Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Inconvenient Weather: A Year of Global Cooling

"Al Gore says global warming is a planetary emergency. It is difficult to see how this can be so when record low temperatures are being set all over the world. In 2007, hundreds of people died, not from global warming, but from cold weather hazards," says David Deming, geophysicist and associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma, in today's Washington Times. Consider these inconvenient weather facts:

Unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007.
  • Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years.

  • Australia experienced the coldest June ever; in northeastern Australia, the city of Townsville underwent the longest period of continuously cold weather since 1941.

  • In New Zealand, the weather turned so cold that vineyards were endangered.
In the United States:
  • In April, a killing freeze destroyed 95% of South Carolina's peach crop, and 90% of North Carolina's apple harvest.

  • At Charlotte, N.C., a record low temperature of 21 degrees Fahrenheit on April 8 was the coldest ever recorded for April, breaking a record set in 1923.

  • On June 8, Denver recorded a new low of 31 degrees Fahrenheit; Denver's temperature records extend back to 1872.

  • On Dec. 7, St. Cloud, Minn., set a new record low of minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • On Dec. 4, in Seoul, Korea, the temperature was a record minus 5 degrees Celsius.

  • The Canadian government warns that this winter is likely to be the coldest in 15 years.


At 12/19/2007 1:38 PM, Blogger Caveat B said...

Some other thoughts, following on this post:

At 12/19/2007 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Perry, didn't you get the memo? The new and scary meme is "Climate Change," not Glowball Worming.


At 12/19/2007 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should stick to what you know. That obviously isn't science. While I appreciate the group think of society and the herding mentality of society around this issue, people didn't just wake up and read the weather report to conclude the planet is warming. There is zero doubt the world is warming. And, scientists have validated this by using core samples going back thousands of years. Not by playing meteorologist of the minute by citing cold days. You should be embarrassed by posting such nonscientific foolishness on your blog.

Now, that said, is it warming for reasons exogenous to humans? Maybe. But, if we act as if it doesn't, what have we really done other than create great new technologies that provide employment. And, if it is because of humans, our act was also noble.

At 12/19/2007 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you realize that scientists were predicting that Britain would see 100,000 cases of Kreutzfelt Jakob disease within 10 years of the Mad Cow Scare yet 10 years later, there are have been only a handful of cases, you realize that much of these "scares" are little more than cascades.

The most recently hyped IPCC Report for Public Policy Makers contains little scientific information and focuses on public policy. Revealingly, the report was issued months before the scientific report which went practically unreported by the media. The scientific report details considerable variance on what is a highly complex and difficult subject.

I don't expect many of us can understand the science but we can tell science from what Fred Singer calls a report "written by public policy makers for public policy makers". Advocates have tried to bypass all debate and jump to public policy. Politics is the art of building a consensus while science is not a show of hands.

Before you bet the farm, read the report and see if you are satisfied with what is presented as the scientific consensus.

At 12/19/2007 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Certainly, you have a valid point. I agree with you that weather is not the same as global warming or cooling trends.

Curiously, however, such arguments have been used consistently by global warming proponents.

You can't suck & blow at the same time.

At 12/20/2007 1:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

please abstain to use that nickname to post a non-sequitur.
The global warming/cooling scaremongers did enough damage to the credibility of scientific community already.

At 12/20/2007 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Scientist,
Scientist - climate is every bit an economic issue as it is scientific and/or political - and you should be embarassed for not having the sense to figure that out.

Re: sticking to what your know - Same goes for scientists - stick to what you know oh but first make up your minds. Every time I turn around - scientific opinion changes with next set of "facts" or better the next "computer model." ???

Also, now you say solving GW - oh excuse please - solving "CC" is about creating "new jobs?" I thought all you GW/CC advocates were anti capitalists - haters of all those evil, profiteering corporations? So now it's about capitalism - creating new jobs? Make up your mind please. And -

When I think of scientists - always remember Klaus Fuchs, the scientist who delved into philosophy (not his forte by the way) and gave the Soviets the atom bomb.

