A new paper about hurricanes shatters the narrative

By Larry Kummer. From the Fabius Maximus website.

Summary: A new paper provides new information about hurricanes, one of the top natural disaster threats. It shatters the media’s narrative and illustrates how science works in the real world.

Hurricane Irma

Photo of Irma by GOES-16 on 8 Sept 2017. NOAA/CIRA.

Real science in action!

Science shapes our world, revealing secrets of nature that allow humanity to build a better world — more secure and prosperous. Yet the public has little understanding of how it works. People believe myths, such as the cornucopia produced by basic science (gains come more often from focused research to achieve immediately useful goals). People believe scientists are logical beings, like Mr. Spock — instead of the fallible, passionate, pack animals that run other institutions. People believe new papers reveal TRUTH (what Andrew Revkin calls the “single study syndrome” (e.g., here and here). This leads to disillusionment when people look under the covers and see the battles for precedence and power, the petty personal rivalries, and the misuse of science for political gain.

One cure for this is reading books about science, such as those by Lewis Thomas, Stephen Jay Gould, and Thomas Kuhn. Another is reading papers by scientists, seeing the exploration of reality using inadequate data and imperfect theories — with new insights usually gained inch by inch. This is the reality, not journalists’ daily declaration that our political biases are proven correct!

Here is an example: a new paper about the trend in hurricanes, among the most destructive of routine natural phenomena (not as bad as asteroid strikes or super volcanoes, but much more common). It is especially relevant as an alleged effect of our emissions of CO2.

Overview of the trends in hurricane action

There are many oddities in the long campaign to get public policy action to fight climate change. One is that we often forecast that the very serious future danger is the one we just experienced. Big damages in US from hurricanes in 2005 sparked headlines that an age of more and bigger hurricanes had begun. A 12 year long hurricane “drought” in the US followed. So that story went down the memory hole. Droughts in California and in Texas sparked headlines about the new age of droughts. Now after a year of destructive hurricanes in the US, headlines warn about a future of awful hurricanes.

Let’s look at the global trends, then the look at the latest science. The first graph is from the website of Roger Pielke Jr., an update of data from “Historical Global Tropical Cyclone Landfalls” by Jessica Weinkle in the Journal of Climate, July 2012. No significant trend, with a low frequency for 7 of the last 9 years. Dr. Ryan Maue has a graph of global tropical cyclone frequency (not just landfalls): same result.

For another perspective, here is Dr. Maue’s graph of Accumulated Cyclone Energy for the world and Northern Hemisphere (24 month running average). Again, no trend. As demographer Ben Wattenberg wrote in his 1984 book: The Good News Is the Bad News Is Wrong. So far.

Global Tropical Cyclone Landfalls - Weinkle

Global Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE)

News about a new paper

“Their paper is a useful update, a synthesis of several threads of research providing context for the high damage losses from the 2017 hurricane season.”

— Dr. Judith Curry, CEO of Climate Forecast Applications Network. She writes at Climate Etc.

Continental United States Hurricane Landfall Frequency and Associated Damage: Observations and Future Risks

By Philip J. Klotzbach, Steven G. Bowen, Roger Pielke Jr., and Michael Bell.

In press at Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Quotes and graphics posted with the authors’ generous permission.

The abstract reveals findings that contradict the mainstream news narrative about hurricanes during 2017. It cites other studies with similar findings (all ignored by journalists — Roger Pielke Jr. has mentioned that some of this data got him labeled a “climate denier” by climate activists — details here). The conclusions are a clear example of focused research applied to questions important for America.

“While United States landfalling hurricane frequency or intensity shows no significant trend since 1900, growth in coastal population and wealth have led to increasing hurricane-related damage along the United States coastline. Continental United States (CONUS) hurricane-related inflation-adjusted damage has increased significantly since 1900. However, since 1900 neither observed CONUS landfalling hurricane frequency nor intensity show significant trends, including the devastating 2017 season.

“Two large-scale climate modes that have been noted in prior research to significantly impact CONUS landfalling hurricane activity are El Niño-Southern Oscillation on interannual timescales and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation on multi-decadal timescales. La Niña seasons tend to be characterized by more CONUS hurricane landfalls than do El Niño seasons, and positive Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation phases tend to have more CONUS hurricane landfalls than do negative phases.

Growth in coastal population and regional wealth are the overwhelming drivers of observed increases in hurricane-related damage. As the population and wealth of the US has increased in coastal locations, it has invariably led to the growth in exposure and vulnerability of coastal property along the US Gulf and East Coasts. Unfortunately, the risks associated with more people and vulnerable exposure came to fruition in Texas and Florida during the 2017 season following the landfalls of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Total economic damage from those two storms exceeded $125 billion.

