A wind is rising

By Phil Plait | October 30, 2012 9:49 am

What is now the post-tropical cyclone Sandy, as seen by the NASA/NOAA weather satellite GOES-13 at 06:02 Eastern US time, on October 30, 2012:

[Click for a much larger version, or get the 3600 x 3000 pixel image.]

Like anyone not on the east coast, I have been watching this event unfold from the sidelines. Twitter has been an amazing source of information (and misinformation, in general quickly debunked). I saw links to a video of transformer exploding on 14th street, ubiquitous flooding, cars floating in water, and so much more. There were so many pictures, real and fake, that Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic wrote a great article on how to distinguish between them.

The pictures have been powerful, but the stories have been amazing. I’ve seen messages from friends who are safe offering – publicly – their apartments and houses for strangers who need a place to stay. People rescuing others from the flooding. Calls for watching out for neighbors, relatives, even pets, with responses. The most moving, perhaps, is of nurses at the NYC hospital carrying infants down nine flights of stairs in the dark after a generator went out.

That one will haunt me for a long, long time.

A question I’ve seen a lot is: what was the role of global warming in all this? Christopher Mims wrote a short, measured analysis of this that matches my thinking almost exactly. Basically, it’s hard to know the precise role of global warming in the formation, movement, power, and damage caused by Sandy, but what we do know is that the Atlantic had warmer temperatures for longer than usual – conditions consistent with global warming – and that is a source of both energy and water for the hurricane. There is some thought that the huge arctic sea ice melt this year may have contributed to the abrupt westward turn of the hurricane into the coast. Correlation isn’t necessarily causation; the details are difficult to calculate and we may never know.

But we do know that something looking very much like this has been predicted by climate scientists. This may be an unusual event – after all, the nor’easter timing was important, and the spring tides from the full Moon contributed as well – but it’s hard to say just how unusual it will be in the future. Warmer waters lead to an extended hurricane season which can stretch into the time when nor’easters are more likely to occur. These circumstances loaded the dice. And as Mims so aptly phrased it, the reality of global warming means "climate change, by definition, is present in every single weather event on the planet."

There has been some political opportunism with this storm as well. I am not a fan of such parasitism; latching on to an opportunity under the thinnest of pretense to trump a partisan view. However, let me be clear: we just had the world’s biggest metaphor come ashore in the United States. Years of outright climate change denial and faux skepticism will hopefully be shaken by this event. Sea ice melting happens far away; droughts, fires, shifting weather is unpredictable and difficult to grasp; statistical graphs are easily manipulated by special-interest groups and generally difficult to interpret anyway. But a hurricane a thousand miles across doing tens of billions of dollars of damage and causing untold chaos is more than a wake up call.

It should be a shot of adrenaline into the heart.

My own heart goes out to everyone who has had to deal with this storm, and I am uplifted by the stories of heroism, self-sacrifice, and selflessness. I am a skeptic and a realist, but there is also a streak of optimism in me. When faced with extraordinary challenge, I will always hope that humans will rise to match it.

Image credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project

Comments (115)

  1. Luis Dias

    So basically you don’t like what you are doing but you go ahead and just do it.

    And “consistent”? Come on Phil. This was a relatively cooler year than the previous years. A random warmer month is “consistent” with everything.

    How did I know you were going to glue this tragedy with Global Warming?

  2. mikel

    The Christopher Mims link isn’t working for me, it partially loads and then freezes.

  3. Luis Dias,

    At the risk of sounding like a jerk… Luis you are coming off like a major jerk in your comment.

    As to your “relatively cooler year” comment… Atmospheric temperature and oceanic temperature are related, but not 100% tied to each other. Based on oceanic temperatures for the month of September (last report filed) NOAA found that on average ocean temperatures were above average and at a much higher departure from average than recent years. From the NOAA September Analysis:

    “The globally-averaged ocean temperature tied with 1997 as second highest for September, behind 2003, at 0.55°C (0.99°F) above the long-term average. This was also the highest departure from average for any month since May 2010. Much of the anomalous warmth was generated in the central western Pacific and the northeastern and equatorial North Atlantic Oceans, all of which observed record warmth in some areas.”

  4. Bob D

    We all knew Phil might ‘glue this tragedy with Global Warming’. Because anyone with a depth of understanding can see how blatant the connection is. And Phil has a depth of understanding.

  5. BethK

    Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Society noted that scientists used computer models to do a darn good job of predicting where this storm was going. Doesn’t that increase their street cred on climate change?

    We need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Preparing includes heeding the warnings.

    We had minimum pressure here of 961 mb about midnight as it moved past us. But we’re inland and didn’t lose power. My thoughts, and yes prayers, are with those still in danger or without power.

  6. David

    @1 Actually i think the evidence is pretty damning that this sort of event is contributed to by global warming. This particular event can only have a boat load of circumstantial evidence, but if you want to stick your head in the sandy banks of the Hudson river, then you might just find that youve drowned one day.

  7. Phil,

    You touched me with much the same feelings I have been having while observing this tragedy.
    I hope the area will recover faster than we think and that folks will soon be back to normal.
    My heart goes out to the folks who lost someone.
    My thoughts are with them all.

    I hope this is a wake up call too. You’re a bit more optimistic than I am on that count, but I will try to follow your good leadership and hope hard too.

    Thank you for this. I’m sharing it.

    Diane

  8. @Luis Dias

    While this year (Jan-Sep) has been only the 8th warmest on record, looking at the overall trend since 1880, we’re still seeing global temps going up.

    ETA: And Sept. this year is tied with Sept. 2005 as the warmest Sept. on record. Data for Oct. isn’t available yet.

  9. Wzrd1

    @Luis Dias, tell my garden how much cooler it was this year. It was parched last year and this year. I’m guessing you confuse your region with the rest of the planet or other regions. Still, a region isn’t global, only a reflection of part of a global system.

    THIS event is an event. One event. A train of events is a trend. Events can be greater, lesser or equal to a hurricane. Two years of massive droughts. A very minor trend, as climate is measured on much larger time scales. It’s when one sees trends of trends one begins to find patterns of significance.
    Such as how EVERY prediction made in support of global climate change is being fulfilled.
    Frankly, considering the massive disinformation machinery in place in this nation, none would accept global climate change even if the sea level raised enough to inundate NYC. People would proclaim it a normal change.
    But, people must accept the judgement of their betters, their masters, who own the vast petrochemical wealth of this planet. Even unto their rightful death shall it be.

    I wouldn’t mind it so much, but frankly, I’m fresh out of planets to move to when this one is so trashed as to be uninhabitable.

  10. David C.

    ok, I haven’t read all your comments, but as a AGW skeptic, but an avowed believer in GW, I have to agree with Phil on this. We have seen an example of what latter months warming of the North Atlantic can do. But to take it a step further, I am looking forward to the weekend, to see what happens where the remnants of Sandy exit back into the Atlantic as a LOW pressure area. If it exits below Newfoundland, will we see a re-growth of the LOW as it travels over to Europe, that matches a Warm North Atlantic? My curiosity is whetted.
    As for the HS/PTSS/or SSS, I was watching the Weather Channel on the Internet for live coverage, as I don’t believe in having TV. Sadly in Canada here, only TV was covering Sandy. Other than sticking my head out the door, or seeing the comments on Twitter, it was hard to follow, or know what was going to happen. Americans have been well served by their Meteorological Services tied to commercial TV/Internet.
    I do feel for the suffering that was evident through the night, and into today as the sun rose on the devastation. It has been a testimony to the resilience and strength of human beings, and particular the people of NE, US. My thoughts go out to the injured, those that lost property and loved ones.
    Cheers from a neighbour in Southern Ontario.

    Emily L. may have been referring to this: http://www.news.wisc.edu/21215 it is only an article, but there are a few links. This experience may lead to more accurate 6-7 day forecasts than we have at present, which are close to 50/50 chance the further out we go. Encouraging, but at a high cost.

  11. mike burkhart

    My basment is flooded and I’ve had tree branches blown down and my chair on the front porch was blown around other then that I’m fine. Akron Ohio has not been hit to hard our power is still on. The wind did keep me up last night . My weather station recorded 18mph winds. I’d like to get a jump on the Christan fundamentlists before they claim this is Gods punishment. Your friendly Catholic Astronomer says this storm is not a punishment form God . The fundamentlist forgets one thing God is mercyful even to thoses who hate or don’t beleve in him.

  12. bbmcrae

    Phil posts story that bolsters the facts of AGW…and, ladies and gentlemen – here come the kooky denier clowns!

  13. FYI, the evidence that warming has contributed to storm surges is really strong. Much stronger than we we could do from our historical records of hurricanes themselves. The difference is in large part because people weren’t good at identifying hurricanes that didn’t hit land in the pre-satellite era, but kept good records of how high the water got.

  14. AGW fan

    to link this storm to global warming is just dumb, for one, you need to explain what was different at those times where other destructive storms were present. There are all a whole host of examples to choose from from the early 19th century on up to the present time. I must say, the constant drumbeat of linking every extreme weather event to climate change does a complete disservice to the study of the Earth’s climate systems.

  15. AGW fan

    oooh, almost forgot to mention; Phil states that this is exactly the type of thing that has been predicted by climate scientists—well, i guess i would like to have this level of accuracy accounted for in the betting world. “i predict that there will be a monstrous storm to hit the east coast of the US”, yeh well, of course they will be right, because over time they always do. if one is paying attention to what the climate scientists are saying, then you know that these types of storms along with a measurable increase in frequency of these storms was predicted. its easy to say this is exactly what was predicted, thats not exactly going out on a limb is it? since history has shown many mega-storms hitting populated areas. what would mean something is if one could show that in fact there is a frequency change as well, and that simply is not whats showing up in the data. i know this doesn’t “sell well” but it is what the data is showing. Its the same thing with the Fire situation out west this year that had Phil all up in a blather. “This is exactly what the climate scientists have been predicting”. When in fact the frequency of the Fire situation has actually decreased in a very obvious manor over the last several decades. Just pointing out the facts, I try to not let so much emotion get in the way; it sucks to high heaven watching scenes like last night unfold in NYC, but try reading about some of things that happened in 1900 in galveston and you might just temper your thoughts.

