Global warming research: strong storms to become stronger, weak storms to become weaker

University of Toronto study finds atmosphere will adapt to hotter, wetter climate

photo of lightning hitting CN Tower in a storm

(photo by Liam Kearney via Flickr)

A study led by atmospheric physicists at the University of Toronto finds that global warming will not lead to an overall increasingly stormy atmosphere, a topic debated by scientists for decades.

Instead, strong storms will become stronger while weak storms become weaker, and the cumulative result of the number of storms will remain unchanged.

“We know that with global warming we’ll get more evaporation of the oceans,” said Frédéric Laliberté, a research associate at U of T’s physics department and lead author of a study published this week in Science. “But circulation in the atmosphere is like a heat engine that requires fuel to do work, just like any combustion engine or a convection engine.”

The atmosphere’s work as a heat engine occurs when an air mass near the surface takes up water through evaporation as it is warmed by the sun and moves closer to the equator. The warmer the air mass is, the more water it takes up. As it reaches the equator, it begins to ascend through the atmosphere, eventually cooling as it radiates heat out into space. Cool air can hold less moisture than warm air, so as the air cools, condensation occurs, which releases heat.  When enough heat is released, air begins to rise even further, pulling more air behind it producing a thunderstorm. The ultimate “output” of this atmospheric engine is the amount of heat and moisture that is redistributed between the equator and the North and South Poles.

“By viewing the atmospheric circulation as a heat engine, we were able to rely on the laws of thermodynamics to analyze how the circulation would change in a simulation of global warming,” said Laliberté. “We used these laws to quantify how the increase in water vapour that would result from global warming would influence the strength of the atmospheric circulation.”

The researchers borrowed techniques from oceanography and looked at observations and climate simulations. Their approach allowed them to test global warming scenarios and measure the output of atmospheric circulation under warming conditions.

“We came up with an improved technique to comprehensively describe how air masses change as they move from the equator to the poles and back, which let us put a number on the energy efficiency of the atmospheric heat engine and measure its output,” said Laliberté.
The scientists concluded that the increase in water vapour was making the process less efficient by evaporating water into air that is not already saturated with water vapour. They showed that this inefficiency limited the strengthening of atmospheric circulation, though not in a uniform manner. Air masses that are able to reach the top of the atmosphere are strengthened, while those that can not are weakened.

“Put more simply, powerful storms are strengthened at the expense of weaker storms,” said Laliberté. “We believe atmospheric circulation will adapt to this less efficient form of heat transfer, and we will see either fewer storms overall or at least a weakening of the most common, weaker storms.”

The findings are reported in the paper “Constrained work output of the moist atmospheric heat engine in a warming climate” published January 30 in Science. The work was supported by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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167 thoughts on “Global warming research: strong storms to become stronger, weak storms to become weaker

    • And Global Neutral =? and Global Cooling =? And finally, “it is honestly too chaotic to measure or model” =?

      And yet they get paid, and furthermore are entrusted with training the young to become useful scientists by spouting this hyperbole?

    • “Strong storms become stronger; weak storms become weaker.”

      Due to an argument by Galileo, there must be a storm strength that is absolutely stable, and neither grows nor shrinks.

      How many Hiroshima atom bomb equivalents izzat ??

  1. CO2…that magic molecule that changes the weather…without changing the temperature

    ..and these morons believe in run away global humidity

    They didn’t even look at any real measurements

      • And then ignored them.

        In Queensland you could excuse them for standing out in sun too long but in this case they have just gone Troppo.

      • I have a question. Since the world has warmed to ‘unprecedented’ levels since the mid-1970s and we went through the ‘hottest’ decade and years on the record:

        Q) Have strong storms become stronger, and weak storms become weaker since the mid-1970s?

  2. Wow! Some people using real science. “By viewing the atmospheric circulation as a heat engine, we were able to rely on the laws of thermodynamics to analyze how the circulation would change in a simulation of global warming,” said Laliberté. “We used these laws to quantify how the increase in water vapour that would result from global warming would influence the strength of the atmospheric circulation.”

      • That’s strange. With the world getting warmer you would expect more water vapour in the atmosphere.

        What’s the source for that chart?
        And, more importantly, what’s the explanation?

      • David M., Three things: 1) perhaps you didn’t notice, but your column water drop coincides beautifully with the hiatus in temperature rise. 2) it is possible that their fast dynamical process could work within the longer term time frame of your column water record. 3) They are referring to a “what if” GW, so the record of the past is not much use.

      • Whoops–maybe the step-llke change is just due to a change in the analysis procedure.

        “There is a possibility that the step-like change shown 1998-1999 to some degree may be related to changes in the analysis procedure used for producing the data set, according to information from ISCCP.”

        http://www.climate4you.com/GreenhouseGasses.htm

      • Yes, I agree with what some of you have already said. It is interesting that the hottest ten years in all of recorded history show lower total water vapor. Maybe it is an instrumental or methodology offset. Very unfortunate timing though.

      • “Hottest ten years in *all of recorded history*”… On what planet? Recorded history began a few thousand years prior to instrumental temperature records.

