U.S. Open at Bethpage Black hit by “global warming type” of record rainfall — Tiger Woods falls victim to a bad draw and bad putting

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"U.S. Open at Bethpage Black hit by “global warming type” of record rainfall — Tiger Woods falls victim to a bad draw and bad putting"

They called this year’s U.S. Open “Bathpage.”

And yes, Tiger Woods lost, even though I called him an “all-climate player” after he won “the brown British Open” at drought-stricken Royal Liverpool in 2006 and the “Hottest Major of All Time.” In fact, I had predicted “No doubt he’ll some day win the ‘wettest major of all time,’ too” — but a bad draw and bad putting thwarted him, as I’ll discuss at the end.

And this was a bath.  As Newsday reported Thursday evening about the rainsoaked first day,

The golf-hating storm system that soaked the U.S. Open tournament in Farmingdale Thursday broke records for the date in Long Island and New York City, continuing a streak that may make this one of the wettest Junes on record, according to the National Weather Service….

“If this keeps up, New York City could see its rainiest June”….

A weather station at Long Island MacArthur Airport recorded 1.53 inches by 8 p.m., beating its previous record of 1.44 inches.

The 2.26 inches that fell at Kennedy Airport shattered the record of 1.49 inches set in 1972.

I’m going to borrow and modify a term from the scientific literature and call this a “global-warming-type” deluge — see Must-have PPT: The “global-change-type drought” and the future of extreme weather.  After all, this type of extreme downpour is precisely what climate science projects would happen when you put more water vapor into the air.  And it is precisely what major peer-reviewed studies have shown the United States has been experiencing in the past few decades (see Why the “never seen before” Fargo flooding is just what you’d expect from global warming, as Obama warns):

In 2004, the Journal of Hydrometeorology published an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center that found “Over the contiguous United States, precipitation, temperature, streamflow, and heavy and very heavy precipitation have increased during the twentieth century.”

They found (here) that over the course of the 20th century, the “Cold season (October through April),” saw a 16% increase in “heavy” precipitation events (roughly greater than 2 inches [when it comes as rain] in one day), and a 25% increase in “very heavy” precipitation events (roughly greater than 4 inches in one day)- and a 36% rise in “extreme” precipitation events (those in the 99.9% percentile “” 1 in 1000 events). This rise in extreme precipitation is precisely what is predicted by global warming models in the scientific literature.

In fact, the last few decades have seen rising extreme precipitation over the United States in the historical record, according to NCDC’s Climate Extremes Index (CEI):

An increasing trend in the area experiencing much above-normal proportion of heavy daily precipitation is observed from about 1950 to the present.

Here is a plot of the percentage of this country (times two) with much greater than normal proportion of precipitation derived from extreme 1-day precipitation events (where extreme equals the highest tenth percentile of deluges, click to enlarge):

cei-4-08.gif

Didn’t know that our government kept a Climate Extremes Index? Why would you? The media never writes about it.

The U.S. Climate Extremes Index was explicitly created to take a complicated subject (“multivariate and multidimensional climate changes in the United States“) and make it more easily understood by American citizens and policy makers. As far back as 1995, analysis by the National Climatic Data Center showed that over the course of the 20th century, the United States had suffered a statistically significant increase in a variety of extreme weather events, the very ones you would expect from global warming, such as more “” and more intense “” precipitation. That analysis concluded the chances were only “5 to 10 percent” this increase was due to factors other than global warming, such as “natural climate variability.” And since 1995, the climate has gotten much more extreme.

Characteristically, Roger Pielke, Jr. tried to smear the integrity of the authors of the recent landmark NOAA-led interagency report on US climate impacts — see “Why do deniers like Pielke shout down any talk of a link between climate change and extreme weather?” — while asserting that “those wanting a more rounded picture of extremes in the United States” should read the Bush Administration’s 2008 report, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate.”

I think that is a great idea (see “Sorry, deniers: Even U.S gov says human emissions are changing the climate“).  But whatever you do, don’t read Pielke’s absurdly cherry-picked synopsis.  Read the actual report, whose conclusions are the exact opposite of what “political” scientist Pielke claims.  Indeed, this report is really an “I told you so” from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center and Tom Karl in particular, who has been a real leader in this area, helping to create the still rarely-discussed Climate Extremes Index (see “Global warming causes deluges and flooding, just like the Midwest is seeing (again).”

If you don’t read the whole report, at least read the synopsis:

Changes in extreme weather and climate events have significant impacts and are among the most serious challenges to society in coping with a changing climate.

Many extremes and their associated impacts are now changing. For example, in recent decades most of North America has been experiencing more unusually hot days and nights, fewer unusually cold days and nights, and fewer frost days. Heavy downpours have become more frequent and intense. Droughts are becoming more severe in some regions, though there are no clear trends for North America as a whole. The power and frequency of Atlantic hurricanes have increased substantially in recent decades, though North American mainland land-falling hurricanes do not appear to have increased over the past century. Outside the tropics, storm tracks are shifting northward and the strongest storms are becoming even stronger.

