Life in Phoenix

The first time I ever saw one of these coming at me, my first thought was to a Steven King novel (the Mist).  I had a moment where I honestly thought to myself, "I wonder if, five minutes from now, I am going to regret not jumping in my car and driving like hell to stay ahead of this thing."  More here

Basically an enormous dirt tsunami  once inside of it things are not as bad as they look, with it being like a medium-dense brown fog.  Of course, absolutely everything one owns outside or with the smallest non-airtight seal to the outside has to be hosed off afterwards.


  1. LarryGross:

    This kind of thing was said to be common during the dust bowl: and
    if the folks who say global warming is real - are correct - we're
    likely to see more of these.

  2. marque2:

    These are normal for Phoenix and happen almost every year. So you are now equating normal patterns to AGW? That is what the big AGW guys do. You are a pro - should get a job as Michael Mann's personal secretary.

  3. LarryGross:

    not me guy.. the folks who say AGW is real.. I hope they are wrong but I think it's dumb to discount it completely.... if you USUALLY try to hedge your bets a little, eh?

    re: " So you are now equating normal patterns to AGW?"

    nope. If you live in Phoenix, then I'm sure you are familiar with the
    Anasazi and the climate during their time, right?

  4. marque2:

    It is pretty funny to read their stuff. One says we will have drought, the next we will have monsoons. and the next that we will have extreme weather.

    If you go back to the original CO2 theory before it got all corrupted. CO2 tends to warm at the poles, not the equator, so the temperature extremes are less, and storms should be less severe since the temperature gradient between North and middle earth are not as extreme. We also would live in a land of bounty as in the medieval warming period. When grapes and Pomegranates could be grown from the Mediterranean the way to Scotland. CO2 also accelerates plant growth without as much fertilizer

    Seems like global warming is the way to go. Too bad CO2 will only warm us by about 1.2 degC instead of the 4 - 10 degrees the really alarmy alarmists are frightening us with.

  5. LarryGross:

    what I heard was that weather would become more volatile and extreme and less predictable.

    You could grow something where you could not before - until some extreme weather event wiped out the crop.

    seems like the skeptics have already decided what the weather will do and not do, eh?

    that actually sounds worse than using bad data... using a
    Ouija board instead, eh?

    see that's the thing. If you don't really know and have to guess - why would you guess the best case outcome?

  6. mesocyclone:

    That's a very convenient stance for the alarmists to take, since it can't be dis-proven, ad every unusual weather event appears to confirm their idea.

  7. LarryGross:

    well not convenient..just the likely reality if AGW is true. The skeptics have a really simple-minded approach that "warming" means "warming" instead of the more likely reality which is huge changes to normal weather patterns - instead of one Katrina per century - 5 or 10, or one dust bowl per century, several... and in places that normally don't see them like miles inland in NY/NJ.

    If the weather changes in such ways, it could easily savage entire economies ... you'd see flooding in places like NY and NJ that they haven't ever seen - i.e. 100 year old homes that have never been flooded form the ocean... or temperature records across entire regions.

    we don't know conclusively but it seems a bad bet to say it's not possible.

  8. mesocyclone:

    Actually, it's both the alarmists and the serious skeptics who believe that AGW means what the initials say: anthropogenic global warming. Skeptics simply disagree, substantially, on the degree of warming (because of disagreement on the amount of feedback in the response to the increased CO2).

    The "climate change" term was adopted when the climate stubbornly stopped warming. The extreme weather prediction is highly controversial and certainly unproven. It has been adopted by alarmists to scare people so everything be blamed on CO2 increase.

    Temperature records (relied on by alarmists) say that it hasn't warmed since 1998. This contradicts and falsifies the models that the alarmists use. Since it stopped warming, they had to adopt a different terminology.

    Your "more likely reality" is a side effect of that warming, if it even happens.

    The first order (primary) effect of CO2 concentration increase is warming, caused by the heat trapping effects of the greenhouse effect. The amount of warming, sans feedback, is about 1 degree K per doubling of concentration (the effect is logarithmic). The actual warming is what is in debate, along with what we can infer (if anything) from paleoclimate data and models.

