WMO misquoted—but who will correct it?

Yesterday, Steven Goddard at Real Science posted a startling headline: United Nations Says That Cooling Temperatures Indicate Unprecedented Warming. But I think Steven has been deceived by Bloomberg.

Steven quoted an article at Bloomberg.com:

The planet has warmed faster since the turn of the century than ever recorded, almost doubling the pace of sea-level increase and causing a 20-fold jump in heat-related deaths, the United Nations said.

When I read this, I didn’t demur so much over the alleged doubling of sea-level rise (double the minuscule and you still have very little — little enough accuracy, for sure) or the large increase in heat-related deaths (no period was given; it sounded like, and seems to be, scare-mongering driven by highly variable data).

But I raised my eyebrows at the claim of “rapid warming” this century. Having been rather more than idly following this metric for about eight years I thought it was mistaken. In my eight-year global warming career I have experienced both global cooling and warming, but the net effect has been a slight cooling.

The trouble was, the good Goddard was quoting no less a body than the United Nations. What had gone wrong? It didn’t take long to find out.

The report from the World Meteorological Organisation (controlled by the United Nations) is called The Global Climate 2001–2010: A decade of climate extremes (pdf, 7.29 MB). There’s also (inevitably) a summary report (pdf, 1.83 MB).

NOTE: the filenames are identical except for the four-digit number near the end.

Key statements

The foreword in the summary says (p5):

The first decade of the 21st century was the warmest decade recorded since modern measurements began around 1850.

The conclusion of the report itself says (p100):

A prominent feature of the past global climate is that the decade 2001–2010 was the warmest globally since the beginning of instrumental records.

So Bloomberg’s reporter (one Alex Morales) wrongly (let’s be kind) interpreted ‘warmest’ as ‘warming’ — being apparently unaware of the difference.

A few hours (by my calculation) after Bloomberg’s contribution to the truth in the world, The Sydney Morning Herald ran a headline: Globe warms at unprecedented rate, WMO report says, and their story opened with some familiar words:

The planet has warmed faster since the turn of the century than ever recorded, almost doubling the pace of sea-level increase and causing a 20-fold jump in heat-related deaths, the United Nations said.

So the good old SMH was also deceived by the Bloomberg misinterpretation and failed to check. A lie is halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on. Here’s the truth:

WMO report: Global climate 2001-2010. Decadal temperature changes.

This report claims that the average global temperature for the decade 2001–2010 was 14.47°C. That exceeded the average temperature for the previous decade by an undetectable two tenths of a degree Celsius (0.21°C). Notice that those wide vertical divisions represent only a quarter of a degree (0.25°C). I haven’t examined the report for a disclosure of the error margins in the observations. Typically, I’m told, they would be in the region of 2°C, well in excess of the tiny record. The warmest decade might well have been the 1980s — or the 1880s. The world’s foremost weather scientists employed by the WMO know this, but they’re still trying to alarm us with talk of the most recent decade being the warmest since we started measuring the temperature.

Then, through the sloppiness of the Bloomberg reporter, this spurious claim of recent high temperatures has morphed (unintentionally?) into the false impression that there has been record warming this century.

The record was made from mere fractions of a degree, but what a convenient truth for those with an interest in warming. So who will correct it? Not the WMO, for they profit from continued funding for climate research and will rightly claim they made no mistake. Not the United Nations, whose policies prosper with this piece of misinformation. Hardly Bloomberg.com.

We are the only ones who might tell the truth. Global warming made no surge this century. There was a slight increase in 2000 and 2001, but since then the trend of the global temperature has been down. Tell everyone.

Once again, h/t Richard Cumming.

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30 Thoughts on “WMO misquoted—but who will correct it?

  1. SimonP on 05/07/2013 at 9:35 am said:

    BBC’s summary of the WMO report is here:
    Every year of the decade except 2008 was among the 10 warmest on record.
    The report notes that the high temperatures in the decade were achieved without a strong episode of the El Nino current which typically warms the world.
    Global mean sea levels rose about 3mm per year – about double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6mm per year.
    But climate change doubters emphasise the lack of movement in temperatures throughout the decade……

    • Richard C (NZ) on 05/07/2013 at 12:04 pm said:

      I see in the BBC article that Prof Myles Allen from the University of Oxford is another of the UK clique who have absolutely no understanding of planetary thermal inertia and lag, and worse, display their total ignorance of up-to-date solar-centric science that demonstrates current temperatures are consistent with the major solar cycle, not the minor oscillation they fixate on. First some spurious gloating from Allen (see “a single data point” below):

      “We predicted the temperature of this decade using a conventional detection and attribution analysis and data to 1996 (when lots of people were arguing there wasn’t even a discernible human influence on global climate), and nailed it to within a couple of hundredths of a degree.”

