Groundhog Day – Al Gore edition

Today, February 2nd, is groundhog day. From the “Monday Mirthiness” Department: Political cartoonist Rick McKee of the Augusta Chronicle sends this cartoon this way. Originally from 2009, it is just as pertinent and relevant today as it was then.


He also drew one last week that spoke to the forecasting fiasco of the 2015 Blizzard of NYC that wasn’t.


62 thoughts on “Groundhog Day – Al Gore edition

  1. I conclude from this that Cartoonists are in touch with what the public think, while Climate Change scientists are in touch with what they would LIKE the public to think…

  2. Wondering what we’ll end up with when the output of a climate model is fed as the input for short range forecasting.

    • Back in 2008 a group of Greek hydrologists looked at the ability of GCMs to forecast 1 month, 1 year and 30 years ahead, by comparing hind-cast predictions against measured data from 8 sites with greater than 100 year records. See “On the credibility of climate predictions”, D Koutsoyiannis et al, Hydrological Sciences 53 (4), August 2008.
      From the concluding remarks:
      “In all examined cases, GCMs generally reproduce the broad climatic behaviours at different geographical locations and the sequence of wet/dry or warm/cold periods at a monthly scale. Specifically, the correlation of modelled time series with historical ones is fair and the resulting coefficient of efficiency seems satisfactory. However, where tested, replacement of the modelled time series with a series of monthly averages (same for all years) resulted in higher efficiency.
      At the annual and the climatic (30-year) scales, GCM interpolated series are irrelevant to reality. GCMs do not reproduce natural over-year fluctuations and, generally, underestimate the variance and the Hurst coefficient of the observed series. Even worse, when the GCM time series imply a Hurst coefficient greater than 0.5, this results from a monotonic trend, whereas in historical data the high values of the Hurst coefficient are a result of large-scale over-year fluctuations (i.e. successions of upward and downward “trends”). The huge negative values of coefficients of efficiency show that model predictions are much poorer than an elementary prediction based on the time average. This makes future climate projections at the examined locations not credible.”
      In plain speak, for 1 month forecasts the models were generally fairly OK, but you would get a better prediction by simply taking the historical monthly average for that site. For one year and 30 year forecasts, the models forecasts are “irrelevant to reality” and “not credible”.
      Seems pretty clear really!

      • I think in IPCC speak, the more uncertain the forecasts are, and the more certain you are of how uncertain the forecasts are, provides you a net total of high certainty. In which case you can confidently forecast some things (probably bad) that might or might not happen.

      • Mathematician, meteorologist and the father of chaos theory, Edward Lorenz proved long ago (see: Lorenz, ’63) that accurate weather predictions beyond 5 days in advance become progressively unreliable, due to inherent uncertainties of climate driver inputs. All climate modellers know this, but aren’t about to shut down the milking machine they’ve hooked up to the cash cow. All latest climate model outputs would be even more ridiculously and obviously ‘way out there’, were it not for the fact that each model run includes the modellers’ best efforts to meticulously fit the latest historical weather patterns into the program, thus making their “past predictions” at least appear closer to reality.

  3. Now I’m hearing another excuse, that co2 variation both leads and lags temperature variation. Then there is the heat hiding in the depths, but I guess that claim has been at least minimized by taking the possible increase in ocean temperature converting it back to the equivalent atmospheric temperature to show that not much increase in atmospheric temperature implied. Is that right?

  4. its now 1400 and I am 6 below 0 F here, my high temp was 5 below 0 F.
    and I am getting snow, supposed to be 16 or so inches which puts me at approx 50 inches in 6 days.
    I will be out of places to put it after this storm and too cold to care about it then LOL

  5. Groundhog day, take six: Everybody have two beefs in life. Life isn’t fair, and the weather is getting worse.
    Obama promised to fix both. Income redistribution and Climate control.
    Everything else:
    Obama is looking too scrawny;
    too chicken to face the Irani.
    For he can’t cope with stress,
    so he works less and less.
    Gets scared of his shadow like Phil Punxutawney.

  6. To quote another notable Democrat Party thug (William Magear “Boss” Tweed):

    “”Stop them damned pictures. I don’t care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents don’t know how to read, but they can’t help seeing them damned pictures!”

