The Longest Drought

Climate scientists reconsider the meaning and implications of drought in light of a changing world

Peer-Reviewed Publication

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA – SANTA BARBARA

Lake Powell 2017
IMAGE: RINGS AROUND LAKE POWELL IN 2017 EVINCE THE DROUGHT THAT HAS SETTLED ON THE AMERICAN WEST. STEVENSON’S STUDY SUGGESTS IT WILL REMAIN WITH US FOR THE REST OF THE CENTURY, IF NOT LONGER. view more 
CREDIT: PUBLIC DOMAIN

Maps of the American West have featured ever darker shades of red over the past two decades. The colors illustrate the unprecedented drought blighting the region. In some areas, conditions have blown past severe and extreme drought into exceptional drought. But rather than add more superlatives to our descriptions, one group of scientists believes it’s time to reconsider the very definition of drought.

Researchers from half a dozen universities investigated what the future might hold in terms of rainfall and soil moisture, two measurements of drought. The team, led by UC Santa Barbara’s Samantha Stevenson, found that many regions of the world will enter permanent dry or wet conditions in the coming decades, under modern definitions. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveal the importance of rethinking how we classify these events as well as how we respond to them.

“Essentially, we need to stop thinking about returning to normal as a thing that is possible,” said Stevenson, an assistant professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. This idea affects both how we define drought and pluvial (abnormally wet) events and how we adapt to a changing environment.

A drought is when conditions are drier than expected. But this concept becomes vague when the baseline itself is in flux. Stevenson suggests that, for some applications, it’s more productive to frame drought relative to this changing background state, rather than a region’s historical range of water availability.

To predict future precipitation and soil moisture levels, Stevenson and her colleagues turned to a new collection of climate models from different research institutions. Researchers had run each model many times with slightly different initial conditions, in what scientists call an “ensemble.” Since the climate is an inherently chaotic system, researchers use ensembles to account for some of this unpredictability.

The results show a world where certain regions are in permanent drought while others experience perennial pluvial for the rest of the 21st century. The team calculated the year in which average soil moisture will exceed the threshold that defines either a megadrought or a megapluvial. “In other words, at what point do average conditions exceed what we would consider a megadrought if it happened now, [and never return to ‘normal’]” Stevenson said.

The western United States has already crossed this benchmark, and there are other places headed that way as well, including Australia, southern Africa and western Europe. “But, again, that’s if we use today’s definition of a drought,” Stevenson said.

The authors argue that we need to move away from fixed definitions toward a more nuanced account of drought and pluvial. “Our idea of normal is, in a sense, meaningless when ‘normal’ is continuously changing,” Stevenson added.

Climate models indicate that average soil moisture in many regions will continue to drop. That said, the team’s ensembles suggests that soil moisture will continue to experience drought-related variation similar to today, relative to the ever-drier baseline.

The fluctuation highlights the need to consider both long term changes and the usual ups and downs associated with historic droughts and pluvials. “The most important management challenge will be to adjust for the relentless declines in water availability, as this exceeds the expected impact of future megadroughts,” said co-author Julia Cole, a professor at the University of Michigan.

Precipitation patterns, on the other hand, will become much more extreme. Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. So as the atmosphere heats up, it’ll be able to suck more moisture from dry areas and dump more precipitation on wet regions.

“We wanted to consider both precipitation and soil moisture at the same time because that can be important for water management,” Stevenson said. For instance, we will need to adapt infrastructure to more arid conditions in the American West, but that infrastructure will also need to handle more intense rainfall.

“When we talk about being in a drought, the presumption is that eventually the drought will end, and conditions will return to normal,” Stevenson said. “But if we’re never returning to normal, then we need to adapt all of the ways that we manage water with the expectation that normal will continually be drier and drier every year.”


JOURNAL

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

ARTICLE TITLE

Twenty-first century hydroclimate: A continually changing baseline, with more frequent extremes

ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE

14-Mar-2022

Here is the paper.

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Bob Tisdale(@bobtisdale)
Editor
March 15, 2022 2:10 am

To predict future precipitation and soil moisture levels, Stevenson and her colleagues turned to a new collection of climate models from different research institutions.”

Ha ha ha ha ha.

In other words, the study is nonsensical.

Regards,
Bob 

Quelgeek
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 15, 2022 4:24 am

Nonsensical indeed. What do you do with a collection of models? Please don’t tell me you can average them.

Maybe you can stare at them in wonder?

TonyL
Reply to  Quelgeek
March 15, 2022 5:53 am

There lots of things you might do with models.
1)Average Them.
2) Use a Q-test or Students-t test to eliminate the outliers.
3) Calculate the Std. Dev. and RSD, then the 95% confidence intervals.
4) Calculate wee p values.
5) Finally, talk to the astrophysics people and see if they have discovered any exoplanets which might have an environment which matches your models.
FUN!
Be creative, get funding.

Kenji
Reply to  TonyL
March 15, 2022 8:58 am

There is no definition of “drought” given in this article. Is there a current definition of “drought”? The Drought monitor has totally made it up. Their definition includes satellite visibility of “green”. There is no defined timeframe or % below some median or mean precipitation must fall. Then this article references both “dry” AND “wet” in its consideration of the “new” drought! WTF!? Are they implying that the same amount of moisture is being redistributed via changing ocean currents or something?

Since we have no universal definition of drought … how about conceding THAT first? Before we suppose to change it?

Hasbeen
Reply to  Kenji
March 15, 2022 8:02 pm

Back in the early 70s I was shown some of the analysis of the then rvently drilled cores of some Great Barrier Reef coral. The bit that interested me most was the finding that for 27 years in the mid 1700s Queensland 2 largest Pacific coastal rivers had deposited no silt on the reef. This was exceptional, as in almost all years some silt from run off from the Fitzroy & Burdekin rivers is deposited by these rivers.

