Pielke Jr. On Recent Climate Attribution Claims

Originally tweeted by Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) on July 21, 2021.

There is no doubt that attribution claims have run far out ahead of detection of trends

“Since 1951, the number of heavy rainfall days per year for the whole of Germany has hardly changed, almost independently of their definition”

HT @AndrewSiffert

Similarly for Zhengzhou


I’m not sure how the current strong attribution claims (it’s obvious, right?) can be reconciled with the observational data, but I’m sure there is an explanation

If certain extreme events have become much more likely, then evidence should show them being more likely? Or not?

Here is what the US NCA 2017 said about “attribution without detection”

Decreases the chances that you’ll miss identifying a climate signal in a rare event, but increases the chances of falsely identifying such a signal


It turns out — and science scholars will love this — the choice of methodology, and thus choice of result, depends upon the message one wishes to convey

“More meaningful questions” take us back to the good ol’ IPCC detection and attribution framework

As I have argued often, if conventional IPCC detection & attribution work showed clearly increasing extremes & plausible causes, then the post-modern “event attribution” methods would be unnecessary


IPCC D&A methods have identified trends & causes in (many regions) for extreme temps & precip with various levels of confidence

But not tropical cyclones, floods, drought, tornadoes

So enter “event attribution” to fill the gap
Why? Explained below via NYT to win a PR battle

I can think of no other area of research where the relaxing of rigor and standards has been encouraged by researchers in order to generate claims more friendly to headlines, political advocacy and even lawsuits . . .

But there you go


PS. There is an absolutely awesome STS dissertation to be written based on this thread. Career prospects might be limited though 😎

Originally tweeted by Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) on July 21, 2021.

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July 23, 2021 2:44 pm

There is a link error in the first link “)” behind “htm”

Reply to  Krishna Gans
July 23, 2021 2:46 pm


July 23, 2021 2:49 pm

BTW, Pikadero Rahmstorf didn’t attribute the German floods directly to CC

Reply to  Krishna Gans
July 23, 2021 5:47 pm

A good sign maybe. The climate liars know that the retribution is coming.

Too late for the scientists in other fields who are struggling to get grants. Their problem for not calling out the charlatans.

July 23, 2021 2:55 pm

Referees and peer reviewers need to start asking; “Did you test for pareidolia by using different time bases, white noise data, pink noise data?”

Reply to  Rob_Dawg
July 23, 2021 3:19 pm

Inferring images, even objects, from signals of unknown, unknowable, even creative fidelity.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Rob_Dawg
July 23, 2021 5:46 pm

They should see the entire statistical work notes. If you have tried and rejected numerous statistical methods that showed nothing (or results counter to expectations) in search of a ‘favorable’ result, these many failed trials effect the statistics of the one you ‘pick’! Look up Bonferroni correction.

Willis had a good, easy to understand post on this. A couple of years ago.

July 23, 2021 3:10 pm

Yes, they are in denial, and their ostensibly “secular” religion (e.g. morality’s relativistic sibling ethics) enables them to avoid reconciliation. Can they abort the baby, cannibalize her profitable parts, sequester her carbon pollutants, and have her, too? It may not be as politically congruent as they hoped and dreamed. People are waking up.

Last edited 1 year ago by n.n
John Garrett
July 23, 2021 3:12 pm

In other words—

“If there is no evidence, lie.”

Steve Case
Reply to  John Garrett
July 23, 2021 3:24 pm

Only Six words, so an A+ on economy of word usage, it took Dr. Stephen Schneider 22 words to say that:

“We have to offer up scary scenarios… each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective and being honest.”

Reply to  Steve Case
July 23, 2021 8:20 pm

IOW, make stuff up.

Reply to  Steve Case
July 23, 2021 8:27 pm

If you’re not careful John Phillip will accuse you of taking that quote out of context and it really does mean what it plainly means.

Steve Case
Reply to  MarkW
July 23, 2021 8:55 pm

That was another magazine quote. In the context Dr. Schneider set the stage for why he said it. But yeah, it plainly means toss truth and honesty under the bus if that’s what it takes to win the day.

George Daddis
Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2021 8:03 am

It is credible that in the overall context of his writings at the time, that “tidbit” may have made Stephan appear more cynical than he actually was.

What is NOT debatable it that his acolytes and followers (to a Mann) bought into that choice “hook, line and sinker”. Of course, like the old telephone game, they then passed that notion on to the useful idiots in the MSM.

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  Steve Case
July 24, 2021 11:28 am

G’Day Steve,

Ah yes, Dr. Stephen Schneider.

