The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Weather, Not Climate

Those Via Meadia readers old enough to remember Hurricane Katrina can no doubt remember the many moralizing predictions of smug and condescending green climate hacktivists that followed: global warming was going to mean more hurricanes and bigger ones.  Our coasts were toast; it was baked in the cake.  The rising sea level combined with the inexorably rising number of major hurricanes were going to knock the climate skeptics out of the park.

Well, no.  Andrew Revkin has called attention to this post from Roger Pielke’s blog which shows that as of today it has been 2,226 days since the last major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) hit the US mainland.  Unless a big hurricane hits this winter, it means we are on track to break a 100 year record for the longest gap between major hurricanes hitting the coast.  (The last Big Calm was between 1900 and 1906.)

For those of you who are confused, let me remind you: the only meteorological phenomena that count are the ones that confirm the climate alarmist case.  It doesn’t matter what it is — drought, flood, blizzard, heat wave — if it can be made to support fear about the climate, it matters and it needs to be thoroughly analyzed and widely publicized.

Meteorological phenomena that, to the unsophisticated, might appear to undermine the case that WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE if we don’t immediately pass a stringent carbon treaty, are meaningless and should be ignored.

A spate of hurricanes is climate; an absence of big storms is weather.  The absence of any major hurricanes for six years is a meaningless phenomenon; should a couple of big ones hit in any given year, then every editorial page in the country will fill with hand wringing, dire warning and I told you so.

And remember, the science is settled.  Anybody who asks how many of the climate change models predicted this absence of major hurricane events in the US six years ago is a vicious climate denier, is funded by the oil companies, and should be dealt with by the usual methods.

Published on November 28, 2011 8:26 pm
  • Dave

    I’d like this column better if the author had correctly identified Roger Pielke Jr. as the source of the data, since that is Mr. Pielke’s field of expertise.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @Dave: the on duty interns are being ushered into the House of Pain as I write.

  • Randy

    Dr. M,

    Have you been branded as a heretic by the climate science Gestapo yet?

  • http://www.ltoledo.com Luis

    You’re ignoring the fact that for 4 of those 6 years the season’s activity have been above average and also in line with climate scientist’s predictions. Its irrelevant whether storms actually hit the US. That’s not climate, and is in fact “weather.”

    Stick to politics. Sorry, I forgot science is political.

  • Dave

    There’s no confirmation bias among commenters here, I see.

  • Otiose

    The GW belief system is like a bad cold that lingers long after the worst symptoms are past. There are still a lot of people infected – the EPA is busy writing new mileage requirements for example. Recovery will take some time. But the worst is over.

    However, belief in it still pops up in some weird places. Today my wife was making dinner with the radio on a ‘Christian’ station. Some ‘scientist’ was being interviewed and he explained how carbon levels have increased in the last few years and this correlates with increased warming and ice melting at the poles.

    http://www.dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011-11-28/

    Quoting from the bible he went on about how it is our duty to ‘restore’ the environment (carbon levels) to what it was when God created Man and keep it there.

    I almost fell out of my chair. Given carbon levels are probably never in equilibrium – always fluctuating year to year, decade to decade, not to mention from ice age to warm interlude and back again, I’m not at all clear on this idea of why we would should keep it at some fixed level NOW. And what level of carbon was it when God created Man? Was he referring to 10 million years ago? 5 million? 100,000?, or 6,000 years ago?

    This particular mental belief quirk – that we must keep carbon levels static at some level – also inhabits another political belief system away from traditional religion. There’s a group who believes that the carbon level must be restored to a 350 parts/ level or the world will end. This despite an abundance of evidence that in historical times it’s been higher and in prehistoric times much much higher.

  • Andrew

    The climate change argument bears uncanny resemblances the apocalyptic religous movements in western culture. It threatens doom for all mankind unless states and their political organs force large scale changes to the way people live their lives to conform to a more “pure” existence. Moreover, I think the media and so-called experts throw the term “science” around haphazardly, especially regarding this. The evidence for climate change is empirical data on weather patterns and human development. Until we can create in lab conditions a perfect replica of Earth’s atmosphere (incorporating all cosmic influences as well), the insistence that man changes the climate is an article of faith, not scientific fact. The current state of the climate argument assumes that we know everything there is to know about the atmosphere. To scientifically prove that X causes Y requires a control and variable experiment measured empirically, and not assumptions that two sets of measurements imply causality.

  • AtheistConservative

    “You’re ignoring the fact that for 4 of those 6 years the season’s activity have been above average”

    Do you know what ‘average’ means?

    “in line with climate scientist’s predictions”

    Which predictions would that be?

  • Cheves

    I have it on good authority that the stately Mead Manor is in fact merely a twisted, depraved pleasure den that Exxon management sub-leases from the Elders of Zion. WRM gets to live in the attic for free if he A) mentions how awesome fossil fuels are on his blog and B) never comes downstairs. I know this from peer-reviewed blogs. It’s settled.

    Also, WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.

  • a nissen

    Once upon a time blood-letting was proven science. Fortunately its practice was for the most part a luxury for those who could afford it. This approximated what we would now call a controlled experiment with willing participants, though which we learned that in only in a very few circumstances is the “science” of blood-letting helpful. Because of religion (dogma) and what we now call markets, the process dragged on much longer than necessary.

    But that is nothing compared to today, with experimentation at global proportions and trial-by-fire putting the well-being of everyone, willing or not, at risk. Neither markets, politics, nor religion is far seeing, and perhaps worst of all is science hopelessly entangled with any or all of them.

