No, NPR, Climate Change Isn’t ‘…Making the Weather More Severe,’ nor Should It Be in Daily Weather Forecasts.

By Anthony Watts

Originally posted at ClimateREALISM

Rebecca Hersher recently produced an article for National Public Radio (NPR), titled “Climate change is making the weather more severe. Why don’t most forecasts mention it?” The article is just one more example of journalists acting as climatologists, making false claims based on other media reports rather than the actual known science.

Many of the assertions Hersher makes in her article are demonstrably false. In addition, there is no evident benefit to adding a false climate connection to National Weather Service (NWS) reports, forecasts, and warnings.

Real world data refutes Hersher’s false claim that Climate change is making the weather more severe.

Climate science acknowledges that weather and climate operate on vastly different time scales, 30 years versus hours to days. By contrast and contrary to fact, the profession of journalism seems to really believe climate is equivalent to weather.

One of the most common severe weather claims is that hurricanes are getting worse and more frequent due to climate change. Three lines of evidence: tropical storm accumulated energyfrequency, and research (see table 1 below) show this claim is false. Data show hurricanes have neither increased numbers or intensity during the recent period of modest warming.

Same for tornadoes, there’s no increase. The list of extreme weather that has NOT increased due to the supposed influence of climate change is quite large and well documented.

For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR6 report, Chapter 11, Weather and Climate Extreme Events in a Changing Climate, provides conclusions, summarized in Figure 1, illustrating the fact that changes in the number and intensity of severe weather events have not been detected, nor can any changes be attributed to human caused climate change:

Weather EventDetectionAttribution
Increased FloodingNoNo
Increased Meteorological DroughtNoNo
Increased Hydrological DroughtNoNo
Increased Tropical Cyclones and HurricanesNoNo
Increased Winter StormsNoNo
Increased ThunderstormsNoNo
Increased HailNoNo
Increased LightningNoNo
Increased Extreme WindsNoNo
Figure 1. Summary table showing lack of severe weather event attribution from Chapter 11 of the IPCC AR6 report.

Clearly from the data and the research, no evidence exists that any specific weather event is directly driven (or enhanced) by so-called man-made climate change from increased carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. The IPCC’s summary of the state of global climate science makes no such attribution. You’d think journalists could embrace this rather than writing falsehoods based on a belief system.

Regarding the second point Hersher makes in her headline: Why don’t most forecasts mention it?

It is really simple – it is not part of the mission statement of the NWS:

NWS Mission

Provide weather, water and climate data, forecasts, warnings, and impact-based decision support services for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.

Their mission is to provide climate data, but not climate forecasts, which is impossible. The NWS’s mission is to provide actionable weather-centric data on short time scales, rather than trying to predict a regions general climate 30 years into the future.

Even if the NWS did provide some sort of climate component, what value would it offer to the public?

For example, what if a future NWS tornado warning looked like this:

The National Weather Service in Dallas Texas has issued a climate-enhanced Tornado Warning for Dallas and Tarrant counties, including the cities of Dallas, Irving, Arlington, and Garland, until 3PM CST.

Adding “climate” to the warning does absolutely nothing. It doesn’t provide any new information, nor does it provide any gauge of intensity, severity, or time. All it does is add a useless nod to the climate narrative to assuage people like Hersher who wrongly believe there is some link between climate and tornadoes, when the data and the research indicate no such link exists.

When people are facing a natural disaster like a tornado they need immediate and useful information which will help them survive, not useless irrelevant and false labels hinting that humans are somehow at fault for a particular storm.

Hersher simply didn’t do her job as a journalist. She chose to promote a connection to between supposed human caused climate change and weather events, when none exists. In the process, she ignored relevant facts which demonstrate no increasing trend in extreme weather.

She chose advocacy over truthful reporting, a shameful breach of journalistic professionalism.

Anthony Watts

Anthony Watts is a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute. Watts has been in the weather business both in front of, and behind the camera as an on-air television meteorologist since 1978, and currently does daily radio forecasts. He has created weather graphics presentation systems for television, specialized weather instrumentation, as well as co-authored peer-reviewed papers on climate issues. He operates the most viewed website in the world on climate, the award-winning website

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December 1, 2022 6:11 pm

Hersher simply didn’t do her job as a journalist. She chose to promote a connection to between supposed human caused climate change and weather events

Sorry, but in this day and age journalists – particularly NPR journalists – think ‘doing their job’ involves inculcating into the public mind things that they ‘ought to know’, and one of those things involves the ominous approach of the media-created ‘climate crisis’. For which ‘we’ must give up our hopes of a comfortable economy, in order to enlist all citizens into a regime of sacrifice, promises of ‘renewable power’, reduced use of fossil fuels and automobiles, and more command and control of our daily lives through the wise loudspeakers of NPR.

