Climate Change: Where theorists and skeptics agree and disagree

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

AUSTIN, May 30, 2014 — Researchers supporting the theory of human-caused global warming (AGW) and their skeptics agree more often than not, but the two primary areas where skeptics disagree make all the difference in the world.

In principle, AGW proponents and skeptics agree on these fundamentals:

  • Climate change is real
  • Global warming is real
  • Human-caused CO2 levels are rising
  • CO2 is a greenhouse gas
  • Rising CO2 levels cause global warming

It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest climate change is not real. Climate has been changing for billions of years. It’s not going to stop now. No credible skeptic scientist suggests otherwise.

READ ALSO: Near-term future for renewable electricity

All are in agreement with the IPCC that there has been about a 0.85°C increase in earth’s measured temperature since 1880.

IPCC AR5 Report: Earth's measured temperature rise since 1850
IPCC AR5 Report: Earth’s measured temperature rise since 1850

The IPCC suggests all the temperature rise is caused by human activity. Skeptics suggest that at least some of the measured increase is due to urban heat island effects and natural variability. Most important, though, is all agree that earth is warmer than it was in 1880.

Everyone agrees that 2000-2009 is the hottest decade on record and, paradoxically, that earth’s land-sea surface temperature has not increased statistically since 1998.

CO2 is on the rise and human activity is the cause of it. Skeptics and proponents are in agreement. Facts are facts.

NOAA: Humans have not curbed carbon dioxide emissions despite the Kyoto agreement
NOAA: Humans have not curbed carbon dioxide emissions despite the Kyoto agreement

Atmospheric CO2 has been continuously measured on Mauna Loa in Hawaii since 1958. The measured CO2 increases contain the unmistakable chemical signature of human activity.

Since the beginning of the industrial age humans have changed the composition of earth’s atmosphere by 0.012 percent. Humans have increased CO2 from 280 ppm to 400ppm by volume. AGW theorists believe the 0.012 percent change is causing devastating climate change.

READ ALSO: El Niño will be blamed on human-caused global warming

For the first time ever, the entire month of April 2014 averaged over 400ppm of atmospheric CO2. It’s the highest level in over 800,000 years. It will continue rising.

Furthermore, skeptics and AGW theorists agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that doubling its atmospheric concentration will increase earth’s temperature 1.1°C.

If theorists and skeptics agree on all this, then what’s the problem?

Skeptics disagree with AGW theory in two very crucial areas:

  1. Climate sensitivity
  2. Extreme weather

Climate Sensitivity

AGW theorists believe that the earth climate system is much more sensitive to changes in CO2 than do skeptics.

Theorists believe that additional climate “forcing” will raise earth’s temperature three times more than does CO2 alone. Thus, instead of earth’s temperature going up 1.1°C due to doubling CO2, it will increase 3.3°C or so, depending on the strength of induced “forcing”.

Skeptical scientists, on the other hand, believe the IPCC greatly overestimates climate sensitivity to CO2. They also believe the IPCC greatly underestimates the effect of natural variability. Skeptics believe there will be little or no additional warming than that caused by carbon dioxide alone.

It’s the heart and soul of the skeptic argument against AGW theory.

As proof, skeptics offer up comparisons between IPCC model predictions and actual measured temperatures. Measurements indicate that temperature rise is less sensitive to CO2 increases than AGW theory predicts.

Dr. Roy W. Spencer, PhD. Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville
Dr. Roy W. Spencer, PhD. Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville
Dr. Roy W. Spencer, PhD. Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville
Dr. Roy W. Spencer, PhD. Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville

These two graphs compared earth’s measured temperature change to forecasts from IPCC climate models. Measurements are at or below predicted values, indicating a lower climate sensitivity than built into the models.

Author graph made from HadCRUT4 and NOAA CO2 data using
Author graph made from HadCRUT4 and NOAA CO2 data using

The above chart plots the IPCC’s two main datasets presented in support of AGW theory. Earth’s temperature profile since 1950 is somewhat different from Earth’s CO2 profile. CO2 has steadily increased.

From 1950 to 1978 the trend line for temperature decreased while CO2 increased. After 1998 earth’s temperature leveled off or possibly decreased slightly while CO2 increased at its highest rate yet.

The link between CO2 and temperature rise has become much less certain over the last 15 years.

Extreme Weather

We want to emphasize to the public that this is not some distant problem of the future. This is a problem affecting Americans right now. Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires; all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak.
-President Barack Obama, 5/6/2014

Every day, in media outlets around the world, we are told that extreme weather events are increasing in number and intensity. President Obama repeated that assertion earlier this month at the release of the National Climate Assessment report.

Skeptics disagree. They believe hard evidence for extreme weather is weak.

Again, the skeptics offer up empirical data, not model projections, to back up their claims.

NOAA: Number of violent tornadoes each year has decreased since 1954
NOAA: Number of violent tornadoes each year has decreased since 1954

1954 was a good year to start tracking tornadoes. The weather service started their national spotter program in 1952. 2011 was a bad year for tornadoes, but three other years before 1975 had more.


The number of intense hurricanes per decade has decreased by 1/3rd since 1880. We are currently in the longest period of time without a major hurricane, eight years and counting.

Not one hurricane made landfall in the U.S. in 2013, not even a Category 1.


The number of wildfire per year has decreased by half since 1960. However, the amount of acreage burned has increased.


The number of state records tallied by decade can be viewed as a measure of extreme weather.

The number that sticks out like a sore thumb is 35 state high temperature records set in the dust bowl years of the 1930s. The 2nd highest number of state record high temperatures were in the 1910s when the world’s highest ever recorded temperature was set in Death Valley, California.

Since 1999 only two state high temperature records have been set, same as the number of state record low temperature records set. Since the turn of the century, very few state extreme weather event records have been set.

IPCC Summary for Policymakers: Drought and hurricanes not yet affected by global warming
IPCC Summary for Policymakers: Drought and hurricanes not yet affected by global warming

In its newest AR5 report, the IPCC has backed off on some of its predictions of human-caused climate change. The IPCC now says that droughts and hurricanes have been unaffected by human activity and won’t be until later this century.


On the fundamentals of AGW theory, proponents and skeptics are in complete agreement. Global warming is real. Humans activity is adding CO2 into earth’s atmosphere. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that, on its own, will raise earth’s temperature 1.1°C each time it is doubled.

That’s a considerable amount of agreement. It’s definitely reason for both groups to be concerned.

AGW theorists postulate that other induced climate “forcings” create three times more global warming than carbon dioxide alone. It is reflected in climate model predictions.

Skeptics disagree with AGW theorists over how sensitive the earth climate system is to increases in carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases). They contend earth’s climate sensitivity is much less than the IPCC believes and, therefore, climate effects are much less than advertised.

Skeptics offer two types of evidence. The first is measured temperatures compared to IPCC model predictions. IPCC models forecast a much higher temperature rise than has been observed, especially after 1998.

The other evidence is extreme weather events. The number of extreme hurricanes has been decreasing since 1880. The number of violent tornadoes has been decreasing since 1954. The number of wildfires per year has been decreasing since 1960.

The IPCC, in its newest AR5 report, says both droughts and hurricanes have not been affected at all by human-caused global warming and won’t be until the end of this century.

There are as few or fewer state weather extreme records being set now than at any time since records have been kept, beginning in the 1880s.

The point being that the evidence for more extreme weather is not nearly as strong as portrayed by the media.

Each passing year without the earth’s surface temperature increasing presents a bigger and bigger problem for the AGW theory. The idea that climate sensitivity to CO2 is lower than the IPCC believes has validity in the data and should be studied more closely.

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  • mememine

    It was never a crime for science to say “could be” and never “will be” a crisis for three decades but it is a crime for a “believer” to tell kids that scientists “believe” as much as you do.
    You remaining “believers” must acknowledge science’s 32 year old consensus of nothing beyond their laughable;95% uncertainty otherwise you are making up your own “belief” of certainty. YOU can’t “believe” until science does and if science won’t say they are 100% certain, then you can’t “believe”.

    The earth is 100% not flat but Human CO2 could flatten it?

    Get ahead of the curve;

    *Occupywallstreet now does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded and corporate run carbon trading stock markets ruled by politicians.
    * “Socialist” Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).

    • CB

      Science is never 100% certain of anything.

      Now, how certain are you there won’t be a crisis?

      If we haven’t set the world on a course toward total polar meltdown, 246 feet of sea level rise, the drowning of the homes of 3 billion people, and untold climate chaos just with the CO₂ we’ve already emitted, why isn’t there a single previous example in Earth’s history of polar ice caps withstanding CO₂ so high?

      • Steve Davidson

        There are at least 7 datasets and 1 table above that provide mememine good reason to believe there will NOT be a crisis in the immediate future.

