Climate Scientist in Hot Water over Climate Drought Link Statements

Australia is currently suffering a severe drought. CSIRO [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t James Sternhell, JoNova; How does a climate scientist “misspeak” an entire answer to a question about important climate claims?

On Wednesday 19 June, 2019, Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) at an event at the University of Sydney, Professor Andy Pitman of University of NSW (home of ship of fools professor Chris Turney) said the following:

“…this may not be what you expect to hear. but as far as the climate scientists know there is no link between climate change and drought.
That may not be what you read in the newspapers and sometimes hear commented, but there is no reason a priori why climate change should made the landscape more arid.

If you look at the Bureau of Meteorology data over the whole of the last one hundred years there’s no trend in data. There is no drying trend.  There’s been a trend in the last twenty years, but there’s been no trend in the last hundred years, and that’s an expression on how variable Australian rainfall climate is.

There are in some regions but not in other regions.

So the fundamental problem we have is that we don’t understand what causes droughts.

Much more interesting, We don’t know what stops a drought. We know it’s rain, but we don’t know what lines up to create drought breaking rains.”

Source (starts at around 1:10): https://soundcloud.com/sydneyenvironmentinstitute/adapting-climate-science-for-business

Excerpt recording of Professor Pitman speaking these words: link

Since then, Professor Pitman has apparently walked back his original answer with the following statement

Climate scientist says Sky News commentators misrepresented his views on drought

Graham Readfearn
Fri 25 Oct 2019 04.00 AEDT
Last modified on Fri 25 Oct 2019 04.02 AEDT

Exclusive: Andy Pitman says ‘misspoken’ statement has been used by Alan Jones, Chris Kenny and Andrew Bolt to dismiss links between climate change and drought

A leading Australian climate scientist has said his views have been misrepresented by conservative media commentators, who have used a “misspoken” statement to dismiss the links between climate change and drought.

Prof Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes at the University of New South Wales, has told Guardian Australia there are clear links between human-caused climate change and drought, but these links are indirect.

He told Guardian Australia: “I misspoke – I missed a word in my statement and that’s my fault. I should have said no ‘direct’ link.

“I’m confident in the statement that there is no direct link between climate change and drought. I’m equally certain that for some regions there’s an indirect effect of human-induced climate change on drought because of the change in rainfall patterns.”

He said increases in temperatures caused by human activity would also make the impacts of drought worse.

He said: “Background warming does mean that when you get a drought, the system is more stressed than it otherwise would be.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/oct/25/climate-scientist-says-sky-news-commentators-misrepresented-his-views-on-drought

What a mess. What are these “indirect” links between climate change and drought which don’t show up in long term drought trends?

Was Professor Pitman coerced into recanting his climate heresy? Maybe. Naomi Oreskes tells us there is pressure on climate scientists to conform with the public positions of their colleagues.

We have all seen what happens to tenured professors in Australia whose public statements deviate from the climate change narrative promoted by their university; they get fired, and either go quietly, or risk their retirement savings fighting university lawyers backed by apparently unlimited taxpayer funds.

But what if there really is a link between climate change and droughts? Professor Pitman’s original answer included the statement “we don’t understand what causes droughts”. Perhaps there really is evidence of an elusive link between climate change and drought, which somehow does not show up in long term drought trends.

Given the seriousness of droughts, especially in a dry country like Australia, I think we would all like a more detailed explanation from Professor Pitman about exactly what he thinks is the link between anthropogenic CO2 and drought, and why the alleged influence of CO2 on droughts does not show up in long term drought trends – unless he now wants to walk back that part of his original statement as well.

Update (EW): kentlfc hilighted a slide shown by Professor Pitman in his original presentation.

Link between climate change and drought
h/t JoNova – a slide from Professor Pitman’s presentation in June 2019
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165 thoughts on “Climate Scientist in Hot Water over Climate Drought Link Statements

  1. “Was Professor Pitman coerced…?”

    No. He just saw the rabid right-wing punditry and the fossil fuel shills focus entirely on that single phrase and realized the mistake he’d made.

    It would be astonishing if there *wasn’t* a link between warming and drought.

    • Was he forced to originally state these words?

      “….this may not be what you expect to hear. but as far as the climate scientists know there is no link between climate change and drought.
      That may not be what you read in the newspapers and sometimes hear commented, but there is no reason a priori why climate change should made the landscape more arid.

      If you look at the Bureau of Meteorology data over the whole of the last one hundred years there’s no trend in data. There is no drying trend. There’s been a trend in the last twenty years, but there’s been no trend in the last hundred years, and that’s an expression on how variable Australian rainfall climate is.

      There are in some regions but not in other regions.

      So the fundamental problem we have is that we don’t understand what causes droughts.

      Much more interesting, We don’t know what stops a drought. We know it’s rain, but we don’t know what lines up to create drought breaking rains.”

      Australia has ALWAYS had widespread droughts, that is a fact.

      • Explain the SW of WA’s long term decline. It used be the most reliable (read drought free) winter rainfall in Australia.

      • drought is the norm -a wet year or two maybe even 3 is the usual following drought
        oddly since the ENSO had gone nuts and swung positive again;-(( and the IOD is supposedly not doing its thing?
        and the warmspot over antarctica is supposed to make JUST NSW and Qld dry again..
        were having inland and westerly rain patterns like normal for a change
        wa nsw inland and qld inland are all looking at some rain the last few days

        Bom just got another few mil of superduper puter so they can stuff up more and faster

    • The possibility of a link existing isn’t the same as one existing. His original statement was, “there is no link between climate change and drought”. All that really means is we don’t know what the link is (if there is one). But, it does mean we can’t categorically blame droughts on climate change. Which is the reason that “rabid right-wing punditry” focused on the comment. Because it’s a level of intellectual honesty that we rarely see from climate “scientists”.

      • …and no link to droughts….means there’s no link to rain, snow, floods, etc etc

        covers a lot of territory

      • “…His original statement was, ‘there is no link between climate change and drought’. All that really means is we don’t know what the link is (if there is one)…”

        No link means you can’t blame it on climate change. If there is a link then you have to find it, first, before you point the finger.

        • His original statement was interpreted at a causal (direct) link.

          He then clarified this by stating that there may not be a known causal link, but there is an effect link.
          meaning
          Droughts are not caused by climate change, but they are effected by climate change (duration, extent, severity, etc.