      Then the solar numb-think (my emphasis):

      “There were plenty of solar enthusiasts back in the 1990s who were attributing the observed warming since the 1970s to a brightening sun – which didn’t really work out when we moved into an extreme solar minimum and still saw the warmest decade on record.”

      Enthusiasts? 1990s? 1970s What incredible ignorance!

      FYI Prof Allen, after you figure out the difference between “an extreme solar minimum” in the minor 11 year solar cycle and a solar Grand Minimum in the major quasi-1000 year solar cycle, you might like to read Adussamatov (2012) for a little background knowledge on planetary thermal inertia and current scientific state-of-play from a solar specialist, not one of your “enthusiasts” note (there are others recently too):

      ‘Bicentennial Decrease of the Total Solar Irradiance Leads to Unbalanced Thermal Budget of the Earth and the Little Ice Age’


      Then Dr Kevin Trenberth’s 2010(?) essay:

      ‘The Role of the Oceans in Climate’


      Clearly, ignorance is not the sole domain of journalism and mass media reporting. Allen goes on (my emphasis):

      “It’s only a single data point (and no-one predicted the shorter-timescale lack-of-trend we have seen since 2000) but it’s still worth noting.

      Yes, worth noting that you predicted a single datapoint in a decade of data “to within a couple of hundredths of a degree” but you didn’t predict the trajectory of the entire decade’s data did you Prof Allen? Now the crunch:

      “Let’s see what the next decade will bring.”

      It’s already bringing it Prof. Steven Goddard has 2 other posts on the WMO report:

      ‘Fastest Cooling Decade On Record’


      ‘WMO Believes That The World Ended In 2010′


      From the first link:

      “RSS global satellite temperatures [see graph in post] show that the current decade (2011-2013) has cooled 0.086 degrees since the previous decade (2001-2010) This makes the current decade the fastest cooling decade in the satellite record.”

      Have you “nailed” that “to within a couple of hundredths of a degree” Prof Allen?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/07/2013 at 8:03 pm said:

      >”Prof Myles Allen from the University of Oxford is another of the UK clique who have absolutely no understanding of planetary thermal inertia and lag”

      There’s no excuse for that. Along with the references in the above comment, this from Landscheidt (2004), see link to paper downthread:

      “Mayaud’s aa-index of geomagnetic activity is homogeneous and covers the long period 1868 to present. Fig. 6 from Landscheidt (2000), plotting this index, shows clearly that global land and sea surface temperature lags geomagnetic storms, caused by energetic solar eruptions. The solid curve shows the aa-index, the dashed curve a combination of global land air and sea surface temperature anomalies. The yearly data were subjected to repeated three point smoothing. Temperature lags aa by 4 to 8 years, but follows the undulations of the aa-curve. The connection between the leading aa-extrema and the following temperature extrema is highlighted by identical numbers. A disturbance of the correlation around 1940 points to exceptional internal forcing. Between 1942 and 1952 the steepest rise in volcanic activity since 1860 was observed (Simkin et al., 1981). The lag of the temperature data suggests that some of the excess energy linked to solar activity is stored and accumulated in the climate system by processes taking years. Oceans are a candidate because of their thermal inertia (Hoyt, 1979; Wigley, 1988; White et al., 1997)”

      Figure 6 http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-3/SW-3.gif

      Note geomagnetic activity (aa) is not power (TSI).

    • SimonP,
      Yes, there was a lack of movement, as you succinctly put it, and that’s identical with a lack of warming, yet the WMO claims record warming.

    • Bob D on 05/07/2013 at 1:12 pm said:

      Simon P:

      “The report notes that the high temperatures in the decade were achieved without a strong episode of the El Nino current which typically warms the world.”

      There were actually four El Nino events over the decade, the strongest registering 1.6. I’m not sure what you mean then by ‘strong’? Over 2.0? But consdering that the PDO has gone negative since about 2001, you wouldn’t expect any strong El Ninos, would you?

