RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. I find it interesting, too, that the Global Warming camp (which I firmly sit in myself) is quick to allow the AMO and ENSO some influence on hurricanes, while most of the AMO camp does not allow Global Warming even a small foothold. What a shame, especially since people are so influenced by the media.

    Each semester I teach a group of about 40 students about climate change. I am amazed this semester (a short summer session) at how many students do not beleive that humans have any influence on climate! We’ll see how that changes by the end of the course.

    Thanks for the great posts! I am a devoted reader.

    Comment by Todd Albert — 9 Jun 2006 @ 1:29 PM

  2. Apparently the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society is in the “global warming camp”:

    New Data Clearly Links Storms and Warming
    by Stephen Leahy
    June 8, 2006
    Inter Press Service

    Excerpts (emphasis added):

    Stronger and more frequent hurricanes in summer and stronger winter storms are clearly the result of climate change, according to new scientific studies reported at the 40th annual Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) congress in Toronto.


    Using sea surface temperatures of the tropical Atlantic Ocean over many decades, Robert Scott, an oceanographer at the University of Texas, showed that the area that spawns hurricanes has grown dramatically in recent years. Scott’s data shows that since 1970, the eastern side of the Atlantic, near the coast of Africa, has become warmer, topping the 26.5 C. temperature threshold for hurricanes to form. That means that the traditional area where hurricanes get their start has expanded by hundreds of kilometres.

    In fact, Scott said, hurricanes have been getting started an average of 500 kilometres further east since 1970, spending more time over warmer water.

    While there are other factors involved in hurricane formation, the much larger pool of warm “birthing” waters also means storms can become stronger, since warm water provides fuel for them to grow.

    Scott is convinced that global warming has made hurricanes more powerful. “Humanity has had a discernible impact on hurricanes,” he said in media reports.


    There is convincing new evidence that global warming will produce more powerful winter storms over the mid-latitudes of the Northern and Southern hemispheres, Steven Lambert, a climate expert at the Meteorological Service of Canada, told the conference.

    Lambert examined how future greenhouse gas emissions will affect low pressure systems during the winter using nearly all of the most current computer climate models. The models all concurred that as levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rise, low pressure systems, or cyclones as they’re called, become stronger but form less often.

    “There’s a direct relationship between the changes in magnitude of cyclonic events and concentration of greenhouse gases,” Lambert said in an interview.

    Lambert told IPS that this affect is likely the result of higher temperatures triggering higher rates of evaporation. This means more latent heat is available, resulting in stronger lower pressure systems. Once those huge systems lose all their energy, it may take longer to form news ones, and that may be why the models show fewer cyclones, he said.

    Comment by Doug Percival — 9 Jun 2006 @ 2:11 PM

  3. I was under the impression that there exist some members of the “Global Warming camp” who think that the AMO in the 20th century is a stastical construct and not a real physical phenomena. Eg, the first graph of the “AMO index” is a “detrended sea surface temperature anomaly”, but the “detrending” is a removal of a linear trend, and not of the global mean surface temperature trend. So my impression was that if you detrended by removing the global warming signal, the AMO cycle would become much less clear…

    I have not done this analysis myself, I’d be curious as to how widespread this “statistical construct” opinion is, and what the AMO index would look like with after more appropriate “detrending”.

    Comment by Marcus — 9 Jun 2006 @ 2:21 PM

  4. The US accounts for 25% of the world’s pollution and this was going on when Al Gore was vice president. How pathetic.

    [Response: But neither Gore nor Clinton had enough control over Congress to do anything about it. I can fault Clinton for not making this a higher priority issue, but the executive branch can’t bear the burden of the blame for the lack of action.. A carbon tax idea was floated in the early days of the Clinton administration but went over like a uranium balloon. Republican obstructionism may have been (and continues to be) in large measure to blame, but Democrats have a lot of populist baggage on energy issues also. Local interests and labor alignment in Michigan have helped block more stringent auto fuel economy standards, Democrats have led the charge for reduced gas taxes and other ways to keep down energy prices (very counter-productive for conservation, and for the budget deficit as well) and Democratic Illinois is big on coal and lukewarm to CO2 emissions controls. Both parties need to change. There may be some difference between conservatives and liberals on the right kind of policy response to avoiding global warming, but a consensus needs to emerge among both parties that there really truly does need to be a policy response, and that it should be mostly emissions reduction rather than the fata morgana of adaptation. -raypierre]

    Comment by Love — 9 Jun 2006 @ 2:34 PM

  5. If the Hadley Cells gravitate outwards due to GW, wouldn’t this also cause the ITCZ to move northward too, and thus widen the overall hurricane track? And given increased SSTs and rising overall atmospheric water vapor content, wouldn’t it be possible for hurricane season to become year-round? Lastly, wouldn’t we see a corresponding increase in the severity of non-tropical storms similar to that recently seen in tropical storms?

    Comment by Karl Sanchez — 9 Jun 2006 @ 3:10 PM

  6. They’ve been instructed to form it as an either/or argument. It’s a political appointee at the helm responsible for the disconnect. Natural is favored, because there’s nothing that can be done about that. RE# 3 Actually pollution standards have beeb relaxed since Clinton/Gore left office, but the idea that 0 emissions would be Gore’s test is ludicrous.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 9 Jun 2006 @ 3:32 PM

  7. re: 3. Yet another “hit and run”, cherry-picking post by someone who heard or read his supposed point from an un-scientific source and who won’t be back after their point is disproved, just like the other day. Coincidence? Probably not.

    The fact is that global warming began long before the Clinton administration. Most adminstrations since 1970, when the human-caused warming really became apparent relative to natural causes, have been Republican. ;-)

    Comment by Dan — 9 Jun 2006 @ 3:33 PM

  8. The real problem is lack of any concise record of Atlantic hurricanes over a time period longer then 100 years (and even then, it’s shaky). While we have other data to look at temperature, and by looking at proxies can figure out a reasonable interpretation for the temperature for years and years, there exists no credible way to do something like this for hurricane patterns.

    GW most likley has some kind of effect, just because of more availible energy. However, without longer-term records, things like the AMO are not as statistically significant as they are wanted to be.

    Comment by Fairman — 9 Jun 2006 @ 3:35 PM

  9. …I encourage the AMO proponents to try it; it is somewhat more objective than simple declarative statements that the AMO are responsible for the observed warming.

    Why would not you do this “objective” analysis by yourself and show us the results, if you are so sure that the AMO camp is so totally wrong? It seems that you already formed an opinion that you “objectively” know the correct answer, before even trying. Sorry, but this is what people call a “declarative statement.” I do not see anything “objective” about such cheap shots. If you have an argument, provide it. The bottom line is that you do not.

    A propos: Can there be anything on this planet that is NOT related to the dreaded global warming?

    Comment by Eli — 9 Jun 2006 @ 3:38 PM

  10. “A propos: Can there be anything on this planet that is NOT related to the dreaded global warming?”

    How about earthquakes/tsunamis (sorry, Michael Crichton)

    Comment by Roger Smith — 9 Jun 2006 @ 4:03 PM

  11. What about the recent work by Emanuel and Mann?
    Looks like this severely undercuts the AMO argument.
    (Apparently, this hasn’t been published yet — I just checked the latest online edition of EOS.)

    [Response: It’s out now. If I may summarize and oversimply some very deep conclusions, it would be as this: A lot of what is being called the AMO is really just global warming by another name. –raypierre]

    Comment by Jerry Steffens — 9 Jun 2006 @ 4:14 PM

  12. re 8


    the idea that climate change is linked to extreme geological events is not as far-fetched as it might sound. All over the world evidence is stacking up that changes in global climate can and do affect the frequencies of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and catastrophic sea-floor landslides. Not only has this happened several times throughout Earth’s history, the evidence suggests that it is starting to happen again. While no serious scientist is suggesting that the Sumatran earthquake was triggered by global warming, …

    Climate change: Tearing the Earth apart?
    27 May 2006
    Bill McGuire
    Magazine issue 2553
    Never mind the weather, climate change could rip up the very fabric of our planet, says Bill McGuire

    Comment by Hans Erren — 9 Jun 2006 @ 4:43 PM

  13. … There was not one mention of the possibility of global warming being a partial factor for these changes …

    This brings back memories. For the Upper Midwest Spring Flood Outlook in March of 2000, the mention of climate change and global warming was stripped from the Public Release by NWS management (Development and Operations Hydrologist and the Hydrologist in Charge of NOAA’s National Weather Service’s North Central River Forecast Center located in Chanhassen, MN). After study of trends in timing for spring snowmelt floods in the Upper Midwest, and backed up by a NOAA Press Release in February of 2000 that global warming was happening, adding something about climate change seemed like the right thing to do. However, NWS management concluded that mention of global warming was political and unacceptible.

    Comment by pat neuman — 9 Jun 2006 @ 4:54 PM

  14. Re: #7

    > Why would not you do this “objective” analysis by yourself and show us the results, if you are so sure that
    > the AMO camp is so totally wrong?

    Generally, the person making the assertion is required to produce the evidence. I could claim that cyclical changes in the fundamental phlostigen constants are causing the increase, but why should Professor Crowley be forced to disprove my assertion when I have not demonstrated the existence of phlostigen in the first place? I mean if he has a lot of free time, I’d be happy to point him in the right direction, but I also understand that he may be busy ;-).

    Comment by Richard Wesley — 9 Jun 2006 @ 5:03 PM

  15. The Wall Street Journal reported today (June 9, page A11) that melting glaciers promote earthquakes and volcanoes. Glacier retreat induces tectonic activity by “isotopic rebound”. Perhaps worldwide melting of glaciers by global warming will increase the incidence of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, as well as increasing the intensity of hurricanes.

    Comment by Michael Seward — 9 Jun 2006 @ 5:06 PM

  16. “A propos: Can there be anything on this planet that is NOT related to the dreaded global warming? ”
    Many things, but this is a thermodynamical evidence that the hurricanes strength increases with the delta of temperature between the warm (SST) and the cold (upper troposhere) sources.
    It’s very strange that NOAA doesn’t recognize it.
    GH effect increases SST and reduces upper troposphere’s temperature.
    Increased thermodynamical yield is not the only reason for the strength of the hurricanes (winds regime is also important), however it’s a necessary condition.
    Maybe it’s not easy to detect the trend behind the noise of chaotic and cyclic variability.

    Comment by Pascal — 9 Jun 2006 @ 5:07 PM

  17. How Melting Glaciers Alter Earth’s Surface, Spur Quakes, Volcanoes” – “Imagine the surface of Earth as a giant trampoline that accumulated a slab of ice over the winter, and you can get a sense of what a growing number of scientists say is in store for the planet as glaciers keep melting. Once the trampoline’s ice turns to water that drips over the edges in the warm days of spring, the concave elastic slowly rebounds to its original flat shape. That’s how Earth responds as glaciers retreat, and the consequences promise to be … interesting.” (Wall Street Journal)
    See even earthquakes are caused by GW

    Comment by Jeff Huber — 9 Jun 2006 @ 5:08 PM

  18. I am trying to get a better understanding of the greenhouse gas effect, and I should be grateful if anyone could provide the information I need, or give a website reference.
    1. What is the absorption cross section of a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere for a 10 micron infrared photon?
    2. How many excited states can the CO2 molecule exist in at the same time?
    3. What is the relaxation time of these states?
    4. What is the “down time”, after relaxation, before the molecule can absorb another photon?

    [Response: If you’re just getting started on understanding the greenhouse effect, this is the wrong place to start. Most of these questions are essentially irrelevant to an understanding of the greenhouse effect, or at most involve only very technical or arcane refinements of the understandingof the basic mechanism. For a start, take a look at David Archer’s book, then maybe Chapter 3 and (eventuallly) Chapter 4 of my book (on my web site, linked via teaching->geosci232). –raypierre]

    Comment by Aubrey E Banner — 9 Jun 2006 @ 6:35 PM

  19. Is there any way to distinguish as to the relative strengths of arguments of these two camps? Actually, it is quite easy to do so. If the natural variability argument applies there should be little difference in the statistics of the present phase of the AMO with the past.

    I am curious about the specific statistical tests you have in mind. What precisely is the testable null hypothesis that AMO provides? What alternative hypothesis (preferably with only one tail) does global warming theory provide? Also, how many years of data are likely to be required before we can see a significant result?

    Comment by TAC — 9 Jun 2006 @ 7:11 PM

  20. Could someone give me a link to a graph where I can see the actual temperature difference between the two SST and the upper troposphere. I’d like to see it for myself (I trust my eyes :) )?

    Also, the US or Europe is not the problem, if I read the IPCC pages correctly. We already minimized our CO2 and CH4 output, while third world countries are increasing (we are already on the lower end). Or did I read the graphs wrong, if so, how? (IPCC 2001)

    [Response: On a per-capita basis even Europe is still way above the third world in CO2 emissions, and the US is off the charts; a relatively high population plus a large per person emission makes the US a major culprit. However, the large population of the developing world combined with potentially growing per capita emissions makes the developing world a long-term threat to climate. On the third hand, the per-GDP CO2 emission in China is a lot above Europe or the US, so with efficiency improvements their economy could grow a lot without increasing their CO2 emissions. –raypierre]

    Comment by Max — 9 Jun 2006 @ 7:48 PM

  21. Any decent book on quaternary geology will dispell the disinformation offered in today’s The Wall Street Journal. The areas covered by massive ice caps during the last glacial maximum are still rebounding. Rates on on the order of centimeters per century. Notice any earthquakes or volcanoes in Canada or Scandinavia?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Jun 2006 @ 7:50 PM

  22. Is it possible to get higher resolutions of the two figures displayed in the post above?

    Cheers! :)

    Comment by Hasse Schougaard — 9 Jun 2006 @ 9:09 PM

  23. First, let me at least claim a bit of credit for being early to point out in early April that everyone (perhaps I exaggerated) makes the mistake of insisting on OR (natural cycles OR anthropic climate change) as the issue wrt the upcoming hurricane season. AND (natural cycles AND anthropic climate change)is what is really worrying for this year.

    Then let me start answering Aubrey Banner

    1. What is the absorption cross section of a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere for a 10 micron infrared photon?

    See JQRST 48 (1992) 537 or the HITRAN data base. The question is not very precise because, first of all, the center of the bending vibrational band is ~ 670 cm-1 which is a lot closer to 14 microns, second, since the spectrum is composed of very narrow lines, if a photon frequency is on line center the absorption coefficient is a LOT higher then if the frequency is between lines.

    2. How many excited states can the CO2 molecule exist in at the same time?

    One, but each CO2 molecule can be in a different vibrational and rotational state. Under normal atmospheric conditions the distribution of CO2 molecules among the states is determined by the local temperature. At room temperature about 6% of the CO2 molecules are vibrational excited.

    3. What is the relaxation time of these states?

    Again, not well defined. The radiative relaxation time is much longer than the atmospheric relaxation time, which is determined by the collision rate. In practice the collisional relaxation time under atmospheric conditions is ~microseconds. The mean time between collisions at atmospheric pressure is of the order of a nanosecond.

    4. What is the “down time”, after relaxation, before the molecule can absorb another photon?


    Comment by Eli Rabett — 10 Jun 2006 @ 12:14 AM

  24. Re#20

    It isn’t very difficult to find some data about SST and lower strato (or upper tropo).
    For example in the superb site of NOAA.

    For the SST:

    Anf for the strato:

    Comment by Pascal — 10 Jun 2006 @ 4:42 AM

  25. RE #11:
    Dust in the area of hurricane birth also (mainly?) comes from the Sahara and the Sahel grasslands south of the great desert, in addition to the industrialized countries further north. As such the dust amount is dependent on many factors, i.e. the easterly winds, a variable regional rains regime and the growing population pressure leading to more intensive agriculture and larger numbers of cattle. The SeaWifs maps the Saharan dust clouds, as will some newer satellites.

    In addition to cooling the sea surface temperature, a high dust content also modifies the cumulus cloud process. During the occasional strong outpourings of Saharan dust, hurricanes are not started – an observation already used by the forecasters (but apparently not yet modeled properly). Understanding dust generation and transport is a key goal of the AMMA campaign, now underway.

