21 Comments
Jan 15, 2023·edited Jan 15, 2023

Agree 100%.

You’d think NOAA would be conflicted in the opposite direction. What agency would not like to brag that its funding played and plays an important role in forecasting (or providing primary data to other/private forecasting)of ordinary and disastrous weather event more precisely and with longer lead times…reducing potential damage by billions.

Alas, ordinary graft is overshadowed (or “swamped”) by allegiance to the climate emergency narrative.

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Excellent as always! Thank you, Roger.

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Closely allied with the Establishment’s need to find (more likely to create artificially) evidence that climate change is already impacting human affairs, is the need to keep reiterating that this year or last year or any recent year is the hottest on record.

Today, the New York Times came out with an article:

"The Last 8 Years Were the Hottest on Record"

in a large font.

A centerpiece of the article was the occurrence of European temperatures well over 100 F during a heat wave in 2022. But since the article claims that the global average temperature only increased 2.1 F since pre-industrial times, the European heat wave can’t possibly be due to global warming induced by rising CO2. The European heat wave must be due to some conflux of ocean currents, winds, air masses, or whatever.

The article also says (correctly) that “the Arctic is warming four times as fast as the rest of the world” but that is not unique here. The Arctic ALWAYS warms four time faster and cools four times faster in response to any global change in temperature.

But the big claim that the last eight years were the hottest is like someone 28 years old saying “the last eight years were my tallest”. When you are astride a high plateau every year seems high. These high temperatures appear to have stabilized the last eight years.

When you pare it down, the article tries to show in inflammatory tones the simple facts that the last eight years rest on a high temperature plateau, that Europe had a heat wave, and that the Arctic (as usual) warms faster than the rest of the earth. Along with showing human impacts, the whole point is to proselytize the unconvinced to join the tribe.

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Was anyone able to listen to the NOAA briefing. I'm not media or a "scientist" so I couldn't attend. Was there any mention or hat tip to Roger's work or was it all new think?

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author

That briefing is on Tues morning

I’ll be at the AMS tomorrow for my dads symposium and will report back what I hear 👍

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The NOAA billion-dollar losses webpage makes the 2013 Smith-Katz study available to download. (Note the authors are from NOAA and NCAR, so from “within the family”.)

On the second to last paragraph in that study the authors write: “The magnitude of such increasing trends is greatly diminished when applied to data normalized for exposure (Pielke et al. 2008).”

Then in the first sentence of the following paragraph (last one in the article) they write: “Apparent increasing trends in normalized losses, aggregated across all types of weather and climate disasters, have not always been tested for statistical significance (Cummins et al. 2010; Gall et al. 2011)”. Increasing trends? What increasing trends?

In the last sentence of that paragraph they write: “The development and implementation of normalization techniques for the billion-dollar dataset would be a challenging topic for future research.”

So, they fob it off as too challenging to measure and so proceed with something even more misleading than dividing by an appropriate GDP index.

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"somewhat aggressive"

This is a generous way of putting it indeed.

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It is what the British call an understatement :-)

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When I was an undergraduate at NYU studying Oceanography and Meteorology, one of the new NOAA mega research vessels (I think it was the "Discoverer") docked at the Coast Guard Academy in Kings Point NY. I went aboard to tour the vessel and learn about NOAA with some other undergrads and several faculty including Gerhard Neumann, Bill Pierson, Vince Cardone, Jim Miller and Denny Kirwan. Needless to say I was blown away by what I saw and heard about NOAA's mission to build on the pioneering work of the early Oceanographers in doing the data collection and science of the future. Years later I had the opportunity to tour the Fram museum in Oslo where I saw Sverdrup's original arctic research vessel.

It's pretty clear that the NOAA of 2022 is not the NOAA of 1967. It has sacrificed its scientific integrity to politics and has become just 1 more unaccountable huge government bureaucracy. I fear also that the NOAA " scientists" of today waste their time twiddling with semi-useless computer models and incessantly reanalyzing old surface temperature measurements to come up with the results that their political masters demand and for which they are rewarded. NOAA feeds the alarmist beast and thrives in doing so. It makes me want to cry.

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Those who are convinced that the end of life as we know it will result without immediate draconian reduction on greenhouse gas emissions, need to convince and proselytize the as-yet unconvinced who have not yet joined the tribe. The sacrifices they intend to impose require widespread public support. What better way to sell their theory than to demonstrate that the effects are already visible and taking place - much as the foothills of a distant mountain? Thus Mr. Biden attributes every downpour, every warm or cold period, every flood, every drought, every storm, indeed almost everything but a summer day in May to climate change. NOAA is just one part of a global inter-governmental quasi-religion that is devoted to protecting the world from a perceived tragic end. Any fakery, any sleight of hand, any misrepresentation, any falsification is justified for the "greater good" of mankind. They might attack great works of art, or glue themselves to the pavement at busy intersections, or rally behind a teenager who says "how dare you!", all for the good cause. And the record shows repeated offenses by scientists tolerated, that in normal times would have them excommunicated (see Steve Mosher's book on "climategate"). But the problems are at least twofold: (1) The ability to predict the climate and its impacts in 2100 is highly suspect, and (2) wherever we end up in 2100, we have to get from here to there while supplying the world with its ever increasing demand for power and energy. Under these circumstances, it seems to me that a rational person would be seriously concerned about climate change, would support policies to reduce emissions, and would require that we continue to use fossil fuels, especially natural gas as needed to maintain the world economy as we do what we can to mitigate climate change.

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Jan 9, 2023Liked by Roger Pielke Jr.

Roger, thank you very much for the clarity and even more importantly the intellectual honesty. NOAA needs definitively to change course and drop the ideological drive it currently shows: it would spare time and maintain credibility to non partisan institutions. Because in the end of the day the real point is about how much time and money get wasted chasing / correcting ideological and false thesis while facts and proper epistemology are ignored?

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author

Thanks!

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Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023Liked by Roger Pielke Jr.

Coincidentally I ran across this from the Hotshot Wakeup:

"CalFire arrests record number of arsonists in 2022.

A 10% increase year over year and nearly a 100% increase in the last 5 years."

Clearly climate change causes frustration that leads to arson which leads to wildfires... haven't quite figured out how to tie arson to oil company execs yet..

https://thehotshotwakeup.substack.com/p/the-echos-of-calf-canyonhermits-peak#details

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author

Interesting (and troubling), thanks

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Jan 8, 2023Liked by Roger Pielke Jr.

The last graph "North American catastrophe losses as a percentage of U.S. GDP." is to me the key to the whole question under discussion.

Over the last 32 years the trend is clearly downward. The precise amount of decrease is somewhat uncertain due to factors such as changes in reporting disasters or in assigning costs. But there is no way that the trend is upward as NOAA claims.

Thank you for this carefully prepared and documented post.

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author

Agreed, thanks

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Jan 8, 2023Liked by Roger Pielke Jr.

I think that Philbrick's comment provides a useful analog. If you choose one number at the edge as the basis for minimum damage, while many actual cases lie just below that number in the past, then inflation alone (forget exposure) will drive numerous events above that threshold and the number of events will go up much faster than inflation. Yet, total losses from these events would only go up with inflation. And if that threshold is defined well below the scale of the biggest events, then the whole business of focusing on events that exceed that threshold may be bogus, if the larger events control total losses.

I would also raise this point again, perhaps redundantly. Roger has once again thrown down the gauntlet to NOAA. Not the first time. Indeed he's done it for a decade. Now he describes their latest as "one of the most spectacular abuses of science you will ever see". It seems to me that NOAA can either (1) ignore Roger and continue it politically motivated ways, (2) quietly clean up its act without mentioning Roger, or (3) clean up its act and acknowledge Roger. I place my bet on #1.

Why would NOAA continue on this path? I suspect it has to do with the "greater good" philosophy. Yes, we are distorting the data and the interpretation, but it is for the greater good if the people are more convinced of the coming calamity due to global warming. How do we know a calamity is coming? The establishment says so. And now, in these relatively early days of the great impending doom, it is necessary that we show that climate change is already making significant impacts as evidenced by the billion dollar losses. If you believe there is a mountain ahead, you must have foothills.

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author

#1 seems a good bet!

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Jan 8, 2023Liked by Roger Pielke Jr.

This article reminded me of some of my experience as an actuary for the reinsurance industry.

To somewhat oversimplify, a typical reinsurance contract might promise to reimburse the insurer for a layer of coverage. The layer might go from 1 to 25 million, which means if an individual claim exceeds $1 million, the reinsurer will pick up the excess amount up to 25 million which means they would pay out a maximum of 24 million.

Start with an assumption about the relative distribution of sizes of claims and it's easy enough to calculate the expected amount of coverage in the layer.

Now take that distribution and apply a uniform inflation factor to all claims. What surprised some seasoned insurance executives was the fact that inflation generated a frequency (count of claim) impact more than a severity (size of claim) impact. In an inflationary scenario, the count of claims would increase (by a factor larger than the inflation impact) but the severity would grow at a smaller amount, possibly even not at all. This seems counterintuitive but can be demonstrated for reasonable types of claim size distributions.

This is part of the story of the increase in billion-dollar claims, although as I'm sure you are aware, there's another important factor when it comes to hurricane losses — the increased number of homes built in hurricane prone areas.

What this means is that we expect an increase in billion-dollar claims for two reasons, neither of which are increases in the strength or number of storms.

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author

Excellent, thanks

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Jan 8, 2023Liked by Roger Pielke Jr.

I thought it would take a generation for intentionally misleading information to become mainstream in our government, academic and scientific institutions, but I was optimistic.

You are fighting the good fight, but I'm afraid Orwell is winning...no one in on the climate change side of the discussion is embarrassed.

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