    Don’t fall victim WRM, parse on. However, as a few posters imply—sidestepping the fabricated divides take an ever increasing amount of courage.

  • Rob Crawford

    “You’re ignoring the fact that for 4 of those 6 years the season’s activity have been above average and also in line with climate scientist’s predictions.”

    Actually, no. Their predictions were for more STRONGER storms, and more such storms hitting the mainland US.

    They also predicted that the children of Britain would never again know snow. And that Australia’s cities would never again see rain. And that, twenty years ago, we only had 10 years before we had a runaway greenhouse effect, ending civilization — if not life — on earth.

  • Barza

    Um… Huricane Ike? Twenty-five percent of Galveston, Texas has been gone for good since 2008. The winds were Category Three but it was a hundred-year flood, despite the seawall.

  • Toni

    Here in Houston, I’ve lived through Hurricanes Alicia and Ike, Tropical Storm Allison, and countless flash floods. I drowned a car in a flash flood in 1979. I never thought I’d be praying for a tropical storm.

    But I have been. We’re enduring a horrendous drought. (Against the rules and despite complaints in the highrise where I own a condo, I’m feeding birds on my balcony.)

    To the Global Warmist, though, it’s all the same. Hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, droughts, blizzards, tornados: wherever and whenever these occur, they signify Global Warming. Whatever else Global Warmists are, they’re devout.

  • John D

    “WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.”

    What?

    Why wasn’t I told about this?

    When I quit smoking it was with the understanding that I would live forever and never develop any cancer or other disease.

  • Sergey

    There is widespread confusion about meaning of the word “science”. Any research activity however unconclusive is labelled “science” and it is assumed that everybody must prostrate in awe before current opinion of majority of those involved in it. Sorry, folks, these opinions change with every decade, and 90% of current research is simply a junk and does not survive another couple of years before being rejected. “Science” understood as positively proved knowledge is something very different from the current opinions of scientific community. Of course, scientists themselves have a lot to benefit from maintaining and supporting this confusion.

  • daveugber

    i wonder what caused major hurricanes before the first model-T came off the assembly lines???

  • Paul Thiel

    @Barza #12

    Galveston looked pretty good when I spent the weekend there two weeks ago.

    Ike was a pretty big mess down here, but after a few months, most people were back up on their feet unless they were uninsured.

    If you live on the gulf coast and don’t have flood insurance you’re a fool.

  • http://www.nasteaparty.com/ Casey Jones

    So it is purely coincidence that 13 of the last 15 years have been the hottest of record, including 2011.

    GOP climate policy: to carry on drilling and scrap environmental laws with reckless disregard for the people of this planet.

    Ice cores don’t lie. Republicans do.

  • tbraton

    “Um… Huricane Ike? Twenty-five percent of Galveston, Texas has been gone for good since 2008. The winds were Category Three but it was a hundred-year flood, despite the seawall.”

    Not according to Wikipedia, which categorizes Ike as a strong Cat 2 hurricane by the time it hit Galveston. Meade above talked about strong hurricanes hitting the U.S. mainand, Cat 3 or above. Wikipedia states that “Moving west along Cuba, it made two landfalls – as a Category 4 hurricane on September 7 and as a Category 1 hurricane two days later. Ike made its final landfall near Galveston, Texas as a strong Category 2 hurricane, on September 13, 2008, at 2:10 a.m. CDT.”

  • Timstigator

    Devout AGWers are fundamental religionists that worship at the altar of Gaia. They remind me of the Celts that I read about during Caesar’s time…worshipping trees and freaking out when Caesar cut down huge swaths of oak trees in Gaul. They represent a return to iron age and earlier belief systems.

  • Timstigator

    BTW: “the on duty interns are being ushered into the House of Pain as I write” cracked me up. WRM, you have a great sense of humor.

  • Paul Falduto

    I agree that those who say we have to make major changes right now are being alarmist. BUT, we need to make a series of smaller changes in a variety of areas now to avoid having to make radical changes 20 years or so down the line. That point appears to be glossed over in this article. Just to mention one, a big one, Brazil has autos that can run on all sugar cane ethanol, all gas or any combo in between. Yes, sugar cane ethanol prices vary, that is why the combo of ethanol and gas is important. But sugar cane ethanol is usually cheaper than corn ethanol. Brazil uses close to 20% ethanol to run cars. Why can’t we set this as a standard AND live up to it?

  • John

    I certainly recall the shrieks of Global Warming during Katrina. And now that we have had this dry period, the obvious result has been a serious drought in Texas and the Southeast. Which is ALSO blamed on Global Warming. To your point — Global Warming, apparently, is to blame for Georgia and Mississippi being both DRY and WET.

  • Babs

    Thanks #10 for my new GW comeback: “Once upon a time blood-letting was proven science.” Perfect.

  • answer4everything

    @Casey jones: You are correct that ice cores don’t lie, but they can be misinterpreted. Ice cores can tell us what the chemical composition of the atmosphere was when the ice was formed, but they can’t tell us what the temperature was for the same time period. Neither can tree rings tell you what the temperature was when the ring was formed. So-called climate scientists made the assumption that tree ring data showing good years of growth for the tree indicated a warm year and that it correlated with ice cores showing high CO2 levels but that assumption fell apart when tree ring data from the last few decades didn’t display the characteristics Mann and others thought it should to reflect the rising temps they observed. Thus the infamous ‘hide the decline’ email.
    This is a very important point since the tree ring data was the corraboration of the ice core data showing higher CO2 levels. The fact that the tree ring corellation to warmer weather assumption and, subsequently, the ice core to tree ring corraboration assumption, hasn’t been jettisoned is proof that Mann, et al, do not do science. They do propaganda and you sir, have succombed to it.

