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Pielke Jr and McIntyre Assist Christy's Extreme Weather Obfuscation

Posted on 9 August 2012 by Albatross, dana1981

On August 1st 2012, John Christy once again testified before the US Congress in a Senate hearing on climate issues.  His written testimony is here and his verbal testimony is here.  Christy's latest testimony consisted entirely of five climate myths, four of which we debunked in a previous post.  In this post we will examine Christy's comments regarding the link between climate change and extreme weather.

Soon after Christy's testimony, Roger Pielke Jr. and Steve McIntyre weighed in by attacking the largely correct testimony from Christopher Field, while turning blind eye to Christy's grossly misleading testimony that contained myths regarding extreme weather events.  Unfortunately, this sort of behavior by Pielke Jr. is not uncommon and several climate scientists have been the victim of similar efforts (for example, Coumou and Rahmstorf, James Hansen and others). To this end, Pielke Jr. uses an oft-repeated strategy that involves misdirection, bait and switch and knocking down strawmen arguments that he has constructed.

Christy's Extreme Weather  Obfuscation

Christy spent much of his testimony denying that global warming is causing more extreme weather events, claiming that the extremes we have recently experienced are simply "Mother Nature".  Christy also referenced a couple of record local cold and snow events in his verbal testimony.  This is of course a misleading strawman argument; global warming does not eliminate either cold or snowfall records.

There are numerous examples of increased extreme weather frequency already being attributed to humans in the published peer-reviewed scientific literature.  For example, Pall et al. (2011):

"Here we present a multi-step, physically based ‘probabilistic event attribution’ framework showing that it is very likely that global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions substantially increased the risk of flood occurrence in England and Wales in autumn 2000"

Min et al. (2011):

"Here we show that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the observed intensification of heavy precipitation events found over approximately two-thirds of data-covered parts of Northern Hemisphere land areas."

Dai et al. (2011):

"All the four forms of the PDSI show widespread drying over Africa, East and South Asia, and other areas from 1950 to 2008, and most of this drying is due to recent warming. The global percentage of dry areas has increased by about 1.74% (of global land area) per decade from 1950 to 2008."

Zwiers et al. (2011):

"Therefore, it is concluded that the influence of anthropogenic forcing has had a detectable influence on extreme temperatures that have impacts on human society and natural systems at global and regional scales"

Coumou & Rahmstorf (2012):

"Here, we review the evidence and argue that for some types of extreme — notably heatwaves, but also precipitation extremes — there is now strong evidence linking specific events or an increase in their numbers to the human influence on climate. For other types of extreme, such as storms, the available evidence is less conclusive, but based on observed trends and basic physical concepts it is nevertheless plausible to expect an increase."

The key point is hiding behind Christy's attempts to obfuscate by focusing solely on convincing Congress that recent extreme weather events are consistent with Mother Nature. While it is very difficult to attribute individual weather events to global warming, we do know that climate change will 'load the dice' and result in more frequent extreme weather events.

Pielke Jr. Bait and Switch Misdirection

Roger Pielke Jr. has also joined Christy's obfuscation on extreme weather by attacking the testimony from Christoper Field on the subject, which he accomplished through a bait and switch misdirection strategy, misrepresenting what Field actually said and then attacking his built-up strawman.

For example, as Field noted,

"the link between climate change and the kinds of extremes that lead to disasters is clear."

Pielke's response to this correct point by Field is a perfect example of his misdirection.  The information discussed by Field comes from the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX), on which Field was a Co-Chair.  When Field accurately describes the SREX findings about extreme weather hazards, Pielke Jr. misrepresents it as a claim about financial losses, for example responding to Field's quote above about the link between climate change and extreme weather with this quote (emphasis added):

"There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"

In reality, Field has accurately described the conclusions of the SREX.  For example, the SREX says:

"It is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures at the global scale. There is medium confidence that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme precipitation at the global scale. It is likely that there has been an anthropogenic influence on increasing extreme coastal high water due to an increase in mean sea level."


"Extreme weather and climate events, interacting with exposed and vulnerable human and natural systems, can lead to disasters."

These quotes quite clearly support Field's comments.  In the most absurd case of Pielke misdirection, Field accurately reports the SREX findings on extreme precipitation events, which Pielke Jr. purports is a misrepresentation because of something that report said about flood losses.  Put simply, the distinction between precipitation and floods is not a hard one to make, nor is the distinction between flood events and associated losses.  In fact these are fundamental distinctions for Pielke Jr.'s area of expertise.

