The Coming Katrina Anniversary

In a few days, we will reach the anniversary of the formation of Hurricane Katrina in the middle Atlantic (Aug 18, 2005). By this time last year, we’d had 4 hurricanes, including two category 4/5 hurricanes, with Katrina about to hit. The final 2005 tally was 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes, 7 "major" (Category 3 -111 mph – or higher) hurricanes and 4 Category 5 hurricanes.

Predictions in May 2006 were for 8-10 hurricanes (4-6 Cat 3+). So far this year we’ve had 3 "named storms" and the Atlantic is quiet as of today. A "named storm" has a minimum wind speed of 40 mph, so one may presume that comparative early 20th century statistics for "named storms" are unlikely to be comprehensive. On Aug 6, 2006, predictions were revised slightly down to 7-9 hurricanes (3-4 Cat 3+).

Named Storms Hurricanes Cat 3+ Hurricanes
2005 Season 28 13 7
May 22, 2006 Forecast 13-16 8-10 4-6
Aug 6, 2006 Forecast 12-15 7-9 3-4

What are the chances of this happening? Let’s compare the post-Aug 14 period for 2005 against the predictions for the balance of the season. After a very busy start to the 2005 season, there were 11 hurricanes and 5 Cat 3+ hurricanes from this point on in 2005. Despite a relatively quiet start to 2006, the current predictions are for only a very slight reduction in post-Aug 14 hurricanes – from 11 last year to 7-9 this year and only 1-2 less major hurricanes than last year.

Named Storms Hurricanes Cat 3+ Hurricanes
Balance 2005 20 11 5
Aug 6, 2006 Forecast 9-12 7-9 3-4

What do I know about hurricanes? Hardly anything. But I’d sure be inclined to bet that the number of hurricanes in a season has something to do with persistence and that early vortices in the Atlantic breed later vortices somehow. Based on the quiet Atlantic so far this year, I’d bet on the under (let’s say 7 or fewer hurricanes; 8 a wash).


  1. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    Among the drivers, I believe, of the forecast is the SST at key locations of the Atlantic. I wonder if the SSTs ended up below what was forecast? And I wonder if there was use made of GCMs that depict warming above reality in order to get to the predicted SSTs?

  2. JP
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    If I’m not mistaken, a NCAR scientist did an SST post mortem for the Atlantic for the entire 2005 Hurrican Season. His study found that the Atlantic was a full 1.8 deg C warmer than average, and that half of that variance was caused by AGW. The reports was published the same day the NAS Report was issued. I don’t know if anyone here read the report.

    There’s also another component to Tropical Storm development that gets little coverage, and that is the upper level wind profile. Tropical Storms need a very benign upper level enviorment to create a strong upper level anticyclonic vent. Any southern branches of the polar jet that translate over the Western Atlantic will shear the tropical storm before it can deepen. Upper level troughs that can dig far enough south will also shut the vent off. Perhaps the medium range forecast models for the Western Atlantic are showing this.

  3. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    “NOAA continues to predict a high likelihood (75% chance) of an above-normal 2006 Atlantic hurricane season and a 20% chance of a near-normal season, according to a consensus of scientists at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC), National Hurricane Center (NHC), and Hurricane Research Division (HRD). Therefore, 2006 is forecast to be the tenth above-normal season in the last twelve years.”

    Well at least its not a Hansen 99% chance as that would prove very embarrassing couldn’t it? Also note the use of ‘consensus’. I wonder how many climate scientist ther are in the NOAA, CPC, NHC, and the HRD? Assuuming a ‘consensus’ means at least 51% then I wonde rhow may of the climate scientists in this ‘consensus’ also agree that the majority of the currently observed GW is down to man-made causes rather than due to natural causes? What the hell does that last sentence mean – that there have nbeen 9 above-normal frequencies of Cat 3+ hurricanes in the last 12 years?


  4. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

    Interesting article here.

    This part in particular: “NASA is using a specially equipped plane based in the Cape Verde Islands 350 miles off Senegal to track and analyze the African easterly waves, which form over the eastern part of the continent and move west. Forecasters believe more than 80 percent of hurricanes of Category 3 or higher come from these waves.”

  5. Spence_UK
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    These events do seem to be coinciding with a cooling of sea surface temperatures (and ocean heat content in general). Those watching Pielke Sr. site will be aware of the Lyman paper which makes interesting reading.

    Remember the “Smoking Gun” of Hansen and Schmidt? Proof positive of global warmings WMD capability? Apparently, when they sent in the survey teams, nothing was found.

    (It even gets a mention on RealClimate, thanks to Bryan Sralla)

  6. Stephen
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    As my old economics professor used to say.

    The world is a complex place and it all depends….

    Long time lurker, interesting site lots of good comments most of the time, pretty hard core as well…hence the lurking.

    Keep up the good work….BTW the heavy cyclone season in China blamed on Global Warming…..clearly a “marauding” phenomena…..

    Oh, and Mr. Mc….did you see Saturday’s Globe and Mail with the hatchet job on Mr Ball, a climatologist and a skeptic. It was all about how its funded by big oil etc etc.

    Back to lurker mode, keep up the good work on the site.

  7. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    RE#5, Connolly called the paper/conclusions “weak” in his comments.

    I’m waiting for the “cooling SSTs are consistent with global warming theory, as the increased ice melt rate due to global warming releases cooler water into the oceans…” spin.

  8. Spence_UK
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

    Re #7, Hmm, it is a real “pin the tail on the donkey” game, isn’t it?

    Reality develops in a way inconsistent with the models, so quickly conject a plausible mechanism (most marks if the mechanism can be somehow blamed on humans), update the models to include this mechanism and reclaim perfect hindcasting.

    But even if they do this, it kinda makes a mockery of the smoking gun claims, doesn’t it? The death of the climate was, it appears, very much exagerrated…

  9. Lee
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    re 5: Spence_UK

    That paper is interesting. They find a downturn in surface heat content comparable to that previously observed in a downturn in the early 80s, and thus report that the downturns thena dn now seem to be real,a dn not just artifacts of measurement. IOW, it appears to be attributable to some kind of natural variability. Anthro causes do not necessarily cause simple monotonic effects, becasue they are not the only causes. They also report that there is still a substantial net increase in ocean surface heat content over longer time periods.

    They also report that the magnitude of surface heat loss is too large to be explained by surface to air transport, and therefore msut be due in large part to ocean mixing events, although they are not able to distinguish between specific kinds of mixing events.

    I seem to recall recently being taken to task by several people here for arguing that mixing of surface water to deeper ocean could be a reason the sea surface isnt rapidly equilbrating and thus a reason for longer lags in temperature increases after changes in forcing. Here, it seems, we have a report of large-scale mixing of surface heat to the deeper ocean.

  10. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    Steve M., read up on shear winds. The reason *all* of the hurricane scientists (who continue to strongly disagree about current AGW effects on hurricanes, BTW) still think we’re in for an above-average season is because we’ve had high shear winds counter otherwise very favorable development conditions, and that historically such a condition has never lasted much farther than it already has this year.

    Re #7: Pay attention, Michael. The paper whose conclusions you so admire proposed that very spin (see below) when it inferred that the only way to reconcile the observations (the ones showing increased sea level being the the only ones that are iron-clad, BTW) was to assume a large infusion of fresh water into the oceans over the same period. Where might that have come from, do you suppose, and what might have caused it?

    “The recent cooling of the upper ocean implies a decrease in the thermosteric component of sea level. Estimates of total sea level [Leuliette et al., 2004;, however, show continued sea-level rise during the past 3 years. This suggests that other contributions to sea-level rise, such as melting of land-bound ice, have accelerated. This inference is consistent with recent estimates of ice mass loss in Antarctica [Velicogna and Wahr, 2006] and accelerating ice mass loss on Greenland [Rignot et al., 2006] but closure of the global sea level budget cannot yet be achieved.”

  11. Fred
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    North Atlantic SSTs are actually very high – just not in the right place for hurricane development.

  12. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 3:36 PM | Permalink


    I don’t think we have to postulate mixing to explain decreases in SSTs. There are plenty of surface phenomena which can cause them. For instance, only a small increase in cloud coverage or type of cloud cover during the day can easily reduce absorption of solar radiation. Or a decrease in nighttime cloud cover could easily let more IR escape. Or increased surface temperatures could result in faster evaporation and precipitation transporting heat to the upper atmosphere faster and thus cyclically reducing the SSTs. The point is that those who live by the SSTs stand to die by the SSTs. I don’t think anyone understands the processes well enough to predict SSTs even with a fancy GCM.

  13. Spence_UK
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    Re #10

    Steve, the para you are quoting relates primarily to the issue of sea level. Michael (I believe) was referring to the heat content, which is not consistent with the injection of melt water.

    Whilst the sea level measurements are more accurate, the confidence intervals about the heat content are reasonably tight (assuming, of course, they have been correctly estimated!) and appear to be sufficiently tight to determine there has been substantial heat loss in the top 1400m of the ocean.

    When it comes to the heat content, the paper speculates:

    These findings suggest that the observed decrease in upper ocean heat content from 2003 to 2005 could be the result of a net loss of heat from the Earth to space. Nevertheless, further work will be necessary to determine the exact cause of the cooling.

  14. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    #10 Steve B,

    I’m not normally one for quoting from Rc but here is a recent post from Mark Shapiro.

    “Re: 25, 42 – Bryan Sralla asks about the recent loss of ocean heat (OHCA data) in Lyman et al since it poses a question for the models, which predict heat gain in the oceans. The link –

    Click to access heat_2006.pdf

    Lyman observes a loss of 3.2 x 10^22 Joules of heat from upper ocean between 2003-2005.

    Hank Roberts asks in 29: >loss of heat – loss of ice? So here’s a back of the envelope calculation:
    How much heat does it take to melt one cubic kilometer of ice?
    Latent heat to melt ice: 355,000 j/kg x 1,000 kg/cubic meter x 10^9 cubic meter/cubic km
    = 3.55 x 10^17 joules to melt one cubic kilometer of ice.

    And then how much ice is melting? Jianli Chen in Science thinks Greenland is losing 239 cubic km per year, and Antarctica is losing 150 cubic km per year according to Velicogna and Wahr. If total ice loss in 2 years was a round 1,000 cubic km, the total latent heat loss is: 3.55 x 10^20 joules.

    This is 1% of the heat loss that Lyman found. Then there is the heat to warm all that ice, first to melting point and then to the average temperature of the ocean.

    How’s my arithmetic so far? And what is the temperature of the oceans that the ice melt mixes with?

    Comment by Mark Shapiro “¢’‚¬? 14 Aug 2006 @ 4:12 pm

    So far no one has questioned his maths. What do you think?


  15. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    The staggering think about this sum is that he didn’t need two NEC supercomputers to work it out.


  16. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    Kevin, looking at the CRC tables the enthalpy of water at 25 deg C is 105 joules/g or 105,000 joules /jg. And since ice has a smaller specific heat I don’t think the total would add up to even 2% of the total Lyman has. So while it’s not negligible if you were setting up a model, it can be ignored as a major back-of-the-envelope factor.

  17. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    I strongly disagree DD, as clearly MS and yourself have missed the positive feedback effect that CO2 has on melting ice. ‘Back of the fag packet’ calculations of the nature above are clearly not capable of taking into account this ‘uncertainty’ (quote from Paul Cox on feedback mechanism’s in video link I posted elsewhere) in climate modelling. To fully allow for the positive feedback effect of CO2 on melting ice one needs at least two NEC supercomputers and a large grant from the UK NERC.


  18. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    re: #17

    have missed the positive feedback effect that CO2 has on melting ice.

    Oh Contraire, I’m practically addicted to Diet Coke, so I have observed the interaction of CO2 and melting ice many times. And I do indeed note the positive feedback I get when the soda is both cold and fizzy. Warm pop or flat pop are bad, but if my drink is both I get steamed for sure!

  19. Lee
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    re 12 – Dardinger:

    From page 3:

    “The relatively small amplitude of the globally averaged signal is dwarfed by much larger regional variations in OHCA (Figure 2). These variations sometimes exceed the equivalent of a local sea-air heat flux anomaly of > 50 W/m2 applied continuously over 2 years, and so are too large to be caused by this mechanism alone.”
    Now, that kind of patchiness could reflect horizontal heat transport as wella s vertical, but it MUST have involved oceanic transport, not simply sea-air transport.

    And if you look at page 5, much of the cooling occured at depths of 400 – 750 m, and could not reflect direct transfer to the air.

    This MUST reflect vertical mixing through many hundreds of meters as at least part of the effect.

  20. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Re #14: I’m not an idiot, Kevin, and I’m confident the authors of the paper aren’t either. The relevant calculation is the one accounting for sea level rise due to the *lower density* of the added fresh water. Clearly the authors ran those numbers and found that the result still fell far short of the quantity needed to account for the discrepancy. For some reason they don’t seem to have shown their work on that, though, which leads me to wonder if the discrepancy is so large that it would tend to focus attention back onto the reliability of the temp readings (again noting the unimpeachability of the sea level observations).

  21. Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps not?

    But I’d sure be inclined to bet that the number of hurricanes in a season has something to do with persistence and that early vortices in the Atlantic breed later vortices somehow.

    This short and sweet paper shows the frequency is Poisson. Wouldn’t that mean each Hurricane occurrence is independent?

    Click to access 0324.pdf

  22. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    Re #17: Kevin, just to add that one of the fundamental lessons of the science biz is to wait to gloat until after your results have been confirmed. 🙂

  23. David Smith
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    Steve, Dr Gray of Colorado State did some work a few years ago and showed that there is not much correlation between the number of Atlantic cyclones before August 1 and the number after August 1. Some years are high-high, some are high-low, some are low-high and some are low-low.

    This year, the Atlantic mid levels have contained a lot of Saharan dry air, which inhibits thunderstorms and their heat release. This was not forecast. Also, wind shear was “average” in June and July, whereas it was forecasted to be “below average”. So much for computer models’ accuracy at 60 days (not to mention 60 years).

  24. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    RE: #11 – Indeed, the “mini El Nino” persists in the Atlantic (which means a negative anomaly in the ITCZ east of the Caribean) and La Nina persists at least in the North Pacific. This also helps to explain the nasty typhoon season in the W. Pacific – all the warm water is piled up in the W. Pacific.

  25. beng
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

    RE 24:

    There’s a weak El-Nino in the E equatorial Pacific right now — been hanging around for weeks. Generally, this tends to increase upper-level shear in the Carribean & eastward, decreasing tropical development there. But there are always lulls in the shearing winds.

  26. Mike Carney
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    TCS has a podcast of an recent interview with Dr. William Gray who has long been considered “the” expert on long term hurricane forcasting (direct download here ).

    He discusses the key factors that influence hurricane production and how seasonal factors affect those. Interestingly he sees the thermohaline circulation one of those factors.

    He completely discounts recent studies of increasing hurricane intensity, saying “that’s not true”. According to Dr. Gray the early intensity data is very poor and cannot be relied upon for comparison with later data using different and improved methods. This is interesting since increased hurricane intensity is an oft repeated claim and was heard several times during the Wegman hearing.

  27. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    Re #11: Fred, the SSTs are just fine for hurricane development. Those -.5 degree anomalies north and south of Hispanola aren’t a problem, as this time of year they reflect temps that are already plenty warm. In any case SSTS are just one factor to take into account. Sea temps at depth are important to look at as well since they’re the factor that allows hurricanes to “explode” as happened last year several times.

  28. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

    Re #26: I’m afraid Bill’s considered to be just a bit “emeritus” these days, to the point that his grad student has to apologize for his (Bill’s) behavior.

  29. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    Re #23: FYI, David, the NOAA forecasts don’t use models. They’re essentially based on statistical analyses of direct factors like SSTs and teleconnections like the effect of ENSO on shear winds. According to a recent AGU report, there are model-based forecasts that do better.

  30. David Smith
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    Re #29
    Not this year!

  31. David Smith
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    Re #28 Steve, can you provide some detail on the poop you dropped on Bill Gray??