  • T

    “Climatology” by L. Ron Hubbard

  • T

    Casey Jones (#18) wrote: “Ice cores don’t lie. Republicans do.”

    Your half correct. Ice cores don’t lie, “scientists” do (to protect their vested interest in their next grant application).

  • alan j

    To confirm or deny climate change with a stat about whether a hurricane has hit was, as this author suggests, a stupid point made my the blogger who lowered himself to the level of some who are hurting the climate change cause through chicken little statements during each weather events. However, just because the blogger was stupid too, does not mean that the real science behind climate change is false, it only confirms that righties are desperate, as always, to cling to their need to deny change even if it means denying science.

  • Klaus

    “i wonder what caused major hurricanes before the first model-T came off the assembly lines???”

    I blame Herr Benz…

  • Rod Hug

    Usually when a media journalist discusses alleged global warming, and sometimes accuses the GOP of either ignoring or being ignorant of science, the journalist is neither a scientist nor trained in physics. A great number of people on the left of political center worry that the earth is warming, caused by us. They need not worry.

    What is a greenhouse gas?

    If “greenhouse gas” is defined as a gas that absorbs the suns energy, then CO2 is a greenhouse gas. But so are oxygen, nitrogen and water, the prime components of the atmosphere. Every gas that contains an electron cloud in its molecular structure can absorb the suns energy, which means that every gas in the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas. The fact often ignored is to what extent these gasses contribute to solar heating of the atmosphere. Trace gasses such as CO2, methane, benzene, and others contribute trace heating roughly in correspondence to their trace partial pressures.

    That the atmosphere absorbs solar energy cannot be denied. Every day the atmosphere warms due not only to land mass heating, but also to non-convective heating of the air. Solar photons, and particularly the higher energy blue photons, are captured and converted to heat. This can be seen at sunset and sunrise. Sunsets are reddish because, having traveled a longer distance through the primarily O2, N2, and water atmosphere, high energy blue spectrum wavelengths are more actively absorbed than are the low energy long wave red spectrum wavelengths. Red photons, which constitute a very small percent of total solar flux energy, “make it through”, while the blue photons are scattered and re-scattered such that most of them are absorbed.

    The photoabsorption mechanism.

    Every molecule in the atmosphere is surrounded by an electron “cloud”. Electron clouds consist of discrete electron orbit positions that correspond to discrete energies. The first prime orbit contains two electrons; the second, eight electrons; the third, 16 electrons and so on. These major orbits contain multiple sub-orbits, ie, s,p,d,f. The far outside prime orbits of heavier atoms contain more electrons in the sub-orbits.

    Solar photons also come in discrete energies (photons are digital, not analogic). For a photon to be absorbed it must find an electron energy that precisely matches its energy packet. Given that a range, or spectrum, of discrete energies are represented by the discrete energy states between orbits around atmospheric molecules, solar photons often do find their electron energy matchup.

    Typically, high energy photons “excite” electrons in the molecular cloud temporarily to a higher sub-orbit (for example, from p1 to p2, or f2 to f3, etc). The phenomenon is known as the photoabsorption effect, as opposed to the photoelectric effect, which involves stripping of electrons from the atom or molecule. When the excited electron decays to its ground state, another, lower energy, photon is emitted. The lower energy photon can take any direction, giving rise to “scattering” phenomenon, which accounts for the blue color of the sky. The energy difference between the higher energy photon and the reduce energy scattered photon is expressed as liberated heat, such that conservation of energy is maintained.

    Photoabsorption potential – size counts.

    The larger molecules, which contain more electrons in orbit, provide greater chance of capturing a solar photon. Molecular size (number of electrons in orbit) is not the only criteria that determines photon capture potential, but it is a sufficiently important one. Rydberg photoabsorption cross sections agree roughly with molecular weight. Thus molecular weight provides a convenient and easy way to predict photoabsorption potential.

    Ignoring something called valence, the number of electrons in orbit is the same as the number of protons in the molecular nucleus, which is roughly half the molecular weight. Some molecular weights are: O2, 32; N2, 28; CO2, 44; CH4 (methane), 16; H20, 18.
    By first look it would seem that carbon dioxide would be a worrisome greenhouse gas.

    How partial pressure fits in.

    Greenhouse gas heating potential can be found roughly by multiplying the molecular weight by the partial pressure, or parts per million normalized, of the gas. Some atmospheric partial pressures are: O2, 3 psi; N2, 12 psi; CO2, 0.0058psi (at 390 ppm); CH4, 0.000026 psi (at 1.77ppm); water, 0.34 psi (varies with temperature).

    When we multiply the molecular weight times the partial pressure, some solar energy absorption potentials are:
    O2, 96
    N2, 336
    Water, 6.1
    Carbon dioxide, 0.27
    Methane, 0.0005

    Combined photoabsorption heating potential.

    The combined solar heat absorption potential for naturally occurring oxygen, nitrogen and water is roughly 438, compared to the potential for carbon dioxide and methane which is 0.27. Thus the potential for the usually understood greenhouse gasses is 0.06 percent of the potential for the oxygen, nitrogen, and water that every day is warmed by the sun.

