Welcome to the New Normal

By Keith Kloor | February 10, 2013 10:26 am

I don’t think anyone can top this:

Now I read that as a clever rejoinder to all sides in the climate debate. But since we’re already seeing stories that link global warming to the blizzard that has just struck the Northeast, let’s focus on the side that is making the connection.

First, some helpful background. A year ago, Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), wrote an essay that I believe has deeply influenced, or at least, reinforced, what I call the new normal in the climate discourse. Trenberth:

Scientists are frequently asked about an event “Is it caused by climate change?” The answer is that no events are “caused by climate change” or global warming, but all events have a contribution. Moreover, a small shift in the mean can still lead to very large percentage changes in extremes. In reality the wrong question is being asked: the question is poorly posed and has no satisfactory answer. The answer is that all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.

The emphasis is his. I think it’s hard to overstate how brilliant this is as a rhetorical framing device, for now we see that every major storm and severe weather event is discussed in the context of climate change.

It’s a tricky balancing act for journalists who aim to put big storms in such a context. Here’s Bryan Walsh at Time on the recent blizzard:

There is some evidence that climate change could in fact make such massive snowstorms more common, even as the world continues to warm. As the meteorologist Jeff Masters points out in his excellent blog at Weather Underground, the two major storms that hit Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., this winter — in December and during the first weekend of February — are already among the 10 heaviest snowfalls those cities have ever recorded. The chance of that happening in the same winter is incredibly unlikely.

The chances that any major storm from this day forward will not be associated with climate change are also incredibly unlikely. Welcome to the new normal.

File:Winter Blizzard 2013 ,Billerica MA.jpg

[Source/Wikipedia commons.]


CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, global warming, select
  • mememine

    The ultimate crisis needs more than a “maybe” for real planet lovers:
    Sorry but I’ll stay a former climate change believer as long as science only says it “could” happen.
    Look for yourself as I did and you will not find one single IPCC warning that actually says it WILL happen, only “might” happen and this planet lover needs “certainty” before condemning my children to their CO2 deaths. You can’t have a little climate crisis!
    So how close to the point of no return from unstoppable warming were these lab coats going to guide us before they said; a crisis is imminent or impending or inevitable or certain or unavoidable or assured or guaranteed or “will happen” not just “might” and “could” happen?
    I don’t mind that climate change was exaggerated. I didn’t WANT this misery to be real.

    • http://www.facebook.com/miles.archer Miles Archer

      Science does not generally deal in ‘certainties’, friend. Only probabilities. Thus, since most folks are as poorly informed as you, we’re doomed. Too bad we’ve destroyed our educational system and people have come to rely upon being told that everything in life is about absolutes. Of course, none of this is relevant, since only our grandchildren will be around to deal with the consequences of their grandparents stupidity. Oh well. You won’t hear their curses in the grave.

    • Eric Anderson

      Seriously? You’re asking for an exact statement of what’s going to happen with something as complicated as the entire planet’s atmosphere and oceans? That’s just not possible. But there’s very strong evidence that something within a general range will happen — and actually is already happening. Given that the range goes from “pretty bad” to “oh, shit” it’s probably a good idea to do something now.

      Nobody can tell you exactly, with certainty, what’ll happen if you drive the wrong way on the interstate with your lights off at night. That doesn’t stop you from making a rational decision about whether or not to do it.

  • Josh Rovero

    Except that when you compare to an almost identically severe storm 35 years ago (almost to the day) and another even more severe one 125 years ago, you’re actually making the case that things really haven’t changed.

    • Bill

      Yes… but that would mean rational thinking. That is not likely to happen with the believers.

    • BJM

      125 years ago… 35 years ago…. every 10 years… every year. That would be change.

  • skitmo

    U people with ur “im not sure ” make me sick all u have to do i look the documented temps for the past 200 yrs …its warming ….u mite not thinks it bcause of human active ” it is by the way” but u cant deny it ………get a clue!!!!!!

    • jh

      None of which means a damned thing for this storm, which is perfectly normal by any account.

  • harrywr2

    New Normal = Old Normal for people who are so old they can’t remember the Old Normal or for people who are too young to remember the Old normal.

    Blizzard of ’78…nuff said.

    • Bill

      and 68

  • thebobbob

    Blab all you like 350 ppm CO2 is a hard science number. The increased CO2 comes from the burning of fossil fuels: oil; fracked natural gas; coal; it doesn’t matter. The isotopes ratios prove it. With warmer air (increased moisture) comes a grater frquency of extreme weather events. Bigger snow storms, bigger hurricanes, increased rainfall. You can argue the economics (fossil fuel companies with fight like hell), the politics (China or India not playing their part) or the religion (Man is insignificant, only God can change Climate) but you can’t argue the science. Physics doesn’t negotiate. Over 350 ppm, things start to change fast, as we are seeing today.

    Good luck

    • Bill

      I understand it is 380ppm. The physics does not negotiate – but that is when all the physics is known. In this case, it is not. We see delta T ranges in the past million years of 10-122 deg C with only 100 ppm delta CO2. Moreover, the CO2 lags temp rise. This is hard science, as you say. So, we have a change of 100 ppm of CO2 over the last 100 years and we have increased temps 0.7 deg C. Clearly, there are mechanisms at work on this planet that produce vast and destructive climate change that is not CO2 driven. Moreover, the destructive change to the biota is not warming – it is cooling. The rains forest increased over the past 10k years from warming.

    • Bill

      I understand it is 380ppm at present. ‘The physics’ does not negotiate – true, but that is
      when all the physics are known. In this case, it is not. We see delta T
      ranges in the past million years of 10-12 deg C with only 100 ppm
      delta CO2. Moreover, the CO2 lags temp rise. This is hard science, as
      you say. So, we have a change of 100 ppm of CO2 over the last 100 years
      and we have increased temps 0.7 deg C. Clearly, there are mechanisms at
      work on this planet that produce vast and destructive climate change
      that is not CO2 driven. Moreover, the destructive change to the biota is
      not warming – it is cooling. The rains forest increased over the past
      10k years from the warming of the Holocene. see data: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr5O1HsTVgA

    • Mogumbo Gono

      thebobbob says:

      “Over 350 ppm, things start to change fast, as we are seeing today.”

      You have no understanding of the climate Null Hypothesis. Nothing currently being observed exceeds past climate extremes.

      Nothing observed today is unusual or unprecedented. That is a verifiable scientific fact. EVERY extreme we see today has been exceeded in the past. Thus, the Null Hypothesis has never been falsified.

      The “carbon” scare is just that, and it has no basis in fact. As a matter of fact, we are very fortunate right now to be living in a “Goldilocks” climate. At some point, things will cool down. Then we will have a real crisis on our hands.

  • Matt B

    The real irresponsibility comes when voices in the media, which we all would like to trust & want to believe have intelligent, informed viewpoints, blather on about this climate “new normal” with very little context or background or explanation about what exactly is new or normal….almost like it was “settled science”.