  32. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

    #28: What a surprise. Another ad hom attack from Steve Bloom.

  33. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    Re #30: Specifics on that? Links? I’ve never seen those model results, BTW.

    Re #31: Sure, although I think it’s better to say that Bill walked himself under that flock of pigeons. He seems to want to keep standing there, too. See here, here (click on the links), and here.

  34. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

    Re #32: You only think they’re ad homs because somehow you manage to miss all the background, or promptly forget about it. Try to pay better attention.

  35. David Smith
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    Steve B, I’ll read and digest the Georgia Tech paper. I’ll also look at the NOAA methodology, which I believe (and will confirm or refute) is largely computer-model driven.

  36. David Smith
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    Re #29
    Steve B., I’m digging into the NOAA article, and as best as I can tell, they heavily use the “NCEP Coupled Forecast System Model”. This model predicts global 90-day averages of sea surface temperature, wind shear in various portions of the atmosphere, surface pressure anomalies, pressure-height anomalies, high-level directional anomalies and so forth.

    I think that the forecasters in essence compare this computer model data with historical experience and, through a black box I haven’t seen yet, generate a forecast.

    If you have a link that is contrary to this, please let me know. Much appreciated.

  37. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

    Re #35: Below is the relevant excerpt from the AGU expert report “Hurricanes and the U.S. Gulf Coast: Science and Sustainable Rebuilding” (June 2006), which is linked here. I believe the reference in the second sentence is to Bill Gray’s work.

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

    “Major improvements in hurricane track forecasts have been made in recent years. The 72-hour forecast is now approaching the skill of a 24-hour forecast two decades ago. Four- to five-day forecasts also are increasingly skillful. Nevertheless, there has been little improvement in the forecasting of hurricane intensity that currently relies primarily on statistical techniques. High-resolution models such as the Advanced Research Weather (ARW) model of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have demonstrated that such models can yield impressive capabilities for prediction of both intensity and track. NOAA is developing an operational version of the ARW for implementation in 2007, but this will not have sufficient resolution to replicate the improvements noted in the NCAR model.”

  38. Deanster
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    I read the other day on the NOAA site or somewhere .. that one of the ingredients for Atlantic Hurricanes is the presense of a strong High Pressure System (they named it .. something like the Bahama or Bermuda High). They said that this year has been relatively weak, thus allowing for cloud development (another deterent for hurricane development).

    Relevant to that is that the Solar guys would argue regarding the formation of clouds and the extent of solar energy reaching the seas.

    It also begs the question regarding the effects of meteorological data on surface temps. It is pretty much confirmed that the current heat wave is associated with a stubborn high pressure system (sinking air .. which heats up), and a lack of jet stream imput.

    My hunches .. hurricane development is as the NOAA stated last year … a completely independent phenomenon from global warming.

  39. Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    I’d like to thank Lee for participating in this discussion in such a constructive manner.

    Not so much Steve B. though…. same old ad homs. *sigh*

  40. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

    Re #39: Ad hom is generally taken to be undermining someone without evidence, Nicholas. I’m not sure what the term would be for what you just did, since it was contrary to evidence. Do read the Gray material, though.

  41. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

    #40: No Steve. Ad hom is “Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason” (from The American Heritage Dictionary).

    With or without evidence doesn’t matter.

  42. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

    OK, Steve Bloom, where are the 2006 forecasts from Meteo-France and ECMWF? I can find Bill Gray’s. Is that what other climate scientists are apologizing for – that you can find his forecasts?   BTW can you give me a contemporary link for the Meteo-France and ECMWF  2005 forecasts?

  43. Bob K
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    I’m delurking to ask a question that has bothered me for some time and this seems to be the proper thread.

    The hurricane talk is usually presented as future intensity increases, not frequency. Shouldn’t they increase proportionally?

    Assume a 100mph storm today would have 3% greater windspeeds if it occurred 100 years from now. Does it not follow that all lower windspeeds would have increased 3%? It seems to me a 73mph storm that wouldn’t qualify today, would move into hurricane classification if it occured 100 years from now.

    Could it be the models don’t reflect a proportional increase and it is left unmentioned?

  44. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

    Re #36: David, this is getting into an area I know little about, but I think the model you refer to is a long-range weather forecast model (not a climate model or indeed anything specific to tropical cyclones) that they use for all sorts of purposes. That they take the long-range forecast output and somehow use it for the TC predictions seems apparent enough, and my understanding is that they then do some kind of statistical work not involving a model. I very faintly recall seeing some sort of description of the process on the NHC site, but I’m afraid I couldn’t say where. If you’re really curious, I think they respond well to email requests for such information.

    Re #41: I’m unclear as to how raising relevant evidence with respect to the issue at hand isn’t appealing to logic or reason, but that’s OK.

    Re #42: Steve M., as I mentioned above I haven’t seen them; in fact I had bever heard of them before reading the AGU report. It would be interesting to compare and contrast for last year and this year. It seems clear enough that the leaders of the field believe future prediction efforts should be based on models, although I would infer that there are budget problems with doing so at the NHC, plus perhaps some professional jealousy issues.

  45. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 12:43 AM | Permalink

    OK, the Meteo-France one appears likely to be available through here (a dead end for me because I’m not a French speaker) and here (a dead end because the link that appears to have the information is passworded). I couldn’t find anything at all with a comparison of the various forecasts.

  46. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 12:45 AM | Permalink

    That second link is for ECMWF.

  47. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 2:15 AM | Permalink

    #18, Dave,

    Be careful that you don’t infringe the copyright of a major multi-national food and drink company by linking their name to a possible cause for anthropogenic global warming. Actually thinking about there could be something in it for their marketing people. Could result in a very catchy new slogan.

    Steve B,

    #20, I didn’t say you are an idiot, but I often wonder given that the warmers expect us contrarians to swallow the non-science that characterises climate modelling whether they expect us contrarians to be idiots? Thankfully like you we are not.

    and for #22, I fully agree with you. I think you therefore need to tell the IPCC, HT and the assorted climate change modellers who are predicting the end of civilisation by 2100 this also.

    and finally #37

    “The 72-hour forecast is now approaching the skill of a 24-hour forecast two decades ago.”

    So if it takes two decades to develop a three fold increase in the predictive time-range skill of a hurricane track forcast model, then how long will it take before the current GCMs will be able to have a similar skill level for predicting climate in 2100? I’ll just boot-up my ‘fag-packet supercomputer’ (as I don’t have access to Mark Shapiro’s) and do a quick sum. Err, its takes twenty years to extend the predictive skill from 24 hrs to 72 hrs (from 1 to 2 days) so therefore it will take (2100-2006)*365/3*20 = 228733 years. Well its very re-assuring to know that by 230739 AD we’ll be able to accurately predict the world’s climate in the year 2100 AD.


  48. David Smith
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 4:51 AM | Permalink

    RE #44
    Final comment and I’ll drop this: the website for this NCEP model, the one used in some fashion by the NHC to make its hurricane outlooks, discusses running 100-year scenarios.

    Thanks for the info.

  49. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

    #45. Steve Bloom, the sublink at Meteo France here contains a summary of hurricane predictions by various authorities, prominently featuring William Gray. They do not refer to any forecasts by Meteo-France. Perhaps the accuracy of the May 1, 2005 hurricane forecast by Meteo-France climate modelers is an urban myth.

    Google contains no record of a June 1, 2005 hurricane forecast by ECMWF or 006 forecasts, so, unless you can provide some evidence of the existence of 2005 and 2006 hurricane forecasts, I’ll presume that that’s another urban myth.

  50. McCall
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    Mr Bloom
    re: your obviously disparaging usage of “emeritus” (#28, Dr Gray) and “dotage” (previously re: Dr Lindsen) among other terms in your posts (both here and on other blogs).
    Your fondness for ageism-speak betrays more than a lack of respect for these more senior members in the field — their views are not those you can simply disagree with; your posts insinuate/equate aging and diminished mental sharpness? Care to defend/explain your obvious prejudice?

  51. McCall
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 6:20 AM | Permalink

    And in a not unrelated sign of how you refer to those you disagree with — care to comment on this little gem of yours at jfleck? It appears it’s not only foram proxies and ageism, where you display your ignorance?

    #Steve Bloom Says: February 9th, 2006 at 10:49 pm
    “I like the shrill tone, John A.

    Love that link, Dano!

    Steve H., lots of people use statistics in their jobs or even on an avocational basis, but that does not make them statisticians. That would involve either an appropriate degree, professional experience (as a statistician), and preferably both. Strain as you will, you can’t make Steve M. fit that standard. Now, consider that this lack of qualification in statistics is coupled with an utter lack of formal education or experience in climatology (the area to which the statistical skills are being applied), and one begins to wonder about Steve M.’s credibility when he attacks an entire academic discipline (paleoclimatology) along with the nation’s major professional scientific publication.

  52. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 6:45 AM | Permalink


    Pay attention, Michael. The paper whose conclusions you so admire…

    Pay attention, SteveB. Nowhere did I say or imply any “admiration” for the paper or its conclusions.

    I am well aware of the mention of ice melt in the paper. However, cooling is NOT the result expected from current greenhouse theory. That is why folks like William Connolley is trying to discredit and minimize the paper on Pielke’s blog, and why Pielke notes, “This is a very important observational study of changes in climate system heat content. While the models predict a general montonic increase in ocean heat content (e.g. see Figure 1), the new observations in Lyman et al 2006 show an important decrease.”

    Lyman et al saying ice melt contributes to the cooling is one thing, but hearing people who previously called for increasing SSTs and more severe weather related to the warmer SSTs suddenly saying, “Cooling due to ice melt is the kind of result we’d expect to see,” would be the spin I am waiting for. Are you volunteering to present it?

  53. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

    “Now, consider that this lack of qualification in statistics is coupled with an utter lack of formal education or experience in climatology (the area to which the statistical skills are being applied), and one begins to wonder about Steve M.’s credibility when he attacks an entire academic discipline (paleoclimatology) along with the nation’s major professional scientific publication.”

    Or one begins to admire.

    “Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one’s living at it”

    “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education”

    “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing”

    “Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.”

    “Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds”

    Quotes from Albert Einstein.

    (Not cheerleading here for SteveM, but sticking up for the little people everywhere, who might have something important to say or questions to ask then according to some people; not to be allowed to voice them)

  54. Jack Lacton
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 8:45 AM | Permalink

    You can listen to renowned hurricane expert, Dr William Gray, who’s been at it for a long, long while give his views on the upcoming season etc at

  55. Jack Lacton
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    Apologies, link didn’t work. You can get it at the TCSDaily link at talk radio section.

  56. bender
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom – I understand how complexity leads to uncertainty, and how uncertainty can be disconcerting – but can you explain why, on the one hand, you seem to find meteorological & climatological phenomena so complex as to be alarming, but on the other hand not so complex as to impede with the precise estimation of radiative forcing sensitivity coefficients? Because it looks to me like climate change alarmists are trying to have it both ways here (and in other ways too).

    I’m not picking on you, merely singling you out – as your posts do sometimes carry a tone of alarmism in them, and you also like to get into the details.

    Is complexity just alarming to you or does it also imply uncertainty on parameter estimates, such as the A in AGW?

  57. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 10:22 AM | Permalink


    Could result in a very catchy new slogan.

    Like “When Global Warming has you hot, cold Diet Coke will hit the spot”?

  58. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

    RE: #57 – In homage to the new, politically correct CEO, I say, make it a Diet Pepsi!

  59. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    Re: #58,

    Hey, I thought we weren’t allowed to talk religion on this blog!

  60. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 11:52 AM | Permalink


    No, its got to be ‘Diet Coke’ as after all coke is made from baking coal (that nasty fossil fuel) and so removing the water (the good GHG), coal-gas (mainly methane a nasty GHG) and coal-tar (nasty Group 1 carcinogen).


    DD, Hows about “AGW, it’s the Real (Climate) Thing”

  61. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    Last weekend I happened across a C-span program that, I believe, was titled something like, “2006 Atlantic Hurricane Preparedness”, which was giving some views of the current hurricane season by members of NOAA Prediction Center, headed by Gerry Bell. I got in on the Q&A session and I found the responses from the panel to the predictable questions rather refreshing.

    Most of these answers I heard came from Bell, I believe. His answer to a question on consensus of scientists on the effects GW is having on hurricanes and extreme weather was that one should read the literature and come to your own conclusion on whether not a consensus exists.

    He also pointed to the cyclical nature of hurricane frequencies and noted that we were in a cycle of high activity. He also stated that determining the intensity of hurricanes from present to past is difficult because of missing and misapplied data from past hurricanes. He said there is much uncertainty in these comparisons.

    Another panel member answered a question about the most critical aspect of hurricane preparedness with: individuals taking responsibility for their and their family’s safety.

    He also noted that the number of hurricanes to this point in the season is not a good predictor of what will happen for the rest of the season and since we are in a cyclic time period of more frequent hurricanes the prediction remains one of more than average.

    One panel member was asked about sufficient funding to do their work and answered by noting that their agency had received increased funding for the past four years and that like any other government agency was always seeking more funds. He did not appear to be whining about a lack of funds.

  62. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    Re #49: Which is to say that you consider the expert statement on the AGU home page to contain a lie because you and I can’t easily google it? An interesting POV for a non-scientist who wants to present in SF this December.

  63. jae
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom: I too am still waiting (for several months now) for you to back up your frequent claims of bias on the Idsos’ part. BTW, your ad homs and arrogance certainly do not help you make your points or sell the Sierra Club agendae.

  64. jae
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

    re 63. I meant misrepresentation, not bias. The Idso’s are clearly biased. But I do not think they are liars, StevieB.

  65. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    Which is to say that you consider the expert statement on the AGU home page to contain a lie because you and I can’t easily google it?

    Interesting how an “expert statement” gives no reference.

  66. JP
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

    Here’s the June study done by NCAR that primairily blamed AGW for the record number of North Atlantic Hurricanes.

    Trennbeth, who authored the study discounted the AMO when trying to account for the 1.7 deg warm variability in SSTs. He said the AMO accounted for less than .2 deg of sea surface warming. The majority of the increase (.8 deg)he blamed on AGW. This sets him apart from the folks at the Hurrican Forecast Center.

  67. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    Steve B, you’re right that it is premature to call this an urban myth on the limited search effort so far. I have accordingly written to Tim Killeen, one of the authors of the report, also Director of NCAR and President of AGU, as follows:

    Dear Dr Killeen,

    The June 2006 AGU Report on Hurricanes stated:
    “On 1 May 2005, the Meteo-France model predicted 22 named tropical storms and hurricanes for the 2005 hurricane season in the North Atlantic. On 1 June the ECMWF and the UK Met Office integrations were showing similar results.”

    I have been unable to locate these predictions or corresponding ones from a similar period in 2006. Can you please provide me with a citation or, failing that, with a copy of the documents in question.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Yours truly,
    Steve McIntyre

  68. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    re: #66

    From the link we have:

    By analyzing worldwide data on sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) since the early 20th century, Trenberth and Shea were able to calculate the causes of the increased temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic. Their calculations show that global warming explained about 0.8 degrees F of this rise. Aftereffects from the 2004-05 El Nino accounted for about 0.4 degrees F. The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO), a 60-to-80-year natural cycle in SSTs, explained less than 0.2 degrees F of the rise, according to Trenberth. The remainder is due to year-to-year variability in temperatures.

    One would expect that the world wide SST trend from GW would increase gradually over time and not likely to cause a sudden increase in hurricane frequency or intensity in a more localized area like the Atlantic. Therefore one might expect other local factors to be operating here and not all of them necessarily related directly to SST.

    I am curious why worldwide SST trends were used and not those from the Atlantic area of interest. Or would there be some non-obvious reason to use a differential between the two.

  69. BKC
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    Roger P. Jr. recently took issue with the AGU report on hurricanes where it said that there is “insufficient skill in empirical predictions of the number and intensity of storms” and “Predictions by statistical methods that are widely distributed also show little skill, being more often wrong than right.”

    Discussion is here.

