April 11, 2011

Dr Kevin and the Nashville Floods

I was reading an interview of Kevin Trenberth about extreme weather events, remember weather is not climate except when it is, and near the end came this exchange.(all emphasis mine)
M-M: Have these El Niños become more pronounced due to global warming?

KT: We have records of El Niño going back some 150 years, and there was a change in how it evolved starting somewhere around 1976. Today, the impacts of El Niño due to the floods and droughts around the world are certainly bigger. So while there are floods in South Asia and Australia, there are droughts in Africa and Peru and Equador. During El Niño, it tends to be wetter across the southern U.S. and drier in the north.
Note the non answer answer, which is enough for the reporter to draw his own conclusion, obviously being well versed in the Party Line narrative.
M-M: So, climate change really manifests itself with more weather extremes?

KT: Because water vapor in the atmosphere acts as a fuel for weather systems, the weather systems can get stronger. We can get heavier rains out of it. The two-day rains last May in Nashville, Tenn., were astounding. As for snow, if it’s a bit warmer but still below freezing, you can actually get more snow, as with some of the East Coast snow storms. Because there’s more moisture in the atmosphere, it gets dumped down in the form of snow instead of rain.
As you can see the good doctor is tactically agreeing with the reporter, not only that "climate change" causes weather extremes but he points to recent events to reinforce this belief. Note though that this entire line of reasoning is based upon the premise that there is more water moisture in the atmosphere due to global warming. Which both our journalist and scientist agree upon, a consensus if you will.
M-M: And you’re saying there’s more moisture in the air because globally the air is warmer?
KT: That’s correct — in particular over the oceans. The main hydrological source of moisture is the oceans. The fact that sea temperatures are half to one degree centigrade above what they were 30 years ago is enough to bolster the snow amounts by at least 10 percent, if not more.
So that we are clear about this, the narrative science is that global warming has caused more water vapor and this has caused more extreme weather it?

Well we shall leave Dr Kevin and journalist Bruce to their little narrative dance and visit our good friends at NOAA who in 2010 made an interesting observation to explain why global warming was not accelerating as previously forecast, by people such as Dr Kevin:
A 10 percent drop in water vapor ten miles above Earth’s surface has had a big impact on global warming, say researchers in a study published online January 28 in the journal Science. The findings might help explain why global surface temperatures have not risen as fast in the last ten years as they did in the 1980s and 1990s.
Observations from satellites and balloons show that stratospheric water vapor has had its ups and downs lately, increasing in the 1980s and 1990s, and then dropping after 2000. The authors show that these changes occurred precisely in a narrow altitude region of the stratosphere where they would have the biggest effects on climate.
I know, I'm just being picky here, the scientist at NOAA were only talking about a tiny wedge of water vapor in the stratosphere, even though in a location which would have the "biggest effect on climate". However while we are at NOAA, let's check in and see what their position on the whole water vapor issue is. Shall we?

Water Vapor

Water Vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, which is why it is addressed here first. However, changes in its concentration is also considered to be a result of climate feedbacks related to the warming of the atmosphere rather than a direct result of industrialization. The feedback loop in which water is involved is critically important to projecting future climate change, but as yet is still fairly poorly measured and understood.
As the temperature of the atmosphere rises, more water is evaporated from ground storage (rivers, oceans, reservoirs, soil). Because the air is warmer, the absolute humidity can be higher (in essence, the air is able to 'hold' more water when it's warmer), leading to more water vapor in the atmosphere. As a greenhouse gas, the higher concentration of water vapor is then able to absorb more thermal IR energy radiated from the Earth, thus further warming the atmosphere. The warmer atmosphere can then hold more water vapor and so on and so on. This is referred to as a 'positive feedback loop'. However, huge scientific uncertainty exists in defining the extent and importance of this feedback loop. As water vapor increases in the atmosphere, more of it will eventually also condense into clouds, which are more able to reflect incoming solar radiation (thus allowing less energy to reach the Earth's surface and heat it up). The future monitoring of atmospheric processes involving water vapor will be critical to fully understand the feedbacks in the climate system leading to global climate change. As yet, though the basics of the hydrological cycle are fairly well understood, we have very little comprehension of the complexity of the feedback loops. Also, while we have good atmospheric measurements of other key greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, we have poor measurements of global water vapor, so it is not certain by how much atmospheric concentrations have risen in recent decades or centuries, though satellite measurements, combined with balloon data and some in-situ ground measurements indicate generally positive trends in global water vapor.
Interesting isn't it how sure Dr Kevin is that extreme weather events such as the Nashville floods are caused by "climate change" due to increased atmospheric water vapor. However the agency which monitors water vapor says that atmospheric water vapor in the location which would have the "biggest effect on the climate" has decreased and it "is not certain by how much atmospheric concentrations have risen in recent decades or centuries",

It is nice to see that the esteemed Dr Kevin is so far ahead of the scientific community that he can give interviews attributing individual flooding episodes to global warming when NOAA can not even say that the cause Dr Kevin blames is even occurring.

If this is not corruption of science, I know that is becoming an oxymoron, I don't know what is.  They have their theory, the evidence does not support the theory, but the theory is adequate in and of itself to draw conclusions. Then of course find a willing participant in the media to publicize the conclusion.

It is all so sad, but that is climate science, Hey I got an idea why don't the so called "moderate" climate scientist condemn this type of deceptive propaganda. No, they'll hide behind their intellectual "objectivity" and professional courtesies and rake in the dough. They need the good Dr Kevin to line their scientific Judas pockets at the expense of the rest of us.

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