          • “there is an effect link.
            meaning
            Droughts are not caused by climate change, but they are effected by climate change (duration, extent, severity, etc.”

            You mean
            “Affected by”, not “Effected by”

      • “The possibility of a link existing isn’t the same as one existing. His original statement was, ‘there is no link between climate change and drought’. All that really means is we don’t know what the link is (if there is one). But, it does mean we can’t categorically blame droughts on climate change. ”

        This is nonsensical. It amuses me to watch how ideologues on both right and left try to weasel out of their own words.

        • Yet my utility can make such exacting statements about climate, such as “You owe us $483.64. If you do not pay it DIRECTLY, we will disconnect your service”

          It’s so easy to tell how I can avoid sudden and extreme cooling effects that could easily wipe out all vertebrate life in my house in less than six months.

    • I’m told, by my local newspaper, my region ( Vancouver) will be getting wetter in spring because of warming.

      • How would Vancouver get wetter than ‘saturated’?

        And if it got dry instead, how would anyone tell it wasn’t just a normal summer like the 3 month drought during Expo ’86

    • I live in Western Canada. Not exactly a hot country. We get droughts. Sometimes it just doesn’t rain. Most of the years from about 2000 on have been fairly wet. 3 of the last 4 have been dry. It was very dry up until July of this year. Since then it’s been wet.
      Please describe the pattern and how it has been altered by “climate change”, Loydo.
      As a side note, we now have snow on the ground approximately 2 weeks early and it was -17C last night. Could you please hurry up this global warming you go on endlessly about?

      • Rainfall and its timing vary in Western Canada, there is a history book ‘Empire of Dust’ that details the desperation of living through the end of a wetter period 100 years ago. They went from shipping out enough wheat to feed a half million people, to not getting their seed back.

        The inhabitants of Carlstadt/Alderson and area had a pretty rough time in the 1930’s. Some survivors were booted off to make room for a 4000 square mile military range. Some of the abandoned land was cleaned up by the PFRA and turned back to grasslands. And some learned new farming methods and did pretty well.

        Many of them would have cursed Satan and Government more than AGW in a summer with no precipitation but hail, but it was just random variation over a long time scale.

    • Agreed. Honesty is a HUGE mistake, IF you’re a climate scientist. Otherwise, it’s considered a virtue.

      • On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both. – Dr. Stephen Schneider 1989

        • It seems most of the time the wisest people admit to the most ignorance and the most ethical admit to the most sin. Just tell the truth and trust the public because the lies will be spotted.

        • Being matter of fact would be best for the scientific community. Facts are what the community at large expect of scientists. We don’t want spin, alarmism, statistical misrepresentation or wild conjecture. Leave that to the media and the devils own.

    • Why would you expect a link between droughts and the CO2 AGW hypothesis? (Other than the common trope to blame CO2 for everything.) It relies on increasing water vapor to “trap” heat and a warmer Earth is a wetter Earth.

      There may be a popular misconception that droughts are hot; but a drought is dry – it can be warm or cold.

      • “Why would you expect a link between droughts and the CO2 AGW hypothesis?”

        Good point. How can there be a link between droughts and speculation about how CO2 behaves in the Earth’s atmosphere? There can be speculation about such things, but there is no link, because there can’t be a link to something which hasn’t been shown to exist. Droughts exist. Human-caused Climate Change is just speculation.

        • His (corrected, non-idiotic) point is that in a warmer climate a milder drought is just as bad as a more extreme drought at lower temperatures, because evaporation and transpiration will occur faster. At the same time, an otherwise equally severe drought at a higher temperature will kill more flora due to the increased water needed at those temperatures.

          It’s all plausible, and it’s just as plausible that it won’t work out that way. As Richard Feynman explained, that’s how you tell who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, because if they did they’d be confused by reality not matching their expectations.

          That’s how magic tricks work – you violate the viewers expectations of how reality works, so they’re confused by how it happened. Anyone who says “it could go this way, or it could go that way” and doesn’t follow it up with an explanation of what that will mean as a natural experiment doesn’t know what they’re talking about, and they’re not practicing science.

          So when Hansen predicted that the ice caps would be gone long before now for him to have been practicing science he also needed to say, “and I’m sure if that, so if I’m wrong throw the whole theory out” or “I have an unmeasured but known variable, which I cannot measure directly, but the melting of the ice caps is a proxy measurement that locks the potential range of this variable, so if they melt then I know the variable is between x and y, and if they don’t they I know the variable is between a and b.”

          But he didn’t, and he’s still using essentially the same models that have already probably failed (ice cap melting) without addressing what was fundamentally wrong (I suspect – only from psychology – that what went wrong is that he got a scary and important result that would make him famous, and didn’t bother to check the plausible range of outcomes, and now can’t go back and refute his own work – because very few people are able to do that. But I don’t have any special knowledge on this, just years of seeing it again and again at companies I’ve bought).

    • Loydo, I dropped in & have sympathy for seeing what condition your condition is in. And it ain’t good.

      ht/ Mickey Newbury

    • So then what is the link? You and the cultists are asserting that a change of one part per ten thousand molecules CO2 makes parts of Australia drier?

      You clearly don’t understand how science works.

      • I think I understand how climate science works and can explain the indirect link.
        ‘Pitman’s Theorem’ can be expressed as:

        CLIMATE CHANGE Link1a Link2a Link3a Link4a Link5a KEVIN BACON Link1b Link2b Link3b Link4b Link5b DROUGHT

          • I can fill that one in, business plans are my specialty.

            1) Climate Change
            2) The Sky is Falling
            3) Give me money or your kids will die
            4) Profit

            And the sad part is it’s a good plan regardless of the truth value of (1) and (2), see every mass cult ever.

    • “It would be astonishing if there *wasn’t* a link between warming and drought.”

      You mean like more plant food equals more warming equals more clouds and more rain sorta thing?
      That sort of astonishment? Got any evidence that’s so or to the contrary to astonish all we fossil fuel shills because Professor Pitman reckons he hasn’t got any? Well apart from some regional variations but the plant food spreads itself around pretty thinly and evenly wouldn’t you agree?

      • Plant food shrills are never wrong. They just get sent off to reeducation boot camp if they’re not shrill enough for the doomsday cult. A week or so with the incessant loudspeaker recordings of Greta and no sleep and the deviant perfessor with impure thoughts will be ready to confess all for the cause.

        • Bit like the 60s TV series ‘The Prisoner’. Scary how that show predicted the state of things in the 21st century.

