Claim: Cause of California drought linked to climate change – not one mention of ENSO or El Niño

More despicable climate hype from Noah Diffenbaugh (press release follows) who is ignoring the obvious: California has had far worse droughts before “global warming” was a glimmer in a scientist’s eye, and these were driven by changes in weather patterns that happened long before CO2 became an issue. For example the worst drought of the past century doesn’t even make the top ten. And as this graph shows, our current California drought is but a blip in the larger historical scheme of things:

California_drought_timelineUPDATE: WUWT reader Jimbo adds in comments that the models are about a 50/50 split over wetter/drier:

To more directly address the question of whether climate change played a role in the probability of the 2013 event, the team collaborated with scientist Bala Rajaratnam, also of Stanford.

Rajaratnam applied advanced statistical techniques to a large suite of climate model simulations.

It’s called the weather and GIGO. Climate computer simulations are a pile of crap.

Abstract

The Key Role of Heavy Precipitation Events in Climate Model Disagreements of Future Annual Precipitation Changes in California

Climate model simulations disagree on whether future precipitation will increase or decrease over California, which has impeded efforts to anticipate and adapt to human-induced climate change……..Between these conflicting tendencies, 12 projections show drier annual conditions by the 2060s and 13 show wetter. These results are obtained from 16 global general circulation models downscaled with different combinations of dynamical methods…

http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00766.1


From NSF: Press Release 14-129

Extreme atmospheric conditions responsible for drought more likely to occur in current global warming

 

California_Drought_Dry_Riverbed_NOAA_f[1]The drought crippling California is by some measures the worst in the state’s history.

Credit and Larger Version

September 29, 2014

The atmospheric conditions associated with the unprecedented drought in California are very likely linked to human-caused climate change, researchers report.

Climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh of Stanford University and colleagues used a novel combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques to show that a persistent region of high atmospheric pressure over the Pacific Ocean–one that diverted storms away from California–was much more likely to form in the presence of modern greenhouse gas concentrations.

The result, published today in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, is one of the most comprehensive studies to investigate the link between climate change and California’s ongoing drought.

“Our research finds that extreme atmospheric high pressure in this region–which is strongly linked to unusually low precipitation in California–is much more likely to occur today than prior to the emission of greenhouse gases that began during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s,” says Diffenbaugh.

The exceptional drought crippling California is by some measures the worst in state history.

Combined with unusually warm temperatures and stagnant air conditions, the lack of precipitation has triggered a dangerous increase in wildfires and incidents of air pollution across the state.

The water shortage could result in direct and indirect agricultural losses of at least $2.2 billion and lead to the loss of more than 17,000 seasonal and part-time jobs in 2014 alone.

Such effects have prompted a drought emergency in the state; the federal government has designated all 58 California counties as natural disaster areas.

“In the face of severe drought, decision-makers are facing tough choices about the allocation of water resources for urban, agricultural and other crucial needs,” says Anjuli Bamzai, program director in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funded the research.

“This study places the current drought in historical perspective and provides valuable scientific information for dealing with this grave situation. ”

Scientists agree that the immediate cause of the drought is a particularly tenacious “blocking ridge” over the northeastern Pacific–popularly known as the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, or “Triple R”–that prevented winter storms from reaching California during the 2013 and 2014 rainy seasons.

Blocking ridges are regions of high atmospheric pressure that disrupt typical wind patterns in the atmosphere.

“Winds respond to the spatial distribution of atmospheric pressure,” says Daniel Swain of Stanford, lead author of the paper.

“We have seen this amazingly persistent region of high pressure over the northeastern Pacific for many months, which has substantially altered atmospheric flow and kept California largely dry.”

The Triple R was exceptional for both its size and longevity.

While it dissipated briefly during the summer months of 2013, it returned by fall 2013 and persisted through much of the winter, California’s wet season.

“At its peak in January 2014, the Triple R extended from the subtropical Pacific between California and Hawaii to the coast of the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska,” says Swain, who coined the term “ridiculously resilient ridge” to highlight the persistent nature of the blocking ridge.

Like a large boulder that has tumbled into a narrow stream, the Triple R diverted the flow of high-speed air currents known as the jet stream far to the north, causing Pacific storms to bypass not only California, but also Oregon and Washington.

As a result, rain and snow that would normally fall on the West Coast were instead re-routed to Alaska and as far north as the Arctic Circle.

