Extremes

Reposted from Judith Curry’s Climate Etc

by Judith Curry

Politics versus science in attributing extreme weather events to manmade global warming.

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed that I was scheduled to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Jun 12 [link].  The subject of the Hearing is Contending with Natural Disasters in the Wake of Climate Change.

Late on Jun 10, I received an email telling me that the Hearing is postponed (as yet unscheduled).  Apparently the Committee finds it more urgent to have a Hearing related to holding the Attorney General and Secretary of Commerce in contempt of Congress [link].  Interesting to ponder that Congressional procedural issues are deemed to be more important than Climate Change.

So I spent all last week working on my testimony (which is why there have been no new blog posts).  I hope the Hearing will eventually happen (Michael Mann is also scheduled to testify).

Hurricanes and climate change constitute a major portion of my testimony.  You may recall my recent series  on Hurricanes & climate change [link].  Specifically with regards to detection and attribution, my bottom line conclusion was:

“In summary, the trend signal in hurricane activity has not yet had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes. Manmade climate change may have caused changes in hurricane activity that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of these changes compared to estimated natural variability, or due to observational limitations. But at this point, there is no convincing evidence that manmade global warming has caused a change in hurricane activity.”

I’m sure many would dismiss this conclusion as ‘denial’, in spite of the extensive documentation and logic of my arguments. Lets dig into:

  • the latest from the hurricane researchers
  • ‘storylines’ from non-hurricane researchers
  • why blaming extreme events on AGW is important in ‘winning’ the public debate
  • what happens when scientists get in the way of AGW activist ‘scare stories’ about extreme events
  • ‘scaring the children’ strategies

New review paper – Knutson et al.

Earlier this week I spotted an in press review article entitled Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change Assessment:  Part I. Detection and Attribution [link].

There are 10 coauthors on the paper:

“The authors of this report include some former members of the expert team for the WMO 2010 assessment (Knutson et al. 2010) along with current membership of a WMO Task Team on Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change. The Task Team members were invited to become   members by the WMO World Weather Research Program’s Working Group on Tropical Meteorology Research.”

Excerpts from the Summary:

<begin quote>

“In this assessment, we have focused on the question: Can an anthropogenic influence on TC activity be detected in past data? We explore this question from two perspectives: avoiding/reducing either Type I or Type II errors, since we presume that different audiences will have different preferences on which type of error should be avoided to a greater extent.

Using the conventional perspective of avoiding Type I error, the strongest case for a detectable change in TC activity is the observed poleward migration of the latitude of maximum intensity in  the northwest Pacific basin, with eight of 11 authors rating the observed change as low-to-medium confidence for detection (with one other author having medium and two other authors having medium-to-high confidence). A slight majority of authors (six of 11) had only low confidence that anthropogenic forcing had contributed to the poleward shift. The majority of the author team also had only low confidence that any other observed TC changes represented either detectable changes or attributable anthropogenic changes.

Regarding storm surge, our expectation is that a widespread worsening of total inundation levels during storms is occurring due to the global mean sea level rise associated with anthropogenic warming, assuming all other factors equal, although we note that no TC climate change signal has been convincingly detected in sea level extremes data. To date, there is not convincing evidence of a detectable anthropogenic influence on hurricane precipitation rates, in contrast to the case for extreme precipitation in general, where some anthropogenic influence has been detected.

The relatively low confidence in TC change detection results from several factors, including: observational limitations, the smallness of the expected human-caused change (signal) relative to the expected natural variability (noise), or the lack of confident estimates of the expected signal and noise levels.”

<end quote>

JC comments: This paper illustrates an approach that is very unusual in the annals of climate change assessments.  The sea level rise community is also using expert elicitation (e.g. Bamber et al.).  Expert elicitation and and expert structured judgment  is much preferred over ‘consensus seeking’.  The Knutson et al. paper is distinguished by clearly explaining the evidence and and arguments that the individual scientists are considering, and in the Supplementary Information also showing individual responses.

Experts disagree on most aspects of climate change.  Why do they disagree?  I have covered this extensively before, the main reasons are summarized as:

  • Insufficient & inadequate observational evidence
  • Disagreement about the value of different classes of evidence (e.g. paleoclimate reconstructions, models)
  • Disagreement about the appropriate logical framework for linking and assessing the evidence
  • Assessments of areas of ambiguity & ignorance
  • Belief polarization as a result of politicization of the science

The specific reasons for disagreement on a given issue need to be clarified, which the Knutson paper does.  Distinguishing between Type I and II errors is also useful, which clearly identifies the speculative issues as scientifically informed speculation.

ATTP

ATTP has a joint blog post with philosopher Eric Winsberg entitled Extreme weather event attribution.

<begin quote>

Eric has just published, together with Naomi Oreskes and Elisabeth Lloyd, a paper called Severe Weather Event Attribution: Why values won’t go away. The paper discusses the issue of how one might assess the anthropogenic influence on an extreme weather event. This post describes what was presented in the paper and tries to justify why there may be value in approaching this issue from more than one perspective.

A complementary approach is to consider a storyline. For example, given that an event has occured, how might climate change have influenced this event? If the air was warmer, then we may expect enhanced precipitation. If sea surface temperatures are high, then we may expect a tropical cyclone to be more intense. The focus here tends to be on the thermodynamics (i.e., the energy) and to take the dynamics as given (i.e., the event happened).

