Local conditions and personal reflections

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 11:09 PM GMT on May 31, 2013

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Local Conditions and Personal Reflections

I have disappeared for a while because of technological failures. Honestly, I embraced them for a couple of days, but it's hard for me to remain in denial for more than a day or two. So I have sought out the computer at the public library and remembered my WU login. Here is a personal reflection on how local weather conditions might impact how one thinks about climate change.

I am currently residing in Boulder, Colo., where I try to grow a pretty large garden. Last year, 2012, was exceedingly hot in the spring and very dry. The dryness continued into the winter of 2013.

Water is in short supply in the West. This is not news. In fact, when John Wesley Powell explored the West he was pessimistic about its habitability because of scarcity of water (an old NPR story). He laid out a vision of a West of small settlements anchored in reliable water sources. Earlier, when Stephen Long explored the Midwest and the Front Range of the Rockies, he labeled the area the "Great Desert." (some cool maps from University of Tulsa).

Of course, the Great Plains and the West have now been populated with large cities. Water is managed in a fragmented way on an enormous spatial scale. There is huge contention for water between cities, agricultural and conservation management, and energy production. This is one area of the country where there is concern shared amongst the governors about drought and climate change.

In March 2013 as the local drought persisted, I was downright depressed about the coming spring and summer. The snowpack in the mountains was low. In the previous year, the spring had been so warm that much of the snow melted well before the normal spring runoff. I remember in June 2012 putting pumpkins into soil that was well over 110 degrees F and dry down to the underlying clay bed. With the low humidity and heat, I could not water most of them enough to keep them alive. In March 2013, we seemed to be looking at even less water.

Spring 2013 was just plain odd in the U.S. Largely, it was cold, with many record cold temperatures. The cold waves were interspersed with sometimes record heat. The variability was enormous. In my part of Colorado during April, at just about exactly seven-day intervals, there was one record snow a week. On the flat lands east of the mountains, these snows were followed by extraordinary seasonal cold, then a rapid melt. Virtually all blossoming trees did not blossom; the bees are not happy. In the mountains, the snowpack built up to be higher than average. Some ski resorts reopened for Memorial Day because of fresh May snow.

Here at the end of May, I look at the mountains and there is a lot of snow. The farm irrigation ditches run full of water. The cities are reconsidering the water restrictions they imposed in February and March. The hay fields are green and tall. I look around, and I feel pretty good about the summer.

Those mountains that I see to the West supply the Platte River and the Colorado River. I look up to them and naively think of the Colorado River full of water. However, the truth is quite the contrary. 2013 is yet another year of the Colorado River being in extreme drought. Despite my seeing all of that snow in my little world 2013 is an intensification of the Southwest drought.

I remember when I was quite young there was a drought in my home state of North Carolina. I was only a bit more naive then, perhaps more prone to the mystical, and I worried about the weather being broken in some way. At that age, weather was itself a mystery. I had no idea how to describe the motion of air and how to turn humidity into rain. I imagined that there had been a divine intervention into how the weather worked--it was the opposite of the biblical flood. I was a young boy with a narrow view of the world, so I assumed the whole world was in drought. I am sure that a few hundred miles away, however, the weather was still working; it was raining. I probably even checked to make sure that was the case. As I now sit in a world with what looks like enough snow for a good season in the garden, that childhood comfort of the weather working comes back.

This little vision I have into the world, that my weather has been beneficent, really has little relevance to whether or not the climate is changing. My little vision is no different than that of all of the people who have looked at the cold U.S. spring of 2013 and stated that as evidence or proof that the Earth was not warming. You have to look at all of the Earth and look at what is happening in the oceans and look at all that is melting.

One of our best resources on drought and water is the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). NIDIS followed from The 1998 National Drought Policy Act and The Western Governors' Association (some good policy history). This is climate policy; this is climate service. It is based on known vulnerabilities, ones that are expected to get worse because there is really nothing that suggests the vulnerabilities will lessen on their own. There is no looking at the facts and saying it will all be all right.

Rather than looking out your window and saying that the weather is working and that our climate is like it has always been, better to take a broader look--a global perspective. For a national perspective on drought, here is the outlook from NIDIS on May 15, 2013.

Hope to get my computer and files back early next week. Don't forget me.

r

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
chill out CB


What is he afraid to learn? Isn't that what we are here for?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
chill out CB
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Xulonn,

Show me evidence against it and I'll show you my evidence for it... This will be fun ... I am calling you out for the challenge are you up to the task?