        If you have data to suggest otherwise, please feel free to supply it.

        • Steven Sullivan

          Who is saying there is a crisis in the ‘immediate future’? And who cares what the ‘state high temperatures’ are? Two of the *globally* warmest years on record have occurred in since 2000. And ‘extreme weather’ is not defined just by tornadoes and *wildfires* (which are not ‘weather’) .

          • Steve Davidson

            Someone needs to inform the President about that wildfire thing. 😉

          • CB

            The wildfire changes we’ve seen are just the beginning of the chaos we can expect.

            Arctic sea ice has steadily declined 67% in the last 34 years and on track to disappear completely in just a few more:

            “Monthly averaged ice volume for September 2013 was 5,500 km³. This value is 52% lower than the mean over this period, 67% lower than the maximum in 1979, and 0.6 standard deviations below the 1979-2013 trend.”

            -University of Washington Polar Science Center, “PIOMAS Arctic Sea Ice Volume Reanalysis”

            If you understand this sea ice stabilises climate throughout the northern hemisphere, why would you think its disappearance wouldn’t wreak havoc on the climate of the northern hemisphere?

          • Steve Davidson

            You make good points about Arctic sea ice, and ask a legitimate question.

            Unfortunately, none of that applies to this article. I will write about sea ice, and sea level rise and other “extremes” claimed caused by human CO2 emissions another time. When I do, you and I will have plenty to discuss. 🙂

          • CB

            “Unfortunately, none of that applies to this article.”

            …except that it does.

            Did you think wildfires, tornadoes, droughts and hurricanes weren’t regulated by Arctic sea ice?

            Thermohaline circulation governs climate worldwide, and disrupting that circulation by melting Arctic sea ice is a pretty good way to throw the entire world’s climate system into chaos like we’ve never seen.

            …because what we’ve seen so far is only the beginning.

          • Steve Davidson

            I agree with you that sea ice is an important, major climate topic. I agree that you ask very legitimate questions related to it that need to be discussed. But they are beyond the scope of the present article.

            The limited purpose of this article is to dispassionately explain what AGW theorists and skeptics agree and disagree on and why. I prepared it for last Friday’s CDN radio show.

            I included 10 information graphs to illustrate my points using applicable data. I thought that was enough for the article’s purpose.

            Nothing was included about sea ice. Its a complex subject. That is why it doesn’t make sense to go off on that tangent now.

            I promise you I’ll write future articles about sea ice. Physics was my college major and I’m comfortable discussing the Coriolis effect and its influence on thermohaline circulation and the cryosphere. 🙂

          • CB

            “But they are beyond the scope of the present article.”

            Well, no, actually. Changes in thermohaline circulation due to global warming is what’s causing the wildfires, tornadoes, droughts and hurricanes mentioned in the article, so to fail to address the collapse of the Arctic sea ice and the changes in ocean circulation it causes is to willfully ignore the connexion between global warming and wildfires, tornadoes, droughts and hurricanes.

            Get it?

    • Steve Davidson

      I don’t know if you noticed, but in one of the chart graphics above – in bold red type – it reads:
      “Over 95% of Climate Models Agree:
      The Observations Must Be Wrong”

      • Steven Sullivan

        Try getting your graphs from somewhere *other than* Roy Spencer, who is a committed ‘skeptic’ (and a creationist to boot). How about from the actual sources? And try *not* cherry-picking periods to draw trendlines to. I can pick and draw them showing upward rates just as easily as you’ve picked downwards. You could also say that climate models were very good at tracking observations up until the early 2000’s. But scientists care about the long-term trend, not yearly or even decadal variability. And even the earth’s *surface temperature* *is* increasing — just not as *fast* as many models predicted. It’s not ‘flat’. You could also look at the *global* picture, which includes ocean heat content. Not to mention melting glaciers and sea level rise.

        • Steve Davidson

          When someone criticizes the scientist, instead of his data, they’ve already lost their argument. Spencer is one of the world’s leading authorities on satellite-based global temperature studies, which is what those two graphs are about. There is no more authoritative source.

          Why is it that the narrow minded always resort to ignorant personal attacks against leading scientists when the scientists, based on solid peer-reviewed data, disagree with their preconceived notions of truth?

          NEVER make unfounded accusations of cherry picking that you can’t back up.

          Just about every chart above PURPOSELY has the link to the original source data on it for nincompoops – like you – to check before making fools of themselves. Congratulations, you didn’t check!!

          • susanclipper

            I am not sure how much I can trust Spencer’s data, since in 2005 Christy and Spencer admitted that they made errors in calculating troposphere temperatures from satellite data. If they made an error suggesting additional increase in temperature, then it would be one thing. But their error was to show a lower temperature. It is certainly not intentional, but maybe the unintentional “bias” made them overlook that error? Below in the reply I will quote the link from NY Times – dated August 12, 2005
            (title “Errors Cited in Assessing Climate Data”).

          • Steve Davidson

            You’ve got to be kidding. You dredged up a leaky 2005 NYT newspaper story to discredit Spencer?

            What errors? Exactly how far off were they? What delta of real error was introduced? Give me specifics. The NYT certainly doesn’t! It is nothing more than an allegation of unspecified errors. The NYT provides no numbers and no direct references to any articles and a report it mentions, not even their names. That leaves readers (like me) to do unnecessary research to track down what really happened, and even then can’t be sure they found the right material.

            What matters is whether the error affects the conclusions.

            Revkin is credible, but AGW bent. It shows in his lack of specifics this time.

            If you suggesting that the same unspecified errors or other errors are in the current data above, then proof it.

            You know as well as I do that every AGW shark on the planet are all over his work like rabid dogs. Should be easy to prove Spencer (or any skeptic) wrong.

            I tell you what, I will start giving you credit for slander tactics when you apply that same level of unjust scrutiny to AGW scientist errors. For example, the Mann Hockey Stick that graced the cover of AR3.

          • susanclipper

            Those details of the errors are given in journal publications, one main one was the failure to account for the drift of satellites, another from not accounting for direct heating of instruments by sun. NY Times talks about them and give names of those who found those errors – please read it more carefully. Remote Sensing Systems’ researchers (Mears and Wentz) questioned Christy/Spencer’s results starting in 2001 and identified errors, so did Steven Sherwood at Yale. Sorry, I cannot post their papers here, but I am sure you can find them if you check (from 2001 to 2005) – if you cannot find them, I will be happy to post the references. What is significant about these errors is that before they were found, Christy and Spencer’s earlier conclusion indicated that satellite data shows essentially no warming trend (counter to your second item that you thought all climate scientists agree – that is “Global warming is real”) and surface measurement readings that shows a warming trend are inaccurate. After those corrections were made, surface measurement trends and satellite measurements trends are in agreement, showing the same warming trend. That means those errors were significant.

            Since you mentioned this: “I will start giving you credit for slander tactics”, I only talked about facts and data. Mann and Hockey Stick did not come up so far, Spencer did; so why should I criticize Mann when we are talking about other things? I would criticize AGW side as well when the topic (like Mann for his leap from tree rings) comes up.

          • Steve Davidson

            Sigh! You wrote a lot and said little that is meaningful. FACTS! DATA! That is all the matters. Without specifics you provide little reason to doubt their work.

            Dig through the papers, pull out the facts. Tell me what the real facts are. Direct me to where I can see the data for myself. That is what I do for you.

            I have no doubt there is something there, Spencer and Christy said so in the Revkin article. I just don’t know what it is.

            If you want me to distrust scientists you disagree with, don’t expect me to do YOUR research to prove it one way or the other.

          • susanclipper

            Sigh???? Really? Wow…. The newspaper gave you (which I explained in a different way above) the nature of the errors, the names of the people who found those errors, and the year. I have read their papers in journals, and I summarized the issue. If you need more information, read Christy & Spencer’s acceptance of the errors and the response by Mears and Wentz and by Sherwood and Lanzante (starting with the article “Correcting Temperature Data Sets”, page 972, Science, volume 310 published on 11 Nov 2005). From these articles, Spencer and Chrsity failed to account for satellite drift and heating of the instruments which biased their data. There are many other papers discussing these issues, given below. I am sorry, these issues are very well-known in the climate science circles, and if you are going to give a “sigh” with a claim that what I said was not “meaningful”, I am not sure how to respond to you. If you want to write an unbiased article, then you have to find the details of what happened here. Before these errors were found, the general claim was that satellite data does not show any significant warming trend (thus many AGW critics questioned the reliability of the data from surface stations), after the errors were corrected, satellite data showed the same warming trend as surface stations. That is very significant and meaningful. So your claim that AGW skeptics accept that “Global warming is real” is not entirely correct, many opposed that until they had no choice but to accept it.