Reply to  insufficientlysensitive
December 1, 2022 7:43 pm

Most journalists consider themselves advocates. Their goal is to perfect mankind, even if mankind does not want to be perfected. If you happen to disagree with them, that’s merely proof of how far from perfection you are.
They have been taught from birth that they are special and they have the participation trophies to prove it.

John Shewchuk
December 1, 2022 6:19 pm

Very good post. Thanks. Now if we could just get NOAA and NASA to stop fraudulently altering and fabricating temperature data (and fix all the poorly located sensors), then reality will shine a little bit brighter.

Reply to  John Shewchuk
December 1, 2022 6:34 pm

I’m thankful that she didn’t coauthor her article with Naomi Oreskes.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Scissor
December 2, 2022 5:48 am

That would be too obvious.

paul courtney
Reply to  Scissor
December 2, 2022 3:52 pm

Not a good look for the article.
Restraint…….slipping……..hit post before……….saying too much

December 1, 2022 6:45 pm

30-odd years ago, scientists cautioned against blurring “climate” (long-term trends) with “weather” (brief events). That distinction was thrown overboard decades ago. Al Gore’s propaganda film “An Inconvenient Truth” made the blur official when it attributed one storm, Hurricane Katrina, to climate change.

In fact Katrina was a typical hurricane in a typically hurricane-prone region. No landfalls of that severity struck for another 12 years, but media IGNORED the lull.

In short, journalists are lying, and act as if they can get away with lying indefinitely. It’s too “inconvenient” to admit that honesty would endanger jobs in the Doomsday Industry. Just because Gore won a Nobel Prize for fakery doesn’t make it true.

People will get wise eventually, and tune the liars out.

Last edited 1 month ago by tom_gelsthorpe
Reply to  tom_gelsthorpe
December 1, 2022 7:46 pm

What made Katrina so damaging was that it hit in practically the worst possible spot.
Compounding that was the incredible incompetence of the Democrat mayor and governor.

Steve Case
Reply to  tom_gelsthorpe
December 1, 2022 8:39 pm

People will get wise eventually, and tune the liars out.

Throw them out would be more effective.

December 1, 2022 6:50 pm

The day that Republicans vote to remove all federal funding from NPR, will be the day that I know the current establishment regime has lost control of the party.

Frank from NoVA
December 1, 2022 7:37 pm

If Ms. Hersher really wants to make the case for climate change mitigation, she should submit a supporting article to WUWT, rather than just regurgitating alarmist talking points in a progressive echo chamber like NPR.

B Zipperer
December 1, 2022 7:37 pm

Excellent post!
Here is Dr. Roger Pielke’s ~30 min Oct 2021 review of extreme weather
findings from the AR6 SPM.
He also discusses AR6’s de-emphasis on RCP-8.5, and the “damages” issues from weather.
And note the AR6’s criteria for “Medium Confidence”: a 50:50 chance of being correct!
Yep! The science is really settled. Lol

Hersher, like most journalists [who act more like stenographers or cheerleaders]
probably don’t understand “detection & attribution”.

December 1, 2022 8:02 pm

Currently, I am reviewing the heatwave work reported by Australian academics like Lewis and Perkins-Kirkpatrick, 2 girls from Uni of New South Wales who have convinced a willing public that heatwaves are becoming hotter, longer and more frequent. It is the common mantra, but it fails upon testing.
Their outcomes depend on dodges like cherry picking start dates for time series and inventing complicated definitions for heatwaves and using homogenized data. When you strip out these defects. you typically find that not much has happened. I’ve looked at a simple heatwave index, for heatwaves that last for 1 day, for the averge of 3 consecutive days, ditto with 5 days and 10 days and 15 days. I have calculated as well by the methods of the above authors and I have compared homogenized data to raw.
My work has covered 8 Australian cities/towns, selected to give geographic coverege, because of long historical records and because of high populations. The latter point is relevant because the fear of heatwaves is fear of people getting hurt, so the work is relevant for hospital planning and so on. The data for some of these cities start before 1880.
Here is a summary in graphs for the 8 cities, for 5-day heatwaves (potentially, the more troublesome ones) showing the top 40 hottest events since records began. If heatwaves were getting hotter, the trend would be up over time, but in many cases it is level or cooling. There is no evidence from comparing heatwaves of different lengths that they are getting longer. There is no evidence from the dates they have happened that they are becomoing more frequent.
The puzzle is, when simple raw analysis shows no trends of any interest, why bother to torture then publish the tortured data?
You readers should do these exercises for your own regions. They are rather hard to argue against. Geoff S

