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« SciTech III | Main | Beddington going »

Horizon on global weirding

This is a thread for anyone whose stomach was strong enough to both sit through BBC's Horizon and talk about the experience afterwards.

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    [...]- Bishop Hill blog - Horizon on global weirding[...]

Reader Comments (118)

Well, it didn't need a strong stomach. Dumbed down a bit of course, but the facts about increasing weather records being broken are not in dispute. And they missed the most recent run of extreme heat in the US.

Mind you, I thought Mike Lockwood looked a bit awkward at having to talk science on the back of a boat.

Wasn't Katherine Hayhoe great though?



Mar 27, 2012 at 10:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Butler

Andrew Marszal reviewing the programme in The Telegraph seems to be verging on the heretical, suggesting that there may be other factors at play, and even dares to mention the LIA

Mar 27, 2012 at 10:35 PM | Registered CommenterAndy Scrase

I missed the first 15 minutes, but watched most of the rest. It was surprising to see such a section on the sun and its effect on the climate. There were the usual collection of "May", Might", "is likely to" and "Could". Near the end I caught a "whether [climate change] is natural or man-made" - indeed a departure for the beeb.

Personally, I have no idea whether in the late C17 (during the Maunder Minimum) what local weather events were like - and neither, I suspect, does anyone else. For that matter even as recently as the 1960s local outliers could well have gone unreported and unnoticed even within the |British Isles.

Mar 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM | Registered CommenterKnockJohn

For me it was the worst Horizon program I have ever seen - about something called "global weirding" with little or no hard scientific evidence but lots of patched together hype. It was all over the place with random edited interviews and no underlying logical theme. Thus we heard from the storm chaser that category 5 hurricanes may have been missed in the past but now Jason our "expert" cherry picks and confirms an increase. The we hear how just one hurricane generates 3 trillion watts of energy - note that total mankind energy use is currently 15 trillion watts and there are 50 hurricanes and over 100 tropical storms per year ! So it must be our fault. But wait - maybe sun spots are to blame - a short interval from Dr. Scaife who sensibly proposes a grand solar cycle 300 years reduces UV radiation causing the little ice age - but then only in the UK it seems according to our presenter.
But wait...Oh no ! - Britain will get colder despite spending 100's of billions of pounds to "tackle climate change" . The jet stream will divert as arctic warming sucks Siberian air over Britain ! This is why we have suffered two of the coldest winters for 30 years. All those subsidies and lost industries only to find that Britain will freeze !

So on the whole - nothing new.

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

When they reached the part about the West Texas drought I typed Texas droughts 19th century and came across reference to the "civil war drought" which lasted five years or so. Move on people nothing to see.

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

I watched the whole thing. TBH I am quite proud of myself that I managed it. What an appalling program.

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

If you want to watch it outside UK, google "horizon s50e12". There are torrents and "watch online", but make sure you don't install any questionable software.

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterEric Gisin

Ratchet effect presentation, wherever possible you get a local guy (or the voice over) intoning incredulity, and no sober pull back to any reference that could give you a genuine idea where and how "weirding" is quantified. I don't think I saw one example of what exact records where broken, or a graphic that clued you in. I mean we know that artic ice is at record lows, but would anyone watching the show know that was only certain for the last 30 years?

It seemed that getting across that "the record books are being re-written" was paramount and any info on how thin those books were to start with was left out. They did at least mention instrumental improvements, for example they did say that they are recording more category 5 storms, but left the implication flopping on the floor without deigning to talk about general historical changes in measurement and technology. Just leaving the "more" hanging. Emmanuel talk of predicting an eventual "black swan" event in Dubai, worrying they are not thinking about it with their building codes, which to me shows how devalued that phrase is. Great show for alarmists I guess and the PR mentality that we know they love ;)

It reminded me of some of the more restrained paranormal shows you get on Channel 5.