            The effect of diurnal correction on satellite-derived lower tropospheric temperature
            Mears, CA; Wentz, FJ
            SCIENCE 309(5740), 1548-1551, Sept 2, 2005

            Reliability of satellite data sets – Response
            Santer, BD; Wigley, TML; Meehl, GA; et al.
            SCIENCE 301(5636), 1047-1049, Aug 22, 2003


          • Steve Davidson

            Thanks for your input. I really do appreciate all the time and effort you’ve put into setting the record strait for me.

            I’d be happy to review the sources you listed if I had a AAAS account and could read them. I don’t. Apparently, you do. I can’t find internet published reprints of the papers either. AAAS is pretty tight to the vest with their copyrighted materials.

            A quick Google search turned up this table of fixes to the UAH dataset:

            (Bummer, the table did not paste well into this comment so I had to remove it – see it at the reference. It lists all fixes from 1993 forward)

            I don’t know how accurate or complete it is. It’s in Wikipedia under the heading: “UAH satellite temperature dataset”.

            Take note that changes go both ways, adjusted up and adjusted down.

            The 2008 fix is the only one (at 0.1) big enough to affect results. The others are to small to change much, including the fractional 0.035 change in 2005 that is probably in the articles I can’t read.

            Wiki isn’t always the most reliable source for controversial stuff, like this, but it is all I’ve got right now.
            Might I suggest a different, more productive tack…

            Rather than rehashing 2005, can you refute the two new plots in the article above? After all, those are the ones that matter and they clearly show the models do not match measurements. Most of the divergence occurs after 2005

            If they are wrong then they will be removed. But if they can’t be shown to have significant errors, then who cares what happened in 2005?

          • susanclipper

            I have addressed the corrections in another post, but just to repeat, those errors not insignificant. The error in 100 years will be more than the measured temperature rise in the past 100 years.

            Figure 1 and 2 are reasonably fine (I am not sure what average they used in Figure 1– this is not five year running average which gives you long term trend, it seems yearly average). I am not all that convinced about Roy Spencer’s figures, Figure 3 and 4. First of all, satellite data shows the same warming as ground measurements. That is not what I see in Figure 3. These two figures are a lot more complicated. You can read the following to see why:

            (1) “Satellite climate data at 33 years: questioning shaky claims that downplay global warming” By Andrew Freedman in Washington Post 12/20/2011, There are several links there, including a response by Christy. Don’t worry about Freedman, just look at the links and data.
            (2) Ed Hawkins’ blog started some of these talks on disagreements between models and actual data (climate Lab book: Updated comparison of simulations and observations, Feb 8, 2013) You can see how far people used his plot as a disinformation campaign, that is just dishonest. In another blog (“Comparing global temperature observations and simulations, again”, May 28, 2013), where he gave reasons why there are deviations between models and actual measurements (see also here “Global temperatures over the past decade”, July 9, 2012). But people like Spencer who knows better should not make jokes about that, by ignoring the reasons for that variation (such as suspended particles in atmosphere did not decrease as used in the models, unexpected reduction of methane gas increase which cannot be predicted, etc., the question is whether these models can predict the influence of CO2 alone if other variables are constant. Many of them can do it well if other variables stay still – but they don’t). These scientists opposing AGW know very well these factors, but they chose to take the low road. They should help to make these models better, rather than making fun of them.

          • susanclipper

            I re-read your comments again, this particular line gave me an idea where you are coming from: “You’ve got to be kidding. You dredged up a leaky 2005 NYT newspaper story to discredit Spencer?” Leaky NYT article- that is just a report on what had happened, they did not create the facts behind the story. NYT is liberal, we all know that – but that is not the issue here. I did not say anything about the credibility of Revkin, my opinion came from journal articles which NYT relied upon for the story. It seems to me that you are trying to portray a neutral face to advertise your real stance in a very subtle way. You also said “I will start giving you credit for slander tactics when you apply that same level of unjust scrutiny to AGW scientist errors.”. Again, I am not sure where you are coming from, other than stating the well known documented facts, I did not say anything to slander anyone. Slandering people is not my intention – this is a discussion on subjects not about people. Again, “You know as well as I do that every AGW shark on the planet are all over
            his work like rabid dogs. Should be easy to prove Spencer (or any
            skeptic) wrong.” Why? For what reason? Climate scientists are pathologically disposed to AGW? Why would Chinese or Indian scientists or scientists from other countries jump on him? If it is such a settled science as AGW people claim, there is not even any need for huge funding even in the U.S. for them. In fact, by saying that there is so much disagreements, it is the critics who help further funding. So what is it for scientists to target him? Amazing!!

          • Steve Davidson

            I agree… stick to the facts, ignore personality and speculating on where someone thinks that someone else is “coming from”. That is counter-productive.

            Attack the data, not the messenger.

            I addressed the Spencer issue in another comment with the only hard data I could find, since I could not read your AAAS references. It’s not your fault I couldn’t read the articles. So, through my own efforts, I located an alternative source that contained the numbers needed to understand the scope of the errors. Details are in the other comment.

            That source identified more errors than you mentioned.

            Except for one 2008 fix, the amount of error is miniscule. The 2005 errors you mentioned resulted in only a 0.035 “fix” change to the temperature anomaly. That’s microscopic! No wonder Christy and Spencer said it didn’t affect their conclusions. It didn’t.

            Someone out there in the blogosphere is simply trying to make a mountain out of a playground sandbox.

          • susanclipper

            The net effect from all those corrections is +0.069 ° C/decade, Wikipedia says that just above the subtitle “Corrections made”, or we can add all the trend corrections. Which shows that in 100 years corrections for these errors will result in 0.69 ° C increase. That is substantial knowing that the net increase of global temperature from 1880 to 2013 (133 years) was 0.85 °C as you mentioned earlier in this article – which translates to 0.64° C for 100 years. In other words, the error from Christy/Spencer calculation will be more than the actual rise in temperature in the past 100 years. Without adjusting for that error, his data would have shown that the earth is actually cooling very slightly. There are substantial errors, not microscopic. You cannot say ” That’s microscopic! No wonder Christy and Spencer said it didn’t affect their conclusions. It didn’t.”

          • susanclipper

            Also, I would suggest that the plots above are cherry picked. Sure F3+ tornadoes have gone slightly down since 1960, but the total number of all tornadoes have gone up in the same period by a significant margin (do a search on “tornado-counts-0112-2011.png” and look at the plot in NOAA site). If we look a longer period of time, the number of hurricanes are going up slightly – not down (google search “atlantic storms per year” and look at “Tropical Cyclone Climatology – National Hurricane Center” from NOAA to see the plot of named cyclones, which is going substantially up since 1855). The skeptics pick those data that suite their theory and ignore the rest. So those two charts above are cherry picked, with the category and period. The other two plots, wildfires and state records are not really relevant. Wildfires depend on many other factors. We are not really concerned about State records (Alaska getting a warm wind for a day is not a sign of global warming), but duration and periodicity by which extreme variations occur is what counts. So the two probably correct plots are not useful.

          • Steve Davidson

            You are the 2nd person here to wrongfully accuse me of cherry picking data. Get your facts strait. I very specifically included links to the raw source data on the charts so anyone could.

            If you would get off your duff and check the sources, you’d know I didn’t! I plotted virtually all the raw data they provided!

            Heck, I didn’t even draw the tornado chart. NOAA did.1960 is their start date, not mine. (search NOAA “Historical Records and Trends”) I did guesstimate the trend-line, though. All the other trend-lines were calculated by MS-Excel.

            I didn’t pick 1950 as the start date for the HadCRUT4 vs. CO2 graph above. The IPCC did! That is the year THEY start with for the AR5 report. If I would have went all the way back to 1850, the case for AGW theory would look even weaker.

            The graph I selected for tornadoes is more germane to the discussion than your total tornado graph for two reasons:
            1-It plots the occurrences of violent tornadoes. The ones claimed to be increasing due to human CO2.
            2-Plotting total tornadoes introduces counting bias since far more F1 tornadoes are counted now than back in 1950 before weather radar and the spotter program even existed.

            Again, for hurricanes you picked the wrong data to look at. You’ll know why later today when my next article is published.

