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« Mann Q&A | Main | Lying and deception can be justified, says climate change ethics expert »

Cue outrage

Dan Satterfield, a broadcast meteorologist in the USA, has written an article for the NCAR website, linking weather extremes to global warming.

The past twelve months have seen some of the most extreme weather of modern times, especially in North America. NOAA announced in January that in 2011 the United States suffered through a total of 14 weather disasters that cost over a billion dollars each. Among these were the Texas drought that was literally off the charts, and of course the deadly tornadoes in Alabama and Joplin, Missouri, among other places. More of the United States was either extremely wet or extremely dry in 2011 than in any other year on record.

There we go again, measuring weather disasters in dollars so that inflation measure global warming. However, the point I want to make today is a different one. Look at the end of that paragraph. Wet or dry both being evidence of global warming? Does that sound familiar?

Of course it does. When Soon and Baliunas published their 2003 take on the Medieval Warm Period, they took dry or wet as evidence of medieval warmth. It's fair to say that this treatment did not go down well with the scientific community, and in fact several members of the board of the journal concerned resigned in protest.

I wonder how many members of the NCAR board are going to resign over Dan Satterfield's article?

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Reader Comments (28)

The criticism of S&B03 took two forms:
1. Pretend it was a direct attack on the hockey stick and warming, rather than a rather general argument against impending catastrophe. Ridicule it for how weakly it addresses the hockey stick.
2. Point out what the paper does not claim (it doesn't even define wet and dry!, its not quantitative!, It doesn't cover the whole globe!)
The narrative is now congealed on the internet, with journalists continually recycling the same strawman arguments first devised by the Team.

Feb 27, 2012 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatt Skaggs

I expect zero people will resign over this and it will cause zero outrage.



Feb 27, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

In the new media age, the broadcast meteorologists who will succeed on the air (and online) will be those who are much more involved in science—sharing this with their increasingly informed viewers in a variety of ways.

I take it he hasn't heard of Anthony Watts then ?

Feb 27, 2012 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

Dan has a 'religious-thing' with AGW. He used to be the Chief Met Master at a Huntsville, AL, TV station. Everyother night it was Global Warming this-and-that and pushing his own blog; going to the Arctic or antarctic to see the melt, and canceling tornado warnings and watches before the local NOAA office did. He thinks of himself the way some who claim to be able to walk on water, or leap tall building with a single bound do. Colorful is another adjutive some might use when he's about. He really "believes" what he's preaching and thinks he can save the world from ultimate doom. Ever since he left to go back to Oklahoma, the Huntsville weather forecasters seem to have cooled to AGW. Can't imagine why.

Feb 27, 2012 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterPascvaks

Feb 27, 2012 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

This sounds, word for word, almost like a recent Joe Romm post at Climate Progress. Same thing using $$ and 'wet or dry'.

Feb 27, 2012 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Post Normal Extremes?

Feb 27, 2012 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Want to see dry?

Try 1934. 80 years ago.

Feb 27, 2012 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

One of the major problems of AGW is when climate meets its expression in the atmosphere, i.e. weather. Usually that's when one realizes that these people have no clue about meteorology and processes. It is hilarious to see weathermen defend that global warming will create more extreme events while paleoclimatology and understanding of meteorological processes demonstrate the exact opposite. At least now it'll be even easier to recognize their incompetence!

Feb 27, 2012 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTomRude

So Dorothy s house get picked up by a tornado and carried to the world of Oz

Just when exactly was this book written that became a film starring Judy Garland

Feb 27, 2012 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Sorry your Grace - I am out of outrage for these people who have a religious belief in AGW. It would be too draining to get worked up and probably dangerous at my age.

Feb 27, 2012 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

I've just watched a tape of part of a Sunday discussion programme on which James Delingpole appeared, the topic being something to do with Lent. He was heavily outnumbered, as usual, with the usual "science is settled" theme, but what struck me very clearly was that the veil slipped a little - it was all about resources in the end. CO2 is just a side show. Even if James spotted this, he wouldn't have had time to draw their attention to it. It's all pretty depressing.

Feb 27, 2012 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

Ha! I live in the Huntsville, AL broadcast area. Dan is a great weatherman/meteorologist; in fact, my favorite. However, I've taken issue with him many times over his CAGW proselytizing and have had several, fruitless email exchanges with him. When he suddenly announced he was leaving, I suspected he wanted to get closer to alarmist climate science.

Funny thing: I went to Wikipedia to look him up in an attempt to figure out where he landed. The page about him has been deleted with the comment, "Article appears to exist solely as a means of promoting the career of a non-notable local meteorologist."

He has continued to post to his "Wild Wild Science Journal" blog and a post on 18 February states that he moving to Salisbury, MD to broadcast on WBOC. No mention of taking over the Chief Meteorologist position like he had in Huntsville.

Feb 27, 2012 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterWill Delson

Hmm, there's this and the article linked from WUWT about a link between GW and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Just buisness as usual, or the start of a coordinated effort to push the catastrophe line as a counter to Gleick's little faux pas?

Feb 27, 2012 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

Good report by AM. Note that Bob Ward's paymaster Jeremy Grantham holds over 11 MILLION shares of Exxon stock (which pays a nice old dividend of about 2 dollars a year) That means that Bob Ward is in the pay of BIG OIL !!!

Feb 27, 2012 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Bloggsworth

That's about $2 per share - so about $22 million a year.

Feb 27, 2012 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Bloggsworth

Correct me if I am wrong on this. But I remember reading, very clearly, several years ago that the climate models predict weather extremes only after a global temperature increase of 5 - 6 degrees. It was supposed to be one of the results of runaway global warming.

Then I remember "experts" commenting on unusual weather stating that it was "not inconsistent" with the global climate models, in reference to the above. This is, of course, bunk. No weather event of any kind is "inconsistent" with global climate models. (and I suppose a lawyer could argue that normal human behaviour such as eating, sleeping etc is "not inconsistent" with the profile of a mass murderer).

Then they somehow took a leap to say that any current extreme weather is, in fact, a direct result of recent warming. I am guessing that they changed the models to fit the evidence, but since when did a rise of 0.2 degrees in "global temperature" ever provide enough heat to create any kind of noticeable change in weather patterns?

I must be missing something here.

Feb 27, 2012 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Somerville

As children ARE now going to know what snow is we find ourselves with the conundrum that AGW has been around longer than mankind.

Feb 27, 2012 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

hope u r feeling better, bish.

Archant Press:

27 Feb: Eastern Daily Press: UK base for Global Carbon Project at UEA
The Global Carbon Project provides scientific data to both policy-makers and the public on the latest trends in CO2 emissions around the world. It already has offices in Australia, Japan, France, US, China and South Korea but is set to add another at the University of East Anglia.
Its UK office is located at the UEA-led Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council…
Corinne Le Quéré, co-chair of the Global Carbon Project and Tyndall Centre director, said: “Without accurate, up-to-date information, policy-makers lack the tools to plan effective future strategy in this vitally important field. Establishing the Global Carbon Project’s first UK office is a significant step in improving the quality of the data and reducing uncertainty in the science.”
The new office at UEA will pave the way for an International Carbon Office that would compile, analyse, report and archive global CO2 statistics, and monitor CO2 “sinks”.

Feb 27, 2012 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Dan Satterfield, broadcast meteorologist: I like to think of it this way: while we cannot say that increased greenhouse gases directly caused a particular extreme, they may have been driving the getaway car.

Now a tv forecaster is always on the lookout for eye or ear-catching phrases to help get the weather details across - not least because 'studies have shown' that most people have terribly innaccurate recall of tv forecasts, even within mere minutes of watching them.

But more and more people seem to be enjoying more and more accurate recall of what climate alarmists have forecast, not least because their ventures into this area have been simultaneously incompetent and influential. The influence has been harmful for a great many people, and the harm is surely yet to peak. The incompetence is beginning to grate on more and more people I'd say. So the disappearing polar bears, the disappearing ice in the Himalayas), the disappearing Maldives, the disappearing snow in temperate lands, the disappearing Arctic ice and even the Antarctic and Greenland ice, the disappearing ice on Kilimanjaro, and of course the disappearing childhoods of those youngsters taken in by all the alarm - this last disappearance being the only one actually observed. And, as if that were not enough, we saw the UK state funding scary bedtime stories for children, and private companies funding in the UK a nightmarish fairy tale for adults showing terrorists blowing up children in a classroom because of the purported sins of their parents who were failing to toe the party line.

In amongst all of this, we have the frisson-of-excitement contributors such as Mr Satterfield. Great for catching the attention of the public. Hard to resist for a tv weatherman. We are hard-wired to pay attention to alarms and warnings of great danger. But those who cry wolf too often have, by definition, gone too far. I wish he would use his no doubt considerable communication skills to calm things down a bit - there is some suggestion in the article that he is playing it both ways in best IPCC fashion - on the one hand, we don't know, on the other OMG head for the hills!. He has presumably gained attention and perhaps even advancement from the alarm, and yet he remains on the fence, ready to jump down on either side according to which way the wind blows.

Feb 27, 2012 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Data smoothed with wet-and-dry...?

Feb 28, 2012 at 12:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

Focusing on random weather extremes (without supportive evidence in the form of historical trends) is in a sense the last gasp of climatism. It's a concept that's impossible to sell to a sceptical public. Steve Goddard has a rather black sense of humour and has described this kind of logic as 'climate psychosis'.

Feb 28, 2012 at 2:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterWill Nitschke

what is showing for Australia's Adelaide Advertiser on Google as:

Global warming is making the world colder
Adelaide Now – ‎4 hours ago‎

has had the headline changed when u open the link:

28 Feb: Australian Adelaide Advertiser: AFP: Melting Arctic causes snowier winters in Europe, the US

Richard Black likes it, but notes some \"uncertainty\"!

27 Feb: BBC: Richard Black: Melting Arctic link to cold, snowy UK winters
Whether conditions will get colder still as ice melts further is unclear…

Feb 28, 2012 at 4:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Is it just me or did richard black on the today program NOT link global warming with human activity. The same occurred lat night on the bbbbc news. We live in exciting times ..Oh and no need to panic they only talk about the 'decline' in ice cover in the arctic for the past 30 years!

Feb 28, 2012 at 8:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused
How do you measure the magnitude of a disaster? Cost is one way, lives lost and number left homeless is another favoured by the press. What measure are skeptics proposing ?
Feb 28, 2012 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterHengist McStone
How do you measure the price of a disaster

How many people so far have actually died from Global Warming

And where are the 50 million Climate Change refugees that are supposed to have arrived by 2012

There are now seven billion people in the world despite Global Warming so we must be doing something right
Feb 28, 2012 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Hengist, first why is it necessary to measure the magnitude of a disaster? Why not simply look at the effects of the disaster and then try to repair them?

However, if activists need a measurement then I suggest you create the Toynbee Index. Take Polly Toynbee's article on a disaster and award marks for the number of factual inaccuracies in each sentence. A score of 100 would mean one inaccuracy per sentence, for example. There is no upper bound to this scale: it is possible for Polly to be infintely inaccurate on any topic.

Similarly, theere is a physical law that says that the score can never be zero.

The score tells activists and alarmists just how frenetically they need to run around calling for urgent action of some kind.

Conversely, sceptics could use the Inverse Toynbee Index - which is simply the reciprocal of the rate of inaccuracy in the Toynbee article. The more the activists run around, the less real need for action truly exists.

How about this, Hengist?

Feb 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

that's a shame...I quite liked the idea of the Toynbee Index to state how much headless despair should erupt amidst the activists.

Feb 29, 2012 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

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