....
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
Quoting Xulonn:
CB, just stop the silly b.s., please. Individual weather events, including tornadoes or swarms of them cannot be attributed to AGW/CC. It's the same as the fact that an individual home run by a baseball "slugger" who is using steroids cannot be attributed to the steroids. There would be lots of tornadoes without AGW/CC, and sluggers hits lots of home runs without steroids. AGW/CC and steroids increase the statistical frequency and can increase the average intensity of tornadoes and length of home runs, but they do not "cause" individual events.

You should know this, and are doing a disservice to our effort to educate the curious and counter denialism here. If this is a display of your knowledge of science, I would be very skeptical of the scientific validity of your tunnels.


The graphic/charted evidence proves it.....Computers can prove it too...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
CB, just stop the silly b.s., please. Individual weather events, including tornadoes or swarms of them cannot be attributed to AGW/CC. It's the same as the fact that an individual home run by a baseball "slugger" who is using steroids cannot be attributed to the steroids. There would be lots of tornadoes without AGW/CC, and sluggers hits lots of home runs without steroids. AGW/CC and steroids increase the statistical frequency and can increase the average intensity of tornadoes and length of home runs, but they do not "cause" individual events.

[Edited to remove a distraction about "tunnels" so that CB can focus on the essence of my post.]
Member Since: June 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 1422
To be fair the David H. Koch foundation is the biggest sponsor of NOVA on PBS. And I have not noticed global warming downplayed on that program.

NOVA does not put up with nonsense. When they had their special two hour program on the evolution trial in Dover PA they refused to grant interviews with those on the evolution-denier side when they refused to adhere to common journalistic standards.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8558
Sadly my house may be next here in Oxford Alabama.....Thanks to fossil fuel GHG's...Thunder is really rumbling...


Link


...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
Quoting RevElvis:
The Koch Influence

TheNation.com
That last—an entire city-block of petroleum coke, a waste byproduct of refining Canadian oil sands—is also the dirtiest public face of the Kochs. But like any savvy corporate sponsor, they’re scrubbing it with philanthropy to present a clean, enlightened face, like the one greeting you at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where large signs tell you you’re standing on “the site of the new David H. Koch Plaza.” Originally the $65 million Dave gave to redo the plaza and fountains wasn’t going to result in naming rights, but somehow it did. And because of a $100 million donation, for the last five years you no longer attend the city ballet or opera at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center but at the David H. Koch Theater.
Detroit needs several billion dollars to climb out of its financial sinkhole, and the Emergency Manager is talking about selling the collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts to help raise the money. If the Kochs came in to bail out the city, we could name the art museum AND the pet-coke pile after them! Wonder if they would be interested?

/sarc - in case anyone hadn't figured that out
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Quoting RickyRood:
[...] This little vision I have into the world, that my weather has been beneficent, really has little relevance to whether or not the climate is changing. My little vision is no different than that of all of the people who have looked at the cold U.S. spring of 2013 and stated that as evidence or proof that the Earth was not warming. You have to look at all of the Earth and look at what is happening in the oceans and look at all that is melting...


That's it in a nutshell. Thanks, Dr. Rood.
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Fossil fuel GHG's can do this? Boy are we in trouble now...


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
The Koch Influence

TheNation.com

On the eve of our first Neo-Pleistocene summer, right-wing carbon barons David and Charles Koch seem to be everywhere, buying influence and trying to de-pollute their image.

The multibillionaire brothers are the potential new owners of the Tribune Company’s eight newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and Hoy, the nation’s second-largest Spanish-language daily. They’re helping to shape what gets on PBS; as Jane Mayer tells it, David Koch barely had to lift a goldfinger to get a public television company to censor itself and drop a documentary critical of him. They’re getting down with BuzzFeed; the Charles Koch Institute–sponsored a BuzzFeed Brews “immigration summit” a few weeks ago, with free beer and Ben Smith.

And, I’m approximating here, but in roughly 400,000 parts per million, the Kochs are all over the coming “climate-change wars,” as fights over EPA greenhouse-gas regulations and the (Koch-enriching) Keystone XL pipeline heat up, and, in Detroit, Koch Carbon’s mountain of “the dirtiest residue from the dirtiest oil on earth” builds up, three stories high and counting.

