Heat waves and hot air

Reposted from Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

Heat waves are the new polar bears, stoking alarm about climate change.  Climate scientists addressing this in the media are using misleading and/or inadequate approaches.  How should we approach assessing whether and how much manmade global warming has contributed to recent record breaking  temperatures?  Read on for some outside-the-box thinking on this.

Much has been written in recent weeks on the record-breaking heat wave in the US Northwest and Canada

There have been four categories of scientific contributions to answering this question, that have appeared in the media, blog posts and publications:

I.  Hot air:  scientists spouting off in the media

Climate scientists are writing op-eds and spouting off on twitter, about AGW causing, or at least exacerbating, the heat wave.  Scientists in this category are those who spout off on the topic, use heat waves to advocate for their preferred climate policies, without having done any actual work on the topic.

For one high profile example, see this article in the NYTimes by Michael Mann:  Climate change is behind the heat dome.

One argument in the hot air line of reasoning is based on this diagram:  as the average temperatures increase, then the frequency of heat extremes increases also.

However, analysis of historical data belies this simple interpretation:

The changing shape of Northern Hemisphere summer temperature distributions


Need for caution in interpreting extreme weather statistics


For an easier to read summary, see this report by Prescient Weather, which shows that the higher moments of the temperature distributions are critical also, and that the variance may be decreasing.

The other piece of the hot air argument relates to a hypothesis that the jet stream is made ‘wavier’ by global warming, an argument made by Michael Mann among others.  There is a ton of recent papers debunking this idea, and some recent papers even suggest that high-pressure domes such as occurred during the heat wave will weaken under global warming.

It is intellectually lazy for scientists to spout off on this (or any other topic) without actually having done some work on the topic or at least having read and analyzed recent research on the topic.   A convenient, but unjustified, storyline that supports your activism and preferred policies is not helpful.

II.  Scientists analyzing historical data

John Christy has provided the following analysis of historical data, included in Cliff Mass’ blog post:


(did i tell you i HATE the new wordpress editor.  See Cliff’s post for the figures prepared by Christy)

<begin quote>

As shown below, there IS NO INCREASING TREND for more record high temperatures over our region (Oregon, Washington) during the past century.  In fact, the past decade (2011-2020) had no all-time records. 

Average number of days with temperatures above 99F in OR, WA? Also no trend.

These results are consistent with what others have found.  For example, the U.S. National Climate Assessment found the warmest day of the year over the Northwest actually COOLED between a historic (1901-1960) and a contemporary period (1986-2016).

Dr. Nick Bond, Washington State Climatologist, said that he and Associate State Climatologist Karin Bumbaco found similar results, published in a peer-reviewed paper.

<end quote>

A single heat wave event can be evaluated against the historical record of previous historical heat waves (e.g. past ~100 years).  Apart from some technical disputes surrounding which data set, the perils of homogenization, etc., what exactly is the logic for using historical temperatures records in heat wave attribution arguments?

A. If a record is set, does that lead to a necessary conclusion that AGW was a major contributing cause?

B. If a record is not set, does that lead to a necessary conclusion that AGW was not a major contributing cause?

C.  If there is an underlying trend in heat wave frequency at that location, does that lead to a necessary conclusoin that AGW was a major contributing cause for a single heat wave event?

D.  If there is no underlying trend in heat wave frequency at that location, does that lead to a necessary conclusion that AGW was not a major contributing cause for a singe heat wave event?

E.  If there is a global trend in frequency/severity heat wave events, does that say anything conclusive about a role (or not) of AGW in influencing a single local heat wave event?

F.  Does the magnitude by which a temperature record is broken say anything at all about a role (or not) of AGW in influencing a single local heat wave event?

While providing a historical context for a local heat wave event is critical for understanding the situation, the answer to each of these questions is ‘no.’  A, C, E and F, in combination, would stack the deck in favor of a ‘yes’, but data does not provide a quantitative answer to how much warming from the heat wave was caused by AGW.  Getting to an unequivocal ‘no’ answer simply from analyzing the temperature record is more challenging.  But if a local heat wave record is set, it is worth digging deeper to try to understand the proximate (weather) causes and any underlying climate influence (multi-decadal natural variability and/or AGW).

III.  Scientists conducting climate model-based attribution analysis.

As described by Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate : https://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2021/07/rapid-attribution-of-pnw-heatwave/#.YOYxqur28iM.twitter

“The way that climate-model based attribution for extreme events works (as discussed previously on RealClimate here and here etc.) is that you look at the situation with and without the anthropogenic global warming signal and calculate the ratio of probabilities. If an event is say, twice as common with the GW, then one can give a fractional attribution of 50% to anthropogenic forcing and the return time is half what it used to be. If it is five times more likely, the attribution is 80% = 100*(5-1)/5 and the return time is a fifth of what it used to be. In this case, we are seeing probability ratios of 150 to 1000s, suggesting that these, improbable, temperatures can be almost entirely attributed to global warming. Without the anthropogenic signal, temperatures this extreme wouldn’t have happened in thousands to tens of thousands of years.”

The rapid report from the European team is found [here]

This effort involves a massive amount of number crunching.

This report has gotten a lot of media attention, as an example see this article from Time.  https://time.com/6079744/climate-weather-attribution/

So, what’s wrong with this picture?

1. A time series of order a hundred years (from observations or a model simulation) is insufficient to develop meaningful statistics about being a 1 in 10,000 year event.

2.  The atmospheric dynamics in global climate models are fairly ‘blah’; the coarse resolution of climate models is fundamentally unable to capture the kind of blocking events that causes heat waves, or resolve hurricanes, or resolve extreme convective events that cause flooding, etc. 

3.  This approach implicitly assumes that all climate change is caused by emissions, and ignores or mischaracterizes multi-decadal natural internal variability (since climate models do not have the correct phasing and amplitudes).

Cliff Mass has done a masterful job of critiquing the report from the European group.  I don’t disagree with anything he says.


This entire climate model-based approach to extreme event attribution is fundamentally flawed.  Until climate models are able actually resolve circulation features (requiring a horizontal of resolution of ~20 km), they simply are not useful for attribution of extreme weather events.