    I’m talking about you, Brian Williams & Jim Cantore, going on & on about the well-known NEW NORMAL during Hurricane Sandy, in your most condescending serious journalist voices……it doesn’t help, doesn’t end up making you sound half as smart as you clearly seem to believe you are……

  • Buddy199

    A lot of anecdotes do not equal a scientific trend, they just equal a lot of anecdotes. Anecdotes are the basis of superstition and bigotry, not scientific insight.

    • Robert Parker

      …yes, Galileo thought so.

  • Skepticical Scientist

    Much of the argument of the left on this issue is little more than clever wording……and the public falls for it. From “global warming” to “climate Change”, nothing but a clever rhetorical trick so that they can include any and every weather even as an example of “climate change”.
    The fundamental problem on this issue is there is really nothing that mankind can actually do to change, in a meaningful way, whatever is going on. We can spend billions of dollars on half-baked programs and ideas that, in the long run, will not do anything significant to change the earth’s weather. In the longer term mankind may develop new and cleaner technologies that may provide the power and transportation that modern societies need But, for the immediate future we live in an oil propelled world. What we can do though is wreck our economy and make us unable to compete in a dangerous world. God help the world if the USA ceases to become the world powerhouse and protector of democracy……next up appears to be totalitarian China, a rapidly rising, aggressive military power that sees itself as the big kahuna in the world.

    We have experienced pacifism before WWI and WWII and in the latter we, the free world, came perilously close to being overtaken and defeated by militaristic Japan and Nazi Germany. But today, our kids study none of that in our left-wing dominated universities.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1058344754 Monte Davis

      Oh, it’s “the left” that artfully shifted discussion from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’..:?
      They must also have used mind control on Republican political strategist Frank Luntz, who advised his clients: “It’s time for us to start talking about ‘climate change’ instead of global warming and ‘conservation’ instead of preservation. ‘Climate change’ is less frightening than ‘global warming’. As one focus group participant noted, climate change ‘sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale.’ While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.”


      Feel free to disparage this source, which can’t even spell “skepticical” correctly.

      • Skepticical Scientist

        Yes, I’m a poor typist…so what? Is that all you have? It is the logic of the issue that needs to be discussed, not whether there are misspelled words or grammar.

        Do you really believe that mankind has the ability and the willpower to pull together to change the world’s climate in any meaningful way? Or are you of the typical mindset coming out of our education system today that throws up its hands and says that we must do “something”? ….regardless of whether or not “something” actually will halt or reverse, or even slow down, whatever is happening. Or more simply, regardless of the cost-benefits of of what is being proposed.

        Studies have shown the lack of critical thinking skills of many of our college graduates, and it is reflective in today’s discourses.

        • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

          I agree that mankind lacks the wisdom to address ACC in a cost-effective manner. Scientifically ignorant deniers like you will continue to obstruct the USA from taking any constructive steps until the magnitude of the problem is so blindingly obvious that you are swept aside as the nutcase conspiracy theorists that you are.

          By then it will be much too late to thwart the mushrooming problem and humanity will respond with a variety of desperate measures. We’ll try climate modification but it will create problems of its own and will fail to adequate address the problem. Meanwhile, climate change will cost humanity trillions of dollars per year in crop losses, damage to coastal infrastructure, more intense storms, and flooding.

          ACC will also wreak differential costs in different regions, generating intense geopolitical conflicts. What happens when lower Bangladesh is lost to saline encroachment and millions of Bangladeshis become climate refugees? Do you think that they might do something about it? Something unpleasant?

          But even then you deniers will be promulgating the same old lies that this is all the natural course of events and we can do nothing about it.

          • Skepticical Scientist

            Chris….thanks for you comments. But I’m not a “denier” of anything. And I appreciate your almost religious fervor on this issue. Unfortunately I’m also as bright as the next guy and I recognize rhetorical hype when I see it. The cool-aid drinkers on your side of the argument use terms like “denier” to sway opinion, but it is a transparent ploy…..but I must say, effective with much of the public.

            But the inconvenient truth is that there is not total consensus on the issue. Many experts disagree as to the extent and causes of what is going on. Again, with the willing help of most of the media your side is able to fool people. The fact that man-made greenhouse gasses are a factor I would not disagree with. But to what extent is another, unanswered issue. And the media willing assists you by printing that “mankind pollution” IS causing global warming. There is a huge difference between “causing” and “contributing” to global warming. If I light a match I am technically “contributing”.
            Your side also uses outfits like the Union of Concerned Scientists as an authoritative supporter, but if you review their website you will find that they are as much a political group as they are a scientific group.
            Finally, if you believe that mankind is actually going to get together and actually change the climate in the near to near-distant time frame then you should read “The Emperor has no clothes”. You are totally naive, but typical of so-call educated people of today.
            I’m not denying that climate things are happening but there are too many unknowns to jump into foolish, costly, and ineffective actions. Furthermore, most of the Third World UN nations that are demanding action are run by a bunch of despotic kleptocrates who see billions of dollars flowing into their private coffers from fools like you. Their real interest is in getting money, not saving the world from anything. In that respect they have more common sense than you ilk.

          • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

            OK, I’ll lay off the “denier” label in your case, but remember that, for the most part, I’ve been responding not to straw men but to what you have actually written; I’d appreciate it if you’d extend the same courtesy to me. I agree that there are radicals who go too far when it comes to climate change, but they’re nowhere near the center of informed opinion on the matter.

            You misrepresent the general body of opinion when you claim that”Many experts disagree as to the extent and causes of what is going on.” That is correct in a narrowly technical sense, but their disagreements are over fine points, not the overall conclusion that ACC represents a serious threat to civilization. There have been plenty of surveys of climatologists and they all come to the conclusion that more than 95% of climatologists agree on this basic point. You are correct that it is “contribution” rather than “causation”, but the magnitude of contribution is closer to 100% than to 50%.

            I have elsewhere expressed my pessimism that the problem will be adequately addressed, so your accusation of naiveté is not correct.

            Lastly, while there remain unknowns, the degree of confidence we have in the evidence is far past the point at which we can prudently act on the matter. Indeed, climate change is ALREADY costing us between $50 billion and $100 billion per year, and that’s just in the USA. So it’s foolish to do nothing about those costs.

            Lastly, I cannot help but wonder how you can be participating in a discussion of science with your anti-intellectual attitudes.

          • Skepticical Scientist

            Nice try. There is nothing anti-intellectual about my attitude. I’m merely making the point that it is not totally “settled” science, nor is there a total consensus on the reasons for the changes that we see today. There are very many prominent scientists out there who insist that this is a very complex issue that we are a long way from understanding. The largest greenhouse gas is water vapor, not CO2, and unbiased scientists will tell you that we don’t really have a sound understanding of the water vapor cycle. Small assumptions in today’s climate models on such items can have a major impact on long term conclusions. People that say nothing at all is happening don’t have my support either. The earth’s climate is always in a state of change. And with ice and glaciers melting we are seeing something significant…in my opinion.

