Sunday, September 29, 2013

Anthony Watts is disconnected from climate reality

Sou | 1:40 AM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts, blogger at WUWT, writes with sublime confidence in true denier fashion (archived here):
There’s simply no connection between droughts, hurricanes, thunderstorms, flash floods, tornadoes and “climate change”. Note to Brad Johnson of “Forecast the Facts”, and Bill McKibben of 350.org, both of whom daily try to link weather events to climate change: IPCC says STFU.

Connecting weather and climate change

Anthony Watts is wrong.  There is a most definite connection between global warming and all weather events.  How can there not be.  More energy in the troposphere on the land and in the oceans has to affect the weather. The connections have been identified in Table SPM.1 of the AR5 SPM as follows:

  • Drought - Increases in intensity and/or duration of drought are likely (medium confidence) on a regional to global scale. Regional to global-scale projected decreases in soil moisture and increased agricultural drought are likely (medium confidence) in presently dry regions by the end of this century under the RCP8.5 scenario. Soil moisture drying in the Mediterranean, Southwest US and southern African regions is consistent with projected changes in Hadley circulation and increased surface temperatures, so there is high confidence in likely surface drying in these regions by the end of this century under the RCP8.5 scenario.
  • Hurricanes - Increases in intense tropical cyclone activity. More likely than not in the Western North Pacific and North Atlantic - based on expert judgment and assessment of projections which use an SRES A1B (or similar) scenario.  
  • Flash floods - Heavy precipitation events. Increase in the frequency, intensity, and/or amount of heavy precipitation. Likely over many land areas early this century. Very likely over most of the mid-latitude land masses and over wet tropical regions later this century. 

The following two aren't in Table SPM.1 and I'm not sure why Anthony included them.
  • Thunderstorms - why Anthony mentioned thunderstorms is anyone's guess.  Thunder is the noise made when there are massive electrical discharges.  I don't know if there will be more electrical discharges in the atmosphere or not.  Anyone know?
  • Tornadoes - AFAIK the jury is still out.

One item Anthony missed is rising seas, which will exacerbate the impact of storms and cyclones that hit coastal areas.  The IPCC report says of sea levels:
Increased incidence and/or magnitude of extreme high sea level is likely early this century and very likely later this century. There is high confidence that this increase in extreme high sea level will primarily be the result of an increase in mean sea level. There is low confidence in region-specific projections of storminess and associated storm surges.

What does Anthony think climate change means?  It means changing climates - duh!

Richard Lindzen - denier weirdness

People have wondered how Richard Lindzen, who is still AFAIK associated with one of the world's most prestigious institutions, MIT, could turn into such a raving ratbag.  He gave a quote to Marc Morano at ClimateDepot, which Anthony Watts reposted at WUWT (archived here in the same article).  I don't think it was picked up by the mainstream media, which is hardly surprising.  Here's an excerpt:
Finally, in attributing warming to man, they fail to point out that the warming has been small, and totally consistent with there being nothing to be alarmed about.  It is quite amazing to see the contortions the IPCC has to go through in order to keep the international climate agenda going

Of course they "fail to point out" that warming has been small.  It hasn't been small.  It's been extremely fast. Most probably faster than any human has ever seen since humans first evolved.  And it's going to get worse.  It's definitely something to be alarmed about.  From Stanford University (excerpt):
The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.
If the trend continues at its current rapid pace, it will place significant stress on terrestrial ecosystems around the world, and many species will need to make behavioral, evolutionary or geographic adaptations to survive.

From the WUWT comments

Leon0112 doesn't know that surface temperatures have already risen a lot, or that a hotter surface and warmer oceans are not incompatible. On the contrary, they are expected.  He says:
September 28, 2013 at 7:08 am
In previous reports, the IPCC asserted that it was settled science that increasing CO2 levels caused increasing surface temperatures. Now, the IPCC asserts that the heat is hiding in the ocean. This is an implicit admission that previous settled science was wrong.

gopal panicker is a simple, straightforward denier and says:
September 28, 2013 at 6:50 am
the whole ‘report’ is bullshit

Peter Miller uses fancier words to express his denial and says:
September 28, 2013 at 8:14 am
We must never forget the grim truth that the IPCC, like all quasi-government bureaucracies, is primarily interested in its own perpetuation. Everything else is a secondary consideration.
George Orwell would be proud of the IPCC and the way it portrays the ‘facts’ about climate.


  1. Watts has contradicted himself with that paragraph: after detailing where the IPCC DOES make qualified connections, he states there are none!. Re read the excerpts from the table that Watts reproduces above his sweeping pronouncement.

    And look in the table re droughts "low confidence on a global scale, likely changes in some regions [which are listed in footnote 'd']"

    How does that square with Watts decree?

    Another misdirection emerges: Watts quotes the IPCC SREX on loss attribution as though it discusses basic physical attribution; all they were saying was that property accounting tools did not clearly show a connection between climate change and extreme events [some of the RE groups beg to differ BTW]. Ledger balances are not physics and vice versa.

    Reading Watts is of no basic informative value; everything has to be unravelled and corrected,and reconnected to reality. It's exhausting ...

  2. "... continue to deceive, ..." You're being ironic aren't you? Distortions feature regularly on the WUWT surrealistic blogsite where art is dominant over science. As usual, the Watts School of Arts has forgotten the maxim - The secret to good art is knowing when to stop.

  3. I don't know what you're rabbiting on about this time, Thomas.

    That para of Anthony's stands on its own. It's a closing declaration by Anthony, who precedes it by saying "we can finally call it a dead issue."

    Why would you try to rescue Anthony from it? Do you 'intend to deceive' or is it unintentional, or are you just arguing for argument's sake yet again? Or are you what you say you are.


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