Jack Tame – The picture: ‘climate-changed hurricanes’ is dead wrong

CYGNSS Hurricane Mission. Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System satellite orbiting over a hurricane. They’re very big, hurricanes.

No, Jack. There’s no evidence to support your outrage this morning. Your description of the problem is simplistic — indeed, it’s raw scare-mongering. Above all, it’s dead wrong.

You make major mistakes but I’ll be charitable and assume you are unaware of the truth, though it’s a bad thing for a journalist.

You claim two major climate events connected with Hurricane Harvey were caused or exacerbated by dangerous anthropogenic (man-made) climate change (DAGW): record rainfall and high ocean temperatures. Neither event has anything to do with human emissions of greenhouse gases. Let me explain.

First, you’re not the only one beating the climate change drum whenever we see a bit of extreme weather. The cynical exploitation of Hurricane Harvey has just been summarised by the inimitable James Delingpole at Breitbart, who says:

All week some of the very worst people in climate activism have been trying to make political mileage out of Hurricane Harvey.

Perhaps you read Naomi Klein pontificating on our guilt, lack of focus and criminal lack of action on climate change. She makes huge mistakes, too. Of course, neither of you are climate scientists.

Naomi Klein

She puts climate change into the same category as “all the other systemic injustices — from racial profiling to economic austerity — that turn disasters like Harvey into human catastrophes.” What bleeding-heart nonsense: “systemic injustice”? It cannot be turned into a catastrophe, because they’re the same thing. In the online Oxford thesaurus, what’s the first synonym for ‘disaster’? It’s ‘catastrophe’.

We might have expected Naomi to know that, since she’s an experienced writer. She goes on to say:

… these events have long been predicted by climate scientists. Warmer oceans throw up more powerful storms.

Predictions of climate disaster have been failing since they were first made in the 1980s, so it’s prudent to  treat them all with caution. But the concept of human emissions warming the ocean is a monumental error, if distressingly common.

The trouble is, it has a certain logic to it: everyone experiences the ocean warmed by the sun. When the sky is clouded, the ocean cools down. When the clouds are blown away, the ocean warms again. Our puny emissions go into the atmosphere, not into the ocean, not into the ground. So they waft about in the air above us, the scientists call them greenhouse gases and describe them as warming. We all know that, and so it’s natural to imagine them heating the ocean from above, by radiation, because the scientists say so.

However, there’s no mechanism known to science whereby our airborne emissions of carbon dioxide (or anything else) can by radiation significantly heat the ocean.

Do you disagree? Look it up. If you find it, send it to me. I would of course rather be right than wrong. I’ve been asking around for years and found many statements that it happens but not one description of how it happens and especially no sign of its magnitude. This is frustrating. If you find nothing, drop me a comment on that, too.

Rising sea level is probably the most ferocious of the demons to be unleashed by global warming. It’s slow but relentless. It will destroy whole nations, albeit small ones. Based on an impossibility, we’ve nonetheless become terrified of it, but it’s the biggest scientific fraud of all time. Every prediction of increased sea levels since the 1980s has failed, but never mind; they just keep changing the date. Naomi says:

… hotter weather leads to extremes of precipitation: long dry periods interrupted by massive snow or rain dumps, rather than the steadier predictable patterns most of us grew up with. The records being broken year after year — whether for drought, storm surges, wildfires, or just heat — are happening because the planet is markedly warmer than it has been since record-keeping began.

There has been no significant “global warming” this century. Since about the mid-1990s, or even the 1980s, there was no significant warming until 2015 brought one of the largest El Nino events in recorded history. By the end of 2016 that faded and temperatures were back to what they were. So, essentially no significant warming in 20 years or more.

Because there’s been no significant global warming anything that was expected to happen because of warming either has not happened or was caused by something else. That’s the first and the last point we need to make. The rest of what these alarmists say becomes irrelevant, since there’s been no warming.

Records are set every year, no matter the climate, and, believe it or not, each year sees records set for both heat and cold, all over the world. That’s how chaotic the climate is, but it has nothing to do with human emissions.