    • “It would be astonishing if there *wasn’t* a link between warming and drought.”

      Not really. Warmer air can take up more water than colder air. There are many model predictions that say that warming means that overall, there will be more precipitations.

      Of course, even if there are more precipitations because of a warmer climate, a warmer climate also means that water will evaporate somewhat more, and when rain increases in one place, it may decrease in another place.

      But overall, on average, models rather seem to predict a wetter climate when average temperatures are increasing. Predictions for concrete places are very difficult to make, areas affected by droughts change from time to time, anyway, and it is not clear if temperature changes are one of the most important factors for these changes.

      • Exactly.

        Evaporation rates must rise as the water in the oceans warms. Any model that does not include that is defying simple physics.

        If the evaporation rate rises, the rate of precipitation must rise equally, perhaps after a small delay to let the warmer air reach an overall equilibrium for relative humidity. This is a case of what goes up must come down

        On average, then, droughts must become less frequent overall, even if distributed somewhat differently around the globe.

      • Adrian: “Of course, even if there are more precipitations because of a warmer climate, a warmer climate also means that water will evaporate somewhat more, and when rain increases in one place, it may decrease in another place.”

        Plus Hadley Cell expansion and other pattern changes…
        So, if I live in a place with a long term declining trend, like Perth (AUS) for example, then yes that is exactly what has happened. http://www.clw.csiro.au/publications/waterforahealthycountry/swsy/pdf/SWSY_Climate_TechRpt.pdf

    • Why would it be astonishing? I would find it astonishing if a warmer earth didn’t evaporate more water that will also condense somewhere.

    • It would be astonishing if there *wasn’t* a link between warming and drought.

      You’re right. A warmer climate should cause more ocean to evaporate and cause more rain over the land. Warmer should mean less drought.

      Example: At the beginning of the Holocene, when it was warmer, the Sahara was verdant. As it cooled, the Sahara became a desert.

    • Loydo,
      You are so predictable. When NPC is added to the dictionary, you will be cited as the archetypal example.

    • No. He just saw the rabid left-wing punditry and the climate change shills focus entirely on that single phrase and realized the jeopardy to his funding.

      Fixed it for you.

    • Like Loydo in CAGW you can claim anything because the models produce everything.

      The projections have excessive rain and floods, excessive snow, drought, snow wont exist, arctic ice free, antarctic ice shelf collapse, Hurricanes more frequent, Hurricanes less frequent, Hurricanes more intense, ,longer growing seasons, shorter growing seasons, sea level rising by 4 foot, sea level rising by 40 foot.

      That is a difficult enough sell to the public but then they attach the most stupid solution ever devised to tackle it being the Paris agreement on emission control. Then they add in a conspiracy with the oil industry.

      You can’t make this stuff up and they can’t understand why they can’t sell this 🙂

    • Seriously, Loydo?

      McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: the driest place on Earth

      Ya think it would be even drier with global warming? Or maybe it would snow for days on end if the air got warm enough to hold moisture?

    • Except that Antarctica is one of the largest deserts on earth, and the Gobi desert has an average temperature of 3c…………………….

    • I know, right? Because no one has ever put the words “hot” and “humid” together before in the same sentence. Ever. Or something.
      BTW what’s the climate like in tropical forests? Asking for a friend!

    • Loydo

      What? Something like the rabid left-wing punditry and the hysterical climate change activists reporting up to their Rockerfeller funders to have the guy sacked from the university because he actually told the truth?

      And what ‘warming’ is it you refer to that causes drought? The world has barely warmed over the last 20 years or so.

    • Why? What is the scientific evidence connecting a temperature increase of 1°C with a reduction in rainfall — and certainly not a reduction sufficient to cause drought? The world is hanging on your reply, Loydo.

        • What do you think your link on Hadley cell circulation proves. From the document:

          “However, the simulated widening trends are much weaker than that in reanalyses. Simulations demonstrate that increasing GHGs and stratospheric ozone depletion are the major radiative forcing in causing widening of the Hadley circulation. ”

          This is basically saying that the simulations don’t match reality. In other words, GHGs and ozone depletion don’t match what is happening in reality.

          Where should I send your tiny violins and crying towels?

          • “simulations don’t match reality”

            You mean “don’t match” as in reality is worse than modelled?

          • “ou mean “don’t match” as in reality is worse than modelled?”

            Only if you consider fewer days of 100+degF days to be “worse”. Only if you consider lower cooling-degree-days globally to be “worse”. Only if you consider fewer hurricanes and tornadoes to be “worse”. Only if you consider continued record global grain harvests to be “worse”. Only if you consider 10% growth in green area on Earth to be “worse”.

          • You mean “don’t match” as in reality is worse than modelled

            How sweet, Loydo thinks he knows reality while his posts shows he hasn’t a clue about it. No Loydo, you got that bass-ackwards as always. The Models consistently tell scary stories while the reality is no where near as scary. Wonder why the models tell such scary stories all the time, Perhaps Stephen Schneider call tell us:
            “To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios,
            make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have.”

    • Loydo says “It would be astonishing if there *wasn’t* a link between warming and drought.”

      It would be astonishing only to ill-informed people like you who are dedicated to pushing CO2 catastrophes. There were far worse droughts around the globe during the Little Ice Age.

      Droughts are caused be changes in precipitation and that is caused by changes in moisture transport from the oceans to the land. Instead of a climate model being driven by rising CO2 that fail to simulate droughts, models that prescribe ocean temperatures do a fair job of simulating changes in moisture transport.

      • LIke almost everyone else responding to my comment you make the mistaken assumption that I said drought can *only* be linked to warming. Of course there are cold deserts.

        Speaking of ill-informed. Go and read up about Hadley Cell expansion and Polar Vortex disruption, both are going cause rainfall patterns to move and if its moves away, then you’ve got your drought.

    • The link between warming and drought would be LESS DROUGHT. IPCC repeats about 60 times how warming causes more oceanic and terrestrial evaporation (creating their “yet to be seen” positive GHG feedback). More evaporation = more rain (what goes up must come down). Droughts were FAR worse and MORE PROTRACTED (i.e. often decades long) during the LIA (Little Ice Age) when it was 1.5 C cooler. WE ARE NOT SEEING ANYTHING like those droughts in the last century…including the low CO2 years of the Dust Bowl tragedy.