Just imangine the “Global Warming” screams that would go up if Queensland had such a drought today, & if it happened almost 300 years ago, it is going to happen sometime again in the future.

The little bit od knowledge we have today is a really dangerous thing, when considered with how much we have yet to learn.

Fraizer
Reply to  TonyL
March 15, 2022 9:09 am

Reminds me of the barometer question:

How do you find the height of a building using a barometer?

  • Tying a piece of string to the barometer, lowering the barometer from the roof to the ground, and measuring the length of the string and barometer.
  • Dropping the barometer off the roof, measuring the time it takes to hit the ground, and calculating the building’s height assuming constant acceleration under gravity.
  • When the sun is shining, standing the barometer up, measuring the height of the barometer and the lengths of the shadows of both barometer and building, and finding the building’s height using similar triangles.
  • Tying a piece of string to the barometer, and swinging it like a pendulum both on the ground and on the roof, and from the known pendulum length and swing period, calculate the gravitational field for the two cases. Use Newton’s law of gravitation to calculate the radial altitude of both the ground and the roof. The difference will be the height of the building.
  • Tying a piece of string to the barometer, which is as long as the height of the building, and swinging it like a pendulum, and from the swing period, calculate the pendulum length.
  • Marking off the number of barometer lengths vertically along the emergency staircase, and multiplying this with the length of the barometer.
  • Trading the barometer for the correct information with the building’s janitor or superintendent.
  • Mark 100 Ft off from the base of the building on flat ground, use the barometer like a gun sight focused on the top of the building, measure the angle between the ground and barometer and calculate the height from the Sin of the angle.
  • Measuring the pressure difference between ground and roof and calculating the height difference (the expected answer).
Gary Pearse
Reply to  Fraizer
March 15, 2022 2:25 pm

Enjoyed this comment! As an engineering student (all disciplines had to participate), we had to survey a map, including contours, of the campus with roads sidewalks, building outlines and elevations using various instuments, optical, planetable, compas and tape, and yes, barometer! Surprisingly, on a fine midday on the prairies, barometer heights of buildings were reasonably clustered.

Chas Holmes
Reply to  Fraizer
March 15, 2022 5:45 pm

The correct answer is ” give it to the Super and ask him how tall it is”

Alba
Reply to  Quelgeek
March 15, 2022 9:11 am

Is there a term for a collection of models, like there is for a collection of crows?

mkelly
Reply to  Alba
March 15, 2022 9:22 am

Bogus.

tim maguire
Reply to  mkelly
March 15, 2022 9:38 am

I like that. A “bogus” of models.

“To determine level of future warming, we consulted a bogus of models and smoothed our data to normalize the expenses we claimed against our grant.”

philincalifornia
Reply to  tim maguire
March 15, 2022 10:39 am

I think a “bogosity” of models has more gravitas.

My heart is bleeding not for the California droughtists as another nice rainfall went through here (the Bay Area) last night and this morning.

Craigl
Reply to  philincalifornia
March 19, 2022 7:40 pm

Yeah! We got a whole 5/100ths of an inch!!

oeman 50
Reply to  Alba
March 15, 2022 9:25 am

A “kit.”

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Alba
March 15, 2022 10:14 am

An obfuscate.

Max P
Reply to  Alba
March 15, 2022 10:14 am

I like the term ‘crap ton’ as stand in for a collection of climate models. It is both descriptive of their usefulness and indicative of their number.

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  Max P
March 18, 2022 12:59 pm

Is that a standard crapton, or a metric crapton?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Alba
March 15, 2022 10:17 am

Scientific Murder

robin townsend
Reply to  Alba
March 15, 2022 11:47 am

a funding

yirgach
Reply to  Alba
March 15, 2022 12:58 pm

A divination.

Reply to  Alba
March 15, 2022 3:56 pm

A charm of hummingbirds.
A murder of crows.
A cabal of warmists.
A bulshyyte of climate models.

Reply to  Allan MacRae
March 17, 2022 10:57 pm

A charm of hummingbirds.
A murder of crows.
A cabal of warmists.
A bulshyyte of climate models.

More collective nouns:

Formerly: A gaggle of politicians.
Because all they did was sh!t and squawk.

Now: A murder of politicians.
Because they pushed the deadly Covid-19 “vaccines”.

Still unchanged: A charm of hummingbirds.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Alba
March 15, 2022 5:19 pm

A steaming pile of models?

kenji
Reply to  Alba
March 16, 2022 11:36 am

A mo’del of models

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  Quelgeek
March 15, 2022 8:38 pm

A man with one watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches – can’t be sure.

(OK, so you have to be mature enough to remember spring driven watches.)

MJB
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 15, 2022 4:33 am

Models indeed. But I’m reminded of this interesting paper that tried to work with the available ensembles, weighting individual models by their skill, and found most extreme predictions vanished. Perhaps a stop gap way for local governments to inform decisions about future infrastructure needs that acknowledges uncertainty and risk while still appearing to follow the alarmist models.

Observational Constraints Reduce Likelihood of Extreme Changes in Multidecadal Land Water Availability
Abstract:
Future changes in multidecadal mean water availability, represented as the difference between precipitation and evapotranspiration, remain highly uncertain in ensemble simulations of climate models. Here we identify a physically meaningful relationship between present-day mean precipitation and projected changes in water availability. This suggests that the uncertainty can be reduced by conditioning the ensemble on observed precipitation, which is achieved through a novel probabilistic approach that uses Approximate Bayesian Computation. Comparing the constrained with the full ensemble shows that projected extreme changes in water availability, denoted by the 5th and 95th percentile of the full ensemble, are less likely over 73% and 63% of land, respectively. There is also an overall shift toward wetter conditions over Europe, Southern Africa, and Western North America, whereas the opposite occurs over the Amazon. Finally, the constrained projections support adaptation to shifts in regional water availability as imposed by different global warming levels.

