Extreme Denial

Under the guise of a “big picture” look, WUWT reader “just the facts” purports to show that climate data don’t support the claim of an increase in extreme weather. But he (she?) doesn’t show evidence about extreme anything, just a bunch of graphs, which he got from other sources, followed by the wrong conclusions. Show a graph of, say, global average temperature, then say “doesn’t look like there’s been much global warming” (even though there has been), and conclude “no increase in extreme weather here.” And of course “he” goes “out of his way” to use “scare quotes” at “every opportunity.”

There’s nothing about the dramatic increase in weather-related catastrophes worldwide:

There’s no mention of the increase in declared disasters in the U.S.:

There’s not a word about the record-shattering heat waves in Europe in 2003, or Russia in 2010, or the terrible heat wave and drought in the U.S. this summer, or the even more astounding heat wave over much of the U.S. this last spring. Not a word about the increase in extreme 1-day precipitation events in the U.S.

No mention of the increase in wildfires in the U.S.:

In fact, there’s not one graph, or one word, related to extremes at all — except to deny that they have increased.

That’s denial in action.

Perhaps the pinnacle of his denial is the “discussion” of sea ice and snow cover. There’s this:

However, there is currently there is no generally accepted measure of ice volume, as Cryosat is still in validation and the accuracy of measurements from Grace are still being challenged.

which is simply denial of the generally accepted ice volume estimate from PIOMAS. The one that looks like this:

Then there’s this denial of the link between sea ice decline and rising temperature:

Sea Ice Area and Extent are cited as proxies for “Earth’s Temperature”, however there is significant evidence that the primary influences on Sea Ice Area and Extent are in fact wind and Atmospheric Oscillations.

Wind and atmospheric oscillations have a profound impact on the fluctuations of sea ice area and extent. But they are not responsible for the trend. Obviously, the WUWT crowd don’t want to accept the reality of the difference between climate change and weather.

Those who buy into the “sea ice decline is due to wind and oscillations” garbage aren’t just mistaken. They’re in denial. You have to be seriously in denial to rationalize away such an obvious sign of global warming. Those who are interested in the truth of the matter should read this.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that if you deny that Arctic sea ice loss is powerful evidence of global warming then you’re not a skeptic. You’re in denial. Deep denial. That includes WUWT regular “just the facts” who shows the dramatic decline of Arctic sea ice, all the time telling us that there’s no relationship between warming and ice loss.

In another undead denial point, sea ice changes are summarized thus:

There appears to have been a negative trend in Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area and Extent and a positive trend in Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area and Extent, thus the resultant Global Sea Ice Area trend appears to be slightly negative.

Note how the Arctic decrease and Antarctic increase are treated on equal footing, as though they were comparable, while the global trend is called “slight.” This is another common fallacy repeated again and again and again by deniers, as though repeating it will somehow make it true.

The positive trend in Southern hemisphere sea ice extent is +14.6 thousand km^2 per year. The negative trend in Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent is -54.7 thousand km^2 per year — that’s 3.75 times as fast. Yes, almost four times as fast. The two trends are simply not comparable.

In fact the negative trend in global sea ice extent is -40.1 thousand km^2 per year — that’s 2.75 times as fast (in the opposite direction) as the southern trend. Yes, almost three times as fast. The Antarctic and global trends are simply not comparable. Yet WUWT regular “just the facts” calls the global trend “slightly negative” while referring to the Antarctic trend just as “positive.” That’s denial at work.

WUWT regular “just the facts” is equally eager to trivialize trends in snow cover:

While none of the Snow plots offers a global perspective, when looking at the Northern Hemisphere, there appears to have been a slight increase in Snowcover and Winter Snow Extent, a decrease in Spring Snow Extent and no change in Fall Snow Extent over the historical record.