    • Let me see if I get this right… According to the rabid left-wing concern troll and a shill for unreliable energy and the green death cult, it would be astonishing on a planet with 71% of its surface covered by oceans, that warming would increase evaporation and rainfall. Apparently it would be astonishing if in a warming world, both the ocean and the land would warm. It would be astonishing if the oceans would fail to be blanketed by a continuous thick layer of clouds while the landmasses have nothing but clear skies and oppressive sunshine. Loydo would confidently expect that only the land would warm, baking out the moisture to be deposited and permanently sequestered into the cool oceans.

    • Poor pitiful professor Pitman picked on by punditry
      Forced by Fossil Fuel Shills to utter absolute absurdity

    • Why Loydo? Explain to us why “It would be astonishing if there “wasn’t” a link between warming and drought” Aside from it makes for great narrative for you pseudo science also known as PoliSci..

      And make sure to include all of your faith based alarm from the Book of the “The Globe is Warming Somewhere” catechism. Make sure to include you secular religious meme on the evil of reproduction in the face of overpopulation and limited resources as handed down by the great prophet Paul Ehrlich.

    • Parse your language. Rabid rightwing. Shill.

      What’s astonishing is your astonishment. Australia had been having droughts since we overran it with sheep and cattle. Try to get out more.

    • Absolutely a link between warming and drought. Sahara an obvious example, just like Antarctica and Siberia and the Atacama ….

      • You are aware of course that the Sahara Desert has declined about 8% with the rise of CO2 levels plus the other greening of the Earth.

    • “Was Professor Pitman coerced…?”

      Of course, ABSOLUTELY.

      But as every climate scientist knows there is no evidence of a DIRECT coercive action; an INDIRECT coercive action took place, and as such it is not provable.

      It is odd though that the lag time between an INDIRECT coercive action and the response was so short ….

    • Actually, as any Quaternary geologist in Australia can tell you, we know the Australian interior is drier when the planet COOLS. It’s sitting under the planetary subtropical High.

    • Why would it be astonishing? Two large areas of the US are considered semi-arid deserts based on past history – central California and the High Plains of the central US. These areas have been having droughts for thousands of years, many of them longer than any we’ve seen in the past 200 years. Their flora and fauna have evolved to withstand these droughts over many centuries.

      What caused all those long droughts in the past? There weren’t a lot of CO2 emitters around back then, at least not man-made ones.

      Based on past history it would be astonishing if there *was* a link between warming and drought.

        • “Don’t fall into the “caused” vs “affected by” mistake Tim. Google Hadley cell expansion.”

          How obtuse can you be? We’ve seen droughts before – many, many times. They were *not* caused by man-made global warming. In fact we are seeing *fewer* droughts, not more. So how can the Hadley cell expansion be causing more droughts?

          • “They were *not* caused by man-made global warming.”

            Thats right, we agree. The thing is no one says they are. Can it make them more severe? Quite possibly. An expanding Hadley cell or a disrupted polar vortex is going to shift rainfall patterns – if they shift away from you there goes your farm. If they send too much somewhere else there goes your farm. The Hadley cell is expanding so don’t be surprised at changing climate patterns that are of a consequence.

          • ” Can it make them more severe? Quite possibly.”

            Really? We are seeing *FEWER* droughts worldwide and you think there is a possibility of global warming making them more severe? When is this “more severe” supposed to start happening? Next year? The year after?

            Your religious faith in the doctrine of global warming is blinding you to reality. When articles of your faith tun out to be false most people would question the religious dogma. More and more severe droughts, polar ice disappearing, New York/Miami being underwater, more and more severe hurricanes every year, more and more severe tornadoes every year, catastrophically failing crop harvests, polar bears disappearing, etc. All failed elements of your dogma.

            And your answer? “Well, it *could* happen!”

    • Would you also be astonished if there wasn’t a link between warming and floods? I suspect you would prefer to say that there is a link between “climate change” and floods.

    • Loudon writes

      It would be astonishing if there *wasn’t* a link between warming and drought.

      And yet with no long term trend that’s exactly what the science shows. You can have correlations without causation but you can’t have a causation without a correlation.

    • Loydo,

      Your ignorance of basic paleo-climate science is on display with your statement on drought vs. warmer or cooler climate.

      The 4.2 Kiloyear cooling event was a Bond event.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4.2_kiloyear_event

      This is marked by a sharp cooling in the Northern Hemisphere as advancement of glaciers in Canada and Europe during this period demonstrate. You do understand NH Alpine glaciers grwo when it gets colder?

      The ICS has through stratigraphy demarcated this 4.2 Kyr time an official line between the Northgrippian and Meghalayan eras of the Holocene.

      And what else happened during this cooling 4.2Ky Bond event? Dust storms. Massive Asian dust storms resulting from the aridity of a cooling climate.

      “The Akkadian Empire, which ruled what is now Iraq and Syria from the 24th to the 22nd Century B.C., was likely unable to overcome the devastating after effects of the dust storms, including an inability to grow crops, famine and mass social upheaval.”
      “The data before and since the collapse are furthermore comparable to modern coral data, showing the dry spells would have been sudden and intense,” the statement added.

      “This likely caused agricultural failures in Mesopotamia and contributed to the Akkadian Empire collapse, as this region depends on winter rainfall,” the abstract added. A winter shamal is a form of western Asian dust storm.”

      See: https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/gsa/geology/article-abstract/doi/10.1130/G46604.1/573874/Oman-corals-suggest-that-a-stronger-winter-shamal?redirectedFrom=fulltext

      So Loydo, Let me help you out here:

      A cooling climate –> droughts, dryer –> massive dust storms –> civilizations collapse

      A warming climate –> increased rainfall, wetter –> good growing conditions –> civilizations flourish

      Got it?

      Just another big reason the entire CO2-AGW scam is a massive fake-science fraud on reason and history.

    • Why, Loydo?
      Why “astonishing”?
      Is this nothing more than wishful thinking on your part?
      Or, can you propose a physical mechanism, despite statements that not even the sign of possible change is known?
      If you cannot do more than wishful, what is your purpose in commenting here? Gossip?
      Geoff

    • “It would be astonishing if there *wasn’t* a link between warming and drought.”

      The level of scientific rigour from climate alarmist’s comments is always amusing. Perhaps you should submit a paper for peer review based on your assertion that it would be astonishing otherwise ?. You could call it “Proof of the 97% consensus theory, an astonishing insight” 😉

    • Typically, in the past, Loydo, warmer meant wetter. Not drier.