On hurricanes, Pielke ridicules Field for saying that "For several of these categories of disasters, the strength of any linkage to climate change, if there is one, is not known...The evidence on hurricanes is mixed".  In fact, Field uses almost the exact same language as page 159 of SREX (emphasis added):

"Different methods for estimating undercounts in the earlier part of the North Atlantic tropical cyclone record provide mixed conclusions"

Pielke again uses a sleight of hand claiming that (emphasis added) "IPCC was unable to attribute any trend in tropical cyclone disasters to climate change".  But Field was specifically talking about "linkages to climate change", a subtle but important difference to what Pielke is saying.  As for how tropical cyclone activity will respond to a warming planet, the literature is as Field notes "mixed".  Pielke also makes an assertion about disasters based on an SREX quote dealing with impacts (emphasis added):

"The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"

An increased frequency of disasters will not necessarily lead to an increase in impacts, for example if technology improves to offset the losses caused by disasters.  Therefore Pielke has not even demonstrated a lack of attribution in cyclone disasters, and has certainly not disproven Field's claim about a linkage between cyclones and climate change.

On drought, Field quoted almost verbatim from the SREX summary for policymakers, noting:

"The report identified some areas where droughts have become longer and more intense (including southern Europe and West Africa), but others where droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter."

Here is the associated quote from the SREX:

"There is medium confidence that some regions of the world have experienced more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia."

Pielke Jr. suggests that Field misrepresented what the SREX said by pulling a quote from a different section on the report and noting that it is not the same - no kidding.  This is undoubtedly an honest mistake from Pielke, but when accusing someone of "misleading US Congress" as Pielke Jr. has accused Field of doing, one should really be sure that the accusation is accuate.  It took all of a 30-second word search for us to find the section Field quotes in the SREX.

Pielke also says that "Field conveniently neglected in his testimony to mention that one place where droughts have gotten less frequent, less intense or shorter is ... the United States" ("central North America" in the quote above).  However, Pielke conveniently neglects to share the SREX conclusions regarding future drought changes:

"There is medium confidence that droughts will intensify in the 21st century in some seasons and areas, due to reduced precipitation and/or increased evapotranspiration. This applies to regions including...central North America".

This conclusion is supported by Dai (2010), for example:

"Regions like the United States have avoided prolonged droughts during the last 50 years due to natural climate variations, but might see persistent droughts in the next 20–50 years"

In the comments on his post, Pielke Jr. argued that droughts are not disasters.  That of course depends on your definition of "disaster", but just this year,

"more than half of all U.S. counties - 1,584 in 32 states - have been designated primary disaster areas this growing season, the vast majority of them mired in a drought that's considered the worst in decades."

In addition, there are the impacts to the poor as food becomes more expensive as crops are damaged by drought.

Steve McIntyre Joins the Obfuscation Party

Sadly, Steve McIntyre tripled down on these myths by both repeating Pielke's strawman attacks on Field and by inventing a new conspiracy theory that the draft IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is "hiding" discussions of past mega-droughts.  We cannot address this conspiracy in detail since the AR5 is still in draft form.  However, suffice it to say that the latest draft version actually has more information about North American mega-droughts than the previous version, including Figure 5.12 which now depicts the severity duration and frequency of droughts in North America. 

Selective Skepticism

The real irony here is that Pielke Jr. and McIntyre falsely accuse Field of misleading Congress while completely ignoring that John Christy actually did mislead Congress in the very same hearing.  In fact, Pielke and McIntyre double and triple down on Christy's myth that human activities are not contributing to extreme weather events, which is really just a distraction from the fact that human-caused climate change will certainly cause many types of extreme weather to occur more frequently in the future.  This series of events illustrates that Pielke Jr. and Steve McIntyre do not seem willing to apply their 'skepticism' and 'auditing' to climate contrarians.

There is a silver lining in this cloud of obfuscation - climate contrarians appear to be retreating more and more away from the "it's not happening" and "it's not us" myths, toward the "it's not bad" fallback position. 

However, this means we must be increasingly vigilant when faced with misleading arguments like Christy's and Pielke's that climate change is nothing to worry about.  It has taken decades to transition away from the former two myths - we cannot afford to allow the contrarian obfuscation regarding the consequences of climate change to be as efffective in delaying action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  We simply don't have the time for this nonsense anymore.

