The 'Diffenbaugh Delusion' – refuted with a single graph of temperature

Noah Diffenbaugh

Noah Diffenbaugh – Stanford.

From Stanford University,  a claim easily refuted with a single graph of Tmax. See below.

Global warming has increased risk of record heat, say Stanford scientists

Drought shriveled crops in the Midwest, massive wildfires raged in the West and East Coast cities sweltered. The summer of 2012 was a season of epic proportions, especially July, the hottest month in the history of U.S. weather record keeping.

And it’s likely that we’ll continue to see such calamitous weather.

In the north-central and northeastern United States, extreme weather is more than four times as likely to occur than it was in the pre-industrial era, according to a new study by Noah Diffenbaugh, a Stanford associate professor of environmental Earth system science, and Martin Scherer, a research assistant in the department.

Diffenbaugh and Scherer found strong evidence that the high levels of greenhouse gases now in the atmosphere have increased the likelihood of severe heat such as occurred in the United States in 2012. 

The researchers focused primarily on understanding the physical processes that created the hazardous weather. They looked at how rare those conditions were over the history of available weather records, going back over the last century.

Then, using climate models, they quantified how the risk of such damaging weather has changed in the current climate of high greenhouse gas concentrations, as opposed to an era of significantly lower concentrations and no global warming. Their findings don’t pinpoint global warming as the cause of particular extreme weather events, but they do reveal the increasing risk of such events as the world warms.

“Going forward, if we want to understand and manage climate risks, it’s more practically relevant to understand the likelihood of the hazard than to ask whether any particular disaster was caused by global warming,” Diffenbaugh said.

In 2012 alone, the United States suffered 11 extreme weather events that each caused at least $1 billion in damage. “It’s clear that our greenhouse gas emissions have increased the likelihood of some kinds of extremes, and it’s clear that we’re not optimally adapted to that new climate,” Diffenbaugh said.

While Diffenbaugh cautions against trying to determine whether global warming caused any individual extreme event, the observed global warming clearly appears to have affected the likelihood of record heat, according to Diffenbaugh and Scherer.

The study, looking at the likelihood of July 2012 U.S. temperatures recurring, is part of a larger report edited by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and published Sept. 5 in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The report includes studies of a dozen 2012 extreme weather events by research teams around the world, about half of which found some evidence that human-caused climate change contributed to an extreme weather event.

Close study of extreme weather events can help quantify the likelihood that society will face conditions similar to those that occurred in the summer of 2012, thereby informing efforts to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience. Diffenbaugh argues that the new results can also help to quantify the true cost of emissions to society, since the cost of the disaster is measurable.

“Knowing how much our emissions have changed the likelihood of this kind of severe heat event can help us to minimize the impacts of the next heat wave, and to determine the value of avoiding further changes in climate,” Diffenbaugh said.

###

Funding for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Rob Jordan is the communications writer for the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

================================================================

Diffenbaugh is looking at the average temperature, which is sensitive to the effects of heat sinks/UHI in the overnight low temperature (Tmin). A better way to judge if it really is getting hotter is to look at the daily high temperature (Tmax).

Even with all the flaws and adjustments of the data, Tmax for the USA (bias corrected by Menne) according to NCDC shows the cyclical 60-70 year ocean/solar wave. The positive trend since 1895 is because we start at a minimum of the cycle and ended up at a maximum, the same as if we started in 1970 or even 1950 as some have done.

conus_tmax

Note that 2010 is not hotter than 1934, though we are often given graphs of Tmean that say 2010 was hotter that 1934.

Source: Menne et al (2012)   http://www.samsi.info/sites/default/files/Menne_january2012.pdf

Note the pattern of up/down in Tmax, now look at this graph of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, there is a rough correlation:

PDO_cycle

(h/t to Joe D’Aleo) Note the similarity in the pattern. As we have seen in the past few days, it seems ENSO rules the temperature quite well.

What will Diffenbaugh do on the downcycle now?

And finally, if “Global warming has increased risk of record heat”, wouldn’t we be seeing more records?

USA_HighTemperature_records

Apparently, according to other peer reviewed work, the warming over the past 20 years has been exaggerated:

Ffe_figure1

Red= Observations  Gray= Models   Source: Fyfe et al. 2013

Statistical proof of ‘the pause’ – Overestimated global warming over the past 20 years

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PDO is NOT North Pacific SST. It is a patial pattern of warmer/colder surface waters there.
The US record follows AMO, not PDO. PDO started to go down in 1990, AMO peaked around 2006.

Pamela Gray

That larger report sounds like a room full of elephants being made to wriggle their trunks.

