Aug 10, 2012
That’s the takeaway line from meteorologist Cliff Mass on his Cliff Mass Weather Blog  today, delivering a savage beatdown on the latest global warming scaremongering  from NASA’s egregious James Hansen about recent summer heat waves: “It follows that we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.” Mass thinks this is a mass of hot air.
Who is Cliff Mass, and why should we pay attention to him? Mass is an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington. He’s no climate skeptic; as he says in the post quoted in the headline here, “I believe that human-induced global warming is both observed, real, and a serious problem for mankind.” But to his credit he thinks politicized, agenda-driven scientists like James Hansen, and the credulous media that always give credence to every poorly reasoned claim, do more harm than good.
There’s a lot in his cogent post, and it’s worth reading the whole thing. But here’s the most important part:
Now as the earth warms up the temperature variations shown remain like the bell curve…or Gaussian, but the mean should shift to warmer temperatures (see the figure below). The result is that you get more warm extremes and less cold extremes (less cold extremes are not mentioned very often for some reason).
So the result is that you seem more warm temperature records and less cold temperature records. We are in fact seeing this. The earth is warming and there are more maximum temperature records than cold ones. Hansen and friends make a big deal about this.
But what they are not telling you is that the very warm anomalies we are seeing today would have been nearly as large if global warming had never occurred. In his paper he makes a big deal about large (three sigma) anomalies from climatology. Well, without any global warming the anomalies might have been say 2.8 sigma. Or in terms of terms, heat waves of 10F might have been only 9F if global warming had not occurred. To say it differently, the impact of global warming due to greenhouse gases is still small compared to natural processes, and the impacts to society would have been pretty much the same. But you never hear it this way. Those exaggerating the global warming signal imply that we are going from normal conditions to extremes due to global warming. In reality, we go from naturally induced extremes, to a bit stronger extremes due to global warming.
As an aside, the journal that this article was published in…the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)…allows members of the National Academy (like Dr. Hansen) to publish articles with essentially no peer review. Until 2010 they could publish anything, with no peer review, and most recently the submission review is “supervised” by the submitting academy member WHO GETS TO SELECT THE REVIEWERS. Folks, this is really unfortunate for an entity that claims to be national journal of some reputation. The result has been a lot of very bad papers in PNAS that would never have been accepted in real journals,with a real peer review process. One could use stronger words, but this is a family blog.
Like Al Gore, reckless scientists like Hansen are the climate skeptic’s best friend.
By the way, has Hansen won a Green Weenie yet?