Or an advert designed for selling "The new science of climate extremes (c)" ;)

Dunno about stomach churning just piss poor IMO, reminded me why I stop watching Horizon a while ago now, no matter what the subject it deals with it always does the same thing.

I was watching Derren Brown's The Heist before I went to iPlayer at this posts prompting, and that had the similar effect of disorientating the audience with pseudo scientific mumbo jumbo - with the aim of leading them into believing the reality of a "weirding" effect - except that was more entertaining ;)

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

@Paul Butler Mar 27, 2012 at 10:23 PM:

"the facts about increasing weather records being broken are not in dispute. And they missed the most recent run of extreme heat in the US."

Absolutely. Records are being broken. But that speaks to the records, and not necessarily to the weather.

First, accurate human-kept records go back only 200 to 250 years. Out of 4.5 billion years. That's infinitesimally small. Actually preposterous if given even the most cursory thought.

Second, here in the USA even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said of the 2011 tornado season that "So far, we have not been able to link any of the major causes of the tornado outbreak to global warming." I believe that NOAA made a similar declaration - or was it a flat-out debunking? - about hurricanes.

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarry

Yes, quite a long bit about the sun and its historical effects, which was nice ;)

Apparently we've been in a period of Grand Solar Maximum since the 1920's. Horizon asked "well was this responsible for the two cold back to back winters we had in the UK a couple of years ago?" - No was the emphatic response, it was "MET office" weather.

I can't help thinking I would have asked a different question, GSM having such a warm feel to it and everything.

One last thing, the MET office seem to be doing quite well for themselves - posh offices, posh computer, even a little "Projector Globe" they can beam the subliminal Warming World messages onto. The UCAR one was better though (if I remember correctly from a previous BBC programme).

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterGSW

28 March: SMH: Vince Chadwick: Event disaster as Weaver pulls out
ACTRESS Sigourney Weaver has pulled out of a $995-a-head sustainable business conference to be held in Melbourne next month, prompting organisers to cancel the event and consult their lawyers...
The Corporations, People & the Planet conference at the Melbourne Exhibition centre was billed as ''a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Sigourney Weaver, Bob Geldof, Dr David Suzuki and Prof L. Hunter Lovins in one day of keynote presentations, case studies and discussion exploring a sustainable future''....
Tickets ranged from $175 for students, to $9500 for a Diamond Table of 10 tickets, including VIP entry to a cocktail party attended by the keynote speakers...
A potential replacement was former US vice-president Al Gore, but Mr Brazil said extra costs for security and poor timing meant that he was unavailable...
Samantha Gavin of PR firm Red Agency, which was promoting the conference, said organisers were all disappointed. ''They are telling David Suzuki today,'' Ms Gavin said yesterday, adding that the prominent Canadian scientist had already booked his flight...

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Living in Wales I recorded both Paxman's individual view of Empire and Global Wierding. I now know which one I will be watching before work tomorrow afternoon.

Mar 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

very shallow..

I noticed the hurricane guy as well. one breathe wouldn't have detected cat 5 hurricanes out at sea in the past.....

but now says there are more .. very silly stuff..

overall very shallow. lockwood bit very plausible, if you can take it in isolation...

fairly safe to say that Katie is a public communicator now.
and must deal with polite communication back..

ie her 2x more likely figure, what evidence?

kept going on about changes to weather that we remember, because it is drought in texas, flood another year.. Dust bowls in the 30's..??

how can she discount, not similar patterns of weather, 100 years ago, 200 years ago, etc.. she cannot..

emotive, shallow rubbish..

I've found a number of things wrong with her climate change slides with just a few minutes of checking.

ie 300k cc deaths slide.. I said have you read this, she said had just cited it. and to query with GHF
The GHF are now defunct, only when Richard Betts said best not to cite, it, with link to non lobbyist science (his own!) did Katie remove that cite.

