The Manufactured Doubt industry and the hacked email controversy

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:07 PM GMT on November 25, 2009

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In 1954, the tobacco industry realized it had a serious problem. Thirteen scientific studies had been published over the preceding five years linking smoking to lung cancer. With the public growing increasingly alarmed about the health effects of smoking, the tobacco industry had to move quickly to protect profits and stem the tide of increasingly worrisome scientific news. Big Tobacco turned to one the world's five largest public relations firms, Hill and Knowlton, to help out. Hill and Knowlton designed a brilliant Public Relations (PR) campaign to convince the public that smoking is not dangerous. They encouraged the tobacco industry to set up their own research organization, the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR), which would produce science favorable to the industry, emphasize doubt in all the science linking smoking to lung cancer, and question all independent research unfavorable to the tobacco industry. The CTR did a masterful job at this for decades, significantly delaying and reducing regulation of tobacco products. George Washington University epidemiologist David Michaels, who is President Obama's nominee to head the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), wrote a meticulously researched 2008 book called, Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health. In the book, he wrote: "the industry understood that the public is in no position to distinguish good science from bad. Create doubt, uncertainty, and confusion. Throw mud at the anti-smoking research under the assumption that some of it is bound to stick. And buy time, lots of it, in the bargain". The title of Michaels' book comes from a 1969 memo from a tobacco company executive: "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy". Hill and Knowlton, on behalf of the tobacco industry, had founded the "Manufactured Doubt" industry.

The Manufactured Doubt industry grows up
As the success of Hill and Knowlton's brilliant Manufactured Doubt campaign became apparent, other industries manufacturing dangerous products hired the firm to design similar PR campaigns. In 1967, Hill and Knowlton helped asbestos industry giant Johns-Manville set up the Asbestos Information Association (AIA). The official-sounding AIA produced "sound science" that questioned the link between asbestos and lung diseases (asbestos currently kills 90,000 people per year, according to the World Health Organization). Manufacturers of lead, vinyl chloride, beryllium, and dioxin products also hired Hill and Knowlton to devise product defense strategies to combat the numerous scientific studies showing that their products were harmful to human health.

By the 1980s, the Manufactured Doubt industry gradually began to be dominated by more specialized "product defense" firms and free enterprise "think tanks". Michaels wrote in Doubt is Their Product about the specialized "product defense" firms: "Having cut their teeth manufacturing uncertainty for Big Tobacco, scientists at ChemRisk, the Weinberg Group, Exponent, Inc., and other consulting firms now battle the regulatory agencies on behalf of the manufacturers of benzene, beryllium, chromium, MTBE, perchlorates, phthalates, and virtually every other toxic chemical in the news today....Public health interests are beside the point. This is science for hire, period, and it is extremely lucrative".

Joining the specialized "product defense" firms were the so-called "think tanks". These front groups received funding from manufacturers of dangerous products and produced "sound science" in support of their funders' products, in the name of free enterprise and free markets. Think tanks such as the George C. Marshall Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute, and Dr. Fred Singer's SEPP (Science and Environmental Policy Project) have all been active for decades in the Manufactured Doubt business, generating misleading science and false controversy to protect the profits of their clients who manufacture dangerous products.

The ozone hole battle
In 1975, the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) industry realized it had a serious problem. The previous year, Sherry Rowland and Mario Molina, chemists at the University of California, Irvine, had published a scientific paper warning that human-generated CFCs could cause serious harm to Earth's protective ozone layer. They warned that the loss of ozone would significantly increase the amount of skin-damaging ultraviolet UV-B light reaching the surface, greatly increasing skin cancer and cataracts. The loss of stratospheric ozone could also significantly cool the stratosphere, potentially causing destructive climate change. Although no stratospheric ozone loss had been observed yet, CFCs should be banned, they said. The CFC industry hired Hill and Knowlton to fight back. As is essential in any Manufactured Doubt campaign, Hill and Knowlton found a respected scientist to lead the effort--noted British scientist Richard Scorer, a former editor of the International Journal of Air Pollution and author of several books on pollution. In 1975, Scorer went on a month-long PR tour, blasting Molina and Rowland, calling them "doomsayers", and remarking, "The only thing that has been accumulated so far is a number of theories." To complement Scorer's efforts, Hill and Knowlton unleashed their standard package of tricks learned from decades of serving the tobacco industry:

- Launch a public relations campaign disputing the evidence.

- Predict dire economic consequences, and ignore the cost benefits.

- Use non-peer reviewed scientific publications or industry-funded scientists who don't publish original peer-reviewed scientific work to support your point of view.

- Trumpet discredited scientific studies and myths supporting your point of view as scientific fact.

- Point to the substantial scientific uncertainty, and the certainty of economic loss if immediate action is taken.

- Use data from a local area to support your views, and ignore the global evidence.

- Disparage scientists, saying they are playing up uncertain predictions of doom in order to get research funding.

- Disparage environmentalists, claiming they are hyping environmental problems in order to further their ideological goals.

