If you want to play the all-weather-is-influenced-by-global-warming game, you are going to lose

Chip Knappenberger writes: Should We Credit Global Warming When Disasters Don’t Happen?

Every time there is some sort of weather disaster somewhere, someone blames it on human-caused global warming. Maybe not directly, but the implication is clear. “While we can’t link individual events to global warming, the increase of this type of event is consistent with our expectations, blah, blah…”

Most recently this came in testimony from White House Science Adviser John Holdren before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives:

In general, one cannot say with confidence that an individual extreme weather event (or weather-related event)—for example, a heat wave, drought, flood, powerful storm, or large wildfire—was caused by global climate change. Such events usually result from the convergence of multiple factors, and these kinds of events occurred with some frequency before the onset of the discernible, largely human-caused changes in global climate in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. But there is much evidence demonstrating that extreme weather events of many kinds are beginning to be influenced—in magnitude or frequency—by changes in climate.

Holdren then goes to list a bunch of types of extreme weather whose characteristics have changed (remarkably, all becoming worse), adding that:

There are good scientific explanations, moreover, supported by measurements, of the mechanisms by which the overall changes in climate resulting from the human-caused build-up of heat-trapping substances are leading to the observed changes in weather-related extremes.

Holdren’s implication is pretty clear—human-caused global warming is leading to changes in extreme weather. And just for good measure, he added this zinger:

[I]t is reasonable to say that most weather in most places is being influenced in modest to significant ways by the changes in climate that have occurred as a result of human activities.

If this were the case, then there is a lot of good news to be found here, for by and large the weather is pretty good, with rare examples to the contrary.

Take, for instance, what has been all abuzz this week in Washington, D.C.: how great the weather has been. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang, which keeps close tabs on the pulse of D.C. weather, has commented repeatedly on how remarkable and enjoyable it has been. According to Holdren’s logic, we have global warming to thank, and yet I have not seen one news story that links the pleasant weather to human-caused climate change.

Across the country in Tucson, Ariz. (where I reside), the news this week has been dominated by the threat of the passage of the remnants of Hurricane Odile, which were forecast to move into the region from out of the Gulf of California. The predictions were for record-breaking rainfall amounts with the potential for widespread damage from flooding. The outlook stirred up memories of the passage of Tropical Storm Octave in 1983, which resulted in over $500 million (in 1983 dollars) of damage to the region. Thankfully, this did not come to pass. Instead, the heavy rains associated with Odile passed well east of the city, over much more sparsely populated country. Since apparently all weather is influenced by anthropogenic global warming, we have it to thank for averting what could have been a very costly and hugely disruptive situation affecting upwards of a million people.

And speaking of hurricanes, the first major hurricane (category 3 or greater) in almost two years formed in the Atlantic Ocean. But, in encountering conditions arguably consistent with human-caused climate change, Hurricane Edouard quickly weakened and remained far out in the open Atlantic, steering well clear of the U.S. mainland. Major disaster averted. It has now been nearly nine years since the last major hurricane made landfall in the United States, the longest such occurrence going back at least to the year 1900. Thanks, global warming!

I could go on, because there are a lot more cases of non-extreme weather than there are of extreme weather, and as many or more cases to be made for weather catastrophes averted by conditions “consistent with global warming” than caused by it.

So if you want to play the all-weather-is-influenced-by-global-warming game, you are going to lose.

Best bet would be to stick with the science, which for most types of extreme weather events and for most places indicates that a definitive link between event characteristics and human-caused climate change has not been established. Either talk about that situation or leave the attribution issue alone.

Source: Cato at Liberty

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September 21, 2014 3:47 am

Perfect, and so true.
But then good news is bad for the cause.

Hari Seldon
September 21, 2014 3:54 am

warming caused by AGW and cooling is caused by AGW…we can’t win with logic like this.

Reply to  Hari Seldon
September 21, 2014 8:54 am

“we can’t win with logic like this.”
I think it’s the other way around actually.
Most people just aren’t that stupid.

Reply to  catweazle666
September 21, 2014 11:20 am

“Most people just aren’t that stupid.”
Are you sure about that?

Stephen Richards
Reply to  catweazle666
September 21, 2014 11:22 am

I don’t share your confidence. Experience tells me otherwise

Reply to  Hari Seldon
September 21, 2014 12:32 pm

CAGW theory is a tautological equivocation. To “believe” in CAGW is to be always correct.
It’s so easy to hop on that wagon and assume the smug righteousness of a “Planet Saver”.