It is well established through formal attribution studies that the global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases. Such studies have only recently been used to determine the causes of some changes in extremes at the scale of a continent. Certain aspects of observed increases in temperature extremes have been linked to human influences. The increase in heavy precipitation events is associated with an increase in water vapor, and the latter has been attributed to human-induced warming. No formal attribution studies for changes in drought severity in North America have been attempted. There is evidence suggesting a human contribution to recent changes in hurricane activity as well as in storms outside the tropics, though a confident assessment will require further study.

In the future, with continued global warming, heat waves and heavy downpours are very likely to further increase in frequency and intensity. Substantial areas of North America are likely to have more frequent droughts of greater severity. Hurricane wind speeds, rainfall intensity, and storm surge levels are likely to increase. The strongest cold season storms are likely to become more frequent, with stronger winds and more extreme wave heights.

Current and future impacts resulting from these changes depend not only on the changes in extremes, but also on responses by human and natural systems.

So yes, there is a strong link between climate change, which is now predominantly driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, and the rise in many different type of extreme weather events “” and that rise will accelerate in the future and the link will grow. Until, of course, the climate just changes, and in many regions we stop using the word drought, and use the word Dust Bowl “” assuming that we aren’t smart enough to ignore the siren song of the deniers and solve this problem.

One final note on golf and Tiger Woods.  Of all the major sports, golf is arguably most subject to the whims of weather.  In the 2009 Open, the golfers in the first draw, like Tiger, played the first part of their round in the deluge, while those in the second part of the draw didn’t even have to go outside at all.  As WP sports report Tom Boswell wrote in his piece, “It’s Not How You Play, But When You Play“:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01426/tiger_woods_get_1426467i.jpg

Let’s use Mickelson and Woods to illustrate the fate of those in opposite halves of this Open draw. On Thursday, Tiger rose at dawn for an early tee time, played six holes in swampy conditions and a steady rain, constantly changing in and out of a rainproof jacket. The day’s play was suspended at 10:15, so he had to finish his round on Friday, beginning at 7:30 a.m. He bogeyed the last two holes for 74. From the whole morning group, only two players shot 69. And the lowest score by a major champion was 71.

In contrast, Mickelson said, “I never even had to come to the course on Thursday. I watched a movie — “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.” Then he teed off at a pleasant 11:06 a.m. on Friday. About that time, the clouds parted and Bethpage became Bermuda. In one beautiful nine-hour stretch of sun, soft greens and mild breeze — in the midst of what may turn out to be the wettest and most miserable Open ever — Phil and a bunch of lucky stiffs got to play their entire first round and as much of their second round as they could complete before the sun set. It was like watching a land rush as players fired for defenseless limp flags at dusk.

Mickelson tied for second at 2 under par.  Tiger finished at even par, 4 strokes back of the leader, who won at 4 under.

The golfers in the second draw had on average a two stroke advantage compared to the golfers in the first draw in just the first round.  I believe Tiger is the only golfer in the first draw who even finished at par or better — none of the others in his draw could even overcome that disadvantage.  Now Tiger lost by 4 strokes.  Had he been in the second draw, and everyone else on the leaderboard been in the deluge draw, then he probably would have done no worse than tie for first.  Indeed, Boswell writes:

It’s hard to prove exactly how many strokes this extreme example of the luck of the draw provided. But it’s fun to try. The difference in scoring average between the two groups was 1.89 shots in the first round. Since all the leaders played at least nine to 12 holes at dusk under even calmer conditions, you can probably add another shot of advantage. However, at the top of the leader board, where it matters most, the gap may be even greater. The average score of the six lowest players in the morning group was 70.33 vs. 66.50 for the six lowest in the afternoon group. So, a five-shot draw-and-weather advantage for this Open winner seems plausible.

Again, the draw may have cost Tiger the win.

But for anyone who watched the tournament, Tiger had his chances and didn’t seize them, especially with his putter.  The fact that he outperformed everybody else in his draw and finished 4 off the leader makes clear he remains the best golfer in the world.  But had he played like the greatest golfer of all time, which he is and which he usually does, he probably would have won this tournament anyway, in spite of the bad luck of the draw.

He remains the all-climate player.

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67 Responses to U.S. Open at Bethpage Black hit by “global warming type” of record rainfall — Tiger Woods falls victim to a bad draw and bad putting

  1. Gail says:

    Precisely why “climate chaos” is a better characterization of our current situation and uncertain future. Wild swings between drought and heavy precipitation are just NOT what our flora and fauna expect. They cannot sustain themselves because they are all interconnected, and when one species springs out earlier based on temperature, and another lags behind because they are based on the proportion of daylight to night, the disconnect is fatal.