That last—an entire city-block of petroleum coke, a waste byproduct of refining Canadian oil sands—is also the dirtiest public face of the Kochs. But like any savvy corporate sponsor, they’re scrubbing it with philanthropy to present a clean, enlightened face, like the one greeting you at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where large signs tell you you’re standing on “the site of the new David H. Koch Plaza.” Originally the $65 million Dave gave to redo the plaza and fountains wasn’t going to result in naming rights, but somehow it did. And because of a $100 million donation, for the last five years you no longer attend the city ballet or opera at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center but at the David H. Koch Theater.

Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 25 Comments: 948
As we stand here in wonder and amazement I think we should change over to greener energy...






....
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
Hey Mom where did our roof go? I don't know son but I am sure fossil fuel GHG's had something to do with it...






...
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Quoting Birthmark:

And do I get invited? No-ooooo.

I'd leave in a huff, but I don't want to move that fast. I leave in a minute-and-a-huff. (Thanks, Groucho!)




I DON'T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER
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So Eli's Friend, Qing Bin Lu, the Thor of the dissociative electron transfer (DET) reactions on ices hammer drives ozone depletion and now global warming, has found a new home at Journal of Modern Physics B (open version at the arXiv), Gerlich and Tscheusner's old home. Lu again talked the flacks at U Waterloo into pushing his peanut. This one is showing up even in newspapers but some of them have a clue or two. OK the Bunnies say, but that is Canada. What about our fellow bloggers, they love it, Willard Tony and Heartland are having hot global cooling flashes. Rick Piltz has a comment in the other direction on the "new" paper, but of course, the old ones were not exactly complementary.

Eli actually has read the paper, and let the Rabett point out to the person who sent him the link, that Bunnies have sharp teeth. One could, of course, fisk the trash, but that bogs down into explaining to the Shubs of the world that more comprehensive is a perfectly good way of comparing things. Let us rise up above pedantry in defense of Richard Tol.



Q-B points out that DET is REALLY effective on ices for busting CFCs apart and forming Cl- ions and claims that this does something or other to the global surface temperature, although he is quite confused about what he is saying, either blaming it on the increase in CFCs or what is happening on the polar stratospheric clouds to destroy ozone. So a natural thing is to look at the forcing from say CFCs and CO2
over say the last 25 years taken from the WMO 2011 Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion:2010 Chapter 1 Figure 24.

QB does some fancy mathterbation exercise to mislead the average reader.
His version is:



but here is a more realistic one:



Eli, for suitable begging, could expand on this later, but Ms. Rabett calls and the Bunnies will have to go high to beat that.
POSTED BY ELIRABETT AT 10:48 AM
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Quoting Birthmark:

Thanks. But I'm kinda busy right now. LOL


So what the heck good is an invitation then???
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
Quoting cyclonebuster:


Hey your invited Birthmark..

Thanks. But I'm kinda busy right now. LOL
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting Birthmark:

And do I get invited? No-ooooo.

I'd leave in a huff, but I don't want to move that fast. I leave in a minute-and-a-huff. (Thanks, Groucho!)


Hey your invited Birthmark..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
Quoting SouthernIllinois:

Hey, CB! Enjoyed chatting with all you Guys in the Weather Chat yesterday. :) Even BaltimoreBrian showed up. Tragic what happened to homes and families yesterday with the storms. We can only hope for them to get back on their feet and recover as quick as they can.

And do I get invited? No-ooooo.

I'd leave in a huff, but I don't want to move that fast. I leave in a minute-and-a-huff. (Thanks, Groucho!)
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Don't delay on renewable energy, government told
Committee on Climate Change says the sooner the UK invests in low-carbon power generation the cheaper it will be


Investing in new renewable power generation, rather than a "dash for gas", will be the lower-cost option for keeping the lights on while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the government's climate change watchdog has said.

The sooner the UK makes large investments in low-carbon generation – including offshore and onshore wind, nuclear power and energy from waste – the cheaper it will be, according to David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the statutory body that advises ministers on meeting emissions targets.

The conclusions are likely to be controversial, as many MPs on the right of the Tory party have been clamouring for an end to onshore windfarms and reductions in renewable subsidies.

They would prefer to see a new "dash for gas" that would require the UK to massively expand shale gas drilling and import tens of billions of pounds worth of fuel each year as North Sea reserves run down. They point to lower gas prices in the US that have resulted from the aggressive pursuit of shale resources.

The CCC's analysis found that investing in renewable energy made sense even if the price of gas was relatively low. Previous analysis by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) relied on scenarios of large increases in the gas price to make renewables and other forms of low-carbon power, such as nuclear, more economic.