IV.  Scientists conducting process-based analyses

NOAA scientist Marty Hoerling has likened extreme weather event attribution to conducting an autopsy.  You have some clues, but the conclusion requires linking them together in a mechanistic sequence of events.

Cliff Mass has provided the best autopsy report so far on the heat wave.


He provides the follow summary of the proximate sequence of events leading to the heat wave:

“Record amplitude of a ridge/high pressure over our region, forced by a tropical disturbance in the western Pacific, that produced a downstream wave train.   An environment that allowed the resulting wave to amplify.  The ridge had to be in exactly the right position relative to our terrain.  An upper-level trough had to develop in just the right location offshore and move in the optimal direction to cause strong southeasterly flow, fostering the supercharger noted above.  We needed a period when the sun was very strong.  And a summer stretch without smoke, which has a profound cooling effect.

The meteorological dice had to come up all sixes.  And they did.”  

Process-based analyses are different from hand waving ‘story lines’.  Here is what Mass considered:

1.  The state of Washington has warmed by 1.5C over the past 120 years

2.  Whether the drought and dry soils contributed to the heat wave (no, as per regional model simulations and the fact that there is no trend in drought in the Pacific northwest)

3. Whether global warming produces stronger ridges of high pressure (no, as per data analysis and climate model simulations)

4.  No observed trend in heat waves (Christy’s analysis)

5.  Use of regional climate model (no, CO2 doesn’t produce more heat waves)

6.  Analysis of regional weather dynamics supported with regional climate modeling results shows a paradoxical pathway for cooling in the region

So do we have an unambiguous ’cause of death’ here, i.e. an unambiguous ‘no’ answer to the question as to whether AGW was the cause, or at least had an influence, on the heat wave?

A simple consilience of this evidence does not lead to an unambiguous ‘no’ conclusion.  However Cliff’s analysis is arguably sufficient to infer that CO2 was not the sole, or even dominant, cause of the record temperatures.

V.  A fifth way

We need a better logic for attributing extreme weather events to global warming, and some outside-the-box thinking on how to attribute the causes of extreme weather events.

Considering the strategies described above, I and III are unsatisfactory, and frankly not at all useful.  Especially for III, a massive amount of resources and brain power are wasted on this approach, for which global climate models, at their current resolution, are simply not fit-for-purpose.

II is very useful, but the logic in evaluating this information for attribution is ambiguous.  IV provides useful insights, but doesn’t provide a quantitative answer regarding attribution or a clear role of CO2‘s contribution.

We need a fifth way, that builds on II and IV, provides a better logic for conducting the autopsy, and considers some new approaches.

Extreme weather events can be extreme in terms of the magnitude of individual events, the frequency of events crossing some threshold, or clustering of extreme events.  It needs to be acknowledged that extreme events are by definition rare, and short historical records (even century long records) are insufficient for formulating meaningful statistics about return times.

A thermodynamic and dynamical storyline of the extreme event needs to be assembled, similar to how Cliff Mass framed the problem.  Here is an alternative approach for understanding and quantifying the effect of an increase in CO2 on severe weather systems.  The example provided here is targeted at NW US heat wave.

Single column models of the atmosphere coupled to the land surface can provide a quantitative assessment of the direct contribution of CO2 forcing to the surface temperatures. This is a better approach than looking at the historical record of annual average surface temperatures, and assuming that any increase is caused by CO2 and would increase the magnitude of any heat wave by that same amount.

Experiment #1.  For this particular event, on the day of the maximum record breaking temperature, a local vertical profile of temperature and humidity can be obtained from a radiosonde or the operational analysis from numerical weather prediction centers.  This can be run through an atmospheric single-column model with radiative transfer model and land surface model to calculate the surface temperature in response to pre-industrial CO2, current levels of CO2, future levels of CO2.  This is a simple calculation that answers the question:  all other things being equal, how much difference have emissions for the past 100 years made to the surface temperature for the heat dome event that emerged, just through the radiative effects of the CO2?   Cold, dry situations with no clouds amplify the impact of CO2 on the surface temperature.  It is fairly easy to calculate exactly what effect the increase in CO2 would have on surface temperature under the local conditions for Portland, OR. Without having done the calculation, an outcome of 1-3 F wouldn’t surprise me.

Experiment #2. This experiment builds on #1 to address the impact of the fast thermodynamic feedbacks on the surface temperature change.  This can be accomplished by using the shape of the temperature profile and relative humidity from the original radiosonde or operational analysis to adjust the temperature and humidity profiles to the resulting surface temperature for the calculations in experiment #1 for altered CO2.  This provides a better assessment of the direct radiative effects of altered CO2 in this particular weather system. 

The next set of experiments address the dynamical effects of increasing CO2 on the particular weather system that influenced the record high surface temperatures.

This heat wave was exceptionally well forecasted as much as 10 days in advance by global ensemble weather forecast system.  Global ensemble weather forecast system with high resolution (at least 20 km) can be used to simulate the daily forecasts from 14 to 1 days in advance of the event, with a CO2 concentration of 300 ppm.  Not clear at this point whether a single forecast simulation at each lead time is adequate, or whether the full ensemble is needed.

Experiment #3.  Make no change to the weather forecast model except to the CO2 concentration.  Compare ‘forecasts’ with altered CO2 concentration with the original forecasts:  500 and 850 mb geopotential heights and temperatures in the vicinity of the heat dome, also the surface temperatures in the NW US and SW Canada.  It may turn out that Experiment #3 is sufficient to infer the role of more/less CO2 on the evolution of the omega block, heat dome and record high temperatures.  But experiments #4 and #5 should be considered, since there are caveats to interpreting experiment #3.

Experiment #4.  Alter the global sea surface temperatures (SST) in a way that preserves the global pattern of SST for this period, but have magnitudes more consistent with a 300 ppm climate.  I would use NOAA’s 20th century reanalyses for thishttps://judithcurry.com/2011/08/17/reanalyses-org/embed/#?secret=1f25Jcd8J5

Subtract the annual average (or summer average) SST for each ocean grid point for a 300 ppm climate (around 1910) from the current gridded values;  subtract the gridded difference from the SST field for this case used in the weather forecast models.  Run the same set of experiments as in #3; compare with the original forecasts and the reduced CO2 forecasts from #3.  Note: not clear how quickly the initialized atmospheric temperature profiles will adjust to the altered SST, and how much this would influence the evolution of the atmospheric dynamics.