  7. Climate news from the UK…
    – – –
    Earliest Spring Ever !
    Abington guinea pig predicts record breaking early spring
    Abington, Cambridgeshire
    Monday, February 2nd, 2015
    Abington’s famous guinea pig climate prognosticator, Gnipper, made his annual Candlemass day prediction this morning. According to legend, if the guinea pig can see the shadow of his tail on Candlemass morning, the 2nd day of February, there will be six more weeks of winter. No tail shadow is sure to predict an early spring.
    Emerging from his cosy hutch into a chilly minus two centigrade, Gnipper looked up into the clear winter sky, then down to the frozen ground before squeaking his prediction to the waiting crowd: no tail
    shadow, it’s going to be an early spring !
    Gnipper’s prognostication was later confirmed by transatlantic rodent cousin, woodchuck Staten Island Chuck at Staten Island zoo, N.Y. and by Canadian groundhog Wiarton Willie from Ontario. Both rodents
    made their annual Groundhog Day predictions shortly after 7 am Eastern time. Gnipper, the most famous of European prognosticators, has a five time zone lead over his transatlantic cousins.
    Responding to the prognostication, Dr Bob Hahn, of the Abington Space and Weather Studies Institute, said “The 2015 Early Spring is the earliest ever predicted, in a series of early years, in a series of early
    decades. The results mean that 14 of the 15 earliest spring predictions on record have been since the turn of the century. The new early spring prediction announced today completely exposes the myth that global
    warming has stopped”.
    “We may anticipate further record early springs in the years to come,” he said.
    Craig Fish, policy and communications director of the Granta River Institute on Climate Change at the Abington School of Economics agreed. He said: “Rodents across the world have all concluded [that] human activities, particularly burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, are primarily responsible for early springs. No politician can afford to ignore this overwhelming scientific evidence or claim that global warming is a hoax”.
    – – –
    Perhaps interesting, I see that some of the other rodent prognosticators have turned “Denier”. Punxsutawney Phil and Malverne Mel have both called “six more weeks of winter”.
    What will the Green Blob say?

    • Gnipper should have been turned a right angles to the position he took. If on a clear winter day, if you can see the shadow of your frozen tail, you must be in Winnipeg with your eyeballs frozen, or Gnipper was oriented to see the shadow of his hind end.

      • No, they wrote centigrade. If that’s the only thing to comment on then it’s quite a relief to know that everything else is okay.

    • “to all people who do not believe in Climate Science but do believe in rodent weather forecasting done involuntarily”
      What’s your beef, the odds are about the same for either prediction.

    • At least the Groundhog can be paid in nuts and do not call for massive changes to society based on their claims . So if their wrong it has no effect .

  8. Gore-hog would be scared of his shadow ‘cos that means more Winter. But what, I wonder are the omens when – and if – he sees his reflection in a mirror?

  9. Responding to the prognostication, Dr Bob Hahn, of the Abington Space and Weather Studies Institute, said “The 2015 Early Spring is the earliest ever predicted, in a series of early years, in a series of early decades. The results mean that 14 of the 15 earliest spring predictions on record have been since the turn of the century. The new early spring prediction announced today completely exposes the myth that global warming has stopped”.
    The operative word being “predictions” I wonder what the real temps were measured at Abington since the turn of the Century? Can Dr Bob Hahn provide those and btw what is an Early spring anyway and what is the date for an “Early Spring” in Arizona compared to say Alberta. Calendar date for both is March twenty-first. ( Oh darn. another can of wormy things!).

  10. Any internet news item proclaiming climate catastrophe is now accompanied by a chorus of comments making fun of any and all crazy climate predictions (at least, when comments are allowed and un- moderated.) At some point, the politicians are going to realize that the support they’ve gotten from the agenda driven NGOs won’t overcome the fact that en masse, the voters have figured out that they’ve been taken for a ride. The internet has changed everything.

    • I don’t trust that my ballot is being counted honestly. In Washington State, it’s all mail-in voting, and the vote counting offices are entirely run by 80% Democrat leaning government staff. I assume my ballot is replaced with one that has the ‘correct’ choices pre-populated in advance, or my ballot is overwhelmed by the illegal voters.

      • I’ve only ever heard one politician speak about grassroots efforts to try to clean up the voting process and she has been vociferously against those efforts. She would never admit that her goal is tantamount to institutionalizing one- sided voter fraud, but that’s what she has been doing. It’s like the old saw- she’s “Pi**in’ on your leg and tellin’ you that it’s raining”.
        I’m sure that Hillary isn’t the only politician up to no good about this matter, she’s just the only one i’ve heard speak about it.

  11. Spring arriving here in Utah this week, low 60s for temps. My heating bill, this winter, has been about 1/3 what it was last year. Thank you el nino, global warming, or whatever!

    • What about that snowpack? Not too bad and another month or two of snow in the mountains especially if the “Pineapple Express” actually happens (recent forecasting not too impressive).
      I wonder what makes the Dirty Devil special? Ah, altitude. It includes Boulder Mountain which is a very high plateau kind of thing not susceptible to early melting.

  12. Al Gore ! Hurry ! Look Look !
    “Carbon Black” [snicker snicker] is gushing out of the sea floor ! This is an OUTRAGE ! EPA must STOP THIS !
    Ha ha.

  13. I don’t know how to use the “way back machine” nor do I want to disparage the hard working folks at our National Weather Service, but Chicago’s 5th worst snowfall just happened with hardly any forewarning.
    If I recall correctly, 36 hours out the prediction was 1-6 inches of snow depending on the storm track, 24 hours out it was 6-10 inches, 12 hours out it went up to 8-12 inches, not too long after the storms onset they just threw in the towel and issued a blizzard warning.
    I know how hard it is to predict snow, so I’m just glad to be finished shoveling the 19.3 inch storm total.
    It was all under the radar, nobody saw it coming.

