Alleged Climate Change Extreme Weather Link

Bill McKibben sees climate change every day, and he wants you to see climate change as well. But his dramatic description of “Hiroshimas” worth of energy leaves out some important context.

How Fast Is the Climate Changing?: It’s a New World, Each and Every Day

Storm intensity vs year (from Dr. Roy Spencer’s Blog)

By Bill McKibben

The struggle over climate change is necessarily political and economic and noisy—if we’re going to get anything done, we’ll have to do it in parliaments and stock exchanges, and quickly.

But, every once in a while, it’s worth stepping back and reminding ourselves what’s actually going on, silently, every hour of every day. And what’s going on is that we’re radically remaking our planet, in the course of a human lifetime. Hell, in the course of a human adolescence.

The sun, our star, pours out energy, which falls on this planet, where the atmosphere traps some of it. Because we’ve thickened that atmosphere by burning coal and gas and oil—in particular, because we’ve increased the amount of carbon dioxide and methane it contains—more of that sun’s energy is trapped around the Earth: about three-fourths of a watt of extra energy per square meter, or slightly less than, say, one of those tiny white Christmas-tree lights. But there are a lot of square meters on our planet—roughly five hundred and ten trillion of them, which is a lot of Christmas-tree lights. It’s the heat equivalent, to switch units rather dramatically, of exploding four Hiroshima-sized bombs each second.

We get a sense of what that feels like when we have a week like the one we just came through. Hurricane Laura detonated in intensity in a few hours before it made landfall—that escalation was one of the most rapid that has ever been observed in the Gulf of Mexico, and it’s because of the extra heat that’s available. …

Read more: https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/how-fast-is-the-climate-changing-its-a-new-world-each-and-every-day

Back in the real world, there is a weak correlation between warming and wind speed, but the correlation is not statistically significant (see the graph at the top of the page).

Bill McKibben’s talk of Hiroshima’s worth of energy is very dramatic. But that 3/4 of a watt per square meter Bill talks about has to be seen in the context of other climate phenomena, such as changes to insolation caused by Earth’s not quite circular orbit around the Sun.

In January the Earth is only 0.9833 AU from the Sun, in June the Earth is 1.017 AU from the sun (AU – astronomical unit = 93 million miles). This results in a variation of solar intensity of 1413 w/m2 in early January, when the Earth is closest to the sun, which drops to 1321 w/m2 in June.

Obviously there are other numbers you could use, such as total sunlight striking the Earth’s surface, but my point is natural annual variations in total solar intensity are at least an order of magnitude larger than any anthropogenic CO2 signal.

In the context of this and other large climate shifts such as seasons, variations in snow cover, or random changes in ocean currents and cloudiness, Bill McKibben’s 3/4 of a watt / square meter of anthropogenic warming could best be described as “noise”.

There is no substantial evidence anthropogenic CO2 is adding enough energy to the climate system to make a significant difference to storm intensity.

CONTINUE READING –>

 

20 thoughts on “Alleged Climate Change Extreme Weather Link

  1. Eric Worrall wrote:
    …but my point is natural annual variations in total solar intensity are at least an order of magnitude larger than any anthropogenic CO2 signal.

    But that’s nothing new as it’s been going on forever and the underlying climate system long ago adjusted to it.

    The 3/4 W/m2 is new and is *new* energy added to the climate system, to which it must adjust and is still adjusting. It’s continual and only increasing.

    I’m surprised Eric doesn’t understand that — it’s a fairly simple point that comes up time and time again in the discussion of climate change.

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    • Yes. I think his point though was that the natural variation gives annual swings which are much larger than the extra little bit from CO2, but you’re right that over time it does add up.

      The counterbalancing difficulties are that
      * By far the CO2 going into the atmosphere comes mostly from natural sources and not from human activity.
      * CO2 from human activity includes land use, cement, steel, & aluminum making, and other human endeavors besides using fossil fuels. So, how little comes from fossil fuels.
      * The is no way to know or measure how much if any temperature rise is from CO2 (which happens before CO2 rises).
      * How much of the temp rise is just natural variation and how much comes from CO2. It’s nice to be able to say it all is from CO2, but unless you can measure what percent is from CO2, how much of that is from fossil fuels, and how much the temp rise actually is beneficial vs not, you can’t make any valuable policy decisions. So far, the beneficial far outweighs the downside, and the downside is mostly speculation and false attribution (eg. “Look at all the hurricanes.”

