Monday, December 27, 2010

It's the snow in Siberia, stupid or: Jump on the jetstream, baby

Ah, sing me the song of climate change!
Jump on the jetstream, baby,
and let's fly into the stratosphere!
All around the world on the back of words
as clear as sparkling stars on the Northern skies!
Ah, horizontal, vertical, meandering -
Siberia, Eurasia, the Rockies:
it's so cold in Germany,
but we are (not) afraid to die
'cause global warming is in our mind, it's all in our mind.

All the beauty of meteorological prose that inspired this poem, find it here in this op-ed piece in the New York Times: 'Bundle up, it's global warming', which is written by the meteorologist Judah Cohen. He makes a great effort to show why the snow in Germany is a sign for global warming, too:
It’s all a snow job by nature. The reality is, we’re freezing not in spite of climate change but because of it. [Read the rest.]
And here he develops his argument in finest meteorologist talk:

The increased wave energy in the air spreads both horizontally, around the Northern Hemisphere, and vertically, up into the stratosphere and down toward the earth’s surface. In response, the jet stream, instead of flowing predominantly west to east as usual, meanders more north and south. In winter, this change in flow sends warm air north from the subtropical oceans into Alaska and Greenland, but it also pushes cold air south from the Arctic on the east side of the Rockies. Meanwhile, across Eurasia, cold air from Siberia spills south into East Asia and even southwestward into Europe.
Andrew Revkin does no hesitate do go into detail right here on his blog.
He is kind of critical of his overambitious colleague. With a good sense of humor, Mr. Revkin has this great video which shows the difference between weather and climate! (watch it, or else you will have to cool off in a prison cell, stupid!).


Anonymous said...

This clown Judah invents meteorological processes to fit the AGW theory to the real world happenings.

AGW simply cannot be falsified. Not very good science.

This cold stuff is just weather, but driven by natural climate cycles (It's the sun, stupid).

Good display on the history of NASA predictions of Sunspot cycles

und ein Glueckliches Neues Jahr


Zajko said...

AGW can be appropriated by anyone looking for an explanation for any given weather phenomena, but just because this is a possible form of argument (and currently inevitable) does not mean it is persuasive even to those who take the reality of AGW seriously. However, for the general public who sees AGW science as singular, I imagine this reeks of inconsistency and convenience.

MikeR said...

"AGW simply cannot be falsified." I don't think you're saying that right. Some climate scientist starts feeling his oats, and says, This may be the last snow ever for Great Britain. So he's being silly, and gets his comeuppance, and science learns a little bit more.
But the fact that they aren't too good at detailed prediction doesn't mean that the basic predictions of AGW are wrong. Will global temperature go up 2/4/6 degrees in the next century, or not? That hasn't been falsified.

It can be, though. Maybe the real climate scientists here will hazard their own cutoffs? We've had a global temperature plateau for more than a decade now. How long can such a plateau last before the AGW hypothesis should be rejected? [Maybe I'm not asking the question properly - so please fix it.]

Hans von Storch said...

The possibility for falsification would certainly be most useful - also for building credibility of the concept of AGW. This should take the form if XXX happens in the next NNN years, this would be inconstent with the idea that GHGs are the major drivers of ongoing climate change. If XXX really happens (such as ongoing stagnation of globale mean temperature) in the future (!) NNN years, we would need to reconsider the AGW explanation; if it does not not happen, opponents should acknowledge that AGW is pretty good in consistentely exlaining ongoing change. Question is - how short/long would NNN have to be?

Question would also be: which part of the concept has been falsified?
Did the two cold winters in Europe falsify AGW? I guess not. Did Katrina or the warm summer 2003 prove the reality of AGW? I do not think so.

MikeR said...

I'd love to know what NNN is. But I'd add: I don't really care about CO2. I do care about global mean temperatures. If they don't go up in the next decade or two, even if AGW is true in some sense, I don't really care about it - unless you tell me that the temperatures are just being delayed somehow, and will suddenly jump up even more soon after.

Hans von Storch said...

I guess, science will need more time to find out how large NNN may be (and other details of the procedure). And, indeed, the question is not if CO2 increases temperatures, but if it is the main driver responsible for temperature increases, so that we may predict "if CO2 goes up like before, we will see a significant increase in temperatures - 2 degree and more at the end of this century". Falsification would mean that the assertion "... the temperature increase will be bound by 2 and less degree at the end of the century" has higher plausibility. For instance.

Gunnar Strandell said...