“Growth in coastal population and exposure is likely to continue in the future, and when hurricane landfalls do occur, this will likely lead to greater damage costs than previously seen. Such a statement is made recognizing that the vast scope of damage from hurricanes often highlight the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of building codes, flood maps, infrastructure, and insurance in at-risk communities.” {Red emphasis added.}

We are told that global warming makes hurricanes worse — some combination of more frequent and more intense (depending on the source). There is an easy first test of this. The world has been warming since the middle of the 19th century. The IPCC’s AR5 tells us that…

“It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”

What is the trend in hurricane activity during the past 12 decades? One of the best records is that of landfalls on continental US. The authors show the data (graphs below; click to enlarge). The first graph shows all hurricane landfalls. The second shows landfalls of major hurricanes (Saffir-Simpson Category 3-5). These cause over 80% of all hurricane-related damages. Do you see any trend in either graph, in the “natural” era (1900-1950) or the anthropogenic era (1951-2017)? Klotzback has posted more detailed data back to 1851 about North Atlantic hurricanes. As to the future, only time will tell.

US Landfalling Hurricanes

US Landfalling Major Hurricanes


The bottom line: a warning.

“In the years since the last official decadal census in 2010, an even more pronounced trend of coastal growth has occurred as some of the greatest rates of population growth were found in particularly vulnerable hurricane landfall locations. Of the top 20 fastest-growing counties from 2010-2016, 13 were 281 in hurricane-prone states…

“Losses from future hurricanes have significant potential to dwarf those of the past based on societal change alone. Event losses will be even greater with potential increases in storm intensity (Knutson et al. 2010, Walsh et al. 2015) as well as flood-related impacts associated with an accelerated rate of sea level rise (Mousavi et al. 2011) and/or increased amounts of rainfall (Emanuel 2017). This highlights the continued importance of modernized and consistent building codes across hurricane-prone states, updated flood maps, and improved coastal/inland infrastructure given assumed impacts in the future.”

The bottom line

“We don’t even plan for the past.”

Steven Mosher (of Berkeley Earth), a comment posted at Climate Etc.

Potential future increases in hurricane intensity, sea levels, and rainfall will increase damages from hurricanes. But our obsession with climate change blinds us to other sources of increasing weather-related risks. Such as increased population and economic development in areas exposed to hurricanes. And how our rotting public infrastructure increases our vulnerability to hurricane-related damage. The combination of these could have painful results. The public policy gridlock about climate change has left us unprepared for not just future risks but also the inevitable repeat of past weather.

This year the people of Puerto Rico and Texas paid for our folly. Population growth in hurricane-affected regions means that eventually the cost in blood and money will be even larger — unless we get smarter.

To learn more about hurricanes.


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Climate “scientists” have found it increasingly attractive to simply say, “we know climate change has made this weather event worse”. It can neither be proven or refuted; it fits the narrative; so it’s perfect.

Kristi Silber

Don’t get the media confused with scientists.


Good point, Kristi. Mann is more of a media hound than a scientist.


Climate scientists are complicit with the media through their silence.

Randall Kelley

Al Gore has made some his claims with a lineup of scientists behind him. While its easy to call Gore an idiot, in his defense probably every claim made in his movie was originally made by “real” scientists and even published in govt reports or peer reviewed papers.


And yet they are still all lies. Real science has no “consensus”, that is entirely political.

Kristi Silber

icisil: “Climate scientists are complicit with the media through their silence”
I strongly disagree. Scientists stay silent intentionally to avoid the fracas of the media circus or partisan politics. They don’t want to be seen as having an agenda, they just want to do their thing. That’s exactly why some contrarian scientists have gotten in trouble with their peers and employers. I suspect climate scientists rely on Mann and maybe a few others to do their advocacy (though he’s not ideal for the job).
Besides, what are scientists going to do, correct every story that discusses a high-end prediction? Explain the probabilities and uncertainties? It’s not their job. You have to remember, the media is for-profit. They sell violence, threats, anger, fear, disaster – that’s what the public wants. Don’t blame the scientific community for alarmism.

Tom Halla

The records of hurricanes gives great opportunity to BS the public by using the classic “cut-off-graph” game. If one cherry picks a start point, one can make an invalid argument on how hurricanes are getting so much worse.


Absolutely correct. I’m surprised we haven’t seen a graph of US landfalling hurricanes from 2006 to 2017 as absolute proof of the enormously increased incidence and power of hurricanes, as predicted by Algorean apostles.

Ray Boorman

Naaghh, I don’t believe it. Hurricanes cause more damage despite there being 4 times as many buildings in their path as existed 60 years ago, not because of it. And I know that because Flim Flam & Gory told me so!

Alan Tomalty

AGW is all baloney so why would we think that it causes more climate disasters? The record speaks for itself. Climatic events like cyclones, tornados… etc are no more frequent than they ever were.


Alan, but the breathless out cry from the media about increased hurricane damage sure is more frequent than it ever was.

This isnt even news. https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/historical-atlantic-hurricane-and-tropical-storm-records/ See fig 2: “…Once an estimate for likely missing storms is accounted for the increase in tropical storms in the Atlantic since the late-19th Century is not distinguishable from no change…”

Kristi Silber

dbakerber – “This isnt even news” – that’s just what I was going to say. I’d seen that link before, as well as others.
One interesting thing to note in that link is that they have ADJUSTED THE DATA to eliminate an INCREASING trend. Now, isn’t that weird? Scientists are all supposed to be corrupt, twisting the data to fit their false narrative. I bet these guys get ostracized, pilloried by their peers,. They’re lucky if they’ve kept their jobs.