Finally, Naomi tries to kindle nostalgia by recalling “the steadier predictable patterns most of us grew up with.” What a barrel of bilge. Steady, predictable? The climate has always been unsteady and unpredictable. The very first IPCC assessment report (FAR) noted the chaotic nature of elements of the climate and said plainly:

The chaotic elements of the climate system are the weather systems in the atmosphere and in the ocean.

It was no surprise then and it’s still no surprise to anyone who takes even a half-serious glance at the weather that the entire weather system is unpredictable beyond a couple of weeks.

Professor Roger Pielke Jr, giving testimony to Congress in 2013 on the current state of weather extremes, said:

  • It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally. It is further incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.
  • Globally, weather-related losses ($) have not increased since 1990 as a proportion of GDP (they have actually decreased by about 25%) and insured catastrophe losses have not increased as a proportion of GDP since 1960.
  • Hurricanes have not increased in the US in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900. The same holds for tropical cyclones globally since at least 1970 (when data allows for a global perspective).
  • Floods have not increased in the US in frequency or intensity since at least 1950. Flood losses as a percentage of US GDP have dropped by about 75% since 1940.
  • Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950, and there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.
  • “[Droughts have] for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century” (US Climate Change Science Program, 2008 – pdf, 9.4 MB). Globally, “there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years” (Nature, 2012).

Climatologist Dr Roy Spencer in 2016:

Global warming and climate change, even if it is 100% caused by humans, is so slow that it cannot be observed by anyone in their lifetime. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts and other natural disasters have yet to show any obvious long-term change. This means that in order for politicians to advance policy goals (such as forcing expensive solar energy on the masses or creating a carbon tax), they have to turn normal weather disasters into “evidence” of climate change.

Let us be in no doubt that policies in response to climate emergencies, real or predicted, must be founded in observation and sound reasoning.

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22 Thoughts on “Jack Tame – The picture: ‘climate-changed hurricanes’ is dead wrong

  1. Ian Cooper on 04/09/2017 at 9:46 am said:

    I was not surprised to see Jack Tame being the first cab off the rank in NZ on the claim that the recent hurricane in the US is a sign of CAGW. Shooting from the lip as usual and with nothing to back up his assertion Jack, a man who doesn’t know the difference between astronomy & astrology (one of his earliest live on air faux pas), smugly threw in his little aside about the CAGW connection at the end of the report.

    I could see this coming as soon as the report cited Hurricane Harvey as the most destructive hurricane to hit the US since Katrina in 2005! Of course it is. It has to be. Why do I say that? Because it is the ONLY one to make landfall on the US since Katrina, therefore it can be anything & everything all at once. One of the most significant things about Hurricane Harvey that the media have failed to mention at all, is that it marks the end of the longest landfalling-hurricane drought in recorded US history. Why doesn’t the MSM mention this? Because it doesn’t fit their meme of increased frequency regarding such storms. As they say, never let the truth get in the way of a good story, especially if it sells plenty of advertising!

  2. Simon on 04/09/2017 at 4:05 pm said:

    Despite your assertions, there is a clear and unambiguous warming trend. Globally, more warm records are being broken than cold records. Warmer oceans provide more energy for weather systems. Warmer air can hold more water vapour. There is also evidence for a more “wavy” jet stream which can cause weather systems to stall in one spot. Heat transference is not limited to radiation, e.g. conduction and convection.

    • Richard Treadgold on 04/09/2017 at 11:38 pm said:

      Hi Simon,

      Despite your assertions, there is a clear and unambiguous warming trend.

      Yes, that’s what I said. However its magnitude is not unusual, unprecedented or dangerous — though I said “essentially no significant warming in 20 years or more.” The trends in the four main datasets since 1979 (that’s 39 years), in °C, are from 0.13°C–0.17°C/decade or, if it continues at the same rate, between 1.3°C and 1.7°C per century. As you can see here:


      Globally, more warm records are being broken than cold records.

