RealClimate logo

Unforced Variations: Sep 2017

Filed under: — group @ 1 September 2017

This month’s open thread…. and let’s stay on climate topics this month. It’s not like there isn’t anything climate-y to talk about (sea ice minimums, extreme events, climate model tunings, past ‘hyperthermals’… etc.). Anything too far off-topic will get binned. Thanks!

399 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Sep 2017”

  1. 51
    Mal Adapted says:

    John Kelly:

    Special thanks to Professors Curry and Christy for starting my education. You see, I read a Washington Post article about climate experts’ opinions on record temperatures, and their comments were roughly (paraphrasing) that the high temps weren’t confirmed by satellite measurements. I didn’t understand. That started a search that first landed me on the AIP site and then sent me here. The AIP site stunned me, as I realized climate science was based on a deep foundation of discoveries, theories and revisions as new evidence developed.

    Thanks for your credible attestation, Mr. Kelly. I for one am glad to know that AIP has served its vital role once again.

    All the information a genuine skeptic needs to understand the scientific case for AGW is accessible with a few clicks. If only there were more genuine skeptics like yourself 8^(!

  2. 52
    Mr. Know It All says:

    27 & 31 jgnfld and TPP85

    Whether recent hurricanes were caused by global warming is irrelevant. That isn’t the real debate. The real debate is: IF there is global warming – what is causing it – AGW fans say it is human caused; skeptics say it is just another of thousands of climate cycles that the earth constantly experiences.

  3. 53
    barry says:

    Re Hurricane Harvey:

    Can’t begin without reflecting on the hardship and fatalities. I don’t know how to analyse that.

    On the technical side, it’s worth revisiting a list of key points about hurricanes produced by an international panel of experts in 2006.

    I’ve a question for better-informed people on these points…

    1. Though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point.

    2. No individual tropical cyclone can be directly attributed to climate change.

    3. The recent increase in societal impact from tropical cyclones has largely been caused by rising concentrations of population and infrastructure in coastal regions.

    4. Tropical cyclone wind-speed monitoring has changed dramatically over the last few decades, leading to difficulties in determining accurate trends.

    5. There is an observed multi-decadal variability of tropical cyclones in some regions whose causes, whether natural, anthropogenic or a combination, are currently being debated. This variability makes detecting any long-term trends in tropical cyclone activity difficult.

    6. It is likely that some increase in tropical cyclone peak wind-speed and rainfall will occur if the climate continues to warm. Model studies and theory project a 3-5% increase in wind-speed per degree Celsius increase of tropical sea surface temperatures.

    7. There is an inconsistency between the small changes in wind-speed projected by theory and modeling versus large changes reported by some observational studies.

    8. Although recent climate model simulations project a decrease or no change in global tropical cyclone numbers in a warmer climate, there is low confidence in this projection. In addition, it is unknown how tropical cyclone tracks or areas of impact will change in the future.

    9. Large regional variations exist in methods used to monitor tropical cyclones. Also, most regions have no measurements by instrumented aircraft. These significant limitations will continue to make detection of trends difficult.

    10. If the projected rise in sea level due to global warming occurs, then the vulnerability to tropical cyclone storm surge flooding would increase.

    Q: I’m aware of individual studies and authors (eg Kerry Emanuel) coming up with different conclusions more recently, but WRT to broad expert opinion, has much changed about this list over the last decade?

    As others have pointed out, Harvey’s occurrence cannot be attributed to global warming. No individual weather event can be. But Harvey’s water content, intensity, and flooding impact may well have been influenced by global warming, which changes the probability distribution of factors relating – SST rise, sea level rise, atmospheric water vapour increase – and thus the characteristics of the storm. From what I’ve read the MSM, where it has made this connection, has laid out the context appropriately, though without sufficient rendering of the technical uncertainties (cf Michael Mann’s article). Looks to me like the messaging gets priority on the second bit. But I never know where Sherwood’s line between hard facts and mindful urgency should be.

    @ 31
    Number 3 on the list of key points:

    3. The recent increase in societal impact from tropical cyclones has largely been caused by rising concentrations of population and infrastructure in coastal regions.

    It is very difficult to control for various factors relating to damage costs over time from hurricanes: population growth, urban development etc. From more recent studies I’ve read, extracting unbiased data has not yet been done successfully enough to determine a climatically based trend. World cyclone expert Kerry Emanuel (in 2006, mind):

    There is a huge upward trend in hurricane damage in the U.S., but all or almost all of this is due to increasing coastal population and building in hurricane-prone areas. When this increase in population and wealth is accounted for, there is no discernible trend left in the hurricane damage data. Nor would we expect to see any, in spite of the increase in global hurricane power. The reason is a simple matter of statistics: There are far too few hurricane landfalls to be able to discern any trend. Consider that, up until Katrina, Hurricane Andrew was the costliest hurricane in U.S. history. But it occurred in an inactive year; there were only 7 hurricanes and tropical storms. Data on U.S. landfalling storms is only about 2 tenths of one percent of data we have on global hurricanes over their whole lifetimes. Thus while we can already detect trends in data for global hurricane activity considering the whole life of each storm, we estimate that it would take at least another 50 years to detect any long-term trend in U.S. landfalling hurricane statistics, so powerful is the role of chance in these numbers.

  4. 54
    barry says:

    But I never know where Sherwood’s line between hard facts and mindful urgency should be.