    An important point should be made here. Many scientists wrongly claim that oxygen and nitrogen contribute little to photon scattering (perhaps they are thinking of the low energy long wave red photons, rather that the high energy short wave blue photons). If that were the case, then the 438 total potential given above would be far less, and consequently, the calculation of CO2 heat gain made in following paragraphs would be far greater. Thus this calculation must be considered conservative.

    It should be understood that the oceans and forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a rate proportional to the carbon dioxide partial pressure, such that equilibrium is or will be established between carbon dioxide production and removal rates.

    The greater part of earth heating.

    So far only heating by photo-absorption of the atmosphere has been discussed. The largest part of daily heating of the earth (the land, sea, and atmosphere taken as a whole) is direct radiant heating of the land and sea part. Heating of the atmosphere by photo-absorption is approximately 5 percent of total heating. Most of the actual atmospheric daily heating is primarily convective and partly radiant from a heated land surface.

    The calculation.

    We can calculate how much of the daily temperature rise is due to CO2. If the difference between the nighttime temperature and the daytime temperature is, say, 30F, and five percent of 30 is 1.5F, then 1.5F represents the daily temperature rise due to atmospheric photo-absorption. But as seen above, most of that rise is due to atmospheric constituents other than CO2. The CO2 portion of daily temperature rise can be calculated as a simple ratio, 0.27/438 times 1.5 = 0.0009F.

    Thus we can see how tiny is the potential for CO2 to heat the earth. However, if there is a greenhouse effect that is cumulative day to day for the classic greenhouse gasses and primarily CO2, (but by a perhaps convenient omission, not cumulative for the far greater non-greenhouse gas heating of the land and atmosphere by convection) then in 10,000 days, or 27 years, the atmospheric temperature would have increased 9F; in 50 years, 17F.

    Global temperature, due just to CO2, would increase 1F every three years.

    But such increases are not happening. So how is that heat gain being dissipated? Is it being dissipated by the same mechanism that the far greater heat gain from other constituents of the atmosphere and the land and oceans is being dissipated?

    How earth dissipates solar heat gain – the black body effect.

    In fact we will discover that CO2 cannot increase the global temperature at all.
    We will discover that all heat gain due to CO2 was reradiated to cold outer space.

    This part of the story starts with something called the black body effect. Work on the black body was early done by Planck, Kirchhoff, Wein and others in association with the second law of thermodynamics starting in 1859. A black body is a perfect absorber and radiator of electromagnetic energy. Kirchhoff showed that a black body finds perfect temperature equilibrium with its radiation cavity environment – it absorbs and reradiates the same quantity of energy so as to find an “equilibrium temperature”.

    Black bodies are black in color. They are black to the human eye because no visible light radiates from them at low temperatures. To the extent that the greens and browns of the land and sea of Earth are “dark”, Earth has black body properties. While the earth is not an ideal black body, it has sufficient black body properties to exhibit the radiative equilibrium characteristic of a true black body. The environment in which the earth is immersed (cosmic space near an average star) provides the source of heat and the medium to which earth may reradiate its heat. During the day the sun heats the relatively dark parts of the earth (radiation travels from hot to cold black body surfaces) and during the night the exact same quantity of heat is reradiated to cold space. The Sun is a perfect hot black body (it is yellow/white to the eye due to high heat). Cosmic space is a perfect cold black body medium as seen from Earth.

    Thermal equilibrium in the solar region.

    Here is the important part: Over geologic time the earth’s temperature must remain constant so long as it’s environment (cosmic space and the Sun) does not change. The earth has always had and will have sufficient black body character to insure equilibrium temperature with it’s cosmic environment, including if CO2 is or is not put into the atmosphere. What changes the Earth’s temperature over time is not the make-up of its atmosphere, but fluctuation of solar radiation, given that changes in solar radiance constitute changes in the space / sun environment within which the earth remains in equilibrium. During periods of ice cover the earth’s temperature declines in response to commensurately reduced solar flux.

    Suppose a greenhouse gas had contributed to the earth’s one-day temperature rise on the daylight side. Then, during the night the earth would reradiate all that heat, including the heat gain from the greenhouse gas, back to the black body of space so that the average temperature must return to the value that expresses Kirchhoff’s relation. If the earth were, by some artificial means, heated to 1 degree F above the equilibrium temperature, then the earth would increase outgoing radiation in accordance with the Kirchhoff equation. The warmer earth would increase outgoing radiation until it cooled 1 degree F such that outgoing and incoming radiation balanced. The outgoing/incoming balance is fundamental to black body theory. It is analogous to conservation of energy. No more energy can come in than is going out, and vice versa. And temperature is the Kirchhoff key that determines radiation levels

    We can do a thought experiment to demonstrate the principle. Imagine a really large oven with perfect black body walls as cold as outer space. On one side of the oven there exists a point heat source that radiates a constant value of heat energy. Somewhere in the center of the oven is placed a golf ball. Let the golf ball rotate on its axis. Given that the ball has at least some black body character, it soon finds an equilibrium temperature. So long as the location of the ball does not change and the heat source does not fluctuate, the temperature of the ball will remain the same over time. It matters not what paint, coatings, or gas constituents cover the ball; so long as coatings are local to the ball relative to the oven space, the ball temperature will remain constant.

    The term “greenhouse effect” is inappropriate to describe alleged global warming. A greenhouse warms because its walls and ceiling present a barrier to convective heat loss. No barrier prevents radiation heat loss. But the earth loses heat by radiation, not convection.

