Icy Relations: Extreme-Weather Question Drives Wedge Between Climate Scientists

By Keith Kloor | August 8, 2012 1:33 pm

By Keith Kloor, a freelance journalist whose stories have appeared in a range of publications, from Science to Smithsonian. Since 2004, he’s been an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. You can find him on Twitter here.

Last year, after Al Gore said in a speech that climate change was responsible for various extreme weather events around the globe, he got spanked by Oxford climate scientist Myles Allen, who wrote a column in the Guardian entitled, “Al Gore is doing a disservice by overplaying the link between climate change and the weather.”

I have to wonder if Allen is now thinking the same thing of NASA climatologist James Hansen. Because, as New York Times reporter John Broder puts it, Hansen, this week, has “roiled” the climate science community “with a new scientific paper explicitly linking high concentrations of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to recent severe heat waves and drought.”

The controversial paper was published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS). A day earlier, Hansen previewed the study’s findings in a Washington Post op-ed, in which he made this jaw-dropping assertion:

It is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.

What recent past is he referring to, specifically? Hansen and his two coauthors are attributing the 2003 European heat wave, the 2010 Russian heat wave and last year’s droughts in Texas and Oklahoma to climate change.

These claims, Justin Gillis notes in the Times, “go beyond the established scientific consensus about the role of climate change in causing weather extremes…” Nonetheless, two outspoken—and opposing—camps have already emerged. For example, Penn State’s Michael Mann has lauded the PNAS paper as convincing, while NOAA’s Martin Hoerling has derided it. He told the Times:

This isn’t a serious science paper. It’s mainly about perception, as indicated by the paper’s title. Perception is not a science.

The paper is a bit of an odd duck, stylistically. It begins by editorializing about “the need for the public to appreciate the significance of human-made global warming” and concludes with an endorsement of a policy that would raise the price on carbon emissions sufficient enough “to spur transition to a clean energy future.” In between is a discussion of the study’s results and methods that attributes heat extremes of recent years to anthropogenic global warming. The chances of it being anything else, the paper argues, are virtually nil.

Not so fast, says Peter Stott of the Met Office (the UK version of the National Weather Service), who studies the relationship between climate change and extreme weather. He told New Scientist:

While we can provide evidence that the risk of heatwaves has increased, we cannot say that the chances of such heat waves were negligible before global warming set in.

Despite its bold claims and unconventional format, Hansen’s paper is the latest contribution in a growing, nascent field. A state of the science on “attribution” of recent extreme weather events has just been published in one journal—which was widely covered in the media. But speaking of perception, I wonder if the legitimacy of climate attribution studies (the investigation of extreme weather/climate change linkages) might be undermined by those who have a tendency to emphasize a global warming connection to all extreme weather. I discussed the pitfalls of this in a column earlier in the year for the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media. In that piece, I quoted the perspective of numerous climate researchers, including Cliff Mass, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington, who, in April, had written on his blog:

It is happening frequently lately. A major weather event occurs—perhaps a hurricane, heat wave, tornado outbreak, drought or snowstorm—and a chorus of activist groups or media folks either imply or explicitly suggest that the event is the result of human-caused (anthropogenic) global warming… Part of the problem is that a small minority of my colleagues—people who should know better—are feeding the extreme-weather/climate hype in the mistaken belief that by doing so they can encourage people to do the right thing — lessen their carbon footprint.”

Last month, Mass again took issue with “over-the-top” claims made in the press by activists, climate writers and national pundits like Paul Krugman. He is not the only one concerned with this trend. John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M, recently laid out why it is “dangerous scientifically to focus on actual [extreme weather] events.” He writes:

First, one loses the ability to specify odds objectively if the threshold for the extreme event is not chosen prior to the actual event itself. Second, purely according to statistics, most actual extreme events that end up getting studied will be events whose odds have increased — the events whose odds have decreased won’t be happening as frequently!

Whatever the verdict ends up being on the Hansen et al. paper, one thing we can be sure of going forward: The chances of extreme weather events being discussed in relation to global warming are now pretty good. What that bodes for the field of climate science remains to be seen.

Image: Hansen / PNAS

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Top Posts
  • Blair

    I’m not sure how any article describing work on this topic can omit discussing the results presented in the IPCC SREX? It is not even a year old and provides a pretty thorough examination of the data in the field. It also appears to contradict Dr. Hansen’s strong assertions by indicating that uncertainty remains in the attibution of extreme weather events to global warming at this time.