    That refers to Stephen Schneider, not Sherwood. I winced when I realized the mistake, as Schneider was personally known to some of the contributors/participants here.

  5. 55
    wili says:

    We seem to be rather swamped by trolls and ‘strough’ men ‘-)

    My comment on the general situation:

  6. 56
    Brian Dodge says:

    Evidence for a wavier jet stream in response to rapid Arctic warming, Jennifer A Francis and Stephen J Vavrus
    “We find robust relationships among seasonal and regional patterns of weaker poleward thickness gradients, weaker zonal upper-level winds, and a more meridional flow direction. These results

    suggest that as the Arctic continues to warm faster than elsewhere in response to rising greenhouse-gas concentrations, the frequency of extreme weather events caused by persistent jet-stream

    patterns will increase.” That is an observed change in climate; Arrhenious predicted faster warming in the Arctic fom increased CO2

    in 1897.
    “GULF OF MEXICO… The primary concern for the Gulf of Mexico is Hurricane Harvey that has made landfall and continues impacting SE Texas with winds and very heavy rains. The ridging that has

    been steering Harvey has begun to break down and Harvey is slowing down. This weak steering environment is expected to remain in place for at least the next several days, so Harvey is forecast to

    remain over or near SE Texas during this time. The SE side of Harvey is expected to remain over water and allow Harvey to continue generating winds and very heavy rains along the Texas and

    Louisiana Coasts”.Google’s cache of It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Aug 26, 2017 20:23:22

    Weather events are not independent random events for which we can only assign probabilities, but are chaotic events embedded in a climate context. The wave coming off the coast of Africa that pushed the warm moist air over the ocean into convective activity that developed into Hurricane Irma was itself triggered by some previous event. The wind patterns and energy moved from the oceanto the atmosphere and the land by latent heat taken up and released from Harvey have altered the energy content of the surface water of the Gulf of Mexico, and if Irma transits that area her response will be different from what it would have been absent Harvey. And Harvey would not have happened absent the Arctic amplification that has occurred over the last thirty years of global warming.

  7. 57
    Jon Kirwan says:

    #30 CCHolley kirjoitti:
    Scott Strough @#9

    Hurricane Harvey was NOT, I repeat NOT a climate change event… Hurricane Harvey was a weather event. Climate change events take 30+ years or more to even begin to happen. You guys start jumping on that bandwagon and it will surely backfire on you.

    When did climate change actually begin, what exactly will these *climate change events* be and how will we know that they’ve actually arrived?

    Suppose you know for a fact that a casino is rigging the dice (you have personal knowledge because you know some of the ways they rig the dice and you’ve observed it from time to time.) You are similarly sure that they rig them more and more as time goes by. But they do so very slowly, because statistics are in their favor and they don’t need to rush it.

    Now, I take you into that casino where the craps table has been running for some time before and I ask you a similar question: “When did the rigging of the dice on the table actually begin, what exactly will these *rigged rolls of the dice* be and how will we know that rigged rolls have actually arrived?” And I ask this in a way that makes you sure that I seriously doubt your specific knowledge and that I’m questioning your integrity and sincerity.

    The point here is that the rigging is only demonstrated through the application of theory, rigorous models derived to specifics, and observation. The question that asks for a specific time when the rigging started is pointless. And you know it is. One might be able to show some degree of probability, through an agreed upon set of principles and observations, that it occurred earlier than some moment perhaps. But the question isn’t relevant to the idea that the dice are rigged and being increasingly rigged as time goes by. It doesn’t really matter when. The question that asks what the exact rolls of the dice will be is even more pointless. One doesn’t prove that the dice are rigged by seeing box-cars show up. Nor snake-eyes. Finally, the question that asks how you will know the rigged rolls have occurred is equally silly.

    It’s shown over time using theory, rigorous models derived to situational specifics, and observation.

    Get a grip and start thinking for yourself.

  8. 58
  9. 59
    JCH says:

    This was written before Hurricane Harvey by the engineers at the Harris County Flood Control District. They are clearly describing a change in the severity of Houston area flooding starting with Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. My wife and I were house hunting in Houston when Allison hit, and we experienced in person much of the change these engineers are describing:


    Harris County suffered through 16 major floods from 1836 to 1936, some of which crested at more than 40 feet, turning downtown Houston streets into raging rivers. After the tremendously destructive floods of 1929 and 1935, however, citizens clamored for solutions. Estimated property damage in 1929 was $1.4 million, a staggering sum at the time. Losses more than doubled in 1935, when seven people were killed and the Port of Houston was crippled for months – its docks submerged, its channel clogged with tons of mud and wreckage, its railroad tracks uprooted. Twenty-five blocks of the downtown business district were inundated, as well as 100 residential blocks. If ever there was a county in need of flood assistance, this was it.


    Politically, the timing couldn’t have been better. All across America during the 1920s and ’30s, the federal government was financing huge water infrastructure projects, damming great rivers at a pace no previous civilization could have imagined – converting deserts to fertile farmland with irrigation in the West, submerging farmland in the East to create reservoirs for power. Major projects were funded through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which for years employed the nation’s only civil engineering experts. Houston’s commercial future hinged on its ability to tap into this federal machine, but it needed a local agency to serve as a sponsor.


    On April 23,1937, after local leaders submitted a petition with dramatic photographs of past flood devastation, the 45th Texas Legislature unanimously passed the bill which created the Harris County Flood Control District.


