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Drought links

In the aftermath of my GWPF paper on drought the other day, ECIU has published a piece on the same subject. Entitled "Syria and climate change - did the media get it right?" it looks at the execrable Kelley et al paper that I have been so critical of over the last year or so. The author, Alex Randall, describes the paper as "measured and robust", which is a surprising thing to say about research that blamed a long-term, but slight decline in rainfall in Iran for social unrest in Syria, but as someone once said "Hey, it's climate science". 

His case is that the media have been misleading the public, hyping Kelley's paper and creating illusory links to the unrest. No doubt he is thinking of people like the ECIU.

In a companion piece, Randall claims that

 the media reporting and the Kelley paper were also broadly consistent with research exploring the impacts of drought on migration and displacement across the world. Specifically, there is strong evidence linking climate change impacts such as drought with patterns of rural to urban migration.

But if you read his links you find only support for the hypothesis that drought causes migration. With no evidence that climate change causes droughts to become more intense or more prevalent, our green friends are left to insert the word "climate change" whereever they can, and to hope that nobody notices what they are up to.

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Reader Comments (80)

We know that weather has played an important role in many military campaigns, e.g the way in which the German invasion of the Soviet Union came to a halt during the first winter for which the Germany army had not prepared.

But what about the role of climate change in the rise of Adolf Hitler? Surely researchers could find some evidence linking the two if they searched diligently enough and had funding on a sufficiently large scale.

May 11, 2016 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

No mention in this MSM hysteria of the fact that drought-induced famines are at an all time low, or that World agricultural production is at an all time high, largely thanks to increased CO2.

People like Kelley and Randal are at best ignorant and at worst "fantastically corrupt".

May 11, 2016 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

It seems improbable that the only factor promoting rural to urban migration is drought.
How do they distinguish drought (let alone climate change) from everything else?

Greater energy-use-intensity, and thus job prospects, would appear to be a greater factor.
Drought affects both genders equally but rural to urban migration is strongly biased towards male gender roles.

May 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

The media was full of stories about climate change causing the Syrian war. The media has now backed off, realising it was a load of rubbish.

Alex Randall, Kelley, the ECIU and other propaganda agencies are now trying to re-establish a link. I wonder which sewage outlets in the Media will carry this piece?

May 11, 2016 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It was only a matter of time before someone would ask this question:

MIT Lecture: Is Islamophobia Accelerating Global Warming?

Professor Ghassan Hage, of the University of Melbourne, ... presented a lecture ... at MIT, which explored the links between Islamophobia and Global Warming.

This talk examines the relation between Islamophobia as the dominant form of racism today and the ecological crisis. It looks at the three common ways in which the two phenomena are seen to be linked: as an entanglement of two crises, metaphorically related with one being a source of imagery for the other and both originating in colonial forms of capitalist accumulation. The talk proposes a fourth way of linking the two: an argument that they are both emanating from a similar mode of being, or enmeshment, in the world, what is referred to as ‘generalised domestication.’

I thought that the dominant form of racism today involved decapitating infidels, taking women as sex slaves, etc. etc. but then I probably know as much about "generalised domestication" as Professor Ghassan Hage does about climate change.

May 11, 2016 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

"our green friends are left to insert the word "climate change" whereever they can, and to hope that nobody notices what they are up to."

A small victory of sorts on this point yesterday, ICYMI: A Guardian journalist actually showed a bit of integrity and admitted that their earlier headline blaming climate change for disappearing islands had been exaggerated.

Jaime Jessop has written up the whole intriguing story.

May 11, 2016 at 10:47 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

When the cooling gets into its' stride continental interiors will be dry/drier as/than a bone. It has already started in India.

May 11, 2016 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterHenry Galt

Paul Matthews you make good point over there when you say,

But the group calling themselves Climate Feedback, who are supposedly expert scientists commenting on the accuracy of media stories, have remained silent. They are too busy attacking Bjorn Lomborg and praising Chris Mooney. So far there seems to have been silence from climate scientists on twitter.