It turns out, though, that the story-line approach has been rather controversial, with many who favour more formal detection and attribution being highly critical. They argue that it could lead to more false positives and that taking the dynamics as given ignores that dynamical factors could actually work to make some events less likely. Essentially, they argue that the storyline approach may over-estimate anthropogenic influences, potentially mistaking natural variability as being anthropogenic.

The problem, though, is that although the two approaches are complementary, they’re not actually quite addressing the same issue. The detection and attribution approach is essentially trying to determine how anthropogenic-driven climate change influences the probability of a specific class of event. The storyline approach, on the other hand, is more looking at how anthropogenically-driven climate change might have influenced an event that has actually occurred. There is no real reason why we should prefer one approach over the other; they can both play an important role in aiding our understanding of how anthropogenic influences impact extreme weather events.

<end quote>

JC comment:  The epistemic status of formal detection and attribution approaches, versus the storyline approach, should be obvious to all CE readers.

The ‘storyline’ approach is useful for posing hypotheses for for further investigation (and avoiding possible Type II errors).  However, these ‘storylines’ are generally posed by climate researchers rather than by meteorological experts on that particular type of extreme weather.

In any event, using such storylines, and claiming (even implicitly) that they are part of the AGW ‘consensus’ is scientifically dishonest.

Roger Pielke Jr’s story

As scientists are interviewed following each hurricane, speculative storylines about hurricanes and global warming abound in the public discourse on climate change.  Some of these manage to get published.  However, nearly all get knocked back by serious assessments.

As an example, recall the ‘storyline’ whereby Hurricane Sandy (wind speeds equivalent to a Cat 1 hurricane at landfall) was influenced by some magical steering effect associated with AGW that steered to the storm to New York City.  Well, the recent U.S. National Climate Assessment Report tackled this one head on (Appendix C, Box C.2) and concluded:

“[T]here is low confidence in determining the net impact to date of anthropogenic climate change on the risk of Sandy-like events, though anthropogenic sea level rise, all other things equal, has increased the surge risk.”

For a more complete discussion, see my previous blog post on hurricanes and attribution to climate change.

Roger Pielke Jr. has been tireless in calling out scientists and others who make statements attributing hurricane impacts to climate change, citing the IPCC and other national/international assessments.

For this, Roger Pielke Jr has been massively attacked and ostracized.  See this recent article by Ross McKitrick that appeared in the Financial Post “This scientist proved climate change isn’t causing extreme weather — so politicians attacked“:

“Roger Pielke Jr. is a scientist at University of Colorado in Boulder who, up until a few years ago, did world-leading research on climate change and extreme weather. He found convincing evidence that climate change was not leading to higher rates of weather-related damages worldwide, once you correct for increasing population and wealth. He also helped convene major academic panels to survey the evidence and communicate the near-unanimous scientific consensus on this topic to policymakers. For his efforts, Pielke was subjected to a vicious, well-funded smear campaign backed by, among others, the Obama White House and leading Democratic congressmen, culminating in his decision in 2015 to quit the field.”

If you are unfamiliar with the details of all this, they are quite chilling.  RPJr has prepared a twitter thread on his talk ‘Extreme Weather and Extreme Politics” which is a must read.  Incidents include:

  • the coordinated effort of the Center for American Progress to get RPJr fired from his position on 538
  • shenanigans (corruption, really) in the IPCC AR4 Section 1.3.8.5 that passed off an unpublished graph as being published and miscited it, so that they could claim an influence of warming on disaster losses
  • Grijalval inquisition
  • Dr John Holdren (President Obama’s Director of Office of Science, Technology and Policy) posted a screed on the White House web page against RPJr and his findings on disasters and climate change, which were highly inappropriate (not to mention scientifically incorrect).

Why extreme events matter in the climate debate

Why is attributing extreme events (or not) to AGW such a big deal?  Well, the reason for this became apparent to me following Hurricane Katrina (2005), in the heyday of the hurricanes and global warming argument.

Lets face it, in 2005 the public found it very hard to care about 1 degree or even 4 degrees of warming — heck, the temperatures varied by that much on a day-to-day basis.  If they wanted a slightly warmer or cooler climate, they could always move a few hundred miles to the north or south.

However, arguments that a relatively small amount of global warming (order 1 C) could result in more intense hurricanes, well that got their attention, particularly as the U.S. was reeling from Katrina catastrophe.

The AGW activists now had new weapon in their arsenal — attributing extreme weather events to manmade climate change.  The ‘will to act’ seemed tied to alarmism about extreme weather events.  Which  provides a key political role for unsupported ‘storylines’ about extreme weather events.

Scaring the children

A corollary to this activist strategy is to scare school children, and enlist their help in politicizing the issue of climate change and extreme events and also convincing their parents.

The poster child for this is Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.  Several relevant articles on scaring the children over climate change:

The obvious issue is that teachers should educate children about climate science and not scare them witless about the apocalypse.  The less obvious issue is the harm done by scaring children.

The other glaring example of this is the Juliana v. United States lawsuit, filed by school children (with the help of Jim Hansen and some activist organizations.)  Extreme events figure prominently in what the children are worried about.

I sympathize with Greta Thunberg and the other scared children.  I have my own ‘scaring children’ story to relate.