    Since the District’s creation, and despite a history of successful flood damage reduction projects and progress throughout Harris County, close to 30 damaging floods have occurred in the area, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in just under 70 years. However, after the 1940’s, the Harris County area did not suffer what would be considered a widespread, regional flood, that is, until June 2001.


    Tropical Storm Allison suddenly formed 80 miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas, on Tuesday, June 5, 2001, no one expected that, five days later, it would go on record as one of the most devastating rain events in the history of the United States. Neither historical data nor weather forecasts could adequately predict this extraordinary storm that, before leaving the area, would dump as much as 80 percent of the area’s average annual rainfall over much of Harris County, simultaneously affecting more than 2 million people. When the rains finally eased, Allison had left Harris County, Texas, with 22 fatalities, 95,000 damaged automobiles and trucks, 73,000 damaged residences, 30,000 stranded residents in shelters, and over $5 billion in property damage in its wake. Leaving 31 counties with declared disasters in Texas, Allison went on to spread disaster declarations to Louisiana (25 parishes), Florida (nine counties), Mississippi (5 counties) and Pennsylvania (2 counties). Allison was the costliest tropical storm in the history of the United States.

    The storms – hurricanes, tropical storms, thunderstorms (Ike, Allison, Memorial Day Flood, Tax-Day Flood) – are stalling on the Gulf Coast. They are clearly saying for 60 years the flooding infrastructure was sufficient, and that it became insufficient in 2001. And, despite 100s of millions in spending since Allison, it still is not sufficient.

  10. 60
    MA Rodger says:

    Thomas @43,
    Now RC Unforced Variations is hoping to cut all the non-climatey waffle that had choked previous month’s comment threads, perhaps it is time for me to relent and stop ignoring you with the comment you provide here.
    Concerning the impact of AGW on the ENSO, some months ago you questioned me on whether there was “any confirmation by climate scientists that El Nino has not, can not be, boosted” by AGW while suggesting such a link was being overlooked. I responded by showing the link was not being overlooked but that there was no ‘confirmation’ either way. A few months later, you chose to ‘remind’ me of this question of yours with a rather garbled account of it and now @43 you repeat the question as though it was not ever answered. I would thus remind you of my responses @236 & @254 of the Oct 2016 UfV thread.
    I would also politely point out to you that within the first page of comments on this Septrmber UfV thread, by word-count and by comment-number, 26% of them are “Thomas says” comments, an input which I consider is rather excessive for one who has such a poor grasp of the subject. Of course, we can be thankful for small mercies that the really gargantuan comments we once had to scroll past have ceased and hopefully you will now be restricting your comment to things climatey and brief. And maybe we can look forward to a better grasp!

  11. 61
    MA Rodger says:

    Thomas @19,
    It is good that you could comfirm that it is Peter D Ward the paleontologist you were refencing @2. Now all we need is the reference to his position on the drivers of the PETM, the place where “Um, isn’t that what Peter said himself back when … ?” Myself, I am no Peter-expert but he does say of the PETM drivers in this interview that the PETM “was caused almost entirely by methane.” So, contrary to your assertions @2, it doesn’t appear that the findings of Gutjahr et al (2017) immediately “confirm/support Peter Ward et al about this issue,” as Gutjahr et al find that “the dominant carbon source during PETM onset had a comparatively heavy carbon isotope ratio, strongly implicating volcanism in triggering and driving the event” and in my understanding methane as a GHG is not a major output of volcanism. But Thomas, I am no Peter-expert like you so I look forward to your Peter reference.

  12. 62
    Dan Miller says:

    Jim Hansen, et al, did a great study showing that average summer temperatures that are 3 standard deviations (“3-sigma”) above the 1951-1980 baseline have increased over 100X since the baseline period. See Figure 6 – top.

    During the baseline period (for the Northern Hemisphere) the probability of a 3-sigma summer was 0.1%. In the 2005-2015 period it was 14.5%. This means when there is a 3-sigma summer now, the chances that it is caused by climate change is >99%. Note that this dramatic change applies to the extremes (the “tail” of the curve), not the average summer.

    I’m wondering if anyone has done a similar study for extreme rain events. We know that “500-year” rain events are common now, but has anyone quantified it like Hansen has done for temperatures?

  13. 63

    Tone troll 36: to badmouth and sneer at skeptics, calling them science deniers, just causes them to dig their heels in deeper.

    BPL: How much deeper could they get? The Earth’s mantle?

    Skeptics repeatedly call climate scientists frauds and liars. Many scientists have run into intimidation, ranging from displayed nooses through threats to gang-rape children to eviscerated animals left on porches. These are not rational people who can be reached with a little kindness. The science deniers should be called what they are–science deniers. They deny science, duh. That’s how they got the name.

  14. 64

    Th 44: Have you been briefed on the psychological term ‘anally retentive’ BPL? Look it up.

    BPL: Well, you’re in high form today, aren’t you Thomas? Have you been briefed on the psychological term “Abrasive Personality Disorder?” Look it up. And meanwhile, why don’t you STFU.

  15. 65

    KIA 52: The real debate is: IF there is global warming

    BPL: There is, and you’d have to be a complete science ignoramus to doubt it at this point. The evidence fills libraries, not to mention the streets of Houston, Miami, and Norfolk.

