Tuesday, January 26, 2016

It's the snow not the cold, Eric Worrall

Sou | 12:36 AM Go to the first of 35 comments. Add a comment
Eric Worrall takes over the reins of WUWT when Anthony is away, which has been a lot lately. Today he's shown that he doesn't understand the first thing about climate change. He wrote a short article with the headline: "If it is Hot, it is Climate, if it is Cold, its Climate".

What he's talking about is the stormy weather that hit the USA in the past few days, with crippling dumps of snow. As I speculated earlier, this was most probably fueled by the anomalously warm sea as seen in this image from NOAA. :

Where Eric went wrong was that he thought that people were arguing that the AGW influence on the storm was in the cold. He's wrong. It gets cold in winter and, in any case, as far as I know it wasn't especially cold for the season. (I don't think temperature was mentioned in this timeline of the blizzard.) Eric's as bad as Anthony Watts at not understanding stuff he posts. He wrote:
If it is Hot, it is Climate, if it is Cold, its Climate 
Remember all the recent press about the mild winter, how the bears were waking up early, flowers blooming in December, all a sign of the coming global warming apocalypse?
Now that winter has turned cold and snowy, this is also being seen in some quarters, as irrefutable proof of our unnatural tampering with the balance of nature.

It was the amount of snowfall that is likely to have been fueled by warm seas (compared to the long term average), which is the part that is probably affected by human activities. Eric has no excuse for getting it wrong. If he'd read the article he copied and pasted he'd have seen these words (my emphasis):
...according to actual scientists and not conspiracy-addled politicians, climate change could actually make snow storms worse. ThinkProgress spoke to Michael Mann, the nation’s preeminent climatologist, about Winter Storm Jonas, which is currently blanketing the eastern seaboard in feet of snow. He said this is not a fluke. “There is peer-reviewed science that now suggests that climate change will lead to more of these intense, blizzard-producing nor’easter,” according to Mann. This is because a warming climate means increased moisture in the atmosphere, and when cold air meets moisture — surprise! — it snows. Sometimes a lot, like we’re seeing right now.
In fact the entire copy and paste was about how it's the increase in precipitation (not the temperature) that is linked to global warming.

Eric is such a duffer.

On a related note - what caused the warm patch that fueled Jonas?

In case I don't get to finish an article I've started about the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, make sure you read the new article by Stefan Rahmstorf at realclimate.org. It's about the cold anomaly under Greenland (from melting ice), which may be contributing to a slowdown in AMOC, and could have been partly responsible for the anomalous warmth up the top of the Atlantic on the North American coast, which in turn fueled Jonas.

As with every article Stefan writes, it's very informative and thought-provoking.

From the WUWT comments

Eric isn't the only simpleton at WUWT though unlike Eric, a lot of the people commenting did recognise that the Grist article was about snowfall not temperature. Still, the comment thread is littered with silly "thoughts" from people behaving foolishly.

Leo Smith wants to get something out, but I've no idea what that might be:
January 25, 2016 at 12:21 am
Any weather at all is proof of global warming.
It’s just like any religion. Something weird happens? ‘Its GodSwill’ they cry. Nothing much happens at all? How weird is THAT? ‘Its GodSwill’…

William Astley is still expecting global cooling, even after two record hot years in a row. He's convinced himself that an ice age is comething:
January 25, 2016 at 2:36 am (excerpt)
...The cult of CAGW are and can continue to ignore the signs of an imminent significant drop in planetary climate. The entire scientific basis of CAGW and even AGW was incorrect. The warming in the last 150 years was due to solar cycle changes, not due to the increase in atmospheric CO2. If that assertion is correct global warming is reversible.

The cult of CAGW will not be able to spin away a significant year by year drop in planetary temperature. The public will demand an explain as to why planetary temperature is dropping year after year and will need reassurance as to when the drop in planetary temperature will end. 

davidmhoffer can't imagine that the Arctic can be warming as well as sending cold air down south:
January 25, 2016 at 12:10 am
...Well Dr Mann, what happened to arctic amplification? The claim was, and continues to be, that the arctic will warm much faster than the rest of the earth. So, does it not follow that although we’ll still get arctic blasts, they’ll not be as cold as they once were? And, those blasts being driven by temperature gradients that have been reduced, will they not be weaker and less frequent, just like we have seen with hurricanes and tornadoes? Further, since both the cold air mass and the warm air mass are expected to be warmer than before, does that not result in precipitation that would otherwise have fallen as snow showing up as rain instead? Meaning less snow storms but more rain?
C’mon Dr Mann, we know you read this blog. Just jump in and explain it to me please.