Back circa 1960, the ‘scary story’ was Russians taking over the U.S. through nuclear war or via infiltrating the U.S.  This scary story was conveyed to me on a weekly basis by a nun in my Saturday Catechism class (Catholic Church).  I was well and duly scared by all this.  In fact I worried alot about this.  When one of my parents was late to come home from shopping or an outing, I was worried that they got captured by the Russians.

In fact I worried about all this so much that I was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer at the ripe old age of 8 years old.  In discussing this with my doctor (who had been apprised by my parents that I was a ‘worrier’), he told me I had nothing to worry about, and in any event there was nothing I could do about all this as a kid.  And that I should enjoy my childhood.  I said ‘ok’, and that was pretty much the end of my worrying about the Russians.

(Note:  all this worrying was brought back into my memory by watching the TV show ‘The Americans’ which is absolutely fascinating.

Unlike Greta et al., I was told by responsible adults to stop worrying.  In the case of Greta et al., they are cheered on by adults who find these children to be very useful in their propaganda efforts.

Conclusions

So where does all this leave us in the climate debate?  There is very little  in the way of extreme weather events that can convincingly be attributed to manmade global warming, even if you are assuming that all of the recent warming is manmade.

Global warming activists will continue use extreme events as an argument against fossil fuels, even though there is little to no evidence to support this.  Without this argument, there is very little left to worry about in the near term regarding AGW, apart from the slow creep of sea level rise.

The shenanigans of activists and politicians in this regard are not surprising.  What is horrifying is the way that schoolchildren are being used (and arguably harmed) in the interests of supporting the activists’ propaganda.

And finally, the silence of scientists who should know better, especially among those who have a vocal public presence (e.g. media interviews, twitter) is very disturbing.  Although who among them would want to suffer the hassles and osctracism suffered by RPJr, myself and others.

The ‘establishment’ community of climate scientist activists has much to answer for.  But insatiable media market for ‘fake news’ regarding extreme weather events assures them of a path of continued professional success for spouting alarmism regarding extreme weather events.

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97 thoughts on “Extremes

  1. Not detectable against a backdrop of extreme intrinsic variability is not the same as there being no effect. Nor is short term much comfort in the context of a complex dynamical Earth system and long term changes.

    • Robert Ellison
      You are right.
      Not detectable sure isn’t the same as there being no effect.
      This is exactly why we must not discount the theory that climate change is the work of witches.
      I guess that we urgently need to throw a few Trillion dollars more into preventing those naughty witches from messing with our climate.
      Maybe we could ask the Chinese to chip in this time?
      /sarc.

    • Not detectable also implies that it may not exist at all. Those who worry about things that may not exist may need professional help.

      • Although your comment about needing ‘professional help’ was probably satirical, here in the UK, children really are requiring professional help. This is due to the resultant worry and depression caused after constantly being ‘informed’ by the BBC, Guardian newspaper, politicians, educationalists and green activists that they have no future “due to ‘evil’ fossil fuel companies”; and anyone challenging their rhetoric; “causing climate change”. The BBC and Guardian regularly promote anti fracking groups and green activists such as Extinction Rebellion and ban anyone from challenging their propaganda.
        One of my neighbour’s children (aged 12) cut her wrists because she was so depressed about having no future to look forward to.

        • I hope that CAGW will finally die when children, who are now needlessly distressed about climate change, finally reach a point in their adult years when it suddenly dawns on them that they were fed this fake news during their childhood.

          • I agree completely about the children, and sincerely hope that some of the if not all of the massive hypocrites of the AGW scam are held accountable for this massive fraud.

    • If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you. Calvin Coolidge

      That’s thing one.

      Thing two is that you should reflect on Dr. Curry’s discussion of story lines.

      Thing three:

      The madman’s explanation of a thing is always complete, and often in a purely rational sense, satisfactory. Or, to speak more strictly, the insane explanation, if not conclusive, is at least unanswerable; this may be observed specially in the two or three commonest kinds of madness. Chesterton

      You can imagine all kinds of things. The proof is in the pudding though. What you need is actual data, not a plausible story of what might happen because there are infinite such stories.

    • Not detectable against the backdrop of normal variability is not that same as being no effect. However, not detectable when science says it should be is quite a different thing. It should absolutely give one comfort in the knowledge that the doom scenario’s are flatly failing to manifest at the same time warming is almost half of what was predicted by climate models.

      • “Not detectable” is essentially the same as no effect.
        That’s not what JC is saying….

  2. I recall a previous testimony before Congress, 2-3 years ago, and attended by both Dr. Curry and Michael Mann, and I was just flabbergasted when Michael Mann opened his testimony with an Attribution allegation, “that cows in Texas were being burnt alive as we speak”. Supposedly from raging grass/brush fires caused by excess CO2 and not some satanic ritual. I was just floored when I heard this, and I am still stunned that I have never heard this mentioned again, even by skeptics that should be pointing out absurd statements like that. It is written in the Congressional written (oral) testimony, although I believe that statement was only given orally by Michael Mann and not in his submitted written testimony. The length some people will go to embellish a story line. Just amazing, to think we could blame some brush or grass fires that very day to years of excess CO2 carbon pollution. This is why I am so concerned about having a proper and honest discussion of climate science, as it can get so twisted like farcical statements from Michael Mann. All of them.