      • Air and sea-surface temperatures are not the only factors effecting (sic) evaporation. The energy of visible and UV radiation break up molecular clusters (of water molecules) facilitating evaporation. So there is a direct as well as an indirect contribution by sunlight.

      • Yes, even the IPCC knows that water vapor is not increasing. Trouble is, does “column” water vapor mean total H2O or just vapor (gas)? Clouds and fog are actually liquid H2O and many stratospheric clouds are ice. They all weigh about the same…

      • Lance Wallace
        February 27, 2015 at 8:28 am

        Whoops–maybe the step-llke change is just due to a change in the analysis procedure.

        It couldn’t possibly be due to the 1998 El Niño, could it.

      • I agree with Lance Wallace’s analysis. The step changes and the time frames coincide with a very common patter of measuring instrument degradation and calibration and servicing. The apparent leveling off of the readings after 2009 coincide with the advent of SMART instrumentation and Automatic calibrations and Standardized Testing protocol.

        Having a thorough knowledge of this type of instrumentation I could suggest that all the data after 1999 is accurate. Prior to that I would only rely on data that is within one year of a certified calibration. That info is not provided here, but I would bet a paycheck that the calibrations were done in the years where the readings are on the same plane as 1999 to 2010. Look at 1983 and 1990. My theory is the original instrument was put in service in 1983. Routine calibrations may not reveal cell degradation until the margin of error of the calibration procedure is breached. A new cell was likely installed in 1990 when the first cell went bad enough to be changed. Then in 1999 a new Smart Instrument went in when the 1990 cell failed. No doubt in my mind.

        The graph above tells me there is ZERO change in Total Column Water Vapor from 1983 to 2010. However, the measuring instruments and their capabilities have changed.

    • I think it is ignoring science? I know GWA claim everything, but mostly I have read the cold regions will warm disproportionally more. Meaning there would be less power available to drive storms.

  3. Looks like they’ve been reading Willis here at WUWT! However, I don’t quite understand this bit:

    “The scientists concluded that the increase in water vapour was making the process less efficient by evaporating water into air that is not already saturated with water vapour.” ????

    • It doesn’t read well but I think they mean that the increase in water vapour would make the process less efficient as the air already has a high water vapour content, but not high enough to be saturated.

      It look like a partial pressure thing – dry air takes in water vapour more easily than air that is already humid as the water in the air could go back down in exchange.

      • David Middleton, thank you for the source.
        There does seem to be a step down after the huge, late-1990s El Nino and then a lower flat line after that jump.
        Still not sure I understand why though.
        Just nice to see what is.

      • Hmm. A bunch of people shouldn’t have to try and figure what they actually meant to say in what they actually wrote. Does having to do that mean that the rest of what they wrote might not actually mean what the meant to say? Off the top, the reviewers and the journal hit the deck here (quelle surprise).

      • Perhaps the issue has something to do with air density. Hot air is less dense than cold air and will therefore rise. Add water vapor and the density decreases further and it rises faster. The NASA data suggest that even though the planet is slightly warmer than say 30 years ago, the net effect re water vapor is to decrease it, perhaps by speeding the vertical rise, condensation, radiation to space, and return to earth of eddys.

  4. ‘Warming’. A big word that implies or suggests a temperature change larger than what we have experienced or can expect. What are the chances that any large majority know that ‘warming’ is measured in tenths of a degree; in other words, a temperature shift that is so minor as to to undetectable to living organisms. ‘A warming world’. Please, just stop.

    • Often hear that the ocean/atmosphere described as a ‘water cycle – heat engine’, with emphasis on the “heat”, but missing the “engine” part that is doing work. What about credit for heat conversion? How much heat is converted to power to the move the air masses, move tons of water converted to snow and ice on top of the mountains. Also, as I posted elsewhere,
      How about this, if Velocity = sqrt( 2 * g * height )
      So for rain falling from 5000 m (16,400 FT) you get a velocity of 313 m/s.
      But terminal velocity of rain 8 m/s and hail is around 43 m/s.

      Now those rock stars can “Get their money for nothing and their chicks for free” according to Dir Straits, but most engineers know Changing a masses velocity takes energy and friction is never free. So does their model leave most of the energy up in the air where is really is and what is the follow on effect on the storms.

    • Quite. I mean, what’s a thunderstorm supposed to do if it’s not sure if it is a big one or a little one? It’s not an easy life being a thunderstorm.

      • But that is what I asked above – do they mean thunderstorms or storms? There is a big difference.
        Sloppy writing.

    • Yes, that’s the key to understanding the paper: everything will get ever so much more so. Thank you. I shall put away my BS meter, now, as unnecessary.

    • No! Average storms will get averager. The averagest storm of the coming decade will be front page news and proof positive of global warming. Skeptics will bow their heads in shame.

    • And the average ones will become more medium sized…
      – Bravo Maurizio!!!

      Seriously good people, I suggest that warmer weather decreases the energy difference between the equator and the poles and leads to less intense large storms (hurricanes, aka typhoons, aka cyclones), and that is consistent with observations over recent decades.