Kennedy told the Guardian: "Not investing in renewables only makes sense if you don't want to meet our emissions targets – if you tear up the Climate Change Act."

That is precisely what some on the rightwing of the Tory party would like to do, although the act passed in 2008 with just a handful of no votes. The opponents included Peter Lilley, recently appointed as a senior adviser to David Cameron, although No 10 said his focus would be on foreign policy and not on energy.

A DECC spokeswoman said: "We agree with the CCC on both the need to invest in a portfolio of low-carbon technologies, and the need to reduce our dependence on imported gas which is the main factor driving up household energy bills.

"We recently trebled support for low-carbon technologies to £7.6bn to 2020, and have introduced landmark legislation through the energy bill to incentivise £110bn of investment in clean energy infrastructure, which has the potential to support 250,000 jobs in the energy sector."

Kennedy said targets on emissions from the electricity sector to 2030 were likely to be needed, in order to spur low-carbon investment by giving companies the clarity and certainty they needed to put money into UK projects.

The government has rejected a target of decarbonising electricity generation by 2030, as had been proposed for the energy bill now on its passage through parliament. Tim Yeo, the Tory former minister, is leading a rebellion on the target, which he wants reinstated, and has gathered at least 45 supporters including the prominent Tories Zac Goldsmith and Sir Peter Bottomley.

Green campaigners welcomed the CCC report. Leila Deen, energy campaigner at Greenpeace, said: "Every MP in British politics should take heed of this report, because in two weeks' time they'll be making the biggest changes to the UK's energy system in a generation when they vote on the energy bill.

"The CCC's advice is clear: a clean energy system is better for business and better for consumers. George Osborne has ripped a 2030 decarbonisation target from the bill, but with hundreds of businesses and investors crying foul, it's up to coalition MPs to vote it back in."

The passage of the energy bill promises to be tempestuous because of the deep divisions within the Tory party on energy and climate change. Yeo said: "This report raises serious concerns about the mixed messages the government has been sending on energy and climate change policy. The energy bill is supposed to deliver billions of pounds of investment in clean energy infrastructure by providing long-term certainty and reducing capital costs, but the Treasury has undermined investor confidence by stripping the legislation of a clear carbon reduction target."
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Renewable energy is clean, cheap and here – what's stopping us?



Energies such as solar and wind have seen dramatic price falls. The revolution in non-grid energy should be embraced by the UK

The report from the Committee on Climate Change arguing that investing in renewable energy would eventually save consumers a lot of money is spot on.

We are regularly told by conventional utility companies, many politicians and commentators that energies such as solar and wind are hopelessly expensive and reliant on enormous subsidy.

But this is simply wrong. Renewables have seen such dramatic price falls in the past few years that they are threatening to upset the world as we know it and usher in an almost unprecedented boom in the spread of cheap, clean, home-produced energy.

Solar will be the cheapest form of power in many countries within just a few years. In places such as California and Italy it has already reached so-called "grid parity". Onshore wind, on a piece of land not constrained by years of planning delays, is already the cheapest form of energy on earth. These are not wild claims – those are figures from General Electric, Citibank and others.

Solar PV, the area in which my company operates, is a case in point. Three years ago firms like ours were paying about €3,600 per installed kilowatt of solar capacity on barn roofs in Germany. Today it can be done for just over €1,000 – a staggering 70% fall. That is seriously cheap and will just keep getting cheaper.

Thanks to a surge in global production to 60 gWp annually, (enough to supply British households – not offices or factories – with all their electricity) solar power has dropped dramatically in price. But there is more to come. Cambridge IP, a global innovation and intellectual property firm, says there is a surge of interest and R&D into two new forms of solar power which are likely to be available commercially by the end of this decade.

Newly built solar plants are already considerably cheaper than new nuclear plants per kilowatt hour of electricity produced and we are almost at the stage where we don't need a guaranteed price (known as a feed-in tariff) because solar energy will compete head on with conventional energy.

True, there is an ongoing cost from the German government's previous support for solar, but is much lower than the subsidies pumped by the western world into nuclear, coal, oil and gas over the past decades.

It is always amazing how a tax cut announced by George Osborne for North Sea oil and gas industry is greeted as somehow being good for Britain whereas any support for renewables is immediately dubbed a subsidy by the conventional energy companies wedded to their dying business model. A tax cut is a subsidy by another name. And remember the estimated £100bn plus cost to future taxpayers of disposing of Britain's dangerous pile of nuclear waste.

