Where is the media on the incredible warming and extreme weather of February?

tornado.jpgWell, that record cooling trend in January, which was solid evidence (to some) that human-caused global warming was at an end, melted away as fast as the summer ice in the Arctic. Not only did Feburary begin a frighteningly unsustainable warming trend for this year, it saw a record number of tornadoes.

Climate change is back, baby! In your face, delayer-1000s! And as Jon Stewart — or the Pope — might say, damn you, polluters! But where is the news coverage??? This is just more proof (as if we needed it) that the media is fundamentally conservative.

Let’s start with the temperature. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has their monthly global temperature dataset out through February 2008 (it starts in Jan 1880). January was only 0.12°C above the 1951-1980 mean (for that month) and a full 0.74°C colder than January 2007 (the warmest January record).

But February 2007 was 0.26°C above the monthly mean, and a mere 0.37°C colder than February 2008. The “legitimate science writer” David Appell explains the staggering implications (if we used the same reasoning as typical delayers):

… the world is warming up at 0.14°C/month, or 3°F per year, or a dramatic 30°F per decade! By 2018, Fairbanks Alaska will be like Atlanta was this year. Atlanta will be … well, like Hell….

More seriously, this February ripped the tornado record books to shred as if they had been caught in a giant whirlwind whose intensity had been amplifed by global warming. The country suffered through a stunning 232 tornadoes — almost triple the previous record of 1971, which saw a mere 83 tornadoes. (Reliable records go back to 1950.)

There is some recent research by NASA that “the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth’s climate warms.” More interestingly, the famed blogging non-alarmist meteorologist Jeff Masters explains:

Each of the past three years has seen an unusually early start to tornado season. One would expect to see a shift in tornado activity earlier in the year in a warming climate, along with an earlier than usual drop off in activity in late spring. We can see that in both 2005 and 2006 that tornado activity dropped off much earlier than usual, and it will be interesting to see if 2008 follows a similar pattern. Note that there is a very high natural variability in tornado numbers, and the record for fewest ever January and February tornadoes was set just six years ago in 2002, when only four twisters occurred. It will be at least ten more years before we can say with any confidence that a warming climate is leading to an earlier peak in tornado season.

That spin is a tad non-alarmist for me, especially given that we were just in a brutal one-month regional global-warming-is-over-and-global-cooling-has-begun trend (at least over land in North America). Let’s just say, the party is over delayer-1000’s — you know who you are.

Hopefully we can get back to serious discussions about how we will avoid quadrupling carbon dioxide concentrations from preindustrial levels, and maybe even move on to discussing how we can avoid doubling them to 550 ppm.


50 Responses to Where is the media on the incredible warming and extreme weather of February?

  1. Will Koroluk says:

    There is no doubt that the news media are fundamentally conservative. But they have another problem: The difficulty in dealing with a complex subject. Climate change, at its simplest, is, well, simple. Explaining the earth system science that underlies climate change is complex. And few newspapers have the space to devote to it unless they leave other important news out. And few newspaper readers have the patience or the time to work their way through long, complex articles–on any subject. Climate change angers (and frightens) them. I know a newspaper editor of a large, metropolitan Canadian paper who tells me that the reaction to any “bad” news about climate change is greeted almost immediately with angry reaction on the paper’s website, by name calling and general bellowing. He’s not intimidated by it, so he keeps publishing “bad” news, and always gets the same reaction.
    Climate change is so complex that people can’t see any place to begin work on the problem, so it’s easier to deny that a problem exists. They feel their way of life is threatened, and that produces a lot of anger. People haven’t, since the industrial revolution, had to pay the environmental piper, and most feel they shouldn’t have to now.
    Remember the old chant from the days of the Viet Nam War? Hell no! We won’t go! Well, today we’re getting the equivalent: No way! We won’t pay!
    Except that we will, of course, all of us, and that makes the deniers/delayers/trogs, angrier yet.
    Back to the news media: Some are doing a decent job of reporting on climate change. England’s The Independent comes to mind. But most papers want simple stories that can be reduced to a few paragraphs of cause and effect, and a few simple factoids to frame in an accompanying box. Or TV wants a 30-second intro to two or three five-second clips and a jazzy little summation. Total time: one minute. Or, if it’s an ‘in-depth’ report, 90 seconds.
    Mankind has created the environmental mess we find ourselves in. Unfortunately, we also created news media with the attention span of a gnat.