In the early 1970’s, studying aerosols which ‘cool’,, his ‘cure’ was “Stop using fossil fuels’.

In the late 1970’s, studying carbon dioxide which ‘warms’, his cure was “Stop using fossil fuels.”

At least he was consistent.

Steve Case
July 23, 2021 3:18 pm

The goal is to publicize any climate connection quickly, in part to thwart climate denialists who might claim that global warming had no impact on a particular event.

Did the Times really say that? What’s that Chinese curse?
Oh yeah, “May you live in interesting times.”

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Steve Case
July 23, 2021 5:07 pm

I forget the 2nd, but the 3rd is:
“May you come to the attention of the authorities”

Which I find the scariest.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
July 23, 2021 11:56 pm

The rabbit that gets eaten by the wolves

Reply to  Steve Case
July 23, 2021 8:24 pm

As curses go, that’s rather inept, since the cursor lives in the same times as the cursee. Probably fictitious.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
July 24, 2021 3:22 am

Not if the cursor is dead before those times (or happily moved away to some foreign land)

Reply to  Steve Case
July 24, 2021 2:49 am

I was always taught that it wasn’t a curse, it was a hope.

mike macray
Reply to  Oldseadog
July 24, 2021 5:33 am

May you live in boring times would be the curse!

Rick C
July 23, 2021 3:24 pm

These weather event attribution claims are plain old bogus, junk, pseudo-science at its worst. The so-called World Weather Attribution (WWA) group that got massive coverage over the recent NW US heat wave clearly has a predetermined outcome for any severe weather event – “anthropogenic climate change” did it. Check their website – pure alarmist nonsense. Try and find any weather event that they have “investigated” that they concluded was just natural variability.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Rick C
July 23, 2021 3:56 pm

Yet “journalists” accept such CliSciFi propaganda unquestionably. WWA attribution-mongers write computer programs to “detect” CAGW in all unusual weather events, then cite such programs as “proof.”

I have seen no theoretical discussion of how, exactly, the minor warming since 1950 could have impacted weather events, other than some marginal add-ons to warm periods. No record of extreme weather events evidence any increase in event severity. In CliSciFi, lack of evidence is no constraint on modeling speculation.

Reply to  Dave Fair
July 23, 2021 8:25 pm

Journalists? What are these ‘journalists’ of which you speak?

Reply to  Dave Fair
July 23, 2021 9:10 pm

No, Journalists don’t do that. People who sell fear do, though.

July 23, 2021 3:35 pm

I can think of no other area of research where the relaxing of rigor and standards has been encouraged by researchers in order to generate claims more friendly to headlines, political advocacy and even lawsuits . . .

Michael Crichton made a reasoned comparison of climate alarmism and global warming’s lack of scientific rigor to the eugenics movement, which hasn’t been completely stamped out in 150 years. Even the current and ongoing claims of the BLM and international human trafficking (falsely called immigration) seem to pereversely rely on the basic, obviously false principles of eugenicists.

July 23, 2021 4:05 pm

RULE NO. 1 IS THAT EVERYTHING IS CAUSED BY CLIMATE CHANGE. I have some eczema that is clearly caused by climate change. And, the more climate changes, the more changes it causes….on the way to the tipping point.

Last edited 1 year ago by Anti-griff
Reply to  Anti-griff
July 23, 2021 5:06 pm

My rule of thumb, for environmental alarmism…

If it is good, it causes climate change.
If it is bad, it was caused by climate change.

Reply to  Cam_S
July 23, 2021 9:04 pm

I really like this, thank you.

It reminds me or Reagan:  “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” 

One of my all time favorite quotes.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Anti-griff
July 23, 2021 5:35 pm

It is now 5 years since I formulated the Sherrington postulate that higher atmospheric CO2 has caused greater tooth growth in those born after 2000.
Surely, if CO2 can fertilise buck wheat, it can fertilise buck teeth.
This was a test of attribution methods, but it has attracted no comment.
This is proper, because no comment is the appropriate response for such nonsense. Geoff S

July 23, 2021 4:06 pm

I just can’t stop

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Charles Rotter
July 23, 2021 4:55 pm

Don’t. One of the greatest memes ever.

July 23, 2021 4:32 pm

The intent isn’t to report but to support the narrative.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  markl
July 23, 2021 5:53 pm

Narrative indeed, reading the Lloyd & Oreskes piece excerpted above instead of evidence-based attribution “the community” ought to adopt their new ‘storyline’ approach.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Hanley
Thomas Gasloli
July 23, 2021 4:44 pm

“I can think of no other area of research where the relaxing of rigor & standards has been encouraged by researchers to generate claims more friendly to headlines, political advocacy…”

Well, there is COVID.