“This year the people of Puerto Rico and Texas paid for our folly.”
Que? Puerto Rico and Texas paid for their own follies of electing corrupt and/or incompetent politicians. It had nothing to do with so-called “public policy gridlock about climate change.”


they did. but kummer and pielke are fabian socialists. in their view, the government is responsible (under their wise guidance) and no individual ever is.
have a nice quote from roger ” A carbon tax, starting at a low level with proceeds invested in energy innovation, remains a good idea.” from his blog.
they are all about gimme your stuff! the need is severe! we need some funding! there’s never enough!
we don’t want to labor. we want to be kangz! you didn’t build that! gimme your thangz!
if you got money- you stole from the poor! your wealth is a sickness- and i am the cure!
so gimme your money! gimme your money! don’t make me riot! don’t try to deny it!
gimme your money.


“Population growth in hurricane-affected regions”….you’re talking 100’s and 1000’s of miles inland, right?

That is an unpublished paper (i.e., not in a journal, peer-reviewed or not), written by a guy with an MA in engineering and a PhD in Business Administration.
What do you find of interest in it?

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Bay of Bengal region (joint typhoon warning centre) cyclones per year (May to November) showed a 56-year cycle similar to northeast monsoon rainfall (October to December) in which more number of cyclones were reported.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

joe - the non climate scientist

the important number is the Accumulate Cylcone Intensity (ACE). Adjusting for observational bias (ie inability to detect hurricanes pre satellite era and going back into the 1600’s & 1700’s), the ACE index has for the most part been a flat trend since the 1600’s (with the caveat that there has been the normal decadal cycles).
The warmist/activist arguee that the hurricanes will become more frequent and more intense – post katrina. After 10-12 years, that was changed to Less frequent but more intense.
Over at skeptical science ( bless their activist hearts) argue the above due to the increasing SST based on the peer reviewed studies. When pointing out the flat trend line of ACE even though the SST temps have increased since 1850, they continue to argue that the trend line of ACE will change. They cant explain why the trend line hasnt changed. .

I asked Dr. Klotzbach about pre-satellite ACE data. He said that the it probably underestimates ACE. He has posted estimates for the North Atlantic going back to 1851, the earliest date with reliable data. My guess is that good global data begins much later.
Before that, as usual with paleo climate data, using proxies, it is buyer beware.

Joe - the non climate scientist

Larry – thats my point – adjusting for the observation bias, the ACE trend since 1850 has been flat in spite of the upward trend in SST. Basically, hindcasting invalidates the projections of the activists

I agree. My comment was about estimates of ACE for 1600 – 1850.

Jim Hodgen

I have always wondered… but never expended the energy to dig up data and analyze it… whether the amount of oceanic surface heat energy – the kind that moves around fast enough to translate into ‘weather’ as opposed to ‘climate’ – that is umped off the earth by these massive heat pumps we call hurricanes are part of La Nina or other recognizable cooling periods afterwards.
I have listened with interest to Joe Bastardi’s analog forecast comparisons on the Saturday summary (can’t afford the subscription at the moment) as one of the better gradual and gentle educational shows available… and notice that he mentions that he has a theory he has been developing that postulates correlational and/or partially causational relationships between certain large ACE index hurricane seasons and weather behavior in the following winter seasons.
Makes sense, but I don’t have the background or the time to follow that up. Anyone else have thoughts on that extra, rapid surface heat loss in areas that ar consequential to global heat content?


I live in hurricane country along the Texas coastline, and can vouch for my experience: the winters after hurricanes, we can expect snow. We notice snow; it’s rare on the Texas coast. It’s been a trend that I’ve noticed going back to fall of 1983 when we got pegged with a hurricane, and had snow that winter. That pattern keeps repeating: a hurricane in the fall seems to translate to snow in the winter. After Harvey I was part of several conversations with friends about expecting snow this winter. And yes: it snowed.

Global warming results in less and weaker hurricanes.
So those trying to stop the warming must want PEOPLE TO DIE or something

Tom Dayton

Straw man. The slight majority opinion of climatologists actually is that there will be an increase in the number of most severe hurricanes, and that the total number of hurricanes will either decrease or remain unchanged. If the total number of hurricanes decreases, then the number of landfalling hurricanes decreases. A decrease in total number of hurricanes easily could offset the increase in number of most severe hurricanes to cause the total intensity to decrease. An excellent overview by Kerry Emanuel from September 2017 is available on Youtube: https://youtu.be/aR7a3ET5uws


The slight majority opinion of climatologists actually is that there will be an increase in the number of most severe hurricanes…….cracked me up….it’s a sliding metric.. does severe mean stronger winds or more hyped damage
Since it’s climatologists….I’ll assume it’s the one that has nothing to do with weather


Linking to a Kerry Emanual video describing future hurricanes is like linking to Paul Erlich video on the impacts of future population. Only in left-wing supported science can you be wrong for your entire career and still be considered an export authority on the subject.