    Conclusion:

    We have seen that a conservative calculation of global temperature increase due to CO2 at 390 ppm yields 1 F every three years, presuming no allowance for black body cooling.
    Yet, such rapid temperature increase is not happening. The earth has black body characteristics not altered by atmospheric constituents. Consistent with Kirchhoff’s relation, the earth must find temperature equilibrium in the black body environment of cosmic space that it occupies. Rise and fall of the earth’s surface temperature is entirely a function of rise and fall of solar luminescence.

  • Tommy

    “You’re ignoring the fact that for 4 of those 6 years the season’s activity have been above average and also in line with climate scientist’s predictions”

    Who’s predictions? Also, named storms will always be higher than the old average due to huge advancements in monitoring. What used to be a ‘storm’ now is a named, numbered, and identified storm. In other words, they didn’t used to count the ones that didn’t strike land.

    “So it is purely coincidence that 13 of the last 15 years have been the hottest of record, including 2011.”

    Yeah, well take out Jim Hansen’s made up arctic temperature numbers and get back to us. Was it the hottest decade in the US? No, still the 30′s Which is interesting in that we have the oldest most accurate records the longer back you go.

    These are a couple of fine examples of how alarmists cook the numbers to scare everyone.

  • J. Bob

    #18 Casey Jones
    you mean after the SOME of the data was “homogenized”. Seems most of the global temperatures have been flat over the past 10+ years.

    Try going over to:
    http://www.climate4you.com/

    & click on global temperatures.

  • Mike

    Your article is disingenuous. 2011 is tied for the third most active season on record for the Atlantic—20 tropical cyclones, 19 tropical storms, and 7 hurricanes (3 major). Whether or not storms impact the mainland is immaterial.

  • htaft

    Blood-letting was a relatively short lived example of human behavior relying on made up science. Recall, if you will, that the Ptolemaic Universe was accepted wisdom for over a thousand years. To challenge this orthodoxy brought on rapid and severe punishment. Copernicus and Galileo learned this to their sorrow. AGW is only the latest of a series of ignorance driven human beliefs.

  • Henry Miller

    Climate “scientists:” the Khmer Rouge of radical environmentalism.

  • AMR 1960

    The Ecco-Mobsters have co-opted environmental Science. There is/was an unspoken covenant between Lay-people and the practitioners of Science on Society’s behalf. The Scientists dispassionately compiles and distills the data, and Society charts how Humanity integrates that knowledge into the fabric of our lives.

    Stepping away from the climate issue, and just looking at the actions & behavior of those the public would normally trust, what I see is the entire issue ENCAPSULATED by Collectivist & Socio-Political agendas, forcing me conclude that powerful elements have sized upon these issues as away/method to sequester more than just our Carbon…

    I frankly don’t trust them…it’s a condition they have brought upon themselves with the series of duplicitous actions regarding how they established their so-called consensus. The “Warmest” community then further aggravates and “poisons the well” by calling us “Flat Earthers” and “Paleo-intellects”.

    Setting aside their elitist disdain, It’s nothing short of suicidal for our Carbon based society to enact the deconstruction of our energy matrix, along the radical time-table advocated by the likes of: Hansen, Mann, Cueller, et al…

  • don

    Yeah, and they also predicted the end of snow as we know it in our times, England would be a smaller northern version of the dessicated Sahara, Al Gore invented the Internet, and evolutionary biology ceased to exist during the hippie free love bubble era of rampant STDs.

  • Cradlerock

    Rise and fall of the earth’s surface temperature is entirely a function of rise and fall of solar luminescence.”

    Wait, you’re telling us that the sun has an effect on the earth?!?! What’s next, that there has been warming and cooling long before people drove cars? Besides that last ice age, where’s the proof?

  • Steve Z

    Most ice core data are from Vostok in inland Antarctica, and “answer4everything” is correct that ice cores can only tell us the chemical composition of the atmosphere when AND WHERE the ice was formed. This is crucial, because Antarctic ice originally fell as snow, and snowflakes falling on Antarctica formed over the nearby southern ocean. Since a snowflake could not form over the Northern Hemisphere, cross the tropics without melting, and fall on Antarctica, the Vostok ice cores tell us nothing about the Northern Hemisphere, which has far more land area, trees, and people than the Southern Hemisphere.

    Tree ring width is also a very poor indicator of temperature. While a mild early spring or autumn might lengthen the growing season, a hot dry summer would tend to reduce tree growth rates, compared to a cool wet summer. Tree ring widths make no indication of weather or temperature during winter, when trees lose their leaves and do not grow. A wide tree ring means a good growth year, but was it due to temperature or rainfall?

  • Bill M

    The comment from Casey Jones is instructive about the mindset. If you click on his name, you go to this joke of a website called nasTEA Party.

    I ask him to look at this from the BEST report:
    http://www.thegwpf.org/cache/multithumb_images/1500539555.jpg

  • David Smith

    Global warming is real!! It has been warming for the past 10,000 years since the end of the last glacial period. Not many automobiles and power plants around then though.

  • Gurke

    “You’re ignoring the fact that for 4 of those 6 years the season’s activity have been above average”

    So you are saying that, of the last 6 years, exactly one is above average than would be expected (since the expected ratio over the period is 3 years above, and 3 years below average). And this is conclusive evidence of global climate change?

  • CRS, DrPH

    I’m an environmental scientist who has advised GOP politicians ranging from Gov. Henry Bellmon of OK to Sen. Jim Inhofe. I’m disgusted with how the entire topic has been captured by the “hacktivists,” but the scientific reality is that WE JUST DON’T KNOW with any certainty what the end-result of atmospheric carbon deposition will be.