  16. shunt1

    Are you freaking kidding, or was that just a joke?

    “we just had the world’s biggest metaphor come ashore in the United States. Years of outright climate change denial and faux skepticism will hopefully be shaken by this event.”

    That is about as scientific as saying that this was God’s revenge against President Obama.

    Why make such a silly statement?

  17. Old Geezer

    oooh, AGW fan you also forgot to mention the source of your “data” and “facts” that you use to support your scathing indictment of Phil’s stated premise and one dredged up from sometime in the past. (And already knowing about Galveston doesn’t “temper” my thoughts about this week’s devastation along the Atlantic Coast.)

  18. shunt1

    @11. mike burkhart Says:

    “The wind did keep me up last night . My weather station recorded 18mph winds.”

    Now that is funny!

  19. Anyone care to explain the exact science of hurricanes? I recall reading an article about them back in the 80′s about how they seem to be driven like a heat engine, attracted to moist air more than drought conditions, warm air trapped under a cool layer that eventually breaks through, etc. It’s entirely possible ‘cool conditions’ in the air over warmer than usual water could be perfect for creating them.

  20. Mark Schaffer

    I wouldn’t take any poster seriously who uses the fake name of “AGW fan”. It might not even be a real person but, rather, a bot designed to hijack the conversation. The only question every thinking person should be attending to is how can I reduce my carbon footprint. My wife and I have been working to do so for more than twenty years and it has only benefited us both financially and personally.

  21. Just finished, by coincidence, “Forty Signs Of Rain”. By Kim Stanley Robinson. Disturbing similarities between fiction and reality.

  22. shunt1

    @9. Wzrd1 Says:

    “I wouldn’t mind it so much, but frankly, I’m fresh out of planets to move to when this one is so trashed as to be uninhabitable.”

    Hey, I am doing my best….

    How we doing so far? I had no idea how powerful people like me were. Want to see our next magic act?

    Dang, we were trying so hard to have the eye of the hurricane pass right over the White House. Darn close, but we need to perfect our weather control machines for the next time.

  23. Sam H

    Completely off topic, but people I assure you this is real:

    http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1696467/star-wars-episode-seven-disney-lucasfilm.jhtml

    (And personally, I think they could pull it off and do it well, but it’ll have to be done perfectly or not at all).

  24. shunt1

    Hey kids, Sue and I went scuba diving the following week after hurricane Wilma hit Cozumel Mexico in 2005. A category 5 hurricane that hovered over the island for days!

    Most of the hotels that we had stayed in on previous years were simply vacant lots. The few that were still standing were only floors and support columns.

    Diving on the wreckage of the cruise ship docks was absolutely shocking. Huge 100 foot square blocks of concrete were thrown around like kid’s toys.

    The Mexican government prohibited images of the damage to the island from being shown, but I still have my home videos. When a category 5 hurricane hovers over the island for days,the damage was shocking. Even a ship at 60 feet below the surface was broken in half.

    Hurricane Sandra was nothing but a “fart” compared to what happened to Cozumel in 2005.

    These images do not capture what we actually saw in Cozumel the following week.

    http://www.cancuncd.com/cancun-tours/wilma-hurricane-pictures/hurricane-wilma-cancun.php

  25. sbjnyc

    People have been comparing this storm to a 1938 hurricane. It’s not like these storms never happen. But we’ve been hit by huge storms over the past few years. So it’s still not entirely clear to me whether GW is affecting the power, frequency, both or neither.

    I just hope that people will begin to appreciate just how much of an impact an increase in sea level will have.

  26. Spence_EU

    Hey Phil, why did my comments disappear after being held in mod? Blog problems or did my little home truth link to Dr Pielke’s blog touch a nerve?

  27. shunt1

    A REAL hurricane that did amazing damage to the island of Cozumel.

    This is the best video that I have seen so far.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrwII_AHGSU

    But diving on that amount of destruction, is something that even I can not express.

    Sue and I had vacationed there for years. Some of the people in that video were personal friends. We knew that we had to be there to help them recover.

    And, they did recover!

  28. David C.

    @25 Shunt1Says

    ummmmmmmm I can agree with the assessment that Sandra a Cat 1, was a fart compared to Cat 5, however (there is a Goat in there somewhere ;) ) that does not deny the total catastrophic impact that is being catalogued along the coast and far inland. I think you should rethink your priorities and feelings towards your fellow human beings in the US (don’t know if your American or not). The US has been fortunate to get off lightly with this storm, and that is making a relative statement I know. Ubuntu is not an option amongst humans, it is a necessity of survival of the species. I suggest you contemplate it next time you are in a difficult situation, and someone steps up to help or offer a shoulder.

  29. shunt1

    I will repeat myself, since this was directed to Phil:


    Are you freaking kidding, or was that just a joke?

    “we just had the world’s biggest metaphor come ashore in the United States. Years of outright climate change denial and faux skepticism will hopefully be shaken by this event.”

    That is about as scientific as saying that this was God’s revenge against President Obama.

    Why make such a silly statement?

    Now compare this with a REAL hurricane and how the people can united together to recover.

    I know, because Sue and I were there to help the people living on the island of Cozumel the following week. What was that about Ubuntu?

  30. eqfan592

    From shunt1: “That is about as scientific as saying that this was God’s revenge against President Obama.
    Why make such a silly statement?”

    Is THAT a joke? Why would YOU make such a silly statement? You don’t think there’s any science behind the statement that climate change almost certainly made Hurricane Sandy worse? To even put it in the same posting as anything dealing with “god” is simply beyond foolish.

  31. shunt1

    Yes, that was a joke!

    Just like saying that magic was able to send a hurricane towards DC.

    Or, do you believe in magic?

  32. The news website The Drum has this :

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4341984.html

    & this :

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4343312.html

    on this point Hurricane Sandy & HIRGO*~wise.

    Whilst a poll on ninemsn found here :

    http://ninemsn.com.au/

    asks the question : Do you think hurricanes and climate change are linked?

    With current figures of 7,288 = Yes vs 9,560 = no.

    Mind you, web polls are notoriously flawed and easy to fix so take those figures and the poll with a shaker full of finely ground halite.

    +++++++++++++++

    * Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating.

  33. @33. shunt1 – October 30th, 2012 at 6:13 pm :

    Yes, that was a joke! Just like saying that magic was able to send a hurricane towards DC. Or, do you believe in magic?

    Well magicians exist and make a living, I’ve seen a few good acts and heard or read about others such as Randi so, yeah I guess I do.

    For a certain definition of “magic!” ;-)

    OTOH, is there really something supernatural to magic , something that defies the laws of physics going on ? Don’t think so.

    Not when it comes to magic and not when it comes to climate contrarian claims that similarly reject the known laws of astrophysics, chemistry, biology and climatology.

  34. shunt1

    Phil:

    Northern Colorado Rocketry has a GO for launch this weekend at the former Atlas ICBM site. No fire restrictions (after almost six months), but the rockets must stay below 12,000 ft.

    You are ALWAYS invited. Just send me an email and I would be more than happy to coordinate.

    Yikes, now I have to get my GPS radio tracker working. My darn cat chewed the wires to the tracking antenna and I must rush this week to get my rocket ready for flight.

    I hope that you will join me, since High Powered Rockets are amazing to see.

  35. shunt1

    @34. Messier Tidy Upper Says:

    Interesting polls. Do you think they actually refect reality in today’s US politics?

    Seriously, you used two sources from Australia?

    Next Tuesday, we will find out one way or the other.

    I wish you the best of luck…

  36. Grand Lunar

    I was wondering about any possible connection between this event and climate change.

    Would I be correct in assuming that events like Sandy could become more common as climate change REALLY starts to take effect?

    Scary as events like Sandy are, something else scared me more last night.
    Came from my conversative aunt.
    She believes that we need to use all our coal and oil reserves, including all the oil we have off shore, just to be independent of events in the Middle East.

    Not only does that show me that she’s unaware that such a thing will do nothing to make us totally independent, but also how uncaring for the future her grandchildren would face because of such a choice.

    So the message that Sandy gives is appearently not as loud and clear as you may hope, Phil.
    We definately need people like you to help translate it for the public.

  37. VinceRN

    There are records of bigger, much bigger, storms in pre-industrial times. The hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900, the great hurricane of 1780, and many, many others. Weather and extremes of weather happen with or without global warming and there is no particular reason to pin this one on global warming.

    If the strength or frequency of hurricanes is increasing consistently over time, if we have several consecutive seasons of more extreme weather, that’s a different story. We CAN pretty well pin those things on global warming, but not one individual storm. A storm is just weather.

    What impresses me is the accuracy of the predictions of where it would hit. That could, of course, just be luck. We will see over time. Even very recently we have been notoriously bad at such predictions. Even spending gawdawful amounts of money on computers and models equipment sciences hasn’t been much better than an experienced sailor looking out of his window. Hopefully we will see the models continue to be that accurate.

    One of the things that bugs me over there: With all they hype, all the predictions of Armageddon going on for several days, how is it that places like hospitals, especially so many of them, lost their generators? There is no excuse for that. They had days to prepare, the federal government was handing out money by the truck load due to the disaster declarations. How hard would it have been to ensure that the generators functioned?

    If a hospital is in an area close to sea level where flooding is something that they know will happen eventually, they have an absolute duty to make sure they are prepared for such an event, that they will continue to have electricity during a storm much worse than this one. Multiple hospitals loosing back up power just seems criminal to me.

  38. shunt1

    @35. Messier Tidy Upper Says:

    No wonder you have a rather unusual view of the world. I had no idea what “news” you read each day.

    I do wish to thank you for sharing those links with us. It does explain many things.

    Wishing you the absolute best;
    Steve

  39. @ ^ Shunt1 : Um, thanks I guess. Same to you also. :-)

    I don’t always read The Drum and I do get my news from a wide variety of sources including quite regularly purchasing The Australian newspaper which runs a very much anti-Climatological consensus line plus watching TV checking Ninemsn, reading various blogs and other sources too depending on the day and how much time I’ve got available.

    So where do you get most of your news from?