    But weather is caused, not by heat, but by temperature differences.

    "If weather changes...." - If a comet hits your house, it could savage your life. I hope you don't lose sleep over it.

  9. mesocyclone:

    The important question is: is it relevant. If is certainly wrong to say that 2012 was the warmest year on record in the world (the G is for Global!).

  10. LarryGross:

    and this?

    " The U.S. experienced its warmest year on record in 2012, and the rest of the world was not far behind. Data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released Tuesday show Planet Earth experienced its tenth warmest year since recordkeeping began in 1880.

    NOAA's annual State of the Climate report shows that global temperatures were a full degree (1.03 degrees F) above the 20th century average in 2012. It was also the 36th straight year with temperatures above the average. The world has not seen a colder-than-average year since 1976.

    All twelve years of the 21st century are in the top 14 warmest years ever recorded. Only one year from the 20th century -- 1998 -- was warmer than 2012.

    The record year saw higher-than-average temperatures over much of North and South America, as well as the majority of Europe and Africa. Colder temperatures over central Asia and parts of the Southern Ocean brought the global average down slightly, as did a chilly December over the Northern Hemisphere.

    2012 also featured unprecedented ice melt over the Arctic. There were also major droughts over several major agricultural regions, including the central U.S., eastern Russia and Ukraine. Northeastern Brazil experienced its worst drought in decades.

    NOAA reports that average global temperatures have increased by 0.11 degrees F per decade since 1880. That trend accelerated to 0.26 degrees F per decade since 1970."

    are you boys in denial (again?) ?

  11. mesocyclone:

    Yes, I believe some of that is true, although it is written as propaganda - see below.

    The global temperature trend is no possible to measure to the implied accuracy of .01 degrees F, and the trend that "accelerated" ended in 1998, which you didn't bother to mention. That means the trend lasted only 28 years. Meanwhile, we have had zero warming (slight cooling) for 16 years.

    Climate skeptics expect *some* warming but question the amount - the "consensus" magnifies the warming by around a factor of 3 or 4 compared to the classic greenhouse effect.

    The "unprecedented ice melt" is probably false - what they are referring to is unprecedented since we started measuring it with satellites in the late '70s - not much of a time span when dealing with climate.

    Are you aware that we had temperatures almost as warm (or as warmer, depending on the data set) in the 1930's, and warmer world wide during the middle ages and in some Roman times? Are you going to blame CO2 for that, or are you denying it.

    It is also true that the earth has not warmed since 1998, and that all of the climate models predicted significant warming in that time.

    Would you care to address that, or are you in denial?

    Finally, since I know you won't be convinced by any evidence I adduce, I suggest you read our host Warren Meyer's other excellent blog, which is devoted to this subject. Warren has done a lot of research and writing (and video) on this subject. Check out and if you can come up with an argument not already answered there, well, good luck.

  12. LarryGross:

    I tend to believe NOAA and NASA and tend to disbelieve "skeptic" websites. Anytime someone says that all the govt agencies are lying, I tend to think they're into conspiracy theories and such.

    There is no reason for NOAA or NASA to lie in the first place but the internet is awash in false blather from a variety of sources that are simply not credible.

  13. mesocyclone:

    I am not surprised at your answer. But perhaps if you realized that the reasonable skeptic arguments are *not* based on the government lying, you might be willing to look at alternate *interpretations* of the data. Yes, I do say some government presentations sometimes has aspects of propaganda, because it does - such as the unqualified use of the word "unprecedented" applied to ice melt.

    Your idea that the government is objective and anyone saying otherwise is a conspiracy theorist is naive. The sociology of science, and especially of climate science, is not as simple and straightforward as the naive might think.

    News flash: it is quite easy to find big problems with the AGW assertions, especially the more alarming ones, without either imagining or conspiracy or accusing the government of lying. For example, every academic paper (you know, peer reviewed in academic journals) I have read on modelling has a footnote that cloud feedback is poorly understood.

