Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Judith Curry, ask a stupid question, expect a stupid answer! Harvey's global warming connection.

The hallmark of a great scientist is the ability to ask great questions.  Questions who's pursuit leads to meaningful progress towards understanding.  When it comes to our country's contentious manmade global warming discussion, it also comes down to how serious one is about asking meaningful questions that allow for meaningful constructive answers. (last edit Sept 1)

Judith Curry writes,Anyone blaming  Harvey on global warming doesn’t have a leg to stand on.”  (I thought she knew about climatology. Please consider.)

* Global warming is definitely directly related to that hot Gulf of Mexico waters that fed an explosive intensification of a tropical storm.

* Global warming is definitely directly related to the fact that the atmosphere is holding more moisture and making it available for storm systems such as Harvey to collect and dump.

* Global warming is definitely directly related to the fact that our Jet Stream has gotten weirder and is currently causing the stalling and reversal of Harvey’s northward movement.

* Global warming is definitely directly related to the fact that sea level is rising and thus adding substantially to damaging storm surges.


* Global warming is definitely directly related the Brown Ocean Effect that continued feeding moisture, energy into Harvey after it made land fall.
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I was told to read this recent article by Judith Curry regarding Hurricane Harvey.  I did as requested and was baffled, what was I was supposed to find interesting in it?  Other than watching Judith’s outrageously biased perspective manipulate facts into fantasy, which is a thing worth studying.  So with no further ado, lets take a look.

Hurricane Harvey: long-range forecasts
Posted on August 27, 2017
by Judith Curry

“The 12 year drought of major hurricane landfalls in the U.S. is over, with catastrophic impacts in Texas.  Predictions of Hurricane Harvey illustrate the realization of extended- and long-range hurricane forecasts.

This blog post analyzes the forecasts of Hurricane Harvey made by my company Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN), and also by the National Hurricane Center. …”

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CC - Curry does what she promises, but it’s basically a ginned up professorial review of how the models and forecasts unfolded, nothing particularly insightful.  The take-away message, forecasting has improved a great deal and we need to continue improving it. 

White bread, nothing nourishing.

Curry:
“Summary of forecast model performance
Since Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the exceptionally accurate forecast of ECMWF as much as 6 days in advance, there has been a battle of the hurricane forecast models:  NOAA/NHC versus ECMWF.  For Harvey, all of the forecast models both performed very well, albeit with some differences.
Summary of the forecasts, using CFAN’s calibrated ECMWF and NOAA GEFS forecasts:
Harvey’s first genesis predicted by ECMWF & NOAA on 8/14, three days in advance and 12 days before landfall
Significant probability for tracks in the GoM predicted on 8/18 by ECMWF (56%) & NOAA (41%)
(Re)genesis: ECMWF had earlier, more consistent prediction
>50% probability of TX landfall: ECMWF (8/22 0Z); NOAA (8/21 0Z).  Edge to NOAA.
Track forecast solidifies: NOAA 8/21 12Z; ECMWF 8/23 00Z
Best 4 day track forecast: NOAA GFS
Earliest prediction of Cat 3: NOAA GFS 8/24 12Z
Earliest prediction of (near) Cat 4: HMON 8/25 00Z
…”
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But then, suddenly we get this tidbit:

Curry:
“Harvey in context

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear people blaming Harvey on global warming.  How unusual was Harvey?  

Well, it will definitely be in the record books for ending the 12 year drought of major hurricanes striking the U.S.”
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Here she presents a list of Cat 4-5 landfalling hurricanes by
Phil Klotzbach, the list is based on wind speed and barometric pressure.  Like a gymnastics judge who only looks at an athlete's legs to the exclusion of the rest of her body.
Incidentally: Researchers Explore New Methods To Quantify Power Of Storms After Harveyhttp://www.npr.org/2017/08/30/547373292/researchers-explore-new-methods-to-quantify-power-of-storms-after-harvey
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Curry: “This list reminds us how awful things were.  Apart from the horrendous 2004/2005 years, we have been pretty lucky in recent decades.
Anyone blaming  Harvey on global warming doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
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Curry seems to think that Wind and Pressure intensity is all we need know.  On this list Harvey Ranks tied for 14th place.  Judith what about damage inflicted?   

Then she continues:

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Curry: “Harvey will be in the record books for almost unbelievable amounts of rainfall (the final tally is not in yet; unfortunately it will still be raining in TX for several more days, with potential doubling of the amount that has already fallen).  

While there was a large amount of water vapor ingested into Harvey, the huge amounts of rain are associated with Harvey’s stalled movement, while still close enough to the Gulf to continue to suck in moisture.
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How can such an “acclaimed” climate expert in good conscience leave out the Jet Stream connection which explains why Hurricane Harvey stalled and did that loop, (as predicted by the experts)?

But don’t take my word for it.

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Climate Change in Our Time: How Slower Jet Streams Make for Weird Weather



As the arctic warms up, the difference in temperature between the equator and the north pole lessens. This lower temperature gradient also means a decrease in the energy which drives the jet stream through its movements. Less energy means less movement, and the jet stream slows down.

Air-flows act in this way the same as water. The more energy a river has, the straighter its path. But when jet streams slow down, they meander, like rivers on open plains.

“That’s energy being dissipated through these meanders,” White explained. “As you slow air down, it gets loopier.”  One of the effects of loopier jet streams is that they can curve far enough around and cut themselves off, which is also seen in river systems.