      On the other hand, the ‘strong’ El Ninos of the previous decades were due to the positive phase of the PDO, which raised the global temperatures. Not so much CO2.

    • Bob D on 05/07/2013 at 1:19 pm said:

      Simon P:

      “Global mean sea levels rose about 3mm per year – about double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6mm per year.”

      I think you missed the memo on this Simon. What happened is the following:
      1) Tidal guages measured the sea level rise at about 1.8mm/yr over the 20th century.
      2) In 1993, the Jason and Topex satellites started measuring sea level. There was an immediate discrepency with the tidal records. The satellites measured 3.2mm/yr, while the tidal guages still measured 1.8mm/yr.
      3) This discrepency has continued until now, with the satellites consistently over-measuring the sea level rise.
      4) The IPCC was able to use this as an excuse to show that the sea level rise had doubled. It hadn’t.
      5) The probable reason for the difference is the geoid used. Apparently (according to the peer-reviewed literature) there is a problem with it, and in the case of GRACE (which also uses it) it caused a 2x error in ice balance change.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 05/07/2013 at 1:22 pm said:

      >’Global mean sea levels rose about 3mm per year – about double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6mm per year.”

      Or not:

      ‘New study using GRACE data shows global sea levels rising less than 7 inches per century’

      Finds sea levels have risen over the past 9 years [2002-2011] at a rate of only 1.7 mm/yr, equivalent to 6.7 inches per century, matching tide gauge data rates.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 05/07/2013 at 3:25 pm said:

      >”…the high temperatures in the decade were achieved without a strong episode of the El Nino current which typically warms the world”

      But 2010 was the highest temperature in the decade and it was achieved with a moderate El Niño by this definition:

      “Events are defined as 5 consecutive months at or above the +0.5° anomaly for warm (El Niño) events and at or below the -0.5 anomaly for cold (La Niña) events. The threshold is further broken down into Weak (with a 0.5 to 0.9 SST anomaly), Moderate (1.0 to 1.4) and Strong (≥ 1.5) events. For the purpose of this report for an event to be categorized as weak, moderate or strong it much have equaled or exceeded the threshold for at least 3 months.”


      But note that the 2009/10 event crossed the “strong” threshold (≥ 1.5). NOAA describes 2009/10 as “moderate-to-strong El Nino”:


      In other words, it is not always what you say that matters, it is also what you don’t say.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 05/07/2013 at 8:05 pm said:

      >”…it is not always what you say that matters, it is also what you don’t say”

      Others have noticed this climate science – climate journalism trait too, Jo Nova:

      It’s not so much what Catalyst say, as what they won’t mention. So the water cycle is intensifying — double the climate models? But Catalyst won’t tell you that the temperature trend is half what the models predicted (and below their lowest estimate). They won’t tell you that the water vapor trends in the upper troposphere are crucial to the models but completely wrong. They mention the ARGO buoys and then ignore their most important result — that any warming so far is well below what the models estimate (inasmuch as we can tell). They mention the Arctic, but not the Antarctic. (Wasn’t this supposed to be global warming?)

      Without a cause-and-effect link this isn’t science, it isn’t journalism, and we don’t need more state-funded propaganda.


      Not science, not journalism, but possibly this literary genre:

      ‘Climate change inspires a new literary genre: cli-fi’

      Cli-fi, or ‘climate fiction,’ describes a dystopian present, as opposed to a dystopian future. And don’t call it ‘science fiction.’ Cli-fi is literary fiction.


      And here’s the Twitter hashtag results for #clifi (where you can advertise your science climate-literary fiction):


      Hot Topic ‏@hottopicnz 8h [8 hours ago]

      RT @climatehawk1: Summer #reading 4 the #climate crowd | @TheDailyClimate http://wwwp.dailyclimate.org/tdc-newsroom/2013/07/summer-reading-list … Don’t forget http://bit.ly/V8C3RM #clifi

      Or you can just read the news.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 05/07/2013 at 8:30 pm said:

      And while I’m at it:

      ‘The UN’s Pretend Climate Scientists’

      by Donna Laframboise

      A UN press release [see image] falsely describes those attending an IPCC meeting as “climate scientists,” In fact, these people are policy wonks, economists, political scientists, and UN advisors.