      Not what I’ve heard. Please provide evidence of this.

      Warmer oceans provide more energy for weather systems.

      True, but this cannot be caused by human emissions. If you disagree, please provide evidence.

      Warmer air can hold more water vapour.

      A human cause of warming is uncertain and the likely magnitude is small, but mostly I’m unclear what you mean to imply by this. There’s some evidence that atmospheric water vapour, though predicted by modelling to increase, has declined. For example, NOAA reports this:


      There is also evidence for a more “wavy” jet stream which can cause weather systems to stall in one spot.

      You mean we cause this, too? This is normal variability. Evidence of a human cause and of its magnitude or frequency, please.

      Heat transference is not limited to radiation, e.g. conduction and convection.

      Seriously? Did you know that warm air rises immediately, and that humid air rises even faster? It’s inconceivable that any conduction or convection in the atmosphere at the boundary layer could significantly warm the ocean. But, evidence if you have it, please.

  3. Magoo on 04/09/2017 at 11:22 pm said:


    ‘there is a clear and unambiguous warming trend’

    Yes, but nowhere near that predicted by the climate models. The warming is inconsequential as a result & not at odds with that witnessed in nature previously. In addition, over the last 67 yrs since 1950 there has only been warming for approximately 18 years from 1980-1998, barely any warming for the other 49 years, and practically nothing for the last 20 years except for the 2016 El Nino (a temporary natural weather event resulting from a cooling ocean). The IPCC AR5 confirms the ‘hiatus’ here:

    Box TS.3: Climate Models and the Hiatus in Global Mean Surface Warming of the Past 15 Years, pg 61, Technical Summary, Working Group I, IPCC AR5 report, 2013.

    ‘Warmer oceans provide more energy for weather systems’

    If you think that warmth is being transported from the atmosphere to the ocean as a result of AGW, please state the mechanism by which this is happening (preferably from the IPCC). If you can’t provide such a mechanism then your implication that AGW is responsible for a warming ocean, which in turn provides more energy for weather systems, is unfounded & your point is irrelevant.

    ‘Warmer air can hold more water vapour’

    It can, but the empirical evidence shows that just because it can doesn’t mean it does. See the failure of the lower troposphere (LT) to warm at a faster rate than the upper troposphere (MT) as a result of increased water vapour (the opposite of that predicted) in the IPCC AR5 here:

    Table 2.8, pg 197, Chapter 2: Observations: Atmosphere and Surface, Working Group I, IPCC AR5 Report, 2013.

    ‘There is also evidence for a more “wavy” jet stream which can cause weather systems to stall in one spot.’

    Harvey dumped water on Texas because it was stuck between 2 high pressure fronts whilst sucking water from the Gulf of Mexico. If you have evidence that this was due to a ‘more “wavy” jet stream’ I’d be most interested in seeing it please. See the quote below & the link to the article:

    ‘I don’t know of any portion of global warming theory that would explain why Harvey stalled over southeast Texas. Michael Mann’s claim in The Guardian that it’s due to the jet stream being pushed farther north from global warming makes me think he doesn’t actually follow weather like those of us who have actual schooling in meteorology (my degree is a Ph.D. in Meteorology). We didn’t have a warm August in the U.S. pushing the jet stream farther north.’

    Source: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2017/08/texas-major-hurricane-intensity-not-related-to-gulf-water-temperatures/

  4. Magoo on 04/09/2017 at 11:33 pm said:

    Sorry, a small correction, that should’ve read as the following:

    ‘See the failure of the UPPER troposphere (MT) to warm at a faster rate than the LOWER troposphere (LT) …’

  5. Dennis N Horne on 06/09/2017 at 8:11 am said:

    Earth is retaining more energy; the climate system is warming: (1) the warmer atmosphere is holding much more water, (2) much more energy is being transferred from the warmer oceans to the atmosphere – latent heat, (3) the Arctic is warming dramatically and the changing winds are causing the hurricanes to ‘stall’ and dump water for longer.

