July 18, 2013 at 10:43 am
“Our lawns are starting to go crispy at the edges so when we get a typical English rain, it will cause surface flooding.”
If I were you I would take a pitch fork and start making holes in the ground.
I relieved myself from such a task because I turned my lawn into a parking lot.
No longer have to worry about my lawn and as the run off is concerned that’s why we have a sewer system.

July 18, 2013 1:25 pm

in her intro Heidi says:
“communicating the risks of climate change is something I care deeply about.”
So she’s using her emotions rule over logical thought simpler to religion.

Dodgy Geezer
July 18, 2013 1:26 pm

…‘73% increase in heavy downpours’ not supported by data…
Surely it’s easy enough to ask her for a cite for that figure?

July 18, 2013 1:43 pm

“Does NOAA or anyone else for that matter, keep statistics on “heavy downpours”? First, a heavy downpour would have to be defined.”
Ok, you are in my area of knowledge now. I can only speak precisely for Australian conditions, but surely the US must have a similar system.
Down here we have a rather large manual called Australian Rainfall and Runoff. This tome is used by water engineers to try to predict things such as “Probable Maximum Precipitation” (PMP) as well for design work in determining Average Return Interval (ARI) for different amounts of rainfall in different areas of the country. All this is done by fitting curves to the 100 year or so records of rainfall. and deriving statistical formulas for.
I know the guys doing the recent updates to this manual, and while they have made changes that have increased the statistical PMP, that is mainly because we have gained knowledge about the “east coast lows” which bring the really heavy rain to the east coast.
Now , the rains in Queensland in 2010 were estimated as being a “statistical” 1 in about 120 year event about the same as the very local event that caused the Newcastle floods in 2007
The statistical ARI 100 rainfall event seems to occur about every 30-40 years in South East Qld (do some research on Brisbane floods, you will see what I mean)
chuckle, that statement will stuff up a few non statisticians..
The guys also looked at the climate models, and while I know a couple of them are of a “warmist” bent, they all have come to the conclusion that the climate models have basically ZERO skill when it comes to hydrological matters.

Bruce Cobb
July 18, 2013 1:47 pm

There has also been a 68% increase in brilliant rainbows. Science.

July 18, 2013 1:51 pm

For those interested, here is an example booklet, to do just with PMP’s

July 18, 2013 2:02 pm

Another point of interest.. while Flannery was sprouting his nonsense about permanent droughts, the engineers were building a massive extra spillway on Warragamba Dam.
This was bought about by the Dapto rainfall event I the early 1980’s, which changed the understanding of what an east coast low could deliver.
Mind you, a look at the historic record would have given them a pretty good idea http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/14947795

July 18, 2013 2:06 pm

And if you really want to get wet.. Go to Dorrigo on the upper NSW coast.
(scroll down to “significant weather events”)

Gunga Din
July 18, 2013 2:07 pm

Heidi Cullen at Senate EPW: ‘73% increase in heavy downpours’ not supported by data

Hmmm … I wonder if Wirth or Hansen planted a sprinkler in the room?

G. Karst
July 18, 2013 2:14 pm

Michael Jankowski says:
July 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm
Must be referring to this http://www.environmentconnecticut.org/news/cte/new-report-extreme-downpours-and-snowstorms-73-percent-connecticut

Michael nailed it:
Key findings for Connecticut and New England include:
Extreme rainstorms and snowstorms are becoming more frequent. Connecticut experienced a 73 percent increase in the frequency of extreme rainstorms and snowstorms from 1948 to 2011. In other words, heavy downpours or snowstorms that happened once every 12 months on average in 1948 now happen every 6.9 months, on average.
Storms with extreme precipitation increased in frequency by 85 percent in New England during the period studied. The New England region ranks 1st nationwide for the largest increase in the frequency of storms with heavy precipitation.
The biggest rainstorms and snowstorms are getting bigger. The amount of precipitation released by the largest annual storms in Connecticut increased by 20 percent from 1948 to 2011. GK

Gunga Din
July 18, 2013 2:17 pm

Ryan says:
July 18, 2013 at 11:44 am
She didn’t say floods.

So … a “73% increase in downpours” does not lead to an increase in floods? Not even flash-floods? Any idea what caused floods in the past before “Climate Change” caused in increase in whatever she’s claiming today?

Chad Wozniak
July 18, 2013 2:22 pm

Yes, frightening indeed. The intellectual elite in this country has almost totally succumbed to this Nazi-like ideology. The historical parallels are compelling beyond compelling – it is history being relived. This isn’t America 2013, it’s Germany 1933.

July 18, 2013 2:25 pm

@ Gunga,
We know UHI doesn’t affect thermometers use for the global temp calc, so why should an increase in precipitation intensity cause floods. 😉

Gunga Din
July 18, 2013 2:28 pm

PS I’m very familiar with one particular stream gauge. A dam was built above it in the ’50’s. Of the top ten historic readings 5 were set before the dam was built.

July 18, 2013 2:30 pm

Anthony, perhaps Pielke, Jr’s written testimony is worthy of a thread of its own:
He certainly shows that climate hypochondriacs are talking nonsense with regard to “extreme” weather phenomena….

Gunga Din
July 18, 2013 2:32 pm

PSPS The records for that gauge go back to 1938.

Gunga Din
July 18, 2013 2:45 pm

Yet another PS.
Don’t the word “climate” throw you. They seem to be using it correctly.
And regarding the paper itself and it’s take on counties in the US subject to water supply “stress”, if I understood it correctly, they did not consider water entering a county via streams and rivers but they said they weren’t. It seems to me that would effect whether a county may face “stress” or not.

July 18, 2013 2:50 pm

The only region that her map shows a 74% increase is NewEngland which is somewhere around 5.7% of the US and 0.01% of the earth.
Did she imply the nation was “73%”? I don’t see it here.
As a civil engineer I agree with:
highflight56433 says:
July 18, 2013 at 9:21 am
There has been an ever increasing increase in infrastructure that diverted water to streams that typically would have been absorbed into the local landscape. Urban growth covers the landscape, water is diverted to whatever streams are left and other storm drainage is built.

This region is one of the world’s most urban develped.
This link also states:
“The reason for these heavier rain events is relatively simple: in a world warmed by heat-­‐trapping greenhouse gases, there’s more evaporation, the atmosphere can hold more water vapor, and when that water vapor condenses as rain or snow, there’s more of it available to fall.”
She presents hardly any eveidence to support that assertion excetpt maybe computer models.

Luther Wu
July 18, 2013 2:53 pm

Just since Mid May, here in Oklahoma City we’ve seen the widest tornado ever recorded, which was accompanied by the heaviest rainfall I’ve ever witnessed, 66F degrees at noon in Oklahoma City in mid July (This week), 100F+ in June and general weather weirdness which is nothing more than par for the course. A record here and there means nothing out here in the middle of this continent..
Today, I told my conspiracy theorist friend (who’s too paranoid for internet) that HAARP was being discontinued and her answer was….. “Then they really do have something better. Besides, everyone’s on to HAARP.”

Brian H
July 18, 2013 3:15 pm

Operational question: are the Senators smart enough to perceive the falsification? Only the Budget Committee knows for sure.

July 18, 2013 3:22 pm

If Comet Ison lives up to hype/expectations then minds (the general public) might then be focused on what’s real.

July 18, 2013 3:27 pm

oops ISON

R. de Haan
July 18, 2013 3:30 pm

Not entirely off topic: Paul Craig Roberts: `The Unspoken Truth: Coup d’Etat in America’
The American people have suffered a coup d’etat, but they are hesitant to acknowledge it. The regime ruling in Washington today lacks constitutional and legal legitimacy. Americans are ruled by usurpers who claim that the executive branch is above the law and that the US Constitution is a mere scrap of paper….
“The basis of the regime in Washington is nothing but usurped power. The Obama Regime, like the Bush/Cheney Regime, has no legitimacy. Americans are oppressed by an illegitimate government ruling, not by law and the Constitution, but by lies and naked force. Those in government see the US Constitution as a chain that binds our hands….
“The only constitutional protection that the Bush/Obama regime has left standing is the Second Amendment, a meaningless amendment considering the disparity in arms between Washington and what is permitted to the citizenry. No citizen standing with a rifle can protect himself and his family from one of the Department of Homeland Security’s 2,700 tanks, or from a drone, or from a heavily armed SWAT force in body armor.
“Like serfs in the dark ages, American citizens can be picked up on the authority of some unknown person in the executive branch and thrown in a dungeon, subject to torture, without any evidence ever being presented to a court or any information to the person’s relatives of his/her whereabouts. Or they can be placed on a list without explanation that curtails their right to travel by air. Every communication of every American, except face-to-face conversation in non-bugged environments, is intercepted and recorded by the National Stasi Agency from which phrases can be strung together to produce a domestic extremist….
“The serfs are obedient.
“The people who helped transform a democratically accountable president into a Caesar include John Yoo, who was rewarded for his treason by being accepted as a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt school of law. Yoo’s colleague in treason, Jay Scott Bybee, was rewarded by being appointed a federal judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. We now have a Berkeley law professor teaching, and a federal circuit judge ruling, that the executive branch is above the law….
“The executive branch coup against America has succeeded. The question is: will it stand? Today, the executive branch consists of liars, criminals, and traitors. The evil on earth seems concentrated in Washington.”
He concludes, “If Americans acquiesce to the coup d’etat, they will have placed themselves firmly in the grip of tyranny.”
Roberts served as an Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan administration.