Note: this post has been adapted into the Intermediate rebuttal to the myth 'extreme weather isn't caused by global warming'.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 142:

  1. To keep the post as short of possible we could not include all of the examples of Pielke Jr. misleading people. It is highly hypocritical of Pielke Jr. to accuse others of misrepresenting the IPCC, when he did just that in his attack on Field. In fact, we know of at least one example in which Roger Pielke Jr. (to use his own words) "completely and unambiguously misrepresented IPCC findings" when attacking Field. Ignoring Pielke's strawman argument in his point 5 for now, we note that Pielke does not provide the whole sentence when he quotes from p. 269 of SREX. Pielke states: "What the IPCC actually says (p. 269 PDF): "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses" But that is not all that the IPCC says on page 269, there is a second half of that sentence that Pielke Jr. ignores. The whole sentence reads as follows (my highlights): "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses (Pielke Jr. and Downton, 2000; Downton et al., 2005; Barredo, 2009; Hilker et al., 2009), although some studies did find recent increases in flood losses related in part to changes in intense rainfall events (Fengqing et al., 2005; Chang et al., 2009)" So to recap. It is in fact Roger Pielke Junior who misrepresented the IPCC when attempting to discredit Field. We thus have yet another example of Pielke Jr. misrepresenting the facts. Given Pielke's history and this latest shameful example, journalists should perhaps think twice as to whether or not Roger Pielke Jr's can be trusted. This file is simply too important to have the games played by Pielke Jr. (and others of his ilk) promulgated by the media when seeking (false) balance.
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  2. Albatross, excellent post. Pielke Jnr seems a phenomenon. As far as I can evaluate his position, he accepts mainstream climate science, but believes that exposing the full facts to the public is counterproductive. Hence he tends to downplay (or malign) witnesses like Field who are not afraid to talk about what the science is actually saying. If we give him credit for having some sort of principled position, this seems to justify him ending up siding with questionable characters like McIntyre. Peilke Jnr actually believes this will help positive action on climate change in the long run. As you say, we hardly have time for this. Here Pielke and McIntyre are just shifting ground: ... climate contrarians appear to be retreating more and more away from the "it's not happening" and "it's not us" myths, toward the "it's not bad" fallback position. Would Skeptical Science do a longer post on Pielke Jnr and his unique position, sometimes known as "lukewarmer"?
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  3. Reading Pielke's blog, referenced in the main essay, was...*illuminating*. The lengths these folks go to deny science and justify their ever-increasingly unteneable 'fake skeptic' positions leave me gobsmacked; take for instance this quote, from Pielke. "But let's be clear about one thing. Christy was cherrypicked by Republicans to deliver a certain message that they find convenient. The IPCC does not have that luxury. Field was representing climate science, Christy his personal views of the science." "But you'll pardon me if I have decided that the integrity of the IPCC is far more important than whether I agree with an individual scientist or not." Um...sure, OK. Thanks to both Albatross and dana1981, for the excelent article, and especially dana, who tried to refute Pielke on Pielke's blog. Sigh.....
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  4. Has anyone ever seen Pielke Jr give any kind of substantial criticism of sceptics (links please)? I searched his blog for the most blatant of serial misinformers (Monckton, Plimer) and came up with nothing.
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  5. vroomie, An excellent example of Pielke Jnr's incoherence, attacking a climate scientist's exposition of the facts in order to "protect the integrity of the IPCC". It is a bit like calling your own character witnesses liars. Maybe the guy is a natural contrarian and won't join any club that would have him as a member. As far as I can see, the deniers don't want him, so he seeks to join their club.
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  6. vroomie @3 - thanks. I should note that Albatross tried to comment on Pielke's blog but was unable to sign in, so he emailed his comment to me, which I then posted. So my first comment is my own, the next is from Albatross. I didn't bother to make the distinction since I agreed with his comments, but I don't want to take credit for his efforts. As for Pielke, I think 'lukewarmer' is a good description. He doesn't dispute basic climate science, but seems determined to believe/argue that the consequences won't be terribly bad. At least that's my impression - I don't read his writings very often. I wouldn't call him unique though, for example Lomborg seems to argue from a similar position. I can't think of any 'lukewarmer' climate scientists off the top of my head.
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  7. Hello Skeptical Science, as time and interest permits I'd be happy to engage in a discussion with you, and I appreciate your interest in my research and writings. There are a number of issues that I have focused on in my work (much of it peer-reviewed research), including the question of the identification of a human-caused climate change signal in the record of disaster losses (for a wide range of phenomena), the role of science in policy and politics, geoengineering and the broader debate over mitigation/energy policy. That is a lot, but I'm happy to follow your interests. I would ask however that the conversation begin with at least a basic understanding of my views and research. Here is a starter kit for those interested: 1. 2. 3. (more than you want) With that, I appreciate the opportunity and will check in a bit later.
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    Moderator Response: [RH] Thanks for coming by, Roger. We would also hope that you take a moment to read through our comments policy. We try to keep a tight ship here with regards to commenting. Staying close to the topic of the article is very important. We've very glad you stopped in, and you should be getting responses very soon. Thx!
  8. "The Climate Fix will bring something new to the discussions: a commonsense perspective and practical actions better than any offered so far." Will it just.
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  9. Roger, allow me to welcome you here: Though I am not by any means an expert in this field, I am a trained geologist and as such, have a good background in the basics. I also do this not in an official position as an SkS expert. I will look forward to your participation in what I feel is one of the most rational, reality-based climate change blogs today, regarding this complex subject. It should be noted that, AFAIK, Anthony watts has not deigned to show his 'face' here, which is all the sadder, for it would engage him in the type of civil discussions that are the norm, here on SkS. I look forward to your inputs and thoughts regarding this topic.
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  10. FYI, to all: It's not just being picky, it's protecting another Netizen: my nick has *three* Os in it, not just two. The *other* vroomie out there, will be much apreciative of the attention to that detail...;)
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  11. On helpful (hopefully) interjection: Skeptical Science is comprised of quite literally thousands of blog posts covering all facets of climate science, from the denial to debunking to exposition on the science to solutions. No threads are dead or closed (but perhaps some should be, like the everlasting gobstopper 2nd Law/Waste Heat threads). Dormant, waiting for activity, yes. But all are open for business. Therefore, if the OP of a current thread does not lend itself to proper discussion of an item, the Search function in the Upper Left of every page is an able resource in finding more appropriate threads to continue discussions on. Lastly, the link to this site's Comments Policy is adjacent to the Post a Comment box on every thread. The vast majority of participants find it an easy bar to adhere to. With that said, I will recuse myself from the discussion.
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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Obviously, "On" should read "One"

