12 August 2010

It Has Been Foretold

The World Meteorological Organization has issued he following statement:
Several regions of the world are currently coping with severe weather-related events: flash floods and widespread flooding in large parts of Asia and parts of Central Europe while other regions are also affected: by heatwave and drought in Russian Federation, mudslides in China and severe droughts in sub-Saharan Africa. While a longer time range is required to establish whether an individual event is attributable to climate change, the sequence of current events matches IPCC projections of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming.
Even though the IPCC report can be parsed in many ways, I await the textual exegesis that supports the claim that the "sequence of current events matches IPCC predictions."  This will be difficult given that the IPCC didn't even make projections for 2010.  I welcome in the comments efforts to justify the claim by the WMO.

I am coming to the conclusion that there is something about the climate issue that makes people -- especially but not limited to academics and scientists -- completely and utterly lose their senses.  The WMO statement is (yet) another example of scientifically unsupportable nonsense in the climate debate.  Such nonsense is of course not going away anytime soon .

But because various unsupportable and just wrong claims are being advanced by leading scientists and scientific organizations, it would be easy to get the impression that on the issues of extreme events and climate change, IPCC science has a status similar to interpretations of Nostradamus and the Mayan calenders.

82 comments:

  1. The usual phrase is that [various disasters] are "consistent with" the predictions of [various bodies]. Since such predictions typically don't exist or are utterly nebulous, consistency is an easy target to hit. Is "matches IPCC projections" really any different from this?

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  2. Conspicuously absent is any mention of the extreme weather in South America, even though that is "consistent with IPCC projections"

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  3. It remains a mystery as to why the deadly cold weather in South America continues to be ignored after several weeks. Maybe sufficient time has not elapsed so that the new 'climate change' nomenclature can not be associated with weather that was not consistent with the olde 'global warming' nomenclature without causing confusion. It can't be possible, can it, that we are being fed propaganda?

    Note, too, that 'climate change' is being morphed into 'extreme weather'. Soon, it will be revealed that weather=climate.

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  4. All my ex post facto forecasts are 100% accurate.

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  5. 'I am coming to the conclusion that there is something about the climate issue that makes people -- especially but not limited to academics and scientists -- completely and utterly lose their senses.'

    Why so slow, Roger? :)

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  6. Belief systems have strong positive, social feedback mechanisms. Words gradually change their meanings to make the belief system "obvious" by virtue of terminology alone. Science is supposed to counteract that, but is not doing it in this case.

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  7. Roger,
    I have excerpted this post on my blog and have added a statement from the Chairman of the Sierra Club that says about the same thing. I have also posted a chart I created of record U.S. disasters versus world temperatures.
    You might find it interesting as record U.S. disasters occur at all temperatures. http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspot.com/2010/08/more-climate-nonsense.html
    Mike Smith

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  8. AGW is a social movement first. The science, history, facts, and integrity are a very distant second.

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  9. Part of the claim by the WMO is that the IPCC reports have linked climate change to an expected increase in extreme weather events. This claim is trivial to justify. In the IPCC 2007 Climate Change: Synthesis Report (http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf), you could start reading on page 30 and continue for several pages and see lists of predicted increases of extreme weather events. So the WMO reporting on the contents of the IPCC predictions is accurate in the sense that it captures the substance of the IPCC Synthesis Report. Whether you agree with the fidelity or content of the IPCC position is another matter entirely. I sense that you may have a few reservations about what got into that report, but you have been a bit muted about your position on that (;^>

    Two Predictions from Table 3.2 are:

    "Warm spells/heat waves. Frequency increases over most land areas"

    "Heavy precipitation events. Frequency increases over most areas"

    An example quotation from the 2007 Synthesis Report relative to flooding:

    "The most vulnerable industries, settlements and societies are generally those in coastal and river flood plains, those whose economies are closely linked with climate-sensitive resources
    and those in areas prone to extreme weather events, especially where rapid urbanisation is occurring. {WGII 7.1, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5,
    SPM}

    Poor communities can be especially vulnerable, in particular those concentrated in high-risk areas. {WGII 7.2, 7.4, 5.4, SPM}

    I would guess that you are upset that the predictions of the IPCC are not specific enough to be falsifiable. But the IPCC is predicting on broad climate trends and not specific weather events. The WMO is stating that some specific weather events fit the IPCC broad trends predictions. I think a reasonable read of the WMO statement is that it represents the IPCC position accurately. So what specific part of your bolded sentence from the WMO do you disagree with? Do the extreme weather events listed NOT match the quoted IPCC positions above?

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  10. They do actually cite the IPCC report:
    “…the type, frequency and intensity of extreme events are expected to change as Earth’s climate changes, and these changes could occur even with relatively small mean climate changes. Changes in some types of extreme events have already been observed, for example, increases in the frequency and intensity of heat waves and heavy precipitation events” (Summary for Policy Makers, WG I, FAQ 10.1, p. 122).

    Their statement seems "consistent with".

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  11. Same year, different weather,

    Jan 2010

    'Arctic freeze and snow wreak havoc across the planet'

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/weather/article6975867.ece

    WMO Jan 14 'The blocking episode is nearing its end,... Some severe episodes will no doubt linger in several regions of the world and during certain periods of the winter season, which is quite normal.'

    a severe 'blocking episode' in each case but such a different 'spin'

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  12. -9-Sam

    Two very quick responses:

    1. What conceivable weather events on plant Earth in 2010 would be inconsistent with the IPCC predictions/projections?

    2. What policy options make more sense if the IPCC did in fact predict this year's sequence of events and would be disfavored if they did not?