Peter Miller

Sliced and diced to perfection.
Observations always trump theory and models.
Just another example of a dire prediction from ‘climate scientists’ not standing up to scrutiny.

Here is the CET daily max compared to the last 20 years average
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-Dmax.htm

Juraj V says:
September 5, 2013 at 8:58 am
Since the PDO was discovered by a PNW fisheries researcher, I’d go with the NWFSC’s definition of the phenomenon:
http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/fe/estuarine/oeip/ca-pdo.cfm
“The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is a climate index based upon patterns of variation in sea surface temperature of the North Pacific from 1900 to the present (Mantua et al. 1997). While derived from sea surface temperature data, the PDO index is well correlated with many records of North Pacific and Pacific Northwest climate and ecology, including sea level pressure, winter land–surface temperature and precipitation, and stream flow. The index is also correlated with salmon landings from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California.
“The PDO is highly correlated with sea surface temperature in the northern California Current (CC) area; thus we often speak of the PDO as being in one of two phases, a “warm phase” and a “cool phase,” according to the sign of sea–surface temperature anomalies along the Pacific Coast of North America. These phases result from the direction of winter winds in the North Pacific: winter winds blowing chiefly from the southwest result in warmer conditions in the northern CC. The CC warms at such times due to onshore transport of warm waters that normally lie offshore. Conversely, when winds blow chiefly from the north, upwelling occurs both in the open ocean and at the coast, leading to cooler conditions in the northern CC.”

Justthinkin

Yeah well. Ignorance can be taught different with a few facts. You can’t fix stupid, or greedy, narsissitic, pschyo, so-called scientists.

Justthinkin

And as an after thought; when did Cracker Jacks start putting “science” degrees in with the nuts and pop corn?

Yeah, Tony, well, if you were as ruggedly handsome as Diffenbaugh, the media would slavishly follow your every word, too. I particularly like the shot of him walking through a vineyard looking omniscient:
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/june/wines-global-warming-063011.html
I expect to live another 30 years and look forward to tasting some of the climate-damaged California wine Diffenbaugh promises.

Juraj V says:
September 5, 2013 at 8:58 am
Please note also that the linked material shows that the PDO was in warm phase until 1998, not 1990.

richard telford

[snip , ah, the ever negative TELFORD – I’m not interested in your labeling of me – Anthony]

hunter

This is the most worrisome symptom of AGW: The fact free drivel that alleged academics push, and seem to get away with. Gleick, Lewandowsky, Hansen, Romm, “Eli Rabbet”, Schmidt, Diffenbaugh, etc. etc. etc. All of them push non-fact based claims, or commit outright fraud, or calls for fraud, and get away with it. And politicians echo their falsities and they get away with it.
REPLY: never attribute malice to what can be explained by simple incompetence. – Anthony

bit chilly

“then using climate models they quantified”
no they didnt,they came up with another alarming headline to grab the attention of the media,then backtracked through the rest of the statement.
Anthony,please tell me you forwarded your rebuttal ? if not,may i ?
REPLY: I had planned to, but go ahead – Anthony

Gunga Din

This isn’t the entire US but it is 3 parts of it. It isn’t record highs but it is days over 90 degrees. Quite a drop this year.
There is a link to the data set.
http://www.erh.noaa.gov/iln/climo/90s.php

Gail Combs

Well, that answers the question of which ‘SCARE’ is going to be trotted out next.
Actually it is a well thought out ‘Scare’ with lots of mileage possible especially if the earth goes from zonal into a meridional pattern for the next decade or two. A meridional pattern gives you blocking highs with all sorts of climate catastrophes possible.

Tom in Indy

“Funding for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.”
It won’t be long before Obama instructs HHS Czar Sebelius to begin imposing additional taxes/penalties/fees on Carbon Dioxide emitters in the name of improving health outcomes and reducing the cost of healthcare.

richard telford

Do you ever wonder why someone might be negative about the junk you promote here: diatoms from space; insects causing CO2 increase; Greenland ice sheet being 650 years old; no isostasy?
You can censor my comments all you like – you are still wrong.
REPLY: Do you listen to yourself? You must read that liar, Greg Laden, to get your opinions of me. “insects causing CO2 increase” Where? http://www.google.com/search?as_qdr=all&q=insects%20causing%20CO2%20increase+site:wattsupwiththat.com
Don’t make up stuff. The isotasy article was posted to show how ridiculous it was, but apparently all that matters to you is for you to use it as a tool to bash me. Some scientist you are.
See here’s the thing Mr. Telford, I don’t care about your opinion/fabrications, as you’ve got no basis for factual criticism, only hate zingers, like Mr. Laden. And yes, Tmax does refute the issue. Feel free to be as upset as you wish, but do kindly shut the hell up when it comes to hateful zingers in my own home on the Internet.
– Anthony

