Global Warming and Extreme Weather

By Andy May

This is #6 of 7 posts on the hazards of global warming.  If you can’t read the sign, it says “Global Warming, Absolute Truth that can not be questioned.”  The other two are discussing a global warming research vessel that was trapped in the ice. One wonders why the article doesn’t mention the ship was on a global warming mission. The other responds “For the same reason they didn’t publish those Muhammad cartoons.”

In this post, the sixth of seven, we will discuss the connection between climate change and extreme weather. In previous posts, we’ve discussed whether humans are harming the environment, whether our population is growing too fast, the cost of global warming, are species extinctions increasing, and climate related mortality.

In the IPCC WGII AR5 Technical Summary, page 52, they list the following risks of climate change, among others:

“Virtually certain that, in most places, there will be more hot and fewer cold temperature extremes as global mean temperatures increase, for events defined as extremes on both daily and seasonal time scales.”

Global warming and the frequency and severity of natural disasters

The cost of natural disasters, including hurricanes, has been increasing with time. Most of the reason is more people live on the coast or in areas prone to natural disasters (forests, flood plains, mountain sides, next to levees, etc.) and they build very expensive buildings in these places. The IPCC acknowledges this, but in a slightly devious way, IPCC WGII AR5 Technical Summary, page 49:

“Economic losses due to extreme weather events have increased globally, mostly due to increase in wealth and exposure, with a possible influence of climate change (low confidence in attribution to climate change).”

This statement is technically correct. There is “low confidence” in a possible influence on extreme weather by climate change. But, it is worded cleverly, so that one can easily read into it that man-made climate change has some influence on extreme weather, and many have.

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. does not believe reducing fossil fuel use will influence extreme weather, although he does believe fossil fuel use should be curtailed for other reasons (an opinion I do not share).

“Adaptation and mitigation are not trade-offs but complements that address different issues on very different timescales of costs and benefits. If a policy goal is to reduce the future impacts of climate on society, then energy [fossil fuel] policies are insufficient, and indeed largely irrelevant, to achieving that goal. There are other sensible reasons for efforts to accelerate decarbonization; protecting us from disasters is not one of them, and arguments and advocacy to the contrary are not in concert with research in this area. Governments and businesses are already heavily invested in climate policy and thus should focus resources on decisions likely to be effective with respect to policy goals. In the context of extreme events, such decisions might focus increasingly on land use, insurance, engineering, warnings and forecasts, risk assessments, and so on.” Pielke Jr., Roger. The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming (p. 189).

Thus, the focus on planetary CO2 reduction to mitigate planetary extreme weather is pointless, focus on local risks, properly price disaster insurance, discourage people from building in high risk areas, build protective infrastructure and so on. Be aware of the risks in your own community, and deal with them locally. He follows with this:

“… poor countries, lack a basic resilience in the face of climate extremes, there is much work to be done to improve adaptive capacities. Such policies make sense independent of human-caused climate change, but they will also make these communities more robust in the face of human-caused climate change.” Pielke Jr., Roger. The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming (p. 190).

In other words, climate disasters are much worse in poor communities. Indeed, all disasters are. Poor communities are much less adaptable than wealthy, developed communities. Wealthy countries are also healthier and have cleaner environments (See figure 2 in post 1). Fossil fuel use is what makes developed countries wealthy, taking it away will make them poorer and more vulnerable to natural disasters.

There is another reason the world will not give up on fossil fuels until something comes along that is both cheaper and better. The cost of energy is a fundamental component of standard of living. Pielke, Jr. describes the “iron law of climate policy.” This unbreakable law is that all countries expect economic growth. People in wealthier countries will pay some amount for environmental goals, they want clean air and water. But, they will not sacrifice their prosperity for it and they will not accept a declining economy.

I find Pielke Jr.’s book The Climate Fix a little frustrating. He often says, in various ways:

“Make no mistake: carbon dioxide matters a great deal.” Pielke Jr., Roger. The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming (p. 18).

The book destroys the connection between CO2 and climate extremes, the iconic “2°C limit” on warming as well as any positive effect of reducing CO2 emissions. He also shows that there is no evidence that a “tipping point” temperature exists. At least in this book, he never really explains why CO2 emissions need to be reduced or why current global warming is a bad thing. My question is why? We don’t need to stop using fossil fuels to have clean air, as we have found in the U.S. and Europe, we can have both. In fact, properly used fossil fuels are safer than burning wood in a fireplace or stove. This quote is telling:

“John Beddington, science adviser to the UK government, said … in early 2010: ‘It’s unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth and that burning fossil fuels shoves billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. But where you can get challenges is on the speed of change. When you get into large-scale climate modeling there are quite substantial uncertainties. On the rate of change and the local effects, there are uncertainties both in terms of empirical evidence and the climate models themselves.’ Even with uncertainties about the future, there is ample evidence, broadly accepted, that humans are influencing the global earth system. Such influences carry with them a risk of undesirable outcomes.” Pielke Jr., Roger. The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming (p. 32).

He seems to be saying, humans are putting billions of tons of CO2 in the air, we have no idea what the effect is going to be, but since man is doing it; it must be bad, and we need to stop it. We hear this sort of argument all the time. We know the planet has been warming since the Little Ice Age, the coldest period in the Holocene, could this be a natural reversion to the mean? This is not the first book or article I’ve read on climate science where the body of the presented evidence is at odds with the conclusions.

Another telling quote from the book:

“The literature on this topic is so vast that one could easily cherry-pick a few studies suggesting that the impacts [of CO2] may be benign or, in contrast, that those impacts may be catastrophic. Science cannot presently adjudicate between these possibilities, or even give reliable odds on particular outcomes, …. Many, if not most, scientists believe that the impacts will be on balance negative and significant.” Pielke Jr., Roger. The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming (p. 61).

We don’t know whether CO2 is good or bad, nor can we measure the impact, but the “gut feeling” of most scientists is it will be bad. Really? I make my living as an investor these days, I learned a long time ago that investing “from the gut” is a sure way to lose money. Is it a good company or sector? A fair price? What is the dividend? What is the expected total return? You need facts to invest wisely. Think of investing in reducing CO2 emissions like you would any smart investment. Compare the investment to alternatives. Our point is, there are an array of solutions out there for extreme weather events and for climate change, we need to know which one has the best rate-of-return. Which one does the best job at the cheapest cost?

Global warming will increase the frequency and severity of hurricanes

There is a recent climate model-based study (Emanuel, 2017) that attempts to quantify the probability of a Hurricane Harvey type of rain event, in the Houston area, in the period 1981-2000 by analyzing retrospective meteorological forecast data from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, NASA, and the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). He then uses the IPCC RCP8.5 scenario results from six global climate models for the same area to predict a Hurricane Harvey probability for the period 2081-2100. Finally, he assumes that the change in probability is linear during the 21st century. He calculates that a Hurricane Harvey event is a 1 in 100-year event in 2000 and a 1 in 5.5-year event in 2100. This makes the probability of the event, in 2017, 1 in 16 years. His conclusions are based entirely on computer models and the RCP8.5 scenario, although actual data may have made some difference in the weather forecast re-analyses. This is only valid if the model is accurate and, as we have seen the models have not been validated, thus it is a speculative exercise.

Roger Pielke Jr. has pointed us to a paper (Ritchie and Dowlatabadi, 2017) that believes the RCP8.5 scenario is implausible:

“Accounting for this bias [toward the use of coal] indicates RCP8.5 and other ‘business-as-usual scenarios’ consistent with high CO2 forcing from vast future coal combustion are exceptionally unlikely. Therefore, SSP5-RCP8.5 should not be a priority for future scientific research or a benchmark for policy studies.”

Thus, Emanuel’s calculation of the odds of Harvey occurring in 1981-2000 may be correct, but his projection from that period of time into the future is very unlikely to be correct.