    Personally, I am MUCH more concerned about ocean acidification, as this could impact the photosynthesis and oxygen production of the planet. Forget the clams & coral, it is the uppermost 3 meters of the ocean that we need to protect, and data that we are impacting this environment & its phytoplankton is compelling.

  • Michael Babbitt

    For Mike and other devoteess of CAGW: The total Accumulated Cyclonic Energy (ACE) shows nothing unusual for our time. Just average activity and luckily minimal landfall: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/27/hurricane-fatalities-1900%e2%80%932010-context-in-these-stormy-times/
    Also: http://policlimate.com/tropical/index.html

  • Slacklib

    “Not many automobiles and power plants around then though.”

    That’s what you think. I know for a fact that Dick Cheney was involved…

  • mtwapiti
  • TRM

    “Forget the clams & coral, it is the uppermost 3 meters of the ocean that we need to protect, and data that we are impacting this environment & its phytoplankton is compelling.” – Dr PH

    I don’t suppose it would be too much to ask for you to give me a steer in google scholar to read about it?

  • Slarty Bartfast

    “So it is purely coincidence that 13 of the last 15 years have been the hottest of record, including 2011.”

    Hottest on record? Which record?

    Define the parameters please.

  • ThomasD

    Ocean acidification is nothing more than the newest pea in this never ending shell game of neo-malthusianism.

    To CRS, please tell me the amount of hydronium ion, by mass, that would be required to lower the Earth’s average ocean pH by 0.01?

  • James Mayeau

    “You’re ignoring the fact that for 4 of those 6 years the season’s activity have been above average and also in line with climate scientist’s predictions.”

    No trend in Australia. [http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2007/08/29/hurricanes-down-under/#more-261]

    No trend in the Atlantic. [http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2011/05/26/no-long-term-trend-in-atlantic-hurricane-numbers/]

    No trend in global hurricane activity. [http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2010/10/14/no-trend-in-global-hurricane-activity/]

    No trend in Southern Hemisphere TC activity. [http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2010/03/30/southern-hemisphere-hurricanes-%E2%80%93-not-changing/]

    Western Pacific hurricanes declining. [http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2011/08/19/western-pacific-hurricanes-declining/]

    Scientists test IPCC climate models’ projections of Cyclone Activity versus reality: Models fail.
    [http://www.c3headlines.com/2011/04/scientists-test-ipcc-climate-models-projections-of-cyclone-activity-versus-reality-models-fail-big-t.html]

  • secryn

    Re: Comment #30–You took the words right out of my mouth.

  • San Diego Steve

    The comment by Rod Hug above is very accurate and helpful. Years ago I attended a lecture at Scripps Institution of Oceanography given by Prof. Jerome Namias, a distinguished meterologist who originated the North Pacific buoy study to determine the effects of ocean temperatures on weather. Dr. Namias clearly stated that true climate changes, as opposed to changes in weather patterns, occur over a period of thousands of years. This fact has been confirmed by studies of polar ice cores which show that the Earth has gone through numerous natural cycles of warm and cold climate, the most recent ice age being the best known of them. Interestingly, these warming and cooling cycles appear to correspond to known cycles of solar activity, tending to confirm Rod’s information regarding ionizing solar radiation.

    If the global warming fanatics have a method to vary solar activity, I would love to hear about it. In fact, what they want is the grant money (your tax dollars) which will result from massive futile programs to reduce carbon emissions. The motive of the UN global warming group is a huge mandatory wealth transfer by the West to undeveloped countries.

    Sorry, global warming con artists. The check is not in the mail.

  • Matt

    #23 John

    The reason you can have both more “wet” floods and “dry” droughts with increasing temps is because of the way evaporation and vapor capacity (VC) change with increasing temps…it’s basic atm science 101

    With increased temps, both evaporation and VC increase. VC is the amount of water vapor the atm can “hold” at a given temp. As temps rise, VC increases very rapidly and the atm “holds” much more water vapor (4% increase since 70s)

    As temps increase, evaporation increases too; however, increases in evaporation rates are not exponential like the increase in VC.

    This means it takes longer for water to recharge in the atm after a downpour which increases the dry times. It also increases the total amount of water that ultimately falls which increases liklihood of floods

    Also evaporation over land is limited by available soil moisutre which is declining because a higher VC sucks the land dry of its moisture; thus increasing liklihood of drought and fires.

  • JerseyConservative

    “Barza says: Um… Huricane Ike? Twenty-five percent of Galveston, Texas has been gone for good since 2008. The winds were Category Three but it was a hundred-year flood, despite the seawall.”

    Hurricane Ike was a Cat 2 storm. Mr. Mead notes that no Cat 3 storm has made landfall for 6+ years, which is correct. Did you bother to read the article? Or do you just have extremely low comprehension skills?

  • https://twitter.com/#!/WarmGingerTea Annabeth Amerine

    Seriously people? This is written with the typical ugly arrogance of so many Americans: what matters is only what happens here.

    So let’s get the facts straight: 2010 and 2011 are tied for being the 3rd most active hurricane seasons on record. The fact that we lucked out and the major storms didn’t make a US landfall is COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY IRRELEVANT.

    As for predictions – yes, both NOAA and the hurricane experts at CSU predicted very active seasons for both years.

    Wikipedia has excellent records for each hurricane season, with extensive links to forecasts etc. Do yourself a favor next time and at least do the most BASIC of research that even a high school student could do.