            Such figures as Mankind is 100% responsible, and that It is Costing us $50 to$100 billion dollars per year are hogwash. Such numbers are just pulled out of some advocate group’s….well, you know from where.

            But my larger issue is that there are no “solutions” out there that would even begin to modify or change the earth’s climate in the immediate, near or fairly long term future. And, the stuff that are being done and proposed will have negative known, and far reaching impacts on the US, without making any appreciable difference in the climate. To believe that India, China and the other large polluters will actually get into the harness and make concrete, meaningful changes borders on the foolish.

            If you are versed in the problem solving process, which it appears that you are, you have to realize that one of the “possible solutions”, and in my opinion the only logical one, is to figure out coping mechanisms for living in a warmer world. To not consider this alternative is unthinkable to me, but anathema in our media and schools and in the earth warming crowd. Hence my comment on the state of critical thinking skills of our population. If you disagree, then pick some subject, ask you friend’s opinions on the subject and then afterwards grill them on their actual knowledge about the topic and the facts behind their views. My experience is that more often than not, as you press them to actually display that they have sound, fundamental reasons and knowledge for their opinions, they will become angry with you for pressing them on the topic. Too bad that all Opinion Polls don’t have test questions after opinions are rendered…..then throw out those that don’t really know anything about the topic. What do you think?

          • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

            You continue to claim that the science of ACC is not yet firm enough to begin making policy decisions: “There are very many prominent scientists out there who insist that this is a very complex issue that we are a long way from understanding.”

            The only relevant scientist of any repute who rejects the basic conclusions of ACC is Lindzen. Dyson rejects it too, but he’s a physicist, not a climatologist or atmospheric scientist. There are a ton of pseudo-scientists or people from different fields whose opposition is widely touted in the denialist sphere.

            Claiming a lack of consensus really is denial of a well-established fact. Just look at the Wikipedia entry on the scientific consensus — they have more than a hundred references to official statements, polls of climatologists, and surveys. The national academies of science of every developed nation in the world have issued statements embracing ACC. The published level of support is so overwhelming that denial of consensus can be the result of only two causes: ignorance or pig-headedness.

            You claim that my figure of $50 billion to $100 billion in costs is hogwash. I suggest that you read the report that you can download here:


            This was a huge effort involving dozens of experts from all over the world. It presents its methodology and data. It concludes that annual global losses due to ACC in 2010 were $150 billion. If you think they’re wrong, I challenge you to specify the mistake in their method.

            Moreover, this number will be rapidly growing. You complain about all the costs to the economy generated by carbon-restriction measures, but you ignore the substantial costs we are already paying. That’s not consistent.

            I agree that no quick and easy solutions exist. I agree that China and India will be making huge contributions to atmospheric CO2, and they will be difficult to convince. But led me remind you that Americans produce far more CO2 per capita than either Chinese or Indians; the easiest way to reduce total carbon emissions is to start with the most profligate source: us.

            I agree that we’ll end up relying heavily on schemes to cope with climate change, but that’s rather like saying that our best hope against the Soviet Union was to figure out how to live comfortably under Communist domination. Prevention is always cheaper and easier than adaptation. You’re just pushing the huge costs of ACC onto our descendants.

            I agree that the vast majority of citizens do not grasp the complexity of the challenges we face. I agree that most of their strong opinions are uninformed. That’s why I’ll ask you: have you read IPCC AR4 WG1? The NAS materials on ACC? Anything other than denialist sources?

          • Skepticical Scientist

            Sorry Chris,
            The world runs on oil, coal and gas and regardless of all of your “statistics and hand-wringing, it is going to stay that way into the foreseeable future. The suggested “remedies” will be all pain and little gain. Every Chinese and Indian would like to have a car, pollution be damned, and if they can afford one they will buy it.

            The US may contribute the most CO but it is also one of the cleanest of the countries….actually the cleanest of the large contributors. And there is nothing on the horizon that will provide pollution-free power in the amounts to sustain our living standard. And if you think that Americans will actually stop driving their cars and heating and cooling their houses…….well, I have a bridge for sale that you might be interested in. And, another branch of the liberal tree will fight the clean nuclear option to death…..led by our President who cancelled the storage facility in Nevada…at least for now. The anti-nuclear crowd is another example of hysteria that is so common on the left…….everything is a Cause!
            Your example of the Soviet Union shows how unconnected you are……it is in no way relevant to the topic we are discussing, but is typical of arguments from the left.
            As for the $50 to $100 Billion figure……I have no doubt that you can come up with a model that comes up with a number, so as to make a point……but such stuff is all conjecture masquerading as reality.
            I’m not in denial of anything except for the illusion that mankind will pull together and actually impact the climate in any meaningful way. As I said before, If you look at this as a problem solving exercise and come up with all likely options, we are going to discover that the option of “Preparing to live in a warmer world” is the only realistic option. That doesn’t mean that mankind will stop developing better technology over time….it will. We are a very adaptable species as the last 200,000 years will demonstrate.

          • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

            Whatever in the world are you talking about? I have not advocated shutting down fossil fuel use or forbidding people to drive their cars or any of the other nonsense you make such a big deal about. Your message is heavy on straw men. I suspect that you must resort to that ploy because you have no factual or logical response to my arguments.

            For example, when I point out that the USA has the highest per capita carbon emissions (actually I’m leaving out Kuwait and Saudi Arabia), you respond by arguing that the USA is the “cleanest” country in the world. What does that mean? Are you suggesting that we take more baths than other people? What in the world does that have to do with my point? Are you claiming that American CO2 emissions per capita are in fact not much higher than almost everybody else’s? If so, why not come out and say so? If not, why make the argument if not to avoid confronting my point honestly?

            I present you with a lengthy report analyzing the costs of climate change, prepared by dozens of experts, containing huge amounts of source data carefully organized to draw reliable conclusions, and you dismiss it as”conjecture masquerading as reality”. I very much suspect that you didn’t even bother to download it, much less read it. The thing is nearly 300 pages long, but no, you already know that it’s mere conjecture, because you don’t like the conclusions it comes to.

            I’m glad to see that you have abandoned your earlier claims denying the reliability of ACC theory, although I suspect that this is only because you have no good responses to my evidence and logic. I’m sure you’re revert to your earlier stance in some other forum. Now you declare that it is only the “illusion that mankind will pull together” that you object to. I have already stated my pessimism on that point; why do you bring it up again if not as a means of covering your tail?

            You accuse me of demonizing other points of view but I have in fact responded to your every major point with evidence and logic devastating to your claims, and you have been unable to counter my evidence. What you call “demonizing” is actually “refuting”.