- Complain that it is unfair to require regulatory action in the U.S., as it would put the nation at an economic disadvantage compared to the rest of the world.

- Claim that more research is needed before action should be taken.

- Argue that it is less expensive to live with the effects.

The campaign worked, and CFC regulations were delayed many years, as Hill and Knowlton boasted in internal documents. The PR firm also took credit for keeping public opinion against buying CFC aerosols to a minimum, and helping change the editorial positions of many newspapers.

In the end, Hill and Knowlton's PR campaign casting doubt on the science of ozone depletion by CFCs turned out to have no merit. Molina and Rowland were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1995. The citation from the Nobel committee credited them with helping to deliver the Earth from a potential environmental disaster.

The battle over global warming
In 1988, the fossil fuel industry realized it had a serious problem. The summer of 1988 had shattered century-old records for heat and drought in the U.S., and NASA's Dr. James Hansen, one of the foremost climate scientists in the world, testified before Congress that human-caused global warming was partially to blame. A swelling number of scientific studies were warning of the threat posed by human-cause climate change, and that consumption of fossil fuels needed to slow down. Naturally, the fossil fuel industry fought back. They launched a massive PR campaign that continues to this day, led by the same think tanks that worked to discredit the ozone depletion theory. The George C. Marshall Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute, and Dr. Fred Singer's SEPP (Science and Environmental Policy Project) have all been key players in both fights, and there are numerous other think tanks involved. Many of the same experts who had worked hard to discredit the science of the well-established link between cigarette smoke and cancer, the danger the CFCs posed to the ozone layer, and the dangers to health posed by a whole host of toxic chemicals, were now hard at work to discredit the peer-reviewed science supporting human-caused climate change.

As is the case with any Manufactured Doubt campaign, a respected scientist was needed to lead the battle. One such scientist was Dr. Frederick Seitz, a physicist who in the 1960s chaired the organization many feel to be the most prestigious science organization in the world--the National Academy of Sciences. Seitz took a position as a paid consultant for R.J. Reynolds tobacco company beginning in 1978, so was well-versed in the art of Manufactured Doubt. According to the excellent new book, Climate Cover-up, written by desmogblog.com co-founder James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore, over a 10-year period Seitz was responsible for handing out $45 million in tobacco company money to researchers who overwhelmingly failed to link tobacco to anything the least bit negative. Seitz received over $900,000 in compensation for his efforts. He later became a founder of the George C. Marshall Institute, and used his old National Academy of Sciences affiliation to lend credibility to his attacks on global warming science until his death in 2008 at the age of ninety-six. It was Seitz who launched the "Oregon Petition", which contains the signatures of more than 34,000 scientists saying global warming is probably natural and not a crisis. The petition is a regular feature of the Manufactured Doubt campaign against human-caused global warming. The petition lists the "Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine" as its parent organization. According to Climate Cover-up, the Institute is a farm shed situated a couple of miles outside of Cave Junction, OR (population 17,000). The Institute lists seven faculty members, two of whom are dead, and has no ongoing research and no students. It publishes creationist-friendly homeschooler curriculums books on surviving nuclear war. The petition was sent to scientists and was accompanied by a 12-page review printed in exactly the same style used for the prestigious journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A letter from Seitz, who is prominently identified as a former National Academy of Sciences president, accompanied the petition and review. Naturally, many recipients took this to be an official National Academy of Sciences communication, and signed the petition as a result. The National Academy issued a statement in April 2008, clarifying that it had not issued the petition, and that its position on global warming was the opposite. The petition contains no contact information for the signers, making it impossible to verify. In its August 2006 issue, Scientific American presented its attempt to verify the petition. They found that the scientists were almost all people with undergraduate degrees, with no record of research and no expertise in climatology. Scientific American contacted a random sample of 26 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to have a Ph.D. in a climate related science. Eleven said they agreed with the petition, six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember the petition, one had died, and five did not respond.

I could say much more about the Manufactured Doubt campaign being waged against the science of climate change and global warming, but it would fill an entire book. In fact, it has, and I recommend reading Climate Cover-up to learn more. The main author, James Hoggan, owns a Canadian public relations firm, and is intimately familiar with how public relations campaigns work. Suffice to say, the Manufactured Doubt campaign against global warming--funded by the richest corporations in world history--is probably the most extensive and expensive such effort ever. We don't really know how much money the fossil fuel industry has pumped into its Manufactured Doubt campaign, since they don't have to tell us. The website exxonsecrets.org estimates that ExxonMobil alone spent $20 million between 1998 - 2007 on the effort. An analysis done by Desmogblog's Kevin Grandia done in January 2009 found that skeptical global warming content on the web had doubled over the past year. Someone is paying for all that content.