When GW/CC becomes less about philosophy and more about reality, we might really get somewhere on the issue.

At 12/20/2007 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"And, if it is because of humans, our act was also noble."

Such a supposition also implies that if global warming is actually exogeneous, expenditures to remediate the non-emergency have been taken from other pressing needs such as:

2. Clean drinking water
3. Fighting Malaria, dengue, Hep. C, yellow fever, typhoid,
4. Feeding the world's population throught the development of new crops

Only a very cursory list.

At 12/20/2007 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scientist said"

"I think you should stick to what you know. That obviously isn't science."

Ah yes, once again the "we're smarter than you, butt out response." let me see, isn't that the logical fallacy of provincialism?

And as Hoggey pointed out, the results depend on political & economic assumptions. thus economist should have a say. For example, it has been pointed out the the IPCC's Third Assessment Report assumes that 50 develping countries will have GDPs larger than the U.S. in 100 years. the growth rate for these countries would need to be much larger than ever experienced. And I read critics of Nordhaus' critique of the Stern report say that the discount rate should be negative, obviously misunderstanding the use of discount rates.

At 12/20/2007 4:21 PM, Blogger Jason said...

This was my fault and I'm sorry. It's kind of like the shower, you turn the knob one little bit and you go from fry to freeze. I won't touch the knob again. My bad.

At 12/20/2007 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From one with an actual degree in Physics to one who does not know what the work "Science" really means (a.k.a. "scientist" above): read "Scared to Death" by Christopher Booker and Richard North, and discover that all you are spouting is just the latest expression of a social trend completely disconnected from real Science.
As for your attempt at pseudo-economics, read a bit about "opportunity cost" and realize that to "create great new technologies that provide employment" we must forgo lots of other investment opportunities that could produce greater benefits.

At 12/20/2007 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the responses to my post. They are all based on gibberish. I clearly identified the herding issue in the nonscientific community around making this a social issue to push an agenda. But, don't take your eye off of the facts. The fact remains that scientists can clearly and precisely measure global weather over a significant amount of history. The earth is clearly warming by MEASURED SCIENTIFIC DATA. To deny that is to be ignorant. It's fashionable to believe global warming is a ruse because the traditional tree huggers have jumped on the band wagon and want to impale the economy with burdensome taxes and regulations. That is a separate issue. Science has a clear answer. The earth is warming. Using weather reports to deny that is completely ignorant.

The open question is if the earth is doing what it has always done or if this is an issue caused mostly by man. That is clearly debatable. Don't be a doofus and argue something that is indefensible.

At 12/20/2007 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL the person calling himself "scientist" had me fooled. I thought he might be a real scientist. Now I see that he can't understand what we're telling him -- all he sees is gibberish. Nor does he understand that, for the umpteenth time all he is doing is restating Pascal's Wager in terms of climate change.

At 12/21/2007 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pascal's wager? You had better go back to school and learn yourself something intelligent to say

At 12/21/2007 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually I would like you to say something rational and explain where my intelligence is failing.

First, Pascal's Wager is if you believe in God and God doesn't exist you lose nothing and if God does exist you gain an infinite amount. And if you don't believe in God and God doesn't exist, you gain nothing but if God does exist you lose everything.

Second, Scientist first wrote "Now, that said, is it warming for reasons exogenous to humans? Maybe. But, if we act as if it doesn't, what have we really done other than create great new technologies that provide employment. And, if it is because of humans, our act was also noble."

In other words, scientist writes that if you act to end human caused global climate change it the climate change is human caused, we've lost nothing -- actually gain according to scientist, but if it is human caused we've gained everything. Which is the wager in terms of GCC instead of a deity.

The second post by scientist makes it clear that she/he is a true believer... only what I say is important the economic issues are just a smokescreen. Yet the economic issues are interrelated with the scientific ones.

I didn't start the flame war but it's fun.

At 12/21/2007 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what Pascal's wager is. I was laughing at your attempted use of it to this situation. That is why I said you should go back to school.

At 12/22/2007 1:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well then you should also understand that I asked you to explain the error in my reasoning. When you stop laughing please tell me why it doesn't apply. Otherwise I'll use the argument from silence to deduce that you really don't know.

Also I assume you understand that I believe Pascal's Wager is a false argument. I stated that "scientist" used Pascal's argument. And, I note that "scientist" hasn't said that I misinterpreted him. So again, using the argument from silence, one can deduce I am right. Or is "scientist" trying to be anonymous?

At 12/22/2007 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What About These Inconvenient Facts?

December 10, 2007 - All time record high temperature set in Birmingham, Alabama the new record of 79 degrees (it is also the driest year since 1895.)

April showed record high temperatures in Europe 8 consecutive months of higher than normal temperatures in Germany, 13 consecutive months of higher than normal temperatures in France.

Ending in April 2007, England saw the warmest 12 months on record in 350 years (since records started to be kept.)

Parts of the Arctic have experienced an unprecedented heatwave this summer of 2007, with one research station in the Canadian High Arctic recording temperatures above 20C, about 15C higher than the long-term average.

The annual temperature for 2007 across the contiguous USA is expected to be near 54.3 degrees — making the year the 8th-warmest since records were first begun in 1895, according to preliminary data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center.

At 12/24/2007 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're pretty good at putting words in other people's mouths. I bet you are great at relationships. Let me guess. A student at U of M? You learned Pascal's wager in your freshman basic education class? That really is quite funny. Pascal's wager? You are not coming off too swift here.

Have you ever heard of risk management? Do you know what risk management is? Let me make it simple. Do you buy insurance? Is Pascal's wager and risk management synonymous? Economists sat by while the dimwitted idiots on Wall Street created an unfolding credit crisis by not taking into account risk management. That is because economists don't generally understand the concept of risk management. Nor do they understand science. Which in your responses seems to prove global warming is no different. And, that is why your response clearly tells us why economics is a dismal science. And, why a preponderance of economists has never predicted a recession.

So, rather than trying to take this off topic and put words in my mouth as you have so far, why don't we do this. One of my best friends works for a very prestigious research firm. It just so happens much of the scientific work into historical temperature calculations using core samples from Antartica was done by his organization. Let's make it simple. You don't have to answer any other questions than this, because it was my only point in my first post. That the science is valid. Instead of your incessant blathering which is totally off topic and irrelevant. You respond in some detail how the science used to determine historical earth temeperatures using core samples is not valid and your scientific argument invalidating those calculations and work. And, why those calculations are not indicative of global warming. Then, post your real name and occupation on your response since you are so proud of yourself. I'll have him respond with his scientific premise. And, I'll post his response. Now remember, the issue isn't whether it was caused by solar radiation, human involvement, natural unknown cycles or whatever.

I won't debate a fool so I'll give you one more chance to show us how smart you really are. Because you really have a narcissistic complex. You can be brilliant before all of the world instead of simply bloviating off topic comments in defense of using TV weather forecasts to determine the state of the planet. Show us what you know. No deflections or second grade psychology trying to squirm out of the corner in your response. Come on loud mouth.

At 12/31/2007 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have no reason to argue, nor have I argued, that the antarctic ice core evidence you speak of is not valid. I will accept your friend's conclusion that is shows global warming has happened. Doesn't the evidence shows the earth is in a 5,000 year warming period? As you state, whether or not the change is anthropogenic is still up for debate. Further I will not agree that even if it is anthropogenic, it means we need to do everything to stop it.

Having said that, I will note that the ice core data shows that carbon lags temperature. I will accept that this is because of positive feedback effects. And also note that Real Climate website dismisses any controversy over the lag because the “antarctic ice cores aren't global.”

You keep saying that the science is clear and that is all that matters. Perhaps. Though I note that the article Dr. Perry referred to is written by an Associate Professor of Geophysics at the University of Oklahoma. Isn't Dr. David Deming a scientist? Second, as Anonymous 10:39 PM responded to you, the same “TV weather forecasts” are used as supporting evidence by scientist to sow that global warming has occurred. For instance. in a discussion about El Nino, Real Climate brings up the fact that the U.S. National Weather Service declared 2006 to be the warmest year on record. Why can Real Climate bring up that fact but similar contrary facts are dismissed?

You've stated that we need to stop putting carbon into the atmosphere, regardless of whether or not the cause is anthropogenic. That is the where I disagree with you. First of all, the scientific projections on future global warming use economic assumptions and financial techniques. Thus we in finance and economics should have a say in how the assumptions are made. As Ian Castles and David Henderson have shown, the growth projections for developing countries are based on market based exchange rates rather than purchasing power parity when PPP is the way the U.N. always calculates exchange rates. The projections assume that the developing countries will grow at rates between 70% and 140% during this century. The fastest growth rates have been at 20% in Japan and China. Japan wasn't able to sustain that growth for 100 years. Neither will China. And has I also mentioned, look at the use of discount rates in the Stern Report.

As my current boss puts it, if the road is straight it is easy to use the rear view mirror to drive a car forward. Which is part of my skepticism. How do the climate scientist know that the future will be like the past?

Yes I know what risk management is. That there is a difference between risk management and Pascal's Wager is precisely my point. How do you define risk management? Why do you believe economist don't understand the concept of risk management? The steps in risk management include risk identification, risk assessment – quantifying the amount at risk and the probability of loss, measuring risk aversion, the amount one is willing to put at risk, and finally the management techniques – risk transfer (insurance), hedging, and mitigation. If one is so risk averse that no risk is acceptable, then one is arguing the Precautionary Principle which is the same as Pascal's wager. If one's assessment of the amount at risk is so high to be nearly infinite, one is arguing Pascal's Wager. If one argues that the probability of loss is near 100%, one is arguing Pascal's Wager.

Whether or not I buy insurance is not germane to the discussion. People are always willing to take risk in one area but not in another. Besides, insurance is not applicable for global climate change. Since climate change is global, who can we transfer the risk to? Insurance is based on the pooling of independent risks. For example when Hurricane Hugo hit South Carolina, one of the largest insurance companies in the state had over ten billion dollars in claims. They paid the claims without a problem because that company operated in many states. Yet some smaller insurance companies went under because they only insured property in South Carolina. If climate change is global, the risk isn't independent. Also the insurance pure premium one pays is based on the amount of potential loss times the probability of loss (plus the administrative charge, including expected profits). If the amount of loss is astronomical, how could it be priced? Who would offer such insurance? (By the way arguing that one needs “fire” insurance is Pascal's wager.)

I know I'm that the first to make to relate the AGW proponents with Pascal's Wager. Though some have consciously used the analogy to argue that we need to stop global warming, most have used the argument to be skeptical of AGW. I've read three arguments on why Pascal's wager is not relevant. The first is because of the risk involved. Um, isn't that what Pascal Wager says? The second is because we need to leave a legacy for our children. Every generation has been wealthier than the one before it. Why should we sacrifice today when succeeding generations will have better technology than we have today?

The third argument is that cost benefit analysis should not apply. Why not? Economics teaches us that all resources (including are and water) are scarce. If one argues the benefits are so overwhelming, or the costs so miniscule, then one is arguing Pascal's Wager. Even if the science is clear and predictions on future global warming are correct, the policies to alleviate global warming involve making choices about scarce resources. I read that some global warming advocates argue that we don't need to make choices between clean drinking water, etc. Do they believe money grows on trees?

At 1/07/2008 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you mention that townsville in queensland, australia had the longest period of consistently cold weather in june.

this is a total anomaly as 2007 was the hottest year on record in australia. southern australia (where i'm from) which has historically been more temperate was where the great change from average mean temps. over the previous 100 years occured.

whilst the north received significantly more rainfall than usual, in the south the near-decade long drought that has crippled our argicultural industries is still in full swing with minor increase in rainfall levels from the el nina weather pattern.


Post a Comment

<< Home