    • Oddly enough, the GFS model predicted the weekend storm, in all its full glory, as early as last Sunday I didn’t see it on the other models I run). I was even monitoring it with cautions on my weather site. But equally oddly, it dropped off the GFS forecast by about Tuesday, and didn’t re-appear again until about Thursday, and even then was much reduced in significance (in GFS). The local mets didn’t get it figured out until about 6 hours before arrival in the lower lakes. It was an odd storm (I was in the middle of it at the western end of Lake Ontario), huge in area, but notwithstanding the amount of lake effect snow, was somewhat diffuse and dry. and for all the fuss, didn’t actually drop much snow from the system itself. Most of the snow was wind drift from low altitude lake effect – blowing around as atmospheric snow rather than condensing out. KBUF radar out of Buffalo couldn’t find any snow in it much all through the storm, overshooting the ground level LE. They stopped measuring accumulation around here about 12 hours before the storm ended, there was so much wind drift and blowing snow. I wound up with about 30cm, but really only about 20cm of actually falling snow – the rest was wind drifted lake effect. Had it not been such a slow mover with such strong winds over open water, it’d been inconsequential (at least around the Great Lakes).

  14. GroundHog Day is a near miss on MidWinter , this Wednesday , half way between winter solstice , whose proxy is Christmas , and vernal equinox . For many years , first in Rochester , and then in Manhattan I held an annual MidWinter party , even when party comers had to trudge thru feet of snow and street corner slush . Here’s an archive of some images : . My invite from my second party in 1984 , , shows that the emerging AGW swindle had aroused my skepticism even then .
    Moving to 2500 meters up in the CO Front Range , it quickly became evident that MidWinter could be completely impossibleimpassible : ( note 4WD Rodeo which could make it no further . ) So , I’ve switched to MidSummer , around August 4 ( Youall are invited 🙂 .
    The mid-seasons don’t get their proper respect . Wednesday marks the end of the quarter of the year with the least sun , as August 4 marks the end of the quarter with the most . Arguably these 8th points on the calendar would be more rational points for defining the seasons .

  15. As a heavy-weight scientist called Nils Bohr observed, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” For your average climate scientist, the odds of being anywhere in the ballpark drop alarmingly, just ask the CRU clowns.

  16. it would be interesting to know if this appeared in the Print edition:
    30 Jan: WaPo: Lori Montgomery: Is the Pentagon hyping climate change? Here, take a look.
    Let’s face it: Climate change can be a murky thing, hard to see and touch in the here and now. Except for some melting icecaps and vanishing species, it’s more future threat than current crisis.
    So when the folks at the Pentagon went looking for photos to illustrate how global warming is “already beginning” to affect their 7,000 facilities, they must have been thrilled to discover an alarming image (above, far right) of a four-story building that collapsed when the permafrost melted right out from under it on a military base in Alaska.
    There’s just one problem with that photo, which appears on the cover of the “adaptation roadmap” the Pentagon issued last fall: The building is not on a military base. It’s not even in Alaska.
    It’s in Russia.
    Moreover, the collapse of the building, a block of flats above the Arctic Circle in Russia’s eastern reaches, had nothing to do with climate change, according to the photographer, Vladimir E. Romanovsky, a geophysicist at the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. “It’s not global warming; it’s bad maintenance,” Romanovsky said in a telephone interview. “For the whole winter, there was hot water leaking in the basement.”
    Pentagon officials were mortified when we here at the Energy and Environment blog alerted them to the photo’s provenance. They quickly swapped it out for an admittedly less dramatic shot of an Alaska roadway buckled by degraded permafrost (top far right in photo below)…
    Problem solved! Except that the photo isn’t the only instance of Pentagon climate hype. READ ON…
    ***READ COMMENTS BY Hjhanna…

  17. I was talking with my 10-year-old Granddaughter, Katlin, and I asked her, What day is tomorrow?”
    Without skipping a beat she said, “It’s Presidents Day!”
    She’s smart, so I asked her “What does Presidents Day mean?” I was waiting for something about
    Washington or Lincoln. She replied, “Presidents Day is when the President steps out of the White
    House, and if he sees his shadow, we have another year of Bullshit.”

  18. If I didn’t know better I’d swear Al Gore came up with the see the shadow/ 6 more weeks of winter hypothesis. Think about it. The current theory, if the groundhog sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter, has proven horribly unreliable, there’s a much better theory with almost double the success rate and the powers that be are so confident in their failed theory that they won’t even entertain other theories. The current theory, with just a 39% success rate, it is a full 11 percentage points worse than what could be expected with a random guess.
    My theory, which postulates that if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow there will be 6 more weeks of winter, is successful 61% of the time,that’s eleven points higher than would be expected by random chance and a whopping 22 percentage points higher than the existing theory.
    It’s Settled Science. We have a consensus. Pass me the Nobel Prize, please.

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