Headlining Again: Flirting with Insufferable

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 10:22 PM GMT on February 09, 2015

Headlining Again: Flirting with Insufferable

Two weeks ago, on January 25, a public affairs representative asked me if I wanted to make a statement in advance of the historic blizzard predicted for the Northeast. After that conversation, a little write up was released offering me up as an expert for the press. My comment was that I didn’t think the storm should be conflated with climate change, and I had doubts about it being “historic.” This, of course, assured that no one would call me in advance of the blizzard. My more pithy comment, that it would be historic in the sense that it was consistent with history, did not carry the day either. Given the way the forecast and the reporting unfolded, I have been given an opportunity to be completely insufferable.

Here’s a little record of the news cycle on my Tumblr site.

Given that my last blog was on the role that we scientists sometimes play in fueling climate-science controversies, the blizzard seems like a natural follow on. In fact, the 2011 piece with Christine Shearer, “Changing the Media Discussion on Climate and Extreme Weather,” used the example of event attribution as a place where scientists fuel headlines that are not always productive.

Here are the three reasons that I declined to conflate the storm with climate change and to talk about a potential “historic” event.

1. The practice of trying to attribute some portion of a storm to climate change is a no-win practice. I understand the curiosity that leads to public interest. I understand the curiosity of the scientific investigation of event attribution. I am not convinced that there is any policy relevance of event attribution.

We have one climate, the Earth’s climate. We have one atmosphere. If we focus on the atmosphere, then we have weather that occurs in the atmosphere, and we have the climate of that atmosphere. Weather and climate are both ways that humans describe temperature, moisture, winds, etc., in this case, associated with the atmosphere. Weather and climate are not separate and independent things; they are different descriptions of the same measures of the atmosphere. If climate changes, weather changes. If weather changes, climate changes. Therefore, every weather event occurs in our changing climate on our warming Earth. Since our understanding and description of weather relies on temperature, moisture, wind, and how they vary, it is unrealistic to imagine that weather events are not influenced by the changing climate.

The questions of how an event differs, today, in our warmer climate from a similar event in the past, can be addressed, but such a determination relies upon statistics and statements of probability and likelihood. Conclusions are never definitively verifiable. Probability and likelihood are notoriously difficult ways to communicate in quiet consultation, and even more difficult in newspapers, on the radio, television and online. Probability and risk are just made for conflicting headlines. The conclusions are, therefore, by definition, uncertain, and uncertainty can always fuel both sides of a rhetorical or a political argument. Therefore, as with marking one temperature record after another, attribution headlines obscure what is important about climate change.

2. As in my series on the not so “super El Nino,” predicting an extreme event as super, historic or unprecedented mostly sets the predictor up as a foil to those interested in maintaining the turmoil of conflicting headlines. Extreme events are rare, and an event that is more extreme than any previous extreme event is rarer. Therefore, many things have to come together to justify such a prediction. I count on the dispassionate language of science-based organizations to describe model forecasts. The appearance of imprecise adjectives of extremes should be expected to fuel an extreme-fascinated society into its next exercise of false urgency and compulsion for crisis management. When I was asked to comment on whether or not a historic storm was likely for a particular place at a particular time, the forecast was far too distant in the future; too many things had to come together, perfectly, to justify such a prediction.

3. I am not a weather forecaster. I have worked with outstanding forecasters. I have managed the building and verification of weather-forecasting systems and climate models. There were a number of attributes of the model prediction that raised yellow flags. This included the fact that weather-forecast reporting, now, has the gamesmanship of Euro versus U.S.

What were the yellow flags? The forecast was for a fast moving disturbance to move across the continent, to interact with a front off of the East Coast, to grow, and to move to the north and east. The first yellow flags were a lot of moving parts and growing. Then, there is a set of aspects that put up more warning flags. There is the need to get water from the warmer-than-normal ocean, transport that water, and convert it to rain and snow. These are aspects of modeling that are difficult to represent and more different to link together.

