Or so says Bloomberg (h/t Tamino and TP). And they should know? Well, maybe not; I’ll wait for something more definitive, perhaps from RC. But maybe indicative of how opinion is shifting, at least this week. As I’ve said before (but can’t find now) people – the great unwashed masses I mean – are unlikely to “believe” in GW until something dramatic and possibly unrelated happens. DA presents the skeptical case (with a genuine “k”).

Refs

* Serendipity
* The Onion
* Bloomberg brings climate change out of the closet in stunning snub to Romney

Comments

  1. #1 John Mashey
    2012/11/01

    In American high school football, defensive players are taught to watch a runner’s belt buckle, not his head (to avoid head fakes). In the climate game, I think the beltbluckle is the industry that prices risk for a living, i.e., Munich Re and co.

  2. #2 dhogaza
    2012/11/01

    The editorial that Mayor Bloomberg wrote for bloomberg.com is a bit more nuanced:

    “Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”

    It’s a bit too binary, “may or may not be the result of” rather than “worsened by”, but mostly reasonable IMO.

  3. #3 dhogaza
    2012/11/01

    Actually I misread it slightly, I think it’s just fine the way he wrote it.

  4. #4 Pierce R. Butler
    2012/11/02

    All of David Appell’s arguments could, with a few changes, apply as well to why I should not blame several relatives’ deaths on their lifelong tobacco addictions.

    I’m not accusing him of being a denialist, or a paid hack – but using the limitations of statistical analysis to say that fingers must not be pointed doesn’t contribute much of usefulness by now.

  5. #5 Russell
    2012/11/02

    Bloomberg and Co seem to have bought in to the fat statistical tail model of increased isater risk articulated by The Economist back in August, the bottom line being that minor temperature rises greatly increase the incidence of what were statsitical outliers before the warming materialized.

  6. #6 William T
    2012/11/02

    Russell, you mean Hansen’s model. His charts of the histogram shifts are very convincing

  7. #7 William T
    2012/11/02

    Actually, reading what Bloomberg said (and Christie, in a way), I don’t think you should diss them for reasons of statistical pedantry. This might just be the event that gives conservatives like them the space and permission to change their public positions on climate change without having to lose face. I think you should welcome all such “conversions” and not quibble. Indeed, you should encourage others who are in similar positions to also claim a change of viewpoint at this moment.

  8. #8 John Haigh
    Macclesfield, UK
    2012/11/02

    It is ironic that the largest economic impact from extreme weather events is likely to be in the US, the country that from Ronald Reagan onwards has been the most active in fighting any attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    As for whether Sandy was a result of climate change, I’d just point to the science that has been predicting for years that increased ocean temperatures were likely to lead to extreme weather events like these happening more often and with increased force. Don’t waste time arguing about weather a particular storm can be directly attributed, that’s just a distraction we don’t need when we have this opportunity to wake a few people up.

  9. #9 John Mashey
    2012/11/02

    William T:
    Read Wikipedia entry on Michael Bloomberg and
    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/13/bloomberg-in-bali-warns-of-paralysis-in-washington/

    He has been outspoken for years about the need to fight climate change.

    Likewise, the simple label “conservative” is not very useful, but especially applied to a guy who was a registered Democrat, switched to Republican and later to Independent.
    After all, he was a BSEE with an MBA, who built a big information technology company from scratch, is not into political partisanship, but pragmatic problem solving. I’ve met him and he seems quite akin to many tech executives here in Silicon Valley, who often lean fiscal conservative/social liberal, or the “Rockefeller Republicans” that used to exist, but do not fit the current Republican party very well.

  10. #10 David Appell
    United States
    2012/11/02

    Pierce R. Butler: Then show me the proof that this Hurricane was due to, or made worse by, AGW.

    Science cannot yet offer such proof (and may never be able to).

    And your analogy to tobacco’s harm doesn’t hold, since epidemiologists have control groups who have never smoked.

  11. #11 P. Lewis
    2012/11/02

    David Appell, I think you, as someone with a post-grad qualification in physics and a sometime contributor to a number of science publications, should perhaps be a bit more careful with your choice of words.

    All that science has is a balance of evidence that suggests one particular explanation for a phenomenon among a range of alternative possibilities is the best explanation there is. The best current scientific explanation is always open to modification on presentation of more evidence.

    Proof is a final, binary condition that belongs in the branch of mathematics, not in science.

    Pseudoscientists/creationists demand proof! Septics demand proof!

    Scientists don’t demand proof, because they (should) know there can be no proof. Not now. Not ever!

  12. #12 MMM
    2012/11/02

    “Pierce R. Butler: Then show me the proof that this Hurricane was due to, or made worse by, AGW.