Problems with a billion people depend on water from glaciers slide. even Peter Gleick would say that wrong.

pictures of glaciers in the 1890's then now. ie shrunk to to AGW.
looked up closests example in Europe, that particular glacier, has lost 80% prior to 1950 (ie natural warming period, according to IPCC) and had actually GROWN during the rapidly warming 1980's

Picture of floods in 2000's in USA.. but no reference to major floods in same location through 1800's!!

But that was not all within the last 50-60 years, which is the timescale that Prof K Hayhoe seems too think means something..

The only reason I haven't written that all up, chapter and verse, on WUWT, is that I'm concerned that she will just get more abusive email..

there was also the slide of 10 year old emissions data, saying the usa was worse offender showing usa ahead china. now reversed, and old per capita data,
graphs of 'accelerated' IPCC warming graphs, no doubt just cited without checking or thinking.

I cannot take anything she says as factual, without being forced to do double/triple checking

and yes. I have questioned all this privately

oh dear - Katie Hayhoe is claiming esponsibility for the 'global wierding' soundbite as well

ths type of emotive language - has no basis in fact, or any place in science - or science communication.
I have no doubt that Katie hayhoe, is a very nice, sincere generous person. I have much to thank her for, but Ijust think her concerns have over whelmed her self sceptical thinking

Mar 28, 2012 at 12:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Garry, from the point of view of human civilization which has developed during the very stable Holocene, only the past few thousand years are relevant (forget your 4.5 billion). And it was warmer around 6K years ago, so if we had measurements going back that far a lot of the current records wouldn't be records.

But the rate at which records are being broken does seem to be increasing, so absent a rapid reduction in variability over the next few years and decades, and without any clear alternative explanation, I think rising levels of GHGs remain the most likely culprit. Of course, just as you quote NOAA as saying, unambiguously detecting that fingerprint is much more difficult.


Mar 28, 2012 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Butler

we measure more things more often, in more places.. of course 'records' are being broken..

human measured records. and if we had the same amount of measuring devices, in same locations, 50, 100 , 200 , etc years ago.... then we would know.. very flawed logic..

Mar 28, 2012 at 12:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Lordy! I do declare doth the hype keep on there something going 'down'?

Scientific estimates differ but the world's temperature looks set to rise by six degrees Celsius by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to rise uncontrollably.

As emissions grow, scientists say the world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.

"This is the critical decade. If we don't get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines," said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University's climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London.

I've told you a million times stop exaggerating!

6 degrees C by 2100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ah, come on lads not even ole mad Jim Hansen thinks that.............................?!

Mar 28, 2012 at 12:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Barry Woods

You mentioned dust bowls in the 30's. Now that really was weird weather:

Mar 28, 2012 at 12:21 AM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

OK, After watching this programme, I'm supposed to now understand that weather *is* climate once again...Hang on, I'm confused!

Mar 28, 2012 at 12:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterRatty

It is amazing that the envirocrats are now claiming that weather is somehow weirding out. They only need to lie, ignore history and keep repeating the false claim to get the typical believer to fall for it. I noticed someone upthread actually claimed that recent drought/heat waves in the US are evidence of something 'weird'. What is weird is that historical illiteracy leaves believers accepting these claims.
Ignorance is the bestest friend of AGW.

Mar 28, 2012 at 1:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Talk about "global weirding"...

I came across this in SkS files in a thread entitled "Can anyone come up with examples of climate change induced vocabulary changes"

Same Ordinary Fool:

Joe Romm once [Aug 17, 2010, "Global weirding: Naming climate change disasters after the deniers"] reposted a Peter Gleick article on this topic, on Climate Progress, here.
(brackets original, emphasis mine)

This is new to me. Could either Peter Gleick or Joe Romm be the originator of the phrase "global weirding"?

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:44 AM | Registered CommentersHx


Thomas Friedman of NY Times advocated the re-branding of global warming as "global weirding" in Feb. 2010, explicitly as a stratagem to sidestep all objections that there did not seem to be any consistent warming:

I haven't time to look over search results for any earlier example, but that op-Ed is of interest.