Within the model, there are events occurring on different measures (scales) of space and time. The evaporation of water is represented in the models in areas on the Earth’s surface that are a few kilometers on their sides. The actual evaporation occurs in much smaller representative areas and depends on many unrepresented details of the Earth’s surface. The evaporation, the transport, and the conversion of water from liquid to vapor, from vapor to water, ice and snow, must be organized into moving and growing storms whose geographical extent is from 10 to 100 times larger. We want to know the transition line between rain, sleet and snow. Then, after all of these elements of a storm are collected together and forecast into the future, we ask the model to give us an answer that distinguishes Manhattan from Queens from Hauppauge. We want answers separated by smaller distances than the smallest distances that the models represent. The expectations are not in realistic alignment with possibility. There are too many things that have to come together in the 24-48 hours of the forecast to justify the hyperbole of super, historic and unprecedented.

Weather and climate models are amazing and powerful tools. They help us think about what the weather and climate will do. They help us think about how to prepare. They also have intrinsic, sometime irreducible limitations. With regard to this weather forecast, if a model represents the surface of the Earth with patches of surface than are 10 km on the side, then the uncertainty associated with a particular weather event is more like 50 to 100 km (Recent effective resolution paper). Within that range of uncertainty, the forecast of the 2015 Northeast blizzard was spot on.

Weather and climate models are powerful and dispassionate tools. They have no control over how we take that information, determine knowledge content, describe that knowledge, react to that knowledge and use that knowledge. There are those trained in interpretation of forecasts and the prediction of weather events. There are those trained in the identification of vulnerabilities and assessment of risk. There are those trained in response to perceived risk and in response to realized risk. There are those trained in communication, and those trained in capturing audience. Increasingly, we allow our communication to be framed by those experts in capturing audience; we watch stories flame in news cycles that are rife with inaccuracy and incompleteness. We allow the foibles of communication to damage the chain of expertise for making and using forecasts.

This weekend Dean Smith died. Dean Smith has a larger-than-life iconography in sport, society and life. Smith was notorious for causing chaos at the end of basketball games when Carolina was trailing. In that chaos was opportunity. Weather, climate and the relationship of weather and climate play out in public, where there are many chattering voices looking for attention and audience – mine included. The desire to predict, for rightness and for attention motivates us to take distinguishing positions that differentiate us from others. This is chaotic. Then there are those in the climate-change conversation who are deliberately chaotic. As scientists claiming to advocate knowledge-based decisions, we must understand that we step into this world of natural and manufactured chaos. There are things we do repeatedly, record marking and event attribution amongst them, which help fuel the chaos, and obscure what is important about climate change.

r


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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Quoting 39. iceagecoming:

Polar vortex 2: Not likely this winter
Doyle Rice, USA TODAY 5:26 p.m. EDT October 16, 2014



The winter weather forecast released Thursday morning from meteorologists at the Climate Prediction Center said the western part of the U.S. should stay warm, while a cooler and wetter-than-average winter is likely across the southern tier of the nation.

The winter shouldn't be as nasty as last year because the persistent, large-scale atmospheric climate patterns that caused the cold last winter are "really unlikely to form," said Mike Halpert, acting director of the prediction center in College Park, Md

Hmm, prediction is very challenging.


Link

You're right. It can be. Although this probably wasn't a good example to use.

According to the season-to-date weekly temperature data, every region of the nation has had above average temperatures (1981-2010 baseline) except for the northeast, although even in that case it was just barely below average:

NE -0.2C
S 0.9C
W 6.1C
National 2.9C

From that map, you should have taken away the following information. Above normal temperatures are favored in the western US (50% chance) and northeastern US (40% chance). Colder than normal temperatures are favored in the southern US (40% chance). All other locations are equal chances of normal, below normal, or above normal temperatures. Also of note, no area had greater than a 50% chance of either category (warmer/colder), meaning that there was just as likely of a chance of normal temperatures and the opposite category.