Experiment #5.  For Experiment #4,  the initialized atmospheric temperatures are too warm and specific humidity is too high relative to the lower SST values.  Humidity initialization doesn’t really matter, since the model rapidly creates its own humidity field.  However, the initial temperature field may matter.  Its the temperature gradients that influence the circulations.  During summer, the pole-to-equator temperature gradient wouldn’t change much between high and low CO2; melting Arctic sea ice would be just underway at the end of June in 1910, whereas it is well underway in June in the current climate.  Convective lapse rates would also be different for high vs low CO2.  I’m not sure how quickly the atmospheric temperatures would adjust to the altered SSTs in #4.  Initialized atmospheric temperatures would be out of balance with the colder surface temperatures, making the marine atmosphere too stable.  Somehow initializing with atmospheric temperatures more suited to 1910 while preserving all of the temperature gradients would be ideal.  The team doing the 20th century reanalyses could maybe figure out how to do this.

What this set of numerical experiments would do is allow for inferences to be made that compare the thermodynamic and dynamical effects of reduced/increased COon the surface temperatures and the dynamics of the heat dome.  The exact logic of how such inferences should be made, with what caveats and uncertainties, would require more attention than I can give it here.

Such an analysis would only take us so far:  the question remains as to whether increased CO2 is changing the overall hemispheric dynamics, making such heat dome events and omega blocks more or less frequent.  Experiments with high-resolution (20 km horizontal resolution) coupled global climate models with increased/decreased CO2 can provide some insights (the essential ingredient is for the model to have sufficiently high resolution to resolve blocking patterns).

Analysis of global reanalysis data (ERA5 back to 1950, 20th century reanalysis actually back to the 19th century) can provide some important insights:

  • Is increasing CO2 changing the multi-decadal ocean oscillations?  I’ve done a literature survey and there is no evidence of this yet.
  • Is additional warming changing ENSO?  I’ve done a literature survey and yes ENSO has changed since 1950; whether these changes are CO2 caused is debated.
  • Are the atmospheric teleconnection regimes (e.g. AO, PNA etc) changing?  This is something I’ve looked at (since 1950), and no changes apart from minor variations associated with multi-decadal climate variability.

With regards to the wavy jet stream hypothesis and its influence on blocking, I follow the literature on this topic, but haven’t done a formal literature review on this. Basic dynamical reasoning does not support the wavy jet stream hypothesis.  There is more theoretical research to be done, and the ERA5 and 20th Century Reanalysis should prove a good data set for this, but the value lies in how these data are interpreted.

And finally, machine learning and network based methods are increasingly being used for attribution analyses in a range of different fields.

So I’m tossing these ideas out for discussion, I look forward to your further outside-the-box ideas on how to approach this problem.

Heat versus cold

And finally, I address the alarm over heat waves.  I was in Utah in late June, where the local temperature reached 112F.   It is not pleasant.  Fortunately I could mostly stay inside where it was cooler.  There is no question that excessive and unusual heat causes health problems.  People have adapted to very hot temperatures (see this article about Pakistan) .  This issue is unexpectedly hot temperatures, for which broad segments of the population are unprepared for and have no experience in dealing with.  By this standard, the record breaking temperatures in Portland were more difficult to deal with than the relative routine and substantially higher temperatures in Pakistan.

While heat kills, cold temperatures kill more than an order of magnitude more people than heat.  Pat Michaels has been on this issue for decades, and its not particularly controversial.  This recent article in the Guardian is interesting:

Title –  “Extreme temperature kills 5 million people a year with heat related deaths rising study finds”

Subtitle –  “More people died of cold than heat in past 20 years but climate change is shifting the balance.”

The only conclusion I can draw here is that global warming is associated with fewer temperature related deaths.  Which is completely at odds with the impression the Guardian article is trying to make with its alarming headline.

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John Tillman
July 15, 2021 6:13 pm

Bogus “attribution studies” are of a piece with “natural transmission” COVID ‘studies”, ie ideologically motivated, Woke PC GIGO garbage.

Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 6:18 pm

There’s a good video on the manufacture of mass psychoses at Small Dead Animals. You’d swear these techniques are being perfected on us.


Abolition Man
Reply to  Scissor
July 15, 2021 7:32 pm

Thanks for the recommendation!
I watched both of the videos on mass psychoses and agree with you. These are exactly the techniques used in the plandemic scare, and are still being used for the Jan. 6 “insurrection!”
Our leaders see us as an enemy to be overcome; no longer as a constituency to be protected and served! Be well, and keep repeating the truth!

road dog
Reply to  Scissor
July 16, 2021 1:58 am

Kate runs a superb blog.

July 15, 2021 6:14 pm

They’ll table heat waves for now as there are now floods in Germany. Amazing that towns built within former river beds would flood.

Reply to  Scissor
July 15, 2021 6:38 pm

Whod’ve thought.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  BobM
July 16, 2021 12:33 am

I’ve said this before so hate to bore, but in the UK property developers were allowed to build homes on flood planes on the assumption that they would make “adequate” provision to accommodate any future flooding! They didn’t, homes flooded, what a surprise!!! Flood planes are natures design to accommodate flooding, change it & nature fights back!!! Who’d a thunk it?

Reply to  Alan the Brit
July 16, 2021 6:45 am

Flood plains. Unless planes is another one of those differences between American and British English.

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkW
July 16, 2021 5:33 pm

It isn’t. “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain”.

Granted, written by Americans.

Reply to  BobM
July 16, 2021 6:44 am

Wouldn’t that be “who’d’ve”?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Scissor
July 16, 2021 12:35 am

Especially when there’s a heavy build up of non existent snow (the stuff our children would never get to see).

Reply to  Scissor
July 16, 2021 7:10 am

Something tells me Germany has had big floods in the past.

July 15, 2021 6:17 pm

> “This effort involves a massive amount of number crunching.”

There isn’t enough raw data to support this type of analysis through to a reliable conclusion.

I would suggest that even the data we have is of insufficient consistency and/or precision.

Let us not even visit the issue of raw v adjusted.

July 15, 2021 6:42 pm

“It is intellectually lazy for scientists to spout off on this (or any other topic) without actually having done some work on the topic or at least having read and analyzed recent research on the topic.  A convenient, but unjustified, storyline that supports your activism and preferred policies is not helpful.”

But isn’t that exactly what we’ve come to expect from Michael Mann?

Reply to  BobM
July 15, 2021 7:09 pm

That paragraph does not apply to Mann because it uses the word scientist.

David A
Reply to  Mike
July 16, 2021 2:47 pm

Mann “ The way that climate-model based attribution for extreme events works (as discussed previously on RealClimate here and here etc.) is that you look at the situation with and without the anthropogenic global warming signal and calculate the ratio of probabilities“.

No, the null hypothesis is natural variation. Models are irrelevant, especially as they are all wrong. You look at historical climate in long running temperature and weather records. What you find is no increase in extreme weather and a minor increase in night time low T. (Continues steady increase in crop yields with less freeze events)

For the U.S. the USHCN is the best for this, and going by raw data at ALL USHCN stations, the US has cooled since the late 1930s.

road dog
Reply to  BobM
July 16, 2021 2:03 am

Intellectually lazy? Those nature tricks don’t write themselves.

July 15, 2021 7:18 pm

As evidence that the World is entering a new colder era and a general realisation that warm weather is healthier and safer than cold for humanity dawns on the Warmistas, they have to turn increasingly to alarmism and deception over science and data to peddle their wares..

July 15, 2021 8:13 pm

If the balls spend more time at the foot end of the billiard table than the head end, does that mean the legs at the head end are longer or the legs at the foot end are shorter?

Reply to  waza
July 15, 2021 9:59 pm

Pool table anatomy

1 – The balls start out racked at the foot end of the table. The balls start out spending 100% of the time at the foot end of the table. Even if their spatial distribution eventually becomes random, the amount of time they originally spent clumped at the foot end of the table never goes away.

2 – Even if the legs of the table are absolutely equal, the floor could be sloped. Of course, that shouldn’t be a problem if the table was properly set up. On the other hand, buildings shift with the changing seasons.

3 – The legs themselves could be exactly equal but the table could have been improperly set up.

When someone poses a problem and asks, ‘Is it this or is it that?’ you should always be aware that it may be neither. Don’t let people force you into a wrong response.

Richard M
July 15, 2021 8:46 pm

When the science is finally settled people will be amazed. CO2 moderates the climate. It both warms and cools depending on the temperature. Over time there will be fewer heat waves and fewer cold waves.

Sounds crazy, right? The way this works is truly fascinating It’s all built into the physics.

The end result will be warming of the high latitude areas and cooling of the low latitude areas. In between the summers will cool and the winters will warm. It will also lead to increased evaporation and the accompanying rainfall. Deserts will shrink and droughts will diminish.

Naturally, with the warming of high latitudes we will see more ice melt. Permafrost will disappear. Sea levels will rise. We will also see fewer storms as the temperature differences shrink. Tornadoes could become a memory. Floods will lessen in severity. There will be no chance of another glacial advance.

This is the story skeptics need to share with the public. In fact, this is the story energy companies should help advance. It does not deny climate science. It simply “tells the rest of the story”. It extends climate science according to solid physics.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Richard M
July 16, 2021 1:43 am

This is a lovely scenario and deserving of further distribution if, in fact, temperatures were continuing to increase. However, that does not seem to be the case, PNW days of unusual heat to the contrary. I would love to live in the world describe above! But achieving it would require a major shift in a millions-of-years old pattern of hot and cold times. We still don’t understand why these shifts occur, let alone what is necessary for them to change.

July 15, 2021 8:46 pm

Talking about hot air …

I just listened to a discussion between Jordan Peterson and a physicist called Krauss, or something like that. It was mentioned that he has written a book about the science of climate change so I looked up his video lecture on the subject. He says he’s interested in promoting conversation. In his interview with Peterson he said all kinds of wonderful things about how science works but then, early in his climate science lecture he used the word ‘deniers’. Would he use that word if he were actually trying to promote an actual conversation? Nope.

So, this is just some guy trying to prove a point and not at all interested in finding the truth. It’s summer. I don’t need any extra hot air. I may have set a record for turning off a youtube video.

Reply to  commieBob
July 16, 2021 12:21 am

Much like the word alarmist. Would she use that word if she were actually trying to promote an actual conversation? Nope.

Reply to  Loydo
July 16, 2021 12:32 am

Alarmist? I don’t actually see that word in the story above.

Reply to  commieBob
July 16, 2021 12:49 am

One of the two category tags is “Alarmism”. Very inclusive…not.

Reply to  commieBob
July 16, 2021 6:50 am

Like the rest of the trolls, Loydo knows he can’t argue the facts, so it seeks to distract.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Loydo
July 16, 2021 12:43 am

Alarmist is an appropriate word to describe those who are in a constant state of alarm over an unproven, non-event … whereas Denier is an intentional slur meant to be associated with Holocaust denial that has no basis in reality. The only deniers of the science are the AGW true believers; people like you, for instance.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 16, 2021 12:59 pm

Alarmist is an appropriate word to describe those who are in a constant state of alarm over an unproven, non-event “
But that’s the point isn’t it. Those who believe there are problems ahead believe there is adequate evidence for concern so are offended by the term alarmist. And those who think we will be fine are offended by denier. It beggers belief you can’t actually see that.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 16, 2021 1:17 pm

You’re talking “belief” but we’re talking science.

Those who believe there are problems ahead believe there is adequate evidence for concern …

Except there is no “evidence” of AGW. There is speculation founded on badly performing models based on corrupted data and a dubious hypothesis. The weather we’re experiencing in each of the planet’s numerous climate zones is exhibiting natural variation. That’s hardly reason for alarm.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 16, 2021 1:54 pm

“Except there is no “evidence” of AGW. ”
That is your view. It is not the view of every single national scientifically representative body on the planet. Name one if you think I’m wrong. But whether you think there is an issue is irrelevant. If a group is offended then don’t use it. Like calling Native Americans being called Indians. They don’t like it, so don’t use it, unless you want to be a prick and irritate.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 16, 2021 2:40 pm

Except there is no “evidence” of AGW. ”

That is your view.