    Increasing amounts of dust from the desert would counter the impact of rising SST (I have seen somewhere that the number of hurricanes on the Atlantic has not risen, although some increase is found of tropical storms in the Pacific). On the other hand, there are contradictory forecasts on the precipitation climate in Western and Central Africa.

    An interesting question is, of course: Is there a critical initial step or combination of circumstances in the hurricane start-up, which could be seen as a separate stage from its subsequent intensification?

    Regrettably, there might be a headline: “Famine in Africa saves American lives!”

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 10 Jun 2006 @ 5:34 AM

  26. Re #23

    Many thanks, Eli, for your help.

    Comment by Aubrey E Banner — 10 Jun 2006 @ 8:04 AM

  27. RE: # 21 Benson says “Any decent book on quaternary geology will dispell the disinformation offered in today’s The Wall Street Journal-. Notice any earthquakes or volcanoes in Canada or Scandinavia?”

    Actually, yes. NASA’s Jeanne Sauber says, “Historically, when big ice masses started to retreat, the number of earthquakes increased. More than 10,000 years ago, at the end of the great ice age, big earthquakes occurred in Scandinavia as the large glaciers began to melt. In Canada, many more moderate earthquakes occurred as ice sheets melted there.” The weight of a large glacier on top of these active earthquake areas can help keep things stable. As glaciers melt they lighten the load on the Earth’s crust, allowing tectonic plates to move more freely.
    The researchers believe that a 1979 earthquake in southern Alaska, called the St. Elias earthquake, was promoted by wasting glaciers in the area.

    Comment by Michael Seward — 10 Jun 2006 @ 8:53 AM

  28. Re#24:

    Thanks for the graphs. However, those are Annomalies in the mean. Are there also graphs on the actual geographical variance and not the mean?

    It seems that the stratosphere is cooling? How will this affect climate?

    Can the cooling trend of the stratosphere affect the warming or rather trade with the warming of the lower level?
    Since warmer air is expanding due to thermodynamics (or with v=const. pressure will go up), it could exchange with the lower temperature in the stratosphere, or is there some other effect in it?

    Comment by Max — 10 Jun 2006 @ 9:01 AM

  29. Re 27:

    I presume someone will answer more completely, but quickly, stratospheric cooling is a prediction of global warming theory. If I am not mistaken, the degree of cooling is consistent with what models predict.

    [Response: Yes, but I think more of it is from Ozone – William]

    [Response: Almost right. The cooling seen in the lower stratospheric MSU 4 record is indeed mostly due to ozone depletion (interrupted by a couple of big volcanoes), but the cooling further up is indeed consistent with the expected forcings from greenhouse gases. – gavin]

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 10 Jun 2006 @ 9:29 AM

  30. #14, that’s isostatic rebound.

    Comment by Alfredo — 10 Jun 2006 @ 10:13 AM


    Looks like some agencies will have even fewer tools available to look at the problem. Will these delays and data gaps relate to AMO investigations specifically? Certainly they’ll affect hurricane science. I don’t think we need more information to begin acting, though it would be nice. Skeptics who say not enough is known (for the purposes of deviating from business as usual) should be really up in arms, no?

    Comment by Steve Latham — 10 Jun 2006 @ 11:21 AM

  32. Re#28

    For the regional SST look at this link:
    As you can see, North Atlantic SST much increased in the last decade.

    For the lower stratosphere cooling it’s a consequence of the GW by GHG effect.
    (and also ozone depletion).
    Another consequence is the decreasing of the north-south thermal gradient.
    Thus, it’s probable that the thermal vertical exchange will increase to the detriment of the latitudinal exchange.
    The consequence is a more frequent deep convection (also more frequent hurricanes).
    An obstacle to this is the temperature increasing of the middle troposphere (more important than the surface).
    But it’s also very probable than high SST will induce an higher instability of the atmospheric layer.

    Comment by Pascal — 10 Jun 2006 @ 12:42 PM

  33. In addressing the question of the effects of greenhouse gases on Atlantic tropical storms, it might clarify (and even partially defuse) the controversy to lump internal variability together with other forced responses (particularly aerosols), rather than to focus on internal variability vs the total forced response. No one would claim that the non-monotonic behavior of the temperature time series, globally or in the tropical Atlantic, is due to greenhouse gases! So whether we refer to these multi-decadal fluctuations as the AMO or not, or think that they are forced or free, does not strike me as central to the issue at hand. In addition, both internal variability and aerosol forcing are likely to affect tropical storms in large part though changes in ocean temperature gradients (thereby changing ITCZ position and vertical shear), while greenhouse gases likely exert their influence by more uniformly changing ocean and tropospheric temperatures, so the physics of the problem may suggest this decomposition as more natural as well.

    Comment by Isaac Held — 10 Jun 2006 @ 12:42 PM

  34. Re #s 21 and 27: Just to add that the reference to volcanos was for ones that already exist. Such an effect isn’t terribly surprising since volcano magma chambers aren’t all that far below the surface.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 10 Jun 2006 @ 4:50 PM

  35. 28 re stratosphere, see also

    “… the reason that the real atmosphere has a stratosphere is because of ozone absorbing UV, thereby warming that portion of the upper atmosphere”

    The temperature (warmer above) is pictured here:

    [Response: Actually, planets have stratospheres even without ozone or major solar absorption effects. The stratosphere is just what you get where convection hasn’t stirred things up. Without solar absorption in situ, you’d still have a stratosphere, just not one where the temperature goes up with height. It would go down with height, but slowly enough that there would still be strong stable stratification. Venus, Mars and Jupiter all have stratospheres, only weakly affected by solar absorption (due to near-IR bands of CO2 in the former two cases.). Titan has a stratosphere, too, but it warms with height due to absorption by organic haze. –raypierre]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Jun 2006 @ 5:21 PM

  36. Re #21 and #27: Thank you, Michael Seward and Steve Bloom. During LGM and the subsequent melting of the ice, there were no volcanoes in major ice covered areas, other than those associated with the so-called Ring of Fire. That is, Kamchatka and Alaska. In particular, Mt. Elias is on the Gulf of Alaska, a highly tectonically active portion of the Ring of Fire. I opine that a mere glacier would not effect the triggering of an earthquake by more than a few decades, at most. Consider the forces and masses involved!

    Jeanne Sauber’s quote is not information to be found in any of the books on geology or the last glaciation I have read. Admittedly, these are somewhat older books, but one would think that geologists would at least mention a major earthquake in Scandinavia. Perhaps the data is new. I would want to read a paper explaining the observations which give rise to her remarks before I’ll completely accept them. One’s persons “major” earthquake turns out to be only magnitude 6. Now a magnitude 6 earthquake is no fun at all to experience, but not “major” to me.

    Mostly what happened, and continues to happen, is isostatic rebound. I am perfectly prepared to accept that some rather small, say magnitude 2, earthquakes occasionally may occur. However, the Canadian shield is usually consided to be among the most tectonically passive areas in the world, despite the tremendous rebound still occuring in Hudson’s Bay…

    Well, all this is off-topic. The point was one shouldn’t believe everything you read, especially in The Wall Street Journal.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Jun 2006 @ 5:46 PM

  37. Re 34
    Are there no volcanoes on the Antarctic Peninsula?

    Comment by Tom Brogle — 10 Jun 2006 @ 6:15 PM

  38. The best illustration I know for the relative roles of ozone depletion and increase greenhouse gas concentrations can be found here

    My simple explanation for stratospheric cooling can be found at

    William’s explanation can be found here

    Needless to say he don’t like mine and I don’t like his. I think my explanation got a push forward from
    and maybe here

    We report, you decide

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 10 Jun 2006 @ 9:10 PM

  39. Re #34: It shouldn’t be surprising that melting of a glacier might cause earthquakes. After all, the filling of reservoirs apparently has triggered earthquakes, one being the 1975 Oroville quake (5.7) in Northern California:
    The larger 1967 Konya Dam quake in India (6.9 or so resulting in 200 deaths in this rural area) also was attributed to the additional weight of water in the reservoir, and the shaking has continued for three decades:
    Seismic activity also has increased since filling began of China’s Three Gorges reservoir:

    So in the right location, the addition or removal of a block of water or ice is known to result in fairly significant earthquakes.

    Comment by Jim Eaton — 11 Jun 2006 @ 2:37 AM

  40. Re #34: This research implicated the Laurentide ice sheet in the recent great earthquakes on the New Madrid fault. The same authors drew a similar conclusion about an area off Norway. Here is something along the same lines on volcanos in Iceland.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 11 Jun 2006 @ 3:53 AM

  41. I was rather taken aback by the following statement from a NOAA administrator, reported in the NYT article:

    Stanley B. Goldenberg, a meteorologist with the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who has expressed skepticism about any connection between global warming and hurricane intensity, said he had not seen the new papers but had read nothing in other recent research to change his view.

    “There’s going to be an endless series of articles from this circle that is embracing this new theology built on very flimsy interpretation” of hurricane data, Mr. Goldenberg said. “If global warming is having an effect on hurricanes, I certainly wouldn’t base it on the articles I’ve seen.”

    “This circle” in the quote refers to a large number of professors at top atmospheric science departments, at least one of whom has written the definitive textbook on atmospheric convection and was so talented that the department awarded him a PhD for something he submitted as a Masters thesis; another has won numerous awards for his work on tropical meteorology. If NOAA isn’t willing to listen to “this circle” I shudder at the thought of whom they are listening to. As noted already, “This circle” is willing to admit uncertainties in the analysis and a partial role of natural variability. It’s “The Other Circle” that is unwilling to even admit the possibility of an effect of global warming. They repeatedly express complete and unqualified faith in the tenet that only natural variability accounts for the recently increasing strength of hurricanes.

    So, which circle is it that truly subscribes to a “new theology?”

    Comment by raypierre — 11 Jun 2006 @ 4:56 AM

  42. Re #41

    Yes this comment is very disturbing as your and my tax dollars have been going to them, (whether or not we get funding) and I wholeheartedly agree with what NOAA/NWS has done in the past. But to my astonishment, I will now have to jump off thier ship (the Titanic) if they are to make such political potent statements.

    I used to think of the government as for all of us. NOAA’s mission statement is to “protect life and property”, NASA’s is “space exploration and to protect Planet Earth”. They better get their houses in order here or there’s going to be trouble and not neccesarily from pissed off tax payers in the know and ahead of thier politcal curve.

    I also find their cutting of the funding for Hurricane research environmental monitoring satellites disturbing. Somebody should graph that one!

    Sticking one’s head in the sand does not change reality. Having said this I know all of NOAA’s NWS workforce is not on board with such scientific ignorance.

    Calling all congressman and senators – now is not the time to go to sleep on this research as to not upset a particular lobby. Vote by paper!

    Comment by Roger Hill — 11 Jun 2006 @ 11:07 AM

  43. Re 41 and Goldenberg’s comments:

    He seems to know in advance that anything the “circle” says is wrong even without examining their arguments and criticizing them in detail. The articles in in Realclimate represent a different attitude. No idea is automatically rejected based on its source. There have to be convivncing arguments for so doing.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 11 Jun 2006 @ 11:10 AM

  44. #41, The likely connection between Hurricanes and Global Warming is right in front of us, the Hurricane season does not occur during winter when SST and ST’s are colder, so for any meteorologist to say that there is no possible connection is ludicrous.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 11 Jun 2006 @ 11:31 AM

  45. Goldenberg certainly is active in hurricane research, but he also is deep in the Landsea ocean (you can google his CV). If, on this sunny Sunday, one were inclined to be cynical, one would these attacks as an orchestrated tactical response, extending from Bill Gray on the rabid side to he who must not be named on the more reasonable end, coordinated through CEI and NOAA.

    There are two ways of dealing with this. There is the scientific way, which Leonard Evans points to, where arguments and data are discussed and reconciled. A fair amount of barracking is allowed, some elegant, some brutal. Unfortunately as we have seen with climate change, this neither reaches nor is understood by the public until it is pretty close to too late.

    The other is to turn the tactic back on the attackers. The line of attack is clear and correct. Joel Achenbach started down that track in his recent Washington Post article. Show them as rabid dinosaurs, whom science has passed by. They are placidly grazing beasts ignoring the dangers around them and us. And above all, when they reply with wounded bleating DO NOT APOLOGISE Point them to some of the things that the Gray’s of the world have uttered. These folks are neither your friends nor your colleagues, but want you to think that they are in order to exploit you for their purposes.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 11 Jun 2006 @ 11:52 AM

  46. Re 41 and the OP,

    I look forward to RP Jr.’s criticism of this. He took the NYT to task (IMO a bit unfairly) for giving less airtime to the “it’s natural” camp in this debate.

    Roger? Is one forthcoming? I will look for an oppurtunity to poke him over at his place as it is not certain he will read this.

    Comment by Coby — 11 Jun 2006 @ 12:23 PM

  47. Eli, re stratosphere, see also response by Ray’s (comment on my 35)?

    My 35 was in reply to Max’s question in 28 — the stratosphere’s not going to exchange places with the lower atmosphere because the lower atmosphere warms and the stratosphere cools; they’re not changing enough to swap places.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Jun 2006 @ 1:59 PM

  48. Am I alone in being disappointed in the growing ratio of rhetoric to rational discussion of science on this site (especially on this topic)?

    Here is my attempt at defining the crux of the scientific controversy about Atlantic hurricanes and global warming (putting aside the key question of data quality). This is in part a reaction to Tom’s call at the top of this thread for a “detection and attribution approach to the alternative explanation of the AMO”, which I did not understand, and expands on my comment #33.

    There are two distinct issues, at least, and it helps to keep them clearly distinguished.

    1) Is the effect of the ocean on tropical storm statistics primarily local (with tropical Atlantic temperatures controlling Atlantic storm statistics) or are nonlocal effects of comparable, or even greater, significance? The best example we have of non-locality is El-Nino, wherein changes in temperature in the Pacific clearly influence the Atlantic storm season, through some combination of changes in vertical shears and a tropospheric warming that stabilizes the atmosphere to convection over the Atlantic. One can simplify this dynamics to say that it is the result of warming in the Pacific unaccompanied by comparable warming in the Atlantic. Analogous things can happen on multi-decadal timescales. A session at the most recent AGU Spring meeting was devoted to the possibility, suggested by models and paleo evidence, that the latitude of the
    ITCZ can be displaced by perturbing the system in middle and high latitudes. ITCZ position is thought to be important for Atlantic tropical storm statistics. Sahel rainfall is also related in part to ITCZ displacements and is correlated with Atlantic storminess. Although there is controversy about the details, models are in general agreement that the Sahel drought of the 1970-80’s can be simulated in large part if one cools the North Atlantic with respect to the rest of the world oceans.

    Researchers who have traditionally focused on seasonal or shorter time scales talk about things like vertical shear, ITCZ latitude and African wave characteristics as centrally important. To the extent that these are controlled by ocean temperatures they are likely to be related to differential changes in ocean temperature and not simply local absolute temperatures over the tropical Atlantic. Is the data good enough to clearly justify the superiority of the local perspective on the SST/tropical storm link. I am not sure. In any case, the possibility of non-local control needs to be addressed more systematically to make contact with this other community of researchers.

    2) Given an oceanic temperature predictor of tropical storm statistics, can one decompose the variations in this predictor over the 20th century into parts contributed by a) greenhouse gases, b) other external forcing, and c) internal variability? This question seems to be framed typically as forced (a+b) versus free (c). Both (b) and (c) are expected to contribute to differential oceanic temperature changes varying non-monotonically in time, with (a) providing a somewhat more spatially uniform and monotonic background. For that reason, I suggested in #33 that it may make sense to frame the question as (a) vs (b+c). Also, because of limited confidence in the multi-decadal dynamics of our climate models and the uncertainty in aerosol forcing, one can foresee the problem of separating (b) from (c) as being with us for some time. And, of course, it is (a) that is primarily needed to project to the end of the 21st century.

    Would the results of such an attribution study be sensitive even to a rather modest admixture of non-local effects into the predictor?