    Anecdotally, I would like to mention that not only has it been abnormally wet in New Jersey lately, it has been ridiculously cloudy. Even when we don’t actually have rain, it is dark shadows (anyone remember that soap? just a funny) but it really has been overcast.

  2. Brewster says:

    It’s my observation that Tiger rarely putts well on soft greens…

  3. James Newberry says:

    Connecticut has had the cloudiest year in memory. The number of clear, blue sky days during the first half of this year can be counted with the fingers on your two hands. It’s a dark year in several regards – clouds, job losses, bankruptcys, Iran government, etc.

  4. David B. Benson says:

    Would be good just now to point out this aspect of climate chaotic change to your representative just now, urgin a strengthening and passage of W-M.

  5. Omega Centauri says:

    I have a technical question (perhaps I should go over to realclimate). Why are extremes expected to be worse in a warmer world? I get it for hurricanes/tropical storms, which benefit from a nonlinear relationship to ocean temperatures. But extratropical storms are driven by regional temperature differences, and polar amplification should mean that lattitudal gradients will be smaller. So some other less obvious factor must be at work here. And then we have precipitation being more concentrated in extreme events. The naive expectation would be that precipitation would increase, because warmer air means more evaporation, and more available atmospheric moisture. But again the naive expectation would be that the precipitation distribution would simply be shifted (on a log scale), but otherwise would have the same shape. This clearly isn’t the expectation of climatologists, or consistent with the result of this study. Do you know of some layman understandable physical reasoning for why this is the case?

  6. Susan says:

    Recent news about glacial melts in south Chile and the Alps. Do we have news coming in from Greenland melt? Even the MSM forecasters were mentioning Greenland. I think (but don’t know) there’s a causal relationship and am waiting for news – ‘sup?

  7. GFW says:

    Omega, at a really basic level heat is energy, and more energetic (extreme) things can happen when you’ve got more energy to play with. Now that’s obviously not the whole story. A uniform ball of rock, covered with an ocean and an atmosphere might respond more uniformly to increased temperature. But our ball of rock has continents, ocean circulation patterns formed by those continents, mountains that divert winds, often causing wet sides and dry sides … so there isn’t a really easy to understand version of the complex picture. It’s just that the GCMs *tend* to show an intensification of existing weather patterns (so many deserts will expand, while many wet coasts will get wetter).

    Beyond that … yeah, ask Gavin :-) Actually, if there isn’t already a RealClimate post on the topic, I bet they’d do one. It’s well within their mission and a couple of posts back RC was saying there wasn’t much to talk about any more on the science side. (Whereas Joe on the other hand …)

  8. r simpson says:

    Pray to God for rain and blessing. It does seem we have more media venues reporting on storms. Doesn’t mean there are more storms. With more media handling, we have more drama in he reporting and the battle for audience. Peilke did actual research on the increase of rain near areas that had increased irrigation farming.
    We will have more runnoff and street flooding because of pavement in large ammopunts hinders water absorption.

  9. Mark says:

    I think it’s dangerous to play up the connection between climate and individual weather events. Climate change will result in a different pattern of weather, and we expect that pattern to consist of more extreme individual events (in most places). But these extreme weather events were possible without climate warming, and less extreme events and periods of time will still be possible and will undoubtedly happen with climate warming.

    Saying the rain at the US Open was because of climate change overplays our hand and overstates the facts and we should leave that kind of deceit to the deniers. Only the truth will set us free…

  10. dhogaza says:

    Saying the rain at the US Open was because of climate change

    He didn’t.

    However, I suspect that many denialists will also miss the difference between saying “this kind of event is expected to be more frequently and more extreme with GW” vs. “this event was *caused* by global warming”.

  11. Lou Grinzo says:

    dhogaza: I agree 100%.

    I’ve learned a lot on this site, one of the most useful things being a deeper understanding of how the deniers work. When I encounter almost any news involving climate or weather, there’s a separate process running in my head asking, “How will the deniers misuse this information? And how hard will it be to show mainstreamers that the deniers are peddling balloon juice again?”

    How I wish it weren’t so…

  12. r simpson says:

    “So yes, there is a “strong link between climate change”, which is now predominantly driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, and the rise in many different type of extreme weather events — and that “rise will accelerate in the future and the link will grow”. Until, of course, the climate just changes, and in many regions we stop using the word drought, and use the word Dust Bowl — assuming that we aren’t smart enough to ignore the siren song of the deniers and solve this problem.”

    Straight from the OP. “Climate change is predominately driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases.”

    If I am a denier, am I what stands in the way of preventing the next dust bowl?

  13. 12 volt says:

    Susan Says:

    June 25th, 2009 at 1:15 am
    “Recent news about glacial melts in south Chile and the Alps. Do we have news coming in from Greenland melt? Even the MSM forecasters were mentioning Greenland. I think (but don’t know) there’s a causal relationship and am waiting for news – ’sup?”

