Cliff Mass Says this Weekend's Exceptional Windstorm Has Nothing to Do With Global Warming

Comments

1
Oh COME ON. Don't go scientific communism on us. That's such fucking bunk.
2
i know he's trying to be cautious, but cliff looks more and more like a denier. the prediction for ACC is more extreme & unusual weather events. so this sure LOOKS like what we'd expect if ACC was actually happening.

but saying you can't point at any one event as "proof" is science, but the extreme events are starting to add up, aren't they?

perhaps cliff should lay out what would constitute "proof", if he hasn't already done so.
4
Hmm, yes, who am I going to believe, the expert at his field who has repeatedly talked about how the Pacific Ocean means that the PNW will be one of the last places on Earth to fully feel the effects of global climate change or the columnist at the Stranger who keeps demanding that the expert blurs the lines between weather and climate and make proclamations that are unsupported by the data.

Mudede is making the same fucking mistake that members of Congress do when they bring a snowball onto the floor of the House or Senate and claim that climate change doesn't exist. Climate change is very real, but it doesn't explain every single raindrop or gust of wind.

Weather is not climate. They are related, but they work on very, very different scales.
5
Hm, well, it IS difficult to pin the cause of any specific weather event on climactic change, but as Max points out "weather chaos" -- extreme weather, unpredictable events -- is what is happening now that we've dumped billions of tons of CO2, H2O, & Methane (CH4) in to it... to say nothing of all the weird, crazy chemicals we've been producing & releasing since ~1900.

Don't believe in climate change?
6
Furthermore, why don't you provide some data showing the Mass is wrong for fucking once. If your best buddy Piketty can do it, so can you.
8
Cliff Mass is assuredly not a climate change denier, and is not opposed to regulations to help slow climate change. The last time I heard him speak, he said that there is absolutely no question that human activities are causing climate change.

He just realizes that attributing one unusual storm (or season) to climate change is roughly equivalent to when actual climate change deniers say there is no climate change because of one unusually cold winter in the Northeast.
9
@7 You can't prove a negative, that's not how science works.
10
Speaking of freakish weather anomalies…
No major hurricane has made landfall in the U.S. in more than 9 years -- and that's a new record!
Shall we attribute that to climate change as well?
11
What a disappointment! Max and Herr Kochwurst are having a bad day.
12
Solk512: did you even read the piece? Think what you want about Mudede, but he was doing anything BUT arguing against Cliff Mass.
13
Also, posted just a few months ago:

"Summer 2015: The Northwest's Global Warming Stress Test"
http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2015/05/su…

Right there in the title. No one who's a climate change denier would write that title.
14
@7 in science you prove something is a thing. Not that something is not a thing. I'm not gonna prove climate change is not a thing, as much as I'm not gonna put effort to prove a coffee pot does not orbit Neptune.
15
Solk512 is the only person in the thread thus far who has made sense.

One thing we CAN plausibly attribute to climate change is increased severe weather due to stronger El Nino cycles. There's a decent body of evidence (not nearly conclusive, but fairly strong) tying stronger El Nino variability to rising temperatures. Of course, it's hard to say exactly how strong the purported effect actually is, and it's nearly impossible to say that a particular given storm is the direct result of El Nino.
16
When you factor in the Lower BC Mainland (which arguably got it even worse than Seattle did), then there's well over a million that were without power on Saturday. In August.
17
Cliff has basically become a climate change “concern troll” for the last few years. He isn’t bothered so much by scientific debate on whether the weather we’ve been seeing is indicitive of a greater problem of changing climate, he’s more concerend about rascally “newspaper reports” and “rushing to assumptions.” His chief antagonist, time and time again, is “the media."

It boils down to: “I believe fully in climate change and have been on record about that for a long time, but I’m concerned about the appearance of people rushing to judgment, so I will assert that none of our recent extreme weather has any indication of being part of human-caused climate change.”

His so-called denier/believer “summit” that fizzled out a while ago was a prime example of “climate change centrism” — believing that both sides are “too extreme” with their arguments and we need to find a happy, lukewarm middle ground.

It’s annoying, and it’s clear that his belief in centrism is causing him to willfully ignore his critics, of whom there are many.
18
Now, I understand that he is fairly beloved in Northwest casual weather observer circles, but he wants us to believe that he is not beholden to ideology and only to the science.

But he does have an ideology and clear bias about how to approach the discussion of global warming, and it's that "both sides are too extreme" and "the media" is inflaming it.