    I'll give you my answer to both questions: None.

    That is why this issue is nonsensicle. It cannot be adjudicated empirically and it has no policy relevance. It that manner it is much like Nostradamus-like exegesis ;-)

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  13. Does the spirit of Stephen Schneider live on?

    "we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This 'double ethical bind' we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."

    In this case the WMO is being neither being effective nor honest, it is just being stupid.

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  14. "I would guess that you are upset that the predictions of the IPCC are not specific enough to be falsifiable."

    Wonderful. Predictions that can never be falsified will always pan out. How totally useless can you get?

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  15. Great points Roger. FYI:

    Here is classic example of "climate astrology.:

    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/5738/FaithBased-Climate-Astrology-Women-hit-by-global-warming-head-to-Capitol-Hill-We-have-freezing-temps-when-we-shouldnt-have-freezing-temps

    Sec. Chu, the Televangelist?

    One of the biggest scientific laughingstocks when it comes to man-made global warming has turned out to be Obama's Nobel Prize Winning Energy Secretary Stephen Chu. Chu has descended into a deep faith-based science without peer among cabinet officials. Chu now apparently believes “predictions” are some sort of “proof” or “evidence” of what the Earth will be like 100 years from now.

    Chu told a conference in California his prognostication. “At no other time in the history of science have we been able to say what the future will be 100 years from now,” Chu, the soothsayer, declared according to a June 28, 2009 article in Palo Alto Online News.

    See: Obama's 'Climate Astrologer': Energy Sec. Chu claims he knows 'what the future will be 100 years from now' - June 28, 2009

    Is science speaking into Sec. Chu's ear and telling him of what the future holds? Chu has reduced his scientific expertise to that of a televangelist who claims he hears God speaking to him.

    The questions looms: Shouldn't Sec. Chu be touting these scary predictions of the year 2100 on a boardwalk with a full deck of Tarot Cards? Imagine if a senior cabinet official in 1909 had stated he knows for certain what the climate and energy mix of the year 2009 will be. Any such cabinet official making such wacky statements would be laughed out of 1909 America, but in 2010 America, that same person gets some sort of odd scientific respect.

    Perhaps Sec. Chu should find a new “religion” to publicly advocate.

    #

    Thanks
    Marc

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  16. Good thing we have the IPCC to tell us that anytime there is a flood, storm, snowstorm, landslide, earthquake or heatwave or coldwave, it's because of 'global warming' and climate change. Because we all know these things never happened before.

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  17. I cannot find a reference for the WMO claim, dated 11th August, "Some villages were burned completely".

    The earliest reference I can find is from the New York Post, dated 7th August, "The fires have consumed entire villages"

    Could the WMO be using speculative newspaper reports as a source of information?

    One issue that is being ignored in the West is that the Russian are themselves reporting that magnitude and destructive power of these fires are due to a complete collapse of forest management, i.e. the maintaing of firebreaks, the clearing of overgrowth and other debris. It is being reported that the number of forest managers, forest rangers and other forest workers have been reduced by nearly 85% over the years.

    As in Victorian bush fires these Russian fires were an accident waiting to happen.

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  18. For a while, it looked like the actual scientific findings had an impact in public, and only the amateurs were talking about how AGW was already causing storms, etc. Now the mythical "climate change is causing disasters" seems to be back. It's creepy.

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  19. Nostradamus...okay, but I think AGW has more in common with the Millerites--who originated the mass marketing of Apocalyptic Doom.
    Too bad it was before Alfred Nobel gave away all that evil explosives money. They could have won a prize too.

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  20. -10-Roger

    I guess I had it right about what upsets you: no specific falsifiable hypothesis in the IPCC report cited by the WMO.

    The more interesting of your two points is the second. Knowing that the monsoon rains in Pakistan in August of 2010 would be the worst in 80 years would have policy implications that depended on how far in advance the knowledge was discovered, and what policy responses/resources are available. Ten days ahead might call for evacuations, 10 years ahead might call for development planning, and 50 years ahead might call for attempting to change the conditions that would lead the monsoons to be the worst in 80 years. I believe the IPCC is addressing the the latter time scale. You appear to disagree with their assessments. This is not news.

    You called for 'textual exegesis' in comments, I gave you what you wanted, and you pointed out the lack of a testable hypothesis from the IPCC. All set-piece moves. But the head-scratcher for me is that the Synthesis Report never claims certainty, it expresses potential outcomes in terms of likelihoods, as policy advice regarding the future must do.

    For -certainty- around the extreme weather event frequency question, we will have to run the climate experiment, as it looks like we will do. If -likelihoods- could be agreed upon from scientific models, we might not run the experiment, but more immediate economic and political interests will likely dictate policy positions much more powerfully than any scientific consensus.

    Without strong policy leadership, societies have historically driven themselves into environmental collapse. I see no modern equivalent of an English king or Japanese emperor issuing a decree to prevent the GHG experiment from being run on the climate. So we likely will run it much further, and others will have the luxury of recording and analyzing the results. By the time we have the scientific certainty so satisfying to a rigorous academy, truly available only by waiting and measuring, there may be a great deal of damage done. If those -potential- impacts are not as severe as expected, then in hindsight we will be able to say that weighting short-term expediency around GHG emissions was wise. If those -potential- impacts turn out to be worse than predicted, the judgment of the policy decisions will be the opposite.