Steve Oregon

bit chilly says:September 5, 2013 at 9:37 am
Anthony,please tell me you forwarded your rebuttal ? if not,may i ?
REPLY: I had planned to, but go ahead – Anthony
I may be overly presumptuous but I believe anything appearing on WUWT is effectively “forwarded” by way of the warming rascals watching everything that appears here.
I suspect there are web traffic indications which likely back up my presumption.

bit chilly

thank you for permission to send Anthony,i will post any response i receive. having emailed the british antarctic survey with a question on quantifying the human contribution of co2 as opposed to naturally occurring high concentrations in nutrient rich upwellings and not receiving a response as yet,i will not hold my breath,or maybe i should,to minimise my carbon footprint !

“Never attribute malice to what can be explained by simple incompetence. – Anthony”
Why? On the contrary, results of human actions are evidence of real intentions.

mkelly

The report says: “In 2012 alone, the United States suffered 11 extreme weather events that each caused at least $1 billion in damage. “It’s clear that our greenhouse gas emissions have increased the likelihood of some kinds of extremes, and it’s clear that we’re not optimally adapted to that new climate,” Diffenbaugh said.
While Diffenbaugh cautions against trying to determine whether global warming caused any individual extreme event, the observed global warming clearly appears to have affected the likelihood of record heat, according to Diffenbaugh and Scherer.”
===================================================================
Mr. Diffenbaugh makes a statement of fact about “greenhouse gas emissions”, but in the next paragraph says that none of the 11 extreme events can be shown to have been caused by the greenhouse gas emissions he says have increased the likelihood of extreme events.
Seems like a contradiction to me.

John Satterfield

Dah! Global warming heats the planet. But what causes global warming?

pochas

Anthony, your becoming quite adept at technical writing. Good for you!

KNR

Facts be dammed , its the messages ‘impact’ that matters . And this ones a winner .
The trouble is many AGW sceptics think their in a fight over the scientific validity of ‘the cause ‘ , while many AGW proponents know that is not true and we are in fact in far ‘dirtier’ political one , were data, facts , honest and even reality , means nothing . And that as long as the message as an impact nothing else matters . As the old saying went , today’s news is tomorrow’s chip wrapper , how many poor papers have had a big initial PR impact , but when they fallen to bits under review the same press has no interest.?

londo

I wonder, will there be a bailout of climate scientists when politicians are no longer able to scare people into voting for saving the earth that doesn’t need to be saved? I wonder what real problems can an ex climate scientist solve after 10 years of riding the gravy train.

FerdinandAkin

I can do this.
Just look at how many billion dollar catastrophes occurred in the 18th century. Not very many.
Look at how many billion dollar catastrophes happened in the 19th century. Not very many.
Count up the billion dollar weather related disasters that happened in the 20th century. Notice the increase that correlates with Anthropogenic Global Warming.
Now take into consideration the absolute plethora of billion dollar Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming events like the devastating hurricane Sandy Super Storm which proves the point.
The amount of money weather events is costing us goes up with the consumption of fossil fuels. It is all CO2’s fault.
(Where do I apply for my Federal research grant?)

@AW 9:35am never attribute malice to what can be explained by simple incompetence.
Lust, Megalomania, and Greed fall somewhere between Malice and Incompetence.
If it was just incompetence, it couldn’t even get to a favorable editor to be published.

I’m surprised you forgot about the insects – it’s a classic WUWT post. If you need reminding about it, head over to Sou’s blog (http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/06/omg-its-insects-and-more-farce-from-wuwt.html#Example4) and don’t accuse me of making it up.
Regarding Tmax, there is a high likelihood that you don’t understand what likelihood means.

REPLY:
Same stuff, you reference an angry name-calling antagonist’s opinion (one of my blog spawn) rather than point out where there might be a factual error or show a source. I don’t read “Sou” aka Miriam O’Brien, since like you she’s all about denigration. Typically, she’s making a mountain out of an anthill.
And, FYI insects outweigh the biomass of mammals significantly, and termites are one of the biggest contributors of GHG’s. To simply dismiss their contribution is folly. Termites also produce a lot of Methane, which is a far more potent GHG. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v301/n5902/abs/301700a0.html
But see, here’s the thing, none of this hateful opinion about how wrong/stupid etc the WUWT article might be matters much, because as we’ve seen, climate sensitivity is lower than predicted, the models and reality diverge, ENSO seems to have a bigger role than CO2, and in terms of maximum temperatures, it isn’t hotter now than in 1934 in the USA.
Not looking good for Telfords of the world.
-Anthony