    [Response:I suppose that by differential oceanic temperature you mean the same thing as I when I say spatial SST gradients (i.e. how sea surface temperature varies geographically)? If this is the case, then there is also the question if the statistics of cyclogenesis, pressure depressions (intensity), or associated rainfall vary linearly or non-linearly as the absolute levels of SST change (maybe since the saturated water vapour pressure is not a linear function in temperature?). One admitedly hand waving arguement is that if the absolute SST is lower than 20C, then no SST gradients would not suffice for tropical cyclone generation. That said, I don’t know the answer to this, and I’m not aware that this question has been addressed. -rasmus]

    Comment by Isaac Held — 11 Jun 2006 @ 5:10 PM

  49. I like to debate the finer points of this subject, where there might be legitimate theories to explore and expand on, but when contrarians, either lay or scientist contrarians propose dumb ideas, they should be responded with the clearest logic possible. I see how bad ideas remain in the populace, how sound science gets buried, as another recent example, a contrarian proponent having the ears of millions suggests something really dumb like where are those 200,000 year old cars?

    The media outlet carrying this contrarian is of course not responsible for what he says, but may care about very basic science which just got trashed, no immediate scientific response is where they the contrarian gets away with transforming science into nonsense. AGW theory gets slashed 1000 times over before a response is done, and the dumb idea grows legs.

    [Response: It’s appalling that something like this would come from a CNN news host (Glenn Beck, albeit on his radio show rather than on CNN itself). I’d expect it from Fox or from Milloy, but that such bad science even gets play from CNN people is just awful. Not only does Beck compare Gore to Hitler, but he gets the science even more egregiously wrong than George Will or professional contrarians such as Pat Michaels. To begin with, Beck claims that because CO2 varied naturally in the past, there’s no case for the present rise being due to human action — a claim that is equivalent to casting doubt on the human cause of the recent CO2 rise. Even contrarians admit that there’s no doubt about the human cause of the recent CO2 rise, at least when they are talking to people who are not completely naive. Beck further claims that if CO2 were to rise as much as Gore said it would, “then the temperature here on planet Earth will be about 400,000 degrees. We’ll be the sun; we’ll be the frickin sun. ” — a claim that is nowhere in Gore’s movie or book, is utter nonsense scientifically, and was just made up out of whole cloth by Beck. (Even Venus, with a 90 bar CO2 atmosphere and being closer to the Sun is only 730K, and even if you took away the clouds and threw in another 90 bars of evaporated ocean you don’t get much higher than a few thousand degrees) Awful.

    I think the only way we are ever going to stamp out such nonsense is if there get to be charismatic media personalities that know the science needed to shoot down such nonsense, but also know how to present it in an engaging and entertaining way that makes people sit up and take notice. We also need politicians with similar abilities. We need to keep the discussion on a level of sound science, sure, but we need people who can make Beck look as ridiculous as he really is. Meanwhile, maybe it would help if people wrote to Beck, to CNN and to Premiere Radio Networks (which carries his radio show) to let them know how out of line he is. The relevant email addresses can be found in the MediaWatch link above –raypierre]

    Comment by wayne davidson — 11 Jun 2006 @ 5:11 PM

  50. I would reply to Isaac Held by saying what Wayne Davidson said, with the addition that one should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. In practice this means making a value judgement as to who is playing which game, but so be it. The denialists have set the rules for any interchange and there is no reason to apologize to them for anything, indeed, experience has shown that it is dangerous to do so.

    In reading Isaac Held’s post, the thought came to me that sea surface temperature might be a simple and available metric, but that more sophisticated measures might be needed to advance the argument, for example one which quantified the amount of heat energy available (perhaps in spirit close to some ideas that Roger Pielke Sr. is advancing). The issue then becomes whether such parameters can be reconstructed for a long enough period from data we currently have.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 11 Jun 2006 @ 5:50 PM

  51. Re #48: Isaac, are you keeping up with all the papers? I think we all like the science, but the nature of the AGW-hurricane “controversy” is such that it’s become hard to separate science from politics. When NOAA uses an unqualified person like Stan Goldenberg (look at his CV if you don’t believe me) to attack people like Kerry Emanuel, Peter Webster, Judy Curry, Tom Knutson, Greg Holland, Kevin Trenberth, etc. as having drawn conclusions based on theology rather than science, there’s something wrong with this picture.

    My interpretation of Tom’s remark about detection and attribution is that what we might term the NOAA-Gray camp has nothing, while the soon-to-be published Emanuel and Mann (2006) closes the circle on the other side. I have yet to see the new paper, BTW, but I think the case was pretty complete without it. This new BAMS review paper here (and note that list of authors!) sums up the present science nicely, plus there’s obviously much new work on the way. Of particular interest is this in-press BAMS paper elaborating on Emanuel’s work; the finding of high-frequency relationships between multiple AGW effects and hurricanes seems to render unlikely Chris Landsea’s expressed view (hope?) that his reanalysis of early hurricane observations will substantially undermine Emanuel (2005) and Webster et al (2005).

    Recall that recent prior discussion on this site included a comment from NOAA’s Methuviel Chelliah that, contrary to last fall’s official NOAA statement, the recent work by him and Bell did *not* constitute any sort of case for AMO (or other natural cycle) causation. After that part of the controversy went public, NOAA had to strike the Bell and Chelliah (2004) reference and substitute a reference to Goldenberg et al (2001). I think it’s fair to characterize this latter paper as merely speculating about natural cycles. Similarly, we saw here that Bill Gray’s attempt to link Atlantic tropical cyclones to the thermohaline circulation was an unpublishable embarrassment. Recent NOAA-Gray camp papers from Klotzbach and Michaels et al purporting to find fault with Emanuel (2005) and Webster et al (2005) have defects that were obvious even to my amateur eyes.

    Summing up, it appears that the scientific case for the AGW-hurricane link is now very strong, and that NOAA’s contrary stance favoring natural cycle causation is based on belief rather than science. Theology, anyone?

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 11 Jun 2006 @ 7:49 PM

  52. Re #49: “The media outlet carrying this contrarian is of course not responsible for what he says”. I beg to differ. The management of the radio, television, and newpaper outlets that carry this sort of thing know exactly what they are doing, have a surprisingly small number of owners, and are very much responsible for the content that they purvey. Education is a good thing, but, in the short run, I believe the only effective way to counter this is economic and political action (a topic for another website).

    Comment by S Molnar — 11 Jun 2006 @ 7:57 PM

  53. And another attempt at obsfucation by George Will:

    “Minutes after Gore said that “the debate in the science community is over,” he said “there is a debate between the American ice science community and ice scientists elsewhere” about whether the less-than-extremely-remote danger is a rise in sea level of a few inches or 20 feet . And he said scientists “don’t know what is happening” in west Antarctica or Greenland. So when Gore says the scientific debate is “over,” he must mean merely that there is consensus that we are in a period of warming.

    This is not where debate ends but where it begins, given that at any moment in its 4.5 billion years, the planet has been cooling or warming.”

    [Response: What is obvious to everybody but Will and his like is that Gore’s statement means there is a consensus that we are in a period of warming, that it is caused by anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions, and that the world will continue to warm considerably if emissions continue at anything like their current level. Where the debate starts, then, is over what the warmer world will really be like and how bad the consequences will be — how much of Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice sheet might go, the distribution of severe drought and heat waves, and the like. –raypierre]

    Comment by Mark A. York — 11 Jun 2006 @ 10:38 PM

  54. Re #50: Eli, in addition to the second paper I linked above, which extends Emanuel’s analysis to reflect the various AGW-related variables affecting hurricanes, have a look here and here to see how ocean heat energy is already being tracked and analyzed.

    Re #53 response: Ray, let’s give Will full credit. He understands the difference perfectly, and confusing the larger debate with the debate over the details was a conscious act of obfuscation as Mark correctly noted. This sort of cheap attempt to trick his less-informed readers is very odd coming from a guy who supposedly prides himself on intellectual integrity.

    [Response: Agreed. –raypierre]

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 12 Jun 2006 @ 4:12 AM

  55. Re #51: I should hasten to clarify that my dissing of the NOAA stance on the hurricane-AGW connection was of the *official* stance. Of course most NOAA scientists know better.

    Re #11 response: Ray, the new Emanuel and Mann paper seems to still be unavailable, at least on the AGU site (which as of late Sunday night still has the June 6th issue of Eos). Do you have another link?

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 12 Jun 2006 @ 4:44 AM

  56. Re#43 Leonard, not quite so – see the comment in post #170 on this thread for example

    [Response: This is hardly a fair remark. The part of the referenced comment I deleted was just an inflammatory screed, not a scientific argument of any sort. Moreover, in the referenced comment, I’m not ignoring Bill Gray’s ideas because they come from Bill Gray. In fact I took quite a lot of time reading over his paper, as you’d know if you read the post on Gray’s latest attempt. I’m ignoring Bill Gray’s ideas because I looked at them and they are rubbish. Of course, time is short and if one looks to some source over and over again and finds that the ideas are consistently rubbish, one tends not to be inclined to waste much more time hoeing that row. But I’ve even gone into things on Milloy’s site and given them serious consideration (e.g. the claims in the “greenhouse primer” there regarding what the Earth’s temperature would be in the absence of convection). You’re going for a cheap shot here, but as far as I’m concerned, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot. –raypierre]

    Comment by Michael Jankowski — 12 Jun 2006 @ 10:36 AM

  57. Thanks for the interesting references Steve. To me the pressing issue is whether the ocean heat energy content can be inferred back far enough that we have a useful climatological record. After all, thirty years from now is a bit long to wait before doing anything

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 12 Jun 2006 @ 10:46 AM

  58. On a related note to the media screwing up the science, here is a Canadian paper “debunking” Gore’s movie with appeals to (what they claim are) the “experts” in climate science (one of whom was a nutjob I met at EGU):

    Comment by Carl Christensen — 12 Jun 2006 @ 11:23 AM

  59. Re#56 (raypierre), I think it was perfectly fair remark based on the first line of your response in the link. But I appreciate that you left the post up so that others could judge for themselves and further commenting so as to try and clarify things.

    While posters seem more guilty of it than people such as yourself, an idea in the commentary attached to the names Christy, Milloy, Michaels, Lindzen, McIntyre, etc, is often instantly (and generally vehemently) dismissed because of the name attached to it (sometimes jusifiably so, but that’s not always clear).

    Comment by Michael Jankowski — 12 Jun 2006 @ 11:49 AM

  60. According to these pages, NOAA seems to be predicting that 2006 will be a worse hurricane season then 2005, assuming they haven’t changed their prediction methodology:

    NOAA 2006 Atlantic hurricane outlook

    NOAA 2005 Atlantic hurricane outlook

    All the indicators seem to be in place for another massive hurricane season; all the future warming trends, such as weakening trade winds, northwards expansion of the Hadley cell circulaion, warming equatorial ocean currents, increased moisture in the atmosphere, etc. – seem to point towards a greater and greater incidence of hurricanes in coming decades. Blaming all this on a North Atlantic multidecadal oscillation pattern (which must be coupled somehow to ocean circulation), and which is supposed to undergo a “future downswing” is not supportable by any rational stretch of the imagination.

    Regarding #13 above:
    “After study of trends in timing for spring snowmelt floods in the Upper Midwest, and backed up by a NOAA Press Release in February of 2000 that global warming was happening, adding something about climate change seemed like the right thing to do. However, NWS management concluded that mention of global warming was political and unacceptible.”

    I think what the NWS managers really meant was that mention of global warming was “politically unacceptable.” That’s especially true if they wanted to keep their government careers intact.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 12 Jun 2006 @ 12:17 PM

  61. A quick follow-up:

    The NOAA group has produced a “seasonal climate summary” addressing the 2005 hurricane season; it may be found at NOAA’s pdf archive page. The title is ” The 2005 North Atlantic Hurricane Season A Climate Perspective “.

    The most curious thing about this ‘paper’ is their list of references – limited almost entirely to themselves and to Dr. William Gray! Now, if you read a scientific article where the only references included are to the author’s previous work, you might – maybe- imagine that they have very biased viewpoint. As one might expect, they religiously avoid use of the phrase “global warming”, but they do mention “the multi-decadal signal” over and over again.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 12 Jun 2006 @ 12:44 PM

  62. I’ve seen enough graphs of SST versus PDI (power dissipation index for tropical cyclones) to know that the link between increased SST and PDI is strong enough to be probable. But I’ve also done enough time series analysis to know that the available data are not sufficient to establish the link beyond doubt.

    What I haven’t seen is the data on which researchers establish the existence of the “multi-decadal oscillation.” I have the impression that actual SST records don’t go beyond a century, perhaps only about 50 years. Establishing the existence of a genuine oscillation with a *multi-decadal* timescale based on only 50 years data is, simply put, just not possible (from a purely statistical sense); it could be suggested, postulated, but by no means *established* by such a short time series. Doing so with only 100 years data, is dicey at best.

    So: what’s the real evidence for the multi-decadal oscillation? Are there reliable temperature proxies that can be used to extend the ocean temperature record in the Atlantic? How far back do the actual time series go? The proxy record?

    Comment by Grant — 12 Jun 2006 @ 1:13 PM

  63. Re#61 Grant,
    Not much detail here, but from NOAA FAQ:

    “…Is the AMO a natural phenomenon, or is it related to global warming?

    Instruments have observed AMO cycles only for the last 150 years, not long enough to conclusively answer this question. However, studies of paleoclimate proxies, such as tree rings and ice cores, have shown that oscillations similar to those observed instrumentally have been occurring for at least the last millennium. This is clearly longer than modern man has been affecting climate, so the AMO is probably a natural climate oscillation. In the 20th century, the climate swings of the AMO have alternately camouflaged and exaggerated the effects of global warming, and made attribution of global warming more difficult to ascertain.”

    Comment by Michael Jankowski — 12 Jun 2006 @ 1:18 PM

  64. I think what the NWS managers really meant was that mention of global warming was “politically unacceptable.” That’s especially true if they wanted to keep their government careers intact.

    Comment by Ike Solem â?? 12 Jun 2006 @ 12:17 pm

    Maybe if enough of them stood by the science instead of their position. Many are retiring and geting out in the nick of time, and I suspect like the general’s they will start popping off. NOAA – another arm of Karl Rove’s army. DisGUSTING

    Comment by Roger Hill — 12 Jun 2006 @ 2:35 PM

  65. Re #61: Grant, Tom Crowley’s major point was that the natural cycle folks have essentially nothing. It’s time for them to put up or shut up. Regarding the connection of global warming to PDI (or any other TC-related statistic), of course there will always be some uncertainty. Chris Landsea continues to claim that his reanalysis of historical data will undermine the global warming case, but I think there are growing doubts about that. As far as the case for the natural cycle goes, I think there’s still nothing more than Goldenberg et al (2001); i.e., there’s not much of a case.

    The scientific discussion will get a lot more pointed and overlap even more into the political arena if this season is anything like last year’s. Alberto’s precocious behavior may be a harbinger of things to come.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 12 Jun 2006 @ 3:32 PM

  66. re 59. … what the NWS managers really meant was that mention of global warming was “politically unacceptable.” …

    Why was mentioning global warming considered “politically unacceptable” by NWS managers in Feb/March of 2000?

    The director of NOAA warned the public about global warming on national TV in Jan. of 2000 (CBS). At the same time, NWS managers said global warming was too political to talk about at work or with the public.

    It was obvious that Al Gore’s 1995 book on global warming was not recommended reading materials for NWS staff, before or after G.W. Bush took office in 2001. NWS was not following the same chain of command in 2000 as it is now.

    Comment by pat neuman — 12 Jun 2006 @ 4:18 PM

  67. re 59: “According to these pages, NOAA seems to be predicting that 2006 will be a worse hurricane season then 2005, assuming they haven’t changed their prediction methodology…”

    From CNN:

    More than 20,000 people along Florida’s Gulf Coast were ordered to clear out Monday as Alberto — the first tropical storm of the new hurricane season — unexpectedly picked up steam and threatened to come ashore as a hurricane.

    Comment by Don Baccus — 12 Jun 2006 @ 5:38 PM

  68. What will be interesting to “track” is if we get say 7 out of 10 “record years” of hurricane intensity & frequency, will they keep saying it’s “natural variability” and we just haven’t “peaked” in this cycle yet? Talk about “new theology!” ;-)

    [Response: That’s essentially what they’re already saying. The prediction, if I may paraphrase it, is for another decade of anomalouslly strong hurricane activity due to natural causes. Probably they’ll insist on another ten years after that to admit there’s something wrong with the natural cycle idea. Thus, they manage to put off facing facts for around twenty years, by which time people will start arguing that it’s too late to do anything to reduce emissions, so we might as well just get used to it. –raypierre]

    Comment by Carl Christensen — 12 Jun 2006 @ 5:53 PM


    Interesting. Is all. Are all these quotes taken out of context?