  • Joe Peschi

    The science will always be contested. We do it with everything ranging from evolution, to whether the world is round. What people do need to understand however is that it is not scientific proof, beyond doubt that is lacking in order to get people on board. What is lacking is a solution to the problem that makes common sense. People are not naive. They will not sign up to unilateral action that as we saw with Europe already has little effect, but harms the economy greatly. We need fresh solutions on climate and global sustainability, because the stuff on the table currently is what makes people prefer to believe the sckeptics.
    http://zoltansustainableecon.blogspot.com/2012/07/climate-change-frozen-global-village.html

  • http://www.mikesmithenterprises.com Mike Smith

    Dr. Hansen is not forthright about the success, or lack thereof, of his 1988 paper. I have a posting pertaining to Hansen’s far too warm forecast and its lack of correlation to Washington, D.C.’s temperatures here: http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspot.com/2012/08/science-by-press-release-story-about.html

  • David Dickinson

    Let’s try to get a couple of things straight: Climate change affects the weather, and extreme weather events must be expected because of climate change. It doesn’t matter if “a particular” event can or can’t be “blamed” on global warming. ALL WEATHER IS THE RESULT OF GLOBAL WARMING.

    And if these scientists who want to weaken public concern about global warming don’t start raising the alarm and telling us what we can do to start fixing the problem, then they’re worthless to us.

  • kirk

    Pay no attention to the inland hurricanes (aka derecho), just run of the mill variations in the weather, nothing to see here… Seriously, if a bear escapes from the zoo and a bear shows up in my front yard — I have not proven causation. But there is still a damn bear in my yard.

  • http://www.collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Blair (1)

    I agree that the IPCC SREX should have been noted.

    I also neglected to mention the excellent Dot Earth posts by Andy Revkin that surveys the “varied views” on the extreme weather/climate connection. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/?s=%22extreme+weather%22+warming+climate+heat

    If people want to drill down on this further, Andy’s posts are essential reading.

  • http://www.mikesmithenterprises.com Mike Smith

    Hi Krik (#4),

    Derechoes have always occurred. The June 27 storm wasn’t even the most severe to affect the D.C.-area (that was in the late 1980′s).

    The number tornadoes, for example, is below normal in 2012.

    Even the IPCC does not believe there is significant evidence linking global warming to extreme weather. In fact, there is no correlation of earth’s temperature to summer highs in D.C. (see my link under #3).

    Mike

  • Julian Penrod

    Mike Smith says there was a serious derecho before over Washington, in the 1980′ws. That Mike Smith cannot give a date makes that a suspicious statement. But consider, more importantly, Mike Smith invokes an isolated event to disprove the existence of a chain of events. Just as others say there were hot years before, there were droughts before. But never before was the a massive drought, a derecho on the East Coast, tornado rates near 1200, hundred degree heat waves from London to Siberia, a hurricane season with more than 26 named storms, the National Weather Service altering wind chill to reflect that air retains more warmth than it used to and the first new cloud species to develop in a half century!

    And I asked this before, elsewhere. Would man made climate change deniers state what occurrence or occurrences they would consider absolutely definitive proof that is taking place? Will they say what signs they consider absolute proof man mad climate change is occurring? Everywhere else I asked, I received no answers.

  • Ralph Lockhart

    It seems to me ‘unscientific’ to form any solid conclusion about climate change, let alone whether it is caused by man, based on 30 or 40 year records. The earth is several billion years old and almost certainly has gone through extremes in climate from ice ages to hot, dry periods. Most of these took place over tens of thousands of years, and all of them before man. A rush to judgement can result in extreme financial and human costs while yielding no benefits.

  • http://blog.longitundinal.biz Jan Galkowski

    So extraordinary loss of ice mass in the Arctic is just a statistical fluke?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #10,

    Extraordinary loss of ice mass in the Arctic is due to the switch of the Northern Annular Mode changing the prevailing wind directions, which results in more pack ice being blown south through the Fram Strait into warmer latitudes.