It seems he is much more concerned with nobody being right, at least in the short term, than any side in particular. "Both sides do it, so both sides are wrong" is a dumbass argument when it comes to debating climate science.
19
I interpreted the final paragraph about balance being restored as being more figurative than literal. Weather bloggers can wax poetic sometimes, can't they?
20
Folks,
There are solid reasons to suggest that this event has nothing to do with climate change. I should note that the IPCC report on extremes (IPCC is the international group evaluating the impacts of greenhouse warming), had low confidence of any connection between global warming and changes in the regional intensity of midlatitude cyclones (like the one on Saturday). A direct quote from their report Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disaster to Advance Climate Change Adaptation:

In summary it is likely that there has been a poleward shift in the main Northern and Southern Hemisphere extratropical storm tracks during the last 50 years. There is medium confidence in an anthropogenic influence on this observed poleward shift. It has not formally been attributed. There is low confidence in past changes in regional intensity. There is medium confidence that an increased anthropogenic forcing will lead to a reduction in the number of mid-latitude cyclones averaged over each hemisphere, and there is also medium confidence in a poleward shift of the tropospheric storm tracks due to future anthropogenic forcings. Regional changes may be substantial and CMIP3 simulations show some regions with medium agreement. However, there are still uncertainties related to how the poorly resolved stratosphere in many CMIP3 models may influence the regional results. In addition, studies using different analysis techniques, different physical quantities, different thresholds, and different atmospheric vertical levels to represent cyclone activity and storm tracks result in different projections of regional changes. This leads to low confidence in region-specific projections

Climate models forced by increased greenhouse gases DO NOT produce stronger or earlier windstorms around here. Please look at the science. And please, stop the denier accusations...it is really unfounded...cliff mass
21
Whether the windstorm are caused by AGW or not. The Summer weather has dried out the ground, and most likely weakened many trees. The trees uprooted could had been weakened by AGW. So a combo of a stronger windstorm and weaker root system could be the tipping point.. besides ocean rising temperatures are linked to AGW..

So maybe not direct evidence, (recent windstorms are caused by AGW) but there is plenty of circumstantial evidence..
22


Thanks for taking my comment on last week's post and running with it!
23
@13: not saying he IS a denier, saying he's starting to look like one, and I'm not alone.

2070 is a long way off, past most of our lifetimes (mine at least). if ACC was happening NOW, if there was evidence NOW, what would it look like? a steady climb in global average temperature? rolling, unprecedented droughts all across the globe? unprecedented weather events?
24
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
25
@20: glad you weighed in.

I presume you know that most people concerned with ACC want action taken now, rather than when the science is "settled" - that's the delay tactic favored by deniers. we are all searching for the bloody flag to wave, the one that's going to shut the denial industry the fuck up, and prod our craven politicians into action on carbon.

but like our gun insanity, there's no one event that will overcome the influence of money and humanity's tendency towards greed, inertia and procrastination.
26
@10 Wrong. Hurricane Sandy was in 2012. It caused over $65 billion dollars in damage. Now I'm no mathematician but that was less then nine years ago.

PS. Good Christ you are one stupid mother fucker. Hurricanes don't have to "make landfall" to create massive storm surges and do colossal damage. You still hiding out from Ebola?
27
@10 - Does the near-miss of Hurricane Ignacio near the Hawai'ian islands count?
Or how about three Cat-4 hurricanes in the Pacific at…?
28
@27 HAHA I know. Or Hurricane Sandy. Or Felix - that made landfall in central America - but... you know that doesn't count for what ever stupid reason.

That dude is so fucking stupid it's amazing he can use a keyboard. I'll never forget when he was screaming about closing the borders during the "terrifying" ebola outbreak that killed almost, but not completely, 5 people in the entire country. And then the election came and... ebola.... what ebola?

This is the crème de la crème of the republican party.
29
Cliff has a very long piece on very intense NW blowdowns here for anyone who cares to read a whole lot of interesting stuff.