    @1. Luis Dias :

    So basically you don’t like what you are doing but you go ahead and just do it. And “consistent”? Come on Phil. This was a relatively cooler year than the previous years. A random warmer month is “consistent” with everything.

    I don’t think 2012 is all that much “cooler” that previous years if at all.

    The CO2 Now website linked to my name for this comment observes :

    Globally, September 2012 is tied with September 2005 as the warmest September since temperature records began in 1880. September 1912 is the coolest. August 2012 marks the 36th consecutive August and 330th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

    Note that three hundred and thirty three months in a row hotter than average. Co-incidence?

    Lowest Arctic sea ice levels on record this year – coincidence?

    In any case, even if this year were to be cooler than average which it isn’t (yet – I suppose a major volcanic eruption or bolide impact could yet change things though I wouldn’t count on those) what matters is the decadal trend which smooths out the interannual variations due to things like the El Nino-La Nina cycle. The last few decades from the 1970′s onwards have been markedly hotter than average – and increasingly so.

    Just as the number of extreme weather events keeps rising.

    Now I suppose a certain amount could be explained away as purely coincidental. But as many as we’ve had and as consistent with the climate predictions as we’ve had? I don’t think so.

    Roll a dice 333 times and get sixes each time and you’d have to conclude the dice are loaded.

  40. shunt1

    @39. VinceRN Says:

    “What impresses me is the accuracy of the predictions of where it would hit.”

    I absolutely agree with you. The computer predictions were amazingly accurate. I was up until 4:00 AM watching the live Water Vapor satellite images and was stumped as to what they were talking about. But once I saw the hurricane nudge West, then I knew that the models were correct.

    http://www.goes.noaa.gov/HURRLOOPS/atwv.html

    I am still stumped as to why, because there was nothing strong enough in the satellite images to cause that movement. I will study this event for years, to figure out what I failed to see on the WV satellite images.

    Lessons learned, and that is what makes science so darn exciting.

  41. James Evans

    I live in a little backward NJ town north of where Sandy’s eye made landfall. Just got power and Internet back about an hour ago. I’m lucky because my little backward town just so happens to have upgraded power lines and telephone poles and such to hurricane-rated versions. I’m sure that’s why mine is one of the first impacted communities to get services back up and running.

    Anyway, all that aside, here’s a picture from yesterday of a business in Ship Bottom, NJ: sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/45977_10151290295053352_571084188_n.jpg

    No one here, even the wizened, Piney old timers who lived through several historical storms, has ever seen anything like this particular nightmare. Why? Because it’s almost November and a cyclone is creating near Katrina-level devastation in the Mid-Atlantic states.

    There are rumored deaths of people who refused to evacuate off Long Beach Island, and other barrier islands in NJ. I honestly can’t confirm that, yet, but I’ve personally seen the convoy of ambulances donated by several surrounding towns heading to nearby hospitals. Homes have been detached from foundations and are floating down shore roads. The subways in NYC are flooded beyond anything ever experienced. Ground Zero is filling up like a flooded basement. Etc., etc., etc.

    In late October/early November.

    Let me say that again, because this isn’t July or August here, people. It is the final days of October, and the tail end of hurricane season when we should all breathe easy.

    And this is 2 years in a row that disaster struck or nearly struck in the northeastern US, a relatively rare historical cyclone target. This tragedy or something like it is going to visit EVERY CITY AND POPULATION CENTER in the US that rests on or near the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. This is NOT the end of the anguish.

    AGW deniers, what more do you need to know? What is it about reality and historical perspective that you are failing to digest here? When people post fake images from The Day After Tomorrow on the Net and attribute them to Sandy, they are making fun of YOU AND YOUR CLUELESS DENIAL. When will you wake up?

  42. shunt1

    @43. James Evans Says:

    Please look at the video that I posted above. What was that you just said about October?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrwII_AHGSU

    Would you honestly want me to pick your statement apart, line by line?

    “AGW deniers, what more do you need to know? What is it about reality and historical perspective that you are failing to digest here? When people post fake images from The Day After Tomorrow on the Net and attribute them to Sandy, they are making fun of YOU AND YOUR CLUELESS DENIAL. When will you wake up?”

    Care to try me?

    Most of those fake images were satire, because of people like you.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/spoonwiththeselovelyphotos/453579543

  43. PS. Loaded dice analogy adopted from NASA’s top climatologist James Hansen as shown here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX2KyF0p-xU

    @37. shunt1 asked :

    @34. Messier Tidy Upper : Interesting polls. Do you think they actually reflect reality in today’s US politics? Seriously, you used two sources from Australia?

    I’m an Aussie so, yeah. Why wouldn’t I?

    Australia and the USA are fairly similar in this debate in many ways just as we are culturally and politically pretty closely aligned in plenty of other respects.

    As for the poll reflecting reality, hard to tell hence my disclaimer on the one online poll I cited.

    There are of course other and better polls available for perusal such as this one :

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120713/washington-post-poll-most-americans-believe-global-warming

    via the Washington Post.

    Plus this one :

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-18/record-heat-wave-pushes-u-dot-s-dot-belief-in-climate-change-to-70-percent

    By the University of Texas.

    The Bad Astronomer is also far from alone in noticing a connection between Global Overheating and Hurricane Sandy as the link attached to my name here – ‘Sandy and Climate: Right or Wrong, Media Now Going There’ on Peter Sinclair’s blog indicates.

  44. @37. shunt1 :

    Next Tuesday, we will find out one way or the other.
    I wish you the best of luck…

    Well, thanks but unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – I’m not running for POTUS myself! ;-)

    As a non-American I’m not eligible to participate in the US election in any form and, frankly, wouldn’t really wish for the job anyhow, fantasies about leading the world’s most powerful nation being just daydreams. Helluva job and helluva responsibility and huge tough problems to address. Don’t envy whoever wins. I’m just a curious, morbidly fascinated, somewhat educated~ish spectator there.

    (Although please remember, those who *are* eligible to participate that the US election will, axiomatically, have far reaching consequences extending well outside the USA’s borders.)

    No huge fan of either candidate but, for whatever little its worth, it seems to me that Obama is, again, the lesser of the evils on offer. :-(

    There’s a lot more to any election of course than any single issue.

    Note too that reality is not a popularity contest and the evidence and the physical reality of our climate itself not a popular vote will determine what happens.

    If you are going to claim that 98 out of 100 climatologists are wrong you need extraordinary evidence indeed to prove your case.

    Have you got any such evidence to offer us, Shunt1? I wish you did.

    I guess we will see about a whole lot of things as time goes forward as it always does and more data is gathered and more events occur.

    Hopefully not events as disastrous as Hurricane Sandy but, sadly, suchlike storms and perhaps worse is likely to come. I fear we (especially those who have done least to cause the problem and future generations but our own lives too) will and are being affected by HIRGO. We are already paying the price for past inaction and the cost gets higher the longer we wait to act. :-(

    As the clip attached to my name here notes – Welcome to the Rest of Our Lives.

  45. shunt1

    @45. Messier Tidy Upper Says:

    “Australia and the USA are fairly similar in this debate in many ways just as we are culturally and politically pretty closely aligned in plenty of other respects. ”

    I will not argue that point in any way, shape or form. Totally agreed!

    Remember one thing:

    Mittens was always considered way too weak and America can not fully recover until we have President Palin. LOL

    As always, I enjoy a simple debate. You will always be considered as a friend. Nothing personal intended or implied.

    Next Tuesday, we will find out how the majority of Americans have voted.

    This will be a very exciting election!

    But, I think that I already know the results, and you will not be happy…

    Next, we will see if Australia can recover some form of sanity.

    As long as Australia maintains it’s western “Cowboy” mentality, then it will never go wrong.

  46. James Evans

    @shunt1:

    @43. James Evans Says:

    Please look at the video that I posted above. What was that you just said about October?

    What was that I said about the northeastern US, oh, I dunno, about a couple thousand miles NORTH of your video location? Hmmmm?

    Would you honestly want me to pick your statement apart, line by line?…Care to try me?

    To add to the endless annals here of your bizarre and fruitless attempts at denial, shunt1?

    Knock.

    Yourself.

    Out.

    Most of those fake images were satire, because of people like you.

    flickr.com/photos/spoonwiththeselovelyphotos/453579543

    It might help your predictably hopeless case if you actually posted a recent fake Sandy image, not an UNRELATED image taken six years in the past that had nothing to do with the storm in question. But, considering your screwball contributions to this blog thus far, you haven’t exactly proven yourself capable of keeping such important details in mind when you post.

  47. shunt1

    “If you are going to claim that 98 out of 100 climatologists are wrong you need extraordinary evidence indeed to prove your case.”

    I think, if I remember correctly, out of over 2000 returned surveys, only about 78 were selected. Out of those 78 people actually selected, you obtained that percentage.

    And then, you need to read the actual question that they were replying to.

    Rather sad, if you think about it…

  48. shunt1

    @48. James Evans Says:

    I know!

    There was a very funny image posted today of the Statue of Liberty with her skirts flying up during hurricane Sandra. I tried to locate that image, but failed to save a link when I saw it.

    Oh well. I posted what I could find to captured the basic joke.

    SATIRE!

  49. noen

    shunt1 said:
    “Most of those fake images were satire, because of people like you.”

    Yes, that is typical of the passive aggressive personality. Smear other people and then blame them for your smears.

    ——–

    VinceRN said:

    “There are records of bigger, much bigger, storms in pre-industrial times. The hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900, the great hurricane of 1780, and many, many others. Weather and extremes of weather happen with or without global warming and there is no particular reason to pin this one on global warming.”

    Your argument that because there were larger storms in the past that therefore a current storm cannot be connected to global warming is a false inference.

    “A storm is just weather.”

    Climate is just weather over time. Deserts have floods but they are still deserts.

  50. noen

    Shunt1 said:
    “I think, if I remember correctly, out of over 2000 returned surveys, only about 78 were selected. Out of those 78 people actually selected, you obtained that percentage.”

    WRONG as usual.