David, you know how even though it's warming faster than most other places on earth, the Arctic is still rather cold place, especially in winter. Well, what happens is, as Dr Mann said in that passage you quoted:
There is peer-reviewed science that now suggests that climate change will lead to more of these intense, blizzard-producing nor’easters, for precisely the reason we’re seeing this massive storm — unusually warm Atlantic ocean surface temperatures (temperatures are in the 70s off the coast of Virginia).
When you mix extra moisture with “a cold Arctic outbreak (something we’ll continue to get even as global warming proceeds),” as Mann points out, “you get huge amounts of energy and moisture, and monster snowfalls, like we’re about to see here. 

Is that really so hard to understand?

There was the usual infantile snark from science deniers, who perhaps don't "believe" that the storm was fueled by warm seas, or maybe don't even believe that there was a storm. Marcus' "thought" was:
January 24, 2016 at 8:22 pm
Global cooling is PROOF of Glo.Bull Warming !! That’s liberal logic for ya !

stuartlynne wrote:
January 24, 2016 at 11:16 pm
In the perfect pre-industrial world temperatures never varied from the pre-determined norm by more than 2C. It never snowed early or late. It always rained at night just to keep the plants happy. Any variance from that MUST be caused by nasty humans burning fossil fuels.

davidmhoffer can't resist a sexist taunt:
January 24, 2016 at 9:49 pm
The article is written by a sharp tongued young woman named Katie Herzog.
Did I mention that she is sharp tongued and her first name is Katie?
You don’t suppose…. 

References and further reading

Sorry! Winter Storm Jonas doesn’t make climate change a liberal hoax - article by By Katie Herzog at Grist, on 22 Jan 2016

Why Big Blizzards In Winter Don’t Disprove Global Warming - article by Joe Romm at ClimateProgress, January 2016

Blizzard Jonas and the slowdown of the Gulf Stream System - article by Stefan Rahmstorf at realclimate.org, January 2016

Winter Storm Jonas Detailed Updates - timeline from Weather.com

From the HotWhopper archives


  1. as far as I know it wasn't especially cold for the season

    Correct. Here (~20 miles outside DC), we got about 25 inches of snow, but the temperature was in the upper 20s all day. Nothing particularly unusual about that.

    My experience with 'skeptics' has been that they they think 'snowy' means 'extra cold'. They don't seem to understand that it doesn't have to be all that cold to snow--even to snow a lot.

    1. In fact there is a point where it is "too cold to snow". Once the temperature gets low enough there really isn't enough moisture in the atmosphere for a good dump and all you get is really fine snowflakes floating in the air -- more like freezing fog than snow. The biggest dumps always come when it is warmer, up in the 20's or so, at least around here where it gets plenty cold (but not as often as it used to).

    2. There is a 'sweet spot' for snow at approximately 25F. And it is no coincidence that the polar regions are essentially deserts (too cold to snow).

      Paul O'Gorman's 2014 paper, Contrasting responses of mean and extreme snowfall to climate change, explores these temperature precipitation issues.

      The full paper is paywalled, but a slide presentation he put together is not - O'Gorman talk

    3. "Too cold to snow" was a saying of my Dad's, so it's hardly new knowledge. It's probably less well-known in the UK now, since we so rarely such conditions these days.

      The measure of temperature is, of course, how quickly it melts. In the Great Freeze of 62-63 there wasn't that much snow (too cold) after the initial blizzard, but it just didn't melt for months. I doubt we'll see that in the US this time. How long did Inhofe's igloo last?

    4. "The measure of temperature is, of course, how quickly it melts."

      This point deserves repeating, especially in the context of the Denialati who try to use the huge quantity of snow as a surrogate for non-warming. If this is their implication, how them will they be able to explain the snow's quick disappearance?

    5. Bernard J.,

      My guess is they'll simply ignore it like they do any other problem which requires balancing both sides of an equilibrium relationship.

  2. I've been waiting for Eric to come up with the goods (where the goods are bad...)

    The Denialati should simply tattoo "I don't grok physics" on their foreheads, so egregiously stupid is this meme.

    The sad thing is that it propagates so easily through the lay community...

    What hope for the naked apes, really?

  3. yes, and we all learnt at school that the Antarctic was a desert due to the very very low amounts of precipitation exactly because it was so cold

  4. Eric "Science is really hard" Worrall chooses the door on the left: http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2016/01/20#mutable_1395662

  5. I've put up a reply to hoffer re his *question* aimed at Dr Mann

    1. Loving how he ran away from your answer since Dr. Mann didn't answer him directly. The, "you're wrong but I won't tell you why because I can't be bothered" was especially priceless.