    I read this just recently at Science daily from a new study published in the journal Hydrological Processes.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090612092741.htm

  14. paulm says:

    In my books we should be attributing most of the recent extreme events to GW, especially the record breakers.

    The debate angle should be the other way round.

  15. Joe M says:

    So all the cool weather we’ve been having is caused by global warming. Now I understand.

  16. John Hollenberg says:

    > So all the cool weather we’ve been having is caused by global warming. Now I understand.

    Try educating yourself about the difference between weather and climate.

  17. PaulK says:

    Good to know the words “global warming type” of record rainfall do not imply causation especially since the Bethpage area is experiencing it’s fourth coldest June in recorded history.

  18. Aaron says:

    Joe M try not to be so US centric in your thinking. While US had a cold winter, Australia and parts of south america had record breaking heat waves. Just as John Hallenberg wrote, learn the difference between local/regional weather and the world climate.

    I do find it a fine line to walk between attributing single weather events to climate change and predicting that extreme weather events like this will be more likely in the future.

  19. AKD says:

    > He didn’t.

    > However, I suspect that many denialists will also miss the difference
    > between saying “this kind of event is expected to be more frequently
    > and more extreme with GW” vs. “this event was *caused* by global
    > warming”.

    So, this event can not be attributed to GW, but at least some future events of the same type will be attributable to GW (otherwise you cannot claim they will happen more frequently because of GW). How do you distinguish between the two? If 5 events happen this year, and 10 next year, and the increased frequency next year is because of GW, then at least 5 of those events must be caused by GW.

  20. RSM says:

    You’re a ****ing idiot.

  21. Joe M says:

    “Try educating yourself about the difference between weather and climate.”

    I’m not the one who’s claiming the weather of the past month is caused by global warming, excuse me, climate change, like the owner of this blog is.

  22. Puke says:

    # dhogaza Says:
    June 25th, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Saying the rain at the US Open was because of climate change

    He didn’t.

    However, I suspect that many denialists will also miss the difference between saying “this kind of event is expected to be more frequently and more extreme with GW” vs. “this event was *caused* by global warming”.

    I didn’t miss anything. The author is still an idiot.

  23. dhogaza says:

    Puke: you put words into his mouth that he didn’t say. I am more than willing to believe that you did this intentionally, rather than simply having missed it.

    “Climate change is [now] predominately driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases.”

    If I am a denier, am I what stands in the way of preventing the next dust bowl?

    You, like puke, are dishonest. See that word “now” I re-inserted into your cut-and-paste? Why did you delete it? It changes the meaning of the sentence entirely.

    I’m not the one who’s claiming the weather of the past month is caused by global warming

    Except he didn’t.

    How do you distinguish between the two? If 5 events happen this year, and 10 next year, and the increased frequency next year is because of GW, then at least 5 of those events must be caused by GW.

    No one argues that natural variability in year-to-year weather is going to disappear because of global warming. “5 this year, 10 next year” is not enough time to establish a trend vs. variability. However “an average of 5 a year in the 1970s, 7 a year in the 1980s, 9 a year in the 1990s” would establish a trend (yes, people have looked at the statistics of variability and 30 years is a pretty safe period of time for trend analysis for climate effects).

    The data we’ve got is kinda on the edge … there’s huge variability in, say, the number of hurricanes per year, there are multiple factors and warming effects things that tend to damp hurricanes as well as increase their intensity. Studies have teased out statistically significant increasing trends in the pacific, but there’s scientific controversy (*real* science, not blog science) over those results.

    But researchers all agree that adding more energy to the climate system will make it more dynamic. That’s pretty much inevitable given physics.

  24. dhogaza says:

    And, AKD, you’ll notice the plot of the climate extremes index shows a rise over the last 30 years, so for this index, there would appear to be a very clear statistical ly significant trend …

    You’ll also note the big wiggles in the plot, as you can see natural variability is quite large. Regardless, the trend swamps it.

  25. charlie says:

    The real problem I have with Joe’s argument is a rainy June isn’t a bad thing. Sure, the southwest may turn into a dust bowl. Some would argue it is already a desert. Come back to the Northeast where it rains ALL the time.

  26. Mark says:

    This is a tricky balance. One the one hand, scientifically, you can only talk about probabilistic relationships between climate warming and weather patterns over the long term. Yes, big storms, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes are expected to be more likely in the future. As dhogaza says, we have to look at trends.

    But we also want to make these scientific realities understandable and tangible for the general public (most people have a difficult time conceiving of probabilistic relationships, the science is clear on that). So we point to specific events as examples of what we can expect. Then the anti-scientists grab on to the next cold snap or the next quiet hurricane season and use that to suggest that climate change is a hoax. They’re misusing our misuse of science. That is also inevitable.