    • Erthling2, I agree with your above statement, except for the wording “excess CO2 carbon pollution”. Would it not be more reasonable to call it “improved CO₂ carbon dioxide contribution”?

      • That was what Michael Mann was calling it, excessive CO2 carbon pollution, and what was causing all the cows to burn up in the Texas brush/grass fires. I obviously agree it is actually improved CO2 carbon dioxide contribution. Someone should start a 560.org or bust website.

    • All religions have their extremist elements.
      In the agw religion, Michael Mann is one of the more vociferous extremists.
      (and therefore, a “go-to guy” for the alarmist msm outlets. You know who they are.)

  3. Judith Curry is too optimistic thinking that her reasoned arguments will have any effect at all on politicians (or the general population for that matter). Sweet reason simply does not count. A majority of people have always loved to panic about the imminent end of the world. Concepts such as Gotterdaemmerung, Ragnarok, Apocalypse, etc. so appeal to us humans – nothing we can do about it, least of all come out with logical arguments. And, generally speaking, Congress-folks are so very ordinary human individuals. Most folks (I do not know what percentage) simply are not naturally sceptical, objective thinkers. I wonder if any psychological research has ever looked into this?

    • “Most folks (I do not know what percentage) simply are not naturally sceptical, objective thinkers.”

      For many years, I’ve thought that the figure is over 90%. Essentially its about those people that ‘go with the flow’ compared with those who are prepared to stand up and question what has been said, question what has been written or question the consensus.

  4. This quote has me all bothered. “In summary, the trend signal in hurricane activity has not yet had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes. ” Really?

    • “In summary, the trend signal in hurricane activity has not yet had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes. ”

      Yes, it bothers me, too. It assumes something not in evidence: That CO2 will at some time inevitably be affecting the way hurricanes behave.

      • “Yes, it bothers me, too. It assumes something not in evidence: That CO2 will at some time inevitably be affecting the way hurricanes behave.”
        I think that is exactly what JC is saying. She is not dismissing that the trend will over time be evident, but at this time we can’t be sure.

      • “has not yet had time” implies that it will eventually.
        Is that what Dr. Curry meant to say?

        • Simon: Tom and Mike are correct. J.C. wrote words that imply CO2 will eventually do something to make the trends in hurricanes rise. She is very smart, and I am sure she understands the meaning of her words. I just would like clarification.

  5. “Without this argument, there is very little left to worry about in the near term regarding AGW, apart from the slow creep of sea level rise.”
    >>

    This is a long term secular rise Judith, that would be occurring with or without humans existing (presuming a tree really falls if you don’t see it fall).

  6. Moderators – there’s no need to publish this comment as I’m only posting to point out that the links under this passage

    “The poster child for this is Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. Several relevant articles on scaring the children over climate change:”

    all point to the same article on Spiked-online which, excellent publication though it is, was surely not intended as the sole endpoint of each link.

    • Utter June 14, 2019 at 11:09 pm

      “The poster child for this is Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg”

      Not the first time a young girl has been used to scare the masses. At 14 min’s into this video they used this young girl to incite war.

  7. How is climate science community to reckon with a top line journal like Science Mag publishing a junk advocacy-scaremongering piece like Professor Overpeck’s Op-Ed two weeks ago?

    EDITORIAL
    “A call to climate action”
    Jonathan T. Overpeck, Cecilia Conde.
    DOI: 10.1126/science.aay1525
    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6443/807

    That piece by Overpeck was nothing but lies, fabrications, confabulations, and distortions… and he is “Collegiate Professor and Dean at the School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan.”
    Speaks very poorly for that institution and the community that he could write that junk.

    He starts out in that Op-Ed stating that “Climate extremes are inflicting serious economic losses on nations.” He didn’t say “will” or “may”. He used the present tense “are inflicting”. If so where? Keep in mind he said “climate”, not weather. What load of BS from someone who should know better.

    Overpeck then finished with, “The top priority must remain the elimination of the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change”. I wonder how much of that “priority” he places on actions from China and India, versus the US and the west? And how much he is just wanting the US to adopt virtue signaling leading to economic and national security suicide?

    If Overpeck actually believed all that he wrote in his Op-Ed, then he is a menace to humanity in his calls for immediate de-carbonization. That Science Mag would even publish such a piece filled with falsehoods was even more appalling.

    • A quick check (I do this kind of thing a lot now) shows that all of Overpeck’s formal tertiary education is in Geology, not Climate or even a related field. (See link below.) Yet he has somehow been elevated to the status of climate expert!

      https://seas.umich.edu/research/faculty/jonathan_overpeck

      I’ve found that this is a remarkably common situation these days – someone who has little to no formal education in climate science, and maybe not even a science background at all, has somehow become a supposed expert in the matter! Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that that they don’t have valid things to say about climate, and they may very well be self-educated on at least certain aspects of it. But I personally find the fact that this situation is so common these days disturbing, and it’s one that I would generally not expect to find (at least not very often) in other fields of science.

  8. ‘In summary, the trend signal in hurricane activity has not yet had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes.”

    Say what?

    • That’s called agreeing with your enemy to keep him off-guard until you can deliver the finishing blow.

      “But at this point, there is no convincing evidence that manmade global warming has caused a change in hurricane activity.””