No, that is a fact. I don’t “think” you’re wrong. I know you’re wrong. I have no need to prove a lack of evidence. There has never been any evidence.

If you’re offended over being called an alarmist, stop trying to alarm everyone with regular, scary predictions that never occur. Your false analogy is no more compelling than your straw man. The whole purpose of contemporary climate alarmism is to keep the funds rolling in. It’s offensive. Stop doing it.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 16, 2021 3:28 pm

Well you know what they say about opinions….

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 16, 2021 5:40 pm

Well you know what they say about opinions….

I don’t rely on opinion. I rely on observation.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 16, 2021 6:10 pm

It must be so lovely to live in a world where you can make things so by waving your magic want and pronouncing “I am Rory Forbes. I say there is no proof of man made climate change so let that be the truth from here forward.”
Meanwhile back on the real world….. it’s getting warmer, the ice is melting and the climate changing.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 16, 2021 7:09 pm

Are you really as obtuse as you appear, or are you just pretending to be so dense? You can look all you want; you will not find any empirical evidence of anthropogenic “climate change” or global warming. There is none.

No one has ever questioned that the planet has warmed since the Little Ice Age ended or that ice has diminished since then. This planet has no specific climate. There are dozens of them. Change is the default condition of all climates.

If you don’t understand the basics … go and learn them.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 16, 2021 11:35 pm

I know that your logic is, well, unique. Saying we are warming because we are coming out of an ice age is like saying Trump lost the election because Biden got more votes. It’s the why that matters. We know why we were in an ice age and we also know why we were coming out of it. But here’s the cruncher for you Rory. When all is considered, at this point, the science tells us we should be cooling, not warming. But we are not. So the million dollar question is “why?” Why is the planet on an upward trajectory? Until that question can be answered with something other than the increase of CO2, skeptics will just be hand waiving. Answer that question and you get a foot in the game.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 17, 2021 10:14 am

Saying we are warming because we are coming out of an ice age is like saying Trump lost the election because Biden got more votes.

No it isn’t … not even close. Besides, Biden didn’t get more votes.

We know why we were in an ice age and we also know why we were coming out of it.

Wrong again.

the science tells us we should be cooling, not warming.

We are cooling.

It’s you alarmists doing all the “hand waving”. It’s you who has told the world you know all the answers, that the “science is settled” and you have a “consensus” to prove it. You’re making all the rash projections with no evidence.

The null hypothesis is a perfectly laudable answer for the present conditions. … natural variability. That’s why the past isso important.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 17, 2021 12:13 pm

So tell me Rory why are we warming. (no we are not cooling, not even on your planet B). No answer huh?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 17, 2021 1:04 pm

It doesn’t matter why it began to warm after the Little Ice Age came to a close. That isn’t what the narrative is about. If you believe the CO2 driven greenhouse conjecture, human CO2 emissions couldn’t have been a factor until well after the 1950s (too little to make any difference). By that time natural warming had been occurring for 100 years.

However according to all signs, at a geological time scale, this planet has been cooling steadily since the Holocene Thermal Optimum. So, fears of warming are without merit.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 17, 2021 5:08 pm

However according to all signs, at a geological time scale, this planet has been cooling steadily since the Holocene Thermal Optimum. So, fears of warming are without merit.”
So you have no clue as to why we are warming but you have faith we will cool from here? Let’s just leave it there.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 17, 2021 6:40 pm

Of course I know many of the reasons why there are periodic pulses of warming and cooling. There have been several throughout the Holocene. I don’t need “Faith” that it’s cooling. There is vast amounts of evidence for it. There is no reason to assume the present small warm period won’t gradually cool too.

As I’ve said many times to you; Learn the science, both present and past. If you can’t falsify the null hypothesis, you can forget your present beliefs.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 17, 2021 12:14 pm

Fail…Natural variability does not explain the present unprecedented warming. Try again.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 17, 2021 12:58 pm

Fail…Natural variability does not explain the present unprecedented warming. Try again.

Of course it does. Extremes are part of any chaotic system. Besides, there is no “unprecedented” warming now or at any time in the past. Thee is nothing particularly remarkable occurring at the present time.

David A
Reply to  Simon
July 16, 2021 4:47 pm

There are numerous national and international organizations composed of thousands of PHD scientists who are well published skeptics of CAGW alarmism.

Are you not aware of this?

Reply to  David A
July 16, 2021 6:07 pm

I’m aware that there are a few groups around the planet that attempt to cast doubt, but non are nationally representative. Would you like the list of the ones that are?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 16, 2021 8:15 pm

It’s a meaningless list. None of the members of any of those organizations was polled for his opinion. Even if they all agreed it still means nothing. Consensus has nothing to do with science.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 16, 2021 11:38 pm

It’s a meaningless list. “
No it’s not. It’s a list that shows overwhelming confidence from the people who study this stuff, that they believe/know why we are warming.There is a chance they could be wrong, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

David A
Reply to  Simon
July 17, 2021 3:36 am

So confident that they refuse to allow membership vote and refuse to debate extremely qualified opposition.

Reply to  David A
July 17, 2021 12:08 pm

You need to show a level of competence (I am assuming). Why would they just let anyone on? And what was this debate with whom?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 17, 2021 10:21 am

they believe/know why we are warming

Right … a quasi, ad hoc religious group basing their assumed authority on belief. Science doesn’t work that way. The people who put their organization on your list did not do the science, their members did. Those scientists were never surveyed.

Your AGW true believers are not only wrong, they have never been right, so hey corrupt the data to make their “science” seem better than it is.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 17, 2021 12:40 pm

At the risk of appearing repetitive, the list has no probative value. In all likelihood, the members aren’t even aware of its existence … and certainly never approved their names being associated with a fraud. At best its argumentum ad vericundiam and it’s surely ad populum.