  2. Andrew E says:

    Joe, I generally like your posts and you tend to say very intelligent things.

    “…that the media is fundamentally conservative.” is unfortunately not very intelligent. That statement is about as silly as saying that the media is fundamentally liberal.

    The truth is that the mainstream media are merely looking for good and controversial stories that don’t piss off their advertisers. (With occasional exceptions) these stories are never going to be too complicated or too deep. They are never going to be too depressing. That is why serious discussions of the climate are not found in the MSM. It is not a matter of being fundamentally liberal or conservative, rather it is a problem of oversimplification and sound bites. You of all people should know this.

  3. What? The Iraq war is not “too depressing”? New York’s governor being exposed as a sex fiend is not “too depressing”? I don’t think that’s the criteria that keeps climate change off the front pages. I’ll certainly go along with the complexity argument, but then why did they even bother to report on the delayer-1000 conference? Is anti-climate change belief less complex than the opposite?

  4. Harold Brooks says:

    There are several problems with the analysis of tornado data. First, the 2008 tornado numbers are preliminary reports and the final numbers for the month will almost certainly be significantly fewer because of multiple reports of the same tornado., with the final total probably on the order of 130-150. Second, “reliable” records didn’t begin in 1950. That’s the beginning date of the official database but the earliest possible date to consider reliable is 1954, the first full year when reports were collected in near-real time. Even after that, though, reports have increased steadily over the years, almost entirely in the F0 and F1 reports (see Verbout, S. M., H. E. Brooks, L. M. Leslie, and D. M. Schultz, 2006: Evolution of the US tornado database: 1954-2003. Wea. Forecasting, 21, 86-93. for discussion). Taking a linear regression over the 1954-2003 numbers, we’d expect about 60% more reports now than in 1971, so that 2008 is roughly comparable to 1971. I’ll disagree with Jeff that’s there been any change in the seasonality. If you look at the number of tornadoes as a fraction of the expected value from the linear regression over the 1954-2008, you see the two biggest Jan-Feb values in the last decade (1999, probably 2008) and three of the six smallest values (2002, 2003, 2004). The third and fourth biggest starts to the year were 1971 and 1975. The data provide no support for an argument for a shift in seasonality and very weak support for an increase in interannual variability but, given the inconsistencies in the reporting system, I don’t think you can even go that far.

  5. Patrick49 says:

    Where is the media in reporting that Mr. Mann’s “hockey stick” global warming curve which was the ‘holy grail’ of global warming and the bases for the IPCC’s CO2 hysteria was a gigantic hoax, discredited by two scientific reviews undertaken after the US Congress forced Mr. Mann to reveal his up-to-then secret algorithms, data sources and analysis methodology? Where is the media in broadcasting the British Court’s decision that the Al Gore’s movie contained eleven inaccuracies, was a propaganda film and could not be shown in the British Schools without explanation and guidance on the eleven errors? Where is the media in questioning if American students are still being propagandized by being forced to watch “An Inconvenient Truth” without proper guidance on the inaccuracies? Where is the media in reporting that the the global temperature has remained constant over the last decade even though CO2 has continued to rise? Where is the media in failing to report that the CO2 remained relatively constant for 10,000 years as the earth’s climate cycled between cooling periods, warm periods, little Ice ages and extreme warm periods and today as the CO2 increases the earth’s temperature has remained constant for a decade? And why the hysteria about one month when the 2007 Southern Hemisphere winter was one of the coldest on record and the 2007-2008 winter in China, large parts of the US, Canada, Europe, particularly Southern Europe, and the Mid-East have suffered record low temperatures and heavy snow falls?

  6. Patrick49 says:

    Will the liberal MSM report the following Fox news brief?,2933,337710,00.html
    Weather Channel Founder: Sue Al Gore for Fraud

  7. Bob B says:

    What warming in Feb? The trend for the last 1/2dozen years is NEGATIVE!–Ie–cooling

  8. Bob B says:

    Arctic sea ice is almost back to normal–Polar bears safe:

  9. Joe says:

    Bob — you could NOT be more wrong. Here is NOAA/NCDC:

    “This was the fifth least February sea ice extent on record. Including 2008, the past five years had the least February sea ice extent since records began in 1979. Sea ice extent for February has decreased at a rate of 2.8%/decade (since satellite records began in 1979) as temperatures in the high latitude Northern Hemisphere have risen at a rate of approximately 0.37°C/decade over the same period.”