The forecast did decent in showing the warmer weather favored out west (the highest confidence region as well). The southern US and northeast US were probably a bit flipped from the October forecast, but again had only 40% confidence.
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Quoting 37. Xyrus2000:



This isn't some college research group or snake oil salesman or some idealistic philanthropist with more money than brains.

This is the Skunk Works. Lockheed Martin. These guys don't talk. They do. And if they say they can build this in 5 years, then it's likely they already have a working prototype or at least extremely strong evidence that it can be done.

EDIT- Someone beat me to it.


it is pretty encouraging. they even talk of getting the design to eventually fit in something the size of a shipping container which would be insane.
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Quoting 40. riverat544:


Apparently understanding the difference between weather and climate is too.


Well, when you're blinded by ideology even the most basic concepts can become sources for painful cognitive dissonance. Hence why my son's fourth grade science class has no problem understanding this concept while certain individuals on this blog apparently never will.
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Quoting iceagecoming:
Hmm, prediction is very challenging.


Apparently understanding the difference between weather and climate is too.
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Polar vortex 2: Not likely this winter
Doyle Rice, USA TODAY 5:26 p.m. EDT October 16, 2014



The winter weather forecast released Thursday morning from meteorologists at the Climate Prediction Center said the western part of the U.S. should stay warm, while a cooler and wetter-than-average winter is likely across the southern tier of the nation.

The winter shouldn't be as nasty as last year because the persistent, large-scale atmospheric climate patterns that caused the cold last winter are "really unlikely to form," said Mike Halpert, acting director of the prediction center in College Park, Md

Hmm, prediction is very challenging.


Link
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Quoting 31. JohnLonergan:



But I've been reading that headline since I was in grad school 50 years ago and it's still 50 years away.


This isn't some college research group or snake oil salesman or some idealistic philanthropist with more money than brains.

This is the Skunk Works. Lockheed Martin. These guys don't talk. They do. And if they say they can build this in 5 years, then it's likely they already have a working prototype or at least extremely strong evidence that it can be done.

EDIT- Someone beat me to it.
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Skunk Works Reveals Compact Fusion Reactor Details

Lockheed Martin aims to develop compact reactor prototype in five years, production unit in 10

"The ITER, for example, will cost an estimated $50 billion and when complete will measure around 100 ft. high and weigh 23,000 tons.

The CFR will avoid these issues by tackling plasma confinement in a radically different way. Instead of constraining the plasma within tubular rings, a series of superconducting coils will generate a new magnetic-field geometry in which the plasma is held within the broader confines of the entire reaction chamber. Superconducting magnets within the coils will generate a magnetic field around the outer border of the chamber. “So for us, instead of a bike tire expanding into air, we have something more like a tube that expands into an ever-stronger wall,” McGuire says. The system is therefore regulated by a self-tuning feedback mechanism, whereby the farther out the plasma goes, the stronger the magnetic field pushes back to contain it. The CFR is expected to have a beta limit ratio of one. “We should be able to go to 100% or beyond,” he adds.

This crucial difference means that for the same size, the CFR generates more power than a tokamak by a factor of 10. This in turn means, for the same power output, the CFR can be 10 times smaller. The change in scale is a game-changer in terms of producibility and cost, explains McGuire. “It’s one of the reasons we think it is feasible for development and future economics,” he says."

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Quoting 31. JohnLonergan:



But I've been reading that headline since I was in grad school 50 years ago and it's still 50 years away.


If it were anyone but the Lockheed Skunk Works doing this, I wouldn't pay any attention. But when one of the finest collections of technologists in the world confidently declares their expectation of a proof-of-concept device running in 5 years (not 50), I have to leave some room for hope. 