          • Skepticical Scientist

            Sorry Chris,

            I’m not buying it. There is as much politics in the “climate debate” as there is science. The disciples of this movement structure their stuff to prove their point. Anyone can come up with a list of future costs. All you need do is leave out the stuff that might contradict your assumptions. Climate Change is the new nirvana of the left. Every group with a cause, such as stop the oil companies, kill coal, save the coyotes, reintroduce the wolf and the grizzly bear to California, stop the forest companies from cutting down the trees, save the fish, knock down the dams, the anti-development crowd, the American Indians, the foreign nations who can sniff great wealth flowing to them (victims of the developed world) and on and on and on, see “climate change” as giving new life to their cause. If you are not skeptical of these endless groups and their lawyers and their friendly judges with a social conscience then you will be doomed to live in a new world, and it won’t be pretty. Their are a lot of people who want to see sensible balances to the difficult issues of today. I’m a lifelong outdoors person and I’m one of them. And I don’t see a lot of common sense in any of these issues. Too bad.

            You never responded to my main point……what do you see on the table that will actually solve the warming trend, if in fact it turns out to be as predicted? The ideas and actions on the table today don’t really do anything except make people like you feel good about doing “something”. And the paths they take us down as a nation will not strengthen us but will weaken us.

          • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

            I really don’t care a fig about the various interest groups that you list, nor do I bother to read any of their material. I stick with the scientific analyses, such as the materials from the National Academy of Sciences. I do not permit political considerations to intrude into my analysis of the science. In this I suspect I’m quite different from most people, yourself included.

            As to how I would prefer to address the challenges created by ACC, I would begin with a small carbon tax, perhaps $10/ton. This would not have any significant impact on the economy, but it would establish a precedent that could be used to beat China and India over the head with, and provide the USA with a nice excuse when the fingers start pointing blame in a few decades. We’ll be able to say, “Sorry about your country going underwater, but we did make an effort. Blame China and India.” Maybe it will reduce the number of terrorist attacks we’ll suffer because of ACC.

            I would of course make such a carbon tax revenue-neutral: I would reduce income taxes to compensate for the increased revenue from the carbon tax. I would, however, retain the option to increase the carbon tax as the economy adapts to it.

            The carbon tax has the advantage, I believe, of providing us with some lead time on the dramatic increases in fossil fuel prices that are in the cards. As human consumption of fossil fuels increases, we’ll start to see supply limits forcing the price up. This will happen first with oil. It will never happen with coal. A carbon tax will encourage people to start making the adjustments that will be forced upon us down the road; I’d rather see that transition smoothed out over decades than suddenly hit us like previous oil crises have done.

            I would certainly expend a lot of money on researching all the options, including adaptation and mitigation technologies. Stratospheric sulfur injection definitely deserves further research, as does phytoplankton seeding. None of the other options look promising, but I’d like to spend some more money on them just to make sure.

            I have no objections to the Keystone pipeline. I believe that we can make greater utilization of wind and solar power, but I don’t support a crash program for them; again, I’d prefer a slow, steady increase in their utilization. As part of this, we’ll need a lot more work on HVDC to permit transfer of the power over long distances.

            I’m a strong advocate of nuclear power, and I believe that we should implement the new generation of nuclear technology with greater urgency than we are now pursuing solar and wind. However, I recognize that getting more nuclear into the mix is about as likely as getting serious action on ACC.

          • Skepticical Scientist


            We share common ground. You are certainly different than most “climate change” advocates, in that you have a more balanced, considered approach to the problem.

            As for “interest groups”, I do pay attention because they get much favorable attention from the media and that certainly drives people’s thinking and opinions. Furthermore, they are about specific issues, much like the so-called “gridlock” issue in Congress that we are pounded daily with, rather than real examination of the underlying issues. The dumbing down of America as I see it. There is little, if any, balance in the presentation of these things in the mainstream media, which seems today more of another advocacy group that a true media. I fear we will suffer long term from this. But then I was born during the Great Depression and I have vastly different experiences that those that went to school from the mid-60’s on.

            You and I differ in our belief about doing things such as carbon tax, and I’ll throw in nuclear armament (not as a new issue but rather along the thought lines that America should do is as an example and so that the world will/may follow in like kind. Although out of step with today’s thinking, I see such things more in terms of how they will affect America’s well-being, and whether they will actually accomplish something meaningful. I am Machiavellian in my thinking and from my reading of history, all the way from Herodotus to the present, and I believe that we will always live in a dangerous world due to the basic nature of mankind {peoplekind if you are one of those :-) }, and that nations will always act almost totally in their own interest. I hear your reason coming from classrooms today (where there are no real consequences for promoting or espousing wishful courses of action) and I fear that such thinking is prevailing.

            America is the prime reason, and has been the protective umbrella, that has given the world the spread of democratic government, as flawed as it is in some places. Socialistic Europe is in a downward military spiral, as is Japan, and dedicates little GDP toward defensive measures. Without America they are ripe for the picking. The nations of China and Russia are, or are returning to, a totalitarian, aggressive status and should we weaken or fail to the point where we would allow ourselves to be overcome or bullied, the world would fall into another Dark Ages. We are certainly not perfect, but we are the only thing around capable of projecting power and of maintaining some balance in the world. And, a well run, sensible government that focuses on these necessities and ends is the only thing that will keep us there.

            Anyway, thanks for the conversation, I’ll bookmark it. I must go the San Francisco to take my wife for medical treatment and I’ll be gone for the rest of the week. We can pick this up when I get back if you are interested. It’s always fun to discuss ideas and thoughts, even if we get a bit sarcastic at times. Enjoy

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1058344754 Monte Davis

          It’s sweet of you to identify me with those “coming out of our education system today,” but I did so 40+ years ago. In the interest of keeping your own blood pressure down, I suggest you focus on climate for now. You can fulminate about the crumbling education system tomorrow, fluoridation the next day, and the gold standard the day after that. Save the weekend for getting those @#$% kids off your lawn.

          • Skepticical Scientist

            You fit the 70’s mold when a lot of the current nonsense began. I come from the 50’s and early 60’s university area.

            So what are the possible solutions and which do you think will actually make a difference? Specifically, ones that America can unilaterally take……not ones where we have to rely on “setting the example in the hope that the world will follow”. Or, do you believe in that mode of operation? Do you see “Prepare to live in a warmer world” as a viable option? Do you think mankind is primarily at fault or do you believe there may be other factors driving the melting of the ice?

    • derbear

      Protector of democracy. Thanks for the laugh. By the way, what are your scientific credentials ? Rush Limbaugh ?

      • Skepticical Scientist

        Who’s he?

  • Tom Scharf

    Global warming jumped the shark when they started taking credit for all weather events. According to the public’s lack of embrace of climate change action, I don’t think this brilliant strategy is working too well.

    If only we would allow carbon taxes, the government could control the weather for us. Isn’t this linkage obvious? I cannot believe Joe Public isn’t buying into this. What a bunch of dolts we are. It is just this type of stupidity from the general public that leads the better informed of us to institute authoritarian regimes to save the masses.

    I cannot understand why people would question climate science.

