See how climate science becomes alarmist propaganda

Summary: Our elites believe they can shape our minds through propaganda. This is most obvious in the barrage of exaggerations and misrepresentations of climate science, designed to panic us into approving the Green New Deal. Here is an example of how this happens, the news equivalent of turning gold into straw.

Earth melting - Dreamstime-33491903
ID 33491903 © Rolffimages | Dreamstime.

Large-scale propaganda works, unless fought. It can mold the opinions of a people – irrespective of its truth. The 20th Century provided enough evidence to put that up with F=MA on the list of proven theories. The current climate alarmist propaganda barrage is on a scale seldom seen in US history. Since there is no longer effective opposition, they can make even the wildest claims. Their preferred method is to take climate science papers, exaggerate their claims (in either scope or certainty). Then journalists use these to manufacture clickbait stories (the 21st C version of “if it bleeds, it leads”).

For example, see this from alarmist Eric Holthaus (a writer at Grist). It has 8k retweets and 16 likes, and was featured in Naked Capitalism’s daily links. Holthaus re-tweets climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf’s exaggeration of the study’s results, and further exaggerates them into fiction. The new study says none of the things Holthaus describes. Fifty years to melt Antarctica?

Unlike Holthaus, the mainstream media published stories that merely exaggerated the paper’s findings from science into revelation. “West Antarctica is melting and it’s our fault” by Alejandra Borunda at the once-great National Geographic – “The fingerprints of human-caused climate change have made it to Antarctica, a new study shows.” “New study definitively links western Antarctic ice melt to human-caused climate change” by Theresa Braine in the NY Daily News. “Human-induced global warming responsible for West Antarctic’s melting ice” by Brooks Hays at UPI.

Some publications produce clickbait headlines over more accurate stories, such as “The Reason Antarctica Is Melting: Shifting Winds, Driven by Global Warming” by Annie Sneed at Scientific America – “A new study helps solve the puzzle of why the continent’s western glaciers are melting so fast” (bold emphasis added).

How did this happen? The origin of propaganda.

The paper is a model of careful science, with careful mention of the many assumptions and uncertainties in their analysis.

West Antarctic ice loss influenced by internal climate variability and anthropogenic forcing
By Paul R. Holland, Thomas J. Bracegirdle, Pierre Dutrieux, Adrian Jenkins & Eric J. Steig – in Nature Geoscience, in press.
Gated. Open access copy here.

“Recent ice loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been caused by ocean melting of ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea. Eastward wind anomalies at the shelf break enhance the import of warm Circumpolar Deep Water onto the Amundsen Sea continental shelf, which creates transient melting anomalies with an approximately decadal period. No anthropogenic influence on this process has been established.

“Here, we combine observations and climate model simulations to suggest that increased greenhouse gas forcing caused shelf-break winds to transition from mean easterlies in the 1920s to the near-zero mean zonal winds of the present day. Strong internal climate variability, primarily linked to the tropical Pacific, is superimposed on this forced trend. We infer that the Amundsen Sea experienced decadal ocean variability throughout the twentieth century, with warm anomalies gradually becoming more prevalent, offering a credible explanation for the ongoing ice loss.

“Existing climate model projections show that strong future greenhouse gas forcing creates persistent mean westerly shelf-break winds by 2100, suggesting a further enhancement of warm ocean anomalies. These wind changes are weaker under a scenario in which greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilized.”

The authors are to be commended for forthrightly stating in the paper their many assumptions – and the large uncertainties in their modeling. Co-author Eric Steig says this in the title of his RealScience article about this paper, and in the section at the end: “The Antarctic ice sheet is melting and, yeah, it’s probably our fault.

University press releases are often sensationalist, but not this by the University of Washington: “First evidence of human-caused climate change melting the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.” In the usual contradictory style (the best we can hope for today), it boldly states the conclusions of the paper along with cautionary statements that this is a subject still under investigation.

“A new study reveals the first evidence of a direct link between human-induced global warming and melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. …’The impact of human induced climate change on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is not simple,’ said lead author Paul Holland at the British Antarctic Survey. ‘This is the first evidence for a direct link between human activities and the loss of ice from West Antarctica. Our results imply that a combination of human activity and natural climate variations have caused ice loss in this region, accounting for around 4.5 centimeters [1.8 inches] of sea level rise per century.’”

About the future

The extreme scenario discussed in the paper is (quite rightly) RCP8.5, the worst-case scenario in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. Properly, they also show that the RCP4.5 scenario produces minimal impact.

“Of course, twenty-first century radiative forcing is not decided. Under RCP4.5, CMIP5 simulations project PITT wind trends that are not significantly different from zero …because ozone recovery fully compensates the weaker greenhouse gas forcing …”

In his RealClimate article, Steig describes RCP8.5 as “business as usual.” Which it is not, since RCP8.5 assumes large changes in long-standing trends of rapid (by historical standards) technological process and falling fertility. There is no evidence for the former, especially since a new industrial revolution appears to have begun – including, among other things, radical changes in energy tech (perhaps even fusion). There is no evidence that global fertility is stabilizing, nor have I seen any plausible case for that happening in the next decade or so.