An important question for scientists and decision-makers has been whether human-caused climate change has influenced the conditions responsible for California’s drought.

Given the important role of the Triple R, Diffenbaugh and colleagues set out to measure the probability of such extreme ridging events.

The team first assessed the rarity of the Triple R in the context of the 20th century historical record.

Analyzing the period since 1948, for which comprehensive atmospheric data are available, the researchers found that the persistence and intensity of the Triple R in 2013 were unrivaled by any previous event.

To more directly address the question of whether climate change played a role in the probability of the 2013 event, the team collaborated with scientist Bala Rajaratnam, also of Stanford.

Rajaratnam applied advanced statistical techniques to a large suite of climate model simulations.

Using the Triple R as a benchmark, Rajaratnam compared geopotential heights–an atmospheric property related to pressure–between two sets of climate model experiments.

One set mirrored the present climate, in which the atmosphere is growing increasingly warmer due to human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

In the other set of experiments, greenhouse gases were kept at a level similar to those that existed just prior to the Industrial Revolution.

The researchers found that the extreme heights of the Triple R in 2013 were at least three times as likely to occur in the present climate as in the preindustrial climate.

They also found that such extreme values are consistently tied to unusually low precipitation in California, and to the formation of atmospheric ridges over the northeastern Pacific.

“We’ve demonstrated with high statistical confidence that large-scale atmospheric conditions similar to those of the Triple R are far more likely to occur now than in the climate before we emitted large amounts of greenhouse gases,” Rajaratnam says.

“In using these advanced statistical techniques to combine climate observations with model simulations, we’ve been able to better understand the ongoing drought in California,” Diffenbaugh adds.

“This isn’t a projection of 100 years in the future. This is an event that is more extreme than any in the observed record, and our research suggests that global warming is playing a role right now.”

The research was also supported by the National Institutes of Health. Rajaratnam was also supported in part by DARPA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the UPS fund.

-NSF-

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Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

Are you guys absolutely CERTAIN that swearing is not allowed in comments?

Ralph Kramdon

They used computer simulations? I wonder if they are as accurate as the IPCC simulations?

That’s the model they used to feed their model. The GCMs that the IPCC uses.

NoFreeWind

The GCMs that the IPCC uses.

The ones that guess wrong 111 out of 114 times
“an analysis of the full suite of CMIP5 historical simulations (augmented for the period 2006–2012) reveals that 111 out of 114 realizations show a GMST trend over 1998–2012 that is higher than the entire HadCRUT4 trend ensemble
http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_Chapter09_FINAL.pdf
box 9.2
98% of the models were wrong, that makes them 97% certain they are right.

Mario Lento

Actually – it’s 97.3%… or 97% if we use the nearest whole number, which makes it agree with the supposed consensus. Priceless!

bh2

“[they] used a novel combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques”
I think it’s become entirely safe to assume any conclusion following after this or other similar phrases is most likely a calculated lie to assure grant money continues to bleed the public purse.

The climate model results used by the 2014 National Climate Assessment revealed that models have totally failed to simulate past droughts even after they adjusted the results. The only thing the adjustments did were to increased the probability of a scary future scenario. Failed models of past climates should make us all wary that future scenarios are not so scary. See the model results here http://landscapesandcycles.net/image/95477064.png

Felix

“This is an event that is more extreme than any in the observed record . . .”
From an archaeological perspective I am sure the many early American peoples in centuries past who lived throughout the Southwest, and saw their societies collapse due to persistent drought conditions will be surprised to learn their the “observed record” shows that it really wasn’t that bad.
Obviously, they succumbed to some alarmist mumbo jumbo, and left for no good reason.

Do they really limit their observational record to 1948? So what if it’s the worst since then, it’s nothing close to the worst ever.

chris moffatt

and of course it couldn’t have anything to do with over-development and lack of planning.

ConfusedPhoton

“California has had far worse droughts before “global warming” was a glimmer in a scientist’s eye”
Or a clinking of grant money flowing into the pockets of climate “scientists”.
Who needs integrity when you have bloated grants. I suppose this is easier than doing real science for a living!

PeteP

This is the biggest line of bull from the AGW propagandists that is easily refuted by the facts of drought history in CA. These people won’t stop until they’ve taxed us for breathing… and they are willing to tell any lie to get control over us.