      The worst bouts of aeolian desert sand deposit are during the ice-ages, when the climate is much colder. See here.

      One thing we do know for sure, is that present and future droughts will have less impact, because with higher CO2, plants are more drought-resistant.

    • Loydo here again,
      Your drive by comments don’t deserve an answer.
      You show your compete lack of understanding of this global warming scam and you have been brain washed .
      The only way that the doubling of CO2 can warm the globe by more than point five of one degree Celsius .5 C is through positive water vapour feed back.
      You would not have a clue what that means .
      Positive water vapour feed back means that there has to be a lot more water vapour in the atmosphere and some how that water vapour will cause more warming .
      Put your brain into gear before spouting your mouth off loydo.
      More water vapour means more rain loydo ,less droughts loydo ,you cant have it both ways .
      The Professor Pitman looked at the data and correctly stated that it shows that Australian droughts are not getting worse over the time that records have been kept He stated that there is no trend that he could detect and attribute to climate change . ” read CO2. ”
      He has been forced to retract this statement as it does not fit the propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with .
      Thank goodness for WUWT and similar sites that have open debates and even let people like loydo to spout rubbish.

    • Lie-doh ==> It would be astonishing if you had half a brain! AGW theory predicts a more energetic hydrologic cycle, implying, not only more evaporation* but more precipitation!

      *See the Pan Evaporation Paradox:

      “If climate is warming, a more energetic hydrologic cycle is expected implying an increase in evaporation. However, observations of pan evaporation across the U.S. and the globe show a decreasing trend in pan evaporation. – J.A. Ramirez, Colorado State University”

    • Why should there be a link between warming and drought any more, or less, than a link between warming and increased rainfall?

      Why not a link between cooling and drought ?

      Cooler water off NW Australia contibutes to droughts in SE Australia
      Nothing rabid or right wing about that. Just a fact

  2. It’s funny, cuz the only extreme weather that the IPCC says with anything other than “low certainty” is precipitation. So precipitation should be going up with warming. But so should drought? And they change their minds when they say that drought has no link.

    And then they wonder why people are skeptical.

    • Indeed. When “Climate Change” results in things getting warmer and colder, wetter and drier, more snowfall and less snowfall, etc most reasonably intelligent people see and note the contradictions and become skeptical.

    • “It’s funny, cuz the only extreme weather that the IPCC says with anything other than “low certainty” is precipitation. So precipitation should be going up with warming.”

      Good point. The reason the IPCC expresses “more” certainty about increased precipitation is because the Human-caused Climate Change they are promoting cannot happen without increased moisture in the Earth’s atmosphere. CO2 cannot do it by itself. The IPCC claims the small amount of CO2 humans put in the atmosphere will cause an increase in moisture in the atmosphere and this increased moisture is what will cause the overheating of the Earth.

      So far, no significant increase in moisture has been detected.

  3. To thine climate science forced consensus be true, then it follows like the night the day, thou canst not screw up the gravy train for the rest of us.

  4. The colder glacial periods are well demarcated in the geological records with world wide upticks in dust layers. Its no secret that the huge dust storms are due to arid conditions worsening as the Earth gets colder, the hydrologic cycle slows down globally.
    Regional Wind patterns become more zonal less meridonal in a colder Earth, leading to less rainfall in the mid-latitudes.
    In the US, the mesa verde/chaco culture thrived during the MWP; growing a large population by 12th Century AD dependent on local maize production. When the first cooling phases began, the rainfalls diminished. Multidecadal drought in the 4 Corners region returned and by 1275 AD the culture completely collapsed. The residents abandoned the cooling, drying Mesa tops and cliff dwellings. The residents died or left in a significant climate change driven mass dispersal.

    Today, we are resilient to such regional drought disruptions because our fossil fuel-based food production and transportation system allows an interconnection web to sustain populations and economies during such regional droughts. Thus It is ignorant climate change policy that threatens to destroy energy abundance and our food supplies that we should fear as an existential threat.

    • Joel, give yourself a gold star for those comments! I visited the Acoma culture atop a mesa and it was amazing to see how advanced they were before decline set in. They had developed cisterns to collect rainwater in a last attempt to keep going.

    • Joel, exactly. The Amazon basin wasn’t the almost total rainforest it is today — during the glacial period it was scattered rainforest only along the wetter drainage areas & most other areas were savannah. Obvious that rainfall was considerably less during this cold period.

      But Loydo & eco-loons in general cannot understand such simple basics.

    • The American Indians in the western part of current USA had a severely long (~70 yrs.) drought from the years 990 – 1060 in an estimated 50% of the west. Another long drought (~35 yrs.) in an estimated 58% of that western region ran from 1135 – 1170. And the other notable (~21yrs.) long drought there affected about 52% of the west from 1276 – 1297.

      Above dates are based on the Palmer Drought Severity Index. This data involved reconstructions utilizing tree rings.

  5. Apostates will get stoned to death! A fatwah will be placed upon their heads! Hmmmm … sounds like a certain ME Religion I’ve read about …

    You don’t suppose CAGW operates like a “Religion”, do you?

  6. How does he explain all the greening going on? https://www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/human-activity-in-china-and-india-dominates-the-greening-of-earth-nasa-study-shows This includes deserts. https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2013/Deserts-greening-from-rising-CO2 [according to the map, Australia seems to be doing pretty well in the greening department, though it has had recent droughts.] What about this article?–Warming Climate Could Abruptly Increase Rain in Africa’s Sahel – Center for Climate and Life http://climateandlife.columbia.edu/2017/07/06/warming-climate-could-abruptly-increase-rain-in-africas-sahel/#.Xbma8wyfZdk.twitter

    And look at precipitation trends in the US and the world since 1900. https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-us-and-global-precipitation Look at all three exhibits, especially the US one. Sure, there will be some losers (the SW US) but on the whole there’s no drought indication.

  7. “…this may not be what you expect to hear.” and “… That may not be what you read in the newspapers and sometimes hear commented …”

    From the above two statements, it appears obviously to me that he is going to state something that is contrary to the mainstream orthodoxy. If he meant to say “indirect”, I doubt he would have expressed the above two statements.
    Couldn’t the professor not just have said, I am sorry, I am now going with a new opinion to satisfy the popular opinion and keep my employment safeguarded.