    2. Business as usual Brandon ....

      [Sheesh yourself, RealClimate does not allow dissenting views, period. Pull your head out of your posterior -mod]

      I think you said "reasonable note", but I don't think they understand that you can be reasonable - and people are then "reasonable" in response.

      I'm disappointed in a way he didn't argue and then I could have gone deeper to tie him in knots.

    3. lol, mod is usually not so cross with me. I did say "reasonable note" after first reviewing what you pointed out is ample literature on the subject. I shouldn't have to explain that "unreasonable" is "Can you frauds and liars explain to me what Michael 'Hokey Schick' Mann meant about AGW causing it to snow more?"

      Even I'm not (usually?) that much of an arsehole at WUWT.

    4. Oh dear it gets better:


      January 26, 2016 at 9:40 am

      Brandon Gates
      Seriously? You want me to read some papers? Who was it that got poleward energy transport via air and ocean current completely bass ackwards just recently? And who pointed it out to you and even told you what author to look for to find it? Then you have the arrogance to come here a few days later and lecture ME on reading papers? As for RealClimate, those bozos committed the sin of altering one of my questions so as to change the meaning of it and then ridiculed me for it. I haven’t been back since as they confirmed what I was already suspicious of is that the site was constructed for political not science purposes.

      You are anonymous. When you post under your own name and provide links to the papers that you claim support you, I might pay more attention. But the point is that Dr Mann is happy to make all sorts of prognostications to MSM, but he doesn’t have the balls to enter into a public debate forum.


      I think we knew already David wasn't actually looking for an answer and that this whole thing was another overly self-important "Dr. Mann is too chickenshit to debate us" setup.

      He's right about me duffing up something on poleward transport and that he corrected me on it. What he left out is that I immediately copped to my error and apologized for giving wrong information.

      Thin-skinned, dishonest and petty, just like his host.

    5. Brandon:
      I see you are in the cooler for a while.
      And I saw stealey had entered the fray so I had to reply ....


      Can I ask you to count the number of posters on this thread that are also "anonymous"?

      It was easier for me to count the ones who are not.
      I make it ~31 - out of 256 posts.
      Yes, I know there are several posts from some people .... but.

      I therefore rather think you talk to anonymous posters all the time.

      This goes back a bit to mcourtneys objection to catiecatie in a recent thread - where he/she became "objectionable" and earned a "warning" just becasue he/she was sticking to his/her guns.

      You obviously do not agree with either his/hers, Brandon's or my opinion but as I said back in that instance
      you could have a pure echo-chamber here .... but what is the point?

      To me it (anonymity) smacks of an excuse to end the "discussion".

      And so no, I'm not going to be anything but anonymous on here unless and until you and or Anthony ask it of "sceptics" posting here.

      I think that's quite fair and equitable.

      Oh, BTW: Who's Pee Wee Herman?

      Should be more fun..

    6. Tony B,

      I see you are in the cooler for a while.

      For once my interlocutor got sent to the box as well:


      Anthony Watts
      January 26, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Both of you, Brandon and David Hoffer, take a time out for 12 hours. When you return, do not resume this personal squabble.


      'Tis a minor victory I suppose.

      And I saw stealey had entered the fray so I had to reply ....

      The old anonymity canard. I agree, should be more fun ... Smokey is just as much a pro at stepping on his own landmines.

    7. Yup he stuffed it: people who don't post anonymously are more credible.

      And damn, I just noticed that my long reply to the other David:

      David A January 26, 2016 at 12:43 am

      may not have made it through the embargo.

    8. Well a victory of sorts I suppose...

      dbstealey January 26, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      "I agree with a lot of what you wrote here. And I’m not saying you or anyone else has to show their identity. But the ones who use their real name have more credibility. That’s just how I see it.

      As for Pee Wee, there’s an easy way to find out… "

    9. Yup. I post under my real name, doesn't make a damn bit of difference that I can tell for my credibility. But when the preponderance of evidence is against you, any little cheap piece of crap you can fling is precious.

      More self-refuting nonsense from today's tree-ring article:

      January 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      The idea of a treemometer is faintly ridiculous. Tree rings typically vary from one side of a tree to the other. Which side is the thermometer?

      Even when comparisons can be made, the correlation is much greater to CO2:

      Shades of, "If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?"

    10. Brandon:

      "The idea of a treemometer is faintly ridiculous. Tree rings typically vary from one side of a tree to the other. Which side is the thermometer?"

