What goes ’round comes ’round on global warming (my Forbes piece)

by Michael Fumento on March 5, 2010

Some global warming skeptics have been using the remarkably cold winter and record snowfalls to attack the idea of global warming. Believers are crying foul. “You’re confusing weather with climate!” they insist.

And they’re right. But they invented the game a long time ago and have been deftly playing it ever since.

Among the complainers is Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, “The Earth is really, really big,” he condescendingly but correctly observes in a nationally syndicated column. “It’s so big that it can be cold here and warm elsewhere – and this is the key concept – at the same time. Even if it were unusually cold throughout the continental U.S., that still represents less than 2% of the Earth’s surface.”

He makes other points, too, but what he somehow misses is that the warmists never hesitate to use any unusual phenomena to assert their case. “Any?” you ask with incredulity. “Any!” I respond with assurance. Check out the list at this Web site. One glance blows you away. It includes everything from “acne” to “yellow fever,” with “short-nosed dogs endangered” in between.

Moreover, time and again the warmists have use terribly cold weather and blizzards to say “global warming is at it again!” and that includes a Bill McKibben column that appeared in the Washington Post just five days before Robinson’s column!

Read about it in my new Forbes Online piece, “Weather Hype, Climate Trype.”

Tom March 5, 2010 at 7:51 am

There is a more sophisticated way to look at the seasonal time-scale for confirmation or refutation of predictions. I don't just poke fun at the Met Office for getting it wrong, but compare their predictions with those of solar physicists.

I can well understand oceanographers and atmospheric scientists getting annoyed at solar physicists overselling the Sun as the main influence on the climate, and failing to acknowledge the complexity of the system with what they say at times. But I can see why the solar physicists are excited, and I forgive the loose language of, "It's the Sun, stupid!" because compared with carbon dioxide vs, temperature, the relationship really is striking.

As well as performing comparisons, and noticing that solar physicists are making fewer excuses for failed predictions, I look at the Met Office's quoted probabilities, and I ask what their chance of 5 failures in a row is if they can really claim about a 6/7 chance of being right each time. ('Given one failure, what is the chance of 4 more?' is a good enough question I think. 'Given a run of n attempts, how likely is a run of at least x failures?' is a bit harder to solve.)

However you look at it, either an extraordinary coincidence of failures has occurred, or the Met Office are vastly overstating their confidence levels.

I particularly liked the explanations the BBC gave for why the UK had iced up. They missed mentioning the rest of the hemisphere but were honest enough to let you glimpse parts of it on the maps behind them. It was quite amusing to watch them go to such lengths on one country. Makes you think, 'Okay, so that's one country's cold explained away after the fact… How many more to go?'

I outdid their predictions from November with my Google skills. I shouldn't be able to.

Emily March 5, 2010 at 10:22 am

thanks 🙂 this is the perfect website for my project

Tom March 5, 2010 at 12:56 pm

(Predictions of the entire winter that is.)

Does anyone know of any seasonal forecasts for this summer yet? I hope it’s dry, but then I have an agenda. I hate slugs and snails.

Tristan Branyan March 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm

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pojoe March 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm

You skeptic will say anything to twist and distort the truth This was tried by the tabacco companies in the 1980’s.!

Ethyl Perlin March 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm

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Tom March 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Well done pojoe; you've converted me! I hadn't thought of that one!

It's spelt tobacco.

Update: I've heard solar physicists rubbishing predictions of a BBQ summer for the UK in 2010, which are now coming from many sources since the Met Office have conceded their complete lack of forecasting skill on this time-scale. (They still won't concede it for longer time-scales, mind you! Apparently global averages and longer time-scales are easier to predict than local weather and climate on shorter ones. Hmmmmm.)

As for April: "It's pretty cold and wet in many parts but there will be one fine bit" said Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction.

He was of course handing out cigarettes to children as he said it, pojoe. :^)

Wayne Camaron March 25, 2010 at 1:57 pm

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