Claim: LLNL scientists find precipitation, global warming link

LIVERMORE, Calif. — The rain in Spain may lie mainly on the plain, but the location and intensity of that rain is changing not only in Spain but around the globe.

A new study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists shows that observed changes in global (ocean and land) precipitation are directly affected by human activities and cannot be explained by natural variability alone. The research appears in the Nov. 11 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Emissions of heat-trapping and ozone-depleting gases affect the distribution of precipitation through two mechanisms. Increasing temperatures are expected to make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier (thermodynamic changes); and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns will push storm tracks and subtropical dry zones toward the poles.

“Both these changes are occurring simultaneously in global precipitation and this behavior cannot be explained by natural variability alone,” said LLNL’s lead author Kate Marvel. “External influences such as the increase in greenhouse gases are responsible for the changes.”

The team compared climate model predications with the Global Precipitation Climatology Project’s global observations, which span from 1979-2012, and found that natural variability (such as El Niños and La Niñas) does not account for the changes in global precipitation patterns. While natural fluctuations in climate can lead to either intensification or poleward shifts in precipitation, it is very rare for the two effects to occur together naturally.

“In combination, manmade increases in greenhouse gases and stratospheric ozone depletion are expected to lead to both an intensification and redistribution of global precipitation,” said Céline Bonfils, the other LLNL author. “The fact that we see both of these effects simultaneously in the observations is strong evidence that humans are affecting global precipitation.”

Marvel and Bonfils identified a fingerprint pattern that characterizes the simultaneous response of precipitation location and intensity to external forcing.

“Most previous work has focused on either thermodynamic or dynamic changes in isolation.  By looking at both, we were able to identify a pattern of precipitation change that fits with what is expected from human-caused climate change,” Marvel said.

By focusing on the underlying mechanisms that drive changes in global precipitation and by restricting the analysis to the large scales where there is confidence in the models’ ability to reproduce the current climate, “we have shown that the changes observed in the satellite era are externally forced and likely to be from man,” Bonfils said.

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

Identifying external influences on global precipitation

  1. Kate Marvel1 and
  2. Céline Bonfils
  1. Edited by Kerry A. Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and approved October 18, 2013 (received for review July 30, 2013)

Significance

This study provides evidence that human activities are affecting precipitation over land and oceans. Anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases and stratospheric ozone depletion are expected to lead to a latitudinal intensification and redistribution of global precipitation. However, detecting these mechanisms in the observational record is complicated by strong climate noise and model errors. We establish that the changes in land and ocean precipitation predicted by theory are indeed present in the observational record, that these changes are unlikely to arise purely due to natural climate variability, and that external influences, probably anthropogenic in origin, are responsible.

Abstract

Changes in global (ocean and land) precipitation are among the most important and least well-understood consequences of climate change. Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations are thought to affect the zonal-mean distribution of precipitation through two basic mechanisms. First, increasing temperatures will lead to an intensification of the hydrological cycle (“thermodynamic” changes). Second, changes in atmospheric circulation patterns will lead to poleward displacement of the storm tracks and subtropical dry zones and to a widening of the tropical belt (“dynamic” changes). We demonstrate that both these changes are occurring simultaneously in global precipitation, that this behavior cannot be explained by internal variability alone, and that external influences are responsible for the observed precipitation changes. Whereas existing model experiments are not of sufficient length to differentiate between natural and anthropogenic forcing terms at the 95% confidence level, we present evidence that the observed trends result from human activities.

paper:  http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/11/05/1314382110.full.pdf

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90 thoughts on “Claim: LLNL scientists find precipitation, global warming link

  1. “Both these changes are occurring simultaneously in global precipitation and this behavior cannot be explained by natural variability alone,” said LLNL’s lead author Kate Marvel.
    But they can clearly assign it to humans…
    The team compared climate model predications..
    Ok, read enough now.

  2. ‘it is very rare for the two effects to occur together naturally.”
    ‘ said Céline Bonfils, the other LLNL author. “The fact that we see both of these effects simultaneously in the observations is strong evidence that humans are affecting global precipitation.” ‘
    So it is rare for the two effects to act together, ( meaning it must have happened in the past); but that it is happening now is evidence of man’s mighty hand upon the tiller of Climate Change.

  3. The circulation hasn’t been moving towards the poles since around 2000 as I have tirelessly been pointing out.
    Indeed the average net position looks like it is the process of moving equatorward.
    The changes in trend appear to be solar induced.
    So many papers now coming out covering aspects that I have been going on about since at least 2007 yet all being distorted to prop up the failed hypothesis rather than using the new information to provide a fresh start such as mine.

  4. This at least seems to be a scientific statement. It can be supported or refuted by observational data. Climate science is still alive at some locals it seems. Further they are aware of the unfavourable signal to noise ratio.

  5. As a somewhat naive layman (!) I still have this minor problem with scientific pronouncements of this sort. Is the world’s weather REALLY capable of differentiating between 14.1C and 14.8C?

  6. Friends:
    It is reported that

    Marvel and Bonfils identified a fingerprint pattern that characterizes the simultaneous response of precipitation location and intensity to external forcing.