  16. 66
  17. 67
    CCHolley says:

    Mr. KIA @36

    They have a legitimate argument – just because it is not based on the physics of CO2 does not make it illegitimate.

    No. *They* have no argument, legitimate or otherwise. And you most certainly have never come close to providing any legitimate arguments. Never. Just tired old debunked *denier* memes invented by false skeptics.

    Believers do it regularly and have politicized and polarized the debate by repeatedly insulting skeptics.)

    The politicizing and the polarization of AGW came about due to the mis-information campaign of the fossil fuel industry and their buying of Republican politicians. The insulting began with the baseless attacks on Michael Mann and Ben Santer, not visa versa.

  18. 68
    CCHolley says:

    Scott Strough @33

    Thank you for your clarification. I misunderstood your original post.

  19. 69
    CCHolley says:

    Jon Kirwan @57

    Get a grip and start thinking for yourself.

    I think you totally missed my point. But thanks for your response.

  20. 70
    CCHolley says:

    Mr. KIA @52

    IF there is global warming – what is causing it – AGW fans say it is human caused; skeptics say it is just another of thousands of climate cycles that the earth constantly experiences.

    Amazing that after all the time you spend trolling this site with all the pertinent references provided to you, that you are still so clueless as to the science.

  21. 71
    TPP85 says:

    Out in the Atlantic Ocean, Sandy was the most energetic tropical cyclone in history, thanks to its massive wind field.

    Harvey marks the most extreme rain event in U.S. history

    Katrina the fourth most intense Atlantic hurricane on record at the time, only to be surpassed by Hurricanes Rita and Wilma later in the season; it was also the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico at the time

    And of course, hundreds (not tens, sorry) of billions of losses are due mainly to the increase of population?

    Let’s try another region… western side of Mexico?
    Hurricane Patricia, 2015, was the second-most intense tropical cyclone on record worldwide.

    I am not from US but we should keep an eye on Irma…

  22. 72
    Mal Adapted says:

    <a href="

    “>Mr. Ironically Anosognosic Typist:

    skeptics say it is just another of thousands of climate cycles that the earth constantly experiences.

    Mr. IAT, whose resolute conspiracism can’t be reasoned out of him because he didn’t arrive at it by reason, lets his unwarranted confidence in his own scientific abilities fool him; IOW, he conspicuously displays the Dunning-Kruger effect. He and his fellow conspiracist AGW-deniers are not skeptics but merely pseudo-skeptics.

    Genuine skeptics who are not working climate scientists know they are incompetent to judge the evidence for AGW themselves. They recognize the importance of peer review in science, because “the first rule is you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool” (Feynman). A genuine skeptic distinguishes between fake experts and actual climate scientists, who are expert by virtue of their rigorous training, scientific ability as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications, and participation in reciprocal peer review.

    A genuinely skeptical non-expert knows that consensus is crucial to scientific progress. He knows that disciplined scientists rely on other specialists in their subject to keep them from fooling themselves; and that the larger the majority of their peers forming the consensus, the more likely the holdouts are to be fooling themselves. A genuine skeptic who is unwilling to put the time and effort in to become an expert himself, acknowledges his only honest choice is to tentatively and conditionally accept the lopsided expert consensus, until it is verifiably less lopsided; whereupon he suspends judgement while a new consensus forms.

    If Mr. IAT were a genuine skeptic, he’d recognize that any claims ongoing global warming is not caused by the large-scale anthropogenic transfer of fossil carbon from geologic sequestration to the climatically active pool are extraordinary, placing the burden on self-styled ‘skeptics’ to produce extraordinary evidence. Of course, after two centuries of progress in climate science, that’s increasingly unlikely; but hey, pigs might fly!

    Maybe, but I’m not investing my savings in large, sturdy umbrellas.

  23. 73
    Mal Adapted says:

    Please remove my ill-formed link to Mr. IAT’s comment, as well as the first open-blockquote tag. TIA 8^(!

  24. 74
    Killian says:

    #578 nigelj said Killian @546 and 565 I can go along with identifying basic needs, but your version of sustainability sounds like a reversion to primitive societies, with poor quality of life. Not much different to a struggling subsistence farmer. Sorry to be a kill joy, and please appreciate I’m being devils advocate a bit.

    I don’t care about your Devil’s advocacy, I care about your ignorant and pejorative language. What something sounds like to the ignorant man who is trying not at all to understand has no meaningful use.

    Remember there’s a difference between hunter gatherers who had quite a good life in some ways, and farming culture! Crack open an anthropology text.

    Crack open your brain and think. It’s not as if we have learned nothing over the last 40k years.

    Your ideas are also like hippie communes

    If one is ignorant. And, sorry, but there are long-functioning eco-villages all over the world, as well as truly sustainable societies. But let’s take your biased ignorance over reality because, well, you say so.

    And theres nothing to suggest it all wont evolve back into capitalism.

    Nah. Nothing but the premise all this is based on, rapid climate change and diminishing resources. You’re right: Those should be solved by Tuesday next.

    Low income communities also have high infant mortality so high population growth, defeating the whole purpose of reducing environmental problems.

    Low income has no meaning in a regenerative community.

    Don’t think you can just add on some modern health care as a sort of package, picking and choosing what bits of

    Societies cannot prioritize resource use? Just stop talking…

    your hated modern society you want to keep.

