A top official at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rejected claims by environmental activists that the outbreak of tornadoes ravaging the American South is related to climate change brought on by global warming.
Greg Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist at NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said warming trends do create more of the fuel that tornadoes require, such as moisture, but that they also deprive tornadoes of another essential ingredient: wind shear.
“We know we have a warming going on,” Carbin told Fox News in an interview Thursday, but added: “There really is no scientific consensus or connection [between global warming and tornadic activity]….Jumping from a large-scale event like global warming to relatively small-scale events like tornadoes is a huge leap across a variety of scales.”
Asked if climate change should be “acquitted” in a jury trial where it stood charged with responsibility for tornadoes, Carbin replied: “I would say that is the right verdict, yes.” Because there is no direct connection as yet established between the two? “That’s correct,” Carbin replied.
Formerly the lead forecaster for NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, Carbin is a member of numerous relevant professional societies, including the National Weather Association, the American Meteorological Society, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the International Association of Emergency Managers. He has also served on the peer review committee for the evaluation of scientific papers submitted to publications like National Weather Digest and Weather and Forecasting.
This evaluation by a top NOAA official contradicted pronouncements by some leading global warming activists, who were swift to link this season’s carnage to man-made climate change.
“The earth is warming. Carbon emissions are increasing,” said Sarene Marshall, Managing Director for The Nature Conservancy's Global Climate Change Team. “And they both are connected to the increased intensity and severity of storms that we both are witnessing today, and are going to see more of in the coming decades.”
Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, an activist and author who believes industrialized societies expend too much money and energy combating global warming, instead of focusing on more immediate, and easily rectifiable, problems, doubted the tornadoes have any link to warming trends.
“We've seen a declining level of the severe tornadoes over the last half century in the U.S.,” Lomborg told Fox News.“So we need to be very careful not just to jump to the conclusion and say, ‘Oh, then it's because of global warming.’”
In fact, NOAA statistics show that the last 60 years have seen a dramatic increase in the reporting of weak tornadoes, but no change in the number of severe to violent ones.
For many, the high casualties of 2011 recalled the so-called “Super Outbreak" of April 1974, which killed more than 300 people. “You have to go back to 1974 to even see a tornado outbreak that approaches what we saw yesterday,” W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told Fox News.
Asked earlier, during a conference call with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley about the possibility that climate change is playing a role in the tornado outbreak, Fugate shot back: "Actually, what we're seeing is springtime. Unfortunately, many people think of the Oklahoma tornado alley and forget that the Southeast U.S. actually has a history of longer and more powerful tornadoes that stay on the ground longer -- and we are seeing that, obviously, in the last week and yesterday.”
SOURCE. See also here
Weather is Not Climate Unless People Die
Peter Gleick is only the most recent climate scientist to try to exploit extreme weather for political gain, writing at The Huffington Post:
Violent tornadoes throughout the southeastern U.S. must be a front-page reminder that no matter how successful climate deniers are in confusing the public or delaying action on climate change in Congress or globally, the science is clear: Our climate is worsening. . .You can see in the graph above that there is no upwards trend in US tornado deaths, 1940-2010 (PDF). This year's very active season and tragic loss of life won't alter that conclusion. Actually there is a sharp downwards trend during a period when US population grew a great deal (consider this graph from Harold Brooks for a longer term perspective). There is obviously no evidence of "more death and destruction." On the lack of trends in destruction see this paper.
In the climate community, we call this "loading the dice." Rolling loaded dice weighted toward more extreme and energetic weather means more death and destruction.
On the significance of yesterday's tragic tornado outbreak, consider this perspective from NOAA:
What's the risk of another super-outbreak like April 3-4, 1974? It's rare; but we don't know how rare, because an outbreak like that has only happened once since tornado records have been kept. There is no way to know if the odds are one in every 50 years, 10 years or 1,000 years, since we just do not have the long climatology of reasonably accurate tornado numbers to use. So the bigger the outbreaks, the less we can reliably judge their potential to recur.Gleick's column is all the more ironic for this statement:
Climate deniers who have stymied action in Congress and confused the public -- like the tobacco industry did before them -- need to be held accountable for their systematic misrepresentation of the science, their misuse and falsification of data, and their trickery.Obviously, it is not just climate deniers who are engaged in misrepresentation and trickery. Here is what Gleick wrote just a few months ago:
While the public may not fully understand the difference between climate and weather, or understand how the world could be warming while it's cold outside, most well-known climate deniers fully understand these distinctions -- they just choose to ignore them in order to make false arguments to and score points with the public and gullible policymakers. Cherry-picking selected data that supports a particular point (i.e., it's cold today), while hiding or ignoring more data that points in exactly the opposite direction (i.e., global average temperatures are rising), is bad science and it leads to bad policy. Just last week Glenn Beck pointed to a snowstorm in Minneapolis as proof that global warming isn't happening. He knows better, but his audience may not.Well said Peter.
EPA Blatantly Lying To Children
Ocean temperatures are below normal. Mountains have record snow. The 1880s-1910s had much worse forest fires. The US was hotter in the 1930s. There is no evidence that rain and snow patterns are outside of normal variability. There is no evidence that plant life cycles are outside the normal range of variability. Sea level has been rising for 18,000 years, and is currently rising very slowly around the US, if at all. Glaciers have been melting for 18,000 years. The worst hurricanes and tornadoes occurred more than 70 years ago. Severe tornadoes are on the decline. It has been almost 1,000 days since any hurricane hit the US. ………………………….
New study: IPCC predictions may be wrong
Pesky ocean current
The Agulhas Current which runs along the east coast of Africa may not be as well known as its counterpart in the Atlantic, the Gulf Stream. But now researchers are taking a closer look at this current and its "leakage" from the Indian Ocean into the Atlantic Ocean--and what that may mean for climate change
In results of a study published in this week's issue of the journal Nature, a team of scientists led by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science Oceanographer Lisa Beal, suggests that Agulhas leakage could be a significant player in global climate variability.
The Agulhas Current transports warm and salty waters from the tropical Indian Ocean to the southern tip of Africa. There most of the water loops around to remain in the Indian Ocean (the Agulhas Retroflection), while some water leaks into the fresher Atlantic Ocean via giant Agulhas rings.
Once in the Atlantic, the salty Agulhas leakage waters eventually flow into the Northern Hemisphere and act to strengthen the Atlantic overturning circulation by enhancing deep-water formation.
Atlantic overturning circulation is technically known as Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC); it carries warm shallow water into northern latitudes and returns cold deep water southward across the equator.
Recent research points to an increase in Agulhas leakage over the last few decades, caused primarily by human-induced climate change.
The finding is profound, oceanographers say, because it suggests that increased Agulhas leakage could trigger a strengthening in Atlantic overturning circulation--at a time when warming and accelerated meltwater input in the North Atlantic has been predicted to weaken it.
"This could mean that current IPCC model predictions for the next century are wrong, and there will be no cooling in the North Atlantic to partially offset the effects of global climate change over North America and Europe," said Beal.
"Instead, increasing Agulhas leakage could stabilize the oceanic heat transport carried by the Atlantic overturning circulation."
There are also paleoceanographic data to suggest that dramatic peaks in Agulhas leakage over the past 500,000 years may have triggered the end of glacial cycles.
These data are further evidence that the Agulhas system and its leakage play an important role in the planet's climate, Beal and others say.
"This study shows that local changes in atmospheric and oceanic conditions in the Southern Hemisphere can affect the strength of the ocean circulation in unexpected ways," said Eric Itsweire, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s physical oceanography program, which funded the research.
"Under a warming climate," said Itsweire, "the Agulhas Current system near the tip of South Africa could bring more warm salty water from the Indian to the Atlantic Ocean and counteract opposing effects from the Arctic Ocean."