    • Skepticical Scientist

      Carbon taxes in the US will do nothing meaningful except make us poorer. How is it working in Europe? Answer: it isn’t. You can buy a ton of pollution in Europe for under $10……..In Germany, solar sequestration of carbon is about 200 times the cost.
      Sadly, the proposed “solutions” to “climate change” are more akin to religion than to science.

      By the way, any relation to Chuck Scharf, Vietnam area fighter pilot, killed in 1965?

      • http://twitter.com/rinnamon rinnamon

        As far as I know cap and trade (Europe) and carbon taxing aren’t the same.

  • anontheist

    The solution isn’t in green energy. The only viable solution is simple and quite obvious. Reduce human population, especially in the the developed and developing countries. Call it Catastrophe. Call it Armageddon. Whether by war, plague or famine, no matter. Planetary ecosystem will achieve a new equilibrium and humanity will readjust along with other species that survive. We can fool ourselves, but we can’t fool Mother Nature.

  • Eugene Hayman

    Climate change deniers in a magazine supposedly devoted to science? Give me a break. Look of any graph of extreme weather events and note the rapidly increasing frequency of their occurrences. Sure, such things happened in the past. But the rate is intensifying– exactly what the computer models predict. Could it be coincidence that this is happening exactly when scientists predicted that it would? Yes. Is that very likely? No. Another point about uncertainty: That cuts both ways. While scientists could conceivably be wrong about climate change, they could also be underestimating the severity of it. Of course this possibility is never mentioned by those in denial of what we are seeing right in front of our eyes.

    • Bill

      correlation does not equal causation. Warming and cooling cycles are quite normal and this is not a particularly warm period we are experiencing – if you examine the past 10k years. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr5O1HsTVgA

    • Tom Scharf

      What graphs are you looking at? Certainly not global trends for tornadoes, hurricanes, disasters, droughts. All these show no trend.

      • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

        Mr. Scharf, you can do no better than to examine the IPCC report on extreme weather events at http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/images/uploads/SREX-All_FINAL.pdf
        Table 3-1 on page 119 presents an overview of their conclusions. You will be pleased to learn there that it reports little confidence in trends in wind velocities, monsoons, and tropical cyclones. However, it also expresses greater confidence in the likelihood of increased problems from droughts, flooding, extreme sea level and coastal impacts and permafrost thawing.

        • Tom Scharf

          Floods: “Furthermore, there is low agreement in this evidence, and thus overall low confidence at the global scale regarding even the sign of these changes.”

          Droughts: “Medium confidence that some regions of the world have experienced more intense and longer droughts,
          in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but opposite trends also exist.”

          Summary: The evidence isn’t there. We haven’t even got to there even being a *** correlation *** yet. And the activists simply assume causation after correlation, which is about as unscientific as it gets. Changes in drought and flood trends occur over timelines of centuries already, attribution to carbon is pretty complex endeavor.

          • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

            Mr. Scharf, I’m glad that you took the time to look up the reference I gave, but you are engaging in a bit of an intellectual shell game. You are quoting from the column labeled “Observed changes since 1950”. These are purely empirical statements. You are NOT including the two other columns (“Attribution of observed changes” and “Projected Changes”) which are considerably more pessimistic than the material you quote.

            Of course, you’ll argue that the past is what provides us with the basis of our projections, and the past contains no evidence supporting those projections. In this, you fail to understand the significance of the evidence.

            Evidence for a scientific theory comprises more than direct empirical results; indirect evidence is just as important and can be of greater utility because it can predict a problem BEFORE the problem arises.

            For example, when we launched the Apollo project, we had absolutely zero evidence that the project could succeed, because it had never been done before. But we had lots of indirect evidence telling us that it would work if we followed scientific principles. Surprise, surprise, science worked!

            If we follow your example and accept only what has already happened as evidence that it can happen, then science can have no predictive value. Your attitude would have cancelled the nuclear weaponry project, the development of the jet engine, solid-state electronics, and every other scientific and technological advance in history.

          • Tom Scharf

            Uhhhhh…..this post is about the meme of extreme weather events caused by global warming NOW. Not theoretically later. I am stating there is little to no observational evidence for this conclusion NOW.

            Do we agree?

            Thanks for the lesson on how science works.

            One thing you may want to look into is how science checks observations against their models, and when observations don’t match theory, they typically change their theory.

            By the way, how are those climate models working in your opinion?

          • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

            Yes, I’ll certainly accept the conclusions of the IPCC report I earlier cited regarding the evidence of past climate change. To be precise, here is exactly what they say regarding observed changes of extreme events:

            Monsoons: Low confidence in trends because of insufficient evidence.

            El Nino et alia:Medium confidence in past trends toward more frequent central equatorial Pacific El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events.
            Insufficient evidence for more specific statements on ENSO trends.

            Likely trends in Southern Annular Mode (SAM).

            Tropical Cyclones: Low confidence that any observed long-term (i.e., 40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity are robust, after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities.

            Extratropical cyclones:Likely poleward shift in extratropical cyclones.
            Low confidence in regional changes in intensity.

            That’s what we have to work with. If you want to boil it down, then it is certainly incorrect to conclude that there is no evidence of changes. There is certainly some evidence of changes, but that evidence is not strong enough to support strong claims of causality. Is the result “little” evidence? “Some” evidence? That’s subjective. The best approach is to take the statements as they stand.

            You mention the adjustment of theory to evidence. This process has been ongoing with climate change; we are seeing adjustments in the various numbers all the time. For most numbers, the adjustments are getting small.

            Finally, you ask how the climate models are working. As it happens, RealClimate.org just published an evaluation of the performance of a number of models, including some rather old ones. They come out quite well. Here’s the link:



          • Tom Scharf

            My advice is go look at the trends. Spare yourself the interpretations of someone else. The data speaks for itself. If you know how to read a graph, the data is pretty obvious. This is a weak scientific case, as SREX states clearly. Maybe that changes in the future, maybe not. We’ll discuss it again in ten years. Until then linkage to extreme events, now, is propaganda.

            You’d be the first one to rebuke someone for connecting Sandy to global warming, am I right? Pointing them straight to SREX?

            I’ve read the RC post on models already. You can read my comment there. Models are consistently over predicting temperatures as it sits now, are very poor at regional predictions, and their predictive skill is wanting. You’ll note that even RC isn’t a believer in current weather event linkage.

            Hansen’s old model can only be seen as “accurate” by the most loyal of AGW followers, or possibly someone who works for him.

          • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

            Mr. Scharf, you seem to think that simple extrapolation is the only means of interpreting data. Are you acquainted with the experiment called “Tickling the dragon’s tail”? In this experiment, several chunks of material are moved closer and closer to a highly fissile core, increasing the amount of activity it generates. The point of the experiment is to attempt to determine the coefficients required for criticality. Actually reaching criticality would be fatal to the experimenter, but the plan was to approach criticality slowly, taking careful measurements. Because criticality is an exponential phenomenon, the physicists knew that they’d have to approach the point of criticality slowly, stopping just short of that point based on their calculations.