Isn't this kind of thing exactly what Climate Feedback claim to be about?

May 11, 2016 at 11:13 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

GWPF have a post on drought and the lack of famine in India.

May 11, 2016 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Here's the Oxford Dictionary's definition of "Islamophobia".

"Dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force."

Clearly, NOT a phobia then. Any Westerner who is not alarmed by Islam as a political force should be.

And here, Trevor Phillips, recanting former head of the Race and Equalities blah blah, says we have a major problem with Islam in the UK - it doesn't want to integrate.

Way to go Trev - Islam does NOT integrate, it devours. Islam does NOT compromise. If you live with Islam, it is on Islam's terms, as history shows us very very clearly.

May 11, 2016 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Randall writes for the Guardian. Extensively. It says so at the end of his non peer reviewed bit of fabricated propaganda.

His piece appears a bit short in listing the donors who pay his salary. Is a link broken, or is he looking for more salary and donors?

May 11, 2016 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It used to be the case that the natural cycle of drought in Africa and Asia was dealt with by low population density. The advance of modern medicine now causes the affected areas to offload their excess population onto Europe, assuming their dumber sons will be given a free living.

We now see the same phenomenon in Western Science, except the dumping ground for the less intelligent who cannot make a living in conventional areas migrate to Climate Science, where they justify their sinecures by claiming imaginary global warming is causing more droughts. It's a wonderfully circular argument folks!

May 11, 2016 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

"We can't prove for sure that the Syrian droughts were the cause of the start of the 'Arab Spring' "
said a Guardian reader scientist at the end of the Melvynn Bragg podcast theother day
...Except that Syria came late to the Arab Spring ..cos it started momnths earlier in Tunisia.

Again : It's all about the narrative and NOT about the science.

These guys are just talking up the market ... Yesterday I found similar analogies in a programme about 'investment/property' bubbles ..a compliant media running lots of property po rn shows etc.

May 11, 2016 at 11:43 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

M Courtney, yes, "Climate Feedback" seems to be an extremely biased farce. Every alarmist article is praised and anything non-alarmist is trashed. I'm disappointed to see Richard Betts taking part in it.

May 11, 2016 at 11:51 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

This is what I wrote to Guardian editor Katharine Viner yesterday.

@KathViner O/T. No one with the most rudimentary education is going to believe a word of this. It's embarrassing.

The article was attributed to Reuters so It wasn't such a humiliating climb down

It may have had nothing to do with me at all , but it's the second time time something similar has happened. I congratulated her on getting the job and I have only contacted her twice since.

My biggest ever success was getting Alan Rusbridger to stomp on the Henry Jackson society's considerable presence on CIF.

May 11, 2016 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

As far as the article itself is concerned, I regard the public face of the climate industry to be a pack of lies and refuse to engage with it in a serious manner.

May 11, 2016 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

From Ablutophobia to Zoophobia, including claustrophobia, agoraphobia, arachnophobia, hydrophobia, Ithyphallophobia, they all incorporate the word 'phobia'. (
This has ALWAYS referred to an extreme or irrational fear of whatever precedes it, from the Greek φόβος, via Latin phobia (fear).
I would contend that Islamophobia CANNOT exist, since fear of islam is perfectly rational, and can hardly be called extreme when they insist on lobbing off heads left right and centre.
I fear Islam. therefore I cannot be Islamophobic.

May 11, 2016 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonJ

Data from weather stations shows no long term change in precipitation patterns.

"Stations experiencing low, moderate and heavy annual precipitation did not show very different precipitation trends. This indicates deserts or jungles are neither expanding nor shrinking due to changes in precipitation patterns. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that some caution is warranted about claiming that large changes to global precipitation have occurred during the last 150 years."

May 11, 2016 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C

SimonJ 12:26, should there be a technical term for fear/loathing/mistrust of anything involving climate science?

May 11, 2016 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Sorry, my first comment was directed to Paul Matthews and was about the vanishing Solomon Islands article in the Guardian.

This one

May 11, 2016 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Bish. Bet Randell was overjoyed by the publication of your GWPF paper.

May 11, 2016 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

golf Charlie (12.48 pm). No need for such a term if your reaction against climate change is rational. However, if your reaction causes you to spend long hours blogging about hockey sticks and green blobs to other sad gits, then a term is definitely required (amongst other things).

May 11, 2016 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Did Climate Change cause the Vietnam War

They get monsoons for most of the year out there.

May 11, 2016 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

I was working in Syria on an EU-supported environmental project during the 10 months prior to the worsening conflict and the advice in March 2011 by the British Ambassador to leave the country.

The family of one of my colleagues (A) was engaged in agriculture and another (B) was a town councillor in the capital city of the principal farming region. Neither mentioned drought.

I had lengthy discussions about climate with colleague B who knew that I had done an M.S. in Earth science. I find it hard to believe that drought was a factor in the rebellion and he never mentioned it.

In fact, during my ten months in Syria, I never once heard drought mentioned by anyone.

What I was told was that security forces arrested some adolescent boys for anti-government grafiti and raped them. That was the trigger.

Nobody opposed to the government ever explained why. Nobody thought it was necessary to explain the obvious.

May 11, 2016 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Colbourne

The ECIU have just republished Alex's work for the Climate miggration project - a project of Climate Outreach (aka COIN)

Alex Randall does more than write for the Guardian - Part of Climate Outreach, formerly known as the Climate Outreach and Information Network (George Marshall) and his friends Dr Adam Corner is the Research Director

Worked at PIRC - (Fanny Armstrong was a trustee)
4 years at Centre for Alternative Technology

Alex was Kirribati's UN fair play representative at Copenhagen...

a career activist, and so is his mum - Ro Randall an psychotherapist who researches climate change -

May 11, 2016 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

It's interesting that the image usually used to illustrate droughts is the sun cracked fine-grained sediment at the bottom of former bodies of water (like this thread). Such images conjure powerful messages of water shortages. Yet they don't, they represent rather short lived features that form shortly after desiccation. If the surfaces remains dry, the sediment polygons between the cracks crumble and the wind blows away the dust. Prolonged desiccated surfaces are marked by wind sculpted surfaces, sometimes traversed by much more widely spaced and deep cracks. These are much less visually evocative and would not be recognized by most of the public.

It's the same thing with dry areas in general. In the public's eye, deserts are sand dunes; a rather uncommon landscape in most deserts.

Just thought you might be interested.

May 11, 2016 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

"I wonder which sewage outlets in the Media will carry this piece?"
--golf charlie

AP? (Associated Poopaganda)

Alan Kendall 2:21, the only time climate science is mentioned, is when global warming is blamed, or will be blamed for something bad. Followed up by demands for immediate action and more money. They haven't yet been right.

Actually, correction! We were promised a 'Barbecue Summer' once. That was a wash out too.

Those climate scientists suggesting a more lukewarm approach, are savaged by the faithful devotees, and their advice/predictions/estimates are ignored.. They seem to be far closer to any truth, because they are not driven to making headline grabbing announcements.

What has climate science and the Green Blob ever done to justify any respect, or credibility, let alone further funding?

The US Presidential Election may mark the end of an era.Some are getting very desperate in their tactics.

May 11, 2016 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Thanks for yet more proof of the correlation of climate denial and yo-yos.

May 11, 2016 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Who are you thanking?
Who do you think here denies climate?
Why yo-yos?
Such a cryptic contribution; worthy of Ayla.

May 11, 2016 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Admit it, we at this forum do have some pretty yo-yo beliefs.

The climate changes but really slowly and there is really nothing to panic about.
Warmer weather is more benign than colder weather.
Windmills and solar panels are incapable of providing on demand electricity.
Electric cars do not produce zero emissions, they just do their emitting somewhere else.
The North Pole still has ice on it.
Even if all the ice at the North Pole melted, it wouldn't affect sea levels.
One of the hallmarks of sound science is that it makes accurate predictions. Climate science has yet to earn this hallmark.

Deluded loons the lot of us.

May 11, 2016 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Why yo-yos?
Such a cryptic contribution; worthy of Ayla.
May 11, 2016 at 7:32 PM Alan Kendall

Maybe something to do with this? Obviously those that denied the role of the yo-yo were labelled deniers.

Blamed For Drought
By Moslems
BEIRUT (Syria), January 21.
Drought and severe cold is disast-
rously affecting the cattle in Syria,
and the Moslem chiefs at Damascus
have attributed the wrath of the
heavens to the recent introduction of
the yo-yo."

May 11, 2016 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

Mick J. Good grief! You couldn't make it up could you?

May 11, 2016 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Extreme rain ruined the weekend of the acquaintance of an acquaintance.

I blame you all, climate heathens.

May 11, 2016 at 8:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAyla

Alan needs to catch up with the state of the art at Climate Depot:

May 11, 2016 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Mick J

The Australian government banned Charlie Drake's song 'My Boomerang Won't Come Back' in 2015 because around 45% of Australians blame the severe droughts experienced over the last 54 years on the disappearance of the boomerang, not climate change.

ABC radio bans joke song My Boomerang Won't Come Back

May 11, 2016 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

esmiff, if thrown hard enough, will the Hockey Stick come back?

May 11, 2016 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Cue paper by Wille Soon & Piers Corbyn correlating yo-yo denial and solar activity since the Maunder Minimum

May 11, 2016 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

golf charlie

"if thrown hard enough, will the Hockey Stick come back"

No, it will just keep rising until the ice melts.

May 11, 2016 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I think you labour under the delusion that you have a biting wit.

You're not funny, just weird.
Deal with it.

David xx

May 11, 2016 at 10:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavid smith

I threw a yo-yo down once. It came back. Was this due to global warming?

May 11, 2016 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

david smith, vvussell denies he doesn't have a sense of humour, though he paused being funny about 20 years ago.

May 11, 2016 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

This thread is getting very, very weird.

Russell. One question answered, two still to go

May 11, 2016 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Oh halo of our moon,
Was your cavern flooded?
Do you have only acquaintances?
And then only with two degrees of separation!

Oh Alya, we commiserate about your isolation.
Your allotted mission asks so much.
Climate heathens owe you.

May 11, 2016 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Ayla, I think if your acquaintace's acquaintance had checked his/her horoscope more carefully, a wet weekend was forecast. You can not blame heathens for failing to divine what was clearly written in the stars.

May 12, 2016 at 12:26 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Alan Kendall 6:05, yes I am interested. It confirms my own observations. It is also confirms why unfired mud bricks normally include fibrous material (straw) to prevent shrinkage cracks, and accelerated erosion. Bricks made all over the world from mud and clay tend to be about the same size. As large as possible, that could be picked up singlehanded, but would not suffer shrinkage cracks (whether or not fired or reinforced).

May 12, 2016 at 12:51 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Civil War in Syria

Terry Wogan Victoria Wood Bowie and Prince all died

Manchester United Team Bus attacked at Upton Park

Newcastle United relegated from the premiership

May 12, 2016 at 4:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterBlame everything on Climate Change

Civil War Conflict still raging in Syria caused by yet another drought.Tut

But back in rainy cold old England heroic irate farmer missed Emma Thompson with his Muck Spreader

Can't blame Climate Change for that one just bad luck unfortunately the Farmer should have gone to Spec Savers but hay.

May 12, 2016 at 5:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterBut I would have got her.

golf Charlie Ayla does not subscribe to horoscopic divination. Her weather forecasts are based on sound science. She uses a Mann Industries Pilchard (previously recommended to you) combined with the awfully good BBC weather reports, themselves based on the Met Office. She reasons that if their climate predictions are so accurate, their weather forecasts can't be that bad..

Ayla's acquaintance of an acquaintance is not a completely paid up advocate of climate science and so paid for it with her (I assume it is a her) unexpected shower experience.

We hope the weather warning got to her Chief Druid in time so that her water storage bucket could be deployed. Otherwise they will all have to drink gin.

May 12, 2016 at 6:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

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