    Also, you can’t see ice THICKNESS from your plot. No doubt it is much less thick than previous years.

    But perhaps you’d like in on my bet: The Arctic will be ice free by the end of 2020.

  10. Bob B says:

    Joe, I know what the problem is, your data ends in 2007–try looking at 2008 data. Antarctica snow ice is above noraml and the Arctic sea ice grew substantially in the past few months. It is only 0.5M sq KM lower then 1980

  11. Joe says:

    Bob — Then you’ll put down $1000 that the Arctic won’t be ice free by 2020. Or that the next decade will be cooler than this one.

    No? Then why are you wasting everyone’s time spreading these denier/delayer talking points?

  12. Bob B says:

    Joe, I showed you the data. The trend is cooling, sea ice is back–you are the denier. You see data in front of you and deny it. No I’m not going to bet $1000 that is just silly

  13. Alan McIntire says:

    “But February 2007 was 0.26°C above the monthly mean, and a mere 0.37°C colder than February 2008.”

    According to GISS, February 2008 was 0.37 C cooler than February 2007. According to UAH, February 2008 was
    0.434 C cooler than February 2007. Those aren’ warming trends.-AMC

    – that’s not a warming trend.

  14. Alan McIntire says:

    It looks like there’s not a significant difference in tornadoes in
    El Nino – La Nina years, but there’s a significant increase in VIOLENT tornadoes in La Nina years- AMC

  15. Joe says:

    Alan: Since you don’t believe we’re in a warming trend, you’ll gladly make a $1000 bet that the next decade won’t be warmer than this. I’ll give you 2-to-1.

    The fact is, we’ve been in a warming trends for decades. Deal with it.

  16. Bob B says:

    !934 was the warmest year in this country. The trend is negative—it is not warming now–global warming I’ sooooo scared–not:

    Look at the graph and tell me you scared. It is not warming–it is cooling trend now

  17. Patrick49 says:

    “The fact is, we’ve been in a warming trends for decades.”.
    True ever since the cooling period ended following the warming period of the ’30s which followed the cooling period which followed the warming period………………. . That is mother nature.
    And if you feel that “If the facts don’t fit, Let’s bet on it” is a valid scientific approach, no doubt there are several Russian scientists who are predicting a coming cooling period based on reduced solar activity who might take the bet.

  18. Joe says:

    Sigh. Post a comment again in a few years when you realize just how tragically deceived you’ve been by the deniers/delayers.

  19. Bob B says:

    Joe, new forecasts coming in from the trending “data ” fall outside recent IPCC projections:

    Read the chart and argue with data not emotions

  20. Bob B says:

    Arctic sea ice melting–seals missing this is unprecedented!

    Oh wait it’s 1922–the CO2 from 2008 teleported back to 1922 and caused warming

  21. Patrick49 says:

    Do not sigh for me, Joe. Apparently you missed commenting on my March 13th response or perhaps you thought no rebuttal was possible as it is not easy to distort facts or historical and recent climate records or court decision, even English courts. By the way,” post a comment again in a few years” is a sad commentary on the state of professional and scientific exchange of views on the part of Al Gore and global warming advocates.

  22. Joe says:

    I think anyone who won’t take my absurdly generous bet — 2-to-1 odds is a gimme for anyone who really believes what you’ve been posting — doesn’t believe what they’re saying, and that means they are spreading disinformation. I won’t waste any time debunking people who don’t even believe what they are saying.

    Previously, I had decided not to waste a lot of time rebutting the people who have been rebutted hundreds of time on this blog. If you think the hockey stick has been discredited then you simply don’t believe in science. The NAS clearly studied the matter in great detail and reaffirmed it.

    Since you don’t believe in the observational data and science up until this point, I can’t imagine what would happen in the next few months to convince you. So post again in a few years after it becomes painfully obvious just how wrong you are.

    I’d also love your answer to “If you were running national and global climate policy, what level of global CO2 concentrations would be your goal and how would you achieve it?”