    You are a fundamentally unintelligent man, it seems. We have been over this many times.

    And I just don’t think people will want to give up private property, not in modern societies.

    Oh, my god! I never thought of that! Nobody ever has, you genius!

    Its been tried and failed.

    Truly ignorant. It has been tried and *is still working.* Transitioning a modern society back to what I propose has also been tried *and is still succeeding.* What YOU think I mean, but do not mean, is just so much rubbish.

    And the essence of capitalism is private ownership, so unless this changes you are stuck with capitalism.

    The logic of a rock. “People like this, so there can never be anything else.”

    But I have no problem with private property combined with regenerative farming ideas, public ownership of some basic assets, etc.

    How big of you. You approve of a suicidal society.

    nigelj, you are a denialist. To claim concern for climate changes but advocate for the opposite of solutions and constantly misrepresent what others say whose concepts are fully in line with solving climate…? Where have we seen that before. It worked for a while, but you’re done now. Were there an ignore or block option, you earned it today.

  25. 75
    Killian says:

    #580 (August) Nemesis said @Killian, #556

    You show real solutions

    Thanks. I like to think so. But the folks here don’t want to inform themselves so don’t get how comprehensive my answers are. Just saying to start developing a Commons in your neighborhood implies a huge amount of information on what to do, but you have to be willing to study what a Commons is. They are not, so they don’t get it.


    but obviously, the monkeys in chief aren’t interested in real solutions

    Nor those in residence!

    I got a quantum of solace:

    In the end, the Laws of Nature will win, one way or another.

    I learned the hard way, I do always trust in the incorruptible Laws of Nature. If the monkeys in chief don’t bow to the Laws of Nature, they will go down too.

    Indeed. That simple risk assessment is all you need to realize simplification is the only option.

  26. 76
    Killian says:

    #584 (August) alan2102 said A bunch of certifiably crazy things.

    If the premise is flawed…

    “Green Economy” = Hahahahaha!

    Show me something, anything, that would be regenerative, nee sustainable, from this ridiculous fantasy. Without sustainability, any economy is a death trap, no matter how cute the name.

    There are actually several related (and sometimes competing) concepts — not just MMT, but also sovereign money (or “positive money”), monetary reform, and public banking. Also, the jobs guarantee program and universal basic income (potential offshoots of MMT). Some of the issues are contentious and you will find furious arguments on the blog discussion sections, e.g. the pro-universal-income people versus the people who think universal income sucks and a jobs guarantee is vastly better. I am sorry that it is so complex and multi-faceted. I wish it were simple.

    It is simple. Start with what is regenerative, not some fantasy about how to maintain unsustainable systems. UBI is a great idea… in 1980, 1990, or even 2000. I.e., before we were clued in to just how fast change was coming. Now? It’s pointless. And, citing Jeavons’, UBI would massively boost consumption. This is just one example of the wrong-headedness of trying to get to regenerative via voodoo.

    This is a big subject on which a great deal has been written by highly-intelligent people, and there are lively discussions ongoing. I urge everyone to look into it.

    All those economists are hardly stupid. Doesn’t keep them from thinking and doing stupid things. Like this: transitioning to 100% clean energy,

    Look up how much of the our energy use is electric. Look up how much can function on electricity. Anyone claiming “100% renewable!” is a dunce.

    Go ahead, make a plastic cup out of electricity. Or a machine…. cause electricity magically takes physical form… steel… because you will it to be so.


  27. 77
    Killian says:

    #587 Thomas said 565 Killian, I really liked that summary reply. Especially: “Nature and First Nations have been doing these things all along. Some of us are paying attention, is all.” and “Free markets… lol…”


    7 generations ahead leadership, vision & responsibility
    Not rocket science not economics and not bs but very human and very sane & ethical

    Pretty much.

  28. 78
    Killian says:

    #589 nigelj said Mike Roberts @535

    “The RMA doesn’t have sustainability as its goal, it has something called “sustainable management of resources”. It uses a definition similar to “sustainable development”. If the RMA had a goal of sustainability, no new mining operations would be allowed under the act, since none are sustainable and all degrade the environment.”

    No new mining?So how are you going to deal with lithium for electric cars given demand is set to explode?

    And what about materials for wind and solar power?

    To paraphrase, nigelj’s brain dribbled, Who cares if we don’t have enough of those resources? If I still have checks, I still have money! If I still want more lithium, it will magically be there. God! Don’t you know *anything?* What a maroon!

  29. 79
    Mr. Know It All says:

    59 – JCH, 53 – barry, 49 – mike, and others

    The land around Houston/Galvaston has subsided several feet over the years. This 3 page pdf describes it and what they are doing about it. Apparently written in 2003:

    The rainfall from Harvey is not unusual for Gulf coast hurricanes. In 1979, when CO2 levels were much lower than today, hurricane Claudette dumped 42+ inches of rain in 24 hours – almost as much as it took Harvey to dump over a few days. And for another inconvenient truth, other storms, some around 100 years ago, dumped over twice the amount dumped by Harvey.

    49 – mike, I always get a kick out of the “warm regards” at the bottom of each post. :) Coastal property? Nah, don’t want any – it has always been a risky investment – today is no different. We have the same here in the Pacific Northwest due to the threat of tsunami which is due at any time – they occur periodically here just like global temperature cycles, only the tsunami is on roughly a 300 year cycle.