Risser and Wehner, 2017, Geophysical Research Letters, is a statistical study that attempts to model ENSO (La Niña and El Niño) effects on climate and human effects on historical Houston area climate precipitation data from the Global Historical Climatology Network or GHCN. The stations used are shown in figure 1. The NOAA Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) estimates, based on radar and rain gauge data are on the right of figure 1. The study finds that human-induced climate change likely increased the chances of the observed Harvey precipitation by a factor of 3.5. They claim that man-made climate change increased the Harvey rainfall amount by at least 19%.

Figure 1, source Risser and Wehner, 2017

The model assumes that specific humidity increases, according to the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship, by 6-7% per degree of local warming in the absence of dynamical (wind) changes. They expect extreme precipitation to increase by the same amount.

Finally, they assume that the only influences on temperature are the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and ENSO (the Niño3.4 index to be specific). The modeling was done for the Houston area alone. They conclude that:

“[A 316 mm day rainfall] total has become much more commonplace: from a several hundred year storm in 1950 to a 25-50-year storm in 2017. Our covariate-based analysis indicates that this change is due to the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and not natural ENSO variability.”

While I applaud Risser and Wehner for using actual data in their study, I find fault with their assumption that temperature is the only driver for precipitation and that the Clausius-Clapyron relationship is the only driver for specific humidity. These assumptions are speculative. Finally, assuming that the only drivers for temperature are CO2 and ENSO is extremely speculative. Other natural drivers for both global and local temperatures are well known, non-trivial, and should be considered. In particular, the Bray cycle is important as we exit the Little Ice Age and the shorter Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and other oceans cycles are important as discussed here.

Besides, modeling precipitation using such a simple natural model and then assigning all the excess precipitation to humans is not reasonable.

Van Oldenborgh, et al., 2017, Environmental Research Letters, December 2017, also compares historical precipitation data to the Clausius-Clapyron (CC) expected rainfall for observed warming. This paper is very similar to Emanuel, 2017, and they also conclude that the positive trend in excess precipitation (above the expected CC precipitation) is caused by man-made climate change. They claim that humans made the precipitation 8% to 16% more intense. This is like the conclusions of Emanuel, 2017 because they used the very similar data and procedures. This conclusion is model-based and presented no evidence of human influence on the storm. Again, like Emanuel, 2017, the storm is one point, they fit a model to the single point, limited the inputs to CO2 and their interpretation of “nature” and then attributed everything above their “cyber-nature” to human influence.

We should point out that the two models used in this study do not agree very well and the difference is a factor of two, the authors mention this, but do not provide an explanation, other than to say the models must have systemic differences. They accept the model that matches observations better, meaning it models Harvey.

They also conclude that Houston’s flood protection system must be improved and that the frequency of heavy rainstorms in the Houston area has increased. Both conclusions are well supported with data. The problem with the study is the same as the problem with Emanuel, 2017. They use a very over-simplified model of nature, then simply assign all excess to humans without any justification.

Historical hurricane data

Our subject is hurricanes and not models of hurricanes. The historical data for Atlantic hurricanes impacting the United States suggests that their intensity, as defined by their central pressure, is declining, see figure 2.

Figure 2, data source: NOAA Hurricane Research Division

In figure 2, we have subtracted the NOAA estimated hurricane central pressures from 1020 mb and summed the values for all U.S. landfall hurricanes over 10-year periods, these values are plotted at the midpoint of each 10-year period. Each 10-year period starts with the zero year and ends with the ninth year and is plotted at “5.” The central hurricane pressure is a good indicator of hurricane strength and it is a value available for nearly all hurricanes. We had to estimate the pressure from wind speed for three early hurricanes (in 1918, 1920, and 1953).

By subtracting the value from 1020, we make higher values a strong hurricane and smaller values a weaker hurricane. The trend shows that hurricane strength waxes and wanes over time in a 40 to 60-year pseudo-cycle. Although Irma and Harvey were strong hurricanes, we still seem to be in a hurricane lull in 2017. 2017 hurricanes, from Wikipedia, are included in figure 2. Table 1 shows the breakdown for the 294 U.S. hurricanes plotted in figure 2. “P” is the hurricane central pressure from NOAA.

Table 1, data source: NOAA Hurricane Research Division

Pielke Jr. and Lomborg have made similar plots. Lomborg plots the same hurricanes by category and it can be found here. Pielke’s plot for global cyclone and hurricane landfalls is presented as figure 3, it also shows a decline.

Figure 3, source: Pielke, Jr. House of Representatives testimony.

Further, Pielke, Jr. also plotted weather-related disaster costs for the world since 1990, the costs are declining as a percent of GDP.

Figure 4, source: Pielke, Jr. House of Representatives testimony.

As the world becomes more affluent, the GDP goes up and we are better able to handle natural disasters. The data suggests that the severity of hurricanes has gone down recently, not up. It also shows that weather-related disasters are becoming less expensive for society to deal with. But, we still hear that they are getting worse:

“Stronger and more frequent hurricanes have become one of the standard exhibits of the global-warming concerns. The Natural Resources Defense Council tells us that “global warming doesn’t create hurricanes, but it does make them stronger and more dangerous.” The group Friends of the Earth proclaims, “Hurricanes in Florida. Storms in the UK. Extreme weather events are predicted to become more frequent because of climate change.” Greenpeace tells us “there is strong evidence that extreme weather events—such as hurricanes—are increasing (and becoming more severe and frequent) because of climate change.” The solution offered is invariably CO2 cuts and adoption of Kyoto.” Lomborg, Bjorn. Cool It (Kindle Locations 1126-1132).

In 2006, tropical cyclone researchers and forecasters met at a WMO conference and agreed on the following:

“1. Though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic [human-caused] signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point.”

“2. No individual tropical cyclone can be directly attributed to climate change.”

“3. The recent increase in societal impact from tropical cyclones has largely been caused by rising concentrations of population and infrastructure in coastal regions.”

The theoretical debate over whether hurricanes are increasing in severity is unlikely to be resolved soon, most alarmist observers end up pointing out how damages from hurricanes are rising dramatically and quickly. This is correct, but attributing them to human-caused global warming is wrong. The global costs of weather-related disasters have increased over the past century because the population in dangerous areas has increased, as well as the value of buildings and infrastructure in those areas.

The Clausius-Clapeyron relationship

The recent studies of Hurricane Harvey, cited above, all compare the expected rainfall from the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship to actual data. The Clausius-Clapeyron relationship shows that the vapor pressure of a liquid is only related to temperature. As vapor pressure, the pressure just above a liquid surface, increases more evaporation occurs. So, all else equal (which it never is) as sea surface temperatures go up one-degree C, evaporation increases and the specific (or absolute) humidity in the air goes up about 6%. The next assumption is that as the specific humidity goes up precipitation increases by the same amount. These are all reasonable assumptions depending upon air and water circulation patterns and speed which are unknown.

But, being reasonable, is not enough. It is important to compare model results to observations and none of the studies do that. Risser and Wehner do the best job of tying their results to data, but by assuming that ENSO is the only natural influence on precipitation and temperature; and that man-made CO2 is the only other influence, their conclusions are suspect, other factors may be important as well.

Real world data do not support the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship between specific humidity and temperature. The relationship is sound in the laboratory, but observations show the relationship between humidity, temperature and precipitation is more complex. Benestad (2016) has reported that the European Centre for Medium-range Weather forecasts (ECMWF) interim reanalysis shows the total volume of water vapor in the atmosphere decreasing by -0.018 kg/m2 per decade from 1979-2011. According to RSS (Smith, et al., 2013) the atmosphere contains an average of about 28.5 mm of water vapor or 28.5 kg/m2 of water vapor (the conversion is 1:1 according to Hanssen, 2000), so the decrease seen by ECWMF is about .06%/decade or 0.006%/year (1979-2011). Miskolczi (2014) reports that The NOAA R1 dataset shows that global surface air temperature has increased 0.687K between 1948 and 2008, but the water content has decreased by 0.636% or -0.0106%/year, similar to what is seen in the ECWMF dataset.