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Edit corrected image url
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#32 - RevElvis - first thing that came to mind when I saw your post was the Koch brothers budgeting $889 million to influence the 2016 elections. Similar dollar amounts, but different goals, different philosophies...what a tremendous contrast.

(Edit: correction...million, not billion)
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Apple investing $850 million in California solar farm

Apple is making a huge investment in solar energy, sending $848 million to First Solar's California Flats Solar Project. The deal will supply Apple with energy for 25 years. Construction of the new 2,900-acre solar farm will start this summer and finish by the end of 2016.

Apple's share of the energy produced will be about 130 megawatts, while another 150 MW will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric. "The iPhone maker already powers all of its data centers with renewable energy. Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive officer, has advocated taking more steps to combat climate change."

Article at Reuters
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Quoting 25. Daisyworld:



Snip

"Breakthrough in Fusion Power" grabs more attention than "Ten year Project shows Fusion May Be Possible in Fifty Years."


But I've been reading that headline since I was in grad school 50 years ago and it's still 50 years away.
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Human-induced changes to the hydrological cycle, long predicted by the scientific community, have been detected by direct observations:

Extreme weather: observed precipitation changes in the USA

As atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have risen over the past decades, changes to the flow of water throughout the environment (the hydrological cycle) have resulted in more frequent extreme-precipitation events. The events, sometimes aggravated by changes to land surfaces, can lead to increased flooding, which has impacts on both human health and social infrastructure. Increase of extreme precipitation has occurred in all regions of the continental USA and further changes are expected in the coming decades. Observations and projections of precipitation changes can be useful for the design and construction of robust infrastructure that is more resistant to both heavy precipitation and flooding.


Figure 1. Observed changes in very intense precipitation events from 1958 to 2012 (image from Melillo et al. (2014))

----------

See also: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/overvi ew/overview
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Quoting 25. Daisyworld:



The media often works to engage their audience through emotional stimuli; presenting short, often incomplete clips of a story to invoke interest, which attracts audiences, and results in additional advertisement revenue. Science, on the other hand, is often boring, and rarely attracts advertisement. One of my graduate degrees was earned through years of collecting rural ditch water for chemical analysis. Research like that - despite whether or not the results would be important - doesn't tend to make national headlines. Generally, media must present a fantastical image of science to grab viewers' attention in as short a time as possible. "Breakthrough in Fusion Power" grabs more attention than "Ten year Project shows Fusion May Be Possible in Fifty Years."


Style over substance? Insulating the crawl spaces in my house is filthy, hot, dark, cramped, exhausting work, but it will actually save me money in the end, whereas repainting a room or buying a new couch is certainly flashy and feels good for a few days, but is simply a drain on my long term house budget.
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Quoting 23. BaltimoreBrian:

Today's selection of articles about science, climate change, energy and the environment.
The first two links are reports from the National Academy of Sciences about two geoengineering ideas.

!!! Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration (National Academy of Sciences, 140 pages)

!!! Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth (National Academy of Sciences, 234 pages)


Professor Raymond T. Pierrehumbert's take on the NRC Climate intervention reports:

Climate Hacking Is Barking Mad

You can’t fix the Earth with these geoengineering proposals, but you can sure make it worse.


We would be insane to mess with the atmosphere.
Photo illustration by Juliana Jimenez Jaramillo. Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images

----------

See also: Why Geoengineering Is "Untested and Untestable" by Naomi Klein
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bappit in comment #5 raises a very good point, and I don't have the knowledge to make a logically valid distinction between an event and a trend. In my mind, if New York and Washington DC set new all time record highs of 108 this summer, that will be an event that does not indicate global warming, although it would get enormous publicity. Arctic sea ice decline is a trend that, in my opinion, is a much stronger indication of global warming.