    Cloud feedback is one of the most significant, if not the most significant feedback issue in AGW. And it is poorly understood. And everyone in the climate field knows it. You apparently do not. QED

    Many of us do know something about the science. Warren has dug deeply into it. There are skeptics who do it for a living - PhD, government paid via research grants, widely published scientists. Your casual rejection of Warren's web site on the subject does not do much for your credibility, since there is no evidence that your understanding goes beyond the popular press and what you can find in a Google search.

    Go read Warren's climate site an you might learn something about the science. Read Judith Curry (Chair of Climatology, Georgia Tech) for a balanced (pro-AGW but not alarmist) analysis of the debate itself. There's lots of information out there beyond government press releases and whatever you find in USA Today.

  14. LarryGross:

    as I said.. I tend towards credible sites with legitimate scientists who actually have credentials.

    you boys end up denying science as well as govt and you say that they're all in cahoots globally and that's enough for me when it comes to listening to you and your "references".

    it's very hard to believe that around the world in dozens of countries that BOTH the govt AND academia are engaged in a global conspiracy to fool the entire planet.

    but that's what I hear from you folks... and you're so convinced that instead of playing it safe instead of sorry, you're willing to go for broke with your skepticism.

    Normal folks don't do that.

  15. mesocyclone:

    Let's see... We study the science and read scientific papers, but we are "denying science." You offer no science at all, just a canned press release, and you're credible.

    Are you aware that there are a lot of distinguished scientists who are skeptics (including a close relative of mine who was an expert in part of the field, and a member of the National Academies)? Are they not credible either? Freeman Dyson is an idiot, I suppose. The "father of Climatology", Reid Bryson, is a fool. Bill Grey is denying science.

    I give up. You have simply refused to address the scientific issues, instead using the incredibly weak rhetorical technique of argument by authority, and only argument by authority.

    I conclude that you cannot argue the science, because you are ignorant of it.

    Continue with your naive belief that a PhD means objective and credible, that peer reviewed means correct, and that the government never publishes a mistake or anything misleading. I'm sure it will make you feel wise and superior to us fools who actually study the subjects/

  16. LarryGross:

    ignorant of science? by accepting what NOAA and NASA and similar organizations around the globe say? How is that ignoring science?

    do you think that NOAA is not science?

    how many scientists in the world believe in AGW? How many do not?

    Name the top 3 most respected scientists that believe that AGW is a hoax.

    tell me who they are.

  17. mesocyclone:

    Larry, you continue to beclown yourself to anyone reading this who has a knowledge of science and how science is practiced.

    I named leading scientists who do not accept AGW alarmism. Take a look at Freeman Dyson's credentials, for example. He's one of the most widely respected scientists of the last 50 years - more widely respected than *any* climatologist. I named the guy who climatologists acknowledge as the father of their field. I'm through naming names, it's a waste of time.

    But, if you were trained in science, as some of us are, you would know that it is actually possible to weigh the evidence yourself and decide if the arguments are strong or weak.

    Man, I'd sure hate to have you on a jury. You'd just believe everything some "expert" witness said, even he was proclaiming that the moon was made out of green cheese.


  18. LarryGross:

    but you disregard most of the worlds science without regard to AGW and latch on to one or two instead. Mr. Dyson is indeed a credible credentialed scientist (though not a climate scientist) who DOES BELIEVE in AGW and DOES BELIEVE that carbon dioxide plays a central role.

    you folks that are opposed to the mainstream science cite guys like this as if they are skeptics and they are not. They have some concerns about the ACCURACY of the models - and they should have and especially so him since he is a Physicist and Mathematician but we have that same concern with virtually all models - even such models as hurricane and weather models.

    You seem to think that because they are not dead-on correct 100% of the time that that "proves" they are wrong - which proves this - that you don't understand how science works - and if you really did you'd take to hear ALL of the things that Mr. Dyson says about AGW.

    but you guys disregard virtually all the mainstream science, then ignore much of the stuff that Dyson says also then latch on to one of two things of his total view.

    that's not science guy. that's foolishness. And why in the world would you engage in a high-risk gamble about the potential effects of AGW rather than take a more conservative approach of believing it could be true and if if were true - we'd be screwed so what can we, should we do to hedge our bets a little?

    none of this is in the narrative of he skeptics... they're like Luddites.

  19. marque2:

    This is an annual common event, Meso is absolutely right, RIght now we are hearing about how AGW is absolutely true because it is a bit warm on the east coast and hot in summer in Australia. The fact that Russia, Siberia, China, Alaska and the West coast of US are at lows and even record lows, and for many at least 20 year lows is completely ignored. We just hear about Australia, and east coast, because they fit the template.

    Sandy was also AGW they all said, when in fact it really was a Cyclone hitting an unusually cold for the time of year cold front. But then doing a bit of digging, the biggest storm ever seems to be a storm that comes every 30 years or so. Again normal weather turned into proof of AGW.

    It is all a fraud and it is really sad how much money energy and time we waste on it.

  20. marque2:

    Well NOAA is still updating weather station data. Data before 1959 is lowered about 80% of the time, and data after is raised 80% of the time, to "correct errors" but it seems more like monkeying with the data. When Steve McIntyre showed NOAA/NASA that they had a data flaw and 1998 wasn't warmest, it was some year in the the 1930's it took NOAA about 3 years to massage weather station data enough to get 1998 back to the warmest year.

    That is one of the problems there is so much unwarranted massaging of the data, that there is no way to compare today's temps against historical once accurately using official NOAA reports. Of course skeptics don't have the funds to go over all the data and correct back to raw and find out what our temps should really be. And if we really are hotter than in say 1980. This year and last have been pretty warm - but the previous 5 years seemed to mimick 1970's weather - but we were supposedly much hotter.

  21. marque2:

    Yes, undeniable so.

  22. marque2:

    First of all They goose all the numbers , secondly they are not evaluating correctly, every year NOAA announces some spot is hottest ever without looking at the whole of the Nothern hemisphere. As I said above. Yes Much of USA is warm this year, but China Siberia, Russia, Alaska, and the West coast of the US are exceptionally cold. - The cold parts are ignored in favor of the warming scare story.

  23. marque2:

    You should probably read the skeptic websites, there are groups out there monitoring the NOAA now and catching them when they change ground weather station data now.

    There was also a cost cutting move where weather stations were shut down a few years back, guess which ones were more likely to be shut down the ones showing warming or the ones showing cooling? If you guessed cooling you guessed correct. There is a big industry and big government push to make AGW real.

  24. LarryGross:

    it's not about warm - it's about extreme and less predictable weather swings as a result of warming.

    there is no question we are seeing changes... it's obvious.. but I do acknowledge that we've seen extremes before.

    but I also do not believe in Global Conspiracies when a majority of science has reached some level of consensus. In the skeptics world - consensus is equal to global conspiracy which is just plain loony tunes.

    Scientists also do not get hurricane predictions dead-on correct every time. It's the nature of our models - relatively accurate, relatively reliable but not infallible by a long shot but would you say there is a conspiracy to fake data about hurricanes?

    Of course not but that's where the skeptics have gone.

    The skeptics are saying, in effect, that because hurricane models are not 100% reliable and that there is disagreement about the nature of hurricanes and how to correctly model them - that it means that's there no such thing as a hurricane.

    Global Warming is real. It's undeniable by most normal folks. What exactly is causing it and what exactly is going to happen or not - is still under discussion but to say it does not exist is just plain loony.

  25. mesocyclone:

    If you had even bothered to read what I posted or what Warren writes on the blog I referenced, or read any of the main skeptic blogs, you would realize that we all believe in AGW caused by CO2. Look above. You are making up your own view of the skeptics position, then arguing with that, even when you have been told differently in the same thread.

    Dyson criticized the IPCC, and he doesn't have "some" concerns, he says the models are inadequate for making predictions:

    "They do not begin to describe the real world we live in."

    "I'm saying that the problems are being grossly exaggerated. They take
    away money and attention from other problems that are much more urgent
    and important."

    Since you do not read and comprehend, I won't even bother to read the rest of your drivel. Enjoy yourself arguing with straw men.

  26. LarryGross:

    re: " we _all_ believe in AGW caused by CO2".

    really? " making up own view on skeptics positions"

    I think if you look at the spectrum of skeptics, two things are clear"

    1. - there are a good number that still deny AGW - period.
    2. - some "skeptics" have been "convinced" but what the are "convinced" of
    is that they say they believe in AGW now but they don't believe the consensus view of the scientific community and they doubt the models...

    and as I pointed out - it's okay to believe that the models are flawed and imperfect.

    it's not okay to believe they are totally false and have no relevance to the issue any more than if you used that same criteria with hurricane models to basically end up believing that because hurricane models are flawed and imperfect that it means that hurricanes don't really exist and cannot cause catastrophic damage.

    AGW can cause catastrophic damage - believe it.

    At this point - we don't know just how much but for someone to believe that no damage will occur at all - and therefore we don't need to take any action at all is if nothing else - high risk gambling.

    Right now - people are trying to decide if they should rebuild the parts of NY/NJ that were damaged or whether they should abandon it.

    A lot of it depends on what you believe about the future - whether we will see future storms like this one - more frequently than before - or not.

    The insurance companies have already made up their mind - they're getting out or they are going to double, triple, quadruple their premiums and even then some re-insurers consider that pretty risky.

    Now, should the govt pick up the insurance? Should taxpayers continue to provide subsidized flood and hurricane insurance?

    are you willing to gamble on this? If you think you have nothing to lose, you might say sure but what if you could get caught up in the losses - even as a taxpayer?

    would you still be as inclined to gamble?

    that's what AGW is really about in my view. Are we so convinced that it's not a threat that we'll gamble on making plans that ignore it as a future threat?

    would you, as a taxpayer, be willing to pay disaster storm damage - over and over - to areas by the ocean that rebuild even as predictions are for bigger storms, more storm surges, etc?

  27. mesocyclone:

    You still haven't addressed the science *at all*. And skeptics didn't become convinced... only the non-science oriented skeptics (people like you but on the other side) argue that CO2 won't cause warming. The rest of us understand the greenhouse effect, without which the earth would be an ice ball. But when I say "understand" - I don't mean just accepting what some expert says. I mean understanding something about radiative balance.

    Do you know what a logarithmic sensitivity actually means?

    As one who has been involved in hurricane disaster work, I found Sandy to be just another storm like we expect. It wasn't as bad as the 1938 hurricane that hit Long Island, after all. Blame it on CO2? Yeah, right. Tell that to the hundreds of dead in the 1938 storm.

    The main problem with hurricane disasters is people building in areas we *know* are going to be hit badly at some point in time, When Katrina was headed for New Orleans, I told my wife the night before it hit that the next day New Orleans would be underwater. It wasn't the fault of the Corps of Engineers. It was the mistake of building a city, protected to low Category 3, in an area that was guaranteed to take a category 5 hit. Katrina had Category 5 storm surge when it went ashore, which means the rest was inevitable (other than the failure of the corrupt Naigin administration to evacuate).

    The French Quarter was not flooded, because when N.O. was founded, it was built at where the French Quarter now exists because the Indians told the Spanish that it was the one area that didn't periodically flood.

    WEATHER can and does cause catastrophic damage. Warming increases sea level (which has been steadily increasing since the last ice age, btw) which affects those who build in danger areas, although without any rise, they are still susceptible to catastrophic damage. The insurance companies are just doing what they should have done a long time ago: charge based on the risk, which has long been known, but ignored. They did the same thing in Florida some years back after it was hit by four hurricanes in one year.

    There are lots of threats in the world. For example, drastically decreasing our CO2 emissions will kill many people worldwide through its impact on the world's economy. Just the foolish ethanol mandate is causing malnutrition and food riots among the poor in the Americas. You have to look at both sides of the equation, something alarmists fail to do. The precautionary principle cuts both ways - you have to look at the dangers of mitigating an unclear threat just as hard as at the dangers of ignoring that presumed threat.

  28. LarryGross:

    I've addressed the science in that I do tend to believe folks like NOAA and NASA and their counterparts and I do not pretend to be a junior scientist - I believe that someone who has spent decades learning - knows more than someone who reads websites or a few books and I put a lot more stock in what seasoned, credentialed people have to say especially when there is a level of concurrence. I do not see that as a conspiracy.

    I listen to the credentialed skeptics arguments also. I do not blindly accept ANY one person or one groups views and the views I accept most are those when the two different sides agree on something - I'll put some stock in that.

    We do know the oceans are rising and we are seeing a higher frequency of what we call 'freak' storms. Further, we are seeing floods on rivers that used to be characterized as 100-year floods that now are occurring multiple times in 100 years.

    I do not see this as "proof" but I see it was a potential warning that ought not be dismissed nor ignored.

    What we know now is that given the increase in sea levels - and the higher incidence of stronger storms - we are seeing much more extensive damage and real questions about whether we should stay there and build more flood/storm resistant structures - which are more expensive or whether we should, in effect, be prepared to abandon places where we have billions of dollars already invested in things like roads, subways, bridges, water/sewer, power grids, etc.

    somebody is going to pay for it - whether we stay or leave - the costs are going to go up because of the higher sea levels.

    I do not classify people who worry about these things as "alarmists" but rather people asking some common-sense questions about how we deal with a threat that is real and is increasing.

    these folks are not "denying" the obvious higher impacts that we are seeing. That's not 'alarmist", that's being realistic and pragmatic and asking, in addition, can we put some boundaries on what we think are the limits or do we not know enough to know the limits and there is a potential for those limits to be far more than we originally thought.

    these are legitimate concerns. If you don't think they are - talk to the insurance companies or even DOD - they take these things pretty seriously and I've not heard them called "alarmists".

    Both the insurance industry and DOD are coming from a "safe rather than sorry" perspective.

  29. marque2:

    And that is where the canard is. CO2 will make our weather less extreme, and that is what was proposed in the initial theory. If the poles and equate have similar temps there will be less updraft lifting from cold fronts hitting warm fronts.

    The extreme weather is an unfounded scare tactic.

  30. LarryGross:

    would you bet your life that it could not be a possible outcome? That's the problem here. We know things might be changing and there is a concern that if they do change in the ways we fear that we will get more extreme weather that has the potential to devastate economies.

    are you willing to bet that there is no chance this could ever happen?

    the insurance companies already have answered this question and they have concerns enough that it affects where they will even offer insurance or if they do it will be so expensive that only the rich could afford it and others will have to move somewhere where the insurance industry will insure for reasonable rates.

    these are real concerns.

  31. Ron H.:

    The one who is guessing here Larry, is you. "What I heard" isn't a very good basis for making decisions. CO2 theory, as marque2 pointed out, predicts warming at the poles, in winter, and at night, so temperature differences would be less than they are now. Extreme weather events such as hurricanes are dependent on a difference in temperature, so less difference should produce fewer and milder storms. There's nothing being guessed at. You can see historical data yourself, for example, for North Atlantic hurricanes over a long period of time and find a 30 year cycle that isn't correlated to global temperature at all.

    You will find climate changing constantly over time, with or without the influence ofCO2, as in your example of the Anasazi. When the climate in what is now the Southwest US became drier, they moved somewhere else. Perhaps to a region that had become wetter.

  32. LarryGross:

    What's a bad basis for making decisions is ruling out information from sources you don't like or that violate your own biases.

    Making decisions requires one to listen to ALL of the information and accept the fact that playing junior scientist when dealing with people who have far more knowledge and credentials is foolish and even worse is calling general concurrence about credentialed experts - a global conspiracy.

    at some point you get to full blow whacko status where you basically construct your own little world that you believe in and discount anything else.

    You'll find that insurance companies don't do business that way and DOD itself takes climate change pretty seriously also.

    The lesson of the Anasazi is that climate changes can have devastating impacts even on simple economies... and even larger impacts on more widespread economies.

    One would be a fool to ignore signs of potential problems. But that's exactly what we have going on... people are simply denying ... some clear realities... Basically the same thing the GOP did on the elections ...convincing itself that there was a conspiracy when they did not like the data.

  33. Ron H.:

    Why do I bother responding to a moron like you?

  34. LarryG:

    why do you pinheads always bail out to name calling?

    that seems to be a common thread with you boys.

    someone disagrees with you and you don't like it and you revert to a
    5 year old in your dialog.

  35. markm:

    If you don't think the government lies, I tend to believe you were born yesterday.