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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Wild weather report - early December

Sou | 12:27 AM Go to the first of 112 comments. Add a comment
Do you know one explanation for science deniers not "believing" that weather extremes are getting more extreme more often? It's because they only read climate conspiracy blogs, like WUWT. Despite Anthony Watts claiming to be a meteorologist (unqualified) - that is, someone who used to announce the weather on television - he doesn't like to report unusual weather. Some of his readers might wake up to the fact that he's a charlatan, a fake, a fraud.

For example, in the last few days there were at least 245 people who were killed as a result of unseasonal torrential rains in Chennai, India. You can read about that disastrous weather event at the Times of India, which reported that:
The deluge destroyed crucial road and rail links, shutdown the airport, snapped power and telecom lines and left lakhs [hundreds of thousands} of people stranded. 

Then there's northern England and Scotland that was drenched and battered by record-setting Storm Desmond. You can read about that at the BBC. There are also some photos on Quartz, just in case you thought it was a fuss over nothing. It isn't. The BBC reports that thousands of homes were flooded, one person died, and power is slowly being restored to thousands. As quoted on Quartz:
Storm Desmond dropped a total of 262.6 mm (10.3 inches) of rain in Cumbria county, in northwest England, from Friday through Sunday. Floods minister Rory Stewart told the BBC that Desmond had “broken all the UK rainfall records.”
There's also wild weather in the Pacific north west. Not as bad as the flooding rains in the UK, but the storm has caused power outages affecting 18,000 homes in Washington state.

While down here in Australia not long ago, there were deadly bushfires. The fire in South Australia's mid-north was burning at a rate of 580 acres a minute. One woman described it as ""It was like a fireball, 90 kilometres an hour." If you can't imagine a fire burning that quickly, then just make sure you aren't in the bush on a catastrophic fire danger day. To make matters worse, the communications systems failed the volunteer firefighters. Two people died in those fires, and at least 87 homes were destroyed or severely damaged. One man was watching his property burn from 3,000 km away (from Darwin) via a feed from cameras he'd installed. He saved his home by activating sprinklers via his mobile phone. The ABC has mapped what happened where in the fires in South Australia's mid north. The agricultural land could take years to recover.

112 comments:

Tony Banton said...

New rainfall record for a 24-hour period in th UK was broken at the weekend with 341.4mm (13.44in) recorded at Honister Pass with a provisional figure from a gauge in Honister showing 352mm (13.86in).
Beating the previous 24 hour record of 316mm from Seathwaite in 2009.
Also a new rainfall record for a 48 hour period was also broken with 405mm (15.94in) recorded at Thirlmere.

This an excellent write-up on the event.
http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=news;storyid=7032;sess=

numerobis said...

And a heat wave here across Canada, with temperatures in the teens in December when we'd normally be around or below freezing.

We promised the in-laws snow for Christmas. I'm in trouble!

jrkrideau said...

numerobis
Teens? You must be in the Niagara banana belt. S

till our first snow fall is 2-3 weeks late here in Eastern Ontario and we hit 4C today while BC is getting 100+ mm of rain and a reported 50,000 or 100,000 customers without hydro.

jrkrideau said...

numerobis
Teens? You must be in the Niagara banana belt. S

till our first snow fall is 2-3 weeks late here in Eastern Ontario and we hit 4C today while BC is getting 100+ mm of rain and a reported 50,000 or 100,000 customers without hydro.

numerobis said...

Montreal, but I was chatting with someone in Red Deer. The forecast is now only calling for 9 this coming weekend, so it's shifted down to only being 10 degrees above the 30-year norm.

We had ephemeral snow a couple weeks ago, right on schedule, but since then we've had a couple rainstorms at 2-3 C which historically would have been snowstorms.

Magma said...

Several years ago in the late winter I flew into a subarctic town known for its frigid climate. There was no snow except for residual patches in sheltered north-facing hollows, smaller lakes and rivers were completely ice-free with only remnants of ice on the larger lakes, and the temperature was a stunning 25°C above the 50-year average for the date.

My colleagues and I had dinner and drinks outdoors in our shirtsleeves. Later that spring the area was swept by near-record forest fires.

But nothing odd about that, according to the skeptics. We've always had 4-sigma events like that, and even 5 and 6 sigma ones too. The warm, wet (or dry) and windy ones do seem to be happening quite a bit more often these days.

Cam said...

Wild weather in Pacific Northwest...normal weather for this time of the year. Drought is finally over.

Peter Wirfs said...

It is expected to be heavy rain all week here in Oregon, but our reservoirs are still below normal.

riverat said...