And in his attempted market analogy, Charles accidentally stakes out a position closer to the libertarian one, essentially denying the existence of speculative excess.
30
@26 Sandy was no longer a hurricane when it made landfall on Oct. 29 near Brigantine, N.J., just north of Atlantic City. Instead, it was a “post-tropical cyclone.” Dip shit.
But if you want to argue with NOAA. Go ahead.
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/AL18201…
31
@27 Sorry for the confusion, not being mainland (and not having actually made land fall), I did not include Ignacio. That, however, does not impact the record for years without hurricane landfalls on the mainland US (as measured by NOAA).
But if you want to argue with NOAA. Go ahead.
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-…
32
Generally speaking, science experiments are designed to disprove a null hypothesis. In this case, the null hypothesis is that climate change did not play a role in the storm. Unless you have sufficient evidence to disprove the null hypothesis, you can't say that climate change DID play a role in the storm. The onus is on those who are making the claim that climate change did play a role, to provide evidence that supports their assertion. This is how science works. Sticking to science may not grab headlines, or offer the thrill of being able to stand on the street and yell about the end being nigh, but it is what will get you there in the end. If you overstate the science, you're doing no better than those who deny it. Science is slow and steady and careful. You can decide that Cliff Mass doesn't have enough data or didn't do a thorough enough job in testing the null hypothesis, but that in itself doesn't disprove it either. It just means that others need to come forth with better evidence. "Climate change is a thing" is NOT sufficient evidence to declare that in this case, given the consensus of our current knowledge about how climate change is expected to affect midlatitude cyclones, that climate change played a role in the storm. If our understanding changes or more evidence comes forth from improved modeling, that may change. As it stands today, natural variation is a better explanation.
33
So if we're getting 100 year storms and 100 year wildfires every 2-3 years it has nothing to do with the increased energy in ocean temps and earlier springs ...

Is it the primary reason yet? No.

Is it much more of a factor than it was a decade ago? Yes.
34
@30 hahahaha. God damn you are dumb. I know you really feel you scored a rhetorical coup by making some idiotic semantical distinction using "landfall." Sandy still did $65 billion in damage, shit for brains.

The surfaces of tropical oceans have warmed by around 0.5 degrees Celsius during the past three decades. Satellite data shows a rise in sea levels of 3.3 ± 0.4 mm per year from 1993 to 2009. These are facts.

There have been more large cat 4 and 5 storms in the Atlantic in the last two decades since we started measuring them in 1851. And they are growing in severity and duration. Hurricane season has been starting earlier and earlier. While you can't attribute a single storm to global warming - you can trends.

Since your an idiot I'll explain what that means. That mean the ocean is like a massively over charged battery getting more and more energy as it get's warmer. Heat adds energy to the system.

A hurricane, if it hits land or not, gets a huge amount of potential energy and moves massive amounts of water. If the eye hits land at a given category it's irrelevant to how the hurricane formed and the atmospheric conditions that create the storm in the first place.

And if a hurricane hits in north America, Mexico or central America or not it's still a fucking hurricane and it's still formed by the same energetic forces and atmospheric conditions caused by the carbon levels in the atmosphere retaining too much heat.
35
@32 All very true. But once again while you can't attribute ONE storm to global warming, you can attribute storm trends. And the trends so-far verify the data. Mass has been somewhat behind the data on this point.

The very BEST deniers can argue is "are the trends due to Anthropocentric causes?" The data there strongly suggests so—but isn't 100%. Yet.

But the data is absolutely conclusive that the planet is warming radically and it is effecting storm severity. Because, well, that's how physics works. Despite what dumbshits like #31 think, all evidence supports that ocean warming is increasing storm intensity and frequency.
36
Believing in the science that only fits your worldview is not very scientific. It's like something the Republicans would do.
37
@34 I never made ANY representations concerning non-landfall hurricanes. I only pointed out that we are in the longest period in recorded history without a major hurricane making landfall on the mainland US. (If you want to argue that fact, you’re arguing with NOAA, not me). You don’t get to discount climate change as a potential factor in producing that statistic if you’re going to credit climate change as a potential factor in producing other long term weather trends.

You’re obviously too fucking stupid to understand that there are distinctions between a post-tropical cyclone and a hurricane, and I’m not going to waste my time trying to explain them to your feeble little mind. Hint: damage (in $’s or otherwise) is not a measure NOAA uses to make that determination. Theoretically a category 5 hurricane could never make land fall, and cause no damage, but would still have been a hurricane. It’s an unvarnished fact that NOAA determined that Sandy was a post-tropical cyclone when it made landfall, and not a hurricane. (Again, if you want to argue that fact, you’re arguing with NOAA, not me).
38
The sheer fact that Cliff Mass has to plead for understanding regarding weather events and corrections with increased greenhouse gasses, and that the science dictates that not every storm is related -- BUT THAT STILL isn't enough for some who love to play the denier card as much as the love to play the race card.
39
Jesus Christ people—Cliff is saying climate change is real, but we know what caused this event and it doesn't seem directly related to our climate change models. If someone has data to the contrary, go for it, but what's with the ad hominem attacks?
40
....events and correlations...
41
The talk about 'moralizing' is pretty hilarious. It looks to me like Mudede is trying to extrapolate some odd weather in order to fit a hypothesis he's already assumed is true. Mudede is the moralist, while Mass is the scientist.