            Now, if you had been performing that experiment, you would have looked at the initial data and concluded that it was all perfectly safe because, after all, the early data showed very little increase in activity. You would have shoved the reflectors right up to the core, triggered supercriticality, and given yourself a fatal dose of radiation. As it happens, the physicist performing the experiment exercised some caution, but his hand slipped and the resulting tiny slip triggered supercriticality and he died.

            My point is that the world is not necessarily linear and that you cannot take low response values as an indication that nothing’s happening. You can’t just extrapolate current data to understand the future. You have to apply science to analyze the situation and make your predictions.

            You misunderstand the science concerning extreme weather events. You’re quite right that the observations to date do not provide much DIRECT evidence that ACC is increasing the frequency or intensity of these events. They DO provide some evidence of this, but it’s not enough for anybody to hang their hat on, and certainly not me.

            But that doesn’t mean that we can dismiss all current extreme weather events as unassociated with ACC. We can’t prove the association, but you can’t falsify it, either. Based on lots of other evidence — science — we infer that the frequency and/or intensity of these events will increase in coming decades. That’s what the SREX report says.

            However, I agree that there is a problem with the public perception of the issue. I agree that many news reports overstate the association. This was particularly true with the case of Sandy. Here we make the difficult transition from scientific truth to public perception. My personal emphasis is on scientific truth, and I have no problem declaring that the association between ACC and any particular extreme weather event is, so far, conjectural. At the same time, I also maintain that ACC is already responsible for some portion of current extreme events. What is statistically true is individually uncertain. I therefore believe that the correct response to Sandy and other extreme weather events (and especially droughts and floods) is that we cannot ascribe that event exclusively to ACC, but that ACC does predict an increase in the frequency and/or intensity of such events.

            And that’s pretty much what most of the scientists are saying. The fact that the news organizations misrepresent it is a shame, but I don’t believe that these misrepresentations are biased in any direction. After all, Fox News continues to perpetrate the gross lies about ACC. That doesn’t justify misrepresentations by others; it serves only to illustrate my point that the media are equal-opportunity screwups.

          • Tom Scharf

            I’d say for all the rhetoric, we pretty much agree on most of the items. Models project an increase in extreme events. The original IPCC reports claimed more extreme events post 2050. Maybe that happens. The scientist activists get publicly bent out of shape about misinformation from Fox News and the like, but they allow mainstream extreme event linkage to go without comment.

            As for non-linear responses, it is Hansen who predicted a non-linear response (accelerating temperatures and sea level) from BAU CO2. After 25 year of observations there is little evidence of this. The technical argument is over what constitutes a fair “null model” to falsify his prediction.

          • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

            A minor quibble: Hansen did not predict future accelerating temperatures. Look at the fifth graph in this piece:


            It presents a comparison of Hansen’s 1988 model with the actual observations. They calculate the best fit lines through the results and come up with the following results:

            Hansen (B): 0.29+-0.04ºC/decade
            HadCRUT 4: 0.17+-0.04ºC/decade

            Thus, Hansen was too high by three standard deviations: a pretty serious mismatch. Of course, that was the first serious attempt to model climate, based on a small database, and using crude models. Current models utilize — I do not exaggerate — thousands of times more data and immensely more refined models. So Hansen is most fairly characterized as impressive for its time but too high.

          • Tom Scharf

            Just to clear up a little confusion here, model outputs do not constitute evidence, they are theory. I hope we can also agree on that.

  • jh

    “The chance of that happening in the same winter is incredibly unlikely.”

    But common. If you look at a historical list of big storms – any kind of weather event – you find that they bunch together. The last person that should be surprised by that is a meteorologist.

  • RWFG

    I only wish we could go back to the time when there was no global warming, and thus no bad weather. Hopefully, an increase in taxes, and less competitive position on the global marketplace will lead to nicer weather.

  • Science Prof

    Nothing will convince the deniers. It is a religious belief and an economic reality for them. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it.” -Upton Sinclair

    • http://twitter.com/SoftestPawn Martin Hill

      Nothing will convince the alarmists. It is a religious belief and an
      economic reality for them. “It is difficult to get a man to reject a concept when his salary depends on accepting it”

  • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

    I see that the deniers are out in force tonight, retailing the same old lies as always. Most revealing, I think, is the fellow who flat-out approaches a scientific issue as a political one, railing against the left, as if science is the property of the left. It is certainly true that much of the right wing is determined to deny scientific truth, but that doesn’t make science left-wing; it just makes the right anti-science.

    Another denier here argues that, since temperatures have varied in the past, the appropriate response to the current situation is “What, me worry?” That denier is apparently unaware of the fact that when temperatures were higher, sea levels were as much as 200 feet higher than they are today. That may not worry deniers, but most sane people do not relish the prospect.

    Then there’s the old canard about CO2 rising AFTER temperature increases, the insinuation being that CO2 cannot possibly cause increasing temperatures if it lags temperature increases. The possibility that CO2 concentrations could be BOTH a cause AND an effect seems beyond the intellectual capacity of such people. It’s called a “vicious circle”, and we’re charging straight into one.

    We also see the old “warming is good” meme, which is fine if you live in Alaska or Siberia, but in places where warming will decrease rainfall, such as the Great Plains in America, or places that will be inundated by sea level rise, I don’t think that a “warming is good” bumper sticker will elicit much applause.

    Another fellow argues that, since science cannot guarantee that it absolutely, positively, will happen, we needn’t worry about it. The same logic applied to international relationships leads to the conclusion that we shouldn’t be wasting three-quarters of a trillion dollars every year on military stuff — after all, there’s no proof that Russia or China or Iran will attack us.

    Lastly, we have the fellows arguing against carbon taxes. Once again we see how deniers cannot see the difference between science and politics. Apparently they believe that, since taxes are bad and a carbon tax is one way to reduce carbon emissions, the science behind climate change must be wrong. Nobody ever said that deniers were A1 when it comes to logical thinking.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1058344754 Monte Davis

      The politicization really took off in 1996-1998, with congressional opposition to US ratification of the initial Kyoto protocol. That’s when the “it’s all a plot to cripple our economy while China and India steam ahead” meme began to get traction — and began drawing on all the pre-existing New World Order / black helicopter / Trilateral Carlyle Rosicrucian craziness, as it does to this day. Yes, differential treatment for G20 and developing economies is a horribly knotty issue — probably the single toughest issue in any global response, with compelling arguments on both sides. But to approach it from the premise that the other side is an anti-US conspiracy is to foreclose any rational discussion.

      Re carbon taxes: it’s even worse than that. Notice how cap & trade, although it (1) was developed and first put into effect for sulfate and other acid-rain emissions by the Reagan and Bush I administrations, (2) was applauded by conservatives at the time as a flexible market-based solution rather than Big Government Regulation, and (3) was both more successful and less damaging to utility profits than even its advocates had hoped, has now been redefined as yet another leftist scheme. That’s not just moving the goalposts; it’s moving the game from one stadium to another at halftime.