    Marvel did that with Bonfils?
    I thought Marvel produces comics which provide stories about people having supernatural powers to overcome the laws of nature.
    Oh! Wait …
    Richard

  7. Perhaps the researchers did not go back far enough to track the numerous changes in precipitation intensity and location over the ages.
    Starting with the formerly green Sahara desert might help.
    tonyb

  8. “Both these changes are occurring simultaneously in global precipitation and this behavior cannot be explained by natural variability alone,” said LLNL’s lead author Kate Marvel. “External influences such as the increase in greenhouse gases are responsible for the changes.”
    A couple o tiny wee, wee points. The first is that there is only 33 years of GPCP’s observational data being used, the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. I would have preferred to see a little more observational data in play. Secondly, can anybody PURLEEEEZE tell me & everyone else what is Natural Variability!!!! To date warmists have repeatedly stated that this or that perceived/observed abnormality cannot be explained by Natural Variability (NV) alone, yet they fail to explain beyond a reasonable doubt what NV is! It truly seems that we have plummeted to the depths of “cry witch” about every sunny/wet/windy/cold/hot/stormy weather event that occurs around the planet! The give away of course is obvious, relating these events to reference points in history. The worst storm for 50/30/40/20/100/50 (pick a number) years! With respect, I fail to see how Kate is that much of a Marvel!

  9. As solar activity declines and the earth’s magnetic field continues to weaken, cloud formation increases and with it rain. Well researched and documented. (www.co2science.org/subject/e/summaries/extraterrestrial.php covers much of the research)
    If these researchers looked outside of their chosen ‘co2’ mechanism they would be aware of these but I guess there would be no grant money for them to do that. Maybe they a simply trying to look ahead at the likely increase in cloud formation from known natural causes and trying to pull it under the co2 umbrella to keep the fiction going.

  10. If you start from the premise that human CO2 emissions are causing the majority of warming in the recent temperature record, then this warming will cause the climate to change to an extent, and so it is easy to attribute any observed changes to CO2. It is another thing altogether if you start with different assumptions, or compare modeled output to real life measurement. Yet again we seem to have pseudo-science masquerading as real science. Or am I being harsh?

  11. If the Earth continues to be warm but then starts to cool, at some likely predictable point the photosynthetic sequestering sinks will saturate (so that their increasing capacity to sink CO2 will quit increasing; and then for the same continued cooling causes, these sinks will subsequently and rapidly reverse to a decreasing capacity to absorb CO2; while the emission sources more slowly respond; and the oceans, in particular, fail to respond for many decades).
    Then very steep atmospheric spiking will ensue just as it so often has in the past. It is very likely that photosynthetic sequestering (biological response) provides an enormous (geologically real-time) negative feedback to additional atmospheric CO2 until such time as it saturates. This predicted saturation event is not likely very near if the planet continues to slide sideways on temperature. However, a near-term solar-driven mini ice age may likely accelerate this predictable spiking event into the near term (i.e. atmospheric CO2 will likely increase sharply quite geologically soon).
    AGW will then morph to AGC (anthropogenic global cooling). And it will be said that Mother Nature can no longer choke down 1/2 our poisonous anthropogenic CO2 emission.

  12. How do people get away with this kind of junk. They reviewed 33 years of GPCP’s observational data, smoothed it with statistical processes, did a fit for the CMIP3/5 junk models and did model runs for precipitation and called that evidence that natural variability couldn’t be responsible for the 33 years of observational data. This from a model that has significant problems predicting/projecting anything more than a few days out with any kind of accuracy, and has known problems with aerosols/ghg forcings that they are trying to fingerprint!
    v/r
    David Riser

  13. Lets see now.
    From 31 years of data 1979 to 2012, they have concluded with the help of some climate models that mankind is responsible for what can only be described as some major changes in global precipitation patterns. Those precipitation patterns would have to be major to detect any such precipitation pattern changes in that utterly miniscule period of time,
    I am a seventy five year old retired Australian farmer and have been a glider and power pilot for over 50 years.
    Weather is my life’s study. Rainfall made my living.
    . Rainfall is our life blood on the land in the second driest continent on Earth, second only to Antarctica.
    Sure I’ve seen, watched and wondered about major changes in precipitation patterns right across Australia probably about every two or three years, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter between changes but changes, big changes in precipitation patterns occurring right through out all of my 75 years.
    And sure the global weather patterns and the precipitation patterns have changed, are going to change. and are going to keep right on changing.
    Sure the great global weather and climate cycles and patterns are going to keep changing in ways that might never be completely predictable. And sure the precipitation patterns have and will continue to change and usually in ways we can never predict with confidence
    Come back in a couple of century’s time and get a decent data bank of precipitation patterns that really does start to provide a long term, trustworthy pattern of precipitation instead of announcing all over again the end of civilization as we know it, you bloody useless climate science BS artists.
    31 years of data in a world where weather and changes of the climate can be measured in millenniums or in minutes and from that it is postulated that once again we humans are somehow causing all the worlds rainfall problems! Shhhh!
    And climate alarmist scientists wonder why they can’t convince an increasing number of people to believe them.

  14. First, increasing temperatures will lead to an intensification of the hydrological cycle (“thermodynamic” changes).
    ===============
    Nonsense. All engines require a temperature differential, not simply an increase in temperature. The greater the temperature difference, the greater the engine efficiency.
    AGW predicts most of the increase will occur towards the poles, with less warming at the equator. This reduces the temperature difference that drives the hydrological cycle, which reduces the intensity.
    You cannot make an engine run faster by increasing the temperature of the sink (poles). You need to increase the temperature of the source (equator) as compared to the sink. Otherwise you could build all sorts of fantastic machines as found between the pages of science fiction.
    http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Physical_Chemistry/Thermodynamics/Thermodynamisc_Cycles/Carnot_Cycle

  15. While natural fluctuations in climate can lead to either intensification or poleward shifts in precipitation, it is very rare for the two effects to occur together naturally.