September 21, 2014 4:07 am

The Team has created the mythology of the Magic Molecule (CO2 of course) which can do anything. It can lead to a warm era as hot as when the dinosaurs roamed the earth or it can lead to a frozen “snow-ball” earth. Heck it can even lead to an outbreak of restless leg syndrome. There is nothing the magic molecule can’t do according to the Church that Sagan and Hansen built.

September 21, 2014 4:15 am

But there is much evidence demonstrating that extreme weather events of many kinds are beginning to be influenced—in magnitude or frequency—by changes in climate.

Where is the evidence? I want lots as he says “much evidence”. Note that climate is 30 years of weather data and not 20 years of weather. Now where is that evidence?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Jimbo
September 21, 2014 8:26 am

Holdren is leaning on the 2014 National Climate Assessment. Each and every one of the examples in its opening chapter is factually false. I have an essay on that in the new book, and am sending copies to a number of Congressmen, Senators, and Governors in a position to demand revision.

Steve Keohane
Reply to  Jimbo
September 21, 2014 8:37 am

It’s the decimation of magnitude and frequency that is in evidence.

September 21, 2014 4:31 am

CO2 is the most powerful chemical element since Phlogiston and it is about as believeable in its capabilities.

September 21, 2014 4:50 am

Logic has no place in the mind of the warmist. It’s the old “anything bad is caused by our enemy” game loved by Marxists everywhere. The tactic is crude and primitive, and seeing it trotted out with such regularity is rather discouraging.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Kate Forney
September 21, 2014 8:31 am

Kate, they are not Warmists. They are warmunists. The parallel to Marxists and communists was first drawn by former Czech President Vaclav Klaus in his 2007 book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 21, 2014 10:40 am


September 21, 2014 5:11 am

The evidence mounts daily that these supposed scientists tied into the CAGW movement are committing fraud upon fraud. They bought into this CO2 as temperature driver hypothesis and those pathetic computer models without ever challenging the “science” they are supposedly based on. That “science” is proving to be wrong. CO2 is NOT the driver they thought it was. This movement has taken on cult-like proportions and they are the real “deniers” now. It will go down as one of the saddest periods in modern science.

Lonnie E. Schubert
September 21, 2014 5:20 am

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
The argument the alarmists have shouted the loudest, is that global warming will affect the hurricanes. Well, the hurricanes are not as bad as they used to be. Hmm…

Reply to  Lonnie E. Schubert
September 21, 2014 11:59 am

In a way, they’re not wrong. Doesn’t a warmer climate lead to fewer and less severe instances of severe weather? That’s the whole deal with the MWP, isn’t it?

Reply to  LordCaledus
September 22, 2014 11:48 am

Hurricanes and other “severe weather events” are not powered, as the laymen might think, by the total energy in the atmosphere, but by the temperature difference between masses of air in the atmosphere. Since “global warming” is more pronounced at the poles, warming formerly “cooler” regions, it makes for less of an overall temperature gradient, sapping many storms of their potential magnitude. Anyone who’s ever felt the cool air after a good Midwestern Thunderboomer knows about “warm fronts” and “cold fronts.”

September 21, 2014 5:32 am

Holdren’s career is remarkable in how high he has risen in the ranks of public credibility without actually being correct. Like his close colleague, Paul Ehrlich, they seem to demonstrate that well packaged slick marketing works better than truth when it comes to science.

Billy Liar
Reply to  hunter
September 21, 2014 12:21 pm

Holdren … slick?

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  Billy Liar
September 22, 2014 9:06 pm

Holdren … Liar!
Fixed 😉

September 21, 2014 5:49 am

There hasn’t been a major hurricane making landfall in the US for 9 years. That is a long time. In those 9 years, a lot of false beliefs have been implanted into a generation of people currently in their 20s and below.
1. Katrina was caused by George Bush and Republicans. You think I’m kidding? Ask a teen. They most likely believe this. (then go slap kanye west, he deserves it)
2. When hurricane activity ramps up again, which it will, an entire generation will be completely and totally blindsided, since major hurricanes are not in their adult memories. They will blindly believe ANY explanation for the horrendous devastation they will be dealing with.
3. Speaking of devastation, all of the construction that has been going on for these last 9 complacent years will be easy pickings for the next major hurricane, and will be scattered all over the eastern seaboard. Along with a lot of bodies.
4. The explanation for ALL of this which anyone over 30 can remember with their memory, not a faulty tampered-with wiki entry, will be MANMADE CLIMATE CHANGE. And it will still be the fault of George Bush and the Republicans. Count on it.