Roy Martin

“…used a novel combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques…” Can I stop reading here?

I did.

mpainter

Ditto

Anything is possible

I’m surprised you made it that far.

DesertYote

The only reason I read that far was to find that line you were quoting. Otherwise I would have given up long before. That bit, “is by some measures”, was enough to make me stop.

mjc

I didn’t…but then again, I was looking for the punch line. I think that WAS the punch line.

Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh. I just finished reading the comments section over at the New York times reporting that “Human-Made Climate Change Resulted in Extreme Heat” (this time referring to the heat waves in Australia).
Please don’t get me started. Here is the alpha and the omega of their “proof”:
“In the Australian case, computers were used to analyze what the climate would likely be in the absence of human emissions. They were simply unable to produce a year as extreme as 2013, and other analytical methods yielded similar answers.”
Translation: We couldn’t make our models conform with reality without adding the fudge-factor of “human impact on climate change”. So therefore that MUST be what caused it?
How about an HONEST response? “We don’t know a bunny’s-behind about modeling anything, and our inability to predict a damn thing is proof of the inadequacy of our modeling and content knowledge.”
Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh. ClimateOtter, you said it!!

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

I certainly Thought it!

Robert B

I posted this in Nick Stokes blog, moyhu. http://moyhu.blogspot.com/2014/01/heat-wave-in-victoria.html?showComment=1392022641684#c8319878326956569490 in February. Its a subjective way of quantifying heatwaves, as they all are, but it does clearly show that looking at data from 1950 will make it appear that SE Australia is getting more extreme.
The hot weather is due to weather patterns that have happened before and if its climate rather than weather that we are talking about, we need to prepare for more 40.6+ degree days.

This drought will end. The Sandy storm will become a distant memory. The climate alarmists will scour the earth looking for a weather event for their next climate alarmist mascot.

Travis Casey

If I may…a very unscientific observation on my part. A 60-70 year cycle appears pretty obvious to these eyeballs.

RJ

Would it be fair to say:
“The drought crippling California is by some measures the worst in this century”?

No. It is just the most hyped.
Unless by “this century” you mean “from 2001 to date”….
I’ve lived in worse droughts in California ( I was born there 60+ years ago). The ancient record is even worse. Dramatically worse. No rain for 200 years worse. Trees growing to maturity in what are now lake bottoms worse.
IMHO, calling this the worst ever, or even the worse in the last couple of hundred years, is a bald faced lie.
BTW, news a day or two ago was rain in N. California…. Strange these modern rainy droughts. The old droughts ended when it rained….

Great post!
I enjoyed reading this one. It dramatically shows the con-artists in action. I say this because no one could be so stupid as to miss the fact that past droughts have been much worse and there is no way to blame those much worse past droughts on cAGW or the magic molecule CO2 and hence, by logic, these people knew full well what heifer dust they were spreading.
In addition, they ignored the well known idea that global warming would make it rain more. (or not … depends on the lie of the day I suppose)
In addition, they ignored the results of real science about the way the pacific ocean effects the climate of California. Talk about going against well known science!’
Yes, I enjoyed this little exercise in fertilizer spreading by a clown car full of buffoons. (no offense intended towards clowns or buffoons)

Experiments are done in the lab, or in Nature (1919 and Einstein’s gravitational lensing prediction is an example). There is no such thing as an experiment on climate models. GIGO.
The forthcoming book essay Models all the way Down explains some of the reasons why.
And essay False Alarms discusses the present California drought in historical context. A self inflicted wound. Since 1970, California’s population has increased 87%. Its water reservoir capacity has increaed 26%. Add in repeated dry spells from the published NOAA PDSI since 1900 for California, and you get the current situation. No matter what OBummer says, it is state government incompetence, not climate change.

Scott

Rud, I fail to see how State government incompetence is responsible for dry spells……
However you are fundamentally correct about population growth vs. storage capacity. It isn’t really a matter of incompetence but what is politically defensible. Politicians won’t risk their hides to tell communities that they shouldn’t grow, and they are also unwilling to fight for additional storage of almost any kind (surface or ground). Add to that the increased pressure for both good and bad environmental reasons to release water out of surface storage that otherwise would/could be used for municipal or agricultural needs and you drive an unsustainable situation.

Bingo, another crisis that they just can’t let go to waste.
The question is which freedom or liberty will they say justifies being destroyed because of climate change.