  8. As CO2 levels have risen, global drought incidence and severity have not increased; if anything, they’ve decreased very slightly.
    Refs: https://sealevel.info/learnmore.html#droughts

    Here in the United States, we tend to associated droughts with warm periods, but that’s a local prejudice.

    1. We tend to think that because of the seasonal correlation: in much of the USA< droughts mostly occur during summertime. However, in much of the world, including India, Bangladesh, and sub-Saharan Africa, summertime is monsoon season, and it's winters which are dry.

    2. We also tend to think that because on the American Great Plains the 1930s warm period coincided with the Dust Bowl (drought). However, in general, globally, droughts are not positively correlated with warm periods. In fact, during the Roman Warm Period two millenia ago, North Africa was the breadbasket of the Roman Empire.

    The one indisputable drought-related impact associated with manmade climate change is positive: higher CO2 levels mitigation droughts’ damage to plants.

    Overall, the increase in atmospheric CO2 level from just under 0.03% to just over 0.04% has increased crop yields by an average of about 20%, which is one of the factors that have helped eliminate major famines. But elevated CO2 levels are even more beneficial when crops are under drought stress, because elevated CO2 makes plants more water-efficient and drought-resilient, by improving stomatal conductance relative to transpiration.
    Refs: Donohue, et al, 2014, Chun, et al, 2010,
    Fitzgerald, et al, 2016, and many others.

    • Hi Dave Burton, – Drought & it’s lead in water stress affects C4 plants differently than C3 plants. C3 plants will give up leaves to keep those held onto with enough water; while C4 plants hold more leaf area.

      Elevated CO2 (eCO2) has some other opposing impact. Under eCO2 the conductance at leaf stomata is less for C4 plants than the stomatal conductance for C3 plants.

      This means when stressed from limited water or drought the C3 plants will assimilate more CO2 than C4 plants under eCO2. The C3 plants increase their density of leaf stomata more so than C4 plants under eCO2; which, by the way for C3 plants, helps them counteract the well known way that eCO2 reduces conductance at leaf stomata (the feature providing water use efficiency). C4 plants, by not photo-respiring make up some of this CO2 differential in drought/water stress.

      One way these dynamics can be understood is what is playing out in sustained drought regions as CO2 goes up the ratio of perennial C3 grasses goes up relative to perennial C4 grasses. See (2007) “Drought constraints on C4 photosynthesis: stomatal and metabolic limitations in C3 and C4 subspecies Allopteropsis semiciliata”

      • Thanks. I think you meant “C3 plants decrease their density of leaf stomata more so than C4 plants under eCO2″ rather than “C3 plants increase their density of leaf stomata more so than C4 plants under eCO2”, right?

        I think this is the paper you’re referring to, right?
        Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17322550
        Full: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ad91/0cee2139fe28f92b01381b20bc6c78428853.pdf?_ga=2.59953261.1713259166.1572470354-1898937806.1572470354

        • Hi, – Actually I do mean C3 plants & C4 plants are known to adapt to eCO2 by altering their stomata density in opposite directions. I will add that with different plants there are variations in response to almost anything.

          For example back in 1994 Knapp’s team report “Effect of elevated CO2 on stomatal density and distribution in a C4 grass and a C3 forb under field conditions” found the C4 grass reduced it’s stomatal density by about 25%, while the C3 forb (a flowering plant/weed) increased it’s stomatal density by about 33%. And again, I will pount out that in the particular context of eCO2 plus “low” temperature the C4 stomatal density response can be different.

          Yes, your link is to my initially cited source for C3 plant population apparently getting the edge over C4 plant population in droughts. This is about wild plants, not a review for any agricultural crop aspect.

          • Thank you for a most interesting & surprising link.

            I am sure it’s atypical, though. Either its an anomalous result, or else S. pitcheri is an unusual plant.

            Stomatal density in fossils is one of the ways that CO2 levels are estimated for dates more than a million years ago (i.e., older than the longest ice cores): in general, the lower the somatal density, the higher the CO2 level.

            Xu, et al, 2016 reports that, “…Under high CO2 conditions, both stomatal conductance and its density generally decreased with a few exceptions.”

            However, they also identified other factors which affect stomatal density, including moisture levels.

    • Hmmm…the actual headline says: Increased Antarctic sea ice may have contributed to past ice ages

      But can I ask, you’re ok with models then?

  9. Rainfall and its timing vary in Western Canada, there is a history book ‘Empire of Dust’ that details the desperation of living through the end of a wetter period 100 years ago. They went from shipping out enough wheat to feed a half million people, to not getting their seed back.

    The inhabitants of Carlstadt/Alderson and area had a pretty rough time in the 1930’s. Some survivors were booted off to make room for a 4000 square mile military range. Some of the abandoned land was cleaned up by the PFRA and turned back to grasslands. And some learned new farming methods and did pretty well.

    Many of them would have cursed Satan and Government more than AGW in a summer with no precipitation but hail, but it was just random variation over a long time scale.

  10. “Ah, Pitman. We have noticed a typo error in your funding application we think you need to correct before we give you any more money”…..
    That “no” link with… , needs replacing with “absolute” link with…
    Many thanks,
    Government bureaucrat.

  11. “Background warming does mean that when you get a drought, the system is more stressed than it otherwise would be.”

    But with background cooling, the air would hold less moisture, putting stress on the ‘system’ in drought conditions. So we must live in a perfect, Goldilocks climate.

    I’ll finish this later. I have to feed my unicorn.

  12. The problem is that the term “drought” is meaningless. I remember a recent BBC news report on the “droughts” that have resulted in chalk streams in the south of the UK drying up, and then linking it, inevitably, to “climate change”. (There is no topic that the BBC can raise without the mandatory inclusion of those words, btw )

    they actually said that the main reason for the chalk stream droughts is the removal of more and more water from the streams by human activity ( read: “numbers”) NOT from a lack of rain. Most droughts are not caused by rainfall shortages ( or changes ) but from more and more water removal by humans … not the same thing at all.

  13. Beep -boop -beep- boop-beep: We interrupt this climate ridiculing and mockery to bring this breaking news – COP 25 has been cancelled by the Chilean president (no one can spell, much less pronounce his name):
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/30/chile-protests-president-sebastian-pinera-protest-unrest

    Greta Thunberg has already denounced this action, saying “How dare you” and by glaring menacingly at everyone.

    Now back to your regularly-scheduled program, already in progress.