Reply to  CodeTech
September 21, 2014 6:09 am

Soon they will have reshape do all of climate history to show that there has never been hurricanes in the past, no matter how much the Republicans tried to create them. They of course can only be created by carbon dioxide, and only then by human created carbon dioxide.
Does it allude the shallow mind that this is all a war on fosile fuel and the prosperity it has created. Self loathers are disgusting.

September 21, 2014 6:27 am

But there is much evidence demonstrating that extreme weather events of many kinds are beginning to be influenced—in magnitude or frequency—by changes in climate.
by that logic, extremely good weather is the result of climate change. A climate changes, we can expect to get more and more extremely good weather.

john karajas
September 21, 2014 6:33 am

Actually dihydrogen monoxide exerts a lot more influence on the weather than carbon dioxide.

Reply to  john karajas
September 21, 2014 8:56 am

Better not tell them about the effect the hydroxylic acid is having on the ocean acidification.

Reply to  catweazle666
September 21, 2014 10:16 am

hehe that reminds me..
funny trolling 🙂
the first answer is just so fitting, can see the person all worked up over the guy doing that.

Gunga Din
Reply to  john karajas
September 21, 2014 12:10 pm

Reminds me of this classic.

I can understand someone at first not realizing what dihydrogen monoxide really is, but to sign a petition to ban it just because it has a chemically sounding name!
These are the useful idiots (voluntarily) marching in NYC today.

September 21, 2014 6:35 am

The scientists of IPCC AR5 admit in TS.6 that they are uncertain about the connection between AGW/CCC and extreme weather.

September 21, 2014 6:36 am

Can we now expect that John Holdren will now take steps to stop emitting CO2 out of concern for the rest of us? Will John Holdren personally take the lead and stop using anything that increases CO2?
Or will instead John Holdren keep on producing CO2, while telling the rest of us that we need to stop producing CO2?
Because this very much seems to be the case. The Holdrens, Gores, Obamas of the world, go around telling the rest of us that we need to clean up our act. While at the very same time they fail to clean up their own act.
How can anyone take someone seriously that fails to follow their own advice? If their advice is so good, why don’t they follow it themselves?

September 21, 2014 6:39 am

The past summer in southern Ontario has not been hot and humid as usual, but rather just warmish and with low humidity. I loved it, because I hate hot humid weather in the summer. I guess I can thank global warming for a cooler, less humid summer. Maybe I should get an SUV and drive it a lot to have nice weather in the summer for future years?

September 21, 2014 6:52 am

As a citizen of the world concerned about climate change, I pledge to produce less CO2 each and every year than:
Barack Obama
Al Gore
Ban Ki-moon
Hillary Clinton
Michael Mann
I know the above represent the pinnacle of concern for our climate, and have already reduced their CO2 footprint to the lowest levels humanly possible, so as to minimize the harm they are causing to the rest of us.
I pledge to follow their lead and make sure that my house is no bigger than theirs, that I drive a car no bigger than theirs, that I travel by airplane no more than they do, and I stay in luxury hotels no more than they do.
For I know by their actions how serious these people are about climate change. They would never tell the rest of us to do something that they themselves are unwilling to do.

Reply to  ferdberple
September 21, 2014 7:36 am

Ah, I see the beginnings of the “ferdberple Petition Project”.

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  ferdberple
September 21, 2014 12:36 pm

By George, I think he’s got it! 😀

Eamon Butler
Reply to  ferdberple
September 21, 2014 4:24 pm

Where do we sign?

James Strom
September 21, 2014 6:57 am

Brilliant logical point, Chip. Many historical indices of extreme weather show downward or neutral trends thanks, apparently, to Global Warming.

September 21, 2014 7:39 am

The mainstream media (of which I used to be a part, decades ago) are the “useful idiots” in all of this “man-made global warming/climate change” hype. They always gravitate to alarming stories and fail to due their jobs as journalists.
Also, most of the journalists are products of the liberal mentality that dominates American universities which never fails to portray capitalism as the demon. They fell for the Populations Bomb, they fell for the Ozone Hole, they fell for Acid Rain, and they have fallen completely for the Hockey Stick and those pathetic computer models.
It is a sad state of affairs.