“The slight majority opinion of climatologists actually is that there will be an increase in the number of most severe hurricanes, and that the total number of hurricanes will either decrease or remain unchanged.
What is your basis for that statement (other than a Youtube video by Emanuel)?
The WGI of IPCC’s AR5 gives “low confidence” to a forecast of increasing tropical cyclone intensity (Table 1 in the SPM, and in 11.3). I doubt that has changed.
There is no consensus on the near-term forecast in North Atlantic hurricanes, the best understood basin.
This is a frontier subject in climate science. More questions than answers.

Tom Dayton

Larry: You should read more thoroughly. See the quotes Frank posted on Sept. 19 at 6:17 pm.

“See the quotes Frank posted on Sept. 19 at 6:17 pm.”
Read what more carefully? Posted where? That’s not a useful citation.
Also, why should I read this unnamed source “carefully”, or at all? Is it required by Scripture?


Larry, Tom meant to say: “See the quotes Frank posted on Feb 19 at 6:17 pm.”
I made the point that AR5 WG1 had backed away from the most alarming earlier predictions about increasing hurricanes and quoted key passages from this report with links to back up my assertions.

Please, please, please desist! Enough Kummer!
Anyone who uses as the concluding “bottom line” a quote from Stephen Mosher is deluded.
“Potential future increases in hurricane intensity, sea levels, and rainfall will increase damages from hurricanes.”
Yes, and potential future DECREASES in hurricane intensity, sea levels, and rainfall will be detrimental in certain ways, too.
So, what?
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah….hundreds of words, graphs, numbers…for what? What is this dude’s point? What is he selling?


How Do You Know Climate Alarmists Are Lying? Their Lips Are Moving
Let me begin by thanking the bipartisan group of U.S. governors who convened this meeting. Few challenges facing America – and the world – are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We’ve seen record drought, spreading famine, and … Continue reading


It cites other studies with similar findings (all ignored by journalists …

Of course. They block out anything that contradicts their world view. They search out anything that confirms their biases. It’s called motivated reasoning.

When people form and cling to false beliefs despite overwhelming evidence, the phenomenon is labeled “motivated reasoning”.

It’s a form of pathology that prevents people from seeing the blatantly obvious truth right in front of their eyes.
It’s easy to find alarmists accusing the ‘deniers’ of motivated reasoning. In truth, that’s probably true for some people. On the other hand, I suspect that the motivated reasoning CAGW alarmists outnumber the motivated reasoning CAGW ‘deniers’ by a very wide margin.

John M. Ware

In the paragraph immediately under the graph with red vertical lines, the last line has a number 281 or 283 just sitting there. Has it a function, or is it there to see if we’re paying attention?

Good catch! Thanks for pointing it out.


Targeted research often creates products that people need.
But that’s because basic research laid the groundwork years ago.

I suggest you read the article. It was a controversial theory in the 1950s. I doubt many experts in the field disagree now.


Larry, perhaps you should read your own article.
“People believe myths, such as the cornucopia produced by basic science (gains come more often from focused research to achieve immediately useful goals).”

My comment was unclear. The theory that indiscriminate basic research had a high return was logical in the 1950s, but is not widely believed today by experts in the field. Basic & development research works well when targeted to meet specific useful goals.


From the article: ““It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”
That’s ridiculous. The warming from 1910 to 1940 was of the same magnitude as the warming from 1980 to today, and the warming in the 1910-1940 period was 0.5C warmer than the warmest point in the 1980 to present period.
The 1910 to 1940 warming is attributed to Mother Nature according to the IPCC but they and all these other alarmists want us to believe that the present warming is at least half caused by CO2. I even saw one foolish comment that claimed it was 100 percent human caused. Mother Nature doesn’t need any help to make things as warm as they are today.
So what happened to Mother Nature? She managed to warm the 1910 to 1940 period sufficiently by Herself, and now we are here in the present with the SAME amount of warming as back then, but somehow Mother Nature is a bit player now according to the Alamists.
I’m not buying any of it. The only way to look at it is to assume that what you see today in the way of warmth and severe weather was caused by Mother Nature until proven otherwise. And noone, and I do mean noone has provided such proof in all these years. Anyone who disagrees is invited to provide some proof.
Claiming the current warming is 50 percent human caused, or 100 percent human caused, or any percent human caused is just guesswork. Pure guesswork. Flip a coin. Your guess is as good as anyone else’s guess.
It’s Mother Nature until proven otherwise.