Meaningless. Try to learn that consensus has nothing to do with science. Far more people actually signed the Oregon Petition Project (over 30,000)

David A
Reply to  Simon
July 17, 2021 3:25 am

Claiming to be nationally representative is fake news. All it generally means is A; they are government funded, and or B; they almost universally did not ask for a vote, and we’re political appointees to “representative” position. These organizations have almost universally refused to offer their membership a vote on their political statements.

At any rate, self identification as “nationally representative “ has exactly zero positive cogency to scientific truth. However it is cogent to bought bias.

Another word for Government funded is ideologically politically bought. The tens of thousands of scientist that reject CAGW are A; extremely qualified, B; refer to thousands of published peer reviewed papers to support their position, C; often willing to risk their career to voice their science based position, or D; they are often retired and so beyond the reach of monetary dependency on towing the company line.

Of course it is the statist way to attempt debate by marginalizing the opposing person, instead of engaging in constructive debate.

Reply to  David A
July 17, 2021 12:08 pm

“Fake new” the get out of jail card for the unthinking.

Reply to  Loydo
July 16, 2021 6:49 am

Someone who is trying to incite alarm, is an alarmist.
If there is nothing alarming about climate change, there is by definition no need to do anything about it.
Alarmist is an accurate description of those who want us to redesign the entire world’s economy and energy infrastructure.
Denier was never an accurate term for skeptics, we don’t deny science, we deny that you are properly using science.

Reply to  MarkW
July 16, 2021 1:02 pm

See above. Mark thinks negative terms are ok as long as his team is the one using them. I object to alarmist because it is used to minimise the seriousness of the potential risk and make those described as such appear overly concerned, when there is no reason to be.

David A
Reply to  Simon
July 16, 2021 4:42 pm

Who defines alarmist as negative? Is that not an accurate description?
Own it, as you manifest it.

CAGW skeptics do deny climate change. They deny the C in CAGW.
CAGW alarmists have been predicting horrible catastrophe for some 30 years now. Every prediction has failed, while the benefits of additional CO2 manifest, and will continue to increase for any realistically possible PPM CO2 increase. The failing to manifest predicted harms will decrease with each additional PPM of CO2.

Reply to  David A
July 16, 2021 4:48 pm

Every prediction has failed”
That’s not true though is it. The IPCC predicted a number of things that have eventuated.

  1. We would warm. We have.
  2. The net loss of ice on the planet will be negative. It is.
  3. Sea level will continue to rise. They has.
Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 16, 2021 5:39 pm

The IPCC predicted a number of things that have eventuated.

  1. Warming has never been in question. The planet began warming, naturally, at the end of the LIA.
  2. The planet has been losing ice since the beginning of the Holocene.
  3. Sea level has been rising at the same rate throughout the Holocene.

None of those facts required the IPCC to verify. They required no prediction. No one needs to “predict” that Summer will follow Spring.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 16, 2021 6:02 pm

“None of those facts required the IPCC to verify. “
They do verify these things though. Do you dispute them?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 16, 2021 6:52 pm

Are you reading impaired?

Are you as brain dead as you appear?

Reread my earlier response.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 17, 2021 12:09 pm

Do you get off of insulting people? Does it make you feel… special?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 17, 2021 12:53 pm

I get off in helping pests look stupid. If you don’t read what I write, what’s the point of you being here? You respond as though you either didn’t read or didn’t understand my response.

David A
Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 17, 2021 3:41 am

Exactly Rory. I hope all notice that Simon’s list leaves the C out of CAGW.
The percentage of warming caused by A is questionable, and the GW is one third of alarmist predictions, and provably net beneficial.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  David A
July 17, 2021 10:42 am

You’re right. I have seen nothing but beneficial outcomes from current climate conditions. We’re being gas-lighted by all the interested parties. The entire pack “developing countries” are waiting in the wings for their bounteous handouts…. guilt money from the successful ones.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 17, 2021 12:11 pm

 “I have seen nothing but beneficial outcomes from current climate conditions.” Then take a little look around. Take a look at what is happening in Germany and Belgium at the moment.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Simon
July 17, 2021 12:47 pm

Anyone who pretends those events are linked to AGW don’t understand the science.

Typically you’re confusing weather phenomena with climate change. Anomalies like those can and do happen any time in a chaotic system.

Reply to  Loydo
July 16, 2021 7:14 am

Feel free to debate her actual points Loydo. Of course that will be much more difficult that mud slinging because her points are actually researched, balanced, and based in science.

Reply to  wadesworld
July 17, 2021 2:45 am

Her and Cliff’s shameless, doubt-mongering “hot air” has been comprehensively dismantled here:https://tamino.wordpress.com/2021/07/16/northwest-heat-wave/

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Loydo
July 16, 2021 1:20 pm

Don’t like “alamist”?
Okay, let’s use “thermageddonist” instead

David A
Reply to  Loydo
July 16, 2021 2:56 pm

Lydia, Truth is not a respecter of ideology. CAGW skeptics do not deny climate change, and CAGW alarmist have nothing to contribute to policy without crying catastrophe every chance they get.

Therefore it is a false pejorative to call a skeptic a denier, and highly accurate to call a CAGW alarmist, an alarmist.

road dog
Reply to  commieBob
July 16, 2021 2:11 am

I’m drawn to “climate nutter”.

John V. Wright
July 15, 2021 9:01 pm

As a lay reader of WUWT – albeit one who has closely followed the global warming debate for the last 20 years – I am very grateful for Dr Curry’s forensic, honest and above all BALANCED approach to these issues. Compared to the attention-seeking reports, which often start from an unjustified premise (such as using flimsy climate models in this case), her studies are always, it seems to me, unflashy, detailed, and comprehensive in the accumulation of the relevant evidence and ‘proofs’ required to arrive at a reasonable judgement about a particular issue. They are also written in a (fairly) accessible manner which enables the non-scientist to understand the nature of the issues being considered and the relative values of the arguments.
On behalf of the many lay readers of Anthony’s magnificent (and essential) blog – Dr Curry, we thank you.

Reply to  John V. Wright
July 17, 2021 2:51 am


You mean bias-confirmation. She is the “lazy” one. See above.

