"In fact, [climate change] has now driven our climate outside the range that has existed the last 10,000 years..." -- Dr. James Hansen (from NPR)
There’s a coordinated blitz to recover ground lost to climate change skeptics in the past couple of years. The lost ground is uneven – in fact, in California there’s actually been a gain as the rogue CARB continues creating chaos – but there’s been enough doubt expressed by politicians across the country so that another application of bogus science is called for to shore up the politically correct belief systems that have recently shown some fraying at the edges.
And who but that intrepid NASA scientist Hockeystick Hansen himself has leaped into the very breach of the breech with a Washington Post op-ed piece, and a report purported to be published by the National Academy of Sciences (I couldn’t find it, and their search engine has no knowledge of a James Hansen. Hmmm.). But there’s enough in the political coverage (here and here) of ol’ Hockeystick’s re-emergence to piece together the elements of his current assault on the nation’s credibility.
RR readers have been exposed to his shenanigans in past years when he first introduced his notorious global temperature ‘hockeystick’ (here and here). And, in addition to scores of scientists, tireless bloggers like Anthony Watts, Steve McIntyre, and our own Russ Steele have spent years laying bare the errors and lack of science that the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) crowd assembled by the UN has been inflicting on the world’s public policies.
Well, now Dr Hansen claims that all these extreme hot weather events we’ve had in the last few years are proof positive that they are caused by AGW. BTW, the cold weather events during the same interval are just that, ‘weather’ and not climate change. You gotta have a PhD to tell the difference.
And this time he’s not bringing up another collection of dodgy computer models like those that created the hockeystick. No, now he’s appealing to established statistics and recorded historical weather data – you know, bell curves and all that. Well actually it’s hard to tell what kind of statistics he’s using because the media are guaranteed to muck up what he really did. All we know from the reports is that he compared data from the base period of 1951-1980 with data from 1981-2010 – two thirty-year periods from a (climate) process that changes in the order of centuries. Best to watch the NPR video to get the gist of his arguments.
Assuming he carefully tallied up weather events of various intensities for the base period, he could then make a histogram that plots weather intensity (x-axis) against the number of such incidents for each level of weather intensity (y-axis). He then fits a bell curve (Gaussian distribution) to this histogram. Then he does the same thing for the 1981-2010 interval data, and lays the two bell curves over each other. And by Jove, it appears that the most recent bell curve is visibly shifted to the right of the base period bell curve.
The extreme weather events are those represented by the right tails of the two bell curves (see Hansen’s figures in the video), and the most recent 30 years shows a higher number for any intensity level of weather events. So there you have it, slam dunk, end of story, AGW is here, let’s get that cap n’tax legislation going again.