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:13 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

John Gribbin, who I believe still covers such things, wrote a book, possibly aimed at children, about 30 years ago, called "Weather Force". It lists a lot of strange weather events and towards the end warns something like this- "The last few decades the weather has been very moderate by past standards. Expect more extreme weather in future." Not because of any cause- just a return to normal. These alarmists need a copy of this book.

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Cruickshank

Re:"global weirding"

Here's a Dec. 2007 column by Joe Romm in which he criticizes earlier usage of the term by Thomas Friedman:

It says the term was coined by Lovins.

(I'm still only searching a bit sporadically because I have to finish up a project of my own)

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:41 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Ok, Romm also links to this 2002 reference, so the term has been around for awhile:

Romm doesn't like the term because he thinks it risks trivializing the "hell and high water" (Romm's phrase) nightmares that he claims we are facing due to CO2 increases (in Romm's scenario).

Mar 28, 2012 at 3:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

A real dummed down prog. But that said - it was good to hear repeated "climate change be it man made or natural" (or similar) a couple of times.

But really - considering how good this programme used to be - this was akin to a ghost hunt prog on an obscure satellite channel.

Mar 28, 2012 at 5:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

Liked: "whether man made or natural"

Didn't like: "lowest Arctic ice extent since records began" (meaning since 1979!)

Overall, not an over the top program, but certainly dumbed down to the level of: 'we all know weather is getting more extreme. It's just obvious isn't it? We've NEVER seen anything like this before. And all sorts of terrible things might happen. My model shows Dubai may get hit by a hurricane - though never before - so they'd better be worried!"...

Mar 28, 2012 at 6:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterOakwood

If over a period of time you start looking at a quantity X, almost certainly the first few points you measure you will treat as the 'normal' value. As the measurement progresses, if X varies randomly with say, a Gaussian distribution (but doesn't have to be), then as you sample, you will progressively see more data points that lie further out from the point you started at. If you sampled long enough, with a guassian you could get points that lie at 10X, 100X etc more than the 'variation' you measured with the first few points. After all this you'd just be measuring the behaviour of real data that has a constant and unwavering average.

On youtube there are Horizon episodes from the 70's and 80's and when I watch them it makes me all nostalgic about what science used to be.

Mar 28, 2012 at 6:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterSir Digby CS

@paul butler

'But the rate at which records are being broken does seem to be increasing, so absent a rapid reduction in variability over the next few years and decades, and without any clear alternative explanation, I think rising levels of GHGs remain the most likely culprit'

Are you absolutely sure that you couldn't spend ten minutes in a quiet room and not come up with at least five testable alternative explanations....along with investigative strategies you could adopt to see if they are true?.

If not, I have this bridge I'd like to sell you. But it does need painting regularly with this wonderful Snake Oil that I just happen to have by the tanker load....special discount to you for a bulk order today guv......Strictly cash only

Mar 28, 2012 at 7:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Paul, for my benefit could you please what records you believe have been broken, it's difficult to understand where you're coming from with vague assertions as the only point of argument. Tx.

Mar 28, 2012 at 7:23 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

You would of thought with Crickets long history all the records would be broken, but they ain't.

The Climate is doing what Climates do.

Humans sadly always think its worse than before as when we die so do our memories.

Mar 28, 2012 at 7:41 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Over the last few years Horizon has dumbed down to being a very poor BBC propaganda programme, nothing more and nothing less.

Mar 28, 2012 at 7:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I watched it last night but was so despondent that this was a BBC science programme that I could not bring myself to comment. I grew up watching Horizon (and The World about Us) in the 1970s and early 80s. These BBC documentaries were a wonderful insight into their subjects, and were aimed at scientists and geographers, and not dumbed down to be accessible for all. I still have my copy of Nigel Calder's 'Einstein's Universe' (which I had to order from the book shop in Perth after saving enough pocket money). That book (on which the classic Horizon programme was based) catalysed my interest in physics, and to this day I am very grateful to Calder and his fellow BBC producers (not to mention Albert).