Steven Hill from Ky (the welfare state)

We can stop CO2 by destroying the country, chaos is an opportunity for change. President Barack Obama is moving forward with the plan now.

bit chilly

steve oregon,i am fairly new to this debate,so am not aware of the nuances of how the various people involved keep tabs on each other !
i arrived here in a roundabout way after reading a paper from a marine biology student on common skate of all things. sea angling is something i have reasonable amounts of knowledge on,unlike climate science (though that appears not to matter when contributing according to what i have read on sks) but i see similar parallels in marine biology with headline grabbing statements (google callum roberts university of york and no mature cod in north sea,that was complete rubbish ) and papers that are pal reviewed and have very little substance,but are logged in the annals of history as correct for evermore.
it is a disturbing trend,and has seriously dented my faith in modern science.Anthony,s blog,along with judith curry,jo nova,steve mcintyre (though the sheer amount of statistics melts my head there) and several others,along with some truly inspirational comment from people like richard s courtney and latimer alder are slowly restoring it.

OldWeirdHarold

Why are they talking about summer 2012 at the end of summer 2013?

AllanJ

I wonder if he calculated inflation. There was a time in the recent past when a billion dollars was a lot of money. Also growth of population, cities, and rich beach properties could account for more expensive storm damage even if there were fewer and milder storms.

ARW

Isn’t there a problem with plotting historical high and lows as a time series. A logical outcome assuming a regularly varying climate is that the number of record broken must depend on both the number of weather stations and the age of the weather stations. The older the station the less likely there is to be a new high or low record. By taking this to an absurd conclusion, a new weather station probably has a 50/50 chance of setting a record on the 2nd day of operation. 1000 years in the future and considering the cyclical variation of temperature over time the probability of recording a record must become extremely remote. Is there something wrong with my logic here?

John Blake

“High levels of greenhouse gas [sic]”– compared to what? “Increased likelihood of severe drought/warming episodes”– by what factor, 1 : 1,000?
Sounds very much as if this jolly jester Noah Diffenbaugh has put his press releases up for bureaucratic bid: “I hear High Levels! Do I hear ‘Higher’? Going once, going twice… BANG! Awarded to the charcoal-vested headcase in far-left Row 13.”

Juraj V
You are correct about AMO, which turned to the warm phase in the mid 1990’s and that we are still in.
According to NOAA
The AMO has affected air temperatures and rainfall over much of the Northern Hemisphere, in particular, North America and Europe. It is associated with changes in the frequency of North American droughts and is reflected in the frequency of severe Atlantic hurricanes.
Recent research suggests that the AMO is related to the past occurrence of major droughts in the Midwest and the Southwest. When the AMO is in its warm phase, these droughts tend to be more frequent and/or severe (prolonged?). Vice-versa for negative AMO. Two of the most severe droughts of the 20th century occurred during the positive AMO between 1925 and 1965: The Dustbowl of the 1930s and the 1950s drought. Florida and the Pacific Northwest tend to be the opposite – warm AMO, more rainfall.

http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/faq/amo_faq.php
As one half of NOAA knows this, I wonder why the other half did not think to mention it in their State of the Climate Report last year.

Richard Patton

ARW says:
September 5, 2013 at 11:11 am
Isn’t there a problem with plotting historical high and lows as a time series?
I think what that chart is showing, (I may be wrong) is when that particular record hi temp was set. I.e. if it was 1934 that record has not been met or exceeded since that date.

3x2

September 5, 2013 at 10:02 am richard telford says:

Do you ever wonder why someone might be negative about the junk you promote here: diatoms from space; insects causing CO2 increase; Greenland ice sheet being 650 years old; no isostasy?
You can censor my comments all you like – you are still wrong.

I’m just shocked that Anthony didn’t ban you years ago – Dick.
REPLY: I’m considering it today, he’s just an antagonist with nothing to add to the conversation. I find the life sciences/biology people who are caught up in AGW theory tend to be like that – Anthony

johnbuk

John Blake – I’m having great trouble getting muesli from under my laptop keys thanks to you!
However it has given me a great business idea – a new “Dictionary of Hyperbole”. At the current rate the Alarmists will run out of armageddon-like adjectives and will be requiring ever more frightening descriptors. Care to join me?