John Hultquist
December 1, 2022 8:11 pm

I hope Rebecca reads the two posts here with an open mind.
I hope to win a massive lottery too. If I buy one ticket, I’ll have
roughly equal chances. 🤣

Walter Sobchak
December 1, 2022 9:36 pm

Yes, Anthony that is all true. But, she is prettier than you are. Case closed.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
December 2, 2022 6:25 am

Maybe we can apply a similar analogy to journalism that I like to apply to music, that being “MTV ruined music, because what you look like became a criteria for who got “promoted,” instead of being judged by musical talent.”

TV (and internet) appears to have done the same to journalism, since who gets to be promoted as a journalist now has the “eye candy” criteria interfering with consideration of who actually does good journalism – NOT that there is much of that these days in any event. Ironically, we’re talking about NPR (radio) here, but there’s still the pretty picture to insert into somebody’s web-based content to lower the bar for considering journalistic talent (again, not that talent has much to do with it these days, one simply needs the “right” (meaning politically left) views).

December 1, 2022 10:56 pm

Adding “climate” to the warning does absolutely nothing.”

Even lipstick on a pig attempts improvement, unlike Hersher’s written climate absurdities.

December 1, 2022 11:19 pm

profession of journalism

Is that a misnomer, an oxymoron, or both?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Redge
December 2, 2022 4:39 am

I’m wary of any term with “ism” on the end.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Redge
December 2, 2022 7:47 am

These days, both.

December 1, 2022 11:55 pm

That table is worth reproducing….

December 2, 2022 12:01 am

That table of yours is not in chapter 11 of AR6. It is working group 1 that covers these topics, and their detection and attribution table is at page 1532. It is different from yours.

I think it would be wise to say that the table you give is your interpretation of WG1 chapter 11. The better way would be to take the table head on and explain why this journalist is wrong based on what is actually stated in AR6.

Reply to  AndersV
December 2, 2022 1:00 am

I’m no scientist but here is what this truck driver thinks:

How about taking on each point with the actual data from observations from the last 30-50 years and adding context by showing data even further back if available? That is instead of from a document which before final publication of its summary has every syllable parsed to maintain the bias of a political organization that is producing it?

Every time someone here uses the UN IPCC report as if it is authoritative, they are bestowing an aurora of scientific legitimacy to what is a political document produced to help drive the social, financial, and political changes that organization has freely admitted are its objectives, and upon the organization that produced it.

I wish you would all stop doing that! Your actually helping to advance their claims and perceived legitimacy when you do so.

Last edited 1 month ago by rah
Reply to  rah
December 2, 2022 3:34 am

From what I have read recently about the most recent IPCC, some, clearly not all, of the data in the report is regarded as wholly irrelevant ( because it does not support the AGW/CC/CO2 bollux agenda) by those who prepare the “summary” released to a gullible bought off MSM and their AWG/CC/CO2 sycophants; the former report data – where it truthfully and accurately reports observational data – is buried and the latter politically incorrect (sic) bogus summary gets all the exposure. I want “those” who do the summary to continue to lie through their teeth – and be seen to do so; it might persuade the waverers. It can do nothing to convince the brainwashed but still serves as a spotlight on their self proclaimed “settled science”, so, on balance, “keep calm and carry on”..?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  rah
December 2, 2022 5:51 am

“Every time someone here uses the UN IPCC report as if it is authoritative, they are bestowing an aurora of scientific legitimacy to what is a political document”

That’s exactly right. I too wish people would stop lending authority to these political documents, especially the summaries which don’t even report the questionable IPCC findings accurately.

Reply to  rah
December 2, 2022 6:26 am

I don’t know why you made this reply. I did not refer to the IPCC AR6 as an authoritative document. I merely pointed out that the table Anthony has in this piece is not to be found in the AR6. Anthony put this caption on the table: “Figure 1. Summary table showing lack of severe weather event attribution from Chapter 11 of the IPCC AR6 report.”.

If you think it is inappropriate to address such things, say so.

My point, in plain words, is that the IPCC AR6 gives a quite detailed description of detection and attribution that will give most readers a very different view than what is in Anthony’s table. The caption Anthony put on his table is just too easy for trolls and alarmists to shoot out of the water. Writing that table 1 is an interpretation of the actual contents of chapter 11 is much better.