          • susanclipper

            I did not say that you fabricated the data or charts, they are there and available at the source you mentioned. I did say you cherry picked the data, which is true since there are other charts and date from the same source NOAA with a different trend; but you picked only that which shows a downward trend, to support the AGW critic’s position. We are not discussing whether IPCC is correct or not, the question here is whether some of these destructive events are increasing or decreasing, whether or not they have any relations with AGW. If you look at the total number of tornadoes, the trend is increasing (NOT decreasing). Since you made a case that we want to count the most violent tornadoes, let us look at EF5 or borderline EF5/strong EF4 tornadoes (the borderline EF5 classification is based on the extent of destruction) from NOAA’s “Storm Prediction Center”. The data is given below, and if you plot that for linear regression, you will see a definite positive trend. In addition, there were nine such strong tornadoes in 2011, that never happened before. Similar case for hurricanes, if you start from 1850, as I pointed out before from NOAA, there is a positive trend (I am curious why you do not agree with that starting period). None of them help AGW critics. Now I am not really convinced that increase in global temperature has any effect on either hurricanes or tornadoes, that is an entirely different issue; what I am questioning is the myth that such violent events are going down, since such a conclusion can be reached only by selectively taking the range of the data in a certain way. Of course, introduction of Doppler radar in 1990s probably help us to better locate tornadoes, but the trend was upward even before Doppler radars came.

            Year EF5/borderline EF5/strong EF4 tornadoes

            1905 2

            1906 1

            1908 3

            1912 3

            1913 1

            1915 1

            1917 2

            1918 2

            1919 1

            1920 3

            1921 1

            1923 1

            1924 1

            1925 3

            1927 2

            1929 1

            1930 1

            1931 1

            1933 1

            1935 1

            1936 1

            1938 2

            1939 2

            1940 1

            1942 2

            1944 2

            1945 1

            1946 2

            1947 3

            1949 1

            1951 1

            1952 1

            1953 7

            1954 1

            1955 2

            1956 1

            1957 5

            1958 2

            1960 3

            1961 1

            1964 3

            1965 8

            1966 3

            1967 1

            1968 5

            1970 2

            1971 2

            1973 2

            1974 7

            1976 3

            1977 1

            1982 1

            1984 3

            1985 1

            1987 1

            1990 3

            1991 2

            1992 1

            1995 1

            1996 1

            1997 1

            1998 3

            1999 1

            2007 2

            2008 1

            2011 9

            2013 2

          • Steve Davidson

            Sigh!… I’ll be succinct…

            AGW theorists tell us that the number of “extreme tornadoes” is increasing. It’s generally accepted that an “extreme tornado” has a rating of F3 or greater (EF3+ on the Enhanced Fajita Scale). The graph above, prepared by NOAA, plots the number of “extreme tornadoes” by year. It clearly shows extreme tornados have been decreasing since 1960.

            Case closed!!!

            I have no idea what the numbers you listed are supposed to mean. Ironically, your “cherry picked” subset of extreme tornado data may support your viewpoint, but you are gonna have to make the chart and trend line proving it yourself. 🙂

          • susanclipper

            You do not seem to understand what I was saying. Your chart is correct by taking all the tornadoes with a rating EF3 or greater. But that is an arbitrary pick. I can pick even stronger more destructive tornadoes, the upper end of EF4 and all EF5 and plot them, and you will see an upward trend, suggesting extreme tornadoes are increasing by the year. Am I cherry picking the data? Yes. But so are you. That was my point. But the difference is this: based on my cherry picked data, I did not make a claim that extreme tornadoes are increasing with global warming. On the other hand, you tried to make that claim that extreme tornadoes are decreasing, concluding that “Case closed”. No, it is not closed, the conclusion depends on the definition of “extreme”. It depends on how you cherry pick the data under that definition. I would say that if extreme tornadoes are the issue, EF5 alone is far more extreme than just EF3 and above to look for the influence of global warming. In other words, my cherry pick is far better than the cherry pick you quoted for “extreme” tornadoes.

            The data I provided shows the year and the number of the most violent tornadoes – all EF5 and those at the borderline of EF5 (eg the first line 1905 2, means in 1905 there were two EF5 and borderline EF5 tornadoes. I did not make up that data, they are obtained from the same root source where you obtained your data, although they did not make a plot there, so I made it myself). I cannot post a figure here, if you are a neutral truth seeking writer you have to do it yourself. Just found out that the same raw data is available in Wikipedia under the title “List of F5 and EF5 tornadoes”.

          • Steve Davidson

            You do remember that I didn’t even draw the tornado graph myself, right? NOAA did.

            I didn’t pick F3+ as the definition of “violent” tornadoes. NOAA did. I just displayed NOAA’s work taken right off the NOAA page labeled
            “Historical Records and Trends”.

            What you see is what NOAA published, except the guesstimated trend line.

            F3+ is a universally accepted criteria defining “violent” or “extreme weather event” tornadoes. Its not made up by me. What you want me to plot for you is made up by you.

            For whatever its worth, I’ll download and plot all EF5/EF4 tornadoes from NOAA’s “Storm Events Database” web page and share the results if you promise not to wrongfully accuse me of biased jury-rigging if you don’t like the results.

            I insist on getting data from reliable, original sources. That’s why I’ll take it directly from the NOAA horses mouth instead of your comment.

            Be advised NOAA’s online database only goes back to 01/1950 and currently ends on 01/2014. Sorry, it doesn’t distinguish ‘borderline’ and ‘strong’. It will be all EF5s and EF4s.

            If that is unacceptable to you, then I won’t bother doing it.

          • susanclipper

            NOAA drew that graph and for that graph they picked EF3+ tornadoes. But that does not mean we have to stay with that figure, you can draw your own graphs using the data from NOAA – like all EF4+ tornadoes or EF5 alone. You said “F3+ is a universally accepted criteria defining “violent” or “extreme weather event” tornadoes.” , but who accepted it as violent? Why not EF2+ or EF4+? At crh.noaa you can search for “violent tornadoes” and this is what it says: “Tornadoes that are intense enough to warrant an F4/EF4 or F5/EF5 rating are classified as “violent.”” Or just do a google search for “violent tornadoes” and it will give you F4/EF4 and above category. A more precise definition is found at atoms.uicc, the fourth or fifth link – with the title “Violent-Tornado: wind speed greater than 200 mph”, please look at that site, they define a violent tornado as one with wind speed greater than 200 mph, which is actually an EF5 tornado. That is what I used. You can either plot the data from Wikipedia (title List of F5 and EF5 tornadoes, I think that gives borderline FE4 also) or collect them from spc.noaa site (which is what I did, on a pdf file I found data going back beyond 1950, although I cannot locate it now. I will try later).

            If you draw EF4+ or EF5 tornadoes, then I cannot complain that you are cherry picking – then you are not, you have looked at other possibilities as well. I am fine with that arrangement.

          • Steve Davidson

            OK… we are in agreement… a complete EF4+ database download from NOAA … I’ll do that.

            I hope you appreciate the magnitude of the favor I’m doing for you. Basically, I’m trying to help you discredit me. lol!!!!!

            Tornadoes will be tallied by year and graphed, just like NOAA did. I’ll even add software generated trend lines which NOAA didn’t do. I’ll put the results with my other online tornado graphics so you can see them.

            To be clear. NOAA’s downloadable data starts with 1/1/1950 and ends with 1/1/2014. I’ll make two graphs. One 1950+ and one 1960+. The 1960+ is appropriate because it makes for an apples-to-apples comparison with NOAA’s own graph above that includes F3s. I suspect NOAA started with 1960 because the data record is more complete.

            It’ll be fun for me. After all, afterward I’ll have a complete record of NOAA tornadoes in spreadsheet form that I can do all kinds of studies that you are sure to disagree with. lol!!!

            But that’s the advantage of having skills. 😉 😉

          • susanclipper

            Great!! I am in!!!! For me, I am not worried about where it will lead. Wherever it takes, as long as we use the evidence without any prior bias, I think it will lead to the right place.

          • Steve Davidson

            susanclipper… be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

            I did what we agree on, downloaded and charted EF4/EF5 tornadoes only. I completed the graphs within a couple hours, but when attempting to share that info with you in a comment it got whisked off to “awaiting moderation” land, never to be heard from again. lol!!!

            That inspired me to communicate the results in a different way. It should show up sometime today in a submitted story titled, “Climate change: The tornado myth”.

            For a preview that article is already published on another website. It can be found with a Google search for “inform the pundits!” “Climate Change: The tornado myth”

          • susanclipper

            I only wish the truth, it does not matter what it is. So I do not have any problems on the results. I will make some comments in the other forum. But you have to plot EF5 also separately, then only it will be complete.

          • Steve Davidson

            That wasn’t the agreement. If I do a F5 only chart and it turns out the way I suspect it will, then what do I get in return?

            I’m thinking you promise to leave a public comment in the “Climate change: The tornado myth” article stating that NOAA data proves that AGW theorists have been wrong all along about tornadoes and that “extreme tornadoes” have been decreasing, not increasing, since 1950.

            Agreed or no?