    [Response: No, they’re not taken out of context. Almost without exception it’s just well-trodden and already-debunked stuff from the skeptics standard playbook (e.g. the usual lies about water vapor), and quotes from the usual crowd of skeptical talking heads (Max Mayfield, Tim Ball, etc.). This is just the standard smear. I think we scientists on RealClimate, as well as the scientists who weighed in on our discussion of Gore’s movie, as well as essentially everybody I’ve heard from who is active in research in this field agrees that Gore has done a remarkably good job in putting together the scientific argument in a respectable way. Nobody is laughing at Gore, least of all scientists. It’s interesting to see that the Financial Post’s standards of journalism are no better than those of the WSJ editorial page. Not surprising, but always disappointing. I’ll leave it to other readers to comment on the individual points claimed in the article, as it’s all well-trodden material here. –raypierre]

    Comment by joel Hammer — 12 Jun 2006 @ 10:34 PM

  70. Steve (#51), thanks for the detailed response to my #43.

    The only major problem that I have with Anthes et al is when they downplay the gross quantitative disagreement between the relatively modest strengthening of storms in the modeling study of Knutson and Tuleya and the 70% increase in Emanuel�s analysis of the power dissipation index since the 1970�s. I am not aware of any theories/models that help us understand the magnitude of the latter. At this point in time the argument for these very large response relies entirely on statistical analysis of observations. Hopefully this will change soon. We have all been misled on occasion by correlations that look convincing at first sight. Until we have better support from theory/modeling, and given the extraordinary importance of this subject, it is important to look hard to see if there are effects that complicate the naïve interpretation of these fits.

    The paper by Elsner et al that you also link to is a nice start in this direction. Their statistical fit implies that if you warm the climate uniformly you get a somewhat weaker response in the hurricane index than if you just warm the tropical Atlantic. So if there is a mix of globally uniform warming and internal Atlantic variability going on, the simplest regression of storms versus Atlantic temperatures would inaccurately over-emphasize the uniform component. A very strong response remains, but this is precisely the kind of multivariate analyisis that we need to help clarify things.

    With regard to Grant�s question in #61 with regard to proxy evidence for the AMO, it would be nice to hear from Mike Mann, who knows as much about this as anyone and seems to have changed his view on this subject recently. Mike may be waiting until his paper with Emanuel on this topic is publically available. Here is a reference in the interim:

    [Response: Thanks Isaac, as usual your comments are very much appreciated here. The Mann and Emanuel Eos article is now out, so folks can see what we have to say rather than rely on hearsay. Some who have claimed that I’ve “changed my mind” about the AMO simply haven’t seen our arguments. Our paper, despite the rumours, does not challenge the existence of the AMO. It does challenge the notion that the AMO has played a significant role in long-term tropical Atlantic SST variations. We note that previous model simulations as well as past statistical analyses that take into account the non-linear nature of the trend in attempting to isolate the “AMO” signal, find little support for any substantial modulation of tropical Atlantic SST by the AMO. Most of the AMO SST variability is in the extratropics. After accounting for the fraction of tropical Atlantic SST variability over the Main Development Region (MDR) associated with global SST trends (which account for most of the forced long-term SST variability as it is represented in the global mean), the residual (i.e., the portion of SST variability “local” to the MDR) only shows evidence for a statistically significant spectral peak in the multidecadal range if you keep the past 40 or more years of data. If you analyze from say 1870-1950 or even 1870-1960, there is no multidecadal spectral peak that is significant relative to a red noise null hypothesis. In other words, its the recent cooling trend from the 50s through the 80s that gives rise to the spectral peak. The “multidecadal” signal is not robust. We then note that this late 20th century relative cooling trend has typically been associated in past work with anthropogenic tropospheric aerosols. Analyses of some recent simulations using the GISS ModelE suggest that there is a huge aerosol cooling (more than -1 C) in the MDR during the crucial Aug-Oct season. This reflects almost -0.5C more cooling than in the global mean for the same season. Accounting for this local and seasonal enhancement of tropos. aerosol cooling, we can describe most of the long-term tropical Atlantic SST without the need to invoke a substantial “multidecadal oscillation” (which, again, is not supported for the MDR by past work on the AMO). Our simple statistical model trained on data through 1969 successfully predicts the subsequent behavior in the following decades, suggesting that our model is perhaps capturing the essence of what is going on. It raises the bar, at the very least, for claims that the recent tropical Atlantic SST trends can be definitively attribued to the AMO. We also show that it is difficult to argue for an AMO signal in long-term records of tropical cyclone activity. Those interested should read the paper for further discussion. –mike]

    Comment by Isaac Held — 12 Jun 2006 @ 11:45 PM

  71. 10 Most active seasons since 1950 by ACE:

    Year ACE
    2005 248
    1950 243
    1995 228
    2004 225
    1961 205
    1955 199
    1998 182
    1999 177
    2003 175
    1964 170

    56 years of records, 6 of the top 10 within the last 10 years.

    Comment by llewelly — 13 Jun 2006 @ 1:37 AM

  72. Re: #71 – Yes, but the *really* interesting thing about your list is that the other 4 of the top 10 lie in the relatively narrow range of 1950-1964.

    It strongly suggests that there is a cyclic component to Atlantic hurricane activity, and that the amplitude of this cyclic component is greater than increases due to GW [of ~0.6C globally so far, but Ocean less than this].

    The problem is coming up with a sensible estimate for the increase in hurricane activity for GW 10x the present level, which isn’t that outlandish when you consider the lag in the SSTs.

    It doesn’t help that the resolution of the climate models currently used for century-scale predictions are too coarse to resolve hurricanes. I imagine that in a couple of decades time that won’t be so much of a problem, but I feel that it would be getting a bit too late to make decisions about CO2 reduction by then.

    Comment by Timothy — 13 Jun 2006 @ 8:03 AM

  73. RE #4, I read in the Chicago Trib (buried on some back page) during the Clinton administration that VP Gore had worked to make gov energy efficient to the tune of saving $1 billion per year. Too bad I didn’t see it featured on TV or elsewhere. Of course, if people aren’t wasting their money on inefficiency, then companies might lose — unless they too decide to become efficient.

    RE the topic, I’ve been making similar arguments about hurricanes & GW, and that if it’s just natural things increasing them now, then we really have a lot worse to expect in the future, so we really must redouble our efforts to reduce GHGs (& save money to boot).

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 13 Jun 2006 @ 9:42 AM

  74. Would a larger tropical imply more hurricanes?

    Tropics are expanding, study finds

    … “The tropics – the globe’s most torrid climate belt – have widened during the past 27 years, expanding toward the poles by an average of about 140 miles, according to new research.” …

    … “These temperature patterns were a surprise. Climate models looking at the effects of global warming have captured the poleward migration of the jet streams. But models also suggested that “the tropics would almost behave like a slab,” warming rapidly but fairly evenly between 35 degrees north and south, notes John Wallace, a University of Washington atmospheric scientist and another member of the team. Instead, the outer tropics are warming faster than the deep tropics.

    “Are the models missing something?” he asks.” …

    [Response: Rasmus and I will be discussing this work, and related modelling work, in Part III of our series on global change and circulation. It’s very interesting and important work. –raypierre]

    Comment by pat neuman — 13 Jun 2006 @ 10:52 AM

  75. Re: #71 – Yes, but the *really* interesting thing about your list is that the other 4 of the top 10 lie in the relatively narrow range of 1950-1964.

    What were those other 4 again?

    1950 243
    1995 228
    1961 205
    1955 199

    1995 is not within the last 10 years, but it is also not within the Dr. Gray’s much beloved 1950-1964 period.

    Comment by llewelly — 13 Jun 2006 @ 3:20 PM

  76. What were those other 4 again?

    1950 243
    1995 228
    1961 205
    1955 199

    1995 is not within the last 10 years, but it is also not within the Dr. Gray’s much beloved 1950-1964 period.

    After re-reading this post I realized my original post is mistaken; only 5 of the last 10 years are amoung the top 10 years by ACE. My second post was also mistaken; the other 4 are:

    1950 243
    1961 205
    1955 199
    1964 170

    which as Timothy points out are between 1950-1964.

    I apologize for any confusion.

    Comment by llewelly — 13 Jun 2006 @ 3:36 PM

  77. Re: 69:

    I sent a response to the Post about this. Unfortunately, I can see where the piece is very convincing to someone lacking background. He quotes numerous scientists, mentioning their university or government positions to add credibility, and all say GW is rubbish to greater or lesser degree. If someone threw many of these arguments at me, I would be at a loss. For example:

    “In fact, the correlation between CO2 and temperature that Gore speaks about so confidently is simply non-existent over all meaningful time scales. U of O climate researcher Professor Jan Veizer demonstrated that, over geologic time, the two are not linked at all.”

    As a layperson, this sounds very convincing. A University of Ottawa climate researcher says so, which means, at least, that there is debate in the scientific community. Presumably, U of O would not want their academic reputation damaged by patently false statements by their professors, so the unaware reader could easily believe that the U of O climate department supports this view. I looked up Veizer on U of O’s website, and he published the article in Nature on December 7, 2000, so he qualifies as a credible scientist. Has the research been discredited?
    “Veizerâ��s paper, ‘Evidence for decoupling of atmospheric CO2 and global climate during the Phanerozoic eon’…[c]o-authored with Yves Godderis and Louis M. François, of the Laboratoire de Physique Atmosphérique et Planétaire at the University of Liège in Belgium, the paper points to the unclear causes for the ice ages and warm periods that have punctuated the earthâ��s climate throughout the last 600 million years.”

    “â��The climate pattern mandated by these observations may require reconsideration of the role of CO2 as the principal driving force of climate changes on geological time scales,â�� they concluded.”

    “â��I never said CO2 was not a greenhouse gas,â�� [Veizer] says. â��But there is this one political dogma: CO2 equals global warming, equals climate change, equals disaster. Now, the further you go along this equation, the iffier it is scientifically. But the moment you step away from this dogma you are excommunicated. You are undermining the environmental agenda.â�� He adds that he never intended to attack anyone who wants to preserve the physical integrity of our planet. But he does worry that if such efforts depend on incomplete or flawed science, the predictions could well prove to be inaccurate and the entire environmental agenda could be discredited.”


    [Response: This is a classic case of an unscrupulous newspaper trumpeting a claim that does not imply what it seems to imply (even if it were correct) and moreover has been found to have serious flaws. An honest paper would not do this, but unfortunately wilful malfeasance of this sort is effective, especially when read by people who have a strong personal, ideological or financial interest in believing what their paper is telling them. In this case, the Veizer claim has little or no implications for 20th century warming. He looks at supposed correlations between CO2 and temperature over the grand sweep of time (e.g. Cretaceous hothouse vs. cooling going towards the Pleistocene) and supposedly finds that temperature doesn’t go in lock step with CO2. There are a number of flaws with this — among other things, CO2 isn’t the only influence on climate over this time period, since the changes in continental configurations can also have a big effect. There area also major flaws in his reconstruction of CO2 over the past, and the claim that the temperature proxies used really represent global temperatures is questionable. Veizer (primarily in the GSA paper by Shaviv and Veizer) make the speculative claim that basically cosmic rays explain everything. However, regardless of the validity of Veizer’s work, the National Post article is blatantly misleading when it implies that Veizer’s results contradict Gore’s statements about correlation of CO2 and temperature, because Veizer’s paper applies to the long term changes over the past 600 million years whereas the correlation featured in Gore’s movie applies to the glacial-interglacial cycles of the past 800,000 years. Nobody seriously doubts these correlations, which rely on absolutely firm ice-core data.

    Even if the claims were right, they would have essentially zero implications for anthropogenic global warming, since they do not disprove the basic physics behind the greenhouse effect, or negate the direct evidence for the role of CO2 in 2oth century climate, or the evidence for the validity of a positive water vapor feedback. Even if it turned out to be true that cosmic rays had a significant impact on climate, that wouldn’t negate what we know about climate forcing from direct evidence in the 20th and 21st century. However, the claims by Shaviv and Veizer are highly questionable. Pointers to the discussion, particularly the Rahmstorf et al EOS paper exposing flaws in Veizer’s work, can be found in the post on peer review: . Nir Shaviv claims to have responded to this article, and will no doubt want to re-start the argument on cosmic ray forcings, but I’d ask him not to as we’re unlikely to go through anything different than we did last time. Interested readers can check out the comments under “Thank you for Emitting.”

    Part of the reason articles like the National Post one can happen is that some scientists, e..g. Veizer, have attached unjustified and irresponsible claims to their work. However, I don’t really fault the scientists, though if Rahmstorf et al is right, there may be more to criticize in Veizer than just carelessness and incompleteness. Notwithstanding that, there are real puzzles in past climate, and if somebody wants to put an idea on the table and defend it forcefully, that should be be possible without the risk of the media distorting the implications of the results. I’d hate to see things get to the point where scientists would have to write defensively to avoid every possibility of being misquoted. That would get in the way of the free flow of ideas. All of us who work in past climates are well aware of the remaining mysteries, not least the puzzle of low gradient hothouse climates — recently compounded by results from the first-ever Arctic deep-time seafloor core. Uncertainty of this sort could well imply missing feedbacks that will make the climate’s response to CO2 increases far worse than current models predict. Veizer may have compounded the problem by some of his statements in interviews, but I still put the blame squarely on the reporters and editors of the National Post, who have gone to a lot of trouble to give a completely misleading picture of the state of the science, of which their use of quotes from Veizer is only one among many examples. –raypierre]

    [Response: p.s.: Ray forgot to mention that we have looked in detail at Veizer’s claims at RealClimate here. If you look especially at the second part of this post, you will understand why I find it difficult to believe that Veizer is just an honest scientist with a different opinion, rather than deliberately trying to deceive the public. -stefan]

    Comment by Brian Gordon — 13 Jun 2006 @ 4:19 PM

  78. #69 to be practical especially for those seeking a rapid response, a “standard contrarian playbook” should be written, complete with references and explanations debunking the usual dribble trying to sink in the populace by the help of certain publishers or reporters whom, you never know, might find such a page useful prior to publishing contrarian slime.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 13 Jun 2006 @ 4:41 PM

  79. Hey, tack on 1995 and drop 1964 – that gives six of the top nine Atlantic hurricane seasons occurring in the past 11 years. It’s a pretty dramatic statistic, and constitutes a serious challenge to the credibility of the natural cycle theory, at least until someone posits a convincing non-GW explanation for why this particular natural cycle is so much worse than previous ones.

    (Improper Use of Statistics Alert) Of course, somebody will seize on the fact that 6 of the top 10 Atlantic hurricane seasons have occurred under Democratic administrations, even though Republicans have controlled the White House for most of this period. It’s easy to see how the Krauthammers and Wills would frame it: Do the Democrats’ tolerant policies embolden hurricanes? Or are Democrats just soft on hurricanes?

    Without the post-2000 season the ratio would be 8 of 10 – we’d pick up a Carter, a Nixon, and, yes, another Clinton. (That Clinton – he just couldn’t control himself!) This strengthens the developing storyline that W isn’t REALLY a conservative! ;-)

    Comment by Pianoguy — 13 Jun 2006 @ 5:03 PM

  80. I’m not sure why Wiki starts with 1950. NOAA’s website has 1851-2004. At a glance, Wiki’s ACE chart looks like the ADO image in the article, which is interesting.

    Throwing 2005 data in there and going back to 1851, the last 10 yrs has 3 of the top 11 (there’s a tie for 10th). The 1950-1964 period also has 3.

    I also found it interesting that the warm and rapidly (anthropogenic?)warming (warm/warming according to CRU 1980s had 3 of the lowest ACE values – 4th (1983), 13th (1982), and 21st lowest (1987) of the 155 years of records. The warm and rapidly (anthropogenic?) warming 1990s had 4 in the bottom 32 (1991, 1993, 1994, and 1997), including one in the last decade.

    FWIW, the 1950-2004 linear trendline of ACE vs Year was slightly negative. It only become slightly positive when wild 2005 was added.