    Of course the greenhouse effect keeps the oceans warmer, just as insulation keeps the water in a hot water cylinder warmer.

    Come on people, read some science. Two textbooks from Cambridge University Press: John Houghton (Global Warming, the Complete Briefing) and Andrew Dessler (Introduction to Modern Climate Change).

    You think you know enough science to contradict the experts?

    Of course you do. What am I thinking.

  6. Richard Treadgold on 06/09/2017 at 8:50 am said:

    Thanks for the populist climate summary, Dennis, but you’ve overlooked the main thrust of the post. There’s little about climate science that I disagree with, it’s more that my questions throw doubt on its conclusions. Insulation works by re-radiating thermal energy in all directions. The natural greenhouse blanket works weakly and the alleged augmentation by human emissions is of course an order of magnitude weaker still. In addition, the post highlights the lack of a mechanism by which the down-welling portion might significantly heat the ocean. So when you say “Of course the greenhouse effect keeps the oceans warmer, just as insulation keeps the water in a hot water cylinder warmer” I have a hard time believing it. Until you bring evidence. I love evidence.

  7. Simon on 06/09/2017 at 10:10 am said:

    You will find ample evidence in climate science textbooks and journals, not on dodgy websites sponsored by shadowy lobby groups. Read the scientific literature. If you still don’t believe the conclusions, then you have to disprove it through doing some actual peer-reviewed research.

  8. Andy on 06/09/2017 at 11:08 am said:

    We can’t disprove the science. It is “settled”

    The latest MfE guidelines on sea level rise, for example – leaked to the Green Party – states that we can’t use historic and recent measurements of actual sea level rise to draw conclusions. We must only use RCP models.

    So there you have it – the death of science.

    There is no point in studying science anymore, it is just a political vehicle for social change.

    I would put “climate scientists” in the same basket as gender studies and women’s studies professors in their utility to society

  9. Richard Treadgold on 06/09/2017 at 11:15 am said:

    Simon, your general abuse doesn’t persuade me. I’ve searched far and wide; I’ve spoken to scientists, read the IPCC reports and enquired among knowledgeable people everywhere. Your assurance that I “will find” ample evidence comes across as shallow. Your insinuation about dodgy websites and shadowy lobby groups shows clearly you don’t respect my question. If you don’t know how the ocean might warm significantly from our emissions, then admit it; if you do know, then explain it to me. Otherwise, shut up.

  10. Ann on 06/09/2017 at 11:16 am said:

    Simon – I’m new to the study of this subject and would love to know which climate science textbooks and journals you are talking about?

  11. Richard Treadgold on 06/09/2017 at 11:20 am said:

    Andy, thanks. You never fail to strike some unexpected stance and show up the poseurs and pretenders for what they are.

  12. Kleinefeldmaus on 06/09/2017 at 5:51 pm said:

    Jack Sometimes it’s better to just be a reporter
    Jack Tame – Foot in Mouth disease

  13. Alexander K on 06/09/2017 at 8:48 pm said:

    Sadly, it is currently fashionable for ‘reporters’ to insert themselves into the story. Jack The Lad is always very keen to display his total scientific ignorance, which he couples with stunning arrogance. If he stuck to reporting he might be good at it, but he frequently crosses the boundary between reporting and pontificating.

  14. Andy on 06/09/2017 at 10:28 pm said:

    These guys like to virtue signal that they are superior to us mere mortals on the other side of the screen

    Unfortunately for the Jake Tames of the world, they seem unaware that they won’t have a job in 10 years time

  15. Kleinefeldmaus on 07/09/2017 at 8:10 am said:

    Yep next he will he will be quoting from this charlatan Flannery – who managed to stuff up the Oz economy with his garbage. Now pontificating om Auckland on seaweed.

  16. Kleinefeldmaus on 07/09/2017 at 9:03 am said:

    And another thing – this has been going on for quite awhile – this hurricane thing – long before anyone thought up this AGW malarky.
    check below.
    While Harvey has certainly been dramatic it is by no means historically unprecedented:

    Philip Klotzbach ✔ @philklotzbach
    Table of 25 U.S. landfalling hurricanes with lowest pressures at landfall on record (since 1851). #Harvey in a tie for 17th lowest.