      According to a headline [hotlinked, see below] in the Kenya-based African Review, “climate scientists” with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are currently attending a five-day meeting in Ethiopia.

      But that claim is untrue. Instead, this is a classic example of United Nations-inspired media spin.

      On July 1st, the lead authors of the IPCC’s Working Group 3 gathered in Abbis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city. There is a huge difference between Working Group 1 personnel (who write about the science of climate change and therefore might be bona fide climate scientists) and Working Group 3 personnel (who examine possible responses to global warming).



      ‘Climate scientists meet in Ethiopia’

      By ANDUALEM SISAY in Addis Ababa

      The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III delegates are meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to finalise their 5th Assessment Report.

      During the five days closed-door meeting that started on Monday, the scientists are expected to come up with a document for the members, with recommendations on the mitigation to climate changes, among others.



      ‘Political scientists meet in Ethiopia’ – there, fixed for you Andualem.

  2. Richard C (NZ) on 05/07/2013 at 10:38 am said:

    >”A lie is halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on”

    The lie, misquote, miss-interpretation, miss-inference, whatever it is, being in this case:

    “The planet has warmed faster since the turn of the century than ever recorded”

    I too thought my eyes were deceiving me at first and I have to say I appreciate the efforts of yourself RT (and Steven Goddard in his inimitable way) of highlighting this extraordinary piece of journalistic, editorial, and mass media rubbish. It has been propagated so fast around the world in the electronic age that truth will have to do a lot of work to overtake it.

    How is it not possible in this day and age, for anyone e.g. Morales/Bloomberg, to run a quick fact check? All those articles and graphs readily available on the internet; the interactive apps available showing a statistically insignificant but slight cooling trend in HadCRUT4 2001 – 2010 for example:


    Trend: -0.014 ±0.250 °C/decade (2σ)


    The 21st century zero trends in the major global temperature datasets:


    Or the articles:

    ‘The Global Warming Standstill’


    ‘The Pause in Global Warming’


    One day soon, a lot of people will wake up feeling very silly.

  3. Alexander K on 05/07/2013 at 3:19 pm said:

    Prof Myles Allen will not be among those who will ‘feel silly’ as he seems not to have the wit to understand the information he thinks he is interpreting. He behaves as if his logic has its own magic roundabout, a wonderful device which will automatically justify any statement he makes at any time. For anyone who follows the major discussions on this and associated topics in the UK, Myles Allen has become something of a joke.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 05/07/2013 at 8:39 pm said:

    ‘World Meteorological Report: Fail.’

    by NCTCS Secretary Anthony Cox [degrees in law and climatology]

    When even the noble Red Cross uses its donations to peddle Alarmist Global Warming [AGW] propaganda it should come as no surprise that the World Meteorological Organisation [WMO] is also peddling AGW alarmism.



    • RKurtz on 10/07/2013 at 2:08 pm said:

      You have to take claims and data coming from the WMO with a great deal of suspicion these days.

      The WMO has been branded one of the most corrupt of UN NGOs.

      It’s been embroiled in corruption scandals off and on during the years.

      It’s temperature data and record keeping are known to be a mess.

      And it’s also a bastion of sycophants who take up appointments with the WMO after they’ve warn out their welcome or become stale elsewhere and happen to push an agenda.

  5. Richard C (NZ) on 05/07/2013 at 9:05 pm said:

    So who will correct it? Figueres wont be correcting it:

    Christiana Figueres ‏@CFigueres 3 Jul

    .@WMOnews very clear: There has been no pause in rising global temperatures, need 4 #climateaction greater than ever http://bit.ly/17Ih5Se


  6. Mike Jowsey on 06/07/2013 at 2:50 am said:

    SimonP, It’s just silly. I look out the window and see the same climate I have lived in for 25 years. Where’s the beef? The ocean laps at the same high-tide level on the boat launching ramp that it did when I was a boy. Show me the money! Don’t rant about doubling of warming or sea level rise when most people follow their observations and remember the anecdotes of their forefathers and shrug at the hypocrisy of the alarmists and conclude they just might not get too worried about all your silly hype. The average bloke has a deep-seated resentment of wool-pulling wankers who want to impose taxes which increase the cost of living for absolutely no discernible benefit. Witness Australian politics lately. People have had enough of this silly BS. Fair suck of the sav cobber! The tide has turned. Alarmists have had their day. The 97% are not as stupid as the 3% suppose. The globe has stopped warming for the moment (20 years – a mere moment). Where to from here – who knows? Nobody. Say hello to the chaos. Adapt to it and be happy.

