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Changing the Conversation: Extreme Weather and Climate

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 5:21 AM GMT on June 06, 2011

Changing the Conversation: Extreme Weather and Climate

It has been an exceptional year of tornadoes in the U.S. Hundreds have died and several cities have been especially hard hit(Jeff Masters on Living on Earth). Ultimately, I will talk about these tornadoes and climate change and bring, at least temporarily, closure to my discussion on event attribution and climate change. (First in Series, Second in Series)

First, I want to write a couple of casual observations about forecasts and warnings. In 1953 there was a tornado in Flint, Michigan that killed more than 100 people. Many comparisons have been made between that 1953 tornado and the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri. One of the comments that I have heard is that comparing 2011 to other years in terms of risk to human health, we can say that the health risk is less in 2011 than 60 years ago. The logic in the argument is that we have many more people in the U.S. today, and hence, if the risk was the same, then more people would have died in 2011. Standing alone, this is a peculiar argument, but it got me to thinking about risk.

Several times this year I have heard mayors of towns say that the warnings they had received for either tornadoes or floods have saved many lives and property. If you go back and check the forecasts, there are cases when a high probability of tornado activity has been predicted several days in advance. When it gets down to actual tornado warnings, the mayors in interviews say that people had 25-30 minutes to prepare, to take cover. Compared with the 1953’s state of knowledge and the ability to forecast both these long-term forecasts and short-term warnings are stunning advances. What stands at the basis of these advances? Observations, predictive models, and the ability of models to ingest and use those observations in forecasting. There is technology, and there is a lot of scientific theory and plain smartness tied up in those models and their interpretation. When we talk about federal science budgets for weather and climate, we are talking about predictions and risk assessment and warnings and knowledge which provide the opportunities for individuals and organizations to make good decisions.

If there is less risk to human health in 2011 than in 1953, then much of that risk reduction is due to improvements in model-based predictions.

Back to climate change. In my previous entries on event attribution I argued that the media discussion of the attribution of specific extreme events, primarily, contributed to the political argument rather than to the communication of scientific knowledge. As such, the primary product of this media discussion is to build and maintain doubt. Since that last blog, Christine Shearer and I completed and published an article in IEEE Earthzine, called Changing the Media Discussion on Climate and Extreme Weather. All I will do here is to highlight some of the arguments that we made:

1) We assert that a journalist’s question that asks a scientist to provide a yes-or-no answer to whether or not an extreme event is “caused” by climate change is, scientifically, ill posed.

2) That scientists are part of the conversation, and it is their role to participate in such a way that leads to a scientifically correct question.

3) The question in number 1 is ill posed for a number of reasons, but at the top of the list is because it requires the scientist to suppose there are two climates: one with and one without anthropogenic warming. We only have one climate, and we see the warmer climate, the moisture air, and the extreme weather evolving in that warming climate.

If you’re interested read the article. More generally, there are some very good articles in IEEE Earthzine. Christine Shearer and I have gotten a number of good comments on the paper, and through it all, I was interviewed by Tony Wood of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who wrote a nice story. This led to me getting an email from a Hal Hartung who maintains a web site on Anthropogenic Peat. Mr. Hartung made an interesting comment to me concerning the discussion of global warming which is: given that greenhouse gases are well known to hold energy close to the Earth, those who deny an anthropogenic impact on weather, need to pose a viable mechanism of how the Earth can hold in more energy and the weather not be changed. Think about it.


P.S. One of my former students, Amanda Graor, wrote me to correct an error in the original posting of this blog. Here is her blog on volunteering in Joplin.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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From the BBC

The Australian Climate Commission has warned that the world's sea levels could rise by 1m by the end of the century, much more than thought.

In its first report, the commission says the evidence that the planet is warming is stronger than ever.

It said that climate science was being attacked in the media by people with no credentials in the field.

The Australian government has welcomed the report as it seeks public support for its proposed carbon tax.

The BBC's correspondent in Sydney, Nick Bryant, says the commission's report delivers a strong rebuke to those who question that human emissions are causing global warming.

It warned that the window to take action to limit global warming was closing fast.

Climate politicised

The report claims that climate science was ''being attacked in the media by many with no credentials in the field" and also that attempts to "intimidate climate scientists have added to the confusion in the public".

One member of the commission criticised the "fruitless phoney debate", and said that Australia "no longer had the luxury anymore of climate denialism", as he called it.

Polls suggest that support for forceful action on climate change has declined in Australia since the Copenhagen summit in 2009.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that she and the government accepted the commission's peer-reviewed report.

"We don't have time... for false claims in this debate," she said.

"The science is in, climate change is real. The science is clear - man-made carbon pollution is making a difference to our planet and our climate.

