Non-trends and politics

First, the “non-trend”.  I am reproducing here an article in full from  (I rarely do this, but for the purpose of having all information here for discussion, I did so.)  Please visit the blog for more interesting articles on US precipitation, and other climate change topics.

UK Precipitation Trends

OCTOBER 26, 2013

By Paul Homewood


The Norwegian Meteorological Institute, in conjunction with The European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), have published a report, “Extreme Weather Events in Europe: preparing for climate change adaptation”, which makes the usual claims that extreme weather events are on the increase.

One of their claims concerns winter rainfall:

Winter rainfall has decreased over Southern Europe and the Middle East, and has increased further north. The latter increase is caused by a pole-ward shift of the North Atlantic storm track and a weakening of the Mediterranean storm track. Short and isolated rain events have been regrouped into prolonged wet spells.

But have we seen this effect in the UK?

Winter rainfall has increased since the 1960’s, but only back to levels seen earlier in the 20thC. Even further north in Scotland, the pattern is similar.



Professor Stuart Lane of Durham University has looked at long term precipitation records for the UK, and concludes that the period from the 1960’s to the 1990’s was an unusually dry one, so there is nothing to suggest that current levels of rainfall are in any way unusual. (Remember that this period coincides with the cold phase of the AMO, that leads to drier conditions in the UK – see here.)

Let’s finish by looking at rainfall intensity, which the EASAC paper suggests is getting worse.

As with overall rainfall totals, we see an increase in the average rainfall per rainday since the 1960’s, but no increase at all in the last 20 years. Indeed, if anything there is a decline. We also see the same sort of pattern with the number of raindays. (Met Office data for raindays only starts in 1961)



I can make no comment about the rest of Europe, but it is clear that the report’s findings on this particular topic have no factual basis in the UK.


All data from the UK Met Office

End of post

Political commentary (since WtD is now addressing politics, I thought I might too on occasion

There was a headline:  

Kerry ‘Amazed’ That Some Americans Still Don’t Grasp Urgency of Global Warming

Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his frustration Tuesday with the fact that even in the United States, “a very educated country,” there are those who do not recognize the urgency of combating global warming. 

(See more at:

First, one must question if a “very educated country” elects a pathological liar as president twice.  

Second, if we are to “do the maths” as McKibben says, one can see where a country where the president can say with a straight face that increasing the debt limit does not increase the debt would be dream land for the AGW crowd.  Sadly, even if we weren’t bright enough to detect pathological lying, it appears maybe too many people here can still do math well enough to know the debt limit increase does increase the debt and the AGW numbers add up to broken theories and societal poverty.

Third, for those of you who will doubt my second statement:  check out and see what going green has done for California.  The green dream results in large exoduses of people and decreasing standards of living in a very short time. Soon, California will look like Detroit and be demanding those states that use evil fossil fuels bail them out. Personally, I would like to see any state that demands the use of alternative worthless energy sources not allowed to buy electricity from any fossil fuel sources and it be forbidden to bail out their economy after the climate change gurus have bankrupted it. Actions should have consequences, though, sadly, there will be an attempt to hide all the consequences in the hopes no one will recognize the utter failure of “sustainable” energy.

Fourth, for those of you who still believe those who advocate “green policies” for saving the planet, you need to keep this in mind when reading about all those who freeze to death due to fuel poverty in England this year, or froze to death last year for that matter, that many, many greens care nothing about who lives or dies in saving the planet.  A few dead grandparents are a small price to pay to save Gaia.  It’s interesting that advocates sometimes say they are doing this for their grandchildren while their actions result in the death of current grandparents. It’s either incredibly selfish,or further proof that Kerry’s assessment of the intellect of Americans is way off base. (Some have not actually looked at the reality nor have they “done the maths” for what the reality of their ideas will cost.  Europe is dumping wind and solar–it’s unsustainable without a forest of money trees to prop it up.  That’s reality.)”

Scientific Badger

Scientific Badger

Who needs science when you can have dogma?

New comments policy for the blog: factual accuracy and false claims made by sceptics not allowed”  (Found on Watching the Deniers)

Translation:  We fear others.  We fear that we might be wrong.  We can’t have evil skeptics over here questioning our climate dogma.  It’s our way or the highway.  Oh–you were looking for science?  Look elsewhere.  It’s all propaganda and dogma and we like it that way.  No challenges no disagreement.  Want to actually think?  Sorry, find a different blog.

Note: This blog allows conflicting comments and other ideas because this is a science blog.

Has the dogma died down yet?

Has the dogma died down yet?

We’re drowning in snow here

As anticipated, WtD is back with the “we’re all going die from fires caused by climate change” mantra. What some people won’t exploit to try and “win” in the climate science debate. No science, of course.

Update: It appears the blaze may have been started by the military (see Skynews). Perhaps one should outlaw the military testing and using explosives to reduce the number of wildfires. Unless climate change somehow enhances the probability of the military starting a fire accidentally, we can blame humans and not climate for this one.

Since I respond to the WtD blog, I am obligated to post photos of my weather lately:

October 4th

October 4th

Duck pen--October 6th It eventually collapsed

Duck pen–October 6th
It eventually collapsed

Large tree fell through the fence

Large tree fell through the fence

City crews clean up downed limbs

City crews clean up downed limbs

What we are looking at is weather–the same as always. It’s cold here and snowing. It’s warm in Australia. There are fires in Australia. However, noted in my post fires are affected most by fuel availability. If there is defensible space, clearing of underbrush and good forest stewardship, fires can be controlled to some degree. The reality is fire is part of nature and will continue to happen, irregardless of the ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere. Claims to the contrary are unrealistic and unscientific.