That “slight increase” in winter snow cover is not statistically significant:

The number at the top (6) is the estimated trend rate in thousands of km^2 per year, while the number in parentheses (15) is the standard error of the trend estimate. The trend isn’t even close to being significant. The trend in fall snow cover is flat as a pancake:

But the trend in spring snow decline is definitely significant:

What WUWT regular “just the facts” doesn’t show is snow cover data for summer. That’s probably because nobody plotted it for him — none of the plots are his own. I’m happy to oblige:

Once again the trend is statistically significant, and the decline in summertime snow cover is even faster than the decline is spring snow cover. In summary: no season shows significant increase in snow cover, but both spring and summer show rapid decrease.

Evidently WUWT regular “just the facts” takes the same approach to “fair and balanced” reporting as Faux News.

Based on the limited Global Ice and Snow measurements available, and noting the questionable value of Sea Ice Area and Extent as a proxy for temperature, not much inference can currently be drawn from Earth’s Ice and Snow measurements.

This is just as wrong the second time, as it was the first.

To those who are uncertain about the reality of global warming, go and read the post by WUWT regular “just the facts” then come back here and re-read this post. It might open your eyes to the extent of genuine denial from those who call themselves skeptical of global warming.

The only extreme we’ve gotten from WUWT regular “just the facts” is his denial. As usual, it’s endless repetition of the same long-disproved garbage, again, and again, and again. I guess denial is a dish best served by zombies. Where’s my shotgun?


62 responses to “Extreme Denial

  1. Based on the limited Global Ice and Snow measurements available, and noting the questionable value of Sea Ice Area and Extent as a proxy for temperature, not much inference can currently be drawn from Earth’s Ice and Snow measurements.

    This would be unless it supported their hypothesis, in which case we wouldn’t stop hearing about it.

    And I thought this tag at the end was cute:

    Please note that WUWT cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data/graphics within this article….

    So if the ironically-named “just the facts” is wrong, it’s not his fault! It’s those darned third-party graphs that led him astray!


  2. Oh cheese and whiskers. A pesky kid has exploded our Marxist scam!

    Our climate scientists are telling us that global warming of the order of 1 or 2 degrees per century is causing extreme weather events. However at home here, every day, we experience temperature changes of the order of 10 or 15 degrees without any sign of extreme weather events. In fact it is a beautiful, warm sunny day with a few light clouds drifting overhead. Surely this reality makes a mockery of climate science predictions.

    Even for a Watts commenter the word-to-error ratio is unusually high.

  3. Horatio Algeranon

    “Frozen Denial”
    — by Horatio Algeranon

    Denial is best served cold
    If I may be so bold
    It melts in heat
    Like an ice cream treat
    This can’t be oversold

  4. A bit off-topic – except that it does directly relate to “extreme denial” – in particular when you look at the correlation between climate “skepticism” and the related “extreme denial” amongst rightwinger w/r/t the election.

    First, Silver’s look at the bias in the polls. Note that the exact opposite of what the rightwing predicted is what occurred. The overwhelming bias in the polls, to the extent that it occurred, was pro-Romney. How should we look at climate “skepticism” if it comes from rightwingers such as George Will, who predicted Romney would garner 327 electoral college votes? How should we consider the analysis of people who simply “denied” the statistical probabilities reflected in aggregating the samples of individual polls into a mega-sample size, and the resultant impact on the margin of error?


    Notice that among the worst polls were the ones that the GOP were absolutely certain were the most inaccurate. Notice that instead of their fantasize and conspiratorial theories about biased sampling, the bias that shows in the results was exactly that which was predicted by Silver – a methodological bias (by virtue of data-collecting methodology).

    Next, an explicit look at the relationship I spoke about: GOP denial


    • Sorry – obviously that should read:

      Notice that among the worst polls were the ones that the GOP were absolutely certain were the most **ACCURATE**

      • One of the most amusing contributors is D Boehm (formerly “Smokey”)…

        Did this name-change have anything to do with Smokey being outed as a moderator? Indeed, was there any comment from the denyzens of WWWT regarding their moderator’s sock-puppetry?