    Turning your interesting second point on its head, at what point, or after what events, would you judge the threat of future climate change impacts severe enough to merit a significant (10% human GDP) response? What would we test, what results would we need to see, and what economic discount rate would be low enough to merit a 10% response? I expect all of this is in your upcoming book, but you can give us a brief preview...

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  21. In my opinion, what is happening is that a very large number of people are being told to lie. As they are salaried employees, they really don't have much of a choice. Scientists, journalists and many others are doing it. *


    Let me be honest and say if I was a climate 'scientist', I would keep my head down and my mouth shut, unless I was directly told to do something unethical. This is a gigantic criminal enterprise coming from the very top of global politics (Soros, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase etc.). It's why the sceptics are almost all toward the end of their careers or retired.

    There are obviously zealots like the RC squad. They are lying because they think are one of the good guys. It's a culture thing. Dope, music, liberalism, music etc. Steve Jobs made a fortune extracting money from suckers like these. Everything is a commodity in 2010.

    *I took redundancy rather than do a whole lot of unethical things. Mine and friends' recent experiences of a top UK university were pretty awful. The staff were extremely unhappy and all over the place.

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  22. I predict that at least 6 billion people will die of something in the next 100 years.

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  23. I see section 9.5 from WGII is called:

    9.5. Extreme Events and Weather Disasters

    Perhaps they shouldn't have used the word "projections" and indicated that the report expected extreme weather events to increase going forward?

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  24. World Met' organisation of hot air and fairy tales, they must have reading too much fiction, yikes! They're beginning to believe their own braggadocio, shame on them, call themselves 'scientists' -alchemists more like.

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  25. Roger,

    The similarity is simple. CAGW is the result of a religious cult. This cult has political aspirations, that being communist in nature. We need to take it seriously, because it has spread thru-out the western world, is perpetuating changes in US law every day, and is extremely Malevolent toward humanity.

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  26. "I would guess that you are upset that the predictions of the IPCC are not specific enough to be falsifiable."

    So does that mean you are *not* upset that the predictions of the IPCC are "not specific enough to be falsifiable?"

    Don't you think that falsifiability is an absolutely essential feature, in order for a prediction to be scientific?

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  27. -19- Sam

    I can help you with at least one of your points. A 10% global GDP response is just wishful thinking. It will never happen, and therefore it is pointless to have a hypothetical discussion of what would justify it. This is how I understand Roger, and I agree with him.

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  28. Sam tells Roger, regarding the IPCC assessments, "You appear to disagree with their assessments. This is not news."

    This is is huge news, Sam. You've just said that the IPCC predictions are unfalsifiable. How can Roger (or anyone) disagree with something that's unfalsifiable?

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  29. "Turning your interesting second point on its head, at what point, or after what events, would you judge the threat of future climate change impacts severe enough to merit a significant (10% human GDP) response?"

    Roger can answer this for his own part, but I would say that the threat of future climate change impacts would have to be severe enough that the most probable value for NET damages (damages minus benefits) would need to have a greater present value than 10% of human GDP (roughly $6 trillion).

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  30. -14-Abdul
    -25-Mark

    A scientific paper purporting a hypothetical physical law must have falsifiable predictions. A policy advice document like the Synthesis Report, when specifically addressing weather impacts in the future, can only address likelihoods based on current knowledge. No specific falsifiable prediction required. If the IPCC could have said in 2007 that the monsoon rains of 2010 in early August would flood certain specific rivers, we would be living in a very different world, and the level of uncertainty under which decisions had to be taken would be much less.

    So when the local weatherman issues a forecast of 20% chance of rain between noon and 4pm, would you consider that a falsifiable hypothesis? I would not, though the accuracy of the prediction can be judged after 4pm. When there is a tornado watch, certain precautions are appropriate. When it is a tornado warning, take cover. But in no case will you be certain the tornado will hit your home, and will only know afterward if taking cover was worth your time.

    That's really the point I was making about certainty in the last post. We will only know outcomes after a prediction period, and then it is too late to do anything but use the knowledge to further refine additional predictions. Since the prediction period, like GHG residence times, is long we will have to wait to judge the accuracy of the IPCC predictions until at least part way through that period.

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  31. -19-dagfinn

    Interesting. Is a 1% GDP response wishful thinking? I wasn't particularly advocating a level, just trying to understand Roger's perspective on what constitutes sufficient certainty of a problem.

    So, if we spotted an asteroid on a 50% likely collision course with earth, and had 20 years to prepare a response, what level of world GDP would be sensible to expend on a response? What about 10 years later, when the likelihood of collision was 85%? What about 9 years later when the likelihood of collision was 98%?

    It would be nice if there were no threats like that to consider, but there are. Climate change is just one, probably not the most catastrophic. If these big brains of our are really evolutionarily so beneficial, we'd better train them on group risk/reward if we'd like to minimize suffering.

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  32. "I think AGW has more in common with the Millerites--who originated the mass marketing of Apocalyptic Doom"

    Yes, the perfect American sect. Beneath the thin veneer of liberalism, mainstream American liberals are basically deeply religious and ultra patriotic. I cite Michael Moore who's childhood hobbies were reciting the oath of allegiance and singing the national anthem to the detriment of his family's sanity as a prime example. He's a Christian of sorts too.

    Earth day 1970 was like a movie adaptaion of the Book Of revelation with Hollywood exaggeration thrown in.


    http://www.reason.com/news/printer/27702.html

    Neil Young* and his friend Charles Manson's apocalytic visions were environmental in nature and were part of a larger movement. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the Eagles, Barry McGuire, Joni Mitchell etc. etc.