But the programme last night was unbearable. Embarrassingly childish narration, which at times was contradictory and defied logic - interspersed with assertions from activist-scientists who frankly should know much better than to think that recent floods, droughts and storms are worse than all events prior to the satellite era and the largely post-war built network of meteorological and hydrological stations. Five minutes looking through old newspaper cuttings as Stephen Goddard has done at Real Science would show that there have been severe floods, storms and droughts for at least the last 200 years. How difficult is it to understand is that there is a large random component to weather at any location or region? That some days are dry/cold/warm/wet/stormy, some weeks are dry/cold/warm/wet/stormy, some months are dry/cold/warm/wet/stormy, and some years are dry/cold/warm/wet/stormy is accepted without question by meteorologists and even climate scientists the world over. Anyone who looks at the historical records will also see that some decades are dry/cold/warm/wet/stormy. Is it too much to think that given the planet's geological timescales there is a good chance that some centuries are more dry/cold/warm/wet/stormy than others? Why is it that climate scientists ignore this natural variability? Have they forgotten that the climate is just an average of weather and that means timescales have to be very long to get a balanced view?

The scientists in this programme reminds me of the reaction of the hydrologists and management in the now defunct River Tay Purification Board (subsumed into SEPA), following the big floods in the catchment in 1990 and 1993. Aside from the original gauging station just upstream of Perth, the upper catchment gauges had only been installed in the 1970s and 80s so they had only 20-30 years worth of data to calculate the flood return periods. This problem was compounded by the fact that the 70s and 80s were relatively dry decades. Thus when two large floods threatened Perth in quick succession in the early 90s, the gullible idiots were quick to panic and attribute these to global warming. The senior hydro-electric engineers who remembered the much wetter decades in the 50s and 60s were not so surprised however...

Mar 28, 2012 at 8:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

It was outrageos that the Met office dared to suggest that they could extrapolate their inaccurate 5 day forecasts and miraculously be able to accurately predict climate decades ahead. Does anyone really still believe the scaremongering?

That's the only bit of the programme I saw and that was more than enough!

Mar 28, 2012 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Well, whatever terms they couch it in they are still trying to put over the Global Warming meme. "Climate Change"? - easily shot down, "Climate Disruption"? - a damp squib if ever there was one. "Ooh I've got a bright idea, let's call it 'Global Weirding'. The kids'll like that!"

Pathetic-er and pathetic-er.

Mar 28, 2012 at 8:36 AM | Registered Commenterjohninfrance

I saw part of the programme. For all those claiming "Climate Disruption" due to CO2 I can only refer them to Steve Goddard's Go through some of his pages and read the old clippings he has been able to dig up about real climate disruption in the past. The whole nonsense about us suffering from unprecedented climate disruption is just not true. The Met office representative should explain how their £30million super computer could produce a "barbeque summer" and still predict the climate in 100 years time. To me it was a load of propaganda with little attention to reality. Heard nothing about the temperature standstill and lack of acceleration in temperatures, N/S sea ice loss, sea levels and ocean heating. Without acceleration we will never reach the IPCC/CRU/GISS/Met Office etc. alarmist predictions.

Mar 28, 2012 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

My wife said that if I didn't stop shouting at the TV, she would make me watch Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on +1. Frankly, the garish dresses were more interesting.

Mar 28, 2012 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty


Paul, for my benefit could you please what records you believe have been broken, it's difficult to understand where you're coming from with vague assertions as the only point of argument.

Here's a record in the last few days, just for the UK:

For the recent astonishing weather in the US, see Jeff Masters on Weather Underground:

That's just to show I'm not making it up! I'll leave it to you to find some more.



Mar 28, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Butler

I'm afraid I could not bring myself to watch it. As lapogus said, Horizon used to be a serious science programme but has now dumbed down to somewhere around the level Blue Peter used to be. Perhaps worse than the dumbing down is the abandoning of logical scientific deduction in favour of irrational leaps of faith.

Hurricane expert Ryan Maue has been tweeting about 'global weirding':

'This global weirding idea of making "weather more unpredictable" is bizarre: we've never had better Numerical Weather Prediction skill'

'Global weirding: since 2006, global tropical cyclone energy has utterly collapsed (historically low levels) So what?'

Mar 28, 2012 at 9:33 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Some here may remember Chris Landsea an expert on Hurricanes. His views are interesting and well documented:

This latest program by the BBC is very disapointing to say the least.

Mar 28, 2012 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

The reason why alarmists use the term "global weirding" is because it includes in its definition extremes associated with cold weather. That allows the warmists to argue that recent cold weather events are due to global warming.

Unfortunately, there is always an unfortunately, ever IPCC scenario shows that extreme weather events become more likely at the hot end of the AGW scale and less likely at the cold end of the AGW scale.

Plainly there should be less cold and snowy winters, not more; but cold weather extremes persist as they have always done. The climate is not changing as the IPCC forecast.

To use "global weirding" as an arguement in this debate means once more we have entered the world of dogma..........

.......... and it is "climate dogma" that is weirding the science.

Mar 28, 2012 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac


Paul, for my benefit could you please what records you believe have been broken, it's difficult to understand where you're coming from with vague assertions as the only point of argument. Tx.

I tried, but it looks as if I wasn't allowed to post links (perhaps the post will turn up later!). But you can go to the BBC's Scotland page for details of records that have been broken there over the past few days.

And I also tried to link to Jeff Masters' Weather underground blog, where he talks about the remarkable March weather in parts of the US.



Mar 28, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Butler

Another fundamental problem with the programme was that it gave credence to the recent study assertion that the extreme cold of the UK winters in 2009-10 and 2010-11 was due to the paucity of Arctic Sea Ice, which then changes wind patterns etc. The fact is that the UK and north-west Europe have had many severe cold winters in the past, long before AGW scaremongering became a career strategy. Indeed the first mention in the historical record of what is now known as the NAO was by a Danish missionary who travelled back and forth between Greenland and Europe in the 18th Century. He noted that when Greenland had mild winters, Denmark had cold, and vice versa, exactly the same as happened in 2009-10 and 2010-11. What were atmospheric CO2 levels in the 18th century I wonder?

Mar 28, 2012 at 10:12 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

What is the S.I. unit for "weirdness"?

Mar 28, 2012 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterSean O'Connor


The S.I, unit for weirdness is the milli Yankovic.

Of course a full Yankovic unit is physically impossible.

Mar 28, 2012 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I saw it as an attempt to keep the alarm bells ringing. The key message I think they were trying to put over was that a small amount of warming causes a large amount of weirding. Bollox as we all know but that is a subtle change and somewhat unexpected for the Beeb. It was taken as read that temperatures will keep rising but always with a reference to ‘either natural vaiability or manmade’. Again an interesting shift. And IIRC not a single mention of the demon Carbon!

And when we were asked the question what are we going to do about it well surprise surprise we are going to do what we have always done. We are going to adapt. No mention of mitigation.

And there were times when they said they simply didn’t know the answer. No settled science here. Yes I know it didn’t stop them from reaching conclusions which just demonstrates that without the right of cross-examination these things always come across as a sermon to the faithful.

And as for Hayhoe, I got the impression that she is the sort of person that if she was in a room talking all the grown-ups would ignore her. I did and I am not even a land based mammal.

Mar 28, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

Like Paul I didn't have the stomach for it. This thread, on the other hand, I find both fun and educational. I'm grateful to learn about the origins of global weirding as a phrase and about Steve Goddard's valuable clippings of past weirdings.