This is the time of year they draw the flood control reservoirs down in anticipation of snow melt off the Cascades in the Spring. Problem was last year there wasn't much snow to melt. This year has been spotty. More precipitation and there have been some pretty good snowfalls at pass levels but there has also been plenty of rain to wash it away.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Here in Montana we are having record and near record highs and record or near record high lows. Rain is predicted for tonight and tomorrow. Rain.

Avery said...

It has been in the 50s F here in Maryland since the first of December. It is forecast to be in the 60s come midweek thru the weekend. That is at least 10 degrees above normal.

Millicent said...

There is a mark on the bridge in Carlisle showing the flood level in 1853. The 2005 flood was half a metre higher than 1853, which was the highest on record until then. This flood was half a metre higher again.

Anonymous said...

Anyone familiar with the English Lake District would know that this rainfall isn't exceptional. The geography and the jet stream see to that. Estimating areal rainfall during the 1898 flood in the English Lake District and the implications for probable maximum precipitation by Colin Clark (2003) says 'Estimation of areal rainfall, especially in mountainous areas, is difficult. The use of lake levels and soil hydraulic conductivity data has enabled an estimate of 260-280mm over a 24-hour period to be made for the 1898 storm in the Lake Windermere catchment area. This result is more robust and reliable than any estimate obtained from rain gauges which are often, as in this case, located in the valleys. The results presented in this paper are based on a historical flood record.' That's 260-280mm in 24 hours for the whole catchment, not the 262.3mm in three days now being claimed as a record by ministers to cover up inadequate flood defence preparation. There's much more on not a lot of people know that.

Sou said...

You've got to compare like with like, as Clark 2003 explains. His estimate of the 1898 event was from lake levels etc. Trying to estimate the total volume of rain over an area, if most of the rain gauges are in the valleys, for example, they may underestimate the total precipitation.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1256/wea.262.02/pdf

The other thing that strikes me is that in the past few years, the UK has suffered an awful lot of major flood events. This one is not a once off. What people are saying are 1:200 year floods are happening rather too often to keep describing them as such.

If anyone is interested in learning about flooding in the UK (rather than looking to blame the guvmint), there's another paper that could be interesting, about how "systematic organisation of the North Atlantic climate system" over different periods can result in wetter and drier periods.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.2415/abstract

The rain data for Storm Desmond from 4/12 to 6/12 is listed on the UK Met Office blog - there's no comparative data with earlier events:

http://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/2015/12/06/wind-and-rain-records-for-storm-desmond/

Jammy Dodger said...

"The Met Office said new rainfall records were set in the Lake District for a 24-hour period, with 341.4mm recorded on Honister Pass in the 24-hours to 6pm on Saturday. That passed the previous record during flooding on 19 November 2009, when 316.4mm was measured at Seathwaite."

Sou said...

Thanks, Jammy. There's another article on the UK Met Blog that lists some of the records that appear to have been broken.

http://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/2015/12/

A quote from Julia Slingo re climate change and UK storms: "...just as with the stormy winter of two years ago, all the evidence from fundamental physics, and our understanding of our weather systems, suggests there may be a link between climate change and record-breaking winter rainfall. Last month, we published a paper showing that for the same weather pattern, an extended period of extreme UK winter rainfall is now seven times more likely than in a world without human emissions of greenhouse gases.”

Jammy Dodger said...

I do not know what point Anonymous is trying to make. The idea that just because you are familiar with the Lake District (I am) means you would have some insight into how much rain has fallen without recourse to some objective measure is just delusional.

Is this another of the dismissals by deniers that because there are some practical problems and difficulties with measuring stuff the whole exercise is worthless? It is not as though his/her figures even bear any comparison with the figures I am reading about. Another FUD merchant?

jgnfld said...

Just out of curiosity, Anon, did you take the time to find out how current lake levels as measured by the Clark 2003 methodology compare in the present storm? (Correcting for different flood control tech?)

It's vaguely possible that such storms in one particular region are "unexceptional". But you have provided precisely zero relevant evidence in your post where relevant evidence might well have been available if one did a little actual nitty-gritty work.

I realize deniers don't like doing actual scientific work, but in this case you have a perfect opportunity.

Millicent said...

"Anyone familiar with the English Lake District would know that this rainfall isn't exceptional."

ROFL. Some days the word 'denier' seems so terribly inadequate.

Nick said...

"Anyone familiar with the English Lake District would know that this rainfall isn't exceptional."