Clyde Spencer
July 15, 2021 9:14 pm

There are a couple of things to note about the first illustration that shows presumed probability distributions of temperatures.

The global temperature distribution is not normal, but is skewed; there is a long, cold tail.

Because there is more warming at night and in the Winter, the cold-tail is shrinking faster than the the warm tail is increasing. Therefore, the standard deviation is getting smaller. The “emergent phenomena” proposed by Eschenbach suggests that there may be an upper limit on how warm the oceans can get, which would then tend to suppress high temperatures on land.

I have written here demonstrating that there is no empirical evidence to support increasing heat wave frequency or severity:

I agree with Curry that proponents of category 1 are spouting off without thinking about what they are saying.

road dog
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 16, 2021 2:13 am

What gets paid gets played.

Chris Hanley
July 15, 2021 9:54 pm

That diagram at the top is fatuous, so there are extremes at each end of a normal distribution chart, who knew?
It derives from the Australian Climate Commission based on the IPCC (2007); the Climate Commission established by the Left ALP government in 2011 was abolished by PM Tony Abbott in 2013.
The horizontal axis is supposed to represent a temperature scale from coldest (-93C Vostok 1983) to hottest 57C (Death Valley 1913) i.e. 150C.
Even if taken seriously the supposed average surface T from ‘Old Climate’ (14C) to ‘New Climate’ (14.9C) is a shift of ~1C or barely visible if plotted on the diagram the same applying at both extremes.

David A
Reply to  Chris Hanley
July 16, 2021 4:50 pm

The chart is alarmist, but not scientific.

July 16, 2021 12:09 am

We need to address the German floods: these would have been exceptional even in winter, in summer there’s no adequate word for the scale of them

Three months rain in 24 hours with the flood onset in minutes…

This sort of slow moving very intensive summer rain system is EXACTLY as predicted by climate science… this is EXACTLY what the physics of a warming atmosphere dictates should happen.

Please don’t bother finding spurious previous examples or defining this as ‘just weather’

Reply to  griff
July 16, 2021 12:33 am

Ambulance chaser chases ambulance. Film at 11.

Reply to  griff
July 16, 2021 12:43 am

Please don’t bother finding spurious previous examples or defining this as ‘just weather’”

Please don’t show griff evidence that there is no trend in world wide flooding events coz it will spoil his evening.

Reply to  Mike
July 16, 2021 12:53 am

Oh what the hell….
griff, is it beyond your ability to entertain the idea of a peaking cycle?

Reply to  Mike
July 16, 2021 1:59 am

What cycle?

Reply to  Loydo
July 16, 2021 3:16 am

So this is a straight line to you is it?

Reply to  Mike
July 16, 2021 3:32 am

In Europe, here below, we can see a < or > 200 year temp cycle (peaking now)
and let’s not forget the 65 year cycle (peaking now) on top of what looks like a 40 year cycle in the precipitation chart above and who knows how many others all interacting with each other.
You realize there’s only one way to go from up right?
I’m afraid you’ll have to explain away all those before you bring co2 into the picture and tell me that’s the reason for the floods in Germany

Reply to  Mike
July 16, 2021 3:36 pm

Put your crayons away.

Reply to  Loydo
July 16, 2021 7:46 pm

Good comeback!

David A
Reply to  Mike
July 16, 2021 4:52 pm

Climate alarmist Stockholm syndrome, Griff begs to be left ignorant.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  griff
July 16, 2021 12:47 am

No one “predicted” any such thing in Germany. What you’re describing is extreme weather. Please explain the appropriate “address” for floods. Are we talking pronouns here or postal codes?
What you’re describing is more associated with cooling than warming. It’s all that snow the CRU said was “a thing of the past” … but of course you don’t believe in the past as a mirror of the present. Make up your mind.

Reply to  griff
July 16, 2021 12:51 am

Yesterday we told you about, today you finished your research, impressive.
Where are your numbers ?

Reply to  griff
July 16, 2021 2:31 am

What you have to show, to attribute the German floods to global warming, is this.

You have to show that the actual rise in temperature in the historical record has in some way caused the emergence of one set of blocking highs of this magnitude.

Its impossible. There are cloudbursts and blocking highs all over Europe every couple of years. Exactly this same thing happened in Devon a few years back and washed out much of a village. I have myself been in the middle of totally localized downpours in Europe. You are driving in rain so hard that you can hardly see, the roads are streams, and then in a few hundred yards it clears.

You have to show that some quantified rise in temps makes or has made this more likely or more intense. Impossible. Zero evidence for that. We are talking one or two degrees C, no rise in peak temps, not happening in a particularly warm summer…

No way.

Reply to  griff
July 16, 2021 6:54 am

No matter how many times you cut and paste this claim, it still remains stupid.

So you are now declaring that the fact that such floods have happened before is just “spurious examples”? How convenient. To declare that history doesn’t exist and only now counts.

Beyond that, please provide evidence that slow moving summer storms were predicted by the “physics”. That’s the first time I’ve heard that claim, and considering your tendency to make up stuff on the spot, I’m not inclined to believe it.

Further more, please provide evidence that slow moving summer storms have never happened before. I seem to recall quite a few examples of such storms going back over the many decades of my life.

Reply to  griff
July 16, 2021 7:20 am

Don’t bother finding previous examples? What kind of BS is that? Absolutely mind-boggling transparent it’s your agenda that matters, not science.

Oh wait – that’s exactly what Judith discussing.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  griff
July 16, 2021 7:50 am

Who is this “we” business?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  griff
July 16, 2021 8:00 am

Just what mechanism are you proposing that is related to global warming that is responsible for a 1 in 500-year flood?

There has been about a 0.5 deg C increase in global average temperature in the last 50 years. Why flooding now instead of in the previous 50 years? Even the most alarmist trolls only claim about half the warming is from humans. What do you suggest be done if a quarter-degree of human warming causes catastrophic rain?

Might there be other things to consider such as increased run-off from paved roads, instead of the more common dirt roads before WWII? Is the flooding occurring in areas with increased population density and greater area of impervious surfaces?

Your religious blinders keep you from seeing anything but what you want to see.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 16, 2021 11:42 am

I should revise my estimate to the current flooding being more along the lines of a 1 in 100 years.

