24 February 2013

The Russian Meteor and Global Warming

I get a lot of email from readers of this blog. Feedback, comments, critique and pointers are always welcomed. So too are fun items like this which came yesterday, from an anonymous but clearly brilliant reader (Thanks;-).

Scientists indicate that the recent meteor strike in Russia may have been connected to global warming.

In comments sent to reporters, NCAR Distinguished Senior Scientist and Nobel Prize winner Kevin Trenberth stated that the 4% increase in water vapor in the atmosphere can lead to up to a 10% increase in precipitation, and probably even more if it all converges on one spot. "If this is not massive precipitation, then I don't know what is" said Trenberth. When pressed by reporters on the magnitude of the effect, Trenberth was reluctant to give an answer, noting only that it undoubtedly made the impact worse.

NCAR Senior Scientist Gerald Meehl added that the strike was like throwing a rock into a pond "on steroids." Sales and illicit use of steroids were reported to have surged following Meehl's remark.

Trenberth and Meehl's comments were quickly reported by blogger Joe Romm of "Climate Progress", who headlined his piece "Bombshell on Russian Meteor". The headline prompted Russian and U.S. forces to go to a higher state of military alert.

Not far behind Trenberth and Meehl, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University stated to reporters that the meteor strike was precisely the kind of extreme event expected from climate change. Noting that the meteor strike was directly associated with a rapid decline of (lake) ice, Francis concluded that the ice loss had caused the meteor.

Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground provided an extensive summary of the event in a blog post. Masters emphasized the higher energy content of the atmosphere connected to global warming as a likely cause of this extreme event. While acknowledging that a much larger meteor strike had occurred over 100 years earlier, Masters stated "this recent occurrence shows a clear upward trend since the middle of the last century". He added that the fact that this upward trend coincides with the global warming trend - and particularly that it occurs at the end of the record - provides clear evidence of the role of human-caused climate change.

At a hastily called conference for reporters, Susan Hassol and colleagues at Climate Communication also emphasized the importance of climate warming, noting the possibility of species extinction as a result. This appears to be confirmed by statements from those living in the area near the meteor impact, who report that fish in the lake where the meteor impacted were "well poached". The consequences are not entirely negative - local residents have come together for a previously unplanned "fish fry" dinner.

Providing an alternative viewpoint, Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado stated that the recent IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events makes no connection between human-induced climate change and meteor strikes. He also emphasized that there was no existing peer-reviewed literature supporting such a connection. Pielke Jr.'s statements were quickly denounced as being from a known skeptic and denier. Many noted that Pielke Jr. was not a climate scientist and therefore was totally unqualified on the subject. Qualifications of many of those denouncing Pielke, Jr. included watching the Al Gore movie "An Inconvenient Truth" at least five times and faithfully reading blogs by Joe Romm and Bill McKibben.

MIT scientist Kerry Emanuel acknowledged that Pielke, Jr. was correct on the absence of any evidence linking the meteor strike with global warming, However, Emanuel noted, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." There was general agreement on this point. Politicians quickly hailed this statement as eliminating any need for supporting evidence in speeches and policies pertaining to science.

Overall, there appears to be an overwhelming consensus that the meteor strike was associated with climate change. A survey conducted by the Yale University Climate Change Communication project found that 97% of climate scientists and 4 out of 5 dentists agreed that the Russian meteor strike is consistent with climate change.


  1. Brilliant satire!

    Only thing omitted was the CNN anchor tying to meteor to global warming while interviewing Bill Nye.

  2. Wow! A lot of "inside baseball" there, but eerily accurate.

  3. I particularly liked the "Many noted that Pielke Jr. was not a climate scientist and therefore was totally unqualified on the subject"

  4. I like poached fish,A little Chili ,Garlic and Lemon some fries or wedges and salad. bloody wonderful. BYO beer or wine of coarse CHEERS

  5. "...clear upward trend since the middle of last century." Priceless

  6. Here's another piece of satire...."Climate change linked to declines in labour productivity"


    oops it seems they are serious.

  7. Oil industry spokesman and official Guardian court jester Lord Monckton declared. "I believe this top secret Russian weapon is the clearest sign of a global communist takeover since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    George Monbiot and James Hansen issued a joint statement supporting nature's ongoing campaign to bomb us back to the stone age where we belong.

    President Obama's spokesman said that unlike climate change and gay marriage, the threat of meteorites wasn't sufficiently trivial to be a priority for his second term.

    Lord Ridley expressed sadness at the crash and burn fate of the meteorite He said he once had a bank that ended the same way. He had inherited it from his father who was very attached to it. It was like one of the family.

  8. Mischa Goss, spokesperson of Citizens United Against Carbon, warned that that this event is consistent with scientists' predictions of danger from space due to greenhouse gases, as "ecosystem-valuing universalist [extra-terrestrial intelligence] may observe humanity’s ecological destructive tendencies and wipe humanity out in order to preserve the Earth system as a whole." "It is imperative," he said, "that we immediately cease all CO2 emissions and adopt a sustainable lifestyle in harmony with nature" in order to forestall future meteor strikes.

  9. Nice,

    But left out the bit about how we can't believe in "freak coincidences", which is supposed to be a "case closed" argument these days.

    Here's my take on it, which I find Seinfeld-esque.


  10. Worthy of WUWT. Has this blog officially jumped the shark?

  11. -10-Jacob B

    Thanks .. According to Joe Romm this blog jumped the shark in 2008 ;-)

  12. Perhaps the Mayans were right to predict catastrophic change, but they failed to predict in what form the "end" will occur. Some people believe it would come in the form of comet (a meteor may mark its imminent arrival) striking the Earth. Some people believe it will come in the form of cooling, or warming, or change, in that order of development. Either way, there will arise opportunists, charlatans, and cultists who will invent a way to exploit people through money laundering schemes (e.g. indulgences), estimation or inference of physical evidence, or appeals to their faith and emotion, respectively.

    As for the link between the meteor fall and global cooling/warming/change, in the category of change, an unspecified side-effect is a veil of deception. Specifically, the Russian's sensors were blinded by the manipulation of a natural phenomenon, which when selectively processed the side-effects are largely unpredictable.

  13. nn

    Like Rupert Sheldrake,David Icke and the Delphic oracle, the Mayans discovered there's more to predicting the exact moment of the sky falling in than taking a huge amount of magic mushrooms and crossing your fingers.

    The Mayans didn't predict global warming. That's how dumb they really were. They never got a proper grasp of the El Nino cycle and gave up.

    As Brian Cox once said on the banks of the Ganges, he is more intelligent than the authors of the Hindu Upanishads because he can predict the time of the next lunar eclipse.

    Next week on 'BBC Cute Science', Professor Cox will explain the difference between Brahman and Atman while looking more confused than Britney at the controls of a space shuttle.

  14. eric144:

    I don't know. Perhaps a nibble of a mushroom would be in order to clear the haze from the glass through which we look at reality.

    That said, I am a fan of the scientific method. I do not, however, appreciate taking steps outside of a limited frame of reference, where science and philosophy unite in common character.

  15. Is there a media source for this article? Googling around all I could find were links back to this post.

  16. Luke Lea

    Yes, it's satire. Dentists are almost universally global warming deniers funded by the oil industry. Drill baby drill.

    so is this...

    “The Arab Spring and Climate Change” does not argue that climate change caused the revolutions that have shaken the Arab world over the past two years.


    the essays collected in this slim volume make a compelling case that the consequences of climate change are stressors that can ignite a volatile mix of underlying causes that erupt into revolution.


    Nuffin to do with ... changing the name of the CIA to something else and ... installing CIA backed Islamists.

    Why Egypt doesn't trust us

    Private pro-democracy groups funded by the U.S. have a troubling history.

    But many in Congress felt that the program's problem lay only in its ties to the CIA. Cut those ties and make everything aboveboard, they argued, and the attempt to win hearts and minds to the American way would be useful and benign. In the 1980s, during the Reagan administration, Congress created the National Endowment for Democracy to take the place of the defunct CIA program.


  17. nn

    "I do not, however, appreciate taking steps outside of a limited frame of reference, where science and philosophy unite in common character."

    I wasn't sure if you were referring to Sheldrake. The anti alchemist who apparently failed to turn theosophical gold into base science.

    Sir John Maddox wrote "This infuriating tract... is the best candidate for burning there has been for many years." about Sheldrake's 'A New Science of Life'.

    I watched the battle with interest. The best you can say about Sheldrake is that destroying his future as a research biologist lead to a much more entertaining career as a promoter of psychic dogs.


    He took his Morphogenetic Fields concept from the theosophical (Alice Bailey's) etheric body. Even if I was smart enough, I wouldn't have liked to stand in the way of the whirlwind that followed.