1) According to HadCRUT, it warmed 0.38 K between 1/1910 and 1/1940 (based on the trend over those thirty years 1.26 K/century). It warmed 0.67 K between 1/1980 and 1.2018. Are correct that this the same order of magnitude.
2) Since different number of years are involved, you might prefer to compare the rates: 1.26+/-0.34 vs 1.76+/-0.26 K/century; a difference of 0.5 K/century. Using the standard method for calculating the confidence interval between the difference in two means, this difference is statistically significant.
3) Since our planet radiates more heat after it warms and less heat after it cools. In the absence of other factors, its temperature will fluctuate around some long-term mean. 0.67 K of recent warming is far more surprising and meaningful following a rise of 0.38 K than it would be following a fall of 0.38 K.
4) Most, but not all, of the 1910-1940 warming was attributed to unforced variability.
5) You don’t need to “buy” anything from anybody, but it helps to avoid confirmation bias.
6) The IPCC attributed at least 50% of warming to human activity using climate models that were likely tuned to attribute about 100% of that warming to man. This is circular reasoning. Given the unforced variability observed in climate, the 95% confidence interval for attribution reaches from 50% to 150% of observed warming.
7) None of 1-6 are particularly meaningful. Based on laboratory measurements and quantum mechanics, there is no doubt that increasing GHGs in the atmosphere will slow radiative cooling to space. Warming will occur until incoming and outgoing radiation are in balance. Determining how much warming is needed is difficult. When the planet warms about 3.5 K every year (seasonal warming), satellites show that the planet radiates about 2.2 W/m2/K more LWR to space and clouds reflect about 0.20 W/m2/K less SWR. (Seasonal changes disappear when temperature anomalies are calculated.) That produces a climate sensitivity of about 2 K/doubling, roughly what one gets by assuming that all 20th century warming was forced.


“1) According to HadCRUT, it warmed 0.38 K between 1/1910 and 1/1940 (based on the trend over those thirty years 1.26 K/century). It warmed 0.67 K between 1/1980 and 1.2018.”
Gee Frank, just a few more adjustments to HadCRUT, and the 1980-2018 warming will be at least twice that of 1910-1940. TA is really gonna look silly then.

Richard M

Frank, the warming rate from 1980 to 2014 for Hadsst3 was 1.26 C / decade. I left off the big 2015/2016 El Nino because that would be noise. The 1910 to 1940 trend was 1.37 C/decade. Ocean temperatures are a much better choice as they reduce the impact of adjustments and UHI.
Also, the Hadsst3 values more closely match satellite data.
Finally, point 7) may be true without feedback but if negative cloud/water vapor feedback exists then it is possible that no/little warming will occur for increases in non condensing GHGs.


Gee, Justanelectrician, the adjustments that have been made add only 0.2 degC of warming spread across the 20th century. They don’t appreciably change any conclusions.
Richard M. The temperature after the 97/98 El Nino returned to the previous baseline in 1999, but not after the 15/16 El Nino. You are deleting much more that noise. Temperature for the last 5 years has nearly continuously been 0.2 degC above the 2000’s average. I provided TA with the correct global data for the periods he cited. You are cherry-picking: a shorter period, SST’s only, and using an obsolete data set. I’ll agree we are dealing with imperfect data and composite indices of that data showing uncomfortably small changes. Which is why I pay attention to the big picture: Radiative forcing from GHGs and conservation of energy. There are no major uncertainties in these.
Feedbacks amplify the climate change produced by forcing, but they don’t change the sign of the change. If there were no feedbacks, when the planet seasonally warms 3.5 K, it would radiate an additional 11.6 W/m2 (3.3 W/m2/K) to space, just like a graybody with a temperature of 288 K and an emissivity of 0.61. The fact that it emits only 7.7 W/m2 (2.2 W/m2/K) of LWR is evidence that LWR feedback is positive (roughly +1 W/m2/K). This is true for clear skies (where only water vapor and lapse rate feedbacks operate) and all skies (where cloud LWR CRE operates, but is negligible). Notice that the 3.5 K of warming is comparable to predicted GW and the changes are big enough to be reliably measured by CERES.
Seasonal warming (the net result of +10K of average warming in the NH and 3 K cooling in the SH) isn’t the same thing as global warming. This makes it impossible to interpret seasonal changes in SWR as feedbacks relevant to global warming and casts some doubt about the meaning of the LWR changes that are observed.


“3) Since our planet radiates more heat after it warms and less heat after it cools. In the absence of other factors, its temperature will fluctuate around some long-term mean. 0.67 K of recent warming is far more surprising and meaningful following a rise of 0.38 K than it would be following a fall of 0.38 K. ”
Frank, you appear to be ignoring the cooling that took place from 1940 to 1980. I can understand how that could happen if you are using those bogus, bastardized Hockey Stick charts like HadCRUT. Lots of people make that mistake.
Here’s the chart you should be looking at, the 1999 Hansen global proxy chart:comment image