    Eschatology is noticably absent from British music.

    *Young, born in Canada, openly supported Ronald Reagan for patriotic (defence) reasons !

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  33. Roger, I rather think that you are in danger of falling into a trap. Yes, of course it is not possible to say to what extent, if any, climate change may be responsible for the extreme weather events in Pakistan, Russia or China. But that uncertainty cuts both ways. Nobody can say with certainty that climate change has had no impact either. Your assertions in earlier posts that there is no connection between the Pakistan floods and greenhouse gas emissions sounds to me like you have ruled out any link, which is as illegitimate as making a definite connection between them. How are you so sure that climate change has had absolutely no impact on the intensity of the monsoon rains in Pakistan this year?

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  34. -29- Sam

    The starting point is a statement that "the sequence of current events matches IPCC projections". That gives the impression that we are comparing the hypothesis with the data and finding that it has been verified, or at least not falsified. If it's not falsifiable, that's misleading.

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  35. Sam - 29

    "So when the local weatherman issues a forecast of 20% chance of rain between noon and 4pm, would you consider that a falsifiable hypothesis?"

    So in your world if it ended up snowing between noon and 4pm it would be perfectly justifiable for the weatherman to pat himself on the back and say "the snow matches my prediction".

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  36. -33-Bob Ward

    Perhaps you can point me to my "assertions in earlier posts"? I reject your characterization of my views.

    You are correct that no one can prove with certainty that climate change has had no impact. Of course, no one can prove with certainty that the flood's were not the result of God's wrath. Can you?

    These are silly semantic games you are playing.

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  37. -20-Sam

    Predictions that are expressed in probabilistic terms can certainly be evaluated.

    Several of your comments appear to explain that verification of the IPCC forecasts is not really possible. If I have read you correctly, then it would probably then be improper to say that the sequence of events now being observed verify those forecasts, no?

    Finally, in my new book I do argue for a significant response to climate change, while at the same time eschewing the exploitation of extreme weather events to that end ;-)

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  38. In the hypothetical parallel universe which many climate activists believe they inhabit, unlimited money for climate mitigation seems to be available (ignoring obvious political realities). And, for even more extravagant wishful thinking, the allocation of resources to climate policy does not compete with anything else that's actually worthwhile. It can somehow be taken exclusively from luxury spending.

    In the real world, of course, public spending on climate is most likely to compete with public spending on other environmental problems.

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  39. -35- David

    Your words, not mine. The next sentence -of mine- after the one that you quoted says that after 4pm we can test the accuracy of the forecast. If it snowed on 50% of the area of the prediction for 40% of the time between noon and 4 pm, and the prediction had been 20% chance of rain, I would probably say the forecast was too low of a percentage, and that the form of precipitation that occurred did not match the prediction. So no pats on the back. But if I was trying to plan an event on which I -really- did not want it to rain, and had used that prediction to move the event to a day with 10% chance of rain, and it snowed on the initial day but not on the chosen event day, I'd give that pat on the back. The application of scientific principles to weather forecasting would have enabled me to reduce human suffering (mine and my guests) by adjusting my behavior according to risk-mitigation principles. My decision-making would be a policy position based on a future prediction based on best current scientific understanding. There would be no guarantee of a beneficial outcome, but a higher likelihood. I believe this example has analogies relative to the IPCC climate behavior predictions and their policy applications, only over a longer time-scale than tomorrow's weather.

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  40. If Russian peat bogs and NW India/Pakistan never suffered from fire/flood, the claim this is caused by CO2 could have some credibility.
    But peatbogs have been burning since there have been peatbogs, and Pakistan/India have been flooding since there have been river basins in the area. I fail to see that these historically typical events can blamed on the social obsession of CO2.
    Now if people were going to talk about how diverting water from peatbogs lets them dry out more, and how over development and poor development near a river increases flood risks, then we could discuss something.
    But to blame CO2 at ~350ppm for these fires and floods only makes the one doing the blaming look ignorant, and the person believing the CO2 story look naive.

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  41. In her book "Science a four thousand year history", Patricia Fara explained, that for Karl Popper, "good scientist constantly seek to test their theories by trying to falsify them,whereas pseudo-scientist only try to support them".

    It maybe just me but in climate science it seemed that both sides only see what support their theories.

    In the weather is not climate department, this winter it was the skeptic/denier who used the cold and snow as proof against AGW. This summer, it is the alarmist that are using the flood and heat wave, or even iceberg that are used as proofs for AGW.

    Yet both groups admit that weather is not climate and that no individual event can be used as proof. But both group fall into the trap of blaming or not blaming single event on AGW.

    Heavy rainfall in this part of the world are frequent and I would doubt that this one established any record for the region. It is maybe a record for Pakistan, which is country that exist for only 60-70 years.

    The same goes for the Russian heat wave, which although is a rare event, but none the less an event that has happened in the recent past (last 200 years).

    The question is how to compare measurement from two different era using different technic and instrument to say when an event is worst than before and that it is or not cause by having 115 ppmv more of co2 while the population has grown many time and standard of living are incomparable.

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  42. Anyone who wants to listen to my "debate" with Bob Ward earlier this year about climate change and disasters can find it here:

    http://www.rigb.org/contentControl?action=displayEvent&id=1000

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  43. Bob Ward:
    I am not quite sure I follow - since by your logic any co-occuring events become causally linked. Yes, CO2 is increasing and yes there are terrible floods in Pakistan. FFS has it right. For that logic to remotely apply you must be dealing with unique events. Worst flood in 80 years is not, by definition, unique enough to support the claim.