  7. Richard C (NZ) on 06/07/2013 at 11:24 am said:

    IPCC discussion thread

    by Judith Curry

    […] Here is a riddle: What do you get when you take the UNEP out of the IPCC?

    Answer: IPCC – UNEP = WMO(GFCS)

    Lets take a look the UN WMO Global Framework of Climate Services (GFCS). From their mission statement:

    “Enables better management of the risks of climate variability and change and adaptation to climate change, through the development and incorporation of science-based climate information and prediction into planning, policy and practice on the global, regional and national scale.”

    “Four priority areas of the GFCS: Agriculture and Food Security, Disaster Risk Reduction, Health and Water”

    From the GFCS, the Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services (ICBS) was launched with its first meeting last week. The overall initiative is outlined in this Special Issue of the WMO Bulletin.

    From the article What do we mean by Climate Services?:


    Nowhere in any of the documentation I have read on the GFCS have I seen the words carbon mitigation. This effort seems to be focused adaptive management of climate change, whether the cause is natural and/or anthropogenic.

    GFCS on extreme weather during 2001-2010

    In preparation for the inaugural session of the IBCS, a document was prepared entitled The Global Climate 2001-2010: A Decade of Climate ExtremesIPCC SREX. The findings are broadly consistent with the IPCC SREX , although the analyses are more superficial. Excerpts:


    While the report is relatively sensible, the press release from the WMO heavily spins this report along the story line of CO2 alarmism.

    JC summary: As the relevance of the IPCC is waning, the relevance of the ICBS seems to be rising. While the IPCC is about the nexus of climate science and raw politics associated with energy policy, the ICBS is an emerging nexus between climate science and the national bureaucracies of the weather/hydrological services and end users. I have no illusions about challenges facing the ICBS, but it seems to be time/effort/funding better spent at this point than pursuing additional IPCC reports.


  8. Richard C (NZ) on 06/07/2013 at 1:29 pm said:

    For those who don’t frequent the Open Threads or subscribe to comments feed, from the ‘NZ’ thread re the WMO report:

    Mike Jowsey says:
    July 6, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Needs your vote – bottom right of page.

    h/t http://nzwindfarms.wordpress.com/

    • Mike Jowsey on 08/07/2013 at 5:54 am said:

      It’s interesting that, even attached to an article which oozes authoritative sound-bites proclaiming calamity, this poll only musters 44% pro cagw:

      Is the current rate of global warming worth worrying about?
      Yes – we are harming the environment
      385 votes, 44.1%

      No – this is part of the Earth’s natural cycle
      446 votes, 51.1%

      No – Earth can handle the change
      42 votes, 4.8%

  9. Richard C (NZ) on 06/07/2013 at 7:37 pm said:

    ‘WMO’s Extreme Report’

    * Dr David Whitehouse

    This week’s World Meterological Organisation’s report “The Global Climate 2001-2010: A Decade Of Climate Extremes,” attracted little publicity. This is probably a good thing as it is one of the most muddled and inaccurate reports I have ever read from an international organisation. […]

    The report ….. says that global warming accelerated between 1971-2010. This is obviously not the case. It has been established in the numerous analyses carried out of the various global temperature data sets that the late 20th century warming trend did not continue in the 21st century. […]

    This rather confused section of the WMO report can be summarised in its own words, “The Earth’s climate fluctuates over seasons…” Evidently, the WMO authors confuse weather extremes with climate ones.

    No Clear Trend

    Regarding the extremes themselves there is a tension in the text that is quite apparent. It’s a desire to attribute the weather extremes in question to man-made climate change. One almost feels sorry for the authors having to say that no clear trend has been found in tropical cyclones and extra-tropical storms on the global level, while they admit that it is still difficult to quantify the degree and climate-change influence on a single observed event. […]

    Temperature: Stopped But Still Rising

    Given the complex background to the WMO report one might have expected some of the few media reports about it, especially those penned by specialist reporters, to have reflected some of the subtleties. Not a bit of it.