"We've got to get on with the job of cutting carbon pollution and having a rational debate about it."
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It brings sad news today, that I learned that Professor Hal Lewis had passed away on May 26th, 2011. He was 88 years old.

His statement about Global Warming, and its funding, will always be remembered.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Well, it is getting late, so Good Night, all.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
After plummeting sharply, the SOI has trended more positive over the past few days.

Meaning no El Nino within the near future.

Interestingly, the Equatorial Atlantic has been cooling during the time of the rise in the SOI.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
A member on another forum posted an excellent post about how AGW Believers are funded by Exxon.

Hopefully this ends the ridiculous nonsense the CAGW Proponents love to throw about Skeptical Scientists being wrong, because they're funded by Exxon.

Here is his post in its entirety:

Quote Scpg02:

http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/05_04_FW. pdf

The Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable
Trusts is one of the nation’s largest
and most influential philanthropic foundations.
The Pew Charitable Trusts are actually
an interlocking set of seven trusts
established by the children of turn-of-thecentury
oil baron Joseph N. Pew, and stewarded
by the family’s private investment
bank, the Glenmede Trust Company, which
is the trustee of the seven charitable trusts.
Glenmede manages $14 billion of total Pew
family wealth, about $4 billion of which
belongs to the Pew Charitable Trusts.


Pew has been a leading donor to environmental
groups for nearly two decades.
Its Environment Program, directed
by Joshua S. Reichert, gave 31 grants in
2002 totaling $39,493,500—the program’s
environmental giving has averaged more
than $30 million annually for a decade.
Since 1990, Pew Charitable Trusts has
given over $300 million to more than 100
environmental groups.


Thus, in 1991, Pew joined with two
other giant philanthropies, the John D. and
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($4.2
billion assets 2001) and the Rockefeller
Foundation ($2.6 billion assets 2001), to
create a single-purpose consortium that
argues against fossil fuels: the San Francisco-
based Energy Foundation. They were
joined within a few years by four other
foundations, including the powerhouses
David and Lucile Packard Foundation ($6.1
billion assets) and the William and Flora
Hewlett Foundation ($5.1 billion assets).
Today the Energy Foundation has some
$50 million of its own in the bank and its
seven constituent foundations list over
$23 billion in combined assets. This conglomerate
is critical to Pew’s success as
the pre-eminent climate change leader.


A few highlights illustrate who these
grants influenced, some high profile, others
virtually unknown, but all acting in
concert to spread the global warming message:

· Hewlett Foundation grants: $1.3
million to Environmental Defense
(1994-2001); $1 million to NRDC
(1990-2001); $475,000 to the Sierra
Club (1998-2001); $250,000 to
World Resources Institute in

· MacArthur Foundation grants:
$6.5 million to Natural Resources
Defense Council (1988-2001); $3.5
million to Environmental Defense
(1992-2001); $615,365 to
Greenpeace (1997– 2001); $601,000
to the Sierra Club (1994-1997).

· Packard Foundation grants:
$12.3 million to Environmental
Defense (1993-2002); $2.2 million
to the Sierra Club (2000-2002);
$769,000 to NRDC (1988-2001).

· Pew Charitable Trusts grants:
$6.3 million to U.S. Public Interest
Research Group (1997-2001); $4.4
million to the National Religious
Partnership for the Environment
(1993-2001); $1.8 million to World
Resources Institute (1988-2002).

· Rockefeller Foundation grants:
$1 million to World Resources Institute
(1993-2001); $285,000 to
NRDC (1989-1999); $100,000 to the
National Religious Partnership for
the Environment in 1993; $20,000
to Greenpeace (1996-2001).
The Kyoto Conspiracy (Gore, Enron, Carbon Trading, Global Warming)

Amidst the talk about the benefits that Kyoto Protocol is sup-posed to promote, it is perhaps forgotten especially amongst the greenies how Kyoto was born in the corridors of very big business. The name Enron has all but faded from our news pages since the company went down in flames in 2001 amidst charges of fraud, bribery, price fixing and graft. But without Enron there would have been no Kyoto Protocol.

About 20 years ago Enron was owner and operator of an interstate network of natural gas pipelines, and had transformed itself into a billion-dollar-a-day commodity trader, buying and selling contracts and their derivatives to deliver natural gas, electricity, internet bandwidth, whatever. The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to put a cap on how much pollutant the operator of a fossil-fueled plant was allowed to emit. In the early 1990s Enron had helped establish the market for, and became the major trader in, EPA’s $20 billion-per-year sulphur dioxide cap-and-trade program, the forerunner of today’s proposed carbon credit trade. This commodity exchange of emission allowances caused Enron’s stock to rapidly rise