Lobbyists, not skeptical scientists
The history of the Manufactured Doubt industry provides clear lessons in evaluating the validity of their attacks on the published peer-reviewed climate change science. One should trust that the think tanks and allied "skeptic" bloggers such as Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit and Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That will give information designed to protect the profits of the fossil fuel industry. Yes, there are respected scientists with impressive credentials that these think tanks use to voice their views, but these scientists have given up their objectivity and are now working as lobbyists. I don't like to call them skeptics, because all good scientists should be skeptics. Rather, the think tanks scientists are contrarians, bent on discrediting an accepted body of published scientific research for the benefit of the richest and most powerful corporations in history. Virtually none of the "sound science" they are pushing would ever get published in a serious peer-reviewed scientific journal, and indeed the contrarians are not scientific researchers. They are lobbyists. Many of them seem to believe their tactics are justified, since they are fighting a righteous war against eco-freaks determined to trash the economy.

I will give a small amount of credit to some of their work, however. I have at times picked up some useful information from the contrarians, and have used it to temper my blogs to make them more balanced. For example, I no longer rely just on the National Climatic Data Center for my monthly climate summaries, but instead look at data from NASA and the UK HADCRU source as well. When the Hurricane Season of 2005 brought unfounded claims that global warming was to blame for Hurricane Katrina, and a rather flawed paper by researchers at Georgia Tech showing a large increase in global Category 4 and 5 hurricanes, I found myself agreeing with the contrarians' analysis of the matter, and my blogs at the time reflected this.

The contrarians and the hacked CRU emails
A hacker broke into an email server at the Climate Research Unit of the UK's University of East Anglia last week and posted ten years worth of private email exchanges between leading scientists who've published research linking humans to climate change. Naturally, the contrarians have seized upon this golden opportunity, and are working hard to discredit several of these scientists. You'll hear claims by some contrarians that the emails discovered invalidate the whole theory of human-caused global warming. Well, all I can say is, consider the source. We can trust the contrarians to say whatever is in the best interests of the fossil fuel industry. What I see when I read the various stolen emails and explanations posted at Realclimate.org is scientists acting as scientists--pursuing the truth. I can see no clear evidence that calls into question the scientific validity of the research done by the scientists victimized by the stolen emails. There is no sign of a conspiracy to alter data to fit a pre-conceived ideological view. Rather, I see dedicated scientists attempting to make the truth known in face of what is probably the world's most pervasive and best-funded disinformation campaign against science in history. Even if every bit of mud slung at these scientists were true, the body of scientific work supporting the theory of human-caused climate change--which spans hundreds of thousands of scientific papers written by tens of thousands of scientists in dozens of different scientific disciplines--is too vast to be budged by the flaws in the works of the three or four scientists being subject to the fiercest attacks.

Exaggerated claims by environmentalists
Climate change contrarians regularly complain about false and misleading claims made by ideologically-driven environmental groups regarding climate change, and the heavy lobbying these groups do to influence public opinion. Such efforts confuse the real science and make climate change seem more dangerous than it really is, the contrarians argue. To some extent, these concerns are valid. In particular, environmentalists are too quick to blame any perceived increase in hurricane activity on climate change, when such a link has yet to be proven. While Al Gore's movie mostly had good science, I thought he botched the treatment of hurricanes as well, and the movie looked too much like a campaign ad. In general, environmental groups present better science than the think tanks do, but you're still better off getting your climate information directly from the scientists doing the research, via the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Another good source is Bob Henson's Rough Guide to Climate Change, aimed at people with high-school level science backgrounds.

Let's look at the amount of money being spent on lobbying efforts by the fossil fuel industry compared to environmental groups to see their relative influence. According to Center for Public Integrity, there are currently 2,663 climate change lobbyists working on Capitol Hill. That's five lobbyists for every member of Congress. Climate lobbyists working for major industries outnumber those working for environmental, health, and alternative energy groups by more than seven to one. For the second quarter of 2009, here is a list compiled by the Center for Public Integrity of all the oil, gas, and coal mining groups that spent more than $100,000 on lobbying (this includes all lobbying, not just climate change lobbying):

Chevron $6,485,000
Exxon Mobil $4,657,000
BP America $4,270,000
ConocoPhillips $3,300,000
American Petroleum Institute $2,120,000
Marathon Oil Corporation $2,110,000
Peabody Investments Corp $1,110,000
Bituminous Coal Operators Association $980,000
Shell Oil Company $950,000
Arch Coal, Inc $940,000
Williams Companies $920,000
Flint Hills Resources $820,000
Occidental Petroleum Corporation $794,000
National Mining Association $770,000
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity $714,000
Devon Energy $695,000
Sunoco $585,000
Independent Petroleum Association of America $434,000
Murphy Oil USA, Inc $430,000
Peabody Energy $420,000
Rio Tinto Services, Inc $394,000
America's Natural Gas Alliance $300,000
Interstate Natural Gas Association of America $290,000
El Paso Corporation $261,000
Spectra Energy $279,000
National Propane Gas Association $242,000
National Petrochemical & Refiners Association $240,000
Nexen, Inc $230,000
Denbury Resources $200,000
Nisource, Inc $180,000
Petroleum Marketers Association of America $170,000
Valero Energy Corporation $160,000
Bituminous Coal Operators Association $131,000
Natural Gas Supply Association $114,000
Tesoro Companies $119,000