    The Guardian carried a report by the “Climate News Network,” that began with the words, “If you think the world is warming and the weather is getting nastier, you’re right.” What followed was cherry-picked from the WMO’s Executive Summary. It repeats the claims of “accelerating global warming,” and “sea levels rose twice as fast as the trend in the last century.” There is a quote from the WMO Secretary General and only the WMO Secretary General. The fact that global annual average surface temperatures have not increased for 16-17 years is called by the Guardian, “the apparent slight slow-down.” The Climate News Network report, it distresses me to say, is a straight lift from the WMO press release with no context or analysis or awareness of official reports on similar topics issued in recent years.

    Not that the BBC is any better. It contains a sentence that might become an emblem for muddled climate change reporting: “Although overall temperature rise has slowed down since the 1990s, the WMO says the temperature is still rising because of greenhouse gasses from human society.”

    Even worse than the usual BBC confusion is Roger Harrabin’s use of the term “climate change doubters” for people who “emphasise the lack of movement in temperature throughout the decade.” Have we got nowhere in the almost decade-long debate about the shades of legitimate opinion about climate change and its causes?

    The recent global surface temperature standstill is one of the biggest challenges climate science faces at the moment. If Harrabin considers those who emphasise the reality of the 16-17 year standstill are “climate change doubters” he is going to have a very long list. Add me to it.


  10. Richard C (NZ) on 07/07/2013 at 11:09 am said:

    Myles Allen Admits Nobody Forecast Temperature Standstill

    By Paul Homewood

    Prof Myles Allen from the University of Oxford, interviewed by the BBC this week about global temperatures, has finally admitted that:-

    “no-one predicted the shorter-timescale lack-of-trend we have seen since 2000”


    Finally a bit of honesty.

    Thank you, Professor.


    # # #

    Nobody that Myles Allen knows of that is. He could read:

    ‘New Little Ice Age Instead of Global Warming?’

    Dr. Theodor Landscheidt, Energy and Environment (2003)


    11. Outlook

    We need not wait until 2030 to see whether the forecast of the next deep Gleissberg minimum is correct. A declining trend in solar activity and global temperature should become manifest long before the deepest point in the development. The current 11-year sunspot cycle 23 with its considerably weaker activity seems to be a first indication of the new trend, especially as it was predicted on the basis of solar motion cycles two decades ago. As to temperature, only El Niño periods should interrupt the downward trend, but even El Niños should become less frequent and strong. The outcome of this further long-range climate forecast solely based on solar activity may be considered to be a touchstone of the IPCC’s hypothesis of man-made global warming.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/07/2013 at 11:31 am said:

      ‘Hansen 1988: The Sun controls climate’

      The Hockey Schtick

      A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters by James Hansen in 1988 shows that Northern hemisphere temperature changes track solar irradiation almost perfectly over the 237 years from 1750 to 1987. Subsequently, Hansen became deranged [see “The Hansen climate alarm timeline” bottom of page].

      [Figure 3] http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-JvwXYGgFwSs/UdN6KJ-Fd3I/AAAAAAAAFTo/e3jdokBWuOU/s1600/ScreenShot3554.jpg

      ‘Global surface air temperatures: Update through 1987’

      James Hansen, Sergej Lebedeff



    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/07/2013 at 10:08 am said:

      ‘In the 17th century, a world wrecked by climate’

      Geoffrey Parker’s unsettling new look at an earlier moment of upheaval

      By Hillary Rosner | Globe Correspondent

      Droughts, wildfires, floods, storms: Climate change appears to be exacerbating these phenomena around the world. And in the United States, at least, preparations for the impact of global warming on our lives are paltry.

      If history is any guide, however, these “natural” disasters may be just the beginning—at least, that’s the implication of a comprehensive new book by British historian Geoffrey Parker, “Global Crisis: War, Climate Change & Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century.” Behind a tumultuous and grueling series of revolutions, wars, and famines, which ultimately killed off a third of the human population, was a culprit, he writes: a period of global cooling known as the Little Ice Age. Extreme weather caused crop failures, which led to hunger, disease, and forced migrations, which in turn translated to political and social chaos.

      The idea for “Global Crisis” first occurred to Parker nearly 40 years ago, when he heard a radio interview with solar physicist John A. Eddy, who had discovered that the reign of Louis XIV, from 1643 to 1715, coincided with a unique solar phenomenon: a lack of sunspots. (Scientists believe the lack of sunspots contributed to the Little Ice Age.) Eddy mentioned that this was particularly interesting because during this period “there were some wars, and some revolutions,” Parker recalls. “And I thought, yeah, some! That’s an understatement.”