    I hate this laptop keyboard.

  12. Dr. Pielke, the topic of this post specifically pertains to Christy's and Field's testimony before Congress, and your statements with regards to that testimony. Any other discussion would be off-topic and a violation of the site's stated and consistently-enforced Comments Policy, as has been noted. Skeptical Science welcomes any input you have into that conversation, as long as such input stays on topic (and, as with all commenters, within the constraints of the Comments Policy). Note to other commenters - let's please try not to overwhelm Pielke Jr. with too many comments, which became a problem for Pielke Sr. when he commented on SkS. I'll be acting as an SkS representative in the comments if Pielke Jr. would like to discuss the issues at hand with the SkS team.
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  13. -12-dana1861 OK, your blog, your rules. As there has already been 99 comments on my blog on this specific topic, I don't think there is much more to discuss (though comments there remain open, of course). I accept that you believe that CF's testimony faithfully represented the science of the IPCC SREX report, whereas I don't. Let us agree to disagree, having both presented our respective cases. Parsing that issue further won't be a good use of my time. That said, should you wish to open up a discussion of the science of extreme event attribution, or for that matter any of the other subjects deemed off topic for this thread, please do let me know, as I'd be happy to participate. With that I'll respect your wishes and leave this thread to those wishing to discuss Field and Christy. Thanks!
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    Moderator Response: [DB] As a point of clarification, this thread is about Pielke Jr and McIntyre Assist Christy's Extreme Weather Obfuscation, not Field and Christy.
  14. Will increased reservoir storage and irrigation in the US through the 20th century have an impact on drought frequency and intensity over the same period? I know the Colorado basin has approximately 60billion m3 of reservoir storage (4 times the annual flow of the Colorado river). 80-90% of water use in the basin is for irrigation. The point I am trying to make is would historic droughts have been as bad if the same water resources were available.
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  15. RogerPielkeJr - "I accept that you believe that CF's testimony faithfully represented the science of the IPCC SREX report, whereas I don't. Let us agree to disagree, having both presented our respective cases" Facts are not a matter of opinion. This post highlights examples where you have very clearly misrepresented Christopher Field's testimony.
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  16. Dr. Pielke, if you specifically wish to talk about 'extreme event attribution' I'd suggest joining one of these recent SKS discussions on the subject; An American Heatwave Linking Weird Weather to Arctic Warming Global warming causing heat fatalities Extreme heat becoming more likely
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  17. I think it speaks volumes that Roger Pielke sees issues of science as matters of preference, belief and faith rather than fact and truth. Apparently, some think people are entitled to their own facts (and truths). Not in the real world, unfortunately. This point of view -- that climate science is a malleable one of opinion and nuanced, subjective judgment -- is a lynchpin of the denial position. This post clearly lays out facts, Mr. Pielke was given an open and civilized forum in which to engage, and when it was determined that he could not simply steer the conversation into a careening, aimless tour of all things imagined or mis-perceived, he beat a hasty retreat. Say no more.
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  18. Sphaerica@17: Though I tend to agree with you, I would hope that any snark, be it from one of 'the learneds,' or from the peanut gallery, wouldn't/won't make Roger actually not want to come back, and cogently discuss the science. I'd like to think (fallible a human as am I) that SkS is better than the ad hom climate blogs. Now, if he never comes back... Say no more...;)
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  19. I would like to ask Roger Pielke Jr one simple question: In the light of evidence presented above that you have often blurred the distinction between extreme events and extreme losses, and being critically mindful of the distinction between the two ... Do you agree with the IPCC SREX report's assessment of the increase in extremes of temperature and precipitation?
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  20. Just a question, but there's all this stuff about climate change increasing extreme weather events/intensity. Being a "graph" person, is there any graph of observations (for example from 1950-2012) showing an increase in extreme weather events/intensity? Or is everything so far "it may/will"?
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    Moderator Response: [DB] Various posts can be found here, here, here and here. Another is being formulated and is in the review phase.
  21. Dale - I searched but didn't find it, but there was such a graph compiled by or for the re-insurance company Munich Re that was the topic of an SkS article in the not too distant past.
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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] A copy can be found here:

  22. Roger @21 Sorry, call me sceptical (ha) but a graph from only 1980 compiled by an insurance company is not really science. I've seen the ACE graph and also tornado graphs showing no change over time (except an increase in tiny tornadoes due to increased detection technology). But is there anything really out there showing observed occurrences increasing? From what I understand (and read from the linked articles above) it's still really a "may/will" topic. The argument just isn't convincing enough IMO.
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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] If you wish to contest the Munich Re data, they are covered by this SkS post here.

    Denying things because they don't fit preconceived conclusions is not really science.

  23. Dale @22, fake "skeptics" are fond of saying that various climate scientists would be jailed if they made the claims they did on commercial documents. They are of course wrong, for the various claims were actually accurate - but that is beside the point here. What is directly to the point is that we now see how fake skeptics deal with claims actually made on commercial documents and for which the executives of Munich Re could indeed be jailed if they faked the figures above. Rates of disasters have direct bearing on the commercial viability of Munich Re, and therefore incorrect information about those rates would distort the share price of Munich Re. So there is no question as to the legal liability of Munich Re executives if the above graph was faked. The hypocrisy involved in those who (falsely) criticize climate scientists for not adhering to at least commercial standards of accuracy, and then reject any information from a commercial source because it was not peer reviewed is astonishing. In any event, you are mistaken. The scientists who maintain the Munich Re natural disaster database have published on their methods and findings in the peer reviewed literature.
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  24. Sorry, call me sceptical (ha) but a graph from only 1980 compiled by an insurance company is not really science.
    "[H]a" indeed. I'm not sure that "sceptical" is the word. No-one said that Munich Re is conducting science. However there is power in their data, and sufficient that it indicates trends in different types of natural disaster. I can't see where anyone's actually inferred numerical levels of probability from these data but parsimony, and the weight of other evidence physically tied to the phenomena, imply which interpretation is mostly likely. When one remains unconvinced counter to the strength of significant parsimonious indication, one is likely exercising something other than scepticism, whether rational or otherwise.
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  25. Whether true or not, I am uncomfortable resting the fate of the planet on an insurance company. Back to my question though, whilst that graph shows from 1980, is there something showing long-term trend? 30 years is hardly indicative, and does not show "normal" conditions pre-GHG temp spike (which really starts around the time of the graph). I suppose what I'm asking is, where is the data/graph to compare what's considered "normal" to what's considered "human-influenced"? For to see a change, you need to know a change from what. How do we know the 80's and 90's weren't quiet years for disasters?
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  26. Dale, perhaps you should start your reading (assuming you've read DB's links) at the IPCC SREX report, linked in the OP. Some of the key statements are already highlighted above:
    "It is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures at the global scale. There is medium confidence that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme precipitation at the global scale. It is likely that there has been an anthropogenic influence on increasing extreme coastal high water due to an increase in mean sea level."
    It may have fewer easy graphs than you'd like, but it broadly supports the graph from Munich Re, and is based on a great deal more literature. Section 3 of the full report is your friend. Did you really think the fate of the planet would be left to insurance companies?
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  27. Skywatcher: Thanks for pointing me in that direction, though having a very quick flick the SREX appears to concentrate on what may happen. That's not what I'm looking for. Though if past observations are in that document (a 5-minute flick didn't locate any though) then I apologise for dismissing the SREX. Basically, I'm not looking for information on what could happen, but graphs and information on what HAS happened.
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  28. Basically, I'm not looking for information on what could happen, but graphs and information on what HAS happened.
    Perhaps then you need to read the sections labelled "Observed Changes" within Section 3.3 of the SREX report? There's one for each of the major extreme type (e.g. temperature, precipitation). There are also sections labelled "Causes of observed changes". Neither deal with "Projected changes and uncertainties", which are separate. Always good to read the right sections of reports and papers when you're looking for information!
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  29. Dale, while your reflexive dismissal of all evidence presented to you isn't encouraging, further discussions (with graphs) on extreme weather events can be found in; Hurricanes and global warming More wind, bigger waves Unsettled science Extreme rainfall If you wish to discuss any of the topics in these threads please do so on the linked pages rather than here.
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  30. Dale @27 said: "I'm not looking for information on what could happen, but graphs and information on what HAS happened." With the greatest of respect, Dale, that is exactly what Dr James McCarthy presented to the Senate Committee; and which Pielke and McIntyre have willfully sought to bury beneath an avalanche of economic rationalism (a.k.a. obfuscation).
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  31. Dale @25, as you are uncomfortable with data people whose financial well being depends on high quality data about the frequency of natural disasters, perhaps you will accept data from people whose profession is the scientific study of disaster frequency, specifically, CRED, the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. There data base shows changes in frequency of natural disasters, defined as natural events killing at least 10 people, or adversely affecting at least 100 is as follows: (Natural Disasters in the World {No. which Occurred (1900 to 1999)}) Here is the same data from a different source, only this time plotting the number of earthquake related disasters separately as a rough indication of the effects of increased reporting and population density on the data: (Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal) I believe this also answers your question about whether the 1980s were years of unusually low disaster rates.
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  32. I think that most who have actually taken the time to study the literature and to learn for themselves the science would be uncomfortable resting the fate of the planet in the hands of those who obviously have not. Diversion over; let us please return to the OP of this thread, Pielke Jr and McIntyre Assist Christy's Extreme Weather Obfuscation.
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  33. I assume that most sks subscribers have as a goal that of combating climate change. The chances of achieving that goal are bound to be hindered by any obfuscation such as that exposed herein. While it might be that the views these people express are genuinely held, it is difficult to believe that when one studies the tactics employed, as so clearly exposed by this excellent article. One wonders if Professor Pielke Jr would take this article’s exposure of his tactics so lightly as to breeze in to the comments section, say “Hello!” and then breeze out again after making little or no contribution to an article that questions his ethics if he were to consider that the article would form part of a body of evidence against him in the event of there being a commission or tribunal to apportion blame when climate change starts to really bite. When the events of this year will be seen as ‘rosy’ in comparison. When the public cotten on to how much they have been duped and demand punishment of those concernded. To this end, can I suggest that instead of having just a few persons selected for exposure, as in Christy’s Crocs (top left of the page), we simply have a link entitled: EVIDENCE AGAINST leading to a separate thread for each specific misinformation by each person considered to have deliberately mis-informed the public generally and the policy makers in particular. That thread should open for all to see, but only the named person and sks authors allowed to comment to the point where the evidence stands or falls or, I suppose, an ‘agree to differ’ point is reached. The comments policy would be different and I am not in a position to be specific, but I think one policy should be that deliberate denial of having said something when the evidence is clear that they have indeed said such a thing should lead to automatic termination with a ‘PROVEN’ note as the closing comment (no prizes for guessing which British peer I have in mind). There should be one thread for each transgression with the date and place of transgression recorded, unless it is repeated, when all that would be needed is a note to that effect with the date and place noted. Out of courtesy, we should inform the person concerned of the fact that the evidence is being gathered and offer them the opportunity to defend their position. I assume that not all misinformation is deliberate even if we think it is and there has to the opportunity for the individual to effectively cancel it by posting AGREED as their final comment on it. While it might seem like a lot of work, in truth there are only so many myths and they have all been debunked by reference to the known science, so the sks comment would in the main be a link to the myth-busting section. Who knows, the comments in response might assist this site in refining its myth-busting explanations, providing links to the sources, something of an omission currently. If one considers the times people continue to push mis-information, despite being in the mis-informers (should that be ‘myth-informers’?) hall of fame on this site, one wonders just how effective the current policy is.
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    Moderator Response: [DB] Note that references to "tribunals" are considered inflammatory on this website.
  34. "Let us agree to disagree ... " Ah, the rhetorical pixie dust to try to cover a multitude of sins.
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  35. "let us agree to disagree." Indeed that is a poor rethorical artifice that one with academic background such Dr Pielke should avoid,especially when talking about science with plenty of references that are plain to see for all. It amounts to trying to establish that there is no right answer and in any case does not address any of the substance in the OP.