    I’ll ignore the insults from Thomas, and others, and just provide these inconvenient facts to think about.

  30. 80

    Mr. KIA, #36–“Believers do it regularly and have politicized and polarized the debate by repeatedly insulting skeptics.”

    Oh, BS. Denialati have “politicized and polarized the debate” from the get-go, and they have done it at the bidding of their corporate masters, ultimately if not always proximately. They’ve done it by insulting actual scientists, by continually using bogus ‘debate tactics’ suited for PR purposes but not for discovering truth, and by pervasive bad faith.

    And many of the bogus tactics employed are on display in this very post. For example:

    “Like for example, look at all these CAT 5 Atlantic Hurricanes that occurred when CO2 levels were much lower than today…”

    Or, just look at a great example of the Straw Man fallacy–since no-one is claiming that Cat 5 hurricanes are a new thing.

    “…a good argument for more study before enacting legislation that would disrupt current economic systems.”

    Argument from consequences (and from an additional faulty assumption, which is that BAU is cost-free.)

    “…to badmouth and sneer at skeptics, calling them science deniers, just causes them to dig their heels in deeper.”

    That’s evidence-free; is it even possible for them to dig in their heels deeper?

    “They have a legitimate argument – just because it is not based on the physics of CO2 does not make it illegitimate.”

    Maybe not, but the fact that it is internally inconsistent is pretty much a tip-off. We’ve been told by alleged skeptics that it’s not warming, that we can’t tell if it’s warming, that the other planets are warming just as Earth is, that it’s good that it’s warming, and that warming is unstoppable. We’ve been told that it’s cosmic rays, we’ve been told that it’s ‘ice age recovery’ (which is not actually a physical forcing, but never mind), that it’s the sun, that it’s ineffable climate cycles.

    Then we’re told again that it isn’t warming.

    Buddy, this ain’t a “legitimate argument”. It’s just plain old “ABC”–anything but carbon.

  31. 81
    -1=e^ipi says:

    This is pretty cool

  32. 82
    James says:

    RC said it succinctly, but I do not see it being used
    “The chance of it not being related to global warming …”
    As always
    There are things we know
    There are things we know we don’t know
    There are things we don’t know we don’t know

    In Australia it was reported as a 1 in 800 year event.
    That is pretty damning no matter what you know, especially as the climate prophets have being saying “Bad things will come to pass”

  33. 83
    jgnfld says:


    Possibly calling isolationists, er, well, isolationists before our entry–years late–into WW2 hurt their feelings and made them dug in their heels. But that really didn’t deter the forces at work at the time. You see: Reality has this way of intervening in fantasies.

    Climate deniers are living in a fantasy world.

  34. 84
    Charles Hughes says:

    Mr. Know It All says:
    2 Sep 2017 at 3:22 PM
    27 jgnfld

    “The Texas gulf coast before around 1800 might have had a CAT 5 hurricane every year, but with little population, we may not know about it. Same for many other parts of the world.

    Warmer air/water should result in higher rainfall, as it does today in many parts of the world. That is not in debate. What is questioned by skeptics is what is causing the warmer air/water. Weather history is part of the reason they are skeptics. Like for example, look at all these CAT 5 Atlantic Hurricanes that occurred when CO2 levels were much lower than today”

    CH > You, Adam Lea and K.I.A (Killed In Action) are classic troll bots. I don’t know how you get away with posting so much bullshit but none of you are “Skeptics”. Anyone with more than two brain cells can figure that one out. You’re not worth a serious response. If your comments can’t be sent to the bore hole they should at least be ignored.

  35. 85
    MA Rodger says:

    Steven T. Corneliussen @10&38,
    You hope to see “discussed by experts” the Hurricane Harvey issues raised by a WSJ editorial and by Pielke Jr. A respondent would find both articles sit behind a Murdoch paywall which doesn’t assist in identifying those Hurricane Harvey issues. Thankfully the waffle in the WSJ editorial is available on-line here and the Gentlemen Who Prefer Fantasy have helpfully reproduced what is presumably the bulk of Woger’s wisdom.
    Assuming there is nothing significant missing from these sources, can we cut out all the he-said-she-said media-reporting blather and any comment on urban planning (which don’t seem to be a major input into things climatey)? This would allow us to set out the climatey messaging presented by these two articles thus:-
    The WSJ Editorial asserts ♠ “Mr. Pielke … is no climate-change denier” (mind, this could be a typo) and he has shown “Hurricanes hitting the U.S. have not increased in frequency or intensity since 1900, there is no notable trend up or down in global tropical cyclone landfalls since 1970, and floods have not increased in frequency or intensity in the U.S. since 1950.”
    “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently said that “it is premature to conclude that human activities—and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming—have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity.” (Note: this cherry-picked statement is presently still part of current NOAA opinion, and also concurs with part of the opinion set out in UN IPCC AR5 Section
    ♠ The 2012 Hurricane Sandy which (was only Cat1 when it struck the US coast) deposited “only a half inch of rain” but flooded “fifty-one square miles of New York.”
    Mr. Pielke asserts ♠ “the future will bring many more weather disasters like Hurricane Harvey, with larger impacts than those of the recent past.”
    “Scientific assessments indicate no long-term increases in the frequency or strength of hurricanes in the U.S. Neither has there been an increase in floods, droughts and tornadoes, though heat waves and heavy precipitation have become more common.”
    Mr. Pielke points out that US landfall hurricanes have been less frequent in recent years.
    “There should be broad agreement today that bigger disasters are coming. Some may blame greenhouse gases … but there is a simpler explanation: Because the world has experienced a remarkable period of good fortune when it comes to catastrophes, we are due,” (this simpler version presented by Mr. Pielke seemingly being an alternative explanation rather than an additional one).
    Steven T. Corneliussen, do set out for discussion anything substantive from the two articles that I may have missed.