Yes, global climate change is real, but the trough overhead has far more to do with natural variability in the eastern Pacific than anything else.
42
Damn, Mudede did a number on y'all this time! Cheers Charles.
43
I think it's pretty special that Muded doesn't even bother to engage with the person he's critical of. It's the online version of talking behind someone's back.
44
@20: Thanks for weighing in.
My take on the issue is that you're a skeptic, kinda like Richard Muller. Not a denier-pretending-to-be-a-skeptic, but an actual skeptic playing devil's advocate and looking for flaws in the evidence used to back up the consensus position. And I'm 100% on board with your opinion that the media tends to blow stuff out of proportion when it comes to science reporting.


@30, 37: You're a moron, as we all know full well.
Major hurricanes have caused catastrophic damage to the US a good few times in the past nine years, as other commenters here have reminded you. There have been LOADS of major hurricanes; they've just dissipated or been downgraded before striking the US mainland. And crucially, the total storm activity (in terms of energy released by cyclones) has remained actually slightly higher than average. The statistic you cite is a fluke and nothing more. Read on: http://www.weather.com/storms/hurricane/…
You're cherry-picking a very rough metric, ignoring all the stuff to the contrary of your idiotic claims, and generally making a mockery of fact-based reasoning.
45
@37

It's irrelevant if storms are classified as hurricanes or not when they hit land in regards to them being data points on a trend.

Global warming is not some deity that personally has it out for north America. The course of storms of hurricanes is totally random and circumstantial. But what is not random is the energy involved in recent storms and how many storms there are.

If a storm makes landfall classified as a hurricane or as a severe storm, that classification is irrelevant to it being part of climate change driven system. Storms are STILL increasing in frequency, duration and intensity if they make land fall or not.

However, due to rising sea levels (and If sea levels keep rising) the classifications will become even more meaningless as any storm will start doing more damage as more shoreline is exposed and more water is energized along larger fronts.

You are seriously inconceivably dumb.

Your first comment - like everything you say - is picked right of a Fox News talking point. It was some idiotic un-researched pseudo factoid attempting to discredit Climate Change trends with semantics. Like your moronic rants about ebola, you didn't even understand what you said. I'm sure you'll do the same thing when it snows.

46
@45
Blah, blah, blah. whatever... fuck you.
47
@45 Of course. That's just the sort of top-flight reasoning and pithy comeback we've come to expect. Well done!
48
print more weather

it is kind of hard to take anybody talking about climate and extreme weather seriously because of one windy day. if you didn't know there was once ice 1 to 2 miles thick on the north american continent, there was once no ice on the planet.

a tree got blowed over yesterday, omg how extreme
49
and those unprecedented 3 cat 4 hurricanes marching across the Pacific ... and the fires burning up the state and ...
50
It's been over 24 hours and Mudede won't bother to even discuss things with Mass. He won't substantiate his points with any actual data. Nope, it's just bullshit, innuendo and then radio silence.

Typical Mudede.
51
@20--Prof Mass: Your IPCC quote is from p.166 of the IPCC's 2012 SREX report. Your interpretation includes "Climate models forced by increased greenhouse gases DO NOT produce stronger or earlier windstorms around here." Neither the paragraph you quote nor anywhere else in the SREX is the timing of extratropical storm tracks specifically mentioned or even alluded to.
52
@49 we have had imaging satellites for like a million years and fires are brand new, so good point
53
Oh. BTW. Just so Mr. Dipshit up there hasn't confused anybody:
ALL hurricanes are "tropical cyclones."

The term Hurricane is the colloquial term for tropical cyclone in the northern hemisphere. And at some point the majority of "hurricanes" or "typhoons", after or close to landfall, become labeled "post tropical cyclones" by meteorologists because nearly all lose a great portion of energy as they hit shallows and land.

So. Yeah. that guy is the worlds biggest idiot.

Gawker has a good primer here:

http://thevane.gawker.com/a-typhoon-and-…