Scientific badger

Scientific badger

It’s a Conspiracy

“Conspiracy”–as part of the climate debate

Accusations of conspiracy, conspiracy ideation and so forth are often leveled at questioners (aka skeptics). Just what is a conspiracy? By broadest definition, virtually any group: “any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result.” (, fifth definition)

More common definitions are:
The free dictionary–
4. A joining or acting together, as if by sinister design

“a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event”

A conspiracy theory is an explanatory proposition that accuses two or more people, a group or an organization of having caused or covered up, through deliberate collusion, an event or phenomenon of great social, political or economic impact.

Wiki and several other sources indicated that until the mid-60’s the term was mostly neutral. Now, it is used to dismiss claims—it implies the claim is ridiculous, irrational, etc and should not even be considered. It is this usage one finds in climate science debate.

I became curious just how many claims of conspiracy are present in the debate. Lewendoski did a paper examining conspiracy ideation on skeptic blogs. The paper had multiple problems, to say the least (and at least nine lives, it seems—it keeps coming back). In order to avoid the 100% author-subjective characterizations of Lewendoski, my research started with sites that identify themselves as conspiracy sites. I basically Googled “conspiracies” and “conspiracy sites” to get a list. I make no claim that this is a representative sample. I went with whichever sites looked promising. These are my results:
1. UFO digest—has articles from both views
2. Above Top Secret—against solutions but not science/has both sides
3. Prison Planet—does not believe
4. Jesse Ventura—does not believe
5. Godlike Productions—has both views
6. Zetatalk—could not tell
7.—couldn’t tell
8. Alex Jones (infowars)—does not believe
9.—seems to have both views
10. Illumanti Conspiracy Archive—seems not to believe
11. Homestead (CA)– chemtrails are bioremediation
12. David Icke—Does not believe (once did)
13. Flat Earth Society—president believes, not all may agree with him
14. Conspiracy Planet—does not believe
15. Escape the Illusion—pro climate change

In the spirit of full disclosure, there were several websites that caused me headaches when trying to understand their positions (four total). These were eliminated. Others had no commentary I could find using the web sites’s search box. These, too, were eliminated. So the actual totals are for those that presented an opinion that was easily discernible.

My results:
Pro 3
Both 4
Con 6
Unknown 2

What have we learned from this?
More conspiracy sites chosen (6/12) state skeptical positions.
Some conspiracy sites chosen (4/12) allow more open discussion than climate change advocate sites
Googling and reading conspiracy websites may result in bad things creeping onto your computer (update than malware/virus software frequently) and you may suffer some mental fatigue in attempting to decipher the sites (maybe why Lewendosky just assigned values?)

So can we conclude questioners are just a bunch of conspiracy nuts? Well, no.
First, I noted the complete lack of scientific method here. Second, we would need to know if advocates who believe in conspiracies just don’t use websites (if some of these people live off the grid, to save the planet and/or hide from the government, they probably avoid electronic media) and third, much time can be spent developing and researching something that in the end is pretty much useless.

What if we look at some comments from advocates to be sure they’re not into conspiracy theories:

“Distrust of the climate experts was encouraged by corporations and political interests that opposed any government influence in the economy. “ AIP

“Hartmut Grabl, a climate researcher and the former director at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, says there is a political component to climate skepticism.
‘Some of them even get paid, by big oil companies for example, to undermine climate change,’ he says. Grable believes small groups, financed by big interest, are often sent to climate conferences to listen to the arguments at hand and find ways to dispute them.” (This used to be called science—questioning the theory and it’s proofs. Also, the same tactics are seen by advocate bloggers that the skeptics are accused of here—tag team the “skeptic” blogs and see if you can stir up hate and discontent among skeptics.)

“A secret funding organization in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate “counter movement” to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt.”

“Climate skeptics, or deniers as they are often called, are presented as all-powerful forces bankrolled by rich corporations who have wielded their awesome power to block efforts to deal with the threat of human caused climate change. How do we know that climate skeptics have such power? As Martin Wolf explains, it is the “world’s inaction” on climate policy which reveals their power.”

“I would like to see what (alien) technology there might be that could eliminate the burning of fossil fuels within a generation … that could be a way to save our planet,” Paul Hellyer, 83, told the Ottawa Citizen.”

Seems at least some believers subscribe to conspiracy theories. The continual claims of oil company payouts, etc, certainly lean toward, if not fall into, conspiracy territory. Whether or not persons expressing these views subscribe to other conspiracy theories was not studied.

In the end, it comes down to many people believe in one or more conspiracy theories on both the advocate side and questioner side. Belief in conspiracies outside of climate change (e.g. 9/11, moon walk hoax, etc) has no bearing on a person’s climate change views. A person can believe in the moon walk “hoax” and still be correct in their climate change views.

Climate change is not right or wrong because Koch’s gave money to Heartland, because socialists believe in it, because industry may or may not be out to get environmentalists, and so forth. It is right or wrong on how well the theory fits the real data (not models). Right now, the fit is becoming less and less. That is why one should question the theory.

Scientific Badger

Scientific Badger