    There are some nice graphs of Arctic temperatures here: http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Scientific/Arctic.htm

  • http://www.collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Cliff Mass, who is quoted in my post, has put up a hard-hitting critique of the Hansen paper: http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2012/08/climate-distortion.html

  • LGCarey

    For those of you checking out Mass’ “hard-hitting” critique noted by Mr. Kloor, but sure to also read the comments, where there are a number of very thoughtful (and dare I say “hard-hitting”) objections to Mass’ own methodology and assumptions.

  • Julian Penrod

    More New World Order doggerel, from Nullius in Verba. Tossing out a sophisticated sounding phrase and trying to intimidate those are unfamiliar with it. The Northern Annular Mode and Oscillation do not cause ice migration. If they did, there would be records of recurrent significant thinning and significant displacement of ice blocks over the centuries. There isn’t anything to match the loss of sea ice in just that past decade or so. Indeed, charts of sea ice coverage show that, from 1900 to about 1970, the avergae on all seasonal winder ice figures was very close to constant, but in 1970, it began to fall. Nulliuis in Verba’s claim is illegitimate in the extreme, if not also utterly disingenuous.

    And, again, I ask the deniers what they would consider conclusive proof of man made climate change? Their silence so far says that they don’t intend to provide a sign, because things will continue to worsen across a wide specturm and anything the sggest will inevitably occur. And they don’t intend ever to admit man made climate change is occurring, not because it isn’t but out craven malignance on the deniers’ part.

  • http://blog.longitundinal.biz Jan Galkowski

    @Nullius in Verba,
    “Extraordinary loss of ice mass in the Arctic is due to the switch of the Northern Annular Mode changing the prevailing wind directions, which results in more pack ice being blown south through the Fram Strait into warmer latitudes.” Oh really. I say that’s Bait And Switch.

    Karpechko, et al, “Attribution of polar warming to human influence, NATURE GEOSCIENCE, letter, 2008.

    Karpechko, “Uncertainties in future climate attributable to uncertainties in future Northern Annular Mode trend”, 2010

    And it couldn’t POSSIBLY be due to higher SSTs down to 30 meters depth, now COULD it?

    Proshutinsky, et al, “Arctic Report Card: Update for 2011″, http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/ocean.html

  • scribbler

    @ 2: You have the problem well identified. It isn’t that people don’t believe we MAY be causing global warming, it’s that IF the solution is to destroy our economy and STARVE, the so called solution is worse than the problem at hand…

  • http://Climateplace.org Dan Miller

    Dr. Hansen’s study was a simple statistical analysis of 60 years of actual, measured temperature readings (urban stations were excluded to avoid urban heat island issues). It did not use climate models. He found that “Extremely Hot Summers” (defined as summers where the mean temperature is 3 standard deviations (“3-sigma”) or more above the mean in the baseline 1951-1981 period) have increased 50 to 100 times (5000% to 10,000%) in the past 50 years due to global warming. This is not a prediction — it already happened!

    If a type of event increases by 50X due to global warming, then when that event now happens, the chances that it is due to natural variation is 1/50 (2%) and the chances it was due to global warming is 49/50 (98%). The chances that a string of such events are all due to natural variation is vanishingly small. So, if Dr. Hansen is correct (and you can do the analysis yourself if you doubt him), then it is correct to say that 3-sigma events such as the Texas heat wave (and this year’s Midwest heat wave) are CAUSED by global warming with very high confidence.

    Imagine you have a roulette wheel with 1000 numbers. Back in 1951 to 1981, some numbers are blue to represent cold, some are white to represent average, some are red to represent hot. One or two of the numbers is a special dark red color to represent “Extremely Hot Summers” since these extreme events did happen back then, they were just extremely rare. Now in the last decade (2001-2011), instead of one or two numbers being dark red, 100 of them are dark red. When you spin the wheel, you will still get cold, average, or hot temperatures 90% of the time. But now 10% of the time you will get a dark red “Extremely Hot Summer”. While there is a 1 or 2 percent chance that the dark red was one of the original “natural” events, there is a 98 to 99 percent chance that it is one of the new dark red numbers that was added due to global warming.

  • Jim Gregory

    Scribbler- “destroy our economy and STARVE”
    Says who? What evidence do you use to support this statement?

