"Man-Made" Climate Change

Man has almost certainly warmed the world by some tenths of a degree C with his CO2, though much of this warming has hit night-time lows rather than daily highs.  Anyway, while future temperature rise forecasts are often grossly exaggerated by absurdly high assumptions of positive feedback, there is at least a kernel of fact in there that CO2 is likely warming the world somewhat.

However, the popular "science" on climate change is often awful, positing, for example, that hurricanes are being increased by man right in the midst of the longest hurricane drought we have seen in the US for a hundred years.

Inevitably, the recent severe California droughts have been blamed on manmade CO2.  As a hopefully useful adjunct to this debate, I have annotated a recent chart from the San Jose Mercury News on the history of California droughts to reflect the popular global warming / climate change narrative.  You be the judge of the reasonableness:

click to enlarge


  1. Slow-rion:

    And prior to the late 19th century California was largely unsettled. At least by Europeans. So we settled in a historic wet period of time and thought it was just the peachiest place on earth. Now it's dry (for the moment) and it is all our fault.

    Just further basis that environmentalism is the new religion. We ruined Eden. Humans are the sinners and devil all wrapped together. The environment is Jesus. Global warming is the crucifixion.

  2. jdgalt:

    Even if the climate were changing it couldn't have caused this problem. No, if you're going to settle 30 million people in an area that had fewer than half a million through most of history, you're going to need to build enough dams. And keep building them as population grows. In that sense, the drought is man-made.

  3. herdgadfly:

    We usually assume that sensitivity to weather changes as long term climate events came about in the conspiracy-filled modern world - but no so:

    Suppose now that a new army of frontier farmers-- as many as could occupy another belt of 50 miles, in width, from Manitoba to Texas, could, acting in concert, turn over the prairie sod, and after deep plowing and receiving the rain and moisture, present a new surface of green growing crops instead of dry, hard baked earth covered with sparse buffalo grass. No one can question or doubt the inevitable effect of this cooling condensing surface upon the moisture in the atmosphere as it moves over by the Western winds. A reduction of temperature must at once occur, accompanied by the usual phenomena of showers. The chief agency in this transformation is agriculture. To be more concise: Rain follows the plow.

    --Charles Dana Wilber, 1881, in “The Great Valleys of Nebraska”

  4. J_W_W:

    Fire is the original sin.

  5. J_W_W:

    Well that turned out to be epically wrong in the 1930's.

  6. Gil G:

    More people have historically died historically from disease than war especially getting to and from war zones hence people, especially Libertarians, can stop bitching about the risk and plight of those dying from war.

  7. Hal_10000:

    I accept that global warming is real and that there is a good chance it could be very bad. But it frustrates me no end when every weather anomaly, no matter what, is blamed on global warming. Measuring global warming is hard enough. Understanding its secondary and tertiary effects is just this side of witchcraft.

    There are good reasons to think that global warming will make droughts more likely, but that's in a statistical sense (i.e., a few more years of drought every few decades). It's hard to connect any particular drought to global warming.

    (Of course, once this ends and we get floods, they'll blame that on global warming too. That's what they're doing in Texas. The 2012 drought was caused by global warming. And so are the 2015 floods.)

  8. jdgalt:

    Non sequitur.

  9. Gil G:

    Sequitor. You're chances of being a combat soldier are low let alone dying from war. More people died from the Spanish Flu than WW1 yet you don't hear Libertarians bitching about that.

  10. BobSykes:

    The Colorado River allocations were made using historical data from an unusual wet period.

  11. joe:

    One of the most absurd claims of the AGW & denial of the MWP was that the MWP was regional - confined to the north atlantic/northwestern europe, northeast canada and greenland. Essentially claiming that the MWP was a 300 year weather event. While not definitive, the chart shows the MWP was evident in california.
    Bear in mind that I am not claiming that the MWP was warmer than today, just that the claim that it was regional is BS. As a side note, the warming today is comparable with the MWP (difficult to determine which period was warmer based on current scientific information available) yet both of which are quite insignificant compared to the warming just 5,000 to 10,000 years ago.

  12. kidmugsy:

    "Man has almost certainly warmed the world by some tenths of a degree C with his CO2": 'almost certainly' is far too strong, given the lack of any worthwhile evidence; 'conceivably' might be nearer the mark.

  13. jdgalt:

    No human did that to us. The same cannot be said of a war.

  14. Chris Smith:

    However, WWI helped the spread of the Spanish Flu, with the second wave of the flu in the US coming from soldiers returning from the war.

    OT: The Spanish Flu brings up my favorite medical phrase, "cytokine storm".

  15. Gil G:

    Why bother arguing for a "mens rea" scenario? You fear shark attacks but not heart attacks? You're afraid of being drafted into the army and sent to the frontline but not getting diagnosed with cancer? Throughout most of human history the chances of being a combat soldier was rather low and becomes more low with time. Heck maybe in the not too distant future robots will be on the front lines and you'll still find something to bitch about.

  16. jdgalt:

    Shark attacks can be prevented in obvious ways that are often worth it. Cancer and heart attacks can't, yet. (Better monitoring tech will probably change that.)

  17. FelineCannonball:

    The article doesn't even blame the drought on climate change. Are you using the graphic to argue against some other unreferenced article?

  18. Q46:

    The 'distinct' and 'unique' Human global warming signature seen in the global mean temperature record after 1980, disappeared in 1996. In fact no global warming signature is evident in the temperature record.

    This is because either the heat is being radiated back into Space, or it is going somewhere else, somehow, on the Planet other than in the atmosphere or at its surface.

    It is proposed that the heat is burying itself in the ocean deep, but even if this is so the 'science' tells us that heat cannot be in two places at once.

    So... even if the heat has not returned to Space and is languising in the depths, it cannot be above the Planets surface causing all the alleged weather/climate phenomona of which it is accused.

    Meanwhile: if we go with the heat 'lying with the fishes' it indicates that the global mean temperature anomaly is not a reliable monitor of global warming... Manmade or not.

    Thus, leaving aside whether it was reliable in showing AGW in the first place, if globally the World were to agree on CO2 emissions reduction and embark on driving itself into a pre-industrial era, how would we reliably measure progress?

    If the temperature continues to flat line, not enough? If it climes should we reduce emissions even more, if it falls do we carry on because maybe the heat is hiding or stop because we are overdoing it?

  19. Q46:

    Of course global warming is real... it has been happening for nearly 300 years since the end of the Little Ice Age, the question is is Mankind its only cause as is claimed?

    Next is global warming however caused, catastrophic?

    We seem to have done pretty well out of the last 300 years of it.

  20. Q46:

    Heart attacks can be prevented... nitroglycerine tablets, pacemakers, coronary angioplasty and stents for example.

    Early detection of pre-cancerous tumours and treatment by surgery, chemo and/or radio-therapy prevent them from becoming cancers.

  21. Elam Bend:

    This is a good article by a meteorologist about just this thing: The age of disinformation


  22. Swami Cat:

    I think we need massive betting markets to solve the argument. The models of future temperature change need to have bets associated with them. This will quickly flush out the BS on both sides. Over the last twenty years, one side to the debate would have been bankrupted. Of course, past results don't guarantee future returns....

  23. Phantom_Phlyer:

    Examining the San Jose News chart for century length trends, one could easily conclude that since about 1500 the American West has been much wetter than in the previous millennia. Moreover, the recent drier years are too short a period of time to draw any conclusions as to climate change drying out the West. It could be just the opposite when taken over the time period of century?

  24. Ann_In_Illinois:

    I saw Bill Nye on CNN recently, bitterly complaining that every single weatherperson should be mentioning climate change in pretty much every interesting weather report. Every drought/flood/hot day/cold day/thunderstorm/whatever, he thinks that they should "report" that it was due to climate change. Nye feels that there's some sort of corporate conspiracy that's blocking newscasters from admitting and reporting what everyone 'knows'.

  25. Phantom_Phlyer:

    What I would like to know from the hard core climate warmers is whether the recent Texas drought (now broken) was caused by climate change, OR whether the wettest spring in Texas history was caused by climate change? Inquiring minds want to know!

  26. Daublin:

    Yes, Bill Nye is just pummeling the reputation of science in the popular mind. He's reducing it from something that reliably ferrets out the truth and finds unexpected truths, to something more like astrology and UFOs and what Oprah said most recently. He's attracting lots and lots of followers, but his kind of "science" he is pushing is very different from that of people who get a PhD in a hard science or an engineering topic.

    Science used to be a systematic search for truth, where you make constant effort to double check your results. Nye's idea of science is the opposite: he wants to suppress anyone who talks against the standard dogma, and put lots of effort into advertising material that supports the standard dogma.

  27. jdgalt:

    It would be good in a lot of ways if the feds would re-legalize the likes of Intrade.

  28. jdgalt:

    Substitute "phlogiston" for "climate change" in Bill Nye's statement, and it would make the same amount of sense as it does now. What an absolute quack.

  29. Me too:

    Thought this was about climate change. WTF are you two rambling on about?

  30. AtlantaDude:

    Which article did you read? The article referenced includes the following:

    Such events, which cause pools of warm water in the North Pacific Ocean and cool water along the California coast, are not the result of global warming, Patzert said. But climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels has been linked to longer heat waves. That wild card wasn't around years ago.

    "Long before the Industrial Revolution, we were vulnerable to long extended periods of drought. And now we have another experiment with all this CO2 in the atmosphere where there are potentially even more wild swings in there," said Graham Kent, a University of Nevada geophysicist who has studied submerged ancient trees in Fallen Leaf Lake near Lake Tahoe.

  31. FelineCannonball:

    drought ≠ heatwave, potentially = future, and the graph was not annotated as above to indicate the current drought was somehow outside the realm of natural variation. In fact the article pretty clearly states that much longer droughts were common in the past well before large-scale fossil fuel burning.

    I was just hoping for a link to the articles that were actually being criticized.

  32. AtlantaDude:

    I don't think you can read.

  33. FelineCannonball:

    I don't think I see what you do. The article acknowledges global warming as fact, but does not say the California drought is caused by global warming. Drought is a complex feature driven by precipitation, precipitation type, temperature, humidity, evapotranspiration, and the seasonality of all of the above. There are many ways to look at it.

    Elsewhere I see scientists say that they believe certain weather patterns will increase in frequency due to global climate change (according to their models) but I don't think I generally see "X caused by Z." There may be aspects of a drought which make it unusual without the drought itself being that unusual. Just like Curry can be an unusual basketball player without being an unprecedented scoring threat.

    I was curious to see the articles claiming the California drought was a man-made phenomenon.

  34. Avinash Dwivedi:

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  35. Beto_Ochoa:

    Well, there certainly have been some catastrophic events but any gradual warming does not equate with them. Those catastrophes were rapid to the point where nearly all life was exterminated in the effected area. Like the Wooly Mammoths found frozen so fast the there were undigested flowers in their mouths and stomachs. That means they were frozen solid in less than 12 minutes.

  36. subhuman taxpayer:

    Libtard eco terrorists will now change the data and say Texas is still in drought conditions. Nevermind the water releases from every lake in North Texas.

  37. Bonanzadrvr:

    Coyote...what do you think of the fact that water vapor has many times the heat capacity of CO2. More, water vapor makes up around 3% of the atmosphere, troposphere specifically, while CO2 is pegged at around .03 percent. Doing the math reveals that water vapor is 500 times more significant a greenhouse gas than CO2. I would like to know when the EPA is going to declare water a pollutant. Help me out here...what am I missing?

  38. JLawson:

    You can pretty much figure that drought/warm spells are 'climate change' while cold and wet spells are 'weather'.

  39. JLawson:

    Billions in R&D spent on 'green energy' boondoggles, dependent on CO2 being a pollutant.

    Whether it is or not isn't the issue. Water can't be labeled a pollutant, because there's no way to really control it. But anything that burns to produce heat which is captured to make power CAN be controlled.

    And taxed.

    And limited.

    'For our own good'.

  40. nickshaw:

    Well, coal fires anyway.

  41. nickshaw:

    Gullibility, I think.
    It is very difficult to convince people that "water" is bad even though breathing water can certainly kill you.
    It is only a matter of time before the use of dihydrogen monoxide will be used to sway the stupids when it becomes necessary to keep up this charade.

  42. nickshaw:

    And the children!

  43. nickshaw:

    A little "weighting" here, a little "adjusting" there.

  44. nickshaw:

    And that both are caused by man burning fossil fuels.

  45. ding08yobaby:

    Today is another rainy day in LA.

  46. nickshaw:

    The link to man made climate change has been scaled back of late but, it was certainly voiced by warmistas earlier and, even now, some continue to do so.
    Though actual studies and statements by climate scientists with a warmista bent dismissing the link have been made, I can tell you as fact that many on social media still insist California's drought is due to burning fossil fuels.
    Such is the world today.

  47. nickshaw:

    Though I agree with you generally, I cannot see the MWP in the chart.
    Drought / wetness isn't necessarily linked to temperature.
    Or am I wrong?

  48. nickshaw:

    Doesn't it stand to reason it could also be very good?
    Slightly higher CO2 has already resulted in a greener planet according to satellite observations and I doubt anyone will complain if the temps are 2 or 3 degrees warmer.

  49. nickshaw:

    Not necessarily!
    A mammoth could have died of a heart attack while eating and the corpse simply froze.

  50. Darth Chipmunk:

    While America is empirically one of the cleanest nations on the planet (http://aqicn.org/map/world/), Nye and his ilk keep telling us the opposite, manipulating temperature data and restricting our lives through regulation and legislation while completely ignoring China, India and others. That's not science. We're being lied to and manipulated. And a lot of shameless climate scientists and politicians are getting filthy rich off it.