Guardian Jump On The Extreme Weather Bandwagon Again
By Paul Homewood
The Guardian have dredged up a US meteorologist, Paul Douglas, to come up with a list of “extreme” weather events, which he then uses to claim that climate change is making worse.
Whatever happened to normal weather? Earth has always experienced epic storms, debilitating drought, and biblical floods. But lately it seems the treadmill of disruptive weather has been set to fast-forward. God’s grandiose Symphony of the Seasons, the natural ebb and flow of the atmosphere, is playing out of tune, sounding more like a talent-free second grade orchestra, with shrill horns, violins screeching off-key, cymbal crashes coming in at the wrong time. Something has changed.
Let’s start by looking at some of his claims:
A warmer atmosphere is increasing water vapor levels overhead, juicing storms, fueling an increase in flash floods in the summer, and heavier winter snows along the East Coast of the USA. “All storms are 5 to 10 percent stronger in terms of heavy rainfall” explained Dr. Kevin Trenberth, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. “It means what was a very rare event is now not quite so rare.”
Yet even the IPCC tell us they can find no evidence that floods are getting bigger or more frequent on a worldwide basis:
And as far as the US is concerned, the USGS say:
Only one of four large regions of the United States showed a significant relationship between carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere and the size of floods over the last 100 years. This was in the southwestern region, where floods have become smaller as CO2 has increased.
Storms? Surely any US meteorologist worth his salt must know that tornadoes have been getting much less frequent, and, more particularly, less violent since the 1970s.
He goes on to rehash the thoroughly discredited theory of Jennifer Francis that Arctic warming is making the jet stream more sluggish and wavy, bringing weather blocks.
If he had bothered reading HH Lamb, he might have found out that the same sort of weather was occurring when the world was cooling after the Second World War. This was what Lamb had to say in his volume, “Climate, History and The Modern World”:
ANOTHER TURNING POINT
Over the years since the 1940’s, it has become apparent that many of the tendencies in world climate which marked the previous 50 to 80 years or more have either ceased or changed…. It was only after the Second World War that the benign trend of the climate towards general warming over those previous decades really came in for much scientific discussion and began to attract public notice.
Such worldwide surveys as have been attempted seem to confirm the increase of variability of temperature and rainfall [since 1950].’’
In Europe, there is a curious change in the pattern of variability: from some time between 1940 and 1960 onwards, the occurrence of extreme seasons – both as regards temperature and rainfall has notably increased.
A worldwide list of the extreme seasons reported since 1960 makes impressive reading. Among the items included:
1960-9 – Driest decade in central Chile since 1770’s and 1790’s.
1962-3 Coldest winter in England since 1740.
1962-5 Driest four-year period in the eastern United States since records began in 1738.
1963-4 Driest winter in England & Wales since 1743; coldest winter over an area from the lower Volga basin and Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf since 1745.
1965-6 Baltic Sea completely ice covered.
1968 Arctic sea ice half surrounded Iceland for the first time since 1888.
1968-73 Severest phase thus far of the prolonged drought in the Sahel, surpassing all 20thC experience.
1971-2 Coldest winter in more than 200 yrs in parts of European Russia and Turkey: River Tigris frozen over.
1972 Greatest heatwave in the long records for north Finland and northern Russia.
1973-4 Floods beyond all previous recorded experience stretching across the central Australian desert.
1974-5 Mildest winter in England since 1834.
1975-6 Great European drought produced the most severe soil moisture deficit that can be established in the London (Kew) records since 1698.
1975-6 Greatest heatwaves in the records for Denmark, Netherlands and England.
1976-7 Severest winter in the temperature records (which began in 1738) for the eastern United States.
1978-9 Severest winter and lowest temperature recorded in 200 yrs in parts of northern Europe, and perhaps in the Moscow region. Snowfalls also extreme in parts of northern Europe.
This shortened list omits most of the notable events reported in the southern hemisphere and other parts of the world where instrument records do not extend so far back. Cases affecting the intermediate seasons, the springs and autumns, have also been omitted.
These variations, perhaps more than any underlying trend to a warmer or colder climate, create difficulties for the planning age in which we live. They may be associated with the increased meridionality of the general wind circulation, the greater frequency of blocking, of stationary high and low pressure systems, giving prolonged northerly winds in one longitude and southerly winds in another longitude sector in middle latitudes.
Over both hemispheres there has been more blocking in these years… The most remarkable feature seems to be the an intensification of the cyclonic activity in high latitudes near 70-90N, all around the northern polar region. And this presumably has to do with the almost equally remarkable cooling of the Arctic since the 1950’s, which has meant an increase in the thermal gradient between high and middle latitudes.
He then goes full Guardian!
Pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV to see signs of climate volatility sparking more weather disruption. From the mega-blaze that swept across Fort McMurray, Alberta to repeated flooding of Houston, scorching heat in India, perpetual drought from California to Australia, and a record year for global hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones in 2015, the symptoms of a warming ecosystem are becoming harder to dismiss or deny.
We already know that the so called mega blaze in Alberta is small from a historical perspective, has nothing to do with climate change and would have made little news if man had not built a city in the middle of the wilderness where such things happen all the time.
And what nonsense is this about drought?
There may have been a drought in California recently, one that is certainly not in any way unprecedented, but for the US as a whole, NOAA’s own figures show that droughts are much less common, or severe, in recent decades than they used to be in the past.
Not only are rainfall totals consistently higher than the past, but the percentage of land area in decile1, the driest category, is also sharply down. This indicates that the extra rainfall has been widespread, rather than simply extreme in just a few areas.
And Accumulated Cyclone Energy stats do not support the contention that global warming is making hurricanes worse.
Of course, weather and climate continually change. I have little doubt that in some places and at certain times extreme weather has increased, and no doubt too that in others the reverse is true.
What is sad about these pathetic little attempts to blame everything on global warming is that they stop us having a balanced and objective debate on the subject.
The real reason, however, for this story is revealed when Douglas tells us:
In my upcoming book I interview 11 veteran television meteorologists in the United States. All of them are witnessing symptoms of climate change in their hometowns.