  • http://blog.longitundinal.biz Jan Galkowski

    @16: It’s not a question of whether or not our economies will be destroyed, or whether or not starvation will occur, it’s a question, in the former case, of when (now or later?), and how widespread starvation will be. The choice is one between controlled disruption, or catatrophic collapse. The collapse won’t be in our lifetimes. And, clearly, the best means of doing the “controlled disruption” is to use market forces, market ingenuity, hence, carbon tax. Cap and trade doesn’t work, won’t work, never could work. It was proposed (e.g.) in Congress as a candidate compromise, but was opposed by anyone who wanted a solution. The experience with cap and trade internationally is that companies are incentivized to produce more carbon so they can get credits for destroying it.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #14,

    “If they did, there would be records of recurrent significant thinning and significant displacement of ice blocks over the centuries.”

    For how many centuries do you think records exist?

    “It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated [...] this affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.”
    Annals of the Royal Society, 1817.

    “From an examination of the Greenland captains, it has been found that owing to some convulsions of nature , the sea was more open and more free from compact ice than in any former voyage they ever made: that several ships actually reached the eighty-fourth degree of latitude, in which no ice whatever was found; that for the first time for 400 years, vessels penetrated to the west coast of Greenland, and that they apprehended no obstacle to their even reaching the pole, if it had consisted with their duty to their employers to make the attempt.”
    Illustrations of Greenland, the adjacent seas, and the North-West passage, 1817.

    Or there’s Bond’s ice rafting data.

    “Indeed, charts of sea ice coverage show that, from 1900 to about 1970, the avergae on all seasonal winder ice figures was very close to constant”

    That’s because there’s no data! They use default values where there’s no input, resulting in an unnaturally flat line.

    “And, again, I ask the deniers what they would consider conclusive proof of man made climate change?”

    Validated models, shown to be able to accurately predict local climates and changes in detail, showing more points of agreement than there are adjustable parameters. They would need to cover cloudiness, precipitation, wind, and temperature, reproducing the first three or four moments of the distribution, and the frequency spectrum. This would show that all factors affecting climate had been identified and accounted for.

    Climate models currently can’t even reproduce the first moment.

    “And they don’t intend ever to admit man made climate change is occurring, not because it isn’t but out craven malignance on the deniers’ part.”

    Dear oh deary me! This is the level of debate you aspire to?

    The True Believer does not merely believe, but finds it literally inconceivable that anyone could genuinely believe differently. So when people challenge their faith, they cannot accept that it might be a genuinely difference of opinion, and they cannot tolerate that such beliefs should be held or expressed – and so they ascribe malevolent and dishonest motives and invent conspiracy theories to explain it.
    It’s quite common in cults.

    Scientific literacy in modern society is relatively low. Most people don’t know how electricity works or how aeroplanes fly or why the sky is blue. There are a lot of misconceptions and myths around scientific principles, too. People believe a wing works because the air has further to go over the top surface than the bottom. People think glass is a liquid. They think lemmings jump over cliffs. That water spins the opposite way going down the drain in the southern hemisphere. Nobody worries about this. Nobody invents a conspiracy of aerodynamics deniers to explain their views.

    But on certain special topics, differences of opinion acquire incredible cultural significance, becoming shibboleths for ‘tribal’ membership in particular socially approved groups – and an excuse for intolerance. People who dissent from the orthodoxy are excluded, driven out, insulted, treated with contempt, and assumed to be defective in some way. They are dehumanised and persecuted.

    It’s happened to Jews, gays, blacks, minority religions and schisms of all sorts, to pacifists, to vegetarians, to immigrants, to atheists and heretics alike. There is a certain mentality that cannot tolerate outsiders to their ingroup – that cannot understand how anyone else tolerates them either. And, of course, they are absolutely convinced that they’re not being unreasonably intolerant, that they are obviously in the right, their worldview the only rational one and their persecutions entirely justified.

    I understand. It’s only human.

    It has been a long and painful process learning to curb this aspect of human nature. We have free speech. We have democratic decision making. We have civilised debate. But it’s still a constant battle.

    #15,

    Reduced ice extent causes higher SSTs, by the albedo feedback effect. Which is cause and which effect?

  • http://blog.longitundinal.biz Jan Galkowski

    @Nullius in Verba,

    “Validated models, shown to be able to accurately predict local climates and changes in detail, showing more points of agreement than there are adjustable parameters. They would need to cover cloudiness, precipitation, wind, and temperature, reproducing the first three or four moments of the distribution, and the frequency spectrum. This would show that all factors affecting climate had been identified and accounted for.”