    • Ha. They claim to be able to predict the climate in 50 years time, but they didn’t see this one coming.

    • Bruce Cobb

      That’s the third time this COP has been cancelled. Brazil ducked out because their President told them AGW is a scam, and another country (forget which) refused to fund it because it was so expensive.

      Is this a global awakening? Governments getting wise to these bums having all expense paid holidays, at the host’s expense.

  14. So now he’s saying he should have added the word “direct” becuase there are “indirect” links such as changing rainfall patterns and higher evaporation rates. Seem pretty “direct” to me. What a weasal.

  15. The new analysis of 20 million radiosondes shows that CO2 changes in the atmosphere do not change atmospheric temperature.
    See ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfRBr7PEawY ) at 1Hr-01 Min for their conclusions. These include that the IPCC was wrong to conclude that recent climate changes were due to greenhouse gasses and current climate model projections are worthless.
    So whatever warming does to drought, and it would be good to know, burning gas in my truck doesn’t have any effect on that either. All of the assumptions leading to warming projections in the models are based on an erroneous understanding of of atmospheric thermodynamics.

  16. There is no (DIRECT) link between climate change and drought
    There is no (DIRECT) reason a priori why climate change should made (sic) the landscape more arid
    There is no (DIRECT) drying trend
    We don’t (DIRECTLY) understand what causes droughts
    We don’t (DIRECTLY) know what stops a drought

    It is all so much more clear now; he simply “forgot” to insert the word “direct” or “directly” into his statements. Because, when something is indirect, then you can make up any claim you want. For instance, there is no direct evidence currently, that space aliens are here and are planning to take over the world. Which happens to be true, so perhaps isn’t the best supporting argument, but c’est la vie.

  17. Isn’t there a website which has temperature readings from weather sites 1000km around Alice Springs which show no warming for a hundred years? That’s a big big area!

    • I wouldn’t expect that there are many weather stations within 1,000km of Alice Springs. There’s not much there.

  18. There are several items in this single answer to a question that can not be refuted. Some are mentioned twice-how can that be an accident?
    How can it be an accident that media misrepresentation is mentioned twice? Accident?
    How can it be that he twice mentioned no trend in data over 100 years? Accident?
    Then there is the comment that the fundamental problem is they don’t understand what causes droughts. Thus, how can they claim the science is settled???
    The BIG question is why did “our” ABC and the Guardian deliberately not have the full response/ transcript up for the full story?

    I almost fell off my chair on the night scrambling for my note pad. I could not believe my ears. There was no coercion and the question was not a trick question. Lucky Andy Pitman has a pleasant voice that made it easier to make the transcript.

    The moral of the story is this- go to warmist functions-you learn more by going to their functions to hear what makes them tick than being in echo chambers to hear what you already know.

    Have a Happy Halloween. We will be out at the Five Dock Climate Realists tonight since there are no warmist functions tonight.

    • OUR ABC seems to manage to have “transmission issues” or total amnesia and no transcripts for quite a LOT of anything that might be against their gospel/warmist memes Ive noticed.
      truly amazing how many VERY interesting guests saying something rather interesting turn to static for as long as that segment runs for.

  19. Warmer oceans means more water will evaporate. That water vapor will rise up into the atmosphere and travel around on the winds until conditions are right for it to condense. Then it will fall to earth as rain or snow.
    So warming will result in more rain not less. We don’t know where that rain will occur but worldwide we will get more rain.

  20. Coerced, definitely coerced.

    “A leading Australian climate scientist has said his views have been misrepresented by conservative media commentators, who have used a “misspoken” statement to dismiss the links between climate change and drought.”

    “Prof Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes at the University of New South Wales, has told Guardian Australia there are clear links between human-caused climate change and drought, but these links are indirect.”

    If it can be scientifically demonstrated that an indirect link can be proven as causal; then that is really a direct link.

    No proof that an indirect link is scientifically provable as causal; then there is no link, period.
    Pitman’s claims are now far from associations, relationships, correlations or causation.

    Pitman’s retraction is just doublespeak and bafflegab. Ergo, he is protecting his butt with nonscientific stuff to fit in the chosen one’s program.
    Don’t waste time reading anything else from Pitman; as he won’t push against the consensus again; making his alleged science into nonscience.

  21. Professor Pittman, we heard your confidently spoken words. ” there is no link……”

    We saw an awkwardly worded statement that you misspoke and meant to say “there is no direct link……”.

    We heard you confidently say. “That may not be what you read in the newspapers and sometimes hear commented, but there is no reason a priori why climate change should made the landscape more arid.”

    Does your retraction add the word direct into this statement as well?

    Was anything you confidently spoke about true?

    You knows what happens to people like Salby and Ridd don’t you?

    Enjoy the mess you created for yourself.

  22. There is no change in draught could mean the temperature has not changed, or it could mean that temperature do not change draught.

    • It certainly had not changed my draught beer. Nor has it caused more draughts in my home.

      Perhaps boats have less draught caused by the rising sea levels (don’t try to use logic on that one).

      There are fewer draught horses. That may be caused by climate change. Or not…

  23. Wrong . . .
    Drought is causing climate change, its darn obvious,
    * no evaporation keeping things cool (latent heat of evap is high but `not` if it doesnt happen )
    * less clouds means more sunlight hitting the ground
    * dry ground is more insulating stopping heat being absorbed, hence it stays in the atmosphere
    * less run off means less mass transfer (aka thermal energy) through the system so it stays in place

    No ?

    • Deforestation for solar, wind and bio fuel crops most certainly affects transpiration and soil temperature so their “cure” for climate change is likely the the cause of it! (Pogo Earth Day redux.)

  24. If they found an “indirect link” you damn well they wouldn’t include the word “indirect”! How stupid do they think we all are?

      • Thanks. Not that I endorse utilizing one web site’s functionality to compensate for a lack of such on another but it appears that I can just copy the image and paste it into twitter or say a meme generator etc to get a URL of it. (I suppose asking wordpress for such functionality or image upload feature would be like asking a Sentinelese tribesman for adaptive cruise control? 🙂

  25. “Naomi Oreskes tells us there is pressure on climate scientists to conform with the public positions of their colleagues.”

    So, basically, this article shows that climate scientists are human and are generally more loyal to their paychecks and reputations than the science. That is why they will often base their opinions on what they think is the latest public or political consensus rather than relying solely on the science. Consensus is a self-fulling prophesy built upon the latest fad. And that is why it is not science. Every scientific discovery I can think of was opposed by the scientific consensus of the time. They were against it before they were for it.