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  44. What have you got against Nostradamus and the Mayans?

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  45. Bob Ward

    Does it concern you that the man who funds your employer, The Grantham Institute for Climate Change, $ 100 billion plus dollar hedge fund manager Jeremy Grantham wrote this in his recent newsletter ?

    "Global warming will be the most important investment issue for the foreseeable future. But how to make money around this issue in the next few years is not yet clear to me. In a fast-moving fi eld rife with treacherous politics, there will be many failures. Marketing a “climate” fund would be much easier than outperforming with it."

    http://www.gmo.com/websitecontent/JGLetter_SummerEssays_2Q10.pdf

    Do you see that as a conflict of interest ?

    Similarly with the massive involvement of the finance industry in funding and running the $100 million a year lobby group The Environmental Defense Fund.

    http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=365

    Tony Blair is also earning literally millions a year promoting global warming for JP Morgan Chase, Zurich insurance and others.

    George Soros, one of the most successful hedge fund managers in the world is on the UN climate finance group along with Larry Summers (Citigroup) and your hedge fund sponsored colleague Lord Stern.

    Perhaps they all lie awake at night wondering how many hurricanes and floods there will be in 100 years ?

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  46. Did I read somewhere that the IPCC or some IPCC scientist said that droughts, floods, rain would be something like 5% worse than usual?

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  47. Pakistan is not exactly suffering from a foretold failed monsoon these days.

    The reducion of Himalayan glacier meltwater is more than sufficiently replaced by increased rainwater.

    Flooding in Pakistan is primarily due to lack of maintenance and upstream deforestation.

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  48. Nice try Roger, but you wrote: “There is no scientific basis for claiming that suffering in these events has been exacerbated by GHG emissions, other than in a general hand-waving sort of way.”

    Probably the best indication that you’ve over-stepped the mark is the enthusiastic way that Marc Morano is promoting your views on his spoof website!

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  49. "So when the local weatherman issues a forecast of 20% chance of rain between noon and 4pm, would you consider that a falsifiable hypothesis?"

    Yes, I certainly would consider that a falsifiable prediction.

    "I would not, though the accuracy of the prediction can be judged after 4pm."

    If "the accuracy of the prediction can be judged after 4pm," why would you *not* consider that to be a falsifiable prediction?

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  50. -48-Bob Ward

    Do you really think that the following two statements are the same?

    A. "There is no scientific basis for claiming that suffering in these events has been exacerbated by GHG emissions, other than in a general hand-waving sort of way."

    B. "There is no connection between the Pakistan floods and greenhouse gas emissions"

    In misrepresentation and efforts to impeach by association, you and Marc Morano have much in common ;-)

    If you have evidence that flood disasters have been exacerbated by greenhouse gas emissions, why did you not present it when we debated in public last February? Why don't you present that data now?

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  51. Bob Ward #48: "Nice try Roger, but you wrote: 'There is no scientific basis for claiming that suffering in these events has been exacerbated by GHG emissions, other than in a general hand-waving sort of way.'”

    If Roger had written, "There is no scientific basis for claiming that suffering in these events has been exacerbated by the wrath of God, other than in a general hand-waving sort of way"...would you agree with that statement?

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  52. @Bob Ward,
    Every time you AGW promoters try to demean a skeptic, all you do is make yourselves look more and more shallow and reactionary.
    You still have answered in any meaningful way why floods in a flood prone region, and fires in a fire prone region are caused by CO2 in the atmosphere.
    By the way, a certain amount of the weather causing rain in Pakistan is going to become snow pack in the Himalayas. think about that a bit.
    Do you have any idea how AGW promoters looked after blaming the Australian fires on CO2, only to find out that bad land and forestry management was the real cause?

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  53. -49-Mark

    If you would like to an example of how I would evaluate the accuracy of the example prediction, you can do so in the Comment 39 on this thread. A prediction like 20% chance of rain on a certain day has no falsifiability, at least not directly. There are different measurement metrics you could use to determine how close it was to accurate, but without a whole ensemble of test runs at exactly the same conditions how could you determine that the real chance of precipitation had been 27.3% that day, and not 20%? Trying to cram the probability of single weather events occurring into a right/wrong falsifiability framework is not appropriate.

    But I think you probably already know that.

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  54. -48- Roger

    I think that your A and B statements do indeed illustrate the definitional ideas that you are trying to get across. Would I be correct in guessing that you agree with A and not with B?

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  55. -53-Sam
    Of course you can't evaluate what the true percentage of precipitation on a day was. You can only produce a forecast with desirable characteristics, like no bias and low standard deviation. Once that day happens there is no correct precip chance, it either rained or it didn't. However, you can evaluate if there is any skill in a forecast by examining its historical bias and std, which Roger's work has implicitly done with things like hurricanes and other disasters.

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  56. Well I had a feeling that there actually was a real scientific explanation somewher and I learn from New Scientist that it is "unusual holding patterns in the jet stream".

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727730.101-frozen-jet-stream-links-pakistan-floods-russian-fires.html

    Abnormal jet stream behaviour was responsible for the incredibly cold Northern Winter too of course.

    Nice to see some real science. The challenge for scientists then is to prove what affects the jet stream. May it perhaps be the current solar minimum as Nes Scientist suggests? "This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century" says David Hathaway of NASA. Didn't Lockwood link the solar minimum to the cold Winter in Europe? Hasn't Elsner now linked the solar cycle to hurricanes?