          • susanclipper

            Well, I already know how they look, I already plotted all of them with various combinations. EF5 plot will show a downward trend line. If I use strongest EF4 and EF5, I will get an upward trend, plot for EF1+ will show a tiny increase, nothing to brag about. Strongest EF3 and up will give a slight upward trend, etc. But here is the problem, the trend line is so sensitive to one or two tornadoes (if I add one or two more in some years for EF5 data, the trend line will reverse, and we all know tornadoes are statistical events). So the empirical evidence does not tell me much. On the other hand the science does not tell me much either. Check out this title “Tornadoes and Global Warming: Is There a Connection?” in National Geographic – scientifically it is not clear there will be more, less or the same number of tornadoes with global warning. Difficult to make that connection. So for completion you should put EF5 plots too. If you want me to post the truth, that empirical data shows that EF5 tornadoes are going down, but again, I am not sure what that means, I will put it there.

          • Steve Davidson

            Here is the proposal…

            I’ll do an F5/EF5 only graph… with pre-conditions…
            Tally and graph all F5/EF5 tornadoes by year from NOAA database; include computer generated trend line. The trend line equation will be displayed.

            The trend line (linear regression) equation will then be used to calculate the number of tornado occurrences for both 1950 and 2013 and the numbers provided. The percentage increase or decrease is calculated from those numbers and displayed.
            Conditions 1 (acceptance):
            The NOAA numbers are accepted without question. The generated trend line (linear regression) equation will be accepted, as is, without question.

            Condition 2 (inconclusive):
            Should the increase or decrease in the number of tornadoes be less than 50% higher or lower one way or the other, then that result will be considered inconclusive.

            Condition 3 (level of sufficient evidence):
            Should the linear regression equation show an increase or decrease of 50% or more one way or the other, then that is defined as a sufficient level of evidence to validate or invalidate the claim that “extreme weather” tornadoes are increasing.

            The 50% criteria is negotiable. Perhaps 60%, or 40%?

            Condition 4 (tornadoes increasing):
            Should the linear regression show a 50% or more increase in the number F5 tornadoes then I, Steve Davidson, will be required to add a comment here and to the “Climate change: The tornado myth” article on the Community Digital News website endorsing the AGW position that “extreme tornadoes” are increasing!

            Condition 5 (tornadoes decreasing):
            Should the linear regression show a 50% or more decrease in the number F5 tornadoes then you, Susan Clipper, will be required to add a comment here and to the “Climate change: The tornado myth” article on the Community Digital News website endorsing the skeptic position that “extreme tornadoes” are decreasing!

            Agreed, or no? You do seek the truth, right?

          • susanclipper

            I agree with that with one condition, that it reflects only the data found in NOAA, which is only 60 years. To get a trend one has to go back even before that, and that is a hard job. I wrote above where one can get that data. Without including the data from the industrial revolution, association with global warming is not going to be conclusive. So I agree with the above stipulations, with the following condition, in my case, I would say that “extreme tornadoes are decreasing during the period 1950 to 2014” (I have already plotted them for my own education. Here are the results. If you use only NOAA data, you will see a slight decrease, If you go back even further, you will see a very slight increase – in this case inconclusive).

          • Steve Davidson

            Are you saying that NOAA’s 63-year long database isn’t good enough? Are you saying that the IPCC is wrong about when human-caused global warming became the dominate driver of climate?

            Are you saying that a 50% up or down difference from NOAA’s better than half a century record is not good enough to determine a trend? Heck, I’ll give you 60% to the good on your side if you want.

            But there ain’t no way I’ll add older data elements unless:
            1- It’s in electronic form with similar data elements to NOAA’s
            2- It’s certified by some scientist or organization somewhere as accurate and complete.

            Personally, I’d be surprised and pleased if such database before 1950 exists and could be added to what I’ve already got from NOAA.

            I figure you’ll wimp out, anyway. I believe, psychologically, you have difficulty facing the fact you might actually be wrong and will subconsciously sabotage an honest proposal in order to avoid reality.

            I have no such qualms, myself. I back up everything I say with solid facts from the best, most reliable data sources I can find. If more and better data comes along that changes the results, I change with it.

          • susanclipper

            The more the data, the better the results will be in these types of random events. Sometimes multiple tornadoes can come from the same weather system, and the events in 1974 (which is again a random event) can bias the trend.

            Again, you are not reading my posts carefully. I cannot go wrong here, as I stated long ago, I have no idea how global warming influence tornadoes. I have no scientific reasons to believe it will increase, decrease or remain the same. I never made any statements that it will go up. My guess is it should remain more or less the same.

            You are going with simplistic explanations. EF classification primarily uses damage as the measure, rather than wind speed. 1999 Bridge Creek–Moore tornado has the highest wind speed, but El Reno, Oklahoma tornado on May 31, 2013 had the second highest wind speed, but the El Reno tornado was classified as EF3 depending on the damage. The Tri-State tornado in March 1925 is the longest tornado, but no one knows whether it was just one tornado or several tornadoes (thus, maybe colder air makes tornadoes to go a long distance?). The widest tornado was the El Reno, Oklahoma tornado of May 31, 2013, so one could claim, global warming creates wider tornadoes? There are so much uncertainties associated with all these data. None of them are that simple. A strong tornado going through some area may not create as much damage as some other tornado with the right conditions going a populated place.

            Just plot that for completion, rather than for who won claims.

          • Steve Davidson

            You accept my F5 proposal or not… NO or YES? With a 60% up and down range you are likely to get your wish that the results will be inconclusive and that extreme tornadoes are neither increasing or decreasing.

          • susanclipper

            Please see above.

          • Steve Davidson

            I take it you are referring to the National Geo summary article dated May 22, 2013?

            I had not seen it before. It uses the same data (NOAA’s) and fundamentally agrees with my analysis and reasoning in the “Climate change: The tornado myth” article. Mine just digs deeper.

            Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I think you just assisted me.

          • susanclipper

            Yes, I assisted you, but that part is for getting more to the truth.

            But, these things are not that easy as you suggest, if we want to do a thorough job. NOAA has a small set of data that are readily available, from 1950s. But to get the real trend we have to go back to the industrial revolution time. John Finley, with the U.S. Army Signal Corps, was authorizes to study tornadoes, and in 1880s he identified about 600 tornadoes from 17894 to 1881. Thomas P. Grazulis published a book (1993) entitled “Significant Tornadoes, 1680 – 1995”. Summarizing that Steve Horstmeyer, published an article on Fox12, Oregon, May 21, 2013 (it is Fox News, I am sure Skeptics can trust that), and that data can be used to get the trend from 1880s. If you plot this from 1880, you will see a tiny increase. There is no agreement among AGW subscribing scientists that higher temperature causes more violent tornadoes. Here is a quote from Kevin Trenberth: “The heat has to go somewhere. We expect more extremes in the water cycle in particular. Stronger droughts, bigger heat waves and much greater wildfire risk, but also stronger storms and heavier rainfalls where the rain is occurring. Managing water will be a major challenge.” It does not mention any tornadoes.

          • Steve Davidson

            Ahhhh… but these things ARE as easy as I suggest. To answer the straightforward question of whether or not extreme tornadoes are becoming more numerous and more intense, all ya gotta do add them up over time and look at the results. What could be simpler than that?

            I can’t find the Grazulis story or graph or the data it is based on. I believe if the record of tornadoes were considered reliable and complete before 1950 then NOAA would include it in their online records.

            I have to go with the IPCC AR5 report on this one. They say human domination of climate change began in 1950, which means the relevant data is what we’ve already been looking at. A 20-year old book, covering only 3/5ths of the time we are concerned about isn’t gonna shed that much light on the subject anyway.

          • susanclipper

            I got that book from a library, Amazon has it for a lot of money.

            We are not trying to find whether humans have any part in creating tornadoes, we are trying to find rising temperature (whatever the reasons maybe) has any effect on tornadoes. Temperature has gone up sharply since 1900s, it was pretty sharp during the early period of 1900s.

            Be careful what you say with Trenberth – he did not say anything about tornadoes. That is the point. He talked about water management issues, not tornadoes.

          • Steve Davidson

            It occurs to me that every time I try to get you to commit to a well defined test, you change the rules.

            For example, when you wanted to reject NOAA’s F3/F4/F5 tornado graph above because it showed a decrease in “strong to violent” tornadoes, you said F3’s weren’t extreme enough and only wanted F4/F5 tornadoes included.

            (I’d like to hear you tell how weak F3 tornadoes are to the friends and families of the 1,281 who were killed and 22,710 injured by them, according to NOAA records. By comparison, F5s killed 1,310 and injured 12,499 in the same time frame.)

            But, I agreed to plot F4/F5 tornadoes, and did. When it, too, showed extreme tornadoes were decreasing, you decided that wasn’t good enough either. Now you only want to look at the most extreme F5 tornadoes.

            When I agreed to that next request and shaped it into a very specific proposal, that isn’t good enough for you either. Now you want to add uncertified records from a 20-year old book.