The reason why the global specific humidity is decreasing as global temperatures are rising is unknown and hotly debated, but it seems to be happening. This observation casts doubt on any study that assumes the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship works alone to control humidity and precipitation. The physical relationship exists, and it will affect humidity to some degree, but there must be other confounding processes at work in the atmosphere.

Global warming will increase flooding

Warming may well result in increasing rain, but it doesn’t seem to translate into increasing flooding. A global sample (Kundzewicz, et al., 2005) of 200 rivers showed 27 had increasing high flows, 31 had decreasing flows and 137 showed no change.

In recent times, summer flooding shows no increasing or decreasing trend. Winter flooding has decreased since the Little Ice Age. During the Little Ice Age, it was much colder and ice dams formed in major rivers. This caused catastrophic flooding when temperatures increased, and the dams melted enough to give way. All but two major floods affecting Florence since 1177 occurred before 1844, Lomborg reports.

Economic losses due to floods have increased, but this is due to more building in flood prone areas. Oddly, it is also due to the increased construction of levees. Levees reduce the size of the floodplain and the extra water storage they provide. People also tend to build on the dry side of levees, a dangerous area.

Yet, modern flood control measures are working overall:

“In 1929, $200 of each $1 million worth of goods got damaged, whereas today only $70 of each $1 million is lost. This indicates that as society has more tangible wealth, while more goods will get damaged in floods, the damage will constitute a smaller and smaller proportion of the total wealth. Overall, floods are not getting more damaging but less.” Lomborg, Bjorn. Cool It (Kindle Locations 1300-1303).

Lomborg and Pielke also discuss flood prevention costs vs benefits:

“Using the United Kingdom example, for about 0.01 percent of GDP you get a benefit from damage reduction of 0.12 percent of GDP—a benefit-to-cost ratio of 11. From Kyoto, at the cost of 0.5 percent of GDP, you get a benefit of 0.00009 percent of GDP. Or, expressing it in equal terms, a dollar spent on flood management will reduce flooding 1,300 times better than a dollar spent on Kyoto. Flooding is not getting out of hand; the costs are declining compared to total wealth. It is not predominantly a signal of global warming or of increasing heavy rains.” Lomborg, Bjorn. Cool It (Kindle Locations 1316-1321).

From The Climate Fix by Roger Pielke Jr.

“Research on floods does not support the hypothesis that greenhouse gas emissions have led to a discernible increase in flood losses. Hans Jochim Schellenhuber, a prominent climate scientist and scientific adviser to German chancellor Angela Merkel, coauthored a 2004 paper that summarized the 2001 IPCC assessment and subsequent scientific discussions of floods. It concluded: ‘There has been no conclusive and general proof as to how climate change affects flood behavior, in the light of data observed so far…. It is difficult to disentangle the climatic component from the strong natural variability and direct, man-made, environmental changes.'” Pielke Jr., Roger. The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming (p. 174).

Global warming will increase the frequency of droughts and their severity

The Clausius-Clapeyron relationship may not control the amount of precipitation or the global atmospheric specific humidity, but generally we would expect more evaporation with warmer temperatures and, as a result, more precipitation. Specific humidity is determined by the difference between evaporation and precipitation, which are separately controlled by complex processes, and the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship is only one. Climate models predict 5 percent more precipitation by 2100, which is our only estimate today.

Al Gore and others have told us that drought and hunger in the Sahel region of Africa are caused by global warming, yet Reuters reported in 2015

“Rising greenhouse gases have boosted rainfall in the Sahel region of Africa, easing droughts that killed 100,000 people in the 1970s and 1980s, in a rare positive effect of climate change …. The report adds to debate about the causes of a greening of the Sahel region, south of the Sahara Desert from Senegal to Sudan. It said a continued rise in greenhouse gas emissions was likely to help more rainfall in the region in future. … Amounts of rainfall have recovered substantially,” said Rowan Sutton, a professor at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at Britain’s Reading University and co-author of the study in the journal Nature Climate Change. And it was a surprise that the increase in greenhouse gases appears to have been the dominant factor, …. Sahel summer rainfall was 0.3 mm (0.01 inch) a day higher from 1996-2011 than the drought period of 1964-93.” Reuters, 2015

Conclusions

 

Damages from extreme weather events, whether heat waves, cold, droughts, tornados or forest fires are largely a function of the “societal” part of the equation. That is who lives in the area and how affluent they are. The damages are not due to human-caused climate change. According to Pielke, Jr.:

“Other sorts of extreme events— such as heat waves, cold spells, droughts, and forest fires— have similarly complex stories. In all cases, the societal part of the equation that leads to losses is the dominant factor, not climate change. Yet for some phenomena there are indications that a signal of climate change, and possibly related to greenhouse gas emissions, can be seen in the record of impacts. For instance, some recent research is suggestive that regional warming in the western United States can be associated with increasing forest fires, even in the context of complex patterns of forest management over the past century. If that pattern of warming can be directly attributed to greenhouse gas emissions, then it would be possible to attribute human-caused climate change with a demonstrated impact.” Pielke Jr., Roger. The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming (p. 175).

Is the warming of the southwestern part of the U.S., which is making forest fires worse, a result of CO2 emissions? Or is it a natural climate trend? Even when warming can be identified as a cause somewhere, how do you separate the man-made component from the natural component? This is particularly difficult when we are in the midst of recovering from the Little Ice Age, which is the coldest period in the Holocene and we are still on a Bray cycle upswing.

Extreme weather risks are always present, wherever one lives. They vary with location, flooding is a serious risk in the Houston area, drought and wild fires are a serious risk in California, storm surges are a risk in the North Sea. Each location needs to assess their risks and build appropriate infrastructure to counter the risk as best they can. Trying to prevent so-called “climate change” with a world-wide imagined man-made remedy is a fool’s errand. Deal with the specific problem in your own neighborhood and let others deal with theirs. There is no universal solution to the “boogyman.” Oops, I mean extreme weather events.

Advertisements

103 thoughts on “Global Warming and Extreme Weather

  1. ” The NOAA R1 dataset shows that global surface air temperature has increased 0.687K between 1948 and 2008, but the water content has decreased by 0.636% or -0.0106%/year,”

    But this is not what is fed into the computer games….another reason they will neveer be right

    ..amazingly enough….it’s also shows that the adjustments to temps….. up……is also a fabrication

    • Exactly so. As complex as the climate models are, they are still vastly oversimplified approximations of the real world. Not that the modelers will ever admit it.

      • who knows Andy…the models could be right…only tuned to fudged temps
        The CMIPS are off exactly how much the past has been cooled…

      • tony mcleod on December 22, 2017 at 7:18 pm
        I’d sy they are the first to admit that.

        Then I’d ask “when are they going to do that? “

      • Climate change,
        led by politicians,
        is a political game.

        It’s fake science
        — not real science.

        It has to be a political game,
        because the current climate,
        is wonderful, and has been
        getting better for
        hundreds of years!

        There is no climate problem,
        that needs to be solved.

        The climate modelers,
        their supercomputers,
        and their so-called models,
        are all props, in the play,
        supporting the politicians.

        This is all a power play by leftists,
        originally started by,
        Maurice Strong at the UN,
        hoping to make the UN,
        a world government,
        at least for “climate change”,
        but national politicians,
        decided to use their game,
        to increase their own power,
        and to sell socialism,
        a different way, as
        “Save the Earth Socialism”.

        “Climate models”
        that make wrong predictions,
        are not real models —
        they are prototype models
        that have failed,
        and should be thrown away.

        Using the failed models
        year after year,
        is just playing,
        meaningless
        computer games.

        No real scientists
        would attempt to model
        any process,
        whose physics,
        are not well understood,
        such as climate change,
        in the first place.

        The key question is,
        why do people
        with science degrees,
        keep using
        failed prototype models,
        and making
        wrong predictions,
        year after year ?