      There is ample evidence that climate experts tend to succumb to confirmation bias, and not reporting contrary evidence, in reporting results of studies (see Palmisano on endangered butterflies in a field returning to its natural state several years after a wildfire).

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  2. I know what Eric’s point was, and I explained why it’s not relevant to the issue of climate change. (It’d be the same argument if the sun was causing climate change.) I’ll elaborate if you’d like.

    * By far the CO2 going into the atmosphere comes mostly from natural sources and not from human activity.

    And nature takes out a lot of CO2 as well. In fact, nature takes out more CO2 than it puts in.

    * CO2 from human activity includes land use, cement, steel, & aluminum making, and other human endeavors besides using fossil fuels. So, how little comes from fossil fuels.

    This is easy to look up. About 85% comes from fossil fuel use, if I recall correctly — 10% comes from land use changes, 3% from cement. Steel & aluminum making uses fossil fuels.

    * The is no way to know or measure how much if any temperature rise is from CO2 (which happens before CO2 rises).

    Anthropogenic and natural forcings are known:

    In our case, temperature follows CO2, because we’re dumping CO2 directly into the atmosphere.

    (Do you wait for the temperature to rise before driving your car?)

    * How much of the temp rise is just natural variation and how much comes from CO2.

    See the chart just above.

    So far, the beneficial far outweighs the downside

    Why?

    and the downside is mostly speculation and false attribution (eg. “Look at all the hurricanes.”

    I live in Oregon, where for the last week and a half I’ve been breathing “hazardous error.” A few dozen are dead, thousands have lost their homes, all in part due to climate change. It’s the same if not worse in California and Washington.

    Tell me again about the benefits.

    There is ample evidence that climate experts tend to succumb to confirmation bias, and not reporting contrary evidence, in reporting results of studies (see Palmisano on endangered butterflies

    What is that “AMPLE” evidence? This is just a catch-all excuse you’re using because you can’t counter all the scientific evidence that proves anthropogenic climate change.


    PS: All your claims above have been widely debunked long ago.

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    • I’ll limit my response to just two points.

      1. The graph largely is guesswork. Yes there is some physics behind it, but for example, CO2 is NOT well mixed globally in the atmosphere.

      2. The wildfires out your way (west coast) definitely are natural occurrences. The WEATHER by you causes conditions for burns on a cyclical basis. There is a difference between weather and climate – it’s easy to arm wave that the fires are due to (or made worse by) climate change, but there can be no factual attribution – because its a natural cyclical occurrence. And then, if successive governments hadn’t prohibited deadwood logging, clearing of underbrush, creation of firebreaks, etc, then there would have been much, much less fuel for the fires to burn out of control. Incompetence is not caused by climate change.

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      • The graph largely is guesswork.

        I guess you mean the radiative forcing chart?

        What do you mean by “guesswork?”

        Do you mean some scientist sitting around says, “Well, this value looks like, I don’t know, let’s say, ugh, 4, and we’ll give it an uncertainty of, hmm, 1? What do you think, guys?”

        Like that?

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      • Guesswork? Look at what Gavin Schmidt has done to the actual data on NWS temps. The numbers have been majorly adjusted 5 times in a recent 6 year period, and each time the trend of temp rise was made to look steeper.

        I think I remember Gavin saying when asked about the original data from the thermometers, “Oh somehow most of that has gotten lost.”

        So yes, Team members lie, Team members make stuff up, and other researchers who do not want to be excommunicated either shut up or include some nod to climate change in their work sent for publication. I expect you are not aware or don’t want to be aware.

        So again I say, “Show me the data.”

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      • So yes, Team members lie, Team members make stuff up, and other researchers who do not want to be excommunicated either shut up or include some nod to climate change in their work sent for publication. I expect you are not aware or don’t want to be aware.

        If they do, they cite the provable cases of this.

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  3. What “graph?”

    The wildfires out your way (west coast) definitely are natural occurrences. The WEATHER by you causes conditions for burns on a cyclical basis.

    Most of them start naturally, but that doesn’t mean they reach a million acres (in OR) naturally. There’s been nothing this large on a “cyclical basis.” It’s been dry here, snowpacks are decreasing, people are encroaching on the forests. Most scientists agree climate change is playing a role — read all the articles from this week. Read the science. You can’t “thin” a million acres of forest, and “thinning” is just a euphemism for logging, which destroys forests. Logging, bringing in large machines, not just tramples the forest but itself starts fires too. Animals and fish and plants live in those forests — we can’t destroy ecosystems just because it suits us. Many people here recreate in those areas, too.