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  36. Philippe Chantreau @35, if Dr Pielke is claiming that there is no right answer to the dispute between him and Dana, then logically he is admitting that he had no basis to accuse Field of misrepresenting the SREX, ie, that Dana is right. I believe, however, we should only interpret his "agree to disagree" as indicating that he does not think that either he will persuade Dana, nor Dana him of the respective correctness of their positions. Of course, the fact is that he consistently claims Field has misrepresented the SREX when Field correctly represented the SREX claims about hazards because the SREX was unable to attribute part of the very large increases in costs from natural disasters. These are conceptually very different things. What is worse, these are key conceptual distinctions in Pielke's area of expertise, so he cannot be unaware of them. Therefore he cannot reasonably have been assumed to mistake one for the other. The only way Pielke can escape the charge of deliberately slandering Field is if he presents an argument that direct costs of natural disasters are the only thing of concern to policy makers in determining a response to global warming. In fact, the only way his original post would not have been disingenuous is if he had explicitly made that argument. But his is wise to not have attempted that argument because it is blatantly false. In a world of increasing hazards, increasing disasters and costs from disasters can only be avoided by taking explicit measures to prepare for the eventuality of those hazards affecting large populations, either by engineering works, upgrading building codes or preparing for emergency responses. Therefore increasing hazards impose increasing costs, and possibly the requirement for increasing regulation - matters certainly of concern to policy makers.
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  37. funglestrumpet @33, however emotionally satisfying the concept of some sort of (-snip-) for AGW deniers and their enablers may be, it is a morally and legally repugnant concept. We are not gathering evidence to be used against perpetrators. We are exposing the illogicality and the lack of evidential basis of the veiws presented by certain people so that others will not be mislead. We are educating, not preparing a brief. Never forget that for the great majority of deniers and their enablers, including A Watts, their views are sincerely held, no matter how poorly related to actual evidence.
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    Moderator Response: [DB] Reference to snipped comment snipped.
  38. I thank those who helped me to find the info I was after, and to those who felt derision was more appropriate let me just suggest it is not a wise path to take to educate lay-people on climate change.
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  39. Roger Pielke Jnr tweeted: "I visited the SkepticalScience website today, not impressed - like a caricature of the worst aspects of the climate debate." Now, to my mind the worst aspect of the "climate debate" is the death threats and abusive emails being directed at working climate scientists. After that would have to come the endless, baseless accusations of fraud, often with conspiracy theory attached that come from denier ranks. Then we have the countless times various deniers have doctored graphs, made up their data or repeatedly asserted easily checkable untruths as fact. I see nothing above that even remotely resembles these features of the climate debate, whether caricatured or not. Pielke's tweet, in other words, is at best a vacuous insult designed to cover his disinclination to defend what are, after all, his indefensible comments regarding Fielding. Still, the tweet is not all loss. While adding nothing to the debate, it certainly serves admirably to reveal Pielke's character.
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  40. Par for the course, really. I would have been more surprised if he hadn't used "the climate debate" somewhere in the tweet. I was hoping for a little more engagement, ala RPS.
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  41. I'm very disappointed by this tweet. Readers can see for themselves the awful, venomous vitriol that Poor Dr Pieke Jr was subjected to in his one hour and 47 minutes between his first (#7) and last (#13) post on this thread. Clearly it is a dreadful example of a way to hold a debate:
    #7 Moderator Response: [RH] Thanks for coming by, Roger. We would also hope that you take a moment to read through our comments policy. We try to keep a tight ship here with regards to commenting. Staying close to the topic of the article is very important. We've very glad you stopped in, and you should be getting responses very soon. Thx!
    #9 [vrooomie] Roger, allow me to welcome you here [...] I will look forward to your participation in what I feel is one of the most rational, reality-based climate change blogs today, regarding this complex subject.
    #11 [DB] On[e] helpful (hopefully) interjection: Skeptical Science is comprised of quite literally thousands of blog posts covering all facets of climate science, from the denial to debunking to exposition on the science to solutions. [...]
    #12 [Dana] Skeptical Science welcomes any input you have into that conversation, as long as such input stays on topic (and, as with all commenters, within the constraints of the Comments Policy). Note to other commenters - let's please try not to overwhelm Pielke Jr. with too many comments, which became a problem for Pielke Sr. when he commented on SkS. [...]
    I wonder which of these dreadful posts Roger Pielke Jr was objecting to? The gentle requestes to remain on topic? Was it the fact he was being welcomed? Or the fact that he was going to be accorded especially friendly treatment, not accorded to his father? His departure in #13 was even apparently civil!! Would the real Roger Pielke Jr please stand up - the one that appeared open to discuss at least some issues in his two communications on this thread, or the one who is willing to be rude and fabricate divisive nonsense in a tweet?