Then you manage to cite one lesser event over a century ago...where are these unexceptional events?? They should be really quite numerous in the record of the last two centuries. After all, they're 'unexceptional'.

This rain is exceptional..and the reason is obvious: very old towns are being severely inundated. If this was unexceptional weather, the siting of towns, and their engineered relationship with the waterways near and through them, would reflect that.

Do you think people were stupid when they drew on their experiences in siting their settlements?

0^0 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The opening was a 'snark' (this site's MO I thought) on 'Cumbria county'. Have a look at not a lot of people know that and see the many similar rainfall events since 1680s. Science and statistics which I thought you all wanted. For instance this 'This study has demonstrated the value of historical sources in supplementing data derived from scientific techniques such as lichenometry and radiocarbon dating. For Cumbria it was possible to identify 34 extreme floods which affected upland catchments since AD1600. The evidence supports the information derived from geomorphological approaches indicating that there have been marked changes in the frequency of such floods in the last 400 years, but that the frequency of such floods in the last three decades is not unusual and has fallen markedly from the mid-twentieth century. The occurrence of extreme flood events in upland areas appears to be linked closely with negative NAO values.' A final thought (telegram hence Caps.) 'BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WONT DROWN' (Swallows and Amazons).

0^0 said...

Anon is taking his "insight" from a UK based denier site.. So it must be scientifically sound and objectively researched.. Or perhaps not..

Sou said...

Yes, I guessed you came via that denialist website, wanting to downplay the weather disaster by saying that there have been floods recorded in the past. Not many as bad as this, I'll wager.

Nonetheless, some of those past floods would have been extreme too, otherwise no-one would have bothered recording them.

The snark at HotWhopper is usually reserved for deniers, not for science. No-one here AFAIK is disputing the Clark study. What we are surprised at is that you seem to think the floods aren't extreme, when they clearly were.

What would you regard as extreme weather worth reporting, Anonymous? Perhaps nothing less than the sinking of the UK under the ocean would suffice?

Sou said...

Paul Homewood is a conspiracy theorist who, like most deniers, doesn't make a habit of correcting his many mistakes.

Anonymous said...

That is from Extreme Flood Events in Upland Catchments in Cumbria since 1600: the evidence of historical records by Watkins & White 2008 (not Clark 2003). Sinking of England and rising of Scotland is the result of rebound from the last ice age. Your chip is showing (shoulder not brain).

cRR Kampen said...

Anom is like 'see there's no global warming' by presenting graphs till 1950 or so.
Two drowned in Cumbria (or 300 in Chennai) and Anom just walks over them.

Bernard J. said...

There was a report on the ABC today that describes how human suffering has grown worse than at any time since WWII:


http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2015/s4368063.htm

It's sobering to note that many (if not most) of the "disasters" causing this suffering are climate-related, and in fact that many of the political sources of suffering are themselves directly or indirectly related to climate disturbance too.

And this is just the start. We're still on the gentle slope upwards of a sigmoid curve whose inflection point is likely outside of civilisation's tolerance zone, let alone any consideration of the curve's plateau. As I noted a week or two ago, the negative impacts of climate change will increase exponentially with every 0.1°C increase in mean global temperature - although strictly speaking these too will follow sigmoid paths beyond their own inflection points, as all such negative sequelæ are bounded by the upper limits that are the finite boundaries of each population's/species' particular bioclimatic envelope.

Sou said...

What is the "that" you're referring to? Which Anonymouse is talking?

Suggestion 1 - if you are writing about a scientific paper, add a citation and a link to the paper. That way more people might be able to figure out what you're talking about.

Suggestion 2 - use a unique name when posting a comment. That way people might be able to distinguish between the various anonymice.

cRR Kampen said...

'exponentially' - in fact combinatorially, which is unimagineably worse over the already (for most) unimaginable exponential.

Bernard J. said...

cRR, I suppose that it depends on the value of the exponent... :-(

cRR Kampen said...

If you want to explain 'combinatorially' with exponents, try exponentially growing exponents.
The growth type I mean is based on the factorial function.
Related math topic, catastrophe theory.

guthrie said...

What I've noticed has changed in the last decade is that we are getting bigger rain and wind storms later in the year. I note the 1898 flood was on the 2/3rd of November, just under a month earlier in the year. New year at the start of this year saw massive rain and wind and moderate flooding in central Scotland.
Basically the flow of air thus rain has changed. Instead of getting colder dryer air we're getting hit with wet warm air straight from the Atlantic. Yesterday, in central Scotland, temps went from +4C in the morning to +13C in the evening, according to my car (So plus or minus a degree) which is just ridiculous for December.

BBD said...

Anon seems to be another person convinced that a warmer troposphere and increasing SSTs won't accelerate the hydrological cycle.

I wonder what other utter rubbish he believes in.

dhogaza said...

No, setting the one-day rainfall record for December in Portland OR is not "normal weather". Nor is there flooding in the valley every winter.

Millicent said...

OT, but I imagine that the denialosphere will be springing to the defense of two academics: Greenpeace exposes sceptics hired to cast doubt on climate science

Bill H said...

Anon, If you wish to be taken seriously you should withdraw your claim that the recent storm deposited 262 mm over 3 days, when, as has been pointed out elsewhere the reality is 340 mm in 1 day. At the moment you are looking either dishonest by not withdrawing it or deluded by (dare I say it) d*ny**g the evidence, apparently on the grounds that Mr Homewood does likewise. Either way meaningful discussion with you is rendered pointless.

Cam said...

It depends on where in the Northwest you live. I'm on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We are sitting right at our monthly rain average and have this type of weather every year. Even the weather guy on the local station mentioned it last night that there's nothing out of the ordinary with this series of storms.

Bill H said...

Anon, If you wish to be taken seriously you should withdraw your claim that the recent storm deposited 262 mm over 3 days, when, as has been pointed out elsewhere the reality is 340 mm in 1 day. At the moment you are looking either dishonest by not withdrawing it or deluded by (dare I say it) d*ny**g the evidence, apparently on the grounds that Mr Homewood does likewise. Either way meaningful discussion with you is rendered pointless.

metzomagic said...

Ooh. There might be a 'Happergate' in this. He is testifying in Congress today, right? The victories of the side of science in the climate wars are few lately, but gaining momentum and public support as the climate signal begins to take over from the noise.

Someone else said...

Ive been watching the hearing, its been.... interesting to say the least. Mr Cruz is not interested in hearing anything except confirmation of his forgone conclusions. he made that abundantly clear in the opening statement. Poor Dr Titley, much respect to him for being there

Joshua said...

You wouldn't happen to be a dental floss tycoon, would you?

palindrom said...

No, but I'm sure he's a mennil toss flycoon.

Brandon R. Gates said...

Millicent, Patrick Moore, (prodigal) co-founder of Greenpeace, has a guest article posted on WUWT wherein he reports that he has filed a complaint with the FBI against his (bastard) child for RICO violations, wire fraud, entrapment, and conspiracy to obstruct Congressional testimony. I wish I were joking.

How the mighty have fallen. (And that includes Greenpeace itself for reasons not related to their sting operation.)

dhogaza said...

"co-founder" is a bit of a stretch, though he's ridden that horse for a long time.

This latest grandstand ploy will go nowhere, of course.

dhogaza said...

"entrapment", for instance, can only be done by law enforcement ...

Brandon R. Gates said...

I didn't even bother taking up the lack of merit of his legal charges ... I was far more interested in taking apart this one:

"By opposing fossil-fueled power, it not only contributes to the deaths of many tens of millions every year because they are among the 1.2 billion to whom its campaigns deny affordable, reliable, clean, continuous, low-tech, base-load, fossil-fueled electrical power: it also denies to all trees and plants on Earth the food they need."

Not even wrong.

numerobis said...

So, to recap: it's hubris to think that is puny humans could control the weather or even increase CO2 concentrations by burning fossil fuels. Also, all plant life depends on us or it will die.

Brandon R. Gates said...

It beggars comprehension.

dhogaza said...

numerobis:

"Also, all plant life depends on us or it will die."

As we all know, there was no plant life until we began burning fossil fuels in quantity 125 years or so ago ...

The notion that fossil fuels are actually fossil (plant) fuels is ... hmmm ... head's exploding here.

David Sanger said...

and entrapment implies that what they did was criminal. You can't entrap someone to do something that's completely legal.

So which was it, legal or illegal?

Millicent said...

So investigative journalism will be added to the long list of things to be destroyed to protect fossil fuel industry profits.

Daryl Gangell said...

This is from Wikipedia. The full article indicates it was a catastrophic storm with major loss of live. Like there are people today attributing extreme weather to climate change which is caused by humans, the people of yesteryear also attributed this storm to people and their sins and it was the wroth of God.
As people today are puttThe Great Storm of 1703 arrived from the southwest on 26 November (7 December in today’s calendar). In London, 2,000 chimney stacks collapsed. The New Forest lost 4,000 oaks. Ships were blown hundreds of miles off-course, and over 1,000 seamen died on the Goodwin Sands alone. News-bulletins of casualties and damage were sold all over England – a novelty at that time. The church declared that the storm was God’s vengeance for the sins of the nation. Daniel Defoe thought it was a divine punishment for poor performance against Catholic armies in the War of the Spanish Succession.

BBD said...

So what? Your point is?

Bernard J. said...

It's so cute when semi-literate people think that they can particpate in deconstruction of advanced science.

jgnfld said...

Point? That's easy:

There was a big storm in 1703. Therefore no matter what happens, there can never be any effect of warming on the production, timing, size, or rate of big storms.

I should have thought the "logic" was obvious.

jgnfld said...

Point? That's easy:

There was a big storm in 1703. Therefore no matter what happens, there can never be any effect of warming on the production, timing, size, or rate of big storms.

I should have thought the "logic" was obvious.

Daryl Gangell said...

I apologise for testing your intelligence

rob r said...

Bear in mind Cam, the strait of Juan de Fuca is in the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains, particularly when the flow is coming from the south.

Jammy Dodger said...


No, no, do not apologise. We love the challenge!

Luckily jgnfld explained it for us 'cos it was too complicated for most of us. Your logic is impeccable, obviously.

cRR Kampen said...

"Winds of up to 80 miles per hour (130 km/h) destroyed more than 400 windmills." and stuff like that.
Pretty certain this one was better, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Storm_of_1987 (I apologize for testing Gangell's 'intelligence').

cRR Kampen said...

Gonna take an FOI to get the test results?

Bernard J. said...

As Jammy says, there's no need to apologise. In fact, there's no need to test either. If you'd simply asked I'd have told you my own quotient...

Bernard J. said...

Rob R, do you think that Cam will manage to grok the significance of your observation?

BBD said...

First, your continued failure to make a coherent point says nothing about the intelligence of anyone else present.

Second, most commenters here have worked out how to post on the same sub-thread, something you are still apparently working on.

Millicent said...

My favourite bit was where you apparently think that no advances have been made in ship design since 1703. Thank you for that: it was a truly golden moment.

Jammy Dodger said...

I see where you are going with this Millicent. A thousand sailors died in 1703 on the Goodwin sands. Zero sailors died in 2015. Therefore - no global warming! I can find no hole in that logic, at all.

numerobis said...

There's also the point that it's exactly as scientific to invoke the wrath of God as it is to invoke the wrath of atmospheric physics.

cRR Kampen said...

Yes, well, I decided to leave that one be..

Lionel A said...

Why don't you try going to source, I have a copy here it is published under the inexpensive Penguin Classics 'The Storm' by Daniel Defoe ISBN 0-141-43992-0.

Another quote from that Wiki article:

"Winds of up to 80 miles per hour (130 km/h) destroyed more than 400 windmills."

Whereas in the Great Storm of October 1987 winds of 120mph were recorded in my neck of the woods, as I was working in the early hours I could hear the mayhem going on outside.

Then, less than three years later we had the 'Burns Day Storm'. I remember this well I was working in the computer department of a Southampton college and watched as branches of the chestnuts in the grounds began to fall. I had been planning to make a computer expansion and as the winds eased a little at lunch time I made my way across The Avenue, the central reservation having two lines of chestnuts at the time, to Maplin with my shopping list of electronic components. The winds had got up again as I made my way back and those chestnuts along The Avenue were beginning to topple. I was nearly stranded for the night as the rail line home was blocked but luckily managed to cadge a lift with somebody who worked for a TV company, I was glad about this because my wife had a problem see below. Whilst waiting in reception at the TV studios I heard the reports of damage coming in for it was still blowing a gale at 18:40 that evening. I arrived home to survey the hole in our house roof.

This storm became a part of the (from Wiki) "1990 storm series – Between 25 January and 1 March 1990, eight severe storms crossed Europe including the Burns' Day storm (Daria), Vivian & Wiebke. The total costs resulting from these storms was estimated at almost €13 billion"

Now, what do you think is going on, is there a trend?

Cam said...

I don't know what "grok" means, but yes, I'm aware we're in a rain shadow. I'm also aware that this is normal weather in the Strait for this time of year and the Strait of Juan de Fuca was referenced in the article Sou linked to.

Chase Stoudt said...

Oh look who decided to comment about weather in the local paper.

Gerhard Kramm actually wrote "This average temperature is completely unimportant."

metzomagic said...

I don't know what "grok" means...

Ah well, I suppose we can't all be Heinlein fans.

Anonymous said...


Bill H December 9, 2015 at 8:44 AM said:

"....you should withdraw your claim that the recent storm deposited 262 mm over 3 days..."

Bill may not have read the article above by Sou.
That is the source of the rainfall figure Anon quotes:

As quoted on Quartz:

Storm Desmond dropped a total of 262.6 mm (10.3 inches) of rain in Cumbria county, in northwest England, from Friday through Sunday.

Anonymous said...

BBD December 9, 2015 at 5:41 AM

"...Anon seems to be another person convinced that a warmer troposphere and increasing SSTs won't accelerate the hydrological cycle...

Perhaps that is the case, we can't know his thoughts from what is written so far.

However, that is obviously not the argument being put forward.

The argument is whether or not extreme storms of recent times have increased in frequency and severity to an extent that this provides statistical evidence to support the position that the world has warmed significantly over that time.

Anonymous said...

There is a bit of hard work going into that strawman. (Yeah, I know you're joking, sort of.)

But, just in the interests of clarity, the point would appear to be that the particular historical storm under discussion was likely of significant severity, and it may well have been as severe as this recent storm.

On a positive note, I am pleased to see the word 'unprecedented' does not appear anywhere. Indeed, that word, and its associated exclamation marks, seem to have fallen right out of fashion in these articles of late.

Magma said...

And he is absolutely right!

After all what really counts are the daily highs and the daily lows. And if you insist on adding those together and dividing by two I doubt anyone will be coming over with a big stick to stop you.

(No guarantees, just a feeling.)

Bernard J. said...

"The argument is whether or not extreme storms of recent times have increased in frequency and severity to an extent that this provides statistical evidence to support the position that the world has warmed significantly over that time."

Huh?! The "argument" is about using storm figures to provide "statistical evidence... that the world has warmed significantly..."? Really, that's what the argument is about?

Why would the argument be about that? If you want to know whether the "world has warmed" you can check directly by looking at temperature measurements. They tell us with no doubt that the planet has warmed.

If proxies are your thang then you should use ones that have close correlations with temperature, such as sea level rise, ice melt, and phenological shifts.

Using storm intensity/frequency to provide statistical evidence for warming is like using a neighbour's phone bill to check whether the girl next door is growing, rather than using a tape measure on the girl herself, or a record of her weight, or an analysis of her change in shoe size, or any number of other more suitable proxies.

You're really not a science-savvy anonymous, are you?

Millicent said...

Since when did lack of evidence become evidence?

Anonymous said...

Bernard.

What, then, is the point of Sou's article above? (Which, I presume, some in here are discussing).

Is is just some interesting anecdotes? Or some dramatic news of disasters to thrill the crowd?

Or was it written to declare "weather extremes are getting more extreme more often" and so there is indeed evidence that the world is warming and the weather is getting nasty?

I had interpreted it as the latter. But there is no doubt we all see things differently.
But I do happen think your analogy regarding the phone bill is apt in this case.

BBD said...

Dear Anon

What Bernard J said, really.

The argument is whether or not extreme storms of recent times have increased in frequency and severity to an extent that this provides statistical evidence to support the position that the world has warmed significantly over that time.

We know the warming is real.

The contrarian argument is that because it is difficult - as yet - to discern a statistically significant increase in frequency and severity of extreme weather events, the warming is not real.

This ignores the physics, which I outlined in my first response. As warming increases, so the hydrological cycle will accelerate and the frequency and severity of extreme precipitation will emerge unambiguously from the weather noise. It's just a matter of time.

The increase in extraordinary flooding here in the UK is suggestive - but not dispositive - that we are seeing the climate signal beginning to emerge.

cRR Kampen said...

"... it is difficult - as yet - to discern a statistically significant increase in frequency and severity of extreme weather events" - I think we already, merely over the course of a few years (I know, statistical/climatological sinning here!) are past that 'as yet'. Significantly so.

Millicent said...

As the evidence stacks up against them, listening to climate change deniers is becoming increasingly like listening to rich men's defense lawyers.

"A millionaire property developer accused of raping a teenager while she slept has claimed he accidentally penetrated her when he fell on top of her, Southwark Crown Court has heard"

Bill H said...

Anon,
So, in the light of more than 340 mm rainfall recorded within 24 hours during the Dec 2015 Cumbria floods, as mentioned at the top of these comments, you make no attempt whatsoever to defend your claim of higher rainfall in 1898.
See: http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=news;storyid=7032;sess=
Instead you engage in some weird diversionary strategy along the lines of: “Sou didn’t mention this figure”. Maybe this passes as “evidence-based reasoning” in the circles in which you habitually move, but it doesn’t pass muster here.