But how bout this? All of the top 9 wettest years at Central Park have been in the last 43 years. It seems unlikely to be random, but is it?
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Quoting 19. RevElvis:

Climate Is Big Issue for Hispanics, and Personal

A new New York Times/Stanford University poll finds that Hispanics “are far more likely than whites to view global warming as a problem that affects them personally. It also found that they are far more likely to support policies, such as taxes and regulations on greenhouse gas pollution, aimed at curbing it.”

The findings in the poll could have significant implications for the 2016 presidential campaign as both parties seek to win votes from Hispanics, particularly in states like Florida and Colorado that will be influential in determining the outcome of the election. The poll also shows the challenge for the potential Republican presidential candidates — including two Hispanics — many of whom question or deny the scientific basis for the finding that humans caused global warming.

Article at NYTimes.com


And yet, Colorado just elected climate-liar Corey Gardner, who campaigned in front of freaking windmills claiming that he cared and wanted sustainable energy.

I know that many here try to be polite. I trust honesty and pointing out when the emperor has no clothes. So lying, liar, Republiar Corey Gardner is a lying liar.

Image of Gardner at wind farm like he supports anything renewable.

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Quoting RickyRood:
[...] There are those trained in communication, and those trained in capturing audience. Increasingly, we allow our communication to be framed by those experts in capturing audience; we watch stories flame in news cycles that are rife with inaccuracy and incompleteness. We allow the foibles of communication to damage the chain of expertise for making and using forecasts...


The media often works to engage their audience through emotional stimuli; presenting short, often incomplete clips of a story to invoke interest, which attracts audiences, and results in additional advertisement revenue. Science, on the other hand, is often boring, and rarely attracts advertisement. One of my graduate degrees was earned through years of collecting rural ditch water for chemical analysis. Research like that - despite whether or not the results would be important - doesn't tend to make national headlines. Generally, media must present a fantastical image of science to grab viewers' attention in as short a time as possible. "Breakthrough in Fusion Power" grabs more attention than "Ten year Project shows Fusion May Be Possible in Fifty Years."
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Explain Salton Sea Puzzle (from the New York Times, November 12, 1905)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Today's selection of articles about science, climate change, energy and the environment.



The first two links are reports from the National Academy of Sciences about two geoengineering ideas.

!!! Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration (National Academy of Sciences, 140 pages)

!!! Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth (National Academy of Sciences, 234 pages)

* Erase and rewind


World thunderstorm 'map' key to assessing climate change

*** Industrial aerosol emissions has changed relationship between temperature and precipitation in northern tropics

!!! Smoking thins vital part of brain

Yellow/orange areas are regions where the thickness of the cortex at age 73 is associated with the amount of lifetime smoking; the greater the amount of lifetime smoking, the thinner the cortex.



*** A centimeter of time: Cool clocks pave the way to new measurements of Earth




Water ice renders short-lived molecule sustainable



DNA 'cage' could improve nanopore technology



*** Global sea ice diminishing, despite Antarctic gains

Comparing Arctic sea ice loss to Antarctic sea ice gain shows that the planet has-been shedding sea ice at an average annual rate of 13,500 square miles since 1979, the equivalent of losing an area of sea ice larger than the state of Maryland every year.



*** Maryland governor moves to repeal 'rain tax'

* Britain gives go-ahead to test driverless cars on roads

*** How much oil does the US have? It depends on who's counting.

Obama to Recall Military Personnel From Ebola Zone, Officials Say

A smiling lens: 'Happy face' galaxy cluster reveals arcs caused by strong gravitational lensing

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Thanks for commenting ... and really glad to see it resonated with you.


Quoting 7. ScottSabol:

Professor,

This morning I ran across your post about the New England snows, communicating probability, the media and climate change. Normally I don't comment on blogs. But today, your post is a breath of fresh air that forced me to make an exception to my self imposed comment policy.

As a tv meteorologist who finds it an uphill battle attempting to communicate uncertainty both in day-to-day weather forecasts and the describing of the components of extreme weather events/climate change influence without alienating the audience, I was thrilled to see these points addressed.