MJB
Reply to  MJB
March 15, 2022 7:24 am

I see I am being downvoted, fair enough, but I’m struggling to understand the objection. Essentially I’m suggesting using the alarmist’s models against the alarmist narrative by demonstrating that even if we accept the high sensitivity models that we do not automatically arrive at a “worse than we thought” conclusion. Any insight on the objections appreciated.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MJB
March 15, 2022 10:24 am

Unfortunately, it seems that the votes are usually a reflection of whether or not the reader likes what you have written. Many of the readers have a problem with reading comprehension, and you can always expect at least a couple of the alarmist trolls to vote down anything that goes against the alarmist meme. I’d suggest not paying much attention to the votes.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MJB
March 15, 2022 10:21 am

… weighting individual models by their skill, …

How did they assess the skill of the models?

MJB
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 15, 2022 11:29 am

If I understand it correctly they compared how well the model matched actual precipitation over the period of overlap between model projection and observations.

This is an alternative to the more common naive ensemble that treats each member as equally likely.

Last edited 2 months ago by MJB
TonyL
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 15, 2022 5:45 am

“a new collection of climate models”

Thanks, Bob. You saved me the time reading another piece of worthless climate drivel.
I propose we coin a new acronym.
YAPOG = Yet Another Piece Of Garbage.
As in “This study is YAPOG.”
It has such a nice derogatory sound to it.

Steve Case
Reply to  TonyL
March 15, 2022 7:56 am

YAPOG It has such a nice derogatory sound to it.
________________________________________

Ha ha ha – good one!

I’m trying to get Colorado University’s Sea Level Research Group to be known as C-SLRG and pronounced See Slurg. So far it hasn’t caught on. I wish you better luck with YAPOG (-:

Since that was off topic, here’s some more:

NASA’s GISTEMP just released the monthly update to their Land Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI) for February 2022 and made 243 changes that follow the usual pattern of bumping up values since 1977 lowering most of the values prior to that year. This goes on month after month, year after year in a steady drone. So far since 2003 the gang over Tom’s Restaurant in Manhattan have made over 53,000 such changes.

Happy Ides of March !

TonyL
Reply to  Steve Case
March 15, 2022 8:43 am

for February 2022 and made 243 changes that follow the usual pattern
Thanks for the update, I have been wondering about that. GISSTEMP seems to meet the US govt. definition of felony fraud. Specifically using federal monies on research and fabricating data. 53,000 changes over the years, Lordy.
C-SLRG is very good, too. We should use it here.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Steve Case
March 15, 2022 10:12 am

We missed pie day.

DonM
Reply to  Dave Fair
March 15, 2022 10:33 am

pie is wrong anyway.

Just wait for Tau day.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Dave Fair
March 15, 2022 12:42 pm

I like when pie are squared.
Or is that a circular argument?

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
March 15, 2022 5:58 pm

Pie are not squared; Pie are round. Cornbread are squared.

Donna K. Becker
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
March 16, 2022 11:45 am

Unless it’s baked in a muffin tin.

John_C
Reply to  Donna K. Becker
March 21, 2022 5:46 pm

Or in a cast iron skillet. (Best crust)

ex-KaliforniaKook
Reply to  Dave Fair
March 15, 2022 1:00 pm

I didn’t. It was my birthday!

John_C
Reply to  Steve Case
March 21, 2022 5:48 pm

SeaSlug – C SLG – CuSLrG

Dave Fair
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 15, 2022 10:04 am

Your tax dollars at work, Bob. It is fascinating to watch “scientists” take a model that couldn’t predict a bowl movement, run it a bunch of times and treat the average as a modern day oracle. You would have thought they could notice the models don’t match reality.

The lead author is an assistant professor that does her field work in the tropical Pacific. What a gig.

Last edited 2 months ago by Dave Fair
Shanghai Dan
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 15, 2022 12:19 pm

Yes, but it’s studiously nonsensical…

Gunga Din
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 15, 2022 3:21 pm

If “The Science is Settled”, why do they need new models?
The old models are getting a bit long in the tooth?

Eric Vieira
March 15, 2022 2:12 am

Climate models: the high tech version of “a little bird told me…”

JeffC
March 15, 2022 2:15 am

“Essentially, we need to stop thinking about returning to normal as a thing that is possible,”

Define normal.

MM from Canada
Reply to  JeffC
March 15, 2022 2:40 am

Before they can define normal, they need to establish that they are the authorities – the ONLY authorities – on what normal is. Then they need to prove that their definition of normal does, in fact, represent the norm.

Oldseadog
Reply to  MM from Canada
March 15, 2022 3:12 am

But they know that they are authorities, they have told themselves that they are so it must be true.

william Johnston
Reply to  MM from Canada
March 15, 2022 7:38 am

May I be excused?

Joao Martins
Reply to  JeffC
March 15, 2022 4:01 am

… and define “possible” (or “impossible”, if it is easier).

John Shotsky
Reply to  JeffC
March 15, 2022 5:19 am

People have a normal temperature. Places don’t. Places have at best an average temperature. The US southwest drought drove the Anasazi and other Pueblo tribes out thousands of years ago. It can happen again, and probably will.

Dave Fair
Reply to  John Shotsky
March 15, 2022 10:14 am

And the government doesn’t plan for it.