    • The statement you quote, Mike, is polite science-speak for “we detect no trend, but that of course does not prove that there is no trend” [it would be surprising if there was exactly zero trend]. It implies that the trend is so small it could in fact be negative or positive. Professor Curry is being careful about Type I and Type II errors, as she mentions in the article.

  9. Lets see what Dr. Ben Livingston : The Father Of Weaponized Weather has to say .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cjBYk0weJk

    How much more energy can be added to a foul weather system by pointing these at the sky?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd47JXuz0g8

    NEXRAD or Nexrad (Next-Generation Radar) is a network of 159 high-resolution S-band Doppler weather radars operated by the National Weather Service (NWS), an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the United States Department of Commerce, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) within the Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Air Force within the Department of Defense. Its technical name is WSR-88D (Weather Surveillance Radar, 1988, Doppler).

    The Environmental Modification Convention (ENMOD), formally the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques is an international treaty prohibiting the military or other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects. It opened for signature on 18 May 1977 in Geneva and entered into force on 5 October 1978.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_Modification_Convention

    Sometimes you have to put the bits of the puzzle together .

    • Easy to calculate. There is 159 WSR-88D operational, the maximum pulse power is 0.7 MW, pulse length is 1.57-4.5 microseconds and the PRF is 321-1282 Hz. So the maximum energy output of all 159 WSR-88D together is:

      159 x 0.7 x 4.5 x 1282 / 1,000,000 = 0.64 MW

      I don’t think 640 kW added to weather systems all over the United States is going to make very much of a difference.

  10. The ‘establishment’ community of climate scientist activists has much to answer for. But insatiable media market for ‘fake news’ regarding extreme weather events assures them of a path of continued professional success for spouting alarmism regarding extreme weather events.

    At least until all this climate fraud blows over and we have their carbon lies engraved on their tombstones, safely locked away until the day they need them to be remembered and p!$$ed on daily by all the affected. The stink won’t be as bad as what they’ve been doing.

    It’s now that my alarm clock wakes me.. 🙁

    • Q: How do you “solve” something that likely isn’t a problem? or if it is it is non-solvable?
      A: You ignore it.

  11. EVERYONE: If you haven’t seen Dr. Roger Pielke Jr’s 2018 “tweetstorm” presentation on this topic, you need to read it!

    Here’s the direct “tweetstorm” link, to the first of over five dozen tweets:
    https://mobile.twitter.com/RogerPielkeJr/status/987052536883376128
    Be sure to click on “35 more replies” after slide #34, and on “5 more replies” after slide #64.

    Here’s the ThreadReaderApp “unrolled” version of the thread:
    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/987052536883376128.html

    Here’s a pdf of the latter:
    http://sealevel.info/Thread_by_RogerPielkeJr-extreme_weather_and_political_persecution_unrolled_tweetstorm_01.pdf

    Here’s the video linked from slide #27, with Dr. Pielke’s (excellent!) congressional testimony:

  12. I worship Dr. Curry’s scientific, skeptic, moderate language style. That does not mean that aggressive is uncalled for, like: “Lord Monckton: Trudeau Is An Idiot – Pushing Communist Carbon Tax”. See http://brainfeed.tv/2019/04/09/lord-monckton-trudeau-is-an-idiot-pushing-communist-carbon-tax/
    The skeptic viewpoint may be best persevered with calm and logic arguments to contradict the wild CAGW stories a. la. Ragnarok.
    I often speak to elderly people, who has been seriously indoctrinated with the Swedish obsession to serve the government with more and more bad weather money. When I tell them that we often remember extremes, bad as well as good the best, and tend to prioritize the bias that best suit the situation, I have a chance to tell them that Sweden and most of the world has had historically a very unchanging weather/climate the last 50 years and that Sweden used to have very cheap and environmentally friendly electricity production – they agree.
    Interestingly I just received an email from my electricity supplier saying: “From July 1st 2019 we increase the base connection rate, as we have to renew the grid to accommodate modern electricity suppliers like solar panels, wind turbines and electrical vehicle charging.” Considering that there is little sun in Sweden, huge distances for people in the countryside, a country largely covered with trees (therefore IKEA), the whole trend in Sweden may result in a new wave of “Carl Oscar” invasion to the US following new set of Laura Ingalls stories.

  13. Judith

    You will need to keep it simple for these idiots. Somewhere around nursery school level.

    • “You will need to keep it simple for these idiots. Somewhere around nursery school level.”
      Is Trump going to be there?

  14. I ask Judith Curry to address this question specifically: can she guarantee that none of the possible extreme outcomes of climate change will occur over the coming 50 years?

    If the answer is no, then what has she got to say that is worth hearing? Why don’t the insurance companies agree with her risk assessment? To me, she seems to be just another attention seeker who likes to see her name in print and and it’s telling that her first sentence is about herself and her following.

    • Your logic is self-defeating. Can the alarmists guarantee that any of the possible extreme outcomes of climate change will occur over the coming 50 years? If the answer is no, then what have they got to say that is worth hearing? They’ve been 100% wrong so far.

    • No one can confidently assure you that an asteroid will not collide with Earth in the next 50 years, but I am sure some insurance company will sell you a policy to protect you from it if you are willing to pay for one.