    • Yes, the level of denial has reached just incredible heights. It’s like you think it can’t go any higher…and then it does! If you can stomach this, take a look at this thread over at WUWT: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/11/09/a-post-election-oddity-im-noticing/ One of the most amusing contributors is D Boehm (formerly “Smokey”) who called fivethirtyeight a “far-Left” blog…As I pointed out to him, even granting him the dubious claim that it is far-Left, what Nate Silver’s correct predictions of the Presidential race in all 50 states and all but one (very close) Senate race show is that “those people whom you consider to be “far-Left” (and I would call part of the reality-based community) have a much better grasp on reality than those on your side of the political spectrum.”

      Now, Boehm is trying to rewrite economic history by claiming that “And yes, it is entirely the Obama Administration’s fault. Four years of blaming Bush, who had below a 5% unemployment rate for 8 years, is old and busted partisan nonsense” and “Unemployment was extremely low prior to Obama’s election. Then it skyrocketed, specifically due to Obama’s failed policies.”

      You can’t reason with people like this. It is just amazing that people can be so blinded by ideology that they can’t see their nose in front of their face.

      • I had a few run-ins with Smokey – before Anthony put me into “moderation” after he made a false charge against me and then wouldn’t allow my explanation of how he was wrong to get posted.

        Smokey well represents the problem with “skeptics.” They are unwilling to clean the dreck out of their camp.

        BTW – Although Silver supported Obama, he’s pretty moderate and libertarian-leaning. Actually more of a leftie is Sam Wang – who gave Romney considerably less of a chance than Silver and whose predictions are actually more accurate.


      • Joel –

        You may consider informing Smokey that the majority of his “takers” comprise working poor, elderly, and disabled. 2/3 pay payroll taxes. Also, on average they pay a higher % of their income in taxes than Romney. Further, the tax policies that created tax cuts for the poor were enacted under Republican administrations.

  5. Wow, that mountain o’blather on WUWT (“We Use Wishful Thinking”) is the most Gish-Galloping bunch of cherry-picked denialist fantasies that I think I’ve ever seen there. Graph after graph, word after word, every one of them carefully chosen to “prove” the planet isn’t warming, then ripped from their necessary surrounding context and posted sans honest explanation for the comfort of the anti-realism crowd, a group lately besieged and beset by scientific fact and profoundly in need of soothing.

    It should be noted that there exists very little separation between Anthony And His Lock-Stepping Army Of WattsBots™ and the GOP’s numerous political pundits who endlessly swore, despite a moon-high pile of evidence to the contrary, that Romney didn’t really have a chance. It’s one thing to inadvertently misinterpret facts out of ignorance or lack of education; it’s something else entirely to intentionally toss science aside and go with only that which aligns and agrees with what you already think. The idiocy of those pundits was laid bare for all the world to see on Tuesday evening. A similar reckoning for those in denial of climate change is currently in progress…

    • Clarification. The first sentence of that second paragraph should read:

      “It should be noted that there exists very little separation between Anthony And His Lock-Stepping Army Of WattsBots™ and the GOP’s numerous political pundits who endlessly swore, despite a moon-high pile of evidence to the contrary, that Romney would win.”

      Post in haste, edit in leisure…

  6. “It strikes me, as a Scientist, that a cooling climate is more likely to be a violent climate than a warming one is.
    An that’s just what we are seeing – climate shifts to a cooling climate.”

    The second comment on that page. Let’s leave aside the blind and false assumption that is the first sentence, and consider the second for a moment. Here is someone who has just looked at a long page of graphs which, where they show the temperature, show it going up. And his conclusion from this is that the climate is cooling. He does this without any indication that he disagrees with the graphs. No, the temperature has been going up, and therefore it has been going down.

    None of the other commenters seem to mind.

    I hope psychologists are busy archiving everything posted on WUWT. It would provide a fascinating insight into how people… well, I’m not sure “reason” is exactly the right word here.

  7. Megyn Kelly to Karl Rove applies:
    “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make you feel better, or is this real?”

