Sometimes, even television has its uses

This video, a selection of TV news clips that serve to illustrate Bill McKibben's recent op-ed on climate change denial, has already made the rounds, but as it deserves as wide an audience as possible, I'll do my bit.

It's also noteworthy because the op-ed marked a first for McKibben: the use of a snarky, satirical tone. Until now, he's been a upbeat cheerleader for climate change activists. Sooner or later, it would, we all get tired of banging our head against a wall and have to lash out at idiocy.

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Appealing to the reactionary side of our species will bite us in the ass. No matter what the cause. Playing to sympathetic impulses rather then cold reason and logic without emotional overtones will screw our credibility as scientists.

By Physicsman (not verified) on 13 Jun 2011 #permalink

Keep crying wolf.

What little is left of your credibility will soon be gone.

The fact is there is no long term increase in tornadoes. But don't let the facts interfere with your exploiting the misery and death of innocents for your own political purposes.

"The fact is there is no long term increase in tornadoes"

Obviously someone who know nothing about science.

The long term trend of a phenomena has to be taken from the length of record of the events, modified for the known confounding factors, then after all that, the trend line has an error estimate to it.

If that error estimate includes a positive trend, then you cannot claim no long term increase in tornadoes.

But you've got that trend and error bars, have you Lance? You're not just repeating some claim without substantiation or proof, are you?

If you are, that would be ruinous to your credibility. But this wouldn't be a problem if you're not going to let facts interfere with your exploiting the misery and death of innocents for your own political purposes (and your stock market investments).


Here is what NOAA Climate Services said in a May 6th 2011 article on the subject.

Even before the April 2011 outbreak, scientists have been looking for long-term changes in U.S. tornado activity. The research thatâs already been done paints an inconclusive picture. The number of smaller tornadoes seems to have increased; the number of large tornadoes has not. Between better technologyâradars, satellites, the internetâand greater public awareness, itâs likely that the increase is due to more reports, not more tornadoes.

I would say that they put the best spin you and McKibben could hope for because an actual review of the data reveals that no upward trend for either small or large tornadoes is evident.

You can review these studies on the subject and check for yourself. Then if you aren't just an anonymous blowhard you can apologize for saying I was "Obviously someone who know (sic) nothing about science."

Balling Jr., R.C. and Cerveny, R.S. 2003. Compilation and discussion of trends in severe storms in the United States: Popular perception vs. climate reality. Natural Hazards 29: 103-112.

Changnon, S.A. 2003. Shifting economic impacts from weather extremes in the United States: A result of societal changes, not global warming. Natural Hazards 29: 273-290.

Daoust, M. 2003. An analysis of tornado days in Missouri for the period 1950-2002. Physical Geography 24: 467-487.

Diffenbaugh, N.S., Trapp, R.J. and Brooks, H. 2008. Does global warming influence tornado activity? EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 89: 553-554.

Hage, K. 2003. On destructive Canadian prairie windstorms and severe winters. Natural Hazards 29: 207-228.

Khandekar, L. 2003. Comment on WMO statement on extreme weather events. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 84: 428.

Kunkel, K.E. 2003. North American trends in extreme precipitation. Natural Hazards 29: 291-305.

Kunkel, K.E., Pielke Jr., R.A. and Changnon, S.A. 1999. Temporal fluctuations in weather and climate extremes that cause economic and human health impacts: A review. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 80: 1077-1098.

Oh, and sadly I own no stocks.

2011 is tied for 1st in the number of E5 tornadoes. 2011 could make first place yet.

This decade is in the lead for super outbreaks in a decade, and this year is number one in the category for a mere year.

Tornado formation depends on how strong thunderstorms meet upper-level winds. Will super outbreaks increase?

By Pete Dunkelberg (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

Lance, you buffoon, from the quote you took:

"The research thatâs already been done paints an inconclusive picture."

Therefore YOUR STATEMENT "The fact is there is no long term increase in tornadoes" is not supported.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. In short: we've not been looking long enough and do not understand the confounding factors to remove them and use a shorter period of observation.

But you insist on asserting absolute knowledge when you ought to know that you have no conclusive evidence, which means no answer one way or another.