      While the book is set squarely in the 17th century, it’s intended as a cautionary tale. And it also offers a lesson about what seems to have worked: Parker finds that survival often hinged on the willingness of central government to take action, coercively or not. “Here’s the evidence,” Parker says, “that climate really does matter, and we need to prepare.”

      ‘If we don’t prepare, we will be like the 17th century. The only difference is that we have the resources to do something and they did not.’

      Parker, who is the Andreas Dorpalen professor of European History at Ohio State University, spoke to Ideas from his home in Ohio.

      [Interview follows] >>>>>>>>


      Or, Steven Goddard’s take:

      ‘Boston Globe Explains That Extreme Weather Is Caused By Global Warming And Global Cooling’


    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/07/2013 at 10:46 am said:

      IDEAS [Hillary Rosner]: People might read the book and say, “That was then, these things could never happen now.” What do you say to that?

      PARKER: Let’s start with last [May], shall we, and the millennial floods in central Europe, for which there was very little preparation, so hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and a number of people were killed. We could go back to Sandy, to Katrina. Natural catastrophes happen, and some countries prepare for them and some don’t.

      We need to protect ourselves, and pay now to avoid paying much more later. If we don’t prepare, we will be like the 17th century. The only difference is that we have the resources to do something and they did not.

      IDEAS: It seems making the necessary changes can take a long time. You write about how barriers on the Thames were first proposed after devastating floods in the 1700s, but they weren’t actually funded until 1972.

      PARKER: Gradually, those opposed—shipping interests, local governments who said they can’t afford it—were overruled by the central government. It’s the Tokugawa solution. You have to accept a greater view of central government action….All over the countries of the world there is a fear of central government. It’s not unjustified. But when it comes to preparing for climate change, only big government has the resources to act in advance. That’s the dilemma we face.

      IDEAS: How can history help us in terms of trying to ease resistance to central government actions?

      PARKER: History is the best argument for being willing to concede a certain degree of our own autonomy for the greater good. That’s the problem with civil society, isn’t it? Hobbes and Locke both wrote about it in the 17th century, both get enshrined in the Constitution. The reason we have the Bill of Rights, the amendments, is because the Constitution was thought to give too much power to central government. But the more you look at history, the more you realize we’re in a slightly different situation with regard to the climate. The dilemma is, do we pay now to prepare or do we pay a whole lot more later to repair? It’s an individual choice. The decision in the US lies with the states. They have to accept a greater degree of intervention by the federal government.

      Hillary Rosner is a science journalist based in Colorado. [Political science?]

      # # #

      “…..the millennial floods in central Europe…..Sandy…..Katrina. Natural catastrophes happen, and some countries prepare for them and some don’t”

      Wow, “NATURAL” catastrophes. Hurricane risk was assessed to be a danger factor for the New York seaboard in planning documents pre-Sandy, but the warning was never acted on. Consequently, in order to sidestep culpability, Bloomberg and Cuomo (little government) have hung the blame on ACC, followed (naturally) by Obama’s (big government) “intervention”.

      Methinks British “historian” Parker might be dabbling in political science (Big-Authoritarian-Socialist-Govt Schill) as a sideline going by that last PARKER segment – with a little help from Rosner.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/07/2013 at 1:31 pm said:

      Also via Tom Nelson:

      ‘World Socialist Web Site: “the precondition for attacking global warming is socialism” ‘

      “The only solution is the marshaling of the world’s resources in a planned and rational manner. The full force of human technology and ingenuity must be brought to bear to avoid an environmental disaster. There must be a restructuring of energy generation, industrial and agricultural production, and transport infrastructure to lower carbon emissions. This can only take place when the international working class, the vast majority of humanity, takes control of the levers of society to run it for social need, rather than private profit. In a word, the precondition for attacking global warming is socialism.”


    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/07/2013 at 1:59 pm said:

      >”Obama’s (big government) “intervention” ”


      ‘Obama’s global-warming folly’

      By Charles Krauthammer

      The economy stagnates. Syria burns . Scandals lap at his feet. China and Russia mock him , even as a “29-year-old hacker” revealed his nation’s spy secrets to the world. How does President Obama respond? With a grandiloquent speech on climate change .