And solar is starting to pay its subsidy back. Germany now has more than 30 gigaWatt peak (gWp) of solar plants installed, such that on almost all days in the spring, summer and autumn, solar energy surges into the grid at a time when demand is at is strongest (air conditioning etc is running like mad) and when spot market energy prices are at their highest.

This peak price is being forced down by solar, helping to reduce wholesale prices. The big energy companies hate this because this peak is where they make their money. Solar in Germany is almost down to wholesale prices – in sunnier countries it already is.

This brings me on to a really exciting development . Our company is starting to sell power directly from the barn roofs we have our plants on to the farmers who own the roofs and nearby towns wishing to rescue themselves from the grasp of the RWEs and E.ONs of this world.

Why? Because we can produce power at around half of what farmers are paying.

This so-called "distributed" (ie non-grid) energy is where the real revolution is taking place. Distributed energy not only saves on the huge amount of energy lost in grid distribution, but it helps lighten the load on the grid. Whole German towns are going completely renewable. The citizens get cheaper, cleaner power. If only Britain would get this.

Just to be clear – Germany (Europe's biggest economy) now gets 25% of its electricity from renewables – a proportion that is increasing by the month. This is twice the level of the UK, although, interestingly, similar to that of Scotland on its own. Germany is also leading on figuring out how to overcome the problems of "intermittency" by storing renewable energy. I agree with the sceptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg that much of the world's efforts to reduce emissions in the past couple of decades have been a waste of time. I also agree with him on the need for a surge in R&D to provide a cheap, renewable-energy-powered future. It is just that I think that future is already here, not decades away. And nuclear power is already a thing of the past.
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Tornadoes today Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee,Kentucky,Georgia,Louisiana and North Carolina.....
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
Quoting SouthernIllinois:

Hey, CB! Enjoyed chatting with all you Guys in the Weather Chat yesterday. :) Even BaltimoreBrian showed up. Tragic what happened to homes and families yesterday with the storms. We can only hope for them to get back on their feet and recover as quick as they can.


That was nice and I liked it..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
..


What happened to my Tornado chase car? Thanks fossil fuel GHG's??


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Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
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What happened to my Kitchen? Thanks fossil fuel GHG's....



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Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
April has also gone up more than 300% since 1950....So how many are are caused by fossil fuel GHGs?








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A response on statistical models and global temperature
from the MET OFFICE(UK).


Over a period of several months the Met Office has been involved in dialogue and answered a series of questions on the subject of the use of statistical models in relation to the global temperature record.

The Met Office’s Chief Scientist, Julia Slingo, has written a discussion paper on the subject – you can now view the Executive Summary and a link to the full paper in an article on our Research News pages.

Publication of this paper follows a guest article recently published on the Bishop Hill blog site, where one of the people with which the Met Office has been speaking with – Doug Keenan – makes a series of accusations about the Met Office and its science.

Professor Slingo’s paper answers many of the points Mr Keenan makes, and the Met Office has already directly addressed many of the points Mr Keenan raises through considerable previous correspondence we have had with him on this issue. However, here we directly address a few of the key points in Mr Keenan’s article:

1) Mr Keenan says that there is “no basis” for the claim that the increase in global temperatures since the late 1800s is too large to be reasonably attributed to natural random variation. He goes on to argue that this is because we haven’t used the right statistical model.

However, the claim that the increase in global warming is larger than could be explained by natural variability has a clear and well understood grounding in fundamental physics and chemistry. There is very high confidence (using the IPCC’s definition) that the global average net effect of human activities since 1850 has been one of warming. The basis for this claim is not, and never has been, the sole use of statistical models to emulate a global temperature trend. Instead it is based on hundreds of years of scientific advancement, supported by the development of high-quality observations and computational modeling.

2) Mr Keenan suggests that Met Office scientists have been ‘trying to cover it [point 1, above] up’.

The Met Office has entered into email discussion at the working scientific level and responded promptly and transparently on all parliamentary matters and questions. We have also responded to numerous emails from Mr Keenan and invited him to come to the Met Office to discuss statistical modeling in climate science. As he points out in his article, so far those invitations have been declined or unanswered. The invitation still stands.

3) Mr Keenan then goes on to argue that you can only use a statistical model to determine whether the warming we have seen is statistically significant. He argues that the Met Office has used the wrong statistical model and, therefore, our science is flawed.

The study of climate variability and change is broader than the domain of statistics, most notably due to the importance of the underpinning science of the climate system. Our judgment that changes in temperature since 1850 are driven by human activity is based on information not just from the global temperature trend, or statistics, but also our knowledge of the way that the climate system works, how it responds to global fossil fuel emissions and observations of a wide range of other indicators, such as sea ice, glacier mass, sea level rise, etc.