Conclusion

I’m told by scientists I trust that this is a well-constructed but speculative paper (I agree, FWIW as an amateur). It “shows” and “given evidence” about anthropogenic causes of West Antartic melting. It does not prove anything, and other papers disagree (as Steig explains). It is science, and eventually a consensus will develop – to be reported by the IPCC and major climate agencies. But all this has become a sideshow in the public policy debate about climate change.

The belief that RCP8.5 is a “business as usual” scenario was for a decade the critical link between conventional climate science and activists’ doomsters’ screeds. Now alarmists have abandoned even that as too conservative, saying that “business as usual” means either collapse of civilization or even extinction of humanity.

Now we receive a daily propaganda barrage by climate activists combining the occasional extreme doomsterism (The Extinction Rebellion’s hysteria vs. climate science) with a steady flow of exaggerations and misrepresentations of science. Climate scientists as a group are enablers for this propaganda, even complicit in it, by their silence. For more about this, see About the corruption of climate science. and the “noble cause” corruption of climate science.

We are a a nation lit only by propaganda. How dumb do they think we are? The obvious answer: very. The next few years will prove if they are correct. I do not know how this will play out in the next decade. My guess is “badly.” For US politics, for the US economy, and for the environment.

More examples of climate science exaggerated into propaganda

I have run dozens of these. Here are a few.

For More Information

Ideas! See my recommended books and films at Amazon.

For a briefing on the current knowledge about rising sea levels, see these by climate scientists Judith Curry.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see all posts about doomsters, about peak oil, about The keys to understanding climate change and especially these…

  1. Let’s prepare for past climate instead of bickering about predictions of climate change – Doing something is better than nothing.
  2. Focusing on worst-case climate futures doesn’t work. It shouldn’t work.
  3. The Extinction Rebellion’s hysteria vs. climate science.
  4. “Climate’s Uncertainty Principle“ by Garth Paltridge.
  5. Listening to climate doomsters makes our situation worse.
  6. How fast is the world warming? Is it burning?

To help us better understand today’s weather

To learn more about the state of climate change see The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters & Climate Change by Roger Pielke Jr., prof at U of CO – Boulder’s Center for Science and Policy Research (2018).

The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.

65 thoughts on “See how climate science becomes alarmist propaganda”

    1. Ron,

      In what way was Hansen’s testimony to Congress “propaganda” – especially in the sense used in this post of exaggerating or misrepresenting science?

      He is a climate scientist, and was presenting his analysis to Congress. That’s what scientists do. Nothing he said was outside the range of normal climate science at the time.

      1. Larry,

        It seems to me that politicians turned Hansen’s testimony into alarmist propaganda back then and to this day.

        This retired Ford L/M tech, who made a living diagnosing and repairing driveability issues caused by emission controls and tailpipe emissions, is still stuck on HC, CO, and NOx.

        Imo, CAGW caused by CO2 is BS, and anyone that supports the “Green New Deal” is out of their mind.

      2. Ron,

        “It seems to me that politicians turned Hansen’s testimony into alarmist propaganda back then and to this day.”

        (1) Focusing on that 30-year-old testimony in the vast ocean of climate science work on global warming is …odd. To be nice about it, you’re making it into a boggy man.

        (2) Politicians are late arrival to the climate change campaign. As always. They come on board only after vast work complete to gain a base of public support.

        “CAGW caused by CO2 is BS”

        Since (a) almost every climate scientists disagrees with you (including the major “skeptics”), and (b) you know almost nothing about the subject – let’s just say your opinion is sad and move on. No more here, please. I’ve lost patience in climate deniers (yes, there are such things), anti-vaxers, and other manifestations of irrationality in modern America. There are serious problems to deal with.

      3. Larry:

        In fairness, it wasn’t so much what Hansen said, but how he said it. I think Ron was probably referring to the intentional timing of the testimony for June 9, historically the hottest day of the summer in DC, and the fact that they went in the night before and turned off the AC to enhance the impact. The shot of Senators sweating as Hansen spoke created an indelible image. A nice way to describe this is “showmanship.” But there are less-flattering ways.

        Thing is, Hansen has kind of a reputation. People who have worked with Hansen describe him as an attention hog, theatrical, and so forth. He’s gone “activist” on multiple occasions, publicly getting himself arrested, that sort of thing. This type of unprofessional, unscientific, attention-seeking behavior calls his objectivity into question. But this behavior is also consistent with a pattern we have seen, in which a few high-profile, high-voltage personalities (often plugging books) drive the discussion, while the people doing the real work in the background are ignored. Science becomes secondary to spectacle.

        Certainly there are know-nothing cranks and conspiracy theorists, Alex Jones types, deserving of the dismissive “denier” label. But in my experience, most skeptics want nothing to do with such types. They are solid, intelligent people, quite often professionals with science or engineering backgrounds. At least a couple are Nobel Prize winners in hard sciences. To dismiss them as cranks is nonsensical and insulting.

        Most skeptics, myself included, are fine with the idea that humans are responsible for some of the climate change we have seen. They just don’t buy the end-is-near propaganda, and rightly so. We also reject the irresponsible oversimplification of a horrendously complex topic to the point of stupidity.