MSG
Reply to  JeffC
March 15, 2022 4:19 pm

Define “the”

Layor
March 15, 2022 2:21 am

It is hard to believe there are so many low IQ scientists around.

Spetzer86
Reply to  Layor
March 15, 2022 3:52 am

Well, at least in Climate Science that’d be correct. I’m thinking the brightest see that you can’t question the narrative and if you can’t question something, it’s not science. The good ones see this early on and escape into physics or some other hard research field, although those are diminishing with woke incursions.

Coach Springer
Reply to  Spetzer86
March 15, 2022 6:12 am

Theory: There is insufficient establshed knowledge on which climate science is based. Therefore, there is nothing but guesswork and hunch to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Layor
March 15, 2022 5:48 am

It’s another level

Those than can – do
Those that can’t – teach
Those that can’t teach – become climate scientists

MarkW
Reply to  Layor
March 15, 2022 7:37 am

In climate science, all it takes to become a scientist, is for those who are already being called scientists, to acknowledge that you to are one.
Conversely, if those who are currently acknowledged as climate scientists, declare that you aren’t a scientist, you aren’t, and can never be one.

kwinterkorn
Reply to  MarkW
March 15, 2022 11:02 am

“Climate science” is a branch of the humanities.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Layor
March 15, 2022 10:31 am

It says a lot about the quality of education, and the role of diversity quotas on that quality. When one is more concerned about external, irrelevant characteristics of a person, rather than their ability to think, much mischief is done.

Petit_Barde
March 15, 2022 2:29 am

Which kind of drought ? The same kind as the (actually floody) drought that’s been prophesied since years in Australia by the usual bunch of climate clowns ?

griff
Reply to  Petit_Barde
March 15, 2022 5:17 am

Yes, Australia has a floody drought: most of the year there’s no rain, then a year’s supply falls in days and causes floods.

and yet Watts readers continue to pretend that is ‘normal’

The Dark Lord
Reply to  griff
March 15, 2022 5:35 am

Most years ? No rain ? Are you that ignorant ?

Timo V
Reply to  griff
March 15, 2022 5:54 am

“I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!”

-Dorothea Mackellar, My Country 1908.

You are bloody idiot Griff.

Brian
Reply to  griff
March 15, 2022 6:11 am

Yep, Australia always was and always will be a land of Drought, Flood and Fire.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
March 15, 2022 7:38 am

For Australia, that is normal, and always has been.

JMarkW
Reply to  griff
March 15, 2022 5:38 pm

“Australia has a floody drought: most of the year there’s no rain, then a year’s supply falls in days and causes floods”
That is mildly true in some areas but not overall. I actually live in Australia and the weather we see is not only relatively regular and predictable it has not really changed much in over a century, as you can see from the poem written in 1908 by Dorothea Mackellar.
It is pretty much “normal” everywhere except in griffland

Last edited 2 months ago by JMarkW
LdB
Reply to  griff
March 15, 2022 5:50 pm

Yet despite all your dribble the majority of Australians still don’t embrace your belief and they live there 🙂

Curious George(@moudryj)
Reply to  Petit_Barde
March 15, 2022 8:19 am

The unprecedented drought. The drought that had no peer since the authors started attending the kindergarten. They still do.
(University, an institution of higher learning, formerly referred to as kindergarten).

richardw
March 15, 2022 2:35 am

“Essentially, we need to stop thinking about returning to normal as a thing that is possible” – exactly what Klaus Schwab and the WEF want us to think.

Crowcatcher
March 15, 2022 2:37 am

The usual load of climate “claptrap” – oh how boring it all becomes – except, of course, for those receiving the golden “shilling”.

Greg Locock
March 15, 2022 2:49 am

I suspect that the east coast of Australia might need a bit of that drought these nuff nuffs are claiming has occurred. Yes, I know it’s just the PDO doing its thing, but using Oz as the poster boy for more droughts (or floods) is a bit daft given the climate history of the last 150 years.

fretslider
March 15, 2022 2:51 am

“a new collection of climate models”

Not one, not two, but a collection.

Take an average and then add the number you first thought of

Dave Fair
Reply to  fretslider
March 15, 2022 10:21 am

Model outputs reflect the prior speculations of the modeler. In 40 years CliSciFi has been unwilling to change the incorrect assumptions programmed into them. Among many other failings, the lack of a Tropical Tropospheric Hot Spot has been ignored for decades. Science?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  fretslider
March 15, 2022 10:38 am

Given enough models with random variation, one should be able use an average to erase any appearance of a trend other than the one built into the assumptions that aren’t amenable to calculation — like the energy exchange in clouds.

Ron Long
March 15, 2022 2:51 am

These “Researchers” do not identify normal variance, ie, drought versus flood cycles without human presence, before they begin “Modeling” a new normal. As a geologist I am aware of the tremendous variance in world-wide climate cycles, and cannot identify any current deviation from that background. Then, after their data torturing (modeling) they predict the Goldilocks scenario: somewhere it will be too dry, somewhere it will be too wet, and somewhere it will be just right.

John
March 15, 2022 3:03 am

I remember reading that the Antarctic ice cores showed that Australia has had 40 year long droughts in the past.

Spetzer86
Reply to  John
March 15, 2022 3:59 am

The California area has seen 200 year long droughts according to the records. Wonder if they included that in the models?

fretslider
Reply to  Spetzer86
March 15, 2022 7:17 am

Time began in, er, 1950

MarkW
Reply to  fretslider
March 15, 2022 7:39 am

According to griff, it began in 1979.

dk_
March 15, 2022 3:11 am

Maps of the American West have featured ever darker shades of red over the past two decades.

Science by cartography. Never let it be said that we might confuse the map with the territory.