  27. Jim Gordon says:

    I know a great deal about science and the physics of global warming or climate change or whatever the political-science spin doctors are calling it this week. Let me ask a common-sense question with the help from a little elementary school earth science:

    What is more likely to drive global warming or climate change: 1) small variations in our sun, which provides 100 percent of our planet’s energy budget, or 2) large variations in carbon dioxide, an infinitesimally small trace gas in our atmosphere essential to photosynthesis? Many might say the debate is over now that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has covered all the relevant science. I would then ask, Have you read the IPCC technical reports? I would be very surprised to find anyone how has read any of them in-depth.

    What readers will find are a number of interesting facts and obvious omissions, one of which is a clear statement that the IPCC does not begin to understand all of the factors affecting our climate, including solar dynamics and cloud cover. The IPCC notes that the global-warming potential of carbon dioxide is insignificant compared with many other atmospheric trace gases, including water vapor.

    Some facts they don’t publish are: 1) Doubling carbon dioxide concentrations increases plant growth by 33 percent, good news for farmers and foresters, 2) warming stimulates plant growth and on balance is good for the economy and society, and 3) humans are only responsible for 3 percent of all carbon dioxide escaping into the atmosphere. Therefore carbon cap-and-trade fees and carbon-offset taxes would have to be enormous and draconian to have any significant impact on the planet’s carbon dioxide.

    When all is said and done, the underlying reality is that nothing has done more to make our planet green over the past several decades than moderate sun-driven warming together with elevated levels of carbon dioxide, regardless of the source.

    The most disturbing question is: Why is our government spending so much national treasure to convince us that 1) warming is bad when it is not, 2) carbon dioxide is largely responsible for warming when it is not, and 3) people are largely responsible for carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere when they are not?

  28. Jonas Grumby says:

    I agree.

  29. GeneB_NoAGW says:

    Jim Gordon, great post!

    Our ever-money-grabbing politicians in Washington are using the Global Warming ‘Crisis’ (thanks a lot, AlGore) as an excuse to tax us even more.

  30. Jonas Grumby says:

    If AGW explains all observed phenomena, including individual weather events, then it cannot be disproved, and is, by definition, an exercise in faith and a religion. Its abject rejection of the scientific method is evidenced also by the personal attacks on members of the opposition and attempts to silence them.

    Sadly, as religions go, this one is pretty dangerous, as its blind followers are putting forth policy that affects the rest of us.

  31. Jeff Botten says:

    Tiger Woods lost because of rain due to global warming?

    [JR: Is that what you think? ’cause it’s not what I said.]

    Golf courses will become a thing of the past as a result of intense downpours and unrelenting drought due to global warming?

    [JR: Is that what you think? Wow. You have some bizarre beliefs. That said, golf if very exposed to the elements, and it will suffer more than most sports as climate change accelerates. What we’ve seen so far is just the tip of the calving iceberg.]

    The only recent thing which stopped golfing in New York was the ice age.

  32. Joe M says:

    Thanks Jim Gordon, couldn’t have said it better myself.

  33. gmo says:

    Is it just me, or is it weird how posts regarding weather bring out so many comments from people who (contrary to their claims otherwise) fail to understand the science of climate and climate change (as demonstrated by their comments)? Not to mention the ‘AGW is religion’, ‘Al Gore wants to tax us back to the Stone Age’, ‘CO2 is good’, ‘warmer is better’, etc types.

    It is a shame these things need continual debunking and so much effort goes into that. But at least it helps demonstrate the abject vacuity of the case against the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

  34. Aaron says:

    Jim Gordon, you wrote,

    “What is more likely to drive global warming or climate change…”

    First off I’m glad you gave us the “I know what I’m talking about” warning to start off your post.
    In what world would anyone have to decide between to contributors to this worlds climate. The dichotomy you present is completely false. Nobody here (that I’ve read) in any way would give you the assumption that the sun is not one of the key factors in this earths climate. But please by all means, find some reasonable scientific evidence that accounts for the observed warming trends. ALONE, solar irradiance doesn’t match and neither do sunspot cycles. We do know over geologic time periods the earth’s climate is primarily driven by how much sun we get (ie milankovitch cycles–changes in earth’s orbit), at least for the last 2million years or so.

    And to answer your question, I have read the IPCC 2007 report in depth. Indeed anyone who can read the newspaper can understand its contents. Its geared to inform policy decisions, so its written in jargon the average reader could understand.

    You also wrote,
    “Some facts they don’t publish are: 1) Doubling carbon dioxide concentrations increases plant growth by 33 percent, good news for farmers and foresters”

    Apparently you aren’t a biologist otherwise you’d know that the its the rate of change here that is the problem. Most plants and animals are ill equipped to adapt to a rapidly warming world that will alter local/regional and world weather patterns. All the CO2 in the world won’t help a plant that’s dying from drought in california for example.