Several elements of your post stand out to me.

* 3rd paragraph of point. Dead on.

* "... Probability and risk are just made for conflicting headlines. The conclusions are, therefore, by definition, uncertain, and uncertainty can always fuels both sides of a rhetorical or a political argument."

* 2nd to last paragraph about information, content, interpretation, assessment and communication of risk and capturing an audience. Unfortunately, the battle between conveying appropriate information and capturing an audience requires a delicate balance especially in television.

For what it's worth, thank you for addressing these subtle points of this issue that are rarely talked about. I sincerely hope that the media becomes less focused on overly simplifying the science for the sake of headlines and more focused on objectivity.

Kind regards,

Scott Sabol, WJW FOX 8
http://sabolscience.blogspot.com
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Congressman Upton’s New Energy Plan a Framework for ‘Climate Suicide’

When Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduces a “legislative framework” for energy with the Orwellian name of The Architecture of Abundance, you should probably perk up your ears and pay attention. That’s Fred Upton, as in climate denier Fred Upton, who as recently as 2009 actually supported the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
But apparently the big campaign contributions he has received from fossil fuel tycoons Charlie and David Koch started whispering sweet nothings in Upton’s ear and changed his mind. In December 2010, he co-authored a Wall Street Journal editorial with Tim Phillips, president of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, in which he called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of greenhouse gases a “move [that] represents an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs.”

snip

By the way, Upton’s Energy Committee co-chair is Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, whose own Koch Brothers-fueled climate denial was dismantled by Bill Nye The Science Guy in a video last year. /quote
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Quoting Xulonn:
The key for those who do not understand science is influence vs. causality - which they do not seem to comprehend.

Attribution implies causality, and that is what confuses the low-science knowledge people. And even if you use the word "influence," the denialist industry will repeat that as "so and so claimed that AGW/CC caused" an event. Then the confusion and misunderstanding begins anew.

The denialist industry will abuse anything you say. Why be bullied by them?
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Climate Is Big Issue for Hispanics, and Personal

A new New York Times/Stanford University poll finds that Hispanics “are far more likely than whites to view global warming as a problem that affects them personally. It also found that they are far more likely to support policies, such as taxes and regulations on greenhouse gas pollution, aimed at curbing it.”

The findings in the poll could have significant implications for the 2016 presidential campaign as both parties seek to win votes from Hispanics, particularly in states like Florida and Colorado that will be influential in determining the outcome of the election. The poll also shows the challenge for the potential Republican presidential candidates — including two Hispanics — many of whom question or deny the scientific basis for the finding that humans caused global warming.

Article at NYTimes.com
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Quoting 17. JohnLonergan:




But there's nothing uncertain about “On balance the effect of adjustments is inconsequential”, this doesn't give Judith much wiggle room.


Oh, don't doubt Curry, she isn't uncertain it's warming, she's uncertain of our impact. Nuanced denial.
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Quoting 16. Naga5000:



Curry's shtick is uncertainty and economics, not flat out lying.



But there's nothing uncertain about “On balance the effect of adjustments is inconsequential”, this doesn't give Judith much wiggle room.
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Quoting 15. JohnLonergan:





Climate Crocks linked to this post, Berkeley Earth: raw versus adjusted temperature data, by Robert Rohde, Zeke Hausfather, and Steve Mosher . These scientists were some of the main contributors to the BEST study.
Their takeaway:


“On balance the effect of adjustments is inconsequential.”


Interesting that this was posted at Curry's place.


Curry's shtick is uncertainty and economics, not flat out lying.
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Quoting 13. Naga5000:



It should be noted that Booker not only doesn't understand climate science, but he also disavows any links between smoking, asbestos, and mad cow on health outcomes. He also is a creationist and disavows evolution. In other words, this guys track record on science puts him so outside the realm of rational thought, that it is no surprise his articles are clung to by only the most ardent of science denialists, and not a real skeptic to be found.