      Conversely, renewed global cooling that appears imminent will result in more intense large storms.

      Watch this space …

  5. Curious their focus on the tropics where the January UAH anomaly is only 0.12°C (0.19°C over water).

    Given the cold and stormy winter in the northeast, vs. the warm and sunny winter in the northwest, I have another reason to be skeptical.

    OTOH, I hear Ann Arbor broke a 1934 record low today by 14 degrees F. That’s really impressive, as 1934 was quite a year. From February, see https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/feb_1934_small.jpg from https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/21/weather-before-and-after-the-hurricane-of-1938/

  6. What about the reduction of temperature differential between poles and equators in a warmer world? That lessens the energy for storms. A cooler world is likely a stormier one.
    What about the lack of warming the last 15+ years? Why is it always assumed that the future will be warmer?
    They are working hard to link man-made CO2 to extreme weather, but it the dots do not connect, either in theory or in empirical fact.

  7. What is this, science by Goldilocks?
    If you have a strong storm they can say it would have been an average one.
    If you have a weak storm they can say it would have been an average one.
    If you don’t have a storm at all it should have been a weak one.
    Hard to get a storm that’s just right.

    • An average storm ?
      The average of the stronger strong storms and the weaker weak storms should be in the mid-range…the field of medium strength storms…which appears to be a forbidden energy level.

      So even though we will be able to calculate the strength of an “average” storm no one will ever experience one.

      A strange world we live in.

  8. But, if weak ones become weaker, at the margins some weak ones will disappear, and so there SHOULD BE FEWER as a result!

  9. I think what they are saying is that oil production from fracking shale does not make transportation more efficient because it just fills gas tanks that are not full already.;)

  10. The researchers borrowed techniques from oceanography and looked at observations and climate simulations. Their approach allowed them to test global warming scenarios and measure the output of atmospheric circulation under warming conditions.

    Now that assumes their climate simulations actually simulate the climate properly. Color me doubtful.

  11. I have always thought that in a warming world, the atmospheric circulation would speed up and thus send more heat out to space, thus constraining the warming…that’s why we never had run-away warming.

  12. Obviously the increase in CO2 has reduced the amount of O2 getting to their brains. I can’t even count the number of thermodynamic laws this violates.

    • One would be planty. This putative ever-so-much-more-so partition into strong storms and weak storms is counterintuitive, to say the least. I suspect it’s the result of advanced proctocraniosis.

  13. Considering there is zero observational data to back up this claim with the warming we HAVE already had, I assume this claim is based on models.

    • The researchers borrowed techniques from oceanography and looked at observations and climate simulations.

      Is what they said. No assuming necessary.

    • If you read the literature on large precipitation events in the US, the papers tend to look at data from 1895 to almost current, whenever the paper was written. They find 1 in 6 stations has a significant trend so they conclude that the occurrence of large precipitation events events is increasing in the US: this is the conventional view. So it cannot be said there is zero observational data to back up the claim.

      However, when I analyzed the data for Iowa I find that there are two definite breaks in trend of precipitation at around 1930 and 1970. If the data are analyzed for trend from 1895 to 1930, there is no trend. If the data are analyzed from 1930 to 1970 there is a definite upward trend (not surprising because of the very dry 1930’s). If the data are analyzed from 1970 to now, there is no trend in either size of event or frequency of large events.

  14. Urrrgh! Will it ever end? If “weak storms will become weaker” they will stop being storms and become light rain! Follow that logic and there will be fewer storms.
    That’s as far as Im going to go on this as models of models of models is just getting too stupid. I know a lot of people trying to predict stocks or the next number to drop on Roulette in the casino who also try similar predictive models, also based on “laws” (this time of probability). This is just as convoluted. Same junk.

  15. In a word borrowed from that infamous WW2 Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe:

    All this hinges on the vanishingly small amount of additional oceanic warming causing a vanishingly small amount of additional evaporation coming off the ocean all sourced by the vanishingly small amount of additional CO2 being added to the overall amount of natural CO2 molecules in the atmosphere. The natural variations in storms caused by the natural variations of the ocean layer of importance, combined with the natural variations of the atmosphere of importance in this scenario overwhelms any changes caused by puny anthropogenic additions.

    IE, Nuts.

    • read: from big to fail.

      still no one shown ‘to big to fail’ approved.

      ____

      Thanks Pamela. Regards – Hans

    • It warms the air through which it passed. All the energy is expended during the currant flow. There is no net energy gain or loss. The charge separation that caused the lightning took work. The lightning bolt gives it back. No free lunch rules.

  16. I don’t think the study is too bad. I think Willis should be cited, however. I have said on a few occasions that we are going to see Willis’s work in print but with unfamiliar names on it. The ultimate irony is if Willis’s continues his expansion on the topic, he will be harpooned for not citing “previous studies.” That’s what I find really wrong with the paper.