            This question has a yes/no answer:
            Do you accept my proposal or not?
            If you want to qualify your answer after giving it I’m fine with that…
            but it must start with the word “NO” or the word “YES”.

            No answer will be assumed to be a “NO” and you accept that AGW skeptics have a valid point.

            If you answer “YES” I’ll do everything I can to include the pre-1950 data in other graphsdo more graphs.

          • susanclipper


          • Steve Davidson

            Thank you… the results, as per the F5 proposal for 1950-2013, will be included in a new followup CDN article on tornadoes.

            After that, I will attempt to find complete data earlier than 1950 that can be added to the NOAA data I already have and update the results.

          • Steve Davidson

            I did manage to finally find the Fox news story. I was raised in Oregon and was very familiar with KPTV (channel 12) in Portland long before it was a Fox affiliate.

            Perhaps you missed the part in the story that says:
            “In many cases there may not be enough information to make a good determination. Rural areas with few buildings would get little press and construction technology was different then in both cases it is possible no conclusion may be possible. This research will take plenty of hands on research in local libraries and historical societies and many years to complete.”

          • susanclipper

            Yes, these things are not simple.

          • Steve Davidson

            Grazulis is a meteorologist and I accept him as a credible information source. If he and peer-reviewed literature certifies the pre-1950 data as complete I would accept it, assuming its available in electronic form.

            I found his tornado tracking website called “The Tornado Project (Online}”. That site maintains a large database of all tornadoes accessed by state and county, so I checked it out.

            Here is what I found…
            1-Surprise! Surprise! – It includes no data older than 1950.
            2-Surprise! Surprise! – It includes all NOAA’s data in NOAA format
            3-Surprise! Surprise! – It contains no data after 2012 (not up to date)
            4-Surprise! Surprise! – It contains none of the older data from the book

            There is a scattering of a few other tornadoes listed in the Tornado Project not list by NOAA. All that I saw had “?” listed as their Fujita rating.

            From the list in the Fox article, I specifically looked up several pre-1950 F5 tornadoes, several with significant loss of life. None of them were listed on the Tornado Project website and it is 20 years newer than the book.

            That tells me that even Grazulis himself views the pre-1950 data as incomplete. That interpretation is also consistent with the quote I pulled from the Fox story and shared with you.

            That, of course, will mean nothing to you who, at this point, is grasping at straws for something… anything… that MIGHT support a weak AGW position.

          • susanclipper

            On your comment “is grasping at straws for something… anything… that MIGHT support a weak AGW position” you are certainly not reading my response (given multiple times). There may be no relation between AGW and tornadoes. Trenberth did not make any connections either. I have not found a convincing science there to make such a correlation. So why are you bringing that part again and again?????

          • Steve Davidson

            Good, then you agree with the skeptic position that reports saying “extreme weather” tornadoes are increasing in number and intensity are rubbish!

            Thanks. That is what I’ve been trying to get across all along.

            Please take further discussion on tornadoes to the CDN article “Climate change: The tornado myth”. Thank you.

        • Steve Davidson

          You are right and I was wrong. The hockey stick graph is not on the front cover of AR3. It is on the first page of the AR3 summary for policymakers (SPM) in figure 1. You know, the SPM, the part of the report that decision makers actually read.

          What is the penalty for such an agregious lapse of memory committed in an off-the-cuff comment response?

  • susanclipper

    Many skeptic scientists may grudgingly agree that rising CO2 levels cause global warming, but the most skeptics reject that.

    The other major issues on climate change is ice melting, sea level rise, acidification of sea, spread of tropical diseases closer to poles, etc. They are all occurring to some degree or other.

    I am not sure wildfires is a measure of any extremes – first we have changed forest management techniques and methods we use to fight wildfires. Many wildfires are set by people, and forest area in the U.S. has decreased somewhat, so I am not sure that wildfire data will help us. I am also not sure whether rising ambient temperature has any effect on tornados, but the total number of tornados in the U.S. has gone up substantially – they are not going down. Similarly the number of Atlantic hurricanes are going up, not down. I will put the corresponding link below, I am not sure it will get through the standard set moderation.

    • Steve Davidson

      You are right that forest management practices have changed and that has an impact on the numbers. No doubt about it

      That is not the issue. The issue is that every day we are told there are more wildfires than there used to be and it’s brought on by human-caused global warming. The President said it earlier this month. It was the theme in two of the three stories in the first episode of James Cameron’s “Years of Living Dangerously”. In another episode Arnold Schwarzenegger actually went out and fought a fire.

      The point I’m making is we’ve repeatedly been told things that are not true. If it isn’t true there are more wildfires, then what else have we been told that isn’t true? A bunch of data charts above say quite a lot.

      Skeptic scientists are the only folks whose opinion actually matters… skeptic scientists accept that doubling CO2 raises earth’s surface temperature by 1.1 degrees. Skeptic scientists don’t “grudgingly” accept it. It’s a matter of physics that both AGW theorists and skeptics both accept.

      People need to overcome the “denier” myth that they’ve heard so often that they’ve come to believe it. There are no “denier” scientists. There are only scientists. There is only one area of scientific study where divergent views are systemically suppressed. That area is climate science. It is an embarrassment to the scientific process.

      In the skeptic scientist community, the crux of the problem with AGW theory boils down to climate sensitivity to rising CO2 levels. The IPCC says there is about 3X more global warming than can be accounted for from CO2 alone. The skeptics, strongly supported by real data like the Spencer and HadCRUT4 vs. CO2 graphs above, disagree.

      Models are models and data are data. When they differ, the models are always the ones that are wrong.

      • susanclipper

        Well, you are right, the President should not have used wildfires as an indicator for global warming, as there are many other variables associated with historical wildfire data. I have no doubt AGW supporters use colorful examples, which probably does more damage than good.

        Climate sensitivity is a difficult thing to account for. And scientists are trying to find answers on where all that heat has gone? Some points deep down in the ocean, where the temperature may have risen which will affect the atmospheric climate sensitivity. When I said skeptical scientists “grudgingly” accept that CO2 is heating atmosphere, I mean they like to come up with other explanations on why CO2 is not the major factor – they would take water vapor, or cosmic rays, or anything other than CO2 as the prime factor. Then they will debate on whether higher temperature from CO2 causes reduced cirrus clouds (thus causing more heat to escape – Lindzen’s Iris hypothesis) and more low level clouds, or vice versa (which will increase atmospheric temperature). The water vapor feedback is still an unknown, but I think most scientists might agree that water vapor has a positive feedback further raising the temperature amplifying CO2 effect (by increasing humidity). Methane growth in atmosphere has stopped for several years (I doubt anyone knows why, it was increasing faster before), and that could explain why earth is not heating up faster in the past few years, since methane is a much stronger greenhouse gas. So the recent halt in increasing atmospheric temperature may not mean CO2 is less potent, but other factors are probably moderating the effect. (see Scientific American “Is Water Vapor in the Stratosphere Slowing Global Warming? “).

        In any case, these may not mean that models are wrong, but models must be modified. But in any case, deep water heating, if it is actually happening, is not a good thing. Whether or not globe is warming is true, it is clear that excessive CO2 is being absorbed by ocean, raising its acidity that will affect marine life and fish supply for human consumption. Once ocean stops accepting more heat, or once methane increase is back to normal, then maybe these models might give correct results. But none of these factors suggest that we should continue to increase greenhouse gases as usual, it suggest just the opposite.

        Looks like my links did not appear here, but those links from NOAA shows that both the total number of tornados and hurricanes are increasing – although I am not all that sure whether rising ambient temperature has any effect on that (the latent heat from condensation becomes small compared to the surrounding energy).

      • susanclipper

        I disagree on some points. Disagreeing views in climate science are not suppressed – Christy, Spencer and Lindzen, etc are all doing well. But since the prevailing consensus is AGW, opposing views need proper evidence and data to support it. As Carl Sagan said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Extraordinary claims would be those counter to the prevailing consensus. That is a fair expectation.

        On your statement “Skeptic scientists are the only folks whose opinion actually matters”. That should be the case, but public policies are made from public opinion, and it is not the scientists who make up the loudest critiques of AGW. Most people who criticize AGW are not even scientists – many of them are trained in business, electrical engineering, amateur scientists, etc (the difference is clear if we take a look at Wattsupwiththat, or other similar blogs).

        • Steve Davidson

          I give you kudos for at lease trying to back up your positions with actual facts in your comments.

          I kinda think you and I are in closer agreement than this discussion implies, just from different perspectives.

          Leave public policy to the politicians. Leave science to the scientists.