    Ha-ha! This is the Fallacy of the Beard: Improperly rejecting a claim for being imprecise. In fact, see: L.A.Smith, N.Stern, “Uncertainty in science and its role in climate policy”, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A (2011) 369,1–24.

    I quote “Policy-making is usually about risk management. Thus, the handling of uncertainty in science is central to its support of sound policy-making. There is value in scientists engaging in a deep conversation with policy-makers and others, not merely ‘delivering’ results or analyses and then playing no further role. Communicating the policy relevance of different varieties of uncertainty, including imprecision, ambiguity, intractability and indeterminism, is an important part of this conversation. Uncertainty is handled better when scientists engage with policy-makers. Climate policy aims both to alter future risks (particularly via mitigation) and to take account of and respond to relevant remaining risks (via adaptation) in the complex causal chain that begins and ends with individuals. Policy-making profits from learning how to shift the distribution of risks towards less dangerous impacts, even if the probability of events remains uncertain. Immediate value lies not only in communicating how risks may change with time and how those risks may be changed by action, but also in projecting how our understanding of those risks may improve with time (via science) and how our ability to influence them may advance (via technology and policy design). Guidance on the most urgent places to gather
    information and realistic estimates of when to expect more informative answers is of
    immediate value, as are plausible estimates of the risk of delaying action. Risk assessment
    requires grappling with probability and ambiguity (uncertainty in the Knightian sense)
    and assessing the ethical, logical, philosophical and economic underpinnings of whether a
    target of ‘50 per cent chance of remaining under +2◦ C’ is either ‘right’ or ‘safe’. How do
    we better stimulate advances in the difficult analytical and philosophical questions while
    maintaining foundational scientific work advancing our understanding of the phenomena?
    And provide immediate help with decisions that must be made now?”

  • scribbler

    @ 17, Tax won’t work either…

    They’ll find a way around it. Has it occurred to any of y’all that some might use SCARE TACTICS to implement their nefarious schemes? It has occurred to the rest of us…
    ;-)

  • http://blog.longitundinal.biz Jan Galkowski

    @20, Ah, so you can’t refute the point, you attack the messenger. The point stands.

  • scribbler

    I refuted the point: You cannot present solutions the public will violently reject. Don’t get pissy cause you missed the point…
    ;-)

    My side point was that the rich will find ways around it. The government will use it to gain power/money…

    Shame to miss one. Agenda to miss both?

  • scribbler

    Let me add that as I examine this whole global warming claim, it turns out that rather than real science like, oh, planting trees and such are NOT AT ALL examined and the only thing proffered as a “solution” is to go back to living in caves EXCEPT IF you give the Feds/scientist/whoever writes the article, huge swaths of money and power…

    Big negatory, dude…
    ;-)

  • scribbler

    See, I’ve been through all this before. It was lead in gas which got the biggest attention. So called scientist said we were already past the “tipping point” and that all life was doomed. Sure, we ended up taking the lead out of the gas. Was there EVER a chance that all life on earth was doomed???

    I answer such drivel with this: If you account for a two foot square for each human alive today, you can easily stand all 7 billion of us into a square, 35 miles to a side. Compare that tiny square with the total surface area of the earth and you can see why I am so skeptical that we do much at all to affect this ecosystem…

  • http://blog.longitundinal.biz Jan Galkowski

    @22-23-24, scribbler,

    Ah, I see you are upset! Good.

    It doesn’t matter whether or not the “public” does anything, or the “government” does anything. What matters is what is true. It’s one thing to admit the truth and, then, stupidly, because “the public” wants the feel of a vibrating engine between their legs, choose to do nothing, and it’s another thing to deny it is real.

    It’s true. If people don’t want to protect their children’s and grandchildren’s futures, then that is in itself a comment upon them, and they deserve the ignominy they get.

    Again, you did not argue the points, but offered distractions. So, they stand, unrefuted.

  • voice of reason

    On the contrary, we may take up little of the Earths space by ourselves, but our buildings, roads, infrastructure, etc. are significant. You must also remember our newfound ability to gather and alter (or simply relocate) naturally occuring chemicals at incredible rates. We can actually see the effect pollution has on the environment and ourselves. Not saying that we should shut down entire industries, but we should simply bear this in mind. “Environment” is not just some term people coined to give them an excuse to complain; it’s the world around you (source of your food, water, and air). By using fossil fuels, we have altered the carbon cycle of this planet. However, any effect we have would only last a few centuries, so life on Earth is not doomed :) You say these thoeries were invented and evidence was fabricated to benefit scientists and the feds, but denying them benefits companies. This can be argued either way.