These cut-off lows can create unique weather events if they happen in specific locations. When cut-off lows occur in the southeastern region of Colorado, they are known for pumping moisture up against the Front Range. … (The stalling of Hurricane Harvey is another example!)
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Also:

It's a fact: 
climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly


... In conclusion, while we cannot say climate change “caused” Hurricane Harvey 
(that is an ill-posed question),  we can say is that it exacerbated several characteristics of the storm in a way that greatly increased the risk of damage and loss of life.

 Climate change worsened the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

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Sadly this is for real, tragically misguided characters such as our Judith Curry continue to grossly misrepresent the full scope of climate science understanding regarding this immensely complex subject.  Our global heat and moisture distribution engine follows straight forward and consistent and understandable rules, but it requires curiosity, intellectual honesty and some serious good-faith homework.

Most news stories that I’ve read regarding the AGW Harvey connection are a muddle of partial facts presented through the contrarian script that’s dedicate to distancing, if not ignoring, geophysical connects that actually do clearly explain why all this is happening.  Once again, the big four, though the connections certainly don't stop there.

* Global warming is definitely directly related to that hot Gulf of Mexico waters that fed an explosive intensification of a tropical storm. 
* Global warming is definitely directly related to the fact that the atmosphere is holding more moisture and making it available for storm systems such as Harvey to collect and dump. 
* Global warming is definitely directly related to the fact that our Jet Stream has gotten weirder and is currently causing the stalling and reversal of Harvey’s northward movement. 
* Global warming is definitely directly related to the fact that sea level is rising and thus adding substantially to damaging storm surges.

It all comes down to how serious one is about the questions one wants answered.

It is absolutely disconnected (and disingenuous) to ask :
“Is Harvey caused by manmade global warming?” 

Of course it isn’t, so what!  

It’s the physical characteristics of Harvey that are being intensified by our warming world, and that's going to kick us in the as$.

For me its been demoralizing watching reporters and scientists continuing to soft peddle the clearly understood connections by posing stupid questions that receive inevitably stupid answers.  

Tonight listening to another round I got a vision of people desperately clinging to dreams of yesterday’s normal, like a child desperately clinging to her mother as they're being inexorably torn apart.  Unfortunately, what we refuse to comprehend will harm, nay destroy all we’ve come to love about this world.

Incidentally, about that terminology game.  Can we please start being clear:  Manmade global warming is what’s driving increasing climate change. 

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For those that want to focus on the facts might I suggest some informative videos:


Horrendous Hurricane Harvey Tutorial A
Paul Beckwith

Horrendous Hurricane Harvey Tutorial B
Paul Beck with 



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Jennifer Francis: A New Arctic Feedback

greenmanbucket  Published on Jan 16, 2017 (2:00 min)

A key idea in climate science is that the system contains multiple feedback loops, that can make warming worse.

For instance, as white, reflective ice is replaced by Dark, absorbing water - more of the sun's warmth is absorbed - a positive feedback. Here, Arctic expert Jennifer Francis describes a new, emerging feedback process, as the arctic warms and affects jet stream flow.
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Jennifer Francis on recent studies of weather blocking patterns
Climate State - Published on Dec 19, 2015 (15:30 min)


Recent Changes in Blocking Characteristics Assessed Using Self-Organizing Maps.   Speaker: Jennifer Ann Francis
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Climate Change And Increasingly Wild Weather: Stu Ostro and Dr Jennifer Francis
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Jennifer Francis, Crazy Weather and the Arctic Meltdown - 18 February 2016



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it takes a rigorous peer-reviewed extreme event attribution study to prove that there is a link between event X and climate change, should it not also require such a study to prove that there is no connection with climate change?

citizenschallenge said...


Sounds like an idea someone with no clue of the situation could come up it.

I challenge you to define the outline for this "study" you believe makes sense.

Real science is about building on what you DO KNOW - not about playing games with al the tiny detailsl we don't know.
Although the paid climate science contrarian crowd sure has been hitting home run in mass hypnosis with the strategy.

citizenschallenge said...

To follow up on that silly comment by Anonymous - what we do know. (Or first aim, then shoot.)

* Global warming is definitely directly related to that hot Gulf of Mexico waters that fed an explosive intensification of a tropical storm.

* Global warming is definitely directly related to the fact that the atmosphere is holding more moisture and making it available for storm systems such as Harvey to collect and dump.

* Global warming is definitely directly related to the fact that our Jet Stream has gotten weirder and is currently causing the stalling and reversal of Harvey’s northward movement.

* Global warming is definitely directly related to the fact that sea level is rising and thus adding substantially to damaging storm surges.
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Beyond that might I suggest some more reading for those who are actually curious to learn about this.

A History of Global Warming, In Just 35 Seconds

Brian Kahn By Brian Kahn
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/history-global-warming-animation-21670

History of the greenhouse effect and global warming By S.M. Enzler MSc
http://www.lenntech.com/greenhouse-effect/global-warming-history.htm

BBC News environment correspondent Richard Black traces key milestones, scientific discoveries, technical innovations and political action.
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-15874560
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To finish, Anonymous is a perfect example of something I mentioned in the above post:

Tonight listening to another round I got a vision of people desperately clinging to dreams of yesterday’s normal, like a child desperately clinging to her mother as they're being inexorably torn apart. Unfortunately, what we refuse to comprehend will harm, nay destroy all we’ve come to love about this world.