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  42. The drought is not Climate Change. The heat wave is not Climate Change. The flooding is not Climate Change. The derecho was not Climate Change. The tornado outbreaks were not Climate Change. Snowmageddon was not Climate Change. Irene was not Climate Change. The drought and the heat wave and the floods and the derecho and the tornado outbreaks and the snowstorms and the hurricanes? All within a YEAR? THAT'S Climate Change.
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  43. All who replied to my post @ 33 (-Snip-). What is surely far more likely for one of the so-called 1% to cotton on to the fact that climate change stands a very good chance of ruining their wealth, especially if some of the more dire predictions come to pass and we have a societal breakdown as a possibility. That this could have been averted had we acted sooner is obvious and therefore those responsible in any way for hindering that action are liable to at least a civil case being brought against them. Obfuscation of the science has surely played a major part in persuading many politicians from taking the necessary action to avert it and who can blame them? While this site’s goal is to educate I don’t see much evidence that this is being effective in changing political opinion or that of the public generally. Professor Christy is not the only scientist to repeatedly promulgate long de-bunked myths and while the public can see scientific disagreement, they are entitled to sit on the fence, alongside the politicians. Sadly, all I see is climate change continuing to make its inexorable progress to more and more unbearable conditions and the scientific community on this site and on other similar sites eventually saying: “Told you so!” If such a Pyrrhic victory would provide satisfaction, carry on, because that is where the planet is currently headed. If Professor Pielke’s behaviour in response to this article does not give you pause then I seriously suggest that you drop the science for a while and get out more. He gave us all the finger and didn’t care a hoot what we felt about it. Effectively saying sks is not of any real importance. I have been following climate change since the 1980s and as the years go by have become more alarmed by the lack of political action to combat it and what that means for my family. Yet even I, when I look at Professors Pielke and Cristy’s credentials, am forced to ponder why such eminent scientists should be so much at odds with the views of the scientists on this site. Perhaps it is the result of obfuscation. If so, then simply saying “We are here to teach” will only lead to the above Pyrrhic victory.
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    Moderator Response: [DB] Off-topic and inflammatory snipped.
  44. While I certainly sympathize, I must point out that we all, as human beings, must remain true to that inner nature we are born & raised with. Thus, those who participate in SkS have remained true to our natures, as evidenced by our measured & thoughtful responses to RPJr. The tweet likewise speaks self-evidently, without any further inferences needed.
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  45. Pielke Jnr obviously expects readers of his tweet to not actually fact-check what he was writing about. Clearly he felt the SkS-imposed rules of sticking to the facts too onerous a burden for him.
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  46. Hansen et al have a paper which includes a discussion on increased temperature variability. Tamino has looked at it, and decided that the paper was wrong in its analysis showing increased temperature variability. On the surface this might seem inconsistent with actual increased weather related disasters. But I don't really think so. We built our cities for particular conditions, and if the local climate changes, we'd expect more costly disasters.
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  47. Hmm. Links didn't work. Hansen et al: Tamino:
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  48. John - we have a few posts coming up on the new Hansen paper, one of which will be an analysis of variability over the Northern Hemisphere summer months as indicated by Hansen (2012).
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  49. Hi All, Dana shared this "invitation" to me via Twitter: "@RogerPielkeJr Easy to run away after you've been proven wrong and then hurl insults from your dark corner, isn't it? Like father like son." Since there seems to be some demand here for my participation, I'd like to oblige. When SkS opens up a thread on my research, please let me know and I'll be happy to join the discussion. Most broadly, you could focus on The Climate Fix, but there are plenty of specific papers to focus on. I'm not interested in the "he, said, he said" drama or (-snip-), sorry. So just let me know when SkS is ready for such a discussion, and if not, no problem. Thanks!
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    Moderator Response: [DB] Reference to snipped comment snipped.
  50. John Brookes @48, contrary to your claim, Tamino did not find that Hansen was wrong in his analysis. Rather, he found the analysis did not support one claim made by Hansen, ie, that regional climate variability increased. Note that Tamino shows that that conclusion is not supported - he does not show that it is not true. More importantly, the rest of Hansen's analysis is correct, and shows an order of magnitude increase in frequency of what where 3 sigma events just over 30 years ago. That is a very disturbing result, and is completely supported by the data provided by Hansen.
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