  36. 86
    Hank Roberts says:

    Yeah, it’s from an article about a politician, but it describes why the flood of BS is so effective in climate discussions too:

    Citing the work of Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, Konnikova gave this glib assessment of how the brain deals with all this lying:

    “Our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream, and Trump, we know, lies constantly, about matters as serious as the election results and as trivial as the tiles at Mar-a-Lago.”

    She continued: “When we are overwhelmed with false, or potentially false, statements, our brains pretty quickly become so overworked that we stop trying to sift through everything. It’s called cognitive load — our limited cognitive resources are overburdened. It doesn’t matter how implausible the statements are; throw out enough of them, and people will inevitably absorb some. Eventually, without quite realizing it, our brains just give up trying to figure out what is true.”

  37. 87
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mr. KIA: “…skeptics say it is just another of thousands of climate cycles that the earth constantly experiences.”

    And your evidence for this is…what, precisely? Oh, wait. You guys don’t deal in evidence. You merely throw up your hands, say the problem is too complex and then hide under the bed, like the cowards that you are.

    Science looks at evidence, and the evidence that we are changing the climate is overwhelming. That you are too scared and lazy to look at it does not change that fact.

  38. 88
    Racetrack Playa says:

    While there’s a lot of public attention in the U.S. on Harvey, the South Asian flooding is a bit more intense:

    While most Americans are fixated on Hurricane Harvey, which continues to break rainfall records since making landfall along the coast on Friday, an even deadlier disaster is unfolding in South Asia. Across Nepal, Bangladesh, and India, an exceptionally strong monsoon season has left almost 1,200 dead and displaced or affected tens of millions more. Heavy rains led to unprecedented landslides and floods—as much as a third of Bangladesh is under water—leaving communities cut off as they face food and fresh water shortages and disease threats that will remain long after the water recedes.

    As far as attribution, the way to think about it is in terms of factor analysis – not as whether a given even was ‘natural’ or ‘anthropogenic’ in nature: In the real world, the climate changes that have occurred since the start of the Industrial Revolution are due to a complex mixture of human and natural causes. The importance of each individual influence in this mixture changes over time.

    Anyone wanting to take the time to read a comprehensive review of hydrological responses (including flooding) to global warming should see Held & Soden, 2006:

  39. 89
    John Pollack says:

    Brian @56 I don’t see how the Francis & Vavrus paper you referenced has anything to do with the movement of Harvey, and very little with any hurricane. It might be relevant for temperate latitude storms.

    It looks at the changes in the mean zonal (west to east)wind, but figure 1c. only goes as far south as 40N. Even there, the mean yearly weakening at the jet stream level was only about 0.08 m/sec. Figure 3 does get down to 30N (the approximate latitude of Houston), but it’s for later in the season, and it shows that mean zonal winds have strengthened slightly in recent years at that latitude!

  40. 90
    Victor says:

    As resident troll, I feel obliged to chime in from time to time with a splash of cool, clear water. Don’t worry, this won’t be a flood. :-)

    “Global Tropical Storm and Hurricane Frequency” from 1972-2013

    All hurricanes vs. major hurricanes, 1971-2014:

    Sober analysis of sea level change (oldy but goodie):

    A more recent take, from 2016: “Satellite observations of the ocean surface, which began in 1993, indicated the rate of sea level rise was holding fairly steady at about 3 millimeters per year. As the pace of warming oceans and melting glaciers and ice sheets accelerated, scientists expected to see a corresponding increase in the rate of sea level rise. Analysis of the satellite record has not borne that out, however.”

    The authors are definitely puzzled by this unexpected finding, but true to their kind, they’ve found a convenient out: Pin it on Pinatubo. (I’m taking T-shirt orders.)

    History of drought, California chapter:

    History of drought, worldwide:

    “What scientists have learned by looking at Earth’s drought history is that periods of severe drought are a regular part of nature’s cycle. As devastating as droughts in the last century have been, they are considered relatively minor compared to the severity of earlier droughts that have lasted more than a century.”

    And yes, we’ve been experiencing instances of very heavy rains lately, leading to heavy flooding, notably in Texas and Mumbai, but in many other places as well. Since we’ve been hearing a great deal over the last several years about a “water crisis” worldwide, this is not entirely bad news. As the rising oceans give up tons of moisture to a parched Earth, the floods could be killing two birds with one stone. Not that heavy flooding is a good thing, but for every cloud there does seem to be a silver lining, no?

    For some perspective on flooding worldwide, see the segment titled Dangerous Floods in History, from

    The most recent example dates from 1993. Of course, this was written before Harvey.

    Seems to me, folks, that Harvey is really your best bet. If you really want to take a stand, you really need to take your stand there. And hope and pray for Irma as well. (C’mon folks, down on your knees.) Don’t listen to all those sober sides insisting that Harvey has nothing to do with climate change. Because without Harvey (and, hopefully, Irma) you have nothing.