    Also FWIW, the 1851-1906 linear trendline (first 46 yrs of the record, as opposed to the last 46 yrs) of ACE vs Year has a slope of 1.20, while the 1950-2005 trendline has a slope of only 0.19. I find this interesting because the 1851-1906 period saw little-to-no warming (which would’ve been considered mostly “natural” anyhow, right?) according to CRU data, while the 1950-2005 period saw warming of about 0.5 deg C – much/all of which is attributed to anthropogenic sources by many. So during a period of supposedly substantial anthropogenic warming, the ACE trend was half an order of magnitude smaller (and as stated earlier, negative without the inclusion of 2005 data) than a period of basically no warming.

    I don’t think those linear trend-lines say anything conclusive, but I found it interesting that the book-ending equivalent length period of time trends in global temperature, one a period of little “natural” variability and one of substantial “anthropogenic global warming,” didn’t seem to correspond well with trends in ACE. Obviously, that’s blunt analysis tool, but interesting to me nonetheless.

    Comment by Michael Jankowski — 13 Jun 2006 @ 5:20 PM

  81. NOAA’s mission is to provide forecasts that are as accurate as possible. If that means looking only at oscillations, then that is what they will do. They will do what gets them the best forecast. In their shoes, that is what I would do as well. Attempting to go into somewhat more speculative areas of causality have, in my own experience, been things I’ve tended to regret later. Some of these areas end up being rat holes or even snake pits.

    [Response: At this point, forecasting hurricane trends based on the supposed future of the AMO seems more speculative and less based on fundamental physics than factoring in the contribution of anthropogenic global warming. –raypierre]

    Comment by Steve Sadlov — 13 Jun 2006 @ 6:57 PM

  82. In the webpage this blog post is complaining about the only passage I read as relevant to the AMO vs GW hurrican debate is this:

    “Warmer ocean water combined with lower wind shear, weaker easterly trade winds, and a more favorable wind pattern in the mid-levels of the atmosphere are the factors that collectively will favor the development of storms in greater numbers and to greater intensity. Warm water is the energy source for storms while favorable wind patterns limit the wind shear that can tear apart a storm’s building cloud structure.

    This confluence of conditions in the ocean and atmosphere is strongly related to a climate pattern known as the multi-decadal signal, which has been in place since 1995.

    It seems to me that there is one tenuous defense for mentioning the multi-decadal signal and ignoring the possibility that GW is playing a role and that is if this multi-decadal signal is used in their methodolgy for creating the seasonal predictions. This may, if it is the case, imply that this methodology will prove deficient, but it would justify mentioning it and not GW in a public presentation about the upcoming season.

    Anyone know how they derive these storm count predictions?

    Comment by Coby — 13 Jun 2006 @ 11:45 PM

  83. Re 62,63
    Grant, Michael, can you see any regular signal e.g. in the proxy reconstruction of the AMO of Gray et al. (2004):
    last figure in What would be the period length and what the peaks? I really can’t. Maybe about a 100y signal, but then we are way out of phase now.

    Comment by Urs Neu — 14 Jun 2006 @ 4:06 AM

  84. Um, a shift from a 100 year cycle to a 70 year cycle starting in 1900? The whole thing does start to seem a little strained without some explanation for that. As with the PDO, it seems to be a little hard to show that these things don’t just track global temp.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 14 Jun 2006 @ 4:55 AM

  85. Raypierre made a good point in his response to #77 about the dangers of being defensive in discussing science. The same point was made about 18 years ago by Jerry Mahlman at one of the Congressional hearings in which Hansen discussed climate models:

    “I did get reviews from OMB. I did receive conclusions from them and others that should have been changed in my testimony, according to their assertion that I found unacceptable, and I said that I find this unacceptable and I insist on having the right to offer my own testimony in my own words.

    We in the scientific community demand the right to be wrong because if we do not have the right to be wrong, we have squelched the right to be creative.”

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 14 Jun 2006 @ 8:54 AM

  86. re 81.


    It cannot be said that NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) does “what gets them the best forecast” because NWS has not seriously considered climate change influences on weather, climate and hydrology. Not considering climate change influences in operations and procedures development on weather, climate and hydrology is a failure by the agency in meeting its mission to serve in the public interest. For example…

    In a Jan 2001 letter from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC):

    “You alleged a substantial and specific danger to public health and
    safety and gross mismanagement by officials at the Department of
    Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
    National Weather Service (NWS), North Central River Forecast Center
    (NCRFC), Chanhassen, Minnesota. … Specifically, you allege that the
    NWS is not handling the issue of global warming in a way that best
    serves the interest of the public. You believe that NWS does not
    communicate the urgency of the problem and the potential dangers of
    global warming to the public.” (Jan 16, 2001 OSC letter to Patrick
    Neuman, PSC File No. DI-00-2100)

    In a Jan 31, 2006 letter to the DOC Office of Inspector General:

    I learned recently that the mission statement for NASA includes “to
    understand and protect our home planet”. In knowing that, I believe
    that my concerns about hydrologic climate change in the Upper Midwest
    and about global warming, which were identified in OSC File No. DI-00-
    2100, need to be discussed with scientists in NASA in order to gain a
    full understanding of the state of the science in Dec 2000, Jan 2001;
    and currently. For that reason, I request that the matters described
    at the beginning of this letter be pursued further. (Letter from
    Patrick Neuman to DOC Office of Inspector General, Jan 31, 2006)

    To my knowledge, there has been no attempt by the DOC Office of Inspector General, NOAA or NASA to see that discussions take place between NOAA and NASA scientists and administrative staff … in order to gain a full understanding of the state of the science in Dec 2000, Jan 2001; and currently.

    Not considering climate change in operations and procedures is thus a failure by all levels of the federal government and their staffs in meeting its fundamental mission and duty which is to serve in the public interest.

    Comment by pat neuman — 14 Jun 2006 @ 8:59 AM

  87. I’m not sure why Wiki starts with 1950. NOAA’s website has 1851-2004.

    From the very same link:

    Starting in 1944, systematic aircraft reconnaissance was commenced for monitoring both tropical cyclones and disturbances that had the potential to develop into tropica cyclones. This is why both Neumann et al. (1993) and Landsea (1993) recommend utilizing data since 1944 for computing climatological statistics.

    1950 is simply the next 10 year boundary. Dr. Gray has used 1950 as starting year for a long time. So do many of NOAA’s tables. I imagine wikipedia’s starting with 1950 is inspired by these factors.

    Comment by llewelly — 14 Jun 2006 @ 10:41 AM

  88. I don’t think those linear trend-lines say anything conclusive, but I found it interesting that the book-ending equivalent length period of time trends in global temperature, one a period of little “natural” variability and one of substantial “anthropogenic global warming,” didn’t seem to correspond well with trends in ACE. Obviously, that’s blunt analysis tool, but interesting to me nonetheless.

    For a sharper analysis tool, consider additional forcings, such as the downward forcing of certain aerosols. Mike’s paper, which he already linked to, does this. I think this explains the 1970-1994 low activity period, and much of the post 1870 variance quite well.

    Comment by llewelly — 14 Jun 2006 @ 11:03 AM

  89. Re: 77: Thank you Ray and Stefan for responding to my post about The Post; Ray, your explanation was very helpful. They may publish my letter; they asked for my contact information.

    I agree with Ray that a charismatic speaker who is familiar with the science (and has a high level of integrity) would be very helpful in disarming these debates. However, when the media is actively and deliberately lying….

    Comment by Brian Gordon — 14 Jun 2006 @ 11:40 AM

  90. Bob Carter et al. are at it again. What a piece of garbage this article is!

    Please shred every part of this piece of propaganda. Please!

    Comment by Stephen Berg — 14 Jun 2006 @ 12:01 PM

  91. Re #80

    Your wrote, “Also FWIW, the 1851-1906 linear trendline (first 46 yrs of the record, as opposed to the last 46 yrs) of ACE vs Year has a slope of 1.20, while the 1950-2005 trendline has a slope of only 0.19. I find this interesting because the 1851-1906 period saw little-to-no warming”

    But if you believe, as other skeptics of the hurricane / AGW link do, that we are in a natural AMO-related cycle high activity, and that it is likely to continue for another ten years, than the more meaningful trendline would be 1950 to 2016, to include the complete set of both high-activity periods. And, if the proponents of AMO explanation are correct that activity will continue to be high, then the trendline will turn out quite positive indeed for the period 1950-2016. So it seems like the purely natural-cycle explanation will still leave unexplained a higher spike this time around versus the previous period of high activiy. Unless, of course, the AMO-based prediction is wrong and activity drops off in the next couple of years. Which neither side is predicting.

    Comment by Dan Allan — 14 Jun 2006 @ 12:38 PM

  92. The purposeful disconnect that skeptic contrarians use is that AMO is responsible to Hurricane activity, from a small 0.4 C peak to peak SSTA curve, with temperature phases at times not quite fitting with the number of hurricanes, but their strong point is that the AMO went cold between 1960-1995 when, if Global Warming is occuring should be otherwise. They rely on a weak oscillation occuring twice in the last 100 years to make their point, while at the same time GT’s have been striking near +1 C in the Northern Hemisphere. Their favorite disconnect is with land based temperature increases, as if there is a barried at oceanic shore lines, as if air stops flowing
    to the ocean, or land based warmed air has a pittance of any effect with the atmosphere where Hurricanes dwell. As often stated the oceans are different than their atmospheres above, however constant harping of the AMO curve does not mean that the atmosphere has nothing to do with Hurricanes!

    Comment by wayne davidson — 14 Jun 2006 @ 2:09 PM

  93. Re #90 – You or someone more qualified than I must respond to the Canada Free Press.

    I sometimes wonder if Gray, Mayfield, et al, have a world view problem. In their world view, climate is a given of the earth and within that given, they try to predict the weather, specifically, hurricanes. So just study the patterns provided by nature to determine the context within which weather is generated. The idea of analyzing the physics of climate opens up too many uncertainties and undermines their sense of control over their own work. It is a little like a creationist biologist trying to analyze biological processes without any reference to or recognition of evolution.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 14 Jun 2006 @ 2:43 PM

  94. I’m going to embarrass myself with a dumb question: how do we know the Little Ice Age ended around 1850? Temperatures had trended upwards several times during the LIA period, only to trend back down a few decades later. I’m sort of standing the old GW skeptics canard about the little ice age on its head and looking at it from the other direction. Is it possible we’ve been in a cyclical cooling period until recently that was masking some of the effects of GW?

    Comment by shargash — 14 Jun 2006 @ 3:23 PM

  95. Re #90 (SB): A quick google shows that this site doesn’t draw the line at crossing into tinfoil hat territory. See for details. Generally there’s little point in direct responses to such obvious propaganda, especially since (according to Wikipedia) their stated site policy of publishing critical letters seems to be less than honest.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 14 Jun 2006 @ 3:45 PM

  96. Re: #83

    The short answer is, no I don’t.

    I found the same paper (Gray et al. 2004) on reconstructing the AMO from proxy climate records. First of all, the instrumental period (~1870-present) shows *no* real sign of periodicity or pseudo-periodicity. It’s not impossible, but the signal is neither sufficiently coherent, nor sufficiently long, to claim statistical evidence of any cyclic nature.

    The proxy reconstruction shows even *less* evidence of a cyclic nature.

    I’ve done a *lot* of period analysis, and often found that scientists (astronomers, at least) are very prone to claim a “cyclic” phenomenon when there’s no real evidence. This is usually done on the basis of a peak in the Fourier spectrum, usually at very low frequency, which crosses a significance threshold. Climatologists, at least, seem to be aware of the nature of red noise, and apply a stricter test! But the low end of the frequency spectrum is fraught with statistical peril. And it’s well to remember that a “statistically significant” test statistic does *not* demonstrate the existence of a particular type of signal — it merely shows that the null hypothesis is probably not correct. Those low-frequency peaks that barely cross the red-noise critical value do *not* show cyclic behavior, they simply contradict the hypothesis of random, red noise.

    Based on the (admittedly limited) research I’ve reviewed on the AMO, my considered opinion is that if AMO means cyclic behavior with any real level of coherence, then it just ain’t so. The only sense in which I’d admit the reality of the AMO is that there is consistent change in the AMO index on multi-decadal timescales.

    Comment by Grant — 14 Jun 2006 @ 4:53 PM

  97. Re: 77, 90, & 93: This article was written by the same person who wrote the article in the National Post that some folks, including me, recently commented on. See post 77 for one point from that article that the RC scientists disassembled.

    Comment by Brian Gordon — 14 Jun 2006 @ 5:08 PM

  98. I also found it interesting that the warm and rapidly (anthropogenic?)warming (warm/warming according to CRU 1980s had 3 of the lowest ACE values – 4th (1983), 13th (1982), and 21st lowest (1987) of the 155 years of records. The warm and rapidly (anthropogenic?) warming 1990s had 4 in the bottom 32 (1991, 1993, 1994, and 1997), including one in the last decade.

    The 1982-1983 El Nino was the second strongest on record. The 1997-1998 El Nino was the strongest on record. El Nino is known to reduce Atlantic hurricane activity. El Nino also suppressed Atlantic hurricane activity from 1991 to 1994, and in 1987. See here.

    It’s worth noting that AGW may also be making El Ninos stronger and more frequent, and in the Atlantic, this works against other AGW-driven factors that increase hurricane activity. But the factors that increase Atlantic hurricane activity have dominated for the last 11 years. From NOAA’s own summary of the 2005 season:

    During the last eleven years, seasons have averaged 14.7 TS, 8.4 H, and 4.1 MH, and NOAA classifies every season as above normal except for the two El Nino years of 1997 and 2002.

    Comment by llewelly — 14 Jun 2006 @ 7:27 PM

  99. Re: 19 and the general AMO question (and an earlier post?)

    In studies of intra- to multi-decadal (IMD) variation in U.S. precipitation and
    streamflow I did a few years back (J. Climate v16, pp 2215-2231 & v16, pp 3905-3916) I tried to draw attention to a significant incidence of wet years over the U.S. after the early 1970’s. Specifically, that in a time series of nationally averaged precipitation during 1896-2001, 8 of the 10 wettest years occured after 1972, i.e., the last 29 years of that 106 year record. Using Monte Carlo methods outlined in those papers, I estimated that there was less than a 1% chance of this occuring in a hypothetical stationary climate. I’ve gone round and round with skeptics as to what constitutes a stationary climate, or if stationary climate is a meaningful concept, but thats another story.

    In a subsequent paper in Climatic Change (now in press) I tried to see if I could find a similarly significant wet regime over other continental areas. Turns out a I could: a similar wet regime shows up in the Hulme precipitation data when averaged over a northern Europe – Scandinavian grid region that includes the exit region of the North Atlantic (NA) storm track. In that case 7 of the 10 wettest years in a 98 year record (1901-98) occur after 1978. The North American wet period after the early 1970’s also shows up in the Hulme data. These late century North American and northern European wet regimes were the most significant that I found using a method that analysed running Mann Whitney U statistics. That paper also shows that North American wetness in the last few decades is particularly evident over the North American entrance region to the NA storm track. So the conclusion is that if there was significant wetness in the entrance and exit regions of the NA storm track in the closing decades of the 20th century, there was also a similar wet regime occuring over the oceanic areas of the storm track. The suggested punch line was that these two wet regimes on both sides of the NA were actually one wet regime stretching across the NA. Given their significance, I proposed that the hydrological cycle over the NA storm track was – to borrow a term from the recent baseball scandals – significantly ‘juiced’ in the closing decades of the 20th century.

    The relevance here to the AMO question is that this multi-decadal wet signal was evident in the closing decades of a ~ centennial data records. You might try to attribute the recent wetness to the current AMO phase, but this phase was also present during previous periods in the 20th century when no such wetness was evident. My guess is that this NA wetness is most likely not due to the current phase of the AMO, but to the upward trend that has been removed from the SST records to produce the AMO.

    Comment by Steve Mauget — 14 Jun 2006 @ 7:54 PM

  100. Re #90: I’m not an expert on Internet advertising revenue (so someone should correct me if I’m wrong), but I believe it’s standard practice for advertisers to pay for page views, and not just for hits on their ads. Which means that posting a link to an offensive “news” article can make money for the perpetrators. I’m not advocating that links be suppressed, but maybe a link along with a few selections, as in #77, will satisfy those of us who are reluctant to subsidize these people. Naturally, this rule should not apply to not-for-profit sites or articles that are not clearly propaganda.