      • but I am sure some insurance company will sell you a policy to protect you from it if you are willing to pay for one.

        but I am sure some insurance company will sell you a policy to protect you from it pay you off if an earth-killing asteroid did hit the earth. If you are willing to pay for one. That is, the insurance company will write you the check. You may or may not be [able] to cash it. And, if it can’t be cashed, the insurance company will have been glad to let you pay for the policy anyway!

    • Mr. Dutton: Thanks for your opinion. icisil has mortally wounded you, but I’ll pile on anyway. My answer, based on observation, is that we can guarantee no hothouse earth in 50 yrs, but can’t guarantee no ice age in 50 yrs. That’s two extremes, any others?

    • Yes, she can guarantee such, but she won’t because she doesn’t want to get shouted down as a “denier”. The extreme outcome forecast by IPCC RCP 8.5 is based on CO2 and CO2 equivalent levels over 900 ppm and forcing of 8.5 W/m2. If the trend of fossil fuel burn continues to rise unabated for 100 years we can only possibly reach 680 ppm which is RCP4.5, a non-extreme scenario.

      RCP 8.5 is a fantasy with no possible real world implication.

      This is about scaremongering to get a political agenda approved. It is NOT about science.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/05/rcp-8-5-the-mother-of-all-junk-climate-science/

    • What happens when you build structures in the way of weather extremes that have always and will always occur? This insurance argument is for naive fools.

    • Well, John, the insurance companies actually do agree with Dr. Curry. Despite political activism by some governmental entities, insurance companies in the main have not raised risk premiums for climate change. Read more.

  15. I wonder how active gases in the mid to far infrared (CO2, WV, CH4, O3, …) can be blamed on extrem weather, since they tend to counteract (even if very weakly) any temperature gradient by radiative heat transfer from the warmer areas towards the colder ones.

    Thus the CO2 concentration increase during the past decades should, all other things being equal, somewhat contribute to decreasing extrem weather events, not the other way around.

    • Radiative heat transfer is not important over long distances. Actually it isn’t dominant over short distances either. Climate and weather is very largely a matter of convection (pun intended).

      • Indeed, you are wright, and I know it (see : “very weakly”), but radiative heat transfer (from warmer to colder areas and from the atmosphere into space) is the ONLY effect of CO2 in the atmosphere, so this gas CAN’T do anything but counteract temperature gradiant and thus, extrem weather events.

        This is not a matter of importance but merely of basic physics :
        – basic physics immediatly exposes all this “extrem weather events related to CO2” clownery.

      • Precision about “over short distances” :

        – the mean path of a 15µ photon at sea level is about 30 meters and the time between absorption and emission is about a millisecond … so the actual distance covered by heat transfer from warmer to colder areas can be arbitrarily significant considering multiple absorptions / emissions along the temperature gratiant path (heat gradually spreading via radiative transfer).

        But clearly, in the lower troposphere, this effect is buried by atmospheric circulation, convection, evaporation, clouds, etc.

  16. Best wishes for a successful visit and testimony to the House.
    In the light of well documented hype regarding weather events, it is surprising that anthro slr is treated as a given.
    There is even less evidence for anthro slr than there is for anthro caused weather changes.
    I believe the important concept of anthropomorphic projection can serve to explain much of the reactionary support for the catastrophist movement.

  17. I am hoping the author above intends to mention the IPCC states in the Paris statement that there has been no increase in extreme weather events since 1918? Also as this is the case, why is there to be a debate? We agree with this don’t we? And I find it a bit concerning that you havnt mentioned this in your article…you are going to mention this in your evidence I hope?

    • Bill wrote: “I am hoping the author above intends to mention the IPCC states in the Paris statement that there has been no increase in extreme weather events since 1918? Also as this is the case, why is there to be a debate? We agree with this don’t we? And I find it a bit concerning that you havnt mentioned this in your article…you are going to mention this in your evidence I hope?”

      Yes, what about that? As is stated in the article: “The AGW activists now had new weapon in their arsenal — attributing extreme weather events to manmade climate change.”

      So when CAGW activists and CAGW reporters make all these claims about extreme weather being caused by humans burnng fossil fuels, why don’t we point out more often that these wild claims do not correspond with what the IPCC says about extreme weather. The IPCC is supposed to be the authority, and the activists and reporters are saying something different than the IPCC so why should we listen to the activists and the reporters? And shouldn’t they be called out for making things up?

  18. The wailing in Seattle about a heat wave there being proof of global warming when 70% or so of the country is anonymously cold is remarkable to behold.

    Headline in the Seattle Times: Seattle heat waves could kill hundreds. This is the same paper whose editorial board opposed the carbon tax, spent their own money to oppose Inslee’s election, and opposes mass transit. The cognitive dissonance is amazing.

    https://twitter.com/cruickshank/status/1139557528591728640

  19. First comment went into moderation because, I think, the word k!ll was in a quote. Testing if true.
    ——————–

    The wailing in Seattle about a heat wave there being proof of global warming when 70% or so of the country is anonymously cold is remarkable to behold.

