A look behind the curtain at the news of extreme climate events in the US

Summary:  The force of American politics comes from one simple fact: both Left and right are Americans, and share the same gullibility. The pathos of American politics comes the ability of each side to see through the lies that mesmerize their opponents — and the mockery that this gullibility makes of our attempt to rule ourselves. Today we look at propaganda about climate change, the Left’s manipulation of science for political gain.

On the FM website we highlight the propaganda of both Left and Right, which generates outrage from both sides in the comments. Oddly, the most of exaggerations, misrepresentations, and lies of both sides are simple — often childishly so.  Like the fictions of Harvard History Professor Niall Ferguson in Newsweek that have generated such ferocious rebuttals.  Like those about the not-so-historic climate extremes affecting the world today, the subject of this post. Links to posts with more examples appear at the end.

But its open-sourced, not gov’t


  1. The not-so-historic melting of Greenland
  2. The not-so-historic drought
  3. The dry Mississippi River
  4. Recommendations: what should we do?
  5. For more information

(1)  The not-so-historic melting of Greenland

This is a valuable example of the origin of climate propaganda on the work of real scientists: “Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt“, NASA, 24 July 2012.  Most of the news media picked up the incendiary headline and ignored the careful specifics of NASA’s scientists.  They gave readers information that fed the approved narrative, at the cost of misleading them.  Red emphasis added.

Researchers have not yet determined whether this extensive melt event will affect the overall volume of ice loss this summer and contribute to sea level rise.

“The Greenland ice sheet is a vast area with a varied history of change. This event, combined with other natural but uncommon phenomena, such as the large calving event last week on Petermann Glacier, are part of a complex story,” said Tom Wagner, NASA’s cryosphere program manager in Washington. “Satellite observations are helping us understand how events like these may relate to one another as well as to the broader climate system.”


… Such pronounced melting at Summit and across the ice sheet has not occurred since 1889, according to ice cores analyzed by Kaitlin Keegan at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather station at Summit confirmed air temperatures hovered above or within a degree of freezing for several hours July 11-12.

“Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. “But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.”

(2)  The not-so-historic drought

Almost every news article about the drought describes it as historic.  It’s not historic (yet), except in the sense that history consists mostly of typical events.  In some ways it’s similar to 1988, in some ways similar to the 1930s — although so far this drought has little resemblance to the Dust Bowl.  Reoccurrence even of the Dust Bowl would not show unusual climate change (note: the climate is and always has been changing); it’s for good reason building codes often require standards sufficient to withstand 100 year scale events.

A long history of such events would show long-term change; events of scale beyond those of the past two centuries would do so.  So far all we have is two centuries of slow global warming, and strong evidence of increased precipitation.

Contiguous US Palmer Modified Drought Index (PMDI) for June 1895-2012 —
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Data Center
———- The gold bar for June 2012 doesn’t show well; the value is 4.3 ———


(3)  The dry Mississippi River

One of the more vivid photos used to portray this event as extraordinary (without explicitly describing it as so) are pictures of a dry Mississippi basin.  How unusual!

AP photo in “The Drought of 2012“, a slideshow at the Washington Post website, 16 July 2012


In fact this isn’t unusual, as shown by this photo from “Drought Forces Closure of the Mississippi“, The Desert News, 22 June 1988 — Hat tip to Steve Goddard.

The Desert News, 22 June 1988


There is no reason for us to be fooled by the news media’s myth-making. The US government makes a wide range of climate data easily accessible. For example, the National Weather Services has an interactive website showing riven data.  The current level of the Mississippi River at Vicksburg is aprox 0.47 feet.  How historic is that?  Not very.

Low Water Records for Mississippi River at Vicksburg

Earth in the balance as we alter it
-7.0  ft 2/3/1940
-6.8  ft 11/1/1939
-5.8  ft 1/6/1964
-5.6  ft 1/28/1956
-4.5  ft 8/19/1941
-4.4  ft 11/27/1953
-4.0  ft 9/24/1954
-3.4  ft 8/30/1936
-3.0  ft 12/21/1937
-2.6  ft 12/31/1943
-2.4  ft 9/28/1959
-2.3  ft 11/12/1952
-2.1  ft 11/11/1938
-1.6  ft 7/13/1988
-1.5  ft 10/25/1947
-0.9  ft 1/24/1981
-0.8  ft 2/14/1977
-0.7  ft 10/16/1948
-0.3  ft 12/31/1958
-0.2  ft 2/10/1961
-0.1  ft 9/30/1976
-0.1  ft 9/4/2006
0.0  ft 10/17/1946
0.1  ft 12/23/1962
0.1  ft 11/5/1960
0.3  ft 11/30/1999
0.4  ft 1/17/2005


For more information see:

(4)  Recommendations: what should we do?

What would put the climate sciences on track to meet our public policy needs?   Here’s my list of things that must be done, whatever the cost — although it would be trivial compared, for instance, to global military spending.

  1. Raise the standards when applying science research to public policy questions.
  2. Provide greater transparency of data and methods used in climate science research.
  3. Provide third party review of the data, analysis, and modeling is necessary.
  4. Improve the various global climate data collection and analysis systems – satellite, radiosonde, and surface.
  5. Rationally apply the precautionary principle.

For details see My “wish list” for the climate sciences in 2009.

(5)  For more information

(a)  For more about these things see these FM Reference Pages:

(b)  Propaganda about climate change

  1. The media doing what it does best these days, feeding us disinformation, 11 February 2008
  2. The facts about the 1970′s Global Cooling scare, 7 December 2009
  3. The floodgates slowly open and the foreign news media debunk climate change propaganda, 24 January 2010
  4. Quote of the day – hidden history for people who rely on the mainstream media for information, 12 February 2010
  5. The hidden history of the global warming crusade, 19 February 2010
  6. A real-time example of the birth and spread of climate propaganda, 9 March 2010
  7. Lies told under the influence of the Green religion to save the world, 30 July 2010
  8. We see the world in terms of facts (mostly numbers). Our world changes rapidly, including the past’s numbers, 2 August 2010
  9. Shaping your view of the world with well-constructed propaganda, 21 June 2012 — About rising sea levels.
  10. Run from the rising waves! (The latest climate catastrophe scare), 27 June 2012
  11. Ignorance and propaganda about extreme climate change, 10 July 2012


3 thoughts on “A look behind the curtain at the news of extreme climate events in the US”

  1. Damn you Fabius! You are quite convincing. And the facts/numbers are pretty straight forward.
    Why do you keep forcing me to question everything; looking for answers!? This is not the American way I tell you! : )

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