  70. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 15, 2006 at 4:52 PM | Permalink


    Isn’t Trenberth the one who got Chris Landsea in so muhc of a tizzy by “representing his views as that of the IPCC” that Landsea resigned from any IPCC work?

  71. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 16, 2006 at 3:06 AM | Permalink

    “Such seasonal predictions are issued by a number of groups around the world, and are also an official product of the U.S. government’s Climate Prediction Center. If these groups were indeed publishing forecasts with no (or negative) skill, then there would be good reason to ask them to cease immediately and get back to research, lest they mislead the public and decision makers.

    As it turns out the claim by the AGU is incorrect, or at a minimum, is a minority view among the relevant expert community.”

    Well I know a lot of turkeys, a lot of which seem to work in Exeter for some reason and as far as I know last time I asked, none of them voted for Christmas.

    Steve B, I’m still waiting for an independent verification of my estimate of the impoved future skill of GCMs in #47 above. Now, I know I linearly extrapolated based on two data points (and of course didn’t quote any error bars for my estimate) but hey, isn’t that what the GCMs do themseleves anyway so that must be OK right?


  72. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 16, 2006 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

    Re #68: There’s a very obvious reason, which is that the AMO only affects SSTs in a limited area and if it is controlling there should be a resolvable signal in Atlantic SSTs that is not apparent elsewhere.

    Re #70: The very same. It became very clear to Landsea that his views would not be represented in the AR4, as is appropriate given Landsea’s failure to publish anything meanngful in defense of the “natural cycle” hypothesis.

    Re #71: RP Jr. is a very partisan member of the NHC/Gray “tribe” that seems to be losing the battle on the science.

    Christmas? I don’t get it.

    Bluster is unbecoming for one so recently caught with his foot firmly in his mouth.

  73. bender
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 2:05 AM | Permalink

    Turkeys, Christmas, the axe …

  74. John Baltutis
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 2:36 AM | Permalink

    OT (because it has nothing to do with this topic, but appears to fit right in with the general and unscientific comments above)

    I stumbled across this, Warm Words, at Number Watch, which calls it psychobabble., but appears to be the bible and guide book for the AGW’ers.

  75. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 2:48 AM | Permalink

    Re #74, John Baltutis
    Twenty-odd years ago, at university, I thought the arts types who got really excited about campaigning to be JCR president were very silly people.
    Now they’re running the damn country.

  76. McCall
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 3:08 AM | Permalink

    re: “Bluster is unbecoming for one so recently caught with his foot firmly in his mouth.”

    Finally fessing up to you shortcomings, Mr Bloom — as we can safely take the above quote as your introspective response to #51. BTW, it looks like jfleck wasn’t the only AGW cheerleading blog where you sniped at Mr McIntyre. Kind of arrogant of you, to make copies of your crime scene? Would that make you a serial…? Nah, perhaps such things are better left unsaid.

    Now about your militant bigotry when referring to some of the more senior members in climate science, at least those you don’t agree with?

  77. bender
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 3:18 AM | Permalink

    There’s a reason why Bloom didn’t get the Christmas reference. What do turkeys know of axes?

  78. McCall
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

    Re your presumptive assignment of motive to Dr Landsea:
    Another common error of AGW-believers, Dr Landsea resigned because the summary analysis of much of his (and others) work was being corrupted to make the case for a material AGW link to strengthening or increased frequency of hurricanes. This was not accepted (nor proven) at the time, and is still the case.

    As to your slippery language of him publishing something to the support “natural cycle” hypothesis — are you so arrogant/ignorant of climate science, that you’ve failed to recognize “AGW Enhanced Hurricane Cycles” is the new theory, and that multi-decadal oscillations of cyclonic activity is the established record?

    As to his Dr Landsea’s pre-resignation publishing record and expertise on hurricane cycles, try:
    Gray, W. M., J. D. Sheaffer, and C. W. Landsea, 1997: Climate trends associated with multidecadal variability of Atlantic hurricane activity, pp. 15-53 in Hurricanes, Climate and Socioeconomic Impacts, edited by H. F. Diaz and R. S. Pulwarty, S pringer: Berlin.

    Goldenberg, S. B., C. W. Landsea, A. M. Mestas-Nuñez, and W. M. Gray, 2001: The recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity: Causes and implications. Science, 293, 474–479.

    Landsea, C. W., 1993. A climatology of intense (or major) Atlantic hurricanes. Monthly Weather Review, 121:1703-1713.

    Landsea, C. W. 1991. West African Monsoonal Rainfall and Intense Hurricane Associations, Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science, Paper No. 484, Fort Collins, CO.

    Landsea, C. W., N. Nicholls, W. M. Gray, L. A. Avila, 1996. Downward trends in the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes during the past five decades, Geophysical Research Letters, 23:1697-1700.

    Landsea, C. W., R. A. Pielke Jr., A. M. Mestas-Nuñez, and J. A. Knaff, 1999: Atlantic basin hurricanes: Indices of climatic changes. Climatic Change, 42, 89–129.

    There are more citations, if you wish…

    Sidebar to Mr Bloom – your professional commitment to the thoughtful stewardship of earth is commendable and praiseworthy. But your lack of scientific training (what are your academic or professional credentials?) and your demonstrated contempt for those with opposing views leads one to think you love the earth, it just the people on it you cannot stand!

  79. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

    Re #74/5/6: You guys are funny. Many of the regulars here haven’t a clue about tropical cyclone climatology, and it shows. Get you away from the details of tree rings and a general collapse seems to ensue. While I’m on the subject, for the denouement of the discussion that John A. terminated, see here. It turns out there were problems with both the data selection (tip o’ the hat to Doug Hoyt) and how it was handled (see my comment).

  80. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 4:02 AM | Permalink

    Re #78: “summary analysis of much of his (and others) work was being corrupted” Huh? Arguably their work was going to be ignored (or more likely relegated to a footnote), but “corrupted” is nonsensical.

    I’m quite familiar with Landsea’s publications. Now, do me a favor and pull out some sort of proof from his stuff (or anyone’s) showing a dominant link between “natural cycles” and recent increases in TC intensity. You’ll find some handwaving, but that’s about it. In contrast, papers that help make the case for an AGW connection certainly exceed a dozen at this point. In fact, another one was in the news today.

    If you or anyone else would like to discuss the contents of those papers, I’d be thrilled.

  81. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 4:31 AM | Permalink

    Re #80: Well, Anonymous John, why would I need to mention it since you had already done so several times over the course of the last six months? As I recall, my crime was to to refuse to take your bait, after which we saw what happened. I won’t go on about this since upon Steve M.’s return he appropriately snipped out all of that stuff, and seems to prefer it not be further discussed.


    John A: Well we’ve yet to see an apology for your characterization of McIntyre and McKitrick, much less a retraction of your lies that they had already been debunked. In any case your fondness for slandering people on blogs and then refusing to apologize or retract those lies when challenged says much about you and nothing at all about me.

    Oh and the reason why I’m anonymous is because of people like you. We won’t be getting to hurricanes or anything else unless and until you deal with the unresolved issue of:

    There’s a distinction between “well done” and putrified, as this two year
    old information demonstrates. The error-prone amateurs McIntyre and
    McKitrick were debunked long ago. See the “hockey stick” posts on for details. For those who haven’t been following this,
    right-wing think tanks have continued to promote M&M in the right-wing
    finanical press (e.g., the Financial Post and Wall Street Journal) far
    beyond their “sell by” date. Recently, after it became clear that his
    efforts were not going to result in Mann being abandoned by other climate
    scientists, and indeed when Mann and his co-authors were successfully
    defended by the entire scientific establishment against a Wall Street
    Journal-inspired attack by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Exxon), McIntyre has gone on
    the attack against the entire field of paleoclimatology. The basis for this
    is McIntyre’s belief that the scientific standards used by
    paleoclimatologists are not of adequate quality from the point of view of a
    geologist working in the fossil fuel industry. Imagine that.

    P.S. — An audit of Canadian birth records through 1930 proves that M&M
    don’t even exist!

  82. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 5:43 AM | Permalink

    #81 “Now, do me a favor and pull out some sort of proof from his stuff (or anyone’s) showing a dominant link between “natural cycles” and recent increases in TC intensity. You’ll find some handwaving, but that’s about it. In contrast, papers that help make the case for an AGW connection certainly exceed a dozen at this point. In fact, another one was in the news today.”

    That case study, according to the article in your link, used statistics. Do you take that work at face value because it supports your belief or did you do the math to see how correct it is? And who says there’s going to be an one clear dominant link in such complex cycles?

    #83 IMO you have way too much free time

  83. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 5:45 AM | Permalink

    Ooops. LOL I have too much free time too.

  84. John A
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    By the way, I’ve informed Warwick about Steve Bloom as well:

  85. jae
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    Aha, Bloom, you got caught. Is this typical Sierra Club strategy, or is it just you?

  86. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 7:26 AM | Permalink


    In fact, another one was in the news today. If you or anyone else would like to discuss the contents of those papers, I’d be thrilled.

    Not the paper itself (which I haven’t yet read), but I found it interesting what the author says at the end of your link: “I think there are ocean currents that warm and cool the oceans,” he said. “But it’s not clear that kind of change is a multidecadal change and I’m not clear that there is a strong natural variability in the Atlantic.”

    I thought the “consensous” view that there is “strong natural variability in the Atlantic” [although there are some “s(k)eptics”] and that it’s “clear” there is “multidecadal change” from proxy studies? NOAA says there is here. Google “multidecadal+atlantic,” and you’ll get all sorts of links to such evidence. Mann was actually one of the people who pointed-out the AMO mentioned by RC here (aside: Mann has been alledged as to recently rejecting the existence of the AMO, but just a few months ago on RC he re-iterated this allegation to be false).

    So here’s a researcher who is skeptical about the existence of a scientifically well-established climate phenomenon ascribed to by NOAA, Mann, Trenberth, etc – shouldn’t you be trashing him and discreditting his results?

  87. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    Re #81 Steve B. -**If you or anyone else would like to discuss the contents of those papers, I’d be thrilled.””
    YOU want to discuss a paper that you did not write and has not yet been published??? First it is statistics and not a scientific proof (same as CO2 and warming). Second, all you are doing is seconding the opinion of your choice. Why do you not do a paper instead of swelling your head?

  88. jae
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    Hey, Bloom: Check this out. Here’s a concluding statement:

    Clearly, there would appear to be little question that global warming in the past has tended to reduce both the frequency and intensity of Atlantic basin hurricanes, as these many real-world studies spanning decades to millennia convincingly demonstrate.

    Of course, you will again try to discredit the Idsos work. Still waiting for you to discredit even ONE of their summaries.

  89. bender
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    Many of the regulars here haven’t a clue about tropical cyclone climatology, and it shows. Get you away from the details of tree rings and a general collapse seems to ensue.

    You mean those of us who study tree rings exhibit restraint in not stepping too far beyond the limits of our expertise? Imagine that.

  90. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom, where is your promised response about aerosols? See: #236

  91. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

    Re #82: More censorship at Climate Audit, The Blog That Never Censors (TM). *snork* If Steve M. cannot convince his co-moderator to stop abusing his ability to snip, I’ll just have to stop posting here.

  92. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

    #92. Steve B, because of problems with flaming, responding to requests from readers, we have unfortunately had to institute control over flaming. Please stop trying to pick a fight – please refer to blog rules on this. If you want to post on a topic, please do so.

  93. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    #72, Steve B

    “Christmas? I don’t get it.

    Sorry, I forgot that this blog is largely a North american blog and now realise that the North American equivalent of this oft quoted phrase in the UK would be “Turkeys don’t vote for Thanksgiving”. In the UK it is tradition to have roast turkey for Christmas dinner. Thankfully prior to Christnas in the UK and Thanksgiving in the US, turkeys aren’t allowed to vote otherwise we’d all go hungry.

    Now what do you think of my estimate of the future predictive skill of GCM’s? I know I haven’t used de-centred PCA or bristlecone pines but I’m 90% certain that my answer is right? What do you think?


  94. bender
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    I think Christmas is coming.

  95. Dave B
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

    re #81 &88…

    HERE is the unpublished paper. please note the conclusion assumes GW is causing increased SSTs. but SSTs are really decreasing, so what happens to this conclusion now?

  96. Dave B
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

    oops, sorry…here is the link

  97. Jim Erlandson
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    Press Release: Establishing a Connection Between Global Warming and Hurricane Intensity

    Using highly detailed data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to monitor sea temperature anomalies over the past half-century, Elsner used a causality test to establish evidence in support of the climate change/hurricane intensity hypothesis. His analysis helps provide verification of a linkage between atmospheric warming caused largely by greenhouse gases and the recent upswing in frequency and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes, including Katrina and Rita, which devastated parts of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas in 2005.

    Elsner, James B., (2006), Evidence in support of the climate change: Atlantic hurricane hypothesis, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, [TBD], doi: 10.1029/2006GL026869.
    Expected publication date: August 23, 2006.

  98. McCall
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    re: #81 “I’m quite familiar with Landsea’s publications”
    You’re bluffing on rags again, Mr Bloom; you should have learned from your revisionist “foramins” disaster. I posted only ~10% of Dr Landsea’s publications. As one may call him a “grand old man” in this climate specialty, he — whoa, that explains it; your posts on Dr Landsea are yet another example of your ageist bigotry.

    Read and analyze Dr Landsea’s open letter of resignation (I know you’ll say you read it — but read it again anyway)! Even you as a generalist should learn from your crime scene mistakes at jfleck, deltoid, usenet etc, where you’ve sniped/screwed up on M&M. You’ve obviously missed many/most of the papers prior to his Jan’05 resignation, establishing the multi-decadal record and stating little/no linkage on AGW vs Storm Frequency/Strength. That includes the IPCC ARx’s, as well as the publishings of Dr Landsea himself, 40++ by Jan’05, 50+ now. You called them all “hand-waiving”; as if you can tell the difference?

    Back to that open letter, perhaps you too can find the “misrepresentation of climate science” that Dr Landsea wrote of? Or maybe even as a generalist, you’ll find credible his views that “the part of the IPCC to which my (Dr Landsea’s) expertise is relevant as having become politicized” — er’ corrupted? After that, perhaps then you’ll materially add to the discussion of this 23-Aug “smoking gun (?)” paper — and if you’re sniping elsewhere, well, who will miss your vacuity?

  99. David Smith
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

    Since there are many smart people visitng this site, I’d like to ask people to tell me what is wrong with the following line of reason:

    1. Tropical cyclones are heat engines. Heat engines are driven by temperature gradients. Generally speaking, the greater the gradient, the greater the potential to convert heat into mechanical energy (wind).

    2. My understanding is that global warming affects polar regions to a greater extent than tropical regions. Thus, the poles warm faster than the equator and Earth’s horizontal temperature gradient declines.

    3. My understanding is that the upper regions of the troposphere should warm faster than the near-surface regions. Thus, Earth’s vertical temperature gradient declines.

    4. If the horizontal and vertical temperature gradients are declining due to global warming, then is it not logical to expect tropical cyclone (heat engine) intensity to decline, not increase?

    Thanks in advance. I am just a poor engineer, trying to learn from the experts.


  100. jae
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 7:32 PM | Permalink

    david: look at this, maybe it will help. In fact, here is a source of much information, summarized for handicapped chaps like me.

  101. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 7:32 PM | Permalink

    RE: #100 – to make an electrical analogy, high voltage potential can cause a lightning strike. What you’ve alluded to is high thermal potential. Reduce the dT/d(x,y,z) and you reduce the ability for energetic things to happen. Makes sense to me!

  102. JMS
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

    David, you have a few misunderstandings…

    1. is basically right.

    2. true, but the the entire earth is warming as are the oceans. as the oceans warm, the amount of heat available to power tropical storms increases.

    3. incorrect. the lower troposphere should warm more than the upper troposphere and the stratosphere (the level of cloud tops in tropical storms) actually cools somewhat if AGW is true. this has been observed.

    4. incorrect. because of greater available heat at the surface we can expect intensity and only intensity to increase. tropical storm formation depends on far more than differences in heat potential. see the work of Kerry Emmanuel for further info.