    I assume that at any given time, the precipitation patterns are intensifying or deintensifying.
    And at any given time, the precipitation patterns will either be shifting poleward or toward the equator.
    It seems the chance of them happening together is 1 in 4, actually 1 in 2 if you count the other combination of moving in sync, deinsifying and moving away from the poles..

  16. Unless we understand the underlying physics, to state that something is very rare means it has occurred seldom (but has occurred for sure). Then it raises the question is our period of observation causing this rarity. It is hubris if not malpractice to believe otherwise.

  17. @stephen wilde
    I think most of us are agreed with you.
    Just for interest’s sake, I looked at precipitation in Wellington, NZ.
    I found that rainfall 1930-1940 there was significantly lower, by about 14 or 15% ,when compared to 1940-2000.
    Hence my prediction of the drought 2021-2028 on the great plains of N-America,
    similar to the Dust Bowl droughts of 1932-1939
    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/04/29/the-climate-is-changing/
    From now on, rainfall will progressively decrease at >[40] latitudes and increase at the lower latitudes, especially around the equator. It is simple physics: it is cooling from the top.
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1987/to:2014/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2002/to:2014/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1987/to:2014/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:2002/to:2014/trend/plot/rss/from:1987/to:2014/plot/rss/from:2002/to:2014/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1987/to:2014/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2002/to:2014/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/rss/from:1987/to:2002/trend

  18. Observations don’t match the model output, so the difference has to be anthropogenic! It can’t be anything else because of course the model captures natural variability perfectly! :facepalm How about the man-made model is wrong?

  19. Alan the Brit:
    At November 13, 2013 at 1:52 am you ask

    Secondly, can anybody PURLEEEEZE tell me & everyone else what is Natural Variability!!!!

    Yes.
    Natural Variability is the range of climate behaviours (i.e. temperatures, atmospheric pressures, precipitations, wind speeds, etc. and their rates of change) which occurred in the Holocene prior to the industrial revolution.
    Few of these parameters and their rates of change can be determined with accuracy and precision for times prior to the industrial revolution. However, there are no observations which indicate that any of these parameters has been outside the range of Natural Variability since the industrial revolution. Indeed, this was the importance of the Mann, Bradley & Hughes ‘Hockey Stick’: it (wrongly) seemed to suggest that since the industrial revolution global temperature has been rising to above the range of Natural Variability.
    I hope that helps.
    Richard

  20. If we observe, within our miniscule time-of-observation, an event beyond 1 or 2 sigma of our expectation, then it raises the question is our period of observation causing this rarity. It is hubris if not malpractice to believe otherwise.
    This thinking…when our proxy understanding of climate suggests many 6-8 sigma events within the recent Holocene.
    I don’t think you’re on to something here.

  21. “The team compared climate model predications with the Global Precipitation Climatology Project’s global observations”.
    In any comparison between models and hard data, models trump reality every time. Yeah right.

  22. The efficiency of the earth’s hydrological cycle is:
    (temperature equator – temperature poles) / temperature equator (all units Kelvin)
    (300 – 240) / 300 = 20% efficiency
    what happens if we warm the poles 2x more than the equator? (4C as compared to 2C)
    (302 – 244) / 302 = 19.2% efficiency
    As can be seen, just a small change in temperature leads to a marked reduction in the efficiency of the heat engine that drives earth’s weather. This loss of efficiency means that “intensification of the hydrological cycle” is physically impossible.
    As such, the paper is a work of science fiction. It proposes a violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

  23. Have they compared the 33 years of satellite observations against the much longer precipitation records from around the world. There are 60 year cycles in climate so they must be classing these as noise if they think 33 years is enough data to confirm their hypothesis.
    Any poleward shift in amount and intensity ought to be observable in the manual records.

  24. Yes, what the authors have found is a fingerprint. A fingerprint showing that models do not capture natural variability.
    The authors have committed an error of logic. They start with the premise that models are an accurate representation of natural variability. Since observations don’t match the models, it means that humans must be affecting the observations.
    There is a much simpler explanation, that Occam tells us is the more likely answer. The models are wrong. They don’t match natural variability.
    This error in the models has been clearly demonstrated by their failure to predict a pause of more than 15 years. Trying to spin model error into a human fingerprint of human climate change is nonsense. It is a failure of logic on the part of the authors.

  25. Assumption 1: CO2 is responsible for observed climate change. Unproven assumption.
    Therefore 1: Assumption2: “increasing temperatures will lead to an intensification of the hydrological cycle (“thermodynamic” changes).”
    Therefore 2: Assumption 3: ” changes in atmospheric circulation patterns will lead to poleward displacement of the storm tracks and subtropical dry zones and to a widening of the tropical belt (“dynamic” changes). ”
    Just thought that in passing I’d mention AMO,PDO,NAO,Enso and throw in changes in TSI, Solar magnetic field and resultant direct or indirect effect from cosmic rays. Wonder if they just might have missed something here.

