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Monday, January 11, 2016

Telegraphing climate facts is unhelpful to Eric Worrall at WUWT

Sou | 1:51 AM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment

In the land of deniosaurs, facts are most unhelpful, don't you know. As you might have gathered if you've read any denier blogs like WUWT, anyone who talks about the science of climate change is at best an "alarmist", if not full of "hate" (one of Anthony Watts' favourite words when describing climate hawks).

Today Eric Worrall decides that it's "alarmist" to lay out the facts (archived here). I'm thinking he probably doesn't know the difference between "alarmist" and "alarming". Or maybe he does and he just doesn't want to face the facts. Eric is an odd little chap who's been a science denier for some time. Maybe forever - I wouldn't know. Certainly since he started commenting on climate blogs.

Anyway, Eric thinks it's "alarmist" of Myles Allen to state the obvious (at the Telegraph):

"Normal weather is actually a bit of a thing of the past."
"Here in Oxford we maintain the world’s longest daily weather record, we just beat the previous record by a whopping two and a half degrees and that record was set back in 1852."
Eric quoted a slab from the Telegraph, but not this bit:
“You’re not meant to beat weather records by that kind of margin and just like in athletics if you start doing so, it’s a sign that something’s actually changed.” 

Climate change is about weather changing ... including where people live

Eric has fond memories of Professor Allen taking potshots at NGOs. Eric would prefer he just shut up about what is happening in the UK - flood after flood and a record massively hot December.  However if you read what Eric highlighted back 2014 when he was praising Myles Allen, it was exactly what Professor Allen is talking about now. Eric quoted him (from a newspaper article) as saying:
climate change is just all about melting ice caps and the Arctic” even though “the reality is climate change is about the weather changing in many parts of the world including where many people live."
Eric might not live in the UK any more, but lots of people do. Some of those people live in areas devastated by recent floods and most of them would have experienced the weather changing where they live (whether they know it or not).

I  can understand climate science deniers and disinformers not wanting anyone to talk about how the "normal" weather we're getting today is so different to what "normal" used to be. There've been floods and droughts and heat waves before, it's just that they are happening much more often and at a level not seen in living memory. Or in some cases, probably not in recorded history. We're breaking new ground  - or weather records.

From the WUWT comments

Bill H reckons the powers that be should have anticipated record-breaking rains, and he could be right. It could get worse as time goes on. Maybe BillH understands something of what climate change will bring, or maybe he's just another denier:
January 9, 2016 at 10:30 pm
Using money to fight an imaginary foe called AGW and being ignorant of proper maintenance of rivers and canals which drain rain water is now the fault of AGW?
Who hired fools to run the country?

johnmarshall thinks dredging is the answer. I don't think that will help a whole lot. It'll just make the water flow faster and flood different towns and farmland. It might be better to find ways to slow the flow down. Flood mitigation isn't easy when you get the sort of rains that have been pelting down on the UK and Ireland (and the USA).
January 10, 2016 at 3:04 am
Dredging has been used for over 2000 years to good effect, why change the rules making it all but impossible? 

Knutsen is a bit under the weather from the look of it:
January 10, 2016 at 1:33 am
The stanard deviation was burried with it.

While deniers do their utmost to shift the world to a new hotter "normal" as soon as they can, lots of people have decided it would be best to redefine normal. I agree, but not with their solutions. Notanist wants to go well before civilisation began, back to the dawn of time:
January 10, 2016 at 4:16 am
Normal weather for the Earth includes everything from 2 mile thick glaciers covering Northern Europe, Asia and the U.S. to a subtropical arctic. That’s all going away now? To be replaced by what, exactly? 

Climate Heretic wants someone else to come up with a definition of normal.
January 9, 2016 at 10:49 pm
Define: Normal in the context of past, present and future?
Climate Heretic 

jclarke341 doesn't understand the difference between a once-off event 160 years ago, and events that are becoming commonplace today.
January 9, 2016 at 10:52 pm
So at one location on the planet, they break a 164 year old record. Did they claim an end to normal weather when the previous record was set in 1852? No. Breaking weather records IS normal. It happens every year somewhere. I guess when it happens in your back yard and in your lifetime it automatically means that something must be wrong with the climate.
It’s no longer about science…now it’s personal.

Nimrod can't understand this obsession with records. He or she must use a different yardstick, but they don't say what it is. (And wow, 700 days above zero degrees in Bergen - that's some record!):
January 9, 2016 at 11:25 pm
Unusual weather is NORMAL! This something I learned whilst doing a two-year study of the local air stability over a planned industrial site back in the 70’s. It seems modern people get hung up in statistics, and judge everything in RECORDS. The most pathetic one was claimed by the next largest city of Bergen, here in Norway. They claimed there had now (just after Christmas, 2014) been over 700 days without the temperature over 24 hrs being lower than 0 degrees C ! Fancy that! But, then Bergen also has the joke about the toutist who asked a boy if it always rains in Bergen, “I don’t know”, he said “I’m only 10”. 