    • As Jon Stewart pointed out, we all will eventually die but that clip, of that night, of that *epic fail*, will last for as long as there’s electricity to run the equipment…then, there’s teh transcript.
      A more schadenfreude=y moment, I cannot thin of..perhaps our hero Horatio could find song and verse, with whch to commemorate such an *epic fail*.

  8. > justthefacts

  9. I predict some lame but vehement ‘gotchas’ coming up juxtaposing your statement:
    “Those who buy into the “sea ice decline is due to wind and oscillations” garbage aren’t just mistaken. They’re in denial. ”
    and the British Antarctic Survey study on Antarctic sea ice extent http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1627.html
    From the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/11/poles-scientists-antarctic-sea-ice
    “Two decades of measurements show that changing wind patterns around Antarctica have caused a small increase in sea ice, the result of cold winds off the continent blowing ice away from the coastline.”
    Ha! See. Who’s in denial now? … What do you mean evidence?

  10. PS: is anyone looking at the ads that target regular readers of sites like WTF? (You’d have to create a profile to attract them).
    This guy did something like that to find out what kind of people the advertisers think they can reach, by targeting these particular readers. This should become a PhD thesis, there’s a lot to learn by doing that. The advertisers tell you quite honestly what they think of the readers they can buy at any particular site.

    —- quote —-

    “… In 2007, I signed on to the email lists of several influential magazines on the right …. Via the battery of promotional appeals that overran my email inbox, I mainlined a right-wing id that was invisible to readers who encounter conservative opinion at face value.

    Subscriber lists to ideological organs are pure gold to the third-party interests who rent them as catchments for potential customers. Who better suits a marketing strategy than a group that voluntarily organizes itself according to their most passionately shared beliefs? …

    … when I was getting emails every day from Newsmax and Townhall, the come-ons were a little bit different.

    Dear Reader, I’m going to tell you something, but you must
    promise to keep it quiet. You have to understand that the “elite” would not be at all happy with me if they knew what I was about to tell you. That’s why we
    have to tread carefully. You see, while most people are paying attention to the stock market, the banks, brokerages and big institutions have their money somewhere else . . . [in] what I call the hidden money mountain . . .
    All you have to know is the insider’s code (which I’ll tell you) and you could make an extra $6,000 every single month.

    —– end quote—

    • I often wonder how much money Watts is making via WUWT (donations, ads, increase in sales of weather gadgets, 88K investments by the Hateland Institute).

      • Personally I doubt the money comes in to it much. My bet is it’s all about self-affirmation.

      • Not sure.

        It is, after all, a common theme amongst the Denialati that the is vast amounts of money flying around to any scientist who ‘toes the line’ on global warming. And these guys are well versed in the art of projection.

  11. Rattus Norvegicus

    I predict a post on WUWT attacking you in 3… 2… 1…

    • With particular reference to the closing line, I’d bet… because, you know, that one sentence (which will no doubt be taken so far out of context that it’ll need a passport) somehow invalidates the entire rest of the post!

  12. Remember, Bill Maher reminds us that the apparent fact of heat melting ice is “just a theory.” Re: the article on WUWT; talk about utter cognitive dissonance and extreme Dunning-Kruger….eish.

  13. JusttheBS more like, but totally predictable that they would go after the disasters to climate change link after Sandy. In the space of a few days Sandy undid years upon years of hard work by the deniers, must be quite demoralising for them really, to know that a single storm can swing opinion so quickly.

  14. Thanks Tamino. Most excellent response to obvious brainwashing in progress, however to a willing audience duped by choice.

    It will be totally impossible for WUWT gang to ever imagine that heat may be stored in the Oceans while weather may affect GT’s in natural variations caused by the increase heat in the entire system. There is do doubt that over all Global temperature is rising, Arctic sea ice melt of 2012 proves it. During extensive long lasting mainly overcast summer conditions, unlike 2007. Arctic oscillations of the past summer also did not favour flushing as much as 2007. So much for blaming it on something else. Antarctica a few days maxima long gone now back to normal extent, how bad can it get for willing some cooling?

    Astounding how dumbing down they are willing to go as well, daring people to descend to new levels of ignorance I would say. Trying to mask the obvious by inverting reality, when there is still a huge amount of open water in the Arctic at this time, in darkness even! How can you explain this aside from the true fact that the seas are warmer. Dear oh dear how then explain warmer sea when they were not heated by sunlight during the long day? I await a good explain laugh…

  15. Worth mentioning, perhaps–there’s a throwaway comment suggesting that GRACE data is being challenged. The link in the post claiming to support that (wannabe) meme, however, goes to a page doing nothing of the sort. The page simply describes how GRACE is used to monitor mass loss in Greenland and Antarctica; there’s not a word suggesting that its results are in question.

    Apparently ‘jtf’ didn’t read beyond the headline–“GRACE under fire.” It’s a small point, to be sure, but for me it displays stunning disregard for the facts. (Though why I should be stunned when the author’s ‘analysis’ essentially consists entirely of reiterations of “I don’t believe in warming,” I don’t know.)

    For those interested in the GRACE thing, a direct link:


  16. I first posted this remark at Stephan Lewandowsky’s, but it fits here remarkably well:

    Time and again I’m reminded of the monothematic delusion somatoparaphrenia, and more usually of Anton–Babinski syndrome or other anosognosias.

    Climate change denialism seems almost to be a peculiar version of anosognosia, and indeed something much like it is recognised as symptomatic of the Dunning-Kruger effect where the afflicted can’t seem to perceive their lack of ability in particular intellectual domains.

    And just with these neurological pathologies, one can spend a month of Sundays talking at a climate change denialist and they won’t admit their cognitive scotoma. Witness the insistence that the survey posted on WUWT is not contaminated. Witness the repeated revisitings of the memes that climatology is a conspiracy, a fraud, that the global isn’t warming or that humans are not increasing the concentration of atmospheric CO2 or that CO2 is not a ‘greenhouse’ gas.

    Anton and Babinski would have been mightily interested to observe how climate change denialists can see the frauds and the conspiracies and the refutations of climatological science that are not there…

    • Horatio Algeranon

      — by Horatio Algeranon

      Climate denial
      Is Mannoblognoisia.
      So much in style
      At Heartland symposia.

  17. Horatio Algeranon

    — by Horatio Algeranon

    Give facts the ax
    They don’t mean squat.

    Thermometers don’t prove
    The globe’s getting hot.

    Reality, it’s plain to see,
    In reality, is not.

  18. There is much noise made in the USA about freedom of speech, but I note that over time the Supreme Court has created exceptions to the First Amendment. Amongst these are limitations on false statements of fact, defined by the framework:

    First, false statements of fact that are said with a “sufficiently culpable mental state” can be subject to civil or criminal liability.

    Secondly, knowingly making a false statement of fact can almost always be punished.

    Third, negligently false statements of fact may lead to civil liability in some instances.

    Fourth, some implicit statements of fact—those that may just have a “false factual connotation”—still could fall under this exception.

    Given the profoundly serious social, economic and environmental harms that have already occurred and will occur in the future as a consequence of delay-in-action brought about by deliberate denial of human-caused climate change, it is surely only a matter of time before someone or some organisation calls out the Denialati on their egregious mangling of the facts of science for ideological and/or commercial benefit by bringing them to court.

    Interestingly, the only “free speech” defense that I can see in an otherwise culpable situation would be if the denier was too stupid to know better. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see deniers in court flocking to use this defense…?

  19. There will come a time when Anthony Watts will be called to account and sued for his handy work in delaying action on climate change. I hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

  20. Bernard, you missed the fifth item in that document.

    • The fifth statement (asterisks mine): ” It is possible that some completely false statements could be entirely free from punishment. The Supreme Court held in the landmark case New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), that *lies about the government* may be protected completely.”

      Beyond whether or not that ought to be the case, *none* of Watts’ misstatements and utterly misrepresentation of widely-held, and robustly-supported scientific DATA are about government. Your point, Hank Roberts?

    • I didn’t bother with that one only because lies about government are a ubiquitous character of most countries…


  21. This JustTheFacts character does seem to have adopted an ironic name for himself. Beyond being a serial commenter at Wattsupia (which he continues to do, even on his own posts), his earliest appearance in a WUWT post that a search reveals is June 2010 when he gets a mega hat tip from no less than Cap’n Watts himself for “gather(ing) most of the content and links ” for a post “and plac(ing) them in comments“. Later that year there’s another hat tip for spotting NSIDC hadn’t posted some really really relevant Antarctic news in their NSIDC Arctic News. (I suppose they reckon that Arctic-wise, if the news was from Antarctica, that should make it tropical.:-)
    Since then, JTF has been given the job of running Wattsupia reference pages. Thus a Wattsupia “reader” becomes “ regular“. That Cap’n Watts is now calling on (or allowing) this part-time secretary to write complete posts for Wattsupia suggests the regular crew is failing to deliver. It’s a shame that as JustTheFacts exhibits all the symptoms of someone operating well beyond his abilities.

  22. A good lawyer will do just what the denialists have done–deflect attention from the truly culpable participants toward anything else. Instead of “Anything but CO2,” it will be “Anyone but the denialists”. They will of course try to blame the climate science community, the politicians. I would not be surprised to see the American educational system put on trial in the stead of the denialati. And of course, the stupid defense has a long and distinguished history.

  23. How can you put up a graph that shows ~ 5 * 10^22 Joule increase in upper ocean heat content over the past 10 years and then make this statement:

    It seems apparent from the plots above that Global Ocean Heat has increased over the last several decades, however Global Ocean Heat does not appear to show a recent increase that could lead to “extreme weather”.

    • Well, the a priori appears to be that *nothing* can lead to extreme weather. “Appears to be,” because he says absolutely nothing to indicate what could do, how it could, or even what constitutes extreme weather. “It’s denial all the way down.”

  24. What intrigues me is the amount of time and energy “just the facts” must have put into crafting that mass of obfuscation. It’s not the kind of thing one would do in one’s spare time, as a hobby. It makes me suspect that “just the facts” might be getting reimbursed for his efforts, by someone who has an interest in confusing the issue. Ya think?

  25. More facts which will dazzle the WU gang dizzy:


    Ice age is coming in the US perhaps? How to explain a very warm Arctic while the sub-Arctic cooler than normal? A cycle perhaps? The AO positively confusing? or is it the PDO all time colder , yes they’ll throw that out to the public, and spare themselves from explaining AGW as the real cause some few more years.

    Mean time the real explanation is wonderfully complex, more than anybody who knows WU weather can take in a few drubbings of nonsense.

    • Horatio Algeranon

      “The Ice Age is coming”
      — Horatio’s perversion of an old nursery rhyme and Christmas carol (Horatio has no respect)

      The Ice Age is coming,
      The poles are getting fat,
      Please put a dollar
      In the Watts Up With tHat?.

      If you haven’t got a dollar,
      A credit card will do,
      If you haven’t got a credit card,
      Then just screw you.

  26. Where does all that data come from, originally?

  27. Horatio Algeranon

    “Denial is a River”
    — by Horatio Algeranon

    Denial is a river
    Of rank stupidity
    Flowing forever
    With puke fluidity

  28. Horatio Algeranon

    This might explain some things:
    Human intelligence ‘peaked thousands of years ago and we’ve been on an intellectual and emotional decline ever since’:


    Hunter-gatherer man -> Athenian man -> Couch-potato man -> iPad man -> Tony Wattsman

    PS: Horatio added that last one.

  29. see also: http://oglaf.com/media/comic/Fountain_of_Doubt.jpg
    (that page is safe for work; other pages before and after are NSFW)

  30. I’ve not known Anthony Watts to be a “just the facts” fellow.  He likes to poke fun, play a little ad hominem, and gets into some real speculation about the motivations of the many that don’t agree with his opinion.  But the bottom line is that the info about snowcover was provided by a reader not Anthony.

    As he points out in his response to your reply to his initial thread, it does seem significant  that the “catastrophe” bar graph is from a “Munich Re” insurance marketing piece and that the declared disasters notwithstanding it has its own source which I will admit I have not researched. The graph from FEMA is an inescapable political creation.  And yes the daily precip info is on a very small area.  And finally I do mote that Anthony and his clan have come up with a lot of fairly convincing “third party” graphs from the likes of NOAA and the EPA.

    [Response: His only rebuttal to the undeniable increase in catastrophes is to deny it — because Munich Re is a for-profit company? Together with the implication that they have faked the data to make money? In the utter absence of any fact-based response they resort, as usual, to denial via ad hominem. As for the data from FEMA being “inescapable political creation,” that’s denial via ad hominem from you.]

    Having worked for my entire career with government on the forests and range in  British Columbia, I can confirm that we too have increased catastophic fire risk due to a 50+ year history of having Smokey put fires out. And we let fires burn – depending on location – as a matter of policy too.   My program intentionally sets them  A study of the records of early explorers and fire history by looking at tree rings, stand, and soil structure confirms that there was more fire on the land in the past – the record since 1960 is such a small slice to look at.

    [Response: I guess the drastic reduction in snowpack, increased temperature, changes to the water cycle, and persistence of tree-killing pests has had absolutely no impact on wildfire risk! Anamzing!!! But of course fire risk increased by a huge amount for other reasons, just when those causative factors changed, quite by unbelievable coincidence. Emphasis on the “unbelievable.”]

    I don’t deny global warming. Its clearly happening – although its slowed recently – a bit of taking a few steps down the up escalator as many call it. I do dispute the cause, the projected increased, the case for negative impacts, and whether we can or should do anything about it. I don’t dispute we should keep debating that. I don’t know if that makes me an “extreme denier” for the folks around here or not.  

    One final note – having lived on a farm in northern BC for 25 years along with my land management career, I always “warmed” to less snow cover on the spring.  My crops depended on rainfall not runoff, and early springs were a bonus.  Snowcover in the summer? Perish the thought!

    Thanks for listening.

    [Response: You’re probably a nice guy, and I wouldn’t call you an extreme denier. I would say you drank the kool-aid a bit too deep.]

    • ” I do dispute the cause, the projected increased, the case for negative impacts, and whether we can or should do anything about it. ”

      By all means then, please show the DATA that supports the disputation of the 97%+ of scientists, organizations, and the halls of academia that seem to be in opposition to your ‘disput[ing] the cause.”

      “[W]hether we can or should do anything about it[?] ” Precisely WHY should we NOT try?

      “I don’t dispute we should keep debating that.” I do disputer that: to continue this tiresome, unrelenting “debate” about what is quite settled science on the globe’s warming, and the near-certainty (3 sigma) that anthropogenic causes have brought it about, i DO dispute we need to keep “debating” it. It’s high time we ALL–deniers, warmists, and fence-sitters–start *doing* something, and quit this idiotic rehashing of **it that was essentially postulated nearly THIRTY years ago.

    • Tamino:

      But of course fire risk increased by a huge amount for other reasons, just when those causative factors changed, quite by unbelievable coincidence. Emphasis on the “unbelievable.”

      Well, actually the increase in intensity of forest fires does have multiple causes. I wouldn’t say it’s a *coincidence* that industrial-scale fire supression really got underway in the 1940s, with the invention of smokejumpers, use of surplus WWII bombers for the dumping of water, use of the recently-invented helicopter to transport supplies and the development of Helitack crews. It’s all part of the accelerating industrialization that also has led to greatly accelerating emmisions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels.

      It’s also not a coincidence that, in the Pacific Northwest, at least, this correlates with the near exhaustion of private forestlands and the timber industry’s new dependence upon timber from national forests starting at the end of WW II.

      Nor is it coincidence that the Tillamook Burn took place in the 30s resulting in further demands for intense industrial-scale fire suppression.

      So I’d say Borth is slightly off the hook here. Fire suppression has led to fuel build-up which intensifies fires (as does dry and warm conditions increasingly driven by global warming). They both play a role, and professional fire managers at the US federal level at least recognize the multiple causes (including global warming). Borth’s not entirely off the hook because he seems unaware that fire professionals understand that climate change is definitely making things worse.

      [Response: Indeed they do. And so do scientists: the relative impact on wildfire increase of both climate change and forestry practices in the U.S. have been explicitly studied in peer-reviewed research.

      The greatest increases occurred in mid-elevation, Northern Rockies forests, where land-use histories have relatively little effect on fire risks and are strongly associated with increased spring and summer temperatures and an earlier spring snowmelt.

      Borth is not “off the hook.”]

      • The greatest increases occurred in mid-elevation, Northern Rockies forests, where land-use histories have relatively little effect on fire risks and are strongly associated with increased spring and summer temperatures and an earlier spring snowmelt.

        Yes, I know this.

        Borth is from BC, which is more like the PNW than the northern (or even not northern) Rockies. His comment is less weird for the PNW than for the Rockies.

        You (and Borth) are falling into the trap of assuming all forest ecosystems are alike …

        Not even close.

        They’re all different, extremely different, and conflating them runs counter to even the basic notions of forest ecology that apply.

        Now, when you started your blog, I was more aggressively supportive of mainstream climate science than you. And was told to be nice, and you’re no longer nice to contrarians (good for you).

        But don’t lose site of the complexity of forest ecology, which includes as subsets fire ecology, and the study of how climate change will effect various forest ecologies …


        Mostly negatively, but the regime changes won’t be all the same.

      • Indeed they do. And so do scientists

        The fire professionals I referred to *are* scientists. So lose the “and so do scientists”, as though the agency professionals aren’t.

        [Response: How was I — or anybody — to know that? The terms “professional fire managers” and “fire professionals” don’t imply it, to me it suggests individuals who might be very scientific but aren’t scientists. If you say they are, great. If you insist that nobody mistakes them for non-scientists, you should have said so.]

        Federal agencies employ a lot of people who, frankly, know their shit. Their recommendations aren’t always (some would say often) followed, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they’re skilled, scientific, professionals.

        [Response: I didn’t state, imply, or even hint that they don’t. Save your indignation for when it’s justified.]

    • Philippe Chantreau

      David Borth, you must be willing to consider the possibility that you are wrong, and its implications.

      If you’re wrong, and large areas of land elsewhere than where you live are made unsuitable for farming by climate change, are you willing to share the good land and nicer climate gained in BC with those who will have lost their livelihood? That is the only thing that would make your position morally defensible. Otherwise, in 50 years from now, BC and Canada will be in the position of saying “Sorry, we were wrong, too bad for you, the growing is great up here” to hundreds of millions of people. Of course, you won’t be around to see that but your individual actions’ effects in delaying or suppressing any meaningful action will have their part in the existence of the situation.
      On the other hand, fossil fuels are a limited resource that will run out at some point. Is it better to phase them out smoothly while there is not yet a shortage that will create tensions high enough (even without climate change effects) to breed large scale conflicts or should we wait until such point?

      You have your opinion. It leads to certain choices. I also have my opinion on what are the morally defensible choices.

      • David Borth, you must be willing to consider the possibility that you are wrong, and its implications.

        He’s not so much wrong, as myoptic. His farm might benefit from a longer growing season, therefore global warming (on a global scale) is beneficial.

        Myoptic and *selfish*. And of course, it’s not clear that his myoptic selfishness might hold, if ocean circulation patterns off the north american pacific coast change dramatically as more heat goes into the system.

        I’m sure he’s old enough, though, to say “well, even if it’s only 10-20 years of improved output on my little farm, it’s worth it!”. Even if after he dies world ag begins to collapse…