    Western wildfires and climate change:

    Impact of anthropogenic climate change on wildfire across western US forests
    John T. Abatzoglou and A. Park Williams,
    PNAS. October 18, 2016 113 (42) 11770-11775
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1607171113

    Evidence for declining forest resilience to wildfires under climate change
    Camille S. Stevens‐Rumann et al, Ecology Letters, 12 December 2017
    https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12889

    Observed Impacts of Anthropogenic Climate Change on Wildfire in California
    A. Park Williams, Earth’s Future Volume 7, Issue 8, 15 July 2019
    https://doi.org/10.1029/2019EF001210

    Like

    • I think at this point, we should agree to disagree.

      You are anti-logging, anti- clearing away the fuel, and anti-data. I never will be able to convince you that when our country cleared the fuel 100 years ago, the fires were much smaller, when we started to prevent forest management, the fuel grew to where now the fires are not controllable. I look at how fires which start (naturally or through arson) grow and grow. You won’t convince me that climate change is more of a factor than the fuel load available, so let’s just cut off the conversation. OK?

      Like

      • No insult was intended.

        It’s just that so much data refutes global warming that I assumed you weren’t interested in data.

        For example, NWS siting practices show that, for purposes of averaging temps, they would carry error bars greater than 5 degrees C. When you compare less than 1 degree forecasts, the forecasts become meaningless. And the trends (such as exist) for daily min temps vs daily max temps are very different. Min temps rise at a much steeper rate than max temps (Is there a problem with warmer nights?).

        Polar bear numbers are at a record high over all the time these records have been kept.

        Accumulated cyclone energy and the numbers of major and not hurricanes show no increase over many decades.

        Wildfires out west show a definite pattern of many small blazes back when forest management was practiced under native populations, many fewer fires when Smokey the Bear ruled, and now much bigger blazes now that suppression has been halted, mainly because underbrush and density of trees is way up (a consequence of Smokey’s rule).

        The IPCC has said in various reports that attribution of hurricanes and other bad stuff to man-made catastrophic, global warming can’t be shown. They also said that, since weather/climate is a non-linear chaotic process, it is impossible to make valid forecasts about them.

        There are many more, but then you’d have to seek them out at places like http://www.wattsupwiththat.com, http://www.sepp.org, http://www.surfacestations.org. One problem is that Google, Facebook, and other sites make your finding these sites very difficult. And, since most people pull back from doing or saying anything which might earn the “Denier” tag, I expect that most people wouldn’t even look. BTW, several previous believers have become skeptics – like Judith Curry, Michael Moore, and Michel Shellenberger.

        One test you can apply to stuff you read is, “Is this mainly opinion, or is there actual data?” Please be less willing to accept the word of a scientist – demand data.

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    • Opinions don’t float my boat unless they are backed up with data. The left (including professors) will say anything, do anything, be anything if it advances their meme.

      Show me the data supporting attribution to climate change.

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  4. The numbers have been majorly adjusted 5 times in a recent 6 year period, and each time the trend of temp rise was made to look steeper.

    Who/what says “majorly?” Don’t cite Steve Goddard.

    Adjustments are done for a perfectly good, valid, scientific reason — the raw data are biased. This isn’t difficult to understand if you do a little reading.

    “Thorough, not thoroughly fabricated: The truth about global temperature data: How thermometer and satellite data is adjusted and why it must be done,” Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica 1/21/16.
    http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/01/thorough-not-thoroughly-fabricated-the-truth-about-global-temperature-data/

    “Understanding adjustments to temperature data,” Zeke Hausfather
    http://judithcurry.com/2014/07/07/understanding-adjustments-to-temperature-data/

    “Berkeley Earth: raw versus adjusted temperature data,” Robert Rohde, Zeke Hausfather, Steve Mosher
    http://judithcurry.com/2015/02/09/berkeley-earth-raw-versus-adjusted-temperature-data/

    “Understanding Time of Observation Bias,” Zeke Hausfather
    http://judithcurry.com/2015/02/22/understanding-time-of-observation-bias/

    Like

    • Aren’t you the slightest bit curious that all 5 of those adjustments cause the trend to increase. Wasn’t the 1st adjustment enough? Wasn’t the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th enough? BTW, adjustments just increase the error bars, making the numbers that much less fit for climate purposes.

      Like

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