        Here are two
        possible answers
        that I have:
        (1)
        Modelers love playing
        computer games on the job,
        and getting paid well,
        for doing so
        — that certainly
        could apply to male scientists
        — but I assume most female
        scientists, would see games,
        that don’t require talking,
        to be a waste of their time.

        (2)
        Government bureaucrat
        climate modelers’
        job security
        depends on,
        annual declarations,
        of a coming,
        climate change
        catastrophe,
        and (recently added)
        annual declarations
        that the prior year,
        was the hottest year ever!

        All climate predictions,
        and claims,
        must be made,
        with great confidence,
        and government bureaucrat
        “scientists” will not be able to,
        demonstrate great confidence,
        if they admit prior forecasts,
        were way off,
        so they don’t admit that,
        and if they ever,
        completely revise,
        their climate models,
        they don’t admit that either.

        Government bureaucrat science
        is fake science,
        led by politicians
        who know nothing about science,
        but politicians know how
        to create a “crisis”,
        and use that crisis,
        (even a fake crisis,
        like climate change,
        can scare the public,
        just like a real crisis),
        into wanting
        their government
        to do something,
        and that something
        always requires,
        a more powerful government,
        and new taxes
        on corporate energy use,
        for more revenues,
        to grow the government
        even more!

        Modern climate science,
        led by the politicians,
        and their props,
        the bureaucrat modelers,
        and their super computers,
        is 99% fake (junk) science,
        used to get money and power,
        and 1% real science.

        My free climate blog
        http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

  2. A “dirty” trick is to show how rainfall events have increased over the past for many locations in the US is to include the extremely anomalous “dust bowl” as part of the old period, as if it were normal.

    • Michael Jankowski December 22, 2017 at 9:47 am
      A “dirty” trick is to show how rainfall events have increased over the past for many locations in the US is to include the extremely anomalous “dust bowl” as part of the old period, as if it were normal.

      So let’s cherry pick a later date as if it didn’t happen.
      http://oi39.tinypic.com/2enw9jm.jpg

      • Cherry-picking a later date is the “dirty trick” used to show the converse (i.e., increasing risk and magnitude of drought).

      • Picking a start date so as to include anomalous data that makes your conclusion look better is the very definition of cherry picking.

  3. Hey, it’s not just “extremer” extreme weather that the MagicMolecule™️ brings…

    The MagicMolecule™️ now causes volcanoes to be “worser”.

    Climate Change Likely To Increase Volcanic Eruptions, Scientists Say
    https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/12/22/572795936/climate-change-likely-to-increase-volcanic-eruptions-scientists-say

    “the study’s lead author Graeme T. Swindles, an associate professor of Earth system dynamics at the University of Leeds”
    At his last name is appropriate.

    And then there is this gem in the article:
    “Swindles’ team examined the geologic record of eruptions of Icelandic volcanoes 5,500 to 4,500 years ago – a period in Earth’s history when the climate was cooler, but still not a full-blown ice age.”
    https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/gisp210klarge-original.gif

    Junk science is everywhere.

      • LOL I once had an acquaintance with the surname “Swingle”. He confided his father had changed it from “Swindle” for obvious reasons. Then he told me there’s an abandoned ranch in NW Nevada outback, where he spent childhood summers, and, sure enough, USGS topo maps show “Swindle Ranch”. I’ve since been there on chukar-hunting safaris.

  4. Andy ==> Pielke Jr. tells it like he sees it — that is what has gotten him in hot water and what promoted a certain political agent to hire a character assassin to smear him.
    That he doesn’t agree with me about whether CO2 is the “control knob” for climate, or whether he thinks CO2 is still very important, bothers me not at all — he is, certainly, entitled to his own informed opinion.
    His unrelenting courage in facing attacks intended explicitly to destroy his reputation and career has won my admiration.

    • Kip, You are correct, of course.
      Pielke does excellent work and I admire him greatly as well. But, his unquestioning and unsupported assertions that CO2 is bad are irritating to me. But, as Javier says, disagreements are the heart of science. When we disagree and argue our points (hopefully without violence!) we do our best and most fundamental science.

      This is one reason I like the cartoon at the top so much. I don’t respect Pielke any less for his opinion, but I disagree and welcome debate on the topic.

      • “Violence” is definitely not a word we used to associate with scientists. I fear for my children (and not from the eeevil CO2).

  5. Climatists love the phrase “extreme weather”, as it is one of their pet euphemisms for “global warming/climate change, and allows them (they think) to make that all-important link to the CAGW ideology. Because the phrase is a new one, people assume that the phenomenom itself is new.

  6. The 2012 IPCC SREX reached pretty much the same conclusions as this post. And the 2014 US National Climate Assessment chapter 1 that purported to show the opposite was a massive and dishonest cherry pick, exposed in essay Credibility Conundrums.

  7. I think that the most honest Pielke Jr quote is this clip –

    Science cannot presently adjudicate between these possibilities, or even give reliable odds on particular outcomes,

    And that actually applies to all science in many ways. Yes, science is data based, for the most part, and actual research that deals with acquiring real data still follows scientific rigor, but science does little actual, physical research because it is expensive and/or cannot actually be done “in the real world.” We watch TVs and computer screens that gleefully tell us they display millions of colors and that the ever increasing digital size of the pictures capture finer and finer detail. But in an analog world, which we live in, there are infinitely more possible colors and vastly finer “grain” than a pixel on the screen.

    Science has moved away from interpreting the universe in an analog concept and “explores” it through application of digital technology and mathematical concepts. And there in lies the rub. the analog world cannot be absolutely represented by a digital or mathematical construct. The best hope is to simulate the reality of the world, but you cannot model it within a world of zeros and ones, because in the “real” world, there are far more factors that have yet to be determined and may have colossal effects on the end product. However, that won’t stop the “scientist” from saying “this is the way it is/was or will be.” We flat do not know enough about anything to declare ourselves “expert” in all the areas “science” uses that word.

  8. Figures 3 and 4 need to be updated with 2017 hurricane data. The hurricane season is over. The end-point effect of the higher 2017 season will likely bring the linear regression slope to near flat. And near flat (slope ~ 0) should be the null hypothesis expectation for hurricane strength changes over a sufficiently long period.

    • joelobryan, those are not my figures, but the authors will probably update them at some point. Figure 2 includes all 2017 U.S. hurricanes, I made that one.

  9. Nice complete article, Andy.

    I agree, extreme weather is not becoming neither more common, nor more extreme with present climate change. Quite the contrary, theory is very clear that with increasing average temperatures, decreasing equator-to-pole temperature gradient, and increasing humidity, the atmosphere should be able to do less work, not more. There are several articles on this, for example:

    Laliberté, F., et al. “Constrained work output of the moist atmospheric heat engine in a warming climate.” Science 347.6221 (2015): 540-543.

    “We show that the work output is always less than that of an equivalent Carnot cycle and that it is constrained by the power necessary to maintain the hydrological cycle. In the climate simulation, the hydrological cycle increases more rapidly than the equivalent Carnot cycle. We conclude that the intensification of the hydrological cycle in warmer climates might limit the heat engine’s ability to generate work.”

    And it is supported by observations. Surface wind has been in a process of stilling for decades (global warming is not good for wind farms).

    Vautard, Robert, et al. “Northern Hemisphere atmospheric stilling partly attributed to an increase in surface roughness.” Nature Geoscience 3.11 (2010): 756-761.

    “Surface winds have declined in China, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, the United States and Australia over the past few decades1-4. The precise cause of the stilling is uncertain.”

    To me it is clear that the cause is global warming and the decrease of the latitudinal temperature gradient. Remember that we do know that storms were a lot stronger during the LIA from sedimentary deposits, as presented in the Nature Unbound series of articles.

    With an atmosphere that does less work, nearly all extreme weather phenomena should become less common, or less strong, or both. The exception is heat waves. If the definition of a heat wave remains constant, they are bound to become more common under a higher average temperature.