    Anyway, the end game in all its chaotic variety is underway. Congress/Whitehouse investigations of those who brought them the presentations they didn’t want to hear, backpedaling in small incremental ways (grudgingly forced to eat crow pie re natural variability, the sun, ENSO, AMO, PDO etc,) firing of recalcitrant professors and editors, a plague of psychosis/neurosis descending on climate stars who’s mental constitutions were suspect to begin with and who are resisting their own mind’s realization that they have a wasted career behind them (Weepy Bill, Butterfly Hide-and-Go Seek, half the Ozzie troughers apparently). Stronger ones with more than one bolt to their quiver would say, hey, I had it wrong and jump onto fresh horses and enjoy a real career, or the totally unscrupulous (you need a few scruples in there somewhere to be able to have such a depression) who brazen it out and keep going like Ehrlich and his type who just switch from death by ice to death by fire – they only want rationale to get rid of 95% of the human race.

    There that rant felt good.

    • It also means that Willis will have to out his funding. And the warmista will insist that it is not possible to have an intellectual thought without some funding, and if he’s a sceptic., it’d have to be oil, or some right-wing conspiracygroup/family/Koch/Palin/Bush clone. But then, if an idea hasn’t been peer-reviewed by the palocracy, it doesn’t exist, right?

      • All this means is that anyone who has ever bought Willis a cup of coffee or a donut, please note you could be subpoenaed by some idiot in Congress for trying to unduly influence Willis.

    • I also don’t think it is too bad. No hyperbole really, because everything is measured against a “warming” atmosphere. I, too see Willis in here, and although he may deserve some credit, it must be rewarding to see an idea being discussed. There isn’t too much here that is new. You younger folks who have kept up on new work since I retired 14 years ago may want to comment on this observation.

      Years ago folks believed that major cold fronts (with major humidity differences in the two air masses) during warm spring and summer weather would spawn “squall lines” in the air mass in the warm sector. It was thought that afternoon and evening heating initiated what would be normal convective Tstorms (ahead of the front). It often appeared that activity along the squall line was coincidental with a decrease in activity along the frontal boundary. As the squall line storms dumped and diminished, activity along the cold front would increase. I remember a day in June (?) when hot/humid gulf air (mT) created a rash of tornadoes across central Illinois, which died down around sunset, and was followed by a second round of tornadoes produced by the frontal lifting. It was a mess – about the mid-1960’s. The fact that the shape of the squall line and the advancing from were virtual identical, but maybe 200 miles (?) apart, was compelling for a relationship of some form of energy interaction. Can anyone update me on current thinking about this?

      I mention this because they almost appear to be applying this idea to the broader atmospheric circulation. Thanks- I love this site.

    • But of course this applies to our host, as well. Anthony be able to declare “Mission Accomplished” and move on to . . . something.

  17. This does not support the amount fear mongering needed by the “consensus”. I hope they realize they could end up being investigated by congress for this. /s

  18. As Gary Pearse implies above , the report was a good “find” and one to set alongside numerous discussions here about the trends, or absence of trends , in “extreme weather”.
    Unless you are a very good mathematician or a thermodynamics engineer however it is not an easy read.

    The link is :
    Science 30 January 2015: 540-543. [DOI:10.1126/science.1257103]

    It is of course paywalled , but you can get much or most of it by clicking on “supplemental materials” and down loading the PDF containing : Materials and Methods , Supplementary Text, Figs and Refs .
    It starts :

    “From the CESM 1.02 coupled climate model with the CAM4 dynamical core,—”
    and gets increasingly difficult ( for me anyway) but I feel that it has some important new ideas for addressing the climate change debate and hopefully some of the contributers here can translate them.

    • We’re supposed to appreciate experts that condense and homogenize all that difficult data, and just tell us what we are supposed to know (only what they want us to know). I’m not sure if they realize that they are painting themselves into a corner when they alter historical records. It makes them look better now, sure. It’s fine to raise temperatures to fit their scheme, but when the models are proven wrong (as it is), it will amplify their error.

      • Well that’s really interesting. What does it mean? The Bond stack is supposed to correlate with 10Be, though I’ve never managed to find decent continuous 10Be data for the Holocene. But that kind of ties in with the magnetic field. So much for the Sun.

      • Both 10Be and C14 nucleation are strongly modulated by the Earth’s field. Pre-instrumental paleo-magnetic data are going back ‘millions’ of years but dating is not particularly accurate + or – 50 years/millennium (usually carbon dated, circular judgment!).
        Declination/inclination compass readings go back to 1600, magnetometer data to 1840. Magnetometer obtained data show that the Earth’s field beside its own independent variability has a strong 22 year component, much stronger that the heliospheric magnetic field at the Earth’s orbit (implying common driving force ?!).
        For the above reasons all estimates of the solar activity pre-1600 (sunspot count availability) can not be taken with any degree of certainty.
        I suppose (if the ice index is correct) that the graph is reflection of the geomagnetic not heliomagnetic events, but there is a considerable ‘time shift’ between two. Coincidence of some minor ‘wiggles’ between two curves would suggest existence of a direct or indirect link between two.

      • My favoured theory has been variations in UV to IR spectrum from Sun. But this chart would bring us back to cosmic rays – yes? You have a 500y time shift in there – kind of spoils the story :-( The magnetic field should be in anti-phase with Bond since with Bond cold is up and should correlate with weak magnetic field if anything.