I think these meterologists may hurt the science more than they are aware off.
They for sure put the question of AGW and CAGW into terms of value and belief.
But climate or weather doesn't care about values, and most of us does not support rain dancers anymore.

New observations and incorporation of them in theories, hypothetis and models is the scientific approach and I do hope that resources will flow into the community without requirement to fulfill political goals.

I am willing to pay taxes to get plausible explanations of the sudden drop in satellite measured global temperature from middle of November until today:
(I have looked at 5 km in the graph you have to create by yourselves.)

Rainer S said...

Flood is the new Drought:

On German TV tonite we were taught the flood in Australia are due to AGW - and exactly what climate scientists had said all along.

Can somebody please educate we on this matter - my faith is about to fail me...

ingno said...

What about the "hotspot" in the tropsphere? Isn't that a clear prediction of AGW?

We should also note that a "falsification" does not have to be dramatic, but it shows the need to make a revision of the original theory. Of course a revised theory is, from a logical point of view, a new and different theory. But a falsification cannot tell us how much or how little things have to change. Only that it has to change. And it is a good scientific virtue to acknowledge if, and when, changes have been made.


MikeR said...

Ingno, I understand that theories change. But I'm asking about a very specific change. As Dr. Storch put it, what needs to happen for scientists to reconsider whether CO2 is the major cause of climate change? What you're describing is believers in AGW finding ways to defend their theory by modifying it.

ingno said...


Yes, I agree. I merely wanted to point out some difficulties here. We often hear things like "It is worse than we believed". To which you may respond: "Oh, so you consider your previous theory falsified? (again)" :-)

Anyway, there is a vagueness about the "theory" you formulate. "... is the major cause for climate change". Does that mean that the only test-implication is about the future; in NNN years this will happen? Or are there test-implications that could be checked today?

I thought that the hot-spots was one such present day implication. But maybe I am wrong.


Hans von Storch said...

TO Rainer S's comment/ 8.

I am presently attending a conference on water resources and management in Singapore. When I met a person with a strong Australian accent, I approached him and asked him about the link of the present flooding and AGW. It turned out that the guy was a hydrologist, and worked in the field. His comment was - no, we do not see a general trend towards stronger or more rainfall. Of, course, one would have to have a longer perspective, not just the last 50 years since 1950, or so.

The unnamed meteorologist(s) mentioned by Rainer S may have overseen that the Pacific is presently in a La Nina phase, which favours rainfall in NE Australia. In general, Australia is famous for its large swings from heavy flooding to heavy droughts.

Anonymous said...

Leider kann ich das nicht in Englisch schreiben:

Es ist sehr sehr interessant wenn man die Klimaberichterstattung über die Statistik der Katastrophen von 2010 und die der warmen Sommer Europas von 2003 und 2006 liest, im Vergleich zu der Statistik des kalten Dezembers in Europa von 2010.

Die Sommer 2003 und 2006, so wie die Zunahme der Wetterkatastrophen von 2010 sind anscheinend statistisch signifikant mit der Klimaerwärmung liiert.

Wogegen der extrem kalte Dezember 2010 zwar auch statistisch signifikant ist, aber mit was???

Vielleicht verstehen Sie jetzt, lieber Hans und lieber Eduardo wieso ich die Signifikanz der Sommer in Frage stellte.

Herr Rahmstorf schreibt von Zufall. Das finde ich bemerkenswert. Die Zunahme der Klimakatastrophen kann auch Zufall sein. Und 2 Zufälle machen auch noch keine Klimakatastrophe: vor allem dann nicht, wenn man diese warmen Sommer nicht zuerst versucht wissenschaftlich ("wettertechnisch") zu erklären.

Eine konstant ansteigende Globaltemperatur ist jedenfalls im(very)ho signifikanter als ein Sommer bzw. Winter.

Bzw. wenn die Winter bis 1900 fast immer kälter (in Mitteleuropa) waren als ab 1900, dann könnte man doch eventuell daran denken die Sonnenaktivität als Tatverdächtigen in Untersuchungshaft zu nehmen? ;-)

Liebe Grüsse und alles Gute

Hans von Storch said...

Yeph: Ich halte die Behauptung, klimabedingt hätten Katastrophen zugenommen, für falsch bzw. unbegründet. Diese Behauptung hat mit verschiedenen Realisierungen eine über 20-jährige Geschichte - seit den 1990er Jahren gibt es kaum eine Katastrophe mehr (abgesehen von Erdbeben, wohl aber der Tsunami), die nicht kurzfristig und medienwirksam dem Klimawandel zugeschrieben wurde, sich dann im Nachherein aber als entweder durch sozio-ökonomische Prozesses verursacht oder als Einzelfall erwiesen haben.