  26. son of mulder says:
    November 13, 2013 at 3:17 am
    Have they compared the 33 years of satellite observations against the much longer precipitation records from around the world.
    Indeed! I can’t claim to fully have understood their paper, after all I’m a complete layman in atmospheric physics and I have only spent a few minutes reading the paper. But it seems to me that they are comparing 33 year linear trends over the period 1979-2012. It’s really no surprise that they can conclude that the circulation patterns have moved poleward as a general trend over that period (which includes a long warming period and following “pause”), but I think Stephen Wilde may be right that they are moving in the opposite direction again now.

  27. Admad says: @ November 13, 2013 at 2:50 am
    “The team compared climate model predications with the Global Precipitation Climatology Project’s global observations”.
    In any comparison between models and hard data, models trump reality every time. Yeah right.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Oh, they proved something alright but not what they think they proved. They just proved two or more of the following.
    1. The computer model is not fit for purpose
    2. The are lying to promote ‘The Cause’ and keep those grant funds flowing.
    3. They are not scientists by any stretch of the imagination and should be fired immediately.
    4. They are ready to join Lewandowsky on the therapist’s couch, all victims of mass hysteria.

  28. It is sad to suggest this, but in light of the state of climate science, corrupted and in a state of disrepute, it is difficult to trust anything being put forward by scientists in relation to climate. Such is the feeling of many.
    People accept the weather of yesteryear… they accept the weather of today… they accept there will be unpredictable weather in the future. They’re not interested anymore in what grant-funded scientists have to say about the climate. And this is all due to the corrupt IPCC and its associated army of climate change charlatans who call themselves scientists.

  29. richardscourtney says:
    November 13, 2013 at 2:48 am
    Thank you, Richard. I feel a dim light has been switched on, everything has become perfectly blurred! Still awaiting the Wet Office’s Deep Thought to give me 6 numbers on the Lottery!
    Alan 😉

  30. Alan the Brit:
    Thankyou for your reply to me at November 13, 2013 at 3:57 am. I enjoyed that.
    However, some onlookers may be so amused by the humour of your post that they miss the important point you make. Hence, I take the liberty of ‘spelling it out’.
    Climate variability is how climate varies.
    It is NOT how computer outputs vary because the computer models emulate the understandings of climate possessed by those who built the models. But climate does not constrain its behaviour to the understandings of modellers.
    Natural climate variability is how climate varies in the Holocene unaffected by human activity.
    Anthropogenic climate change is how climate varies in response to human activities.
    One of the several errors in the paper by Marvel and Bonfils is the failure to understand that natural climate variability is only demonstrated by nature and is not indicated by outputs of climate models.
    Richard

  31. ‘cannot be explained by natural variability alone’
    if you do not know what causes ‘ natural variability’ in the first place theie is simply no way you can make this statemnt. Now ask them to give you a weather forcast for more than 72 hours a head worth a dam , and they will say they cannot becasue there are ‘to many unknow factors ‘
    Its must be CO2 becasue we cannot think about anything else , is not a good scentffic answer .

  32. Good example of post-normal science:
    1) Start with the hypothesis that “CO2” is “what done it”,
    2) Use models which are nothing more than a series of algorithms written in code by humans and consistent with (1) above.
    3) State that the made-up “data” from these models supports your hypothesis.
    4) Call it “natural variability” to throw off the attack dogs.
    It sounds like “PhD” in this instance stands for the derogatory acronym I heard about in college–“Piled higher and Deeper”. That’s what post-normal “scientists” do.

  33. “The authors have committed an error of logic. They start with the premise that models are an accurate representation of natural variability. Since observations don’t match the models, it means that humans must be affecting the observations.”
    That’s a direct nail/head interface ferd.

  34. FICTION writer, Margaret Atwood:
    12 Nov: Huffington Post: Margaret Atwood: We Must Tackle Climate Change Together
    Whatever you think of the causes — man-made (through CO2 levels created by the burning of fossil fuels), natural (as part of a solar cycle) or divine (as part of a plan to destroy the world) — Canada’s climate is changing. And Canada isn’t alone: Conditions around the world are being altered much faster than was formerly predicted…
    (LOL) This is why the Pentagon — along with other government agencies — has been paying so much attention to climate modelling.
    Novelists, filmmakers and other creators have been registering these changes for some time. There’s a new term, cli-fi (for climate fiction, a play on sci-fi), that’s being used to describe books in which an altered climate is part of the plot…
    Even recently, people have said they “don’t believe” in climate change, as if it is akin to Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. But chemistry and physics are not beliefs; they are ways of measuring the physical world. They don’t negotiate, and they don’t hand out second chances…
    It’s not longer a question of green versus commerce: We really are all in it together when it comes to air, water, earth and fire. We’re in the soup. It’s a shared soup and we’ll have to work together to get out of it.
    Air, water, earth and fire were once known as the four elements, and they’re still the things whose extreme fluctuations stand to affect us most — and not in a good way…
    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/margaret-atwood/atwood-climate-change_b_4256145.html

  35. Stopped reading at “heat-trapping gases”. Press release writer should read up on Kirchhoff’s law. Or go the full mile and use “planet-destroying gases”. Or maybe “kitten-killing gases”.

  36. said LLNL’s lead author Kate Marvel. And then she had to get back to drawing her super hero comic.