    Headline in the Seattle Times: Seattle heat waves could k!ll hundreds. This is the same paper whose editorial board opposed the carbon tax, spent their own money to oppose Inslee’s election, and opposes mass transit. The cognitive dissonance is amazing.

    https://twitter.com/cruickshank/status/1139557528591728640

  20. What is this gibberish about “anthropogenic sea level rise?” Tide gauges tell us that sea level has been rising slowly and steadily for the past 150 years. There is no acceleration over that span, no knee, no sudden or gradual rate changes that cannot be explained by land elevation changes. If one uses “Mike’s nature trick” and appends satellite sea level measurements, which show higher but still steady sea level rise, to actual tide gauge sea level measurements corrected for land elevation changes. In that case, there is “anthropogenic” acceleration but not the real kind. Where is the real acceleration? When is it to begin, if at all?

  21. I have this tendency to rattle off historical weather facts that prove the weather today is neither unusual or unprecedented. One day I had a person say to me (not exact quote) “I don’t care what you say about weather history, I know things are worse now”.

    This made me think. And I quickly realized that people are influenced by the media; they believe that over provable facts. And I kept thinking still. And I also realized that people have short memories. The human mind has an excellent coping mechanism in that it can block out bad memories. People remember the past better than it really was. They forget how bad the weather was and only remember the good things. Thus, in their mind, this weather really is worse because they forgot how bad it was.

    Mrs. Curry can spout fact after fact; it won’t matter. Some people use CAGW to further an agenda. The layperson does not care about facts, just what they remember and they only remember good things and thus the bad things today must be different.

    • “This made me think. And I quickly realized that people are influenced by the media; they believe that over provable facts.”

      You JUST realized that??

    • Actually it’s a well documented human cognitive bias – the availability bias – verified by random controlled experiments, that people recall vivid, emotionally charged and frightening things (newspaper articles , films etc, airplane disasters, hot days with fires) far more frequently than FAQ experiences. So they view these more readily-recalled instances as having much higher incidents and probabilities than they really do. Activists and journos thrive on this [if it bleeds it leads].

  22. From the article: “[T]here is low confidence in determining the net impact to date of anthropogenic climate change on the risk of Sandy-like events, though anthropogenic sea level rise, all other things equal, has increased the surge risk.”

    There is no evidence that sea level rise is being caused by humans burning fossil fuels.

    Assuming things not in evidence is not scientific.

      • Yes, in the same way that warmer temperatures are caused by increasing CO2, or sunrises are caused by crowing roosters.

        • And wind on land is caused by the movement of leaves on trees. On the water, wind is caused by the forward movement of waves.

  23. From the article: “So where does all this leave us in the climate debate? There is very little in the way of extreme weather events that can convincingly be attributed to manmade global warming, even if you are assuming that all of the recent warming is manmade.”

    Very little? I can’t think of any extreme weather event that can be attributed to man-made global warming, convincingly or otherwise.

    Assuming things not in evidence is not a good idea.

    • I disagree. That is if you consider flooding a weather event. Levees and attempts to shape rivers do indeed exacerbate flooding, as Jim Steele’s recent article illustrates.

  24. Climate and weather extremes are normal. Wide temperature swings are normal. Normally distributed. There is little value to attribute any event within normal to natural or anthropogenic sources. Political myths are selective with anthropogenic significance. That said, disagreement is normal, too. We can’t even reach an agreement when human evolution begins, instead deferring to a “consensus” for social, medical, and corporate opportunity.

  25. Humans do have an effect on extreme weather. The more people, the more weather gets labelled “extreme” because it personally affects them adversely.

  26. ” Interesting to ponder that Congressional procedural issues are deemed to be more important than Climate Change.”

    Of greater importance is the plastic straw crisis.

  27. It is worth remembering that it still takes the minimum of the solar cycle.
    The heat wave in Eastern Europe is closely related to the braking of circulation in the Atlantic. This circulation occurs in periods of low solar activity.
    Currently, the temperature difference between Western and Eastern Europe exceeds 10 degrees C.
    Similarly, the circulation in the Pacific is blocked and the jetstream from the north is directed to the southwest the US.

  28. From a propaganda standpoint, extreme weather events is the only lever available to the AGW Alarmunists.

    Nobody is going pay a dime to keep the world from getting a degree warmer over several decades…let alone up to $100 Trillion (this century). If fact, most (including myself) would be willing to pay a good bit if you COULD make the world a little warmer.

    Extreme weather is the only effective propaganda tool they have so don’t expect to see any actual truth to emerge from the MSM propaganda arm of the Socialist Intetnationale cabal.

    When these Climate Hearings do resume (if the Trump Inquisition ever pauses long enough), you will find NYT headlines proclaiming that Big Oil-financed climate denier Judith Curry once again committed perjury in Congressional testimony when she denied that Hurricane Sandy wasn’t a unusual tragedy.

    Fortunately, extreme weather events don’t happen often enough to maintain effective propaganda momentum. The meter could budge a bit (and “a bit” could be enough) if hurricane landfalls just before the 2020 election were unusually damaging .

    Clever story…hard sell.

  29. “There is very little in the way of extreme weather events that can convincingly be attributed to manmade global warming, even if you are assuming that all of the recent warming is manmade.” There is also no real trend in temperature … and I’ve got fed up looking at ice because again that was boring. There is nothing at all to worry about the climate … so how come politicians are calling this an “emergency”.

    The simple answer, is that we have left the age of reason … where science and evidence were deemed to be sovereign … and we have entered a new epoch: the age of stupid.