  • scribbler

    Pathetic…

  • Doug Allen

    After his rant, Julian Penrod asks… “deniers…” “Will they say what signs they consider absolute proof man mad climate change is occurring? Everywhere else I asked, I received no answers.”
    Although attempting a conservation with fanatics such as Penrod and Galkowski is likely to result in only more rants, name-calling, and hystrionics , I’ll have a go for just this one round. Julian, please do your homework and you will learn that there has been only 20 years of global warming, 1978-1998, during the past 67 years of increasing CO2 emissions, and that those 20 years of signifiant warming were statistically the same as the warming in the 20th centrury which ended about 1942. Of course we all know there has been no global warming the past 15 years and that there has been no acceleration in sea level rise. Catastrophic events have not been quantified on a global scale until recently so it’s difficult to know if anything unusual let alone unprecedented is happening. There definitely has been no increase in U.S tornadoes and hurricanes.
    So here is your answer from someone who is a liberal, a conservationist, and who teaches a course on climate change. Because the Hansen 1988 temperature model projections and 1990 IPCC model projections show little skill and because there has been no recemt warming despite incresing concentions of CO2, now up to almost 400 ppm, I am a “lukewarmer” who does not deny AGW, but who thinks your ravings (and Hansen’s) about CAGW and weather events are unhelpful, unscientific , and likely to create even more distrust of science and scientists. That distrust of science and scientists, not CAGW, is the tragedy we presently face, and you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. If we actually had global warming and sea level rise that came close to matching the Hasen and IPCC model projections, then, I would certainly show the level of concern that you now mistakenly have with no empirical evidence to validate it.

  • Kennita Watson

    There will continue to be controversy until it’s too late.

    @scribbler, a human may cover a 2 foot square, but over the course of a year a human can denude over an acre of ground, and pollute many, many cubic yards of water and air.

  • Ken Bowdon

    Geologists take the long view. Earth’s temperature has been extremely variable over the past 4 billion years boasting periods with little to no polar ice caps and periods when the earth was nearly an ice ball. The more recent past has seen variations with a series of ice ages and interglacial periods. There have been five cycles over the past 500,000 years each cycle has about 90,000 years of ice and a short interglacial warm period lasting anywhere from 5000 years to 10,000 years. Man can only claim to have had society for half of the last interglacial period which if the pattern of the last 500,000 years repeats, is nearing its end. See the link below to an article including a temperature graph of the Vostok ice cores. Patterns are what geologists look for. When you look at the cycles from the ice core data each cycle correlates very well from cycle to cycle. The temperature patterns repeat nicely. I can’t say what causes the cycles but there have been definite cycles of cooling and warming with the cold periods getting longer each cycle.

    http://blogs.agu.org/wildwildscience/2010/07/14/ice-core-at-neem-approaching-greenland-bedrock/

  • http://www.mikesmithenterprises.com Mike Smith

    The silliness of some of the pro-global warming people is off the charts these days. The date of the earlier D.C. derecho was July 4-5, 1980. You can learn more about it here: http://www.wjla.com/blogs/weather/2012/06/d-c-derecho-midwest-to-east-coast-destructive-storms-16018.html

    Record low temperatures occurred in Iowa this morning. By the standards of the catastrophic global warming crowd the global warming hypothesis must be invalidated because it is currently cold.

  • Heather

    What makes this all laughable is that everything is accepted as proof global warming is happening and nothing is accepted as proof it is not happening.

    If we have an unusually cold winter we are told this is not proof that global warming isn’t happening, that no one season of weather is proof that global warming is wrong……..

    But when we have an unusually hot summer! All that changes and we have the media telling us the unusual hot weather is OBVIOUSLY due to global warming…………

    Hot weather is proof of global warming, cold weather is proof of global warming, dry weather is proof of global warming, wet weather is proof of global warming…………… everything and anything is proof of global warming!

    And when the data does not show the warming they predicted? They thought up “global dimming”. Go look that one up!

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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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