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On Believing Impossible Things about Climate Change

July 15, 2021

Climate Change Weekly #404

Climate alarmists have a problem presenting a consistent narrative on the dangers supposed human-caused climate change poses.

Instead, they follow Lewis Carroll’s irrepressible and violent Red Queen down the climate change rabbit hole, as when in response to Alice’s statement that “one can't believe impossible things,” she proudly proclaimed, “I daresay you haven't had much practice. When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Replace the word “impossible” with “contradictory” and you’ll get my point. Just since 2010, the mainstream media have regularly reported claims that human-caused climate change will bring on both the disappearance of snow and increased snowfall. In 2013, for example, The Daily Telegraph ran an article titled “Children Just Aren't Going to Know What Snow Is,” and in 2014 The New York Times ran an article titled “The End of Snow?” Each story claimed human-caused climate change would result in snow becoming a rare and possibly unheard-of event in the near future in places where snow has historically been common.

More recently, however, as we have documented at our Climate Realism website, climate scientists and their allies in the mainstream media have changed their story to explain multiple instances of record-setting cold and snowfall over the past decade, proclaiming, in the words of a Science Daily article, “Major northeastern U.S. snowstorms expected to continue with climate change.”

In a humorous podcast, Climatedepot.com founder Marc Morano explored the contradictory snow claims fervently promoted by noted climate shysters such as Al Gore. Climate change may contribute to making snowfall more common or less common, but it can’t do both. Importantly, hard data supports neither the claim that climate change is causing a dearth of snow nor the claim it is causing extreme snowfall. Media hype to the contrary, there has been no significant trend in snowfall over the recent period of modest warming.

Moving on to other inglorious instances of contradictory, oft-asserted effects of climate change, let’s look at the climate of the Great Lakes. In recent years the mainstream media have alternately claimed climate change will cause the water levels of the Great Lakes to rise and to fall. Clearly, no contradiction there.

That’s not all. As duly reported by the unthinking media, experts have claimed climate change on and around the Great Lakes will cause both dangerously higher wind speeds and equally disruptive lower wind speeds.

Looking abroad, climate alarmists and their mainstream media lapdogs promote mutually exclusive disaster scenarios in India as being driven by climate change. Heartland Institute President James Taylor recently called out the media’s inconsistent statements about monsoon rains in South Asia. Taylor wrote,

[India Today is] claiming new research shows global warming will cause stronger Indian and South Asian monsoons and rainfall, which will wreak climate havoc in future decades. …

Just last year, however, the Hindustan Times reported that a newly published peer-reviewed study showed that global warming will weaken monsoons and reduce monsoon rainfall. …

So, which is it? Does global warming strengthen monsoons and cause more rainfall, which we are told is bad? Or does global warming weaken monsoons and cause less rainfall, which we are told is bad? Or, just maybe—and as concluded by scientists in a recent peer-reviewed study—modest warming has little impact on monsoons, though that would be quite inconvenient for climate alarmists.

As my Heartland Institute colleague Anthony Watts noted in last week’s CCW in reporting on the recent heat wave hysterics, climate is not weather. One or even a few seasons of above- or below-average snowfall, monsoon rains, or rising or falling Great Lake levels or wind speeds may be indications of climate change, but only if a single, consistent direction of change is sustained over decades. If, instead, these weather events shift back and forth annually or every few years, that’s just normal weather, which is what generates the averages we use to determine whether the climate of a region has changed over time.

Alarmists have to pick a unified narrative of disaster scenarios and stick with it, and if data disproves the narrative, they must admit the theory of catastrophic human-caused global warming is wrong. As Watts said, “You can’t have it both ways.”

I’m weary of progressives desperately clinging to the theory of catastrophic climate change in the face of confounding data and contradictory predictions. I’m tired of their gross public displays of cognitive dissonance, twisting any unexpected weather event into further proof of climate change even when it is inconsistent with previous types of weather events they said climate change should cause or is causing.

Please, environmental socialists, move on to the next hobgoblin you will try to terrify the public with in your continuing effort to expand the government’s, and by extension your own, power over peoples’ lives. I’m ready for a new mythical dragon to slay.

SOURCES: BBC; Climate Realism; Climate Realism; The Heartland Institute; Climate at a Glance; Climate at a Glance; Watts Up With That; Climate Realism; Climate Realism


IN THIS ISSUE …

WARRIOR FOR CLIMATE TRUTH PASSES: R.I.P. THOMAS WYSMULLER … ACTIVIST GOVERNMENT SCIENTISTS SUPPRESSING, IGNORING WILDFIRE FACTS … HURRICANE HOURS DECLINING SIGNIFICANTLY


WARRIOR FOR CLIMATE TRUTH PASSES: R.I.P. THOMAS WYSMULLER

wysmuller-iccc
 

It is with no small degree of sadness we report Thomas Hans Wysmuller, of Ogunquit, Maine, passed away at the age of 77 on June 29, 2021.

Wysmuller trained as a meteorologist at New York University and at the Royal Dutch Weather Bureau in Amsterdam. He began working at NASA as an intern in 1968. He continued working at NASA as an employee before, during, and after the moon landings.

Because of his programming skills, Wysmuller was once the youngest person ever selected to serve on NASA’s Source Selection Board for agency-wide computer services.

Wysmuller joined other former NASA employees to found The Right Climate Stuff Climate Research team (TRCS). TRCS uses the scientific methods developed for the lunar landings to investigate the causes and potential consequences of climate change. Using surface temperature data, the TRCS team concluded there is no climate emergency:

Our conclusions, based on empirical data, are clear: The warming of the atmosphere caused by increased amounts of CO2 [is] small and insignificant, only about one degree centigrade for this century. Our further studies showed that the claims of climate change causing more frequent and more severe hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, sea level rise, forest fires, etc. are false. The actual measured data shows no increase in any of these serious conditions. Our conclusion is simple: Mother Nature is controlling the climate; CO2 emissions are not. And more CO2 is definitely beneficial to Mother Nature’s work. There is valid proof of significant greening of the earth since the beginning of fossil fuel use.