      • F1nn

        We have seen evolution in work. New homo has born: Homo Sapiens Idioticus.

        We have seen the lack of evolution in work: No death by failure or errors or bad judgement => A new breed: Homo Simpleton Idioticus.

        • In 1995 the internet supposed to spawn a networked global-mind of superior knowledge and wisdom which turned us all into super nodes (instead of super nerds) – what’s up with that?

  30. “In any event, using such storylines, and claiming (even implicitly) that they are part of the AGW ‘consensus’ is scientifically dishonest.”

    The current fad is “science communication” as if there is a science thereof. How many links here go to ‘experts’ with the title and/or group with that or its facsimile. Proper communication is important but if it is just advertising for your product it won’t wash. Academia is now advertising to be our saviour.

  31. The concept of grading evidence is normal practice in clinical medicine.
    a. GRADE methodology
    The AAFP uses a modified version of the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) method to systematically examine research to rate the quality of the evidence, and designate the strength of a recommendation based upon that evidence. The GRADE system provides a transparent process and framework for developing evidence-based recommendations using the following system to rate the quality of evidence: eg from https://www.aafp.org/patient-care/clinical-recommendations/cpg-manual.html#ii

    ” i. High Quality (Level A): Further research is very unlikely to change our confidence in the estimate of effect.
    ii. Moderate Quality (Level B): Further research is likely to have an important impact on our confidence in the estimate of effect, and
    may change the estimate.
    iii. Low Quality (Level C): Further research is very likely to have an important impact on our confidence in the estimate of effect, and
    is likely to change the estimate.
    iv. Very Low Quality (Level D): Any estimate of effect is very uncertain.”

    This is combined with a “Strength of Recommendation” on the confidence that a particular intervention will have the desirable effect is greater than the undesirable effects on a strong/weak axis.

    For an example of the use of the grading system, see the European recommendations for treatment of male hypogonadism. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/13685538.2015.1004049

    It is interesting to contrast the above with the 2015 update of 2010 Guidelines of the Endocrine Society in the US. Here they recognise the some of the changes in the European Guidelines, but the thresholds for treatment given in 2010 are much higher and unchanged: men in the US are much less likely to be treated. https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196%2815%2900467-X/fulltext

    The contrasts between the approaches in the Americas versus Europe is where one can see the moral and political aspects of the evaluations of in this rather highly charged medical area. The IPCC report is this type of document. What we need to educate people on is the ways in which uncertainty is handled in scientific areas connected with practical application, and also introduce the notion that political and moral positions can have major effects on interpretations of data.

  32. I refer the visitors and commenters to the Milanchovitch Cycles.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4GUcn07enz4

    I now introduce the well-known phrase, “first encountered pathology” used in medical circles. Scientists with bias often speed past the first encountered pathology because it is far sexier to solve a mystery with some novel and usually tiny catalyst. However, in many cases, the first encountered pathology can also cause changes in smaller steps (think of the slow buildup of ear wax till the patient complains of a hearing loss). This is what the Milanchovitch Cycles could be doing. It certainly stands to reason that the mechanism that plunges us, stepwise, into cold, then rockets us back to warm is not a sudden event. Therefor, the mechanism that causes large change could be the same entity that causes smaller change.

  33. Given that the intrinsic causes of the extreme meteorological events are often opposite, it is an absurdity to claim that the temperatures rise due to climate change might produce in the same time an increase in polar cold waves and canicular heat waves, in extreme droughts and massive floodings.

    • Already in December 2018, the asymmetrical distribution of ozone in the north was visible in the stratosphere.
      http://oi67.tinypic.com/j9yi5k.jpg
      This is related to the accumulation of ozone over the Bering Sea and the Earth’s magnetic field. Ozone as diamagnetic is repelled by the magnetic field.
      Diamagnetic materials are repelled by a magnetic field; an applied magnetic field creates an induced magnetic field in them in the opposite direction, causing a repulsive force.
      http://oi65.tinypic.com/209fvk0.jpg
      Annual rate of change of total intensity in region of north pole for 2015.0 to 2020.0 from the
      World Magnetic Model (WMM2015v2).
      http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/images/charts/jpg/polar_n_df.jpg
      This is related to the accumulation of ozone over the Bering Sea and the Earth’s magnetic field. Ozone as diamagnetic is repelled by the magnetic field.

  34. Here’s a link to an alarmist 6/14/19 (Friday) front-page story in the Seattle Times
    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/heat-waves-could-kill-hundreds-more-in-seattle-as-globe-warms-researchers-say/#comments

    Headline: “Seattle unprepared for deadly heat waves made worse by global warming, researchers say”
    June 14, 2019 at 6:00 am Updated June 14, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    The original, print-edition, top-of-the-page banner headline, before the digital update 12 hour later, read: “Heat waves could kill hundreds more in Seattle as planet warms, researchers say.”

  35. I dislike the use of the confidence rating scale which asks authors to assign a rating from “low confidence” to “high confidence” to various statements. It presumes that the effect being discussed exists and the issue is how confident scientists are about it. In my opinion it is only suitable for the kind of science which seeks justification for given conclusions.

  36. “Contending with Natural Disasters in the Wake of Climate Change”? I love that! Let’s have one entitled “Contending with Safety at Sea in the Wake of The Flying Dutchman” …

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