    Apparently water management was also partly to blame in Pakistan and forest management was also partly to blame in Russia.

    In any event saying that an extra (disputable) 4% of water vapour in the atmosphere affects the Jet Stream is scientifically untenable to the point of putting the cart before the horse. And of course the models cannot predict anything about the Jet Stream so any argument that they predicted this is totally without foundation.

    Ergo no need for more pointless ifs and maybes about CO2. The Science says it's almost certainly blameless.

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  57. With announcements such as this it's a wonder the IPCC reports haven't cited the paper published in 1994 by Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg called the "Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis". In it they claim there is support for the view that biographical information about famous rabbis was encoded in the text of the Bible long before the rabbis were born. This has spawned a host of books and sites and has even earned a wiki entry (
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_code). To see more simply google “bible codes”.

    It has been shown you can get the same result from the works of Shakespeare.

    One would have to be forgiven for thinking this is the same way many do climate research.

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  58. **I am coming to the conclusion that there is something about the climate issue that makes people -- especially but not limited to academics and scientists -- completely and utterly lose their senses.**
    It's simply that this is primarily an emotional rather than rational issue for many people; their emotional need to be right about this is far more urgent than whether it makes any logical sense.

    This pathology is not limited to the AGW supporters, but is much more prevalent there.

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  59. One wonders how many record extreme heat events it will take before people will accept that the IPCC's projections are correct.

    The idea that the IPCC did not specifically project 2010 weather conditions, therefore any similarities between 2010 conditions and the IPCC's general statement is insignificant seems pedantic.

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  60. -54- Sam

    I can't imagine why you would need to guess or ask. Roger has said A, but not B. That's all you need to know to have a reasonable discussion.

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  61. -54- Sam

    To simplify even further: A is Roger, B is a straw man created by Bob Ward.

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  62. On dear Roger, I see that you are still confusing absence of evidence with evidence of absence.

    Your claim that there is "no scientific basis" does not stand up to scrutiny. There is a scientific basis for concluding that the characteristics of this year's monsoon rainfall may have been affected by climate change. It's just that you can't bring yourself to admit it. I think these articles provide rather more thoughtful discussions of the potential links:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19304-is-climate-change-burning-russia.html?full=true

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/09/climate-change-flooding

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  63. “All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few.” (Stendhal)

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  64. -62-Bob Ward

    Please bring those sort of arguments to our next debate ;-) I'll remind you of these wise words:

    "[I]t is difficult to tell to what extent, if any, climate change has also already affected past disaster losses around the world. Extreme weather events are rare, so identifying small trends is difficult when losses vary so much from year to year, creating a lot of "noise" in the dataset, and many competing factors contribute to the overall pattern."
    Bob Ward, 26 January 2010
    The Guardian

    Well said!!

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  65. Bob Ward is right. They got 97% of the scientists and all the journalists, all of the corporations and all of the governments.

    They've got the doctors.

    Climate change 'will increase heart deaths'

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-10917611


    They got the linguists now

    Linguist on mission to save Inuit 'fossil language' disappearing with the ice. Cambridge researcher will live in Arctic and document Inughuit culture and language threatened by climate change.

    Struck dumb by global warming

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_Earth_concert,_London


    We got loony Lord Monckton, mad Mike Morano and silly Sarah Palin.

    The banks and the oil companies have bought and paid for the whole damned lot. Put down your spreadsheets and put your hands in the air. You are not going to win the science argument. The weather catastrophe argument may be nonsense, but as Ward said, the Guardian and New Scientist are being paid to tell the opposite story. The BBC is doing the same.


    The seminal Stern report predicting the future economic consequences of global warming was produced while Stern was being paid by Jeremy Grantham, a hedge fund billionaire who predicts the climate will be the biggest investment opportunity of the future.

    Now he has been set up with his very own little credit rating system to play with.


    Stern plans credit rating for carbon offset deals

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jun/15/carbonoffsetprojects.carbonemissions


    The voters know this is is a scam, they want to know why it is being perpetrated.

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  66. WMO addresses a "sequence of current events" which "matches IPCC projections". IPCC's projection has three principal elements in its sequence of events:

    1. Human CO2 emissions will accumulate in the atmosphere, exceeding ocean uptake capability.

    2. A doubling of atmospheric CO2 causes global warming in the amount of the "equilibrium climate sensitivity", which is " likely" (> 66% chance) to be between 2ºC to 4.5ºC, and is "very likely" (> 90%) to exceed 1ºC. Technical Summary, ¶TS.6.4.2, Robust Findings, p. 88. And by climate change, IPCC means global warming. See Human and Natural Drivers of Climate Change, AR4, SPM, p. 2.

    3. Climate change is expected to cause "more frequent and longer-lasting heat waves", "greater risk of draught", "intense precipitation and flooding", and "future tropical cyclones could become more severe, with greater wind speeds and more intense precipitation." FAQ 10.1.

    In FAQ 10.1, IPCC concedes that "changes in some types of extreme events have already been observed." IPCC was not forecasting what was already occurring, the events WMO selected to underscore as evidence of IPCC forecasting accuracy. IPCC was instead making the distinction that climate change would evoke extreme events.

    Later WMO quotes the lead paragraph of FAQ 10.1 correctly where it says climate change causes extreme events. WMO then finds support for IPCC's global warming model in the fact of the existence of extreme events, lifting the effect out of IPCC's cause and effect hypothesis.