  • John Cunningham

    Luis, no.4 above, is deluded by the hoaxer doctrine. overall hurricane intensity, and also tornado intensity, has declined seriously in the last 40 years.
    see the NOAA charts at
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/12728/

  • Constitution First

    As the gross average yearly temperature rises and falls on planet Earth, the same exact divergence has been observed on all of our celestial neighboring planets and moons. So unless there are hidden industrial plants on all the other planets & moons, the change in climate MUST be the affect of the Sun, therefore the that leaves the AGW priests having to concoct another pathway into our wallets and lives.

  • Grumpy Pelican

    Creeping back to New Orleans after the storm, I thought that we must be out of our minds to move back into our house. From every corner came calls and comments that the city would be washed away in a matter of months or years. For better or worse, large numbers of people just gave up and left. We had to stay because of aged parents who wouldn’t move and a son who wanted to come back to finish his senior year of high school. It seemed like we held our breath every day as some new report would come out proclaiming our inevitable and rapidly approaching doom. Here we are six years later and, I don’t know, maybe we will eventually go under the waves. I hope not. I have noticed in the intervening six years that other natural disasters have been visited on the world and very few of the prognosticators seemed to have seen them coming.

  • Gospace

    Before satellites, the hurricanes/tropical storms/typhoons that started and finished their lifespans in the middle of the ocean would not be noticed and named. So, all hurricane data before the recent modern era severely undercounted the actual number of tropical disturbances. We see more now, and count more now.

  • Matt Bequette

    lol at the silly arguments from the climate change denial camp

    just curious…how many of the deniers posting here have actual degrees in atm science etc???

  • Mannschaft

    “Do yourself a favor next time and at least do the most BASIC of research that even a high school student could do.”

    I already am…At East Anglia.

  • Wally Ballou

    “You’re ignoring the fact that for 4 of those 6 years the season’s activity have been above average”.

    That’s like Dilbert’s boss saying – “It has come to our attention that 40% of all sickdays occur on Mondays or Fridays”.

  • Matt

    On climate change models and the value of their predictions:

    “They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.”

    - Brian Fantana, Channel 4 News reporter on the scene

  • RonRonDoRon

    Regarding the repeated references here and elsewhere to “the majority of scientists,” “consensus of scientists,” “almost all scientists,” etc., supposedly establishing what is “settled science” or “scientific fact: science is not a democracy (of consensus, majoritarian, or any other type).

    The error of thinking consensus or majority establishes anything in science is well pointed out by Jeffrey Lord (I’ll paraphrase). What would be a reasonable reaction to statements like “98 of 100 earth scientists have said that the earth is round” or “98 of 100 solar system scientists have said the sun, not the earth, is the center of our solar system”?

    Would a reasonable reaction be “Well, that’s settled then – obviously scientific fact.” Wouldn’t we instead want to know why two scientists disagree? We can’t just assume that those two are crackpots, dishonest, or paid off. Their objections have to be dealt with on their merits – in other word, scientifically.

    Instead, what we mostly hear is “not a real scientist” (by what standard?), “not respected by peers” (just another form of majoritarianism), or “he’s been paid off” (ad hominem accusation of dishonesty, without addressing the substance of the objections raised by the “liar”).

  • moreco2

    The earth has been warming for 20,000 years. We are in an interglacial period so appreciate it while you can because most of the NE (including New York) and Midwest states will someday be under several feet of ice. The rest of the planet will be extremely dry, deserts will expand, tropical rainforests will die. In the mean time I am enjoying the best (warmest) Fall weather I can remember. So enjoy!

  • Huke650

    Annabeth Amerine, #55
    Perhaps the number of hurricanes that made landfall in the U.S. is totally irrelevant, but so was Hurricane Katrina in terms of proving anything about climate science. Yet, I seem to remember “An Inconvenient Truth” implying that it did, and just yesterday a friend sent me a video from some advocacy group showing hurricane footage from the U.S. Both sides play this game if it suits their purposes.

    As for “arrogant” Americans, I suggest you rather tip your hand. I’ve spent considerable time in Europe and lived in South America. I was married to a European woman for almost thirty years and am engaged to another. I’ve not found other people to be less arrogant than Americans or any more inclined to pay much attention to the rest of the world. You seem to be one of those who simply don’t like your country or your fellow citizens very much, and you are POSITIVELY sure that global warming has led to more severe weather. The two attitudes seem to be correlated.

  • http://kavanna.blogspot.com Kavanna

    What a joke. The climate mania is dying, and the climate maniacs are panicked. The lack of any science behind the mania is now obvious to everyone. Perhaps lay people have an easier time seeing through the BS.

    It’s not even clear whether “climate” means anything. There’s certainly no stable long-term average state of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.

  • LarryD

    NCDC data shows no warming in the lower 48 over the last decade.

  • Former Republican

    Well as one would expect, the denier cult runs strong here. All the same disproven arguments hepeated as though they had not already been shown to be false.

    Of course the premise of the article itself is rather funny. Hurricanes have not hit the US so global warming is not real. When did the US become global? The relevant question is can we measure the planet warming or not? The answer (found yet again, this time by a skeptic in the Berkeley study this year) was a resounding and conclusive yes. And how many of the denier cultists have apologized to Professor Mann for saying his ‘hockey stick’ graph was false? Again, solidly proven by the Berkeley study, an independent analysis using even more data funded by the Koch brothers.

    Ok, now back to your endless restatement of false claims. I am sure my post will be like water off a duck. Then again perhaps at least one or two skeptics (not to be confused with deniers who are not fact based) will look up the Berkeley study and start thinking about the science instead of the tripe written by authors like WRM.