  26. We should be putting pressure on the Guardian and the ABC to play and publish the entire comment. Make them play it over a couple of times. It is irrefutable.

    It should be game over on a positive link between drought and climate change-talking point null and void.

    Media telling the truth- it is very clear that the media misreport climate issues-they plug the hysterical line. Media are not telling the truth. Someone should get Andy to do what he can to correct the errors in reporting. Some people, especially kids are being scared to death by the fairy tales promoted by mainstream media. Surely he owes it to the public and the scientific community to address the misreporting and thus misrepresentation of science. As it is, if there is ONE point that needs to get through to people – mainstream media are owned- they spread propaganda and lies. Like Pravda in the Soviet Union, they have no credibility.

    The admission that the fundamental problem is that they don’t understand what causes droughts- but, but, the science is settled. As Pauline Hanson would say, please explain. This should be triggering the BS meter. Here is a fundamental lie about the settled science- it is the lame excuse to avoid debate and scrutiny. Busted. Like science in general, it takes just ONE significant error in the data, methodology or modelling of a theory to debunk it. The settled science assertion has been busted, so the cAGW/”climate change”/ climate crisis/ climate emergency rhetoric has been demonstrated to be flawed.

    Perhaps this can be Climategate 2. Very fitting that the 10th anniversary of Climategate is around November 17th. Now, how do we celebrate? I am working on a song/ video to “Monster Mash”- the Climate Crock. It will be a hoot. Need a couple of female chorus singers in Sydney to help out with making a clip for YouTube. Don’t need any elaborate costumes, but some corny props will help, especially some hockey sticks.

    They did the Crock
    They did the Climate Crock
    They did the crock
    It relied on shock
    They did the crock
    They did the Climate Crock.

    Happy Halloween.

  27. Just as climate science has gotten the CO2 – temperature correlation backward, with temperature driving CO2 rather than the other way around, could they have gotten the temperature/drought relationship backward as well? If there is a correlation between temperature and drought, perhaps the drought is causing the higher temperatures rather than the temperature causing the drought. Drought means less moisture in the ground and less evaporative cooling at the surface. It also generally means clearer skies and more cloud-free days, allowing for greater solar heating of the surface. If you don’t know what causes droughts to end, then it’s a little presumptuous to say you know what causes them to start.

  28. Heat is the driving force of the water cycle. The warmest places on Earth are equatorial, and they are also the wettest (and the most suited for life).

    There is a link between average temperatures and rainfall. The warmest parts of Australia (Northern WA, NT, Queensland) are also the areas with the most rain. If you want more rain, we want a warmer planet.

  29. I recall meeting a retired farmer years ago during a prolonged drought in southern Australia. We were at lake Hume near Albury. The lake was at around 10% capacity and looked pretty terrible. He told me even at 10% there is many years worth of water still there and then came the cruncher. “Nothing to worry about young fella, it always rains at the end of a drought” I will never forget that

  30. ” there is no link between climate change and drought.”

    Nonsense on the face of it. There may be no correlation between TEMPERATURE CHANGE and drought, but desert areas, savannas, jungles exist in different climates by definition!

    It looks like a warmer North Africa would lead to monsoon seasons, converting the Sahara Desert into the Sahara Savanna, with cooler days, less cold nights, and overall net warming.

    https://phys.org/news/2019-01-sahara-swung-lush-conditions-years.html

  31. I don’t want to scare you guys, but I must warn you. I think most of you do not yet have a clue about what is coming to you/ us in the next decade.. I am expecting major droughts on the 40-50 latitudes.
    I noticed a recent program of the melting of Italian alps. Obviously, during a drought there are more sun hours….In Spain and Portugal it already is so dry that many wine farmers have decided to move up the mountains.
    My article was recently published here;
    https://www.climategate.nl/2019/10/84861/

    If the Dutch is a problem for you, you can click on my name to read the South African version.

    Let me know what you think?

  32. In general, evaporation rates are higher from oceans and lakes than from land, for the obvious reason that oceans and lakes are wetter. But rainfall doesn’t discriminate: it falls on land or water without preference. So an accelerated water cycle (evaporation / rain) tends to “spread around” the Earth’s water, transporting it from oceans to land.

    Conversely, if there were no water cycle, then in short order the rivers would run out of water, and all the Earth’s water would end up in the low spots (mostly oceans).

    Thus, if global warming causes a slightly accelerated water cycle, as expected, then, overall, we should expect slightly reduced global drought frequency, severity & duration.

    That’s exactly what we’re seeing:
    https://sealevel.info/learnmore.html#droughts

    Perhaps nowhere on earth needs that improvement more than the arid Sahel, on the fringe of the Sahara Desert. Thankfully, at in the Sahel, the climate improvement is better than just “slightly.” Of course the trend goes in fits and starts, and not every year is better than the year before. But, overall, it is very encouraging:
    New Scientist: Africans go back to the land as plants reclaim the desert, 21 September 2002.
    National Geographic News: Sahara Desert Greening Due to Climate Change? July 31, 2009.

    That doesn’t mean nowhere on a warming earth will see worse droughts. But, overall, droughts should not be expected to worsen in a warming climate.

    Moreover, the impacts of droughts are greatly mitigated by higher CO2 levels. That’s the major way that manmade climate change affects droughts: not by the small reduction in severity/frequency/duration, but by the large reduction in the harms they do.

    That’s a very, very big deal, because it means that droughts are now much less likely to cause famines. Drought-triggered famines, which are now fading from memory, used to be one of the great scourges of the mankind, the “third horseman of the apocalypse.”

    The benefits of elevated CO2 levels for crops are under drought stress are large, and well-measured:
    Chun, et al, 2010. Effect of elevated carbon dioxide and water stress on gas exchange and water use efficiency in corn. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 15 March 2011, pp. 378-384. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2010.11.015
    Fitzgerald, et al, 2016. Elevated atmospheric [CO2] can dramatically increase wheat yields in semi-arid environments and buffer against heat waves. Glob Chang Biol, June 2016, pp. 2269-2284. doi:10.1111/gcb.13263.
    ● and many others.

    Climate alarmists who cite harms from droughts as a supposed consequence of manmade climate change are either colossally ignorant, or colossally dishonest. It’s the exact opposite of the truth.

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