Here are the environmental groups that spent more than $100,000:

Environmental Defense Action Fund $937,500
Nature Conservancy $650,000
Natural Resources Defense Council $277,000
Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund $243,000
National Parks and Conservation Association $175,000
Sierra Club $120,000
Defenders of Wildlife $120,000
Environmental Defense Fund $100,000

If you add it all up, the fossil fuel industry outspent the environmental groups by $36.8 million to $2.6 million in the second quarter, a factor of 14 to 1. To be fair, not all of that lobbying is climate change lobbying, but that affects both sets of numbers. The numbers don't even include lobbying money from other industries lobbying against climate change, such as the auto industry, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.

Corporate profits vs. corporate social responsibility
I'm sure I've left the impression that I disapprove of what the Manufactured Doubt industry is doing. On the contrary, I believe that for the most part, the corporations involved have little choice under the law but to protect their profits by pursuing Manufactured Doubt campaigns, as long as they are legal. The law in all 50 U.S. states has a provision similar to Maine's section 716, "The directors and officers of a corporation shall exercise their powers and discharge their duties with a view to the interest of the corporation and of the shareholders". There is no clause at the end that adds, "...but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, the public safety, the communities in which the corporation operates, or the dignity of employees". The law makes a company's board of directors legally liable for "breach of fiduciary responsibility" if they knowingly manage a company in a way that reduces profits. Shareholders can and have sued companies for being overly socially responsible, and not paying enough attention to the bottom line. We can reward corporations that are managed in a socially responsible way with our business and give them incentives to act thusly, but there are limits to how far Corporate Socially Responsibility (CSR) can go. For example, car manufacturer Henry Ford was successfully sued by stockholders in 1919 for raising the minimum wage of his workers to $5 per day. The courts declared that, while Ford's humanitarian sentiments about his employees were nice, his business existed to make profits for its stockholders.

So, what is needed is a fundamental change to the laws regarding the purpose of a corporation, or new regulations forcing corporations to limit Manufactured Doubt campaigns. Legislation has been introduced in Minnesota to create a new section of law for an alternative kind of corporation, the SR (Socially Responsible) corporation, but it would be a long uphill battle to get such legislation passed in all 50 states. Increased regulation limiting Manufactured Doubt campaigns is possible to do for drugs and hazardous chemicals--Doubt is Their Product has some excellent suggestions on that, with the first principle being, "use the best science available; do not demand certainty where it does not and cannot exist". However, I think such legislation would be difficult to implement for environmental crises such as global warming. In the end, we're stuck with the current system, forced to make critical decisions affecting all of humanity in the face of the Frankenstein monster our corporate system of law has created--the most vigorous and well-funded disinformation campaign against science ever conducted.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone, and I'll be back Monday--the last day of hurricane season--with a review of the hurricane season of 2009.

Jeff Masters

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I don't like to call them skeptics, because all good scientists should be skeptics. Rather, the think tanks scientists are contrarians, bent on discrediting an accepted body of published scientific research for the benefit of the richest and most powerful corporations in history.

Any thinking person can and maybe ought to be a skeptic. For now, I remain skeptical on both sides of this issue.
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Quoting jeffs713:

I agree, to an extent. The real cause of the problem with the Mississippi delta sinking is not so much what the Corps of Engineers (CoE) has done to the delta itself, but what it has done upstream. In order to "protect" farmland (which was created by periodic flooding), they put levees up all over the place upstream in the midwest. By creating those levees, they stopped the natural sedimentation process, and also made flooding more frequent. Adding the levees in Iowa and such is akin to putting a fire hose's flow through a simple garden hose. The same amount of water must go through, and since its constrained, it gets backed up, and what does flow, goes faster... causing more damage. If the Mississippi could be restored to its natural flow in farm areas (and only cities would be protected as "islands"), things would be much better. Also, the "levees" in NOLA are woefully inadequate... they are nothing more than some shored up concrete walls. Too easy to undermine, not very resistant to water pressure (as we saw in Katrina), and they also constrain the natural flow of water too much. Add to that the significant loss of marshes in the delta area, you just have a problem waiting to happen.

Those would be the levees on the outfall canals and navigation channels. The river levees are 1/8 mile deep earthen/clay mounds.

Here is a shot from on the levee (not sure just where, but is representative of the same in parts of NOLA)
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Quoting NRAamy:
Awake....they ain't gonna listen to my emails...trust me on that...