      Climate change? It lies at the very bottom of a list of Americans’ concerns (last of 21 — Pew poll). Which means that Obama’s declaration of unilateral American war on global warming, whatever the cost — and it will be heavy — is either highly visionary or hopelessly solipsistic. You decide:

      Global temperatures have been flat for 16 years — a curious time to unveil a grand, hugely costly, socially disruptive anti-warming program.

      Now, this inconvenient finding is not dispositive. It doesn’t mean there is no global warming. But it is something that the very complex global warming models that Obama naively claims represent settled science have trouble explaining. It therefore highlights the president’s presumption in dismissing skeptics as flat-earth know-nothings.


      The United States has already radically cut carbon dioxide emissions — more than any country on earth since 2006, according to the International Energy Agency. Emissions today are back down to 1992 levels.

      And yet, at the same time, global emissions have gone up. That’s because — surprise! — we don’t control the energy use of the other 96 percent of humankind.


      This massive self-sacrifice might be worthwhile if it did actually stop global warming and save the planet. What makes the whole idea nuts is that it won’t. This massive self-inflicted economic wound will have no effect on climate change.



  11. stan stendera on 07/07/2013 at 11:03 pm said:

    Well, you’ve done it!!! I have a name to ad to my list of idiot climate journalists. That list futures Seth Boringstern. Now I can add Alex Moranles.

  12. Richard C (NZ) on 08/07/2013 at 2:51 pm said:

    From the archives:

    ‘Global Warming Alarmists Flip-Flop On Snowfall’

    James Taylor | Op/Ed 3/02/2011 | 38,343 views

    Sitting in on a March 1 Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) press conference regarding global warming and heavy snowfalls, I couldn’t help feeling like the chairman of the Senate committee questioning mafia capo Frank Pentangeli in Godfather II. The chairman, listening incredulously as Pentangeli contradicts a sworn written statement he had earlier given to the committee, waves the written statement in the air and protests, “We have a sworn affidavit — we have it — your sworn affidavit…. Do you deny that confession, and do you realize what will happen as a result of your denial?”

    The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report was as straightforward as Frank Pentangeli’s earlier confession that he had killed on behalf of Michael Corleone. “Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms,” IPCC reported.

    That was in 2001. Now, however, with an unprecedented number of major winter snowstorms hitting the northeastern U.S. during the past two winters, the alarmists are clamming up and changing their tune faster than Tom Hagen can fly in Vincenzo Pentangeli from Italy to aid his brother in his time of trouble.

    Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground, and Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, explained to the media at the UCS press conference why they believe global warming caused the heavy snowfalls in the northeast these past two winters.



  13. Richard C (NZ) on 10/07/2013 at 9:40 pm said:

    ‘Global temperature changes in WMO report’

    by Ed Hawkins

    A recent press release by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) described recent global temperature changes, and highlighted extreme weather in the 2001-2010 period. Much of the press release is good, but here I will examine the accuracy of two statements.

    WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud: “WMO’s report shows that global warming was significant from 1971 to 2010 and that the decadal rate of increase between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented.”

    “The decadal rate of increase in the global temperature accelerated between 1971 and 2010.”

    This first is not a very clear phrase. What does ‘significant’ mean, and what does a ‘decadal rate of increase’ mean? But, it suggests that the increase from the average of 1991-2000 to the average of 2001-2010 was unprecedented, and the second phrase suggests an acceleration in the rate of increase in global temperatures. These statements are misleading.

    The figure below shows a similar bar graph to that used by the WMO showing averages of particular 10-year periods using HadCRUT4. The top panel shows the changes using the same definition as the WMO, with decades finishing with years ending in zero (i.e. 2001-2010, 1991-2000 etc). The largest change from decade to decade is indeed the last change, at +0.21K.

    The bottom panel repeats the analysis but defining decades to end in a two (i.e. 2003-2012, 1993-2002 etc). Now, the largest change (or even second or third largest) change is not to the most recent decade. And, in fact, the largest observed decadal increase is actually from the average of 1987-1996 to the average of 1997-2006, at +0.24K.



    About Ed Hawkins
    Ed Hawkins is a climate scientist in NCAS-Climate at the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading. His research interests are in decadal variability and predictability of climate, especially in the Atlantic region, and in quantifying the different sources of uncertainty in climate predictions and impacts.

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