Reply to  griff
July 16, 2021 8:30 am

Here’s a newspaper article about the flood -GERMAN RIVERS FLOOD VILLAGES


Nordhaus, Nuremberg, Frankfort and Essen Among Larger Cities Most Seriously Affected—Crest Yet to Be Reached

BERLIN, .—Floods caused byseveral days of heavy rain and a spell of warm weather today assumed a serious aspect in many parts of Germany. The first fatalities were reported from Nordhaus, where many bridges have been swept away and ten people drowned. Twenty lives were lost at other place today. At Nuremberg the Pegnibe rose twelve feet last night and this morning was raging through the lower streets of the city.

WAIT – This article is from 1909.

griffter, floods have happened in Germany many times before. They’re still happening. It’s dishonest to suggest that the recent flood is something new.

dodgy geezer
July 16, 2021 1:17 am

Heat waves are the new polar bears, stoking alarm about climate change…

Heat waves are the new scare of the week. I doubt they will last longer than 7 days…

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  dodgy geezer
July 16, 2021 1:56 am

If that…. It has been quite cool in northern Portugal this year, temps along the coast remaining in the low to mid 20s or less. But yesterday it got up to 31 C, a perfect beach day, the tourists were ecstatic, even some locals were frolicking in the surf! However, today we are back in the 20s again and the extended forecast calls for low 20s to high teens for the next two weeks.

Once upon a time, winter temps in Porto were the same as we are currently enjoying this summer. Would that those days could return! This past winter saw 0 and -0 C in Porto.

Tell me again how the world is going to flame out within 10 years if I keep driving my diesel-burning estate!

road dog
July 16, 2021 1:58 am

Weather records were made to be broken.

Bruce Cobb
July 16, 2021 6:12 am

Climate Liars just love their totally unscientific and emotion-based “Extreme Weather” meme. Especially since their “the polar bears are vanishing due to climate change” gambit not only didn’t work out, it blew up in their faces.
Yeah, “Extreme Weather”, that’s the ticket.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 16, 2021 1:50 pm

“Climate Liars just love their totally unscientific and emotion-based “Extreme Weather” meme.”

Yeah, the unsubstantiated attribution of severe weather events to CO2, and the bogus Hockey Stick charts are the only things the alarmists can point at to try to make a case for Human-caused Climate Change/Global Warming. So, that’s what they do, they lie about the weather and the temperatures.

Jim Gorman
July 16, 2021 8:08 am

3. This approach implicitly assumes that all climate change is caused by emissions, and ignores or mischaracterizes multi-decadal natural internal variability (since climate models do not have the correct phasing and amplitudes).

This statement alone tells the story. Climate at any given location is a continuous function in time. It is made up of multiple phenomena that all combine into a symphony of weather where the amplitude and phasing of the phenomena can result in various outcomes.

In that way it is very much like an orchestra. Are the musicians in time and playing notes correctly? Is the result a harmony of sound or is it discordant noise? Climate is very much the same. Trying to decipher the various result of combined phenomena in time through statistical analysis is pretty much doomed to failure if you can’t also predict what the individual components are doing.

In other words, scientists need to be publicly and vocally recognizing that they are unable to measure and correctly combine all the various phenomena’s that make up weather and climate. Statistical analysis can really only provide guesses at this point in time since we don’t have the physics correct nor the ability to monitor and measure all the various piece parts to an accuracy that allows prediction of what will happen next.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jim Gorman
July 19, 2021 10:42 am

Constructive interference = ‘Perfect Storm’

Peta of Newark
July 16, 2021 8:55 am

There was, still is a wee bit, A Heatwave in my garden today
Life on the cutting edge eh….

Having now got a 3 strong collection of the Elitech Temperature data-loggers, I wnet and did dun sum sceicne
One of the data-loggers remained hanging off a low branch of my Laburnum tree, in the shade and with a white uPVC rain ‘umbrella’ over it, about 5 ft off the ground.
My attempt at a Stephenson Screen.
Under the blazing sun

Another went, Big Love and thanks to the industry Mr Morris Mole, under about an inch of garden soil/dirt out in the centre of my lawn
Under the (same as before) blazing sun

The third one went under some very bushy green plants in my flower bed. They are, I think, wild Geraniums,extremely invasive, simple & delicate purple flowers and completely overlapping dark green leaves on stalks about 18 inches tall
Data-logger was laid upon the bare soil under that canopy
El Sol continued to blaze

I let the loggers run between 13:00hrs and 15:30 when A Caffeine Urge came upon me and I retired to the pub. Here I is now 😀

The results, temps taken every 30 mins and averaged..(6 readings from each logger, to a resolution of 0.1 Celsius)

  • Tree = 25.8 Celsius
  • Molehill = 32.8 Celsius
  • Geraniums= 21.9 Celsius

So people, here’s the simple question, what was the Surface Temperature of The Earth in my garden this early afternoon

My personal take-away..
All I ask is you to relate 10 whole degrees Celsius between ploughed earth and perennial greenery to what Contemporary and Ancient Farmers have always done – little different to what the mole did

We got away lightly didn’t we with what, 1 Celsius over the last century

YMMV but if it does, why?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 19, 2021 10:57 am

… what was the Surface Temperature of The Earth in my garden this early afternoon

The estimate of the best answer is the mean of the three readings. However, to put that in context, which climatologists rarely do, you need an estimate of the standard deviation. That can be approximated by dividing the range (32.8 – 21.9) by at least 4 (10.9/4 = 2.73). Or, in words, there is a 68% probability that the true temperature lies between 24.1 and 29.6 deg C.

Alternatively, you could do the calculations with Excel for all the data you recorded, which would be preferable, and it will even provide a better estimate of the standard deviation.

July 17, 2021 10:50 am

Heat and cold waves are perfectly visible in the lower stratosphere. During periods of very low solar activity the distribution of ozone over polar circle is very uneven. This leads to an inhibition of the latitudinal circulation in the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere. The stagnation results in the formation of stationary jet current loops in the mid-latitudes. This leads to both prolonged heat and prolonged precipitation. comment imagecomment image

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