  37. Emissions of heat-trapping and ozone-depleting gases affect the distribution of precipitation through two mechanisms. Increasing temperatures are expected to make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier (thermodynamic changes); and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns will push storm tracks and subtropical dry zones toward the poles.

    Global precipitation variability decreased from 1940 to 2009. Dry areas became wetter while wet areas became drier.

    Abstract – 2 October 2012
    [1] In our warming climate there is a general expectation that the variability of precipitation (P) will increase at daily, monthly and inter-annual timescales. Here we analyse observations of monthlyP (1940–2009) over the global land surface using a new theoretical framework that can distinguish changes in global Pvariance between space and time. We report a near-zero temporal trend in global meanP. Unexpectedly we found a reduction in global land P variance over space and time that was due to a redistribution, where, on average, the dry became wetter while wet became drier. Changes in the P variance were not related to variations in temperature. Instead, the largest changes in P variance were generally found in regions having the largest aerosol emissions. Our results combined with recent modelling studies lead us to speculate that aerosol loading has played a key role in changing the variability of P.
    Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2012GL053369, 2012
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2012GL053369

    It looks like drier regions became greener as the world warmed significantly between 1982 to 2010.

    Abstract – 19 June 2013
    Impact of CO2 fertilization on maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments
    …..Using gas exchange theory, we predict that the 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 (1982–2010) led to a 5 to 10% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments. Satellite observations, analyzed to remove the effect of variations in precipitation, show that cover across these environments has increased by 11%……
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/abstract

    Have the rains become more variable? Not in this area, rainfall was less variable during the warmer 20th century than previously.

    “Multidecadal rainfall variability in South Pacific Convergence Zone as revealed by stalagmite geochemistry”
    http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/early/2013/09/06/G34718.1.abstract

    Drier, wetter, more floods, less floods, more heat spots, more cold spots, rain weakstrong, snow lessmore. These are the things I project to get less and more of in variable regions around the world / backyard etc.

  38. Given that droughts and extreme flooding occurred during the Little Ice Age, what is a person supposed to believe? It is estimated that about 500,000 people drowned in a series of devastating floods in Europe alone, during the Little Ice Age. It seems a major problem with so-called climate scientists is that they are clueless about history.

  39. However, detecting these mechanisms in the observational record is complicated by…..
    …no rise in temperature for the past 17 years

  40. Lawrence Livermore is conducting climate research? NASA was bad enough. Is there any government agency NOT doing climate research? The madness has to stop.

  41. Changes in global (ocean and land) precipitation are among the most important and least well-understood consequences of climate change.
    On a scale of not-understood-at-all to completely-understood, where would least-well-understood be found? Is it above or below kinda-well-understood? Is it between plain-old-understood and not-so-well-understood? Is it close to we-think-we-understand-it-but-not-sure-understood?
    Just curious.