  23. Bob B says:

    Joe, if you think the “Hockey Stick” is still alive then why can;t Tamino and the Hockey team respond to Steve Mc’s challenges:

    The hockey stick has now been totally discredited and any believers can not stand up to data and logic

    The NAS panel DID NOT reaffirm the hockey stick. Wegman basically told the hockey team to take courses in statistics

  24. Patrick49 says:

    Demonization of CO2 is the bogyman set up to allow governments to tax and control energy thereby obtaining total control of how people live and behave. Whether you are a believer in a Creator or a follower of Darwin the idea that the process of life, breathing, results in the formation of CO2 which is expelled into the atmosphere to produce O2 is somehow harmful is absurd.
    The following was posted on March 13 to show that CO2 was not the cause of the earth’s warming or cooling “the global temperature has remained constant over the last decade even though CO2 has continued to rise? Where is the media in failing to report that the CO2 remained relatively constant for 10,000 years as the earth’s climate cycled between cooling periods, warm periods, little Ice ages and extreme warm periods and today as the CO2 increases the earth’s temperature has remained constant for a decade?” Apparently global warming advocates are allowed to ignore “observational data and science” that doesn’t fit their political, economic or social agenda.
    There has been no scientific proof that CO2 causes global warming but evidence that increased CO2 is caused by cyclical warming trends therefore setting some totally arbitrary limit would not attain some predetermined result.
    If CO2 reduction is a goal then stop all the hundreds of millions being spent on biofuels, and alternate energy sources and build nuclear plants. Common sense dictates that we explore for oil in every nook and cranny in our onshore and offshore areas. build refineries, invest in coal gasification and coal to oil conversion plants. Brazil explored, drilled and produced oil to achieve energy independence and European countries depend on nuclear power. Cuba could be drilling 90 miles off the our coast when we do not allow our own companies to drill. The arrogance exhibited in attempting to demean and discredit any who disagree with what Professor Lindzen of MIT refers to as the ‘global warming’ religion is a disgrace to scientists.

  25. Bob B says:

    Joe, here is the NAS Wegman report. Read all 91pages and tell me the Hockey Stick is not dead:

  26. Bob B says:

    Joe, and here is a report from the American Statistical Association reiewing the Hockey Stick and saying Mann et al need to learn statisitics:

  27. Joe says:

    NAS Wegman report? You are joking, right? Wegman is part of NAS, but wrote a completely different report — not peer-reviewed.

    NAS report is here

    Nature headline on NAS report: “Academy affirms hockey-stick graph”

  28. Bob B says:

    You are joking right?

  29. Peter Houlihan says:


    The sea ice often recovers during the winter – but there is a big difference between the ice in the 1980’s and today. In the 80’s much of the ice was multi-year ice (thicker, more stable), but today’s ice is new ice and it melts at a quicker rate in the summer. In addition, the average thickness of this years ice is much thinner than the ice in the 1980’s.

    You should be more careful and stop presenting selective information. It cuts into your credibility.

  30. Bob B says:

    Peter–and your proof for this is?

  31. Joe says:

    Bob — I’ll post on this shortly. And no, it won’t be back to 1980.

  32. Patrick49 says:

    Looking forward to your post

  33. Bob B says:

    It seems like it’s 1933 again with a warming scare :

    Joe, do you also have any proof that the Arctic ce didn’t melt more in the 1920’s to 1930’s?

    Remember 1934 was the warmest year on record in the US

  34. Bob B says:

    Oh and Joe, BTW don’t include any of the NASA AGW religion folks.

  35. Patrick49 says:

    Joe wrote” Nature headline on NAS report: “Academy affirms hockey-stick graph””
    No white flag here as of March 15th

  36. Joe says:

    Gosh — a website that denies science … wait for it … still denies science! I’m shocked.

  37. Patrick49 says:

    “Gosh — a website that denies science … wait for it … still denies science! I’m shocked.’
    mesage appears garbled, makes no sense.

  38. Joe says:

    I agree that makes no sense. Who cares if they don’t put up a white flag. They are deniers of science.