      • – Magnetic field y axis values are logarithmic (base e) and scale is inverted, now updated.
        – Yes, (‘present’ for the GMF =1950) time shift makes it incompatible, and yet the ‘wiggle match’ would suggest some kind of relationship.
        There is one possible explanation for this anomaly:
        If Greenland icebergs flow is dated by the sediments (from glaciers land scraped rubble few centuries earlier, before sliding into the ocean) and deposited on the sea floor, it just may be possible. Perhaps more can be gleaned from Fig.1.
        http://www.essc.psu.edu/essc_web/seminars/spring2006/Mar1/Bond%20et%20al%202001.pdf

      • I don’t fully understand the Bond et al dating method @ Fig.1. However, samples are taken every 70 years, so I looked at the GMF 70 year delta. There is a good correlation for first 2000 years, and then it all breaks down.

        There is a dating problem in one or both sets of data, I would assume that the surface paleo-magnetic data more reliable than sea floor cores affected by sea currents flows.

      • Hi Vukcevic, This is really interesting and I’m interested in it, but a bit overwhelmed with other stuff right now. What is the paleo magnetic field data based on? You’re right that there are likely dating issues. I’d need to check back on Bond to see what they use – forams etc. Do you have a link to the magnetic field data, where it is described? Can we pick this discussion up again in a couple of weeks?

  19. “Constrained work output of the …. moist …. atmospheric heat engine in a warming climate”

    It’s the water!!!!

    Development in Earth Science Volume 2, 2014 http://www.seipub.org/des 31
    The Greenhouse Effect and the Infrared Radiative Structure of the Earth’s Atmosphere
    Ferenc Mark Miskolczi
    Geodetic and Geophysical Institute, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Csatkai Endre u. 6-8, 9400 Sopron, Hungary
    fmiskolczi@cox.net

    “The stability and natural fluctuations of the global average surface temperature of the heterogeneous system are ultimately determined by the phase changes of water. Many authors have proposed a greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The present analysis shows that such an effect is impossible.”

    REFUTATION OF THE “GREENHOUSE EFFECT” THEORY ON A THERMODYNAMIC AND HYDROSTATIC BASIS.
    Alberto Miatello

    http://www.writerbeat.com/articles/3713-CO2-Feedback-Loop

  20. It seems they have used a local phenomenon (evaporation, convection, thunder storm) and extended it as a global process. Why is the Earth not ringed by T’storms around the equator?

  21. Why is it that “climate change” only makes everything worse? Given that climate has changed so much for so long, you’d think by now that the globe would be one roiling catastrophe.

  22. If strong storms become stronger and weak storms weaker… what happens to medium storms?? How does any of this affect equatorial/polar temp gradient delta T/ delta P driver. GK

  23. “Put more simply, powerful storms are strengthened at the expense of weaker storms,” said Laliberté. “We believe atmospheric circulation will adapt to this less efficient form of heat transfer, and we will see either fewer storms overall or at least a weakening of the most common, weaker storms.”

    How convenient! They say there will be more “powerful storms,” more “weaker storms,” and the possibility of “fewer storms overall.” They have their bases covered. The next time a powerful storm comes along, they can say, “see, we told you so.” If there are fewer storms overall, they can say, “we predicted it.” And whether storms become stronger or weaker, it doesn’t matter. Either way they can say, “it matches our forecast.” How do you falsify that?

    • Louis,

      How do you falsify that?

      You don’t. You falsify the quantified results of their model against observation. Here’s a preprint version of the paper: http://doos.misu.su.se/pub/Laliberte_etal_2015.pdf

      Figure 3 is the one to key in on because it shows the relationships between the modeled and observed parameters. Figure 4, which contains time series plots, is not the one to go after.

  24. Climate science aside, this sounds like a sure-fire prediction in terms of public relations, something like “total heat won’t change, but high temperatures will be higher and low temperatures will be lower.” Then every time a high or low temperature record is broken (every day) they will say “See! I told you so!” and the press will flog it to the masses.

  25. the increase in water vapour was making the process less efficient by evaporating water into air that is not already saturated with water vapour

  26. “But circulation in the atmosphere is like a heat engine that requires fuel to do work, just like any combustion engine or a convection engine.”

    I love it when scientists reference things they know nothing about. Have scientists now become society’s medicine men? Or the old wise men of a tribe? How little we’ve grown up when we put faith in these pronouncements. What is a convection engine? Does Laliberte know what he’s talking about here?

  27. When I saw this paper earlier, I was immediately struck by the inappropriateness of the term “adapt” in this context. The atmosphere does not “adapt” to anything – it merely continues to be perturbed as it is in the constant dynamic state it is in. Yes, the atmosphere is largely homestatic (and only in human terms, which is why we’re having all of these discussions in the first place), but it has no obligate reason to be so. The atmosphere isn’t Gaia.

  28. I wonder if climate models make storms stronger & weaker in a no-emissions projection as well? That would be interesting!

  29. Now I’m also interested in what the spread of climate model projections would look like under no-emissions projections, for global average temperature as well. I’m sure it’s been done (as their non-scientific way to bound natural variability) but don’t know where to look.

  30. Global warming research: strong storms to become stronger, weak storms to become weaker

    Sorry but I think you missed something important in the headline,

    Global warming research: Medium storms to become more medium

  31. “Instead strong storms will become stronger and weak storms will become weaker,and the cumulative result of the number of storms will remain unchanged. ”

    So then how about hot weather will become hotter cold weather will become colder and the cumulative effect will be the temperature remains unchanged.

  32. Since weak storms primarily become weaker, it will be difficult to have weak storms develop into strong storms. Conversely if strong storms primarily get stronger the possibility of weak storms is greatly reduced.

    The grand conclusion we can of course draw from all of this is that for the foreseeable future we will have very few storms or at worst as my previous comment suggests, many medium storms.

  33. while weak storms become weaker” This is good news, I hate those weak storms. Maybe they will become so weak we won’t know they’re there, like global warming.

      • Just so, George!
        ALL storms start as very weak perturbations in the atmosphere that either find sufficient reinforcement to grow larger or simply dissipate without sufficient succor. By the authors irrational analogy of ‘weak storms get weaker’, NO storm could ever grow to be a ‘strong’ storm’.
        Mac

  34. ahh the picture is perfectly clear now….
    more will be less and less will be more unless more becomes more-er and less becomes lesser though it could remain the same more or less!

    Cheers,

    Joe

    P.S- where do I go to claim my grant monies?

  35. They just assume global warming. They never figure on cooling. Real scientists would figure on both. But, I guess they know which side their bread is buttered on.

  36. Instead, strong storms will become stronger while weak storms become weaker, and the cumulative result of the number of storms will remain unchanged.

    Ah the warmist answer to the fact that “there have been no changes in storm severity for decades.”

  37. I think they confused their widening prediction error bars with trends in the high and low end for trends in storm types. As long as they get their pub, that’s all that matters in the numbers game.

  38. The purpose is to feed bias in perception as a rhetorical technique to persuade somebody of something without bothering to complicate the debate with REAL data.
    Once upon a time I was willing to accept claims of ‘fact’ provisionally – to treat them as true until I had a chance to verify or refute them independently.
    Now, because of all the politicians and used-car salesmen who are pitching ‘climate change,’ I have grown to abandon the ‘provisional acceptance’ in favor of holding such claims as suspect, considering the source and the interests and agenda of the source before I even begin to bother with verifications. Some of these guys lie so often you stop believing in their ‘wolves’.

  39. Here’s the link to the actual press release [quoted in the main post above], from UToronto, written by Sean Bettam
    http://news.utoronto.ca/global-warming-research-strong-storms-become-stronger-weak-storms-become-weaker

    Here are the words I found most interesting, especially the part about “Air masses … are strengthened … “. Is that what the paper really said?

    … the increase in water vapour was making the process less efficient by evaporating water into air that is not already saturated with water vapour. They showed that this inefficiency limited the strengthening of atmospheric circulation, though not in a uniform manner. Air masses that are able to reach the top of the atmosphere are strengthened, while those that can not are weakened.

    And here is the link to actual paper in Science (not the commentary on it by Pauluis in the same issue)
    “Constrained work output of the moist atmospheric heat engine in a warming climate”,
    F. Laliberté, J. Zika, L. Mudryk, P. J. Kushner, J. Kjellsson, K. Döös,

    (Flip to page 540 to read the article) [Caveat. I always surf these ‘public’ sites with FireFox using AdBlock and Ghostery to the hilt, and so had no problems or distractions reading the article. YMMV].

    The general goal of their research was learn the effect of tropical humidity on the general circulation of the Earth’s atmosphere and the long-term impact on the climate. Yes, by using models not actual observations (well maybe some observational data used for ‘reanalysis’). And the analysis is on a very large scale using 100km grid squares and mean annual estimates.

    I defend the use of models here because it is a relatively efficient way to generate and test hypotheses (provided the results are not interpreted out of context and used to promote political agenda). Their chosen research area is very complex and difficult to analyze, so the first step in research often must be to step back and look at a simplified version of reality (which is what all models do BTW). Then test against real observations and experiments etc.

    The authors have come up with a novel and simple thermodynamic diagram to model energy conservation (1st Law) using the material derivatives of moist entropy and moist enthalpy as a main component of their model. Looks very clever, but I don’t understand it in detail. (Of course not all clever models are necessarily correct). The models project into the future up to 2068.

    So their conclusions (assuming the climate is warming as part of the model) are:

    I think that is the same as saying ‘the strong storms get stronger and the weak, weaker’ etc.

    I just skimmed the article, so might have missed some other stuff. If you want to dig deeper, to understand the paper and its novel thermodynamic diagramming technique, you’ll probably need the supplemental materials posted by the authors:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2015/01/28/347.6221.540.DC1/Laliberte-SM.pdf

    • Johanus,

      On page 5 of the supplemental, bullet point 2 helped me unlock it: Adding water vapor to unsaturated air therefore results in the production of irreversible entropy (Section 4, 10).