    WMO makes matters worse by attributing FAQ 10.1 to p. 122 of IPCC's Technical Summary of AR4. The Technical Summary ends at page 91, and cites FAQs without reprinting them. Where FAQ 10.1 is found on page 122 is in IPCC's companion report to AR4, "Frequently Asked Questions". There IPCC cautions that it was "not approved in detail", and requests, "When referencing specific FAQs, please reference the corresponding chapter in the report from whence the FAQ originated." WMO did not cite to chapter 10. Where the TS provided the equilibrium climate sensitivity (#2 above), it cited chapter 10, ¶10.2. On that same page, the TS provides just one Key Uncertainty: "Large uncertainties remain about how clouds might respond to global climate change."

    Indeed! IPCC's model for global warming requires ACO2 to accumulate in the atmosphere, but not natural CO2 (#1, above). And it calculates an equilibrium climate sensitivity with a static (parameterized) model for clouds. IPCC ignores the short term dynamic connection of cloud cover and hence cloud albedo to solar radiation, a positive feedback to solar radiation. And simultaneously it ignores the long term dynamic response of cloud cover and albedo to specific humidity, a negative feedback to global warming.

    IPCC's first element is not just false, but preposterous. It rests on the assumption that natural climate processes are in balance, an assumption contradicted by its own paleo record. See "The Acquittal of CO2" at rocketscientistsjournal.com. IPCC's second element is false due to an abundance of modeling errors and faux human fingerprints. See, id., "IPCC's Fatal Errors" and "The Sun".

    The third element is the only part of the sequence IPCC got right, but WMO managed to bungle that in a mistaken or misguided effort to validate IPCC's model.

    The WMO statement is a case study of a leading scientific organization, if not losing its senses, perhaps of having never acquired the requisite acumen to read and cite with precision. Either that or it is complicit in a fraud.

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  67. Was this ideology called man-made-global-warming possible only because Soviet Union died and activists really needed something new and fantastic?

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  68. It's not shocking- environmentalism is a religion to these people- they dont' worship God and Christianity any more, they worship pagan spirits- nothing shocking about that either, that's been done for thousands of years. Check out my post http://aconservativeteacher.blogspot.com/2009/06/stonehenge-and-descent-into.html

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  69. 53-Sam

    "A prediction like 20% chance of rain on a certain day has no falsifiability, at least not directly."

    No, a prediction of 20% chance of rain can be directly falsified. As far as I know, here's what a "20% chance of rain" means: "On 20% of the days where conditions were what they will be today, it rained."

    Therefore, this can be falsified by going back through the records, and finding out whether indeed it rained on 20% of the days with conditions like the day being predicted.

    "There are different measurement metrics you could use to determine how close it was to accurate, but without a whole ensemble of test runs at exactly the same conditions how could you determine that the real chance of precipitation had been 27.3% that day, and not 20%?"

    There is no need to run "a whole ensemble of test runs". One simply goes back to the records of what the conditions were, finds the dates where the conditions match the forecast day, and see whether it rained on 20 percent of those days. (Note that this glosses over some difficulty, which is determining whether the previous days had the "same" conditions. But there is no need to do any computer modeling with "ensemble runs.")

    "Trying to cram the probability of single weather events occurring into a right/wrong falsifiability framework is not appropriate.

    But I think you probably already know that."

    Not only do I not "already know that," I think it's fundamentally wrong, and that most experts in meteorology would agree with me. The way to sort whether forecasts into a "right/wrong falsifiabilty framework" is to go back through the records, identify how many days had conditions that matched the prediction day, and see on what percentage of those days it rained.

    IN FACT, it it not even necessary to wait to see it if rains on the day in question to see whether the forecast was falsified, because it's the by looking at the historical record that the judgment of falsehood is made.

    But actually, we digress. :-) Substantially. :-)

    Let's assume that everything that the IPCC wrote that you quoted is both scientifically valid and correct. I would STILL maintain that the WMO claim is completely without scientific support. Roger is exactly right. The WMO takes the IPCCs comments about *climate* and says that that weather-related "sequences of events matches IPCC projections". That's total BS, because there are no IPCC projections of weather-related events in 2010. And Roger is absolutely correct that neither you nor the WMO, nor anyone (to my knowledge) has ever told Roger what plausible weather-related events that would falsify the IPCC projections.

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  70. Estimated Mr Roger Pielke,

    You have your textual exegesis from IPCC:

    "General conclusions include the following [19.3].
    Some observed key impacts have been at least partly attributed to anthropogenic climate change.Among these are increases in human mortality, loss of glaciers, and increases
    in the frequency and/or intensity of extreme events."

    Ref.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter19.pdf

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  71. Roger:

    The AR4 Synthesis Report said that the frequency of hot days and nights, heat waves, and heavy precipitation events would increase as a result of climate change. That is a testable prediction.

    Let's put aside the poorly worded and edited statement from the WMO and examine what Peter Stott of the Met Office recently wrote in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/09/climate-change-flooding):

    "So are we seeing the effects of climate change in these extreme weather events? Analysing the observational data shows clearly that there has been a rise in the number of extremely warm temperatures recorded worldwide and that there have been increases in the number of heavy rainfall events in many regions over land. Evidence, including in India and China, that periods of heavy rain are getting heavier, is entirely consistent with our understanding of the physics of the atmosphere in which warmer air holds more moisture. Our climate change predictions support the emerging trend in observations and show a clear intensification of extreme rainfall events in a warmer world."