    ———————-
    Farnsworth and Lichter, 2011
    “In an October 2011 paper published in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, researchers from George Mason University analyzed the results of a survey of 489 scientists working in academia, government, and industry. The scientists polled were members of the American Geophysical Union or the American Meteorological Society and listed in the 23rd edition of American Men and Women of Science, a biographical reference work on leading American scientists. Of those surveyed, 97% agreed that that global temperatures have risen over the past century. Moreover, 84% agreed that “human-induced greenhouse warming” is now occurring. Only 5% disagreed with the idea that human activity is a significant cause of global warming.”

    ————————————-
    Journalist’s Resourse:
    Expert Credibility in Climate Change
    A 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Expert Credibility in Climate Change,” analyzed the research patterns and scholarly citations of 1,372 climate scientists who publish in this field. Of these, 908 scientists had published 20 or more climate-related papers. The study’s authors, from Stanford University, the University of Toronto and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, examined public statements from groups of scientists that indicated they were either convinced or unconvinced by evidence of climate change, and matched these to the sample of scientists.

    The study’s findings include:

    About 97% of the group with the most expertise — the 908 climate scientists with 20 or more papers published – are convinced by the evidence of human-induced climate change.
    Those who are unconvinced by the evidence make up “only 2% of the top 50 climate researchers as ranked by expertise (number of climate publications), 3% of researchers of the top 100, and 2.5% of the top 200.”

    “And then, you need to read the actual question that they were replying to.”

    ———————————
    The actual study at PNAS:
    Expert credibility in climate change

    Abstract

    Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field surveyed here support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.
    ——————————–

    Not that anything would make the slightest difference to you. Your beliefs are irrational pseudoscience.

  51. Daniel J. Andrews

    An interesting read. NASA predicted a storm like Sandy hitting NY back in 2006.
    http://www.chriscmooney.com/going-viral-nasa-warned-about-new-york-hurricane-catastrophe-in-2006/

  52. shunt1

    What did you not understand about SATIRE images?

    “…current storm cannot be connected to global warming is a false inference.”

    Wow, such amazing logic!

    My only scientific question is why Sandra made that sudden hook to the West. I am still stumped on what caused that movement.

    Seriously, watch this video and show me what was so strong, that it was able to alter the course of a strong hurricane.

    http://www.goes.noaa.gov/HURRLOOPS/atwv.html

    I could understand two low pressure centers merging together.

    But with this one, I am still absolutely stumped.

    P.S. Those who are interested in green house gases should monitor the satellite water vapor channels. You may learn something.

  53. @ ^ shunt1 :

    Those who are interested in green house gases should monitor the satellite water vapor channels. You may learn something.

    Such as?

    Its already well known that water vapour is a major greenhouse gas – and a prominent *feedback* mechanism that reacts on a much quicker basis when driven by other factors such as levels of Co2. More heat =more evapouration =more water vapour in the air. Water vapour acts to trap more heat. It also rains out of the troposphere much more quickly. We, well the climate science experts especially, already know quite a bit about this factor.

    Do you think there is something about this issue that the climatologists are missing and, if so, what is it? If you could prove HIRGO wrong then you could surely collect a Nobel prize and the undying thanks of much of the world y’know! ;-)

    @22. Stephen Mackenzie :

    Just finished, by coincidence, “Forty Signs Of Rain”. By Kim Stanley Robinson. Disturbing similarities between fiction and reality.

    You probably already know this but that’s the first of a trilogy by KS Robinson – the Science in the Capital’ series which also includes the sequels ‘Fifty Degrees Below’ (2005), and ‘Sixty Days and Counting’. (2007) See the link in my name here. Whilst not as great as his Mars trilogy masterpiece I’d certainly recommend them for folks who may be interested in the topic. :-)

    @50. Shunt1 :

    There was a very funny image posted today of the Statue of Liberty with her skirts flying up during hurricane Sandra. I tried to locate that image, but failed to save a link when I saw it. Oh well. I posted what I could find to captured the basic joke.

    Believe it or not that sounds exactly like the cartoon in today’s Advertiser newspaper by cartoonist Jos Valdeman. It isn’t (yet?) up on their website gallery though I’m afraid. Score one to the Aussie sources? ;-)

    Not that its really relevant here either way – just a visual commentary on the storms’ impact.

  54. We, well the climate science experts especially, already know quite a bit about this factor.

    See for instance here :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/water-vapor-greenhouse-gas.htm

    from the Skeptical Science website.

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAtD9aZYXAs&feature=plcp

    Water Vapor and Climate by Greenman3610.

    Given the context and OP here its probably also worth checking out this :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/hurricanes-global-warming.htm

    page on hurricanes and Global Overheating again via the Skeptical Science website.

    What, if anything, do you think the climatologists have got wrong or missed there Shunt1 and what evidence can you show to support your claims?

  55. Corrections – that cartoonist’s name is spelt Jos Valdman – without an ‘e’ there. I’ve just linked the Valdman online gallery to my name for this comment.

    Also in my comment 41 I somehow gained an extra three months – its 330 not 333 consecutively hotter than average months. Now if only I could work that trick in real life! Sigh. Mea culpa. :-(

  56. bad Jim

    When we encounter phenomena like projection and the Dunning Kruger effect we tend to think how sad it must be for people to be trapped in their preconceptions. In both cases, though, there’s an attempt at empathy, an assumption that other people are just like them, which is itself actually somewhat generous, no matter how pernicious its implications.

    We may know we aren’t as mean-spirited, greedy or stupid as they think we are, but they don’t, and they probably have good reasons to suppose they’re as good as everyone else. “I know I’m not wrong” is a reasonable approximation to a universal assumption.

    (Of course, people who frequent science blogs are addicted to the thrill of discovering that something they’ve known all their lives was utterly wrong. I hope there is no cure.)

  57. So is commenting closed on this thread? I tried posting once and it vanished into the aether.

  58. VinceRN

    @neon – So you have some concrete proof that this particular storm to a specific cause? You have proof of the exact cause of this particular storm?

    Why is it a “false inference”, in fact why is it an inference at all? It is an undeniable fact that there have been stronger storms without global warming. It is an undeniable fact that we do not know the exact cause of this or any specific storm. Global warming is certainly real, but you can not specifically pin any single weather event to it. Storms happen, we don’t know why this one happened and no serious scientist will tell you that this one storm was absolutely cause by global warming, that without global warming there would have been no storm.

    I do not say it wasn’t, only that there is no way to say that this or any event was cause by global warming. You can only attribute trends to it. As has been mentioned before, climate is weather of time.

    We are learning more all the time, and I am confident that one day we will be able to she the exact cause of storms and that there will be storms that we can say with certainty would not have happened without global warming. This however is not that day, and this was not that storm.

    The fact that you want this to be because of global warming has no bearing on the issue at all.

    What you are doing is politics, not skepticism or science, unless you can provide some specific data that says this storm was absolutely caused by global warming. I have been unable to find such data.

  59. Nigel Depledge

    David C (10) said:

    . . . as a AGW skeptic, but an avowed believer in GW, . . .

    How does that work?

    Do you think that people have not looked into potential natural causes of GW? And found that none can account for the observed warming trend?

    Do you think that the relationship between climate and atmospheric CO2 content is so poorly understood?

    Do you think that poeple have not analysed the isotope ratios of CO2 in our atmosphere and found a correlation between fossil carbon and increasing CO2?

    Or what? If you feel that natural causes are responsible for the cuurent warming trend, then what do you think is the cause? Be specific, and support your contention with a reasoned argument so that the rest of us may understand what the expert climatologists have been missing for the last 30 years.

  60. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (16) said:

    Why make such a silly statement?

    Purely to give you something new to rant about, Steve. Obviously.

  61. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (23) said:

    Dang, we were trying so hard to have the eye of the hurricane pass right over the White House. Darn close, but we need to perfect our weather control machines for the next time.

    I can only answer this with a quote.

    Shunt1 (16) said:

    Why make such a silly statement?

  62. Nigel Depledge

    Eqfan592 (32) said:

    . . . shunt1 . . . is simply beyond foolish.

    Fixed that for you.

  63. Nigel Depledge

    Grand Lunar (38) said:

    I was wondering about any possible connection between this event and climate change.

    Erm . . you did read Phil’s post, right? Y’know, the bit where he says:

    Basically, it’s hard to know the precise role of global warming in the formation, movement, power, and damage caused by Sandy, but what we do know is that the Atlantic had warmer temperatures for longer than usual – conditions consistent with global warming – and that is a source of both energy and water for the hurricane. There is some thought that the huge arctic sea ice melt this year may have contributed to the abrupt westward turn of the hurricane into the coast. Correlation isn’t necessarily causation; the details are difficult to calculate and we may never know.

    But we do know that something looking very much like this has been predicted by climate scientists. . . . . Warmer waters lead to an extended hurricane season which can stretch into the time when nor’easters are more likely to occur. These circumstances loaded the dice.

  64. Nigel Depledge

    Vince RN (39) said:

    Weather and extremes of weather happen with or without global warming and there is no particular reason to pin this one on global warming.

    This is mostly wrong.

    We know that weather events that we would consider “extreme” – be they storms, floods, droughts or whatever – are more likely and will become (or perhaps are becoming) more frequent as a result of GW. And we know that the conditions that lead to Hurricane formation, and that make Hurricanes more powerful, are becoming more common as a result of GW. So, while it is impossible to say that this specific storm was caused by GW, it is no stretch to say that it was made worse by GW, and it is no stretch to say that we should expect storms like this one to be more common as a result of GW.

  65. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (41) said:

    Roll a [pair of] dice 333 times and get [double-]sixes each time and you’d have to conclude the dice are loaded.

    FTFY.

  66. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (42) said:

    I will study this event for years, to figure out what I failed to see on the WV satellite images.

    Maybe the relevant info wasn’t on the satellite images?

  67. noen

    VinceRN since:
    “@neon – So you have some concrete proof that this particular storm to a specific cause? You have proof of the exact cause of this particular storm?

    Why is it a “false inference”, in fact why is it an inference at all?”

    Here is what you said:

    “There are records of bigger, much bigger, storms in pre-industrial times. The hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900, the great hurricane of 1780, and many, many others. Weather and extremes of weather happen with or without global warming and there is no particular reason to pin this one on global warming. ”

    This breaks down into a claim that:
    (1) There were bigger storms in pre-industrial times
    (2) Weather extremes occur with or without global warming
    Conclusion: We cannot attribute this weather even to global warming.