Then came the inevitable question, what next? How about a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program? The problem was that CO2 is not a pollutant, and therefore the EPA had no authority to cap its emission. Al Gore took office in 1993 and almost immediately became infatuated with the idea of an international environmental regulatory regime. He led a U.S. initiative to review new projects around the world and issue ‘credits’ of so many tons of annual CO2 emission reduction. Under law a tradeable system was required, which was exactly what Enron also wanted because they were already trading pollutant credits. Thence Enron vigorously lobbied Clinton and Congress, seeking EPA regulatory authority over CO2. From 1994 to 1996, the Enron Foundation contributed nearly $1 million dollars - $990,000 - to the Nature Conservancy, whose Climate Change Project promotes global warming theories. Enron philanthropists lavished almost $1.5 million on environmental groups that support international energy controls to “reduce” global warming. Executives at Enron worked closely with the Clinton administration to help create a scaremongering climate science environment because the company believed the treaty could provide it with a monstrous financial windfall. The plan was that once the problem was in place the solution would be trotted out.
This link has a chart that shows where a lot of NRDC money comes from.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news...page=6 7#67

So it isn't exactly by coincidence that it is those same colossal foundations that are making all those "charitable" donations to those
icky Greens. The Environmental Grantmakers Association? That's Rockefeller. The Pew Charitable Trusts? That's Sunoco. W. Alton Jones? That's Citgo. The World Wildlife Fund? BP and Shell.
http://www.climatechangecorp.com/content...entID= 4859


The United States Climate Action Partnership, which includes Shell, Dow Chemical, Alcan, Siemens and BP, is currently asking the federal government “to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions”.

------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting cat5hurricane:

You having fun there yet, Neapolitan.

Global Climate Change fallacy #1: No where in that article does it even hint of any kind of human effects within that convenient 16 year period aforementioned on the great planet we call Earth. In fact, Mother Nature should be laughing her ass off, as she'll chew that right up and then spit it out.

Also rather amusing how this fella changed his mind, all the while offering no reason or explanation he reached to come to that conclusion whatsoever.

So then I guess I'll be expecting some climate scientists to come out with a new thesis in a few years proclaiming another cold snap is on the way, since a couple years data is really ample enough time to reach that consensus, right? :-)

Here is the item referenced. Speaks for itself, including his own stats.

I find it quite interesting that we all lay so much on measurements done years ago that had a wide range of accuracy. Today we measure to hundredths, back then a couple of degree calibration standard was OK. I will not delve into the corrections or method changes that have taken place with the gov provided temp data. Gday~

Q&A: Professor Phil Jones
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Here is another peer reviewed paper to validate my point about Carbon Dioxide Warming being completely cancelled out by its own feedbacks:

The authors of this paper found that natural changes in GCC cover since 1979 are 3 times greater than the warming from Carbon Dioxide. GCRs also play a key role in changing GCC, but so does Carbon Dioxide, as it warms the oceans, which in turn creates more Water Vapor, which then leads to more cloud formations, cancelling out the Carbon Dioxide Warming.

The scientists have also recently made a PDF presentation of their work.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
201. Snowlover123
1:20 AM GMT on June 12, 2011
A new paper published yesterday online, shows that Carbon Dioxide came after the rise in temperature, and that oceanic and solar activity both have stronger correlations to temperature than Carbon Dioxide.


A high-resolution sediment core from the Vøring Plateau has been studied to document the centennial to millennial variability of the surface water conditions during the Holocene Climate Optimum (HCO) and the late Holocene period (LHP) in order to evaluate the effects of solar insolation on surface ocean climatology. Quantitative August summer sea surface temperatures (SSSTs) with a time resolution of 2–40 years are reconstructed by using three different diatom transfer function methods. Spectral- and scale-space methods are applied to the records to explore the variability present in the time series at different time scales. The SSST development in core MD95-2011 shows a delayed response to Northern Hemisphere maximum summer insolation at ∼11,000 years B.P. The record shows the maximum SSST of the HCO to be from 7.3 to 8.9 kyr B.P., which implies that the site was located in the regional warm water pool removed from the oceanic fronts and Arctic waters. Superimposed on the general cooling trend are higher-frequency variabilities at time scales of 80–120, 210–320, 320–640, and 640–1280 years. The climate variations at the time scale of 320–640 years are documented both for periods of high and low solar orbital insolation. We found evidence that the submillennial-scale mode of variability (640–900 years) in SSST evident during the LHP is directly associated with varying solar forcing. At the shorter scale of 260–450 years, the SSST during the LHP displays a lagged response to solar forcing with a phase-locked behavior indicating the existence of a feedback mechanism in the climate system triggered by variations in the solar constant as well as the role of the thermal inertia of the ocean. The abruptness of the cooling events in the LHP, especially pronounced during the onsets of the Holocene Cold Period I (approximately 2300 years B.P.) and the Little Ice Age (approximately 550 years B.P.), can be explained by a shutdown of deep convection in the Nordic Seas in response to negative solar insolation anomalies. These cooling events are on the order of 1.5°C.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
200. Snowlover123
1:07 AM GMT on June 12, 2011
BTW... for those who keep on posting regional images of Arctic Sea Ice... maybe this is the reason for low ice extent in that region:

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
199. Snowlover123
1:03 AM GMT on June 12, 2011
Quoting RustyShackleford:

And El Nino is a cycle yet these people fail to even put that thought in their heads that this is all cyclical.