July 18, 2013 3:33 pm

Stomached a few seconds of “Dr” Heidi-ho. Lies, damn lies & no statistics.
What a surprise. /sarc

Berényi Péter
July 18, 2013 3:36 pm
July 18, 2013 3:44 pm

It’s the usual story. They predict more rain, but the data shows no more rain. They product more drought, but the data shows no more drought. So, they predict that the amount of rain will not change, but that the *way* it rains will change. Good rain will become bad rain. Gentle, widespread showers will be replaced with violent localized downpours. Rain on weekday nights will be replaced by daytime weekend rain on barbecues, picnics, weddings, and ball games. It will rain where mosquitoes breed, but not where crops grow. It will rain on kittens, but not on flowers. It’s bad rain, I’m telling you! Bad!

Henry Galt
July 18, 2013 3:52 pm

When you reach your sixties it is easy to look at moving images of people and ‘see’ through the makeup and make-believe to the reality.
Cullen and Boxter sitting in a tree …

July 18, 2013 4:04 pm

@G. Karst
A straw man. The debate is not about climate change.
The climate changes no matter what we humans do, full stop, end of story.
Weather patterns change over time, tell me something new.
The debate is about the theory stating that the rise of (Anthropogenic) CO2 in the atmosphere will cause (runaway) global warming and extreme weather as a result.
The real question (The one she can’t and won’t answer) is:
Is the change in this regional weather pattern caused by increased antropoghenic CO2 -> global warming?
How can this change in this regional weather pattern be caused by global warning while the data shows that there hasn’t been any global warming for the last 18-23 years?

July 18, 2013 4:12 pm

makes perfect sense…
global warming has increased global temperatures a 1/2 degree…
….and that has set up massive instability in the weather

July 18, 2013 5:31 pm

When you see the official forecast (Chicago, not that it matters), go from:
Hot and sunny in the a.m. no mention of rain, then clouds start building by 10:30 and the forecast changes to 20% chance, then by 12:30 the radar starts picking up the building storms (forecast changes to 40%), nobody says the bases of the storms are at 10,000 feet and the rain may evaporate before it hits the ground.
The radar is looking at storm tops (12-14,000 feet), warnings go out anyway.
Such has been my life, indoors and outdoors for the last 3-4 days.

July 18, 2013 5:40 pm

Extreme rainstorms and snowstorms are becoming more frequent. Connecticut experienced a 73 percent increase in the frequency of extreme rainstorms and snowstorms from 1948 to 2011. In other words, heavy downpours or snowstorms that happened once every 12 months on average in 1948 now happen every 6.9 months, on average.
That’s a reduced aerosol effect and well documented. Aerosols suppress rainfall near their source, but enhance rainfall downwind. There would have been a similar decrease in intense rainfall downwind, but that is over the ocean, and no one measures rainfall over the ocean.

July 18, 2013 6:55 pm

highflight56433 says: “There has been an ever increasing increase in infrastructure that diverted water to streams that typically would have been absorbed into the local landscape. Urban growth covers the landscape, water is diverted to whatever streams are left and other storm drainage is built.”
Exactly. Around Minnesota, you can find rainwater holding ponds and the like. To prevent rain surges into for one, our lakes, which are a valuable resource. We continue to build and add road curbs that collect rainwater and bring it to the nearest stream or lake. More hard surfaces lead to more rainwater surges though our drainage infrastructure. It doesn’t mean the climate changed. But even if it did, now let’s manage the runoff. That seems to be an easier problem then attempting to adjust the rainfall on a global scale.

