THE NAMAZU SCHOOL OF CLIMATOLOGY:
EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS
|Some of you will recall that back in December I introduced you to the NOAAA "Extreme Weather Index". This index depicted in chart form the "extreme weather" frequency of occurrence from 1910 through 2010. Those of you who regularly follow our "School of Climatology" probably were not surprised to learn that the worst years were during the "dust Bowl in the 1930s, and that other than that, the last 100 years has actually been pretty even climate wise. As we have so often said, "climates change, that's what they do" and more importantly climates have been known to change dramatically over night from natural causes like meteor strikes, massive volcanic outbreaks, sun spots, axis wobble, orbit irregularities and other things and combination of things about which we earthlings can do nothing. (Unless of course you were in the demigod business a thousand years ago, then you could be assigned the blame, and you wonder why I've sought a new career). Well my good pal and original talent agent Vic Socotra recently addressed climate change in his world famous blog www.vicsocotra.com . With permission I've reprinted it below for the heathen non subscribers to www.vicsocotra.com. Vic also uses the NOAA Extreme Weather Index to make his point but also introduces some related data from the same study that produced the chart and makes his points through the use of erudite , articulate, and intelligent prose, and for the heathen semi literate....pretty pictures. So scroll down for the latest word from Vic, and click on any of the links to www.vicsocotra.com for more entertainment and edification.|
It just seemed appropriate after the tornado in Oklahoma and NOAA new hurricane season prediction to again visit the issue of cyclical weather patterns and actual climate change.
It is mornings like this when I aspire to be a snowbird and go “where the weather suits my clothes.” For example, I got a note from a pal in the Keys and decided I would prefer to be headed down to Sloppy Joes in Key West rather than slipping on the sidewalk in front of my office.
I was going to take you on a tour of Mac’s condo, which the family is getting ready to sell. I have to be at The Agency for a meeting at 0800 tomorrow, so I think I will hold off on that for a day. Given the fact that it is going to be slippery on the roads for the next few days, it means a very early departure, and it will be useful to have something in the can.
Weather. Extreme or not, it rules our lives. I had a discussion with a pal who was dubious about my claim- and the graphic- that 2012 was not a particularly extreme year. Looking back now through this remarkably didactic note, I apologize. But I really dislike being told to believe impossible things, particularly when they will be very expensive and quite disruptive to the way we live.
My pal was dubious about the data and how it is arrayed. There is a lot to be dubious about. There are a lot of people these days who have vested interest in long-term multi-decadal climate predictions, and that isn’t working out so well. The UK Met Office had to admit a few weeks ago that they had completely missed their short-term seasonal forecast of only three months. Instead of warm and dry, they got rain and snow and chill. They said it was complicated and difficult.
I have no idea why events a few weeks away should be so difficult to predict and then asked to believe that events few dozen years away should be so accurate. But the Brits believe, and are much further along than we are in terms of limiting their carbon footprints.
That in itself is curious, since CO2 is not carbon, but never mind. Her Majesty’s government mandates use of alternative (and much more expensive) energy sources to reduce its national footprint. It is a regressive policy that impacts the poor and elderly dramatically.
I mentioned the President’s soaring rhetoric in his inaugural address. It was great- vintage Obama, and he was taking the gloves off on a bunch of initiatives that probably will not happen, thank goodness.
The climate initiative was particularly troubling. It was a straight recitation of the accepted narrative of “settled science” as told by people like Michael Mann (PSU) and James Hanson (NASA). That is, in shorthand, that carbon dioxide gas concentration in the atmosphere is building a greenhouse effect and warming the planet.
Soon, according to the narrative, this trace gas will force the planet’s temperature to spiral out of control and we will all die unless we shut down all the coal-fired power plants and other fossil fuel energy sources.
That is the basis of the carbon control scheme, and the center point of the Cap-and-Trade legislation that could not get through the Democratic-controlled House and Senate in the first two years of the Obama Administration.
That was the age of Global Warming, remember? The slight problem with that is that the three internationally accepted global temperature databases show that the increase in temperature over the last sixteen years (it varies on either side due to differing methodologies in the data bases) is within the margin of error, or actually cooling.
That was why the narrative had to change. If it is not actually getting warmer by any significant degree, the emphasis had to change to Climate Change, then Ocean Acidification, and finally today’s accepted line on Extreme Weather events. It is Doom.
LINKS TO CLIMATE CHANGE INDEXES:
The problem, as demonstrated in the chart assembled from NOAA data, is that even accounting for better sensor information (more events detected, rather than more of them) the weather is just what it is. It changes. It can be intense. There is no trend, regardless of how you slice and dice it.
2012 was a warm year in the Continental US, but it was not a warm year elsewhere. Nor, even with Sandy and the fires out west, was it a particularly extreme weather year for the whole US.
We often hear today’s climate described as “post-normal”, but what was so normal about climate 50 or 100 years ago?
Based on NOAA regional data, the chart depicts each year since 1910 is assigned a ranking for each category, hot, cold rainy, dry, with “1” being the least extreme, and “103” most extreme. The four individual rankings are then averaged together, to give the overall ranking.
2012 finishes with a ranking of 54th, making it an unremarkable 46th most extreme, out of 103. The individual rankings are:
Winter Mean Temperature
Summer Mean Temperature
Under that ranking system, the worst years for extreme weather were:
2nd coldest winter/ 4th hottest summer and drought.
5th worst for hurricanes, hot summer, dry.
4th coldest winter, driest year on record.
8th driest year, 9th hottest summer
Cold winter, very dry, hurricanes.
7th coldest winter, dry
I believe in weather, and I believe the climate changes. I believe that since the beginning of the industrial age in 1840, global temperatures (a tricky thing to measure, considering the crappy sensor siting in most of the developing world and lack of sensors of any kind on the vast world ocean) appear to have risen by .8 (point eight) degrees Celsius in 180 years.
Even that number is suspect, since a thermometer that a century ago was in the green country may now be located adjacent to an asphalt runway, or surrounded by urban sprawl.
The thing about the chart, taken with the fact that things have not gotten measurably warmer in what is now close to twenty years, is that the “settled science” that states that increasing levels of CO2 will force a dramatic increase in temperatures doesn’t seem to be true,
If the linkage between temperature and CO2 is wrong, then the bottom falls out of the argument that human activity is causing warming.
Here is the deal: the sophisticated computer models are based on assumptions. If you assume that CO2 is the cause, then that is precisely what the results will show. The models do not incorporate orbital mechanics of the planet, nor the dramatic effects of the fiery ball of our sun, which appears to be entering into a quiet phase after being quite active in the latter half of the 20th Century.
There is something going on that we do not understand on the solar front, and if that uncertainty is not entered into the assumptions that govern the models, of course they will be inaccurate. It might be useful to look at the actual record of measured data, rather than digital models subject to “garbage in-garbage out.”
If the weather is not really more extreme than it used to be (it always has been) and if there is no relation between CO2 and temperature, then the imperative to transform the economy just isn’t there. Don’t look at me like I am crazy. Is our environment better with less pollution? Of course. The Cuyahoga River has not caught fire in decades. Don’t litter. It is wasteful and ugly. But really, what is there to get hysterical about? We ought to do what we can to keep things tidy because that is the right thing to do as stewards of the earth.
But a massive transformation of society does not seem called for. The government-funded scientists (remember these people survive on taxpayer grants, and Doom sells) have a vested interest in the prediction of disaster.
I am not funded by Big Oil or Coal. Nor am I funded by Big Government.
Oh well. It is snowy in Arlington today, and cold. I would prefer to be in Florida.
Copyright 2013 Vic Socotra