Climate change myths and shortcomings

1. Climate change is associated with an increase in tornadoes by

Using just the F5 tornadoes in the US, there has been a marked decrease in strong tornadoes.
1950— 12
1960— 11
1970— 18
1980— 3
1990— 10
2000— 2
2010— 7
As you can clearly see, the number is going down rapidly in the US. In the last 30 years (1980 through 2010 climate interval), there were 15 F5 tornadoes, versus the climate interval (1950-1979) with 31 F5 tornadoes. Approximately half as many.

From the Vancouver Observer:
As I recounted in my article last week, nobody knows how climate change is affecting tornadoes because the records from the past are unreliable. Our fossil fuel pollution might be a critical factor in pushing these new tornado records in recent years but we don’t know. It is a high stakes guessing game.
The last three years have witnessed:
Such an extreme number of strong tornadoes over 12 months that it should happen only once every 62,500 years
The three most destructive tornadoes in world history
The most destructive “super outbreak” of tornadoes ever recorded
The largest tornado ever recorded and possibly the most extreme surface level winds as well
(http://www.vancouverobserver.com/blogs/climatesnapshot/another-record-breaking-tornado-rips-through-oklahoma)

The author appears to be using F1 and up tornadoes. F0 are 40 to 72 mph, which is a breezy day in Wyoming. Otherwise, he counted ALL tornadoes, not just “strong ones”.
NOAA says there are 1253 tornadoes per year on average (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/severeweather/tornadoes.html) The reporter’s illustration is way off.
The most destructive have more to do with population density than with the actual occurrence of tornadoes. In Wyoming, there’s little to hit. I can remember perhaps two or three tornadoes that actually hit towns in thirty years.
As far as I can find, the super outbreak of 1974 had the most tornadoes. Again, the population density is what determines destruction, not the tornado itself.
I believe he got the last one right. Of course, that just means a new record set. Nothing more.

Contrast this with:
http://www.weather.com/news/tornado-central/march-tornadoes-fewest-20130330
The media continues to insist tornado numbers and strengths are increasing as a part of climate change, even when the evidence clearly does not back this.

2. Why is the length of the climate period 30 years?
When a questioner says “the world has been colder/hotter” the climate advocate responds: Never has the climate changed at its current speed. It’s unprecedented. Why are we using a VERY short period for climate definitions when the changes in climate have always been very gradual. One is lead to believe that centuries where required for a change in climate. It seems odd, then, that the World Meteorological Organization chose 30 years for the interval—in 1930. If the changes in climate are gradual and the changes only started maybe 30 to 50 years before the WMO defined the interval, there is no logic whatsoever to using a 30 year period. One would use a 30 interval if the climate was always changing, rather than being stable.
There are also periods of rapid climate change in the paleo records—the Younger Dryas, Dansgaard-Oeschger events, etc that were not anthropomorphic. While these periods have varying causes, some of which are not well understood, the climate changed dramatically during these times—sometimes in just a few decades.

3. Carbon free sugar and other ridiculous “carbon free” statements
Climate change science is destroying science itself. I will note that it is generally not the scientists themselves that are guilty, but rather the activists, media and marketing gurus (though evidence indicates climate change really does not care about the accuracy of marketing, as long as it promotes the cause). Vilifying CO2 and then carbon has lead to complete ignorance of the science and ludicrous marketing campaigns. Pesticides are sold under names like “EcoSense” even though there is nothing “environmentally safe” about them. Shampoo is marketed to combat climate damage to hair. “Lactose-free” milk is sold. Even in science, words have no clear meanings. When science loses its precision and words are given multiple meanings, stretched to a level where they resemble nothing more than fluff, science suffers.

4. Climate has to be global to “count”
The Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age are often dismissed as “regional” by climate scientists, thus allowing the scientists to claim the last 100 (or 10 or 20 or whatever number they use at the time) years are the warmest ever. We are told only global warming counts. Then, warmists claim that the Arctic melting is a sign of climate change and is a global phenomena. How can a small region of the north be a “global” concern when two past periods of widespread climate change are relegated to “regional status? This seems to be a matter of choosing the term (global versus regional) that fits the theory, rather than adjusting the theory to data that lies outside the theory.

5. How much proxy data is enough?
When we are talking global climate change, how many proxies do we need? Can we use just ice cores? How many? Ten? Twenty? Should we be using multiple proxies? How does one rank the reliability of ice cores versus tree rings? What happens when historical data does not agree with our theory (as in the case of “the arctic ice will melt any day now” reported for over 100 years)? Some studies use many different proxies, others only one type. When is it okay to ignore “real” data from instruments and use proxy data instead? Is it ever acceptable?
These questions need clear answers. Data from half a dozen trees or a small number of ice cores cannot ever constitute “global” information.

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5 comments on “Climate change myths and shortcomings

  1. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Also regarding the 30 year climate period, this coincides with the run up of the ~60 year cycle to a peak in 2005.

    The ~60 year cycle in HadCRUT is responsible for about 0.28 C out of the 0.74 C rise in temperatures between 1906 and 2005. Taking this into account drops the inferred climate sensitivity by 38%.

    The cycle is clearly visible in:

    ENSO
    the AMO
    the PDO
    HadCRUT

    Which means it is global and real since these datasets are pretty much independently collected. I can add that global sea extent appears also to have the ~60 year signal, but we only have 34 years of data so it is hard to tell. The peak in 1979 corresponds to the trough in the ~60 year cycle world temperature, and there seems to be signs that ice area is starting to increase again as the cycle returns to cold phase.

    I should add that the Sun appears to have caused 4050% of the temperature rise in the 1906-2005 period also. The Sun was at its most active for two centuries in the solar cycle which peaked in 2005. After this influence is included not much is left over for CO2.

    The puzzle for me is that climatologists have this very readily available data yet still insist of the 30 year period.

  2. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    On the MWP the evidence seems to be global. The excellent poster from the German ScienceSkeptical blog is well worth bookmarking.

  3. john byatt says:

    IPCC AR4

    ” Observational evidence for changes in small-scale severe weather phenomena (such as tornadoes, hail and thunderstorms) is mostly local and too scattered to draw general conclusions; increases in many areas arise because of increased public awareness and improved efforts to collect reports of these phenomena.”

    • Should have left in the line I had saying the IPCC head was quick to state we could not blame the Oklahoma tornado on climate change. I’ll be sure to leave those in in the future.

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