    Comment by S Molnar — 14 Jun 2006 @ 9:46 PM

  101. I have ads and I know they don’t pay for page views. I doubt the premise on its face.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 14 Jun 2006 @ 11:41 PM

  102. Re #100 and 101: For what it’s worth, Wikipedia says I’m right (and no, I didn’t just update the article):

    I imagine the rules are different for bloggers and for big commercial sites. Perhaps we should continue the discussion on Mark York’s excellent blog, remembering to click on the ads, of course.

    Comment by S Molnar — 15 Jun 2006 @ 8:14 AM

  103. I am curious about the use of ACE as a statistic in a number of postings here as opposed to Emanuel’s PDI value. The latter seems to actually be a measure of the energy dissipated by the storms while the former frankly appears to be another product of the AMO crüe. Later today I may get a chance to run some of these statistics and rankings with PDI in its place, but in the meantime I was hoping for an explanation of when to prefer one measure over the other. I am probably being too harsh about the provenance of ACE, but I believe my reaction illustrates how a betrayal of trust from a “trusted authority” (NHC) in one area can affect one’s trust in other areas.


    Comment by Richard Wesley — 15 Jun 2006 @ 12:39 PM

  104. The Wiki article doesn’t provide much context for “click throughs.” Ads from Amazon, Google and others only pay for sales of actual products from a click through. The ads are free. I get the idea that S Molnar was being facetious in his/her post referring to me and thus is an ad hominem. I get this a lot.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 15 Jun 2006 @ 12:54 PM

  105. re 81. 86.


    You said that NOAA’s mission is to provide forecasts that are as accurate as possible.

    NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) mission requires that NWS staff provide public education in weather, water and climate. NWS is equipped to do that, having local offices in all states and having direct ties to state and local governments and to state climatologists, private sector meteorologists, local and national media and public schools.

    Therefore, after watching the CBS Evening News interviews on global warming with NOAA director Jim Baker in Jan. 2000, 5 nights, and after learning of the changes in timing of spring snowmelt flooding in the Upper Midwest, I believed that dealing with Upper Midwest climate change in hydrologic modeling, flood outlooks and public education was part of my duty as a hydrologist and public servant at NWS North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC), located in Chanhassen, MN.

    My duties from 1980 to 2000 included representing NCRFC at all annual Inter-agency Winter/Spring Snowmelt Flood Outlook Group meetings. In my January 2000 presentation to the inter agency group at the St. Paul Corps of Engineers District office, I repeated the words of Jim Baker on CBS News that global warming was happening. My supervisor, NWS NCRFC Hydrologist in Charge (HIC), had instructed me not to bring up the subject of global warming, saying that “global warming was beyond the time window of our hydrologic mission”. I disagreed with him, and said that global warming was already having effects on the timing of spring snowmelt flooding. Also in January, 2003, the NCRFC HIC reminded me what he said he told national media before they interviewed him during the disastrous Midwest summer floods of 1993, … that his instructions to national media in 1993 were to not mention global warming. It’s no wonder that the public in the U.S. is ill informed on global warming and climate change. There has been and still is no public education by the U.S. government agencies on global warming. It should be a primary responsibility within agencies of NOAA, including NWS.

    Comment by pat neuman — 15 Jun 2006 @ 4:04 PM

  106. re 104. Should read as below … in January, 2000,…

    Also in January, 2000, the NCRFC HIC reminded me what he said he told national media before they interviewed him during the disastrous Midwest summer floods of 1993, … that his instructions to national media in 1993 were to not mention global warming. It’s no wonder that the public in the U.S. is ill informed on global warming and climate change. There has been and still is no public education by the U.S. government agencies on global warming. It should be a primary responsibility within agencies of NOAA, including NWS.

    Comment by pat neuman — 15 Jun 2006 @ 4:08 PM

  107. Re: 103

    Following up my own post, I find that the top 10 years by PDI (using the Unisys data for 2005) are:

    2004 1950 1995 2003 1961
    1998 1999 1955 1996 2005

    Only 1950, 1961 and 1955 are pre-aerosol reduction. Only these three and 1995 are not in the most recent decade.

    The list is similar to, but not identical to the ACE list. Nevertheless, it also shows 6/top 10 in the last 10 years.

    Comment by Richard Wesley — 15 Jun 2006 @ 5:24 PM

  108. Great job guys!
    There is no more time to lose…

    Comment by marco pozzana — 15 Jun 2006 @ 5:29 PM

  109. Re: 80

    I don’t think it makes any sense to draw trend lines for measurements prior to 1930: The measurements are not compatible. Even going from 1930 to 2005 you have to apply a correction to make satellite and pre-1970 airborne data compatible.

    Comment by Richard Wesley — 15 Jun 2006 @ 5:32 PM

  110. I am curious about the use of ACE as a statistic in a number of postings here as opposed to Emanuel’s PDI value. The latter seems to actually be a measure of the energy dissipated by the storms while the former frankly appears to be another product of the AMO crew Later today I may get a chance to run some of these statistics and rankings with PDI in its place, but in the meantime I was hoping for an explanation of when to prefer one measure over the other. I am probably being too harsh about the provenance of ACE, but I believe my reaction illustrates how a betrayal of trust from a “trusted authority” (NHC) in one area can affect one’s trust in other areas.

    There’s nothing in ACE that is specific to the AMO. Just read the definition. It is merely a sum of the squares of the sustained max windspeeds, taken 6 hourly. Comparably, PDI is an integral of the cubes of the sustained max windspeeds. PDI is an approximation of measure of power dissipated; true power dissipation also requires integrating windspeeds across the wind field of the entire storm. Unfortunately records of storm wind fields are sparse and of low quality prior to about 1965 or thereabouts.

    The essential differences between ACE and PDI are (a) PDI is more affected by high windspeeds than ACE, and (b) PDI is more sensitive to errors. I suggest Emanuel chose PDI over ACE not because ACE was contaminated by the AMO, but because PDI magnifies trends in the strongest storms, which is what Emanuel wished to study. I strongly suspect that if Emanuel had used ACE instead of PDI, his conclusions would have been largely the same, but the intensity increase of the strongest storms would be less apparent in his graphs. Likewise, I suspect that if analysis of Emanuel & Mann 2006 had used ACE instead of TC count, it would also not have detected any AMO signal. (Ignore for the moment that ACE is much less reliable than TC count for over half of their period of study.)

    Comment by llewelly — 15 Jun 2006 @ 7:02 PM

  111. Re #104: From the Wiki article: “CPM (Cost per Thousand) advertising is the most common basis in the business”, that is, a plurality of advertising rates are based on page views. My quick, unscientific survey of online newspaper sites seems to confirm this, although there may be a bias created by discarding those that don’t make their rates readily accessible (and Canada Free Press, the villain of the story, appears to charge a flat fee, at least for some ads, which must ultimately be driven by page views). Also, the joking was not meant to be at your expense – I enjoy your site, and the world would be a better, if not cooler, place if more people would click through and buy the advertised Richard Dawkins book.

    Comment by S Molnar — 15 Jun 2006 @ 11:33 PM

  112. The oceans’ level is uneven?

    Comment by jhm — 16 Jun 2006 @ 7:33 AM

  113. Re: #112 – Yes. I believe that predictions of future ocean level rise have mentioned that the level might rise faster in some places than others.

    There are many factors that will affect the local sea level:

    1. Wind stress: Where the wind consistently blows in one direction compared to another then it will push the water along underneath it. This is what causes the ocean to “pile up” in the warm pool area around Indonesia; when the winds slacken the warm water can “slosh” back to the east and spread out -> El Nino [?]. This can also cause a storm surge, for example the 1957 flood when a storm pushed water south, down the North Sea. Cyclones tracking north towards Bangladesh have a similar effect.

    2. Surface atmospheric pressure. If the atmospheric pressure is lower then there is less atmospheric weight pushing the ocean down and it will rise up. This also produces storm surge effects. Since atmospheric pressure is not identical [over space] in a time-mean then this could cause differences between one location and another.

    3. Earth’s rotation: This will mean that “sea level” will be higher at the equator than the poles, but this is a constant effect so would not change.

    4. Tidal effects due to gravity of moon and sun. I think this would probably even out to zero over time though. Also wouldn’t be changing either.

    I’d assume that the changes in Arctic sea level were due to local time-mean changes in surface atmospheric pressure, although I don’t know wheter there have been trends in sea-level pressure observed there. Obviously the effect of melting sea-ice is to lower sea levels [since water is more dense than ice], but I wouldn’t have thought that this effect would be confined to the Arctic region.

    Comment by Timothy — 16 Jun 2006 @ 8:32 AM

  114. Re: 113

    Because of the Coriolis force, water actually piles up to the right (left) of the winds in Northern (Southern) hemisphere. As a result, sea level is higher in the middle of the large oceanic gyres than on the sides. In general, for large scale flows on a rotating planet, the fluid flows around the “hill”, not downhill, as seen in the tendency for the air to flow around large-scale lows and highs in the mid-latitude atmosphere, rather than from high to low pressure.

    The Stommel model that provided an explanation of the intensification of currents on the west side of the gyres shows the difference in sea level over the gyre. It also indicates that the poleward west corner of the gyre will be the lowest (e.g., in the North Atlantic, the corner by the Canadian Maritimes). The magnitude of the height differences are related to the differences in the winds over the gyre. I believe the differences predicted by the Stommel model are on the order of a couple of meters.

    Comment by Harold Brooks — 16 Jun 2006 @ 8:59 AM

  115. Large changes in snow and ice on land has large effects on sea level, but large changes in floating ice (sea ice) does not.

    Land rebounds from the loss of snow and ice, which can give the appearance of falling sea levels. Much of North America was still rebounding during the 20th century from the loss of ice over Alaska, Canada and the Upper Midwest near the end of the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago.


    … JPL researcher Dr. Eric Rignot. “If you melt land ice, you could raise sea level by 70 meters (230 feet). The real concern over the long term is the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. With thermal expansion, the coastlines erode; with the ice sheets melting completely, you are talking about cities and states under water.”

    Comment by pat neuman — 16 Jun 2006 @ 10:26 AM

  116. Re#109, I agree with much of what you said, which is why I kept trying to make the point they were simply “interesting observations” and nothing very demonstrative. There are a lot of climatic trends/data pre-1970, pre-1930, etc, that I feel the same way about.

    Comment by Michael Jankowski — 16 Jun 2006 @ 10:29 AM

  117. RE#111 Duly noted, but one has to have a large readership to garner that level of advertising. The average blog doesn’t qualify for the rates even a small newspaper would warrant.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 16 Jun 2006 @ 12:05 PM

  118. RE: Sea Level “Measurements.” If the measurements are based on tide gage records, then they are not true measurements of the absolute sea level versus any sort of datum. Instead, they become differential measurements of the total difference between the absolute sea level and the absolute tectonic baseline. This is geophysics / oceanography 101 type stuff, but amazingly, a large fraction of those who ought to know better apparently don’t. Now, one might think it possible to come up with a correction factor by looking at many measurements points and attempting to detect any sort of regional bias. One factor making this difficult is the fact that the lion’s share of tide gage records going back any reasonable amount of years are mostly limited to the North Atlantic and Mediterranean and are within that, mostly in Europe. One should consider any claim regarding “global mean sea level” highly suspect, due to this. It is a non trivial exercise to determine any sort of long term absoluate datum against which to determine mean sea level – we live on an semi oblate spheriod that itself is not constant in shape. Each continental margin is itself non likely to be stable – most are either in subsidence or uplift. Interestingly, much of the aforementioned area where the world’s greatest concentration of tide gages is, is in tectonic subsidence. It’s definitely a non trivial task to make a good measurement set …

    Comment by Steve Sadlov — 16 Jun 2006 @ 12:46 PM

  119. re: 49 and the call for politicians who are up on the science…

    I’m a Wes Clark supporter. And as a part of the Clark Community Network, we’ve started a featured blog called “Real Science,” having just completed a series on Global Warming (which you can find through my url linked to my name). Clark also did a podcast series on global warming, which he completed not too long ago, which you can find through his site at .

    He was on the panel discussing climate change at Clinton’s Global Initiative meeting in 2005. And just this past weekend, he was a part of the science panel at the big Yearly Kos event in Las Vegas, as described by this diary by the regular science poster at Kos, with the username “Darksyde”:

    An exerpt from Darksyde’s description of the event:

    General Wesley Clark is a genuine champion for science. Both the General and members of the The Clark Community Network blog regularly on science and policy. I chatted briefly with him just before the panel. I saw his notes–he had a few bullet points and Chris Mooney’s bio written out. That was it.

    So I was blown away when he confidently took the podium and spoke eloquently for half an hour, basically off the top of his head! Gen. Clark not only underscored the vital role of science in our nation’s history and future, he also mentioned that he wanted to become a physicist at one point. Clark didn’t hold back or skirt any issues, choosing instead to talk about the misuse of faith by religious opportunists and other related topics that many potential candidates would evade at all cost.

    So the blogosphere is working hard on this issue, and I can tell you of at least one serious contender of a politician who is very much at home discussing scientific issues, including, most certainly, what’s occuring with our climate – General Wesley Clark.

    Maybe one or more of the scientists here could discuss the issue with him and help to inform him even further about what’s happening with our climate…

    Wouldn’t it be great if Real Climate could hold an information-sharing conference specifically with current politicians in mind? I betcha Wes Clark would love to be a part of that. And if Al Gore could be a part of facilitating such a discussion… well, I think something like that would be just grand, ;-).

    So if people want a scientifically engaged and informed politician, you’ve got him in Wesley Clark, but you’ve got to support him and let him and others know your behind him…

    (I read from this site just about every day now, thanks to one of my fellow “Real Science” bloggers, who pointed this site out to me, but this was my first post, and I just had to step up and answer that call for engaged and engaging politicians ready to take on the science of this issue and share it well with our citizens…)

    Comment by LindaG — 16 Jun 2006 @ 7:21 PM

  120. There has been some talk in this thread on the U.S. politics of climate change. I will respectfully chime in on this issue. First, a little background on myself. I am an associate professor in political science at the University of Miami. My area of specialization is U.S. environmental policy and politics. I have published two books on this subject matter: _Corporate Power and the Environment_ (2001, Rowman & Littlefield) and _The Politics of Air Pollution_ (2005, State University of New York Press).

    There has been some suggestion in this thread that the Democrats are better on climate change than the Republicans. I would humbly submit that in terms of their respective records the Democrats have only been marginally better on this issue than Republicans. The only difference between these Parties is that the Clinton Administration did sign the Kyoto Protocol, but only relucantly so. Additionally, when it came time to negotiate the Protocol’s implementation the Clinton Administration demanded extensive loopholes for the U.S. economy — so much so that its demands prevented an international agreement on the implementation of the Protocol. It should be noted that Senate Democrats voted in unanimity to oppose the Protocol (in the form of a resolution). Finally, the Kerry presidential campaign did not prominently discuss the climate change issue — if at all. To gain some insight into why there is a bipartisan lack of political will to confront the massive U.S. contribution to climate change, as well as why the U.S. economy is a prime cause of global warming, I would humbly recommend reading my article: 2005 June. “Urban Sprawl, Global Warming, and the Limits of Ecological Modernization.” _Environmental Politics_ 14, no. 3: 344-62.

    Comment by George A. Gonzalez — 16 Jun 2006 @ 11:09 PM

  121. Re #111 and “the world would be a better, if not cooler, place if more people would click through and buy the advertised Richard Dawkins book.”

    Why buy a book from a militant antireligious bigot? Dawkins writes well and has interesting things to say about evolutionary biology, but his tirades against all forms of religion say a lot more about his psychology than about the supernatural. Contrary to his worldview, understanding and using science does not necessitate atheism, and it’s silly and wrong to say it does.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Jun 2006 @ 8:26 AM

  122. Re 113:

    We are getting pretty far afield, but I feel this comment deserves an answer.

    I can’t find a reference anywhere in these comments to the “advertised book” by Richard Dawkins, so I don’t know which of his books was recommended. Let me just say that describing Dawkins as a bigot because of his atheism and critiques of relgion is unwarranted. Serious people, particularly believers, should consider Dawkins’s arguments, and not reject them out of hand because he is a non-believer.. But, in any case, in most of Dawkins writings, atheism is a minor component, and his breadth of knowledge about evolutionary biology is breathtaking. I found his latest book, “The Ancestor’s Tale” particularly stimulating. I don’t accept everything Dawkins says as gospel, but he is always interesting to listen to.