          Imho, the quote that best applies to the theory of human-caused global warming comes from Richard Feynman, the great Nobel Prize winning physicist, who said:
          “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how
          smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”

          AGW theory is beautifully conceived, but doesn’t agree with measurements. The above article evidence, all from credible peer-reviewed sources, puts a great big dent in it. Sagan’s “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” also applies to AGW theory.

          • susanclipper

            I am not a subscriber of AGW in its current form, as I doubt we have included all relevant parameters in the models – we are trying to predict many hundreds of years of pattern with a few decades of studies. It will take more time to find and include other relevant parameters, like how much heat has gone to deep sea (if it has). Also I think both AGW supporters and opponents are making it more colorful than what it should be. There are plenty of other areas with a more imminent effect where public input is needed, but in the U.S. (this is not the case in most other countries, where they leave it to the scientists to work it out) the public, most of whom are not trained in science or related areas, take passionate positions on global warming. I mostly agree with you that we should do moderate plans to address CO2 emissions, not any drastic plans until we know more precisely about CO2 effect. In the meantime, I think it is certainly helpful to encourage research and development in other sustainable energy sources (especially solar) in a sensible manner (not like Solyndra); why waste such enormous solar energy if we can use it. It is always good to have more restrictions, so that coal burning is done properly; air quality in northern China is so bad because of their use of coal resulting in unnecessary health issues – we don’t want that here in the U.S. That is completely apart from AGW.

          • Steve Davidson

            I’d guess that most scientists agree with you – AGW theorists and skeptics both. AGW in its current form is incomplete. It hasn’t yet accounted for enough variables to achieve predictive value. For example, it missed predicting the current “hiatus” that started in 1998.

            Most of the models are so far off they sit more than two standard deviations outside reality. They’ve effectively proved themselves wrong.

            Heck, for the most part, the models can’t even predict the past. lol!!!

      • brokenstring6

        First, I may be wrong, however you appear to be biased in your own opinion due to current politics, that in and of itself makes your arguement questionable. I am curious about your motivations, you do not deny that increased CO2 will eventually cause global increases in temperature, which will in turn affect climate. You claim that we are being lied to about the time frame. By defination a lie would require intentional deception, is that what you really what you are saying? Also, if everyone does agree that we are causing global warming, however only disagree about the rate of change why are we debating the subject? Are you advocating we wait and do nothing? If so, would that not preclude a more pronounced problem for future generations?

        • Steve Davidson

          The purpose of this article is to explain the areas of agreement and disagreement between AGW theorists and skeptics. Nothing more. Nothing less.

          It includes 10 charts and graphs that illustrate the areas of agreement and disagreement. It contains my own research-based impressions and any opinions expressed within are mine and mine alone.

          It advocates nothing more than scientific accuracy.

        • Steve Davidson

          This comment is for CB, whose comment below is in “awaiting moderation” never-never land…
          AGW believers have just as much right to be skeptical as anyone else.

          There is a well-known web site called “Skeptical Science”. Its whole purpose is to be skeptical of those who are skeptical of AGW.

          You said:
          “to a person the climate change “skeptics” I’ve spoken with have not been able to do this.” (explain observed phenomena)

          Let me introduce myself. Hi, I’m Steve Davidson. I accurately explain observed phenomena supporting skeptic positions all the time. I do it for AGW believers, too.

  • billyd1953

    Nature couldn’t care less what denialists do or do not believe, nor what Al Gore thinks, for that matter. She will just continue following her inexorable physical laws, in this case warming the planet via our CO2 emissions. Reality does not depend on human politics. Nature could not care less about Obama or liberals or conservatives or what they think about anything. Global warming is a scientific issue. The principles of global warming were known to science nearly 200 years ago in the 1820s, when Joseph Fourier calculated that without greenhouse gases the earth would be a frigid, icy rock in space. These principles are not of recent origin and have absolutely nothing to do with politics or Obama or liberals or Al Gore or oddball, paranoid conspiracy theories. Over 100 years ago it was calculated that continued CO2 emissions from coal burning would eventually result in global warming. Some of the people making comments on here seem to think that nature should bend her laws to conform to their politics. Obviously that will not happen. The sun contributes 99.97% of all the energy that reaches the earth from all sources. Some of that energy is absorbed (on its way through theatmosphere back into space) by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (mostly CO2 and H2O), which is why we have a warm and comfy place to live here on this planet. When we increase greenhouse gases by adding CO2 from burning fossil fuels more energy is retained, thus warming the atmosphere further. Energy that would otherwise escape back into space as infrared radiation is instead absorbed by CO2 and transferred to the rest of the atmosphere, as well as the land and the sea and the glaciers, etc. Why is this very obvious fact so shocking and unbelievable to those on the political right in the U.S. and why does it elicit bizarre, paranoid conspiracy theories? Nature is not going to set aside her inexorable physical laws to satisfy our political leanings.

    • Steve Davidson

      Re-read the above article, please. I think you missed most of Mother Nature’s message.

    • Steven Foutz

      I agree with Steve Davidson. You missed the entire point of the article. Theories need to be updated as data dictates. Billyd53 needs to adjust his theory. All that he says may be true in our best understanding. But if it does not explain the data, it is little more than spittle.

      • Steve Davidson

        Thank you, Mr. Foutz. Since the data pretty much speaks for itself, I don’t really need defenders, but it’s nice when it happens.

  • tommariner

    The real problem is that we can’t trust our government to tell us the truth. Our President has been on a non-stop campaign junket since 2008 and his “base” loves human-caused climate change and will believe that the opposition party is actually causing it. Best yet, we have a crucial election in November that will grant or limit the President’s “legacy”.

    Want to lower CO2? Plant more trees. US Cities are losing 4 million trees a year, each one capable of absorbing 48 pounds of CO2 and producing 200 pounds of oxygen. Yet we honor real estate moguls with fantastic wealth even as they join the “Committee to Stamp Out Trees”.

    But planting trees doesn’t get votes for the folks in power, while attacking business does.

    • Bexcee

      And lets build more reservoirs, stop dumping so much of our fresh water into the ocean.

  • Kenny

    Oh… I do so love picking cherries in the summer, too.

    • Steve Davidson

      And what, pray tell, do you mean by that?

      • Kenny

        Really? Cherry picking? That’s too subtle for you?

        The truly powerful and the truly stupid have one thing in common. They don’t adjust their world view to fit the facts. The adjust the facts to fit their world view.

        I guess we know which end of the spectrum you’re sitting on.

        • Steve Davidson

          What, in your opinion, was “cherry picked”?

          All data presented are complete records from the IPCC, NOAA and credible scientific sources.

  • Steve Davidson

    Thanks for your vote of confidence. Makes all the hard work and research I put into this article worthwhile.

  • mememine

    Only science can be 100% certain not a mob of you determined “believers” and until science “believes” beyond their 32 years of “95%” certainty, you doomers can’t tell children that science “believes” as much as you do.

  • mememine

    Cherry picking time is a climate blame “believers’ favorite time of the year.

    • Steve Davidson

      No matter what you do; no matter how careful you are to present accurate, unbiased facts; no matter how well you explain those facts; those who disagree with the results will usually reject them. That is true in climate science more so than in any other discipline.

  • susanclipper

    Mr. Davidson,

    (1) Have you plotted EF4+ and EF5 tornadoes with time to see whether it is increasing or decreasing?
    (2) As I have stated below, the claim by Christy/Spencer is incorrect, their error did change conclusions – from no warming to warming consistent with ground stations data. I have not seen your response on that.
    (3) Predictions by models depend bot only on model algorithms, but also the input parameters and assumptions. They make assumptions on suspended particles in the atmosphere, methane content in atmosphere, solar irradiation, solar flares, etc. in addition to influence of CO2. If they do not make the right assumptions, the results will not be accurate. It is like trying to design a flu vaccine – they make the best assumptions on which strains will be coming and design the vaccine, sometimes they miss it completely, It is the same case here, no one expected methane increase to stop, or suspended particles to stay high, etc. With those assumptions, they made predictions, which are higher than the actual measured data. The claim AGW skeptics making on this are at the least disingenuous – they very well know the reasons for the difference.
    (4) You made a comment above “humans have changed the composition of earth’s atmosphere by 0.012 percent…..AGW theorists believe the 0.012 percent change is causing devastating climate change “. That is a very misleading statement. The composition of CO2 in the atmosphere has changed from 0.00028 % to 0.0004 %. But other than water vapor, the greenhouse gas content in our atmosphere are: CO2 400 ppm, Methane 1874 ppb, Nitrous oxide 324 ppb, Tropospheric ozone 34 ppb, then we have other potent halocarbons totaling about 1 ppb. The total greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is 402.233 ppm or 0.0402232 %. Water vapor has the highest concentration, about 0.4 % maximum – but that concentration depends on the temperature. None of the other gases in our atmosphere influence the temperature. Considering that the non-water vapor greenhouse gas content that keeps our planet at a beneficial temperature is 0.0402232 %, then 0.012 % increase in CO2 content is substantial. AGW skeptics know that very well, they hope some other mechanism will counteract the effect of rising CO2. But none of such mechanisms are found (other than probably heat going deep down the ocean – see paper “Distinctive climate signals in reanalysis of global ocean heat content” or “Retrospective prediction of the global warming slowdown in the past decade”, which is not a solution). AGW skeptics are being dishonest when they poke fun by posing questions like whether 0.012 % change in atmospheric concentration could cause significant climate change. The answer is yes, since CO2 makes up almost 10 % of greenhouse gases (including water vapor on which we have little control) and apart from water CO2 makes up almost 99.45 % of all other greenhouse gases.