    The propaganda that global warming is causing weather to become more unruly is baseless, and most scientists know it. It is shameful.

    Some other comments,

    [Pielke Jr.]… never really explains why CO₂ emissions need to be reduced or why current global warming is a bad thing.

    The increase of atmospheric CO₂ does produce a difference to the planet. As any change produces winners and losers, ideally we should refrain from producing changes if we can avoid it.

    We know the planet has been warming since the Little Ice Age, the coldest period in the Holocene, could this be a natural reversion to the mean?

    I don’t think so. The mean temperature that the planet tries to achieve in the long term appears to be determined by Milankovitch orbital settings and thus is changing with time. By interglacial comparison the LIA appears to have been a period of excessive cold relative to this Milankovitch temperature. Right now the planet is too warm and clearly above its Milankovitch temperature. Several forcings are pushing the planet to enhance the rebound effect from the LIA. When these forcings run out of steam the planet should cool towards its Milankovitch setting. In my opinion the temperature that corresponds to the planet now, in the absence of natural and anthropogenic warming factors is about the temperature we had around 1900. Slightly less than half a degree lower.

    We don’t know whether CO₂ is good or bad, nor can we measure the impact, but the “gut feeling” of most scientists is it will be bad.

    And it was a surprise that the increase in greenhouse gases appears to have been the dominant factor, … Sahel summer rainfall was 0.3 mm (0.01 inch) a day higher from 1996-2011 than the drought period of 1964-93.

    It is important not to fall in the very common bias of accepting some “good” effects of CO₂ and reject some “bad” effects with a similar amount of evidence. Or its even more common symmetrical bias of rejecting “good” effects and accepting “bad” effects without question.

    • Javier,
      What are the “bad” effects of anthropogenic CO2 at an ECS ~1.5 deg C?

      SLR acceleration is the only thing I can think of that could be “bad.” But 25 cm/century seems to be the Earth’s current state with no evidence of acceleration.

      Very early on in the climate change game (FAR, SAR), the alarmists declared anything above +2 deg C was where the alarm began. But now they must keep moving the goalposts down to ECS ~1.5 deg C to claim danger. I suppose in another 5 years, the goalposts will move down to around ECS +1.0.

      From FAR WG1 SPM : Taking into account the model results, together with observational evidence over the last century which is suggestive of the climate sensitivity being in the lower half of the range, (see section: “Has man already begun to change global climate?”) a value of climate sensitivity of 2.5°C has been chosen as the best estimate.

      • What are the “bad” effects of anthropogenic CO2 at an ECS ~1.5 deg C?

        I am not alarmed by possible CO₂ effects, but some negative effects are likely. For example the Cantabrian capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus cantabricus) an Ice Age remnant, is on the brink of extinction, and despite huge efforts to preserve it, might go extinct in part due to the warming. This is just an example that there are winners and losers with every change. Also glaciers are affected and in some cases this could be negative. Not much really. Moderate warming is in general positive.

    • Thanks Javier! Very insightful comments. I appreciate the links to the surface wind stilling. I agree that warming should reduce the equator to pole temperature gradient and reduce the amount of work the atmosphere can do.

      Regarding attribution of the 20th century temperature increase, I’m not sure we know any more about that than we knew 60 years ago. It’s also difficult to tell if the temperature increase is a net benefit or a net negative.

      • Regarding attribution of the 20th century temperature increase, I’m not sure we know any more about that than we knew 60 years ago.

        No possibility of quantifying warming by origin, but it is not only reasonable but, to me, clear that the increase in CO₂ is contributing to the increase in global surface temperature.

        It’s also difficult to tell if the temperature increase is a net benefit or a net negative.

        My opinion is that it is still a net positive. Tropics are little affected and mid- and high-latitudes show enhanced productivity. However that doesn’t mean that some species are not negatively affected. And with increasing temperatures the positive effects decrease and the negative increase. From an ethical view, we should not decide who wins and who loses, because nature doesn’t belong to us. Ideally climate change should only be natural and we should adapt, as we do that very well.

        I am not against fossil fuels, but they are not without problems. ICE cars produce pollution and many cities have problems with that, including mine. It is a waste to burn that stuff as only a small part of the energy is used and the chemicals are lost. I think we can do better than base our civilization on fossil fuels.

      • Javier, ICE engines and fossil fuel power plants produce some potentially harmful pollution, but far less than biofuels and a miniscule fraction of the harmful pollution produced by horses and donkeys. So it is always “compared to what?” Energy makes us affluent, allows us to actively protect the environment, it eliminated (almost) slavery, and saved the whales. It has also reduced poverty in the world tremendously and made people healthier.

        Do not compare fossil fuels to some imaginary ideal, compare it to the available alternatives.

        Uranium nuclear and Thorium nuclear are probably viable and commercial, but politically unpalatable. And they are regulatory nightmares, by the time you build one the time value of money has sent you to an economic grave.

        Fusion is not commercial yet, but may be in time. Will regulators allow one to be built?

        Wind and solar are useless without backup and use a lot of land (there go the megafauna!). Biofuels are an environmental and commercial disaster.

        Not having available cheap energy is unacceptable.

        Choose!

      • Choose!

        With current technology clearly the path forward to me is nuclear. Latest generation is a definite improvement, and lots of possibilities for future improvements, small, modular, Thorium, molten salt. Soon residues will stop being a problem, as they too have plenty of energy. Koreans have already demonstrated that they can build them at half the price.

        For the future who knows. We should keep our options open. There is definitely room for wind and solar and they will keep improving, no doubt.

        I don’t believe in fusion. You just can’t put the Sun in a box. No material or system will make an adequate box.

      • Javier, If the political problems can be solved, nuclear is a good option for some electricity. Wind and solar work in remote unconnected areas. Transportation will be fossil fuel for some time to come, as well as most electricity generation.

        All of the above will be used for decades, depending upon cost, taxes and regulations.

        Predicting past 2040 or so is a fool’s errand. Anything can happen in 20 years. Maybe even fusion!

    • “The precise cause of the stilling is uncertain.”

      My impression is of an intensified subtropical ridge causing the stilling, in the southern hemisphere this came to an end in late July.

      Weather extremes in midlatitudes can be expected.

      • Windmills take energy out of the atmosphere, that’s a known property with wind farms and their design placement of poles.

        Is there enough wind farms to make a noticeable difference? Is the question.
        (which is very similar to the CO2 question [are we making the difference?] ).

  10. Kudos! Bookmark worthy, this. Can Pielke, Jr. possibly be cornered into answering “Why is more CO₂ bad?”

  11. Andy
    I have to agree with you about not just Pielke but a very large number of prominent sceptics claim that they believe CO2 impacts temperature but that it’s not dangerous , or that if it’s dangerous you are better off trying to adapt than try to change the climate . I think this is an unnecessary concession. As a non scientist I try to think if AGW theory had not been suggested would I as an observer have thought wow it’s hotter than I can remember 60 years ago ( when I was a child). I don’t think so! The reality is that the constant indoctrination of the population by MSM and global leaders in government , religions and business have imbedded in the human psyche the thought processes that make people believe it to be true. There is no way anyone would walk outside and exclaim wow the climate is so much less liveable than I can ever remember.
    I in fact believe that the correlation between CO 2 and temperature/ climate change is so tenuous that one can only conclude that none exists. So many lab scale experiments fail when they go through the real world up scaling of commercialisation proofs. I suspect that has happened to Global warming theory. It doesn’t work in the real world.
    Besides my sceptism on the scientific basis for AGW theory who says that warming is bad anyway.With air conditioning pretty much universal human can manipulate the temperature anyway . There are huge variations in outside temperatures regionally around the globe which poses no threats to humans. I think it’s lunacy in the extreme to think temperature matters and that we can or should do something about it .