;)

I don't care what anyone says, Amy, Purple-Hippo-PoopsALot was hilarious and worth the ban.
I mean, I bought two copies of "Everybody Poops" -- only one for the grandkids...hmmm, where's my copy, anyway...
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Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #27
TYPHOON NIDA (T0922)
21:00 PM JST November 25 2009
===========================================

SUBJECT: Category Five Typhoon Near Marianas Islands

At 12:00 PM UTC, Typhoon Nida (905 hPa) located at 11.6N 143.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 115 knot with gusts of 165 knots. The typhoon is reported as moving west-northwest at 12 knots

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T6.5

Storm Force Winds
===================
70 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
200 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 15.8N 139.9E - 115 kts (CAT 5/Very Intense Typhoon)
48 HRS: 17.7N 139.1E - 110 kts (CAT 5/Very Intense Typhoon)
72 HRS: 18.6N 138.8E - 95 kts (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
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Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number TWELVE
ZONE PERTURBEE, FORMER BONGANI (05-20092010)
16:00 PM Réunion November 25 2009
=========================================

At 12:00 PM UTC, Area of Disturbed Weather, Former Bongani (1009 hPa) located at 11.2S 48.2E has 10 minute sustained winds of 15 knots. The disturbance is reported as moving west at 13 knots

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T1.0

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 11.5S 46.4E - 15 kts (Depression se Comblant)
24 HRS: 12.4S 44.1E - 15 kts (Depression se Comblant)
48 HRS: 14.3S 40.5E - Depression sur Terre

Additional Information
========================
The system has drastically weakened, and the environmental conditions are not expected to improve significantly to allow important re-intensification The system should track west-southwestward within the next 24 hours.

THIS IS THE LAST ADVISORY FROM THE MADAGASCAR/MAURITIUS WEATHER SERVICES
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Quoting Inyo:
when people 'controlled' the Mississippi they did not KNOW it was going to stop the delta from building and cause it to sink. People also didn't understand how wetlands worked and why they were important. People are living in places that were perfectly safe 50 years ago, and aren't now. It isn't the people's fault they are there, but now that we recognize the problem, we should DO something about it. But that's expensive, and these people are poor, so it probably won't happen.

I agree, to an extent. The real cause of the problem with the Mississippi delta sinking is not so much what the Corps of Engineers (CoE) has done to the delta itself, but what it has done upstream. In order to "protect" farmland (which was created by periodic flooding), they put levees up all over the place upstream in the midwest. By creating those levees, they stopped the natural sedimentation process, and also made flooding more frequent. Adding the levees in Iowa and such is akin to putting a fire hose's flow through a simple garden hose. The same amount of water must go through, and since its constrained, it gets backed up, and what does flow, goes faster... causing more damage. If the Mississippi could be restored to its natural flow in farm areas (and only cities would be protected as "islands"), things would be much better. Also, the "levees" in NOLA are woefully inadequate... they are nothing more than some shored up concrete walls. Too easy to undermine, not very resistant to water pressure (as we saw in Katrina), and they also constrain the natural flow of water too much. Add to that the significant loss of marshes in the delta area, you just have a problem waiting to happen.
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I can't believe anyone would defend these so-called scientists. The "hockey stick" manipulation, in itself, destroys any credibility that these people might have had. Most of these emails were subject to a FOIA request and were not provided, in violation of the law. The excuse was that they were deleted. Obviously they weren't. It's too bad it took a hacker to uncover the illegality. Dr. M can discuss all the irrelevant parallels and useless analogies he wishes. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will account for the fraud and deceit undertaken by these people under fraudulent pretenses funded in many cases by tax dollars.
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Awake....they ain't gonna listen to my emails...trust me on that...

;)
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Quoting Inyo:
when people 'controlled' the Mississippi they did not KNOW it was going to stop the delta from building and cause it to sink. People also didn't understand how wetlands worked and why they were important. People are living in places that were perfectly safe 50 years ago, and aren't now. It isn't the people's fault they are there, but now that we recognize the problem, we should DO something about it. But that's expensive, and these people are poor, so it probably won't happen.

Ah, no one actually lives on the MS delta...

And a LOT of the places most threatened are places that would not be helped at all by the river flowing/flooding freely.

And, yes, I think that allowing to river to flood New Orleans every spring to replenish sediment and make up for subsidence is probably a little too expensive. You might disagree...

Mitigation of what is going to happen anyway is about all that can realistically be done in the way of DO something. Some diversion projects so the river can build marsh areas is helpful, but will not be the savior.
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FYI, everyone,

I just sent a WU mail to Dr. Masters to ask him if he and Admin. will graciously allow us to post off-topic greetings and funny stuff on holidays and the Friday after Thanksgiving -- as long as -- and this is the most important part -- we follow ALL other blog rules, civility, no personal attacks, nothing X-rated (despite Presslord's thong, yikes).

If anyone else would please also write him and back me up, that would be great.

Oh, I did forget to mention if there's important weather stuff breaking of course we'd back off...whoops, kind of important.