  42. As can be seen, just a small change in temperature leads to a marked reduction in the efficiency of the heat engine that drives earth’s weather. This loss of efficiency means that “intensification of the hydrological cycle” is physically impossible.
    As such, the paper is a work of science fiction. It proposes a violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Well, much as I completely agree with your basic argument, with nonlinear hydrodynamics, not physically impossible, especially not transiently. Even if the mean temperatures don’t change at all, the system fluctuates as it self-organizes into different chaotic/turbulent patterns. The range of fluctuation is (empirically) large as evidenced by a glance at the hurricane record. Furthermore, the fluctuations are not “random” but are strongly correlated with in particular ENSO activity — warming or cooling in the Pacific seems to at least partially dictate the pattern and intensity of Atlantic storms.
    As your calculation shows, the ideal efficiency would only make a tiny change even for temperature changes on the order of 1% (which is huge, several times what has been observed over the last 160 years), but this heat engine doesn’t run anywhere near its peak efficiency, and a reorganization of the engine could easily either intensify or weaken storms (independent of any given temperature change, so certainly WITH a given temperature change). To the extent that the paper discusses observations, its statements may or may not be correct — I’m guessing that it is grasping at data straws in a data set too small to arrive at any meaningful conclusions. Its arguments, I agree, are not particularly sensible.
    This is especially true at the present. If anything, the evidence accumulating over the last few years is that both the total number of storms and the total energy of storms is in a surprising deficit throughout the Atlantic basin. Although there have been a very few large storms (e.g. tornadoes), there have been fewer storms and fewer large storms. This year’s Atlantic hurricane season was downright boring for a hurricane watcher — which is a good thing for all the inhabitants of coastal property. It was the wussiest season in over 50 years. We continue to extend the longest stretch in recorded history without a category three or better hurricane making landfall in the US — a record that began some two years ago so we are extending it by YEARS over the previous record, and there is little chance of a category 3 storm happening at all before perhaps August or September of next year, so we are nearly certain to extend the record by eight more months.
    This actually is evidence of reduced efficiency of storms, but it is difficult to conclude from this that global warming is responsible (following your more correct but still flawed argument). It is more likely related to the near-neutral ENSO conditions and to a general COOLING of the Atlantic over the last decade compared to the decades preceding it. Bob Tisdale would probably have less anecdotal data on this, but I look at the tropical weather SST maps for the Atlantic at least several times a week throughout hurricane season, and my eyeballs tell me that the subtropical Atlantic has been a bit cooler at peak for the last few years — it gets hot, but not AS hot as it used to get. That and wind shear seem to be preventing storms from forming.
    This is where your argument gets tricky. Hurricanes don’t form due to the temperature difference between the poles and the equator. They form because of the temperature difference between warm waters on the surface of the ocean and the troposphere. If the upper troposphere and stratosphere are “calm” with comparatively light winds, defects that are always present in the wind pattern at the surface self-organize due to coriolis forces and transport warm, wet air laden with latent heat upwards, creating low pressure centers and the characteristic coriolis-twisted inflow. As the moisture laden air rises it cools, releasing its heat as rain precipitates out, and the plume of warm out generates an anticyclonic outflow pattern up high. As long as the outflow and inflow remain aligned vertically and the ocean remains much warmer than the outflow, there is plenty of temperature differential and the hurricane will strengthen. If upper-level winds push the outflow laterally off to the side of the inflow (shear) this essentially bends the “chimney” (eye) of the hurricane over, and can completely disrupt it, essentially choking the engine. This year shear was high all over the Atlantic, and although I watched many promising young storms (“regions with the potential for development”) nucleate here and there, the conditions were doubly unfavorable for growth — high shear, comparatively cool sea surface temperatures. Where they did form over seas that were plenty warm enough for a good hurricane, shear kept all but a handful from making it to the tropical storm category, and I think there was only one or two storms that made it to category 1 hurricane status (far from land, briefly).
    So what you should be looking at is not temperature difference between poles and equator, but temperature difference between the surface of the sea and the upper troposphere. The former may well vary, and if the globe is warming sea surface temperatures will warm as well, which will without question increase the potential for large, violent tropical storms. The temperature of the upper troposphere in the classical picture of AGW will actually decrease — the argument is that more GHGs push the tropopause up without changing the DALR, so that the radiative region is cooler and less heat is lost from the atmosphere, forcing more heat to be lost by direct radiation from the surface itself — so that actually, their argument is not science fiction at all. CO_2 driven AGW would indeed both warm sea surfaces and cool the tropopause and thus increase the efficiency of hurricanes, if it is not accompanied by persistent increases in upper level shear (or other factors, a decrease in tropical waves that nucleate the storms) that confound the simple prediction.
    Tornadoes are a different matter, as they generally are associated with cold air moving over warm air, and hence are indeed associated with comparatively sharp lateral temperature differences. They are rare where temperatures are uniformly warm or cold, but often accompany a cold front moving over a warm weather pattern, especially in the spring. Frequency and strength depend a lot more on the local temperature change, not on the absolute temperature. A decrease in tornado frequency in the US might be a signal that temperatures and circulation patterns are more uniform, less rapidly varying. I suspect this is tied a lot more into things like the PDO phase and the behavior of the NAO — things that affect the probability of arctic cold fronts proceeding southeast across the US to overrun warmer weather already stationary there — than to “AGW” per se, but perhaps one could tell some sort of story otherwise.
    The problem here is that correlation is not causality, either way. A lack of Atlantic hurricanes doesn’t disprove AGW any more than a surplus proves it. Arguments linking hurricane frequency and strength to AGW are not science fiction, but they are oversimplified — otherwise we could use hurricane frequency for the last couple of years in the Atlantic basin as a thermometer for mean SSTs and conclude that the basin is actively COOLING. I suspect that the correlations found in the study are profoundly weak because numerous other studies have looked for simple first order correlation between GASTA and storm intensity and frequency (e.g. the Pielke’s) and found nothing of the sort, if anything a weakly negative correlation. So now they are resorting to look for second order effects — some sort of coincidence between storm frequency and storm latitude — and they find a correlation, but one (completely unsurprisingly) too small to be statistically significant.
    This is data dredging. If one looks at all sorts of multivariate combinations, sooner or later you’ll find one that is above random chance even when the individual variables are not visibly correlated.
    The paper should almost certainly not have been accepted. If the direct correlation is already absent at levels that are statistically significant, looking for multivariate correlations is a most chancy enterprise, and reporting a statistically insignificant result as “proof” (given the wording above) seems rather hyperbolic.
    rgb

  43. markcjf: “Yet again we seem to have pseudo-science masquerading as real science. Or am I being harsh?’
    A little. If you decide that the proper relation of philosophy and experiment is that experiment validates philosophy, then this is just proper. Start with the philosophy, if the experiment fails to refute it, the philosophy is more strongly proven.[1] But you call that pseudoscience, then the vast bulk of science is in such a condition.
    More properly, in my stridently unhumble opinion, this is first order myth making. That speaking beyond the data is to speak beyond what has been shown by experiment. I don’t want to go so far as to state that the bulk of scientists that do this are the guilty party in this as this is what they were trained to do. But if not a given scientist, then they were snookered out of money for the failure of an education they received. In either case, if we’re speaking beyond what the experiments and data show, then we’re not using the experiments and data in the first place. And may as well save the time and expense fussing about it by just writing pure and honestly presented philosophy position papers.
    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raven_paradox

  44. How can people who do not understand our complex climate conclude that any aspect of it cannot be explained by natural variability alone?

  45. Thirsty says:
    November 13, 2013 at 6:44 am
    Lawrence Livermore is conducting climate research? NASA was bad enough. Is there any government agency NOT doing climate research? The madness has to stop
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Unfortunately 195 governments including the USA signed the UNFCCC, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The USA ratified this treaty on March 21 1994 per the United Nations.
    http://unfccc.int/essential_background/convention/status_of_ratification/items/2631.php
    This is the broad framework treaty that includes The Kyoto Protocol.
    In other words 195 governments are committed to shoving this crap down the throats of their people.

