Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jumping the shark or Watts Up with Anthony Watts

Sou | 1:55 AM Feel free to comment!

Anthony Watts isn't the sharpest tool in the toolshed.  Today he decided to use something from Jeff Masters as his "quote of the week" (archived here).  Anthony said that Jeff Masters "jumped the shark".  I wonder if Anthony knows what the saying means.

This is where the saying came from:

Click here or here for the explanation of "jump the shark".  From Wikipedia, "it's the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality, which is usually a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of "gimmick" in an attempt to keep viewers' interest."

Now Anthony Watts says that Jeff Masters is beginning a "decline in quality" with this particular gimmick segment from a report of an interview for the Voice of Russia.  The interviewer's comments are in bold italics above Jeff Master's response:
What kind of tendency such kind of things show if we take 10-20 years for example?
This is the coldest winter in about 20 years in the eastern part of the US. So, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen something like this. And we would expect with the warming climate to see fewer of this sort of winters but there will still be an occasional cold winter.
Does that actually show that climate change is not that predictable as many say?
That is for sure. Expect the unprecedented – that is kind of my watch words, when you disturb the climate like we have, we are going to see a lot of crazy weather events and that sure has been the case over the last few years.

Anthony highlighted the last sentence.  He thinks it was the sign that Jeff Masters has begun his "decline in quality".  Before we go back to why Anthony thought that Jeff Masters is about to disappear of the face of television (or is it from the Internet), I'll add a couple of other points Jeff Masters made in the interview.  First, his response to an earlier question:
Can we speak of the impact of climate change as far as this winter storm is concerned?
You wouldn’t expect with climate change to see more record cold and this storm is kind of an anomalous sort of storm, it is forming at the very edge of some cold air unlike we’ve never seen in March, which is quite a change from two years ago when we had what we called "summer March", where we had July-like temperatures in March. It is hard to figure out what is going on. We are seeing crazy extremes in March, cold this year and exceptional warmth two years ago.

And the final two points:
Unlike those people who say that the climate change actually mostly leads to the weather becoming warmer, it is sometimes on the contrary, right?
Yes, global warming is just that. It is global and over some regions you are not going to necessarily see warming in all seasons of the year, there are going to be exceptions.
Not warming for everyone.
Not this winter, that is for sure in the US. Although in Las Vegas, Nevada had its warmest winter on record this past winter. So, it’s been a different story on the west coast.

No prizes for guessing why Anthony left off the last two points, or the last one in particular.

Back to why Anthony thinks that ex-hurricane-hunting, ex-NOAA meteorologist Jeff Masters, with his BSc, MS and PhD and founder of one of the most popular weather websites on the internet is about to become irrelevant, unpopular, disdained by all the world.  (It's empty words on Anthony's part of course. Jeff Masters goes from strength to strength while WUWT fades into irrelevance, relying on "bloggie" awards to feel important. Wunderground.com is way more popular than WUWT could ever hope to be.  Anthony's pathetic anti-science blog WUWT is not merely not in the same class as wunderground.com, it's not even in the same school district.  They aren't comparable by any stretch of the imagination.)

By the way, Anthony gives a hat tip to professional climate disinformer, Marc Morano.  The professionals use tools like Anthony Watts as a free publicity arm.  Denial tools don't need to be sharp. Blunt tools work as well because the people who "believe" them aren't very sharp.  Their world view has blunted their intellect.

When the climate changes, what changes?

Anthony offers the IPCC's SREX and AR5 reports as evidence that Jeff Masters has started down a slippery slope.  He ends by writing:
There’s simply no connection between droughts, hurricanes, thunderstorms, flash floods, tornadoes and “climate change”. There’s no mention of colder, more snowy winters either.
Which leads us to a question.  If, as Anthony claims, there is no connection between any of the above and climate change, then what does constitute climate change?  Is it a change in air temperature, rainfall, frost or maybe wind?  Perhaps it gets drier without drought.  Or maybe it gets wetter without flooding.  Or maybe it gets colder with no snow.  What do you think?  Do people generally think the climate can change just a little bit?  So no-one notices?

One thing Anthony did mention was heat waves, writing: "They’ve only talked about heat waves and precipitation events being connected".  And the connections keep coming:

From ScienceDaily.com: "New research shows extremely hot temperatures over land have dramatically and unequivocally increased in number and area".

From CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology State of the Climate 2014, Australia is already nearly one degree hotter than early last century.  This past year alone it had more very hot days (very hot days in the top 1 per cent of mean temperatures) than for the entire period from 1900-1940.  The climate in the south east has already started to change, getting drier when farmers need it most and getting markedly hotter as well.

It looks as if there is a change in extreme rainfall in the USA, too, as elsewhere, especially in the north east.  And some say floods are about to get much worse in Europe.

Anthony Watts seems to think none of this matters, as long as cyclones and tornadoes don't become more common.  Well, he should know what climate change can do.  He lives in California.

Unprecedented - getting it right

You remember what Jeff Masters said about cold weather?  He said "we would expect with the warming climate to see fewer of this sort of winters but there will still be an occasional cold winter."  He didn't say that the recent cold spells in the USA were unprecedented. Yet our old friend ferdberple makes a song and dance and says:
March 4, 2014 at 7:20 am
Weather Underground’s Dr. Jeff Masters jumps the shark with the Voice of Russia:
Expect the unprecedented

How can the coldest winter in 20 years be unprecedented if it was colder 20 years ago?
Unprecedented means “never done or known before”. It does not means “happened 20 years ago”.
Apparently Jeff is not a Master of English.
never done or known before. without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled: an unprecedented event.

Deniers are getting dumber by the day!  The cold spells in the USA are just an example of weather from the recent past, that are only unprecedented in the lifetime of people younger than around twenty years of age.

Some weather has been called unprecedented.

Typhoon Haiyan may have been unprecedented in wind strength at landfall.

The wet weather in the UK this past winter can be called unprecedented in the record books.

This century there was the Russian heat wave and the European heat waves and Australia's Angry Summer.  In fact the global surface temperature of each of the past four decades can each be called "unprecedented" in the instrumental record.

It won't take long for there to be lots more "unprecedenteds" as climate change kicks in. Within a few decades, sea levels will probably be "unprecedented" since civilisation began 10,000 years or so ago. Sooner or later some iconic buildings will be under water. The Arctic will be free of ice before then - another "unprecedented" in a very long time.

While Anthony Watts and his deniers point to cyclones and tornadoes they are missing the point of climate change.  Sure there will be lots of dramatic "unprecedented" extremes.  There will also be shifts in climate like we are already getting in Australia - and like is probably happening in the USA.  These insidious shifts in climate will be the ones we have to adapt to as "crazy weather" becomes the norm.

“This is crazy. This is madness, what’s going on now."

For all the deniers in Australia who scoff at Perth for building its desalination plants, I'll leave you with this, from Perth Now:
THE weather bureau says Perth’s record-smashing summer was “madness” and it has used temperature and rainfall data to lash out at climate change sceptics.
And the state’s top meteorologists are warning West Australians they face decades of rising temperatures – with hotter, drier and more extreme summers.
The 2011-12 summer was Perth’s hottest on record and this summer was the second hottest on record, tied with both the 2009-10 summer and the 2010-11 summer with an average maximum of 32C.
This summer was also the driest in five years for Perth, with just 2mm of rain, and the driest on record for Mandurah.
Perth had only three days where rain fell and not one drop fell last month – the first dry February since 2000.
It might have been the start of autumn but there was no respite yesterday, with temperatures nudging 37C in Perth.
The weather bureau is normally conservative, but Bureau of Meteorology climate expert Neil Bennett said the data was staring climate change sceptics “in the face”.
“It’s climate change. It’s warming. It’s staring you in the face,” he said. 
“This is crazy. This is madness, what’s going on now.
“The climate doesn’t change like this. This is really remarkable. The last four summers have all either been the hottest or second hottest on rec­ord.
“It’s not just Perth – in Bunbury eight of the hottest summers have occurred since the turn of the century.
“What we are saying is when you look and see the trend is going up, it seems foolish to try to ignore that trend.
“This is really, really unusual. It’s a sign that the temps across Australia are warming. There is no getting away from it.”

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