  39. Bob B says:

    Joe, they are not deniers of science. They keep on showing data and hard facts and the warmingistas still show emotion

  40. Patrick49 says:

    Apparently your reading and comprehension skills are as garbled as your writing. Einstein didn’t call Bohr a denier of science, he debated him openly, in public and it was front page on the NY Times. Today the GW alarmists efforts are aimed at censoring , closing down any and all debate and by refusing to debate bona fide scientists who challenge with scientific facts the still unproven role of mankind in the cyclical warm period that was experienced up to 1998.
    GW alarmists refuse to accept that their view is only a theory and “a theory that explains scientific observations; “scientific theories must be falsifiable”. Is the human caused global warming theory falsifiable? Has it been shown to be falsifiable? Is the theory that CO2 causes global warming falsifiable? Saying that a scientist is a denier is easy, proving it is more difficult

  41. Joe says:

    Enough, Patrick. My writing was NOT garbled. You said the (well-known denier) website Climate Audit still believes (incorrectly) that the Hockey stick has been debunked. I wrote:

    “Gosh — a website that denies science … wait for it … still denies science! I’m shocked.”

    Nothing garbled there.

    I know I’m not Einstein. But apparently you think Steve McIntyre is Bohr. NOT!

    Of course AGW is falsifiable. Sadly for the human race, all the recent observations have vindicated it — indeed, as I’ve written, they all tend to be on the high end of model projections.

    Again, I’m not going to keep responding to your nonsense. You seem to be a Delayer-1000, unless you have a plan to avoid 1000 ppm.

  42. Patrick49 says:

    Since the global temperature peaked in 1998 according to recent observations, could the model projections be wrong? I have raised the following question with a number of GW alarmist, including Al Gore nd the Royal Society without a response. Perhaps you can provide answers.
    -has any projection used by the IPCC or other GW advocates forecasted, predicted or otherwise foreseen a cooling period or a little ice age in the future?
    Question 2
    -could any of the current computer models with their climate theories, complex assumptions, complex climate models and positive feedback loops forecast, predict, or foresee a cooling period or litttle ice age in the future?
    Question 3
    -since a rather steady state CO2 content had little or no effect on the earth’s cyclical climate for 10,000 years and the recent warming trend has moderated since 1998 while the atmospheric CO2 increased are the repeated iterations of the computer models falsifying the role of CO2 in the earth’s climate? Repeated iterations of the Mandelbrot set equation drives the results to infinity or zero. it is possible that the GW computer simulations drive the result to ever higher temperatures just by how the assumptions on the CO2 effect are designed, weighted and looped , isn’t it.

  43. Patrick49 says:

    Apparently you missed completely the Einstein/Bohr reference which was intended to highlight the civil tone in scientific debates in the past which has been the debased by the GW alarmists resort to personal attacks, name calling, ie deniers, nonsense remarks and a superiority complex which supports the Manns and Hansens who refused to open and share their data and methodology with the scientific community. Had either of these gentleman worked for me while providing questionable information or erroneous data for 6 years or longer that resulted in massive investments they would have either been fired or promoted into positions where they could do no harm.

  44. Joe says:

    The deniers aren’t Einstein or Bohr. Stop kidding yourself. We didn’t stop warming in 1998. Already debunked. On this website.

  45. Patrick49 says:

    “Already debunked. On this website.” is a classic example of hubris-
    overbearing pride or presumption
    arrogance, haughtiness, hauteur, high-handedness, lordliness – overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner.
    There are 400 scientists who diasagreed in a documented approach to Congress as well as 19,000 scientists, engineers and technical individuals who signed an anti-Kyoto statement on Professor Seitz’s website.

  46. Patrick49 says:

    If you haven’t cut and run you might respond to:.,25197,23411799-7583,00.html
    Looks like the IPCCC can’t handle or explain the recent leveling out of global temperature since 1998, an event which you claim hasn’t happened but the IPCC apparently recognizes as happening. By the way there has been no response on the questions raised on March 19th. Just a reminder.

  47. regeya says:

    Looking back at this, a full month later (I was obsessing over whether or not America would be plunged into another Great Depression at the time) it’s funny to watch the argument here.

    Some claim cooling, some claim warming, some claim the warming is causing cooling, some that cooling is causing warming. How about y’all get along and just say ‘climate change’? And let’s stop ignoring the important issues–we humans just keep on polluting. Surely we’re having a negative effect somewhere. Well, it can be proven that we do have a negative effect, but it’s not 100% provable that we’re having a profound effect on the environment.

    But that’s no excuse to keep on polluting as usual. Just the fact that we’re making the air and land toxic should be enough to persuade us to change–no need to obsess over climate data, just leave that to the climatologists, economists, and farmers to worry about.