    Steve S: horizontal warming of the oceans only means that tropical storms can form and/or persist at higher latitudes, not that the potential for tropical storms would be reduced.

    And by the way Dave, this is not the place to learn from the experts. You might try here for a more accurate assesment of the current science.

  103. bender
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    JMS, you forgot to add “, assuming you are not interested in the hard and unfortunate reality of statistics” at the end of #103.

  104. jae
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    JMS: LOL. You point to GARBABE.COM. That site deletes comment that they don’t agree with. You are one brainwashed sucker!

  105. JMS
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    And this one doesn’t? Just read the articles.

  106. bender
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    JMS – following up your link – RC is funny sometimes. Follow the 12 Aug 2006 thread “Short and simple arguments for why climate can be predicted”, and check out post #69:

    “[snip] … Therefore we cannot predict climate for the next 50 years.”

    [Response: That is exactly why we (mostly) talk about projections, storylines and scenarios. -gavin]

    Nice “expert” use of semantics to neatly sweep a good argument about uncertainty and propagation of error under the rug. Was that a joke? No smiley.

  107. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    JMS, you might want perhaps notice that SteveM and JohnA have the link to Real Climate in the side bar at this site. But, you won’t find the reverse on Real Climate, not even under “Other Opinions.
    So you don’t need to be offiicial recruiter to the stars do you? You’ve got the media, and your scientific consensus, and the UN too. I wonder why you’ve got to harp on the folks here so much, but hey, keep it to yourself. I’d rather not know.

  108. JMS
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    106: Of course that comment was written by Hans Erren — a noted skeptic and regular poster here. So who censors? If you read the complete comment you will see that under natural factors he lists things that most climate scientists already account for: solar, volcanos. And then he goes on to comment about possible effects on anthropogenic sources of climate change. I believe that Gavin was commenting on the second set of uncertinties. That [snip] was mighty large and intellectually dishonest.

  109. jae
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    JMS: I guess it is your turn to post here. Please reference something concrete, or shut up.

  110. JMS
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    jae: I thought I did reference something concrete. I referenced a previous post which accused Gavin of:

    Nice “expert” use of semantics to neatly sweep a good argument about uncertainty and propagation of error under the rug. Was that a joke? No smiley.

    I merely pointed out that he was responding to the second part of Hans’ comment and not the final sentence.

  111. bender
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

    Intellectually dishonest? uhh, no. The snip was intended purely as a space-saver. That’s why I bothered to show that I made the snip. So I suggest you retract your innappropriate remark.

    Here’s the full post, since you insist:

    A forecast has a likelihood, the likelihood of weatherforecasting limits itself to ten days. Combined all the likelihoods of the input parameters and the uncertainties of the parametrisations for climate makes it impossible to make a forecast with a 70% likelihood for the next 50 tyears:

    Let me list the uncertainties in climate for 50 years:

    Some say a new maunder minimum is imminent, others extrapolate the current increase. That alone accounts for an uncertainty of at least a full degree (+0.5 or -0.5) for the next 50 years.

    Every Pinatubo like eruption causes a drop of 0.2 degrees over two year. We cannot predict plinian eruptions.

    El Nino: we cannot predict long range el nino.

    These are only the uncertainties in natural factors.

    Anthropogenic factors:

    Emission uncertainties:
    Nobody can predict economic growth, that’s why there is a huge bandwidth of SRES scenarios, all optimistic. However: China is having currently a major boom, this will without doubt lead to a worldwide recession when they hit their first growth limitations, unaccounted for in all SRES scenarios.

    The richer the country the lower the emission rate, the younger the economy the faster the technological adaptations (look at Japan, Korea and Singapore)

    So we cannot predict CO2 emissions for the next 50 years

    Sink uncertainties:
    CO2 emissions need to remain in the atmosphere in order to have a climate forcing. Sink modeling assumes either a sink saturation (Joos) or an increasing sink (Dietze).

    Climate sensitivity uncertainties:
    The range of climate sensitivity for CO2 is between: 0.5 (negative feedback) and 3 degrees (positive feedback) for CO2 doubling.

    Which for the next 50 years means that the uncertainties in natural factors still outnumber the antropogenic effect.

    Therefore we cannot predict climate for the next 50 years.

    [Response: That is exactly why we (mostly) talk about projections, storylines and scenarios. -gavin]

    Comment by Hans Erren “¢’‚¬? 14 Aug 2006 @ 6:17 pm

  112. bender
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 10:15 PM | Permalink

    There is no “accusation” there either, JMS. Gavin swept the uncertainty issue aside by substituting the word “projection” for “prediction”. Prediction “problem” solved – no joke. The irony – which was my point – which was lost on you – is this editorial remark in the context of the title of the thread! But then I suppose you think I have to copy and paste the whole damn thread to avoid “intellectual dishonesty”? Get lost.

  113. JMS
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

    The solar uncertainties: many of the people on this site argue that solar effects are predictable. I would expect that climate models take these into account.

    Volcanos: models do take these into account, although on decadal or longer scales they do not have that much of an effect since the cooling effects of volcanos have been accounted for (see Hansen’s work for proof).

    ENSO: ENSO is weather. As long as the models reproduce ENSO with some realism, we can go with that. We are getting better at prediction of ENSO, but we are not there yet. However what you are looking for in model output is some realism in the climate — not exact predictions. Read the original post…

    Emissions uncertainties: Here is where Hans has a point. China, India and the US may suddenly decide that we have a problem Houston and we have to do something about it. All the economies of the world may collapse because of rapidly rising oil prices. We don’t know what will happen here — this is what I think Gavin was responding to.

    Sink uncertainties: I don’t think you will find anyone who studies this who thinks that sinks will increase in a warmer climate. See Nepstad for possible Amazonian effect, and look a ocean acidification for another source of possible decreasing sinks. All of these have been addressed on RC. (which BTW, disavows the press reports on Nepstad’s research).

    Climate sensitivity to doubling of CO2: This is still an open question, but it seems that a consensus is emerging on 3C +/- 1.5C. See James’ Empty Blog for his work and a more honest discussion of publication politics. This figure of climate sensitivty has help for many years now and is very close to the pen and paper calculations of Callender.

    Bender, although I think you sometimes bring up good arguments in the tree ring categor (although I have, after thinking about it come to doubt the surviorship bias for temperature/percipitation records — although it is a good point about insect infestations), but here you did not provide a link to the thread and you elided almost all of what Hans said, leading people with less gumption to believe you. Afterall, you do have some cred here and I do tend to take your posts more seriously than most. I would expect that others reading this blog would do the same.

  114. bender
    Posted Aug 17, 2006 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    JMS, dude, I gave very explicit directions as to where to find the info I was referring to. Sorrrrrrrrryyy – next time I will include the actual link as per your request. IF you will retract your remark about intellectual dishonesty AND admit that Gavin was playing with semantics by substituting “projection” for “prediction”. He is dismissing a good GENERAL argument (and NOT Erren’s specific argument) about the role of uncertainty and propagation of errors. Why?

    As for your dismissal of the survivorship bias hypothesis, can you tell me what factual basis you have to doubt it? (Recognizing, of course, that it up to the reconstructionist proponents who seek to fast-track shaky science to the policy level to disprove it, and not me to prove it.)

  115. maksimovich
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

    Re 114

    I think you are under some misunderstanding with regard to models and the accuracy of these experiments to accurately reflect non anthropogenic variables.

    You assumption on say Volcanics for example is where you are inversely wrong.The global climatic effects of volcanics also effects the temperature regime of the Artic and is responsable to winter warming,The wcrp as part of its forward review program has alrady identified inabilities of the models to replicate the observations the post chichon or pinataubo climatic events.Here NONE of these experiments reflect the observations.Nearly,similar,partially or within the expected variaces are meaningless.They either do or they do not.

  116. JMS
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    I’ll retract about the intellectual dishonesty, but I will not retract my comment about Gavin’s remarks. Gavin’s remark was appropriate within the context of the question, even if he was brief. Shake?

    AS far as survivorship bias, I do think that this is important in studies of insect infestations, fire frequency, microbiological attacks, etc. However, unless you can show that the inverse portion of the inverse quadratic growth curve is operational. Since tree proxies, especially the BCP’s, show a growth spurt during the recent, warmer years I have to doubt that this is the operational scenario for trees at their ecological limits. The paper you cited concerns a very quick growing and short lived species (trembling aspen) whose relatives in my neck of the woods tend to only live for 30 or 40 years and are generally — outside of their preferred habitat — considered to be an early successional species. Their ecological range is determined more by the availability of moisture and sunlight and you will never find them growing in extreme situations (near treeline…).
    The problem is that some years during the MWP, if your hypothesis is operative, might show depressed temperatures when they should show higher temps, but the trees that survived, survived and contain some sort of record of temp/percipitation over the period in question.

    Now I’ll admit that I got my knowledge of plant biology by going on field trips with by father’s graduate classes and absorbing knowledge from he and his professors and the other students in his class. I am not a complete bonehead although I am not formally educated in this field. Will you at least admit as much or at least reveal your credentials if you wish to one up me?

  117. JMS
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 12:41 AM | Permalink

    116: it is well accepted that volcanos result in cooling. They won’t let me do bold italics here so I won’t, but to assert that volcanos result in global warming is silly. Generally the deepest part of the LIA is attributed to heavy volcanic activity in the 18th C. and it is well established that volcanos result in cooling (cf. Pinatubo). Your comment is just plain wrong.

  118. maksimovich
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 12:57 AM | Permalink

    re 118 The climatic changes from volcanics interstingly enough,have a paradoxical effect on climatic oscillation.The changes of temperature are one aspect.The NH increased winter warming is a well recognised phenomena especially the changes on both the Arctic oscillation and the effects of arctic winter warming due to increased cloud cover.This is not a model.or hypotheses these are the observations and measurements.

    The long term effects are enhanced precipitaion,localised climatic events,reduced ozone,higher uv absorbtion.

  119. David Smith
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 4:59 AM | Permalink

    JMS, may I ask: are you one of the contributing experts at RC, or basically a site reader?

  120. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    #116. Let me answer for bender. He has serious formal credentials in this area, much superior to yours, and is highly qualified. Like Jean S and several other contributors, he does not want to identify himself.

  121. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the education on models and volcanoes. What would I do without you?

    This thread is about hurricanes, not volcanoes, and my remarks about uncertainty and propagation of errors in all kinds of models stands.

    As does my comment about RC being “funny sometimes”, which I believe has been misinterpreted. The point, which you seem to be missing, is this: here you have this thread created to explain how climate is predictable, someone explaining why they think it is not predictable with certainty, and then an expert chiming in with a linguistic device as a quick solution to the debate, saying, effectively “climate is not predictable, but it’s projectable“. Is that not funny? I think it is.

    Projections are as vulnerable to uncertainty and propogation of errors as predictions.

    And it’s ironic too, because the argument JMS was making is that RC is where you get the real science. Maybe. But taking his advice, I followed his link, and within seconds this is where I ended up: with an expert avoiding the science with a semantic dodge. I didn’t say it was characteristic, by the way. I said it was one humorous example.

    Maybe it is standard policy at RC to not give too much thought to what a labelled skeptic says, I’m not sure. If so, that would be another thing that’s funny. Because one would hope that it’s the content, not the guy’s name that matters.

    If you don’t share my sense of humour, fine.

  122. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    Re #116
    Do I need to requote myself?

    It up to the reconstructionist proponents … to disprove it, and not me to prove it.

    If you want to discuss it, which I encourage, go post your evidence over in the appropriate thread, and we’ll talk about it there, not here.

  123. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 6:45 AM | Permalink

    Re#106 et al (bender) – I agree, that is too funny!!! But is it as funny as the last line of post #91 here?!?!

  124. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 6:56 AM | Permalink

    I think that there’s an ironic twist to this. I’ll try to express it this way: if climate is predictable (as opposed to weather), then are GCMs, which are designed to predict weather, an appropriate method to predict climate?

    I have this underlying sense that, somewhere in these models, there are some key parameterizations that can be put in a 1-dimensional model and yield an approximation that is indistinguishable to the GCM runs. And that all sides would spend their time much more fruitfully analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the key parameterizations – which probably have to do with water vapor cycles.

    I’ve occasionally browsed the water vapor literature and the specialist debates in several areas are intense: over the NIR water vapor continuum, over NIR absorption by clouds. Each of these topics could chew up some of the effect currently attributed to aerosols which seem to be somewhat of deus ex machine balancing act to fix non-performance of earlier GCMs and the allocation of effects between water vapor/water droplets occuring as part of the natural cycle and “forced” aerosols seems like a large and important topic with potentially important impact on feedbacks – all of which wold seem to be directionally towards lower positive feedbacks.

    These are just musings, not something that I’ve worked through.

  125. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

    RE: #102 – Whereas you have some sort of stuck-at-anal-stage fixation with SSTs, my view is comprehensive. AWAY FOOL!

  126. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    JMS, since you seem to know RC so well, I have an honest request. Find me a place where they have a serious discussion about uncertainty and propagation of errors in climate models and paleoclimate reconstructions. (That’s what I was looking for when I came across Gavin’s comment, and that’s why I found it both disappointing & ironically humorous.)

  127. Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    Steve, I agree with you about GCM’s. They’re incredible tools in a way, but every GCM-related paper I’ve read is the same: when compared to actual observations, the result is that the GCM is “mostly” right, but never spot on. There are always features of the actual climate that the GCM doesn’t quite get. But to proponents of AGW, their philosophy of science seems to be that a large enough sum of uncertain results can lead to a clear and definitive conclusion. In other words, a sum of “maybe’s” gives a “for sure”. To me, a sum of “maybe’s” is a big “I don’t know!”.

    Now, about uncertainties, I think we will find in the next couple of years that the solar effect on climate has been grossly underestimated. Of course TSI (total solar irradiance) only fluctuates a few tenths of a percent, and that is the “orthodox” argument for dismissing any significant role for solar forcing. But we are now at a stage where a correlation between solar activity, or cosmic rays, and climate is more and more established. This is not causation yet. But it points to a possible amplifying mechanism. Actually many mechanisms have been proposed so far, from cosmic rays influence on cloud formation, to UV absorption in the oceans, etc. We have to remember that it took quite a while to go from detection to attribution in the case of GHG. It will take some time for these solar effects as well, and only if enough resources are dedicated to it. So far the research has mainly originated from European research groups. It’s mostly taboo in the US, where Judith Lean at NASA seems to impose some sort of orthodoxy. Not to mention the RC gang who are going after solar papers like attack dogs. But there are nevertheless more and more papers on the subject, and climate conferences (like the AGU fall meeting) have sessions specifically dealing with this, a sure sign that this is taken seriously in the community.

    Now what people don’t realize is that the larger the solar forcing, the smaller the GHG forcing. If half of the recent warming turns out to be of solar origin, and if the sun’s activity decreases in the next 20-50 years as some predict, then the solar warming will become a solar cooling, and it will compensate for GHG warming. So we may end up in a situation where climate will remain more or less stable despite an increase in GHG. That would be good news not because we could stop worrying about GHG, but because it would give us more time to deal with the problem.

  128. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    Re #116
    Aspens don’t live past 40, and don’t grow near treeline? In northern areas, not very far from treeline, they often grow past the age of 200.

  129. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

    That would be good news not because we could stop worrying about GHG, but because it would give us more time to deal with the problem.

    But if the GHG contribution to GW is actually less than generally accepted, then the climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling will be less and the projected temperature increase, assuming constant solar imput, will be less. And this might well mean we could ignore GHG increases for practical purposes.

  130. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    In other words, a sum of “maybe’s” gives a “for sure”. To me, a sum of “maybe’s” is a big “I don’t know!”.

    No, FO, errors only propagate for skeptics. For warmers they cancel. 🙂

  131. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    Whoops, by “FO” I meant “Francois Ouellette”, bien sur.

  132. Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    Bender, no problem with FO. I used to work in fiber optics, so my name was predestined.