Mario Lento

I think what Rud said is clear and cogent enough. Your opening sentence implies that he said the government is responsible for the dry spells. I am pretty sure he did not mean any such thing.

I live in northern California and I don’t believe we are having a dry spell at all.
The state has been telling us for most of the last 10 years that we’re in a drought. I translate that to mean, “Water is running short because it’s a government monopoly, we won’t let a market set prices, and most especially, we won’t build more dams to cope with our growing population because we’re eco-nuts!”
There’s your State government incompetence, Scott.

Mario Lento

jdgalt September 30, 2014 at 9:11 pm
I live in northern California and I don’t believe we are having a dry spell at all.
++++++++
I’m not trying to be argumentative here, however, we have had precious little rain in several years. Not to take away from what you’re saying, but saying we’re not in a drought is a bit over the top.

mjc

Actually there is an experiment on climate models…the models themselves are experimental software.

Charles Nelson

The timing of papers like these are a crucial part of Warmist Recruiting Techniques.
It’s easy for the gullible and historically illiterate to believe in Thermageddon when they’re looking out at a brown, smoggy, scorched landscape.
Here in Australia you could set your clock to the flood of Warmist tosh that is unleashed every time there is a bush fire.
They’re good at propaganda.

Sciguy54

“Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.”
-Saul Alinsky

Mick

You want to see propaganda? Check the latest National Geographic. You will find something relating to climate change about every 3rd page.
I don’t buy them, they just appear here at the office.

John

“Climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh of Stanford University and colleagues used a novel combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques to show that a persistent region of high atmospheric pressure over the Pacific Ocean–one that diverted storms away from California–was much more likely to form in the presence of modern greenhouse gas concentrations.”
I can write a computer simulation to do anything I want it to, regardless of the data fed into it. This looks like one of those sets of programs.

Aaargh!!!
While there has been no significant warming (or cooling) in 15 – 18 years, the “Global Warming” that isn’t happening is still able to cause draughts in California!
The models that are based on human CO2 emissions being the cause of global warming don’t show warming when human CO2 emissions are not included!
Well, duh!
I suspect any model that shows that the Sun’s radiation is the main driver of the Earth’s temperature will show that if you remove the Sun’s radiation the Earth will get cooler. But, that is just a guess – I don’t have access to the high-powered computers that are needed to run such a simulation.
(Insert image of person hitting head against brick wall here.)

Jimmy Finley

Anthony: NOAA Diff… or Noah Diff… in the head paragraph. Heh. Is he a NOAA guy, or just another idiot from my favorite university?

Neil Jordan

This was raked over the coals on WUWT:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/18/christy-on-sierra-snowfall-over-the-last-130-years-no-trend-no-effect-from-co2/
Scroll down to my comment to Dr. Christy, bringing up California rainfall records (not computer models) going back to 1769. The report covering the Mission records is available on-line at http://cepsym.info/history/RainfallStreamRunoffSoCA_since1769.pdf
and
http://books.google.com/books/about/Rainfall_and_stream_run_off_in_Southern.html?id=sJMJAQAAIAAJ
To summarize the rainfall records from 1769 to 2000, Department of Water Resources data (230 years) show an average annual rainfall of 15.02 inches. The maximum in 1884 was 38.18 inches. The minimum in 1790 was 1.49 inch.

Richard G

I recall hearing that 2013 was the lowest evah. I guess that 1.49 inches in 1790 was a little inconvenient.

Jack

I guess they aren’t old enough to remember the 1976-1977 drought. Same deal. Different generation.
California’s biggest water problem is farmers who insist on using flood irrigation techniques in what amounts to a desert. It was a practice that wasn’t sustainable in the 1970s and it still isn’t sustainable, today. Some people just never learn and are condemned to repeat the same mistakes, twice.

DonK31

Agree with droughts of earlier generations, but…I think that the biggest problem is that millions of people are trying to maintain their tropical paradise of swimming pools and water swilling lawns in the middle of the desert. Agriculture feeds us, lawns don’t

Also all that rice and cotton farming; both crops that use a lot of water; however, since the rice farming is all North of Sac, where the bulk of California water originates, try stopping that.

sinewave

So are we to infer that the solution to the current drought is to reduce CO2 emissions? This falls into the “Global Warming is affecting you right now, take us seriously and do what we say!” PR category

Jimbo

Let me post this before I read any further.