TA: Are you joking? Why should I look at an obsolete version of US-only temperature data when I’ve already cited the latest GLOBAL temperature data?
I am quite familiar with Hansen’s 1999 data and why it needs correction for time of observation. I personally downloaded some hourly temperature data and demonstrated for myself how much monthly temperature data changes when min-max thermometers are read in the morning vs the evening. I’ve also read Karl’s seminal paper on TOB. Anyone who takes this older US data seriously is nuts or deliberately trying to mislead you! Recent temperatures were lowered by about 0.2 degC by the switch to morning reading. That doesn’t mean that I accept that all corrections at breakpoint are appropriate: Some breakpoints are caused by restoration of earlier conditions that had gradually become biased (and shouldn’t be corrected) and some are caused by a permanent shift to new conditions (and should be corrected). However, in the global record, breakpoint corrections only add 0.2 C to NET 20th-century warming, not enough to seriously challenge anything I said above.
Yes, the global record is contaminated by stations with UHI bias. Unfortunately, the skeptics at BEST have constructed a record from purely rural stations and overall warming is unchanged. So the bias introduced by UHI appears to be negligible. Nor did the surface station project uncover a significant bias in US trends with station siting quality.
Remember, I said the warming record wasn’t what was most important: Laboratory measurements and quantum mechanics predict that rising GHGs will and have slowed radiative cooling to space. The law of conservation of energy demands that this reduction cause the planet to warm.


FWIW, AR5 WGI has backed from alarmist predictions about hurricanes. The SPM now claims only that it is “more likely than not” that there will be “increases in intense tropical cyclone activity”.
The executive summary for Chapter 14 says:
Based on process understanding and agreement in 21st century projections, it is likely that the global frequency of occurrence of tropical cyclones will either DECREASE or remain essentially unchanged, concurrent with a likely increase in both global mean tropical cyclone maximum wind speed and precipitation rates. The future influence of climate change on tropical cyclones is likely to vary by region, but the specific characteristics of the changes are not yet well quantified and there is low confidence in region-specific projections of frequency and intensity. However, better process understanding and model agreement in specific regions provide medium confidence that precipitation will be more extreme near the centres of tropical cyclones making landfall in North and Central America; East Africa; West, East, South and Southeast Asia as well as in Australia and many Pacific islands. Improvements in model resolution and downscaling techniques increase confidence in projections of intense storms, and the frequency of the most intense storms will MORE LIKELY THAN NOT increase substantially in some basins.
Chapter 14.6: “The assessment provided by Knutson et al. (2010) of projections based on the SRES A1B scenario concluded that it is likely that the global frequency of tropical cyclones will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged while mean intensity (as measured by maximum wind speed) increases by +2 to +11% and tropical cyclone rainfall rates increase by about 20% within 100 km of the cyclone centre.” p1249
And if you check the supplemental material: “it is likely that the global frequency of occurrence of tropical cyclones will either DECREASE or remain essentially unchanged” turns out to be a average of a -20% decrease in the frequency of TC’s. (14SM-48)

“…medium confidence that precipitation will be more extreme …” in real-speak is “It’s 50/50, who knows?” UN IPCC documents are turgid political propaganda; all the Third World despots get to vote on IPCC report wording.


The IPCC’s terminology is the terminology of politics, not science. In a “scientific conclusion” usually requires a likelihood greater than 95% (“extremely likely” or “virtually certain”), but policymakers are desperate for information. Climate scientists provide them with “likely” and “very likely” conclusions covering what they suspect, not what they have proven scientifically.
The IPCC also discusses levels of confidence. If low or medium confidence evidence were later contradicted by “high confidence” evidence, scientists would stop paying attention to the earlier evidence. If high confidence evidence from one line of experiments contradicted high confidence evidence from a second line of experiments, then there would be a serious dilemma to be resolved. Low and medium confidence evidence simply means “this is what we suspect” until definitive experiments are done.
The possibility that climate sensitivity could be high confronts policymakers with a need to make decisions in the absence of definitive scientific information. IMO, it is appropriate to provide them with the best information we have, but not to says “scientists have concluded X”, when the evidence doesn’t meet the normal standards for drawing a scientific conclusion about X. Scientists “suspect” X, but don’t know.

Tom Dayton

Frank, you are incorrect that “In a ‘scientific conclusion’ usually requires a likelihood greater than 95% (‘extremely likely’ or ‘virtually certain’).” Please research judgment and decision making, and scientific research methodology.

I assume that in the real world it would take much more than a 50/50 likelihood to spend Trillions of dollars and endanger millions in the developing countries.


Tom Dayton wrote: “Frank, you are incorrect that “In a ‘scientific conclusion’ usually requires a likelihood greater than 95% (‘extremely likely’ or ‘virtually certain’).” Please research judgment and decision making, and scientific research methodology.”
I believe that this wikipedia article will confirm the existence of a general tradition of requiring a p score less than 0.05 before including a conclusion in the abstract of a publication.
Ionaides infamous article on the misuse of p values say in the introduction:
“Several methodologists have pointed out [9–11] that the high rate of nonreplication (lack of confirmation) of research discoveries is a consequence of the convenient, yet ill-founded strategy of claiming conclusive research findings solely on the basis of a single study assessed by formal statistical significance, typically for a p-value less than 0.05. Research is not most appropriately represented and summarized by p-values, but, unfortunately, there is a widespread notion that medical research articles should be interpreted based only on p-values.”
This isn’t the only standard. The FDA generally requires TWO large clinical trials with evidence of efficacy with p less than 0.05 to approve a new drug for sale (unless no other treatment options exist for a life threatening condition). Physics requires “six sigma” to claim the discovery of a new particle (which is I think is roughly equivalent to three INDEPENDENT studies with p less than 0.05. Policymakers who are forced to act on inconclusive scientific information listen to information that is less robust.
The IPCC’s system for describing uncertainty was initially codified by Schneider and refined in later reports. AFAIK, this system was invented by the IPCC, not experts in communicating with policymakers.
Moss R, Schneider SH (2000) Uncertainties in the IPCC TAR: Recommendations to lead authors
for more consistent assessment and reporting. In: Pachauri R, Taniguchi T, Tanaka K (eds) Guidance papers on the cross cutting issues of the third assessment report of the IPCC. Technical report. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, pp 33–51
However, if you have contradictory information, I’d love to hear it.