And the reproducibility crisis indicates this is pretty much the rule with any government funded research.

Rud Istvan
July 23, 2021 5:04 pm

Here is my problem.
Pielke Jr tries to take this nonsense on seriously. The only thing ‘rapid attribution’ deserves is abject ridicule. Those people aren’t serious, and never were. Let’s stop pretending they ever were.
Remember, weather happens by year, and climate is the weather envelope after at least 30 years. And extreme climate ‘weather’ (like Germany floods) can be traced back to 1348 happening about every 80 years, giving a whole new meaning to ‘climate extremes’.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 23, 2021 6:41 pm

Exactly right. First they vanished the idea that climate is regional, not global. Then they reduced the averaging period to 30 years, rather than what I was taught … exceeding 60 years. Some climate regions have gone without any change for hundreds or even thousands of years. Finally they eliminated the fact that anomalous extremes exist within all climate zones but don’t constitute general change.

By conflating the basic attributes of climate to their own narrow description, they can now show that climate signed the Gettysburg Address, retroactively.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 24, 2021 12:11 am

It seems to me that 30 years was most likely deliberately chosen, based on the observations that there are 60 to70 year cycles (and probably 100 year, and 1000 year and longer cycles). The plan was to capitalize on the 30 year warming part of certain cycles, to hopefully be politically successful before the tides changed.

Jim Clarke
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 24, 2021 7:51 am

On the contrary, these people are deadly serious. Not about climate of course, but about power and control over the human race. I have come to believe that the man-made climate crisis was the ‘beta test’ for the One World Order’s program to dominate the planet. If they could convince humanity that CO2 emissions must stop because of an imaginary climate crisis, then they could convince the population to stop working because of an imaginary virus, then take an imaginary ‘vaccine’ without even knowing what’s in it or what it does! Or that unarmed people walking through the open doors of the Capitol to take selfies comprise an insurrection. Or that blatant election fraud produces the safest election ever. Or that smashing windows, looting stores and burning buildings is ‘peaceful’! Or that only white people can be racist!

The same people are behind all of these insane beliefs, and they have not been shy about their goal. And there goal has nothing to do with climate change, human health, fair elections, justice or race relations, but it is deadly serious.

July 23, 2021 6:34 pm

To describe any weather event as being ’caused by climate change’ seems fundamentally illogical to me. Climate is an average of various types of weather events over a specified number of years, therefore, any change in climate cannot be a cause, but must be a result of some other force.

Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2021 12:13 am

but “Climate Change” doesn’t mean anything about weather averages, it means people are to blame and thus need restraining.

July 23, 2021 8:15 pm

All the recent extreme weather events have occurred when the human race is in lockdown.

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions have been low, and in particular air traffic is a fraction of what it was.

So using the weather attribution paradigm if we increase CO2 emissions then extreme weather will decrease.

Patrick MJD
July 23, 2021 9:21 pm

Slightly off topic, but Dr. Peter Ridd was right;

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley “absolutely delighted” in UNESCO’S decision to overturn a draft decision to list the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger”.

Earlier this year UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee recommended the Great Barrier Reef be added to the ‘in danger list because of the impact of climate change.”

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 24, 2021 9:44 am

The Great Barrier Reef has more coral growing on it than ever recordedThe coral cover as sampled by AIMS across the entire Great Barrier Reef is not just good, but better than it has ever been in the 36 years they have been studying it. If the reef is in danger — it’s from being overgrown with coral. Climate Change, such as it is, has caused no trend at all.
If anything, in the spirit of modern-media-science, climate change causes record coral growth.
Tonight the UN scientists decided not to list the reef as “in danger”. The ABC and every Green group who normally follow UN scientists slavishly said that was “only because of lobbying”.

July 24, 2021 12:35 pm

quibbling about rainfall days over Germany, will talking about global climate change? could there be a better example of Cherry Picking?

as for attribution modeling, the technique is standard causal predictive modeling. Its called Markov Chain Monte Carlo. From a predictive/causal POV, MCMC is much more valid than old-school significance testing, which is, because it is based on projecting based on past measurements.

Perhaps the writer retired before this (mini) revolution in predictive modeling, which occurred in the late 1980s (search the term and Speigelhalter in Google Scholar) when I was in graduate school. It became the dominant method of “statistical” inference (all based on probability, not measures of moments of assumed-Gaussian distributions).


July 25, 2021 7:44 pm

In the past before DNA testing the legal saying for the difference between fact and opinion,
Maternity is fact
paternity is opinion.
Now it appears there is no difference between fact and opinion.

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