IPCC
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Multiple proxies, including tree rings, sediments, historical documents and lake sediment records make it clear that the past 2 kyr included periods with more frequent, longer and/or geographically more extensive droughts in North America than during the 20th century (Stahle and Cleaveland, 1992; Stahle et al., 1998; Woodhouse and Overpeck, 1998; Forman et al., 2001; Cook et al., 2004b; Hodell et al., 2005; MacDonald and Case, 2005). Past droughts, including decadal-length ‘megadroughts’ (Woodhouse and Overpeck, 1998), are most likely due to extended periods of anomalous SST (Hoerling and Kumar, 2003; Schubert et al., 2004; MacDonald and Case, 2005; Seager et al., 2005), but remain difficult to simulate with coupled ocean-atmosphere models. Thus, the palaeoclimatic record suggests that multi-year, decadal and even centennial-scale drier periods are likely to remain a feature of future North American climate, particularly in the area west of the Mississippi River.

Jimbo

Oh and this.
US droughts and mega-droughts during the Holocene caused by something or other.

Barry Hoffman

And they still refuse to consider a new dam at Auburn. If this is the beginning of a 50-100 year drought cycle, we’re all going to pay a high price. Remember, Sacramento river water must be released in sufficient quantity to protect the Delta Smelt, a lousy 2″ bait fish. Unbelieveable!…..

Gary Pearse

“used a novel combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques to show…”
Yeah, I’m sure. We’ve become used to the use of novel stats to twist out the answers that they wanted. Now if it weren’t for the release of the climategate emails, probably there would be a few about this and Mikey’s nature trick. Or a new trick as the press release states. Do they release the thumb screws they used for this work for examination by McIntyre?

Sadly, California will have to be evacuated. Since India, China, Russia and many others are ramping up their CO2 emissions, I think we all have to face reality. California is toast. Businesses will have to relocate, and of course this will spark a bidding war from competing states and countries who want the new jobs and tax revenues. Homes and business infrastructure will be sold at a penny on the dollar. Farmers will have to sell out at 1 cent on the dollar, and relocate to northern Canada where tundra will soon yield to lush vegetable growing farm lands.
Get on the bandwagon skeptics! Promote the daylights out of this! We’re all going to get beachfront property in California for 1 cent on the dollar!

Bob Diaz

I find it rather funny that at the same time, this article appears in the LA Times,
“California drought and climate warming: Studies find no clear link”
http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-climate-change-california-drought-20140929-story.html

Pat Frank

I’ve come to call these sorts of studies, ‘video-game science.’
Sitting in front of a computer and trying this scenario and that scenario, seeing what the model does, and then publishing a paper about it, is much easier than doing actual climate physics.
Doing actual climate physics means going outdoors, struggling with instruments, trying to get usable data sets, and all the other gritty realities of doing experimental science and trying to wrest information from nature.
These people aren’t scientists. They’re just video-gamers. And applying statistics to video-game output is a way for statisticians to be just as lazy as the video-gamers. It’s no sweat to get good statistics off computer output; much, much harder to get good correlations from valid data.
Non-predictive models tell you nothing. Combining statistics with non-predictive models tells you more nothing after doing more work.
The fact that these folks don’t realize they’re doing nonsense indicates the intellectual bankruptcy of consensus climate science. Understand this point: these people really believe they’re doing something physically real. It’s not about grant money. It’s about scientific incompetence.

R2Dtoo

The graduates of PacMan U at work!

Streetcred

Goddard nails it … Shipwrecked By The Laughter Of The Gods … http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/shipwrecked-by-the-laughter-of-the-gods-2/

Randy

“One set mirrored the present climate, in which the atmosphere is growing increasingly warmer due to human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.”
Except the atmosphere is NOT warming for quite some time. How did this pass peer review? basing work on things that literally are not happening in physical reality. Telling me warming is in the pipeline all you like it isnt currently doing it, yet this paper is based on this premise? PFFFT NOT SCIENCE.
Some are now even arguing that the past warming along this coast wasn’t even human driven anyway. (this stance has been published and covered here recently)