    The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994. Today, it has near-universal membership. The 195 countries that have ratified the Convention are called Parties to the Convention.
    First steps to a safer future: the Convention in summary
    The Convention:
    Recognized that there was a problem.

    This was remarkable for its time. Remember, in 1994, when the UNFCCC took effect, there was less scientific evidence than there is now. The UNFCCC borrowed a very important line from one of the most successful multilateral environmental treaties in history (the Montreal Protocol, in 1987): it bound member states to act in the interests of human safety even in the face of scientific uncertainty.

    Sets a lofty but specific goal.

    The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.” It states that “such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.“….

    http://unfccc.int/essential_background/convention/items/6036.php

    As many of us keep saying It was ALWAYS political and the CO2 as the climate control knob was mandated by $%#& TREATY. There is nothing scientific about it. Once it was so mandated no work would be funded to actually look at anything but CO2 as the major factor controlling climate.
    Circular reasoning at its finest.

  46. So models do actually make predictions, then? That’s good news. How about the prediction for warming in lock step with CO2 increases & for a tropical tropospheric hot spot?

  47. Lawrence Todd says:
    November 13, 2013 at 4:25 am
    I find that having Kerry A. Emanuel editing an article on climate change…

    That sounded warning bells for me, as well. It is, in his usual breathless style, a press release where absolute certainty has replaced scientific language and caution.
    Briefly skimming the linked PDF threw up the name Ben Santer, another of the usual “Team” suspects.
    I’d recommend reading the paper itself, however, as the language is much more circumspect. None of the claims in the press release are stated as certain in the paper. That is the problem, not that potential team-members are trying to prove a theory rather than test it.

  48. Pielke Sr. and others have a bit to say about local human impacts on locally experienced climate conditions including rainfall.

  49. “we present evidence that the observed trends result from human activities.”
    But they don’t. They present evidence that the observed trends are not replicated by the models that have been shown, time and time again, to be incomplete and erroneous.
    The claims are outrageous.

  50. This is what happens when you divert science funding away from the real sciences and into • Climastrology. Lawrence Livermore simply followed the money, damned nuclear weapons safety and terrorism.

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    OUR MISSION
    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission of strengthening the United States’ security through development and application of world-class science and technology to:
    • Enhance the nation’s defense;
    • Reduce the global threat from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction;
    • And respond with vision, quality, integrity and technical excellence to scientific issues of national importance.
    https://www.llnl.gov/about/whatwedo.html

    LLNL is now responding to the national threat of more or less rain in the USA and proposes what exactly??? What the heck do they propose we do about it? What if they are wrong? See Australia’s mothballed desalination plants as a lesson in humility in the face of nature.

  51. Dear Thirsty.
    Yes, Gail Combs is quite correct and there is not too much to add to her statement. But, I will add a footnote to say that every nook and cranny of government is involved in this mess. It is what governments do – except in the reign of Regan, governments don’t shrink – they GROW.
    And to grow requires $$$$$$. And in today’s economic climate (hah!) governments can’t directly tax people and then remain in office. so, they are looking for ANY means to tax people indirectly. Climate change was a gift-wrapped treasure chest for government and they ALL (all 195) recognized it instantly – even before the so-called science was settled.
    Open your eyes – governments WANT catastrophic climate change. Nay! Governments NEED it. They will make climate change true because they must. Our current fearless leader is not stupid. He is not naïve. In fact, we would be naïve to think he is. He is a POLITICIAN with an agenda and he will exploit every opportunity to further that agenda. Ditto the U.N. and all the other signatory governments Gail Combs mentioned
    We will all do well to recognise that the science DOES NOT MATTER to our politicians except in two ways: 1) they can use their own scientists or those they fund to support the pre-conceived conclusions in their effort to expand their powers and influence, and 2) they can use the indirect taxes they levy using the findings of “government experts” to continue to grow the government by creating more departments, agencies, divisions and bureaus which will conduct research along the correct lines so they can circle back to item No. 1.
    In other words, because governments WANT/NEED this, they will use every department at their disposal to support it. Other scientists are not “government scientists” so they can be labeled as “on the take” paid-for shills for “big oil”…… As we will undoubtedly see in the pending SCOTUS case,people have a deference to the government because governments are perceived as being disinterested and, consequently, unbiased in a particular issue. That includes the courts. Why else do you think the average Joe on the street is not utterly relieved to learn that the sky is likely not going to fall on his head? Why are such people angered when you challenge the orthodoxy? Because “government experts” are reliable. They landed people on the moon after all.
    So, don’t despise Obama for being ignorant about the science – he isn’t. Rather, despise him for being a politician which he IS. It is a calculated power game – in other words, politics. Plain and simple. Learn that, and you will be less surprised to find out how pervasive a force it is in every facet of our governments.