      • JeffN

        yes, this must be why the US Senate rejected Kyoto unanimously – ’cause they’re all nuts who believe in black helicopters.

        The differential treatment was not a minor “yes…but” issue- it was central. Far more so than your silly conspiracy theories. One day the concerned will demonstrate some interest in something other than their partisan political interest. On that day, we’ll believe they’re concerned. Hasn’t happened yet.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1058344754 Monte Davis

          1) The Senate never voted on Kyoto, which wasn’t even submitted for ratification. It pre-emptively (and yes, unanimously) adopted the Byrd-Hagel resolution (http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoSenate.html), which was deliberately phrased in mom-and-apple-pie terms: it stood foursquare against any agreement that requires no commitment from developing countries, or would harm the US economy, or didn’t include a detailed cost-benefit analysis of impacts on the US economy. As of 1997, the Kyoto protocol (like many other controversial laws and international agreements, including many we have championed) left some countries’ commitments to be worked out later; the Byrd-Hagel resolution exemplifies the time-honored tactic of “we won’t support anything that doesn’t address 100% of our concerns to our 100% satisfaction right now.”

          2) I don’t think the senators are “nuts who believe in black helicopters.” I think some senators are content to garner the votes of those who are, and that in the mid-1990s some canny opponents of action on AGW realized Kyoto could be cast as Yet Another Global Conspiracy Against Us.

          3) If you find anyone who thinks differential treatment is a “minor, ‘yes but’ issue,” take it up with them. I think it’s pretty clear from my post that I don’t. Both extremes (an agreement binding only the G20 nations, and an agreement treating all nations and economies alike) are non-starters. Are you interested in discussing what might be worked out in between them, or do you have more straw men you want to knock down?

          • JeffN

            Actually, you specifically used the “yes… but” formula to dismiss the principal concerns about Kyoto.

            Kyoto was a treaty-it’s important to address core issues in a treaty before it is ratified. The U.S. Senate specifically laid out what core issues – and they are central – needed to be addressed before the Kyoto treaty could be ratified. Those issues were never addressed so Kyoto was never ratified.

            You are the one who began your rant stating this was all a partisan freakout by a handful of nuts worried about one world order and black helicopters. Actually it was a bi-partisan, left-right, agreement that Kyoto was fatally flawed with specifics of what needed to be fixed.

    • Mogumbo Gono


      Chris Crawford Believes that CO2 causes temperature changes, but there is NO scientific evidence to support his Belief.

      However, there is plenty of scientific evidence showing that ∆T is the direct cause of ∆CO2:


      Since effect cannot precede cause, clearly CO2 is not the cause of temperature changes. Rather, temperature change is the cause of CO2 changes.

      I certainly cannot affect Chris Crawford’s True Belief. But for rational readers, the chart linked above shows conclusively that the alarmist crowd has their premise backward: ∆T causes ∆CO2 — not vice versa.

      When you begin with a faulty premise, your conclusion will necessarily be wrong. Thus, the conclusion that “carbon” must be demonized is flat wrong. QED


  • johne37179

    I see that the alarmists are trotting out the same old bad science tired arguments. Of course there is climate change. There has been climate change for over 4 billion years as every geologist knows. Is the climate warming? Of course it is. We are at near the end of the most recent (of half a dozen) interglacial periods. This latest warming started about 30,000 years ago and accounts for the melting of the continental ice sheets that covered most of the northern hemisphere. Is sea level rising? Of course it is. It has risen about 300 meters during the current interglacial and the previous beach zones are found off the coast under water throughout the northern hemisphere. The alarmists have only recently discovered climate change and look at a fraction of 1% of the available data. They focus on a 100 years of a 100,000 year event and make sweeping pronouncements.

    • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

      You misrepresent the historical record. One need merely glance at the history of average global temperatures over the last thousand years to see that a dramatic change began about a century ago, a change radically different from anything previous. Indeed, we have no indication that the planet’s climate has ever warmed as rapidly as it is now warming; the current rate of change is unprecedented. In like fashion, the rate of sea level rise has jumped in the last century.

      It’s true that our planet is taking us on an ever-changing climatological ride, but you seem to be happy with putting the pedal to the metal.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1058344754 Monte Davis

      I take your point that there are many examples of dramatic climate change over 4 billion years and over 100,000 years. Now, if you could just select those examples which occurred in a world with 7-10 billion human beings dependent on intensive agriculture? I’ll wait…

      The “alarm” is not that we “have only recently discovered climate change.” It is that civilization developed during — and is adapted at all levels to — the relatively benign conditions of *this* interglacial. If your Olympian, _sub specie aternitatis_ detachment is a rhetorical pose, it’s unconvincing. If it’s genuine, I don’t think you’ll find it’s widely shared.

      • johne37179

        I don’t expect it to be widely shared. There aren’t that many of us who have actually done the work to earn a degree in the subject from a major university.

      • johne37179

        Monty, you make some very good points, but agriculture (and pavement) influence micro and macro climates, not global climate. The laws of thermodynamics still prevail. For example the average humidity has dramatically increased in the Valley of the Sun that is Phoenix, AZ because of the watering of golf courses. The Gobi Desert is manmade by the the stripping of all plant life for fuel.

        • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

          This is way off topic, but do you have any citations for the statement that the Gobi Desert is “manmade by the the stripping of all plant life for fuel”? I find that statement quite surprising, as we know that precipitation patterns have not changed there during the Holocene. Moreover, we know that the area has supported nomadic herders since we before the Han Dynasty.

  • Buddy199

    Is it unscientific to point out that global temperatures have been flat since 1997 while CO2 levels have continued to rise, contrary to the central tenent of AGW theory?

    Or reference the Sept. 2012 Nature editorial that flatly states the current models and level of climate science cannot prove a connection between extreme weather events (anecdotes) and climate change (trend), contrary to the new meme AGW proponents are desperately pushing?

    A “denier” (i.e., heretic) doesn’t swallow the AGW dogma whole but considers the contrary evidence and political motivation / group think influencing climate science. While the unquestioning “believer” abandons all skepticism, claims that he alone possesses the true faith (Science, with a big “S”) and hurls calumny upon the heretics. And, of course, the AGW believer in his righteous indignation sees no irony whatsoever.

    Which century are we in again?

    • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

      Yes, it is unscientific to “point out that global temperatures have been flat since 1997 while CO2 levels have continued to rise, contrary to the central tenent of AGW theory” because you misunderstand ACC theory, which predicts changes in climate, not weather. The dividing line between weather and climate is, roughly, about 30 years. Hence, increases in atmospheric CO2 should produce changes that are observable over periods greater than 30 years. 1997 was only 16 years ago.

      You’re right that the data do not YET provide strong support for a likely connection between ACC and extreme weather events. As before, I suggest that you consult the IPCC report on this matter, which can be found at:


      You will discover that scientists are most definitely NOT “desperately pushing” any connection between ACC and extreme weather events. However, data collection is still in early stages and as we assemble more data, any such connections MIGHT become more apparent.