Doug Proctor

Since all things can be attributed to manmade CO2 increases, the only way CAGW can die is if there is a protracted period of global cooling – and even that will be attributed to A-CO2. The difference will be that a ban on fossil fuel use will result in a ceasation of global cooling …. for a while, until residual CO2 amounts cause a (semi-temporary) global warming.
The acceptance of computer models and arcane statistical analyses to explain everything is a black mark against our society. Something that is not discernible except to the machinations of computers – I’m saying that without all the adjustments and homogenization and filtering nobody would say that our experiences of weather were outside normal and natural variability. Indeed, we’d say that we should thank our lucky stars the climate isn’t shifting to some earlier, well documented time of cold or megadrought.
Only idealized models and finely crafted statistical analyses can link weather patterns to manmade CO2 emissions. That is what the politicians and general public don’t understand: in its raw form, there is no pattern to blame CO2.

bh2

“The acceptance of computer models and arcane statistical analyses to explain everything is a black mark against our society.”
It is specifically a black mark against a government controlled education establishment which insulates captive inmates from exposure to processes of critical thinking — a purpose-built state propaganda program which both Goebbles and Bernays would intensely admire.

Jimbo

Extreme atmospheric conditions responsible for drought more likely to occur in current global warming

We will have to wait and see.

The atmospheric conditions associated with the unprecedented drought in California are very likely linked to human-caused climate change, researchers report.

Haaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Climate comedy fairy tales. Unprecedented my arse. See my references above.

Climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh of Stanford University and colleagues used a novel combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques to show that a persistent region of high atmospheric pressure over the Pacific Ocean

So there you have it. I have hardly started reading and all is garbage in garbage out.

Jimbo

While it dissipated briefly during the summer months of 2013, it returned by fall 2013 and persisted through much of the winter, California’s wet season.
“At its peak in January 2014, the Triple R extended from the subtropical Pacific between California and Hawaii to the coast of the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska,” says Swain, who coined the term “ridiculously resilient ridge” to highlight the persistent nature of the blocking ridge.

This is called the WEATHER and not the climate. How can these people produce so much bullshit?

lee

Is the Triple -R a certain type of ranch?

bh2

The “ridiculously resilient ridge” explained by a “ridiculously resilient fairytale.” 🙂

In the 1966 book “The Computer in Society”, that I first read as a child and still have a copy of, it mentions GIGO, garbage in, garbage out. A lesson still valid to this day.
http://www.amazon.ca/computer-society-Michael-foreword-Marples/dp/B0006BSG54/ref=sr_1_24?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412031389&sr=1-24&keywords=computers+in+society

Jimbo

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Jimbo

To more directly address the question of whether climate change played a role in the probability of the 2013 event, the team collaborated with scientist Bala Rajaratnam, also of Stanford.
Rajaratnam applied advanced statistical techniques to a large suite of climate model simulations.

It’s called the weather and GIGO. Climate computer simulations are a pile of crap.

Abstract
The Key Role of Heavy Precipitation Events in Climate Model Disagreements of Future Annual Precipitation Changes in California
Climate model simulations disagree on whether future precipitation will increase or decrease over California, which has impeded efforts to anticipate and adapt to human-induced climate change……..Between these conflicting tendencies, 12 projections show drier annual conditions by the 2060s and 13 show wetter. These results are obtained from 16 global general circulation models downscaled with different combinations of dynamical methods…
http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00766.1

Jimbo

Can I rest my case now?

Randy K

Yes.

“Climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh of Stanford University and colleagues used a novel combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques to show…”
Anything their bosses want them to show.

Diffenbaugh and his crew don’t know how to do elementary research. Last February, Investor’s Business Daily wrote an editorial entitled California’s Drought Isn’t Due To Global Warming, But Politics.
In it, the editorial board writes,

Instead of blaming the man-made political causes of California’s worst water shortage, [Obama’s] come with $2 billion in “relief” that’s nothing but a tired effort to divert attention from fellow Democrats’ dereliction of duty in using the state’s water infrastructure.
The one thing that will mitigate droughts in California — a permanent feature of the state — is to restore the water flow from California’s water-heavy north to farmers in the central and south. That’s just what House Bill 3964, which passed by a 229-191 vote last week, does.
But Obama’s plan is not to get that worthy bill through the Senate (where Democrats are holding it up) but to shovel pork to environmental activists and their victims, insultingly offering out-of-work farmers a “summer meal plan” in his package.