Tom Dayton

Frank: “a general tradition” is exactly that–a general tradition–and it is not at all about whether to include a conclusion in the abstract of the paper. Decisions of whether to approve drugs for sale depend on the balance of costs and benefits, which for the FDA means not dollars but probabilities of various outcomes. Requiring multiple clinical trials is an example of not relying on p values, but on replication. It is not as simple as you believe. Many particle physics experiments are assessed with tiny p values to compensate for the massive number of tests, so they can use a much bigger p value as their overall (multi-test) level. Please explore the links I provided in my subsequent comment.
You make many excellent comments here on WUWT, and I am impressed with your rigor and thoroughness in many cases. That’s why I think you would like to know the difference between statistical significance and scientific certainty levels.

Tom Dayton

Frank, the most important part of one of the quotes you provided is “Research is not most appropriately represented and summarized by p-values, but, unfortunately, there is a widespread notion that medical research articles should be interpreted based only on p-values.”

Tom Dayton

Frank, please read up on consilience. Just one example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consilience. Here is an article that I do not entirely agree with because in some cases it oversimplifies and is too absolutist, but it is good for some examples of criteria that scientists use to evaluate theories: https://philosophynow.org/issues/74/Evaluating_Scientific_Theories. Here is a much less detailed article, but it is more accurate: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/doing-good-science/evaluating-scientific-claims-or-do-we-have-to-take-the-scientists-word-for-it/. And be sure to read Feyerabend’s work; here is an entry point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Feyerabend

Tom Dayton

Frank, one place to start to learn more about how arbitrary p values’ thresholds are, and how narrow to the point of near uselessness for drawing substantive conclusions, is the Wikipedia article on Misunderstandings of p-Values”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misunderstandings_of_p-values. A good overview article with a ton of excellent links is one in Scientific American, “Statistical Significance and Its Part In Science Downfalls”: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/absolutely-maybe/statistical-significance-and-its-part-in-science-downfalls/


Tom, I don’t think we disagree about how p less than 0.05 is often used and possibly misused. With regard to climate change, however, I concerned the standards for drawing a “scientific conclusion” are much weaker and whether policymakers understand just how much weaker they are. Only a handful (about 10? when I text searched) of the conclusions in an SPM are reported with the highest confidence intervals. Almost every conclusion is “likely” or “very likely”. One might expect a large number of such “conclusions” to be due to “chance” with such low standards.

Tom Dayton

Frank, the “likely” and “very likely” you mentioned are not statistical test conclusions. Therefore their occurrences are not governed by the rules of probability that statistical tests are. That’s the point I’m trying to help you understand. Statistical significance is an extremely narrow, and therefore in the vast majority of cases not a very useful, and often a distracting and even destructive, topic when it is given inappropriately high weight in the scientific judgment. Scientists’ judgments of probabilities of theories are not governed, not dominated, and not even very much affected, by statistical tests. Statistical inference can be one useful, but invariably minor, element in scientific judgment.
Example: I’m going to test my hypothesis that the cancer immunotherapy agent Sipuleucel-T is effective against a particular type of brain cancer. To that end, I construct a rigorously controlled, formal experiment in which I simultaneously present my cat with a choice between her favorite treat and a rock. Every time she goes to the rock first, I count that as a failure for Sipuleucel-T treatment (H0). Every time she goes to the treat first, I count that as a success for Sipuleucel-T treatment (H1). My threshold p value is .05. I run 400 trials, in which she goes to the treat first in 398 trials, to the rock first in 1 trial, and runs out of the room in 1 trial. I calculate the appropriate inferential statistic and discover that the probability is less than my threshold of .05. Therefore I conclude that Sipuleucel-T is an effective treatment for brain cancer.

Tom Dayton

Frank, within the very narrow confines of statistics (versus the much, much broader context of scientific methods), an article by Kuschke & Liddell, “The Bayesian New Statistics,” is excellent. https://psyarxiv.com/wntsa/

Tom Dayton

Sorry, that was the preprint. Published version is here: https://dx.doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/WNTSA

Crispin in Waterloo

Inexorable sea level rise, likely to continue, is a genuine threat that is best addressed by declaring flood plain building restrictions and editing building codes, such as the post-Andrew regulations in Florida (which seem to work well).
Catastrophic sea level rise in a few years is extremely unlikely and there is zero evidence beyond vain imagining that indicates it is realistic. Save it for Hollywood.
Where the land sinks and the surf surges, it is pointless to permit the building of flimsy valuable structures on foundations of sand, literally, unless it is at the owner’s risk.
On the other hand, native people of the Caribbean built flimsy structures of natural materials that were rebuilt from the ground up after each hurricane. I guess there are options.
There is no detectable ‘hurricane effect’ of rising CO2 or global average temperatures, mostly in the Arctic. The last major storm up there was in 2012.