    “2) warming stimulates plant growth and on balance is good for the economy and society,”

    “3) humans are only responsible for 3 percent of all carbon dioxide escaping into the atmosphere”

    While I disagree with your figure, I’ll present an argument to it anyhow. If the world is in balance, the net CO2 gain/loss would be minimal. If you upset this balance, ie cutting down forests, burning fossil fuels, you will get an excess. This does and is accumulating in our oceans and atmosphere. So 3% that isn’t being absorbed by other carbon sinks, is a huge amount in comparison.

    And lastly, to throw a monkey wrench into your euphoric view of global climate change, tell me how the increased CO2 will be good for ocean pH and the organisms residing in them? I’d really like to know how you’ll spin this one.

  35. GeneB_NoAGW says:

    gmo, I do understand the science of climate change.

    And, I guess I’m one of the “‘AGW is religion’, ‘Al Gore wants to tax us back to the Stone Age’, ‘CO2 is good’, ‘warmer is better’” types. I’d like to see you try to debunk these.

  36. dhogaza says:

    What is more likely to drive global warming or climate change: 1) small variations in our sun, which provides 100 percent of our planet’s energy budget, or 2) large variations in carbon dioxide, an infinitesimally small trace gas in our atmosphere essential to photosynthesis?

    Well, Jim Gordon, what’s more likely to kill you:

    1. a small variation of our sun or

    2. Exposure to sarin at a level of 0.1 ppm, about 1/3000th the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Please don’t come back until *after* you’ve tried the experiment.

  37. Mark says:

    Jim Gordon:

    Thanks for pointing out your expertise. That helps. The preponderance of science and scientists seem to go against your conclusions. Skepticism is good but at some point it is incredible. I think it’s wise for society to bet on the overwhelming odds that current projections are right. In the infinitesimal chance that you are right, you can scream a great big “I told you so.”

  38. dhogaza says:

    gmo, I do understand the science of climate change.

    And, I guess I’m one of the “‘AGW is religion’

    The juxtaposition of these two sentences proves that one is false.

  39. dhogaza says:

    If AGW explains all observed phenomena, including individual weather events, then it cannot be disproved, and is, by definition, an exercise in faith and a religion.

    It’s a good thing that neither Joe nor the climate science community says any such thing, isn’t it?

    Why do you people continuously build strawmen to burn down? Is it because you have nothing else?

  40. dhogaza says:

    What readers will find are a number of interesting facts and obvious omissions, one of which is a clear statement that the IPCC does not begin to understand all of the factors affecting our climate, including solar dynamics and cloud cover.

    We don’t *begin to understand* solar dynamics and cloud cover?

    Regarding solar dynamics, that would only be true if you believe in Sky Fairy Hypotheses like galactic cosmic rays have a large impact on climate due to some mechanism entirely unknown to physics, that at the same time counterbalances exactly the known physical properties of CO2.

    Regarding cloud cover, stating that this is currently our weakest area of knowledge in regard to feedbacks is not at all the same as saying “that we don’t begin to understand” such feedbacks. In fact, it’s reasonably well bounded to lie in the positive direction.

    The IPCC notes that the global-warming potential of carbon dioxide is insignificant compared with many other atmospheric trace gases, including water vapor.

    While also noting that water vapor concentration is determined solely by temperature, therefore it’s a feedback, not forcing.

    Why do you cherry-pick the scientific message in that report, leaving a false impression of what is known about the physics?

    Meanwhile, our dumping of CO2 into the atmosphere is a result of burning fossil fuels, it’s not a climate feedback, it’s a forcing.

    Some facts they don’t publish are: 1) Doubling carbon dioxide concentrations increases plant growth by 33 percent

    In greenhouses, where application of water and nutrients can make CO2 the limiting factor of plant growth.

    good news for farmers and foresters

    plying their trade in biosphere II …

    3) humans are only responsible for 3 percent of all carbon dioxide escaping into the atmosphere.

    Which, if there were no carbon sinks in the system, would lead to a 3% annual increase in the CO2 in the atmosphere, since the carbon cycle sans anthropogenic CO2 is in near-equilibrium.

    Fortunately, carbon sinks – the ocean, in particular – cut this in half.

  41. dhogaza says:

    So, Jim Gordon, why are you posting the same tiresome cut-and-paste long-debunked pseudo-scientific objections to basic science that have been thoroughly refuted for the last decade or more?

    Can’t you people ever come up with an original thought?

  42. Aaron says:

    Still, its not everyday I read a denialist post that starts out with, “I know a great deal about science and the physics of global warming…” and then completely refutes that statement by spouting theories that lack any basis in the scientific literature. Its good for a laugh if nothing else.

  43. dhogaza says:

    Its good for a laugh if nothing else.

    If the bill passes tomorrow, maybe I’ll be able to laugh … :)

  44. (what an ugly set of comments)

    Weather and climate are two labels for the same object, just at different ends. A changed climate means changing weather. And patterns of weather define climate. This is just to help humans understand.