  52. “… model experiments…” … “… evidence… .”
    Yes, indeed, Gail Combs (at 3:28am today), they are either:
    1. Lying
    2. Very stupid AND/OR
    3. Psychotic
    *******************
    lol, Stephen Richards (at 6:06am today), no doubt.
    I would say that this (posted immediately below) has more truth in it and was a FAR better investment of time and money, than the above paper (yes, yes, of course, that wouldn’t be saying much and this was, indeed, a fine film…. but you get my point, I hope):

    (Trivia: of course, this little bit of climatology wasn’t completely honest, either…. that’s not Audrey Hepburn singing….. it’s Julie Andrews)

  53. They apparently can’t see the forest for all the trees. More correctly lack of trees, not one mention of the biotic pump and how the impact of deforestation and land use changes along coastal and adjacent inland regions play a large, and historic role in the very subject they supposedly studied.

  54. Imagined interview with the authors:
    Authors (A): We cannot explain it any other way. It must be human emissions.
    Interviewer (I): Did you look for another way to explain it?
    A: Well…no.
    I: Did you consider that your model, which has yet to demonstrate any significant level of skill, might account for your findings?
    A: Well…no.
    I: Did you consider the impact of natural climate cycles like the AMO and PDO in your calculations and what impact they might have had?
    A: What are those?
    I: Do you think it is odd that you found evidence of warming in the precipitation patterns when there is no evidence of warming in the temperature record? Doesn’t that simple fact actually disprove your entire thesis?
    A: That is worthy of more research. We have applied for additional funding in order to clarify the calamity of climate change. No more questions. It is obvious that you do not know a thing about climate or science in general. It is a waste of our important and precious time to talk with you flat-earthers! Good day!

  55. We are well into the era you just have to laugh at this stuff. I wonder how much differently schools will teach the scientific method in coming decades as the mythology of Cagw falls apart.

  56. Janice Moore says:
    November 13, 2013 at 10:27 am
    (Trivia: of course, this little bit of climatology wasn’t completely honest, either…. that’s not Audrey Hepburn singing….. it’s Julie Andrews)
    Actually…it was Marni Nixon that sang for Audrey Hepburn in the movie, although Audrey did sing a few of the songs that did not require a great deal of range, like ‘I could have danced all night.’ I have a crush on Julie Andrews and I didn’t think that was her voice…so I looked it up.

  57. “where there is confidence in the models’ ability to reproduce the current climate”
    Really.
    So just another load of old donkey droppings.

  58. Hmm. Higher temperatures enhance precipitation?
    What do they say about lake-effect snow? Quite a bit of precipitation occurs even when the water temperature is just above freezing. Try living in Buffalo, NY. Maybe the phenomenon has more to do with temperature differences than higher absolute values. And don’t the typical models of global warming suggest the temperature differences in air masses are reduced? The only hope for their model seems to be in tropical cyclones driven by warmer water. And we see how that’s playing out despite Yolanda.

  59. Jim Clarke,
    Fine script at 11:20am, lol. (sigh) Too bad it isn’t fiction.
    Thank you for correcting my mistake about Julie Andrews’ voice.
    Janice

  60. The models have AGW built into them. They don’t have built into them ENSO, AMO, PDO, IOD, or any natural factors that could be of any significance over the study period. The models are parameterised to match what has been going on in the real world in the recent past. The period studied is 1979 to 2012, ie. the recent past. Therefore the models will necessarily find that everything and anything that they choose to look at in this or any other study over the recent past was caused by AGW and could not have been caused by natural factors. No other result is possible. It’s called circular logic.

  61. As I have been trying to convey the atmospheric circulation has been behaving the opposite of what this article maintains. The atmospheric circulation has been becoming more meridional (toward the equaote),less zonal (retreat toward the pole.).

  62. Anthony ‘s website puts up or post an article like this which has no validity, and then does not post my sensible commentary about this article.
    What makes this situation sad is we agree on much ,and yet because I was rough with Leif ,more often then not my commentary is not going through, and yet we are close in all of our opinions Anthony.
    .

  63. “They claim, that earthlings screw everting up.. This is true from observation. What is not said,. but also obvious, is that this planet was “not’ designed nor constructed by earthlings.. The designers anticipated all of the stupidity of earthlings and constructed this planet with all that in mind! What a wonderful planet. Perhaps it is only a zoo. It is high time
    that earthlings recognize “what they are”, rather than “what they think they are!

  64. Will Janoshchka (8:05pm) — Excellent comment. One of the best I’ve ever read (and the Scandihoovian accent in the first line only adds to its overall appeal).

  65. Just a thought…
    I look into the sky and see great columns of nimbus or is it cumulonimbus clouds, anyway they look great on the skyline back-lit by a rising sun. Nature is beautiful.
    But then my thoughts wonder again – those great clouds are the conveyors of heat energy around the globe. And an essential for human life too, each of us is about 55% water, and with the human population getting on for 10 billion, that’s an awful lot of stuff we have in those many bodies. We also more water around to where we need it, sometimes large quantities of it.
    Of course nearly all humans in the course of a day, burn some type of fuel and all of these release yet more water into the atmosphere. I wonder if any of these things have an effect on the biosphere we inhabit?
    I’m sure lots of research must have been done on it by someone somewhere…

  66. tom;
    Locate the UN Population Survey, and open the Low Band page. It’s the only one ever close to accurate. Peak in 30 years, at about 8bn, declining thereafter, indefinitely. De-pop will be the real crisis, just as cooling will hit all the warmist-planners crossways.
    To be explicit, we are being pushed to prepare for an overheated and overcrowded planet and are going to get the reverse. Which will be REALLY bad news, not pretend and imaginary bad news like we are playing with currently, for thrills and jollies.

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