Climate Crocks linked to this post, Berkeley Earth: raw versus adjusted temperature data, by Robert Rohde, Zeke Hausfather, and Steve Mosher . These scientists were some of the main contributors to the BEST study.
Their takeaway:


“On balance the effect of adjustments is inconsequential.”


Interesting that this was posted at Curry's place.
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The cranks are out in force on Dr. Masters blog, stay away from there unless you want to get absolutely nothing done this afternoon.
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Quoting 12. JohnLonergan:

Climate Denial Empire Strikes Back with Bogus Temperature Story

Following the major media splash around 2014 ‘Hottest Year” designation, and anticipating November’s “yet another very important global climate meeting”, I’ve been waiting to see what manufactured, cooked up diversion would be coming from the evil elves in the climate denial workshop.

Now we know. The old reliable “fudging the data” canard still plays well on the reality-challenged circuit. The latest incarnation is splashed all over the usual toxic vectors – in fact, it’s the “Biggest Science Scandal Ever”




Read more ...








It should be noted that Booker not only doesn't understand climate science, but he also disavows any links between smoking, asbestos, and mad cow on health outcomes. He also is a creationist and disavows evolution. In other words, this guys track record on science puts him so outside the realm of rational thought, that it is no surprise his articles are clung to by only the most ardent of science denialists, and not a real skeptic to be found.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Climate Denial Empire Strikes Back with Bogus Temperature Story

Following the major media splash around 2014 ‘Hottest Year” designation, and anticipating November’s “yet another very important global climate meeting”, I’ve been waiting to see what manufactured, cooked up diversion would be coming from the evil elves in the climate denial workshop.

Now we know. The old reliable “fudging the data” canard still plays well on the reality-challenged circuit. The latest incarnation is splashed all over the usual toxic vectors – in fact, it’s the “Biggest Science Scandal Ever”




Read more ...





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Every clue we have points to what the theory predicted. Every clue.

When it's dry , it's much drier.
When it's wet , it comes in sudden down pours. Week after week.
Snow levels are moving up the mountains.
And on and on .
To say , no one storm can be " yada, yada, yada" is the peak of folly, or just plain being blind. When the records are being set for all time, this is not " yada, yada, yada" . This is rewriting the record books. And this is occurring all over the planet. To imply that what we are seeing is part of the natural swing of things, is to be blind to the gases we pump everyday into our system.
At some point we need to agree that the Anthropocene is underway. And we all need to drop the " yada, yada, yada".
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From Boston, in the midst of all the snow, we get this headline:

Beacon Hill leaders to weigh effects of climate change

BOSTON %u2014 Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and state Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton are among those scheduled to participate in a forum on climate change resiliency at the Statehouse this week.

Organizers say they hope the forum will help set the stage for a stronger collaboration among public and private sector partners on how Massachusetts will address the effects of climate change.

Rosenberg said the state has already seen how climate change is manifesting itself in the state with stronger storms, extreme temperatures, and a changing environment.

The Amherst Democrat said the state needs to plan for these changes through ongoing public policy discussions

The forum will also include environmental activists, local health officials and public planning experts. The forum is scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Statehouse.
Link


I'm sure that The Great and General Court of The Commonwealth will give this subject a far more rational and intelligent discussion than can be found in the national Congress.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
"As system nears a tipping point, it moves to the extremes."

San Francisco just recorded 43 days with out rain, at the peak of their wet season. 165 years of records . Then the pipeline came. But it came as more warm water. Snow levels into BC are above 8.000 feet.

All of this was forecast in the theory.

Funny how no one storm can be " yada, yada, yada" . And yet they keep coming. All over the world. And each one red lines the record books.

"The environment in which all storms form is now different than it was just 30 or 40 years ago because of global warming," said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
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"The environment in which all storms form is now different than it was just 30 or 40 years ago because of global warming," said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Professor,

This morning I ran across your post about the New England snows, communicating probability, the media and climate change. Normally I don't comment on blogs. But today, your post is a breath of fresh air that forced me to make an exception to my self imposed comment policy.

As a tv meteorologist who finds it an uphill battle attempting to communicate uncertainty both in day-to-day weather forecasts and the describing of the components of extreme weather events/climate change influence without alienating the audience, I was thrilled to see these points addressed.

Several elements of your post stand out to me.

* 3rd paragraph of point. Dead on.

* "... Probability and risk are just made for conflicting headlines. The conclusions are, therefore, by definition, uncertain, and uncertainty can always fuels both sides of a rhetorical or a political argument."

* 2nd to last paragraph about information, content, interpretation, assessment and communication of risk and capturing an audience. Unfortunately, the battle between conveying appropriate information and capturing an audience requires a delicate balance especially in television.

For what it's worth, thank you for addressing these subtle points of this issue that are rarely talked about. I sincerely hope that the media becomes less focused on overly simplifying the science for the sake of headlines and more focused on objectivity.

Kind regards,

Scott Sabol, WJW FOX 8
http://sabolscience.blogspot.com
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Quoting 5. bappit:

If we attribute a trend to climate change, are we not implicitly attributing the individual events in the trend to climate change as well to some extent? The notion of attribution is vague as well.
The key for those who do not understand science is influence vs. causality - which they do not seem to comprehend.

Attribution implies causality, and that is what confuses the low-science knowledge people. And even if you use the word "influence," the denialist industry will repeat that as "so and so claimed that AGW/CC caused" an event. Then the confusion and misunderstanding begins anew.
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At some point we will be attributing weather events to climate change if the change is great enough.

These notions of "weather event" and "trend" are a bit vague though. A trend is a set of weather events. How large, how distinctive and over what period of time does the set of weather events need to be to qualify as a trend?

If we attribute a trend to climate change, are we not implicitly attributing the individual events in the trend to climate change as well to some extent? The notion of attribution is vague as well.
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Absolutely ...

Quoting 3. BaltimoreBrian:

An individual weather event cannot properly be attributed to climate change. A trend in extreme weather events could be.
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An individual weather event cannot properly be attributed to climate change. A trend in extreme weather events could be.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Today's selection of articles about science, climate change, energy and the environment.



Solar lamps offer brighter future for African families

!!! F-bombs notwithstanding, all languages skew toward happiness: Universal human bias for positive words





*** Earth's surprise inside: Geologists unlock mysteries of the planet's inner core



*** Evidence for dark matter in the inner Milky Way

The rotation curve tracers used in the paper over a photo of the disc of the Milky Way as seen from the Southern Hemisphere. The tracers are colour-coded in blue or red according to their relative motion with respect to the Sun. The spherically symmetric blue halo illustrates the dark matter distribution



!!! Electricity from biomass with carbon capture could make western US carbon-negative



Stellar partnership doomed to end in catastrophe



Amber fossil links earliest grasses, dinosaurs and fungus used to produce LSD

Floods created home of Europe's biggest waterfall



*** New evidence of global warming: Remote lakes in Ecuador not immune to climate change

The Sun's activity in the 18th century was similar to that now


Nevada dust blamed for mystery 'milky' rain in U.S. Pacific Northwest

* Why lots of rain offers little relief to drought-stricken California

A new report just shot down a key argument against President Obama's climate plans


!!! Australia's scorching 2013 heat record was 'virtually impossible' without global warming

*** Why climate scientists are right about how hot the planet is going to get

Turning Carbon Dioxide Into Rock, and Burying It

In Nevada, a Controversy in the Wind

*** Atlantic Corals: Colorful and Vulnerable



GOP avoids showdown over EPA climate change rules
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Thank you Doc!
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Dr. Ricky Rood's Climate Change Blog

About RickyRood

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