      I find it ironic that you write this: “A “denier” (i.e., heretic) doesn’t swallow the AGW dogma whole but considers the contrary evidence and political motivation / group think influencing climate science.”

      Tell me, do you swallow denier claims whole? Do you consider ALL the evidence, or just he contrary evidence? Have you even bothered to acquaint yourself with the evidence? Have you bothered to read IPCC AR4 WG1?

      In particular, I challenge you to explain how you justify making statements about scientific results when your knowledge of the science is far inferior to that of the many experts who embrace ACC.

      Lastly, I suggest that it is YOU whose political beliefs are influencing your judgement in this matter. There must be some reason why you presume to contradict scientists who know the subject matter much better than you do. The simplest explanation for your behavior would be political bias as opposed to scientific understanding.

      • Buddy199

        because you misunderstand ACC theory, which predicts changes in climate, not weather. The dividing line between weather and climate is, roughly, about 30 years


        That’s a convenient dividing line drawn after the fact. So, if the projections don’t match the obversed data, it’s “weather” variability. If the data match the projections it’s irrefutable evidnece of climate change. The “heads I win, tails you lose” method of scientific inquiry.

        I question the objectivity and validity of the data regarding climate science. It is seriously compromised by left wing political ideology, Climategate like group think among researchers looking for funding and name recognition, and Elmer Gantry types like Al Gore and Democrat political contributors out to make a buck for themselves.

        • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

          That “convenient” dividing line drawn after the fact” was actually drawn by the American Meteorological Society 80 years ago. Moreover, it is not arbitrary; it is based on the ratio of the incoming solar radiation to the heat capacity of the oceans. Your claims just collapsed.

          You”question the objectivity and validity of the data regarding climate science.” WHICH data do you question? HADCRUT? Ice cores? lake sediments? Coral data? Do you even KNOW what data there is? I doubt it. And again I make the point that if you’re not basing your criticism on scientific knowledge, it is likely that YOU are the one motivated by politics, not science.

  • jj_s@live.com

    The odds that any specific rare event will occur are small. That odds that some rare event will occur are large, almost certain. In other words, there will be extreme weather events every year.

    So, preach that CO2 causes bad weather, then wait for bad weather. It’s a good “communication” strategy; a way to separate the gullible from their hard earned money.

    But most are smarter than that.

  • OWilson

    The fossil fuels that the alarmists detest, drove the rise of the Industrial Revolution, which has done more for human beings generally, “than any other event in human history”.
    Look it up.

    • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

      Mr. Wilson, you are presenting a straw man argument. Yes, there are extremists who decry the use of fossil fuels, but the nexus of the debate concerns how we can manage the use of fossil fuels, not whether we should eliminate their use.

  • Tom Scharf

    I drove my car more than usual last week here in FL, and look what happened in the Northeast!!!!!

    I feel so guilty.

    • Buddy199

      The science is settled, thank you.

  • Tom Fuller

    Just like old time, huh, Keith.

  • Joshua

    Gee, what an enlightening thread. So many sophisticated arguments that I’ve never seen considered before: Conspiracies about lefists seeking to destroy our economy. Deniers. ‘Warmists” who throw away reason to worship at the AGW altar.

    It’s nice to know that we are making sooooooooo much progress in the climate wars (i.e., the junior high school cafeteria food fight).


  • BBD


    The emphasis is his. I think it’s hard to overstate how brilliant this is as a rhetorical framing device, for now we see that every major storm and severe weather event is discussed in the context of climate change.

    This isn’t a ‘rhetorical framing device’. It is a statement of scientific fact. That you should treat it as you do is hard evidence that you’ve been around contrarians for too long. Step back.

    • mikes

      Speaking of rhetoric, I like how Trenberth’s ‘it’s both’ statement is now ‘tricky for journos’ and then the fall guy for associations of weather and climate. It’s a the new normal…rhetorically speaking.

  • Tom Scharf

    Who here finds this statement accurate?

    “Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.”

    • http://profiles.google.com/erasmusnoyon Chris Crawford

      I’ll take exception to the mention of Sandy; although ACC does predict more intense storms, I don’t think it yet reliable to apply conclusions to an individual storm. I expect that, a few decades hence, we’ll be able to look backwards and see Sandy as marking the beginning of a period of greater intensity in storms. But as of now, we don’t have the evidence to support the assignment of much significance to Sandy.

      However, on the matter of heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods, we do have evidence that the concentration of these events globally over the last decade, taken together, do constitute a significant increase from the twentieth century.

  • buyit.now@verizon.net

    A lot of folks are really asking “What would the weather/storm be like today if we hadn’t pumped massive amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere over the last hundred years or so?” The answer is no one can possibly know. It’s like asking what would I be doing today, where would I be right now, etc, if I hadn’t gotten married 10 years ago. Impossible to say. Those in favor of marriage would say I’d be worse off and would point to bad things that happen to me as proof. Those against marriage would do the same in reverse. All we really know is that, on average, married men live longer, are fatter, etc. We know that we’ve pumped a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. We know that causes mean temeratures to rise, and weather systems are fueled by that heat energy, so it makes sense that we will have stronger storms. But individual storms? Impossible to say. We are working hard on better modeling, but really we won’t know the results for sure until it has already happened. Models must be tested against experience. By then, it will be too late. The more conservative thing to do would be to not take the chance–do what we can to reduce CO2 emissions now. Problem is, the conservative agenda has been highjacked by those that make money off of our present energy infrastructure and don’t want CO2 reduction to reduce their profits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.kahle.98 Paul Kahle

    There is no ‘new’ normal. What we are experiencing is the normal cycles of the globe that we still don’t fully understand. Consider that the length of time during which the measurements in Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore, etc., were taken is a pin prick in time. Around 1000 AD, before anyone was measuring storms in the Northeast, Greenland was settled because it was then green and much warmer-without the benefit of all of our current human interference. Given that we had a global warming at that time perhaps we had similar storm patterns in the Northeast but no one was there to measure it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brenda.winters1 Brenda Miles Winters

    we as human beings have only the power to USE resources, not control them. Everybody gets on the political bandwagon and trys to steer their thoughts into the conversation, no matter what its about, True we can invent better ways to use our resources, but in the end, you can only hope for intelligent people at the helm , making the decisions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.ziegler.585 Chris Ziegler

    I’m performing research on ACC and wondered if you are willing to point me in the direction of scientists that are able to explain how human emissions interact in our ecosystems/prove ACC bunk? Thank you kindly!

  • http://www.thefullertonian.com Mark Stouffer

    This climate change conversation illustrates what can happen when government science programs get taken over by an agenda of group-think.

  • Mogumbo Gono

    Since relative humidity has been declining for several decades, Trenberth is flat wrong when he claims the climate is more “moist”:


    But Trenberth has been so consistently wrong that it would be news if he was right for a change.


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Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at http://www.keithkloor.com/

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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