      I think that is the same as saying ‘the strong storms get stronger and the weak, weaker’ etc.

      I don’t think so, and here I disagree with the press release more than I disagree with you. The conclusion of the paper is that warming the system increasingly favors irreversible entropy production in the form of water evaporation leaving less free energy available to do work. One result is a reduction in the frequency of storms. The other result is a potential for stronger storms when they do happen — once saturation is reached, the irreversible constraint on entropy production goes away, and we have, on average, air parcels with more latent heat to release.

      That is, if Laliberté, et al. are correct.

  40. I don’t have a problem with this paper. More energy into a system will beg expression. The heat transfer has to take place, has to move the bulk of the heat into space via convection. This is also what I’m thinking prior to the papers release. We don’t actually have a green house overhead, so that means energy is not actually trapped. Everyone on this thread knows these things. So the question becomes, how does the slight increase in temp due to the slight increases in C02 play out as the heat escapes the earth

    • owenvsthegenius,

      I don’t have a problem with this paper.

      Me either, but then there’s a lot about the entire system I don’t understand so any fatal flaws it might have would likely go missed.

      More energy into a system will beg expression.

      Which makes the conclusions of the paper somewhat counter-intuitive: the authors argue that higher temperatures result in overall less work being done.

      The heat transfer has to take place, has to move the bulk of the heat into space via convection.

      We’d be in real trouble if the primary mechanism of solar energy dissipation were mass loss into space. Convection and evaporation are the primary mechanisms near the surface. Final transfer out of the system into space is dominated by radiative heat loss.

      We don’t actually have a green house overhead, so that means energy is not actually trapped. Everyone on this thread knows these things.

      Not everyone on these threads thinks so, but it is a common belief despite the fact that our host does not share that view.

      So the question becomes, how does the slight increase in temp due to the slight increases in C02 play out as the heat escapes the earth

      I’m asking myself how temperatures can increase slightly by slightly increasing CO2 (or any IR active molecule in the atmosphere, like, say, water vapor) if “energy is not actually trapped”.

  41. The prediction: Stormier storms and mildier milds.
    Unconfirmable.
    (Unless HG Wells didn’t write science fiction after all. I think there’s a glitch in the CAGWer’s time machine. Maybe too much CO2?)

  42. In Adelaide South Australia everyone’s been commenting how it’s been a mild summer to date and obviously we lay humans tend to compare it with most recent ones. Of course that doesn’t suit the narrative of the usual suspects so out comes the BOM to flay all such old wives’ anecdotal nonsense and set the record straight. Now read their reported self-justification pea and thimble tricks to try and hide the measured drop in average temperature-
    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/bureaus-long-range-prediction-of-hot-dry-summer-spot-on/story-fni6uo1m-1227242287062
    These warmies are so predictable unlike their predictions.

  43. Global warming is a continuous phenomenon and insignificant to influence the general circulation pattern. The so called influence theory is false logic.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  44. Global warming predicts that strong storms will be stronger……except when they’re weaker. Weak storms will be weaker……except when they’re stronger. There will be more rain…..unless there is less. It will be warmer……unless it’s colder. Hurricanes will be more frequent…..unless there is fewer.

    No matter what happens it’s all because of global warming. So shut up!

  45. ” … weak storms to become weaker” Quite true. We have a very weak storm right now – fine and sunny with no wind.

  46. The strong get stronger.
    The weak get weaker.
    What happens to the old ordinary/average storm? If they are going to disappear, it is only right and proper that we arrange a retirement party for them – and perhaps a gold watch.

  47. So, about global warming… strong storms will become stronger while weak storms will become weaker.

    Hmmmmmmm! Really?

    Sounds like the sort of cheap science that might come out of Zimbabwe or the Solomon Islands … no disrespect to those countries, but definite disrespect to the actual individuals (I won’t call them scientists) who have come up with this crap.

  48. “They showed that this inefficiency limited the strengthening of atmospheric circulation, though not in a uniform manner. Air masses that are able to reach the top of the atmosphere are strengthened, while those that can not are weakened.”

    Since no storms reach the top of the atmosphere, all storms will become consequently become weaker.

  49. Wonderful!
    So, now they’ve solved the problem of modeling current day clouds.

    They haven’t????
    Oh, Bummer. Well, it’s back to the old drawing board I guess.

  50. Weak storms will get weaker? Let’s see, the weakest storm is — no storm at all, 0 on the scale of storminess. Weaker than 0 is what, exactly? Or are they claiming that the distribution of storm intensities will flatten while maintaining the same centroid — otherwise known as increasing the kurtosis of the distribution? Not implausible, but it isn’t exactly making weaker storms weaker and strong storms stronger, it is just shifting the probability distribution of storms around.