El Nino dominates Climate Variability, yet it is virtually impossible to forecast ENSO in the Climate Models.

Doesn't that cast at least some doubt on the Climate Models, which all CAGW Predictions are based off of?
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169. Snowlover123
5:50 PM GMT on June 11, 2011
Quoting Neapolitan:
Climate change indicator #6,003:

More like ENSO indicator #1. The reason why the trend became statistically signficiant, was because the data now includes 2010, an El Nino year! I'm sure that when 2011 is finished, the trend since 1995 will become statistically insignificant again.

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167. Neapolitan
3:49 PM GMT on June 11, 2011
Climate change indicator #6,003:

Global warming since 1995 'now significant'

Climate warming since 1995 is now statistically significant, according to Phil Jones, the UK scientist targeted in the "ClimateGate" affair.

Last year, he told BBC News that post-1995 warming was not significant - a statement still seen on blogs critical of the idea of man-made climate change.

But another year of data has pushed the trend past the threshold usually used to assess whether trends are "real".

Dr Jones says this shows the importance of using longer records for analysis.

By widespread convention, scientists use a minimum threshold of 95% to assess whether a trend is likely to be down to an underlying cause, rather than emerging by chance.

If a trend meets the 95% threshold, it basically means that the odds of it being down to chance are less than one in 20.

Last year's analysis, which went to 2009, did not reach this threshold; but adding data for 2010 takes it over the line.

"The trend over the period 1995-2009 was significant at the 90% level, but wasn't significant at the standard 95% level that people use," Professor Jones told BBC News.

"Basically what's changed is one more year [of data]. That period 1995-2009 was just 15 years - and because of the uncertainty in estimating trends over short periods, an extra year has made that trend significant at the 95% level which is the traditional threshold that statisticians have used for many years.

"It just shows the difficulty of achieving significance with a short time series, and that's why longer series - 20 or 30 years - would be a much better way of estimating trends and getting significance on a consistent basis."

Professor Jones' previous comment, from a BBC interview in Febuary 2010, is routinely quoted - erroneously - as demonstration that the Earth's surface temperature is not rising.

BBC Article...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
165. sirmaelstrom
3:24 AM GMT on June 11, 2011
№ 160
Quoting Snowlover123:

Ch. 4 data is completely knocked out, however.

Hmmm...I see that. I wonder if that data will be available going forward.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
163. Ossqss
2:55 AM GMT on June 11, 2011

5th largest? Oh boy!

Could the Net be killing the planet one web search at a time?

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162. Snowlover123
2:27 AM GMT on June 11, 2011
Quoting Neapolitan:

Perhaps because it's not so?

Of course, we can talk about how one of this forum's primary visitors has made repeated threats of violence here. But, okay, let's talk about folks not connected with this site

I never said that all of the skeptics are pure. I'm sure that there are some wacko skeptics out there throwing death threats at some climate scientists.

However, the skeptics also get death threats as well. One said, "you will not live to see Global Warming."

What I mean, is that there is no ORGANIZED effort of skeptics to try and throw advocates into jail, or put tatooes on the advocates. Unlike team AGW, there are also no campaigning organizations on the skeptic side, as well.

Why is this so?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
161. aquak9
2:22 AM GMT on June 11, 2011
Quoting RMuller:

But they aren't victims. Acquiring aids, in 99.9% of the cases was a consequence of choice. AIDS can be completely eliminated through abstinence, shared needles, or proper use of condoms, unlike real diseases like cancer.

Wrong...consider health care professionals with accidental needle sticks. Consider folks who receive blood products, and the donors are in the 6 month conversion period, thus testing negative. Consider the unborn who get it from their mothers, or consider a rape.

On another note, I thank you very much for your service to this country, also.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
160. Snowlover123
2:14 AM GMT on June 11, 2011
Quoting sirmaelstrom:
№ 123

It looks like they've finally converted all of the channels over to the Aqua satellite data. Many of the channels previously had a warming bias due to orbital drift of the NOAA-15 satellite. Dr.Spencer had mentioned that this conversion would be happening sometime in June.

Ch. 4 data is completely knocked out, however.
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Dr. Ricky Rood's Climate Change Blog

About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.

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