    The Insurance industry gets it. They know about climate destabilization because it affects their profit. Damage from atmospherically related events has increased by roughly 10 percent a year. They are not in business to lose money.

    from http://solveclimate.com/blog/20090625/warming-world-means-more-destructive-storms

    “Insurers are convinced that with higher temperatures and more energy driving storm systems, future losses will be even greater. They are concerned about whether the industry can remain solvent under this onslaught of growing damages. So, too, is Moody’s Investors Service, which has several times downgraded the creditworthiness of some of the world’s leading reinsurance companies over the last six years.

    Thomas Loster, a climate expert at Munich Re, a leading re-insurance company, says the overall balance of natural catastrophes is now “dominated by weather-related disasters, many of them exceptional and extreme. We need to stop this dangerous experiment humankind is conducting on the Earth’s atmosphere.”

    Munich Re has published a list of natural disasters with insured losses of $1 billion or more. The first one came in 1983, when Hurricane Alicia struck the United States, racking up $1.5 billion in insured losses. Of the 58 natural catastrophes with $1 billion or more of insured losses recorded through the end of 2006, 3 were earthquakes, including the devastating 2004 earthquake-related Asian tsunami; the other 55 were weather-related—storms, floods, hurricanes, or wildfires. During the 1980s, there were 3 such events; during the 1990s, there were 26; and between 2000 and 2006 alone there were 26.”

  45. Pilot says:

    Has anybody here looked out of the window recently? Where has global warming gone? The arctic is freezing (ask the Caitlin Expedition ). There hasn’t been a summer in the UK for years. The Met Office is a joke. The skiing resorts everywhere are making a fortune. I thought this was simple. More CO2 = more heat. What is going wrong? Can anyone answer this in less than a thousand words?

  46. Gail says:

    ugh, what depressing comments. Excellent rebuttal Richard Pauli, I appreciate your fortitude and that of the other posters who make the effort to respond to deliberately obtuse and tedious deniers.

    Pilot, the average temperature of the globe is rising but not evenly. The poles are warming more quickly and the consequent imbalance is causing changes in air flow and weather.

    You can easily learn more by reading. The bit about ski resorts is just ludicrous.

    I’m looking out my window right now and what I see are withered trees, from climate change.

  47. David B. Benson says:

    Omega Centauri — What is predicted, and appears to be already happening, is more extreme events; extremely dry, extremely wet, extremely windy, extremely still … superimposed on generally warmer winters and nights. In the naive sense of the term, more chaotic.

    Reason: more energy in a system far from equilibrium.

  48. David B. Benson says:

    To the mess of denialists who have posted here today, you’re simply misled. I recommend beginning by studying “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    and then the many interesting threads onReal Climate.

  49. PaulK says:

    Richard Pauli,

    If my house had been destroyed by tornado in 1983, it would have been a $60,000 loss. If it happens tomorrow, the loss would be $220,000. Same house lost, different insured value.

  50. Shawn says:

    Several hundreds of years ago the Vikings landed on Greenland during a warm spell and decided just to simply grow grapes make wine and get drunk. “Wunderbar” Tiger does poorly during a rain storm and you koolade drinking quaks say “its gotta be global warming”

  51. Gail says:

    PaulK, You’ld think some actuarial expert at the insurance company would adjust the figures for inflation in order to compare apples to apples, but even if not, does the value of your house go up 10% per year, year after year, over DECADES?

  52. Aaron says:

    Pilot wrote,
    “The arctic is freezing”

    I go to the source for information regarding the arctic. Here’s what the NSIDC says about arctic sea ice AREA
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ (Click on the graph in the top right–its a daily updated sea ice area graph)

    This in no way means ice VOLUME is the same. 1 heavy freeze during the winter does not replenish the 2 to 3 yr old thicker ice. Instead you’ll just have a greater reduction in sea ice area as 1 year old ice often thaws by summers end.

  53. Aaron says:

    To add Pilot,

    This is the opening sentence of the Catlin Ice expedition june report,
    “The results collected in the Catlin Arctic Survey 2009, indicate that the extent of the thicker multi‐year ice is REDUCED compared with expectations from backscatter data…”

    Not sure how this could lead someone to the conclusion that the arctic is freezing. Unless you mean it literally, then yes, the arctic is freezing, as in its often below 0 C.

  54. David B. Benson says:

    Shawn — You are completely misled regarding the life of the Norsemen in Greenland over a thousand years ago. no grapes, amongst other things…

  55. Bullwinkle says:

    Houston smashes record high by 5F. 104F today.

  56. PaulK says:

    Gail,

    There wasn’t anything in Richard’s comment indicating constant dollars were used by Munich Re. Maybe he can elaborate.

    I wish I was the guy who paid $60,000 in 1983. We bought it off the one who did for $150,000 ten years ago. And yes, housing prices exploded around here rising almost beyond reason until the bubble burst last year. For a while the increase was not 10%/decade, but 10%/year.