Thanks and happy Turkey Day.
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Quoting sunshineandshowers:


just wow. 170mph winds.



digital typhoon: "Typhoon NIDA has shown rapid intensification in south of Guam, deepening (intensifying) 80hPa in 24 hours from 12 UTC of November 24 to 12 UTC of November 25. This record ranks tie for the 7th in history, meaning that this is a historically significant rapid intensification which is the largest in 25 years since Typhoon 198310 that recorded the rapid intensification of -90hPa in 24 hours. "


Wow... That chart really shows how quickly Nida bombed out. Impressive.
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89. Inyo
Quoting gordydunnot:
I have read it all now the beauty of science is opinion, couldn't possibly be any father from the truth. I seriously don't understand why the doctor even tries. I guess he has got a thing for education which makes since being a doctor. Can led a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. If you have ever taken even the most basic science class you would know its the careful recording of observations and the explanation of those observations so they can be duplicated by others with out using mystical powers.Here is a opinion, the doc post gw material to see if he can top his personal best on the number of people banned in one day. Anyone know


I don't understand this post at all.
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88. Inyo
when people 'controlled' the Mississippi they did not KNOW it was going to stop the delta from building and cause it to sink. People also didn't understand how wetlands worked and why they were important. People are living in places that were perfectly safe 50 years ago, and aren't now. It isn't the people's fault they are there, but now that we recognize the problem, we should DO something about it. But that's expensive, and these people are poor, so it probably won't happen.
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concerning the hacked emails...i will admit i am not a believer in man-made global warming. while i have respect for dr masters opinions, i think it is fair to say both sides of the issue have their own agenda. i also feel it is unfair for those who do not believe in man-made warming to be cast down because they do not side with the global warming side. again, we are only looking at a speck of the earth's overall time this has been happening. a scientist is supposed to be objective and present all data collected whether it helps or hurts your beliefs.
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I have read it all now the beauty of science is opinion, couldn't possibly be any father from the truth. I seriously don't understand why the doctor even tries. I guess he has got a thing for education which makes since being a doctor. Can led a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. If you have ever taken even the most basic science class you would know its the careful recording of observations and the explanation of those observations so they can be duplicated by others with out using mystical powers.Here is a opinion, the doc post gw material to see if he can top his personal best on the number of people banned in one day. Anyone know
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Quoting P451:
Post 53: Maps like that are incredible considering we had no planes or satellites to aide in creating them.

Meanwhile, and I don't mean to disrespect anyone who lives in said area, but to me - if you live on a river delta or a well known flood plain.... and it floods? I really don't see where the room to complain exists. I just don't.

We have over-populated lands that we have no business inhabiting in the first place.

Yes, We are overpopulated and, "Where else do you want them to live." But I stand by my opinion that if you live in a known high risk area - when you experience tragedy that is known to frequent said area - I don't see why you should be surprised or feel wronged when it occurs.

Louisiana is a massive river delta/flood plain. One that has changed shape (It won't anymore because we don't allow it) endlessly through time.


It is not ALWAYS that they do not have enough room, another reason people build in the floodplain is because water is an important part of Louisiana livelihoods. People hunt, fish, and go boating often. The best place to live if you have a boat is on the water.

Also people have family land that has been settled for generations, and throughout that time the land might have not been flooded, but since the erosion is taking over the marshes, they become flooded more than they have in the past. Most houses within flood plains are on stilts though.
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just wow. 170mph winds.



digital typhoon: "Typhoon NIDA has shown rapid intensification in south of Guam, deepening (intensifying) 80hPa in 24 hours from 12 UTC of November 24 to 12 UTC of November 25. This record ranks tie for the 7th in history, meaning that this is a historically significant rapid intensification which is the largest in 25 years since Typhoon 198310 that recorded the rapid intensification of -90hPa in 24 hours. "

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Quoting hurricane23:


were the warm sector ends up next week is up for question but i have some concerns for florida with this one, as the models have been persistent in bringing some sort of overnight threat to the peninsula with this system.The general pattern is one that would support decent moisture return on the peninsula ahead of the front, and with a powerful shortwave, that is a recipe for trouble.


Today's GFS 00z and 12z runs have been trying take the low pressure system through the GOM and then up northward with the deep tracking merdionally oriented jet stream.
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Well, no wonder some of us have been confused.
I'll be "Gracie" again; I have no pride. I worked/work for the guberment.
I admit I finally looked up AGW because of the "A"... these are the first two definitions in the free dictionary. Hope it helps someone as "dumb" as me.

AGW Anthropogenic Global Warming
AGW Anti-Global Warming
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Just broke out the Long Johns and had the boy go round for some extra coal as the early Dec trend for Se. Louisiana and S. Mississippi Looks cold,..and colder with some moisture injecting into it round the 2nd of Dec.

..Interesting.

Happy Thanksgiving,a Hearty Meal and Fair Skies to everyone this Thanksgiving.




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127695
In a dry slot for a little while. More of the wet stuff coming later this afternoon:

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Quoting lawntonlookers:
Thanks for the information Dr. Masters. The only question I have pertains to why the globe has such an increase in warming since the 1990. The United States, through EPA regulations has been reducing emissions since back in the 1970s. So why such a recent big time change?