Reply to  daveandrews723
September 21, 2014 9:21 am

Fell for it?
Or were part and parcel of its creation?
Presstitutes are the modern replacement of Reporters, the message is more important than facts.
Given all the cracks in the “Consensus” and the collapse of all correlation for the CO2 as a Magic Gas, the press is conspicuous for their failure.There is so much corruption in the CAGW scheme, an investigative reporter should be drooling, in “Perry Mason” heaven.
Given the current concentration of ownership, the falling circulation and the interconnections between North American politicians and media, I doubt the press corp has any value to offer taxpayers.
Pravda reported Climategate more accurately and in a more timely fashion than any North American Outlet.

Reply to  john robertson
September 21, 2014 10:35 am

Good point, John. Whether you like Fox News or not, the are the only major news outlet that has consistantly shown any skepticism of the man-made global warming claims. Of course they are vilified by virtually all the other mainstream media.

Reply to  john robertson
September 21, 2014 12:23 pm

“Presstitutes”, excellent.

Billy Liar
Reply to  john robertson
September 21, 2014 12:36 pm

I think you spelled ‘press corpse’ wrong. 🙂

September 21, 2014 7:44 am
Mike H.
Reply to  TedL
September 21, 2014 11:01 am

I can’t believe they actually said that. Global warming, global change, now global stilling?
Are these scientists or Stephen King acolytes?

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  Mike H.
September 21, 2014 12:37 pm

Well, they obviously ain’t scientists, Mike, so draw your own conclusion.

James the Elder
Reply to  TedL
September 21, 2014 6:05 pm

So when the wind blows, predator bugs have a more difficult time of it? Brilliant observation.

Gary in Erko
September 21, 2014 7:48 am

Science has proved that climate warming or whatever it’s called this week, cherry picks bad weather, and doesn’t in any way amend a bad weather day to turn it into perfect for a picnic.

September 21, 2014 7:57 am

Thanks Chip, as a long time Tucson resident I appreciate your reference to tropical system impacts on Arizona. I was influenced in my understanding of these systems by my father, a former geologist with the Arizona Geological Survey. Interestingly Octave (1983) held the 24hr rainfall accumulation until Nora (1997). This article described Octave (and clarified flooding versus runoff event) authored by my father in Field Notes: http://www.azgs.az.gov/Hazards_ocr/Floods%20_%20Debris%20Flows/Floods%20of%20October%201983.pdf. I only mention Nora to explain that the reporting of these events leaves much NOT to be desired. The Arizona Republic had a front page story, after Nora, titled – NADA NORA. The Weather Channel had Jim Cantorie reporting from Yuma as Nora moved up the Sea of Cortez. Never mind that storm now holds the 24hr rainfall accumulation for Arizona and the location is Harquahala mountain about 90 miles west northwest of Phoenix. Like your piece Phoenix dodged a bullet. The flooding that occurred north and west of Wickenburg (where I now reside) was simply amazing. Consider 10 to 12 inches of rain (most falling in less than 6 hrs) in either the Phoenix or Tucson metro areas or in the Salt or Verde watersheds?

Michael Wassil
September 21, 2014 9:25 am

I see this as just another sign of desperation. There’s no further need to provide actual evidence that can be verified or not. Those demanding such evidence are dimwits who just don’t get it. No matter what happens or doesn’t happen, it’s evidence of CAGW and we deniers had better get with the program and just shut the f… up. If anyone needed further proof that ‘climate science’ has absolutely nothing to do with science, this is it.