Michael C has a thing about records, too. He doesn't admit that most of the records being broken are for hot and wet, just as expected with global warming.
January 9, 2016 at 11:39 pm
Given the number of data collection locations, the relatively short period of time over which we have records, and the semi-chaotic nature of climate, is it not logical that records will be broken on a regular basis?

A.D. Everard  is waiting for the next cold dry winter to say "gotcha". I don't know how long he'll have to wait, but would guess it could be a few thousand millenia before the "coldest decade" record is broken - although as I recall there was a very cold winter in 2010 in the UK.
January 10, 2016 at 12:17 am
“Wetter and warmer winters now more likely.” Remember that one, folks, it will come back to bite them on the b u m.

M Courtney thinks it would be statistically normal for the world to just keep getting hotter and hotter, without ever turning cold again. (Which is very peculiar, because he's a hard-core denier, like his father.)
January 10, 2016 at 12:44 am
I heard this at the time on the Today programme.
Prof Myles Allen gave the analogy of throwing dice over and over again. He said if the rolls kept going up then that shows something strange is going in.
This assumed that the weather one day is completely independent of the weather the day before – like dice rolls.
Which is bunkum, of course.
So does Prof Myles Allen:
A) Completely misunderstand statistics?
B) Completely misunderstand the climate?
C) Want to mislead?


  1. Deniers do tend to be statistically challenged.

    1. Worrall pal Tim Ball has traded in Hot Whopper for a Hot Shopper.

    2. Russell,
      I suppose I have ripped off stuff over the years without acknowledgement, but really you shouldn't have plagiarized my page from a few years ago this blatantly:

      Compare against

      You have apparently turned off comments on your site, so have to point it out here.

      Standup comics are known for stealing from each other, so can't take this too seriously. The reason I did that page originally was because I couldn't believe what a zoo that Climate Etc had turned into and so had to document the atrocities for posterity (to quote a phrase from the Kos).

    3. Whut,
      1. doesn't link
      2. Per the post title, the comments have never been turned on
      3 The post expands on an earlier one I ran in 2013
      4 Tip of the hat for inspiring that edition along with

    4. So the earlier one you ran was from 2013? Lo and behold, I had my version up before 2013, and linked to it in January 2013 from my blog

      It was so long ago you probably forgot that you ripped it off in the first place :)

    5. Link duly added, but I call fair usage as only 10 of your 79 made my top 20 list-- let's go bag some more !

  2. Las Vegas is built on people like M Courtney's "understanding" of statistics

    1. Actually it was built on people with Tamino's understanding of statistics taking advantage of the M Courtneys of the world.

    2. M Courtney gets the statistics fine in his comment; it's the physics where he comes up short.

    3. Sort of, numerobis. He probably gets that the chances of rolling a six is the same as rolling a one in any toss of the dice. And he probably gets that over 60,000 dice throws, about 10,000 of those tosses should be a six. He's probably heard of auto-correlation so that the global mean temp in one year is not completely independent of the temp in the previous year. That means that globally, the temperature won't normally go up or down by a huge margin (depending on the forces acting in any year). (Locally it can - look at CET in 2010 compared to the years on either side). However it reads as if he thinks that global mean surface temperature can keep rising higher and higher and never fall, because of statistics (presumably auto-correlation) - but that's not how it works.

    4. The Myles Allen die/dice analogy, if it has been accurately repeated by M. Courtney, was meant to illustrate the "something strange is going on" aspect of weather rather than the weather itself. If consistently high numbers are rolled with a pair of dice, "something strange IS going on". The dice are biased. If weather data shows consistently high numbers, "something strange IS going on".
      As for M C's statistical ability, M C could have criticised M A's analogy by purporting that weather data with 'unexpected' extreme values is a naturally occurring leptokurtic distribution.

  3. Just got off the phone to my uncle in Lancashire. He didn't get flooded but lives only a few miles from where houses were flooded. He got woken by the pouring rain again last night. We Brits like moaning about the weather but even this prolonged wet spell is unusual.

  4. WUWT summarised: 'no matter what happens we won't believe it can be down to AGW'.

    1. Exactly, Millicent. And then about 10 or 20 years from now, when there's no doubt whatsoever that we've soiled our own nest, it'll be all like: "Well, who knew"?

    2. They will simply spin it as a global NWO conspiracy - that allowed the Chinese to dominate the global market in renewable technology

  5. Didn't know about the 700 days of Bergen and that is indeed climate pathology on a different level.


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