Reply to  AndersV
December 3, 2022 4:54 am

“The caption Anthony put on his table is just too easy for trolls and alarmists to shoot out of the water.”

Yes. I almost referred to his chart in a post of my own. But, as is my habit, I checked the original source and found…well I don’t know what I found. There sure was a lot of it though. I’d need a week or more of study to be confident of Anthony’s chart.

I applaude the effort that I assume he put into creating it, but I will want to see it survive a skeptical review before I use it (in lieu of me doing my own review). I don’t want to risk being shot out the water.

B Zipperer
Reply to  AndersV
December 2, 2022 5:10 pm

The table is a subset of one by Roger Pielke Jr. who summarized parts of the Summary for Policy Makers [SPM] of AR6 in a youtube video:

December 2, 2022 6:06 am

Advocacy science meets advocacy media, and the public loses.

December 2, 2022 6:50 am

Just this morning on my local NPR station (which I listen to because the local weather reporting is actually good), an instructor at the local community college discussed how she uses NPR reports, including this specific report, in her classroom for education.

At no point did the instructor suggest that she uses other sources of information for comparison. Very scary.

Gunga Din
December 2, 2022 8:15 am

Until they can separate and quantify natural variation from Man’s effects on the climate and/or the weather such claims are meaningless.
And definitely NOT science!

Last edited 1 month ago by Gunga Din
December 2, 2022 8:35 am

It would seem that before one could say a trend in any metric was significant, you would have define the response variable, particularly the size of the area and how the boundaries were decided relative to known influences (continental divide, etc.). I think we could convince most people (not all sadly) that trends for any square mile/kilometer of land is not appropriate (can’t rule out simple variance), but also that trends at the global scale are not useful for most regional or local decision making (i.e. Western North America could have a different or even opposite trend than Australia).

Is anyone aware of a first principles analysis of this geographic question for different climate / weather metrics that alarmists like to make proclamations about? I’m presuming that the appropriate geographic size/delineation rules would be different for different phenomena and their underlying influences, but surely we must be able to say a priori within an order of magnitude what would be appropriate.

Reply to  MJB
December 2, 2022 8:41 am

As an add on, I expect that once you arrive at the right geographic scale, and therefore the number of zones/regions that you are looking for a trend in, you would have to ensure that before you made conclusions about individual zones, some accounting for multiple hypothesis testing would have to be included. Meaning if you are using a 95% cutoff, but test 20 variables, getting one significant variable is exactly what you’d expect for random chance. So if we have 100 zones for testing phenomenon X, and 4 are individually significant at 95%, it would be dishonest to say the trend in one of those zones is actually significant.

It leaves me to wonder how many of the “place X is warming 3 times faster than the rest of the globe” (setting aside utility of temperature records, improper baselines, shoddy math, etc.) or “The past decade in place X is twice as wet as the previous decade” are really just an abuse/ignorance of multiple hypothesis testing.

December 2, 2022 9:25 am

Hey Anthony, Much appreciated follow up. Misguided zeal is the source of great turmoil and trouble…poor kid. Most educated people dealing with a controversial issue will dig deep to learn and understand the issues. The null hypothesis has to be dealt with. Seeking to entrench a unproven hypothesis, (or debunked hypothesis as in this case) in all weather reporting is nothing more than zealous boundary enforcement built on a matrix of boundary enforcement. These days, much of journalism is full of boundary enforcement and is not worth any consideration.

Reply to  JC
December 2, 2022 9:39 am

I think Americans are burning out on this sort of boundary enforcement. The pandemic is a prime example people at all levels working over time to come up with new and creative boundary reinforcement to protect the truth of the threat. Both my college age kids are very sensitive to it and refer to it as “meh or worse”. People are sick of “mind control” regardless of the legitimacy or veracity of the concern driving it. Time to return to deep objective reporting and analysis…America’s Colleges need a good example and America’s intellectual health depends on it.

December 2, 2022 2:50 pm

Climate is defined as 30 years of weather in a given location.

So what NPR is claiming is that 30 years of weather changing is making weather change.

This is illogical, circular reasoning and can be immediately tossed into the dust bin without further discussion.

December 2, 2022 5:07 pm

From the IPCC report….

”Low-likelihood, High-impact Events Associated With Climate Extremes”

Question 1.. How can you have a ”climate extreme” when climate is supposed to be the AVERAGE of weather over 30 years?
Question 2.. Why should I listen to the IPCC when they don’t understand their own position?

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