  57. dhogaza says:

    There wasn’t anything in Richard’s comment indicating constant dollars were used by Munich Re. Maybe he can elaborate.

    The insurance industry’s not going to care if the constant dollar figure remains constant.

    So whether or not the numbers in the PR statement are constant dollar or not, you can be sure that the internal analysis measuring profit and loss impacts are done comparing apples-to-apples dollars and cents.

    Or Euros and Eurocents.

  58. Gail says:

    PaulK, I would like to know whether constant dollars were used, as well.

    But my point was, whether they were or not, the first reference WAS to 10% PER YEAR increase for insurance claims, not per decade, and yes, housing exploded but I think not by 10% per year for DECADES. And we all know what an unsustainable bubble real estate was, so assuming your “my house” was a metaphor for “costs rising in general” it’s not a terribly good refutation now is it?

    Well, unless you want to use health care costs in the US…

  59. PaulK says:

    dhogaza,

    Insurance companies make their money on the need to assuage real and perceived risk. Their profits come from overestimating those risks.

    Gail,

    For the three decades between 1975 and 2005, houses in my neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago appreciated at an average rate of 8% per year.

    Consider also the building boom, especially in coastal areas, of the last twenty years and how many more insured properties were created.

  60. Pilot says:

    Who is being misled here?
    Whichever way you cut it – there is a problem with global warming. Based on empirical evidence ( looking out of the window ) the amount of warming in the last decade is easily explained by natural variation.
    Gail – The ski resorts, which were all supposedly doomed, have had the best conditions in living memory in the last 12 months. This was true for both Europe and North America.
    Aaron. The Caitlin expedition departed to the North Pole in order to prove Arctic warming. They never came within 400 miles of it. All of their equipment failed because of extreme cold weather.
    Aaron your graph was excellent. – So is http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20090603_Figure2.png
    This shows that the arctic sea ice was within 2 S/D of the 30 year average for the entire winter.
    If we intend to cripple the economies of the entire western world and throw millions out of work – we need better evidence.

  61. GeneB_NoAGW says:

    Um… There hasn’t been any global warming over the last decade. The earth has cooled (satellite readings).

    But if you look at ground based readings, it shows a rise in earth’s temperature. But, there are major problems with these ground based stations:

    1) Most don’t conform to the prescribed standards — they are near air conditioners, are on pavement, etc.

    2) There are thousands from the north wilderness areas that are now off-line and are no longer contributing to the mix.

    The only way to get a “true” measure of the Earth’s temperature is from satellites.

  62. Jonas Grumby says:

    I agree, GeneB, but not many of these blind followers care about data.

    Even if the earth cooled for 50 years, they would continue to adjust their models and claim that we need to save the planet!

    There are people in this world who must create crises, that they may solve them and perpetuate their sense of importance. It’s sad. I get the feeling that their lives are empty.

  63. GeneB_NoAGW says:

    dhogaza, when you wrote this:

    2. Exposure to sarin at a level of 0.1 ppm, about 1/3000th the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Please don’t come back until *after* you’ve tried the experiment.

    Were you trying to be funny?

    CO2 isn’t a poison.

    You’re an idiot.

  64. Cardin Drake says:

    May’s temperature anomaly world-wide was plus .05. How could the rain be a global warming event, when temperatures are normal?

    [JR: Wrong and wrong. May was the 4th warmest on record! And human-caused climate change is about much more than warming. It is about a major change in the hydrological cycle, among other things.]

  65. Cardin Drake says:

    If the climate debate is settled, why can’t the experts even agree on what the temperature is today?
    According to satellite (UAH) temperatures, May ranked 16th out of the last 31. According to surface measurement, (GISS) May was the 5th warmest out of the last 130 years. This is an incredible discrepancy. Were May temperatures near-normal, or not? You would think we could at least settle that.

  66. SteveA@tul says:

    Seems to be a lot of smart people on this blog. Question… Looking at the Vostok ice cores, it appears the temp and CO2 follow each other. Since there was no significant human population to cause the increase in CO2 those hundreds of thousands of years ago, then didn’t the temperature rise by itself, with the CO2 rising in response? If so, could the CO2 rise we see now be primarily from the “momentum” of the prolonged warm period we are currently experiencing? (The Vostok data indicates we have remained warm longer than in the previous three warming periods.)

  67. Jeremy says:

    Hi just thought you might like to know we have had unprecedented rainfall in Bavaria this summer.

    Link here

    http://www.thelocal.de/national/20090706-20413.html?__utma=1.2221331595973393700.1242068679.1242068679.1242068679.1&__utmb=196863657.2.10.1247052249&__utmc=196863657&__utmx=-&__utmz=1.1243030697.1.3.utmcsr=google|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=toytown%2520germany&__utmv=-&__utmk=28214844