September 21, 2014 10:07 am

It is even more stunning when one considers crop production:
Based on the Sept. 11 report, 2014 US corn production is estimated at a record level of 14.4 billion bushels, which compares to a 13.9 billion bushel corn production level in 2013. Total U.S. corn production was 10.8 billion bushels in the drought year of 2012, 12.3 billion bushels in 2011, and 12.5 billion bushels in 2010. The 2014 average U.S. corn yield is now estimated at a new record level of 171.7 bushels per acre, which is an increase of 4.3 bushels per acre from the August yield estimate. The 2014 projected national average corn yield would be well above recent U.S. corn yields of 158.8 bushels per acre in 2013, 123.4 bushels per acre in 2012, and 147.2 bushels per acre in 2011. The previous record U.S. average corn yield was 164.7 bushels per acre in 2009.
Source: http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/blog/usda-projects-record-2014-crop-production
What is not in dispute is the steady rise of pCO2, at about 2-3 ppm/yr, to around 400ppm today. Accurate continuous, direct measurements started only 55 yrs ago. How much of this CO2 rise is human fossil fuel-sourced is a matter of intense debate, but it is resonable to assume some fraction is anthropogenic from fossil fuel burning, land use changes, and rain forest burning and clearing. But it is not clear if rising anthropogenic CO2 inputs to the atmosphere were responsible for ANY of the global temp increase of the 1980-99 period, as similar temp rises can be found in regional and local records stretching back to the 17th century.
So today, we document 15+ years of no temp rise (or significant decline yet), a clear record of declining storm severities of all categories, and decelerating ocean GMSL rise.
I suggest we celebrate the climatological situation we find ourselves in today. For my part, I plan on grilling bratwurst “on the barby” this afternoon and swilling some malted beverages in conjunction with the start of Octoberfest. In a peaceful protest of the stupidity occurring in NYC vis-a-vis Climate Change this week, I also plan on taking a sharp kitchen knife to a fat tasty watermelon and sharing with friends and family.
CO2 is good. It feeds the plants upon which all animal life depends. It may buffer the planet from the effects of declining temperature while buffering against any possible decline. CO2 is our friend.

Reply to  joelobryan
September 21, 2014 11:39 am

Yes and the 2012 production was higher than forecast by the models – crop production models that is. This has been attributed to increased CO2, another reason to feel happy about the climate.

Reply to  joelobryan
September 21, 2014 11:53 am

And we are about to get very good data on CO2 from NASA:

September 21, 2014 11:08 am

Today, In South Florida the weather is beautiful. Does CO2 cause pleasant weather too?

September 21, 2014 11:19 am

“CAGW causes or worsens ALL “warmcolddroughtflood” everywhere, every time. Carbon(dioxide?) is the main thermostat that absolutely dictates global temperatures. All other factors – Sun & Sea pale in comparison. Water vapor just makes it worse. It obeys the direction that CO2 drives temperatures and drives it further. If CO2 rises, water vapor assists the CO2 in heating the planet by a factor of 4. All of this would never happen if Humanity had not caused it.”
I’m just trying to keep track of the current theory. It tends to morph.

September 21, 2014 2:14 pm

“But there is much evidence demonstrating that …. weather events of many kinds are beginning to be influenced—in magnitude or frequency—by changes in climate.”
Of course. So weather events of many kinds are influenced by the fact that weather changes (and always has done so). Maybe more frequent or less. Maybe more severe or less. Maybe. This is a statement which was built to sound menacing but is absolutely content-free.
Once this is accepted it is perfectly unsurprising that some future weather events might be severe and some benign. Or not. But it will be unknown and unknowable if that event was caused by climate change except through some alchemy of statistical analysis which first must assume a “norm” in an ever changing world.
What will never change: there will always be control freaks, and there will always be joiners, and there will always be the self-righteous. Its up to the rest of us to protect ourselves and our offspring from their excesses.

Reply to  Sciguy54
September 21, 2014 2:50 pm

Well put. I often wonder what goes through the minds of Mann and Hansen and the other “great minds” of this awful movement. I assume they were well meaning scientists at one point, but I think they are now deluding themselves. Maybe they have read too many of the press clippings from fawning media members.

September 21, 2014 3:06 pm

Thanks, “Chip”. Very good article.

September 22, 2014 10:10 am

What you all are missing is that Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is causing weather disasters to be more concentrated than in the past. That is why you mistakenly think that good weather is caused by global warming; it is not. The good weather is what is left over when the bad weather is wreaking havoc elsewhere. The destruction from the disastrous weather events far outweighs the destruction when bad weather was distributed evenly around the globe.

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  FerdinandAkin
September 22, 2014 9:58 pm

Haha.. Climate Disruption is ditributed in lumps.. 🙂

September 23, 2014 7:52 pm

The best guide to the climate of the future is the climate of the past, which shows a cyclical pattern – warming-cooling-warming-cooling trend. That trend was never driven by human Co2 emissions. It therefore cannot be the key driver of climate change as proclaimed by the IPCC.
People like Obama, who keep using false terminology, such as referring to the dangers posed by “carbon pollution” when they are too frightened to say “carbon dioxide pollution”, add nothing to the scientific debate. Their ignorance is exposed by the fact that Co2 is essential to life, and even the term “carbon pollution” goes against a basic fundamental… animal and plant life on Earth are referred to as carbon-based lifeforms.

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