  41. 91
    Nemesis says:

    Does fish need antidepressiva? Not that I know. But, as monkeys in the rich countries get more and more depressive (why is that?!), they eat more and more happy-pills and, because everything is connected on planet Earth and beyond, brother fish gets antidrepressiva too, right into his brain:

    ‘How antidepressants are ending up in Great Lakes fish’
    Sept. 1, 2017

    ” A new study might depress anyone concerned with Great Lakes water quality.

    Antidepressant drugs, making their way through an increasing number of people’s bodies, getting excreted in small amounts into their toilets, and moving through the wastewater treatment process to lakes and rivers, are being found in multiple Great Lakes fish species’ brains, new research by the University of Buffalo has found.

    Researchers detected high concentrations of both the active ingredients and metabolites — byproducts of the parent drug — of popular antidepressant pharmaceuticals including Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa and Sarafem in the brains of fish caught in the Niagara River connecting Lake Erie and Lake Ontario…”

  42. 92
    Thomas says:

    What, not the WSJ? :-)

    “ We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters. Or, we will perish together as fools.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, 1965 commencement address for Oberlin College, as quoted in “Identity Politics are Tearing America Apart,” James A. Baker III and Andrew Young, Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2017.


    In the aftermath of the Civil War, Mark Twain remarked upon this great mystery: how it could be that physical courage should be so common in the world, and yet moral courage so rare. – Robert M. Morganthau, “Monuments and Courage,” Wall Street Journal, August 26-27, 2017.


    Interview with Richard A. Epstein by Tunku Varadarajian, “The First Amendment is for Neo-Nazis, Too,” Wall Street Journal, August 26-27, 2017.

    Ah, that old logical fallacy chest nut of moral equivalency … or is that immoral equivalency? ‘Tis all connected folks …. all connected, just like CO2 and global temps are connected.

  43. 93
    nigelj says:

    Victor @62

    You pick on any article that suits your perspective of no increase in extreme weather, ignoring any that show otherwise. You are suffering from massive confirmation bias and dont appear to have enough sense to be aware of it.

    The IPCC has reviewed all the evidence, studies,etc , and they have to be rigorous as any distortion or omission gets picked up by the critics. No one person can look at all the studies, it needs this team approach.

    The IPCC conclusions very briefly: There is high confidence that extreme rainfall events and heatwaves have already increased globally. Theres medium confidence pacific tropical cyclones have increased. Theres no compelling evidence that droughts and atlantic hurricanes have increased. The problem is lack of good data on past hurricanes. This does not mean hurricanes wont get worse in the future and understanding is changing and improving rapidly

    IPCC synthesis report fyi:

  44. 94
    Pekka Kostamo says:

    “Harvey” was a physical process, there was nothing but physics to it.

    Physical processes produce their results depending on the thermal energy they are fed as input.

    It is completely inconceivable that “Harvey” was not impacted by the global warming phenomenon. How much and which way, we perhaps learn later from scientific studies. Birth, path and intensity, all were impacted, maybe subtly, maybe drastically.

    Randomness in atmospheric processes does not exist. It is only a convenient way of description or modeling if accuracy of observation, computing power and other available means are inadequate.

  45. 95
    nigelj says:

    Killian @72

    You are off back ranting about sustainability, and your so called regenerative society.

    I seem to recall the article said stay with climate change.

    You respond to any of the points I raise with wild assertions, a stream of constant and relentless personal abuse, and emotive content free rhetoric. This is the sign of someone out of their depth.

    If there are these fantastically successful independent, modern sustainable societies what are they? You cite no examples. Most modern alternative lifestyle groups groups are pretty reliant on the culture they despise

    Go write a book or something. If you are capable of writing something, and I have my doubts.

  46. 96
    Mr. Know It All says:

    86 – Racetrack Playa

    Don’t get too excited about foods in Bangladesh. They occur frequently over there (like they have always done in a lot of places).

    Several biggies listed in the 1800s before AGW was a thing. Hmmmm….

    9:33 pm pacific 9/4/2017

  47. 97
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Wow. List of 15 worst floods in history (title says 10, but they list 15) – most occur before AGW. How can this be?

    84 – HR
    This reinforces what you were saying:

  48. 98
    nigelj says:

    Killian @76

    Killian engages in his usual fact free rhetoric and incessant personal abuse and doesn’t want one single new lithium mine opened. He wants to keep it all for a rainy day.

    Honestly I have read some dumb stuff on the internet lately, mainly from climate sceptics, but I think Killian is actually worse. He is ruled by emotion and instincts with absolutely no idea of how to think things through, and also consider what is possible in the real world.

    I don’t actually want to live in some miserable bare subsistence sustainable community and everything Killian promotes leads to this, but he hasn’t got the smarts to work it out.

  49. 99

    Ray said:
    ” You merely throw up your hands, say the problem is too complex and then hide under the bed, like the cowards that you are.”

    Wait until climate scientists decode the primary natural patterns of the climate. With that and the knowledge of man-made climate change, where will the skeptics be then? They will still be angry over something or other.

    It would be great if they could harness that anger for productive use.

  50. 100
    calyptorhynchus says:

    @36 “It’s not proof of anything, but is a good argument for more study before enacting legislation that would disrupt current economic systems.”

    Which, after all, are working so well on any number of levels.