    A larger solar sensitivity will mean a smaller CO2 sensitivity. I don’t think we’ll ever find that the CO2 sensitivity is zero. My own guess is around 1C, maybe 1.5. What that would mean is that there is really no significant “water vapor” feedback to increase the CO2 sensitivity past the plain greenhouse effect. I think what we’ll find is that where a water vapor feedback was required to match observation to the simulated CO2 forcing, a corrected solar forcing will do the job. Furthermore, aerosol forcing (negative) will turn out to be smaller. At this point, the larger CO2 sensitivity has to be counterbalanced with a rather large negative aerosol forcing to match the global temperature curve, especially in the 1940-1975 period. But that’s such an ad-hoc adjustment that the whole thing loses credibility. Especially since its main proponent (of large aerosol forcing) is James Hansen, not the most objective scientist in the world.

    I read the post on RC about the recent ocean cooling. I would also qualify it as “funny”. Funny in the sense that their reaction to it is that maybe the data are not correct, and then it’s only a couple of years and you don’t expect models to have such fine temporal resolution, etc. etc. But you can bet that if oceans had warmed over the past two years, they would not question the results at all, and would be jumping and screaming about how this is further proof of AGW. Sorry for the AGW chearleaders here, but that is not the “real” science that they claim to be presenting. I don’t mind if they chose to have a bias, we all have one, but then they shouldn’t claim to be objective scientists. But we all know that, don’t we?

  133. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    Re #132 Yes, there you go, FO. That is exactly what I meant by RC being “funny sometimes”. I too have my biases, but I can also laugh at human fallibility in general when biases I didn’t realize I have are pointed out to me. (Did I get defensive at Dano’s “see how the meme spreads?” comment, or did I take it in stride?) Scientists ought to be able to laugh at their own fallibility. To err is human.

  134. gb
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Re # 132.

    So if climate scientist do not directly trust the data it is ‘funny’, but if the people on this site do not trust the data (on glaciers, ice cores etc) they are critical?

  135. gb
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

    Re # 124.

    In a a GCM the effect of ocean and atmospheric circulations on the climate can be taken into account, but that can’t be done in a 1D model. Futhermore, in 1D models it is probably very difficult to take into account many feedbacks (change in ice/snow).

    Re # 132.

    Changes in the solar forcing or the anthropogenic forcings have a quite different impact on the temperature of the oceans. What I have understood is that the warming of the oceans is difficult to attribute to changes in solar forcing but can be caused by the anthropogenic forcings.

  136. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    RE: “What I have understood is that the warming of the oceans is difficult to attribute to changes in solar forcing”

    If you passed undergraduate calculus, and yet can make a statement like this with a straight face, then I actually pity you.

  137. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    Re #134
    gb, What’s “funny” is the way these uncertainties are swept under the rug when it suits their purpose. And I agree it’s not really all that humorous – when you consider what’s at stake. You would think scientists would take these uncertainties very seriously. I’m hoping JMS will point us to a place where that is the case. I’m ready to be convinced.

  138. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    New at RC – the “Mann” himself:

  139. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    Page 1027, “Logical Fallacies”, of the Curry et al. paper cited there will interest JMS.

  140. Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    Yeah, there are as many logical fallacies in that paper as she claims to find in the debate she analyzes. Curiously, only critics of the link between AGW and hurricanes seem to commit logical fallacies. I don’t think that someone who has already taken sides in a debate should pose as an independent arbiter of it.

  141. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

    “The magnitude of the trend [in hurricane occurrence] identified by WHCC is sufficiently large that the null hypothesis [of no trend] must be rejected based upon the currently documented uncertainties in the dataset”

    Curry et al. 2006 p. 1029

    I’m curious as to why they chose to graph and analyze hurricane occurrence in five-year windows. Is it because they had an a priori insight that five years is the time-scale over which these kinds of stochastic phenomena ought to be summed to be interpretible? Or is it because that little cherry happened to reduce sampling error on the dependent variable to the extent needed to significantly improve the trend statistics and visuals in favour of their hypothesis?

    I suppose the results are robust no matter how the data are summed. But you get my drift. We’ve seen this kind of suppression of uncertainty statistics & graphics before.

  142. JMS
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

    126: You might try this. Or look at the threads in the “Climate modelling” section.

  143. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    A “projection” is therefore a “conditional prediction”, as it is nothing more than a prediction predicated upon an assumption on input which is known to be uncertain.

    Well, then, wherever I have said “prediction” in the past (and future), please assume I am talking about “conditional predicitons”. I refuse to use that redundant qualifier (or that shifty little term “projection”) because it is obvious that all model predictions are predicated on uncertain assumptions and parameters that are measured with imprecision.

    It is understandable why a modeler should like to insulate himself from blame by distinguishing between model uncertainty and input uncertainty. But I am sure there is plenty in both.

    The problem remains for AGW proponents: you now have two sources of uncertainty and their interaction to contend with. Note the interaction exists despite linguistic attempts to make them seem independent. Errors propagate. They do not cancel.

  144. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    Re#142, I can’t believe I missed that thread!

    Most of the responses are very vague. I’d say it’s a far from “serious discussion.” It looks more like “hand-waving on model uncertainties for dummies.”

    The reponse to #7 is another example of RC being “funny,” I guess:

    “…the 1940s-1970s cooling is a combination of increasing aerosols, increasing volcanoes (particularly Mt. Agung in 1963) and a slight decline in solar forcing, overcoming a relatively slow growth in greenhouse gases.”

    Can anyone explain how the growth in GHG’s was slow over the 1940s-1970s? According to sources like this, the rapid growth rate over this period is unmatched! And this is “relatively slow growth?” Relative to what?

  145. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

    Re #144 first paragraph. I wasn’t going to say so, MJ, but that’s my assessment too.

    People, there is a reason why uncertainty & error in these various methods is not studied or discussed in a serious way. Think about it.

  146. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

    Also, that “discussion” on uncertainty at RC is almost a year old. And we KNOW how quickly the state of knowledge improves in climatology, because we’re TOLD that constantly. I’m sure the uncertainties have been removed now.

  147. David Smith
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    Re: #102

    JMS, thanks for the reply, but I’m struggling to understand a few of your points.

    On #2 and #4, what counts in a heat engine is temperature difference (delta T). The fact that the oceans are “warmer”, in and of itself, should mean little or nothing. I don’t understand what is meant by “the amount of heat available to power tropical cyclones increases as the oceans warm”.

    On #3, I checked an article from 7/25/03 edition of Science, which uses the Parallel Climate Model (PCM). (It is summarized in the March 04 edition of Science & Technology Review.)The nice thing about this report is that it shows the PCM’s prediction of tropospheric warming, by height and latitude.
    The PCM shows that, by far, the strongest warming is in the mid-troposphere (500 to 300 mb).
    Tropical cyclones do not extend beyond the tropopause, so the temperature of the stratosphere plays no role that I can see.



  148. JMS
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    144: Those are increases in emissions, not increases in atmospheric concentration. Take a look at the Keeling Curve to see the observed change in atmospheric concentrations.

  149. JMS
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 3:45 PM | Permalink


    Tropical storms get their energy from the evaporation of water off the surface of the ocean. The warmer the water, the greater the potential amount of evaporation.

    On point 3, from Wikipedia:

    The tropopause is not a “hard” boundary. Vigorous thunderstorms, for example, particularly those of tropical origin, will overshoot into the lower stratosphere and undergo a brief (hour-order) low-frequency vertical oscillation. Such oscillation sets up a low-frequency atmospheric wave train capable of affecting both atmospheric and oceanic currents in the region.

    But point taken.

  150. jae
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    Hmm, JMS. How do you reconcile this summary, which concludes:

    Clearly, there would appear to be little question that global warming in the past has tended to reduce both the frequency and intensity of Atlantic basin hurricanes, as these many real-world studies spanning decades to millennia convincingly demonstrate.

    And how did the article discussed by Mann over at RC miss all these studies. That article uses the word “skeptic” too many times, IMO, indicating a polarization discussed within the context of a concern about polarization (funny). I guess they even consider SCIENTIFIC articles that threaten the notion AGW to be the work of the dirty skeptics!

  151. Dave B
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    #149 JMS said,

    “The warmer the water, the greater the potential amount of evaporation.”

    Well, that’s just not true. (well it COULD be true, but only in the specialized case wherein air temperature is held constant…unlikely in the atmosphere)

    you can think of this as an application of Ohm’s law. V=IR

    in this case V is the heat content difference (potential difference) between water and air. if V=0, (that is air and water have equal heat), there is NO flow of power (I). that means evaporation goes to zero, and you have nothing to power the storm.

  152. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

    While Emanuel’s connection of hurricanes to the Carnot cycle is fair enough, it’s curious that he didn’t likewise mention that the Hadley cycle explaining trade winds etc. is also an example of a Carnot cycle which long preceded Carnot. I’ve got a vague recollection that the Hadley example may have been considered by Carnot and his contemporaries in conceptualizing the Carnot cycle.

  153. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    RE: #151 – I am increasingly convinced that many warmers did not arrive in the realm of “Climate Sciece” via either a hard science or engineering. Of course, a notable exception is Mann himself, who came via Physics. Which makes it all the more intriguing. From the standpoint of his flying in the face of the “hard science” or engineering POV, one can only conclude that he does indeed know better and that he lets policy positioning and ideology drive his “science.”

  154. bender
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    Re #153. He may indeed “know better”. Because that Appendix A “Statistical Issues Regarding Trends” in the USCCSP, suprisingly, covers alot of what concerns me most re: uncertainty. Maybe he’s just a gambling man, throwing caution to the wind?

  155. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    re: #151

    You do need to make clear, Dave B, that you’re not just talking about air temperature. Otherwise anything you walked outside when the temperature was greater than 100 you couldn’t sweat and you’d die of heat prostration. The fact is that as long as the relative humidity is reasonably low you’ll get evaporation even if the atmosphere is hotter than the ocean (and it usually is). And since water vapor is lighter than air (mw = 18 vs 32 for O2 & 28 for N2)the newly humidified air will rise. Whether or not the particular circumstances at a given time means more evaporation or less can’t be decided just by measuring sst and atmospheric temperature.

  156. JMS
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

    150: it is the Idso’s. They summarize, they tell you what the paper said (not even a abstract is produced) and unless you have access (which is unlikely for us peons) you can’t see what the paper actually said.

    Why should I trust them?

  157. Tim Ball
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    Re #99
    Maybe I missed something but I don’t see some important comments relating to Dave’s questions. First there are distinct differences between hurricanes and midlatitude cyclones (severe storms). The comments that sea surface temperature (SST) is a critical component of the intensity of a hurricane is born out by how quickly hurricanes dissipate when they move over land. It is also supported by their occurrence in late summer as water is heated all the way across the Atlantic and pools in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. However, there are other factors that can affect the track, number and dissipation of hurricanes. For example, notice how SSTs drop after a hurricane has passed over because of the evaporative cooling of the surface water (I believe Katrina resulted in about a 3°C drop). You can also have a hurricane following another hurricane ‘filled in’ by upper level air flow. Equally important is the direction of the hurricanes which varies from year to year and decade to decade (I believe the plot of tracks are available). This appears to be partly a function of the position of the cold air pushing south over North America.
    The argument that midlatitude cyclonic storms will increase with global warming is wrong. These storms are a function of the temperature difference across the boundary between the cool polar air and warm subtropical air often referred to as the zonal index. The theory says with global warming greater warming will occur in the cooler polar air thus reducing the temperature difference across the boundary and the potential for large storms to be generated. The cold air advancing also can make cumulonimbus (thunderstorms) much more unstable and create conditions for tornados along the boundary between the two air masses. A reduction in the force of the advancing air may result in fewer tornados.

  158. JMS
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 7:26 PM | Permalink

    155: you are right. It has a lot more to do with lapse rates — dry vs. wet — which makes for the power that drives tropical storms.

  159. David Smith
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    Re: #158. The difference in lapse rates between the mean tropical atmosphere and that of a moist parcel (rain cloud) indeed are a key to a tropical cyclone’s energy release. The greater the difference (to a point), the greater the possible energy release.

    The problem I am struggling to understand is how an overall temperature rise in both the mean tropical atmosphere and in that of moist parcels causes their lapse rates to diverge. It seems to me that the lapse rates would stay the same, and thus the potential energy release (= potential wind intensity) stays about the same.

    And, a future with greater relative warming of the mean tropical mid-troposphere (predicted by at least one major climate model) would seem to decrease the lapse rate differences, at least at middle altitudes, thus lowering energy release (and storm intensity).

    Equally confounding to me is that the heated air, which rises to about 200mb level, has to disperse and ultimately sink. What little I’ve seen of the climate models predicts a more thermally stable atmosphere in the tropics and mid-latitudes, which would tend to decrease sinking. In a sense, the upper atmosphere becomes relatively clogged.

    I can understand an argument that vertical wind shear will be lower in a warmer world, thus overcoming a major brake on cyclone intensity, and I can understand that there will be more storms, due to a longer season and expansion of the tropical waters. What I struggle with is the argument that higher global temperature alone causes stronger storms.

  160. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 10:06 PM | Permalink

    Tim Killenn responded to my inquiry as follows:

    Thank you for your interest in the recent AGU report. In response to your query, I have ascertained that the work referred to in the report dealt with experimental results described in personal communications from F. Vitard of the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting to Professor P. Webster. If you require further information, I would suggest you contact Dr. Vitard directly at ECMWF.
    Tim Killeen

  161. Tim Ball
    Posted Aug 18, 2006 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

    Andrew Weaver (climate modeler) told me when he phoned in to an open line radio program that the Milankovitch Effect, that is changes in orbit, tilt and precession of the equinox are not included in the models. He said the changes are on too large a time scale yet they result in a net change in total energy each year. The models assume variations in solar radiation (insolation), but each model uses a different values for the amount reaching the top of the atmosphere with a range of about 20 W/m2. I am not aware that the models include variations in corpuscular energy (solar wind), despite high correlations between variations in sunspot anctivity, the solar wind and climate events such as El Nino (Labitzke). The argument is made that it is not included because there is no explanantion of the mechanism. So, of the three causes of variation in solar energy arriving at the earth only one is included and there is considerable disagreement over its amount.

  162. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Ball,

    Hi. In your comment (currently #157), you say:

    First there are distinct differences between hurricanes and midlatitude cyclones (severe storms) [emphasis added].

    Since I am in the US, and you are in Canada, and many readers here are from other continents, maybe we should clarify the terminology. In the US, “severe storm” almost always means “severe convective storm.” Midlatitude cyclones are what readers in the US probably know as “low pressure systems.” They are often also referred to as “extratropical cyclones.” Same thing. I am fairly certain you did not mean “severe storms” in the way that I use the term, so I just wanted to clear up the whole lot for anyone else out there who may have been confused.

    Now, I do have substantive disagreement with you on the following (I have taken the liberty of numbering your points, for easy reference):

    1a) The argument that midlatitude cyclonic storms will increase with global warming is wrong. 1b) These storms are a function of the temperature difference across the boundary between the cool polar air and warm subtropical air often referred to as the zonal index. 2a)The theory says with global warming greater warming will occur in the cooler polar air 2b) thus reducing the temperature difference across the boundary and the potential for large storms to be generated. 3a) The cold air advancing also can make cumulonimbus (thunderstorms) much more unstable 3b)and create conditions for tornados along the boundary between the two air masses. 4) A reduction in the force of the advancing air may result in fewer tornados.

    1a) I would say that it cannot be stated with confidence either way because,

    1b) The horizontal temperature gradient reasoning you invoke is only one part of cyclogenesis. The vertical temperature gradient, plus the speed, direction, and vorticity of the low, mid, and upper-tropospheric flow also figure into the process. I think we both would agree that models cannot predict these latter parameters with any skill at all. Also, the zonal index refers to the the strength of the westerlies in the midlatitudes, rather than the temperature gradient, though I will grant that the two would track each other somewhat.