Es ist gerade zum Schaden der Klimaforschung, und der Glaubwürdigkeit der menschgemachten Klimawandels, dass diese Behauptungen immer wieder eines kurzfristigen "Aufrüttelungseffekts" zuliebe eingesetzt werden. Dies ist keine nachhaltige Kommunikation, mit der Vertrauen erzeugt wird.Ihre Reaktion, Yeph, belegt das ja ganz gut.

Ich hatte heute bei meiner derzeitigen Tagung genau diese Praxis (Dramatisierung zugunsten einer erwarteten und erwünschten Aufrüttelung) bei einem Panelisten vom US Corps of Engineers erlebt - er stand zu dieser Praxis, gab aber zu, dass nicht alle Leute mit dieser Praxis einverstanden seien.

@ReinerGrundmann said...

Nature (doi:10.1038/news.2011.701) reported on an interesting study by psychologists who examined the effect of dire climate change messages. Their main finding is:

"These results demonstrate how dire messages warning of the severity of global warming and its presumed dangers can backfire,
paradoxically increasing skepticism about global warming
by contradicting individuals’ deeply held beliefs that the world
is fundamentally just. In addition, we found evidence that such dire messaging led to a reduction in participants’ intentions to reduce their carbon footprint—an effect driven by increased global-warming skepticism."

Matthew Feinberg and Robb Willer

Apocalypse Soon? : Dire Messages Reduce Belief in Global Warming by Contradicting Just-World Beliefs

DOI: 10.1177/0956797610391911
Psychological Science 9 December 2010

Werner Krauss said...

Yeph, Hans & Reiner:
it's kind of a vicious circle: over-dramatization has contrary effects - "it led to a reduction in participants' intentions to reduce their carbon footprint". Fine. In case people would say that they are willing to reduce their carbon footprint, you would also blame them with the argument that it is useless to ride a bike - China, India etc are important. So, whatever people say in these experiments or tests, they will be blamed. Maybe that's what it is all about: everybody's a fool except me.

By the way, I am impressed by klimazwiebel-contributors' ability to completely ignore (bad) poetry.

Anonymous said...

Hans von Storch,
ich würde dies nicht "Aufrütteleffekt" nennen, es ist Propaganda?

Hans von Storch said...

Anonymous - wenn Sie es "Propaganda" nennen wollen, so steht Ihnen das frei; Sie sollten aber anderen die Freiheit lassen, ihre Motive selbst zu benennen. Zur Konfliktvermeidung ist hier eine gewisse Liberalität nützlich.

Hans von Storch said...

Werner, the claim "it led to a reduction in participants' intentions to reduce their carbon footprint" was made in an article by other people in a scientific journal. It not true that all scientific statements are arbitrary, as you seem to imply. - Hans

Werner Krauss said...

Hans, I didn't say that all scientific statements are arbitrary. I just criticize a certain attitude or tendency in (social) sciences to talk about "the people" or "society" in contrast to "science". This differentiation has to be reproduced permanently. It is done so on the premises that people have to be governed by a rational government based on objective science. In order to establish power on these premises, it is important to show that people are stupid, deficient, and uneducated. Climate serves well to establish this seemingly "natural" order of things. People just "don't understand". But we should take care not to lose the real problem - climate change - out of sight.
The problem with climate is that science has NO answer what this problem is really about. Thus, science is not the opposite of 'propaganda'; instead it is depend on propaganda in order to articulate more realistic and scientific results. Those results are neither arbitrary nor objective. This is what climate as an object of scientific interest teaches us: we have to find a new definition what science really means and produces.

Anonymous said...

Hans von Storch,
entschuldigen Sie meine Direktheit und meine Anonymität. Ich kann keinen Konflikt vermeiden, von dem ich erst seit wenigen Wochen Kenntnis habe.
Da "draußen" gibt es jede Menge Leute die z.B.Prof. Anders Levermann glauben schenken, wenn ich mir die Lesermeinungen anschaue,muß man ein paar abziehen.
Bei mir hat er mittlerweile keinen "Aufrütteleffekt" mehr erzeugt, höchstens Schüttelfrost.

