The climate gods have a sardonic sense of humor

Things haven’t been going too well for Global Warming. First, there has been essentially no change in global mean temperature for 14 – 17 years (depending on which of 4 measures you use). So Global Warming was rebranded as Climate Change. Then, we’ve been told that climate change would lead to more and more ‘extreme weather events’ (translation hurricanes, tornadoes etc. etc.) So in one of the coolest New England summers within memory and with nearly half of the 6 month hurricane season gone, we have a very quiet, not to say comatose, hurricane season.

At the onset of the 2014 season NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) predicted a 70% chance of a below average season. The numbers they expected were

8 – 13 Named storms (top winds over 39 mph — not very impressive)

3 – 6 Hurricanes (top winds over 74 mph)

1 – 2 Category 3 storms (sustained winds over 110 mph)

This was updated 7 August to a 70% probability of an even less exciting season

7 – 12 Named storms (top winds over 39 mph — not very impressive)

3 – 6 Hurricanes (top winds over 74 mph)

0 – 2 Category 3 storms (sustained winds over 110 mph)

So instead of extreme weather events, we have extremely boring (but pleasant) weather and just 2 named storms which turned into hurricanes. No category 3 events, and as of this writing, the Atlantic is extremely quiet. This has been blamed on dry air from Africa and (amazingly enough) unusually cool water temperatures in the Atlantic. Recall that it has been argued that the stability of global temperature over the past decade is due to heat going into the deep ocean where we can’t see it.

To be noted if you look at the graph in, which is of hurricane frequency vs. date, and try to mentally integrate the area under the curve in your head, that only about 20% of the hurricanes have occurred by this time. Peak frequency is 2 weeks from now (11 September) and the frequency of 20 August is half maximal.

Would anyone like to guess when (not if) this will be blamed on Global Warming/Climate Change? I’d be very surprised if it weren’t, and if it is, remember that a theory which can explain anything explains nothing.

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  •  On November 17, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    I really enjoy your blog, so I was looking over old posts. Just curious, has your mind changed given new data (this year is hottest on record)? If not, what would change your mind?

  • luysii  On November 17, 2016 at 7:53 pm


    Certainly a reasonable request. The powers that be are always adjusting the temperature data upward. Even now, none of the models has predicted what has actually happened. The actual increase leading to the ‘hottest year on record’ is miniscule, and well within experimental measurement error. Where were the increased number of deadly hurricanes — these were predicted after Katrina.

    So I still don’t think the models are any good.

    Here’s another example — from today’s Nature.

    Plants take up more carbon

    Nature 539, 332 (17 November 2016) doi:10.1038/539332c
    Published online 16 November 2016

    Despite the rise in CO2 emissions resulting from human activity, atmospheric CO2 levels have grown relatively little since 2002. To find out why, Trevor Keenan at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California and his colleagues used ground observations, satellite data and vegetation models to quantify changes in CO2 uptake and release by terrestrial plants worldwide. They found that increased photosynthesis and plant ‘greening’ have boosted the amount of carbon stored on land. Reduced plant respiration due to the recent slowdown in the rate of global warming also seems to have increased this carbon sink.

    However, terrestrial carbon stocks will not offset the accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere if emissions continue to grow, the scientists caution.

    Nature Commun. 7, 13428 (2016)

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