    • Agreed, I also think it’s an unnecessary concession. Especially when the Earth’s climate history shows no CO2-temperature relationship on geologic time scales, and on shorter time scales where a correlation exists, it runs exactly opposite, with temperature driving CO2 level, NOT the other way around. The Earth’s history shows us that CO2 doesn’t do bunk to temperature, so why should we believe differently today?!

  12. Thought I would jot a ditty to the white stuff at Xmas time …..

    So lightly, gracefully it falls,
    Joining, crystallizing one voice,
    The blanket slowly unfolds,
    Silencing, embracing, rejoice.

    Why how the embodied react,
    With Nature’s natural event,
    Oh the folly of Man,
    Questioning evenness, repent!

    Stifling consensus,
    Removing blinkers,
    Open thine eyes upwards,
    Revealing thinkers.

    Periods, epochs,
    Will outpace impatience,
    Truth will outcome,
    With no pretence.

    Oh, how we posture,
    Thinking we know,
    When all around us,
    Is evidence of snow.

  13. The long period of NO Hurricane landfall in the US has been conveniently ignored by the MSM, pushed under the rug, and forgotten.

    • Yes, when somebody starts attempting to draw a line from “climate change” to the latest hurricanes, I like to quickly remind them that if “climate change” is to blame for the storms, then it must ALSO be credited with the longest period on record without one of them hitting the U.S.

      They can’t have it both ways, sorry.

  14. On the subject of x-weather, Mike Hulme provides an antidote to feverish reporting in a publication: Attributing Weather Extremes to ‘Climate Change’: a Review (http://www.mikehulme.org/2014/06/attributing-weather-extremes-to-climate-change/).

    He has an insider’s perspective on this issue, and is certainly among the committed on global warming (color him concerned). Yet here he writes objectively to inform us on X-weather, without advocacy: real science journalism and a public service, really. My post has a synopsis:https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/x-weathermen-are-back/

    • Forgot the Abstract:
      The trends in normalized disaster impacts show large differences between regions and weather event categories. Despite these variations, our overall conclusion is that the increasing exposure of people and economic assets is the major cause of increasing trends in disaster impacts. This holds for long-term trends in economic losses as well as the number of people affected.

  15. We now know that CO2 is a good gas, and it is not a danger to the Earth as the plants are telling us this in no small measure, they outnumber us massively and many plants have more intelligence than a few people that I have run across, including Prince Charles.

  16. I’d love to see a time-series correlation of global troposphere absolute temperature and total atmospheric water vapor. Anybody got one? Clausius-Clapeytron should be predictive, and,if it is not, it is not the whole picture.

      • Interesting plots.
        Isn’t it part of the Climate Change Theory, as we have so often heard as of late, that rising temperatures will cause an increase in Water Vapor?
        I thought that higher temps would equate to more moisture in the water column which in turn was supposed to lead to greater rainfall totals from storm events.
        These charts however seem to indicate that while temperatures have risen slightly, the total water column has remained unchanged to slightly lower

      • Bryan A,

        “I thought that higher temps would equate to more moisture in the water column which in turn was supposed to lead to greater rainfall totals from storm events. These charts however seem to indicate that while temperatures have risen slightly, the total water column has remained unchanged to slightly lower”

        Indeed. Other than comments on the accuracy of the 1950’s vintage weather balloon hygrometers (see Miskolczi’s caption) I’ve seen no serious rebuttal to his analysis of specific humidity from the NOAA data. Benestad’s analysis of the European data shows the same trend and their instrumentation is all modern. So, we have increasing temperatures and decreasing or stable water vapor. How does this happen? Miskolczi has an explanation that isn’t unreasonable, but is attacked with religious furor by the establishment. For a discussion of the theory, see Roy Spencer’s post here: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/08/comments-on-miskolczi’s-2010-controversial-greenhouse-theory/

        Personally, I have no real opinion on why, but I accept that atmospheric water content is not increasing as the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship predicts. Something else is a work here.

      • For more from Miskolzi:

        “Nobody thought that a 100-year-old theory could be wrong. The original greenhouse formula, developed by an astrophysicist, applies only to the stars, not to finite, semi-transparent planetary atmospheres. New equations had to be formulated.”

        “Our atmosphere, with its infinite degree of freedom, is able to maintain its global average infrared absorption at an optimal level. In technical terms, this “greenhouse constant” is the total infrared optical thickness of the atmosphere, and its theoretical value is 1.87. Despite the 30 per cent increase of CO2 in the last 61 years, this value has not changed. The atmosphere is not increasing its absorption power as was predicted by the IPCC.”

        https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/the-curious-case-of-dr-miskolczi/

  17. Everything is extreme now. It is the CAGW Gang’s only fallback position when the oceans do not boil and Manhattan is not flooded.

    • People who claim human-caused CO2 is changing the way the Earth’s climate behaves are just guessing.

      Decades ago, scientists were sure that human activities were making the Earth’s climate colder. They were just sure of it. But we don’t hear those claims anymore, do we. They had such wonderful theories about why this was happening. But they turned out to be wrong.

      The climate scientists were guessing way back then, and they are still guessing today, only this time claiming humans are causing the climate to heat up.

      So when the temperatures trend down, the scientists are sure humans are the cause, and when the temperatures trend up, scientists are sure humans are the cause. Do you see a pattern here?

      Claiming humans are changing the Earth’s climate by burning fossil fuels is pure speculation.

      • My favorite way to put it – “When the climate catastrophe du jour about faces 180 degrees (from global cooling to global warming), yet the supposed cause (human fossil fuel use) and “solution” (controls/restrictions on fossil fuel use) remain essentially the same, you know it’s all BS.”

      • Claiming humans are changing the Earth’s climate by burning fossil fuels is perhaps the ultimate arrogance. Yet it subliminally permeates the media (the ultimate mirror of society).
        What does that speak of Humanity?

      • “What does that speak of Humanity?”

        It says to me that a scary proportion of humanity is easily led astray. And a dishonest, partisan political news media intentionally misleading people for ideological purposes, like we have today, makes things even worse for reality-based thinking.

  18. Andy, thanks for a great series examining the “war on climate” from multiple collaterals.
    Pielke is correct that CO2 matters. Without it we would not be here. Our inflation of the trace amount now present will not alter the course of life on earth, except to possibly save it from eventual starvation through sequestration for now.

      • “Such influences carry with them a risk of undesirable outcomes.” R. Pielke. So his concern is a risk of undesirable outcomes. In other words, speculation. Not a very sound reason for accepting that CO2 is important.

        On Harvey, and the rainfall- the paper(s) mentioned base their results on the total rainfall. The correct measure is the rate of rainfall. Using the total does not take into account the fact that the storm stalled for over two days in one spot. The actual rainfall rates were nothing special- about 16in/24hr. The instantaneous rates vary widely across any storm. Since Harvey quickly decayed to a tropical storm after landfall and stalled the rates are probably more accurate than for a moving hurricane where the rates very minute to minute.
        What was special about Harvey was the front that stopped it for two days and the fact that it stopped over the more recent, more expensive neighborhoods that were in the flood plain. Of course, parts of Houston will briefly flood in almost any thunderstorm because the whole area has a very small slope for drainage.

      • Yes philohippous, if you look at Harvey compared to the 1930’s storms in that area from a comprehensive perspective, the only unprecedented factor is the increase in population and civil development of areas quite highly affected by such weather phenomena.

  19. “The Clausius-Clapeyron relationship shows that the vapor pressure of a liquid is only related to temperature. As vapor pressure, the pressure just above a liquid surface, increases more evaporation occurs.”

    I must be misreading this because it makes no sense. The C-C rel’n talks about the equilibrium vapour pressure. But if the pressure just above a liquid surface is higher, it will be closer to equilibrium, and so LESS evaporation will occur from then onwards than before. Physical processes slow down the closer they get to equilibrium.