  17. Simon on 07/09/2017 at 10:05 am said:

    Where do you think the additional heat comes from in an El Niño event? What causes the observed cooling in a La Nina? Ocean and atmosphere exchange heat. To deny this puts you well into crank territory.
    Let’s go back to first principles: https://climatekids.nasa.gov/ocean/
    Andy, sea level rise is currently 3.2 mm/yr with evidence of acceleration, due to a combination of melting glaciers and ice sheets plus thermal expansion of seawater as it warms. Multiple metres of sea level rise is already locked in, the question is how fast we are going to get there. That’s what models are for, I am sure you use models regularly in your course of work.

  18. Simon on 07/09/2017 at 10:52 am said:

    Little field mouse, I’m talking global not local. Gyres have a big effect on local sea level rise but they are not guaranteed to be permanent. Note that NZ is more affected by Greenland than Antarctic ice shelf melt because of the gravitational effect.
    Looking at the literature, Jack Tane is correct: there is clear evidence that the intensity of cyclones/hurricanes is increasing: http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/~kossin/articles/nature07234.pdf http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL051700/abstract

  19. Magoo on 07/09/2017 at 11:34 am said:


    El Nino and La Nina have absolutely nothing to do with AGW, they’re temporary natural weather phenomena that are a result of changing ocean circulation – the ocean affects the atmosphere, not the other way around, and the ocean is warmed by the sun:


    If the ‘missing heat’ is being transferred from the atmosphere into the ocean by La Nina over the past 20 yrs, then why hasn’t there been a rapidly rising warming trend in the atmospheric temperature in between La Nina? Doesn’t quite add up, does it. We know the reason the atmosphere warms as a result of an El Nino is due to the fact the ocean is purging it’s heat to space via the atmosphere – i.e. it’s a cooling event.

    Your NASA for kids link states ‘The ocean does an excellent job of absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere.’, but again it fails to show the mechanism of how it does this. The video constantly states how the SUN warms the ocean, not the atmosphere – where’s the example of the atmospheric heat being transferred into the ocean. Note in the video he held the flame to the BOTTOM of the balloon, not the top – why do you think he did that? Would the balloon be warmed much if held the flame to the top, and if so where do you think any heat transferred to the balloon would go when considering heat tends to rise? Again, it doesn’t quite add up, does it.

    Regarding sea level rises, the IPCC states the following in the AR5:

    ‘.. with a very likely mean rate between 1900 and 2010 of 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm yr–1 and 3.2 [2.8 and 3.6] mm yr–1 between 1993 and 2010. This assessment is based on high agreement among multiple studies using different methods, and from independent observing systems (tide gauges and altimetry) since 1993. It is likely that a RATE COMPARABLE TO THAT SINCE 1993 OCCURRED BETWEEN 1920 AND 1950, possibly due to a multi-decadal climate variation, as individual tide gauges around the world and all reconstructions of GMSL show increased rates of sea level rise during this period.’

    Source: 3.7.6 Conclusions, page 291, Chapter 3 Observations: Ocean, Working Group I, IPCC AR5 report 2013.

    There’s nothing unnatural in the current sea level rises, as you can see in Figure 3.14 of the same chapter – page 289. As there is no mechanism by which an atmosphere that has stubbornly refused to warm over the past 20 yrs can warm the ocean, there’s no reason to assume that AGW is having any effect on ocean levels except maybe through a small insulation effect – if you disagree then prove it, it appears nobody else has.

  20. Ian Cooper on 07/09/2017 at 12:57 pm said:

    With regards to the atmosphere/ocean interaction discussion above, here is a timely link to a very good explanation of how the ENSO phenomenon actually works. This was just posted on the most current item over at JoNova’s site and deals with a prognosis of impending La Nina conditions starting to emerge in the central – eastern Pacific & elsewhere.


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