AllanJ says:
“I wonder if he calculated inflation. There was a time in the recent past when a billion dollars was a lot of money.”
Excellent point. What was recently $billions is now $trillions — a thousand times more. Just the unaccountable NSA’s annual budget is tens of billions of dollars.
Further, two storms happened to hit New Orleans and New York City directly. Although the number of severe storms has substantially declined over the past several decades, the chance destruction by those two ordinary storms was due to their hitting extremely expensive, highly built up areas.
So the media ran with it, blaming AGW, but in fact the number and severity of similar storms has steadily declined. Not one climate alarmist prediction of the past thirty years has panned out. They have all been wrong. In any other branch of the hard sciences, that abysmal record would be enough to eliminate funding. But in this case, we see Mr Diffenbaugh specifically blame global warming and ‘greenhouse gases’, without providing a shred of credible evidence.
Money has corrupted the study of climate science, as Diffenbaugh clearly demonstrates here. He will collect his taxpayer loot, but at the cost of any integrity he may have once possessed.

Jeff L

This paper reads like desperate attempt to tease something out of the data to support “the cause”. We are not falling for it.
Of course, it will get some press, even though the logic & premise are flimsy at best. It is sad that the press doesn’t seem to have the ability or desire to do any due diligence when it comes to matters of science & that it now has to occur on blogs like this.

richard telford

[Snip. ~mod.]

Mike Bromley the Kurd

How does one quantify something with a model? Tell me true.

Mac the Knife

“It’s clear that our greenhouse gas emissions have increased the likelihood of some kinds of extremes, and it’s clear that we’re not optimally adapted to that new climate,” Diffenbaugh said.
Baseless assertions ‘supported’ by baseless assumptions hardwired into climate models: How does that provide any clarity?
“..our greenhouse gas emissions have increased the likelihood of some kinds of extremes….”
This is peer reviewed technical writing??? UGH…….What nebulous, non-informative gobbledygoop!

MIke Likes Missiles

Complete with tweed and elbow patches.

M Courtney

John Satterfield says at September 5, 2013 at 10:26 am

Dah! Global warming heats the planet. But what causes global warming?

Self-evident.
Simple.
But so true.
I’d wear it as a log on a T-Shirt.

John West

It’s clear that our Emperor’s clothes are the most magnificent ever produced.

Stanford University,needs a course in climatalogy 101. They are ridiculous.

Louis Hooffstetter

FerdinandAkin says:
“Count up the billion dollar weather related disasters that happened in the 20th century. Notice the increase that correlates with Anthropogenic Global Warming.”
Good point. It correlates as well as the decrease of pirates correlates with Anthropogenic Global Warming (and makes just as much sense):
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2012/03/23/true-fact-the-lack-of-pirates-is-causing-global-warming/

chris moffatt

Well first off; Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are varieties of Vitis Vinifera not types of premium wine. It’s in how the wine is vinted that may make it great (or not). The best wines from Pinot Noir are from the Cote d’or where summer temperatures of 95 degrees are not unknown. It doesn’t hurt the grapes, as evidenced by the fact that so much Pinot Noir is now grown in the Languedoc which has a classic continental summer. In fact the hot summer of 1947 produced wines that are still very fondly remembered and may still be lying in a few cellars somewhere. The hot summers of the Rhone valley are suitable for other fine wine-grape varieties. Dare we hope that California may eventually produce a Cote Rotie?
In any case if higher temperatures mean that we’ll have more Grenache Rose and less white Zinfandel I’m all in favour. Bring it on. And may we also hope for a little more subject awareness from the peanut gallery of climate science?

george e. smith

“””””””…….In 2012 alone, the United States suffered 11 extreme weather events that each caused at least $1 billion in damage. “It’s clear that our greenhouse gas emissions have increased the likelihood of some kinds of extremes, and it’s clear that we’re not optimally adapted to that new climate,” Diffenbaugh said………”””””””
Purely cherry picking.
Over the majority of its track from the time it was first named, Tropical Storm Sandy, didn’t do one brass razoo’s worth of damage.
It wasn’t Sandy’s fault, or the climate, that got people to rebuild stuff in exactly the same place, that some previous storm already told them, was not a particularly safe place to build stuff you put some value on.
Now take “Burning Man” for example. Everybody knows that junk isn’t worth anything because it is only going to get burned to the ground.
But don’t build your residential mansion there.

Bob

Richard Telford, for a young associate professor you have a rather condescending and vindictive demeanor. Maybe it is because you obtained your PhD from a second rate university (The Guardian University Guide 2013 ranked Aberystwyth equal 81st out of 120 UK universities,[6] down from 50th for 2012[16] and 49th out of 118 for 2011.[17]). How does it feel, Herr Schmuckler.