      Yes I saw that and nearly twitched.

      Err, it's the relative thickness of the rings against adjacent ones that is the marker for climate.

      Just another critical thinking fail a WUWT.

    11. they fail at such a fundamental level it is astounding

      they seem able to construct "logic" on the fly to confirm whatever they need confirming at any given time

    12. Tony B.,

      It was a good thing no liquids were in my mouth at the time, or I would not be using this machine to write this note.


      Took me a second to realize that's was a Wizard of Oz reference ... soon as you invoked winged animals, my mind went straight to Pink Floyd.


      Vintage Bob Altemeyer. Tonight's dance has been with the Uncertainty Monster. We don't know enough to make a decision, but when we do, we're being overcertain, so we don't.


  6. Leo Smith from the LOL, WHUT?! comments has put a picture into my head that I just can't get out, with his infernal 'GodSwill'. I'm guessing it's the pulverised remains of the Supreme Being's dinner that gets fed to his faithful companion, Kenji, the next morning... or, perhaps not.

  7. I do like those NOAA SST anomaly charts, but actually they are not the best for all regions. I think the point in this article would be better illustrated with a screengrab from UMaine's Climate Reanalyzer for instance. It's a nitpick sure, but the night run satellite data (NESDIS Global Analysis) used for those charts seems to bring up a lot of inaccurately cold anomaly signals right by the coast, where Ship and Buoy measurements tend to confirm warmer values there. Though I'm really only fussing about a few pixels around the top edge of that chart.

    Actually I recently wrote Sean Birkel at UMaine and Derek Arndt at NOAA about this discrepency, both kindly replied. NOAA of course use buoy and ship measurements in their montly and yearly analysis. But the NESDIS charts are really tuned to ENSO (1984-93 base excluding Pinatubo years 91-92), and Climate Reanalyzer charts use a much more comprehensive 1971-2000 weighting. Worth considering.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Andrew. I'll keep that in mind next time.

  8. East Asia cold snap.

    Any prizes for guessing the next headlines at WUWT?


    1. Harry,

      Last year a poster called Barry started seeding the "brrr it's snowing" stories over at WUWT with global temperature reanalysis plots. A typical response from the rabble: Good job, Barney. You’re real good at posting pretty pictures.

      This tickled me so much that I borrowed his idea and did my own retrospective for Anthony's 2015 in review post. Some interesting patterns emerge elsewhere in the world when it gets cold over WHUTtterville:


      Great Lakes Ice Coverage In Striking Distance of a Record
      justthefactswuwt / February 22, 2015




      Eastern U.S. record breaking cold and snow as seen from space
      Anthony Watts / February 21, 2015




      Friday Funny Bonus: East Coast Frozen Blizzard Edition
      Anthony Watts / February 20, 2015




      4 of the 5 Great Lakes about to freeze over
      Anthony Watts / February 19, 2015




      Massive blizzard forecast for New York and Boston area Tuesday – up to 3* feet of snow!
      Anthony Watts / 6 hours ago January 25, 2015




      Arctic cold blast, freezing rain/snow expected for New Years Day
      Anthony Watts / 14 hours ago December 29, 2014




      I'm not sure Asia rates, but then they're awfully concerned with Africa not being able to use cheap clean fossil fuels to get them out of poverty (never you mind that Africans have had access to them as long as everyone else and are still dirt poor) but anything is possible when one's confirmation biases must be fed.

    2. Harry, your prediction was correct.

    3. Brandon B. Gates.

      Predictable, huh?

      No narrative, no opinion expressed in the article, just the puzzling "The global warming which recently hit the USA, has spread to a large area of East Asia..."

    4. Ha ha I just noticed the photo of Taiwan they posted was from 2008. So they have had cold snaps before.

    5. ROFL! Ok, so it's not unprecedented. Check. Well then WTF is it puzzling?

    6. ... er wait, "puzzzling" is your word. Probably accurate though, and probably giving Worrall at least the benefit of the doubt.

  9. I have had several tussles with Eric over the years at Watching the Deniers. The Guy is a poster child for Dunning Kruger. I once asked him what it would take for him to accept that Global Warming was real. He said if the Arctic became ice free in summer, would do it.

    I would imagine that there is a fairly good chance of yet another ice extent minima this year, considering that we have above zero temperatures in the Arctic at the moment in the dead of winter.

    Then of course, he will start quibbling about what ice coverage constitutes "ice free"!

    1. Oh, I remember some of those. And seen him elsewhere toi doing the same. I'd bet he knows more about climate science than the regular host, but equally determined not to admir he's wrong.


Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.