Bernie McCune
July 18, 2013 9:04 pm

Some significant amount of source material for Dr. Cullen’s presentation comes from a Kenneth Kunkel et. al. paper:
Monitoring And Understanding Trends in Extreme Storms: State of Knowledge.
Found here:
This paper states that the Western US has not joined the extreme rainfall club. Living in the western US, I can vouch for that. Also that warming conditions promote extreme rainfall events. So that IMO, these recent NE US heavy rainfall events may more likely be caused by the present AMO warming cycle than by humans or CO2. I would like data for more than about 40 years into a 60 year cycle to see if these higher rainfalls will eventual decrease even as atmospheric CO2 concentration increases over the next 30 years.

July 18, 2013 9:10 pm

But our classy political leadership does not want to hear things that do not agree with their bought and paid for views that AGW is a real and present danger. And that the only thing keeping us from managing the climate is a few flat earthers.

Half Tide Rock
July 18, 2013 9:15 pm

I hope these people were sworn in. They have got to have something to loose.

July 18, 2013 10:00 pm

Is that Heidi Cullen? I thought she was Ruth Bader Ginzburg. 😉

July 19, 2013 12:23 am

Maybe someone already covered this, I haven’t read all the comments. The caption under the graph reads: Figure 5. One measure of flood frequency from the USGS, percent of US streamguages above “bankfull streamflow.” The USGS explains: “The bankfull streamflow is defined as the highest daily mean streamflow value expected to occur, on average, once in every 2.3 years.”
Why in the world is the USGS using a non statistic as a stat? “Expected to occur” is not what happened just like the “expected warming”. A statistic is the state of something. Either the streams exceeded their banks or they didn’t. What percentage actually did exceed their banks that yeart? That is the data the graph should show and is probably what folks think it does show. To that degree, I feel the graph is invalid and non-scientific.
Dave T
Sacramento, CA

July 19, 2013 2:43 am

who needs facts when you have faith

July 19, 2013 4:34 am

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
As with all of the various sorts of extreme weather events, nothing is trending. Besides, love the photo.

July 19, 2013 7:47 am

It doesn’t matter, she said it, and the damage is done. I could get up on that stage and say that locust swarms are up 2000% because of warmer global temps. its a lie and could be debunked, but the damage would be done and a certain percent of citizens would believe it now.

July 19, 2013 9:52 am

I hope this comes out right. Average Annual Inches of Rain at each weather station per year Continental US. From NCDC Summary of Days data set.

July 19, 2013 10:20 am

Someone should have asked Cullen how does it feel when you commit perjury.

July 19, 2013 2:33 pm

[snip – wronger than wrong. .42 inches as an all time record? I don’t think so, check your source and resubmit – Anthony]

July 19, 2013 3:06 pm

Greatest North American one day rainfall…Isla Mujeres, MX…64″
Greatest US one day rainfall…Alvin Texas, July 1979…43″
I don’t have screen save of the rest of my post on the 1927 Mississippi flood.

July 19, 2013 8:56 pm

Oh, my – Heidi has resurfaced. At least she’s still gone from the Weather Channel.

July 22, 2013 7:08 am

Only the Sun can warm (penetrate) the oceans, so the Sun is now heating up the deep oceans but cannot heat up the land and ocean surface. ??????????

Michael Jankowski
July 23, 2013 9:53 am

Funny how its “downpour events.” The report Heidi refers to includes snowfall. I’ve never heard of a “downpour” of snowfall. And aren’t heavy snowfalls supposed to be a thing of the past thanks to global warming?
The “events” compiled in the report Heidi referred to were 24-hr events. My perception of “downpour” is a heavy rain intensity, typically over a relatively short interval of time – certainly far less than 24 hrs. Big 24 hr events are often tied to tropical storms/hurricanes, stalled fronts (such as the Nashville storm in 2010), etc.
It would be interesting to see how much peak 1hr, 2hr, 6hr, etc, storms have changed over the years since those are what I’d consider “downpours.” I’m not sure why they weren’t studied along with the 24 hr events…makes me wonder if they were but just didn’t produce the desired results.

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