California Central Valley Representative and farmer Devin Nunes, was one of three sponsors of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act designed to resolve the long-standing problem of environmental water cutbacks to CA’s farmland:

“They want to blame the drought for the lack of water, but they wasted water for the past five
years,” said Nunes.
The two [Nunes and fellow sponsor/legislator/farmer David Valadao] explain that California’s system of aqueducts and storage tanks was [sic] designed long ago to take advantage of rain and mountain runoff from wet years and store it for use in dry years. But it’s now inactive — by design. “California’s forefathers built a system (of aqueducts and storage facilities) designed to withstand five years of drought,” said Nunes.
“We have infrastructure dating from the 1960s for transporting water, but by the 1990s the policies had changed,” said Valadao.
Environmental special interests managed to dismantle the system by diverting water meant for farms to pet projects, such as saving delta smelt, a baitfish. That move forced the flushing of 3 million acre-feet of water [what Nevada uses in 7.5 years] originally slated for the Central Valley into the ocean over the past five years.

The state “refused to build adequate storage facilities so that rainwater and snowmelt runoff can be stored for use by a growing population during dry years, another element of the earlier system. With no storage, the rain goes wasted.” Valadao explained, “We can’t make it rain, but what we can do is (conserve water) and save it for today, and we did not do that for two years” […] “We went into 2013 with reservoirs 80% full and ended the year at 20% full, and now we have 0%.”
Nunes has the last word:

“It’s not global warming that led us to this problem, but math and engineering, because we let 3 million acre-feet of water go wasted over the past five years,” Nunes said. “If we had that water, we would not be in an unmitigated disaster.”

California’s farmers already pay 1% of the residential price for their water, and get huge federal tax subsidies as well.
Common sense would be to deregulate water and let the market set its price — and profit by finding more of it. Some farming would (and should) move out of California to the plains states, which suffer from flooding a lot more often than droughts. Meanwhile the price of food would increase to reflect the water used in growing it, leading people to consume less of water-intensive foods such as rice.
But above all, we are NOT in a drought. Droughts are by definition abnormal. Anything that happens more years than not is by definition normal. We have enough water, and simply must build enough dams to capture and use it. There is no excuse for not doing so.

Jimbo

“We’ve demonstrated with high statistical confidence that large-scale atmospheric conditions similar to those of the Triple R are far more likely to occur now than in the climate before we emitted large amounts of greenhouse gases,” Rajaratnam says.

Over 95% of the climate models used by the IPCC failed to ‘project’ the temperature standstill. There are lies, damned lies and imagined “statistical confidence”.

Jimbo

But I do hear it’s called global warming. What do the Warmists publish?

Letter To Nature – 11 September 2012
Justin Sheffield et al
Little change in global drought over the past 60 years
…….Previous assessments of historic changes in drought over the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries indicate that this may already be happening globally. In particular, calculations of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) show a decrease in moisture globally since the 1970s with a commensurate increase in the area in drought that is attributed, in part, to global warming4, 5……..Here we show that the previously reported increase in global drought is overestimated because the PDSI uses a simplified model of potential evaporation7 that responds only to changes in temperature and thus responds incorrectly to global warming in recent decades. More realistic calculations, based on the underlying physical principles8 that take into account changes in available energy, humidity and wind speed, suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years. The results have implications for how we interpret the impact of global warming on the hydrological cycle and its extremes, and may help to explain why palaeoclimate drought reconstructions based on tree-ring data diverge from the PDSI-based drought record in recent years9, 10.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7424/full/nature11575.html

It really is much, much worse than I ever dreamed. It is worse than we thought!!!! We are all doomed to little change in drought.
Water abstraction and land use changes have nothing to do with California’s ‘unprecedented’ drought. It’s all co2’s fault and we must act now, as usual.

JJ

Just yesterday, they were telling us that drought in the SW United States was caused by La Nina conditions off the Pacific coast. La Ninas are cool conditions, leading to less evaporation of the ocean surface and thus less rain coming in from the coast.
And what have we had for the last several years? La Nina conditions off the Pacific coast, and drought in the SW United States. Sounds like they were right about something. Blind squirrel, nut, etc.
But that causes a problem. At the same time, they were also telling us that ‘global warming’ should be giving us a lot fewer periods of the cool, drought-causing La Nina conditions, and a lot more of the hot, wet El Nino episodes that tend to drench the SW United States with torrential rains. If that’s the case, then you can’t blame the current droughts on the current La Nina and still blame ‘global warming.’ THAT SIMPLY CANNOT STAND! Time to throw out the long accepted wisdom about the link between La Nina and drought, and make up a new story that ties drought to the global warming that is not happening, instead of to the ocean cooling that is.
They’re just making this shit up as they go.