    • Ron,

      I must be misreading this because it makes no sense. The C-C rel’n talks about the equilibrium vapour pressure. But if the pressure just above a liquid surface is higher, it will be closer to equilibrium, and so LESS evaporation will occur from then onwards than before. Physical processes slow down the closer they get to equilibrium.

      It’s actually the other way around. As vapor pressure increases, evaporation increases. This explanation from wikipedia is pretty well written,

      “Vapor pressure or equilibrium vapor pressure is defined as the pressure exerted by a vapor in thermodynamic equilibrium with its condensed phases (solid or liquid) at a given temperature in a closed system. The equilibrium vapor pressure is an indication of a liquid’s evaporation rate. It relates to the tendency of particles to escape from the liquid (or a solid). A substance with a high vapor pressure at normal temperatures is often referred to as volatile. The pressure exhibited by vapor present above a liquid surface is known as vapor pressure. As the temperature of a liquid increases, the kinetic energy of its molecules also increases. As the kinetic energy of the molecules increases, the number of molecules transitioning into a vapor also increases, thereby increasing the vapor pressure.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vapor_pressure

      • No, I think it is confusion of terminology. It you say “the vapour pressure of a liquid”, I take it to mean the equilibrium VP. But if you say “the pressure just above a liquid surface”, I take it to be whatever VP happens to be above that particular surface. This, a surface only just exposed to air might have zero VP “just above” it, whereas the equilibrium VP is whatever it is for that gas at that temperature. It will evaporate quickly, but then the “pressure just above (the) liquid surface” is now closer to EVP, and the evaporation slows down, it doesn’t speed up. If the article meant EVP in both cases, I think it is confusingly worded.

      • Ron, Thanks for explaining where the confusion began. I had to read your comment a couple of times, but I think I see it. I’ll try and word it better next time. I still think what I wrote is accurate, so I’ll leave it as is for now.

  20. “damages from hurricanes are rising dramatically and quickly. This is correct, but attributing them to human-caused global warming is wrong. ”

    Phew. I’m so glad you cleared that up for us.

    “he does believe fossil fuel use should be curtailed for other reasons (an opinion I do not share).”

    Andy, shouldn’t you be making a some sort of statement about being in the fossil fuel industry – i.e you have a pecuniary interest?

    • Tony, my bio is freely available and well known here, just click on my name anywhere. Are you implying I’m unqualified to write about fossil fuels or that I’m not allowed to participate in a discussion of fossil fuels? Thankfully, we now have a leader in the EPA that believes those who will be potentially hurt by EPA regulations can participate in discussions of them. As opposed to the previous administration. Obama’s EPA used your logic to exclude anyone (land owners, companies) affected by regulations from the discussions saying they were biased and only allowed environmentalists, who were somehow unbiased. Pure BS.

      The first amendment allows all of us to participate.

      • “Andy May December 23, 2017 at 5:13 am

        The first amendment allows all of us to participate.”

        Andy, you have to forgive Tony, he’s a Queenslander, Australia. Queenslanders believe daylight savings turns cows milk sour. Let’s not talk about what daylight savings do to curtains, another, strange, Queenslander belief.

      • “Are you implying I’m unqualified to write about fossil fuels or that I’m not allowed to participate in a discussion of fossil fuel?”

        No, of course not, but stating it in a footer for example would be more transparent and provide a context for your opinion fossil fuel use should not (unsurprisingly) be curtailed.

  21. “As vapor pressure, the pressure just above a liquid surface, increases more evaporation occurs. ”

    Andy:
    No.
    As temperature increases then the saturated vapour pressure point increases above the evaporating liquid.
    And once vapour pressure has increased to the saturated level then the rate of evaporation equals the rate of condensation and so there is equilibrium with no overall loss of water to the atmosphere.
    So actually as VP increases there is less overall evaporation.

    “Philohippous, I agree. It was the slow speed and the reversal of the storm that caused the high rainfall.”

    It was – but there is another factor that is important and you seem to have dismissed it….

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hurricane-harvey-why-is-it-so-extreme/

    “Why did Hurricane Harvey so quickly explode from a Category 1 hurricane to Category 4?
    Last Wednesday night, August 23, Harvey was a tropical depression, but after just eight overnight hours it was forming a hurricane eye wall. “That’s remarkably fast,” Masters says. On Friday it rapidly ballooned from a Category 1 hurricane to Category 4. That is because it happened to pass over a region of extremely warm ocean water called an eddy. This spot of hot water was 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the Gulf of Mexico around it, which itself was already 1 to 2 degrees F higher than average, reaching 85 or 86 degrees F in places. The hotter the water, the more energy it drives into a storm. Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans in 2005, also mushroomed to Category 4 in a similar fashion because it, too, passed over a hot eddy in the Gulf.

    “The model assumes that specific humidity increases, according to the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship, by 6-7% per degree of local warming in the absence of dynamical (wind) changes. They expect extreme precipitation to increase by the same amount.”

    And why should’t they?
    If 6-7% more goes into the bottom – whats going to stop 6-7% more dropping out?

    • Perhaps. But were those SSTs the warmest ever in the region and is there any verifiable observational proof that the elevated SSTs were the result of AGW? No there is not. Therefore like many weather extreme events before them, they are just a combination of perfect ingredients to make them into the perfect storms. For the want of better words luck or bad luck which ever way you look at it.
      Obs have shown similar rainfall events to Harvey around the Gulf states. It is impossible to say it was associated with AGW with any confidence other than the use of computer modelling.

      Perhaps you could examine the Hampstead Heath rainfall event in N London August 1975 or the highest 24 rainfall on Réunion island in the 1950s http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/greatest-rainfall-24-hours

      and explain how it has never been repeated by anything close in modern times yet rainfall is allegedly getting heavier and more extreme?

      Using Harvey as an example of AGW cherry picking of the highest order. You as a Meteorologist who knows these historical rainfall events you should question why you feel so ready to accept Harvey but ignore history. Blind faith perhaps?

  22. Quote from the article:
    “The reason why the global specific humidity is decreasing as temperatures are rising is unknown and hotly debated; but seems to be happening.” ———–.

    To this engineer the reason may be explained quite simply:

    The Hydro cycle is in fact a Rankine Cycle which merely accelerates at constant temperature and pressure for any increase of energy input; providing there remains adequate means to dissipate the energy within the condensation process.

    The main point here being that the evaporation process takes place at CONSTANT temperature, low partial pressures and is not primarily a function of increased temperature.

    As with any steam plant, large changes in energy output occur without requiring additional working fluid ( water), which is merely recycled at a faster rate.
    I suspect this is what is happening in the climatic Hydro Cycle.

    Generally I suspect that the IPCC et all. In its obsession with CO2 and Radiation calculations has failed to take sufficient account of these fundamental thermodynamic properties of water.

    After all the total surface area of the water/atmosphere interface is probably well greater than that of the planet itself, when you take into account the areas involved in the leaves of plant life etc.
    Large energies are involved here; well in excess of any involved in CO2 increases; leading to the view that it is water that provides the planetary thermostat, with the temperatures involved greatly influenced by the Earth’s gravity.

    • Alasdair,

      “After all the total surface area of the water/atmosphere interface is probably well greater than that of the planet itself, when you take into account the areas involved in the leaves of plant life etc. Large energies are involved here; well in excess of any involved in CO2 increases; leading to the view that it is water that provides the planetary thermostat, with the temperatures involved greatly influenced by the Earth’s gravity.”

      Good point. Miskolczi makes a similar point and notes that the impact of water vapor is so large, that extremely tiny changes in it can compensate for a lot of CO2. As in a Rankine engine, the power generated is limited by the cooling efficiency, which increases as more plants grow and more clouds grow. Good analysis, thanks!

  23. Toneb,

    “As temperature increases then the saturated vapour pressure point increases above the evaporating liquid.
    And once vapour pressure has increased to the saturated level then the rate of evaporation equals the rate of condensation and so there is equilibrium with no overall loss of water to the atmosphere.”

    This part is correct.

    “So actually as VP increases there is less overall evaporation.”