Peta of Newark
March 15, 2022 3:21 am

Sorry Sam, climate is not chaotic – weather might be classed as chaotic.
But even then, weather only appears chaotic in places where it varies a lot and is thus ‘newsworthy’

I’m sure we’re eagerly awaiting your daily news reports of the future telling us that (use Sahara as example)
Mon: Hot dry sunny
Tues: Hot dry sunny
Weds: Hot dry sunny
Thurs:Hot dry sunny
Last week:Hot dry sunny
Last month: Hot dry sunny

You’re gonna sell a lot of advertising with news like that

Also, you talk authoritatively of ‘Soil Moisture
Despite your concerns about ‘chaos‘ and ‘change‘ – is it beyond the bounds of all possibility that The Soil might change? Or be changing. Or have changed over the last 100 years.

Are there any good reasons why that might or might not be the case?
e.g. Were ‘The Bison’ of the Great Plains avid and skilled users of 300HP tractors, Mr John Deere’s ‘all steel plough’ and Ammonium Nitrate?

If not, how did they manage to survive for many thousands of years and at the same time produce some the most fertile soil ever seen?

I don’t see your concern about that anywhere in your writings
There’s a scary possibility – what if ‘changing soils’ were:

  • changing the soil moisture
  • and soil moisture changed atmospheric moisture
  • and what if atmospheric moisture changed the rainfall
  • which in turn changed the soil moisture..
  • etc
  • etc

We know what’s changing the soil. We see it on our breakfast, lunch & dinner-plates while it makes our coffee ‘creamy’ every single day of the year

But you knew that……….
Will someone now please inform The Computer?

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Peta of Newark
March 15, 2022 4:34 am

PETA,
You might be relying too much on your local knowledge.
Many times, I have flown for an hour or two at Mach 0.7 or so, over lands that have not ever felt the John Deere or maybe even the digging stick.
There is much that has been learned by comparing cultivated soils with untouched soils. Mostly, it is good learning, devoid of alarm and cries of existential threats. Sometimes, the anguished cry is in proportion to limited learning or experience or both. Geoff S

Meab
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
March 15, 2022 9:35 am

Peta has been schooled on this before. Most land that’s included in Agricultural lands is actually range land that is minimally disturbed from its natural state. The actual percentage of land that gets plowed is small.

Jim Steele’s video yesterday shows actual data proving very little to no changes in rainfall over the lands used in intensive agriculture. In the Eastern US, one of the areas that has experienced the greatest increase in intense agriculture, temps have actually been declining for decades.

Peta’s theory that agriculture is causing deserts which causes climate change is laughably all wet. Despite all data showing otherwise, he continues to push his (debunked) theory.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Meab
March 15, 2022 10:43 am

I wonder why griff never cites Steele’s work in his pronouncements? [rhetorical question]

H.R.
March 15, 2022 3:40 am

I thought that there would be more rain. My understanding was that e-e-e-e-vil ‘cahbon’ would heat the oceans and increase water vapor, the major greenhouse gas that would provide a positive feedback loop.

The oceans would boil away and sea levels would increase due to the melting poles.. (I still haven’t figured that one out. Wouldn’t that all cancel out?)

Meanwhile, all the farmland would become cracked and dried while all the trees would leave.

Anyhow, that was my understanding of CAGW. Has been called off?



These alarmist ‘Climate Scientists’ all need to open their hymn books to the same page so they can all sing the same song.

Last edited 2 months ago by H.R.
Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  H.R.
March 15, 2022 3:48 am

Gorebull warming has been called off for the last 7 years. So far.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
March 15, 2022 10:31 am

Gorebull warming was also called off for over 18 years prior the the latest double Super El Nino. CliSciFi’s response: First alarm and denial, then implausible reasoning, now silence and suppression (with a little historical data manipulation thrown in).

Chaswarnertoo
March 15, 2022 3:46 am

Define ‘normal’ in a chaotic system. Morons.

Right-Handed Shark
March 15, 2022 3:51 am

“Maps of the American West have featured ever darker shades of red over the past two decades.”

Maybe the printer ran out of pantone 186, and is using 187 instead?

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
March 15, 2022 4:38 am

We were alarmed when finger paintings by our kindy child were all in black paint. Deep doomy psychology thoughts. Then, the teacher explained that they had run out of other colours. Geoff S

DonM
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
March 15, 2022 10:44 am

… then the teacher explained that black is the best color, and your child was just trying to placate the teacher, for fear of being chastised & ridiculed.

Ed Zuiderwijk
March 15, 2022 4:10 am

Returning to normal? We are at normal!

The annoying arrogance of people claiming to know better than nature what normal is. Just ignore them.

Last edited 2 months ago by Ed Zuiderwijk
MarkW
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
March 15, 2022 7:41 am

Why be normal?

Waza
March 15, 2022 4:16 am

Define drought
Define flood
State how increase CO2 will increase flood or drought in each region, then show data to prove it.

In Richard Feynman 1966 Messenger Lectures, he discusses how to find new laws and the basics of scientifically proving ( or not) a theory.

HE gives the example
“For example, A hates his mother. The reason is, of course, because she didn’t caress him or love him enough when he was a child. Actually, if you investigate, you find out that as a matter of fact, she did love him very much, and everything was all right.  Well, then it’s because she was overindulgent when he was young. So by having a vague theory, it’s possible to get either result.  Now wait, now the cure for this one is the following: it would be possible to say, if it were possible to state ahead of time, how much love is not enough, and how much love is overindulgent exactly, then there would be a perfectly legitimate theory against which you can make tests. It is usually said, when this is pointed out, how much love is, and so on, “Oh, you’re dealing with psychological matters, where things can’t be defined so precisely!” Yes, but then you can’t claim to know anything about it.”