    • Steve Davidson

      (1)-I tried leaving a comment for you this morning that I’d completed the work shortly after we’d chatted. I think all your questions are answered in a new CDN article just published. It is called:
      “Climate change: The tornado myth”

      I doubt you’ll agree, but the data and reasoning are nearly as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar.

      (2)-I researched and determined that the Christy/Spencer errors are insignificant, are corrected and, as such, that criticism can and should be dismissed. It has no bearing on their current results.

      (3)-The data speaks for itself. All you need to do is listen.
      Oh, Btw, thanks for accepting my 0.012 calculation as real. It is the % change since the beginning of the industrial age.

      The only reason I brought it up was to illustrate that we are talking about minute, fractional changes to earth’s atmosphere. We are being told those minute changes are generating heat that is causing all sorts of negative effects, often with weak evidence to back them up… like hurricanes and tornadoes.

      What I find reprehensible is expressing that tiny amount in gigatons of “carbon pollution” to make it sound like it is infinitely more damaging than it really is. Did you know that more than 2/3rds of “carbon pollution” consists of oxygen atoms?

      What I find reprehensible is mixing talk about CO2 emissions and plain old regular pollution and acting as if they are the same thing. They aren’t. Not even close. Pollution is the real enemy, not CO2… imho.

      We are being asked by the UN to spend 100s of TRILLIONS of dollars globally to reduce emissions that even the IPCC’s own models don’t support as generating the heating that causes the changes!!

      Given that, folks need to step back and review the facts before they commit a big percentage of global GDP on something that is looking less necessary every year.

      The EU jumped all over CO2 emission reductions after Kyoto and spend a lot of money, only to discover the cost/benefit just wasn’t there. European nations are backing off on their CO2 programs now, not doubling down like we in the U.S. are trying to do.

      Heck, Australia voted out the executive branch of government to get rid of their cap and trade system after only one year when its taxes proved oppressive.

      • CB

        “The only reason I brought it up was to illustrate that we are talking about minute, fractional changes to earth’s atmosphere.”

        If the increase in atmospheric CO₂ from 290PPM to 400PPM isn’t going to be enough to cause the complete collapse of the polar ice caps, why isn’t there a single previous example in Earth’s history of polar ice caps withstanding CO₂ so high?

        If you understand the imminent disappearance of Arctic sea ice is going to destabilise ocean currents that can actually cause the increases in tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and fires you mention, why would you be having difficulty connecting the increase in atmospheric CO₂ to increases in tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and fires?

      • susanclipper

        For the tornado part, I will move there and comment, since I am sure it is more involved. Any response on the other three parts here?

      • susanclipper

        (1) Tornado is not a climate related event, it is a weather related event. That is why many AGW supporters don’t talk about tornadoes.
        (2) Unfortunately, here you are not being truthful. Christy/Spencer error was larger than the accumulated actual global warming in the past 100 years. Before those errors were found, many scientists used to talk about satellites not showing any warming at all. Global warming is not a religion to go by faith, you have to be honest enough to accept the reality to make an informed conclusion. That error was a major blunder, which everyone makes. But in this case AGW skeptics used that to propagate a myth – that the globe is not warming.
        (3) CO2 increased from 280 ppm to 400 ppm, the difference is 120 ppm which is 0.012 % of the atmosphere. That is a fact, which I have to accept. It is also a fact that all the greenhouse gases adds up to 0.44022 %, and excluding water vapor which we do not produce and changes drastically, the actual percentage of atmospheric gases that heats up the atmosphere is 0.0402232 %. That part is what makes our planet warn, and that part is the one that makes the difference between earth and mercury. Out of that 0.0402232 %, 0.04% is CO2 – meaning 99.44 % of all non-water vapor greenhouse gases is CO2. That is the part that you are refusing to accept. Those are facts.

      • susanclipper

        By the way, please correct the misleading error in the hurricane data I mentioned above. There is no downward or upward trend there with the data you have. If we go back further, it will show an increase in the number of hurricanes.

        • Steve Davidson

          The trend line above is software generated for the data range included. There is no error.

          Please take further discussion to the article “Climate change: The hurricane myth”. Thanks.

          • susanclipper

            See above for my comment.

    • susanclipper

      By the way, Mr. Davidson your hurricane plot above is wrong. If I use the same data you used in that plot (which I copy below) and do a regression analysis, you will see that the trend is perfectly HORIZONTAL – NOT down as you drew (nor up). Your trend line is completely wrong. I am assuming that is an honest mistake, and not the kind of mistakes many of the AGW skeptics make. Now NOAA has records and figures of all hurricanes with various classifications from 1855 – see named cyclones by year under nhc dot noaa dot gov / climo . It shows not only that total number of hurricanes are going up, but catagory 3 hurricanes (in red) are also going up if you consider from 1850s. Would you like to discuss that?
      Decade Number of hurricanes
      1880 6
      1890 6
      1900 3
      1910 7
      1920 6
      1930 5
      1940 5
      1950 6
      1960 6
      1970 5
      1980 4
      1990 5
      2000 7

      • Steve Davidson

        The trend line is software generated from the data you listed above from 1880-2013. Your trend, though correct, is only good through 2010.

        Go to the CDN article “Climate change: The hurricane myth”. That article is the proper place for comments, criticisms and discussion on hurricanes. Please take the discussion there.

        • susanclipper

          The HUGE error is in the figure in the post right here, so we have to discuss it here and there. You are making a BIG MISTAKE (like Christy and Spencer) by depending so heavily on software, where a little bit of thinking could help a lot. The x-axis represents decades, the y-axis represents the number of hurricanes in 10 year intervals. So the data points used in the figure are correct for every decade, except for the period 2010-2013. During that period you have only three years, and the number of hurricanes in three years is a lot smaller than those in 10 years. You have to wait until the decade is over to include that data point. When you include only three years of hurricanes at the end, and 10 years of hurricanes for all other data, you are introducing a HUGE bias showing the number of hurricanes are going down. If you want to plot using the data until 2013, you have to plot hurricanes for each year, rather than using decades.

          • Steve Davidson

            Please transfer discussion of hurricanes to the “Climate change: The hurricane myth” article where it is more appropriate. Thank you.

          • susanclipper

            So you want to leave such a big mistake with a biased conclusion for everyone to see? Or would you like to correct it. Besides, that webpage did not allow me to post anything, I tried.

          • Steve Davidson

            Try posting your comment again. I had no problem leaving a comment there.

            The graph in question is in the article titled “Climate change: The hurricane myth”. Please take the discussion there where it makes more sense to discuss hurricanes, rather than here with all it’s comments related to other subjects. Thank you.

        • susanclipper

          Hello Mr. Davidson, I hope you are going to correct your misleading trend line, due to the reasons outlined above? Those reasons are more solid compared the Rock of Gibraltar.

          • Steve Davidson

            Please take the hurricane discussion to the “Climate change: The hurricane myth”. Thank you.

            I finished graphing just F5 tornadoes. The results are found in the CDN article titled “Climate change: Tornado myth update”. Please put comments on those results in that article when it shows up here at CDN.

            It can be previewed on the “Inform the Pundits!” website.

  • Steve Davidson

    For those wishing to comment on hurricanes and tornadoes, I ask you move those discussions over into more in-depth CDN articles on those two subjects.

    The articles are:
    1 – “Climate change: The hurricane myth”
    2 – “Climate change: The tornado myth”
    3 – “Climate change: Tornado myth update”


  • Alan Poirier

    Excellent article. You managed to portray both sides quite well. I, for one, though, will be so glad when this insane debate is over. There has been no warming in 17 years and nine months. This year’s El Nino is going to be an El Wimpo contrary to Trenberth. In another five years, we will be knee-deep in a Landscheidt minimum and this debate will be over.

    • Steve Davidson

      Thanks. Expect to hear a lot about climate change over the next couple years, until after the Paris COP21 conference. The push is to pass a replacement treaty for Kyoto at that conference, which is in November 2015. There will be a lot of UN posturing between now and then.

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