The mockery at this change of terminology is thoroughly deserved. But what I think people find weird is that weather is so utterly unpredictable - as is climate, at whatever timescale you define it. Welcome to spatio-temporal chaos, you poor wee bairns.

On the other hand, graphed at the proper scales (Y axis Kelvin, X axis starting with the formation of the planet) earth's climate has been astoundingly stable.

This is the paradox that we must get across. It is weird, one of the biggest weirdnesses I know about, so weird indeed that it has led to creatures like us being able to coin and debate phrases like global weirding.

I enjoyed articulating that too. So sincere thanks, Thomas Friedman and all.

Mar 28, 2012 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Paul B / geronimo, here is part of a table from Coumou and Rahmstorf "A decade of weather extremes" just published in Nature Climate Change:

2000 England and Wales Wettest autumn on record(83) since 1766. £1.3 billion (ref. 27).
2002 Central Europe Highest daily rainfall record in Germany(42) since at least 1901. Flooding of Prague and Dresden, US$15 billion (ref. 84).
2003 Europe Hottest summer in at least 500 years(30). Death toll exceeding 70,000 (ref. 31).
2004 South Atlantic First hurricane in the South Atlantic(51) since 1970. Three deaths, US$425 million damage(85).
2005 North Atlantic Record number of tropical storms, hurricanes and category 5 hurricanes(52) since 1970. Costliest US natural disaster, 1,836 deaths (Hurricane Katrina).
2007 Arabian Sea Strongest tropical cyclone in the Arabian Sea(53) since 1970. Biggest natural disaster in the history of Oman(53).
England and Wales May–July wettest since records began in 1766 (ref. 43). Major flooding causing ~£3 billion damage.

Mar 28, 2012 at 10:42 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

More Global Weirdness from Katherine Hayhoe;

Climate Impacts on Snowpack and Ski Season Length in the U.S: In the future, we expect to see less snow and more rain during the winter season as temperatures warm. These changes are likely to affect the ski industry, with less natural snow, fewer days when snowmaking is possible, and shorter ski seasons. By mid-century, the average ski season could be up to 4 weeks shorter for more southern or lower-elevation resorts in the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevadas.

US Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment: Climate across the Northeast is already changing, with warming temperatures, earlier springs, and more extreme heat. This detailed analysis shows that these changes are likely to continue throughout the coming century, with reduced winter snow, more frequent summer droughts, and major shifts in the timing of the seasons that would dramatically alter the character of the Northeast.

The State of the Rockies Report: As temperatures warm, snowpack in the Rockies is projected to shrink, reducing the amount of natural snow available to ski resorts. By the end of the century, southern resorts such as Taos or Telluride could lose over 80% of their natural snow if we continue to rely on fossil fuels for energy. In contrast, reducing our emissions could limit snow loss across much of the Rockies to 50% or below, especially for more northern locations and higher elevations.

Drought in West Texas: During the winter of 2005-2006, the High Plains of Texas experienced more than 100 consecutive days without rain. Together with the unusually warm temperatures, soils dried and wildfires blazed across the state. Although climate change is not likely to result in major changes in rainfall across this region, the warmer temperatures it brings will make these conditions more frequent in the future.

Great Lakes – Ecosystems at Risk: Winter is shortening in the Great Lakes region as temperatures warm and ice-free periods become longer. Future changes will magnify the impacts of human disturbances that are already transforming the landscape and disrupting the natural ecosystems of this region.

It is really weird how Ms Hayhoe's global warming forecasts are being upset by "global weirding".

Mar 28, 2012 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac


"Prof L. Hunter Lovins"

An old hippie, presumably...


"earth's climate has been astoundingly stable"

Absolutely. Which rather implies some solid negative feedback mechanisms.

Mar 28, 2012 at 10:51 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp


"reduced winter snow"

They just won't know what snow is!

Mar 28, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

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