  • tom swift

    Yes, hurricanes are big red herrings. So is that rising sea level. I’ve run into people who are concerned about rising sea level. They all must live inland, as they seem to be unaware that sea level, to visual observation, is still where it’s been since the 1960s. I live right on the North Atlantic and have been interested in the topic of sea level change since I moved here 50 years ago. For all practical purposes, sea level change ain’t happening. To be fair, if changes were small (measured in millimeters) my measurements wouldn’t reveal them. But big changes? Nada.

  • Maxbert

    Want to lower CO2? Don’t exhale. We’ll all hold our breath until we turn Green.

    I wonder if we haven’t become the silliest society in the whole history of mankind.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ David W. Robertson

    The climate models used by the IPCC predicted that North America would have less snow cover as a result of global warming. Yet, North America has had more snow.
    This failure of the climate models to make a correct prediction is ignored by AGW proponents and their followers in the MSM. Go figure.

  • a nissen

    Late in a lot of ways to start a related hare running, but I note that “atmospheric changes” are only one (#10) of Diamond’s even dozen of “most serious environmental problem” some of which recall the situations that prior societies handled badly enough to wipe themselves off the map.

    What is not exactly clear is why approximately half of the corporate/state wants us to obsess on #10 at the expense of all the other 11. What is clear is that in doing so takes our attention far away from any type of systematic approach— Diamond’s full dozen or any other expression, e.g., see trilogy of books by Sing C Chew, Humboldt State University professor and Leipzig, Germany’s Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research senior researcher

    The best clue is that the statist corporate world consists of a) those who make money on the status quo, b) those who want to make money by becoming the status quo, and c) those who play both sides of the street just in case.

    Another clue—local branches of the Urban Land Institute gleefully reporting before local public bodies that “climate change” is the best argument they have ever found to justify throwing away “not dense enough” improvements built with yesterday’s resources that are “not dense enough” in order to redevelop with towers of todays resources, thereby saving the planet, making life walkable, and housing affordable in a single blow. But for the tail wind, those not born yesterday would have put that one to rest on the carbon impacts alone.

    If history is as dead as these dodoes think, prophecy and superstition remain more than willing to take up the vacuum.

  • globalwarminglies

    too bad there are too many liberal deniers out there. no matter how cold or hot or how few hurricanes, storms, or volcanos they will still say its global warming…oh wait…global climate change. Al Gore and his band of Losers who know nothing. The average American is finally catching onto the scam.

  • Bob Jones

    #30 is an entertaining and long post with its heart in the right place if not all of its science. Photons are not only absorbed by exiting electronic transitions. IR photons in particular are absorbed and turned into molecular vibrations. O2 and N2 molecules do not significantly absorb the long wave radiation that is re-emitted from the earth’s surface. CO2 and H2O are both strong absorbers of the frequencies of interest. Additionally, while the total energy balance of the earth (neglecting internal energy production from decaying radio isotopes) must sum to zero (incoming insolation = outgoing radiation) that does not mean that the temperature is unaffected by the atmosphere. The fact is that the earth is tens of degrees warmer than it would be if it were a true black body. That higher temperature is a result of the insulating qualities of our atmosphere. Because the atmosphere absorbs some of the outgoing long wave radiation and re-emits it in all directions including back towards the earth, the earth has to have a higher equilibrium temperature to account for this “reflected” energy. The problem with CAGW is that there is a presumed and modeled positive feedback effect which greatly amplifies the pure CO2 temperature sensitivity. Left to its own devices a doubling of CO2 from its present levels only leads to a 1-2C rise in mean global temps and since the effect is logarithmic, the temperature increase diminishes with ever increasing concentrations. The climate “Team” get around this by adding runaway positive feedback through melting permafrost, erupting clathrates, or vast oceans of evaporating water. All of which are exceedingly implausible given the remarkable stability of mean global temps over millions if not billions of years. Earth is not Venus and it is not Mars. If the models are to be believed it should already have become one or the other and been hopelessly locked in that state.

  • Bob

    Can’t really dispute the fact of Global Warming. Earth has been warming since the end of the last Ice Age. In fact, Global Warming is what CAUSED the end of the last Ice Age.

    But that started WAY before the industrial revolution, the internal combustion engine, or any other anthropogenic “contribution”.

  • JET99999

    Climatologists- once mostly working in an obscure corner of university level science departments -all of a sudden had millions in resarch dollars come their way, and eventually 100′s of millions. They went from obscurity to rock star status, and when the temp data began to go against them – they didn’t want to leave the stage, so they fudged the numbers and rigged the computer models.

    It didn’t start as a scam, but it certainly eventually morphed into one, in part due to a fawning and compliant and amazingly uncurious left-leaning major media group, one acting primarily as cheerleaders instead of independent journalists – but the truth has now been revealed.

  • mulp

    Years of drought in Texas are perfectly normal. Deaths by tornado only reflect the large number of people moving into the path of tornadoes. The flooding has nothing to do with warmer oceans producing increased water vapor or the rapidly warming springs from warmer over all temperatures. Freak snow storms are to be expected and just happen all the time.

  • Paleoguy

    Barza — “Um… Huricane Ike? Twenty-five percent of Galveston, Texas has been gone for good since 2008. The winds were Category Three but it was a hundred-year flood, despite the seawall.” I hate to break the bad news to you but Ike made landfall on the US as a category 1 storm. Nice try, typical leftist lies and misdirection.

  • http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastint.shtml Charles Provine

    really, where did this supposed research come from????
    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastint.shtml