Christopher Hanley

‘Climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh of Stanford University and colleagues used a novel combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques to show that a persistent region of high atmospheric pressure over the Pacific Ocean–one that diverted storms away from California–was much more likely to form in the presence of modern greenhouse gas concentrations ….’.
===============================================================
This may signal a new approach viz. claiming that the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration of itself can directly affect the climate, bypassing the atmospheric temperature entirely.

This is getting beyond being a white lie, bald-faced lie, or statistic. This is starting to become the exfoliation-faced guff of Climate Science.
It used to be a lot of fun arguing with these guys, back when actual facts were used, and you’d learn things you didn’t know. More recently there seems to have been a parting of the ways between those who prefer facts,and those who prefer poppycock.

Jimbo

UPDATE: WUWT reader Jimbo adds in comments that the models are about a 50/50 split over wetter/drier:

THAT is the gem I keep for when computer simulations come up. It just so happens it concerned California – the land of the frightened and the home of the not so free – as well as Bristlecone pines used by the climate comedienne Mrs. Michael Mann. What more can I say?
Jokes aside, why oh why did this statistical computer simulated garbage ever see the light of day?

Latitude

CO2 is amazing…it affects the climate without changing the temperature

It causes blizzards and polar vortices. Amazing stuff.

Robert Wykoff

Let them cry global warming drought to their hearts content. Document and keep a list of every scare story and repeat them over and over again. Then when the rains predictably return over California (australia style), and they then try to claim that the floods ate consistent with global warming, rebroadcast these claims ad-infinitum. Although this will be as effective with the faithful as not burning the undead zombies, it may make a few on the fence people take notice.

Jimbo

If California gets more drought they will say the models predicted it.
If California gets less drought they will say the models predicted it.
This is a con job. Don’t fall for it, reach for your back wallet otherwise they will make YOU suffer. I don’t just mean CAGW sceptics, I mean even those who think they are ‘green’, angry and ‘concerned’. Just you wait and see.

“UPDATE: WUWT reader Jimbo adds in comments that the models are about a 50/50 split over wetter/drier:”

Alx

“Climate model simulations disagree on whether future precipitation will increase or decrease over California, which has impeded efforts to anticipate and adapt to human-induced climate change”
“12 projections show drier annual conditions by the 2060s and 13 show wetter.”
We are now living in a Twilight Zone episode where the inhabitants of earth are trapped in an endless Saturday Night Live skit. Or in other words we have officially left the age of reason.

Not Sure

As I live in California, I’m extremely happy someone has finally linked the current drought to climate change. I now expect the Gore effect to kick in with a vengeance. Brace for flooding and mud slides this winter!

Paul

“someone has finally linked the current drought to climate change”
Could it be that “link” enables Federal money to flow?
Foolish state water policies might not draw much sympathy (or cash).

jmorpuss

This is just one of many man made atmospheric heating problems http://www.ips.gov.au/Educational/5/2/3
It shows atmospheric hot spots and equatorial boldging

Barry

Anthony, it amazes me how much you read into things. Unless I missed it, nowhere in what you posted does it say that the current drought is CAUSED by climate change. It says it is “very likely linked” to climate change. “Linked” can mean a lot of things, like its intensity was made somewhat worse by climate change, or that it’s more likely to happen under higher GHG scenarios (which is what the paper states). For as much as you decry “alarmism,” it sure seems like you are easily alarmed by climate change papers.
REPLY: I read nothing in. The headline which contains the word “cause” can be seen here:
http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=132709&org=NSF&from=news
Press Release 14-129
Cause of California drought linked to climate change
-Anthony

Richard M

Do these scientists (?) think that the climate of California is somehow controlled by different processes to the adjoining Pacific Northwest?
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/09/22/surprising-pnas-paper-co2-emissions-not-the-cause-of-u-s-west-coast-warming/
This study appears to be the direct opposition to the above study that is based on empirical evidence. But then what should we expect from models. I really think a coin flip is more accurate.