    This part is wrong. As temperature increases, more net evaporation takes place to return to equilibrium. Thus, as vapor pressure goes up evaporation goes up. Can be confusing, but that is the way it works.

    “And why should’t they?
    If 6-7% more goes into the bottom – whats going to stop 6-7% more dropping out?”

    Good question, I don’t know why global specific humidity is staying the same or going down as temperatures rise, but the data show that this is the case. The amount of water in the atmosphere is the difference between precipitation and evaporation. The Clausius-Clapeyron relationship exists and can be seen in the laboratory, but there must be a confounding effect at work that is stronger and has not been clearly identified yet.

    • “I don’t know why global specific humidity is staying the same or going down as temperatures rise, but the data show that this is the case.”

      Possibly because the global specific humidity data hasn’t – YET – been “homogenised” to the same extent as the global temperature data ?

      Merely a suggestion…

    • Andy:
      “This part is wrong. As temperature increases, more net evaporation takes place to return to equilibrium. Thus, as vapor pressure goes up evaporation goes up. Can be confusing, but that is the way it works.”

      Sorry it is correct.
      As it is countered by WV molecules re-entering the liquid surface.
      Unless you are talking of a wind across the surface that is drier (lower VP) which whisks away molecules before they can.

      See…

      My second point is storm specific.
      Harvey was a Hurricane, containing complex layered cloud structures and Cb cloud embedded in them.
      The sea surface is warmer > more WV evap > taken into the convective cloud (Cu/Cb) it entrained aloft to condense into raindrops/hail/ice crystal. Little if any WV is evaporated out of the convective cloud due to it being embedded (surrounded by saturated air), and anyway it is a near adiabatic process.
      More rain thus falls out of it vis the CC relation.
      Inescapeable meteorology and why Harvey had more rainfall than if sea temps over which it stalled were at the long term average.
      This not withstanding it stalling of course.

      • Toneb, Thanks for the video and comment. I think I understand where you are coming from. We agree on what vapor pressure is and what the equilibrium vapor pressure of a liquid is, but we disagree on the usage of a few words, totally semantic and not really worth discussing more in my opinion. I’ll research the wording more at a later date.

        You describe the CC relation and its affect on Harvey, this is correct in my opinion. The question remains, why do we observe no increase in TPW longer term? We see an ENSO effect that makes sense and in weather events (like Harvey) it seems to apply. Longer term though, the data seems to suggest that TPW (total precipitable water) stays constant or declines. Why does the relation not work on climate scales? Why does TPW increase a little in the lower troposphere, but decrease dramatically in the upper atmosphere?

    • Andy;
      Further ….
      ” The Clausius-Clapeyron relationship exists and can be seen in the laboratory, but there must be a confounding effect at work that is stronger and has not been clearly identified yet.”

      No, just that it seems the investigation you have in mind (?) did not go far enough…

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2010JD014192/full

      ” The five reanalyses analyzed here (the older NCEP/NCAR and ERA40 reanalyses and the more modern Japanese Reanalysis (JRA), Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA), and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)-interim reanalyses) unanimously agree that specific humidity generally increases in response to short-term climate variations (e.g., El Niño). In response to decadal climate fluctuations, the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis is unique in showing decreases in tropical mid and upper tropospheric specific humidity as the climate warms. All of the other reanalyses show that decadal warming is accompanied by increases in mid and upper tropospheric specific humidity. We conclude from this that it is doubtful that these negative long-term specific humidity trends in the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis are realistic for several reasons. First, the newer reanalyses include improvements specifically designed to increase the fidelity of long-term trends in their parameters, so the positive trends found there should be more reliable than in the older reanalyses. Second, all of the reanalyses except the NCEP/NCAR assimilate satellite radiances rather than being solely dependent on radiosonde humidity measurements to constrain upper tropospheric humidity. Third, the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis exhibits a large bias in tropical upper tropospheric specific humidity. And finally, we point out that there exists no theoretical support for having a positive short-term water vapor feedback and a negative long-term one.”

      • Toneb, That hilarious, and long paragraph, can be restated in far fewer words “The data doesn’t fit our model, thus the data are wrong.” How many times have I heard that said!

        But, more seriously, I think the most honest way to look at the data, is it shows no increase in tropospheric humidity, it might be static or declining, but it isn’t increasing long term. It does change with the ENSO cycle, as one would expect, but that is a short term thing, not even at a climate scale, which is 30+ years. We are talking about climate scale changes here. And, we are not seeing the predicted increase in specific humidity.

      • http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2010JD014192/full First published: 15 October 2010

        Try these:

        Vonder Haar

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL052094/full

        **************************

        Humlum

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

        **************************

        Solomon et al.

        Abstract
        Stratospheric water vapor concentrations decreased by about 10% after the year 2000. Here we show that this acted to slow the rate of increase in global surface temperature over 2000–2009 by about 25% compared to that which would have occurred due only to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. More limited data suggest that stratospheric water vapor probably increased between 1980 and 2000, which would have enhanced the decadal rate of surface warming during the 1990s by about 30% as compared to estimates neglecting this change. These findings show that stratospheric water vapor is an important driver of decadal global surface climate change.

        https://www.sciencemag.org/content/327/5970/1219.abstract

      • Toneb, you left out the funniest quote from Dessler and Davis:

        Based on the available evidence, it is our judgment that negative trends in the tropical mid and upper troposphere in response to long‐term climate change are spurious.”

        Any facts that don’t fit my theory are spurious!

        Thanks for the link, the paper is very amusing. Also it led me to Paltridge, et al., 2009 which is a good analysis of the data. Their analysis suggests that TPW (total precipitable water) the lower atmosphere is increasing, while it is decreasing higher in the atmosphere. This may help unravel the mystery.

        For those interested, Paltridge, 2009 can be downloaded here: https://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Paltridge_01.pdf

  24. One of the reasons for the lack of increase in water vapor may have to do with how the actual warming has occurred. High temperatures are not increasing and may even be decreasing. It is lows which have gone up.

    Since lows are already ~10 C below the average high we are talking about 6% of something that is already significantly lower (~60%). It is a small fraction of the total evaporation. All it would take is a slight decrease in the highs and it would completely account for a larger increase of low temperatures.

    Using mean temperature as just the average of highs and lows could also lead us astray if the true 24 hour temperature spread is changing in a different way.

  25. Good article, Andy.

    Burning wood in a stove is not necessarily going to increase CO2 emissions (locally), the stove is built with a scrubber or catalyst that “reburns” the fuel until there is next to nothing in the way of ashes. That’s kind of a downer if you like to put wood ashes on your garden as fertilizer, but it’s a fuel-efficient model, and there IS a company that builds these cast-iron wood-burning stoves for heating and cooking in the USA. They’ve developed this fuel-efficient model at the request of their customers. I do not know if they have a model that uses coal, however.

    Henry Beston said, in “The Outermost House” (1928) that ‘the world is sick to its thing blood for the feel of fire before the hands.’ An open flame and the scent of wood burning generate very primitive responses in most of us, which is why we like to cook stuff on the grill outside in the back yard, even if it’s raining. This is something these researchers don’t understand and never will. There may not be any way to change that unless some “scientist” gets stranded in a blizzard and ends up in a farmhouse with a big fireplace going full tilt. Even then, it might not work.

    The more these people bark and growl about this and use false figures, as though they’re pulling stuff out of a grab bag, the less I’m inclined to believe them now. It has become some odd version of ‘fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me’. Projections that go into a century ahead, when the prognosticators are long since dead (and probably the rest of us, too) is ridiculous. They don’t seem to realize that publishing these forecasts means they’ll be available 100 years from now. If people who read them in the future are watching the snow/ice line move further south each year, or see glaciers threatening their villages, they may wonder out loud who let the loons out of the funny farm.

    I hope that you and the rest of the WUWT people will continue to expose this silliness.

    Have a very Merry Christmas and a good New Year!

Comments are closed.