Yesterday's blog, or maybe the blog before that, there were some great satellite pics of pollution/emissions from space.
Think worldview, U.S. doesn't exist in a vacuum. Someone, maybe NEwxguy?, posted NE looks like it's at the end of the tailpipe. (Hope I quoted that correctly, it was pretty good.)
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Quoting Drakoen:


The regional radar shows more rain over southwestern Florida that will be advecting eastward. The cold front is over Alabama and will push southward. Forecast overnight lows appear to be our lowest yet.

Yes things will be interesting mid week when the front moves through.


were the warm sector ends up next week is up for question but i have some concerns for florida with this one, as the models have been persistent in bringing some sort of overnight threat to the peninsula with this system.The general pattern is one that would support decent moisture return on the peninsula ahead of the front, and with a powerful shortwave, that is a recipe for trouble.
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73: Well, if you have a job, family, whatever reason that brings you or keeps you in said flood prone area, what do you do? You plan for it. You build your home to withstand and/or you build a levee system capable of protection.

Problem is, the entire state of Louisiana went 20+ years without a storm surge of 10 feet or greater. Everyone, and I mean everyone got a bit complacent and the systems went untested for far too long.

A Gustav-type storm once every 5 years, or so, is healthy, ironically, to really show us what works and what does not, in the realm of levees, evacuations, insurance policies, emergency management, etc., but no Gustav-type storm happened for a long time before Katrina came along and exposed the 'plans' for what they were.
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Quoting hurricane23:


Once this thick cloud deck moves out nice radiational cooling should provide a few cools nights across southeast florida. A slow warming trend next week. Per the last few runs of the GFS next week could be interesting as far as the potential for some severe weather across the state.

around 2 inches of rain this morning.

adrian


The regional radar shows more rain over southwestern Florida that will be advecting eastward. The cold front is over Alabama and will push southward. Forecast overnight lows appear to be our lowest yet.

Yes things will be interesting mid week when the front moves through.
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Quoting lawntonlookers:
Thanks for the information Dr. Masters. The only question I have pertains to why the globe has such an increase in warming since the 1990. The United States, through EPA regulations has been reducing emissions since back in the 1970s. So why such a recent big time change?


The primary data source that shows our temps rising, starting in 1990, and far and away higher than any of the distant historical data for the last 2000 years is well discussed in post 33.

I don't think anyone should form an opinion without knowing all of the facts.
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Nice write-up Dr. Masters. A lot of information to digest into my personal opinion on GW, whcih I leave out of this blog.

WOW. What a Hurricane/Typhoon. Glad that isn't coming my way!

As far as that squal line affecting South Florida next week, I think it is here early. Been raining since 3am - we are up to several inches of rain so far.
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Thanks for the information Dr. Masters. The only question I have pertains to why the globe has such an increase in warming since the 1990. The United States, through EPA regulations has been reducing emissions since back in the 1970s. So why such a recent big time change?
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Quoting NRAamy:
66. SQUAWK 9:03 AM PST on November 25, 2009
This whole AGW debate kinda reminds me of Whale Wars on TV. Has anyone watched that show?



no, but I saw the SouthPark episode! Apparently, the Japanese are killing whales and dolphins because they thought a whale and a dolphin were the pilots of the EnolaGay....who knew...


AMY!!!!!!


Trust me, the real show is nearly as bad, except is is the greenies that are the idiots.
Member Since: December 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2498
I'll be very glad when all this Global Warming talk dies out. The globe is probably warming, I'll agree there. It's either warming or cooling all the time. Do we know if it's historically significant? No. Do we know if man's activities have any real influence? No. We don't have the necessary high quality/high resolution data to prove it one way or the other.

Minimizing our carbon footprint is fine, let's not break the bank doing it. Let's not freak out everyone with the "sky is falling!!" predictions. Most people don't realize the current knowledge can't predict the temperature in their backyard at noon in two weeks time and get closer than about 5°F. There's no reason to think they have a handle on the global climate 50 or 100 years from now.

Enough already, let's at least try to pretend to be reasonable.......
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Or maybe the manufactured fear industry...


off-topic warning, but maybe related to climate change debate, re fear...

DEAD-ON, Atmo. (Are you scared that we're in total agreement on this?)
Mass Communications/Advertising/Marketing/Business 101:
There are really only two major motivators:
Fear, and sex (oh, don't flag me, geezopete, it's in our very mainstream textbooks.)
example (fear): you don't use toothpaste, deodorant, you smell bad.
If you use them, well, maybe you get--lucky :)

Quoting NRAamy:
May I blame it on the media (again)? (small chuckle, "col"?)

sure....I don't watch/read the news out here either!