    [Response: OK, we’ve had point and counterpoint on this delicate matter, so let’s not take it further afield here. Can sombody suggest a good blog where such things can be discussed? –raypierre]

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 17 Jun 2006 @ 10:00 AM

  123. In response to George Gonzales in #120 and picking up on raypierre’s response in #4.

    Point taken. It is true, politically speaking, that there is indeed bipartisan baggage on this issue (wasn’t it Senator Byrd from West Virginia who was one of the strongest against the Kyoto protocol in the 90s?). So, yes, this is most certainly an issue that needs to be taken up in earnest by members of both parties of our system, as well as independents.

    I appreciate how Al Gore addresses that as well; galvanizing public will among the citizenry in general seems to be the most significant key to changing governmental policies, which Gore is especially emphasizing.

    I mention Wes Clark because he happens to be one of the potential political leaders who is quite comfortable with this issue and the arena of science in general. He has demonstrated this on numerous occasions. Further, the call was put out there earlier in this thread for such leaders. So I thought it appropriate to respond with what I know about one such person. I also felt it appropriate to say that if citizens want such leaders, they need to seek them out and support them – it’s a two-way street between potential leaders and our citizenry.

    Hopefully, there will be insightful and courageous people across party lines who will be able to stand up and work with our citizenry on this, able to handle all that will apparently come at them from contrarian positions, as Al Gore is now contending with, and do so with a depth of accurate knowledge at their command. For beyond the executive branch at the federal level, we need such leaders throughout our local, state, and federal levels of government (and industry).

    That hope I expressed above that something like a conference among scientists and potential political leaders was not meant to say I hope such an event to be possible only for potential Democratic leaders; rather, I would hope for such an event (multiple such events, in fact) for anyone who is already, or who may be eventually, in a position to significantly address this issue…

    Comment by LindaG — 17 Jun 2006 @ 11:47 AM

  124. I seem to have provoked an unintended firestorm by my post in #100 (Talk about your unforeseen feedbacks!). All I wanted to do was warn about a potential “Banned in Boston” effect of increasing the commercial success of those newspaper sites that publish nonsensical anti-global warming articles by following links to the articles from this site (“Savaged by RealClimate!”). In view of the small number of people who are likely to do that, it probably isn’t worth worrying about. Can we stop now?

    Comment by S Molnar — 17 Jun 2006 @ 11:52 AM

  125. re 120.

    Why are many politicians unable to accept the evidence that our fossil fuel emissions are the dominant cause for the out of control catastrophic global warming which is confronting us now.

    Comment by pat neuman — 17 Jun 2006 @ 3:59 PM

  126. re: 120

    In order to fully understand the U.S. response to climate change, including that of both major political parties, we have to grasp the role of urban sprawl in the U.S. economy, and now the world economy. Urban sprawl was seized upon as a means to revive the U.S. economy during the Great Depression. Urban sprawl increases economic demand for such consumer durables as automobiles (most obviously) and appliances (because homes on the urban periphery tend to be larger and able to accommodate more appliances, furniture, etc.). The positive relationship between urban sprawl and automobile consumption, for instance, was evident in Los Angeles during the 1920s, wherein Los Angeles land developers were national leaders in building planned communities far from the city’s center and trolley lines. By this time Los Angeles was also the highest per capita consumer of automobiles. Today the U.S. has the most sprawled urban zones in the world, and is the largest per capita consumer user of automobiles.

    In 1934 the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) began subsidizing/mandating the building of sprawled urban development (low density housing construction on city outskirts) â?? to the neglect and detriment of center centers. The FHA was the key driver of urban sprawl in the U.S. until the late 1960s. (It did so through loan guarantees on “qualified” homes.) It was during this period that the consumer durables revolution was embedded in the U.S. â?? whereby consumption of consumer durables exceeded income gains in the U.S.

    The downside of urban sprawl is that it creates demand for huge amounts of energy â?? both for automotive transportation and to heat/cool, electrify large homes in sprawled suburban areas. Of course, when this huge energy demand is filled with the burning of fossil fuels the result is large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions.

    Therefore the “rub” for the U.S. and its political and economic elites is that any effort to reduce climate change emissions by reducing fossil fuel consumption will also correspond with less urban sprawl (or at least a disincentive for urban sprawl), which as I have argued has substantial economic and global implications (the U.S. being the largest consumer in the world.)

    This is why the Bush Administration, along with Congressional Democrats (and Al Gore), is interested in dealing with climate change emissions through the deployment of technology and alternative fuels. In other words, the hope among political elites, and economic elites (see the International Chamber of Commerce), is that new technologies and forms of energy can be developed and deployed that allow the huge energy consumption required for urban sprawl to persist without the negative externality of climate change emissions â?? or this externality being greatly minimized. This is in contrast to a tack of reducing climate change emissions by limiting consumption of fossil fuels, which could readily be done by reforming U.S.’s sprawled urban zones.

    Of course, my ability to lay out my arguments and evidence is limited in this venue. Anyone who has further interest in these can refer to my book _The Politics of Air Pollution_ (although this is mostly focused on localized air pollution), the article I noted before, and my article that will appear in the August issue of _Environment Politics_: 2006 August. “An Eco-Marxist Analysis of Oil Depletion via Urban Sprawl.” _Environmental Politics_ 15, no. 4.

    Comment by George A. Gonzalez — 17 Jun 2006 @ 5:36 PM

  127. In #126, I meant re: 125. My apologies.

    Comment by George A. Gonzalez — 17 Jun 2006 @ 5:38 PM

  128. Please disregard #126. This is a typo.

    Comment by George A. Gonzalez — 17 Jun 2006 @ 5:43 PM

  129. #125 I take heart that the dedicated scientists working here on RC, are not alone, with the likes of Stephen Hawkins, one of the best theoretical physicist since Einstein, Wegener and Lorentz. He has cast another warning about Global Warming just recently. Hawkins inspires in many ways, no less as an imposing figure in physics, as AGW being heavily imbued in this science, does any one care to say that he is wrong in the Physics of AGW? If you can
    please explain the details…. Contrarians need to review their stance, in light of such a massive consensus amongst our best and brightest.

    [Response: Are you talking about Steven Hawking? Indeed an impressive mind. I wasn’t aware that he had made a statement about global warming. Could you clarify? Of course, some of these physicists are loose cannons and brilliance is no guarantee of being right. Freeman Dyson (no dummy) recently gave a graduation speech at the University of Michigan where he claimed global warming would be no real problem. His arguments, such as they were, were based on a very shallow understanding of the problem and a vague skepticism about models of complex systems in general, unsupported by any real understanding of climate modelling. Dyson, by the way, also seems to have apposed the atmospheric nuclear test ban treaty, because he thought it would get in the way of developing nuclear-fission rockets like the Nerva. –raypierre]

    Comment by wayne davidson — 17 Jun 2006 @ 6:35 PM

  130. Re #120: George, I’m quite interested in seeing this article, but do you have a link to it? Thanks.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 17 Jun 2006 @ 8:59 PM

  131. Re #129: Steve, I am afraid I do not. But if you post your email, I can sent you a copy.

    Comment by George A. Gonzalez — 17 Jun 2006 @ 9:19 PM

  132. Re #128: Actually, it’s “Hawking”, not “Hawkins”. And it’s “Wigner”, not “Wegener” (although Wegener, while not a physicist, was certainly a great scientist). You are correct, I think, that scientist celebrities such as Hawking can have an impact greatly disproportionate to their expertise in the field. After all, the famous letter from Einstein to Roosevelt was really written by Leo Szilard (who, like Wigner, was Hungarian, I might irrelevantly add); Einstein didn’t know enough about nuclear physics to have an informed opinion, but he knew enough to trust the real experts, and they knew enough about politics to ask Einstein to sign the letter. There’s probably a lesson to be learned from that.

    [Response:Yes, but also unfortunately something to be learned by the success of Teller and the military establishment in suppressing the influence of a much larger group of scientists rallying behind Oppenheimer’s views of nuclear policy. The parallels with what is going on in discussion of climate policy today are very uncomfortable. I very strongly recommend reading the excellent new biography of Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin, “American Prometheus,” which just came out. The issues of science, politics, use of character assassination, and public disinformation on science cut very close to the bone regarding current events, and not just regarding global warming. –raypierre]

    Comment by S Molnar — 17 Jun 2006 @ 9:58 PM

  133. Re: 132. Yes, Mr. Molnar, that Szilard and Wigner were Hungarian is indeed irrelevant to the point but nonetheless somewhat pleasing to me… GRIN!
    BTW I’m a native of Brazil. My apologies to all the readers of this site for this personal indulgence in ancestral pride.

    [Response: And entirely justifiable pride it is! Let’s not forget John Von Neumann or Paul Erdös either, to say nothing of earlier greats like Eötvös. I sometimes wonder whether all this success traces back somehow to the founding of a mathematical problems magazine by one of the 19th century Austro-Hungarian queens whose name escapes me for the moment — this is the movement that eventually blossomed into the Mathematical Olympiad. I don’t know if you want to take credit for Teller or not. –raypierre]

    Comment by Fernando Magyar — 18 Jun 2006 @ 8:11 AM

  134. AMO, the causal black box

    To say that the AMO is not, nor cannot ever be, connected to Arctic temperature rise, decreasing ice mass and ice cover, and rising CO2 and water level and temperature is to say that the AMO is a causal black box, not connected to anything, existing in its own meta-reality. And, I suspect, its supporters measure it in such causal isolation.

    Atlantic hurricane activity has been tied to this rarified view of the AMO. There is a lot at stake here both for the GW deniers as well for those who have spent lifetimes measuring the AMO as a statistically predictive event for hurricane activity.

    When this nut cracksâ?¦and it will crackâ?¦then the last nail will be driven into the coffin of the deniers. I hope we do not have to wait long. A lot is at stake.

    [Response: As far as I know, only Bill Gray is trying to use the AMO to explain away all of global warming (as opposed to just the hurricane effects). Even among skeptics, he’s in a minority. But I wouldn’t be too optimistic about the skeptics withering away once the AMO argument loses currency. I already notice the beginnings of a thundering stampede of skeptics towards the door marked “Global warming is real, but how do we know the impacts will be so bad?” I’m sure they can spin that argument out for another two or three decades unless politicians wake up and realize that they need to look at worst-case risks and not just certainties. This would put decision making about global warming on the same footing as most other political decisions, with the exception that the quality and depth of scientific input to the decision is far greater than in most decisions politicians are called on to make. –raypierre]

    Comment by Stormy — 18 Jun 2006 @ 10:44 AM

  135. The Dawkins ad on my blog was for An Ancestor’s Tale.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 18 Jun 2006 @ 12:40 PM

  136. Re:Response 133.
    Ray, you are most kind.

    Since I�m neither a mathematician nor a historian I did a little fact checking on Google.I believe you may be referring to Elisabeth of Wittelsbach who was the daughter of Duke Maximilian and the Duchess Ludovika.

    Though not of Hungarian Origin herself she was crowned Queen of Hungary in 1867. She was assassinated in 1898, so she would still have been queen during the period when Hungary first organized the Eotvos competitions circa 1894, which may have been sort of a precursor to the Mathematical Olympiads.

    Comment by Fernando Magyar — 18 Jun 2006 @ 6:03 PM

  137. #129, #132… Thanks for the correction, sometimes I write phonetically rather than paying attention to the finer details. #132, like the parallel with Einstein and Roosevelt.

    Is one reference, Hawkings doesn’t go into details, I think he understands the Physics of AGW though. I am a fan of Alfred Wegener because he theorized on optical effects which I recently filmed. Some of these effects are related to the thermal Gradient of the lower troposphere which may have something to do with GW.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 18 Jun 2006 @ 6:25 PM

  138. Perhaps wayne davidson (#129) was referring to this:

    Hawking Says Humans Must Go Into Space

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 18 Jun 2006 @ 8:12 PM

  139. GW denier Ronald Bailey is on the job. I haven’t looked at the details, but invite the staff here to in a post. People are already using this.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 18 Jun 2006 @ 8:26 PM

  140. raypierre, I won’t try to defend Teller from a moral standpoint, but I don’t think he ever denied the truth of basic science, although he did make some implausible technological claims. The bad guys this time don’t have anyone of Teller’s stature on their side, and I don’t see how that can change. On the other hand, science has fallen into such disrepute with the public (or maybe it’s just that the public has reached new levels of ignorance and apathy), at least in the United States, that Feynman’s death probably left us without a genuine scientific celebrity who can really help. Hawking is the closest thing, but I’m not sure his proposed solution of going to the moon can be called helpful. I would like to think that if, say, Murray Gell-Mann were to go around doing an Al Gore impersonation people would sit up and take notice, but I fear it would go unnoticed except by those who don’t need persuading. Still, it seemed like a good idea before I thought it through.

    On the question of Hungarians and mathematics: The Hungarian language is completely phonetic. The story goes that one of the Americans at Los Alamos asked one of the Hungarians why Hungarians are so good at mathematics, and the reply was “While you were studying spelling, we were studying mathematics”. I have my own theory, but I won’t bore you with it.

    [Response: I certainly agree with you that Teller was a first-rate scientist who never denied the basic workings of science; with regard to physics, he and Oppenheimer were in complete agreement, which constitutes a major difference with the situation of global warming denialists vs. the rest of the scientific community. Reading the Oppenheimer biography, it still struck me that there were some parallels between the nuclear policy debate of the mid 20th century and the global warming debate of the present one, which is why I brought up the subject (though I know I risk skating into hazardous territory here). Both are matters where science has a strong bearing on public policy, and both involved translating science into public policy and dealing with the consequences of technology. In the nuclear weapons policy case, when the side backing massive thermonuclear armament perceived that the public might feel the opponents had the better interpretation of the implications of the science on their side, they pro-armament crowd turned to discrediting the opponents (unpatriotic, commie, unreliable, etc.) rather than arguing on the basis of the science. Today, one of the techniques of the global warming denialists is to blur the distinction betweeen scientists and “environmentalists,” and try to paint all advocates of carbon emissions action as radical greens who want to wreck the economy, are irrational, and want a return to the Stone Age — the Green threat scare rather than the Red Threat scare of the 50’s. In the case of oppenheimer there were pet conservative reporters (Walter Winchell) who would carry water for Oppenheimer’s opponents, just as George Will, Robert Novak and basically all of Fox news have played their role in trying to discredit Hansen and the science behind global warming in general. It would be going way too far to try to make out Hansen as a latter-day Oppenheimer, but there are still enough parallels that I’m raising the question to see if there’s anything here worth thinking about. –raypierre]

    Comment by S Molnar — 18 Jun 2006 @ 9:51 PM

  141. re 120.

    Politicians and the public have been unable to accept the evidence on catastrophic global warming because of an absence of public education by the U.S. government. The agency with the responsibility and resources to do the job is not getting it done.
    ——– Original Message ——–
    Subject: Re: Kyoto Agreement, The Administration and recent news
    Resent-From: cr.climate@…
    Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2005 12:56:04 -0600 …
    FYI at:

    Comment by pat neuman — 18 Jun 2006 @ 10:05 PM

  142. The NOAA group has produced a “seasonal climate summary” addressing the 2005 hurricane season.

    So: what’s the real evidence for the multi-decadal oscillation? Are there reliable temperature proxies that can be used to extend the ocean temperature record in the Atlantic? How far back do the actual time series go? The proxy record?

    Comment by John — 19 Jun 2006 @ 4:04 AM

  143. In his book “the Last Generation” by Fred Pearce he tells a story of the amount of Carbon in the atmosphere. According to his book the atmosphere has seldom held more than 600 billion tonnes of free CO2 and humankind has added another 200 billion tonnes. He then proceeds to tell us that 850 billion tonnes of free CO2 is quite serious and with the accumulation of 4 billion additional tonnes per annum (7 billion in actuality but 45 % is absorbed by the oceans etc) and we can see that in 12 years it could spell big trouble for spaceship earth. Apparantly 1 trillion tonnes is really serious and that is going to be achieved “with the business as usual attitude” by around by the year to 2060.