Feynman was having a go at social scientists in 1966. They haven’t gotten any better.
vaguely claiming somewhere will have more floods and more droughts sometime in the future is social science at its worst.

Tom Halla
March 15, 2022 4:49 am

Models are the current equivalent of examining the entrails of a sheep.

DonM
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 15, 2022 10:47 am

Not even close.

Just imagine what would happen to the Seer if he/she got caught rearranging the entrails before providing the official reading/interpretation.

(That’s what should happen to mann et al)

Last edited 2 months ago by DonM
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 15, 2022 10:48 am

Models are a little better than that. The problem is how the modelers use the results and how the MSM communicates the results to the public.

Michael in Dublin
March 15, 2022 5:03 am

When one applies what these academics are saying to say Southern Africa, despite some areas that are very dry, many areas do not seem to have received the alarmist memo. A number of the dry areas have received good rain and overall most dams are pretty full.

Steve E.
March 15, 2022 5:09 am

Simple question this morning… Since every “ensemble” plot of climate models for temperature I’ve seen demonstrates no particular skill at forecasting temp, why should we pay any attention to an ensemble prediction of drought?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Steve E.
March 15, 2022 10:56 am

Logically, every ensemble has at least one (allowing for a tie) best prediction. The problem for the modelers is how to identify that one best prediction, and demonstrate that it isn’t just luck. That is, that it can be reproduced from the same model. If it isn’t reproducible, then there is a problem of reliability. That is, none of the individual runs have skill in predicting, and the ensemble average dilutes the theoretically best result with all the poor results.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 15, 2022 11:02 am

P.S.: If the ensembles have large inter-model variations, and the only way to test them is to compare them to [altered] history, there is really no reason to believe that they aren’t just ‘curve-fitting’ or lucky outcomes, and actually have no more predictive value than fitting a high-order polynomial to the historical data.

March 15, 2022 5:12 am

Or, maybe we poorly timed our development of water management in the West. The drought will end in roughly 10 years.

https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.0306738101

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Stu-in-Flag
March 15, 2022 7:55 am

That is bourgeois science. At least according to Mickey Mann who claims that the AMO doesn’t exist because it doesn’t figure in his model. A bit like Lysenko who claimed genes do not exist.

Paul Stevens
March 15, 2022 5:35 am

When “climate scientists” use models, they never seem to select the 4 or 5 that come closest to matching observations and then averaging them to produce their projections. Or maybe I have missed something. Why is that?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Paul Stevens
March 15, 2022 11:15 am

It has been explained by people knowledgeable in the field that the decision to use all of them was political; there are multiple nations with teams running the models. In the UN IPCC CliSciFi AR6, however, they had to throw out a bunch of the models that were running egregiously hot. The CMIP6 hot models, along with RCP8.5-type scenarios, are still being used for “scientific” studies.

Anybody that believes the UN IPCC and U.S. National Assessment reports are anything more than political propaganda is a fool. They both lie in saying that severe weather-related events are becoming more frequent. Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. is highly critical of both.

Tom
March 15, 2022 5:50 am

It’s well known that the current “ensemble” of climate models have predicted higher temperatures than those that are currently measured. Now, when you add to them a drought factor that “as the atmosphere heats up, it’ll be able to suck more moisture from dry areas and dump more precipitation on wet regions”, viola!…You’ll predict droughts.

That ain’t science. It ain’t even witchcraft. It’s simply propaganda.

I remember driving around California in the mid 70s and coming to a bridge hundreds of feet above the river below. There was a sign on the bridge: “No diving off Bridge”. Even a fool would never jump to certain death there. The sign, though, was meant for non drought conditions, where the reservoir below was filled with water. Some indeed had safely jumped off the bridge into the reservoir. A couple of years later, the reservoir was refilled and the sign was appropriate. Droughts come and go. It’s called “weather”. Sometimes they even go for a long time before they come back. That’s called “climate”. The so-called “Climate Models” obviously don’t have enough fidelity to accurately predict when the weather diverges from the climate.

fretslider
March 15, 2022 5:54 am

A drought is when conditions are drier than expected”


My Vodka Martini was drier than expected. Given its ‘extreme’ I’m going to call it a Vodka Drought.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  fretslider
March 15, 2022 7:56 am

Ah, but you had it shaken, not stirred!

jeffery p
March 15, 2022 6:12 am

Forgive me for working from memory instead of doing some research — but hasn’t the West and Southwest US experienced a centuries-long drought in the near past? Wasn’t it a 500-year drought?

If my recollection is correct, doesn’t that mean long droughts are normal for that region? The 500-year drought happened when there obviously was no possible human influence on the climate.

Somebody should model that.

Last edited 2 months ago by jeffery p
Steve Keohane
Reply to  jeffery p
March 15, 2022 7:48 am

It was called the ‘Desert Southwest” when I moved there 50 years ago.

Jet A
March 15, 2022 6:24 am

How would you have any possible drought pictures without the Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams!

Michael S. Kelly
March 15, 2022 6:25 am

“In some areas, conditions have blown past severe and extreme drought into exceptional drought. But rather than add more superlatives to our descriptions, one group of scientists believes it’s time to reconsider the very definition of drought.”

They haven’t exhausted the addition of superlatives until they get to “ludicrous drought”.

rah
March 15, 2022 6:30 am

 “,,,,,,,,,,the unprecedented drought blighting the region.”

Right there is where I quit reading because we all know that the SW has had far longer and more severe droughts than anything we have seen in our lifetimes.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  rah
March 15, 2022 10:19 am

What they mean by unprecedented is they have never experienced anything like it since they were born and has they have no understanding of what happened before they were born it truly is unprecedented to them.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  rah
March 15, 2022 11:08 am

What do you expect from an “assistant professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.”