;)

I really wasn't blaming west coast news -- THIS time :-)
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66. SQUAWK 9:03 AM PST on November 25, 2009
This whole AGW debate kinda reminds me of Whale Wars on TV. Has anyone watched that show?



no, but I saw the SouthPark episode! Apparently, the Japanese are killing whales and dolphins because they thought a whale and a dolphin were the pilots of the EnolaGay....who knew...
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Quoting hurricane23:


Once this thick cloud deck moves out nice radiational cooling should provide a few cools nights across southeast florida. A slow warming trend next week. Per the last few runs of the GFS next week could be interesting as far as the potential for some severe weather across the state.

adrian


Hey "killer," good to see you.
Member Since: December 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2498
This whole AGW debate kinda reminds me of Whale Wars on TV. Has anyone watched that show? While I agree with the cause morally, I cannot stand the cast of idiots that run that boat, particularly the captain. What a jerk. If Al Gore was not involved in the AGW debate I might be a little more receptive to the idea and find it more believable, but with him as the front man - no way. I don't pretend to be smart enough to know the reality of AGW, but certainly can't get behind the Gore crew.
Member Since: December 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2498
Quoting Drakoen:


Highs in the upper 70s, lows in the 60s


Once this thick cloud deck moves out nice radiational cooling should provide a few cools nights across southeast florida. A slow warming trend next week. Per the last few runs of the GFS next week could be interesting as far as the potential for some severe weather across the state.

around 2 inches of rain this morning.

adrian
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Happy Turkey Day, Junky...

:)
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Quoting P451:


Hehe. My New Orleans-native mother is starting to really understand what she has done by moving to south-central Wyoming...
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Quoting GetReal:
Thanks Dr. Masters, you did not disappoint me in the least!!! With the the evidence mounting more, and more everyday that AGW is a hoax, I predicted to a friend yesterday that you would lash out to defend your AGW religion.

It is hard to admit when you have been suckered by the manipulated data, over such a long period of time. No one wishes to admit that they have been the victim of a hoax, that lasted over a decade. I understand the mindset.


Your handle is very contradictory...interesting delusional viewpoint you have there.
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And a Happy Thanksgiving to All!
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Morning Drak...what do you see temp wise for our neck of the woods next week? Depending on who you listen to, some say highs in the upper 70's and lows in the 60's and some say highs in the 60's and lows in the 50's.


Highs in the upper 70s, lows in the 60s
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

Glad to hear it, Amy...I'm glad you came in, I was hoping one of the CA bloggers was up and about. The report was only 1/2-hour old when I got it, so I posted it. May I blame it on the media (again)? (small chuckle, "col"?)

Or maybe the manufactured fear industry...
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May I blame it on the media (again)? (small chuckle, "col"?)

sure....I don't watch/read the news out here either!

;)
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Quoting leftovers:
leftovers nonsense? you know for some people tabacco might be good for some it relaxes like carrying a cane its always there. who knows some smokers might actually live longer by smoking than not! otherwise die of a heart attack happy weather thinking tropics dec 9th sw carib.


LOL
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Thought I would share this (you here Patrap?).

This is a Rand-McNally map from 1895 for SE LA. Shows a lot of marsh areas and islands that are completely foreign to us today. St. Bernard parish is probably less than half that size now. Terrebonne and NO East, too. All of the "land" between the east end of Lake Pontchartrain and the open gulf is essentially gone.

Of course, the accuracy has to be held somewhat in question, but I think it is at least fairly accurate for 1895.


(click for full size)


(No I am not that guy that thinks that one big river with reduced sediment loads is capable of maintaining/rebuilding all of SE LA. Some areas, such as the Chandeleurs, have been eroding since the MS river changed course, or the time before that, or the time before that, or the time before that...)
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Quoting NRAamy:
Santa Ana winds have whipped a fire in the Anaheim hills section of Orange County, CA,

it's under control...nothin' to watch here, folks...keep movin'...

:)

Glad to hear it, Amy...I'm glad you came in, I was hoping one of the CA bloggers was up and about. The report was only 1/2-hour old when I got it, so I posted it. May I blame it on the media (again)? (small chuckle, "col"?)
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ONE THING:

1. "Hill and Knowlton designed a brilliant Public Relations (PR) campaign to convince the public that smoking is not dangerous. They encouraged the tobacco industry to set up their own research organization, the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR), which would produce science favorable to the industry, emphasize doubt in all the science linking smoking to lung cancer, and question all independent research unfavorable to the tobacco industry."

Replace "tobacco industry" with AGW proponents, and replace "CTR" with RealClimate, and you have the current state of affairs:

"...designed a brilliant Public Relations (PR) campaign to convince the public that AGW is worse than we thought. AGW proponents set up their own website, RealClimate, which would allow comments favorable to AGW proponents, emphasize "consensus" in all the science linking CO2 to AGW, and question all independent research unfavorable to AGW."

Your references to RealClimate should warn that there is fairly heavy censoring on their site. Try to ask a question critical of certain papers, and see how far it goes.
Member Since: May 18, 2007 Posts: 289 Comments: 1639
Thanks Stormw,you and your family have a great Thanksgiving.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.