Very well stated. As more people move into regions directly effected by hurricanes/cyclones the damage they do will increase. Even low grade storms can do a great deal of destruction when there is more in their paths to be destroyed. My grandfather made this very point in the years immediately after Camille. I can still hear him,”You think this was bad? Wait until there are 2-3 million more people living along the MS Gulf Coast, then you will see bad.” And Katrina proved him correct. Add to increased population the 24 hour news cycle which LOVES storm porn and lives to terrorize people at every turn. No longer simply reporting events, they strive to USE events for profit and political gain. So, no matter if storms become less frequent or less powerful media will continue to hype destruction and death. It builds their bottom line, don’t ya know.


My family moved to Florida in 1959. There were less than 4 million people. Most lived in Miami, Tampa-St. Pete, Jacksonville and Pensacola. Central Florida was growing because no one in the right mind moved to the coast because of hurricanes. Orlando was a small quiet city, home to two Air Force Bases, Martin and the Citrus industry. Today there are over 20 million residents and at any one time twice that many part time residents and tourists. I had a close friend and mentor who was born and raised in Palm Beach County. He was in his 20 before he “saw” his first hurricane in 1926. Then on average of every two years a hurricane crossed the peninsula until 1965. We didn’t see another one hit the peninsula until 1992. Imagine how much construction took place from 1960 until 1992 and much of it along the coast.

Tom Dayton

2013 paper showing increase in high intensity hurricanes and decrease in low intensity hurricanes (hat tip to Mal Adapted’s comment at Open Mind): https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-013-1713-0

That paper got a lot of attention. This is not my field (so this could be wrong), but I don’t believe it has held up well in the four years since publication. The more recent papers, like Klotzbach 2018, suggest that these trends have to be evaluated vs. cycles in the AMO etc — otherwise one find spurious trends.
In fact, much of the consensus about hurricane trends has changed since 2014. Note the 2014 National Climate Assessment — which confidently reported that…

“The intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of the strongest hurricanes, have all increased since the early 1980s.”

Now look at NOAA’s “An Overview of Current Research Results” dated Jan 2018 backs off from those claims, and pushes them decades into the future.

Tom Dayton

Your own linked NOAA “Overview” says what I told you in a previous comment–the same as the AR5 quote that Frank quoted in his comment. NOAA’s post says “There are better than even odds that anthropogenic warming over the next century will lead to an increase in the occurrence of very intense tropical cyclones globally–an increase that would be substantially larger in percentage terms than the 2-11% increase in the average storm intensity. This increase in intense storm occurrence is projected despite a likely decrease (or little change) in the global numbers of all tropical cyclones. However, there is at present only low confidence that such an increase in very intense storms will occur in the Atlantic basin.”

Let ’em show their “better than even odds.”

Tom Dayton

Kummer, you are conflating observations of hurricanes that already happened, with projections of hurricanes that might happen in the future.

The National Climate Assessments are political vomitus. They were and are lies throughout.
Anyone reading them not considering a 2nd Amendment solution to our deep state problems has no imagination.


And yet the observable, historical evidence shows this to be WRONG. Hurricanes and cyclones are unpredictably variable, just like the CLIMATE. Leftards don’t let these facts block out their politically motivated sh*t spew.


The IPCC’s statements are all derived from AOGCM output that has been “down-scaled”; not from current trends that might be biased by AMO and related phenomena.
Only high resolution weather forecasts can determine whether a tropical depression is likely to develop into a hurricane. So the tropical depressions that develop in AOGCM output are studied in high resolution models. Those studies show fewer developing into hurricanes, but stronger hurricanes when they do develop. However, a 2-11% increase in maximum wind speed ranges from trivial to occasionally enough to convert Category N to Category N+1. Observation show that, above Category 2, wind speed doesn’t increase with SST.


The IPCC’s statements are all derived from AOGCM output that has been “down-scaled”; not from current trends that might be biased by AMO and related phenomena.
Only high resolution weather forecasts can determine whether a tropical depression is likely to develop into a hurricane. So the tropical depressions that develop in AOGCM output are studied in high resolution models. Those studies show fewer developing into hurricanes, but stronger hurricanes when they do develop. However, a 2-11% increase in maximum wind speed ranges from trivial to occasionally enough to convert Category N to Category N+1. Observation show that, above Category 2, wind speed doesn’t increase with SST.

Burton Elbe

Maybe somebody can point me in the right direction. I’m doing research on hurricanes and this article popped up. Are there competing theories for the cause of Hurricanes? And, if not, why not? If so, can somebody suggest some search terms? The only theory I’ve encountered is the “hot tower” theory. But that is from back in the 1950s.