The obituary on Wysmuller’s website states,

He considered it one of his greatest achievements when in 2018, he solved the discrepancy of Sea-Level Rise (SLR) reported by The University of Colorado and NASA’s satellites in comparison to land coupled tide gauges. His “reverse-engineering” technique showed how a programming error generated the much higher rate of SLR being reported by satellites vs world-wide tide gauge measurements.

Through my work at The Heartland Institute I was fortunate to have met and had numerous conversations and email exchanges with Wysmuller over the years. I always found him to be intellectually curious, keenly intelligent, joyful in outlook, and in all things kind. Wysmuller was a true, well-rounded gentleman of the highest order and integrity. He will be missed.

SOURCES: Science and Environmental Policy ProjectThe Heartland InstituteThe Right Climate Stuff Wysmu.comHeartland International Conferences on Climate Change Archive (Wysmuller presentations)


ACTIVIST GOVERNMENT SCIENTISTS SUPPRESSING, IGNORING WILDFIRE FACTS

While climate alarmists continue to link recent severe wildfires to climate change, research shows wildfires have been far larger and more severe in the past and that federal land management practices have contributed to the recent severe wildfire seasons.

In a post on Climate Realism, meteorologist Anthony Watts exposed efforts of the federal government to “disappear” data showing wildfire seasons from nearly 80 years of climate change ago consumed far more acreage than what has burned annually in recent years.

An analysis by ecologist Jim Steele shows federal land management policies, including suppressing fires on and expanding logging on federal forests, reduced the number of acres ravaged by fires from the 1950s through the 1980s. During the Clinton administration, federal policy changed, allowing some forest fires to burn, reducing logging, and ripping out forest roads, which limits firefighters’ access to forests to fight fires and to create firebreaks and prevents removing dead timber that serves as fuel for wildfires:

Many of today’s climate scientists are eagerly funded to seek out any problems that climate change might rain down on society. However those seeking dire consequences of global warming, are blinded to the significance of critical dynamics like fire suppression, natural fire breaks, and the increase in human ignitions during colder months and so fail to account for their effects. Thus they obscure or misdiagnose the appropriate remedies. Instead, they insist that a 2°F increase in global temperature increases atmospheric aridity or increases water vapor pressure deficits, and dangerously dry out the accumulating fire fuels. They make their claims, not based on wildfire physics, but via simple short term statistical correlations between increasing drying trends and increasing burnt areas. They typically commit 2 scientific sins. First, they fail to control for how much other critical dynamics increased burnt areas. Second, they cherry picked 1970s or 1980s starting dates for their trends, dates which mark the reduction of fire suppression policies that now allowed fires to burn for greater periods of time. …

Fact checking the science of wildfires, NASA’s narrative that rising CO2 concentrations are increasing the “likelihood of a fire starting,” increasing “its intensity” and increasing “the speed at which it spreads” must get a rating of Pants on Fire. Likewise claims that “climate change has doubled the number of large fires’” gets a rating of Pants on Fire. Wildfire physics simply does not support any such fear mongering narratives.

Steele concludes by showing rising carbon dioxide concentrations do not correlate with wildfires across history. Human forest and land management decisions are partly to blame for the severity of recent wildfire seasons, and human-caused climate change is not a factor.

SOURCES: Landscapes and Cycles; Climate Realism


HURRICANE HOURS DECLINING SIGNIFICANTLY

No Tricks Zone is highlighting hurricane analyses assembled by data analyst and climate blogger Zoe Phin. Using data from NOAA and 13 other agencies, Phin shows the number of recorded Atlantic hurricanes has increased since 1860. However, Phin notes, the fact that the number of detected storms has increased is almost certainly a result of the improvement in technologies used to detect and track storms.

Phin next examines the claim that climate change is producing stronger hurricanes, using a hurricane’s lowest pressure as a proxy for intensity. “The lower the pressure the more intense the storm,” writes Phin.

Applying this method to all detected hurricanes since 1842, Phin shows there has been no trend in hurricane intensity over the past 170 years:

ccw-403-graph
 
Hurricane Numbers and Lowest Pressure

Phin says  further data-crunching provides an even more telling way to estimate whether hurricanes are increasing in intensity. “Does it make sense to count a 6-hour Category 3 storm the same as a 42-hour Category 3 storm?” Phin asks, concluding it does not. She proposes judging intensity by counting the hours each storm spends in each of the five hurricane wind speed categories.

Upon examining 13,545 storms archived by 14 different agencies going back to 1842, Phin found the following:

  • the number of Category 5 storms has decreased since 1842,
  • the incidence of Category 4 storms is cyclic but shows no trend overall,
  • the numbers of Category 3 and Category 2 storms increased across the period overall, but each declined during the most recent 25-year period, and
  • the incidence of Category 1 storms is cyclic but displays no trend.

Having examined the trend for storms in each category, Phin proceeded to analyze the number of hours storms spent in each hurricane category. She found “No trend!”

The claim that climate change is making hurricanes more intense lacks a basis in hard data based on the number of hours tropical storms spend as hurricanes in each category. Expanding her analysis to lesser tropical storms during the satellite era, Phin found there has been a decrease in the number of hours storms spend above 20 knots.

SOURCES: No Tricks Zone; Phzoe.com; Phzoe.com

Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org
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