Also sage ich, ich habe den Eindruck, es sei Propaganda und lasse mich gerne vom Gegenteil überzeugen,denn ich habe noch zu wenig gelesen, um es zu wissen.

Propaganda bezeichnet einen absichtlichen und systematischen Versuch, Sichtweisen zu formen, Erkenntnisse zu manipulieren und Verhalten zu steuern, ...
weiter in Wikipedia.

Noch ein kleiner Aufrüttler:
Die Wand, auf die wir zufahren, liegt im Nebel, aber sie ist da! von Prof.Andreas Levermann aus seinem Artikel in der FAZ

Hans von Storch said...

Anonymous - I have no problem if you call it "Propaganda", but I would prefer to not to do.
Werner - I mostly agree, but I found your comment on the nature article, with a direct reference to me, not fully fair.

Werner Krauss said...

@Hans 22
Sorry for that. It was not my intention to identify you with the nature article! But it looks like, I agree. I should be more careful.

@anonymous 21
Propaganda or not - you know what the intention is. If you want to raise alarm, you need propaganda. If you want to deny the problem, you need propaganda, too. If you prefer the middle ground, you also need propaganda. There is no neutral zone. This does not mean that science is impossible. It only means that it is not outside of the alarmist / skeptical dichotomy.

Maybe I should stick with writing bad poetry.

Rainer S said...

"...Feinberg and his colleague Robb Willer, also at Berkeley, asked 45 online participants ".

45 Participants doesn´t sound like great statistics. Quite daring to base a claim about correlation between world view ("just world") and attitudes reg. AGW on such a sample size.

Anyway,dire predictions DO backfire, simple because they as yet failed to materialize. Locking at my private "sample" - certainly larger than 45 - scaremongering is what virtually creates some sort of sceptics. And the ones I know definitely don´t think the world is just - whatever that is supposed to mean.

Anonymous said...

@Werner Kraus,

nach allem, was ich bisher las, handelt es sich bei den Alarmisten/Skeptikern nicht um Dichotomie. So wie ich es jetzt sehe, bestreitet keiner eine Erwärmung seit der letzten kleinen Eiszeit, es geht nur um die Höhe und die Ursache? Eine kleine Schnittmenge ist also da? Jeder propagiert seine Meinung, die Frage ist, wie sehr wird die Erkenntnis dahinter dabei manipuliert.
Wie ich hier las hat die Royal Society ihre Leitlinien zum Thema Klimawandel angepasst.
Wie heißt das Pendant in Deutschland und hat es Leitlinien?

Ich hoffe auf die Wissenschaft, von mir aus a la Merton;-)

Anonymous said...

Judas Cohen says that more water wapors in the air due to global warming make more snow, covering Northern Hemisphere and cooling it.
Hmmm - but the air then must be cold first, otherwise we would have heavy rains, instead of heavy show.
So back to the point one - why is it now so cold by all that global warming?

Anonymous said...

Climategate correspondent Grant Foster aka Tamino proposed a falsification test for global warming a few years ago. Still 15 years left for certainty.

But he uses GISS, and given the apparent recent divergence from the other datasets we can argue forever!

Kind regards, your Irish debtor.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hans, Dear Werner,

The latest news tell us that the warming didn't stop and that 2010 was as warm as 1998.

There are so many reasons to change our ways that imho we don't need to oversell climate science. And I think that many activists are to pessimistic about what we can achieve in the next 20 years.

Even the most fanatic highway king will sooner or later notice the rising oil prices and he will be happy to drive an electric car fueled by "sahara eletrics". ;-)

Thank you all very much for your kind comments.


Anonymous said...

@anonymous °26

Do you remember the very warm winter some years ago. No wind from the north could change anything.

And we must remember that heavy snow did let the alpine glaciers grow during the cold periods during the Little icage. Where did the moisture come from then?

I think that the weather patterns in our countries did really change since about 1990. Maybe they are changing again. Even if the summers were really very warm the last decades, one must admit that we also didn't have much snow in the Alps during the cold winters.


eduardo said...


Werner wrote
'Propaganda or not - you know what the intention is. If you want to raise alarm, you need propaganda. If you want to deny the problem, you need propaganda, too.'

among all stakeholders, who is not interested in propaganda ? I think these would be the persons that are truly interested in knowing more to then be able to take informed decisions. If you have a medical problem that requires action, the least you would wish are doctors that try to pitch particular interests, either economical or ideological. You would really wish neutral, technical and to-the-point information , including all possible uncertainties and certainties. However, it seems that in the climate discussion the opposite occurs more often. Judith Curry just made the observation that more technical weblogs that took her more time to prepare are the ones that elicit a smaller number of comments and questions, whereas the more controversial entries, just written in a few minutes but with high political content, trigger the largest number of comments. On a smaller scale, this can be observed also here at the Klimazwiebel.