Using statistical tests in the absence of this other information is inappropriate, particularly when it is not possible to know, definitively, which is the most appropriate statistical model to use. In particular, a key test of an appropriate statistical model is that it agrees with everything we know about the system. Neither of the models discussed by Mr Keenan is adequate in this regard. On that basis, this conversation on statistical modelling is of little scientific merit.

4) Mr Keenan details his argument to say that various different statistical models can emulate the global temperature record better and worse than others.

This is something the Met Office has already spoken about and shown analysis on (such as in an answer to a parliamentary question (PQHL62)). However, this assessment of relative likelihood does not ensure that any of the statistical models are scientifically valid. Because the Met Office does not make an assessment of global warming solely on statistics – let alone the statistical models referred to in Mr Keenan’s article, this exercise is of very little, if any, scientific use.

5) Mr Keenan also makes repeated accusations that the Met Office did not, or was not willing to respond to Parliamentary Questions.

This is not the case. The Met Office answered every request for input to Parliamentary Questions and answered them in the most scientifically appropriate way to the best of its knowledge. There has never been a refusal to provide information to answer a Parliamentary Question.

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How many of these tornadoes are caused by Fossil Fuel GHG's? The trend has gone up by 300% between 1950 and now.....








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Qing-Bin Lu revives debunked claims about cosmic rays and CFCs

A new paper by Qing-Bin Lu in the International Journal of Modern Physics B is gaining coverage for its claim that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), not CO2, is causing global warming. This sensationalist headline is often repeated with little mention that Lu’s claims are not new, and have not held up to scientific scrutiny in the past.

The following is a guest post by Climate Nexus. Text in PDF format here.

Qing-Bin Lu Revives Debunked Claims About Cosmic Rays and CFCs

A new paper by Qing-Bin Lu in the International Journal of Modern Physics B is gaining coverage for its claim that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), not CO2, is causing global warming. This sensationalist headline is often repeated with little mention that Lu’s claims are not new, and have not held up to scientific scrutiny in the past. In fact, Lu has been promoting his theories about CFCs for years, and mainstream scientists have found no merit in them. Critics have said Lu makes a fundamental scientific error by confusing correlation with causation, and does not effectively challenge the physical evidence of the warming effects of CO2, a body of knowledge built up over 150 years.

The claim:

Lu argues that CFCs are responsible for causing global warming. He uses a complicated chain of logic starting with the premise that it is cosmic rays, not UV rays as most scientists think, that break down CFCs, and ending with the finding that after his calculations, the estimated warming impact of CFCs matches up closely with actual measured surface temperatures. He concludes that it must be CFCs, not CO2, that are causing surface temperatures to rise.

The facts:

- This theory has been considered and dismissed before. A 2010 report by the National Academies of Science was commissioned by Congress to examine all the evidence surrounding global warming including the theory that cosmic rays might influence Earth’s climate. It concluded that “a plausible physical mechanism… has not been demonstrated” and “cosmic rays are not regarded as an important climate forcing.”

- In 2011, a peer-reviewed paper found that Lu’s conclusions “are based solely on correlation… do not have a physical basis… and the findings of the IPCC… remain unchallenged.”

- In response to Lu’s most recent publication, several different scientists interviewed by the Vancouver Sun each said that Lu’s conclusions “[go] against 150 years of very fundamental physics.”

- Critics point out that Lu’s paper fails to make the leap from correlation to causation, one of the most basic and most common scientific failings. This error is simply illustrated in the classic fable of the rooster who believes the sun rises because he crows. Two things may happen at the same time, but this does not mean one causes the other. A “physical mechanism” by which the two events are connected must be known, in order to fully understand causation.

- In contrast, there is strong experimental evidence of the physical mechanism by which CO2 warms the planet, evidence that (as scientists have mentioned already in response to Lu) dates back 150 years.

* * *
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More tornadoes today...

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20393
Thanks for the update Dr. Rood. Hope your computer gets back to you soon.
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Thanks Dr. Rood. I hope your "technology issues' get cleared up soon.

Your take on weather vs. climate, and local vs. regional vs global variations in them is, of course, what most of your "regular" participants and commenters also understand.

It is amazing, however, that even here in the comments following your blog posts, there are many references to local and regional weather events, and implications that they are evidence that AGW/CC is not happening.
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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.