Bernard J. said...

Anonymous.

It's been repeatedly pointed out to you that changes in storm frequency and/or intensity are not being used as statistical measures to prove the fact of global warming. And Sou's not saying that they are. You are either unable to parse simple language, or you are unable to think with the clarity to avoid succumbing to logical fallacies.

Your quote, now repeated back to you several times, contains a classic logical fallacy. Your mission - should you choose to accept it - is to identify which one...

Treesong said...

Anonymouse, what people have been telling you over and over, but you keep missing, perhaps because they don't say it in so many words, is that one exceptional event proves nothing. (Sou December 8, 2015 at 9:48 PM perhaps comes closest.) The 1703 storm proves nothing. The 2015 storm proves nothing. The 1987 storm and the 1990 storm and the 2015 storm--now you're getting somewhere. Maybe not p = .05 statistical significance, but that's hard to come by with such rare events.

In any event, this isn't about evidence for AGW; as has been said repeatedly, that doesn't need more evidence. It's already proven beyond reasonable doubt. This is evidence on the question of increasing severe weather with increasing heat.

Griff said...

Here is a study that quantifies the rainfall of the extremes measured in 2009 and examines the relationship between Comparisons of return period estimates for the November 2009 event at Honister Pass and Seathwaite.
http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/12487/1/BHS_3rd_Int_Symp_Stewart_et_al.pdf
The new figure on this revised FORGEX analysis Gives the return period at Honister Pass for the recent rain as a one in a thousand year event.
Not extreme?
Only in the minds of those intent on deceiving themselves.

Anonymous said...

From that notorious denialist rag The Times.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article4636885.ece

Anonymous said...

University of Cambridge any better? It was for me.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article4636885.ece

Sou said...

That's not Cambridge, it's the Times. And it's behind a paywall so not much use.

Sou said...

Here's a link to an article on the Cambridge website:

http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/unprecedented-storms-and-floods-are-more-common-than-we-think

"“It is of concern that historical data suggests there is far more capacity in the North Atlantic climate system to produce wetter and more prolonged flood-rich periods than hitherto experienced in the 21st century. Looking forward, an increased likelihood of weather extremes due to climate change means that extending our flood record using geomorphology science must be placed at the centre of flood risk assessment in the UK.”

Which is consistent with the paper I referred to in my earlier comment at 9:48 above.

Anonymous said...

More information:

"Scientists have contradicted a minister’s claim that last weekend’s flooding in Cumbria was unprecedented and linked to climate change. They say that there have been 34 extreme floods there in the past 300 years and that lives had been put at risk by “grossly underestimating” the risk of floods and failing to consider evidence from records."

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article4636885.ece

the rest is paywalled..


"Tom Spencer, a reader in coastal ecology and geomorphology at the University of Cambridge, said that analysis of deposits and floods in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries showed they were the 'bigger events". These floods happened long before the rise in manmade emissions, undermining the claim that last weeks floods were linked to climate change. He said that the government relied too heavily on records dating back only 40 yrs"

Anonymous said...

"Scientists have contradicted a minister’s claim that last weekend’s flooding in Cumbria was unprecedented and linked to climate change. They say that there have been 34 extreme floods there in the past 300 years and that lives had been put at risk by “grossly underestimating” the risk of floods and failing to consider evidence from records. "



"Tom Spencer a reader in coastal ecology and geomorphology at the University of Cambridge, said that analysis of deposits and floods in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries showed they were the 'bigger events". These floods happened long before the rise in man-made emissions, undermining the claim that last weeks floods were linked to climate change. He said that the government relied too heavily on records dating back only 40 yrs"

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article4636885.ece

Rattus Norvegicus said...

I would have thought that "grok" had long since passed into the vernacular. Oh well, detached from reality in one aspect, detached in others.

Rattus Norvegicus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Wirfs said...

Well now this rain is causing some serious issues. Our governor declared a state of emergency in 13 counties. And just for good measure a tornado touched down and destroyed some property.

http://www.kgw.com/story/news/local/2015/12/10/gov-brown-declares-state-emergency-13-counties/77129852/

cRR Kampen said...

" Indeed, that word, and its associated exclamation marks, seem to have fallen right out of fashion in these articles of late."
This is because the unprecedence of weather phenomena in articles of late is a given.

cRR Kampen said...

Thanks, we now know Tom Spencer is a shill for Shell or something (look at the typ i cal style climate revisionism that always looks so demented!!), and he is therefore also responsible for the Cumbria floods (including two fatalities), the Chennai floods (including 300 fatalities) et cetera. Like you.

jgnfld said...

