Skip to content

Don’t Expect The Facts From Michael Brune

December 11, 2013

By Paul Homewood




The Sierra Club’s Michael Brune was on CNN yesterday, in debate with Climate Depot’s Marc Morano.

Not for the first time, he came out with fact free claims about how extreme weather was on the increase.


We know that the extreme weather events that we’re seeing, the record wildfires, the record droughts, the extreme storms that we’re seeing, the hurricane that we saw with 1,000-mile diameter that hit the eastern seaboard late October of last year, are precisely what scientists have said would be the cause of global warming and climate change.


He made similar claims on the Piers Morgan show in January, which I showed at the time to be false.

But let’s go through Brune’s claims again and see how they have no substance.




Brune talks of “record droughts”, presumably referring to the US drought last year, which he specifically used as an example of climate change on the Morgan show.

Yet NOAA’s drought index shows that the 2012 drought was far from being “record breaking”, and that the droughts in the 1930’s and 50’s were both much more severe and longer lasting.





And precipitation is trending upwards, based on hydrological years, (Oct to Sep). Far from being a “record year”, 2011/12 was only the 23rd driest on record since 1895.




Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

While Brune is keen to tell viewers that the US drought last year was a result of “climate change”, he seems remarkably reluctant to explain that American cycles of drought are heavily influenced by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, or AMO.

According to NOAA:

Recent research suggests that the AMO is related to the past occurrence of major droughts in the Midwest and the Southwest. When the AMO is in its warm phase, these droughts tend to be more frequent and/or severe (prolonged?). Vice-versa for negative AMO. Two of the most severe droughts of the 20th century occurred during the positive AMO between 1925 and 1965: The Dustbowl of the 1930s and the 1950s drought. Florida and the Pacific Northwest tend to be the opposite – warm AMO, more rainfall.


They even kindly supply this map.




Red and blue colored dots represent positive and negative correlations of Northern Hemisphere summer rainfall with the AMO index. When the AMO is positive (warm Atlantic) there is less rainfall over most of the United States and northeastern South America, and more rainfall in southern Alaska, northern Europe, west Africa and Florida.


And, of course, we have been in the warm phase of the AMO since the mid 1990’s.





Record wildfires?

According to the National Interagency Fire Centre, there is no upward trend in the number of fires, and last year was not unusual in any way.

As at Nov 7th, the fire total for this year is 42658, which suggests this year will be one of the quietest years on record.





It is certainly true that fire acreage in the last decade or so has been higher than in previous decades, (although there is no upward trend during this latest period). As with the number of fires, acreage this year is running low at 4.1 million.




The Californian Dept of Forestry & Fire Protection, in a detailed report a couple of years ago, explained in very great detail why the acreage of fires has increased, and it has nothing to do with “climate change”.


Before the twentieth century, many forests within California were generally open and park like due to the thinning effects of recurrent fire. Decades of fire suppression and other forest management have left a legacy of increased fuel loads and ecosystems dense with an understory of shade-tolerant, late-succession plant species. The widespread level of dangerous fuel conditions is a result of highly productive vegetative systems accumulating fuels and/or reductions in fire frequency from fire suppression. In the absence of fire, these plant communities accrue biomass, and alter the arrangement of it in ways that significantly increase fuel availability and expected fire intensity. As such, many ecosystems are conducive to large, severe fires, especially during hot, dry, windy periods in late summer through fall. Additionally, the spatial continuity of fuels has increased with fewer structural breaks to retard fire spread and intensity. The increased accumulations of live and dead fuels may burn longer and more completely, threatening the integrity and sustainability of the ecosystems.


As an environmentalist, you might have thought Michael Brune would have known this.



Unsurprisingly, Sandy gets a mention, but surely Brune has not forgotten about the remarkable absence of landfalling hurricanes in the US in the last five years. Or that it is eight years since the last major hurricane, Wilma.

Well, if you have forgotten Michael, take a look at this graph from NOAA, which indexes the sum of squares of U.S. landfalling tropical storm and hurricane wind velocities.




And I won’t even mention tornadoes!



Rather like the Soviets, Michael Brune seems to have been so brainwashed with his own propaganda, that he is convinced any bad weather event is due to global warming.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that it is the sceptics who own the facts, and not the alarmists.

The irony is that, if the effects of climate change really were so obvious and serious, the likes of Michael Brune would not need to make up their own version of the truth.

  1. December 11, 2013 8:06 pm

    If you repeat a lie long enough…….

    That is all he is doing. He has no use for the truth, just on the support he can con people out of.

  2. John F. Hultquist permalink
    December 12, 2013 1:47 am

    Regarding wildfire acreage there has been some change in response from land managers in the USA. Namely, when possible – let it burn. Here is one example:
    “Two fires, well inside the Eagle Cap Wilderness boundaries, are being monitored while they burn up dead and downed logs on the forest floor and help white bark pine re-establish itself where it is in decline.” (Sept. 18, 2013)

    Eagle Cap Wilderness is in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon. To see where, cut and paste the 3 words into Google Earth search. Then “zoom out” to see where La Grande (source of the newspaper) is. The region is where Washington State, Idaho, and Oregon meet.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: