Thursday, August 31, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Record Rainfalls A Thing Of The Past








University Fires Prof Who Said Texas Deserved Hurricane Harvey

Because It Voted Republican

In this newsletter:

1) Record Rainfalls A Thing Of The Past
Not A Lot Of People Know That, 30 August 2017 
 
2) Flooding Not Increasing In North America And Europe, New Study Confirms
G.A. Hodgkins et al., Journal of Hydrology, September 2017


 
3) Texas Major Hurricane Intensity Not Related To Gulf Water Temperatures
Roy W. Spencer, 29 August 2017
 
4) University Fires Prof Who Said Texas Deserved Hurricane Harvey Because It Voted Republican
New York Daily News, 29 August 2017
 
5) EPA Says Climate Scientists Trying To 'Politicize' Texas Storm
Reuters, 29 August 2017
 
6) Texas Spared Worst Of Blackouts As Harvey Brings Rain, Not Wind
Bloomberg, 29 August 2017
 
7) Want To Help Texas Recover From Hurricane Harvey? Here's How.
Daily Wire, 30 August 2017 
 
8) And Finally: White-Man-Made Climate Change
The Maitland Mercury, 11 March 1846 

Full details:

1) Record Rainfalls A Thing Of The Past
Not A Lot Of People Know That, 30 August 2017 
By Paul Homewood
 

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ohd/hdsc/record_precip/record_precip_us.html
 
We keep being told by climate [alarmists] that global warming is responsible for more intensive rainfall, the theory being that a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture.
 
Funny then that when we look at rainfall records across the US for all sorts of different timescales, we find none at all since 1981.
 

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ohd/hdsc/record_precip/record_precip_us.html
 
Take particular note of the four records in Texas:
 
Galveston 1871 – 3.95” in 15 minutes
Woodward Ranch 1935 – 15.0” in 2 hours
Thrall 1921 – 36.4” in 18 hours
Alvin 1979 – 43” in 24 hours
 
Storm Harvey never got anywhere near these sort of totals.
 
Full post
 
2) Flooding Not Increasing In North America And Europe, New Study Confirms
G.A. Hodgkins et al., Journal of Hydrology, September 2017
 
“The results of this study, for North America and Europe, provide a firmer foundation and support the conclusion of the IPCC that compelling evidence for increased flooding at a global scale is lacking.” 


Fig. 2. Monthly distribution of floods with ≥25 year return periods for 1204 study gauges from 1961 to 2010, by major Köppen-Geiger climate for North America on the left in green and Europe on the right in blue. Monthly values are percent of total number of floods with > 25 year return periods for each Köppen-Geiger climate.
 
G.A. Hodgkins et al., Climate-driven variability in the occurrence of major floods across North America and Europe, Journal of Hydrology, Volume 552, September 2017, Pages 704-717
 
Abstract
 
Concern over the potential impact of anthropogenic climate change on flooding has led to a proliferation of studies examining past flood trends. Many studies have analysed annual-maximum flow trends but few have quantified changes in major (25–100 year return period) floods, i.e. those that have the greatest societal impacts. Existing major-flood studies used a limited number of very large catchments affected to varying degrees by alterations such as reservoirs and urbanisation. In the current study, trends in major-flood occurrence from 1961 to 2010 and from 1931 to 2010 were assessed using a very large dataset (>1200 gauges) of diverse catchments from North America and Europe; only minimally altered catchments were used, to focus on climate-driven changes rather than changes due to catchment alterations. Trend testing of major floods was based on counting the number of exceedances of a given flood threshold within a group of gauges. Evidence for significant trends varied between groups of gauges that were defined by catchment size, location, climate, flood threshold and period of record, indicating that generalizations about flood trends across large domains or a diversity of catchment types are ungrounded. Overall, the number of significant trends in major-flood occurrence across North America and Europe was approximately the number expected due to chance alone. Changes over time in the occurrence of major floods were dominated by multidecadal variability rather than by long-term trends. There were more than three times as many significant relationships between major-flood occurrence and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation than significant long-term trends. […]
 
5. Conclusions
 
Reference hydrologic networks isolate catchments where climate has been the principal driver of streamflow change by minimizing other drivers, such as regulation, diversions and urbanisation. The relationship between floods and climate change is more difficult to discern where catchments have been altered, making attribution to any single driver uncertain.
 
Trends over time in the occurrence of major floods (exceeding 25, 50, and 100 year return periods) in North America and Europe were evaluated for 1961–2010 and 1931–2010. All gauges drain catchments that are considered by local and national experts to be minimally affected by catchment alterations. Trend testing of major floods required the grouping of gauges. The 1204 gauges that met study criteria for 1961–2010 and the 322 gauges for 1931–2010 were grouped by continent, Köppen-Geiger climate and catchment size. The number of significant trends for 246 groups of gauges was approximately the same as would be expected by chance alone.
 
There were more than three times as many groups of gauges with significant relationships between the number of annual major floods and annual values of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation than expected due to chance. Catchment size was important to the results; there were significant negative relations between floods and the AMO at large (>1000 km2) North American catchments and significant positive relations at medium (100–1000 km2) European catchments. The opposite relations between European and North American major flood occurrence and the AMO are consistent with previous work on general wetness and dryness related to the AMO. There were no significant relationships, for any group of catchments, between major flood occurrence and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
 
The results of this study, for North America and Europe, provide a firmer foundation and support the conclusion of the IPCC (Hartmann et al., 2013) that compelling evidence for increased flooding at a global scale is lacking.
 
Generalizations about climate-driven changes in floods across large domains or diverse catchment types that are based upon small samples of catchments or short periods of record are ungrounded. Networks of streamflow data from minimally altered catchments will provide an essential foundation for future efforts to understand the complex temporal and spatial dynamics of major floods.
 
Full paper
 
3) Texas Major Hurricane Intensity Not Related To Gulf Water Temperatures
Roy W. Spencer, 29 August 2017
 
As the Houston flood disaster is unfolding, there is considerable debate about whether Hurricane Harvey was influenced by “global warming”. While such an issue matters little to the people of Houston, it does matter for our future infrastructure planning and energy policy.
 
Let’s review the two basic reasons why the Houston area is experiencing what now looks like a new record amount of total rainfall, at least for a 2-3 day period over an area of tens of thousands of square miles.
 
1) A strong tropical cyclone, with access to abundant moisture evaporated off the Gulf of Mexico, and
 
2) Little movement by the cyclone.
 
These two factors have conspired to create the current flooding catastrophe in Houston. Now let’s look at them in the context of global warming theory.
 
1. Are Texas major hurricanes dependent on an unusually warm Gulf?
 
I examined all of the major hurricane (Cat 3+) strikes in Texas since 1870 and plotted them as red dots on the time series of sea surface temperature variations over the western Gulf of Mexico. As can be seen, major hurricanes don’t really care whether the Gulf is above average or below average in temperature:

 
Red dots indicate years of major hurricane strikes in Texas, plotted on average SST departures from normal by year over the western Gulf of Mexico (25-30N, 90-100W). Click on image to enlarge
 
Why is that? It’s because hurricanes require a unique set of circumstances to occur, and sufficiently warm SSTs is only one. (I did my Ph.D. dissertation on the structure and energetics of incipient tropical cyclones, and have published a method for monitoring their strength from satellites).
 
The Gulf of Mexico is warm enough every summer to produce a major hurricane. But you also usually need a pre-existing cyclonic circulation or wave, which almost always can be traced back to the coast of Africa. Also, the reasons why some systems intensify and others don’t are not well understood. This is why the National Hurricane Center admits their predictions of intensity change are not that accurate. Lots of thunderstorm complexes form over warm tropical waters, and we still don’t understand why some of them will spontaneously form a cyclonic circulation.
 
2. Does global warming cause landfalling hurricanes to stall?
 
I don’t know of any portion of global warming theory that would explain why Harvey stalled over southeast Texas. Michael Mann’s claim in The Guardian that it’s due to the jet stream being pushed farther north from global warming makes me think he doesn’t actually follow weather like those of us who have actual schooling in meteorology (my degree is a Ph.D. in Meteorology). We didn’t have a warm August in the U.S. pushing the jet stream farther north.
 
Full post
 
4) University Fires Prof Who Said Texas Deserved Hurricane Harvey Because It Voted Republican
New York Daily News, 29 August 2017


 
Don’t mess with Twitter. A University of Tampa assistant sociology professor was fired after he suggested Hurricane Harvey is retribution for Texans who voted for the GOP in a tweet Sunday night, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Ironically, Harris County, which includes the devastated city of Houston, went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
 
In the since-deleted post, Kenneth L. Storey stated, “I don’t believe in instant karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them.”
 
Along with a barrage of acerbic messages aimed at him online, including some from those purporting to be fellow Floridians and University of Tampa students, the school itself took a strong stance against his views, firing him as of Tuesday, according to a statement posted on the University’s website.
 
“We condemn the comments and the sentiment behind them, and understand the pain this irresponsible act has caused,” university spokesman Eric Cardenas said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times. “As Floridians, we are well aware of the destruction and suffering associated with tropical weather.”
 
After deleting his original message, the former Orlando Weekly writer went back to Twitter to apologize Monday.
 
“I deeply regret a statement I posted yesterday,” he tweeted. “I never meant to wish ill will upon any group. I hope all affected by Harvey recover quickly.”
 
Ironically, Harris County, which includes the devastated city of Houston, went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, along with the counties of Dallas, Bexar, Travis, El Paso, Hidalgo and Fort Bend.
 
The Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, is also a member of the Democratic Party.
 
Full story
 
5) EPA Says Climate Scientists Trying To 'Politicize' Texas Storm
Reuters, 29 August 2017
 
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday rejected a contention by scientists that the historic rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey was linked to climate change, calling it “an attempt to politicize an ongoing tragedy.”
 
Several scientists have said that factors related to global warming have contributed to increased rainfall from storms like Harvey, which struck the Texas coast as a major hurricane on Friday and has since triggered catastrophic flooding in Houston, killing at least 12 people and forcing tens of thousands from their homes.
 
“EPA is focused on the safety of those affected by Hurricane Harvey and providing emergency response support - not engaging in attempts to politicize an ongoing tragedy,” said EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman, responding to a question about comments from the climate scientists.
 
A White House official said: “Right now, the top priority of the federal government as we work together to support state and local authorities in Texas and Louisiana is protecting the life and safety of those in impacted areas.”
 
President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed doubts about climate change and has announced he will pull out of a global pact to combat it. On Aug. 15, days before the Texas storm, he signed an executive order revoking an Obama-era rule requiring projects built in coastal floodplains that receive federal aid to account for the impacts of sea-level rise.
 
Climate scientists have said that coastal areas, which have seen a surge in population growth, can expect to grapple with more severe flooding as global temperatures rise.
 
Full story
 
6) Texas Spared Worst Of Blackouts As Harvey Brings Rain, Not Wind
Bloomberg, 29 August 2017
 
Hurricane Harvey’s power damages are the lowest of recent storm blackouts

 
The widespread devastation Hurricane Harvey has unleashed on Houston and across Texas won’t include historic power failures.
 
While the storm’s damages are still mounting, Texas utility regulators have estimated power losses at about 345,000 customers, well below blackouts from previous major storms including Ike, which hit Houston and Galveston in 2008. 
 
They’ve also fallen short of a forecast of 420,000 customers by university researchers from Texas, Michigan and Ohio.
 
Harvey’s biggest threat to Houston turned out to be rainfall, not winds. Though flooding from the storm has devastated the city, displacing residents and causing billions of dollars in damage, Harvey had weakened considerably from its earlier Category 4 status by the time it reached Houston after making landfall in a less populated area.
 
“Initially, it was forecast to be much stronger wind-wise when it hit Houston, ” Seth Guikema, an associate professor at the University of Michigan who is part of the research group, said by phone Tuesday. “It meandered more and got much weaker before it hit Houston.”
 
The team lowered its forecast to 350,000 customers blacked out on Saturday after Harvey made landfall between Corpus Christi and Houston. Ike, in contrast, made a more direct hit on Houston and Galveston, ultimately leaving 3.9 million U.S. customers without power.
 
Full story
 
7) Want To Help Texas Recover From Hurricane Harvey? Here's How. 
Daily Wire, 30 August 2017 
Josh Hammer
 


The sun finally broke out a bit last evening here in Houston, Texas. Yet the reality that the worst of Hurricane Harvey has now passed belies the daunting nature of the recovery process ahead.
 
Anyone with a television, newspaper, or social media account over the past five days has seen the devastation that Harvey has wrought on our state. The cameras are not deceiving you. The damage is widespread, and it is nothing short of catastrophic. […]
 
Jesse, along with so may of our fellow Texans, has been nothing short of incredible throughout this trying ordeal. But not everyone can physically be here in south/southeast Texas to help us rebuild. And rebuild, of course, we will: The indomitable spirit of the people of this state knows no bounds. But we could also use any help you might be able to generously provide.
 
To that end, here is a short, non-exhaustive list of charities to which you might consider donating:
 
Full details
 
8) And Finally: White-Man-Made Climate Change
The Maitland Mercury, 11 March 1846 
 
That great changes have taken place in the climate of Australia all testimonies satisfactorily prove. It is evident to any observer, at some period, the country has been subjected to the mighty action of heavy rains, and of sweeping, deluging floods... The aborigines say that the climate has undergone this change since white-man came in country.
 
Full article 

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.


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