You can say that again, Rat. Certainly it has been listed and defined in all main stream dictionaries including Merriam and the OED for many years now. It is a perfectly acceptable Scrabble word as well.

BBD said...

Dear Anon

Let's try again.

Pointing to extreme weather events in the past is an irrelevance and suggests a failure to understand the basic issue.

Remember the physics: a warmer troposphere holds more water vapour and warmer SSTs supply more of it. As warming increases, so the hydrological cycle will accelerate and the frequency and severity of extreme precipitation will emerge unambiguously from the weather noise. It's just a matter of time.

The increase in the frequency of extraordinary flooding here in the UK is suggestive - but not dispositive - that we are seeing the climate signal beginning to emerge.

Fractional attribution (or denial of same) is a mug's game at the moment, although that will change. Physics denial is always a mug's game and that will never change.

metzomagic said...

That article is paywalled, anon.

Nonetheless (from what I could glean from the small amount I was allowed to read), the fact that there have been 34 UK storms of roughly the same severity in the past 300 years isn't the point. It's the increasing frequency of severe flooding events that matters. For every 1 deg C of average temperature, the atmosphere can hold roughly 7% more moisture. That's what causes more frequent severe flooding, and it's a signal that has only recently begun to emerge from the noise.

There have been some recent attribution studies that indicate we are 5 times more likely now to get these 1000-year flooding events. So they aren't 1000-year events any longer. And it's only going to get worse if we continue with BAU.

Millicent said...

Is it just me or is there a singular lack of the funny old "its all over for the AGW scam" posts that we have all come to know and love? I wonder why that is.

Treesong said...

This looks like kneejerk rejection of unexpected information. I've Googled around and see no reason to think Spencer is a skeppo. Frankly, change Spencer to (say) Hansen and, mutatis mutandis, this post would fit well into WUWT.

Though I'd like to see some scientific reaction to the claims of Spencer et al. before I accept them as solid. Surely the floods inferred from flood deposits can be cross-checked against records from those times?

Phil said...

here is the link to a press release for Spencer work. Seems the Times may have "spun" this somewhat. A quote:
“It is of concern that historical data suggests there is far more capacity in the North Atlantic climate system to produce wetter and more prolonged flood-rich periods than hitherto experienced in the 21st century. Looking forward, an increased likelihood of weather extremes due to climate change means that extending our flood record using geomorphology science must be placed at the centre of flood risk assessment in the UK.”

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Joshua, no, but I have a Sears poncho.

BBD said...

Comment threading is broken for me.

* * *

That's the THIRD TIME Anonymous has posted a link to the paywalled Times article. And he did not respond to me when I answered him at #2 attempt.

So I'm forced to post my response - again - here:

Dear Anon

Let's try again.

Pointing to extreme weather events in the past is an irrelevance and suggests a failure to understand the basic issue.

Remember the physics: a warmer troposphere holds more water vapour and warmer SSTs supply more of it. As warming increases, so the hydrological cycle will accelerate and the frequency and severity of extreme precipitation will emerge unambiguously from the weather noise. It's just a matter of time.

The increase in the frequency of extraordinary flooding here in the UK is suggestive - but not dispositive - that we are seeing the climate signal beginning to emerge.

Fractional attribution (or denial of same) is a mug's game at the moment, although that will change. Physics denial is always a mug's game and that will never change.

Hyperactive Hydrologist said...

I can't find any publications on this topic by Spencer. His publications list is mainly related to coastal geomorphology. The only paper I could find relating to this is http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/esp.3853/abstract
I presume this is what Spencer is referring to.

BBD said...

This was the first time Anonymous posted a link to the Times article. So he failed to respond to metzomagic and failed to respond to me (after his *second* posting of this article - instead he posted it for a THIRD time. Now that's trolling, folks.

Jammy Dodger said...

I am having problems with not seeing comments in the other "Judith Curry" blog. I can see posts that arrive in my email but those same posts are not visible in the HotWhopper comment section. Posts are missing from me, Sou and cRR Kampen.

Cugel said...

Not much talk about the Ice Age which cometh either.

Sou said...

Jammy - I'm about to clean up the duplicate comments. Try clearing the browser cache, or if that fails, try a different web browser.

0^0 said...

Then there is this set of fresh studies http://www.climatecentral.org/news/extreme-uk-rains-more-likely-with-warming-19801 suggesting increase of 40% in likelihood of UK deluges