    2a) agreed

    2b) same as 1b) in that baroclinity is only one ingredient in wave cyclone development

    3a) agreed, again

    3b) I think you are oversimplifying tornadogenesis. Temperature gradients are important, but buoyancy and wind shear (speed shear and directional shear) are the essential ingredients for supercell thunderstorms that produce tornadoes. In addition, strong horizontal temperature gradients can develop along the cold outflow from nearby or previous thunderstorms. Again, I would argue that we simply cannot yet know what the future holds for these variables.

    4) Since you said “may,” I’ll add the obvious: or “may not.”

    A couple months ago (for anyone who cares), on RPSr’s blog, we had a good discussion of this very topic in the context of a Christy and Spencer presentation.

  163. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 1:13 AM | Permalink

    #161 — but, hey, the “basic theory” linking CO2 and global temperatures is settled.

  164. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 1:36 AM | Permalink

    Re #160: Yeah, Vitard seemed like the go-to guy on this from what I could tell. Do you want to try emailing him? FWIW, my bet is the answer will be no since that skill comparison looks like a very juicy paper topic. How this whole thing plays out will be interesting to watch since there are definitely some careers at stake.

  165. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 1:44 AM | Permalink

    Re #159: This may be helpful.

  166. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 1:54 AM | Permalink

    Re #141: I sort-of answered you on the other thread, but I didn’t understand exactly what you meant. Now I think I get it. There is no sampling error as such. There are disagreements about data interpretation, but Webster et al thoroughly discussed those in their BAMS article.

  167. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 2:26 AM | Permalink

    Re #150/6: Just to add that they could point to all of the abstracts rather than cherry-picking quotes. Also, the full texts of plenty of these articles can be found in non-pay locations, so they could link those as well.

    jae, before you say anything, I mentioned a little while back that I would deconstruct one of those co2science articles when I had the time, which I will at some point during the next week. The hurricane one seems like a good choice since it’s an area of research I pay close attention to. In the meantime, as a preliminary exercise, I’m curious to know if you stand by everything in the article.

  168. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

    Re #132/3: You two are scientists, right? Did you actually notice the major implication of Lyman et al, i.e. that there has has been a mssive increase of fresh water inflow in 2003-5 such that sea level has increased 3 mm/yr even while cooling has resulted in a drop of 3 mm/yr (= a net rise of 6 mm/yr from the fresh water!). As Gavin noted, the implications of this should provide little comfort for skeptics. OTOH, despite Josh Willis’ insistence to the contrary, it is perhaps more likely that there is a problem with the ARGOs or that there has been a substantial warming at depth.

    Francois, your faith in the solar stuff is touching. Are you basing that on anything in particular?

  169. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    #160. I sent the request on to Webster at Georgia Tech. Hey, Steve B, this may turn into an interesting piece of backtracking. It’s probably as it is represented, but it’s pretty amazing to me that Killeen and other members of the panel would sign off on such a strong statement without ever examining the prediction itself for authenticity and for exactly what it said and when it was said and what they predicted in 2006. I would have checked in his shoes. But everything’s pretty loosey-goosey in climate world.

  170. jae
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    re: 167. Steve B, since I cannot possibly learn all there is to know about this subject (or most other climate-related subjects), I have to lean on summaries of information. I think the Idsos do a good job of summarizing the available information, although I realize there is bias. Can you suggest another source? Please don’t mention RC! I await your “deconstruction.”

  171. bender
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    Re #166
    Bloom, that’s not a reply, it’s a response. And it’s worthless.

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. Hurricane frequency is a parameter that is very much subject to sampling error. Moreover, it is because of the very high degree of sampling error that they chose to smooth the data by summing across five-year windows. Why did they do that? A fuller reply is located in the other thread.

    No reply at RC though.

  172. Dave B
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    #155 of course, dave d…that’s why i said “heat content” and not “temperature”. of course the point i made is an extreme one. thanks for clarifying.

  173. David Smith
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    RE #165

    Thanks, Steve B. for the link. Interesting reading.

    This article is a simplification of Emmanuel’s reasoning on storm intensity, written for a general audience. As such, portions of the equation derivation is not present. (I am sure that Emmanuel has presented his work in detail elsewhere, and other’s have confirmed that the derivation is proper.)

    His basic equation for maximum possible wind (#4) shows that wind velocity is a function of temperature difference (near-ocean vs high atmosphere, his epsilon) and enthalpy differences. In my steady-state case (both the sea and the atmosphere warm to the same extent), the temperature difference remains the same, so hurricane velocity is unaffected by the overall higher temperature of a warmer world, looking solely at T.

    ((If one assumes that the climate models are correct, and the mid and upper tropical troposphere warm more than the lower levels, then the temperature difference actually declines and so should the storm velocity in a warmer world, using Emmanuel’s #4 and looking only at T.))

    However, Emmanuel shows charts that display dramatic increases in wind at higher temperatures. How can that be?

    As best as I can tell, tha answer lies in the change in enthalpies (ocean vs near-ocean air) as temperatures rise. Emmanuel states that his charts assume constant humidity, and I think that is what basically drives the increasing spread between the two enthalpies. I think that the humidity assumption is very important. I’m interested in knowing what the GCMs predict about the water content of the tropical atmosphere and whether Emmanuel’s assumption on humidity agrees with the models.

    On a general note, Emmanuel’s equation #4 contains (T sub s) times (epsilon), where epsilon is given in equation #1. I wonder why he did not multiply the two, which would remove (T sub s) and leave the rest of equation #1. (Caveat: I’m having trouble seeing all of Emmanuel’s subscripts, so perhaps I am misreading him.) If one simply glances at the equation as-is, the (T sub s) looks like an explicit factor in the equation, whereas it actually cancels. I wonder why he didn’t simplify the equation.

    Anyway, that’s my take, that of a non-scientist (a sorry chemical engineer). Again, the link is much appreciated.


  174. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    Re#148 – First of all, the link you provided shows only CO2. RC and I both referred to greenhouse gases in general, which are not limited to CO2. But that could be a minor point.

    Secondly, your link doesn’t show the 1940s or much of the 1950s.

    Furthermore, your link to the Keeling curve does not show a “a relatively slow growth in greenhouse gases.” It shows CO2 levels increasing at a similar rate not dissimilar from that of the 80s to today.

    Even so, how can you reconcile that huge increases in GHG emissions in the 40s-70s resulted in “relatively small” increases in atmospheric accumulation of GHGs?

    Of course, it all depends on what RC meant by “relative” – relative to what? Maybe they meant “relative” to the aerosols mentioned previously in their statement. I have requested repeatedly (and seen other such requests on RC) something along the lines of your link showing aerosol levels in the atmosphere. It has never been provided. And all evidence I can find shows aerosol and GHG emissions rising hand-in-hand through the 40s and 60s.

  175. Tim Ball
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    The major point I was trying to deal with was to distinguish between hurricanes as one distinctive type of damaging weather system and other severe weather systems including midlatitude cyclones (low pressure systems), thunderstorms and tornados to provide a fuller understanding for David’s questions (#99). His question sought understanding of the potential impacts of global warming. I wanted to show that the impact of warming could be different for both.
    I am glad we agree on more than we disagree, however, I suspect we agree even on some of your disagreements. (Terminology is always a problem.) My difficulty is the conflict between length of message and the detail one would like to include. I should have more precisely said that the midlatitude cyclones (low pressure systems) occur along the boundary. Their cause (cyclogenesis) is another factor and as you note other factors than temperature gradient can be the trigger. However, I would argue that the intensity, location and track of these storms is primarily due to the temperature gradient and that is the issue with regard to global warming. That warming will bring about less intense storms and cooling more intense storms is supported by historic evidence of intensity of storms during periods of cooling and warming. There is also the matter of the latitude at which these storms will occur as the latitude of maximum temperature gradient (zonal index) will shift. Wind velocity, the measure of intensity of low pressure storms and hurricanes are a function of the temperaure gradient so I would argue that less intense storms can be argued with some certainty. The zonal index doesn’t specifically refer to the strength of the westerlies. It is the temperature gradient across a predetermined latitude difference, which indicates the strength of the westerlies (circumpolar vortex). (This is no different than the pressure gradient force depicted by the distance between isobars on a weather map.) Notice that with a reduced temperature gradient the westerlies including Jet Streams also decrease in velocity. (Will the latitude change and subsequent change in angular momentum offset the decreased temperature gradient?)
    Again I agree I oversimplified tornadogenesis but the major driving force is again pressure differences that result from temperature differences. Your comment that “we simply cannot know what the future holds for these variables” suggests that the AGW prognostications about impending doom are equally unjustified. All I want to see is accurate representation of what we know, for example, pressure differences and therefore wind speed are a function of temperature differences and if they reduce as the warming theory argues the severity of midlatitude cyclones (low pressure systems) will decrease not increase. Similalry, I would reject your inclusion of “may not” with my argument for fewer tornados with a reduced temperature gradient. There would be less potential for extreme instability and since this is one cause of tornados and their intensity its reduction should result in fewer tornados and certalnly fewer severe tornados.

  176. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    I wrote to Killeen trying to get a copy of what their panel actually used, as follows:

    Dear Dr Killeen,

    thank you for your reply. I’m interested in the information that you relied on. If there is no public documentation of these predictions and it was only an email, then I guess that will have to do and I would appreciate a copy. Did your panel also receive the Meteo-France forecasts from Dr Vitard of ECMWF? I notice that there is no mention of corresponding predictions for 2006. Did you receive predictions for 2006 from them or make inquiries as to whether they made corresponding predictions for 2006? Thank you for your attention. Regards, Steve McIntyre

    Killeen did not provide me with the information requested, but again referred me to Vitard, also noting that they did not discuss 2006 predictions. It’s always nice to know the results before you issue your predictions, I guess.

    The Panel did not discuss predictions for 2006 as far as I know
    and can recall – the emphasis of the study was on canvassing relevant emerging and current scientific knowledge pertinent to rebuilding the Gulf Coast in seven general areas including subsidence, storm surge, etc. There is, as you know, a large scientific community working on issues of seasonal and inter-annual hurricane prediction and I feel that, within that community, Dr. Vitard is probably in the best position to answer any questions you might have about the specific progress and status of modeling at Meteo-France and ECMWF referred to in the report. Thank you again for your interest in the AGU

    Tim Killeen
    AGU President

    Some academic manoeuvres are really strange. If someone is doing a prospectus, the information that you used is what you start with. You might then want to cross-check it against the original source, but you start with what is used. The AGU panel has published a report and should be able to document what they did. Why should I have to go chasing Vitard who wasn’t party to the AGU report.

  177. bender
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    Why should I have to go chasing Vitard who wasn’t party to the AGU report?

    In the ideal world, you shouldn’t. In the real world, the answer is “because accountability is not built into the science->policy bridging process”.

    So, Bloom & JMS, is this also an “ad hom” attack against an “entire field”, or is it legitimate criticism of a flawed culture & process? I think the latter. There is bascially a lack of openness and accountability, which is not fair to the public that will be affected by the policies being fed by the science.

    Note I am not saying scientific peer-review does not work. It does work … in the long run. In the short run, however, it doesn’t deliver precise enough results fast enough to permit the unambiguous inferences that all stakeholders wish for.

  178. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 1:04 PM | Permalink


    You two are scientists, right? Did you actually notice the major implication of Lyman et al, i.e. that there has has been a mssive increase of fresh water inflow in 2003-5 such that sea level has increased 3 mm/yr even while cooling has resulted in a drop of 3 mm/yr (= a net rise of 6 mm/yr from the fresh water!). As Gavin noted, the implications of this should provide little comfort for skeptics.

    Can it really be a “major implication?” Shouldn’t this simply be a “major confirmation?” Or are all the model and scientist predictions about ocean warming and sea level rise *gasp* going in the wrong direction?

    I don’t know where Gavin said this. He doesn’t post here, and I’m not going to track-down his statement at RC. But from your wording, it seems as if he/you balanced-out the thermal contraction of the oceans with the freshwater contribution to get that 6 mm/yr number…yet according to the Lyman et al paper we are discussing: “…closure of the global sea level budget cannot yet be achieved.” So that would be a no-no.

    I am curious how the cooling shrank sea levels by 3 mm/yr over that period (that figure is not in the pre-print of Lyman’s paper I read, so I assume someone calculated it?), and I’d like for you to think about it. According to Dr. Laury Miller, Chief of the NOAA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry in Washington, thermal expansion is estimated to account for 25% of the sea level rise of the 20th century. We also know the upper limit of sea level rise at the end of the 20th century was 3 mm/yr from the IPCC (many estimates are lower), and it’s safe to assume the increased rate of sea level rise was due to accelerated ice melt. So thermal expansion was llikely accounting for less than 25% of sea level rise at the end of the 20th century. But let’s go ahead and say it was 25% for the sake of argument. That equates to 0.75 mm/yr of thermal expansion.

    Now look again at Lyman et al. The heat content of the oceans from 2003-2005 returned to 2000 and 2001 levels. In other words, the thermal expansion of 2000-2003 should have been negated by thermal contraction from 2003-2005. So how did the thermal contraction of 2003-2005 equate to 6 mm (3 mm/yr for 2 yrs) while the thermal expansion of 2000-2003 was around 2.25 mm (0.75 mm/yr for 3 yrs)?

    The 3 mm/yr thermal contraction number seems bogus, hence so would also be a 6 mm/yr fresh water contribution based on it. Using the above figures and assumptions, thermal contraction was about 1.13 mm/yr for 2003-2005, and if as suggested in your discussion of Gavin’s comments the contribution of fresh water balanced the thermal contraction over that period, it would also be about 1.13 mm/yr…right about where it was at the end of the 20th century.

    Someone please correct me if am wrong.

  179. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 1:11 PM | Permalink


    Correction #1: But from your wording, it seems as if he/you balanced-out the thermal contraction of the oceans with the freshwater contribution and the total sea level rise to get that 6 mm/yr number.

    Correction #2: and if as suggested in your discussion of Gavin’s comments the contribution of fresh water balanced the thermal contraction and total sea level rise over that period, it would also be about 2 mm/yr…right about where it was at the end of the 20th century.

  180. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    Re #176: “Killeen did not provide me with the information requested, but again referred me to Vitard, also noting that they did not discuss 2006 predictions. It’s always nice to know the results before you issue your predictions, I guess.” Careful, Steve M. Check the dates and you’ll see that the report (written based on a discussion held in January) pre-dates the 2006 predictions (the earliest of which is made on May 1 if I recall correctly). It’s fair enough to ask Vitard for them now, though.

  181. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    #177. Lots of things are “self-correcting” in the “long run”. You could say the same thing about WMD intelligence estimates. After the Iraq invasion and occupation, accurate estimates of WMD were obtained. Sometimes it’s better to get things right earlier rather than later.

  182. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    #180. Touché… point conceded.

  183. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    Re #178/9: You need to read both posts over at RP Sr.’s, In ome of them you’ll find a link to a Lyman et al poster. Look at the graph for the last two years in Figure 2. (Also, when they said the budget isn’t closed, that was simply a reference to this discrepancy.) My question to Josh was about the size of the discrepancy for the last two years, and you’ll notice that he kept avoiding that issue. Adjusting for thermal expansion (I don’t know if his numbers took that into account or not) doesn’t affect things much. As Josh noted, it’s also useful to look at this last two-year period because the problem of ARGO calibration with the prior data doesn’t exist. He’s convinced that their data also proves that there can’t be a substantial heat gain in the deep oceans, which means that the only explanation is fresh water inflow. The problem is that the implications of 6 mm/yr are huge, and the other commenting scientists (including RP Sr. eventually) seemed to recognize that this required that the study not be taken at face value, especially after it was pointed out that TOA numbers don’t show a corresponding loss of heat. Bear in mind that the recent GRACE findings of a current combined melt of 1 mm/yr from Greenland and Antarctica were already considered to be a bit of a nasty surprise. A recent bump up to 6 mm/yr (which would have to be mostly from temperate glaciers and permafrost melt) would more or less fall into the category of abrupt climate change (which was Gavin’s point).

  184. bender
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    Re #177 Couldn’t agree more.

  185. Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    #168 Steve B. Your faith in anthropogenic global warming is also touching, and so is your dedication to try to refute every single argument there could be against the AGW orthodoxy, even though you’re not an active scientist in the field. Neither am I, so what I post here is just my opinion, and has zero scientific value. This here is a blog.

    My “faith” in the enhanced solar influence on climate is not faith. It’s just a hunch that there might be something there. But so far, I’ve collected 33 papers from the peer-reviewed litterature, all less than 10 years old. I can send you the list, feel free to try and refute them all! Most of them were published post IPCC TAR. So there is momentum gathering in the scientific community in favor of those mechanisms. I see it as the little crack in the wall that might very well grow and propagate. And maybe not. IPCC TAR had 2 pages out of 700 discussing amplified solar mechanisms. How many will there be in the 4AR? Let me guess, 2 again.

    What I like about it, as a physicist, is that there is a plausible physical mechanism linking cosmic rays to cloud formation. That is something that can be tested in the lab, not just in a GCM. It can also be tested in the field. It could advance our knowledge of how clouds are formed, something we know very little about.

    Anyway, if I was a climate scientist, I would work on that, because that’s where there is good potential for exciting new findings. Time will tell.

  186. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    Re #184: With what? 177 was your comment.

  187. bender
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    Right. Thanks. I meant #181.

  188. David Smith
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

    I share the belief that water vapor behavior is a big unknown, perhaps THE big unknown, in all of this. Clouds are a complicated and dull subject, and don’t play well on CNN, but it’s important

    I would like to see a cloud coverage index (% low and high cloud cover, by days) for the Arctic over the last ten years. We talk about ice melt due to increasing CO2, but a persistent decrease in summertime cloud cover or increase in winter cloud cover, due to whatever reason, would probably overwhelm the impact of CO2 on ice melt. It would be interesting to see if there are patterns which correlate to changes in ice cover.

  189. David Smith
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    Steve M., it’s now the 20’th of August with nary an Atlantic tropical depression so far this month. The major forecast models show what I’d describe as near-normal conditions over the remainder of the month. This may be shaping up as a normal nine-storm Atlantic year.

    Your hunch about persistence may well prove right for 2006.

  190. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 5:55 PM | Permalink


    The problem is that the implications of 6 mm/yr are huge, and the other commenting scientists (including RP Sr. eventually) seemed to recognize that this required that the study not be taken at face value, especially after it was pointed out that TOA numbers don’t show a corresponding loss of heat

    I think you’re exagerrating what Pielke Sr said. These seem to be his major comments on the latest thread:

    “Mark- Thank you again for your input. We both agree that we need more years with Argo data.

    However, no one was questioning the data when Hansen, Barnett and others were using the warming upper ocean to suport the claim of model skill at simulating this behavior, as well as attributing reasons for its occurence. We need to apply the same standards to the value that we assign to the data regardless of whether it supports or disagrees with our particular perspective…

    There is also the issue as to the accuracy of the estimates of melt from the continental ice sheets. Those numbers certainly are more difficult to quantify than the upper ocean heat content…

    Steve (and Mark) have raised important scientific questions that need to be addressed. Regardless, however, the multi-decadal global climate models did not have upper ocean cooling of the magnitude that has been recently observed in any of their projections. This should give pause to their use to make confident global-average and regional predictions of the climate in the coming decades.”

    So it seems that he stands behind the surprising results and issues raised by Lyman et al.

    As for the 6 mm/yr (I assume from Fig 2 on the poster), note the wording in the paragraph beneath the figure (my emphasis in bold):

    “On time scales of a few years, however, the majority of the thermosteric signal should be captured by the 0/750 m estimate (Lyman et al., 2006; Antonov et al., 2005). Given this caveat…”

    Underneath Fig 2 itself, it explicitly states, “If there were no changes in volume average temperature at depths greater than 750 m, this curve would reflect input of freshwater into the global oceans.”

    So 6 mm/yr from 2003-2005 assumes “majority”=all, that the “caveat” is meaningless, and that the “if” is not so. Note also the extent of the error bars – random error alone could explain the 2003-2005 trend being 6 mm/yr. So there seems to be a lot of uncertainty in that figure.

    Just as Pielke Sr says, “We both agree that we need more years with Argo data,” the same is true with the trendline of Fig 2. Interesting (similar to what Pielke Sr noted) with Lyman et al’s paper and the 6 mm/yr how there is an inconsistency when it comes to questioning short-term results depending on whether or not the results support one’s perspective.

  191. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    Re #190: The contrast was to the unalloyed enthusiasm with which he first introduced the paper. There were no “important scientific questions” or “a need for more years of Argo data” then. This is about as much of a backing off as seems to be allowed within the syntax rules of Macropielkean. 🙂

    Regarding that if, the issue is that the authors don’t think there has been any warming at depth; i.e., it’s more of an “if x is the case as shown by our results, then y is true” sort of thing.

    Just to emphasize a point you seem to be missing, my perspective would be more than supported by finding evidence of the abrupt change this paper implies if taken at face value. And I don’t think I’m inconsistent, BTW. I try to be quite careful about relying on “first results” of this sort.

  192. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 19, 2006 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    Re#190, I don’t see any “unalloyed enthusiam,” nor any contrast between his final posts and his initial comments.

    At “face value,” the paper implied there may have been up to a 6 mm/yr contribution of fresh water to the sea level rise observed from 2003-2005.

    As for shuddering in horror at such a thing, I think you can find plenty of stretches in the 20th century where sea levels rose at similar or greater rates over 3 year and even longer periods (with, as noted in my previous link, roughly 25% being due to thermal expansion). It’s easy to identify them. The red line at the end is 3 mm/yr. Any portion of the black line at a slope of 4 times steeper would equate to 8 mm/yr over at least a 3 yr period, and subtracting the 75% thermal expansion would give you a 6 mm/yr freshwater contribution. Nobody freaked-out about any 6 mm/yr apparent freshwater contributions in the past, and no such rises were sustained for much past 3 yrs.

    In fact, the 3-yr average looks a LOT like periodic activity along a straight line – quite possibly “random noise” causing things to be out of whack over such short periods of time. If it’s that bad with 3 yr averages, it’s going to be a lot worse over 2 yr periods.

  193. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Aug 20, 2006 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    Tim Ball (#175)

    Thanks for the detailed response; I agree that it can be difficult to say precisely what one means in this medium.

    I realize that press releases and newspaper articles may give a different impression, but there really has been no declaration from the severe convective storms research community of “impending doom” with AGW, with respect to tornadoes and severe local storms in general. Our data on severe weather in the US are extensive, yet they suffer from extreme spatial and temporal inhomogeneities, such that a complete analysis of severe weather climatology is almost impossible (and the US has by far the “best” severe weather data in the world!). The best attempt thus far would be Brooks et al. (2003) and Doswell et al. (2005) (both in Weather and Forecasting, and available for free on Doswell’s pubs page), but do note their cautionary language regarding the quality of the data and the interpretations of their results.

    As far as my “may not” comment: 1) I was being funny, in a not-so-funny way I guess. If the prognosis includes “may” it must also include “may not,” since neither implies absolute certainty. 2) In a less-funny way, I seriously question your reduced temperature gradients>>fewer tornadoes argument. There are just too many things at play. As one example, 2006 has been claimed to have been anomalously warm. The tornado season behaved in a rather unpredictable way. For one, the main surge of tornadoes came about a month earlier than normal, and it appeared we were on track to shatter old records. Now it looks like we’ll end up pretty close to the recent “normal” levels. In addition, many of the tornadoes came in major outbreaks, like this, this, and this. Many of these tornadoes were quite severe, and lethal (of course tornado fatalities reflect the areas that get hit, including their emergency preparedness infrastructure, as much or more than they reflect tornado “severity”).

    By your reasoning we should have fewer tornadoes this year. I would say, however, that we have had fewer tornadoes in the familiar places in the Plains at the traditional time of year (and maybe that is a something that would happen indeed in a warmer world), but that the tornado season itself was earlier and less spatially concentrated than normal (and maybe that is also something that we could expect with warming). There is a lot going on, and it will be some time (years or decades, I would bet) before we will have any confidence in what (theorized) future climates will spell for tornadoes and other severe convective elements.

    So, I reject your rejection of my inclusion of “may not.” 😉

  194. Posted Aug 20, 2006 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    #191 Steve B., Pielke’s point is that when such a result comes out, which hasn’t been predicted by any model, it makes the modeling community lose credibility because, the way they’re talking, models have enough predicting skill to account for the next 100 years. We all know, modelers included, that it’s not true. We all know, modelers included, that even the best models are not up to the task yet. The Bray-Von Storch survey showed that the majority of climate scientists thinks that models cannot predict the climate even for the next ten years. Does that mean there’s no AGW? No. Does that mean we shouldn’t do anything about it? No. I personnally support the view that we should correctly acknowledge the uncertainty, and make public policy decisions that are robust in view of that uncertainty. The worst thing that happened to climate science is that quest for a “consensus”. That’s just a stupid way to deal with a scientific issue. First it implies that you can actually reach a consensus, which is unlikely, and it also implies that the consensus means it’s true, which history has shown often not to be the case.

    Next time you buy a new generation DVD player, just think that there was a consensus among laser scientists that the material (gallium nitride) used to make the laser inside it would never work. It took a stubborn Japanese scientist to prove them all wrong. Fortunately, laser science is not politicized…

  195. bender
    Posted Aug 20, 2006 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    I personnally support the view that we should correctly acknowledge the uncertainty, and make public policy decisions that are robust in view of that uncertainty. The worst thing that happened to climate science is that quest for a “consensus”.


  196. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 20, 2006 at 4:13 PM | Permalink


    So we are both physicists (but sadly so are Mann and Sir Robert May but never mind) but at least we are not in the climatology field (by the way that’s not meant as a slur on all climatologist by the way, just some of them). Let me ask you, if you were a climate modeller would you sleep at night?

    If you knew you couldn’t predict the unpredictable would you continue to be a climate modeller? Would you knowingly play down negative climate feedback effects and play up a positive feedback between CO2 and water vapour in the knowledge that ultimately little is known with any degree of certainty about this relationship? I wouldn’t. Now I know that we all need to earn a living so that we can eat, pro-create and have a familty etc and of course be good consumers and pay our taxes but surely there are other problems that we can apply our skills to that someone is prepared to fund and make a ROI on?


  197. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 20, 2006 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    #135 and #124

    I think what Steve is saying i sthat when it comes to climate computer models, couldn’t a Drake like (chances of intelligent life existing elsewhere in the universe) 1-dimensional equation (model) be just as skillful as a 3D ensemble GCM (complete with lack of adherence to the laws of conservation of enery and momentum etc)? In the case of 3D GCM’s I think the carpet laying analogy will always apply (albeit carpet laying is a 2D world). You no sooner jumped on and get rid of that annoying bloody lump in the carpet and it re-appears elsewhere. That’s what 3D modelling will always be like so why bother?


  198. bender
    Posted Aug 20, 2006 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

    KevinUK, not to distract from the thread, but I’m curious … what’s your beef with Sir Robert May?

  199. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 6:25 AM | Permalink

    Egads, my math was confused and awful in #192. Anywhere the slope is 3 times that of the redline (3mm/yr) equates to an implied freshwater contribution over 6 mm/yr.

  200. Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

    #196 Kevin, both Myanna Lahsen’s study and the Bray-von Storch survey show that modelers and climatologists in general are not all very comfortable with the way politics is interfering with their field. It only takes a few powerful individuals to influence an entire field, e.g. by taking control of the IPCC process. I don’t know enough of the early history of IPCC (and I wish someone who does would comment on it), but you can see that in science all the time. I’m optimistic that it will improve and get back to normal, thanks to the work of people like Steve, and others like Von Storch for example.

    I don’t know if I would like to work with GCM’s. I’ve always preferred simple models, say a 1D. Some years ago I devised a very simple algorithm to simulate light propagation in a certain type of optical waveguide. Most people were using complex programs based on finite differences solving of Maxwell’s equations, the so-called Beam Propagation Method, but what looked like a very rigourous approach was in fact a very sensitive tool, prone to all sorts of artefacts. But people are mesmerized by complexity! So I had a hard time publishing my stuff, even though I could get excellent agreement with experimental results in just a few seconds of computation, as opposed to hours, which made it a much more useful design tool.

    I think if you’re interested in the annual global mean temperature, it’s odd to use brute force to simulate climate starting from first principles and a fine grid, only to average out everything afterwards, just to get more or less the same temperature rise that a simple CO2 forcing argument would give you. I think GCM’s are more useful in helping us get a better understanding of how climate works: can we reproduce ENSO, el Nino, etc.? But we also need better observations to validate the model. I find it interesting that as we get better and better observations, via new satellites etc., we find stuff that the models didn’t predict! That’s not surprising, and that’s what makes science fun. If it were not for this whole AGW thing, climatology would surely be a lot more fun! I think climate scientists should stop pretending that they’re going to save the planet and just do their work the best they can.

  201. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    RE: #177 – My first serious taste of corruption as a budding young buck was at univerisity. And mind you, I worked real science and engineering jobs to put myself through school. So I had a direct comparison available regarding the differences in ethics and accountability. Broad brush obviously, as we all know from Enron, Tyco et al, there is corruption in business and likewise I’ve met quite a few really goody two shoes profs and grad students. But at the 50K foot level, I will still stand today with my first impression from early adulthood, regarding this.

  202. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

    Just posted in the queue at RC:

    “RE: #97 – Why is it that, whenever I or anyone else challenge a certain faction who are into “Deep Ecology” and the notion of “Gaia” not to mention a certain neo Malthusian perspective, we are called “anti science?” That is a logical contradiction. If anything, said factions contaminate science with something akin to the old Luddite creed. And you dare call *us* anti science? Please ….
    by Steve Sadlov”

  203. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    #198, bender

    Well my beef with Sir Robert May is that as Hansen is to US global warming so Lord May is to UK global warming.

    For those interested in this career his profile can be found here.

    Amongst other things in September 1997 as Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government and head of the Office Science and Technology he published a report on climate change which arguably kicked-off the whole alarmist politicisation of AGW in the UK. An annotated version of his report by John Brignell can be found here on the Numberwatch web site. It was also Lord May as President of the Royal Society who was responsible for co-ordinating the international joint statement supporting the theory of anthropogenic global warming back in 2001. Signatories to this statement included 17 national academies of science from countries across the world including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sweden, Turkey and the UK. He is also one of ‘Tony B’s cronies’ i.e. people who have been appointed to the House of Lords as so called ‘People’s Peers’ to replace the hereditory peers as a result of parliamentary reform in the UK. Thankfully he is no longer the President of the Royal Society and has been replaced since November 2005 by Sir Martin Rees who is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics in the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University. In respect of global warming I hope that since he is a cosmologist then perhaps there is now some hope that opinions within the UK climate modelling fraternity may change so that solar forcing may now become considered as having a greater influence on global warming that is acknowledged.


  204. David Smith
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    By now, the Atlantic has usually had 3.1 named storms (based on 1944-1994 average), one of which is classified as a hurricane. In 2006, we’ve had three named storms and no hurricanes so far. Steve M.’s hunch in favor of persistence is looking firmer every day.

    Interesting link on Greenland glaciers here

  205. jae
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    What will the AGWers do, without a terrible hurricane season?