Somebody once said that if one has to add the suffix “Science” to a word, then it isn’t science.

David Elstrom
March 15, 2022 6:57 am

Even before we start critiquing the wonders of new models there is a more basic question. What have these modelers done to earn our trust? Yeah, that was a rhetorical question because the answer is, “Nothing.”

Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 7:01 am

From the article: ““Essentially, we need to stop thinking about returning to normal as a thing that is possible,” said Stevenson, an assistant professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.”

That’s one of the more ridiculous things I’ve heard an alarmist say lately.

Here’s a clue, Stevenson: We are living in normal times now. There’s no indication these normal times will change into abnormal times in the future.

You are assuming unprecedented warming in the future, which is why you are saying we can’t return to normal, but your assumptions have no basis in fact. You are wringing your hands over science fiction. You are living in a false reality. CO2 is not going to cause runaway warming.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 11:09 am

What do you expect from a ‘Manager-In-Training?’

Kevin kilty
March 15, 2022 7:02 am

I recall 1977 in Utah where we were told by experts that the drought we were in was exceptional and it would take a decade for reservoirs to return to normal levels if only the weather would return to normal. They were releasing water from reservoirs threatened with overtopping by the spring of 1978. By the early 1980s water was being routed down some of the streets (North Temple I think) to reach the Jordan river. Rising levels in the Salt Lake were threatening the UP railroad causeway and the airport.

I have doubts that the climate models will tell us much of anything useful.

Andy Pattullo
March 15, 2022 7:29 am

The “science” of prophecy rears its addled head yet again. Why is it that, among the infinite possible futures, the ecoloons only chose the worst case scenario for their fantasy predictions?

Walter Horsting
March 15, 2022 7:40 am

California has know much longer drought cycles.

CA drought cycles.jpg
Dave Fair
Reply to  Walter Horsting
March 15, 2022 11:30 am

Late in the 19th Century John Wesley Powell (2nd director of the USGS) warned the nation that the wet conditions in the SW that was drawing settlers by the droves was abnormal. He has been proven to be correct. We are still not building needed water infrastructure because of Leftist political posturing.

David Anderson
March 15, 2022 7:49 am

People up to their necks in water can read the same thing about Australia.

Steve Case
March 15, 2022 8:10 am

Here’s what NOAA’s Climate at a Glance shows for South West Precipitation:

comment image

Dave Fair
Reply to  Steve Case
March 15, 2022 11:35 am

Start on an unusual wet period and end on a naturally dry period and a -0.03 in./decade is the best they can do. Yep, droughts are increasing in the U.S. Southwest.

John K. Sutherland.
March 15, 2022 8:11 am

Always, there is too much ‘future’ guesswork. The rule should be… one wrong guess, and you are GONE. NO GUESSING.

Dave
March 15, 2022 8:49 am

There is no ‘normal’, and there never has been…everything fluctuates. Or maybe there is a normal after all, which is that there is no normal.

Bill Parsons
Reply to  Dave
March 15, 2022 10:55 am

“Normal” is precisely what is so terrifying… normality and every aberation from it.

soil moisture changes are so large in some regions that conditions that would be considered a megadrought or pluvial event today are projected to become average. 

Shivers!

Meanwhile… Current Colorado snow water snowpack equivalent is at 100% of … (you know… the “N” word)

comment image

Bill Parsons
Reply to  Bill Parsons
March 15, 2022 11:02 am

aberration? abberashion?

Steve Keohane
Reply to  Bill Parsons
March 16, 2022 9:18 am

I measure precipitation near the middle of section 102 on your map. I had 120% of normal last water year. Presently, I have 160% of Snow Water Equivalent on the ground compared to last year.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Dave
March 15, 2022 11:12 am

“The only thing that is constant is change.”

roaddog
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 15, 2022 4:17 pm

Thank you, Clyde, for the ultimate truth about both climate and nature.

HOJO
March 15, 2022 9:22 am

the Sea of Cortez will flood all of Tucson in 123 years according to the latest study by the Homer Davis Elementary school board in MARCH OF 2022

Dave
Reply to  HOJO
March 15, 2022 2:01 pm

This is great news! My descendants here in the Phoenix area will own beachfront!

J. R.
Reply to  HOJO
March 15, 2022 8:18 pm

It won’t be any great loss. Also, the illegals will then be coming through that sector by boat rather than on land.

Steve Oregon
March 15, 2022 9:31 am

The supposed permanent Texas drought of around 2011 was erased by everything filling up by the following wet years.
The supposed permanent CA drought of 2015 was erased by everything filling up with the following wet years.
Now we’re back to the drier cycle in CA and the hyperbole resurfaces.
This is sure sign of immense rain to soon fill everything up again.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Steve Oregon
March 15, 2022 7:40 pm

Rain is forecast for California over the next few days.

Clyde Spencer
March 15, 2022 10:10 am

… found that many regions of the world will enter permanent dry or wet conditions in the coming decades, under modern definitions.

It appears that she defines “permanent” differently than most do. With continental plates drifting laterally at 10X the rate of sea level rise, nothing is truly permanent on the surface of Earth. Mountain ranges can be leveled to a peneplain in about 50 million years, drastically changing the local climate during the process. Whether it is a careless use of a word, or another example of alarmists attempting to scare uncritical readers, it is inaccurate.