    Science cannot yet offer such proof (and may never be able to). ”

    Sea level rise. Done.

    More seriously, there are a series of ways in which climate change alters storms like Sandy. As I stated in another venue:

    1) Extreme storms have happened in the past, and would continue to happen with or without climate change. 2) However, climate change does change a number of key variables (in approximate order of understanding): A) Starting sea level – everything is worse with an extra half-foot. /B) Total precipitation: warming is predicted to increase not only total global precip, but to do so more in wet places, and to do so more in the largest precip events. So some of Sandy’s rain can probably be attributed to climate change. C) The Atlantic was anomalously warm last week, in part due to anthropogenic climate change, supporting Sandy’s strength more than the past late October storms. This also probably helped Sandy reach its record low pressure and storm width, even if it was only a Cat 1 in terms of max wind speed. D) There is some speculation on the role of climate change in Sandy’s path, but even if we could pin Sandy’s left turn on an Arctic sea-ice-retreat-induced dynamic change, I would want to place this in the overall context on how climate change might change landfall frequency, and I don’t think the science supports an increasing landfalling frequency overall (though it does support a likely increasing intensity of the strongest storms).

  13. #13 John Mashey
    2012/11/02

    See 1860-current Tide Gauge data from the Battery in NYC.
    By eyeball, that looks like about 400mm SLR since 1860m , and NYC was founded in early 1600s, early in the deepest part of the LIA.

    According to Ruddiman, our interglacial has not looked like a normal one for thousands of years (and the evidence has been piling up for that) and allowing for the usual jiggles, it was still warmer during the LIA than it would have been without human influence, even if the 1600AD CO2 knockdown reduced the extra warmth a bit.

    I don’t know offhand if there any useful tide gauge records in NYC going further back,, but I’d guess there was a bit more SLR since NYC was founded.

    It is one thing to erect sea walls on the coast, but people often forget that SLR affects rivers as well. Sea level cities with rivers flowing through them have extra issues, especially if in flatter areas with lesser gradients. Shanghai is an especially terrifying example: walk along the Bund sometime. That isn’t even the Yangtze.

  14. #14 deconvoluter
    2012/11/02

    I am no expert and this may have been done properly elsewhere so I shall limit myself to criticising.

    I am doubtful about DA’s very low estimate delta(T)/T for the
    fractional increase of hurricanes because

    (a)Numerator. It is a bit naughty to assume that delta(T) =0.8K
    This assumes part of the conclusion which he is trying to reach i.e that there is no further increase of delta(T) beyond the shift in the global mean surface temperature. But the local oceanic delta(T) required to create such a freak event might have to be much larger than (0.8K). Such a high shift might be rare in the old climate and much more frequent in the new one if Tamino is right and the dice have changed

    (b) The denominator T which is supposed to describe the unperturbed system varies too slowly with T. I don’t know but as a wild guess I would expect something more like an Arrhenius function i.e. exp(-const/T) which occurs for example in one version of the Clausius Clapeyron equation, and in many other places.

  15. #15 David Appell
    2012/11/02

    MMM wrote:
    >> Starting sea level – everything is worse with an extra half-foot <<

    6 inches of water (and only 3.5" in the last 30 years) made all that difference? Really?

    The spring tide had a lot more to do with it.

  16. #16 David Appell
    http://davidappell.blogspot.com
    2012/11/02

    P. Lewis wrote:
    >> Scientists don’t demand proof, because they (should) know there can be no proof. Not now. Not ever! <<

    This is a banal argument. Science has proven lots of things — not in the strict mathematical sense of the word, of course, but lots of things: Newton's laws have been proven (in their domain of applicability). The laws of quantum mechanics have been proven (in their domain). Etc. Yes, there are always issues near the edges — the laws of physics aren't theorems — but in no way has AGW's link to Sandy been proven in the same sense that, say, the greenhouse effect has been proven.

  17. #17 P. Lewis
    2012/11/02

    No, it’s not a banal argument. It’s how science works. That you are that sloppy speaks volumes, to me at least.

  18. #18 Steve Easterbrook
    Toronto
    2012/11/02

    @David Appell: You’re making very strange claims. Post-Popper, we know that science can never *prove* anything, it can only fail to disprove things. Newton’s laws are well established, but their exact scope of applicability can always be challenged – we can never be sure we won’t discover more exceptions.
    If you read Toulmin, he offers a better way of explaining it – scientific theories describe ideals, and explain deviations from these ideals. It’s never about proof – it’s about understanding how the world works, and continually testing the limits of that understanding.

    So, to demand that science *prove* a link between AGW and Sandy is, quite frankly, to display profound ignorance of the nature of science.

    The right question is to ask which theories best explain the data.

  19. #19 David B. Benson
    2012/11/02

    Steve Easterbrook — “The right question is to ask which theories best explain the data.” Yes. And bayesian reasoning will supply the answer,

  20. #20 Harry
    2012/11/03

    David Appell
    2012/11/02
    MMM wrote:
    >> Starting sea level – everything is worse with an extra half-foot <<

    ""6 inches of water (and only 3.5" in the last 30 years) made all that difference? Really?

    The spring tide had a lot more to do with it.""

    The record low pressure also had something to do with it, the unusual cold air from the Arctic also had something to do with it, the sharp left hand turn the hurricane made was not at all normal, these storms usually continue on to the N/E. There are the warmer sea surface temperatures adding in more water vapour.

    This is the worst storm to hit this area.

    Add up all the added on bits, Global Warming had an impact. People don't also factor in the "Global" aspect of this.

    Global warming is having an impact across the globe, in many ways. Species on the move, sea level rise, flooding, droughts. It's a constant effect, across the globe, making the extreme events worse. The total cost across the globe would surely be more than the cost of the proposed mitigation already.

  21. #21 Doug Cotton
    Sydney
    2012/11/03

    No, only those who think carbon dioxide causes it are stupid …

    Home experiment No.1

    [Burrowed. This is the same old spam -W]

  22. #22 deconvoluter
    2012/11/03

    When it comes to invoking Popper (P) I tend to agree with DA. He tends to be raised too often. The offender should be compelled to read the whole of P’s Logic of Scientific Discovery s as well as those who disagree.

    In any case P’s hypothetico-deductive model does not rule out deduction; so if you agree to provisionally include large chunks of basic science and climatology in the hypotheses the problem is reduced to to deducing what effect extra CO2 would have on Sandy. So in principle you could either prove or disprove that there have been effects. This might turn out to be impossible both now and and later, because of e.g. chaos or inadequate modeling, but it would not be because of anything Popper wrote.

  23. #23 Hank Roberts
    2012/11/03

    > epidemiologists have control groups
    > who have never smoked.

    And other kinds of control groups, too, fortunately for the analogy. Pre/during/post comparisons work.

    For smoking:

    http://www.patient.co.uk/health/the-benefits-of-stopping-smoking

    For climate:

    Physical criteria for distinguishing sandy tsunami and storm deposits using modern examples

  24. #26 Steve Easterbrook
    Toronto
    2012/11/03

    @deconvoluter: I didn’t invoke Popper, I invoked Toulmin. I don’t suppose you’ve read him. You should. Popper didn’t destroy logical positivism, he just made the first cracks. You have to do more reading if you want know what happened after that.

  25. #27 deconvoluter
    2012/11/03

    @Steve Easterbrook

    Thanks for your reference to Toulmin.

    I didn’t invoke Popper,

    Although my comment was not directed at anyone in particular I did notice your 2nd sentence

    Post-Popper, we know that science can never *prove* anything, it can only fail to disprove things.

    and unfortunately missed the rest of it e.g. your last sentence which I agree with.

    Here is a restatement of part of my previous point expressed differently.

    I think that the above quotation invokes an inappropriate asymmetry by accepting disproof as possible while rejecting proof. They are equally possible if you are using deduction. The asymmetry which was not actually discovered by Popper as far as I know, refers to the validation of universal laws not to the diagnosing of the causes of individual events.

    @P.Lewis

    Scientists don’t demand proof, because they (should) know there can be no proof

    That depends on the question. As you can see the word proof is used in more than one way in this thread.

    It seems to me that some of these strong statements about the whole of science are an excessive response to contrarian propaganda. There are some examples of moderately rigorous observational ‘proof’ e.g. of the greenhouse effect (see SOD) and of ‘disproof’ of nonsense (see RC).
    Less seriously:
    I wrote this way back

  26. #28 Holly Stick
    Canada
    2012/11/03

    Why wiki on Hurricane Sandy did not mention climate change most of the time:

    “…But for days, the internet’s most authoritative article on a major tropical storm system in 2012 was written by a man with no meteorological training who thinks climate change is unproven and fought to remove any mention of it.”

    http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-11/wikipedia-sandy

    [Yes, "someone" already pointed me at that. Some classic edits in there, but probably best to look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Hurricane_Sandy#Climate_change_in_the_article -W]

  27. #29 Holly Stick
    2012/11/03

    At least the conversation at your link is more intelligent than many media comment sections. But I’ve got to stop reading conversations, get off my computer and go shopping.

  28. #30 Eli Rabett
    http:/rabett.blogspot.com
    2012/11/03

    Genetic information is carried by DNA. Jupiter is larger than the Earth and further away from the Sun. Fuck Popper.

  29. #31 deconvoluter
    2012/11/04

    @Holley Stick

    Why wiki on Hurricane Sandy did not mention climate change most of the time:

    Because they, the climate contrarians, are ruled by this kind of dictionary:
    You are trying to close down the debate”=> We shall stop you from mentioning it..

  30. #32 J Bowers
    2012/11/04

    Something I didn’t know until yesterday was that the Battery’s projected high tide for October 29th was 4.7′, not 6′ + 1′ of full moonage, as pointed out at WUWT by Tim Folkerts when he was correcting some errors here and here.

  31. #33 GoRight
    2012/11/04

    OFF TOPIC:

    I don’t see that you have commented on Michael Mann’s lawsuit wherein he claims to be a Nobel Recipient. Care to make a post on the topic and weigh in?

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/331829/mikes-nobel-trick-mark-steyn

    [Oh stop trolling. You know perfectly well that Mann has a nice cert from the IPCC thanking him for his part in the work that lead to the prize -W]

  32. #34 Vinny Burgoo
    2012/11/04

    The Bloomberg Businessweek article cites Greene Monger (geddit?) in support of the notion, discussed above, that the reduction in Arctic sea-ice forced Sandy to make a landfall. Here’s Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate:

    ‘There are useful things that can be said related to Atlantic temperatures, sea level, and water vapour, but the specific circulation link to arctic sea ice is tenuous at best, and completely speculative at worst.’

    Comments?

  33. #35 John Mashey
    2012/11/04

    See a list gathered in 10 minutes.

    For 5 years, there was no particular advice in how to refer to people involved in a group Nobel, where the group was something like the (minuscule ) actual IPCC, where most of the work is done by outside volunteers, and there was a specific list of a few hundred people that were selected by IPCC, specifically Lead Authors and up.

    No one cared, except perhaps Monckton, whose buddies at U of Rochester created a Nobel pin for him.

    (For what it’s worth, Nobel committee really ought to come up with labels they like, terse enough to be useful without needing a paragraph of explanation. Maybe Nobel Peace shared laureate or whatever they like, for whoever the group designates. I have no idea how this would work for EU :-))

  34. #36 Vinny Burgoo
    2012/11/04

    JM: ‘I have no idea how this would work for EU :-)’

    The perky tight-skirted stagiaires and their bosses at Berlaymont are Nobel Laureates. Stoat and I aren’t. It’s really quite simple.

  35. #37 J Bowers
    2012/11/04

    “I have no idea how this would work for EU :-))”

    A postcard to all EU citizens co-signed by the Nobel Committee and the Guinness Book of Records: “Well done for not waging war on on each other for 70 years.”

    [We have always been at war with France -W]

  36. #38 dhogaza
    2012/11/04

    [We have always been at war with France -W]

    And the French have always been at war with English …

    cooking!

  37. #39 David B. Benson
    2012/11/05

    Vinny Burgoo — Better would be to consider the effects of Arctic Amplification, that is, the tremendous increase in temperature in the Arctic compared to the modest increase at the equator. Of course that causes sea ice loss.

    I suspect it also causes other changes in circulation. Find
    Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather
    in mid-latitudes
    by Jennifer A. Francis and Stephen J. Vavrus @ Vavrus’s website.

  38. #40 Jeffrey Davis
    United States
    2012/11/05

    A scientist asking for “proof” rather than “evidence”?

    Someone didn’t train that scientist well. I’m a dumbo technoprole and know that science deals in evidence and inductive reasoning. That’s grammar school stuff. It makes me think that sometimes scientists take off their lab coats and take up their megaphones.

  39. #41 Jeffrey Davis
    United States
    2012/11/05

    A scientist asking for “proof” rather than “evidence”?

    Someone didn’t train that scientist well. I’m a dumbo technoprole and know that science deals in evidence and inductive reasoning. That’s grammar school stuff. It makes me think that sometimes scientists take off their lab coats and take up their megaphones.

  40. #42 Steve Shedroff
    Cincinnati, OH
    2012/11/05

    Wow, really. Doing a na na na na we told you so dance from the UK. We started the discussion, the US EPA sent out the first warnings to the UNEP. We just did not overreact to something that will last a millennium. By the way global warming has been happening since about 25,000 years ago when the last ice sheet receded and man ascended from the apes after and the preceding ice age killed off many predators with smaller brains. We have to take the bad with the good. Stop complaining about the warming and move to higher ground closer to the poles. Doing something about global warming should mean moving to safer places, not avoiding fossil fuels.

  41. [...] discussion from Stoat and DA (Sandy-related but relevant, I [...]