  206. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    Pat Neumann claims to be a wrongfully terminated meteorologist who was singled out by “skeptical” management (no doubt on a Dubya edicted “witch hunt!”) and harps constantly about supposed “anti AGW bias” on the part of NWS and commercial TV meteo folks. I could not resist posting the following in response to his latest rant on the hurricane debate thread:

    “RE: #108 – Jet stream “wavyness” can be thought to indicate climatic season. The jet tends to get more “wavy” (e.g. steeper and more waves) in fall. In many ways, the “heat wave” during July had characteristics of an “Indian Summer” warm spell, such as the classic “multi barrel” High. But of course, with a July sun angle, it ended up being a major nasty heat event. Subsequently, a typical Fall pattern seems like it might be setting in, in terms of the jet. For example, the West coast, owing to a seemingly persistent deep digger just off shore (and I might add, not unlike some of our springtime persistent Siberia Express set ups I wrote about!), is experiencing the sort of “hint of the approaching rainy season” pattern that we normally see well into September (or even October further south) now. The jet, steep and wavy, manages to loop again all the way over to be coming south into Minnesota / the Upper Great Lakes. Whereas, it was in the 90s in the Dakotas and Minnesota in July, you’re now in the 70s to low 80s. The only 90s band at that latitude is a smidgeon of SW Montana and part of Idaho (but not for long).
    by Steve Sadlov”

  207. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

    Re #295: Er, jae, perhaps you hadn’t noticed, but the season is already pretty terrible.

  208. David Smith
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    RE #207 Steve, are you discussing the Atlantic basin, which is where Katrina occurred?

  209. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

    Cuz if you are

  210. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

    Re #208/9: Nope, the *whole* season. But that’s what counts, right?

  211. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 21, 2006 at 10:59 PM | Permalink

    Link didn’t make it.

    Yes of course it’s the whole season, but since currently the season is below average (As my link would have shown) it may be doing something, but not shaping up to be terrible. Unless your hoping for it to pull it out late season.

    This isn’t the Celtics in the 80’s

    Since you’ve said your not talking about the Atantic Basin, where is it that there is above average storm activity. I certainly haven’t seen anything refering to it. Certainly not on the “Terrible” scale.

  212. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    I’m sorry Steve.

    Where is this information on terrible Hurricanes/Typhoons/Tropical storms? Figured you’d post it, I can’t believe you’ve gone as far as to make stuff up out of whole cloth.

    This is somewhere else on the Earth I assume, please don’t tell me your talking about Martian storms.

  213. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    Something fun. Can anyone guess where I found the following?:

    “While we can not go back and guess how many storms were missed, or how many higher categories were not detected, we can examine recent seasons and apply early 20th century observational technology to them. Neil Frank did this with the 2005 season (as a casual exercise) and came up with about 19 to 22 named storms, instead of the record setting 28.”

  214. jae
    Posted Aug 22, 2006 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    211: Hmm, maybe the terrible 2005 storms took the heat away and sent it to space, just like thunderstorms do. Could hurricanes be a negative forcing which helps balance heat gains? Sure sounds logical to me…

  215. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2006 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    The degree of persistence (early to late season) seems to be something that can be checked. Also, even if there is persistence, it may not be due to vortices. May be from sea temp or something like that.

    The touting of hurricanes when they are bad and avoiding of them when they are good, is a perfect example of juvenile games by the warmers.

  216. David Smith
    Posted Sep 12, 2006 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

    Steve M’s musing on the 2006 hurricane season continue to be on-the-mark. This is shaping up as an average season, with (probably) no significant storm impact on North America.

    The medium-range models continue to show pretty strong unfavorable upper winds, which tend to limit storm strength, and the steering-level winds look like they will keep any storms away from the mainland. This pattern is more like the start of October than mid-September.

    Another note is that Arctic ice cover appears to have hit its minimum at a level above 2005, and Siberia has already seen a stong cold front / snow. Now, this is weather, not climate, so there’s no long-term implication from any of this, but it would be nice if our level of understanding of the atmosphere was good enough to have predicted this (apparent) short-term pause in the warming trend.

  217. beng
    Posted Sep 12, 2006 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    RE 216:

    Recently, weak El-Nino conditions in the east equatorial Pacific lessened almost to neutral, then back up again. I think a weak El-Nino will continue to somewhat reduce tropical development along the Carribean & equatorial Atlantic, but has little effect in the Gulf of Mexico & off the US SE coast. Those areas are more affected by the subtropical jet-stream configurations to their north.

    PS The Gulf of Mexico is pretty warm right now — about its annual max.

  218. bender
    Posted Sep 12, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    Re #216

    This pattern is more like the start of October than mid-September

    It’s precisely this annual variability in the onset of seasonal modes (like autumn) that I was suggesting might be the cause of the (-) MA1 term in ARMA models of temperature, through a form of negative framing bias.

  219. David Smith
    Posted Sep 16, 2006 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    Steve M, in looking at the medium term patterns, I think we’ll end up with about 12 named storms, maybe 5 hurricanes and a couple of intense hurricanes for 2006. There is always the chance of a stray late-season storm striking North America, but it is very unlikely to be strong.

    The recent (last two month) weather patterns are interesting. The northern hemisphere is in what I’d call a “normal” pattern, which makes it cooler than normal compared to the last 5 years. Here in the southern US we expect two cool fronts to arrive over the next seven days, which is unusual for us. Arctic sea ice will not be a record low this year. Northern hemisphere snow cover on September 15 appears to be highest in the last 10 years. Radiosonde balloons show a noticeable temperature drop in the mid-atmosphere.

    Now, this is “weather”, not “climate”, and I expect that things will flip back to warmer soon. I just wish we understood what drives these shorter term flips and flops. I don’t think they are completely random. If we understood them, I’d have greater confidence in forecasts of future climate.

  220. David Smith
    Posted Sep 22, 2006 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

    Looks like global warming is taking a holiday in this third quarter of 2006:

    * Arctic ice coverage won’t set a record low this year.
    * The Hadley radiosonde (weather balloon) temperature data shows an atmosphere currently at (gasp) 1989 temperature levels.
    * Satellite tropospheric temperatures took a small dip recently and have been more or less flat for several years.
    * The Atlantic hurricane season is normal, with eight storms to-date. The intensity is somewhat below normal. The medium-term charts show neutral to unfavorable conditions for storm formation over the rest of Septmeber.

    As said before, this are weather events and say nothing about climate, but interesting nonetheless.

  221. bender
    Posted Sep 22, 2006 at 10:15 PM | Permalink

    Re #220
    That’s precisely why the question about attribution to trend vs cycle is a good & timely one.

  222. KevinUK
    Posted Sep 23, 2006 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

    #214 jae

    Sounds sensible to me also given the law of conservation of energy but you must remember unlike the rest of us the climate modelling fraternity believes that the law of conservation of energy (and also momentum) do not exist.


  223. Posted Sep 23, 2006 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

    As said before, this are weather events and say nothing about climate, but interesting nonetheless.

    I think nothing is too strong word here. Climate is average weather, so weather and climate cannot be independent. And BTW, both can be predicted beyond a couple of weeks. It’s just a matter of uncertainty (rasmus doesn’t agree with this, do you?)

  224. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Sep 23, 2006 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

    Re 223, UC, you say:

    Climate is average weather, so weather and climate cannot be independent. And BTW, both can be predicted beyond a couple of weeks. It’s just a matter of uncertainty

    While it would be nice to believe this, according to the UK meteorological service:

    The Monthly Outlook includes forecasts of expected temperature and rainfall categories. Five categories are used; (1) well below average, (2) below average, (3) near average, (4) above average or (5) well above average conditions for the time of year.

    To assess the accuracy of the forecast we compare the predicted category with the category that was actually observed to occur. We use a points-based scoring system in which maximum points are awarded to forecasts that are ‘spot on’ (i.e. the forecast category exactly matches the category that actually occurred), fewer points are awarded for ‘near misses’ (e.g. the forecast is wrong by one category), and points are subtracted for misleading forecasts (i.e. a forecast of above normal when below normal is observed). The score used is called the Gerrity Skill Score (GSS), and is one of the scores recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for evaluation of long-range forecasts. The score is designed so that forecasts that are always ‘spot-on’ would achieve a score of 1.0, and forecasts based on simply ‘forecasting’ the long-term average (category 3) would receive a score of zero. Thus a positive score means the forecast is better than guesswork and better than assuming future conditions will be similar to the long-term average. Although the theoretical maximum score is 1.0, best scores achieved at the monthly range are of order 0.6, and found in the more predictable tropical regions.

    OK, so perfect is 1.0, and no better than just forecasting the long term average is 0. How does the UK Met Office do?

    Not well … you might want to rethink your claim, particularly with respect to the UK Met Office.


  225. bender
    Posted Sep 23, 2006 at 6:51 AM | Permalink

    Re #216

    Steve M’s musing on the 2006 hurricane season continue to be on-the-mark. This is shaping up as an average season

    If hurricane occurence is an ARMA(1,1) process with AR1 below average under “Steve M’s musing”? That would put the current “average” behavior as somewhat greater than what ought to have been expected.

    IOW I’m not so sure the average tells us what we think it does. If we are just coming off of a decadal cycle peak (2005), and this decadal cycle is underlain by a much weaker trend, then the “average” 2006 season may be significantly more active than expected. Worth looking at. (Note distinction between average and expectation. Under ARMA processes the average is not necessarily the expectation.)

  226. Posted Sep 23, 2006 at 9:02 AM | Permalink


    I see your point. My point is that we can predict weather beyond two weeks by using the long term averages (= kind of climate). But all this depends on definitions of weather and climate etc.. I’m just trying to say that prediction of weather and climate are not completely different things. If we could predict weather of all the weather stations 100 years ahead exactly, we could predict climate 100 years ahead exactly.

  227. David Smith
    Posted Sep 27, 2006 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    Steve’s bet on fewer than eight hurricanes is looking pretty good right now.

    To-date there have been four hurricanes (maybe just three when the data is re-analyzed). The mid-range forecast charts are showing rather unfavorable conditions for additional hurricanes and quiet unfavorable for intense ones, through mid-October.

    What happened?
    * dry air in the mid-levels of the atmosphere
    * lots of little upper-air lows (vortices) to provide localized shear
    * things we just don’t understand, yet

  228. bender
    Posted Sep 27, 2006 at 1:25 PM | Permalink


    If hurricane occurence is an ARMA(1,1) process with AR1 below average under “Steve M’s musing”?

    was supposed to read:

    “If hurricane occurence is an ARMA(1,1) process with AR1 less than zero, then isn’t 2006 hurricane occurrence expected to be below average under “Steve M’s musing”? That would put the current “average” behavior as somewhat greater than what ought to have been expected.”

    [The bolded part was missing. The old less-than symbol problem.]

    If 2006 is now [a week later] expected to be lower than average, then this would be consistent with Steve’s musing.

    [Wish I’d caught the parsing error a week ago.]

  229. David Smith
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    Steve M’s bet was for seven or fewer Atlantic hurricanes in 2006.

    To date, we’ve had five, including Ernesto, which may be downgraded to a tropical storm in reanalysis.

    Bill Gray’s October outlook (issued yesterday) forecasts one more hurricane this season, and a weak one at that. That being the case, the season storm count would be six.

    There were two “major” hurricanes this year, which is a bit short of the normal (1970-2000) frequency.

    The PDI for 2006 is going to be puny.

  230. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    Maybe those ARMA(1,1) models aren’t so stupid after all.

  231. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:32 PM | Permalink

    I didn’t notice any of the hurricane students complimenting climateaudit on “out-performing” the hurricane experts with this prediction. Here’s another prediction: coming to a theatre near you – in a few months, we will learn that European climate models predicted a low number of hurricanes this year. I’m also sticking with my predictions of low 20th century dO18 in the Bona-Churchill ice core and unexceptional bristlecone ring widths at Sheep Mountain in the 1990s-2001.

  232. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 12:53 AM | Permalink

    I noticed that too. I’m hopeful they’re mulling it all over and will come back tomorrow with a fresh outlook.

  233. David Smith
    Posted Oct 9, 2006 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

    October 9’th outlook: nada, zip, goose egg, zero. That’s the number of tropical cyclones the models are showing for the next several weeks. Wind shear is very high across the Atlantic.

    It is possible to get an odd storm or two in the mid-Atlantic over the next seven weeks, but those would be without consequence, except perhaps to Bermuda.

    The latest GFS models (those are the primary US computer models) show a strangely cold and snowy late October across much of North America. The models are well-known for their unreliability at a two-week range, though, and reality may prove to be different from this forecast.

  234. bender
    Posted Oct 9, 2006 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

    Judith Curry has mentioned the importance of windshear associated with El Nino in suppressing hurricane formation/logevity. That’s process. Willis has shown us the remakable negative correlation bettwen PDI and Pacific SST. That’s pattern. Q: Are these observations, coupled together this way, novel & insightful? Because they certainly appear to be non-spurious.

  235. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 22, 2006 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    Posted at realclimate on Aug 26, 2006

    Re the 2006 hurricane season: I have learned much from mostly lurking on the tropical listserv. We can still expect an interesting and lively hurricane season in 2006, it is slow getting started owing to the so-called saharan air layer that is persisting longer into the summer than ususal. This air layer (which includes desert dust) keeps the midtroposphere warm and dry, which limits development of the storms. Sea surface temperatures are warm and wind shear is low, so once the dry warm air in the mid troposphere disappears, we will get some storms. We are also seeing hurricane season last much later into the fall, so there is plenty of time still for a significant season.
    The hurricane season in the western north pacific has definitely been “ripsnorting” this year.

    Comment by Judith Curry “¢’‚¬? 21 Aug 2006 @ 8:05 am

  236. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Oct 22, 2006 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    It is getting to verification season soon. How many will be doing a verification this year. I expect a quiet winter from the warmers about the 2006 season. Sort of a 4-0 playoff in the World Series. As Steve M said, maybe they will find a sealed envelope in France.

  237. bender
    Posted Oct 22, 2006 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    Re #235
    I think it is commendably bold to state your prediction and to give a reason for it. Moreso if you are willing to reconsider your hypothesis when faced with new, out-of-sample data.

  238. David Smith
    Posted Oct 22, 2006 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

    RE #235 There have been 11 hurricanes, including 7 category 4/5 hurricanes, in the Western Pacific so far this year.

    The average Western Pacific season over the last 50 years has seen 15 hurricanes and 6 or 7 cat 4/5 hurricanes. The 2006 season is not over, with perhaps 2 or 3 hurricanes, usually the weaker kind, remaining.

    Not exactly rip-snorting. Looks almost dead-on with the 50-year averages.

    For what it’s worth, I would have agreed with Judith’s expectation of the Atlantic being quite active after mid-August and into October.

  239. bender
    Posted Oct 23, 2006 at 7:16 AM | Permalink

    Re #238
    For the record, so would I. Shows you how ignorant all three of us are as to the climate system’s true nature.

  240. David Smith
    Posted Oct 24, 2006 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    Steve M’s forecast for the Atlantic was for seven or fewer hurricanes in 2006. To date, we’ve had five.

    Conditions across the Atlantic remaining unfavorable for development, with the major model forecasting a couple of shots of dry, “cool” air deep into the tropics over the next two weeks. This deep intrusion is somewhat unusual for October, as it normally starts in November. Global warming continues to take a rest.

    Climatology (1944-2002) says that we have about a 50/50 chance of one final tropical storm and perhaps a 50% chance that the tropical storm will become a hurricane.

    I’m thinking that the season is over and we’ll finish with five hurricanes (1944-2002 average is 6) and nine named storms (1944-2002 average is between 9 and 10).

    We’ll keep the cork in the bottle of virtual champagne, though, until November 30 passes and the official season ends.

  241. David Smith
    Posted Nov 1, 2006 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    I think Steve can starting chilling that bottle of virtual champagne, even though the official hurricane season has another 29 days to go.

    October was a bust, with no storms. The medium-range models show little chance of storm formation over the next 10 days with zero chance by mid-November, due to a very wintry upper-wind pattern.

    It looks like October temperatures were below-normal in Russia and the US and above-normal in Canada/Alaska and Europe. Siberia has been bitterly cold for October. Arctic sea ice grew at a healthy rate in October. To my eyes, global warming is continuing its pause.

  242. David Smith
    Posted Nov 12, 2006 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    Steve’s forecast of seven or fewer Atlantic hurricanes is a done-deal. Of note, though, is that four weather computer models are forecasting the development of a tropical storm this week (13 Nov) in the Caribbean.

    That would raise the 2006 storm (hurricane + tropical storm) count to 10, which is average.

  243. Posted Jan 1, 2009 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

    These storms can be very dangerous.

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