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Going to Extremes: Federal Climatologist Slams Alarmist Federal Climate Report

February 4, 2016

By Paul Homewood 





The Met Office frequently try to persuade us that extreme rainfall is getting worse because of global warming. It comes as no surprise to learn that the same arguments are taking place in the US.

Unfortunately for the alarmists, a study led by NOAA’s own expert, Dr Martin Hoerling, finds little evidence that this is the case, and instead that extreme rainfall trends are largely dominated by naturally reoccurring ocean cycles.


Cato report:


Second only to incidences of high temperature, supporters of government action to restrict energy choice like to say “extreme” precipitation events–be they in the form of rain, sleet, snow, or hail falling from tropical cyclones, mid-latitude extratropical storms, or summer thunderstorm complexes–are evidence that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities make our climate and daily weather worse.

The federal government encourages and promotes such associations. Take, for example, the opening stanzas of its 2014 National Climate Assessment: Climate Change Impacts in the United States, a document regularly cited by President Obama in support of his climatic perseverations:

This National Climate Assessment concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country.

Americans are noticing changes all around them. Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours.

President Obama often calls out the extreme rain meme when he is running through his list of climate change evils. His Executive Order “Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change,” includes:

The impacts of climate change – including…more heavy downpours… – are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation.

So, certainly the science must be settled demonstrating a strong greenhouse-gas altered climate signal in the observed patterns of extreme precipitation trends and variability across the United States in recent decades, right?


Here are the conclusions of a freshly minted study, titled “Characterizing Recent Trends in U.S. Heavy Precipitation” from a group of scientists led by Dr. Martin Hoerling from the NOAA’s System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado:

Analysis of the seasonality in heavy daily precipitation trends supports physical arguments that their changes during 1979-2013 have been intimately linked to internal decadal ocean variability, and less to human-induced climate change…Analysis of model ensemble spread reveals that appreciable 35-yr trends in heavy daily precipitation can occur in the absence of forcing, thereby limiting detection of the weak anthropogenic influence at regional scales [emphasis added].

Basically, after reviewing observations of heavy rains across the country and comparing them to climate model explanations/expectations, Hoerling and colleagues determined that natural variability acting through variations in sea surface temperature patterns, not global warming, is the main driver of the observed changes in heavy precipitation.

  1. February 4, 2016 12:10 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News.

    • February 4, 2016 1:09 pm

      I have a theory that climate extremism is greatest amongst those authoritarian figures that get to run organisations and least amongst the analysts who actually run the organisations but have to hand the credit to the “fairies” at the top of the tree.

      And as we seem to be seeing more and more “contrary” reports (the NASA Antarctic ice was a classic) I wonder whether we are now at “peak tension” – whereby the tree roots are now saying things entirely at odds with the fairies

  2. February 4, 2016 12:55 pm

    I guess that Martin Hoerling is now looking for a new job, unless he does the IPCC trick of issuing a separate “report for policy makers” saying the opposite of what the technical report says: just trying to save his bacon!

  3. February 4, 2016 1:06 pm

    I’m sceptical of the use of such models even if they agree with the over-riding evidence which does not show any long term trends in anything much at all.

    35 years of data us not nearly enough to come to any firm conclusion about the impact of decadal cycles. Surely there is more data than a mere 35 years?

  4. February 4, 2016 1:40 pm

    “President Obama often calls out the extreme rain meme…..” It interferes with his golf game. Would that we could find him a permanent golf course in Outer Mongolia.

    However, it is good to see some having the courage to come forth with actual data and observations instead of the “obligatory” lies.

  5. songhees permalink
    February 4, 2016 2:19 pm

    Latest book and documentary.
    ‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’.

    Debate between Dr Tim Ball and Elizabeth May
    Scroll down to Ian Jessop part 1

  6. R2Dtoo permalink
    February 4, 2016 2:20 pm

    In a sense the AGW scientists may be boxed-in by their own models. IIRC half of the precip models said more was expected and half said drought would increase. That’s not much of a paddle for their canoe!

  7. John Peter permalink
    February 4, 2016 3:58 pm

    I sense that Dr Martin Hoerling and others are gambling that the next President will be Republican and it will be the Karl’s of this world who will be in the “shooting line” or P45 recipients. Cannot wait for a republican president with Smith and Cruz in tow dealing will EPA, NOAA and GISS. As the republican contenders narrow down to one or two sceptics and Clinton/Sanders tearing each other apart, there will be more real scientists sticking their heads above the parapet even before November 8.

  8. February 4, 2016 5:54 pm

    Thanks, Paul.
    The CATO Institute is a good source of climate skepticism.
    In in this case Knappenberger and Michaels have it right:
    “Whether or not at some later date a definitive and sizeable (actionable) anthropogenic signal is identifiable in the patterns and trends in heavy precipitation occurrence across the United States is a question whose answer will have to wait—most likely until much closer to the end of the century or beyond.”

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