    The inference is invalid because the conclusion does not follow from the premises even though 1 & 2 are true.

    ———

    VinceRN:
    “It is an undeniable fact that there have been stronger storms without global warming. It is an undeniable fact that we do not know the exact cause of this or any specific storm. Global warming is certainly real, but you can not specifically pin any single weather event to it. Storms happen, we don’t know why this one happened and no serious scientist will tell you that this one storm was absolutely cause by global warming, that without global warming there would have been no storm.”

    This also breaks down to an false argument:

    (1) there have been stronger storms without global warming.
    (2) We do not know the exact cause of this or any specific storm.
    (3) We can not specifically pin any single weather event to global warming.
    Conclusion: We cannot say this one storm was absolutely caused by global warming, that without global warming there would have been no storm.

    The argument is false because it is not a claim of climatology that one can know the *exact* cause of any one storm nor does climatology claim to know or to be able to predict the absolute cause of any particular weather event.

    The nature of probabilistic reasoning is such that statements like “Smoking causes lung cancer” and “Bob’s lung cancer cannot be unequivocally attributed to smoking” are both true.

    ——

    “The fact that you want this to be because of global warming has no bearing on the issue at all.”

    No one is making this claim nor does Phil:

    “Basically, it’s hard to know the precise role of global warming in the formation, movement, power, and damage caused by Sandy”

    and

    “Correlation isn’t necessarily causation; the details are difficult to calculate and we may never know.

    But we do know that something looking very much like this has been predicted by climate scientists. This may be an unusual event – after all, the nor’easter timing was important, and the spring tides from the full Moon contributed as well – but it’s hard to say just how unusual it will be in the future.”

    The claim is this:

    “The slightly longer answer is, unusually warm seas and elevated sea levels are powering up Sandy so that she’s more devastating than she’d otherwise be, and those warmer seas are in part a result of human-caused climate change.”

    (1) Global warming is a scientific fact.
    (2) A warmer climate increases the energy available to storms.
    (3) Large weather events like Sandy draw their energy from the surrounding environment.
    (4) When more energy is available the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is likely to increase.
    (5) We have observed an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
    Conclusion: It is likely that hurricane Sandy’s intensity is due to global warming and the likelihood of future extreme weather events is increased.

    “Will climate change lead to more frequent extreme weather events everywhere, including rare occurrences such as Sandy? And the answer to that one is a resounding yes.”

    Vince should probably stick to nursing.

  68. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (44) said:

    Care to try me?

    Been there, done that, got prints of your face on the soles of my boots.

    When will you wake up to the fact that every “flaw” you claim in the AGW case is a mere illusion, brought about by I don’t know what you’ve been smoking? Every argument you have made here against AGW has been torn to shreds and shown to be irrelevant, or false, or nonsensical, or a lie.

    For example, you have claimed in the past that it is impossible to model climate before the event because weather modelling is so poor, and yet you claim to be impressed at the accuracy of the modelling of Sandy. Whereas, to be consistent with your previous arguments you would have to dismiss this accuracy as coincidence.

    And never mind that modelling a long-term trend is substantially easier than making precise predictions about individual events. By way of comparison, can you model the behaviour of three six-sided dice over the long term? Can you predict how frequently results such as 10 or 3 might be expected to occur? That’s pretty easy, right? Now, can you predict the outcome of a single roll? No? Why is it so much harder?

  69. Nigel Depledge

    Noen (69) said:

    The nature of probabilistic reasoning is such that statements like “Smoking causes lung cancer” and “Bob’s lung cancer cannot be unequivocally attributed to smoking” are both true.

    Yes. This!

  70. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (46) said:

    I’m not running for POTUS myself

    Aw!

    You would have had my vote. If I qualified to vote in POTUS elections, that is.

  71. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (54) said:

    My only scientific question is why Sandra made that sudden hook to the West. I am still stumped on what caused that movement.

    What makes you think any of us care what has you stumped today?

    AFAICT from previous threads, the basics of physical chemistry have you stumped, as does the concept of 30 years’ worth of expertise in climate science carrying more weight and forming more valuable opinions than the lay audience.

  72. Messier Tidy Upper

    @72. Nigel Depledge :

    MTU (46) said: “I’m not running for POTUS myself.”
    “Aw! You would have had my vote. If I qualified to vote in POTUS elections, that is.

    Really? Cheers. :-)

    Um, you do know my first act as POTUS would be to reinstate the planethood of Pluto, right? ;-)

    (Whaddya mean that doesn’t fall under that jurisdiction?! ;-) )

  73. Lawrence

    @shunt1 – Sandy’s hook to the left occurred because there was a High Pressure system sitting in the Atlantic that prevented the storm from taking the typical path that would have skirted the US coast & gone back out to sea.

    Weather systems like Hurricanes will move from high pressure areas to lower pressures areas – the low pressure system moving out of Canada acted like a magnet that pulled Sandy into the Mid-Atlantic.

    You don’t see that on a satellite image, but it was there, predicted and expected…you know, because of Science.

  74. noen

    That Sandy’s hook to the left is unexplainable is currently a meme circulating on the Right.

    Shunt1 can’t even be original in his denialism. Everything he says is parroted from someone else.

  75. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (74) said:

    Um, you do know my first act as POTUS would be to reinstate the planethood of Pluto, right?

    Yes that thought occurred to me.

    As long as you did something positive about HIRGO, too, it would be worth the price.

    (Whaddya mean that doesn’t fall under that jurisdiction?!

    This thought occurred to me, too!

  76. You all have far too much time on your hands.

  77. Gaebolga

    Shunty’s back, folks, which means it’s time for another exciting round of “Is He Really That Stupid?”

    Let’s get started!

    So, shunt1, tell us. Do you still stand by your claim that:

    The single most important factor in Earth’s climate, [sic] is the change in it’s [sic] albedo over time. Period.

    And do you have any more of that kind of…insight you’d like to share?

  78. VinceRn, you wrote that there were bigger hurricanes in pre-industrial times, including “The hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900″. Just so you know, 1900 is not pre-industrial.

  79. Climate change or not, I’m pretty sure one contributing factor was not, despite the claims of an article I just read, radiation in the air from Fukushima.

  80. VinceRN

    @noen – You are right, “it is not a claim of climatology that one can know the *exact* cause of any one storm nor does climatology claim to know or to be able to predict the absolute cause of any particular weather event.” It is however your claim.

    All I said was that we can not pin this one storm on global warming. You said I was wrong, that we can. Again, you are right, Phil is not making that claim, but you are, very loudly.

    I did not say there is no global warming, at no point here have I ever made such a silly claim. I did not say that global warming does not have an effect on weather, again that would be absurd. I did not even say that global warming did not have an effect on or even cause this storm, only that we can’t say for sure. What our host wrote was exactly right and I agree with his post 100%.

    You wrote:

    “The claim is this:
    “The slightly longer answer is, unusually warm seas and elevated sea levels are powering up Sandy so that she’s more devastating than she’d otherwise be, and those warmer seas are in part a result of human-caused climate change.”
    (1) Global warming is a scientific fact.
    (2) A warmer climate increases the energy available to storms.
    (3) Large weather events like Sandy draw their energy from the surrounding environment.
    (4) When more energy is available the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is likely to increase.
    (5) We have observed an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
    Conclusion: It is likely that hurricane Sandy’s intensity is due to global warming and the likelihood of future extreme weather events is increased.
    “Will climate change lead to more frequent extreme weather events everywhere, including rare occurrences such as Sandy? And the answer to that one is a resounding yes.”

    All true, and none of it contradicts what I said.

    Again, all I said was that we can not pin this one specific storm on global warming. In saying that I was wrong you made the claim that we can. Please show your proof.

    You are putting your politics ahead of science and skepticism and attacking me because what I said doesn’t sound like what your politics dictate must be true. I am a skeptic, about everything. Many people on the internet, including you, are claiming that this storm was undeniably caused by global warming, I am skeptical about that. I say we don’t really understand the mechanism well enough to make such a claim. As far as I can tell most climate scientists would agree with that.

    @Nigel – What is wrong about it? Is it wrong to say that extremes of weather happen with or without global warming, do you claim that without global warming there are no extremes of weather? Is it wrong to say that we can not pin this one storm defiantly on global warming, do you claim we can? What you posted was correct, and I believe they are becoming more frequent. I made no claim otherwise. So are you saying that something I claimed was wrong of are you inferring something you think I claimed and saying that’s wrong?

    @Danny Adams, true enough, but it is before most indications of global warming. My point was that big storms happen and that it is irresponsible to blame every big storm that happens on global warming when we know that big storms can happen without it.

  81. Cochise

    What the hell people? I’m seeing arguments all over the comments. One fact that we’re sure of is that we got demolished! I personally went to Mantoloking NJ and its complete destruction there. It was a very sobering sight. Get your crap together folks, I’m living the nightmare. Category 1 or 5, it doesn’t matter. My business is in jeopardy and I’m tired of the pettiness.

  82. Messier Tidy Upper

    @79. Peggy Colebank : ” You all have far too much time on your hands.”

    Gee, thanks for that invaluable contribution to the discussion here. :roll:

    It isn’t always true – not for me for sure. People’s time and how they choose to use it is up to them. That’s kinda axiomatic. Some of like discussing things online and participating in the comments here. No one is saying you have to or judging you for what you choose to do when you get a free moment.

    @ 84. VinceRN :

    @Danny Adams, true enough, but it is before most indications of global warming. My point was that big storms happen and that it is irresponsible to blame every big storm that happens on global warming when we know that big storms can happen without it.

    Thing is big storms – bigger and more frequent – do happen *with* Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating too. They’re consistent with the pattern of climatic change we’re experiencing and we can expect more of these than we once could’ve. Its a trend in a few directions – and while we cannot be certain any one event was caused by HIRGO, we can say that HIRGO sure isn’t helping here!

    I am a skeptic, about everything.

    Even evolution? Gravity? The spherical nature of Earth?

    Some things are pretty well established facts and realities. HIRGO is one of these.

    @83. Danny Adams :

    Climate change or not, I’m pretty sure one contributing factor was not, despite the claims of an article I just read, radiation in the air from Fukushima.

    Yeah. How would that work exactly? I don’t see any way you could reasonably draw the conclusion that Fukushima had anything to do with this. Wow.

  83. Messier Tidy Upper

    @84. VinceRN :

    All I said was that we can not pin this one storm on global warming.

    Oh there’s a lot more sentences in your comments here than that! ;-)

    You [noen - ed ] wrote:
    “The claim is this:
    “The slightly longer answer is, unusually warm seas and elevated sea levels are powering up Sandy so that she’s more devastating than she’d otherwise be, and those warmer seas are in part a result of human-caused climate change.”
    (1) Global warming is a scientific fact.
    (2) A warmer climate increases the energy available to storms.
    (3) Large weather events like Sandy draw their energy from the surrounding environment.
    (4) When more energy is available the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is likely to increase.
    (5) We have observed an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
    Conclusion: It is likely that hurricane Sandy’s intensity is due to global warming and the likelihood of future extreme weather events is increased.
    “Will climate change lead to more frequent extreme weather events everywhere, including rare occurrences such as Sandy? And the answer to that one is a resounding yes.”
    All true, and none of it contradicts what I said.
    Again, all I said was that we can not pin this one specific storm on global warming. In saying that I was wrong you made the claim that we can. (Emphasis added.)

    Actually I don’t think he did claim Sandy was exactly and precisely caused by HIRGO.

    Can you pint me to a line where Noen (or for that matter the BA, myself or anyone here) has made that specific claim? I’m not seeing it.

    I am seeing people saying Sandy is a metaphor for how climate change is having a severe and growing effect on our global civilisation and especially the USA.

    I am seeing people saying HIRGO was a very probable major contributing and exacerbating factor in hurricane Sandy.

    I am seeing people observe that Sandy is entirely consistent with HIRGO theory and predictions and part of trend and one we need to pay attention to because such (Formerly?) freak events are likely to become far more frequent as a result of HIRGO.

    I think you are missing a nuance or three in this discussion here and failing to pick up on the exact language – with probabilistic qualifiers and uncertainty in exact causation noted.

    You’re saying you agree with the BA and others here – but then that, well, we cannot be 100% certain Sandy wouldn’t have happened without HIRGO thus .. well what exactly?

    You’re saying monster hurricanes as bad as Sandy have happened before HIRGO and can happen without them. This is true but why emphasise it and what do you think that proves? I’m not sure what your purpose in hammering that point is.

  84. @29. shunt1 :

    A REAL hurricane that did amazing damage to the island of Cozumel.
    This is the best video that I have seen so far. [link snipped -ed.]
    But diving on that amount of destruction, is something that even I can not express.
    Sue and I had vacationed there for years. Some of the people in that video were personal friends. We knew that we had to be there to help them recover. And, they did recover!

    Saw that clip, thanks. I can’t speak Spanish but impressive with the images speaking for themselves – not sure how exactly its relevant though.

    Yes, there have been plenty of other devastating hurricanes over history and our own lifetimes. They’re damaging and people – those who survive anyway – will recover and rebuild their lives, although after much pain and suffering and loss and not without being marked and sometimes traumatised by their experiences.

    Hurricane Sandy was huger in size than most but not as strong as many. Yeah. It was an unusual storm indeed. It did a lot of damage and killed forty people that I’m aware of so far.

    Hurricane Wilma (wiki-linked tomy name here) caused a lot of damage and killed people and was a severe hurricane too. So are /have been plenty of other hurricanes as well.

    HIRGO very likely contributed to hurricane Sandy – and hurricane Wilma and many (all recent?) other disastrous storms globally.

    This supports your views about HIRGO how?

  85. noen

    VinceRN said:
    “All I said was that we can not pin this one storm on global warming. You said I was wrong, that we can. Again, you are right, Phil is not making that claim, but you are, very loudly.”

    Ok, well… we all tend to read in what we think people mean. I guess then that I am not sure what you mean by “pin it [Sandy] on” climate change. I read that as meaning that we cannot say there is a causal relationship between global warming and hurricane Sandy. In fact there is.

    Think of it like this. If I am a life long smoker can I bring suit against tobacco companies for my lung cancer? I say yes you can, I take your “we can’t pin Sandy on global warming” as equivalent to “No, I can’t sue them for my lung cancer”.

    And… even though it is true that you cannot “pin” any one instance of lung cancer on cigarettes you can also rightly sue the cigarette companies for selling you a product that gave you lung cancer. The way the courts handle this is by assigning risk and giving rewards to smokers based on the level of risk they were subject to based on how much they smoked a day.

    So… I can’t prove that cigarettes gave me *that* lung cancer but I can prove it vastly increased the odds I would get lung cancer. Enough so that I deserve payment for the harm they caused me.

    I think the victims of hurricane Sandy should sue Exxon and base their suit on similar law suits against the cigarette manufacturers. I think they have suffered real harm by the actions of Exxon. I take it that you believe they should not.

    Sorry for any misunderstanding.

  86. VinceRN

    This is what happened. You guys interest all sorts of silliness that I never said, and you continue to do so. Yes, global warming causes all that you say, I agree with you completely. You even agree that we don’t know exactly what caused that storm. That’s all I said. I never claimed anything else about it.

    As for being a skeptic about everything, I will say yes, even about gravity. That doesn’t mean I believe that gravity doesn’t exist, it means when I hear claims about understanding exactly what gravity is I approach them with skepticism. As far as I’ve heard science hasn’t really cleared that hurdle. Skepticism doesn’t mean you disbelieve everything, it means you don’t take claims at face value without thought.

    That global warming causes increases in extreme weather is pretty well established, that it caused this storm is not.

    If I say we can not pin this storm on global warming and you tell me I am wrong, then you absolutely are making the claim the this storm was caused by global warming.

    In reality I know that’s not what you meant, you were attacking false inferences you made from what I said. That is why I said you are putting politics ahead of thought.

  87. Gary Ansorge

    Hah, sucker, you missed me again(I live in north Georgia, USA,).

    I like to stand on my porch during a thunderstorm(which we see a lot of here in Georgia), wet my finger, hold it up and say “Give it your best shot, you non-existent sucker.).

    …of course, there may come a day when chaos nails my butt. Oh well, the Old Guy had first shot and snookered it.

    People don’t like to accept that there is no intelligence guiding these events. We’re wired to look for causes and a storms destructive abilities just seems to go down better with a little, “Well, some God somewhere must be pissed off. Maybe we should sacrifice some virgins…”

    …it doesn’t do any good but at least we THINK we’re taking back some control from chaos…the ILLUSION of control is almost as good as the real thing.

    Just be assured my fellow easterners, no One is mad at you.

    Gary 7

  88. @85 Cochise: What the hell people? I’m seeing arguments all over the comments…

    …My business is in jeopardy and I’m tired of the pettiness.

    You haven’t read very many website comment sections before, have you?

  89. Nigel Depledge

    Vince RN (84) said:

    @Nigel – What is wrong about it? Is it wrong to say that extremes of weather happen with or without global warming, do you claim that without global warming there are no extremes of weather?

    Neither, but it is disingenuous at best, and deceptive at worst, to imply as you did that extreme weather events are unchanged by GW.

    We know that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent than they were as a consequence of GW. There is every reason to expect storms in general to become more violent also (and to expect droughts in general to be more severe, and to expect floods in general to be more severe, on average, even for those events that are not “extreme”).

    Is it wrong to say that we can not pin this one storm defiantly [sic] on global warming, do you claim we can?

    Erm, I’ll assume you meant “definitely” here.

    Again, neither, but it is wrong to simplify the system into “things we can pin on GW” and “things we cannot definitely pin on GW”.

    Because weather is chaotic – in the scientific sense of the word – there is unlikely ever to be a way to attribute an individual storm to GW, but to reduce it to these terms is to miss the point. Phil tries to use this storm as an “in” to point out the broader picture, and you seemed intent on diverting the discussion into whether or not it is right to attribute Sandy to GW.

    You also – disingenuously, IMO – emphasised that extreme weather happens with or without GW, without any reference to the context of generally increasingly frequent extreme weather events.

    What you posted was correct, and I believe they are becoming more frequent. I made no claim otherwise. So are you saying that something I claimed was wrong of are you inferring something you think I claimed and saying that’s wrong?

    I’m saying that the way you framed the discussion was wrong.

  90. Nigel Depledge

    Cochise (85) said:

    My business is in jeopardy and I’m tired of the pettiness.

    The entirety of human civilisation is in jeopardy, and only a concerted global effort can reduce or mitigate the threat. What is petty about addressing this?

    It is exactly your small-scale, provincial type of thinking that has thus far held back global action. The US is in a unique position globally. Had the US ratified the Kyoto protocol back in ’97, or even proposed a sensible alternative, we would probably be in a far better position than we are now in terms of GW and global CO2 emissions.

    The US’s selfish stance back then gave India and China the excuse they needed to develop their industrial capacity with little regard for its impact on the global climate.

    Had the US’s politicians and public accepted the IPCC’s conclusions, then it is very likely that we would be in the position that we should be, i.e. the debate being not about whether AGW is real, but about exactly how we tackle the issue. And the main reason the US has rejected the conclusions of the IPCC is down to all of the excuses that politicians and “think” tanks – largely funded or supported by fossil fuel industries – give them for doing nothing about their contribution.

    Sure, I’m sorry to hear that your business in in jeopardy, but the point of the BA’s article is that Sandy can serve as a reminder that GW will affect all of us sooner or later.

  91. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (87) said:

    Actually I don’t think he did claim Sandy was exactly and precisely caused by HIRGO.

    Noen is a “she”, mate.

  92. Nigel Depledge

    Vince RN (91) said:

    You guys interest all sorts of silliness that I never said, and you continue to do so. Yes, global warming causes all that you say, I agree with you completely. You even agree that we don’t know exactly what caused that storm. That’s all I said. I never claimed anything else about it.

    Wrong.

    The very fact that you so heavily emphasised that we cannot pin Sandy directly on GW, despite no-one having made that actual claim, shows that you were attempting to imply something. So, why exactly did you make such a big deal out of rebutting a claim no-one here had made?