Werner Krauss said...

Eduardo #30
technological blogs, of course, exclude those non-technology folk. They just don't understand, maybe?
And everybody likes controversies, I agree. Sounds like fun.

But isn't opposing these different issues tricky? Do you want to make an argument in favor of technology over politics? This is an ideology itself, I guess. Technology substitutes politics - the list of failures is long, very long, Eduardo.

And concerning your doctor example: Al Gore made that before. He was wrong. You have to go to different doctors to make up your mind, because no doctor is free of an ideological and economic context. In the end, you have to make the decision on the basis of "informed uncertainty" - surgery or conservative cure? Antibiotics or staying longer in bed? Love or divorce? Geo-engineering or emission reduction or both? Ride a bike or not?

Of course, in general your observation concerning the weblogs is right. But in my (not validated) experience folks here on klimazwiebel like these endless debates on things technological. But there is not one comment on my delicate poetry!!!! Why does no one discuss the poetics of climate change? No one except me! Not even Judith Curry! Not even my doctor knows why that is!

eduardo said...

@ 31 Werner,

no, I am not arguing for 'technological blogs', quite the contrary. I was observing the average behavior of the blog commenters - of course, the average is sometimes not a good description.

I try to flip the coin and imagine that all this controversial issue would be something in which I dont have much expertise, say stem cells for instance. If I really want to know more about stem cells, I think I would tend to pose more comments and questions to the technological entries, not exclusively, but indeed more frequently. I wonder why this is not the case. Perhaps because we all have a predetermined opinion and it is more fun to score political points.

Conclusion: appeal to technological/scientific knowledge is not very effective. Only a a few will benefit from it, but only those that are not interested in propaganda

Poetry will never be a mass genre, sorry Werner..

Rainer S said...


didn´t you know poetry has to rhyme :-)

There once was a scientist in Dunn
Who foretold winters soon to be gone
Then he was covered by sleet
Up to a height of ten feet
To be a scientist is not only fun

Rainer S said...

In a town near mighty Berlin
The PIK claimed the science was in
This winter´s shock
They explained post-hoc
Kicking common sense in the shin

ok, ok, I´m no Goethe...

@ReinerGrundmann said...

One who seeks will find
Climate change rhymes with strange
Climate catastrophe rhymes with apostrophe
But what sense does it make
To take the possessive “s” away from a noun
That is not well defined?

Rainer S said...

Because of the overwhelming success, here is just one more:

At Penn State there once was a man
Who said to himself "Yes, I can"
So he thought of some tricks
And produced hockey sticks
To brings us a fossile fuel ban

Werner Krauss said...

The Intergovernmental Poetry Commission on Climate appreciates the latest blog entries and will decide soon whose rhymes are finer, those of Rainer or those of Reiner!

Werner Krauss said...

The Intergovernmental Poetry Commission on Climate appreciates the latest blog entries and will decide soon whose rhymes are finer, those of Rainer or those of Reiner!

@ReinerGrundmann said...

will the decision be based on politics or poetics?

Werner Krauss said...

Reiner, the Intergovernmental Poetry Commission on Climate change is a spiritual body. Poets of great merit review and assess the most recent poems produced by poets worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. Review is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment of current poetry. IPCC aims to reflect a range of views and expertise on poetics of climate change. The Secretariat of disembodied poetics coordinates all the IPCC work and liaises with Governments.

Rainer S said...

Do not forget to involve NGOs in the review process. They have already set up standards not to be ignored:

Hans von Storch said...

You sure that the "I" is for "Intergovernmental"? Could mean "Interdisciplinary", or so.

Werner Krauss said...

Thanks, Rainer S., we indeed have to set high standards (Richard Tol is already assessing our assessment criteria!). This here is non-official: we have to keep the Vogons out of the commission (they produce the third-worst poetry of the universe, see here:

Rainer S said...


I beg to differ!

Excluding the Vogons smells of specism. Wo don´t want to be non-PC, do we?

Also, the Vogons have a straightforward way of deailing with poetry deniers: out of the spacecraft at 1.5c will teach you!

Werner Krauss said...

There are already so many Vogons in the IPCC (not the one on poetics, the other one).