    Writing about extreme heat waves, he went on to say this:

    "While still relatively rare, the odds of such extreme events are rapidly shortening and could become considered the norm by the middle of this century."

    Is there anything about those statements that you take exception with?

    FYI: Listen to my radio interview with Peter Stott on KGNU/Boulder this coming Tuesday, 8:30-9:00 (Mountain time) And check http://www.cejournal.net for excerpts from the interview.

    Roger: Perhaps you can give me some fodder for making the story even more interesting? ;-)

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  72. -62- Bob Ward

    I see that this time you are more subtle, twisting the wording by half-quoting Roger and inserting the word "may" in a sentence which superficially looks like the opposite of what he has said.

    Clever, but what good does it do?

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  73. "Analysing the observational data shows clearly that there has been a rise in the number of extremely warm temperatures recorded worldwide and that there have been increases in the number of heavy rainfall events in many regions over land. Evidence, including in India and China, that periods of heavy rain are getting heavier, is entirely consistent with our understanding of the physics of the atmosphere in which warmer air holds more moisture. Our climate change predictions support the emerging trend in observations and show a clear intensification of extreme rainfall events in a warmer world."

    These observed trends are comparing what time to the present? How much has the temperature changed in that time?

    Are they predicting that these warm temperatures and heavy rainfall events will continue to increase if the world continues to warm?

    What has happened to the rate of deaths from these warm temperatures and heavy rainfall events? Haven't they actually gone down in the developed world? Are they predicting that trend will not continue, and that deaths will go up in the developed world?

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  74. Roger Pielke Sr.: Heat Wave In Russia – Is It From Global Warming?

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/heat-wave-in-russia-is-it-from-global-warming/

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  75. For Stott I'd ask;
    Statement: "Analysing the observational data shows clearly that there has been a rise in the number of extremely warm temperatures recorded worldwide and that there have been increases in the number of heavy rainfall events in many regions over land"
    Response: Ask him where this was published. We'd all like to see it and see if a longer time period shows the same. If it does then he's correct. If it doesn't then he's wrong.

    Statement: "Evidence, including in India and China, that periods of heavy rain are getting heavier, is entirely consistent with our understanding of the physics of the atmosphere in which warmer air holds more moisture."
    Question: Yes indeed that is correct. But does it mean that there will be an unnoticeable 4% increase, which is all the actual increase that is claimed up to now. If not, then describe the Physics that tells you that 4% extra causes much more than 4% extra.

    Statement: "While still relatively rare, the odds of such extreme events are rapidly shortening and could become considered the norm by the middle of this century"
    Question: Is there any actual science involved in that opinion, or is it just more guesswork from the met office. If so, should we treat it just like Met Office seasonal predictions that have turned out to be the absolute opposite of reality, to the point of farcical. Or should we instead treat it with the contempt that the Met Office prediction of "cold winters being a thing of the past" deserves?

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  76. -72- Tom Yulsman

    It depends critically on how you formulate the hypothesis. The way you put it ("would increase"), and assuming (at least for the sake of the argument) that these phenomena are closely linked by physical mechanisms, the prediction will have (almost) a 50 per cent probability of being true by chance at any given time. Not a very useful prediction.

    On the other hand, the IPCC has somewhat more precise predictions, but the main ones, about global average temperature, are not doing spectacularly well at the moment. To save the predictions, you can say that these only apply long-term; that the temperature will catch up later. Then you've given up on testability for now.

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  77. Having been absent from this discussion, I'm not sure that this is the right thread to say this, nor whether it has already been said.

    The health effects of Russian fires are not directly due to climate change EVEN IF the conditions are partly due to climate change

    If we decided to get rid of our firefighting organizations and fuel treatment for reducing hazardous fuels in North America and elsewhere in the world we would also be very likely to see bad health effects from wildland fire smoke.

    So it would be logical to say.. fires are problems, fires could get worse to due climate change, so let's beef up our fire organizations. We don't have to know whether something is caused by climate change to know what to do about it.

    My only hypothesis is it's fundamentally about the money- we'd rather it went to carbon accountants and climate researchers than firefighters and resilience of communities to social, economic and environmental change.

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  78. Today nothing happened. Nice weather here in Switzerland.
    This is also consistent with IPCC predictions! What a great job they did!
    :-P

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  79. Bob Ward seems to be arguing both sides of this issue:

    "Bad weather evidence

    SIR – The recent extreme weather in Pakistan, Russia and China is not “proof of climate change” (report, August 11).

    While increases in the intensity and frequency of heatwaves, droughts and heavy rainfall in some parts of the world are consistent with the expected impacts of the rise in average temperature, it is long-term trends in extreme weather that provide evidence for a changing climate.

    Researchers must be careful about presenting the evidence for global warming. Every warm or wet event cited as proof may legitimise the erroneous portrayal of outbreaks of cold weather, such as those in northern Europe and eastern North America last winter, as evidence that global warming has stopped or does not exist. Such apparent contradictions increase public confusion.

    Bob Ward
    Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
    London School of Economics
    London WC2 "
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/7945104/Radio-3-offers-a-diet-dominated-by-Chopin-piano-music-interspersed-with-jazz.html

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  80. Crichton makes a persuasive argument that the current environmental movement parallels religious beliefs. Statements like the one by the WMO currently reflects a current element of faith-based opinion.

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  81. Where a rational man sees a major flood or severe heat wave, a "believer" sees only ONE thing: SIN.

    "Extreme" weather is, to those "believers," punishment for excessive behavior...

    For modern Chicken Littles, the sky will be falling every day, forever.

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