  93. Nigel Depledge

    Vince RN (91) said:

    That global warming causes increases in extreme weather is pretty well established, that it caused this storm is not.

    Well, yes, and so . . . ?

    Why did you bring this point up at all?

  94. viggen

    But a hurricane a thousand miles across doing tens of billions of dollars of damage and causing untold chaos is more than a wake up call.

    So, now what? Do we say that nobody can drive their cars or use chemicals that end up in the atmosphere? Do we jump onto a technology that is ten or twenty years (or never) away from implementation as a substitute? Do we try dumping hundreds of tons of chemicals into the ocean to promote growth of organisms to scavenge CO2 despite not having the slightest idea whether that will do anything but further screw up that ecosystem and food source? (Already happened, sorry.) Do we tear up all the blacktop to try to change the albedo? Do we pave half the desert in the southwest in silicon? Do we limit how many kids people can have so that not so many resources are needed to keep them alive?

    A wake up call to what? The Apocalypse?

    Climate change advocates bleat this alarm “You see? We’re changing the climate! Don’t you see?” Okay, I get it. How do you correct it? Fascist hell? Say goodbye to any hope of having a global economy? Try a bunch of seat of the pants “terraforming solutions” that may make matters worse? Fact is that the planet is not being destroyed, nothing is wrong with the planet… the only thing that is changing is whether humans will be able to live in the prevailing environment in our current numbers tomorrow and it is presumptuous to suppose that we can do anything to “solve the problem” except to go extinct or deliberately and massively reduce our population load. Bottom line: say goodbye to anything you recognize as a way of life. No wonder there are so many people in denial.

  95. @86 This isn’t a discussion, this is a Punch and Judy show.

  96. Gaebolga

    I get your point, viggen, but just because all of our current options suck, that doesn’t mean that doing nothing is an option, really.

    If we (the collective human “we,” not any specific group of people) didn’t want to have to make these hard choices, we could have listened to the scientific community and started doing something about this decades ago. We didn’t, so our choices became more limited and less painless.

    We didn’t do anything about it 15 years ago, so our choices became even more limited and even less painless.

    We didn’t do anything about it 10 years ago, so our choices became still more limited and still less painless.

    We didn’t do anything about it 5 years ago, so our choices again got more limited and less painless.

    We aren’t doing anything about it now, so our choices are going to get even more limited and even less painless.

    There’s a concept called “responsibility.” Sometimes, it sucks really, really bad to take responsibility for something. Welcome to reality.

  97. Denier

    “…something looking very much like this has been predicted by climate scientists.”

    Did the same climate scientists also predict the relative lack of hurricanes in recent years? Maybe that was caused by AGW as well.

    While I’m here, please stop using the term “denier”.

  98. @101 Gaebolga: If we (the collective human “we,” not any specific group of people) didn’t want to have to make these hard choices, we could have listened to the scientific community and started doing something about this decades ago. We didn’t, so our choices became more limited and less painless.
    We didn’t do anything about it 15 years ago, so our choices became even more limited and even less painless.
    We didn’t do anything about it 10 years ago, so our choices became still more limited and still less painless.
    We didn’t do anything about it 5 years ago, so our choices again got more limited and less painless.
    We aren’t doing anything about it now, so our choices are going to get even more limited and even less painless.

    Very well put. I couldn’t have said it better. Sadly, the choices are continuing to become more painful, though that’s still not an excuse to do nothing.

    There’s a concept called “responsibility.” Sometimes, it sucks really, really bad to take responsibility for something. Welcome to reality.

    I’ve tried hard to avoid injecting politics here, but sorry, I just can’t help myself. As an American, I find it ironic that the Republican Party, which has always billed itself as the party of “responsibility” and making difficult sacrifices (be it cutting government programs to lower the debt or sending troops off to war) has utterly failed to even try to assert some responsibility in the case of AGW, in many cases doing just the opposite. And when even relatively minor sacrifices are called for (from them), they (or at least the party bigwigs) are the first to start screaming about “protecting our freedoms”. Because damnit, I have a God-given right to drive a car that gets 15 miles per gallon! You don’t like that, you’re a Communist!

  99. James Evans

    @Denier:

    Did the same climate scientists also predict the relative lack of hurricanes in recent years? Maybe that was caused by AGW as well.

    Had there actually been a “relative lack of hurricanes in recent years”—whatever that uselessly vague statement means in the end—it might have been predicted and/or caused by AGW.

    But, see, little Denier, 2012 is presently tied for the 3rd most active N. Atlantic cyclone season on record (and it’s not over), as were 2011 and 2010, with each year having about 20 or more named storms. In fact, you have to go all the way back to the 1990′s before you get to a season that had single digit cyclone numbers, despite the fact that some of those post-90′s years had strong Atlantic wind shear/El Niño conditions that inhibit cyclone formation.

    Care to tell us what rock you’ve been hiding under, Denier?

    If nothing else, I can see why you wouldn’t wanna attach your real name to such embarrassing drivel. But maybe you’re right to an extent, and it is time to move on and stop using the term “denier.” Probably at this point we should use something more along the lines of “The Woefully Clueless” or “The Miserably Misinformed” to describe your crowd.

    There, see? We’re willing to promote you to a title with capital letters. You can even thank us, if you want.

    I’ll give you this much: one thing you deniers possess in excess is an impressive ability to completely ignore how badly you humiliate yourselves, and get right up off the mat to sling more inaccurate nonsense about. Guess that’s something to hang your hat on, when you’ve got little or nothing else working in your favor.

  100. Brian Too

    @39. VinceRN,

    Regarding the readiness of emergency power, supplies and so on.

    In the abstract this is correct. Emergencies can be predicted as statistical phenomena over spans of time, usually years. However they cannot be specifically predicted over budgetarily important time periods, mainly the 1 year interval.

    By the time an emergency like a hurricane can be predicted in the concrete domain, you have only days to prepare.

    All emergency preparations suffer from on common downside. The majority of the time they just sit there, unneeded and doing nothing. They do however cost money. Therefore when facing fiscal pressure, it’s always tempting to cut back on emergency planning and supplies. This is very like the dynamic that insurance faces.

    Another aspect is psychological. Emergency plans concern bad situations. Lots of people don’t like to think of such circumstances; after all it’s much more pleasant to imagine that tomorrow will be safe, warm and sunny, right?

    That’s one reason that “zombie apocalypse planning” has suddenly become popular. It adds an element of fun and whimsey to the whole field. At the same time it can actually do a pretty good job of planning for emergencies that are a little more plausible than zombies!

  101. @96. Nigel Depledge :

    MTU (87) said: “Actually I don’t think he did claim Sandy was exactly and precisely caused by HIRGO.”
    Noen is a “she”, mate.

    Oops! D’oh! Thanks Nigel, sorry Noen.

    Must remember to check my gender assumptions. Mea culpa.

    @102. Denier :

    “…something looking very much like this has been predicted by climate scientists.”
    Did the same climate scientists also predict the relative lack of hurricanes in recent years? Maybe that was caused by AGW as well.

    Citation needed. Your source and supporting evidence for that claim is what exactly Denier?

    Read again what #104. James Evans has written :

    ” .. 2012 is presently tied for the 3rd most active N. Atlantic cyclone season on record (and it’s not over), as were 2011 and 2010, with each year having about 20 or more named storms. In fact, you have to go all the way back to the 1990′s before you get to a season that had single digit cyclone numbers, despite the fact that some of those post-90′s years had strong Atlantic wind shear/El Niño conditions that inhibit cyclone formation.”

    Are you going to say that’s wrong and, if so and most importantly, what evidence do you have to support your contention? I’m guessing not much.

    While I’m here, please stop using the term “denier”.

    Bit hard when that’s what you’ve – aptly it seems – chosen to name yourself mate. ;-)

    Also see the BA’s post titled ‘I’m skeptical of denialism’ posted on this blog on the 9th of June , 2009, 2:00 p.m. which is linked in the sidebar on the right under blogroll here & in my name for this comment as well. It provides the Bad Astronomer’s reasons for using that term and why Dr Phil Plait considers it appropriate. It makes a good case in my view although I personally prefer to use Climate Contrarian instead.

  102. Messier Tidy Upper

    @VinceRN :

    I’ve asked you before and ha dno answer – youcliame dpeopel here were attributing hurricane Sandy solely and directly to Global Overheating.

    Please can you quote a line where someone actually made that specific claim?

    Because I think

  103. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ MTU : D’oh. Out of editing time. Sorry. Corrected & expanded version of that below :

    @VinceRN :

    I’ve asked you before (in # 87) and still had no answer – you have claimed people here were attributing hurricane Sandy solely and directly to Global Overheating.

    Please can you quote a line where someone actually made that specific claim?

    Because I don’t think anyone is actually saying what you are claiming they’ve said.

    @91. VinceRN :

    This is what happened. You guys interest [sic] all sorts of silliness that I never said, and you continue to do so.

    For example?

    Who and what have we said about you here that is “silly” exactly?

    Yes, global warming causes all that you say, I agree with you completely. You even agree that we don’t know exactly what caused that storm. That’s all I said. I never claimed anything else about it.

    Sadly it isn’t all you said.

    For instance in comment #84. you wrote :

    (1)You are putting your politics ahead of science and skepticism and attacking me because what I said doesn’t sound like what your politics dictate must be true. (2) I am a skeptic, about everything. Many people on the internet, including you, are claiming that this storm was undeniably caused by global warming, I am skeptical about that. (3) I say we don’t really understand the mechanism well enough to make such a claim. As far as I can tell most climate scientists would agree with that.

    (Numbering added for reference.)

    and in comment #39. you typed :

    (4)There are records of bigger, much bigger, storms in pre-industrial times. (5)The hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900, the great hurricane of 1780, and many, many others. (6) Weather and extremes of weather happen with or without global warming and there is no particular reason to pin this one on global warming.

    Others have since pointed out quite reasonably and calmly in my view that there are problems in those paragraphs and arguments. For instance let me counter each of those separate claims you made as numbered :

    (1) No, that’;s your attribution of motives and not, I think, what people are doing. -Certainly I am primarily motivated by things other than politics here. I think youhave got this science wrong because it is something I formerly got badly wrong and have becoem quite interested and passionate about.