Models are only as good as the assumptions built into them, which usually go unexamined by the likes of Ms. Stevenson.

jose
March 15, 2022 10:44 am

Nonsense, I agree. A trully quotable line: “it’ll be able to suck more moisture from dry areas and dump more precipitation on wet regions.” What does this even mean? Does she think deserts supply water to ‘wet regions’? Could it be that the oceans add the vast majority of moisture to the atmosphere?

Bill Parsons
March 15, 2022 11:11 am

Article edited by Peter Gleick.

roaddog
March 15, 2022 11:14 am

Now all we need is a coherent definition of “normal,” a particularly unscientific term.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  roaddog
March 15, 2022 3:50 pm

“Normal” would be the opposite of Nancy Pelosi

Rob_Dawg
March 15, 2022 11:53 am

> “Maps of the American West have featured ever darker shades of red over the past two decades. The colors illustrate the unprecedented drought blighting the region. In some areas, conditions have blown past severe and extreme drought into exceptional drought.”

I have long complained about the drought labels. They are nothing but alarmist trigger words. Worse, the range tops out at 1 with no recognition of above normal water conditions.

  • None
  • D0 (Abnormally Dry)
  • D1 (Moderate Drought)
  • D2 (Severe Drought)
  • D3 (Extreme Drought)
  • D4 (Exceptional Drought)

D0 should not even be a thing. D1 is actually merely “Dry” but “Moderate Drought” is so much more headline grabbing reportable. D2 through D4 all need demotions.

Rob_Dawg
Reply to  Rob_Dawg
March 15, 2022 11:58 am

This is an example of Exceptional Drought: https://skirose.com/the-mountain-web-cams/

Doonman
March 15, 2022 12:21 pm

I have a model that predicts you’re all going to die. All studies using this model have proven true to observations, therefore my model is correct.

If I were you, I’d mail your money to me right away to conduct more research, since you won’t be needing it eventually anyway.

Bob Kutz
March 15, 2022 1:07 pm

I was born in Lodi, CA in 1969. By the time I was seven years old I knew what the word drought meant and I knew that California was in the midst of the worst drought in its history. Now, 45 years later, nothing has changed but this time it’s caused by man made CO2 emissions and they have climate models to prove it.

Wharfplank
March 15, 2022 1:53 pm

Perfect substitute for a post-Christian world…climate Change.

Peter Barrett
March 15, 2022 1:56 pm

Another five minutes I won’t get back.

Gary Pearse
March 15, 2022 2:06 pm

“The results show a world where certain regions are in permanent drought while others experience perennial pluvial for the rest of the 21st century.”

Mathematical question. Do the results of model runs like this come as a complete surprise (arriving at little or no rainfall or perennial rainforest conditions)? Is it possible to check the complex function of the model for its tendency toward being asymptotic like the hyperbolic function y=1/x. If so, then the model is itself an assumption.

I recall Willis E showing the CO2 theoretical forcing plus feedback equation for T being reducible to a linear equation and wondered if models are amenable to such analysis. Mathematics somewhat rusty at 84.

gbaikie
March 15, 2022 3:24 pm

Wouldn’t you get more drought if drawing water from the water table?
[Making lower than “normal”]

jdgalt1
March 15, 2022 3:30 pm

I suggest that the word “drought” has already been redefined by the so-called experts who’ve been using it the past four or five decades. It now means:

drought, n. The lack of political will to build enough dams to keep a population supplied with the water it needs.

roaddog
March 15, 2022 4:20 pm

Thankfully, when the Anasazi migrated out of the Mesa Verda area a thousand years they didn’t have social media.

jorgekafkazar
March 15, 2022 5:16 pm

<b>nuanced</b>, adj.: plausibly fictitious.

Loren C. Wilson
March 15, 2022 5:22 pm

Perhaps instead of redefining normal, they should realize that the climate does not have a long-term steady state that it tends to stay in most of the time (except perhaps ice age/not ice age). The historical record says that the climate is much less constant than they want it to be. A 30 year average is far too short of a time frame to decide what is normal. The long-term precipitation pattern for the San Joaquin watershed, for example, is not even close to consistent. Maybe average the last 2000 years and call that normal plus or minus two standard deviations at least, since the geologic records don’t really capture the extreme rain events.

LdB
March 15, 2022 5:54 pm

This is a Nick Stokes tactic he who controls the definition controls the argument. In the end their definition of drought will be so different from normal it doesn’t make sense to anyone but them.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  LdB
March 16, 2022 7:50 pm

It’s not hard

Drought means drier than what I arbitrarily decide is the reference point.

We are in drought on the canadian prairies compared to the 1970’s, which of course was a wet time with horribly cold winters with 20 feet of snow

Anyone saying that is our ideal needs to come say that to our faces

Don
March 15, 2022 6:30 pm

In other words, more models and their meaningless vicissitudes.

J. R.
March 15, 2022 8:41 pm

This article addresses a subject I’ve often wondered about.

Being a resident of the American Southwest, I’ve often heard that we are in the midst of a drought, or coming out of a drought, or heading into a new drought, etc. I don’t recall the weather man ever saying, “Conditions are normal, we are not in a drought.” It has made me wonder if the “experts” misunderstand the normal conditions of the region and reflexively apply the word “drought.”

roaddog
Reply to  J. R.
March 16, 2022 6:49 am

People from the northeast visit the Southwest once and know that its in a drought. /sarc

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  J. R.
March 16, 2022 7:48 pm

I get the same thing here in calgary
As of 2021 we are in a drought, will see what happens this year.
But then people say it’s AGW so I ask if they understand why it’s call the Great Plains and not the Great Forest?

Because of course drought is the normal condition, we are always in drought here compared to eastern North America, just sometimes it gets worse like the dirty 30s

I’ve seen wet to dry to wet and now going dry in my 56 years, sum zero difference to the hundreds of years previous.

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