        Climate is the ultimate complex topic. It deserves thoughtful treatment all the way around. But every media outlet needs eyeballs to stay alive and relevant, and you don’t get that with lengthy, detailed “think” pieces. You get it with clickbait reads and soundbites, the scarier the better. And of course, everything has to be political now. So here we are.

        You have probably already made this point, but the climate-scare campaign has got to be one of the most successful propaganda campaigns there has ever been. In a way, you have to admire it.

        Your thoughtful treatment of this and other hugely important subjects is timely and welcome. You are a rare voice of reason and are much appreciated.

      4. Scott,

        “Ron was probably referring to the intentional timing of the testimony for June 9, historically the hottest day of the summer in DC”

        That was a fun anecdote that people took seriously. It is false, like most of the denialists’ claims.

        “Thing is, Hansen has kind of a reputation. People who have worked with Hansen describe him as an attention hog, theatrical, and so forth.”

        Nobody cares. As excuses for denial of what he said, that’s absurd. Many of the top experts in every field have planetary-size egos. Attention is more addictive than crack.

        “But in my experience, most skeptics want nothing to do with such types.”

        Totally false. Ron is a textbook denier. The comment section at Watts Up With That overflows with them. They are very seldom condemned by “skeptics”, just as people on the left don’t condemn climate alarmist nuts.

  1. Thanks for digging down to get at the underlying facts, and uncovering the nuances unreported and therefor unknown to the public. The process you describe reminds of an article by Caleb Rossiter: “The UN’s Terrifying, But Ever-Receding, Human-Caused Climate Catastrophe” at Real Clear Energy. An excerpt:

    “A powerful publicity machine magnifies the alarm, bombarding citizens with exaggerations and claims of certainty that are proven wrong as you dig down to their underlying scientific studies:

    -Public figures, news editors, and commentators make claims that are more alarmist than what individual IPCC authors say at the release of the report.
    -Individual IPCC authors make claims at the release of the report that are more alarmist than what the official press release says.
    -The official press release makes claims that are more alarmist than what the report’s summary for policy-makers says.
    -The summary for policy-makers makes claims that are more alarmist than the various chapters of the reports.
    -The chapters of the report make claims that are more alarmist than the studies they reference in the footnotes.

    The studies referenced in the footnotes are often actually peer-reviewed and generally make cautious claims about a possible trend spotted in one or a small number of locations or in a global computer model.

    1. Ron,

      Rossiter gives one example of all the sins he attributes to the “UN.” And that is false.

      “Notice that the title chosen by the UN gives the game away. It presents correlation as causation by implying that all the warming since pre-industrial times has been caused by industry. There’s no room here for a natural oscillation back from the well-documented lows of the 1700s, which themselves were rebounds from a higher temperature period in the 1400s.”

      (1) The title doesn’t say anything like that. It’s just in his head.

      (2) He appears pretty ignorant of the massive body of evidence – which almost every single climate scientists agrees – on the effect of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

      (3) Most of the rest of his claims appear either vague or bogus.

      If this is where you get information, no wonder that you are ill-informed. He has no background in climate science, and a history of making big claims about matters on which he has no expertise.

      1. Ron,

        “No room for discussion there.”

        Not everything has room for discussion. I know many Americans live in a post-mo post-truth society, but reality has not changed.

  2. “-Individual IPCC authors make claims at the release of the report that are more alarmist than what the official press release says.”

    It’s a collective IPCC response, NOT individual, and these are NOT extremist but tend, in fact,to be overly conservative. At this point in time ALARMISM is needed since most people want to avoid facing the realities of accelerating climate change. Isn’t it wonderful to sound reasonable and blame “alarmists” even when ALARM is the only way to awaken a population that has been inured to daily infusions of research showing that serious and irrevocable climate change IS taking place.

    1. Hugh,

      “but tend, in fact,to be overly conservative.”

      There is not the slightest empirical evidence for that. It’s just leftists fiction – an excuse for abandoning the IPCC, and more recently, climate science.

    2. “At this point in time ALARMISM is needed since most people want to avoid facing the realities of accelerating climate change. Isn’t it wonderful to sound reasonable and blame “alarmists” even when ALARM is the only way to awaken a population that has been inured to daily infusions of research showing that serious and irrevocable climate change IS taking place.”

      This reminds me of the people to whom the solution to creationism being peddled as factual science in public schools is to create an ever-thicker volume of disproofs of the avowed theories of creationism.

      Such things have a role, but they’re incomplete. This does not make the creationists right, it means that you aren’t having the same conversation that they are.

      1. SF,

        By “alarm” they mean lie about the situation and smear their opponents. This makes rational debate – and developing an effective public policy – difficult or impossible. Which is why these people need to be given strong rebuttals (ditto with the deniers).

        An extreme version of this was during the AIDS era, activists decided that the way to get better treatment for AIDS was to harass scientists working on AIDS. One Conference was disrupted by protesters. These kind of people are chaff in our society, and can do considerable damage if tolertaed.

  3. Its an hysterical mania I am afraid. Its like Eugenics, the South Sea Bubble, the madness with which countries rush into disastrous wars, mass sudden beliefs in some religion. Its like those guys in that African country who suddenly were gripped with the collective mania that their penises were shrinking due to witchcraft. Or the famous 19c case of the tribe who killed all their cattle because some charismatic child urged them to.

    There are two criteria by which you can tell them.

    First, if you look at the measures advocated by believers, you find that in the terms of their own theory they will be ineffective. For example, putting up a few wind turbines in the UK or the US. Even if this did reduce emissions (and after you allow for backup power to cover intermittency the reduction is minimal), it will have a tiny impact on the supposed problem, even locally, and none at all on the global problem.

    Second, you’ll find that they will reject what the theories they claim to believe would really imply. For instance, you’ll find no climate activists advocating the abolition of the auto industry world wide. They will not admit that their zero emission goal is incompatible with China’s current and planned trajectory, and that China (and India) must, if their theory is correct, reduce the tonnage they are emitting and planning to emit by huge percentages.

    The recent classic along those lines was the SF decision to stop oil production from the field which had been donated to the city. It makes zero difference to SF emissions. What would make a difference would be to ban cars from the greater SF area. But they want to close down the oil field, which will have no effect on local emissions, and no-one will even consider taking the sort of radical action that would really be required to make real reductions. Not that it would make any difference to the supposed global problem if they did!

    Its an hysterical cult, largely confined to the US and the UK and one or two European countries. I don’t think there is any evidence that the Asian countries believe a word of it.

    Read the comments to climate stories on Ars or the Guardian. You find people allegedly firmly convinced that the human race is at urgent risk of extinction due to runaway warming due to global emissions. Only a few years left to have any chance of averting it. And rejecting any suggestion that would actually result in reductions on the scale that their theory implies is necessary.

    They simultaneously act as if the end of the world is nigh unless we get to zero in a decade or two, and that its neculturny to think that China emitting 10 billion tons a year and rising is incompatible with this.

  4. Wanted to thank you for responding on WUWT on your other post. I know it must be a bit tiresome in that the inconsistency of definitions and argument make most reasonable responses open to the next guy’s skewed beliefs. It is important that you respond. I know I got tired of closed minds when trying to warn that natural variability is not their friend. Uncertainty cuts both ways in science. It is only one sided for zealots.

    1. John,

      We live in a nation lit only by propaganda. We like it that way. The result will be ugly, but well-deserved,

      My co-authors have all given up responding to comments, because they’re smarter than me. In fact, they have given up writing (because they’re …).

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  6. Richard Greene

    Larry, you seem to be confusing real climate science with climate scaremongering.

    Real climate science studies the past and present climate.

    Climate scaremongering is wild guess, always wrong, predictions of 100% bad news climate change in the future, often using computer games. That’s not real science, even if a scientist with an advanced science degree is involved. In real science, repeated wrong predictions falsify a theory, But not in climate scaremongering.

    What is disturbing is that our planet has had roughly 78 years of experience with rising CO2 levels and intermittent harmless global warming, from 1940 through 2018.

    That PAST warming (roughly +0.6 degrees C. in 78 years) seems to be ignored when alarmists make scary predictions of FUTURE warming, at a rate roughly quadruple the warming rate experienced in the past (+0.77 degrees per century in the past vs. +3 degrees per century for the average climate mode prediction, excluding the Russian model, that is obviously colluding with Donald Trump).

    The +0.6 degrees C. global .warming from 1940 through 2018 consists of +0.5 degrees C. from 1979 through 2018, per UAH satellite lower troposphere data, plus no warming from 1940 to 1979 per NASA-GISS surface data + an extra +0.1 degree C. added in to be conservative.( I try to use the measurements most likely to be the best available at the time).

    1. Richard,

      I have no idea what you are talking about in your rant. You appear to be some kind of denier about basic climate science. I suggest you write up a paper with your stunning analysis. A Nobel Prize awaits!

      1. California and the Pacific Northwest have had a very quiet fire season. Here are some possible explanations:
        a) a sudden drop in fuel load
        b) flammable, invasive species have been removed.
        c) large decrease in population (many fires are initiated by human activity).
        d) Lots of raking
        e) after several years of above average temperatures and less than normal rainfall, this season returned to near the 20th century average for each.

        Here are some relevant trends (Climate at a Glance):

        NW Climate Region, June – September, 1950 – 2018

        Average Temp:
        +0.4F /decade

        Precipitation:
        -0.13” /decade

        Palmer Z Index (lower = drier):
        -0.13 /decade

        California, June – September, 1950 – 2018

        Average Temp:
        +0.4F /decade

        Precipitation:
        -0.05” /decade

        Palmer Z Index:
        -0.16 /decade

        Not all of the news connecting wildfires to climate change is fake!

      2. Snape,

        “Not all of the news connecting wildfires to climate change is fake!”

        (1) You have not shown any evidence of climate change. What would be extraordinary if those weather indexes were unchanged over 68 years. Esp since those trends are so small. You need a longer baseline to show that this isn’t natural variation.

        (2) Wildfires are a natural aspect of California’s ecology. They teach that in 4th grade. You have not shown that wildfires have increased in frequency or magnitude – esp adjusted for the century-long period of wildfire suppression that turned the forests into tinderboxes (obvious to all who hiked in them). A period of adjustment was inevitable to rebalanced the land.

      3. Richard Greene

        My comment is clear and based on data. Your character attack response is shameful. It will not impress any of your fan club members.

      4. Richard,

        I still don’t understand what you are attempting to say. None of the following makes much sense, as you stated it.

        (1) “Climate scaremongering is wild guess, always wrong, predictions of 100% bad news climate change in the future, often using computer games.”

        Who uses “games?” Are you referring to the large body of climate research based on the RCPs and similar scenarios. How do you know the outputs are wrong?

        (2) “That PAST warming (roughly +0.6 degrees C. in 78 years) seems to be ignored when alarmists make scary predictions of FUTURE warming”

        Why is the past warming relevant to the future warming in the 21st C? How does that, for example, disprove model outputs using RCP 8.5?

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  9. Larry
    We both know there are all sorts of variables that effect the frequency and severity of forest fires. One of the biggest, though, is aridity. This is understood by anyone who’s made a campfire. The drier the fuel, the easier and faster it burns.

    Temperature, in turn, is one of several variables that determine aridity:

    “Consider the dry forests of Washington State and the American West. After a century of fire suppression, these once naturally adapted forests are now dangerously overcrowded—with too many trees. This, tragically, fuels more catastrophic wildfires. Add the pressure of a warming climate, and hotter temperatures make for thirstier trees, sucking the soils and streams dry.”

    https://www.washingtonnature.org/fieldnotes/2019/2/20/seeking-climate-clues-in-washingtons-snowpack

    Or in more detail:

    “The evaporation in evapotranspiration refers to water evaporated from over land.  This includes evaporation from soil, wetlands, and standing water from places like roofs and puddles.  It can also refer to direct evaporation of liquid water from the leaf surface of the plant.

    Transpiration happens when plants release water vapor from tiny holes, called stomata, in their leaves.  This is caused in part by the chemical and biological changes that occur as the plant undergoes photosynthesis and converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.  Transpiration performs the same function as human sweating because plants do it to cool down their leaves. Figure A shows the stomata on the underside of the leaf releasing water vapor (blue arrow) because of the warmth from the sun.

    There are a whole host of factors that affect evapotranspiration: 

    Temperature – As temperature increases, the rate of evapotranspiration increases.  Evaporation increases because there is a higher amount of energy available to convert the liquid water to water vapor.  Transpiration increases because at warmer temperatures plants open up their stomata and release more water vapor.”

    Evapotranspiration | North Carolina Climate Office

    Do you disagree, and believe higher temperatures (without a compensating increase in rainfall) will not increase aridity, or do you think global warming has bypassed California and the Pacific NW?

    1. Snape,

      I have no idea what you are attempting to say. But you totally ignored what I said. So I will repeat, in slightly more detail.

      You said you showed an effect of climate change. You didn’t show that there was any substantial (statistically significant) change in either climate (temp or precipitation) or wildfires (magnitude or frequency).

      Without that, all those details provide no support for your statement.

      1. Larry
        I’m disappointed my last comment wasn’t clear. My argument is based on two simple premises, both should be no-brainers to anyone familiar with the subject:

        1) All else being equal, a drier forest is easier to ignite and burns faster than a wetter forest.

        2) All else being equal, higher temperatures will cause a forest to dry out faster and to a greater extent than cooler temperatures.

        “Hotter, drier weather means our fuels are drier, so it’s easier for fires to start and spread and burn more intensely,” said University of Alberta fire scientist Mike Flannigan.
        It’s simple, he said: “The warmer it is, the more fire we see.”

        Regarding what you wrote, here is a nice study of temperature trends in California, 1950 – 2000:

        “If we assume global warming affects all regions of the state, then the small increases our study found in rural stations can be an estimate of this general warming over land. Larger increases would therefore be due to local or regional changes in land surface use due to human activities.”

        https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=1331

        Much of California’s NW coast is included in the “rural” and is heavily forested. The graphic shows +2.1 F warming in that time frame.

        It turns out the long term precipitation trend for that region (North Coast Drainage) is flat.
        https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/divisional/time-series/0401/pcp/12/12/1895-2019?base_prd=true&firstbaseyear=1901&lastbaseyear=2000&trend=true&trend_base=10&firsttrendyear=1895&lasttrendyear=2019

        An increase in temperature without a compensating increase in precipitation will, from a physics standpoint, lead to an increased fire risk.

        Is this supported by observations? Yes:

        “Over the past six decades, there has been a steady increase in the number of fires in the western U.S. In fact, the majority of western fires—61 percent—have occurred since 2000”

        “Those fires are also burning more acres of land. The average annual amount of acres burned has been steadily increasing since 1950. The number of megafires—fires that burn more than 100,000 acres (156 square miles)—has increased in the past two decades. In fact, no documented megafires occurred before 1970.”

        https://climate.nasa.gov/blog/2830/six-trends-to-know-about-fire-season-in-the-western-us/

        For what it’s worth, I’ve followed Cliff Mass’s blog for several years and agree with almost everything he writes about wildfires. The one exception being that I think he undervalues the drying from higher temps.

      2. Snape,

        Do you seriously believe that you have to do your own analysis about the drought to look for a climate signal? There have been dozens of such studies – by experts. In March 2015 posted a dozen here: “Key facts about the drought that’s reshaping California.” There have more since then. They show little or no role from climate change – because such droughts are California’s climate for the past several millenia.

        When looking at wildfire frequency and magnitude, the role of a century’s fire suppression must be factored in. We’re experiencing the inevitable “rebound” as nature returns the ecology to a more typical condition.

  10. “Do you seriously believe that you have to do your own analysis about the drought to look for a climate signal?”

    What??? I never even mentioned the drought you’re referring to.

    “When looking at wildfire frequency and magnitude, the role of a century’s fire suppression must be factored in.”

    Of course! As already stated, “We both know there are all sorts of variables that effect the frequency and severity of forest fires.”

    Temperature is a variable that needs to be factored in as well, which has been my argument here.

    1. Snape,

      “Temperature is a variable that needs to be factored in as well, which has been my argument here.”

      If you believe that experts don’t know that, you’re kidding yourself.

      I suggest that you just read experts’ analysis, and use your time more productively.

  11. Regarding propaganda, graphics can be a powerful tool. For example, stretch the x-axis on a time series and a significant trend can appear insignificant. Stretch the y-axis, as NOAA has just done, and a trend can look extra scary.

    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/global/time-series/globe/land_ocean/ann/12/1950-2019?trend=true&trend_base=10&begtrendyear=1950&endtrendyear=2019

    Apathy, in my opinion, is a much bigger problem than propaganda. The scarier the better.

    1. Snape,

      “Regarding propaganda, graphics can be a powerful tool.”

      See the master for demonstrations of the bad and good use of graphs illustrating quantitative information: Edward Tufte.

      “Apathy, in my opinion, is a much bigger problem than propaganda.”

      As I have long and often written, our core problem is our abdication of citizenship – with apathy and passivity its major expressions.

      1. Thanks for the Edward Tufte link. What a brilliant mind!

        You’re right about citizenship. Our actions are what really matter.
        I saved a comment from a Cliff Mass blog, written by someone often shamed for his contrarian views. (I admit to feeling more than a little guilty after reading it)

        “To those who persist in scaremongering on this blog on a daily basis, tell us what you’re doing on a personal level to ameliorate your concerns. I’ve lived in multi – family housing for my entire adult life after college, lived close enough to work that I could take public transportation, and was recycling since my days in the Boy Scouts when it was considered fairly nutty. If you haven’t been practicing what you preach then it’s time to stop talking and start taking personal responsibility for your actions. I don’t tell people how to live their lives, but if do then get to work.”

  12. It seems to me that LK’s condescending attitude toward some here, hamper my ability to appreciative the large amount of good work he has done.

    With that said:

    “The belief that RCP8.5 is a “business as usual” scenario was for a decade the critical link between conventional climate science and activists’ doomsters’ screeds. Now alarmists have abandoned even that as too conservative, saying that “business as usual” means either collapse of civilization or even extinction of humanity”

    We would all be better off if TPTB convince the world that we are running at RCP4.5, have been and probably will be without the drastic, impossible, and unnecessary boondoggle such as the “Green New Squeal.”

    Less carbon is good, so is sensible government energy and environmental policies. It should be against the law to say we are in a “climate crisis”. Where is the proof?

    1. Ron,

      “LK’s condescending attitude toward some here, hamper my ability to appreciative the large amount of good work he has done.”

      What a sad puppy! You dream of a world where activists and deniers are respected as their ignorance and lies dominate the public policy discussion, guiding America into the toilet. I don’t share your dream, and neither deserve the slightest degree of respect. My fault is that I’m too nice to them.

      When tolerated, the climate variant of Gresham’s Law applies: “ignorant or lying commenters drive away good commenters.”

      “We would all be better off if TPTB convince the world that we are running at RCP4.5”

      You don’t appear to understand the use of scenarios in risk planning. The IPCC, wisely, does not give probabilities to the RCPs. The current forcing level is closer to that in RCP8.5, but the effects of the RCPs don’t differ much until the late 2020s. More important, designating a business-usual scenario for the long-term is either difficult or impossible. Linear extrapolations are bogus, much like projecting the linear growth of a 12-year-old boy out for the next 30 years.

      “It should be against the law to say we are in a “climate crisis”.”

      “Crisis” is a political term. That you think the speech of people who disagree with you should be “against the law” shows a horrific authoritarian personality. Perhaps living in a democracy doesn’t suit you.

      1. Larry,

        “Perhaps living in a democracy doesn’t suit you.”

        And here we are…lol

  13. Editor’s note: this is a classic example of trolling by climate activists.
    See my reply below. Russell didn’t understand the text, so his rebuttals are false.
    He runs the “vvattsupwiththat” website, filled with equally bogus content.

    Q. How do readers know Fabiius Maximus has not read Rahmsdorf’s paper in The National Geographic ?

    A. Because Rahmsdorf et. al did not publish it there.

    Q. How do they know Fabius doesn’t read whart he writes about ?

    A. Because he’s clearly never seen a copy of Nature Geoscience.

    Vale Fabius , Pontificator numquam maxime!

    1. Russell,

      “Q. How do readers know Fabiius Maximus has not read Rahmsdorf’s paper in The National Geographic ?
      A. Because Rahmsdorf et. al did not publish it there.”

      That’s quite the reading fail. I never said it was in National Geographic. I said “Holthaus re-tweets climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf’s exaggeration of the study’s results.” Rahnsdorf’s tweet appears right below the text.

      “Because he’s clearly never seen a copy of Nature Geoscience.”

      Another reading fail. I give a link to an open copy of the article, quote from the article, and favorably mention details of the article.

      1. @LK

        I think Russell’s failure to understand your post, and the subsequent attempt to discredit you, can be summed up in his own words,
        “Idiocy, inanity, ideology and horsefeathers in contemporary climate discourse”

      2. Snape,

        Remember the ancient lawyers’ adage:

        “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on your side, pound the table.”

        The climate activists’ version of this ends, “lie loudly.” It’s a sign of their moral and intellectual bankruptcy when confronted with science.

  14. Well……. my views are mostly aligned with the alarmist crowd. I just don’t like to see one side attacking the other.
    I don’t like bullying, which is what goes on in several activist blogs, including ATTP, where Russell is a regular. IMO, instead of helping the cause they manage to deepen the divide.

    As a respected conservative, your comments to the “AGW is a hoax” crowd carry a lot of weight. Much more than from a progressive like Russell.

    1. Snape,

      “my views are mostly aligned with the alarmist crowd.”

      That’s sad. But there is the hope that you will regain interest in science. After all, the efforts of the IPCC and the major climate agencies are the largest such project in the history of the world. Too bad that you’ve abandoned it for more politically appealing stories.

      “your comments to the “AGW is a hoax” crowd carry a lot of weight.”

      More accurately rephrase that to “carry zero weight”, just as the IPCC is ignored by alarmists. It’s Clownworld, where facts and logic are aliens.

      1. I differ with my fellow alarmists where I think they differ with the IPCC, or with what I know about science. Science is probably 95% of my interest in the subject.

        “More accurately rephrase that to “carry zero weight”, just as the IPCC is ignored by alarmists. It’s Clownworld, where facts and logic are aliens.”

        That’s too much of a generalization, Larry. You have a powerful voice, and I’m certain you’ve changed opinions.

      2. Snape,

        The usual schema is that there is the consensus – represented by those who believe the IPCC’s Working Group I (the physical science). The IPCC says that there are as yet few effects of the warming (which began in the late 19th C, the warming since 1950 mostly anthropogenic). The warming will continue, but the amount and effects cannot be reliably predicted (i.e., most statements about the future have high levels of uncertainty).

        There are the skeptics, who don’t believe the IPCC (and the extremists, the deniers – who don’t believe in the greenhouse effect). There are the alarmists, who believe that the IPCC is wrong – too conservative (skeptics of science, in a different sense).

        the extremists on both sides have reduced the public debate to a cacophony and deadlocked public policy.

        Choose your side.

  15. Larry
    The fact that hundreds, probably thousands of scientists have voiced concern about the future of the planet under global warming, combined with great uncertainty, is in itself cause for alarm.

    There’s an overwhelming amount of information in the IPCC reports, but here’s some of the latest:

    “The IPCC approved and accepted Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems at its 50th Session held on 2 – 7 August 2019. The approved Summary for Policymakers (SPM) was presented at a press conference on 8 August 2019.”

    https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl/

    Just one example of a problem both observed and projected to increase:

    Chapter 4 (4-41)
    “Mesoscale convective systems (MCS), typically thunder storms, have increased markedly in recent 3-
    23 4 decades in the USA and Australia and they are projected to increase substantially (Prein et al. 2017).
    24 Using a climate model with the ability to represent MCS, Prein and colleagues were able to predict
    25 future increases in frequency, intensity, and size of such weather systems. Findings include the 30%
    26 decrease in number of MCS of 90 mm h-1 over the North American continent. The combined effect of
    28 increasing precipitation intensity and increasing size of the weather systems implies that the total
    29 amount of precipitation from these weather systems is expected to increase by up to 80% (Prein et al.
    30 2017), which will substantially increase the risk of land degradation in terms of landslides, extreme
    31 erosion events, flashfloods etc.
    32 The potential impacts of climate change on soil erosion can be assessed by modelling the projected
    33 changes in particular variables of climate change known to cause erosion, such as erosivity of rainfall.
    34 A study of the conterminous United States based on three climate models and three scenarios (A2,
    35 A1B, and B1) found that rainfall erosivity will increase in all scenarios, even if there are large spatial
    36 differences – strong increase in NE and NW, and either weak or inconsistent trends in the SW and
    37 mid-West (Segura et al. 2014).”

    1. Snape,

      “The fact that hundreds, probably thousands of scientists have voiced concern about the future of the planet under global warming, combined with great uncertainty, is in itself cause for alarm.”

      NO. That they have expressed concern is a reason for us to be concerned. They have not expressed alarm. Climate change is a threat to be dealt with, along with the other threats we face. Fortunately, there are reasonable measures we can take now. But we won’t since alarmists (like you) and deniers have hopelessly jammed up the public policy discussion. Congrats!

      As for Prein 2017: “The future intensification of hourly precipitation extremes” by Andreas F. Prein et al in Nature Climate Change.

      It is a simulation run using the RCP8.5 scenario, the worst case used in the IPCC’s AR5. Like the scores (hundreds?) of other such simulations, it finds that RCP8.5 would be bad. It wouldn’t be the extermination of life on Earth, like the Extinction Rebellion people. Or the end of civilization. RCP8.5 is, however, somewhere between extraordinarily unlikely or impossible (as a well-constructed worst-case scenario should be).

      Also, I suggest you stick with the Summary – rather than trolling thru the material cherry-picking material you can exaggerate to suit your political needs. The body of the report is for people who have some knowledge of climate science.

      1. Larry,

        “That they have expressed concern is a reason for us to be concerned. They have not expressed alarm. Climate change is a threat to be dealt with, along with the other threats we face. Fortunately, there are reasonable measures we can take now. But we won’t since alarmists (like you) and deniers have hopelessly jammed up the public policy discussion. Congrats!”

        NO. You better look to alarmist scientists, politicians, bloggers, and MSM before you blame common peons responding to this topic, who have “hopelessly jammed up the public policy discussion.”

        You know, the exploitation of RCP8.5, the thing Dr. Curry is trying to explain again.

      2. Ron,

        “before you blame common peons”

        I absolutely reject that. We are all citizens, possessing both rationality and responsibility – together called “agency.” If you take that from people, you are insulting them in the deepest way possible.

      3. Larry,

        It wasn’t meant as an insult, just an observation of mine. We are all in this mess together.

      4. Ron,

        Calling people “peons” is an insult. It’s not an observation.

        Also, blaming “others” while absolving people of the consequences of their beliefs and actions is the essence of denying their agency. You are classifying them with children and dogs. That is also an insult.

        Saying “I didn’t mean to insult” is the weakest of excuses. In an age of honor you would hesitate before saying such things, to avoid finding yourself at dawn on a field with a pistol in your hand – wondering if an apology would be better than risking death.

  16. Larry

    I made a cautious statement in hopes we would both agree: “The fact that hundreds, probably thousands of scientists have voiced concern about the future of the planet under global warming…..”. We did. That doesn’t mean hundreds or thousands of scientists have not also expressed alarm. Do you have evidence that they have not?

    Here you’re just making stuff up: “Fortunately, there are reasonable measures we can take now. But we won’t since alarmists (like you) and deniers have hopelessly jammed up the public policy discussion. Congrats!”

    As mentioned earlier, almost all my interest is in the science. I’ve seldom if ever contributed to a discussion of public policy related to climate.

    “Also, I suggest you stick with the Summary – rather than trolling thru the material cherry-picking material you can exaggerate to suit your political needs.”

    Again, my main interest is in the science, not the politics. My political involvement is limited to a ballot box.

    The IPCC wrote, “Mesoscale convective systems (MCS), typically thunder storms, have increased markedly in recent 3-4 decades in the USA and Australia and they are projected to increase substantially (Prein et al. 2017).”

    “A study of the conterminous United States based on three climate models and three scenarios (A2, A1B, and B1) found that rainfall erosivity will increase in all scenarios”

    I wrote, with zero exaggeration, “Just one example of a problem both observed and projected to increase”.

    1. Snape,

      “Do you have evidence that they have not?”

      I should have stopped reading at this. You present evidence for your statement. It’s not other people’s role to believe what you say unless we disprove it. This is the usual alarmist clap-trap. You are just trolling us. {Update: more precisely, it is not possible to prove a negative. To say that it is false, give an example.}

      “A study of the conterminous United States based on three climate models and three scenarios (A2, A1B, and B1) found that rainfall erosivity will increase in all scenarios”

      I suggest, again, you stick to the Summary for Policy-makers, as you have little feel for science. That precipitation will increase means nothing. How much is the question. A small increase makes this a subject for concern, but not alarm.

      “Again, my main interest is in the science”

      You have given no evidence of having learned anything – anything at all – about the science. I have been patient, but this is a waste of time. I’m moderating further comments. Anything not trolling will be posted.

    1. Ron,

      Another excellent report by Dr. Curry. I’ll defer to her expert judgement regarding the role of determining a consensus in science. But having a group of scientists do so is, imo, essential for those making public policy. The IPCC does so as well as we can reasonably expect. There are, of course, many possible improvements. But our expectations for institutions on Earth (unlike Heaven) should be reasonable.

      1. Larry,

        I haven’t read the 28 pg report, just what is on her page. From what this peon knows about the subject, some sanity for a change. Of course, she has always been on the mark, imo.

  17. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #373 | Watts Up With That?

  18. Pingback: Energy & Environmental Newsletter: August 29, 2019 - Master Resource

  19. Pingback: Energy And Environmental Newsletter – August 29th 2019 | PA Pundits - International

  20. Linked to this article at “Why do climate change deniers think they are smarter than some of the World’s most respected scientists who say, warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities?” – answer by TL Winslow.

    1. History Scoper,

      Quara isn’t a reliable source, unless you sort thru to find the few answers by people who actually know what they’re talking about. WRT to climate change, this guy (Winslow) does not make the cut. His rant about “gigantic globalist Marxist U.N. IPCC government octopus” is ignorance on stilts.

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