The study establishes the need for additional research in the region that focuses on Agulhas rings, as well as on the leakage, believes Beal.
Climate modeling experiments are critical, she said, and need to be supported by paleoceanographic data and sustained observations to firmly establish the role of the Agulhas system in a warming climate.
"Our goal now is to get more of the scientific community involved in research on the Agulhas system and its global effects," said Beal. "The emphasis has been too long in the North Atlantic."
The Agulhas Current Time-Series Experiment, or ACT, was launched in April 2010 to measure the variability of the Agulhas Current using a combination of current meter moorings and satellite data.
Beal, who serves as chief scientist, spent one month aboard the research vessel Knorr in the southwest Indian Ocean deploying oceanographic instruments.
The data gathered in situ, when combined with along-track satellite information, will help increase our understanding of how the Agulhas system is changing in a warming climate, Beal said.
The Big Warming Is Now 40 Years Away
How often have we been told catastrophe was only 10 years away?
The effect of additional CO2 decreases logarithmically, so we can expect an exponential increase in temperature after 2050.
You may be yearning for warmer days after what is shaping up to be one of the coldest Aprils in Western Washington’s history.
University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences Professor Cliff Mass told the Ross and Burbank Show the warming is coming. Global Warming, that is.
“The fact that we haven’t warmed up much doesn’t mean anything. The warming is coming, but it’s not going to be really significant until the second half of the century,” Mass said.
The professor said the warming trend is “sort of exponential; it starts slowly and then revs up at the end.”
Expert warns carbon tax is 'crazy'
Professor Bob Carter, speaking in Mackay, Australia, would rather see the government spend money on ‘climate reality’
QUEENSLAND’S resources sector and every day families would suffer for nothing if the Federal Government introduced a carbon tax, a Mackay forum heard last night.
Climate scientist Professor Bob Carter and Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) executive director John Roskam told the forum that a carbon tax would disproportionately impact Australia’s north and have a very negligible effect on reducing emissions.
Meanwhile, Mackay businesses reliant on the resources sector expressed concern that a carbon tax would eventually lead to mining companies looking overseas for exploration, resulting in a large downturn in the economy and local job losses.
Yesterday, Professor Bob Carter told the Daily Mercury that a carbon tax would cost Australia trillions of dollars and it would be better if the Federal Government spent money on dealing with “climate reality” by building cyclone and bushfire centres.
Prof Carter, who has studied ancient climate change, said there was no doubt human activity impacted global temperatures.
However, he said this was insignificant in the context of natural climate change and policy makers needed to abandon the “illusionary goal of preventing global warming by reducing carbon emissions”.
“Climate change always occurs.
"It is certain that humans have an affect on climate locally,” he said. “No scientist on the planet doubts that humans have an effect on temperature locally. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse and there is more in the atmosphere the extra amount of warming is so tiny we can’t measure it – so what’s the problem?”
Mr Roskin told the 120-odd people at last night’s forum that a carbon tax would have no real environmental benefit, but would hurt northern Australia’s “great economic potential”.
He said there was the real threat that mining companies would take investment elsewhere, resulting in widespread job losses.
The Federal Government plans to introduce a carbon price from July 1, 2012.
Yesterday, Treasurer Wayne Swan said setting a carbon price was a necessary move to low pollution economy and defended union claims it could wipe out industrial jobs. “For anyone to say that this transition doesn’t have to happen or should be put in the too-hard basket or should be delayed - what they are really saying is they have given up on jobs,” Mr Swan said.
However, the government has conceded that a carbon tax would impact on living costs. A treasury analysis has showed households may pay $863 a year more for food, petrol, gas and power.
Prof Carter said the cost of a carbon tax was “absolutely enormous” and described it as “crazy”.
He said the Federal Government would be better off focusing a policy which dealt with the reality of climate change and invest in disaster centres and more disaster equipment, such as firefighting helicopters.
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