    But the real virtue of this claim is its utter non-falsifiability in timescales less than 100 years or thereabouts, if then. The climate is not stationary on 100 year timescales! It is not stationary on 10 year timescales. The underlying “decadal” probability distribution of storms changes from decade to decade anyway, and not just from global warming but due to the interactions of the multidecadal oscillations. That is, they shift on a roughly decadal scale with ENSO, they shift on timescales of around 30 to 70 years for the AMO and PDO, there is probably an underlying secular shift due to general warming over the last century or so (to the extent that this warming has actually occurred relative to imperfectly known temperatures from over 65 years or more ago). There may well be shifts caused by variations in aerosols and soot and CO_2 and deforestation and reforestation and land use change in general, and then the Earth’s climate system is chaotic and so it can just change anytime because it wants to (to anthropomorphize an utterly unpredictable butterfly-effect shift that is much larger than any simple natural or anthropogenic forcing, such as a shift in the Gulf Stream that would put the entire NH into the icebox).

    Note that the high end storms that are supposed to become more frequent are rare. There isn’t even one a year, on average. It takes decades to get enough of them to even begin to estimate a moderately reliable “probability of violent storms” at some given category level, more decades the higher the level of the storm.

    Finally, it is worth pointing out that we are continuing the all time record-smashing interval without a major Atlantic storm making landfall in the US. I am thinking we are getting very near doubling the previous record. Last year’s hurricane season was pretty much a bust in the Atlantic — I was directly underneath the eye of the worst storm that did make landfall (right down to the wind dying down and starting up again) and it was a category 1 that might briefly have pretended to be category 2 with a gust or two, and did almost no damage UNDER the eye of the storm on the NC coast. Sandy, OTOH, did a lot of damage but was only a category 1 hurricane. Hard to reconcile this fact with the prediction, hmmm.

    rgb

  51. So eventually as all the small storms shrink to nothing, the bottom end of the large storms start to shrink too? Or do they get stronger until all the strong storms have merged into one giant megastorm?

    I suppose we could live with One Giant Megastorm somewhere on the planet in any one year…

    Or did they mean something else? /snarc;

  52. …strong storms to become stronger, weak storms to become weaker

    It’s already happening. Tropical storms have moved up to Hurricane status! You could read it on the news.

    [OK, if I must: /sarc.]

    • Tropical storms, cyclones, and typhoons will all become hurricanes! All you need is seeding by that dastard molecule, dihydrogen monoxide to all of these events, as is predicted by global warming theory, and you have all these events turning into hurricanes!!!!!! Quick!!!!! Ban dioxide monocarbon along with dihydrogen monoxide! Rid the world of these poisons before regular storms disappear!

      Gosh. My thoughts are worthy of a Bill Meir travel log episode.

  53. dbstealey February 28, 2015 at 11:59 am
    …strong storms to become stronger, weak storms to become weaker

    It’s already happening. Tropical storms have moved up to Hurricane status! You could read it on the news.

    [OK, if I must: /sarc.]

    Not really a need for the tag, that’s pretty much what ‘they’ are doing.

    Recently the was a TRS in Queensland, name Marcia. The BOM called it cat 5. It barely just touched minimum for cat 1 Hurricane; one observation at one station, Yeepon. None of the other nearby(or further away) stations reached Hurricane status.

    Below an excerpt from the relevant observations at Yeepon.

    Date/time Dir Spd Gust QNH
    kph
    20/03:30pm NNW 33 52 997.4
    20/03:00pm NNW 44 67 996.3
    20/02:30pm NNW 39 74 994.8
    20/02:00pm NNW 48 93 993.1
    20/01:57pm NNN 54 93 993.1
    20/01:38pm NNN 82 113 991.1
    20/01:30pm NNN 87 119 989.3
    20/01:21pm NNN 98 128 989.2
    20/01:00pm NNN 115 146 987.8
    20/12:52pm NNE 115 146 987.5
    20/12:30pm NNE 115 156 985.5
    20/12:00pm NE 120 148 986.9
    20/11:53am NE 117 146 987
    20/11:30am ENE 107 141 989.2
    20/11:25am ENE 102 141 990

  54. Does this mean that during the period of global cooling between 1940 and 1976, strong storms became weaker and weak storms became stronger?

  55. Storms over land are caused by trees wagging back in forth. Over the ocean, I’m pretty sure it’s the waves; particularly the white ones. Check it out!

  56. Ooooohhhhh Dear! The shrinkage is happening to storms on Jupiter tooooooo….
    Jupiter’s Red Spot Is Shrinking!

  57. Interesting thesis! We are paying more and more attention to the ocean, which is great, event if it is a bit late. And I see that not only seamen, but also the general public start to realize the importance of the ocean in the climate change process. I have read the thesis ‘Booklet on Naval War changes Climate’, by Arnd Bernaerts, and are more and more convinced that wars at sea are one of the most important causes for the global warming. If you want to read more, go to http://www.1ocean-1climate.com. I also think that any initiative that draws attention on the climate change is a good initiative.

  58. “strong storms to become stronger, weak storms to become weaker”.

    I think they are talking about themselves.

  59. Actually, strong storms becoming strong is all we’ll see as weak storms weaken away. Sooooooooooo, the storms are predicted to get stronger. Is that not what this article refuting?

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