    (2) I’m skeptical about your claim that that is what people – such as myself -are actually claiming. Hence the bolded question in this comment.

    (3) The mechanism and basic understanding of HIRGO is pretty well understood in fact and has been studied and confirmed since Svante arrhenius in the 1890′s or so. Most climatologists do understand the mechanism in broad detail quite well if not the specific regional flow on effects.

    (4) Maybe so -but so what? What are you implying by that and why do you wish to emphasise that so heavily? It carries connotations of a “oh its nothing to worry about, happens all the time naturally” vibe.

    (5) 1900 was not pre-industrial.

    (6) Well, yes and no. We can’t say any single event was directly caused by HIRGO but the probability and trend and nature of Sandy are very much consistent and suggestive of Sandy being one likely consequence of HIRGO taking effect. This last sixth point is the main one really – and has me wondering why you seem so intent on disputing it and claiming other people are saying something other than this pointedly nuanced and qualified statement when they’re not?

    As for being a skeptic about everything, I will say yes, even about gravity. That doesn’t mean I believe that gravity doesn’t exist, it means when I hear claims about understanding exactly what gravity is I approach them with skepticism. As far as I’ve heard science hasn’t really cleared that hurdle. Skepticism doesn’t mean you disbelieve everything, it means you don’t take claims at face value without thought.

    Fair enough.

    But HIRGO theory has cleared the hurdle of being well-establishing, multiply confirmed scientific fact. The idea that hurricanes are made stronger and more frequent due to HIRGO is something there is a very good scientific basis for saying and a little or even a lot of work has been done to show this.

  104. Denier

    @104. James Evans Says:

    First, I am amazed that my simple little comment has elicited such a nasty (and bloated) response. It is ironic that you criticise me for not using my real name, then hurl a torrent of abuse in my direction, including: “uselessly vague”, “denier”, “embarrassing drivel”, “Woefully Clueless”, “The Miserably Misinformed”, “tell us what rock you’ve been hiding under”, etc. This is one of the reasons I don’t (generally) use my real name. Perhaps you should reconsider using your real name on here as you could be perceived as a bully.

    Had there actually been a “relative lack of hurricanes in recent years”—whatever that uselessly vague statement means in the end—it might have been predicted and/or caused by AGW.

    Yes, I was a bit vague but then so is Phil’s post; I was referring to the lack of major US hurricanes between 2005 and 2012 but I admit that that is irrelevant – but then so is picking just one hurricane. If you would prefer to look at the long-term trend, say over 100 years, I quote from the NOAA website: “there is no long-term trend in the number of landfalling hurricanes since 1900″.

    Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

  105. Nigel Depledge

    Viggen (99) said:

    Climate change advocates bleat this alarm “You see? We’re changing the climate! Don’t you see?” Okay, I get it. How do you correct it? Fascist hell? Say goodbye to any hope of having a global economy? Try a bunch of seat of the pants “terraforming solutions” that may make matters worse? Fact is that the planet is not being destroyed, nothing is wrong with the planet… the only thing that is changing is whether humans will be able to live in the prevailing environment in our current numbers tomorrow and it is presumptuous to suppose that we can do anything to “solve the problem” except to go extinct or deliberately and massively reduce our population load. Bottom line: say goodbye to anything you recognize as a way of life. No wonder there are so many people in denial.

    What on Earth are you blathering about?

    Did you make any effort at all to find out what technologies a low-carbon future might encompass?

    If you could be bothered to look, there are many projects addressing the issue of what to do about it, some of them already being implemented at scale, others running pilot-plant tests, and others still only theoretical. There are three basic approaches : (1) increase efficiency; (2) generate electricity from renewables; and (3) geoengineering.

    Regarding (1), there are already cars available in Europe that can do 60 – 80 mpg with little or no compromise on performance (diesel or petrol-electric hybrids); incandescent light bulbs are no longer available to buy in the UK (you have to buy energy-efficient fluorescent ones instead); and so on.

    Regarding (2), there are about 7 or 8 diferent ways of getting power from non-fossil fuel sources without having to wait for ITER to solve all of the problems of high-temperature plasma physics. Wind farms are just one of several approaches that are being tested or investigated. Additionally, electric vehicles are available to buy in Europe, although they don’t yet match up to the internal combustion engine in terms of performance and endurance. But bear in mind this is young technology – it took at least 50 years for the motor industry to get from its humble beginnings to what we might consider to be a half-way decent car. By using electricity for transport, you open up the possibility of carbon-neutral personal trasnport (well, not counting the bicycle, which has always been carbon-neutral).

    Regarding (3), carbon-capture and storage is being tested at pilot scale in several places, ocean fertilisation is being tested (albeit in a rather slapdash way); and other options are being investigated on paper at least.

    Certainly there is no need for talk of “fascist hell”, nor any reason to say goodbye to anything except profligate waste.

  106. Nigel Depledge

    Denier (102) said:

    While I’m here, please stop using the term “denier”.

    Do you have a more accurate alternative to suggest?

    What else should we call someone who denies what the overwhwelming prepoderance of evidence shows to be a real phenomenon?

  107. Nigel Depledge

    Denier (109) said:

    First, I am amazed that my simple little comment has elicited such a nasty (and bloated) response.

    Citation needed.

    Who was being “nasty”, and what exactly was “nasty” about what they said?

    It is ironic that you criticise me for not using my real name, then hurl a torrent of abuse in my direction,

    Abuse? What abuse?

    including: “uselessly vague”,

    Factually accurate, not abuse.

    “denier”,

    Accurate ipso facto your comment. Even if not accuarate, how is it “abuse”?

    “embarrassing drivel”, “Woefully Clueless”, “The Miserably Misinformed”,

    Factually accurate, factually accurate, and – wait for it – yes, factually accurate.

    Or are you genuinely so ignorant or stupid that you think 98% of the world’s climate scientists (that’s several thousand unusually intelligent people) are labouring under a misapprehension?

    “tell us what rock you’ve been hiding under”, etc.

    Yes, there is no excuse for splashing your level of ignorance on the internet. If you don’t know and don’t care to find out for yourself, why not keep quiet?

    This is one of the reasons I don’t (generally) use my real name.

    Actually, James Evans’s post was far more accurate than was your own, including those terms you have mis-labelled as “abuse”. The phrase that springs to my mind is “if you can’t stand the heat . . .”

    Perhaps you should reconsider using your real name on here as you could be perceived as a bully.

    Could be, perhaps, by one who cannot face being wrong.

    It’s OK, you carry on believing whatever it is you want to believe. Just do us one favour, if you wouldn’t mind. Stop voting.

  108. James Evans

    @Denier:

    Yes, I was a bit vague but then so is Phil’s post

    I cited the exact vague sentence in your comment, so you can do the same with Phil’s post to fill the rest of us in on exactly where Phil was vague, rather than be an abusive bully who can insult blog articles that others find very informative, but can ‘t be bothered to give specific examples backing up your bogus, defamatory claims.

    I was referring to the lack of major US hurricanes between 2005 and 2012 but I admit that that is irrelevant…

    And here come the unending, pointless clarifications, ladies and gentlemen. Rather than just admit the original statement was grossly inaccurate, we get to witness the Dance of the Ceaseless, Inconsequential Distinctions. AKA the Subject Change Salsa.

    “Uh, yeah, uh, despite what I first said, I really only meant, uh, let’s see, hurricanes that made US landfall, uh, that were, ummm, major, and, uh, maybe only in these few states over here, or perhaps those over there, and, yeah, uh, the past 100 years was what I meant, not ‘recent years’ like my original comment stated, and blah, blah, blah.”

    There have been 15 major hurricanes since May 2006, Denier. Since you have elected yourself the Official US Oracle of Major Hurricanes, what number would it have to be to impress you? 20? 30? 50? Hmmm?

    See, Denier, the rest of us realize that you only need a tropical storm to do billions of dollars of damage along hundreds of miles coastline and however many square miles inland. You don’t need 110+ mph winds to ruin countless lives. But you keep the major hurricane subject change hope alive, my friend. Dare to dream.

    …but then so is picking just one hurricane.

    You would be the only one with blinders firmly in place doing that, Denier. The rest of us recognize that Sandy is part of a larger, disturbing trend (get this, Denier…you might wanna take a seat while the drums are still rolling…) IN RECENT YEARS.

    If you would prefer to look at the long-term trend, say over 100 years…

    No, I prefer to stay with specifics of your original, misinformed comment. Subject changes are your business, not mine.

    I quote from the NOAA website: “there is no long-term trend in the number of landfalling hurricanes since 1900”

    It’s really unfortunate for you and your first, completely spurious statement that NOAA doesn’t say “in recent years,” huh?

    When statements are as ignorant as your original, they get “bullied” right off the blog. Don’t like it? Don’t make ignorant statements. Pretty simple rule, really.

  109. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ James Evans :

    When statements are as ignorant as your original, they get “bullied” right off the blog. Don’t like it? Don’t make ignorant statements. Pretty simple rule, really.

    I agree with the use of quotation marks there and think it is worth stressing that being corrected on factual errors by others – especially really dumb factual errors such as those Denier made – is NOT bullying.

    It is not even close to bullying – especially if it is done politely without name-calling or abuse.

  110. James Evans

    Yeah, MTU, no doubt. Being confrontational can’t be seen as offensive bullying, or none of us will be able to argue vigorously/effectively. Every debate will turn into an infuriatingly polite muddle of misinformation that piles up into a huge mound of uncorrected, indecipherable nonsense. I’ve been set straight on this blog before, and took my medicine. It’s not that big of a deal, and it helps you fine-tune your worldview/outlook. If you can step back from your ego long enough to absorb another perspective, it can be a good thing.

    Denier is playing the pity pot routine because my tone, which was certainly derisive, was not appreciated. However, I didn’t much appreciate Denier’s arrogant tone in that first cheap-shot comment. And that’s what that comment was, a pompous cheap shot, a case of “Watch me teach these climate lovers a quick lesson. I’ll show them.” Sorry, but THAT smug approach to a very complicated issue is getting crushed into dust every time, if I have anything to say about it, anyway.

    We’ll call it even.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »