‘When is it ‘weather’ and when is it ‘climate’?’ #12 My perspective on climate change

One of the frustrating aspects of the ‘climate change’ debate is the confusion between two frequently used terms — ‘weather’ and ‘climate’. NASA distinguishes them this wayWeather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time. Some wag said that climate is what you expect, weather is what you get. You won’t find much more helpful definitions than these. Conventionally, ‘climate’ is the average over thirty years. ‘Climate change’ is therefore conventionally defined as what we learn by comparing thirty-year periods. Unfortunately, we don’t have many of these periods that have useful data.

And I would argue that real climate change occurs over much longer periods. I read an absorbing account of particular changes recently in the Newsletter of Risk Frontiers at Macquarie University, in an article about paleoclimate datasets that suggest a climatic reason for the Polynesian colonisation of the Pacific: over long periods (a century or two) general wind directions changed to favour sailing in particular directions. Or, to use an example I have used in the past, two thousand years ago Rome depended on wheat fields in northern Africa for the basic food of the Roman Empire— bread. I’ve been to those wheatfields in Libya. Today they are simply desert sand, though the striking Roman stone reservoirs are still there, 2000 years later.. The Sahara was much wetter in the past. So was inland Australia, where Aboriginal cave paintings depict lakes, fish and waterbirds.

To me that is real climate change. What we see today, on the evidence, is just weather. It’s not even ‘extreme weather’, or ‘climate disruption’. It is understandable that people find it difficult to know what is happening. It doesn’t really matter what is happening in weather — heat, cold, rain, drought, floods, storms, fires — there will be an AGW scaremonger telling us all that this is just the climate change he or she or they have been warning us about. And it works. Many people accept the scare. But you need to look hard at the evidence. Here are two home-grown illustrations of the difference.

Example 1. The current el Nino has produced higher temperatures for many parts of the world, including Canberra, where all four months this year have had higher-than-average temperatures. The el Nino is subsiding quickly, and it may be followed by a cool la Nina, with rain. It may not. We will see. But these conditions are aspects of our weather. There have been el Ninos for hundreds of years, and there will be more in the future, almost certainly. There is no reason at all to suppose that variations in the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), which is another way of measuring the el Nino/laNina movements, are caused by greenhouse gas emissions. El Ninos and la Ninas are weather, as is the heat, or rain, or cold, or droughts or floods that accompany them.

Now those who live in the national capital know that it is time to put the central heating on when Anzac Day come. In our case it would have been April 26th, but we were away for two days. While we were away our house became cold, and on our return we turned the heating on. The fact that we had had unusually warm weather for the summer and autumn of 2016 made no difference. The reason is related to climate, not weather. At this time of the year, on every day, sunrise comes a minute later, and sunset a minute earlier. Over a week that is 14 minutes less sunlight, assuming that the sun shines all the time. Over a month that is an hour a day less sunlight. The sun is less powerful in April than it was in March, as its incidence is lower. The houses cool down; the nights are colder; the days have less sunlight. That will continue until June 22nd, when the days will start to become longer, and the cycle reverses. Weather can have local effects. Last year there was a very cold day on April 6th, and returned on the gas fire in the living room. But the central heating wasn’t needed until just before Anzac Day. That is climate at work. The ambient heat of our house just declines because there is less sunlight, and less heat.

Example 2. I went to a concert at the Canberra International Music Festival given by Katie Noonan and the Brodsky Quartet. Before one of the songs she paid a tribute to an audience member who has been trying to persuade Australia’s politicians that they should do more to combat climate change. Canberra’s temperature today was 25 degrees, she said. That’s not normal! Tell them that! She was partly right: that was a warmer day than usual, but by no means unprecedented. The average maximum temperature for April in Canberra is 20 degrees Celsius. The next day was cold, very windy and wet. Wind chill around 8 degrees. Way lower than normal. Two days later we had our first winter day, with a very cold night and a cold wind throughout the day. At least it was sunny. Katie Noonan is a fine singer, with a wonderfully varied voice, but she doesn’t understand the difference between weather and climate. Most people don’t, so she’s normal, and her lack of understanding is not unprecedented.

In truth, all the talk about ‘climate change’ is misguided. What the Climate Botherers are talking about is variations in weather. We get lots of them, and one can usually find the cause. Wikipedia sets out five ingredients of weather and climate:

  • Temperature is how hot or cold the atmosphere is, how many degrees it is above or below freezing. Temperature is a very important factor in determining the weather because it influences or controls other elements of the weather, such as precipitation, humidity, clouds and atmospheric pressure.
  • Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere.
  • Precipitation is the product of a rapid condensation process (if this process is slow, it only causes cloudy skies). It may include snow, hail, sleet, drizzle, fog, mist and rain.
  • Atmospheric pressure (or air pressure) is the weight of air resting on the earth’s surface. Pressure is shown on a weather map, often called a synoptic map, with lines called isobars.
  • Wind is the movement of air masses, especially on the Earth’s surface.

We don’t have good data for Australia for any of these variables, but what we do have do not, at least to me, show any sign that some kind of climatic change is happening. Temperatures have had highs and lows in the past — right back to the landing in 1788 and in the years that followed that event. Precipitation follows the SOI. There’s been no obvious increase in storms, fires or other so-called ‘extreme’ events. Yes, the costs of these events has risen, but that’s because there are more people, living in more places that are vulnerable to storms and fires.

In my opinion we should stop taking about ‘climate’ except when we are referring to large changes to large areas for which there is really good evidence, and stick to ‘weather’ as the common term for what we experience. As I have argued in earlier essays in this set, projected ‘extreme’ weather in the future is hardly worth considering, because it is based on projections from computer models that cannot even predict temperatures over the next few years..

Join the discussion 43 Comments

  • JimboR says:

    “That’s not normal! Tell them that!”

    I would have loved to have been sitting beside you when that happened. I think you would have copped a firm elbow in the ribs accompanied with a “Seeeeeeeee!”.

    I remember being similarly frustrated when Barnaby Joyce was doing a doorstop outside Parliament House a few years back on an unusually frosty Canberra morning. I can’t remember the exact quote, but that was all the proof he needed that AGW was just a scare campaign. It’s possible your singer meant “we’re having a very big El Niño sitting on top of a slowly rising baseline” but I agree it’s unlikely. What can you do but keep educating.

    • JMO says:

      From now on, whenever a climate doomster says do me we must do more and/ or fight against climate change I will ask OK, how do we go about it?” Listen patiently to the rants, then ask “So, how much cooling does a trillion US$ buy?” and wait for the stunned look….

  • JohnM says:

    One thing that has changed is “weather paranoia”. It was almost unheard of 30 years ago but is almost an epidemic today. Politicians and the media would probably call it a “climate shift”.

  • Alan Gould says:

    Yes,
    Our era seems to have become hypersensitive as to ‘signs’ and hyperenergised as to interpretation. So 25 degrees on an April day HAS to MEAN something, and one must advert to it howsoever one can, including places where an audience have paid money to hear music rather than harangue. I would have interjected that evangelising hussy.
    Good, lucid exposition, Don.

    • beththeserf says:

      No such thing as the innocent eye.
      http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/ecopsyc/courses/artimages/gifs/alain.gif

      Hyper sensitive to signs… hmm, inductive, ‘bucket – theory’ learning’s
      a myth. Fraught human senses, control-freak brain, registering,
      interpreting, censoring, commanding, nothing goes in or out without its
      say so, yes – no – maybe.

      We can’t be passive. Search – light learning, trial and error rules,
      laughter’s a survival mechanism, beware the fixed, the rigid, the
      cartoon grimace.

      In science, conjectures, refutation tests, evolution of theories, we
      somehow lift ourselves up by our bootstraps,” history of science shows
      consensus in science is a joke. )

      * Karl Raimond Popper.

  • BB says:

    Thanks Don I find the comments about weather and climate confusing and I think it is because the person writing about it doesn’t quite know themselves. Your idea that it is all weather to me seems to be a good thing to go with.

    You didn’t say exactly what day the concert was on but no matter. Quite often people spruiking that line of argument will have a bit more knowledge and will say something like it hasn’t been as hot on this day for the past 30 years. Saying this they brand themselves as idiots. For one talking about a specific day of the month is anyone’s guess and it in no way represents the average for the month. By saying it hasn’t been so hot as this since whatever means it was this hot many decades ago so obviously CO2 the typical culprit is not causing it nor is human activity. Distresses me though is everyone applauds “oh you are very responsible citizen”.

    I thought I would have a bit of a look at what the data of the past for April is. The bureau of meteorology keeps data starting in the in 1939 of the Canberra airport. Which is close enough to Canberra I guess. Looking at this data I thought I would pass it on because it really does show just how stupid such a statement is. I suppose I should say whoever is the source is stupid the rest are ignorant useful idiots. Alternatively you could say sinister propagandists are the source.

    Okay what was April? There were 171 days in the past when April weather in Canberra was equal to or more than 25. The last being 2010 and the first being 05/04/1948. There were 10 days that were 25 in the past but the ridiculousness of the statement really shows when you look further what was the warmest day? The answer to this is very revealing. It was on the 04/04/1986 and then it was 32.6°, was it CO2 then? That dreaded greenhouse gas CO2 was on the rise then and it gave Hansen the opportunity in 1988 to tell the world, sorry the U.S. Senate that we are all going to fry! Data is a bugger because if you look further back 48 years in the past to 12/04/1968 guess what it was 32.6 then as well, CO2 you think I don’t?

    The trouble is a person such as that celebrity could get up on the stage and say something quite ridiculous as long as it’s somewhat plausible. No one can challenge it other than in a general way and by the time someone does look up the record the opportunity is lost. So her audience goes away in the main with the idea that April in 2016 was hotter than usual. Not many will think that that was a idiotic thing to say and something she knows nothing about.

  • PeterE says:

    Your thoughts on ‘weather’ and ‘climate’ are entirely convincing. Another great confusion in the public mind is between ‘greenhouse gas pollution’ and common or garden air pollution, meaning simply smog, smoke and the like. The television propaganda images are all of the latter and the cry is for ‘clean’ air. Of course everyone wants clean air, and an example of a great and successful clean-up is that of London which used to suffer most dreadfully from the ‘London smog.’ When meetings of the leaders discussing ‘climate change’ take place (as recently in Paris), the TV will, however, feature Beijing’s choking air and scare the daylights out of the gullible.
    The good news this week, like music to the ears, is the cry of the believers that ‘there’s nothing in the budget for the environment!’ .

  • Aert Driessen says:

    Don, I think that the notion that climate = 30 years’ average weather is more than convention; as I understand it, that is how the World Meteorological Organisation defined it. Your piece makes perfect sense, thanks.

    • JMO says:

      Yes that is correct and the 30-year period (the first one was 1 Jan 1901 to 31 Dec 1930) is called a “climate normal”

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Aert,

      That the WMO has defined climate as a 30-year span does not prevent its being a convention. To the best of my knowledge there is no particular reason for using 30 years rather than 31, 50 or 100. It is simply an agreed definition — a convention.

  • Aert Driessen says:

    Don, I’m using your post to relate a disturbing experience I had this morning after reading the cover story of a National Geographic magazine March 2015) which shows what a quagmire of corrupted language we have got ourselves into. As your piece is also about confusing language, I draw a connection albeit tenuous. Here goes. The front cover of said magazine proclaimed very boldly ‘The war on Science’ with sub titles pointing to ‘Climate change, evolution, the moon landings, vaccinations, and genetically modified food’. I’m aware of fringe groups believing in the great flood, that the moon landing was a fake, that vaccinations can cause autism or whatever, and that GM food is risky etc. I felt uplifted as I thought that at last a prestigious magazine was defending science, never suspecting that the editor was lumping us climate sceptics with the nutters and the other fringe dwellers. That started to come through as I read in more detail how the push against fluoridation by various sceptics was completely ignoring the evidence of the public good and how unreasonable that was. The editor was asking as to why scientism was on the rise and polarisation was the order of the day and what was causing reasonable people to doubt reason? The only positive I saw was that the orthodoxy was at least using the evidence argument in the fluoride story. I didn’t read the whole article (in a waiting room) because I was called but the quote that really disturbed me was by geophysicist Maria McNutt, now editor of Science and previously CEO of the USGS (US Geological Survey) saying ‘Science is not a body of facts. Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in laws of nature or not’. Where is the word EVIDENCE. We are now in a war not against science per se, but the scientific method which dictates that EVIDENCE TRUMPS EVERYTHING. The fluoride ‘controversy lasted some 50 years. We are in it for a long time.

    • Aert Driessen says:

      For scientism read scepticism, my mistake.

      • Alan Gould says:

        Aert,
        Well, I am of the camp that believes Armstrong’s words upon the moonlanding were not “One small step etc…” In fact they were, “Good luck Mr Grabowski!’
        How so, you ask reasonably. Well the story was hushed up, of course, but when Neil was a boy, and used to play baseball in the street, on one occasion he whacked the ball over a neighbour’s fence. He climbed over to retrieve it, and whilst in the garden, he overheard a palaver from within the house.
        “Oral sex? Oral sex?” (a woman’s voice), “The day I allow you oral sex with me, Mr Grabowski, will be the day the boy next door walks on the moon.”
        I relate this as one dedicated to facts and their resilience undr challenge.

        • dlb says:

          Sorry to disappoint but Neil Armstrong’s biographer said the story was invented by a comedian called Buddy Hackett around 1990. To quote Armstrong “There is absolutely no truth to it. I even heard Hackett tell the story at a charity golf outing”. Taken from “The Life of Neil Armstrong” by James R. Hansen (not the climate activist).

          • Alan Gould says:

            One suspected as much, and no disappointment in sight. There are facts that establish truth and ‘facts’ that improve it.

        • gnome says:

          I’m going to have to stop saying “it’ll happen when Sarah Hyphen-young gets elected Prime-Minister. I’ve been tempting fate far too long!

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      The problem Aert, is that for some of these issues, that most of us believe are clear-cut, opposition can seem perfectly reasonable. All medically qualified people believe in the efficacy of vaccination, yet it is not unreasonable for a parent to believe that, in the absence of credible threats, vaccination against childhood diseases is unnecessary. Most of us know they’re wrong, because the evidence tells us so. Smallpox was eradicated. Polio in Australia is almost non-existent.

      If you compare this to the debate about climate science, the facts are at best, equivocal. Most people do not want to commit (or be committed) to, an ideological position in which they have no vested interest, and for which there is, as yet, no convincing evidence. ‘Records’ that are broken by tenths of a degree are meaningful in an olympic pool, but merely mirthful at a global level.

    • BB says:

      I to have seen that article I wasn’t in a waiting room but at a holiday cottage in mine host had thoughtfully left some magazines. I read it as well in entirety not much changed in it. I was incensed mainly because it showed a complete that misunderstanding of scepticism. For the article sceptics were a hated race of zealots it was an adjective not a verb. The writer did not see scepticism was a method of analysis for science or any other matter. In other words a dirty word a bit like paedophile seems we are much worse than that. If I was asked what scepticism is I think I would best go with this explanation.

      “The scientific method is central to skepticism. The scientific method is about the study and evaluation of evidence, preferably derived from validated testing. Anecdotal evidence and personal testimonies cannot be tested, so they generally aren’t useful to the scientific method, and thus won’t often be accepted by a responsible skeptic; which often explains why skeptics get such a bad rap for being negative or disbelieving people. They’re simply following the scientific method.

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, particularly in claims that are far fetched or that violate physical laws. Skepticism is an essential, and meaningful, component of the search for truthThe scientific method is central to skepticism. The scientific method is about the study and evaluation of evidence, preferably derived from validated testing. Anecdotal evidence and personal testimonies cannot be tested, so they generally aren’t useful to the scientific method, and thus won’t often be accepted by a responsible skeptic; which often explains why skeptics get such a bad rap for being negative or disbelieving people. They’re simply following the scientific method.

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, particularly in claims that are far fetched or that violate physical laws. Skepticism is an essential, and meaningful, component of the search for truth”.

      The author of that is Brian Dunning on https://skeptoid.com/skeptic.php

      I got out a pen and wrote all over the article thinking maybe someone else would pick this up and explained it’s not an adjective is a method of applying something called the scientific method. For the useful idiot the word sceptic is but a word describing someone who is a negative individual who will not accept facts. The facts though are not examined by these people they accept them on authority which really has little to do with science.

      • Aert Driessen says:

        Thank you BB for your support and endorsement; your analysis of the article is much more comprehensive and better-expressed than mine. My mind was still in a ‘frustrated’ state and that never helps in clear expression. I read you correction but decided to respond here because, other than having repeated yourself (probably via a cut-paste operation from a Word doc where one has more time to construct a comprehensive response), I didn’t spot an error or difference.

    • BB says:

      Sorry please ignore the last comment here it is corrected.

      I too have seen that article I wasn’t in a waiting room but at a holiday cottage, mine host had thoughtfully left some magazines. I read it as well in its entirety not much changed further on. I was incensed mainly because it showed a complete misunderstanding of scepticism. For author of the article sceptics were a hated race of zealots, it was an adjective not a verb. The writer did not see scepticism was a method of analysis for science or any other matter. In other words, a dirty word a bit like paedophile seems we are much worse than that. If I was asked what scepticism is I think I would best go with this explanation.

      “The scientific method is central to scepticism. The scientific method is about the study and evaluation of evidence, preferably derived from validated testing. Anecdotal evidence and personal testimonies cannot be tested, so they generally aren’t useful to the scientific method, and thus won’t often be accepted by a responsible skeptic; which often explains why skeptics get such a bad rap for being negative or disbelieving people. They’re simply following the scientific method.

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, particularly in claims that are far fetched or that violate physical laws. Scepticism is an essential, and meaningful, component of the search for truth”.
      The author of that is Brian Dunning on https://skeptoid.com/skeptic.php

      I got out a pen and wrote all over the article thinking maybe someone else would pick this up and explained it’s not an adjective it is a method of applying something called the scientific method. For the useful idiot the word sceptic is but a word describing someone who is a negative individual who will not accept facts. The facts though are not examined by these people they accept them on authority which really has little to do with science.

  • Neville says:

    Here is a 2008 study by Dr Roy Spencer looking at the influence of the PDO and clouds etc. He finds that the majority of cooling and warming could be due to the shifts in the PDO cycle and clouds. Remember the very strong cool phase PDO from about 1945 to 1976 ( 30+ years) corresponded to the slight reduction in world temps and the new ice age scare in the 1970s. Here’s his conclusions. And here’s a link to his simple model study.
    BTW Don, how many links can be included with each comment ? Just one as before or up to three?

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/research-articles/global-warming-as-a-natu ral-response/

    4. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

    The evidence continues to mount that the IPCC models are too sensitive, and therefore produce too much global warming. If climate sensitivity is indeed considerably less than the IPCC claims it to be, then increasing CO2 alone can not explain recent global warming. The evidence presented here suggests that most of that warming might well have been caused by cloud changes associated with a natural mode of climate variability: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

    The IPCC has simply assumed that mechanisms of climate change like that addressed here do not exist. But that assumption is quite arbitrary and, as shown here, very likely wrong. My use of only PDO-forced variations in the Earth’s radiative energy budget to explain three-quarters of the global warming trend is no less ‘biased’ than the IPCC’s use of carbon dioxide to explain global warming without accounting for natural climate variability. If any IPCC scientists would like to dispute that claim, please e-mail me at roy.spencer (at) nsstc.uah.edu. (two months later, as of late December, 2008, I’ve still not received a response.)

    It should be noted that the entire modern satellite era started in 1979, just 2 years after the PDO switched to its positive phase during the ‘Great Climate Shift’ of 1977. Thus, our satellite data records are necessarily biased toward conditions existing during the positive phase of the PDO, and might not correspond to ‘normal’ climate conditions. Indeed there might not be any such thing as ‘normal’ climate conditions.

    If the PDO has recently entered into a new negative phase then we can expect that global average temperatures, which haven’t risen for at least seven years now, could actually start to fall in the coming years. The recovery of Arctic sea ice now underway might be an early sign that this is indeed happening. The next few years of satellite data might provide some very interesting insights into whether the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is indeed a major force in climate change.

    • BB says:

      Hi Neville I started with computers in 1975 and started a computing degree in Canberra in 1976. I am now retired but I learnt quite a lot about software development and what you can do with computers in those many years. If you are going to produce any computer software the main principles of software engineering are that you have to have a very sound theory of how it works. Unless you do, you are deluding yourself. Having that you can produce something worthwhile.
      For instance, “Rolls-Royce” knows how its engines work so there are computer models that are used in the aid of their jet engine design. There will be uncertainties however because it is quite possible not everything will be accounted for. There was a near disaster a few years back involving an A380 an oil pipe was too close to hot parts of the engine and caused it to explode. Rolls-Royce and any sensible organisation does not rely on the computer model they use it to design the motor, they then build the motor which they then test to destruction. In the case I mentioned still they got it wrong.
      Weather is little understood and is certainly a quite chaotic system. You cannot pick up a book that will accurately give a method of determining when it is going to rain in the future anywhere. It seems to be believed though an accurate prediction of temperature in a general large area, decades if not a century into the future can be, rubbish. There is no theory of weather there are many rules that can be applied to the flow of the atmosphere which are derived quite often from the flow of fluids. To applying these as they do in General Circulation Models is a highly complex and impossible task with our current knowledge and expertise. Briefly the for why is the natural world is analog and trying to apply a digital technology to solve analog issues is very difficult. I remember a time when a computer had no hope of recording a sine wave and playing it back to you accurately. That issue has been solved the computers these days are fast enough to play back a digital signal that delete to the human ear is indistinguishable from the original. To apply this sort of principle let’s make the computers very quick, does not work when you are talking about the weather of the planet. We are many magnitudes off in that even if we could have a theory of weather. So I am saying is a fudge.

      I think our criticisms do not address it as that. Some years ago a company in the USA invented a home robot which on the face of it did marvellous things. Robotics then where much more primitive than now but this would do stuff that was unbelievable even by today’s standards. In Australia the Woman’s Weekly bought one of these for $10,000 and was greatly enthusiastic as to how it was going to relieve the housewife’s burden. It would fold clothes do the washing up vacuuming and various other household tasks. There were many demonstrations and it performed very well until someone sussed it. It was always accompanied by a man with his hand stuck in a bag and it was he who did it all. Climate Models have been falsified the planet does not agree with them. Rather than trying to work out how they could work which is seems to me what Spencer is doing he should be looking for the man with his hand in the bag.

  • Neville says:

    This article by Bjorn Lomborg is one of his best. It also contains many links to further our understanding about some of the benefits of the world’s slight warming since the end of the LIA. This is a good post to bookmark for future reference.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/05/no-one-ever-says-it-but-in- many-ways-global-warming-will-be-a-go/

  • Neville says:

    Perhaps this link to Qld govt’s long paddock site is a good way to understand the IPO ( like PDO) decadal shifts and ENSO SOI from 1890 to 2015. This is using data from the BOM.
    At the bottom of the chart of OZ rainfall maps you’ll see two graphs in one. The long smooth curves are the decadal IPO shifts and the spikes are el nino and la nina short periods. The well defined 1950s to 1970s cool phase IPO period is a very wet period with big floods in the 50s and 70s. A lot more la ninas during that 30+ years ( 1945 to 1977) of cool IPO and a lot more el ninos during the warm phase 1977 to 1999 IPO.
    The chart of rainfall maps are not Jan to Dec years but are adjusted to Mar- April. You’ll see colour coding for rainfall on RH side. EG blue is the wettest, then dark green to light green and note that grey is average rainfall areas. But plenty of climate and weather periods to look at since 1890.

    https://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/products/pdf/australiasvariablerain fall.pdf

  • spangled drongo says:

    Don, thanks again for a little sane rationality on this inflammable subject.

    Your logic is in stark contrast to this peer reviewed paper by the usual suspects on islands disappearing in the Solomons due to their “understanding” of sea level rise.

    Even with SLR at 3-5 mm/y it would take many years of “Climate” change to drown these islands but these “experts” can’t see that if the coral island in the background [which was at the same level a short time back] is still there then the one in the foreground was washed away by some other cause.

    https://theconversation.com/sea-level-rise-has-claimed-five-whole-isla nds-in-the-pacific-first-scientific-evidence-58511?utm_medium=email&ut m_campaign=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%204808&utm_content=The%20W eekend%20Conversation%20-%204808+CID_8658b2e7764e76d0bcadc5a3944a86ad& utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Sea-level%20rise%20has%20claimed% 20five%20whole%20islands%20in%20the%20Pacific%20first%20scientific%20e vidence

    The present el Nino climate shift actually has the reverse effect in that part of the Pacific in that it reduces SLs because the trade winds ease and the SLR goes eastward, back where it came from.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      If you look at the BOM site for the Pacific Sea Level Monitoring Project (http://tinyurl.com/jx26g2g), you will find that sea levels in the Solomon Islands regularly vary by up to half a metre year by year, and that the means over the past few years have shown a sharp decline.

      • spangled drongo says:

        Thanks, Bryan. Good one. It’s more up to date than mine and that latest fall is shown better.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Check out how sea levels have fallen at Honiara since the recent el Nino:

    http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/stations/1861.php

    Peer review?

    Phfftt!!

  • don amoore says:

    There is much ado recently about damage to the GBR and its “massive bleaching”. The Adani mine is cited as “causing” massive further damage to the reef, and consequently there has been a legal attempt to invalidate Hunts decision.
    //newmatilda.com/2016/05/03/adani-case-coal-mines-approved/
    The circuitous route is something like:-
    The reef is dying,
    It is caused only by hot water.
    Hot water is caused by global warming.
    Global warming is caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
    Burning coal adds the CO2 emissions.
    The Adani mine will cause more coal burning

    The result of this case is that it will be lawyers who decide if the science of these assertions in valid, and not scientists.
    Some judge will say “Yes, CO2 causes global warming” and all else will follow.
    What I have seen of this case so far is that there is no scientific input at all, let alone from the anti CAGW side.
    Is this then “our” fault in not paying attention or caring?

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      There is coral bleaching on the reefs around Christmas Island. The locals say it has happened before, the water temperature is falling, and they expect the coral to recover, as it has previously.

      Yes, it’s certainly possible for humans to drive species to extinction, but i suggest it might be slightly more difficult to alter complete ecosystems. Not that we shouldn’t keep trying.

  • Neville says:

    This 2009 link to UNSW showed how the positive IOD was sometimes responsible for drought over SE Australia, even though a la nina event might have soaked eastern OZ.
    A positive IOD helped cause the federation, 1940s and recent big drought over SE OZ. A negative IOD usually means more rainfall south of a line drawn from Broome to Wollongong . Warmer waters off the WA coast means a negative IOD, just like a la nina event means warmer waters off the eastern OZ coast. There are some good graphs to look at here showing the IOD from 1880 to early 2000s. Just more NATURAL weather and climate variation we didn’t understand until recently.

    http://www.science.unsw.edu.au/news/indian-ocean-causes-big-dry-drough t-mystery-solved

  • Biota says:

    Perception of weather patterns and climate is dependent on where and how long you have lived. At 72 I have lived through 2.3 climate periods. My life has been outdoors in rural areas in coastal NSW. I have also lived through the start of the increased industrial age CO2 emissions. There is nothing that I can point at to say that the climate has changed over that time. There have been extremes in weather: floods, drought, heat, cold, damaging winds. In fact the heat outside in the 50’s seemed much more intolerable than today’s.

    I expect that most climate botherers have a hypothetical experience with climate in particular because they are too young and are urban dwellers.

  • Neville says:

    According to Ken Stewart the UAH V6 data shows there has been no global warming for 18 years 9 months. This includes the April 2016 update from Dr Roy Spencer.
    And there has been slight cooling in the south polar region since Dec 1978.

    https://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/the-pause-update-april-20 16/#comments

  • David says:

    Don, even for you the second last paragraph is sweeping one. You list the following five elements of weather/climate

    • Temperature.
    • Humidity.
    • Precipitation.
    • Atmospheric pressure.
    • Wind.

    and then state

    “We don’t have good data for Australia for any of these variables, but what we do have do not, at least to me, show any sign that some kind of climatic change is happening.”

    Really? This is an extraordinary thing to say. So, as far as you are concerned, the BoM has no good data on any of the five elements listed. And furthermore the 0.8 degree rise in temperature over the last 100 years does not meet the threshold of “any sign that some kind of climatic change is happening”.

    You might want to revise this. Otherwise your analysis will come across as a bit, ridged.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    No, I don’t see any need to qualify what I said. The BoM has some data about weather. I have argued that a 30-year period to define ‘climate’ makes little sense. You could argue against that if you feel the need. We know that weather has extremes of various kinds, and we know that these extremes recur. There seem to be patterns or cycles to these recurrences, but they are not precise, and some short ones are 60 years or so long, which doesn’t give us much traction in the 100 years for which the BoM has some data.

    We need to remember that all the meteorological data that we have was established in the beginning to give the new settlers some idea of what to expect in weather — when did the rains come, how cold would it be in winter, how high did the tides come, and so on. These data have become the basis for something else altogether: the feeling the humanity is acting on the planet to produce ‘climate change’. To this end the data are adjusted and interrogated in the hope that the signal of human activity can be found. So far, it seems to me, there is no such signal.

    But, as I have suggested to you many times, it is open to you to set out why you think the opposite and on what basis you think so.

  • David says:

    Don, it seems to me that the degree to which you are willing to accept some element of AGW is dependent on your mood. Today for example, when you write

    “To this end, the data are adjusted and interrogated in the hope that the signal of human activity can be found. So far, it seems to me, there is no such signal.”

    you appear to have strengthened your rejection of the AGW hypothesis. Yet on other days, you are more conciliatory. It is not a hanging crime to modify you position from time to time. I do however get confused at times, as to what you think.

    The reason I do not take up your offer to write some piece on AGW is that I can appreciate how much effort it would take. I am not going pretend to be a citizen climate scientist. I am happy to accept whatever the current scientific consensus is. If in 10 years’ time AGW is rejected, I will accept that. But at the moment the consensus is strongly in favor of AGW.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Maybe mood plays some part in it. I don’t know, and am not conscious of it. These pieces are an attempt to summarise my perspective on the AGW/CC issue. The more I do of them the more doubtful I get that there is anything really catastrophic in prospect with respect to any ‘global warming’ that is occurring. There are a couple more pieces to come. It should be possible for you, quite easily, to rehearse what I have said, and show what you think is wrong with it.

    Typically, however, you distract by talking about my mood, as though somehow it is the cause of what I write. And you say that you accept ‘whatever the current scientific consensus is’. Two of the summaries deal directly with the supposed consensus, where you had a great opportunity to show what was wrong with my argument. But you made a few distracting remarks, said that Cook persuaded you, and left it at that. Not very penetrating, really.

  • […] (#13). No one seems able to distinguish between ‘weather’ and ‘climate’ (#12). Conventionally, ‘climate’ is the average of thirty years of weather, which seems much […]

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