    Personally I do not believe that humankind knows what to do about climate change. We have all become affulent and greedy and life with cars, planes, aircon and central hearting has become so cool and wonderful we do not want to give it up at any cost. All governments do not want to commit to anything unless all other Governments do and hence we have a major problem.

    Climate scientists tell us 65% cuts required and Governments have agreed 5% (the USA has not even done that !!).

    Potential serious climate change is going to happen. Sites like tell me it is anyway.

    Comment by pete best — 19 Jun 2006 @ 10:45 AM

  144. re 141.

    Subject An interview to avoid


    Friday January 30, 2004….
    NOAA Public Affairs has asked the regional PA reps to forward the
    following to all our field offices. Just in case there is any
    problem in the attachment transferring, let me give a summary.

    A Canadian production company listing itself as SCETV and Stonehaven
    Production Services, Inc., has contacted the National Hurricane
    Center and the NOAA Partners operation in Norman to do interviews on
    global warming for a planned special on PBS. E-mail contacts have
    been made by a Michael Morein for “The Climate Program.”

    The company is actually looking for a NOAA scientist to go on record
    stating that hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather are
    worse and more numerous because of global warming. They haven’t had
    any luck yet and are expected to keep contacting NWS and NOAA offices.

    Any Central Region personnel contacted by Mr. Morein other
    representatives of Stonehaven Productions or The Climate Program or
    irate producers are asked to forward the query to Scott Smullen,
    deputyr director of NOAA Public Affairs 202-482-6090. Do not grant
    interviews with this company.

    Complete message at

    Comment by pat neuman — 19 Jun 2006 @ 12:07 PM

  145. #141 Pat don�t know if it is strictly a case of lack of education as there are a whole lot more graduates out there.

    There seems to be a strange form of peer pressure where completely out of their depth well-funded apparatchiks work on a misguided, misleading PR campaign aimed at electing like-minded politicians against AGW theory. It is rather a political problem, which has been trying to mix itself with science personalities, albeit with those who agree with the politicians. However, Stephen Hawking sent a message that we need to be as wise as the science we’ve created, or the moon might eventually be a nicer place. This message is for all who live on this planet, to be wise enough to recognize the correct science.

    But to reverse this strange quagmire where a few contrarian scientists overtake the majority, a whole lot more scientists than Dr Hansen and RC guys must speak out openly with conviction and explain the fundamentals of AGW or to at least warn about not controlling GHG emissions, grace and patient explanations eventually always out do nonsense. An overwhelming number of well known scientists tackling this issue will trickle down a better understanding to everyone, this would eventually kick in to most media producers that its not a 50/50 debate but rather a 95% consensus against a 5% small group of contrarians enjoying TV exposure, the money and attention their stance attracts.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 19 Jun 2006 @ 1:22 PM

  146. Re #113:

    “Obviously the effect of melting sea-ice is to lower sea levels [since water is more dense than ice], but I wouldn’t have thought that this effect would be confined to the Arctic region.”

    Well, actually, Archimedes noticed that a solid body floating in a liquid displaces its own weight of liquid. If the solid body is ice — sea ice or an iceberg — its melting will simply produce enough water to fill the hole in the water that the sub-surface part of the ice was occupying. No change in sea level (other than the rise in sea level when a grounded glacier calves an iceberg into the ocean.

    Re Hungarians:

    It is well-known that Hungarians and Finns are descendants of a race of extra-terrestrials — explaining their preternatural accomplishments in science, mathematics, music, chess, and athletics.

    There is a story that when the Finns and the Magyars were moving west out of Siberia, they got to far-eastern Europe and decided to split all their possessions and take off in different directions. They also split the language. The Finns got the vowels and the Hungarians got the consonants.

    Jim Dukelow

    Comment by Jim Dukelow — 19 Jun 2006 @ 1:36 PM

  147. Re: 126, etc: Why the US (and Canada) is so committed to technological solutions:

    James Kunstler has been touring, promoting his new book _The_Long_Emergency. His argument is: we (society, government) are responsible for the greatest misallocation of resources in history, specifically suburbs and the auto, and all that goes with them. In his view, society will change, radically and messily, as the price of oil increases. This site is not about Peak Oil, and I think we better choose to stop burning fossil fuels long before they run out.

    However, think about how our cheap-energy culture is essential to the very structure of our society, and you can see the reasons for denial and resistance. What US political party is going to stand up and say, “We need to design cities that work without cars, and that are close to all the resources they need for their populace to survive?” Imagine trying to implement that. Given the current will of the US public, there would be a revolution. Whether you’re arguing for the change because you think the oil is running out or because we’re killing the planet, people want “leaders” to tell them what they want to hear. Anyone here on the Atkins (or pretty much any) diet?

    Step 1: Show people the plain, unvarnished, and sometimes unclear truth.

    Comment by Brian Gordon — 19 Jun 2006 @ 2:14 PM

  148. RE: #126 – What I foresee is a twofer. Simultaneously, densification of existing “established” sprawl (especially the stuff from 1930 – 1960) particularly in coastal urban areas, and, the continued establishment of exurbs, which will become increasingly detached from any current connurbations. Internet based working will free people from commuting for all but physical / manufacturing / boutique small businesses / low cost retail ala Wal Mart jobs and commerce. At some point, the newer edge suburbs will become non viable. The exurbs will morph into quasi rural small to mid sized cities. The nodal network pattern, not entirely dissimilar to what evolved in Europe in the Middle Ages, seems highly likely.

    Comment by Steve Sadlov — 19 Jun 2006 @ 2:35 PM

  149. RE – The great bearded one’s comments in # 134. I really don’t think it’s appropriate to couch these debates in terms of bad or good. The overarching question would be, what would have been the characteristics of climate variation if Man had never arose and what will be those characteristics given that Man has? If you can answer the latter or even, for that matter, the former, then I’ll be the first to submit your name for a Nobel Prize.

    Comment by Steve Sadlov — 19 Jun 2006 @ 2:46 PM

  150. Re 69 – This “article” is showing up everywhere to slam the science in Gore’s doc:

    It’s written by a mechanical engineer who works for a small PR firm in Ottawa.

    People think its a piece of real journalism because most of the places where it has been posted do not carry the full byline, the original newspaper did that much at least.

    Comment by Steve — 19 Jun 2006 @ 6:00 PM

  151. Re #147: I think social issues are fair game up to a point on RealClimate (but I’ll shut up about them if the proprietors disagree), and the problem of peak oil is relevant to the false dichotomy question. Some people who are waivering over their commitment to ameliorate global warming might become more reasonable when they realize that business as usual would not be an option for long even in the absence of warming. If big changes are coming anyway, why not start them soon and do them right? This argument might not persuade many, but small gains are better than nothing. I’m not sure I would cite James Kunstler on this, though, since his polemical style (which I personally enjoy) can be offputting.

    Comment by S Molnar — 19 Jun 2006 @ 6:48 PM

  152. Re: 147
    I see no evidence for the idea that the U.S. public is deeply committed to urban sprawl. As I outlined in #126, urban sprawl was ostensibly imposed on the public. European and Japanese cities are much more highly compact than U.S. urban zones, and they have no political problems resulting from this. In contrast, it could be argued that the U.S. government was compelled to engage itself in two Persian Gulf wars due to the U.S. economy’s high oil dependency. With 5 percent of the global population the U.S. consumes 25 percent of the world’s petroleum production. Over half of this is used for automobiles.

    Comment by George A. Gonzalez — 19 Jun 2006 @ 7:21 PM

  153. The AGU published a report on “Hurricanes and the U.S. Gulf Coast: Science and Sustainable Rebuilding” (see here). A paragraph on hurricane prediction says:

    “There currently is insufficient skill in empirical predictions of the number and intensity of storms in the forthcoming hurricane season. Predictions by statistical methods that are widely distributed also show little skill, being more often wrong than right. Advanced global models are beginning to show some ability to predict seasonal characteristics. Examples include the coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models used in extended prediction by Meteo-France, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), and the UK Meteorological Office. On 1 May 2005, the Meteo-France model predicted 22 named tropical storms and hurricanes for the 2005 hurricane season in the North Atlantic. On 1 June the ECMWF and the UK Met Office integrations were showing similar results. What was extraordinary about these forecasts was that their predictions, some months in advance of the hurricanes, were two standard deviations above the already elevated 1995â��2004 mean. These models also forecast a reduced number of storms for the northwestern Pacific during the same period. In hindcast mode these three models have outperformed statistical forecasts over the previous 10-year period of elevated storm activity. Yet despite these successes and the clear promise of the techniques, no operational model within NOAA is making extended range forecasts with climate models.”

    On 16 May 2005 the NOAA outlook was for 12-15 named storms, and on 31 May 2005 the Colorado State University (Gray & Klotzbach) outlook was for 15 named storms. The 2005 Atlantic season ended with 28 (sub)tropical storms.

    Comment by Henk Lankamp — 19 Jun 2006 @ 7:35 PM

  154. #151.

    “On 16 May 2005 the NOAA outlook was for 12-15 named storms, and on 31 May 2005 the Colorado State University (Gray & Klotzbach) outlook was for 15 named storms. The 2005 Atlantic season ended with 28 (sub) tropical storms.”

    Not impressive predictions, yet Gray et al. are considered top-notch hurricane forecasters. There must be some other reasons why they are so much respected, although I have not heard it yet. Perhaps they have not considered other forecasts which predicted 2005 as warmest year in history, their failures was attached to their AMO isolationist belief that GT’s are irrelevant.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 19 Jun 2006 @ 9:10 PM

  155. re 153:
    Do the Europeans have forcasts for this year?

    Comment by cwmagee — 19 Jun 2006 @ 10:47 PM

  156. Media darlings are often scientific embarrassments.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 20 Jun 2006 @ 12:45 AM

  157. Re #153 And what, may I ask, are the relevant (European) prognostications for the current season?

    Comment by Gareth — 20 Jun 2006 @ 6:02 AM

  158. James Titus, EPA project manager for sea level rise, wrote an article in 2000 titled “Does the U.S. Government Realize That the Sea Is Rising?â�� When the journalist Cornelia Dean called him for a NY Times article (â��Next Victim of Warming: The Beachesâ�� June 20, 2006), Mr. Titus said he was no longer allowed to discuss such issues publicly. He referred questions to the agency’s press office, which would not allow him to speak about it on the record. How is it that we have come to this, that American citizens tolerate this blatant muzzling of public debate?

    A coastal engineer is quoted in the article as saying that â��he does not foresee the kind of sea level rise predicted by the (IPCC).â�� If he had to, he would bet that the 21st century sea level rise would be no greater that the 20th century rise. He predicts that â��engineers will be able to hold 99 percent of the Florida shoreline.” This while Floridians are not only preparing for the 2006 hurricane season, but still trying to recover from 2005 and 2004 hurricane damage. Denial not just a right-wing think tank product, it is deep in the heart of the economic and political system.

    Comment by Michael Seward — 20 Jun 2006 @ 7:03 AM

  159. I think the point about hurricane season outlooks is whether or not they show skill over climatology. Which they do. Unfortunately too much emphasis is made on the specific number of named storms. What is more important is whether more storms are likely in a given year as compared to climatology.

    Comment by Dan — 20 Jun 2006 @ 7:05 AM

  160. Re: 144. 141.

    Questions about authority within NHC, NWS and NOAA

    The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is under the authority of (National Weather Service) NWS headquarters. NWS is under NOAA headquarters. The NOAA administrator is a political appointee. In past years, NWS did not answer directly to NOAA and DOC administrators, which seems to have changed in recent years. NWS and NHC now seem to answer directly to NOAA (and DOC?). NWS was created in 1870 (originally called the Signal Service, 100 years before the umbrella agency called NOAA was created). Today there are about 120 National Weather Service Offices and thousands of volunteer cooperative weather observers. I was proud to say that I was a NWS employee for most of my career, until the recent years and now. Now I’m not proud, to say I’m a NWS retiree (30 years).

    Comment by pat neuman — 20 Jun 2006 @ 8:42 AM

  161. There are only two days left to comment on a review of NOAA’s hurricane forcasting …is anyone here participating??? I hope so.

    From Union of Concerned Scientists:
    “An external review of NOAAâ??s Hurricane Intensity Research and Development Enterprise has been released for public comment. The NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB) announced the availability of the preliminary report of the SAB Hurricane Intensity Research Working Groupâ??s (HIRWG) external review for public comment. The report can be found at

    The Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere requested the SAB to conduct an external review of NOAA’s hurricane intensity research and development enterprise. Details on the reportâ??s draft recommendations are appended below. â??The report recommends that NOAA strengthen its efforts to develop numerical models which incorporate essential physics and have sufficient resolution to resolve hurricane structure. The essential physics includes full representation of clouds and a much improved representation of the exchanges of heat, moisture, and momentum at the atmosphere-ocean surface. Development of these representations will require extensive analysis of data from carefully planned field studies using both traditional airborne and ground-based observing systems and novel observing platforms such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.â??
    The report is open for comment until 5pm (EST) on June 23, 2006. Email comments are encouraged Directions for postal mail are below. When submitting comments, include: your name(s), organization(s), area(s) of expertise, mailing address(es), telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address(es).
    Deadline: 5 pm (EST) June 23, 2006

    About forcasting, I found this link to June 6th, 2006 hurricane season forcast from UCL, UK

    Comment by Tonya — 20 Jun 2006 @ 3:46 PM

  162. I know it is late in coming, but as per request from Stephen Berg way up thread, I have a brief response to that Tom Harris article in CanadaFreePress here:

    Comment by Coby — 20 Jun 2006 @ 11:08 PM

  163. Small follow up:

    Stephen Hawking elaborated on his Global Warming warning, this from AP on the web a few moments ago:;_ylt=AuBqGfx2Cn.VNIKwUceu5SGmG78C;_ylu=X3oDMTA2ZGZwam4yBHNlYwNmYw–

    Comment by wayne davidson — 21 Jun 2006 @ 11:18 PM

  164. None of NOAA’s National Weather Service staff were at the “Looking for Leadership – A Global Warming Colloquium” in St. Paul last night, nor were any other federal or state “leaders” present at the meeting. Thus, unlike a public release today in Wisconsin on air quality, there was not a “cooperative effort involving the National Weather Service, public, community organizations, the media … and other state and federal agencies” – on climate change and global warming.

    Comment by pat neuman — 22 Jun 2006 @ 9:32 PM

  165. You’ve got a typo in your Sriver and Huber URL: missing h in https.
    Should be:


    Comment by John S. Quarterman — 24 Jun 2006 @ 8:17 AM

  166. I’m a lay person and just wanting to understand this criticism.

    #159:”Unfortunately too much emphasis is made on the specific number of named storms. What is more important is whether more storms are likely in a given year as compared to climatology.”

    In other words, whether a prediction that works with apparent forcing factors gives a usefully more accurate picture of seasonal.

    The specific number of named storms is a prediction that gives lay administrators a palpable measure: in other words, it isn’t expected to tightly couple issues of overall climate, but rather to provide direction to people who must react. The first thing the weatherman does (the weatherman is the lay-person’s number-one educator, and often slips in some key aspects of the actual science), talking about the coming/current season is talk about named storms. I knew from watching the local news that this year was predicted to have somewhere on the order of 14 named storms … only shortly (few months) after the last season. Overall, I expect a storm-season that is ~60% as bad as last year â�� that’s still hella bad, but in a way it is comforting. And overall, given the peaks in “named storms” over the unadjusted global tempertures, I know it can fall far below or aboe that in a given year so, things could be much better (or, alas, worse). Anyway, that’s my approximation of what a layperson gets from the reports.

    It has nothing to do, particularly, about the model or models in use, the nature of climate in general, or anything else. When looking at a Hurricane Seasonal Outlook report, what should I be seeing, and why is the particulars of any model relevant at this level?

    Comment by Robbie Collins — 28 Jun 2006 @ 5:45 PM

  167. […] GW link avoidance continued […]

    Pingback by Understanding Global Warming « Understanding Global Warming — 30 Dec 2007 @ 3:48 AM

  168. […] GW link avoidance continued […]

    Pingback by The Future of Earth’s Climate « Understanding Global Warming — 17 Mar 2009 @ 8:01 PM

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Close this window.

0.993 Powered by WordPress